Trump, Cyrus, and the Jewish Temple

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As Donald Trump Goes, So Goes Israel?

How ironic that people from all over the world seem to be more excited and less divided over the election of Donald Trump as United States President, than Americans are … what with some folks in the United States yelling, “Trump is not my President.”

Hardly any election in American history has polarized Americans more than Donald Trump’s defeat of Hilary Clinton this past November. Normally America comes together in some optimistic fashion to give a new president the (benefit of the doubt) opportunity to see what he can/will do. But not this time, beginning with the President’s controversial decision to (temporarily) ban immigrants from seven nations hostile toward the United States; seven countries that spawn terrorists or subsidize terrorism, with a permanent ban (until further notice) on refugees from Syria.

By and large, the citizens and leaders of one nation in particular have expressed their enthusiasm for Donald Trump’s presidency … Israel. Certainly there are more than just a few Jews in the United States and some in Israel that are dismayed over the election. Yet, through numerous articles from Israeli journalists reporting on the reaction of Israeli citizens and their leaders, it’s clear that there is an atmosphere of cheerfulness and confidence unparalleled since President Harry Truman was the first national leader to congratulate Israel on her rebirth as a sovereign nation in 1948.

This heart-felt hopefulness harbored by many Israelis of better times ahead in Israel—contingent on stronger relations between Israel and the United States (in glaring contrast to former President Obama’s contentious conduct and divisive demeanor toward Israel)—is, for the most part, connected to four passionate but seemingly unattainable dreams near and dear to most Israelis, both religious and secular.

They will be listed in order of the most likely to the least likely for implementation. The realization of these individual and national Jewish dreams appear to be directly proportionate to President Trump’s promises or, at least, preferences that he had already expressed before and then after his election. The first three will be examined in cursory fashion, with our main focus in today’s article on the fourth passionate pursuit of Israelis, especially the observant (religious) among them. It is, by far, the most difficult goal to achieve. It is one that could lead to a savage Palestinian intifada against Israelis, even to all-out war between some Muslim nations and Israel that globally would generate political, social, and military repercussions.

It is: A Rebuilt Jewish Temple.

Each of the four is an awkward juxtaposition of irritating issues to the world at large, alongside of ardent aspirations for Israelis.

First Issue/Aspiration: Additional Jewish Settlements in the West Bank

Emboldened by President Trump’s election, the Jewish parliamentary government (Knesset) passed the Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law on February 6th. In some prior Eye of Prophecy articles, I’ve written fairly extensively on the alleged “Jewish occupation and Israeli settlements” in so-called “Palestinian territories.” For example, Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? (Published 5-16-15).

Time/space in today’s article does not permit elaboration on this Settlement Regulation Law. Suffice to say: Whether the legislative enactment to build more dwellings for Jewish families in the designated region of Judea/Samaria (what is commonly called the West Bank) can or will be implemented depends upon two factors. In order of importance: (1) An Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to endorse the law or to nullify it. (2) The United States, primarily through President Trump’s leadership, agreement not to contest or even criticize existing settlements or more construction, as the former U.S. Executive Staff (Obama’s two terms) had so strenuously objected.

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(Shows How Much Land Judea/Samaria–Now Called the West Bank–Takes Up of Israel Proper)

Already there have been mixed signals from the Trump administration, bordering on ambivalence. Not that long ago, a White House spokesperson voicing President Trump’s stance on the matter, said, “we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace.”

Yet in a recent interview President Trump gave to Israeli journalist Boaz Bismuth who writes for the online Israeli news source, Israel Hayom, President Trump appeared to take a step backwards, at least in terms of overt support for Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Before quoting a portion of this interview as posted in Boaz Bismuth’s article of February 12, 2017, I need to bring up an intriguing fact as subsequently published in Bismuth’s article of the very next day, February 13th.

Boaz Bismuth wrote: “After my interview with Trump last week (results of which weren’t published until the February 12th article), one of his senior advisors told me: ‘You see! Our president is a man of his word.’ She was referring to the promise Trump made to me during an interview on the campaign trail. During that interview, on the night of the third presidential debate, I asked to have the honor of being the first Israeli journalist to interview him as president. ‘I promise,’ Trump said.”

Here is one question to and answer from President Trump as contained in Bismuth’s article of February 12th:

“Q. We heard from Washington this week that settlements are not an impediment to the peace process. I guess this is an issue you and Prime Minister Netanyahu are going to discuss?” (Referring to their meeting which has now taken place … this past Wednesday)

“A. They (settlements) don’t help the process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”

*Note: On the subject of peace, President Trump used that word an astonishing 14 times in this fairly short interview with journalist Boaz Bismuth, and did so in the context of several questions (subjects).

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(Writer, Boaz Bismuth)

Bismuth’s final question was: “Finally, Mr. President, do you have anything to say to the Israelis?”

President Trump’s answer: “I have great respect for the Israelis, great respect for Israel. We’d love to see peace. We think it would be very, very good for the Israeli people, and we want a peace that would be everlasting—not just a peace that is going to be good for three months and then the fighting starts again…”

Which I also find intriguing, in light of last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, Peace on Earth … Is It Really Possible? (Posted 2-11-17, the day before Boaz’s interview article of 2-12). Here is an excerpt (in italics) from that Eye of Prophecy article that seems to track with what President Trump said, in terms of his ardent desire to do his and America’s part to bring some measure of peace on earth. Now, if he would just look to the Prince of Peace as the only person who can truly bring harmony to this wicked war-weary world we live in!

A True Peace That Divides

It is belief in and acceptance of the truth of the gospel (Jesus substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross) that sets us free from the penalty of sin and gives us eternal life in heaven, when we will be forever free from the very presence of sin, grief, pain, remorse, hostility, and death itself.

But this truth divides. It separates good from evil; light from darkness; right from wrong; honesty from lies; God’s righteousness given to us from self-righteous efforts of good works that vainly try to gain God’s favor; and true everlasting peace with God from man-made peace that produces only a temporary false sense of security and serenity. A semblance of safety that all too quickly disappears with the next war just around the corner.

In summary of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, it does appear that President Trump is having second thoughts on whether they are an obstacle to peace. If that’s his position and becomes official White House policy, then there will be no difference between his view and that of the misguided notion of our former president as well as many international leaders. I’m referring to the grossly oversimplified impression and outright erroneous thinking that Jewish settlements in the West Bank is the ONLY reason why Palestinians hate the Jews and refuse to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis.

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(Actual Jewish Settlements Constitute Less Than 5% of the West Bank)

Second Issue/Aspiration: Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Until the recent Settlement Regulation Law passed by the Israeli Knesset, the potential move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was the hottest topic on the tips of the tongues of national leaders and the media all over the world. As expected, many European leaders voiced their objection for the same reasons of the self-fulfilling predictions by Muslim nations and by Palestinians: moving the U.S. Embassy would immediately produce even more hostility toward Israel and intensify violence against Israelis.

The recent Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Is President Trump Wavering on the “Waiver? (Posted 2-4-17), covered this issue at some length. In the context of today’s article, the following excerpt from that article is provided (in italics):

Just last weekend, however, he made a concession that the plan or procedure to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, “is not easy … has two sides to it … there’s certainly a chance of it, absolutely … I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I’ll tell you that.”

He pledged to, “studying it very long and hard.” And, “I hate to do that because that’s not usually me. Usually, I do what’s right.” (Meaning postponing what he intimated would be a quick executive decision soon after being elected).

He concluded with the promise that he would, “…have a decision in the not-too-distant future.”

I take this to mean that President Trump is unwavering with regard to doing something about his unexpected and out-of-character wavering over “The Waiver.”

*Note: As a reminder, the “Waiver” referred to the clause in the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed in 1995 by a huge margin in both the House and Senate that mandated moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, with a contingency clause that allowed the sitting U.S. President to sign a waiver every six months, which would postpone implementation of the law.

The article, Is President Trump Wavering on the Waiver? concluded with:

To relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem is much more than symbolic. It is a decisive move that could preclude God’s harsh judgment of the United States of America before the Day of the Lord’s return. A return that begins with the remarkable Rapture of believers and ends with Messiah Jesus’s second coming to earth seven years later in power and great glory to fight for Israel and rescue her from imminent destruction.

If President Trump wants to make America great again, the first place (no better place) to begin is with the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. For in doing so, he is agreeing with God that Jerusalem, as the City that the Lord loves above all cities, is indeed the eternal heart and soul (capital) of Israel.

Third Issue/Aspiration: Creation of a Palestinian State (So-Called Two State Solution)

First, a clarification that the creation of a Palestinian State within the existing borders of Israel (those national boundaries that separate Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt) is NOT by any stretch of the imagination something that most Jews want. However, many Israelis—including their Presidential Staff, Department Ministers, Members of Knesset (MKs) and geopolitical experts—realize that a Palestinian State may very well come into existence. If for no other reason than constant international pressure.

If a Palestinian State becomes a reality, what Israelis earnestly hope for is that such a state will not jeopardize Jewish security because of virtually indefensible borders. Nonetheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (almost exclusively from pressure exerted by former US President Obama in 2009) had conceded that any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians could conceivably include a Palestinian State. To counter the inherent danger that a Palestinian State would pose to the Jews, Prime Minister Netanyahu emphatically believes such an Arab state must be demilitarized. To monitor that, would mean freedom of the Israeli Defense Force to move throughout the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, as both regions are vital to Israeli security.

The following (in italics) are excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Peace or a Palestinian State … Which Will It Be? (Posted 2-27-16).

What the Palestinians want most of all is simply for the international community to take sides against Israel. This would give more credibility to their underlying objective of a Palestinian State not just within certain borders of Israel, but a state replacing all of Israel. Because to the Arab and most non-Arab Muslims, there is no such thing as Israel. All one needs to do is talk to any Palestinian on the street, or listen to their prolific propaganda, or read their school curriculum, or examine their maps of Palestine. For example, some Palestinian officials have recently demanded that all Jews in Palestine should be required to return to the country from which they immigrated (to Israel).

Another huge hurdle would be the actual territorial boundaries of such a Palestinian State. Which is why Israel must agree to such borders for purpose of their national security and national heritage and identity. That means that Israel would not surrender the Golan Heights, nor ever accept an official partition of West and East Jerusalem. Certainly, not to allow the Palestinian capital to be East Jerusalem, which includes Temple Mount. So, if France recognizes a Palestinian State, will they arbitrarily define these borders? Will they demand that the Jews vacate all settlements within the West Bank, including East Jerusalem? Would they unilaterally declare East Jerusalem as the Palestinian State Capital? Will they insist that Israel return the Golan Heights back to Syria? And, if Israel did, who or what in Syria would control the Golan Heights … given the fighting and anarchy already taking place in that war-torn country.

But the biggest obstacle of all: For years and years neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority has agreed to just two basic conditions requested by the Israeli government in order for the Jews to consider approval and acceptance of a Palestinian State: (1) Recognition of Israel itself as a sovereign Jewish State. (2) No Palestinian capital in (East) Jerusalem. It’s that simple. Israel is saying that a Palestinian State is feasible if the Palestinians would merely acknowledge the sovereign State of Israel, and agree to put a Palestinian capital anywhere in such a state except Jerusalem. Without these two concessions, all other negotiable issues are irrelevant.

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In another Israel Hayom article published on February 12 (three days before Netanyahu was to meet with Trump), journalist Nadav Shragai wrote:

“Will Israel stick to the paradigm of a Palestinian state? Has Netanyahu been using that idea just so he could make it through the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, buy himself some time, and then go back to his old stance against a Palestinian state that will endanger regional security and the State of Israel? Or has he fallen in love with the idea? And if he has, was it with the idea itself or as an instrument of diplomacy?

“This question is both relevant and fateful, because all the signs indicate that this time, unlike previous meetings between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers, Trump is open to hearing, and even wants to understand, what Israel’s position is before he decides on policy. Is Israel for or against a Palestinian state? For or against annexation? To what extent? And where? Where in the settlements does it intend to build—in the large blocs? Outside them?

“If Trump’s campaign remarks are any indication, Israel has quite a bit of room to maneuver. Even Trump’s statements in his exclusive Israel Hayom interview  that he does not believe that moving ahead with the settlements will benefit the peace process but does not intend to condemn Israel, still leave Israel considerable leeway.”

(Note: he is referring to the interview given by President Trump to Boaz Bismuth, part of which was quoted earlier in today’s article)

Because this week’s Eye of Prophecy began and was mostly completed prior to this past Thursday’s publication of Wednesday’s meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu (and because of time/space in today’s article), I’ll quote only a couple of their comments concerning the subject of a Palestinian State. President Trump’s remarks were somewhat unexpected, but not entirely.

Said President Trump: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state … I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi (Netanyahu) and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians, are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

He went on to say: “…That includes working toward a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The United States will encourage a peace and, really, a great peace deal. We’ll be working on it very, very diligently. Very important to me also—something we want to do. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement … As with any successful negotiations, both sides will have to make compromises. You know that, right?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks were what I expected him to say, as already alluded to in today’s article written mostly before his historic meeting with President Trump on 2-15-17.

Among other things, he said, “the two prerequisites of peace, recognition of the Jewish state and Israel’s security needs west of the Jordan, they remain permanent … we must make sure we’re not under threat of a Palestinian terror state in our heartland.”

In Netanyahu’s mention of “security needs west of the Jordan,” he is referring to the “West Bank” which derives its name from the western side (bank) of the Jordan River. Of course that includes (all of) Jerusalem, which is the core of the second Israeli prerequisite … an undivided Jerusalem as the Jewish capital of Israel.

He also said: “I don’t want to annex two million Palestinians to Israel and I’ve no interest in them being our subjects. But we must make sure we’re not under threat of a Palestinian terror state in our heartland.”

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Fourth Issue/Aspiration: A Rebuilt Jewish Temple on Temple Mount

This is the most controversial and combative issue of all, even among Israelis and Jews the world over. For the most part, it is observant (particularly the Orthodox) Jews who desperately want to rebuild the third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The restoration of the Jewish Temple would be a climatic achievement to the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948 and the recapture of their holy city of Jerusalem in 1967. Yet, if construction of the Temple would begin anytime in the near future, it undoubtedly would ignite a massive Palestinian intifada as well as Muslim nations attacking Israel from all sides. Moreover, there would be international condemnation of Israel from virtually every nation—with the possible exception of the United States and Great Britain.

Consequently, nearly all secular Jews and also more than a few non-Orthodox observant Jews (Reformed, Conservative) are opposed or at least reluctant to unilaterally move forward with a rebuilt Temple absent bilateral concessions on Israel’s part. In fact, the Palestinians and Muslims worldwide are adamantly, even violently, opposed to a rebuilt Jewish Temple on Temple Mount. They wouldn’t remotely agree to such a thing unless Israel met ALL Palestinian demands which, at one time or another, have been proclaimed as preconditions to negotiations for peace.

I’m referring to Arab demands that include but are not limited to: A Palestinian State with boundaries that include all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the capital of that state, encompassing the Western Wall and Temple Mount itself under Palestinian control. Meaning, of course, that the Palestinians would impose strict regulations (as they currently do) on who and how often the Jews could actually ascend Temple Mount or set foot in a rebuilt Temple. Also return of all so-called refuges from neighboring nations including 2nd and 3rd generation children of those refugees, which now total more nearly six million. And, Israeli eviction from the Golan Heights, which would be disastrous in terms of Israel’s security.

But since the majority of those demands would not be accepted unconditionally by Israel, we’re back to terrorism and war as the preferred strategy and probable action of Muslims in reaction to even an announcement that the Temple would be rebuilt, let alone actual construction.

From the Eye of Prophecy article, A Third Jewish Temple? (Published 4-26-14), I wrote:

For readers of this article that may not be fully aware of the importance of the Temple Mount to both religious and secular Jews, let me paraphrase what has been stated in a couple of previous Eye of Prophecy articles: Jerusalem is the very heart and soul of Israel, and the Temple Mount is the heart and soul of Jerusalem. It is none other than Mount Moriah, where Abraham nearly sacrificed his only son, Isaac; and later the site where Solomon’s Temple and the 2nd Temple were built. Unfortunately, it is also the location of the Muslim Dome of the Rock, built some 1600 years after Solomon’s Temple and 1150 years after Ezra and Nehemiah’s Temple. The Muslims knew full well what they were doing when they erected the Dome of the Rock: deliberately replacing the most holy site of the Jews with a mosque that would usurp all Jewish religious and historical rights to Mount Moriah and to Jerusalem itself. Today, Islamists are rewriting history by teaching Arabs (and all others who will listen) that the Jewish Temples never existed in the first place.

How important is the Temple Mount to the Jews and to Israel? I’ll tell you how priceless and precious it is. Although President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has imposed several conditions on the Israelis before he will even sit down at the negotiating table, Prime Minister Netanyahu has imposed only one condition: Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. And, incorporated in that stipulation is the implied and default component that Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided capital. Virtually all other issues are negotiable to the Israelis. But Jerusalem will not be divided between east and west, and the Temple Mount must not be (permanently) annexed by a people who aren’t even citizens of Israel.

Even though I understand why, it’s nevertheless completely amazing to me that Israel relinquished a single square foot of Jerusalem to Jordanian or Palestinian control after re-capturing the holy city in the Six-Day War of 1967 at the highest price possible—the blood and lives of their soldiers and civilians. Why did they give back part of what they won in battle? Sad, but easy answer: To maintain a semblance of peace through appeasement of the Arabs but mostly as a concession to global pressure, including the United States.

Then later in that article:

…I firmly believe the primary reason for this resurgent passion toward Israel’s revered and venerated holy site has much more to do with the crescendo of enthusiasm over the coming of Messiah. An integral part of this desire for His appearance is the eagerness to rebuild the Temple. There are several organizations in Israel whose members are devoted to this 2000-year old dream, none more so than The Temple Institute.

In the introductory pages of their website, The Temple Institute states, “THE SCHOLARS OF THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE have dedicated their lives to raising public awareness of the importance of the Holy Temple in the life of all mankind, both Israel and the nations of the world. The Institute seeks to disseminate this knowledge, rekindle the desire and yearning for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, and help to prepare as much as possible for the actual rebuilding.”

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

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(Depicts Model of Temple in Place of the Dome of the Rock)

A New U.S. President, An Ancient Persian King, and the Next Jewish Temple

Although the desire to build the third Jewish Temple has been increasing in intensity since the Six-Day War of 1967, right now it appears to be stronger than ever before. Moreover, this titanic surge of interest is directly connected to the election of Donald Trump as the United States President. That Trump—with his resolve to get things done which benefit America’s people as well as Jews in Israel and his inner fortitude to speak his mind, to move and shake things otherwise considered unmovable and unshakable—might empower Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition government in Israel to boldly call for construction of the Jewish Temple.

So much so that Rabbi Yehudah Glick (now a member of the Knesset)—a Temple Mount activist on behalf of Israeli rights to not just visit Temple Mount at will, but also an ardent advocate for a rebuilt Temple—has extended an invitation for President Trump to visit the Temple Mount. A few days later, the Jewish Sanhedrin sent a letter to Trump and also to Russian President Putin, asking them to, “fulfill the Cyrus mandate of enabling the rebuilding of the Temple.”

The above quote was from an article written by Enoch Lavendar, posted in the online source Prophecy News Watch on February 13, 2017.

The article began with, “The Jewish Temple Mount movement are excited over the recent election of Donald Trump. They know very well that rebuilding the Jewish temple in today’s world would be a dangerous and politically incorrect task. In their view, if there is any modern political leader with the guts and determination to stand behind such a project, it could be Donald Trump.”

Lavendar went on to report:

“A number of Christian leaders have been comparing Trump to the Biblical King Cyrus. They point out that King Cyrus was a leader called and appointed by God. If President Trump really has a similar calling to King Cyrus, could it be that God would use this real estate developer turned President to facilitate the greatest property development of modern time—the rebuilding of the Temple?”

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(“I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people–without seeking a reward! I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies have spoken! (Isaiah 45:13). This prophecy was made some 150 years before Cyrus was even born!)

*Note: Time and space in today’s Eye of Prophecy article does not permit elaboration on this comparison of Trump to King Cyrus, except to say it’s a big stretch. My main purpose for introducing quotes from Enoch Lavendar on the Third Temple (plus the other three issues that are captivating the undivided attention of Israelis, indeed, the entire world), is to demonstrate that end times prophecies are coming together at a phenomenal providential pace like never before.

As I’ve written several times in prior articles, I believe Scripture contains compelling evidence that it will be Antichrist (Nero) who will orchestrate the rebuilding of a third Jewish Temple through his seven-year treaty with and between Israel and other nations (Daniel 9:27). The remarkable reappearance of an ancient Roman Emperor will utterly amaze a world already stunned by the disappearance of hundreds of millions at the Rapture. Among those left behind, the Jews (particularly the Orthodox) will be the most skeptical that Nero is really Nero, returned from the grave. That is, until Nero achieves the impossible (to the Jews)—none other than a rebuilt Jewish Temple. At that point, some Jews (secular, liberal) will acknowledge him as Messiah. The more observant Jews will hail Nero (as some now do with Trump) as a messiah-type; until he stops the resumed Temple sacrifices half way through the Tribulation.

Although Jewish religious leaders have been careful to say that Donald Trump is not nor will be their Messiah, they believe he will help prepare the way for Messiah.

It’s quite evident why the Sanhedrin sent their invitational letter to President Trump. Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, said in regard to Trump’s remarkable rise to the most powerful position in the world; Trump has, “…made the eternal Jewish dream a very real possibility … We are poised to rebuild the Temple. The political conditions today, in which the two most important national leaders in the world support the Jewish right to Jerusalem as their spiritual inheritance, is historically unprecedented.”

But, seriously … also send the letter to President Putin of Russia! Why?

Because, allegedly, President Putin had personally prayed for the rebuilding of the Temple during his visit to the Western Wall in 2012. I’ve also written fairly extensively in a few Eye of Prophecy articles about Vladimir Putin and the ulterior motives behind his professed affinity toward Israel. (For example, Beware of the Bear! Posted 3-22-14; Gog, Magog and Leviathan, Posted 1-3-15; The Russians Are Coming! 11-14-15). Because Russia will lead the Gog/Magog invasion against Israel, any ostensible gestures of good will that Putin offers to Israelis will be to accomplish Russia’s true agenda of conquering Israel.

In a final quote from Enoch Lavendar’s article, he mentions the calculations completed by well-known writer Michael Snyder:

“…Trump was born 700 days before Israel became a nation, won an election on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 7th year, 7th month and 7th day in office, and served his first full day in the White House at the age of 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old.”

Things to Ponder

All four of these ardent Israeli aspirations are connected components of end-times prophecy as found in numerous Biblical passages. In summary they are: (1) Jewish settlements in the Judea/Samaria (West Bank) which is an integral part of the Promised Land; (2) Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, symbolized by nations placing their embassies in the Holy City of the Holy Land; (3) Although there will be Gentiles living in Israel before, during, and after the return of Messiah Jesus, all of Israel within the borders designated by God himself must not be divided into separate states or even territories; (4) A rebuilt Jewish Temple.

These perplexing issues and the Biblical promises of God to resolve them can be succinctly summed up by the following passage.

“…And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:17).

Then the prophet describes in geographical detail where God’s people the Jews will live; which is virtually all of Israel given to them by God as previously delineated by Moses in Numbers 34:1-15 and Deuteronomy 1:7-8. And in the book of Joshua, Chapters 15-19. One day soon, these ancient God-given boundaries, which were much larger than today’s Israel, will be inhabited once again by the Jews.

Read with me:

“Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom (part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (Jordan). The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!” (Obadiah 1:19-21, parenthesis mine).

In addition to Israel’s boundaries identified by Obadiah, the Promised Land also extended to the Euphrates River (Deuteronomy 1), through modern-day Syria and Iraq!

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(Original Land Promised to Abraham and His Descendants the Jews)

Borrowing from and rephrasing the well-known poem penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of our late great American patriot Paul Revere:

Listen my children and you shall hear, the trumpet call of God so imminently near!

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

Long live Israel’s King … Messiah Jesus, King of all kings!

Peace on Earth … Is It Really Possible?

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The Incomparable Names and Titles of Messiah Jesus

“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).

This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture, one that I’ve quoted in several Eye of Prophecy articles when it fit the theme of that article. One other article (The Wonder of It All, posted 12-21-13) also began with this passage. The article, The Child of Promise Part II (published 8-30-14) examined each part of the passage in detail.

In whatever context this verse was quoted, invariably it was to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah foretold by Isaiah and many other prophets. Moreover, the Messiah would not only be sent by God as a man, he would be (is) Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father!

In addition to the appellations found in Isaiah Chapter 9, Jesus (Yeshua) is known by several other titles. Some of which he ascribed to himself; other names given to him by the Holy Spirit inspired writers of Scripture.

Such as: The Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man, The Good Shepherd, The Bread of Life, Light of the World, Lamb of God, Lion from the Tribe of Judah, Redeemer, The Living Word of God, The Bright Morning Star, The Creator, King of Israel, King of all kings, Lord of all lords, Cornerstone Foundation (of the Church), The Mediator (between God and man), The Way, The Truth, The Resurrection and the Life, Lord of the Sabbath, The Gate, The Vine, The Branch, Alpha and Omega, Emmanuel (God with us), The Messiah, and I AM! (Yahweh).

