Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return?

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Messiah’s Final Days on Earth During His First Advent

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He replied, ‘The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:7-8). Those were Messiah’s final words before he departed to heaven.

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

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

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

The New Covenant Rejected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:11-12).

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

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

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

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

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

The Valley of Dry Bones

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

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

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

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

“…I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered. I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule them all; no longer will they be divided into two nations or into two kingdoms” (Verses 21-22).

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

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

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

Let’s read on:

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

Do you see semantically what’s going on here?

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

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

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

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

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

Generation Length of Time in Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it, then, possible to select or identify events/dates in Israel’s contemporary history that correspond to the Biblical definition of a generation … that is one hundred years and/or seventy years? The answer is a resounding, YES.

Now, we’ll take another look at those events.

Three Monumental Milestones That Mark the Final Generation

(1)Balfour Declaration of 1917

The more I study and write about this pioneering event in modern Jewish history, the more convinced I am of its stunning significance and relevance to the beginning of the final (100-year) generation identified by Messiah Jesus. Ours is the generation of which Jesus told his disciples in the first century and for centuries thereafter that it was not for them to know the “dates and times” (Acts 1:7) … meaning the beginning of Israel’s final restoration. But Jesus did answer their question on the Mount of Olives: “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). He gave them many signs, as did the prophets of the Old Testament and (to a lesser extent) the writers of the New Testament.

See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation, Part I & II. Published 5-13-17 and 5-20-17.

Thus, the sequential connection is as follows: Once Israel’s restoration begins to take place, then we should also see other signs that the imminent return of Christ is as imminent as it ever will be or could be. That is exactly what has taken place throughout the last one hundred years or so, especially in the past seventy years.

Also refer to articles: Look Up, Redemption is Near, I & II. Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15. Which detail twelve flashpoint events in the 20th & 21st centuries, six applying to Israel (including those in this week’s article) and six to the rest of the world.

The Balfour Declaration of 100 hundred years ago bears an amazing correlation with and resemblance to the 100-year time-span of a generation as given by God to Abraham. Not long after the end of the fourth (of a total of four) generation of captivity in Egypt, the Israelites were birthed as a nation—beginning when the Law of Moses was given and the twelve tribes were integrated under God himself; finally unified nationally when they entered Canaan (the Promised Land that would become Israel) under Joshua. Same thing happened and in the approximate time-frame between the Balfour Declaration and the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation.

This past November 2nd, Israel’s Knesset—as did officials in Great Britain—celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The featured speaker was Lord Nathanial Jacob Rothschild, who is the 4th Baron Rothschild. It was the 2nd Baron, Walter Rothschild, to whom Lord Balfour’s declaration was specifically addressed in 1917.

Said, Nathanial Jacob Rothschild: “A decade after the Declaration, Lord Balfour himself said it was important not only for the Jewish people, but also for the history of the entire world. This is not merely a historic document, but a vision of a society that will be governed by Jewish values and will care for non-Jewish populations as well.”

Here is an excerpt from the online United with Israel news source, published 11-9-17:

“British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey read aloud a message on behalf of British Prime Minister Theresa May… Lord Balfour, the message said, had a vision of returning the persecuted Jewish nation to a safe haven. Britain … is proud of its part in the pioneering work for the establishment of the State of Israel. Britain is proud of the State of Israel, for what it stands for as an open and democratic country in the Middle East, said the message from May.”

Said Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with, however, a sober reminder of what didn’t happen soon enough after the Balfour Declaration: “…the Balfour Declaration laid the international foundation and the support for Zionism in Europe and America and in other parts of the world, and by doing so it contributed greatly to the resurrection enterprise of our people. To our regret, a short while later Britain withdrew from what was promised in the Balfour Declaration, and this was a major tragedy. The fact that we were not sovereign until 1948 prevented the rescue of millions of Jews, who were annihilated in the Holocaust. The tragedy of the Balfour Declaration is that it took 30 years to implement it.”

Benjamin concluded by saying: “When I saw the Palestinian leadership refer to the Balfour Declaration as a crime and call on the British Government to apologize for it—they are not moving forward, they are going 100 years backwards. This is the root of the conflict, the 100-year old refusal to recognize Zionism and the State of Israel within any borders.”

I’d like to add and embrace as my own the vital vision of the prophet Isaiah. His passionate words are in the unmistakable context (like many other prophetic passages) that Israel’s restoration goes hand in hand with their (our) Jewish Messiah; who came first as Redeemer (Lamb of God), and who will return as King of all kings (Lion of Judah) at the end of the generation, when all these things will take place.

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

Who or what is Israel’s righteousness and salvation? The prophet Jeremiah answers that question.

“For the time is coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The Lord is our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

For you see, none of us—neither Jew nor Gentile—has any innate righteousness of our own. Nor can we work or give enough to acquire it. It is the Lord himself who is our righteousness and who imputes right-standing with God to and in us.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right (righteousness) with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood….” (Romans 3:23-25, parenthesis mine).

(2) UN Resolution (1947) That Led to the Rebirth of Israel (1948)

Soon, on the 29th of November, Israel will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Resolution that paved the way for Israel to become a sovereign state. Less than six months later that is exactly what happened with the miraculous rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948.

That was the beginning of the 70-year generation (a generation within the 100-year generation) that I’m equally convinced is this same final generation, and will in all likelihood culminate in the Day of the Lord—beginning with the Rapture. Actually, using the Jewish calendar of 30 days, both generational time frames extend through May, 2019. Am I saying the Rapture will absolutely take place by then? No, I’m not saying that. However, if not, I’m confident it won’t be long afterward.

Jesus said that no one knows the “day or hour” of the Rapture—the first phase of his glorious return. But we can and should recognize the signs of the end-times … which take place (are taking place) within the Omega generation.

As we read earlier in the astonishing passage of Isaiah Chapter 66, Israel’s actual birth pains began AFTER she was reborn. Through four major wars and countless terrorist’s attacks and seemingly