If I have omitted one of your favorite titles, then add it to the list!

These names express not only who Jesus is, but also what he has done and will do upon his glorious return to the earth. They convey his origin (from the distant past, Micah 5:2) and eternal existence (The Beginning and the End, First and Last). He is from Everlasting to Everlasting.

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Today we want to focus on the title that has been quoted as often or more than any other, especially during these last day’s eager expectation for Messiah’s appearance to bring peace to a woeful, war-torn world filled with apathy, anger, anguish, and apocalyptic anxiety.

Which is: PRINCE OF PEACE

Is Messiah Jesus the Prince of Peace? (Sar Shalom, in Hebrew)

The answer is emphatically expressed in Scripture. Yes he is … but not yet.

Why would I say such a thing? What do I mean by not yet or not now?

To adequately answer these questions, we need to define peace. Then we need to grasp the Biblical evidence that peace comes in two kinds and stages. One is internal and the other external. One is individual, the other is universal; one must come before the other. Before there can be peace between people, there first must be harmony between God and man.

A Ruler from the Distant Past

Let’s begin with another well-known verse of Scripture. One of many that announced the coming of Messiah.

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

The italicized words in this verse clearly convey that this prophesied ruler of Israel would be of divine origin, and who but God is Divine. Yet as the prophet Micah tells us: he would come from Bethlehem. And as Isaiah says, he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

Then a short while later, Micah writes: “…Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace” (Verses 3-5, italics for emphasis).

Thus, the context of the passage specifically links Messiah’s birth to deliverance of Israel (at last, signaling a lengthy passage of time) and ushering in peace throughout the world.

The primary point in this passage as related to today’s topic is that Messiah (Jesus) would bring peace to the world but not at the time when he first arrived on the earth as a baby born of a virgin in Bethlehem. As explicitly expressed in Isaiah 53, the Messiah must first suffer and die for the sins of his people (the Jews), but also for the sins of the whole world … Gentiles.

In so doing, he would bring peace, but not between peoples. Not then, not during his first visit to the earth. That would come later, upon his royal return.

Then the prophet Zechariah records the words of Messiah who speaks of the last days, of coming to dwell permanently with his people (the Jews), to include the Gentiles:

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

How do we know it is Messiah speaking in this passage (italicized)? Because he speaks in the first person, and says that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (God the Father) sent him.

Prince of Peace (Shalom)

Isaiah Chapter 9 tells us that Messiah is the Prince of Peace, but notice that this designation is the last of three other majestic titles—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

By ascribing these names to the Messiah, Scripture is reinforcing other Biblical passages that reveal the attributes of the mighty Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For example, without using the word Trinity which is a theological term used to describe the Great Three in One God, we see that in the very beginning God declared, “Let us create man in our image” (Genesis 1:26).

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The context of Isaiah Chapter 9—the only Bible passage that assigns the Messianic title of Prince of Peace—is unquestionably speaking of and attached to, “His government and its peace (that) will never end” (Isaiah 9:7). In other words, the end-time (second) coming of Messiah to finally establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

Shalom … The Hebrew Word for Peace

There are other Hebrew words for peace or the idea of peace, but the word Shalom is used most often in the Old Testament … 238 times in the New American Standard Bible. It is the word used in Isaiah Chapter 9 and Micah Chapter 5 that we just read.

According to Thayer’s Bible Dictionary (a great resource to define Greek and Hebrew words), Shalom means: “Completeness, soundness, welfare, health, prosperity, tranquility, and safety” especially as applied to human relationships. For millennia and still today it is the standard salutation of Israelis and Jews all over the world, for both greetings and farewells.

Innately imbedded in the concept of Shalom (peace) is, of course, absence of war and cessation of interpersonal conflicts between ethnic groups and societies.

Although the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God can be used, in a general sense, interchangeably as found in Scripture (specifically the New Testament), each concept also contains a unique connotation and specific reference point. Jesus came to earth to establish the Kingdom of God. Tragically, his own people refused to accept him as Messiah—despite the numerous miracles he performed and the unparalleled teaching and wisdom he imparted. Even after his resurrection from the dead, they still would not believe. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Lazarus and Lazarus & The Sign of Jonah (Posted 1-14-17).

Yet this was all prophesied in Scripture, most notably in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. It was all part of God’s splendid plan for mankind—redemption through the perfect, once for all sacrifice of God’s very Son. It was the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.

Therefore, Jesus established the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of all who would believe and receive him as personal Savior. Which is how and why the angel announced the glorious news of Jesus’s birth, the arrival of the Messiah who would offer salvation to all people.

“…I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! … Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (Luke 2:10-14, italics for emphasis).

Greek Word for Peace … Eirene (pronounced i-rah’nay)

This Greek word for peace contains the same intrinsic meaning as the Hebrew word Shalom. Like the Hebrew word, its definition stands alone; however, both words are further defined and understood by the context of the passage. Yet with the Greek word as used in the New Testament, we find an expanded application (meaning).

Such as found in another verse that nearly all born-again believers have heard or read; one that many have memorized.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1).

This is the peace that we have in our hearts and minds, a peace absent the enmity and division caused by sin; indeed, by the very sin nature we were born with, that separates every human being from God. It is peace with God, a prerequisite to “peace on earth” good will toward men.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead (death means separation … here separation from God) because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5, first parenthesis mine, second parenthesis found in the text).

Thayer’s Dictionary defines the Greek word (Eirene) for peace as: “Christian tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ … no fear of God’s condemnation.”

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The Kingdom of Heaven was and is still being established in the hearts and minds of all who believe and receive Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior. This heavenly kingdom on earth came through Messiah Jesus when he was crucified, buried, and when he arose from the dead.

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(“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind” Matthew 13:47).

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

So great a salvation truly gives believers in Messiah Jesus peace of mind and assurance of the heart.

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

This is the peace that only the Holy Spirit can produce (as spiritual fruit) in the lives of believers in Messiah Jesus, to whom the Holy Spirit is given and in whom he dwells. “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Jesus promised this peace to his disciples (all believers):

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27, NASB).

The Lord promised believers that we can have protective peace of heart and mind that comes from a right standing with God (God and His Son’s righteousness imputed to us that pardons all our sins). Jesus also contrasted his peace to the (a) peace that the world thinks it can attain without acknowledgment of God in the affairs of people.

Which leads us to the common conclusion of most people on this planet: peace is between people, with no or little regard for the horse before the cart Biblical principle that we must first have peace with God.

To further emphasize that peace on earth between peoples and nations can only be achieved when there is individual peace with God, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah and the Jewish Festivals … An Extraordinary Connection! (Published 9-24-16):

To be sure, the Messiah would one day deliver Israel from all Gentile domination, but not until he first freed the people from themselves. Until the human heart is supernaturally changed by the righteousness that only God can give (as opposed to sin induced self-righteousness that only enslaves people), a kingdom (nation) cannot be changed from one of darkness to one of light.

A Stunning Statement by Messiah Jesus

As additional reinforcement to the Biblical premise that there are two different kinds of peace and that Jesus came to earth the first time to mediate peace with God by making us right with God, let’s look at a profound but perplexing statement by Jesus that contains the same Greek word eirene (peace). Perplexing, however, only if we fail to see that the Lord’s astonishing announcement is not a nullification of the peace that he gives to the hearts and minds of believers. Rather, his reference is to the transitory type of peace that the world wants and thinks it can achieve without any need to change the human heart from the inside out. A global peace that will one day be realized—but only through the return of Messiah Jesus to save the world from annihilation that comes from the pretense of making peace they really didn’t understand in the first place.

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The Apostle Paul warned us of this deceptive peacetime that will result in destruction.

“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” (I Thessalonians 5:2-3).

Before we read the stunning statement of Jesus, let’s look at Webster’s Dictionary primary definitions of peace, most of which reflect the second kind of peace … peace on earth among nations.

“1. A state of tranquility or quiet: as a: freedom from civil disturbance, b: a state of security or order within a community provided by law or custom. 2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. 3: harmony in personal relations. 4: a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments, b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity…”

That is kind of peace Jesus addressed when he said:

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other. From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son…” (Luke 12:49-53a).

Amazing! At face value it seems that Jesus is negating all that he wants his followers to possess and present to others, including love, joy, peace, and unity.

The Lord says he would divide “people against each other,” yet this division begins within the family, which is the foundational fabric of communities, societies, and nations.

But there is no contradiction. When Jesus said he came to “set the world on fire,” he was referring to the fire of redemptive purification that ONLY the truth of Biblical salvation can ignite. Which is Jesus, himself, who declared that he is the Way, Truth, and Life. Jesus was referring to the “truth that sets us free” (John 8:32) from the bondage of incessant, incapacitating sin that produces all of the ills of human kind … exhibited rampantly and continuously in today’s wicked world. Such as those listed in the same passage in Galatians preceding the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

*Note: Paul is not talking about perfection or that Christians don’t commit one or more of these wrong things. He is talking about unbelievers whose entire lifestyle is consumed with such things, because they are following the desires of their sinful nature. Christians still sin, but as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we sin less, because that is not who or what we are any longer. We are a new creation in Christ with a burning desire to follow Messiah Jesus. We are not sinless, but by the grace of God, we do sin less.

“…At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:16-17).

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A True Peace That Divides

It is belief in and acceptance of the truth of the gospel (Jesus substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross) that sets us free from the penalty of sin and gives us eternal life in heaven, when we will be forever free from the very presence of sin, grief, pain, remorse, hostility, and death itself.

But this truth divides. It separates good from evil; light from darkness; right from wrong; honesty from lies; God’s righteousness given to us from self-righteous efforts of good works that vainly try to gain God’s favor; and true everlasting peace with God from man-made peace that produces only a temporary false sense of security and serenity. A semblance of safety that all too quickly disappears with the next war just around the corner.

That is why Jesus said he did not come (the first time) to bring peace to the earth. “Peace on earth” announced by the angel at Messiah’s birth is connected to and generously given to those, “with whom God is pleased” … meaning all who place their faith in God’s Son as Savior.

As the Son of God and God the Son, Jesus knew all too well that he must first die (which is why he was under such “a heavy burden” when he spoke these words) to redeem Jew and Gentile alike; before Jew and Gentile and before Gentile and Gentile could have peace with one another by being joined with Christ.

*Note: The Greek noun eirene stems from the verb eiro which means “to join.” For you ladies out there, the Greek noun (for peace) is a feminine noun. Not only grammatically, but rightfully so! For the most part, women much more than men long for peace between peoples (starting with their husband!) that provide them with a lasting sense of security, tranquility, and contentment.

However, before there can be peace and harmony between people, God’s truth needs to be embedded in our hearts and minds. This leads to real peace with God, with our self, and with others.

So, once again I’ll ask the question, which is just as rhetorical as when asked earlier in this article; but with, I hope, a better understanding of the answer.

Is Jesus the Prince of Peace?

Yes, but not yet.

When?

Soon, when he returns to judge the world’s final rebellion against the Most High God, and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth with truth, justice, and Shalom.

During the Great Tribulation there will be incredible wickedness on this earth, perpetrated by Satan through his man of sin, Antichrist Nero, and the false prophet; and with appalling approval of billions of people who have shaken their fist at Almighty God. As King David proclaimed long ago:

“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 2:2-3, parenthesis mine).

Here is God’s reaction, as continued in this passage, which contains an indisputable reference to Messiah as God’s Son (also found in Psalm 110 … please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son?, Part I and II, posted 10-31 & 11-7-15):

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

“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: ‘The Lord said to me, You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession’” (Psalms 2:4-8).

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Then, near the end of the Great Tribulation—the end of this epoch age of human history as we know it, we hear:

“And I heard a voice from the altar, saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just’” (Revelation 16:7).

For thousands of years, God has patiently allowed the human race to prove that it can achieve true peace (not only absence of war but total tranquility in societies) with God and among themselves. You don’t have to know all that much history to realize how miserably we have failed in accomplishing this otherwise noble endeavor. Would-be messiahs down through the ages have tried without success. In fact, most rulers misused their power and abused their people to establish their own kind of “peace” through subjugation of freedom itself.

Scripture is crystal clear: There is only one Man who can bring peace to the human race. First, he enabled those who believed and received him as personal Savior to have peace with God by returning and reuniting them back to God.

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone…” (I Timothy 2:5-6). Without this freedom from enslavement to sin and the repulsive repercussions of the wrong things we do, there can be no peace in us or around us.

Messiah Jesus is the author and finisher of the New Covenant between God and his chosen people, the Jews; a marvelous New Way to God that also includes the Gentiles.

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it” (Hebrews 8:6-7).

One glorious result of the New Covenant of Grace will be perfect peace during the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus on this earth as foretold by the prophet Isaiah:

“…For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3b-4).

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Is Peace on Earth really possible? Will it actually happen?

Absolutely! Messiah Jesus will return as the Prince of Peace to see to it. When that happens,

“His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity…” (Isaiah 9:7).

Things to Ponder

It is said, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Those who want nothing to do with God, who don’t believe that God’s unequivocal truth is found in His Word, the Bible; who reject the very idea of absolute truth to show us what is universally right and wrong, good and evil, life and death, then they’ll get what they want.

They will be free from “slavery to God.”

But, oh, what a tormented non-peaceful “freedom” that will be.

They will also seal their destiny. If they believe the lie that acceptance of God’s plan of salvation means “slavery to God” instead of freedom from slavery to sin and selfishness, then the Lord will give them the “peace” and “freedom” to join many others in the Lake of Fire. Ever so sadly, they will be eternally separated from the God who loved them enough to sacrifice his only Son; who wanted to save them from themselves and the lies that Satan, through false religions, vain philosophies, and false messiahs (culminating with The Anti-Messiah), foisted on them.

“This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them … Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:9-12).

In closing, let’s listen to the words of Jesus quoted earlier, this time from the New Living Translation and with the promise of his return:

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

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

 

Is President Trump Wavering On “The Waiver”?

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To Waive or Not To Waive?

Unlike most Eye of Prophecy articles or any online post or newspaper article, today’s title is in the form of a sentence. It has a noun subject (President Trump), and a verb (wavering)—albeit what is called an intransitive verb, meaning one that normally doesn’t have or need a direct object. But in this instance, we do have an object … the Waiver.

It would be fun to dig into the grammatical nuances of intransitive versus transitive verbs, indirect objects in contrast to direct objects, and how prepositions (On) combine with nouns and pronouns to modify or enhance some other word; but the fun would be all mine, not yours.

Therefore, I’ll “waive” the fun, and spare you from any “wavering” whether to continue reading this article or not!

Seriously, though, setting aside the helping verb (Is), the preposition (On) and the definite article (The), leaves us with:

President Trump: who practically everyone in today’s smart phone, tweeter tuned, and Facebook linked world has heard of.

Wavering: the definition of which most people have at least some familiarity. “To vacillate irresolutely between choices: fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction” (Webster’s Dictionary). Synonyms: Swing, hesitate.

Waiver: “The act of intentionally relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim, or privilege” (Webster’s Dictionary). The verb form of waiver is, of course, “waive.” Which, also according to Webster’s, is: “to relinquish voluntarily (as a legal right) … to refrain from pressing or enforcing (as a claim or a rule) … to put off from immediate consideration … postpone.”

So, you know that Donald Trump was recently elected President of the United States and, whether you voted for him or not, you’re aware (perhaps more so than any presidential candidate or president before him) of what he is like … sort of. Which, if nothing else, is unpredictable; spawned by his boisterous behavior and from spontaneous statements that can generate extreme pendulum-like reactions in even the most neutral of people. Yet, what set him apart from those we label as bureaucratic politicians and what many perceive to be too much federal government power and control was his resolve to fix a broken America and a large part of the world while he’s at it.

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(One of many quotes made by Donald Trump)

Here is an excerpt from last week’s Eye of Prophecy article entitled, The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah. In italics:

From all the post-primaries, pre-election, and post-election results, I believe the evidence is clear: The greater majority of those who voted for Trump believe that he embodies the soul and spirit of America like no president since Ronald Reagan. Some say not since Abraham Lincoln—the true voice and representative of what America should be and did become as much as a nation can be. Which was for the most part: a government that, after the Civil War, endowed (in principle and more slowly in practice) all its citizens with “inalienable rights” of the US Constitution by abolishing slavery.

Many see Donald Trump in that same light, a President who strongly supports and will sincerely try to restore a nation governed by and for the people.

Most likely you knew the meaning of wavering before reading its definition. For even better understanding, picture a wave on the ocean—from which the word wavering is constructed both in form (the word itself) and substance. A wave that is tossed, rolling, undulating on waters that are constantly in motion … never seeming to be definitive or fixed or stable.

And I’m sure you had or now have a handle on what a waiver is. So, let’s talk about:

THE Waiver

Beginning with a tough question: Do you know which Waiver the title of this article refers to, which is “The Waiver” on which President Trump appears to be wavering?

Here’s a (vague) clue: It’s been in the news recently and frequently.

Don’t know yet? Okay, a stronger clue in the form of two more questions:

Will the United States Embassy in Israel be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? The answer to that question depends entirely on President Donald Trump.

Second question: Should the US Embassy be relocated to Jerusalem?

Let’s get right to the answer.

YES, it should be moved. Says who? Says the American people!

Really, when did we say that?

We said that through our legislators in the House of Representatives and Senate when they passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, calling for relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In fact, the voting margin was overwhelmingly in favor: Senate 93-5; House of Representatives, 374-37. That’s as large a margin as you’ll ever see in Congress.

According to this Act, the move of our embassy to Jerusalem should have taken place no later than May 31, 1999. However, in deference to the authority of a United States President to recognize foreign sovereignty over territories, Section 7 of the Act allowed the sitting President to “waive” enforcement of the Act if the President felt that such a move might pose a risk to the security of the United States. With the stipulation, however, that such a waiver must be reviewed every six months, so as not to ignore this Congressional Law indefinitely. Since then, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have done just that … signed the waiver. As a result, the US Embassy is still in Tel Aviv. Hence, it was a binding, but floating piece of legislation.

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Donald Trump made several prominent promises before and after his election, one of which was to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Soon after he became President, he was asked on more than occasion if he still intended to follow through on this commitment.

His response, “I always keep my promises.”

Just last weekend, however, he made a concession that the plan or procedure to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, “is not easy … has two sides to it … there’s certainly a chance of it, absolutely … I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I’ll tell you that.”

He pledged to, “studying it very long and hard.” And, “I hate to do that because that’s not usually me. Usually, I do what’s right.” (Meaning postponing what he intimated would be a quick executive decision soon after being elected).

He concluded with the promise that he would, “…have a decision in the not-too-distant future.”

I take this to mean that President Trump is unwavering with regard to doing something about his unexpected and out-of-character wavering over “The Waiver.”

Congress Finally Got It Right

It’s vital to grasp the Biblical and historical preeminence that the Holy Land of Israel and the Holy City Jerusalem of the Holy Land bears in God’s providential plan for the Jews (and also Gentiles during the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus).

Prophetically, it’s of paramount importance to comprehend (as presented in Eye of Prophecy articles such as, Seven Times Seven to the 4th Power I, II, III, and The Omega Generation, posted 1-25-14 through 2-15-14 respectively) that God’s discipline of his chosen people ended in 1967; when Israel recaptured and (temporarily) reunified Jerusalem.

Consequently, as clearly conveyed in Scripture, the Lord once again began to protect Israel and his chosen people the Jews from Gentile domination. All of the prophetic warnings to nations and peoples that seek to harm the Jews and who are bent on divesting the Jews from their own land would be enforced by God, himself, especially after their return to the Promised Land. Not the least of which is Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.”

God’s eternal promise to give Israel to the descendants of Abraham and to bring his people in great numbers back to Israel is now being fulfilled, an unmistakable sign that we are in the last days of the end times.

Peoples of the earth must realize that the success of their nation depends dramatically on their treatment of Israel and their recognition that, “…the people of Israel belong to the Lord; Jacob is his special possession. He found them in desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 32: 9-10).

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For the most part, the United States Senate and House as elected representatives of the American people have favored Israel since her rebirth as a sovereign nation. But not until the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 did they do something legislatively about what was up to that time more of a wavering support.

I think it’s important enough to demonstrate our lawmaker’s acknowledgment of the historical prerogative of nations to select their own capital and Israel’s right to name Jerusalem as her capital, in particular, by listing the seventeen points (reasons) why the Senate and House passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of October, 1995.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.”

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

The Congress makes the following findings:

(1)Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.

(2)Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.

(3)The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions.

(4)The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.

(5)From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.

(6)In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War.

(7)Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.

(8)This year marks the 28th consecutive year that Jerusalem has been administered as a unified city in which the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected.

(9)In 1990, the Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that the Congress “strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected”.

(10)In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 of the One Hundred Second Congress to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.

(11)The September 13, 1993, Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements lays out a timetable for the resolution of “final status” issues, including Jerusalem.

(12)The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area was signed May 4, 1994, beginning the five-year transitional period laid out in the Declaration of Principles.

(13)In March of 1995, 93 members of the United States Senate signed a letter to Secretary of State Warren Christopher encouraging “planning to begin now” for relocation of the United States Embassy to the city of Jerusalem.

(14)In June of 1993, 257 members of the United States House of Representatives signed a letter to the Secretary of State Warren Christopher stating that the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem “should take place no later than….1999”.

(15)The United States maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel.

(16)The United States conducts official meetings and other business in the city of Jerusalem in de facto recognition of its status as the capital of Israel.

(17)In 1996, the State of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.

As indicated, this Act was to be implemented no later than May 31, 1999, except if the President decided to waive enforcement due to possible breach of the security interest of the United States.

But we need to ask ourselves what is tantamount to a rhetorical question: How could relocation of the US Embassy in Israel jeopardize our security? The obvious answer is that it can’t; it won’t. If that was the case, then why did Islamic terrorists strike us on September 11, 2001? Or the recent Muslim terrorist mass killings in Florida and California?

Even if some answered, “Possibly” (a threat to security), should we be intimidated by such a possibility, remote or otherwise?

In reverse, another probing question could be asked: a “what if” scenario that might suggest a cause and effect correlation. If the US Embassy had been moved to Jerusalem by the deadline of May 31, 1999, would 9/11 have taken place? Hint: The answer weighs heavily on blessing or cursing Israel and God’s primary means of “cursing” nations that despise or mistreat Israel, which is withdrawal of his protection. No different than when the Lord twice in history ceased to protect Israel, herself, because the Jews abandoned, then rejected the Lord, their God (Exile to Babylon for 70 years, then exile to the four corners of the earth for nearly 2,000 years).

The real reason for waiving enactment of the law is because Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama yielded to Arab oil pressure. Even more so: appeasement of Palestinians and the misguided, uninformed notion that a Palestinian State will solve all Middle East problems including animosity toward Israel and the Jews.

As I have written in some Eye of Prophecy articles, such as A Palestinian State … No Say Many Arabs (posted 1-11-14), it’s not a state alongside of Israel that Palestinian want … it’s all of Israel. It’s a nation without one single Jew. Not only did the Arabs reject a two-state solution from the outset (the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the United Nations Resolution of 1947), they also rejected an amazingly magnanimous offer from two former Israeli Prime Ministers for some 98% of the West Bank.

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(Current US Embassy in Tel Aviv)

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(Part of the Jerusalem Embassy Act Involved Multimillion Dollar Funding Approval. All That Is Needed is a Change in Signs And Some Touch Up Paint to the US Consulate Building in Jerusalem, Pictured Above)

The United States Supreme Court Has Denied Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital

Here, I’d like to refresh your memory or inform you if you aren’t aware of another flash point incident that also relates to the ongoing dispute of Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. I’m referring to the United States Supreme Court decision in June, 2015, declaring that passports of United States citizens born in Jerusalem must be stamped “Jerusalem,” not Jerusalem, Israel or just Israel.

Here are some excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem … A Capital Without a Country? (Posted 6-13-15) In italics (*Note: words or phrases not in italics were italicized in that article).

Jerusalem … A Capital without a Country?

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

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

I wrote about this in an Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, Jerusalem … City of Peace? Published 12-27-14. That article originated from a November, 2014 agreement by the United States Supreme Court to review and rule on a decade old (lower) court struggle of whether the passport of a 12-year old Jewish boy, Menachem Zivotofsky, born in Jerusalem—whose parents (Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky) are American Citizens—could list Israel as his place of birth, rather than just Jerusalem. As indicated in that prior article, the crux of this conflict has far-reaching repercussions beyond one passport of one Jewish boy, although the issue was of vital personal importance to the Zivotofsky family.

Just this past Monday (June 8th), the Supreme Court reached its final decision, one that took longer than any other Supreme Court decision from its initial review to its final ruling (about seven months). Here are some of the headlines the day after, June 9th, 2015:

USA Today: Supreme Court sides with Obama in Israeli dispute

Note: I quoted other headlines in that article, but the gist of the issue was that the Supreme Court’s decision was much more about Israel’s sovereign right to make and maintain Jerusalem as its capital than a decision whether or not the Executive Branch or Congress possessed the ultimate right to formally acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Contrary to U.S. Ambassador Don Shapiro’s explanation that the Supreme Court’s ruling was exclusively about the separation of executive and congressional authority, I commented (continuing with that article):

I beg to differ. The Supreme Court decision had everything to do with Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Shapiro was merely (barely) technically correct by saying the Supreme Court’s review was to determine whether the U.S. Congress or whether the Executive Staff has the (legal) authority to recognize foreign governments and their capitals. But that was only a derivative academic offshoot of the original case, which was the issue of the passport that was directly connected to the dispute of whether Jerusalem is Israel’s capital; or whether it is an international city that is not part of any country. There’s no getting around it. To say that the Court’s decision was “solely” about the separation of powers (Executive Branch versus Congress) is a deflection, distortion, and denial of the real controversy.

I went on to say in that article:

The Supreme Court ruled (6-3) in favor of the Executive Branch, despite a law passed by Congress in 2002 that required the State Department to recognize “Jerusalem, Israel” or just Israel as the birthplace on passports … for Americans born in Jerusalem (of which there have been approximately 50,000 since Israel became a State). In so doing, that Congressional act effectively recognized Jerusalem not only as an Israeli city, but also its capital.

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(Example Of A Passport for American Citizen Born in Jerusalem)

Any American citizen, who knows just a little about the functions of our three branches of government, understands that the Congress makes laws, the Executive branch enforces those laws, and the Supreme Court interprets those laws if there is a dispute over the constitutionally of an existing law.

Americans who respect the basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and support our republic representative government with the proper balance of power would/should agree with the statement of the Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch recently appointed by President Trump.

In USA Today’s article of February 1, 2017, we read: “Gorsuch, 49 … is a Scalia acolyte (referring to deceased Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia who died nearly a year ago) who says judges should interpret laws as they are written and enforce the Constitution as the nation’s framers intended.”

Quoting Neil Gorsuch: “Mr. President, I am honored, and I am humbled. In our legal order, it is for the Congress, and not judges, to write laws.”

Here are some additional excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem … A Capital Without a Country? They confirm the real reason for the Supreme Court’s decision that dual citizens of the United States and Israel (those born in Jerusalem) must have passports that show Jerusalem, not Israel as their place of birth … because Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel’s capital or even a city exclusively in/of Israel.

The following is a quote from my previous article (Note: here I’m referring to Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem, A City of Peace posted 6-13-15 when the Supreme Court agreed to accept the “passport” case) in which I refer to Justice Elena Kagen, one of the liberal members of the Supreme Court. In light of the ruling, it’s quite evident that five other members shared her sentiments to some extent or another … as shown in the recent 6-3 decision. As noted, this observation of Ms. Kagen reveals the (hidden) agenda that most members of the Supreme Court had when they ruled in favor of President Obama’s viewpoint and effectively against Israel and tens of thousands of American Jews born in Jerusalem. With the ultimate consequence of once again denying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Said Justice Kagen several months ago soon after the Supreme Court agreed to review the case:

“Right now, Jerusalem is a tinderbox. History suggests that everything is a big deal with respect to the status of Jerusalem.”

Her rationale reverberated and regurgitated what the State Department had said in that same brief to the Supreme Court, “…a simple passport alteration could provoke uproar throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”

God forbid that the Arab Muslim world should be provoked like that!

She made it clear that her vote (it’s obvious now, but even then, that she had already made up her mind) would be conditioned on the politically correct need to elude any further strife in the Middle East; which, in essence, would trump the real issue of whether Israel had the right as a sovereign state to declare Jerusalem as its capital. Thus, a vote to support the Congressional Act in 2002 would be tantamount to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which would only make things worse in the Middle East.

The politically correct world view of six Supreme Court justices and their ensuing decision hinged on one perceived urgency: Whatever it takes, don’t increase the tensions in the Middle East that already exist.

Here is an excerpt of my response to her observations:

That part, she got right … mostly. Jerusalem is a big deal, unlike any other city in the world. But when in our time was Jerusalem not a tinderbox? I can tell you with a great deal of historically factual evidence to back me up: NEVER has Jerusalem since Israel’s rebirth in 1948 not been a powder keg ready to explode.

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.

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Then the following summary excerpts from Jerusalem … A City of Peace, which were quoted in Jerusalem … A Capital Without a Country?

Why is Jerusalem disputed as part of Israel … as Israel’s Capital? More specifically, who or what entitles the United States State Department or the Supreme Court or any other country or even global institutions like the United Nations to determine whether any city of any country qualifies as its Capital? Isn’t that the inherent sovereign right of a nation … to choose its capital?

…Jerusalem was the headquarters (Capital) of the ancient kings of Israel, and the self-governing land (State) of Israel was given to the Jews by God, himself. That is reason enough.

But there’s also a modern-day affirmation when the United Nations voted in November, 1947 to grant statehood rights to Israel; then later recognized the sovereign State of Israel after her declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948. Even though east Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank was under Jordanian jurisdiction in 1948, all of Jerusalem was captured in the remarkable Six-Day War victory of Israel over the same nations that tried to annihilate Israel and the Jews in the brutal attack on Israel on May 15, 1948—the day after Israel became a nation.

What if all the nations on earth (or just one of those countries) refused to recognize Washington D.C. as America’s Capital? Choosing, for example, New York City because the United Nations is headquartered there. What do you think our President and the State Department would do about that? Or Congress, or the Supreme Court?

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

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

Then a final analogy from that article:

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

But that is exactly what the United States expects of Israel. I repeat for emphasis: Exactly.

What about Israel’s rights?! Or the right of any foreign nation to name its capital? That’s the decisive and divisive issue in front of us.

But since the Supreme Court has sided with the Presidency, then what about the fact that no sitting U.S. President has ever recognized a foreign country as a sovereign nation, without (default) acceptance of that nation’s capital. For that reason alone, Jerusalem is unprecedented in the annals of U.S. foreign policy; thus, the Supreme Court shouldn’t have been involved in such a decision. Particularly, when the United States Congress passed a law that granted Israeli citizenship and passport rights to Americans born in Jerusalem. By constitutional mandate, the US President is obligated to enforce this law (any law) passed by the Congress which represents the people of the United States of America.

In fact, that’s pretty much what Chief Justice John Roberts, one of the three dissenting votes, said. I quote: “Today’s decision is a first. Never before has this court accepted a president’s direct defiance of an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs.”

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(Judge Thomas Was One of the Six Judges Voting Against the Passport Measure, But He Still Submitted a Written Dissent)

Am I Suggesting That President Donald Trump Has Reneged On His Promise?

Not at all. With, however, the underlying clarification that, despite the (justifiable) rationale to postpone his decision, I can only hope and pray that he doesn’t relegate this dynamic issue to a White House back burner. That he will not waver on his previous promise to move the embassy. That he will waive the Waiver!

In fact, President Trump hit the ground running. His first 10 days of office resulted in an astonishing number of Executive Decisions; twenty to be exact (broken down into four main categories including Executive Orders) two more than Barack Obama in his first ten days of office. As you well know, Trump’s most controversial order was a temporary restriction of immigrants from seven countries deemed a security risk to the United States. They are: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia.

Whatever your opinion on that ban, each of those nations directly or indirectly, in fact, do pose a legitimate threat to our security. Completely unlike the alleged security risk that our past three Presidents have only used as a pretext not to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. With the real reason dealt with at some length in today’s article.

Things to Ponder

Contrary to God’s explicit and eternal plan to restore the Jews to ALL of Israel, with the God-given borders of the Promised Land identified in Scripture, Israel is already divided and nearly cut in half by the existence of the West Bank and Gaza Strip designated as “Palestinian Territory.”

To deny that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel or, worse, to split Jerusalem into two capitals is to cut Israel in half again. More than that: It is tantamount to cutting out Israel’s heart and soul from her people.

Still worse: It is a direct defiance of God Almighty. It is a blatant disregard of the true and living God’s solemn warning of what will happen to peoples and nations who seek to harm the Jews and divide the Promised Land of Israel, particularly after their return from a 2,000 year exile.

To divide Jerusalem and especially to make what is now (erroneous and unbiblical) called East Jerusalem a separate capital for a Palestinian State would be a disaster of … well, Biblical proportions. For you see, the following prophecies are dangerously close to being fulfilled through both deliberate denial and unwitting ignorance of God’s Word:

“In the times 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).

Hundreds of Biblical prophecies have come to pass. More than anything else, it is fulfilled prophecy and mighty miracles that distinguish the God of the Bible from any other (man-made) gods and religions. More prophecies like the one just quoted and the following will surely come to pass:

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:15-17).

To relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem is much more than symbolic. It is a decisive move that could preclude God’s harsh judgment of the United States of America before the Day of the Lord’s return. A return that begins with the remarkable Rapture of believers and ends with Messiah Jesus’s second coming to earth seven years later in power and great glory to fight for Israel and rescue her from imminent destruction.

If President Trump wants to make America great again, the first place (no better place) to begin is with the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. For in doing so, he is agreeing with God that Jerusalem, as the City that the Lord loves above all cities, is indeed the eternal heart and soul (capital) of Israel.

Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6, NASB).

The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah

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An (Old) New World Order

In a penetrating and perceptive statement bordering on the prophetic, on January 15th Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized the recent Paris Conference attended by some 70 nations as a “futile” effort to hold onto a past relic of a period that was about to end.

The Paris Conference was deliberately scheduled on the heels of UN Resolution 2334 that audaciously assigned Palestinian Muslim occupancy rights to all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Temple Mount to even include the Western Wall, revered by Jews and also by Christians. Simultaneously, in the face of indisputable historical and Biblical evidence, claiming that Israeli Jews had no claim whatsoever to any of these “territories” formerly under the control of Jordan and Egypt before the Six-Day War of 1967. No matter that these two nations had no legal or sovereign right of governing these territories in the first place.

Moreover, the prime mover and “silent” partner (by virtue of the US abstaining) of the Resolution 2334 vote to divest Israel of land that rightfully belongs to the Jews was our own lame-duck president who wanted to deliver one last parting shot at Israel in general and Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular. Likewise, the Paris Conference was orchestrated and hosted by French lame-duck President Francois Hollande (former head of the French Socialist Party) who harbors the same hostile agenda against Israel.

The timing of the Paris Conference was also designed to precede President-elect Trump’s inauguration of January 20th, in the hopes that these countries would agree to submit another more binding resolution to the United Nations, which would sink even more teeth into the effort to dispel the Jews from all pre-Six Day War territories, including the Golan Heights.

As it turned out, the conference merely regurgitated the historical lies and absurd claims foisted on Israel by Resolution 2334, without making additional demands that the Jews relinquish land that is rightfully theirs for many reasons. Three of which are: (1) all of modern-day Israel (and more, as the Biblical parameters of Israel were much greater than today’s boundaries) was given to them by the true and living God. (2) The Jews were in Israel for some 2,500 years before the Arabs. (3) Israel is a Sovereign State recognized by the United Nations in 1948 when the UN was in its infancy, and when it bore some resemblance of impartiality and concern for the security and suffering of peoples directly affected by World War II. And no one suffered innocently more than the Jews, with six million them of slaughtered during the hellish Holocaust.

It’s fairly evident that the reason this conference was “futile” and feeble is because the European contingency of the seventy nations had a last minute (temporary) dose of reality. That brief jolt of common sense was a direct result of Donald Trump’s (against all odds) amazing election win, as a benchmark (American) example of the rapidly rising populist and nationalistic movement also taking place in Europe.

The writing on the wall was as clear as anything could be.

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Benjamin Netanyahu went on to say: “This conference is among the last spasms of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow will look different. And tomorrow is very close” (referring primarily to President-elect Trump’s inauguration).

The flash point of what appears to be President Trump’s recognition of Israel as the only true democracy in the Middle East is his promise to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.

The people (populist … populism) of the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain (already expressed with the Brexit from the EU), Holland, Hungary, and other Eastern European countries have grown weary of the oppressive elitist political correctness, and have become increasingly alarmed over open borders that fuel the fires of massive Muslim immigration—both legal and illegal. But most of all with coalition governments and NGOs that seek to impose international authority over individual states and nations and the people of those countries.

This remarkable movement is a revival (nationalism) of the dream so eloquently penned and passionately spoken by President Abraham Lincoln for the United States… a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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It is a long overdue reaction to the left and especially far-left supremacy of those who think that only they have the socio-economic and political know-how to tell the “masses” what’s best for them. That only they have the intellectual capacity to formulate strategic plans and sophisticated programs to propel the world into a utopia of their design and choice.

In that regard and also in the context of God’s sovereignty that will ultimately accomplish his purpose and plan for the human race, here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss (in italics):

Yet, by our decisions and actions, by our good choices, bad choices or indifferent choices, we can change things that otherwise would or would not have occurred. We can also be changed by the decisions and behavior of others, by events beyond our control.

How then, does God still achieve his plan? How can he make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) to those who love him and who are called according to his purpose? Okay, I’ll give you a hint: Because he is God!

To be sure, however, the “hint” does beg the question: he can do anything because he is God. But that still doesn’t explain how he does it. So, we are left begging the question because it is simply beyond our natural, finite comprehension; which is why God doesn’t demand or even ask that we completely grasp his providential sovereignty. If we could wrap our finite minds around his infinite omnipotence and omniscience, I suppose that we would be God.

Ironically, that’s exactly what most of mankind, including natural scientists, human secularists, occult spiritualists, God-less governments and agnostic academia in general try to do. They inevitably ascribe to themselves the controlled capacity, the distinctive domain, and the potent position of determining their destiny. And if you will but afford them the privilege and opportunity; if you will “give them an ear,” they will gladly assist you in discovering your origin and purpose for life. Ultimately, if you yield complete attention and allegiance, they will be delighted to direct your future.

Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF)

In a January 24th, 2017 article written by Soeren Kern originally posted in the online news source Gatestone Institute, and reprinted in Prophecy News Watch under the heading of, Trump Fires Up Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement, we read:

“Inspired by the inauguration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, the leaders of Europe’s main anti-establishment parties have held a pan-European rally aimed at coordinating a political strategy to mobilize potentially millions of disillusioned voters in upcoming elections in Germany, the Netherlands and France.

“Appearing together in public for the first time, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s Northern League and Harald Vilimsky of Austria’s Freedom Party gathered on January 21 at a rally in Koblenz, Germany, where they called on European voters to participate in a ‘patriotic spring’ to topple the European Union, reassert national sovereignty and secure national borders.

“The two-hour rally was held under the banner of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a group established in June 2015 by Members of the European Parliament from nine countries to oppose European federalism and the transfer of political power from voters to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union.”

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(Representatives Of Nations Attending the ENF Conference)

In obvious reference and deference to the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union last year (See Eye of Prophecy article, Brexit … What’s It All About, posted in June, 2016) and the stunning unexpected Presidential victory of Donald Trump (representing the underestimated and overlooked conservative voice of America), Le Pen of France commented:

“We are living through the end of one world, and the birth of another. We are experiencing the return of nation-states. 2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, will be the year in which the peoples of the European continent rise up.”

The following are excerpts from a speech by Geert Wilders at the ENF meeting:

“Politicians from almost all of the established parties are promoting our Islamization. Almost the entire Establishment … put our hard-earned liberties at risk. They talk about equality, but incredibly, are incapable of seeing that in Islam, women have fewer rights then men, and infidels have fewer rights than the followers of Islam. They are blind to the truth—but we are not!

“It breaks my heart when I see that people have become strangers in their own land—almost everywhere in Europe. But it is our country, it’s not their country—it’s our country. And it is unacceptable that you fear for the future of your children, that women are afraid, that Jews, ex-Muslims, Christians fear for their safety.

“Our parties give the people an opportunity for good patriots. Patriots who want to make our borders safe again! Patriots who want to stop mass immigration. Patriots who want to restore the sovereignty of our countries, our money, our laws and our future.

“The people are fed up with the political correctness of the elites! Are you fed up, or are you not fed up?

“You may have heard that the Dutch government is trying to silence me. But I say to you, I will never shut up! I am on many death-lists just because they hate me, because I criticize Islam, and because I am a friend of Israel.”

*Note: Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament, had been tried and convicted for hate speech and racism by the Dutch government for simply asking people at a rally whether they wanted more Moroccans in the Netherlands or less, even though Moroccans are not a race of people … simply a nationality from Morocco. The Dutch Ministry of Interior had issued a report citing statistics that 40% of Moroccan immigrants, age 12-24 had been arrested for or charged with crimes in the last five years prior to the report. The court sentenced Wilders to probation.

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(Dutch Parliament Member Geert Wilders)

Continuing with Geert Wilders’ comments:

“…There is reason for hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Better times will come. The wind started to shift last year … congratulations to Donald Trump, the President of the United States. But not only in America. We also see it here in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, throughout Europe. The patriots are winning. The time for change has come…

“We are fed up with the Europhiles in Brussels, who want to abolish our countries and impose an undemocratic super-state, in which we become a single multicultural society. To this Europe we say no! We stand for a Europe of national states and freedom! We will take our countries back. We will make sure that our countries will stay ours.

“The world is changing. America is changing. Europe is changing … The genie will not go back into the bottle again … The people of the West are awakening. They are throwing off the yoke of political correctness.”

Returning to the article by Soeren Kern, he states:

“Polls indicate that the political sea change engulfing the United States is fueling support for anti-establishment parties in Europe. In addition to anger over eroding sovereignty, a growing number of Europeans are rebelling against decades of government-imposed multiculturalism, politically correct speech codes and mass migration from the Muslim world.

“In France, a new Ipsos poll for Le Monde shows that Marine Le Pen is now poised to win the first round of the French presidential election set for April 23, 2017 … In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders is now leading polls ahead of the general election scheduled for March 15, 2017. The PVV has the support of between 29% and 33% of the electorate. By contrast, support for the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has fallen to between 23% and 27%. In Germany, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has become the third-largest party…

“Europe’s establishment parties, far from addressing the concerns of ordinary voters, have tried to silence dissent by branding naysayers as xenophobes, Islamophobes and neo-Nazis. The German Interior Ministry is now proposing to establish a ‘Defense Center against Disinformation’ to combat ‘fake news.’ Critics have described the proposed center as a ‘censorship monster’ aimed at silencing dissenting opinions.”

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(Marine Le Pen, Highly Touted as France’s Next President)

*Note: To varying degrees in some countries, it is now a criminal offense to criticize Islam in general or Muslims in particular. Conversely, it is a politically correct privilege, or at least an honorable obligation to denigrate Jews and Christians and the Judeo-Christian heritage that has led to the democratic freedom and representative governments of many nations and peoples; in stark contrast to the forced subjugation of Muslims and non-Muslims alike by the twisted theology and tyrannical tactics of Islam.

(Here, I’m referring to true Biblical Christianity, not the Roman Catholic or Anglican organized hierarchy that produced State Churches or Church States that slowly but surely yielded to the world-changing dynamics of the Reformation and Renaissance periods. Which gave rise to nation-states largely governed by republic or parliamentary principles. That’s why the current populism and nationalism is an old new world order in the making).

Messianic Implications of a World in Upheaval

In Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I & II (Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15) you’ll find twelve major flash point signs (developments) that have occurred or are taking place in the 20th & 21st centuries. One of them is the rise of messiah figures such as Adolph Hitler who plunged the world into a horrendous war that caused massive destruction and catastrophic casualties. And Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill who led freedom loving people to victory over the evil Axis powers.

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One of the more significant features of a messiah-type leader is that of the extreme polarized reaction by the people. There’s very little middle-ground between these extremities. I’m talking about the sharp (left or right) pendulum swing of unequivocal allegiance and loyalty versus disdain and dissent; of total trust contrasted to absolute distrust; of staunch support as opposed to disruptive interference and undermining whenever possible. Above all: either undying love or irrational hate … virtually no emotional balance between the two.

Many in the United States and across the world characterized Barack Obama as a messiah-type. A false messiah who would rob America of its greatness as a leader of the free world, or a true one that would save America and, thereby, the world from the disabling recession that began in 2008. With regard to former president Obama, I have my own opinions; but I’ll leave his legacy to the experts or to anyone who ventures an opinion as to his place in history.

So, too, is Donald Trump a messiah-figure to many … both positive and negative. From all the post-primaries, pre-election, and post-election results, I believe the evidence is clear: The greater majority of those who voted for Trump believe that he embodies the soul and spirit of America like no president since Ronald Reagan. Some say not since Abraham Lincoln—the true voice and representative of what America should be and did become as much as a nation can be. Which was for the most part: a government that, after the Civil War, endowed (in principle and more slowly in practice) all its citizens with “inalienable rights” of the US Constitution by abolishing slavery.

Many see Donald Trump in that same light, a President who strongly supports and will sincerely try to restore a nation governed by and for the people.

However, whether European “patriots” or the “silent majority” of Americans, they also fervently believe that their goals cannot be achieved without a “savior” to speak for them, and lead them toward realization of their hopes and dreams. That is why an inordinate amount of attention has been directed to and an extreme emphasis placed on Donald Trump, the man. He was like no other presidential candidate before him, and not just because he’s never served in government or the military as did all past presidents; thereby, freeing himself of something that most Americans deplore … federal bureaucracy.

It’s a sense that he really can and actually will accomplish most of what he has said he will do. That’s the stuff messiahs are made of.

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(Donald Trump’s Inauguration … “A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.” He closed with: “Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again. And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You. And God Bless America”)

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.

Although the significance of what Geert Wilders is saying to the people of Europe is ringing true in their hearts, a large number of Europeans also are ardently attracted to the men and women articulating these noble ideals. This attraction is innate in human nature and existence … the essence of the human heart’s desire to look to and be led by someone who can sort through and set aside differences between people. Who can simplify stifling systems and decode complicated algorithms (that’s today’s byword for procedures and processes). Who can show and tell the people how to achieve their dreams of life, liberty, and equality.

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.

The very idea of a (The) Messiah comes from Scripture. Jesus claimed to be that Messiah … God’s Chosen One to bring salvation to the Jews and Gentiles alike. Both the Gospels and Epistles are crystal clear: Jesus’ words, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection polarized people like never before or since.

Jesus, himself, said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me” (Luke 11:23).

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People, especially the religious leaders, either loved and followed him or hated and tried to kill him several times until they succeeded; but only because he willingly laid down his life, then took it up again.

What Is The Optimum Form of Government?

Here is an excerpt from an Eye of Prophecy article, entitled Kingdom of God (posted in January, 2015). In italics:

From the dawn of human existence virtually every kind of government has been in place at one time or another. A country’s government is often a reflection of its people … their race, beliefs (religious or secular), moral values, ethnic upbringing and tribal territory. But sometimes government can be an ill-conceived and unwanted bureaucracy with leaders vying for power and supremacy. All too often, innocent people are victimized by such power struggles, both citizens of the country and residents of neighboring nations that take exception to such Machiavelli type systems.

The common people, representatives of those people, wealthy entrepreneurs, ambitious leaders (good and bad), or all of the above can determine whether a country will become a parliamentary or a democratic representative republic; an absolute (king/queen) or constitutional monarch; an autocratic ruler or state controlled (communism or fascism) dictatorship; an aristocratic or military oligarchy; a cleric-run theocracy or even a true Theocracy. The idea of a theocentric government is, “having God as the central interest and ultimate concern.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

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. And many of these individual and national epitaphs can be found in the Bible as well as secular history. For example, the glorious rise and inglorious fall of Babylon.

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Shortly, in the closing Things to Ponder of today’s article, we’ll conclude with a few of many marvelous Biblical prophecies of a Universal Kingdom that will surpass the mightiest of nations that ever existed on this earth, and exceed the greatest of all international coalitions ever assembled. But first some final excerpts from the Kingdom of God article, beginning with the glorious overarching ultimate plan of God for all of mankind throughout eternity.

“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10).

That plan is none other than: THE KINGDOM OF GOD (on earth). Revealed by Messiah Jesus himself as recorded in the Gospels; and consolidated into the everlasting tenets of the Christian faith by the authors of the epistles and Revelation.

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.

Summary

Although I and others have some concerns about Donald Trump, not the least of which is his sometimes erratic behavior and off-the-cuff comments, I do hope and pray that he will at least acknowledge the Lord God in his plans and policies … paramount of which is to support Israel against the growing anti-Semitism that has reared its ugly head again in the 21st century. But neither Donald Trump nor any other national president or leader can save their country (internally from ourselves or externally from foreign threats) or make it socially, economically, politically, and internationally great again without Divine providential assistance.

No matter how “successful” (which is in the eye of the beholder) President Trump may be, there’s only so much he or other national leaders like him can do.

Only a nation, whose God is the Lord can or will be truly blessed. With God’s blessings found in Scripture including, but not limited to: liberty, security, unity (agree to disagree) prosperity, protection, and peace.

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).

The Apostle Paul spoke of this man of lawlessness, who is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. When he reappears shortly after the Rapture, Paul writes:

“This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 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).

But then, Jesus of Nazareth will return to make all things right!

Things to Ponder

A Magnificent Two-Part Promise of Messiah … Jesus First and Second Coming:

“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).

Today Messiah Jesus is Our Mediator With God … Soon He Will Mediate Between Nations of the Earth

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

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

Immanuel, God’s Messiah With Us:

“My servant David (Messiah) will be their king, and they will have only one shepherd. They will obey my regulations and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived (Israel). They and their children and their grandchildren after them will live there forever, generation after generation. And my servant David will be their prince forever. And I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. I will give them their land and increase their numbers, and I will put my Temple among them forever. I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And when my Temple is among them forever, the nations will know that I am the Lord, who makes Israel holy” (Ezekiel 37:24-28, parenthesis mine).

Jerusalem … The Eternal Capital of Israel and Her Eternal King:

“In that coming day, says the Lord, I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Those who are weak will survive as a remnant, those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the Lord will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever. As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel of God’s people, your royal might and power will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem” (Micah 4:6-8).

Messiah Jesus Brought Salvation to the Jew First, Then to the Gentile, and Will Return to Bring Peace to the Nations:

“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:9-10).

Messiah Yeshua … The Suffering Servant and the King of all kings:

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

Rulers of the Earth Take Heed:

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

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Sudden Appearance of Antichrist … Why So Different?

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Things That Suddenly Shake Us

There are some words and phrases in all languages that grab attention like no others. In English, one of them is sudden or suddenly, especially when combined with (suddenly) appeared.

A bolt of lightning that instantly splits a tree in front of us; a clap of thunder that deafeningly ruptures the air around us; a massive explosion or earthquake that rocks the ground beneath us; a malevolent monster that seizes an innocent victim in a scary movie; or a beautiful rainbow that radiantly appears from nowhere. We are both terrified and calmed by things that suddenly shake our senses.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the adjective sudden as: “happening or coming unexpectedly … marked by or manifesting abruptness or haste … made or brought about in a short time … prompt.”

In noun form, sudden is: “an unexpected occurrence: Emergency—all of a sudden: sooner than was expected; at once.” Suddenly is the more intense adverb form which almost always modifies an action verb, e.g. appeared.

In Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons such as the King James Dictionary, the Greek and Hebrew words translated sudden or suddenly mean, “in an unexpected manner, without preparation, instantly, swiftly, unforeseen, unaware, surprisingly, or a very short space of time.”

Some people like surprises. Others do not. Many tolerate the unexpected as long as it doesn’t jolt them out of their comfort zone too quickly or at all. Most people, like me, prefer not to be startled.

Surprises are okay, as long as they are not too surprising … like someone sneaking up behind me and saying, “Boo!” There are a few who love to be shocked; they like that rush of adrenaline that moves them out of the routine of every-day life.

Soon to come is a sudden earth-shaking, senses-shattering, life-changing, (eternal) destiny-altering event never before experienced in the annals of human history. Though foretold 2,000 years ago by Scripture, and foreseen by both believers and unbelievers (who are half way interested in such things) alike, it will still in “a very short space of time” stun everyone on planet Earth.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

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As detailed in the Eye of Prophecy article, How the Rapture? (Posted 8-24-13), this phenomenal sequence of events will take several minutes, beginning with the (Lord’s) shout heard around the world, and culminating with the final blast of several trumpets.

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It (the actual transformation, not the preliminary events described in I Thessalonians 4) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown … those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52, parenthesis mine).

However, that’s just the beginning of things that will be so very sudden. Soon, if not immediately, after the Rapture, another event will suddenly arrest the attention, seize the senses, and attract the allegiance of billions left behind when Messiah Jesus takes believers from this earth.

Wrote John in Revelation: “…There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it” (Revelation 17:3).

Later, the angel explained what John had just witnessed:

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

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A Dramatic Disclosure

The remarkable discernment given to me by the Lord in November, 2008 began with the above passage in Revelation 17, which led to my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, published in February, 2011. And, yes, it was a sudden illumination from this passage (indeed the entire book of Revelation), which I had read numerous times without making the compelling correlation that: The Antichrist (beast) had already lived and died BEFORE John was given a vision of the beast.

This stunningly sudden reappearance of Antichrist from the Abyss will mesmerize virtually the entire world after the Rapture to the point of worship for one reason: His return from the grave (actually the Abyss).

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle (return from the dead after two thousand years) and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, parenthesis mine).

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to get a copy of Out of the Abyss (Amazon or Barnes and Noble or WestBow Press), which contains definitive documentation of all Bible passages on the Antichrist coupled with 1st century history to support what I believe is unmistakable evidence: The Roman Emperor Nero is the Antichrist of I John 3; the little horn/king of Daniel 7; the ruler whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple as found in Daniel 9; the king of the north in Daniel 11; the evil shepherd of Zachariah 11; the man of lawlessness in II Thessalonians 2; and the beast/king of Revelation 13 and 17.

In the category of Antichrist, several Eye of Prophecy articles have been written to further elaborate on this crucial last day’s clarification (correction if you will) concerning the origin of Antichrist, including his very identity … which was meant to be known! Otherwise, why would the angel through John challenge believers to ascertain the identity of the beast, not once but twice, as clearly presented in Revelation 13:18 and 17:9?

The Bible paints a composite picture of Antichrist that matches the historical Nero—what he was and did during his ascent to and time as Caesar—and also his return to complete what he started, but on a truly global scale. In today’s article, we will concentrate on just one feature of the painting to demonstrate that all the other Bible passages prove Nero is the Antichrist, by disproving that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man.

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(Bust of Nero)

Our focus: His SUDDEN reappearance from banishment to the Abyss 2,000 years ago, as opposed to the mainstream prophetic view that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man; indeed, one who many believe is now among us. Later in today’s article, we’ll see that this sudden return also explains why he is so “different” than the ten kings (national leaders) who will give him their kingdoms (nations) to rule and reign over.

“Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7: 24-25, italics for emphasis).

For sheer interest and intrigue, let’s first look at some memorial events in Scripture that happened, suddenly! In so doing, I believe we’ll have a significantly better grasp of the “sudden appearance” of Antichrist to show that he is not a modern-day man.

The New Living Translation (which I quote from in my articles, unless noted otherwise, such as the New American Standard Bible) employs the adjective/noun sudden or the often used adverb suddenly … no less than 122 times in the Old and New Testaments. Although this number exceeds other translations, the NLT translators (scholars) have simply chosen the word suddenly more than other English synonyms that could be used to accurately translate the Hebrew and Greek words that mean the same thing. It’s apparently a matter of preference; but also, I believe, an enhanced emphasis to effectively express the Hebrew and Greek text.

There are several Hebrew and Greek words that convey (are synonyms of) the word or concept of sudden, unexpected, unforeseen, abrupt, surprisingly, swiftly (without warning), etc.

Examples/Events in Scripture

As contained in Scripture and as human experience bears testimony, sudden life-changing events can be horrendously horrifying or heartwarmingly happy or sometimes both.

There are dozens of Bible passages that use the term, sudden or suddenly. We’ll examine only eight of these significant episodes, three of which are joyful, four of which are terrifying, and one that is both good and bad. I’m guessing that most of you will immediately recognize or at least be familiar with each spectacular occurrence. Except, perhaps the last passage which will return our attention to how the ominous return of Antichrist takes place and why he (Nero) is so different than the ten kings of the ten kingdoms that will constitute his formidable coalition during the Tribulation.

Each passage contains the word suddenly (which will be italicized) and each passage will reflect one of the meanings of sudden or suddenly that best applies to the event, as noted by the captioned heading of that passage. Certainly, the synonyms could be interchangeable; in fact, you may prefer to match them up differently than I have. No problem with that, as the main purpose is to emphasize how the sudden appearance of someone or something in these passages is strikingly similar and perfectly parallel to the last passage examined … that of the Antichrist’s appearance.

Beginning with one of the joyful events, we will then alternate between the bad (for those involved) and the good incidents, followed by one that is both negative and positive; then conclude with the fourth portentous (bad) event that is the main subject of today’s article.

*Note: In the passages where suddenly modifies the verb appeared or something similar (like came), appeared will also be italicized.

Unforeseen

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them … the angel reassured them, ‘Don’t be afraid … I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:8-11).

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This is undoubtedly the most “suddenly” recognized passage/event of all time, known by millions upon millions of believers and unbelievers alike down through the ages. Although prophesied long before he came, Messiah Jesus’ post-birth was first announced by a completely unforeseen appearance of angels to, of all people, lowly shepherds … not to kings or nobles.

Instantly

“So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:20-21).

When Aaron struck the Nile, it instantly turned to blood. This was the first of ten mighty miracles (plagues) that God inflicted on Egypt.

Unexpectantly

“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 17:2-3).

Obviously, Peter, James, and John did not realize what was about to happen to their Lord when he was transfigured into the splendor that he possessed before entering the world as a man—the same glorious essence he would bear upon his return to heaven in his Resurrected body. However, this was the first time that Jesus had taken only these three disciples with him, and I’m sure they anticipated something different or unique would happen. But they would never have expected Moses and Elijah to appear in bodily form.

*See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Two Witnesses, I, II, & III (posted 6-7, 6-14, & 6-21-14) that explain why and how these two mighty prophets appeared to Jesus in their earthly bodies and will do so again during the Tribulation before Christ returns.

Swiftly

“And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’

“He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers … So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel” (Numbers 16:28-33).

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Although the majority of the Israelites often doubted or distrusted the Lord to take care of them in the post-Exodus journey through the wilderness, this was one instance in which a few of them actually rebelled against Moses, thereby showing contempt for the Lord. As a result, Moses told them (prophesied) what was about to happen to prove that the Lord had appointed Moses as his go-between leader of the people. As soon as Moses declared what the Lord would do, the judgment swiftly took place when the ground suddenly split open devouring the rebels.

Unaware/Unprepared

“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them” (Luke 24:13-15).

The text of the entire passage is clear: the two men were deeply saddened by Yeshua’s death, and also perplexed over the incredible news they had heard—Jesus might have risen from the grave. While they were trying to process “everything that had happened,” Jesus suddenly came (appeared) out of nowhere … like he would later appear to his disciples in the closed, locked room. They were totally unaware that it was Jesus who was walking and talking with them!

The account continues: “By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, ‘Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.’ So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:28-31).

Wow! They were utterly unaware that the man was Jesus until he had been with them for several hours. They were equally unprepared and startled that he would disappear in front of their eyes as quickly as he had appeared with them on the road. To disappear (vanish) is the same as suddenly appearing.

Surprise (Shockingly So)

“Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them” (Daniel 5:1).

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

As indicated, for these Bible passages in which something suddenly happens, I’ve chosen what I think is the most appropriate synonym for each incident. The surprise experienced by King Belshazzar and his “honored” guests gives an expanded meaning to the word. It was more like shock. In fact, the word surprise is derived from the words surpris and suprendre, which mean: “an attack made without warning; to capture by unexpected attack; to strike with wonder or amazement” (Webster’s Dictionary).

We all know what a “surprise attack” is. And many are familiar with the term “sudden death,” whether it’s someone actually dying or a sporting event.

This is such a well-known account in Scripture that, to this very day, nearly everyone has heard or used the phrase, “The writing on the wall.” The sudden image of a hand writing on the king’s wall terrified him and his guests. It gives a whole new meaning to being “caught off guard.” They were totally surprised (shocked) at not only the writing on the wall but also the immediate fulfillment of its prophecy that Belshazzar would be killed, and Babylon would be destroyed by the Persians … that very night.

The next passage reflects a combination of terror and joy. It is one that contains bad news and good news.

Brought About In A Short Space of Time (Sooner Than Expected), Then Immediately Stopped

“Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’

“Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed, ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:23-27).

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It was bad news for the disciples who, despite several miracles that Jesus had already performed, had little or no faith in the very fact that Jesus was with them. Though they were terrified, they soon realized more than ever before who Jesus was and what incomparable power and authority he possessed.

Bad news: The storms of life all too frequently and suddenly appear and strike heavy blows.

Good news: So what? If you know Messiah Jesus as personal Savior, he is with you. He will either get you through the storm or command it to stop. Some of our Lord’s last words on earth were, “…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

(One other “suddenly appeared” passage of note is II Kings 2, in which the prophet Elijah is taken to heaven by a chariot of fire that suddenly … appeared).

The Sudden Appearance of the Little Horn of Daniel (Antichrist … Nero)

Now that we have a handle on the idea of sudden or suddenly in the context of Biblical history, let’s look at another prophecy that, when correlated and compared with other Scriptural evidence, will demonstrate that Nero is the Antichrist beast who will return to the amazement of those left behind at the Rapture. It is the optimum passage to validate that it is not a modern-day man who will take on the role of Antichrist.

Read with me Daniel’s dramatic description of the man who would appear directly from the fourth world empire, Rome. We know this to be true because John in Revelation later wrote that this same man had already lived and died, as one of the five kings—Roman Emperors—who had fallen … died before John saw the Antichrist beast. (Revelation 17:10 … see Out of the Abyss for a detailed analysis).

(*Note: The Late Great Roman Empire is long gone. I have said this before: There will not be a “Revived Roman Empire” as so many have postulated. Just look at what’s happening in Europe. The European Union is unraveling at the seams. There is a rising populism and nationalistic movement (as opposed to international globalism) across the world. But as I stated in Out of the Abyss and prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there will be a Revived Roman Emperor (Nero). He will take full advantage of the global allegiance given to him as a result of his “supernatural” return from the grave, by consolidating ten powerful nations to do his bidding. See Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring to Rule Them All…” published 11-21-15.)

“As I was looking at the horns (the ten horns who are the ten kings that will give their kingdoms to Antichrist during the Great Tribulation), suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:8, parenthesis mine).

Once again, I’ve highlighted appeared. This is to stress that Nero’s introduction to our post-modern world soon after the Rapture will be exactly what this verse says it will be … a very sudden appearance. Actually, a reappearance, which Revelation 17:8 denotes.

This is of vital significance to comprehend. In fact, the implication is staggering once you get a handle on it. Here’s why.

Restating an observation: It’s only natural to assume that the Antichrist will be a man born in the last days who will rise to global power before and especially after the Rapture takes place. That is, under normal circumstances, the obvious way that all past tyrants achieved their pinnacle of power … in varying degrees, a gradual ascension to a position of wide-spread authority.

And, I get that.

With, however, a reminder: Beginning with the stupendous world-shaking event of the Rapture and continuing with miracle after miracle during the Great Tribulation, the last seven years of the earth as we know it will consist of ongoing supernatural happenings.

Notwithstanding the apocalyptic replacement of the natural with the supernatural during the last days, we also have a plethora of exceptional miracles that God and his Son have performed throughout the ages. Thus, why would it be such an incredible conclusion that Nero was revived soon after Christ struck him down (see II Thessalonians 2:8); then banished to the Abyss in his restored earthly body with the same wounds that killed him (see Zechariah 11 & Revelation 13); then given permission to return to this earth by rising from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) which is beneath a literal sea—most probably the Mediterranean (Revelation 13:1).

To wit: If God could suddenly take Elijah to heaven (without dying) in a chariot of fire; if the Lord could instantly, without warning, snatch Enoch from this earth to spare him the Great Flood; if he could surprisingly split the Red Sea over a short space of time allowing his people to cross on dry land then swiftly return the waters to drown their pursuers; if God could unexpectantly provide food from heaven (manna), then make this food appear (new) every morning to feed his people for forty years in the wilderness … well you get the picture?

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If the Lord can do all these things, not to mention create the entire universe and raise people from the dead; then is anything too hard for the Lord, or too inconceivable to consider, or too natural for God to set aside the laws of nature, as he has done time and time again. Thus, the sequence of events involving Nero, as described above, would be extraordinarily easy for God to do.

How he does what he does is beyond out finite comprehension. For that matter, so is gravity. We know it exists, but have no clue as to “how” it really works.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Go ahead, if you like: Think of something that’s too hard for God. But remember: whatever he does, whenever he speaks and acts, he does so with (his) perfect timing … when he’s ready and the time is right to accomplish his majestic plan for the human race.

Modern-Day Antichrist?

The prevailing view (which is sensible and historically the way of such things) is that the Antichrist will be or currently is in a position of prominence somewhere in the world when the Rapture will take place (any day now). A Prime Minister or President? From the United Nations or European Union? The United States?

That is not, however, the picture prophetically painted by the prophet Daniel. The sudden appearance (abrupt rise to prominence and power) of the little horn (Antichrist) is anything but gradual.

Here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss, to reinforce what Daniel predicted, and to best illustrate the means by which the Antichrist will dramatically step onto the global stage to the amazement of an unsuspecting, unprepared, unaware, surprisingly shocked left-behind population. In italics:

We also have information in Daniel that is absolutely stunning. It begins with the phrase, “suddenly … appeared” (Daniel 7:8). Did you catch that? Of course you did. I repeat for emphasis: suddenly appeared. In the NAS, we read: “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them…” Though “came up” is less demonstrative that “suddenly appeared” as found in the New Living Translation, the NAS verse begins Daniel’s observation with the word “behold.” The meaning is unmistakable: The little horn (Antichrist) sprang up abruptly. An equivalent modern-day phrase would be, “He came out of nowhere.”

The word suddenly in Daniel 7 dramatically modifies, enhances, and further clarifies the appearing or reappearing of Antichrist as found in the New Testament. And the impact of this is crucial in realizing that the beast suddenly appears from the Abyss, as opposed to a modern-day man already in an influential political or administrative or even a military position. The contemporary view of the Antichrist is that, after the Rapture takes place, he will rise in prominence by asserting his positional influence, be that in or from the United Nations, European Union, or some other notable location.

Do you know of any past tyrant, dictator, or prestigious leader that tersely and unexpectantly arrived on the scene? All of the good and bad historical leaders were fairly well known by the time they came to ultimate power. That’s why the Antichrist depicted in Scripture does not fit the contemporary view. A modern-day leader would not abruptly appear on the scene. He would at least be known and recognized at some mid-level or already high-level political, social, or military position.

But the Antichrist is different. He arrives on the scene suddenly and surprisingly.

In fact, the New American Standard Bible states that this other king arises “after” the ten kings. Not before, not at the same time, but after. According to the view of those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist, he will be a chronological contemporary (born and raised in the same generation) of the ten kings with a simultaneous or near parallel ascent with those kings. This view is not supported by the language in Daniel (Out of the Abyss, pages 183-184).

There’s Different, and Then There’s Different!

In the verse quoted earlier in today’s article from that same passage in Daniel, we read: “…Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them” (Daniel 7:24, italics for emphasis).

Just how different is he? Well, we can start with the obvious: He is Nero Caesar, the ancient Roman Emperor who ruled the Roman Empire for fourteen years and persecuted Christians like no one before or after him. He will resume this onslaught against the Tribulation saints and also the Jews.

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(Christians Used as Burning Torches to Light Nero’s Palace Garden)

Once again, please allow me to defer to an excerpt from Out of the Abyss.

The expression different is both intriguing and forceful. Why or how is the Antichrist different than the ten kings who yield their allegiance? Especially as utilized in the context, the word itself is too strong to suggest an intrinsic variation, such as being a more polished, captivating, charismatic, or powerful leader…

Different denotes different, in all that word means and implies. I think this is important enough to refer to Webster’s Dictionary. Different is: “partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality.” It is: “dissimilar (could hardly be more).” It is: not the same as.” In addition to dissimilar, other synonyms are: “distinct, unusual, special, diverse, divergent, and disparate.” It is: ‘unlike in kind or character.” The synonym diverse “implies marked contrast…”

The one thing that makes Antichrist (Nero) different from the other kings is that he is a living miracle, and they are not.

He has risen from the underworld, and they have not. The ten kings have a birth certificate, but the Antichrist does not. Nor will anyone, including crime scene forensic investigators be able to prove that he had died a short time before he arose, as there will be no autopsy, or death certificate; nor any fingerprint records, or dental records, nor any evidence of a crime scene, nor a coroner’s report, not a coffin or a grave.

We must remember the shocking fact announced by the angelic messenger: Antichrist died before John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, his initial sudden appearance to a post-Rapture world will be from the dead, which makes him dramatically different than the ten kings. There’s no way the beast can or will be born during the generation that experiences the Day of the Lord. (Pages 185-186).

Things to Ponder

Do you see the amazing connection between the Biblical examples provided in today’s article (seven of several dozen) and the Antichrist passage in Daniel that employs the term and concept of suddenly, especially with regard to a sudden appearance? This correlation is just one of many to support what I firmly believe is a correct re-fit of the prophetic puzzle regarding Antichrist … who he really is and how he will reappear from the Abyss.

Knowing the identity of the Antichrist will reduce and even eliminate the amazement of so many both now and after the Rapture, that will cause them to believe the lie that this despicable tyrant (Nero) is Messiah. Instead, some will realize that the Bible had predicted this long ago.

There is only one who has truly risen from the dead; the true Messiah, the One who is the only way, truth, and life.

“But very early on Sunday morning, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes …

“Then the men asked,

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Messiah Jesus has risen, indeed!

Lazarus and Lazarus & The Sign of Jonah

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How Many Signs Does It Take?

“One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, ‘Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.’

“But Jesus replied, ‘Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights’” (Matthew 12:38-40).

His very birth changed the course of history and the measurement of time … from B.C. to A.D.

Jesus turned water into wine. He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk. He healed the deformed in an instant, and fed thousands of hungry people with a few loaves and fish. He cast out demons from many who were possessed, and even raised the dead. The religious leaders had personally witnessed or had first-hand accounts of these and many other of his miracles. Time and time again, he did the impossible. The evidence of Jesus’ incomparable divine power was overwhelming. Still, right then and there, they demanded that Jesus show them a miraculous sign to prove his authority.

The Pharisees and Sadducees had eyes to see but were blinded by their preconceived view that Messiah couldn’t be anyone other than whom they decided he would be and should be. They had ears to hear but were deafened by their shouts of programmed tirades against a man who spoke words of light and life to the people. A man who dared claim that he was the Son of God; that he came to fulfill the Law of Moses with a New Way to God through a New Covenant with God.

What kind of miraculous sign did they want? Would another sign convince all of them or just one or two of them? Would each have preferred a miracle of his choice? Would one more sign be enough?

What if Jesus had obliged them by calling down fire from heaven as Elijah twice had done? (With one of the two incidents resulting in the death of 100 soldiers who had come to arrest Elijah. See II Kings Chapter 1, and the other on Mount Carmel). Only this time the fire would have consumed all but one of the Pharisees? Would the survivor have believed in Jesus’s authority then?! If the one left behind had returned to his fellow Pharisees and told them what had happened, would they believe him? Or would they demand another miraculous sign just for themselves?

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Jesus knew all too well the rock-hard condition of their hearts. That was the real problem, not what they could or couldn’t see or hear. For it didn’t matter how many or how stupendous Jesus’s miracles were; their “evil, adulterous” hearts wouldn’t allow their eyes to see or ears to hear the truth that Jesus was their Messiah—the Son of God, the Son of David, the Son of Man.

Today’s Superficial Supernatural

What about planet Earth in the 21st century? Have we been desensitized to the miraculous, the Divine, by the countless books and movies that incessantly depict the supernatural as natural? That any number of fantasy super villains and super heroes can perform paranormal wonders whenever and however they choose, including return from the dead. Thereby, marginalizing actual (real-life) miracles to a ho-hum happening that barely merits a turn of our head, let alone a change of our heart.

So many in today’s world have dismissed out-of-hand the authenticity of the Bible as the very Word of the true and living God; despite the stunning evidence of countless miracles and fulfilled prophecies. If Scripture is not enough, then how many other supernatural signs would it take for people to believe in the God of the Bible? What more miraculous proof would they require before they believed and received Messiah Jesus as Lord and Savior?

How about you? Would you believe if just one of the ten plagues struck your neighborhood as God did with the Egyptians in Moses’ time? Or would it take all ten miracles to convince you … as it did with Pharaoh? Remember: The final miracle was the death of every firstborn son in Egypt.

If horrible malignant sores broke out suddenly on people the world over; if all the oceans, rivers, and lakes turned to blood and every salt and fresh water creature died; if a massive solar flare from the sun scorched people on the earth with one mighty blast; if the earth was plunged into the darkness of a subterranean cave; if a cataclysmic earthquake toppled mighty cities, flattened majestic mountains, and submerged entire islands, would you change your mind about Christ—who he is, what he has done for us, and what he will do? (See Revelation Chapter 16 … these are just five of twenty-one judgments during the Great Tribulation).

Or would you do what millions upon millions of people, determined to do their own thing and go their own way apart from their only hope of salvation, will do:

“…and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God” (Revelation 16:11). *Note: They didn’t just blame God for anything and everything, as millions have unjustifiably done through the ages; they actually cursed him.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of those left behind at the Rapture will fully comprehend that it is God who is delivering these judgments. Thus, it is not now nor will be then a matter of seeing miraculous signs that would/should cause them to believe. It is not a matter of the mind or eyes or ears; rather, it is a matter of the heart … the will. A heart that refuses to accept the obvious. That God will judge the world ultimately for one thing and one thing only: rejection of so great a salvation purchased by the highest price ever paid—the sacrificial substitutionary death of his Son, Jesus Christ. Just as Israel was disciplined for rejecting him as Messiah.

As he approached Jerusalem for the last time before the people crucified him, Jesus began to weep and uttered these heartbreaking words:

“How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long you enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation” (Luke 19:42-44, italics for emphasis).

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Less than 40 years later, the Romans pillaged Jerusalem, demolished the Temple, slaughtered six hundred thousand Jews, and exiled the survivors to the four corners of the earth.

No, Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees then and there nor did he come the first time to this earth to judge. In another (one of many) scene in which the Jewish religious leaders confronted him, Jesus said:

“But I have a greater witness that John (the Baptist)—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me … and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you” (John 5:36,38).

Then Jesus spoke these extraordinary words: “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:45-47).

Nor would he entertain them with a miraculous sign, except one—a miracle that he would do at the appointed time, on his terms; to accomplish his Father’s providential plan to save the human race. With no preconditions, no strings attached. With nothing else required of people except as Jesus said, “to believe me—the one he sent to you.”

So Yeshua gave them the sign of Jonah: his death, burial, and resurrection that had not yet taken place. Surely they would believe him then. What more evidence could anyone want or expect than someone returning from the dead?

Shouldn’t that be enough proof for you, for me, for the whole world?

Whether the answer is yes or no to this question, depends entirely on where our heart is when we hear the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament; personified and carried out by Messiah Jesus as recorded in the Gospels; encapsulated in the tenets of the Christian faith through the New Testament epistles of Paul, Peter, James, and John.

Let’s see why, by looking at the only story that Jesus told that was not a parable, which is a story told to illustrate a moral and spiritual truth. A true story in which Jesus even named one of the two men. One in which Abraham, Moses, and the prophets also are mentioned. And a narrative that provides some fascinating features of life after death, not found anywhere else in Scripture.

Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31)

The Narrative (Passage): “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury” (Verse 19).

Commentary: Unfortunately it is extremely difficult for the wealthy or powerful of the world to want anything to do with God … to see their need for personal redemption God’s way in order to live forever in heaven. Their version of heaven is fame and fortune while alive on earth.

Said Jesus: “In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” But Jesus then said concerning salvation: “What is impossible for people is possible with God” (Luke 18:25, 27).

The Lord used the more extreme example of the super-rich for ultimate contrast in this true story. However, even the less fortunate can love the pleasures of this world so much that they would forfeit their own souls in order to passionately pursue and personally possess whatever they think can satisfy them the most.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it” (Luke 17:33, Words of Jesus).

Also, the Pharisees held the misguided opinion that wealth was always a sign of God’s favor or blessings. Thus, I’m sure that the religious leaders were startled, even dumbfounded, by this reversal of roles which weighed God’s divine long-term perspective of eternal values against the world’s short-term measure of success.

The Narrative: “At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores” (Verses 20-21).

Commentary: Jesus was not at all reluctant to use graphic language to illustrate and reinforce what he was saying. For example, he called the elite religious leaders: hypocrites, brood of vipers, blind leading the blind, whitewashed tombs (clean on the outside, defiled on the inside), and even sons of the devil. Here, in Godly empathy, he vividly described the plight of a poor, diseased man whose only hope for some measure of relief from pain and hunger on this earth was the generosity of a man who had more than enough for himself … the rich man.

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The Narrative: “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side” (Verses 22-23).

Commentary: Most translations use the term, “Abraham’s bosom,” but it’s clear that the poor man went to be with Abraham. This story (passage) tells us where the souls of those who died before Jesus arose from the dead were transported (by angels). In the Old Testament, the place of the dead is called in the Hebrew, Sheol. In the New Testament Greek: Hades; which is commonly translated, Hell. All those who died before Jesus initiated the New Covenant by shedding his blood on the cross (dying) and sealing that Covenant with his magnificent resurrection, were taken to Abraham who was the Father or predecessor of all whose faith in the Lord was “counted as righteous(ness)” (Genesis 15:6).

Under the New Covenant, one’s faith must be more than just in God the Father. It now must be in God’s Son, Yeshua, whom God anointed as the Messiah (the Chosen One) to make people right with him.

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

Surprisingly and also ironically, the place of the dead (for the unrighteous) was close enough for those sent there to see Abraham and all who had been declared righteous by the Lord. The rich man was so close, but oh so far. And he was in great torment.

The Narrative: “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there’” (Verses 24-26).

Commentary: Hades, which at the final judgment becomes part of the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20), is not where you want to be, certainly not forever. Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven, because he doesn’t want anyone to go there. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise (the promise of his return), as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (II Peter 3:9, parenthesis mine).

As Scripture repeatedly tells us: God is Love, but God is also Holy. He cannot tolerate sin in his presence. That is something that unbelievers cannot or will not grasp. However, all those whose sin has not been forgiven and who have not been made right with God will get their wish; that God would leave them alone to do their own thing and go their own way. Sadly, this is what the majority of people down through the ages to this very day have done. Through indifference, neglect, or outright rejection they have spurned the message of the Gospel.

“…And that message is the very message about faith that we preach” (Romans 10:8).

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The second major difference between the rich man (in torment) and Lazarus (in comfort) was a great chasm, an impassable gulf that separated the righteous from the unrighteous, the saved from the unsaved, believers from the unbelievers. Never the two shall meet.

Return from the Dead! They’ll Believe Then, Won’t They?

The Narrative: “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment” (Verses 27-28).

Commentary: Here we learn more about the devastating results when we leave this earth without Messiah Jesus as our Savior. Once we die, there is no hope, no second chance for salvation. It’s crystal clear the rich man knew that, as he had no argument or made no plea to return to earth or even change his mind while in Hades. It was simply too late. He found himself in an afterlife, a reality that he had dismissed and ignored during his lifetime. His reward was whatever gratification his riches (or anything else in life) brought him while on earth. And his temporary reward was long gone along with all the fleeting pleasures he had pursued.

The Narrative: “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote’” (Verse 29).

Commentary: Through a combination of his agony and remorse for snubbing God’s gift of redemption while on earth, the rich man pleaded with Abraham for Lazarus to return on his behalf and warn his brothers (that they must repent … change their mind about faith in God and his Messiah). To that all too belated request, Abraham gives the solemn reply that was just cited, in the same vein of what Jesus said to the Pharisees in the passage quoted earlier in today’s article.

Moses wrote about the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God made it clear to Moses that it was their faith by which God credited his righteousness to them. Through the prophets—especially Isaiah and Jeremiah—God declared that a New Covenant (of Grace) would complete and perfect the Old Covenant that the people could not and would not keep. This would be an unconditional covenant, a gift from God that required only one thing: Agreeing with God by personally believing in and trusting the finished work of Messiah … our sin debt paid in full as so wonderfully affirmed by the miracle of Messiah’s empty tomb.

It was Moses who first foretold of the One through whom God would be revealed in a person, a prophet superior to Moses, the Child of Promise greater than Abraham’s promised son Isaac. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Child of Promise Part I & Part II, published 8-23 & 8-30-14).

“Moses continued, The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15).

Then God speaks in the first person about his prophet: “…I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).

Do you remember who was with Jesus when he was transfigured on the mountain and the glory of his divine essence was brilliantly displayed to the astonishment of three of his disciples? Read with me the amazing account:

“About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:28-31).

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While still on the mountain, the disciples heard God’s voice (I’m sure his voice thundered as it did from Mt. Sinai when God spoke to Moses and the Israelites … see Exodus 20). God said:

“…This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him” (Luke 9:35).

Yes, the same Moses through whom God gave the Covenant of the Law. The same Elijah who represented the mighty prophets of the Old Testament proclaiming God’s truth about Israel’s glorious past, troubled present, and ominous but triumphant future, and especially about the coming Messiah. I’m convinced that these same prophets will be the two powerful witnesses during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11).

(See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Two Witnesses, Part I, II, & III, posted 6-7, 6-14, & 6-21-14).

And what did God say about his Son? Precisely what he said to Moses and the Israelites about the Prophet of all prophets to come as we just read in Deuteronomy: “Listen to him.”

But Jesus told the Pharisees that if they wouldn’t listen to Moses and all the prophets who spoke of the coming Messiah, then neither would they listen to him.

Which is what Abraham told the rich man: “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote’” (Luke 16:29).

Let’s pick it up again in that passage as part of today’s subject and emphasis concerning what it takes to acknowledge that the God of the Bible is God. And that Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah, the very Son of God.

Resuming the Narrative: “The rich man replied. ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’” (Luke 16:30).

Commentary: Surely, someone (Jesus) who had claimed that he existed before Abraham was even born (John 8), and proved that he was God by raising people from the dead, would be acknowledged as the Son of God. Certainly, a man who said that Moses and the prophets wrote about him, and a short time later would, himself, rise from the dead on his own (without any prophet’s intercession or intervention) to prove that he was who he said he was, would be believed by all the people … particularly the religious among them.

Or would they?

(Also, please see Eye of Prophecy article: There’s Resurrection; And There’s Resurrection! Posted 3-19-16).

The passage about the rich man and Lazarus concludes with:

“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead’” (Luke 16:31).

Another Man Named Lazarus

Many know the story of Jesus raising Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead. However, before Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of his tomb where Lazarus had been buried for four days, he told Martha (and the whole world), “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this Martha?” (John 11:25-26).

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The sacred majestic name of God is, “I AM.” Jesus referred to himself by that very name (Yahweh).

That says it all. It says that the Triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit—is from everlasting to everlasting. It says that he predated and created the universe and all living things; he is separate from and supreme over his creation. It says that he: Was; Is; and Is To Come. It says that he is the First and the Last. He always has been and always will be.

Jesus didn’t just show people the right (only) way to God. He didn’t just preach the truth about a Holy and loving God and sinful man and salvation. He didn’t merely explain through parables and demonstrate through miracles what our life on this earth is all about and what must be done to inherit the Kingdom of God. Oh, he did all of these things and much more.

Above all, Jesus unequivocally declared (backed up by the greatest proof of all … his resurrection):

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

What Jesus is saying could be expressed like this:

“I AM.”

(The) Way.

Truth.

Life.

Or, like this: Jesus IS (the) Way. Jesus IS Truth. Jesus IS Life.

Jesus arose from the dead to validate God’s New Covenant with Jew and Gentile alike. Salvation is a free gift from God … by grace through faith in Messiah’s atoning sacrifice for our sins.

What more is needed before someone will believe and receive this gift? Is the resurrection of Christ Jesus not enough? If not, what is? What will it take to convince you and me and her and him, and them? The answer is transparently obvious: There is no greater proof than the resurrection. Thus, it’s not a matter of the evidence.

Instead, it is a matter of the heart. A question of preference. An issue of our way or God’s way. Which way have you chosen? To whom or what will you entrust your eternal destiny? A man-made religion? A philosophy? A government? A charismatic leader? Yourself?

As a result of Jesus spectacular raising of Lazarus from the grave, “Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen” (John 11:45).

But many did not, including the religious leaders who soon heard of what Jesus had done for Lazarus and his family. “So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death” (John 11:53).

Just a few days later, not only the religious leaders but many others shouted in Pilate’s courtyard, “Crucify him. Crucify him.”

And they did.

For sure, thousands did believe in Jesus while he was on this earth, and millions down through the ages. Praise God for that! But, tragically, many more have not believed including billions on this planet today, despite the greatest miracle of all—resurrection from the dead.

As Jesus said to those who doubted him, many of whom wanted to kill him because he claimed to be the Messiah:

“…why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God?’ After all, the Father has set me apart and sent me into the world. Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father” (John 10:36-38).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundational cornerstone of God’s remarkable redemption plan for the human race. Jesus would have been proven a fool, an imposter or worse, a maniac, for making statement after statement that he was sent by his Father from heaven to save a lost world; if, he hadn’t risen from the dead, just as he said he would.

“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

“The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day’” (Luke 24:1-7).

Then later in a captivating account of Jesus with two men on the road to Emmaus, after he arose from the dead:

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?’ Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

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I’ve sometimes thought: If there was one time and place that I could have been with the Lord Jesus when he was on this earth, it would have been to walk closely behind him and the two men on their seven mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus!

I would listen to him! Would you? Have you?

For two reasons: (1) He’s no longer dead. He has risen! He has risen, indeed! (2) He explained all that Moses and the prophets wrote about him. It was undoubtedly the best Sunday school lesson of all time! Yes, it was the same day of his resurrection, Sunday, when Jesus went to Emmaus (Luke 24:13).

Things to Ponder

So you see, it’s a double-edged sword that so many people have fallen on when they say, No, to Jesus and so great a salvation that he purchased with his life’s blood.

By the authority of Scripture, I can say with a heavy heart: There are countless many in Hades this very moment who wished they had accepted the truth of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, as eternal proof that he can and does save all who believe and receive him as personal Savior.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10, words of Jesus).

On one side of the sword they have not come to terms with the truth of the Scriptures, given directly by God through his prophets and apostles, backed up by powerful (fulfilled) prophecies and mighty miracles. On the other edge of the sword, they have denied the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ outright, or have disregarded its personal meaning for them … for all people.

Why? Why do so many dismiss the historical evidence that Jesus arose from the dead. That he is the Messiah, alive today at the right hand of God the Father … awaiting the appointed time to return to the earth as King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

The answer is sadly all too clear: They don’t want to believe.

It’s, “don’t bother me with the facts, because my life is my own. I’ll do with it as I please. If I want to find God, I’ll find him my way when I’m good and ready, for there are many paths to God.”

Really? Then why does God (the only true and living God of the Scriptures) declare in no uncertain prophetic terms (Old Testament) and fulfillment terms (New Testament) the following:

Old Testament: “I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet (Messiah who is Jesus) proclaims on my behalf” (Deuteronomy 18:19).

New Testament: “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Praise and honor and glory and power and majesty belong to the Lion from the Tribe of Judah!

United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334)

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There’s Small … And There’s Small!

If you’re not fully awake yet, then drink some more coffee, because we’re going to begin the first Eye of Prophecy article of 2017 with a geographical math quiz. Oh come on, you’ll like it!

Question #1: In terms of square miles, what is the 4th smallest state in the United States?

My guess is that no more than 7% would know the answer to this question without a United States map in front of them, and maybe not even then. So, let’s increase the odds to give all of us at least a 14% (one in seven) chance of getting the right answer. The seven smallest are East Coast New England states. In alphabetical order they are: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Now what’s your answer? No maps allowed!

Okay, I’m feeling generous today. Let’s narrow it down to 50-50. The 4th smallest state in America begins with “New” (so does the 5th smallest state).

Is your final answer, New Hampshire?

Sorry, that’s wrong!

Answer: New Jersey.

If you got it right from the beginning, then you are in the top 7% of geographic statisticians in the world!

Question #2 (Multiple Choice): The size of New Jersey in square miles is: (A) 12,722 sq. miles; (B) 10,722 sq. miles; (C) 8,722 sq. miles; (D) 6,722 sq. miles?

Answer: C

See (C) that wasn’t so hard, even if you didn’t get it right!

Question #3: Which of these seven states is closest in square miles size to the State of Israel?

Hint: Would we have gone to all that trouble to get to New Jersey, if one of the other states would be nearest in size to Israel?!

Answer: New Jersey.

You’re doing fine, so stay with us no matter how tough the next question may be.

Question #4: In square miles, what is Israel’s size?

If you get this right on the first try, then your name and photograph belong alongside Albert Einstein in Wikipedia.

Answer: 8,020 square miles.

If you rounded off your answer to 8,000, then you get a footnote on Einstein’s Wikipedia page.

Question #5: What is the combined square mileage of the Gaza Strip and the Judea/Samaria region of Israel known as the West Bank, including so-called East Jerusalem?

If you know the outright answer to this question, then your name and picture will take the place of Albert Einstein!

So, we’d better make it multiple choice: (A) 3,324 sq. miles; (B) 2,324 sq. miles; (C) 1,324 sq. miles.

Answer: B

“B” as is, “Boy,” aren’t you glad you didn’t quit on this quiz!

Because you’ve been a geographic groupie up to this point, you may use a calculator for the last two questions, six and seven.

Question #6A: Subtracting the combined size (2,324 sq. miles) of the Palestinian occupied territories (Gaza/West Bank) of Israel from her total size (8,020 sq. miles) what is the left over size of Israel, where the vast majority of the Jewish population resides?

Answer: 5,696 square miles.

Question 6B: Would, therefore, the remaining 5,696 square miles of Israel be closer in size to the 3rd smallest American state? (A) Yes. (B) No.

Answer: Yes. The third smallest state is Connecticut … 5,543 square miles.

Question #7: Given that my home state of Arizona is 113,990 square miles, how many times could you put the State of Israel (8,020 sq. miles) into Arizona … rounded off?

Answer: 14.

Or if we use the size of Israel minus the West Bank and Gaza Strip, then the answer would be: 20.

A United Nations Resolution: Shrink Israel Down To Manageable Size!

Thank you for participating in this quiz; I trust it was interesting. Though some of the questions were hard, requiring some guessing at the answers, I’m sure the point of the exercise was crystal clear to you: Israel is an exceptionally small country.

We’re talking tiny. And it is the only Jewish nation on this planet … the only sovereign state that Jews can call their own, their home. Yet, the United Nations wants to make it even smaller for the Israelis.

On December 23rd (the beginning of Sabbath day for Jews) of last year, the Security Council passed UN Resolution #2334. It was yet another motion condemning Jewish settlements in the so-called West Bank, which includes all of what the Palestinians (and much of the world) classify as East Jerusalem.

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(Security Council Vote on Resolution 2334)

Although the resolution included a token denunciation of violence, terrorism, and incitement against Israel, the following excerpts convey the underlying anti-Israel bias behind this reprehensible resolution:

  • According to the resolution itself, it, “…expresses the consensus international view on Israeli settlement activity.”
  • It calls for a, “two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.”
  • It condemns the Jews for, “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity.”
  • And the resolution demands that, “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

No matter that Israel’s land mass (including the West Bank and Gaza Strip) is equivalent to 1/6 of 1 percent (1/640 or .0016) of the surrounding 22 Arab/Islamic countries. No matter that none of the Arab or Muslim nations have granted citizenship to hundreds of thousands of “Palestinian” Arabs who fled Israel mostly because the five Arab nations—Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt—that attacked Israel the day after she declared Statehood on May 14, 1948 (via a UN Resolution that granted Israel national sovereignty in 1947) ordered Arabs to vacate Israel so they wouldn’t get in the way of Arab armed forces that would supposedly (easily) defeat the Jews. Instead, those refugees and others from the 1967 Six-Day War were placed in refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan where they and their descendants remain to this very day. Refugee camps that the Israelis had no part in establishing.

As a reminder: Before the Palestinian Authority (which began as the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1964) was created, the Arabs were not called Palestinians. In fact, it was the Jews that were referred to as Palestinians before the Six-Day War of 1967. A war in which the Jews were forced to fight for their very survival, as they also did in the Independence War of 1948, the Suez War of 1956, and again in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. By coercion of the United Nations, mostly through the United States, the Jews relinquished jurisdiction of the Temple Mount back to the Jordanians, and occupancy control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the (Palestinian) Arabs.

Alongside the 6.5 million Jews in Israel, there are approximately 1.8 million Arab Israelis who have full citizenship rights in Israel. They can travel through Israel unrestricted, buy and sell property, start and run their own businesses, vote in Israeli elections, and even serve in Israel’s government. However, unlike compulsory military service for Jewish men and women, Arab Israelis are not required to serve in the IDF. There are approximately 4 million Arab Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who refuse Israeli citizenship because they simply will not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation.

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Sponsorship of the Resolution

Technically, four members of the United Nations introduced the resolution for vote in the Security Council. Allegedly, they drafted the decree without any input or direct assistance from the United States or any of the other nations that voted 14-0 in favor of the resolution, with the United States abstaining. As Washington D.C. based columnist, Charles Krauthammer wrote in an article published this past Tuesday:

“The Security Council just declared the territories legally Palestinian—without the Palestinians having to concede anything, let alone peace. The (US) administration claims a kind of passive innocence on the text of the resolution, as if it had come upon it at the last moment. We are to believe that the ostensible sponsors—New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia, and a Venezuela that cannot provide its own people with toilet paper, let alone food—had for months been sweating the details of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.”

Many United States Congressmen and Senators, including some Democrats, harshly criticized President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry (based on his feeble speech attempting to justify the resolution) for “stabbing Israel in the back.” It was the first US Administration ever that had not vetoed an anti-Israel Security Council resolution. And this, no less, in the context of President Obama’s purported support of Israel when he addressed the AI-PAC conference composed mostly of Jews on March 4, 2012, not long after he was sworn in to his second presidential term. President Obama boasted at that conference to thunderous applause: “When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”

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(*Note: The Security Council should be renamed the “Insecurity Council” as this resolution and many others like it against Israel would create insecure, even indefensible borders for Israelis … not the least of which is the Golan Heights).

Said former Arkansas Governor (and Republican Presidential Candidate) Mike Huckabee:

“Even more, I’d say that the resolution showed that the United Nations is a farce, not a force. Last year, the United Nations passed one resolution about Syria and its genocide, one about North Korea where they are eating grass because they don’t have any food, one resolution about Russia, a country that has decided it’s okay to move into Crimea and Ukraine, and one about Iran that oppresses its people, tramples their human rights and is probably developing a nuclear bomb. But there were 20 resolutions condemning Israel! How could Israel, a tiny dot on the overall map of the Middle East, be that consequential to the United Nations while the other countries get scant attention? It makes the United Nations a bigger joke than the last episode of Seinfeld.”

In an Israeli Cabinet meeting on Christmas Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to what he firmly believed was overwhelming evidence of Obama’s covert support of Resolution 2334 that declared all Jewish communities within areas won by Israel from Jordan and Syria in the Six-Day War, to be illegal.

He said: “From the information we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed. This, of course, in complete contradiction of the traditional American policy that was committed to not trying to dictate terms for a permanent agreement, like any issue related to them in the Security Council, and, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself, in 2011, to refrain from such steps.”

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(Benjamin Netanyahu’s Expressive Reaction To UN Resolution 2334)

Prime Minister Netanyahu was referring to a similar Security Council Resolution in February, 2011, which also censured all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, especially the Eastern part of Jerusalem.

Notice, this time I said, “the Eastern part of Jerusalem.”

Frankly, that should be the cultural, political, social, legal, and moral way to accurately identify that part of Jerusalem inhabited by both Arabs and Jews. There is no such city or territory of “East Jerusalem.” However, the Palestinians and Muslim nations have successfully duped the United Nations, including the United States, into believing that there is a separate East Jerusalem, much like there was West Berlin and East Berlin before the Communist Soviet Union imploded and Germany was reunited.

In an immediate reply to John Kerry’s speech, Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The entire Middle East is going up in flames, entire countries are toppling, terrorism is raging, and for an entire hour the Secretary of State attacks the only democracy in the Middle East. Maybe Kerry did not notice that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christmas can be celebrated in peace and security.”

He went on to say: “Over decades, American administrations and Israel governments have disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue. And as I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”

Then alluding to the facet of the resolution which audaciously claimed that even the Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem including the Jewish Quarter was occupied Palestinian territory, Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded with, “I’m encouraged by the statements of our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike. They understand how reckless and destructive the UN resolution was, they understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory.”

How Can A “Territory” Be Occupied?

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

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

By prematurely referring to Palestine as a state, which has never legally or legislatively or nationally existed in the first place (it has always been Israel no matter that a Roman Emperor arbitrarily and spitefully changed Israel’s name to Palestine nearly 2,000 years ago); an impression is made on both the informed and uninformed that Jews don’t belong anywhere in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. When, in fact, much of the land in Judea and Samaria on which some 600,000 Jews reside was purchased by the Jews … even land won from the Arabs in the Six-Day War.

Does the United States and the United Nations actually believe that any portion of land within the sovereign borders of any nation on earth could be (illegally) “occupied” by citizens of that country? With the resulting conclusion that no citizen of that country has any right to purchase and own land in select areas of their nation that are indwelt mostly by a certain ethnic group of people. Although several countries consist of ethnic groups (like the Kurds in Iraq) that have “settled” in certain portions of the country, that doesn’t give them the right to deny residency or claim “occupation” if citizens from another ethnic group want to build or buy houses on land within the recognized geographical borders of that nation.

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

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

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

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Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? Published 5-16-15.

The Actual Palestinian Narrative

Here is an excerpt from an Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Ethnic Cleansing of Jews … The Real Palestinian Agenda, posted 9-17-16, mostly to explain Benjamin Netanyahu’s riveting, but controversial televised speech regarding the real intentions of the Palestinians (in italics).

The Palestinians have imposed several “pre-conditions” on Israel. They go back and forth as to which of these are pre-conditions Israel must meet before the Palestinians agree to sit down at the negotiating table with the Israelis. At one time or another all of the Palestinian demands have been “pre-conditions.” At other times only some of these are pre-conditions, with other demands open for negotiation. It pretty much depends upon Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ (who is now in the 11th year of a four-year election term!) mood at the time.

Here are the primary Palestinian demands:

  • The so-called “right of return” of the so-called Palestinian refugees—now mostly 2nd generation descendants—from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. (They now number in the millions and even if half of this number were to return it would, for all practical purposes, spell the end of a Jewish nation).
  • Gaza and West Bank checkpoints to be turned over by the Israelis to the Palestinians.
  • Many more Palestinians prisoners to be released, including convicted murderers.
  • For Israel’s “borders” to shrink back to pre-1967 Six-Day War truce lines. (This would leave Israel highly vulnerable, if not defenseless, especially in the Golan Heights).
  • A Palestinian State with what is known as “East Jerusalem” as its capital. (Which would include complete possession of and sovereignty over Temple Mount).
  • Complete expulsion of all Jews from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

The last condition listed above is one that the Palestinians have attempted to keep relatively low-key. Why? Because they don’t want to be viewed in the same fashion that they want the world to see Israel (which Israel is not), i.e. a bigoted apartheid type nation that seeks to be rid of an ethnic group they despise.

That is why Benjamin Netanyahu limited his speech to this one Palestinian demand before they will enter into negotiations with the Israelis. It represents the ultimate objective of Palestinians (and all Muslim nations): To get rid of all Jews in Israel, beginning with the so-called West Bank territory.

Since UNESCO passed its resolution last October and particularly since the farcical Security Council Resolution #2334 in December, Abbas has been emboldened like never before to appeal to the court of world opinion.

(Please see Eye of Prophecy article, UNESCO … A Theatre of the Absurd Against Israel, posted 10-29-16.)

The incessant Palestinian rhetoric against Jewish settlements in eastern Jerusalem and others a few miles deeper into the West Bank and Muslim tirades against Jewish “occupation” of Palestine, is a smoke screen to conceal the real Palestinian agenda. The actual objective of Israel’s sworn enemies, especially their “neighbors” the Palestinians but also entire nations like Iran is one prophesied in Scripture long ago:

Appealing to the Lord God, the Psalmist cries out: “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 83:2-4).

When written, this Psalm was contemporarily relevant but also prophetic. And, oh how it has come to pass. The Palestinian schemes backed by the anti-Semitic mindset and decisions of the United Nations (now supported by our lame-duck President) are insidiously clever and crafty. They have resorted to the rewriting of Israel’s true history and distorting reality with fabrications that even a child could see through.

If the Palestinians were so desperate to get rid of all Jewish housing developments in the West Bank which, according to most Middle East experts would be a precursor to a Palestinian State, then pray tell why did Palestinian Authority Presidents Yasser Arafat in 2000 and Mahmoud Abbas in 2008 bluntly refuse generous proposals by two Israeli Prime Ministers. Respectively, Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered well more than 90% of the West Bank (including the eastern half of Jerusalem) to the Palestinians in a purported attempt to appease them and the international community. The obvious reason, both stated and implied, for this out-of-hand rejection was the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Sovereign (Jewish) State.

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(Shows How Much of Israel is Comprised of the West Bank and Gaza, With the Southern Portion of Israel Mostly the Negev Desert)

So why should Abbas agree to sit down at the negotiating table with Israel, when he can get what he wants through UN unilateral demands? Although not binding, this latest UN declaration has set the stage for a constraining resolution that very well could take place after the January 15th meeting of some 70 nations, planned and hosted by France to reach a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

As much as I admire and respect the Israeli government and love the Jewish people, since the Six-Day War Israeli leaders have made four ill-advised decisions. The two rejected proposals mentioned above (massive land give away for a peace that would never have materialized) narrowly averted what could have been debilitating consequences, including displacement of hundreds of thousands of Israelis from Judea/Samaria and the permanent restriction of all Jews from Temple Mount. The other two did result in an extremely adverse aftermath for the Israelis.

They were: (1) Relinquishing of Temple Mount back to Jordanian and (now) Palestinian jurisdictional authority, after defeating the Jordanians, Egyptians, and Syrians in the Six-Day War of June, 1967. Also giving back the Gaza Strip (taken from Egyptian illegal control) to the Palestinian Authority, later taken over by the terrorist cell Hamas.

(2) In 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered eviction of some 10,000 Jewish residents of the Gaza. What kind of peace and the (misguided) notion that the Israelis would be better protected if removed from Gaza did that result in? I’ll tell you what kind. The kind that led to war with Hamas because they launched thousands of mortars and rockets into Israel that killed and injured more Israelis.

Whose Rights Are Right?

For maximum comprehension I need to emphasize again: The fundamental fantasy of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, the Muslim nations surrounding Israel, and the religion of Islam is a Palestinian State to replace Israel, not one that exists alongside of Israel. By default, this means that the Jews must be eliminated from Israel altogether. The Arabs failed to eradicate the Israelis through four conventional wars. Now the twisted tactic is to alter the true history of Israel by claiming the land, including Jewish Holy Sites and Structures, belongs to the Arabs based on arguments that are historically inaccurate and fly in the face of reality, both past and present.

For example: In spite of archeological evidence and historically correct chronicles of the existence of the Jewish Temples on Temple Mount, the Palestinians contend they never existed. If history is going to be rewritten, then why not claim that the Roman Empire was a figment of someone’s overactive imagination. Or that Mecca and Medina are Hindu holy sites, not Muslim!

Another argument is that the Arabs were in Israel before the Jews. Simply not true. Biblical and secular history clearly refute that allegation. Or, the presumption that Arabs outnumbered Jews in Israel and, therefore, assert rights to the land for that reason alone. That depends on how far back you want to go or how contemporary you want to be to validate such a claim. In the case of the Jews, they win on both ends of this chronological continuum. They outnumbered the Arabs until the Great Dispersion of 70 A.D., and again in today’s modern Israel.

What about sovereign seniority based on conquest … to the victor belong the spoils principle. Yes, Muhammad (Muslims) conquered Israel and Jerusalem in the 7th century. Eventually, however, they, too, were displaced by the Ottoman Turk Empire; which, in turn, was ousted by the British in World War I. Which led to the Balfour Declaration that gave the Jews right of return to Israel and right of statehood that would eventually be realized at the end of World War II. But, tragically, only after six millions Jews were slaughtered by the Third Reich.

Why is it so hard to understand that the Jews must have a sovereign land of their own?! Otherwise, Never Again could happen all over again.

If the Arabs argue that their right to the land of Israel was established by conquest (long ago), Israelis have an equal, if not greater claim to all of Israel by virtue of their more recent victories in all four wars—especially the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Actually, Israel’s triumph in their 1948 War of Independence (no different than America’s victory in our Revolutionary War) gave them the legal and moral prerogative to develop and inhabit every square mile of Israel. For the clear reason that the Arabs not only rejected the UN Resolution of 1947 allowing for the creation of two states, but they attacked the newborn State of Israel with the declared intention of driving the Jews into the sea. Yet, the Jews did not invoke the right of eminent domain nor did they expel the Arabs, even though the Jews fought these wars in self-defense. They were not offensive wars of aggression designed to take land away from the Arabs.

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1949mapa

(Israel Regained Control of the Jordanian West Bank and Egyptian Gaza Strip in 1967, But Allowed Palestinian Governing of These Two Regions. Fact Remains, Both Territories Are Still in Israel)

Thinking that they could still defeat the Jews and drive them completely out of Israel, Arabs attacked again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In that conflict the Jews soundly defeated them and reinforced the universally recognized right of people/nations to claim land won in a justified war of defense and survival—as opposed to an unprovoked offensive assault for the purpose of land acquisition or ethnic suppression of enemies. Once again, the Jews allowed the Palestinians autonomous occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Moreover, it’s not like the Palestinians have been relegated to an undesirable part of Israel (or relegated at all). The West Bank (Judea/Samaria) is some of the most beautiful land in Israel, the very heart of the country. In fact, a large part of Israel that, absent the amazing irrigation accomplishments of the Jews, would still be inhospitable if not uninhabitable, is the Negev Desert.

I’ve used the following analogy (and others) before, but it bears repeating: For Israelis to concede every inch of the West Bank, especially the eastern half of Jerusalem (meaning complete withdrawal and dismantling of Jewish housing) would be no different that Americans giving back the eastern half of Washington D.C. to the British. Then for the British to deny ownership and dwelling rights of any of that land to Americans. Also to forbid any American from visiting the Washington or Jefferson or Lincoln Memorials, just as Temple Mount is highly restricted to the Jews themselves.

If you’re an American reading this article, would you agree to such terms? Could you methodically marginalize or irresponsibly ignore the blood of our ancestors shed to give them and their descendants (you and me) the right of living on the very land for which they died? That is a rhetorical question, if ever there was one.

Both Arabs and Jews claim perpetuity to the entire land of Israel. So, who is right?

The Beautiful Land of Israel … A Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy

I believe that question has already been answered, but let’s set aside for a moment the issue of territorial rights.

Let’s look instead at what the Jews have done for the land of Israel given to them by the true and living God. The God of the Bible who says there are no other gods. The God who backs up his Word with majestic miracles and powerful (fulfilled) prophecies. The God who selected the Jewish people as a light to the Gentiles, through the Messiah who would bring salvation to all who believe and receive Yeshua as personal Savior. And, yes, the same God who loves all people equally, including the Arabs. Yet the God who, nevertheless, is sovereign over his design for the human race, which includes choosing a special people through whom His plans would be achieved and a Promised Land where His purpose will be accomplished.

The following is an excerpt (in italics) from Eye of Prophecy article, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I, posted 7-11-15. Part II posted on 7-18-15 then provides the second set of twelve “flash-point prophecies” that are part and parcel of the last days of the end times.

Number Five: Israel’s Phenomenal Agricultural Accomplishments

Through the ages, the fulfillment of so many Biblical prophecies about Israel and her (our) Messiah has become a matter of historical record. But what we sometimes overlook or minimize is the astonishing details of so many of those prophecies … big ones and little ones. People, places, events, all prophesied and fulfilled with meticulous minutiae. One that many scholars have not paid much attention to (including me) is the transformation of Israel from an empty wasteland to a virtual Garden of Eden. The rebirth of Israel has led to the abundant blossoming and growth of trees, vineyards, gardens, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, as Scripture said it would.

“The time will come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and garden; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never be uprooted from the land I have given them says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15).

Once again, that’s exactly what has occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. God has providentially planted the Jews in the land he gave to their ancestors. And the people have responded with a planting and harvesting not seen since before they were exiled to Babylon in 586 BC. It is absolutely extraordinary. Such as:

  • Trees & Bushes: About 150 years ago, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) once took a trip to Israel. Several things impressed him including the scarcity of people, the very small size of Jerusalem, and the barrenness of the land. I can tell you from my personal visit to Israel in 2006, all that has changed. The Israeli organization Jewish National Fund alone has sponsored the planting of 250 million trees in the last one hundred years. In a land that has mostly a desert or arid climate, this is a staggering accomplishment.
  • Vineyards: In that same trip to Israel, my sister and I drove past several of dozens of vineyards throughout Israel. With hundreds of wineries, Israel produces over ten million bottles of wine a year, much of which is exported. Israelis invented and perfected drip irrigation which is essential for vineyards but also for other agricultural products. Major counties of the world, including the United States, have implemented water irrigation strategies conceived and practiced in Israel.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: With a land mass equivalent to the State of New Jersey, the Jews produce 95% of its own food requirements. What makes that so amazing? Only 20% of that land is arable! They need to import only a handful of food items, such as coffee and sugar. Conversely, they export billions of dollars’ worth of fresh produce to many nations of the world, including the United States. Their citrus fruits demand a high price on the world market because of the near perfect texture and taste. Israelis have invented many high-tech methods of growing and improving produce. For example, one Israeli developed a slow-maturing very delicious strain of tomatoes that increases its shelf-life dramatically. This reduces the spoilage which is a huge problem for growers and wholesale and retail outlets.
  • Flowers: Israel is one of the largest growers of all kinds of flowers, with a large export base. They even export flowers to Holland!

Said God to Israel through his prophet: “The fields that used to lie empty and desolate (insert here Arab “control” of Israel for hundreds of years) in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ Then the surrounding nations that survive (survive the Great Tribulation soon to come) will know that, I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I say” (Ezekiel 36:34-36, parenthesis mine).

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(Botanical Garden in Eilat, Israel)

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(One of Many Vineyards in Israel)

As is often said: Facts don’t lie.

Fact: In one generation after returning, the Jews did for their Promised Land what the Arabs wouldn’t and couldn’t do for that same land they occupied for hundreds of years.

Things to Ponder

Resolution 2334 was yet another contemporary expression of what Scripture said would happen in the last days. Which is the incredible, irrational global focus on Israel by practically every nation on earth to solve the Jewish problem.

Says the God of Israel: “On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves’ (Zechariah 12:3).

The United Nations and its Security Council (with the United States supporting an anti-Israel resolution for the first time) want to move the Jews out of Judea/Samaria. They want to downsize a people and a nation that has precious little land in the first place.

The Palestinians and Muslim countries want to remove Israel from all global maps, by eliminating all Jews from Israel … the land given to them by Almighty God. A small piece of land on an earth created by that same God.

For the near future, they will make life dramatically difficult for Israel. But they will not succeed in defeating the Jews. Israel is here to stay … forever. The Lord God himself has made Jerusalem an immovable rock.

“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).

Hanukkah … The Festival Born of a Prophecy!

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Hanukkah in History

Last week’s Eye of Prophecy article (The Virgin Birth … How and Why?) was posted on Christmas Eve, which “just happened” this year to occur on the first day (eve) of Hanukkah. This week’s article falls on the final (eighth) day of what some say is the most widely celebrated festival of the Jews, religious and secular alike. On most Jewish calendars you’ll find the oft used Hebrew spelling of this happy holiday … Chanukah. That’s because of the more accurate pronunciation of the hard “Ch” syllable (Kahnukkah), instead of the soft “hah” sound.

Like Purim that is normally observed in the Gregorian calendar month of February, Hanukkah is not one of the Biblical festivals required by God as given in the Mosaic Law. Whereas Purim was (Biblically) instituted by Mordecai and Queen Esther as an annual Jewish observance, Hanukkah is not found in Scripture. It wasn’t even recorded in any extra-Biblical Jewish religious literature; although the secular Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus provided a narrative of this event in his book, Jewish Antiquities XII. However, the circumstances surrounding Hanukkah were added to the Jewish Talmud (written collection of Jewish oral teachings and history) some 600 years after the time of the Maccabees.

Rather, we find Hanukkah’s captivating chronicle through the Books of the First and Second Maccabees, which are not part of the Biblical canon; but are considered by many Biblical scholars as historically accurate. Why the story of the Maccabean revolt that led to the “miracle of Hanukkah” is not part of the Old Testament Bible, would take far more time/space than this week’s article can afford. Thus, I’ll offer just two brief reasons:

(1) It occurred some 250 years after God’s last appointed prophet (Malachi) spoke God’s words to his people. The composite four-hundred year span of God’s silence was a transition time between the Old Covenant of the Law and New Covenant of Grace. Not until the next Jewish prophet John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah of the New Covenant, did God reveal himself again to the Jews and also, this time, to the whole world.

(2) Due largely to reason number one, God chose (for other reasons known only to him) not to directly inspire the recording of the events leading to Hanukkah through any of God’s chosen authors of New Testament times/books.

Based on the title of today’s article, you might get the impression that Hanukkah was predicted in Scripture by one or more of the Old Testament prophets. It was not, at least not the results of the Maccabean Jewish victory over an evil Syrian ruler. Those results were twofold, constituting the essence of this remarkable Jewish holiday. They were (A) Restoration and rededication of the Jewish Temple after the Jews defeated the Syrian/Greeks against all odds; (B) One day’s supply of the sacred oil used to light the Menorah, lasting for eight days until more purified olive oil could be produced.

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(Replica of the Original Biblical Menorah … During a Trip to Israel, I Stood Next to This Menorah in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem)

Thus, respectively, in direct connection to A and B listed in the preceding paragraph, Hanukkah is also referred to as the: Festival of Dedication and Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is the Hebrew word meaning “dedication.” Although the 2nd Temple was later destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, observant Jews still emphasize dedication (loyal observance) of their lives to the principles of holiness (consecrated separation) found in the civil, ceremonial, and moral features of the Law of Moses. Hanukkah serves as a serious but also festive reminder of this dedication.

Yet, when it comes to the equally vital component part of the Mosaic Law (Levitical Sacrificial System), the Jews are unfortunately in denial that there is no atonement for sin without the sacrificial shedding of innocent (animal) blood. Instead of recognizing and accepting the New Covenant established through the once for all substitutionary sacrifice of their very Messiah (Yeshua), they hope that mitzvot (good deeds … acts of love and giving) will merit salvation.

(I would encourage you to read the trilogy of Eye of Prophecy articles entitled: Where is the Temple? I, II, III. Posted in November and December, 2014).

HOWEVER, the sequence of events that produced the marvel of Hanukkah were, in fact, predicted by the prophet Daniel some 370 years before they took place, including dramatic details about the malicious Syrian ruler who would devastate Israel and profane the Temple. Followed by even more amazing information about another wicked tyrant (the little horn of Daniel Chapter 7 and the beast of Revelation 13 & 17 … Antichrist Nero) who would follow in the warped footsteps of his evil archetype predecessor. Hanukkah was a direct result of this fulfilled prophecy.

The original Kingdom that would split into four parts—one of which this 2nd century BC Syrian despot would rule over—was also prophesied by Daniel.

Alexander the Great

It all began when Alexander the Great soundly defeated the Persians, spelling the end to an empire even greater than that of Babylon, at least in terms of longevity. In 334 BC, Alexander launched a campaign that would engulf most of the civilized world, establishing a Grecian dynasty that would last some 300 years with ongoing influence of Greek civilization in the Roman Empire for another 500 years. Alexander’s realm would not be equaled until the Roman Empire reached its zenith. Yet even Rome was heavily saturated with Greek language and culture.

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(Bust of Alexander the Great)

Alexander died a mysterious death in June, 323 B.C. at the young age of 32. History is unclear whether he was murdered (poison) or died from natural causes (fever). Yet his passing was so abruptly unexpected that no heir had been appointed to his domain. Subsequently, the Grecian Empire was divided into four regions: Ptolemy of Egypt; Seleucid of Mesopotamia and Central Asia; Pergamon; and Macedon. It’s the Ptolemaic and Seleucid dynasties that are referenced in Daniel Chapter 11, long before they came into existence.

The Greek empire was one of the four world kingdoms revealed by God to Daniel in the form of four “huge beasts.”

“Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast” (Daniel 7:6).

These four beasts were initially in the form of a four-part statue seen in a dream by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel Chapter 2). The figurative imagery recorded by Daniel clearly matches subsequent world history, confirming that the third beast was Greece.

Later, Daniel is given more information about the great ruler of this third empire, which history also affirms as none other than Alexander the Great. Included in this subsequent revelation to Daniel (which I strongly believe was given by the Pre-Incarnate Messiah Jesus), were meticulous details to confirm the (four-part) division of the third beast—the leopard (four wings and four heads). Plus intricate details of ensuing rulers of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid domains, specifically Antiochus IV Epiphanes; followed by an evil despot (Antichrist) who would be even more ruthless than Antiochus.

Concerning Alexander the Great and the dominant Grecian Empire, we read:

“Then a mighty king will rise to power who will rule with great authority and accomplish everything he sets out to do. But at the height of his power, his kingdom will be broken apart and divided into four parts. It will not be ruled by the king’s descendants, nor will the kingdom hold the authority it once had. For his empire will be uprooted and given to others” (Daniel 11:3-4).

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Time/space does not allow us to cover the first part of Daniel Chapter 11 through verse 27, which predicted what history has termed, “The Seleucid Wars” that culminated in 198 BC between Egypt and Syria. The armies of Seleucid King Antiochus III defeated Ptolemy V and took over Judea and Samaria, which had been part of the Ptolemaic realm. Instead, we will fast forward to 175 BC, when Antiochus IV ascended the Seleucid throne.

Antiochus IV arrogantly added Epiphanes to his name, which means, “manifest god.” He and his subsequent counterpart (Antichrist) Nero considered themselves divine, God on earth. He was the first Seleucid king to have his divine image printed on coinage. Later, Caesar Nero did the same thing.

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(Antiochus IV Coinage)

To assert his power and enhance his sphere of influence and to prevent King Ptolemy VI of Egypt from expanding the Ptolemaic dynasty, Antiochus IV launched a preemptive strike against Egypt in 170 BC, conquering all of the Egyptian kingdom except Alexandria. This is precisely what Daniel said would happen. As was Antiochus’ second campaign against Egypt predicted by Daniel.

In Antiochus’s first campaign, “The king of the north will then return home with great riches. On the way he will set himself against the people of the holy covenant, doing much damage before continuing his journey” (Daniel 11:28).

The “people of the holy covenant” were the Jews (Israel). During his return home from Egypt, Antiochus IV made it clear that he would do something about this stubborn people, most of whom refused to yield to his authority, and resisted assimilation into the Greek Hellenistic culture that he was trying to instill throughout as much of the territories conquered by Alexander as possible. Unlike his predecessor, Antiochus III, who allowed the Jews extensive sovereignty under their High Priest, Antiochus IV began a pernicious persecution of the Jews to force Greek Hellenization on them.

However, to avoid antagonizing the new burgeoning empire of Rome, which supported the Ptolemaic realm, Antiochus withdrew his armies from Egypt and left Ptolemy VI as a puppet king. But this megalomaniac tyrant couldn’t keep his autocratic face out of the picture. With an apparent assumption that Rome would no longer interfere, in 168 BC he led a second assault on Egypt, and also sent a large naval fleet to Cyprus. Before Antiochus IV reached Alexandria, a Roman ambassador warned him to withdraw or risk a war with the Roman Republic.

We read on: “Then at the appointed time he will once again invade the south, but this time the result will be different. For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant” (Daniel 11:29).

Antiochus was humiliated by his failed plans to again invade Egypt. He threw a temper tantrum and decided to take out his “tail-between-the-legs” retreat on the Jews. He would ratchet up the time table of a more peaceful integration of Hellenism into Jewish culture. Through brutal force he would bring an end to Judaism in Judea and Samaria. Whether he thought of it or not, his intentions were every bit as malevolent as the Persian ruler Haman, whose sadistic strategy was genocide of the Jews. Antiochus IV became further enraged when he learned that Jason, the Jewish High Priest that he had deposed, had initiated a surprise attack against Menelaus, the high priest appointed by Antiochus IV.

He ordered a halt to all Jewish sacrifices and worship rites in the Temple, commanding the Jews to worship Zeus. When they refused, Antiochus IV dispatched his armies to crush what he considered an insubordinate Jewish revolt against his kingdom.

Even if you know little about Antiochus IV, you probably have read or heard that during this onslaught against the Jews his troops ransacked the Holy Temple, and sacrificed a pig to the Greek god Zeus on the altar in the Holy of Holies. What occurred in 168-167 BC is one of the bloodiest, saddest chapters of Jewish history. But out of it came one of the greatest triumphs and miracles ever experienced by the Jews. Which is what the celebration of Hanukkah is all about.

Here is an account of Antiochus’ brutality:

“When these happenings were reported to the king, he thought that Judea was in revolt. Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery” (2 Maccabees 5:11-14).

Antiochus IV’s atrocious actions fulfilled Daniel’s amazingly accurate prophecy.

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

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(Depiction of Zeus Erected by Antiochus IV in the Jewish Temple)

There’s More!

Before we examine the following verse 32 of Daniel’s remarkable prophecies, let’s look at an excerpt from a Wikipedia article concerning Antiochus IV and the Maccabean revolt that began not long after Antiochus desecrated the Temple, then slaughtered and enslaved tens of thousands of Jews.

“Traditionally, as expressed in the First and Second Books of the Maccabees, the Maccabean Revolt was painted as a national resistance to a foreign political and cultural oppression. In modern times, however, scholars have argued that the king was instead intervening in a civil war between the traditionalist Jews in the country and the Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem. According to Joseph P. Schultz: ‘Modern scholarship on the other hand considers the Maccabean revolt less as an uprising against foreign oppression than as a civil war between the orthodox and reformist parties in the Jewish camp.’”

Still referring to the actions of the “king of the north” (Antiochus IV), Daniel goes on to say:

“He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him” (Daniel 11:32).

For modern scholars to contend that Antiochus IV Epiphanes was simply “intervening in a civil war” between the Hellenistic Jews and the observant religious Jews of Israel is an oversimplification; it is not an accurate analysis of everything that actually took place. Nor does it track with Scripture’s preview of what would occur, i.e. “the people who know their God will … resist him” (the king of the north which would be Antiochus IV).

These people who know their God were the Maccabees representing Jews who remained faithful to God. Their resistance was directly against Antiochus IV; only indirectly against the Hellenistic Jews (those who have violated the covenant). It was the Hellenistic Jews that Antiochus IV would, “flatter and win over.” Likewise, Antiochus military assault against Israel was designed to stop the Maccabees in their revolutionary tracks, not to preemptively intervene in what may have become a full-fledged Jewish civil war.

At the very least, the modern view of Antiochus’s reason for invading Israel ignores the clear historical record of his virulent hatred of the Jews, expressed in his contempt for the sacred sites and rites of the Jewish faith. Nevertheless, Antiochus courted those Jews who agreed with him that Israel should incorporate Greek philosophy and culture into Israel, even if it meant compromising the Mosaic Law as the governing influence over Jewish life in Israel. However, even the Hellenistic Jews were appalled at the Temple’s desecration and the blatant religious, political, and cultural subjugation of the Jews, whether secular or religious.

Thus, his so-called “intervention into a Jewish civil war” was much more than merely taking sides with the Hellenists. It’s clear that he was infuriated by any Jewish attempt to undermine his authority over Judea/Samaria. He couldn’t have cared less whether the hiloni (secular) Jews or the haredi, masorti (observant, traditional) Jews would have fought and prevailed one against the other. He wanted all of Israel under his thumb.

Daniel says that the people who know their God would be strong and would resist him (Antiochus IV). Which is exactly what the Maccabees were and did. Much like King David and his group of 600 faithful soldiers; then his band of Thirty of Israel’s mightiest warriors led by the even more elite Three, accomplished in Israel before and after David ascended to the throne. The military exploits and fighting skill of these men of valor became legendary with the Jews and with their enemies. As did the extra-Biblical account of the Maccabees and their warriors.

The Maccabean Revolt

Until the ascension of Antiochus IV to the Seleucid throne, the observant Jews had, for the most part, been given sufficient freedom and flexibility to practice their Judaic faith.

But enough was enough. It was absolute anathema to both religious and secular Jews for anyone (let alone a Gentile ruler) to desecrate their sacred Temple and to bring a screeching halt to their religious practices, no matter the degree of observance among varying Jewish factions and sects.

In description of Antiochus IV and his armed invasion of Jerusalem under the pretense of helping the secular faction called the Tobiads—which supported the Hellenistic Jews in particular and the Ptolemaic realm in general—the ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote:

“The king being thereto disposed beforehand, complied with them, and came upon the Jews with a great army, and took their city by force, and slew a great multitude of those that favored Ptolemy, and sent out his soldiers to plunder them without mercy. He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months.”

*Note: Josephus description of this king being “thereto disposed beforehand” validates the premise that Antiochus already had a mindset disposition toward conquest of the Jews.

Here is yet another remarkable correlation between Antiochus Epiphanes’ 3 ½ year reign over Israel and the future ruler also mentioned in Daniel Chapter 11 (Antichrist Nero) who would break a seven-year pact with Israel half way through that treaty, resulting in cessation of Jewish sacrifices and desecration of the (3rd) rebuilt Temple… 42 months as prophesied in Daniel Chapter 9. And as confirmed by Revelation Chapter 13.

Even though the Shekinah glory of God no longer filled the Temple, it was more than many Jews could bear to be deprived their right of circumcision and for pigs to be offered as sacrifices to the Greek god Zeus in the Temple itself. With unrelenting conditions and with ruthless enforcement, Antiochus IV had done away with Judaism. Even the great empires of Assyria and Babylon that had conquered and exiled the Jews; and Persia and Greece (until Antiochus IV) that had reigned over Israel, permitted the Jews to practice their faith.

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(Depiction of the Abominable Sacrifice of a Pig on the Temple Altar)

Against overwhelming odds, a Jewish priest Mattathias (Mattiyahu) and his five sons led a revolt against Antiochus IV. When Mattathias died in 166 BC, his son Judah took his place as leader of the rebellion. Less than a year later, against all odds the Jews had soundly defeated the armies of Antiochus IV, recaptured Jerusalem, liberated Temple Mount, cleansed and rededicated the Temple, and reinstated Judaism and the sacrificial system.

That is one of two reasons the Jews instituted this wonderful festival of Hanukkah … which, as indicated, means dedication. Most Jews, but not all, consider this military triumph a miracle in the same vein as Gideon’s amazing rout of the Midianites and modern Israel’s stunning triumph over insurmountable Arab military might in her 1948 War of Independence.

However, all Jews who know anything about the desecration of the 2nd Temple by the most appalling of all Gentile kings ever to rise against Israel (rabbinical sources refer to Antiochus IV as, harasha, “the wicked”) agree that the second reason for celebrating Hanukkah is based on a miracle. There simply is no normal or natural explanation for what took place.

Judah Maccabee commissioned resumption of Temple proceedings which began on the 25th day of Kislev, 165 BC.

*Note: Kislev is the Jewish month that overlaps the Gregorian calendar of November and December. The first full day of Hanukkah is the 25th of Kislev; however, a Jewish day begins at sundown the previous day. Thus, Hanukkah this year (2016) actually began on December 24th. I suppose we could call Kislev 24th, Hanukkah Eve.

But first things first: the treasured Menorah (lamps of which were to be kept burning day and night) must be relit, for it was God’s holy light to illuminate the Temple. In hindsight, this was a shortsighted (or short lighted, if you will!) plan. There had not been sufficient time allowed to produce enough pure (holy) olive oil expressly refined from pressed olives and dedicated by the high priest for the Menorah.

Each branch of today’s menorahs contain candles; whereas, the stem branches of the original Menorah in the Tabernacle and then the Temple were lamp cups in which olive oil was poured and then ignited.

Miracle of the Kosher Oil

According to the story, there was only one flask of consecrated oil … enough to last one full day. Yet, the priests decided to light the Menorah anyway, then wait to start it again after more oil was produced. Evidently, they were so excited and determined to resume Temple rites that they were willing to temporarily waive the requirement that the Menorah lamps must be kept burning continually.

But they didn’t need to light the menorah again. That one flask lasted for seven more days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of kosher oil for the menorah!

Although the First Book of Maccabees records the eight-day celebration that began annually for the re-dedication of the Temple and altar, it does not mention the miracle of the oil. But the Jewish Talmud does, which nearly all scholars acknowledge as a historically accurate compilation of Jewish vocal traditions.

Thus, Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Dedication, and also the Festival of Lights.

Jews in Israel and all over the world light the candles of the Menorah, one each day for the eight days that the oil kept burning. Special foods cooked in oil to commemorate the miracle are eaten, such as Latkes (potato pancakes) and doughnuts.

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(Modern Day Hanukkah Celebration and Menorah)

Down through the centuries Jews have debated whether Hanukkah is a religious festival (Holy Day) or just a national secular holiday. True, it is not a festival specifically ordained by the Lord to be observed, as commanded by God for the seven holy festivals. Please refer to a series of five Eye of Prophecy articles on these seven Jewish Festivals and how each feast points to Messiah Jesus. You can find them in the Eye of Prophecy archives, posted 9-24-16 through 10-22-16.

However, Hanukkah is definitely connected to God’s ultimate plan to preserve his chosen people the Jews and his special possession Israel until the time of their final redemption. This joyous festival is a direct result of Daniel’s prophecy concerning the third of the four Gentile nations, Greece. Then more specifically the evil tyrant Antiochus IV tirade against the Jews that is also a foreshadow of the Antichrist who will turn on the Jews half way through the Great Tribulation.

Like Purim, Hanukkah remembers God’s miraculous deliverance of the Jews from disaster at the hands of wicked men and nations that sought to destroy Judaism and even eliminate the Jews (genocide) from the face of the earth. No different than the insidious plot of Muslim nations in today’s world, especially Iran.

The Messianic Menorah Light

Most of all, the light of the Menorah represents Israel’s coming Messiah, who would bring the light of God’s salvation to the Jew first, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

Yeshua, himself, celebrated Hanukkah. In fact, other than his crucifixion trial in which Caiaphas the Jewish High Priest insisted that Jesus answer his question, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63); and Pontius Pilate posing a similar question, “Are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33), an incident that occurred in the Temple was the most notable interrogation of and challenge to Jesus’ Messiahship.

“It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The people surrounded him and asked, ‘How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’

“Jesus replied, ‘I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish … for my Father has given them to me … No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one’” (John 10:22-30).

At that point the people picked up stones to kill Jesus; because he, in no uncertain terms, claimed to be God (equal to God as His Son). Previously, Jesus had made the same claim to another crowd who also wanted to stone him to death when he said: “…I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” (John 8:58).

There was no misunderstanding of Jesus’s words. When he said, “I AM,” he voiced the sacred name of God, YHWH (Yahweh).

In the scene of John Chapter 10, Jesus went on to confirm and defend the truth of who he was. Listen to his words:

“…Why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God?’ After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father” (John 10:36-38).

Not long after that Jesus would perform another mighty miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead. And just a few days later, Jesus would prove beyond any doubt whatsoever that he was Messiah, the Son of God, the Light of the world, when he arose from his own grave!

Before the scene during Hanukkah, Jesus declared, “…I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12).

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The Apostle John was only one of many who witnessed the powerful miracles of Jesus and listened to his words of life. Beyond any doubt, John and others knew that Jesus was the Messiah, that he was Divine, just like Isaiah said Messiah would be (Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Isaiah 9:6).

Thus, John began his gospel with this powerful proclamation:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5, NASB).

The Fall of Nations … The Rise of Israel

What about the fate of Antiochus IV Epiphanes?

After this vile ruler dispatched one of his commanders, Lysias, to fight the Maccabees, he set sail with the rest of his forces to do battle with King Mithridates I of Parthia who had made war against the Greeks.

The Second Book of Maccabees records that he contracted some incurable disease, then (in an implied weakened condition), “fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along, and the fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body.” The writer of Maccabees and apparently most Jews of the time attributed the spectacular Maccabean victory against the forces of Antiochus as well as his untimely death to, “…the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow.”

Antiochus IV and his Seleucid dynasty went the way of even greater empires that tormented, terrorized, and toppled the Jews. The once mighty nations of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome are no more. Hitler’s Third Reich that mercilessly slaughtered six million Jews and Stalin’s Communist Russia that relentlessly persecuted the Jews are gone.

But Israel was reborn from the floods of dispersion and he fires of Nazi death camps. Their ashes of defeat have turned into the beauty of a strong and vibrant nation … the only democratic country in the Middle East. Their people thrive despite acts of terrorism, UN anti-Israeli resolutions, and threats of annihilation by Muslim nations. They have won four conventional wars against Arab forces much stronger than Israel.

I’ve said it before, and will say it again: What God says will happen, happens. What he says he will do, he does. Miracles and 100% fulfilled prophecies (which also are miracles) separate the true and living God of the Bible and the Judeo/Christian faith from all other religions like Islam; but also from Godless philosophies, which are also religions (a belief system), such as communism and human secularism.

Moreover, the Christian faith is not nor should be separate from the Jewish belief and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, the Christian faith is an extension, a completion, and a culmination of God’s majestic plan for the human race. The New Covenant of Grace fulfilled and replaced the Old Covenant of the Law, because God’s chosen people could not and would not keep that Law. Only one Man did that … Messiah Jesus. His once for all sacrificial atonement for sin is what makes Jew and Gentile united—one new person in Messiah (Ephesians 2:14-16).

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Things to Ponder

This year’s Hanukkah is poignantly relevant to Israel’s destiny in two observable ways. (1) It’s no coincidence that Hanukkah began on Christmas Eve this year, the first time since 1978. I believe this is a strong signal that their Messiah (and ours as believers in Christ Jesus), the Light of the World, is soon to come again and make all things right in this war-torn, weary, wicked world in which we live.

(2) Another reprehensible UN resolution (# 2334) was passed on the Jewish Sabbath, which began on December 23rd, the day before Hanukkah began. It was yet another attempt to discredit and delegitimize Jewish settlements in the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria … rightfully Jewish land); and also to denigrate and demonize the State of Israel as a whole and the Jewish people individually.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already responded in meaningful ways, including the call back of Israeli Ambassadors from some of the nations that voted yes to the resolution. Perhaps the boldest and most expressive reply of all was to change his plans and participate in the second day lighting of the Menorah in the Old City of Jerusalem.

He said, “I did not plan to be here this evening, but in light of the UN resolution, I thought that there was no better place to light the second Chanukah candle than the Western Wall … And here I would like to light Chanukah candles on behalf of the Glory of Israel. Happy Chanukah.”

And this recent letter from an Israeli soldier to President Obama (in italics):

Dear Mr. President,

You may deny our right to our homeland. You may try to rewrite our history. Just know that we are the most resilient people this world has ever seen. Our lighting of the menorah is proof of that fact. This time will be no different. Not yourself, not the UN, not the terror that you have given legitimacy to. No one will defeat us.

Jews light the menorah to celebrate restoration of Jewish control over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount—thousands of years ago. We were small and vastly outnumbered, but that did not stop us. We came together and we returned to our capital. Our home.

I have no doubt that the lights of our menorah will dispel all darkness. It will lighten the path to overcoming the endless Israel and Jew hatred. It will inspire us, and inspire our Jewish people. It will strengthen the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces. It will bring us together once again, and we will return to our capital. Our home.

Happy Chanukah!

Leibel A. Mangel

On this last day of the Festival of Lights—along with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the brave Israeli soldier—I, too, wish you a,

Happy Hanukkah!

And,

Happy New Year!

The Virgin Birth of Messiah … How and Why?

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“But With God Everything is Possible” (Words of Jesus)

To all those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and also to those who don’t, but still celebrate the greatest birthday of all time, I wish you a Merry Christmas! And to our Jewish friends all over the globe, a very special Happy Hanukkah! That this eight-day Jewish celebration begins on Christmas Eve this year is, I believe, more than mere coincidence. Yet to elaborate on that thought by putting it into perspective, in a broader context of the end-times Biblical prophecies of the return of Messiah and reappearance of his antithesis, Antichrist, would require an entire article. Which is, the Lord willing, what you just might see in next week’s post!

This is the first article Eye of Prophecy article published on Christmas Eve, which this year happens to fall on Saturday, the day of the week that all Eye of Prophecy articles are posted. It will be several years before that happens again. By that time, I’m more and more convinced that all of us who have been redeemed by the very Messiah (Jesus) who Christmas is all about will already have celebrated his Second Coming!

This time last year, I posted a three-part series entitled Terror, Terror, Terror! (Part I & II, published 12-12 & 12-19-15) followed by A Trilogy of Terror (12-26-15). In that third article, I explained the reason for writing about “Terror” at Christmas time!

The third article began with the following (in italics)”

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

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

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

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

The gospels and epistles are replete with his words of truth, life, and hope; but also words of warning of the great tribulation and coming judgment. As do most of the Old Testament prophets…

Obviously, Christmas is a Christian holiday … Holy Day. However, as intimated in the above excerpt, many non-Christians (or Christian in name only) keep Christmas with hardly a passing thought that it’s Jesus’s birthday… in which case it’s Happy Holidays not Merry Christmas.

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According to a 2010 study by Life Way Research, 91% of Americans observe Christmas in some fashion. That’s over 290 million people in the United States alone! Astonishingly, 89% of agnostics observe Christmas, as do 55% of atheists and 62% of people from other religions. Of those claiming to be Christians, 97% commemorate Christmas.

The Heart and Soul of Christmas

“I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”

Did you recognize this famous, but not so often used script in our post-modern age? Can you name the title of this dynamic profession of the Christian faith?

Yes, it is called the Apostle’s Creed.

Tradition says this superlative statement of faith was articulated originally by the Twelve Apostles, then around 700 AD formalized by Christian churches into this creed that succinctly summarized the basic tenants of the Gospels and Epistles. Of special note is that “catholic” is not capitalized, as it does NOT refer to nor is meant to represent the Roman Catholic Church, which didn’t materialize as an “institution” until the 4th century, long after the original apostles were gone. The word, catholic, simply means “universal.” It is the true church consisting of born-again believers—members of the “body” of Messiah Jesus—and bears no reference or meaning to a structure, organization, or ecclesiastical hierarchy of any type. It is the spiritual building composed of “living stones” with Messiah Jesus as the Cornerstone foundation (I Peter 2:4-5).

Every line contained in this profound profession of the Christian faith is directly found in and based on Scripture. Including the main subject of today’s Eye of Prophecy article, The Virgin Birth.

If every Protestant denomination truly believed and faithfully taught each component of the Apostle’s Creed, which is tantamount to confirming and defending the Gospel and the Bible that contains the Good News, then there would be no need for denominations. If the Roman Catholic Church and other cults would get rid of their erroneous non-Biblical dogmas, traditions, and religious rules and regulations and proclaim salvation exclusively by faith in God’s grace rather than good works (Ephesians 2:8-10), then they would truly be part of the universal (catholic) church … the body of Christ.

In the Apostle’s Creed, we find three majestic miracles: The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Messiah Jesus, and the future bodily resurrection of the dead in Christ.

Every tenet in this condensed statement of the Christian faith was prophesied one way or another in the Old Testament. No other religion on earth is predicated on verifiable miracles or fulfilled prophecy. Indeed, the marvelous miracles enacted by God the Father through his prophets and the mighty miracles that Jesus performed while on this earth, along with fulfilling dozens of Messianic prophecies, are what separate the Christian faith from all religions.

Messiah Jesus Came to Set Us Free

Can you imagine a passionately patriotic or even marginally loyal American celebrating the Fourth of July without at least some thought as to the reason … freedom from tyranny? Worse, an American citizen who believes that the United States of America should still be a colony of the British Empire, subject to “all things English.” I’m not knocking the United Kingdom as I am quite fond of my British ancestors on my mother’s side. But with Patrick Henry, it’s give me liberty or give me death.

Yet, hundreds of millions celebrate Christmas without giving much thought to how or why Jesus the Christ was born. Which was:

“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus (Yeshua), for he will save his people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Not only salvation to Messiah’s Jewish brethren in the flesh, but also to the Gentiles as so enthusiastically exclaimed by an old Jewish man when he held the baby Jesus in his arms.

“At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

‘Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!’” (Luke 2:25-32).

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*Note: Simeon was just one of many 1st Century BC and AD Jews who were, “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come…” So, too, are today’s Jews (especially the observant among them) and Gentiles all over the world fervently anticipating the soon arrival of Messiah. For believing Gentiles and Messianic Jews this, of course, will be the Second Coming of Christ Jesus. See Eye of Prophecy articles, Great Expectations for Messiah and Amazing Anticipation for Messiah, posted in August, 2015.

Later, the Apostle Paul wrote:

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life’” (Romans 1:16-17, quoting Habakkuk 2:4).

Messiah Jesus came first and foremost to save us from our sins; to free us from the tyranny that our sinful nature has over us—an innate pride that produces lust for pleasure, position, prestige, and power and greed for money and possessions. Our selfishness causes us to do all too many wrong things with sometimes devastating consequences to ourselves, other people, and entire nations.

Our rebirth in Christ delivers us from slavery to sin.

Because we are still confined to our human bodies after being born-again, Christians still do wrong things. Perfection will not come until our earthly bodies are transformed (both dead and living) at the Rapture (See I Corinthians 15 & I Thessalonians 4). But we are no longer “slaves” to sin, as are those who have not been “born of the Spirit” (John 3:7, Jesus’s words).

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Christmas without the Virgin Birth is Not Christmas

Many people, even those who profess to be Christians, have a problem with the Virgin Birth. Yet Christmas without the Virgin Birth is every bit as meaningless as Christmas without Christ as the main attraction.

Getting back to Mary’s husband, Joseph, Matthew’s Gospel tells us:

“All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:22-23, quoting a prophecy of the coming Messiah from Isaiah 7:14).

Immanuel, God with us: the heart and soul of Christmas and our real reason for remembering the birth of Messiah. It began when Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There are two rock-solid foundations on which the Christian faith is built: (1) The Virgin Birth of Jesus; (2) His resurrection from the dead. Both prove that he is the Son of God and the Son of Man.

In between those monumental events, Jesus’s miracles also demonstrated that no one could do what he did without divine supernatural attributes. Messiah Jesus set aside the natural laws of physics, e.g. changing water into wine, walking on water, calming a huge Sea of Galilee storm with a simple commandment (hush), multiplying a small amount of bread and fish to feed thousands, and other astounding miracles.

There are three basic world views on the Virgin Birth

(1) Believers in Messiah Jesus

Those who have believed and received Jesus as personal Savior accept at face value that he was divinely conceived—therefore, Christ is fully God and fully man—just as we believe that God through Christ created the universe and all living things.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself” (Colossians 1:15-20).

(2) Those Who Reject the Virgin Birth or Are Skeptical

Many dismiss out-of-hand the notion that such a birth is possible. Not just agnostics or atheists, but also those who acknowledge that God exists and even that he created the world. However, to consider the possibility that a child can be conceived in any other way than “natural” conception (man and woman, sperm and egg) is too much for them to process. The impact of this skepticism creates doubt as to whether Jesus of Nazareth was the Divine Son of God or just a great teacher of and moral example to mankind. Which, in turn, leads many to marginalize or even reject the very essence of the Gospel: Only a completely sinless person (man) was qualified, by the shedding of his innocent blood for the human race, to satisfy God’s holiness and justice.

The real issue with millions upon millions of people the world over originates with denial that the God of the Bible is God; despite the fact that Scripture unequivocally declares that He is the only true and living God (validated by hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled, many of them proving that Jesus is the Messiah). Others concede that God is our Creator (the very originator of life itself), but they still doubt that Jesus could or would be conceived without a human father.

For Nothing Is Impossible With God

Listen to what the angel Gabriel announced to Mary:

“…Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! … 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!”

Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God’” (Luke 1:28-37, italics for emphasis).

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Did Abraham, Sarah, and their miracle child of promise, Isaac, come to mind when you read these wonderful words of Gabriel to Mary? Only with Abraham and Sarah, it was the Pre-Incarnate Messiah (Jesus) himself who appeared and reaffirmed the promise that God had given to them earlier: Ninety-year old Sarah would bear a child!

Is Anything Too Hard For The Lord?

Listen to the amazing announcement to this couple whose ability to conceive a child had long since passed:

“Then one of them said, ‘I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!’ Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, ‘How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?’

“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 18:10-14, italics for emphasis).

Isaac was the first child of promise, the progenitor of the ultimate Child of Promise. Both came into this world through an extraordinary birth. But the second was even greater than the first. For a more detailed study, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, The Child of Promise, Part I & II (posted 8-23 & 8-30-14).

The Holy Scriptures begin with, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3, italics for emphasis).

Listen again to the angel Gabriel’s words to Mary: “…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35).

This correlation of the presence of God’s Spirit in the creation of all things with Mary’s supernaturally caused conception is unmistakable. If God created the universe and all living things (as also found in Genesis Chapter 1), then why would it be too hard (or difficult at all) for Mary to conceive a child through the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit?

Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us … So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

Followed by the more specific account of man’s creation:

“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (Genesis 2:7).

Next, God created the man’s helpmate from Adam’s rib. We don’t know how long Adam was a bachelor, but this was his response when the Lord brought Eve to him:

“At last! … This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called woman, because she was taken from man” (Genesis 2:23).

If God can create something out of nothing; if he can form a wonderfully complex man out of the dust of the ground and an equally elaborate mate from the man’s rib; if man and woman can then produce a baby through no creative action of their own except the union of a sperm and egg already part of their created bodies, then isn’t it entirely reasonable and logical that, “nothing is impossible with God?”

Including, but certainly not limited to, God causing Mary to conceive a child above and beyond the natural means of conception. Yet, even the “natural” way of forming a child is divinely supernatural in origin, because it began with the miraculous creation of both man and woman. When the Lord chooses, he can change the laws of physics that govern the universe he created; to supersede the natural or normal process and experience of life on planet Earth.

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Even if we didn’t have God’s Word (the Bible) telling us about the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)—who he is, what he is like, what he has done, and what he will do to complete the full cycle of his redemptive restoration of men and woman back to our original state of creation—we could rely on the completely common sense understanding that if there is a God separate and above (His) creation, then there is nothing whatsoever in the universe that’s beyond his power and control and sovereignty.

That’s not to say that we can, with our finite created minds (in God’s image but far below him in understanding), fully grasp HOW God does what he does. It is enough to know that he can and has done all that the Scriptures tell us and that nature shows us.

Here is a quote from my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? (As follows in italics).

We see and experience things in time and space. God is not bound by either of these dimensions. We don’t know what’s going to happen next hour, let alone next month or year. Yet, by our decisions and actions, by our good choices, bad choices or indifferent choices, we can change things that otherwise would or would not have occurred. We can also be changed by the decisions and behavior of others, by events beyond our control.

How then, does God still achieve his plan? How can he make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) to those who love him and who are called according to his purpose! How does he circumvent the innumerable bad decisions that we all have made, not to mention the evil in this world to accomplish his purpose? Okay, I’ll give you a hint: Because he is God! This isn’t just the humble opinion of one man, nor is it a cop-out, nor is it an oversimplified answer to an otherwise unfathomable question or concept.

To be sure, however, the “hint” does beg the question; he can do anything because he is God. But that still doesn’t explain how he does it. So, we are left begging the question because it is simply beyond our natural, finite comprehension; which is why God doesn’t demand or even ask that we completely grasp his providential sovereignty. If we could wrap our finite minds around his infinite omnipotence and omniscience, I suppose that we would be God.

Ironically, that’s exactly what most of mankind, including natural scientists, human secularists, occult spiritualists, God-less governments, and agnostic academia in general try to do. They inevitably ascribe to themselves the controlled capacity, the distinctive domain, and the potent position of determining their destiny. And, if you will but afford them the privilege and opportunity; if you will “give them an ear,” they will gladly assist you in discovering your origin and purpose for life. Ultimately, if you yield complete attention and allegiance, they will be delighted to direct your future.

Okay, a little sarcasm here. And I don’t mean to unduly pick on the scientific, philosophical, political, cultural, and social elite; though they carry a lot of weight and exert a significant influence on the common person. Ultimately, every man and woman must choose what they believe, and to whom or what they will listen and follow. As Joshua said, “…choose today whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15). [Pages 23-23, Out of the Abyss]

It All Begins by Fearing and Seeking God

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Psalm 111:10, NASB).

The Biblical concept of fear is not hiding or running from God because we are afraid of him, although we must realize that God will one day judge those who have rejected His Son, the only way to God, the only means of salvation. To fear the Lord is the idea of deep respect, ardent adoration for him and immense awe of him … who he is and what he can do. No less (and multiplied many times more) than what we would respectfully think of or do in the presence of a benevolent king or ruler or world leader that we hold in high esteem.

Yet, this deep reverence for the Lord comes only after we acknowledge his very existence and long to know more about him. That is really the beginning of it all; of knowing who we are and why we were placed on the earth.

Moses said about the Lord God: “…And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

The God of the Bible frequently states that he is the only true and living God; that all other gods are man-made and non-existent. Then he backs up that claim with miracles and fulfilled prophecy, and issues a challenge to all the false gods of all man-made religions:

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

“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal, asks the Holy One. Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isaiah 40:25-26).

It was a star that guided the wise men of the east to search for and pay homage to the Christ-child. They undoubtedly knew most of the Messianic prophecies otherwise they would not have made the long arduous journey to Israel to find, “the new-born king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). I’m sure that included Isaiah’s prophecy that the child would be born of a virgin.

Then the writer of Hebrews give us the very basic condition to understanding God and how he will reach back to those who truly want to know who he is and what he has done for the human race:

“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 11:6). The greatest reward of all: God’s forgiveness and everlasting life in heaven through so great a salvation purchased for us by the Virgin-born, resurrected Christ.

That is why we believe all things are possible with God and that nothing is too hard for him, including the miraculous change of the human heart and mind when we believe and receive the Son of God as Lord and Savior.

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(3) Those Who Concede the Virgin Birth of Christ Jesus, But They…

Either: (A) question or misunderstand the real meaning or significance of the Virgin Birth being all that relevant; or (B) focus nearly all attention on Mary instead of Jesus by declaring that Mary was without sin, thereby overemphasizing and actually distorting her role in bearing the Son of God. We’ll get to group A in a moment. But first those who claim that Jesus’s mother, Mary was also sinless … otherwise how could/would she be qualified to give birth to the Son of God.

Those in this group are almost exclusively Roman Catholic; and this dubious doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (that Mary also was born and lived without sin) decreed as Roman Catholic dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854 is simply not found in God’s Word, the Bible. In fact, it is a blatant contradiction of Scripture.

Mary herself said, “…Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46).

Mary proclaimed that God was her Savior. If she (or anyone who has ever lived) thought for a moment that she was sinless, then she would have no need for a Savior; whether or not she had been chosen to give birth to that Savior or not. Moreover, she had been told earlier that her child, “will be called the Son of God.”

She knew beyond all doubt that she, too, needed a Savior; that her baby boy was that Savior, the Messiah.

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

There are no exceptions, not even Mary. In fact, if Mary never sinned, then why did she die? As God told Adam and Eve in the garden, death was the consequential penalty for only one thing: Sin. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would not have died. They would have lived forever.

As for those who pray to Mary for mediation and even for forgiveness: “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

The right time came when Jesus was born of a virgin!

The Second Adam … The Real Reason/Purpose for the Virgin Birth

Adam and Eve were created without sin (a clean slate as it were); but also God gave them free will to choose to obey him or not. God did not create mankind as a robot; rather as a living soul, a being who would obey his Creator out of love from a willing heart. Adam and Eve chose wrong, therefore:

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The Apostle Paul goes on to say:

“…Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ … For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins” (Verses 14-16).

Paul concludes the 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 … resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Verses 18-21).

Although Jesus was conceived without inheriting the sin nature (passed down through the seed of men) of man, he, like Adam, still had the capacity to sin by choosing to disobey God (his Father). Satan knew that; but unlike his success with Adam and Eve, Satan’s temptation of Messiah Jesus failed miserably (see Luke 4:1-13).

That is the ultimate purpose for the Virgin Birth: To give Jesus equal opportunity as given to Adam, his counterpart. Or looking at it in reverse, from God’s timeless viewpoint: To give Adam equal opportunity given to the Second Adam.

Both came into this world without sin. Adam was created as the first man. Christ was not created. As part of the Triune God, he is the Creator himself. Thus, he had to be born into this world, but the only way for him to be born without the sin nature (as was Adam created without sin) was to be conceived supernaturally from above, not by natural conception.

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Both Adam and Jesus had free will to choose. Adam chose disobedience and died as a result. Christ chose to obey his Father; he also died (crucified by others) but not as a result of any wrong thing he did, for he was without sin. His death was one of a substitutionary sacrifice for our sin: the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, and the godly for the ungodly. Whereas, Adam’s death (like ours) was a justified penalty for rebellion against his Creator.

Only a sinless man could reconcile sinful men and women back to God, and restore us to the original condition of Adam and Eve before they sinned. But who could or would that man be? There was only one possible choice: God’s Son born incarnate as one of us. Immanuel—God with us. The perfect unblemished Lamb of God … the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid!

Things to Ponder

Pre-Birth Announcement of the Messiah: “…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).

Messiah Jesus’s Birth: “That night there were shepherds in the fields nearby … Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them … ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!'” (Luke 2:8-11).

His Life: “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?’” (John 11:25-26).

*Reader: Put you name in place of Martha.

His Death: “He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners … Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins” (Hebrews 7:26-27).

“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).

His Resurrection: “Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead … There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).

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

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

Prophetic Implications of the Fires in Israel (Part II)

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The Fires of Israel in Perspective

For the past eight years, Israel has endured uncommonly dry winters. Until December 1st, not a drop of rain had fallen in Northern Israel for eight months. Although most of the 1,773 fires that ravaged Northern Israel in late November had already been extinguished by thousands of firefighters with logistical assistance from the IDF and Israeli police, the rains brought a soothing soaking that doused smoldering embers.

A few weeks before that, heavy rains fell in central and southern Israel, but not in the north. Which is another reminder that the true and living God (that Scripture also calls the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the God of Israel) ultimately determines when it rains, where it rains, and how much rain will fall.

Moreover, the Biblical paradigm of rainfall as a physical source and symbolic expression of God’s blessing is still applicable to Israel; a nation reborn from the floods of dispersion that began 2,000 years ago to and through the fires of Nazi death camps that, as horribly tragic as they were, signaled the end of God’s chastisement of Israel through Gentile nations. However, God’s withholding of rain can still be a means of getting Israel’s attention (indeed, the whole world) through the discipline of drought that may result in natural wildfires.

Whether the natural wildfires in northern Israel were directly from the Lord or not, one thing is excruciatingly evident: they were spitefully exacerbated by the intentional setting of dozens more fires by Palestinians and even Israeli Arabs who are citizens of Israel.

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(One of Hundreds of Fires in Israel … This One Very Well Could Have Been Arson)

*Note: Later in today’s article, we’ll look at a something phenomenal that took place during these fires in Israel, under the heading of The Rest of the Story.

Here is quote from another chapter in the book of Deuteronomy (Chapter 11 was quoted in last week’s article):

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you up high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:

“Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed … Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed” (Deuteronomy 28:1-6).

“The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do…” (Verses 11-12).

Conversely, if the people refused to listen to the Lord your God (verse 15), then, “The skies above will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth beneath will be as hard as iron. The Lord will change the rain that falls on your land into powder… The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies… (Verses 23-25).

Are Nature’s Disasters Natural or Supernatural?

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

One of the most perplexing dilemmas that people have encountered from time immemorial is whether or not natural disasters are just that, natural. Or are they supernatural in origin, i.e. the wrath of God?

Followed by a presupposition:

I believe the evidence in Scripture, both stated and implied (as experienced throughout history) is compellingly strong to propose this premise: The vast majority of disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, plagues of locusts, plagues of disease, floods, droughts, and wildfires—occur “naturally.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines naturally: “by nature; by natural character or ability; according to the usual course of things; as might be expected.”

I went on to say:

Which begs the question of whether or not God is directly involved in “natural disasters.” Putting it another way: Does he ever use the forces of nature to judge the ungodly and discipline his people? Does he occasionally cause or allow natural disasters to get our attention, to remind us that the Lord IS God. Or does he sometimes prevent natural catastrophes or limit the damage and casualties from them?

According to the Bible, the answer is a resounding, yes to all of these tough questions. But whatever reason applies to whatever calamity that occurs, the all-in-all answer is that God is ultimately sovereign over his creation. Because of the Lord’s grace, patience, and mercy, Scripture and practical experience show us that God only sparingly uses nature to get our attention. There are several examples, but only two will be cited. Both pertain to one of the main elements of God’s providential intrusion into the affairs of the human race. Which is: RAIN. Or the lack thereof.

First example: God’s stunning display of supernatural power by fire, followed immediately by rain that had not fallen at all for 3 ½ years in Israel. These exceptional events were accomplished through the prophet Elijah.

Second example: The Lord’s future withholding of rain on nations ( Zechariah 14) that refuse to attend the Festival of Shelters during the Millennial Reign Messiah Jesus, which begins after the Great Tribulation that follows the soon to come Rapture.

Also, a clarification mentioned last week:

Here we must characterize what is natural in terms and context of the how devastatingly significant man’s fall has had on nature. Since Adam and Eve’s fateful decision to disobey God followed by their expulsion from the perfect (natural) paradise of the Garden of Eden and especially since the Great Flood of Noah’s time, the earth has never been the same. This violent planet on which we live is under God’s curse, awaiting its final redemption (extreme makeover) along with the culmination of salvation for believers in Messiah Jesus … brand new eternal bodies.

Then toward the end of that article in the context of God getting Israel’s attention through natural disasters:

Am I saying that the tragic fires in Israel were directly from the Lord for that reason? No, I am not saying or even implying that. God is now protecting the Jews and Israel as never before, with allowance made that evil still exists and wicked people will do malicious things as graphically seen in the despicable acts of arson to make Israel burn even more.

Whether the Lord was in the fires or “not in the fires” by allowing nature to “run its course” is not necessarily ours to know. However, he certainly was not in or with the Palestinians to cause or condone their atrocious acts of arson.

What is of paramount importance is that Israel contemplates a possible correlation between the current drought and ensuing fires to realize that God does care about Israel and wants to, like never before, draw their attention to the coming Messiah. With an open-mind, open-heart realization that Messiah arrived two thousand years ago as the Lamb of God to give them God’s New Covenant of Grace through Jesus’s substitutionary death on the cross for sin. That his Second Coming will be that of the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to reign over and through Israel and the entire world from Jerusalem. That the earth will be purified by fire (II Peter 3).

The United States or any country would do well to take a hard look at natural disasters that strike areas of the country for possible correlation between recent or soon to be decisions of government, especially in the greater context of supporting Israel and the Jews or denigrating and delegitimizing them.

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(Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Which Struck in Late August, 2005, During the Time That Nearly 10,000 Jews Were Evicted from the Gaza Strip at the Orders Of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Under Immense Pressure from the United States to Undertake the Eviction)

God’s Discipline of Israel

One more quote from last week’s article:

Through Biblical and post-Biblical times, God used Gentile nations to discipline his chosen people, the Jews and his special possession Israel even to the point of total conquest and exile, e.g. Assyria and Babylon, then the massive Diaspora at the hands of the Roman Empire after the Jews and Judaism had rejected their Messiah.

When that tragic destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and much of Israel took place in 70 A.D., the Jews were left without a country and without a national identity, although their racial and religious identity has miraculously survived against all odds. Yet one of the most heart-rending results of no Jewish homeland since Roman times is that six million Jews were mercilessly slaughtered by those who brazenly believed the Jews had no right to even exist on this earth. Because it was not yet time for God’s prophetic disciplinary affliction to run its full course, Jews (especially European Jews) were still under Gentile domination; and, for that reason, victimized like never before in their history.

Just three years later, Israel was triumphantly reborn as a sovereign nation, which signaled the beginning of the end of Gentile suppression of the Jews; culminating in the IDF’s resounding victory during the Six-Day War and recapture of their beloved city Jerusalem.

The tragedy of the second Temple’s destruction, followed by expulsion of the Jews from Israel (some six hundred years after their return from Babylonian exile) in 70 A.D. was prophesied by Messiah, Jesus himself … forty years before the Romans sacked Jerusalem.

“As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, ‘Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another’” (Matthew 24:1-2).

Luke records the rest of this prophecy from Jesus: “Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation” (Luke 19:43-44, italics for emphasis).

I realize it’s a source of angst and controversy to correlate the Jewish Diaspora—that led to massive persecution of the Jews through the diabolically distorted “Christian” (not true Christianity, but in name only) Crusades, Inquisitions, Pogroms, and finally the devastating Holocaust of the 20th century—to God’s withdrawal of protection from his people. Yet even many Rabbis have made that connection down through the years. The main difference of opinion is the cause. Whereas Jewish scholars and rabbis attribute Israel’s ruin in 70 A.D. to several factors, none of them acknowledge the Biblical fact that they rejected God’s New Covenant for them in general and the heart and soul of that Covenant of Grace, Jesus of Nazareth, specifically as their Messiah.

Messianic Jewish Cross

Read with me (aloud) this marvelous message about Messiah Jesus:

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:1-5).

Then a few verses later:

“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:10-13).

Listen to Jesus’s passionate love for Israel, an unrequited love that grieved him greatly. But because he is the Son of God and God the Son, his is an everlasting love; one that will express itself yet again toward Jews individually and Israel nationally when he returns to save them from annihilation during the Great Tribulation. Jesus spoke these poignant words just before his prophesy about the Temple’s destruction, and he alluded to the Diaspora that would follow.

“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 home 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, italics to reference the expulsion of Jews from Israel beginning in 70 AD).

The Lord’s Punishment of Peoples and Nations Hostile Toward Israel

God also punished peoples and nations who went way too far in their extreme brutality and excessive cruelty while carrying out God’s plan to correct his chosen people and special possession, Israel. Which is the main reason that the mighty Assyrian, Babylonian, and Roman Empires came crashing down.

So also with the nation of Moab beginning with King Balak paying the prophet Balaam to curse Israel, only for God to intervene and providentially cause Balaam to bless Israel and curse Moab and Edom. In doing so, Balaam—though he didn’t really understand what he was doing or saying or the repercussions of it—uttered an astonishing prophecy of the coming Messiah:

“I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the foreheads of Moab’ people … while Israel marches on in triumph” (Numbers 24:17-18).

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The Bible is clear that the Lord has and will continue to harshly judge those nations that bash Israel physically and verbally, that celebrate her calamities even if they don’t directly participate in harmful exploits against Israel.

For example, the ancient nation of Edom whose people were descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau; a nation that was emblematic of all countries that seek Israel’s destruction.

“Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever. When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies. You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble” (Obadiah 1:10-12).

Then a message to all nations of the earth concerning Israel:

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history” (Obadiah 1:15-16).

Regarding the theme of last week’s and this week’s Eye of Prophecy articles, let’s read on in Obadiah:

“But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything…” (Verse 17-18).

Also:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My jealous anger burns against these nations, especially Edom, because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves as plunder” (Ezekiel 36:5).

In the context of the recent fires and their cause and effect, much more could be said about this divine principle of Gentile blessing and cursing Israel (as has been said in some previous Eye of Prophecy articles), but I’ll limit commentary to the following precautionary warning:

Beware you who would seek Israel’s demise by burning the very land on which the Lord has allowed you to live, through occupation of Judea and Samaria which are clearly part of the Promised Land (Israel) given by God’s divine title deed to his people. Think again before you vainly attempt to enforce your false god Allah’s commands to subjugate and kill the Jews. The (fire) pit you dig will be the pit in which you will fall. The flames of the fires you ignite to burn Jewish houses, businesses, orchards, farms, and fields (that otherwise would not have burned) will blow back to your dwellings. This divine principle is a matter of Biblical truth and historical reality evidenced time after time by the fall of peoples, nations, and empires who sought Israel’s annihilation and elimination of the Jewish people from the face of the earth.

You would do well not to defy the God of Israel, who is the Father of Messiah Yeshua; the one whose soon return will be to right all wrongs against his people. His people are the descendants of Abraham, and God’s covenant with Abraham will be honored and forever fulfilled (already in progress), which is: “For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land” (Ezekiel 36:24).

His people are also those who have been redeemed (Jew and Gentile alike) through the New Covenant of Grace.

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us … He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups” (Ephesians 2:14-15).

*Note: To reinforce the above three paragraphs, Psalm 2 will be quoted at the end of this article under the heading that concludes all Eye of Prophecy articles, Things to Ponder.

Rain and Fire

Here is one more excerpt from last week’s post that was under the caption of Rain is Life:

No rain; no water or replenishing of water. No water; no crops or fewer crops. No crops; no food for people and animals. No food for animals; no meat for people. Our life and existence on this planet depend on adequate rainfall.

Lack of rain can lead to abnormally dry conditions or debilitating drought. Which can result in something even worse: famine. Drought can also contribute to massive wildfires.

Whether it’s through steady global warming or through natural earthly cycles, the tender-dry environment that exist on much of this globe—some temporary, others permanent or showing signs of perpetual parchedness—we need to keep one thing in mind. God universally judged mankind the first time by water. The second and final time will be through fire.

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’

“They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (II Peter 3:5-7).

And, “…On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (Verses 12-13).

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Does that mean that every wild fire—whether in Israel or the United States or elsewhere in the world—comes from the hand of God for the purpose of judgment or discipline? Of course not, for the reasons we’ve covered in these two articles. In fact, just the right amount of fire in a forest is a good thing … it purifies the land and makes the land more fertile for future growth.

The Rest of the Story

There is more to this sad story of the massive damage caused by the fires in Israel; made wretchedly worse by dozens of fires deliberately started by those who hate Jews and Israel so much they would even risk the flames spreading to their own homes and shops.

The rest of the story is both incredible and prophetic in its application to the imminent return of Messiah. I’m referring to the outpouring of both sentiment and assistance from many nations … that amazingly included those who have been enemies or critics of Israel.

As anticipated, the United States sent help in the form of a giant airplane specially designed with a huge tank for dumping water and fire retardants on fires. Also men and material were dispatched from other friendly countries (to Israel) such as: Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Greece, and the Ukraine.

But most unlikely of all: those who have been antagonistic toward Israel and Jews for decades including, but not limited to, support of United Nations sanctions against Israel. Yes, even the following nations sent personnel and/or equipment to Israel to combat the fires: Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Croatia, and Italy.

That’s not all. Are you sitting down, so as not to fall from shock and disbelief? Good, then I’ll tell you who else provided assistance to Israel.

The Palestinians through the Palestinian Authority as ordered by their President Mahmoud Abbas sent eight fire trucks and personnel alongside Jewish men, women, and equipment to fight the fires!

Why on earth would Abbas do such a thing? Before giving you the apparent motives on a cynical, but nevertheless historically accurate level, I would be the first to thank the Palestinians for doing something they’ve never done in the past nor probably ever will again this side of eternity.

I believe there were two reasons for this extraordinarily unexpected gesture: (1) The Palestinian Authority’s desire to placate international concern over arson used as a form of terrorism. The gruesome fact that fire knows no boundaries and doesn’t distinguish between its victims is something the whole world understands. (2) For the second part of reason number one, Mahmoud Abbas didn’t want the fires spreading into the West Bank. Given his persistent incitement of his own people to terrorize Israelis, I’m sure he would have preferred they continue with the knife, shooting, and car-ramming intifada tactics.

There’s already talk whether or not Abbas will extend his policy of monthly stipends to the families of Palestinian terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, to Palestinians convicted of arson in these recent fires.

And what about nations such as Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan that are still, to a large extent in terms of their majority populace, hostile toward Jews in general and Israel in particular? At one time or another, these nations have directly caused or indirectly contributed (through funding terrorist groups or supporting nations that host terrorist cells) to the death and injury of Israelis particularly since Israel became a state again in 1948.

This fire-fighting aid to Israel is part of the broader context of what has recently taken place between Israel and a few nations of the world, including former adversaries like the nations listed and others like Saudi Arabia and several African nations. One glaring exception is, of course, Iran; whose hatred of Israel will never cease or change.

At face value, this recent restoration to some extent or another of diplomatic relations between Israel and nations normally antagonistic towards her doesn’t track with end time’s Biblical prophecy of the Gog/Magog assault against Israel, followed by the massive campaign of Antichrist Nero and his ten-nation confederation march on Israel. Nonetheless, many nations are beginning to recognize Israel’s ascendancy in the global arena of politics, industry, science, medicine, agriculture, and computer and cellular technology … but first and foremost, Israel’s military capability.

Then, when we remember the conditions that will be in place when these monstrous attacks on Israel take place, we can only marvel at the amazing accuracy of the Bible. For you see, before the Gog/Magog (involving principally Russia, Iran, and Turkey) invasion of Israel begins, there will be a (false) sense of peace and security in Israel. This is made possible primarily through the seven-year treaty that Antichrist Nero will orchestrate between Israel and mostly Arab nations. Preceded by the current conditions of the aforementioned nations cozying up to Israel, but with ulterior motives

See Eye of Prophecy article, The Peace Treaty That Will Guarantee War (Posted 9-3-16).

First Russia and her cohorts will seek to destroy Israel, only to be vanquished by God himself. Then Antichrist Nero will break the treaty after 3 ½ years; he, too, will launch a massive assault against other nations with his main objective of conquering Israel. That is when Messiah Jesus will return physically to earth and rescue Israel from obliteration. However, this time the Jews will fight alongside Messiah.

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These campaigns will take place when Israel thinks she is the most secure, especially after God soundly defeats the Gog/Magog horde of nations. That attack will surprise the Jews, but not as much as Antichrist breaking the treaty and suddenly turning on Israel halfway through the Tribulation.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Gog Magog Countdown Has Begun! (Published 9-10-16); preceded by a detailed account of the remarkable diplomatic relations recently advanced between Russia and Iran, Russia and Turkey, Turkey and Iran, and most startling of all: Israel’s increasingly close ties with Russia and Turkey (in italics):

The remarkable reality that Israel has suddenly and dramatically improved her standing with a diverse array of nations, most of which were (and still are to varying degrees) staunch opponents to the existence of a Jewish State, fits precisely into our prophecy of the day … the Gog/Magog attack against Israel. These maneuvers for peace between Israel and adversarial Islamic nations will pave the way for The Treaty to End All Treaties!

That treaty effected by Antichrist Nero soon after the Rapture will not only bring together two ancient enemies (Jews and Arabs); it will also defuse hostilities of other nations toward Israel … even Iran.

But only for a short time!

Because at that time, which is just around the corner, Russia, Turkey, Iran and other lesser nations will, “swoop down on the land of Israel … You (Gog) and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:8-9).

This massive Gog/Magog invasion of Israel will be a direct “shock and awe” aftermath of: The Rapture disappearance of hundreds of millions from planet Earth (shock). Then the spectacular reappearance of Nero Caesar from the Abyss and his impressive treaty with Israel and the nations (awe).

World Opinion is Volatile

People all over the world, particularly those in “populist movements” (which is who and what got Donald Trump elected) are slowly but surely beginning to realize that Palestinian terrorism against Jews in Israel is born out of ancient hatred, not so-called Israeli occupation of or a few settlements in the West Bank. They are growing tired of the incessant Muslim rhetoric against Israel, especially the absurd Palestinian allegations that Temple Mount belongs to the Arabs with the equally inane assertion that the Jewish temples never existed on Temple Mount. Or that other Jewish sacred sites such as the Cave (Tomb) of the Patriarchs belong to Arabs. There is also rising international criticism against the pernicious BDS movement designed to disenfranchise and degrade Israel economically.

Make no mistake: the end time’s prophecies that many nations will march against Israel will certainly come to pass. Such as one of the most well-known Biblical passages tells us:

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

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(The World’s Attention is On Israel … But They Don’t Know What To Do About Israel!)

But first there will be a semblance of peace in Israel and between Israel and several nations, even those that deplore the Jews. This treaty orchestrated by Antichrist Nero shortly after the Rapture will lead to the rebuilding of the Third Temple. It will cement cooperation between Israel and her enemies that has recently taken place through the remarkable diplomatic relations fostered between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, India, Greece, Cyprus, and several African nations.

The astonishingly unforeseen assistance given by these nations to fight the fires in Israel is another remarkable fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. For it is a prelude to the Gog Magog invasion of Israel that will occur in the first year or so of the seven-year treaty (The Tribulation period).

The enticement for Russia, Turkey, Iran, and other smaller nations to invade Israel—followed by the breaking of the treaty and even more massive assault against Israel led by the ten-nation coalition of Antichrist—will be conciliatory conditions created by this sudden reversal of animosity toward Israel to that of tolerance and even cooperation with Israel. This climate of collaboration has taken place recently and rapidly. As have many other developments that convincingly demonstrate we are so very close to the Day of the Lord.

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

“Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north…” (Verses 14-15).

Things to Ponder

As indicated earlier in the context of people and rulers of nations who would defy God and seek to destroy the Jews through whom the Lord has brought salvation to the entire world, listen to these words of warning from King David:

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God.’

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

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

“Now then, you kings, acts wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 2:1-12).

Regarding God’s Royal Son:

“… Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

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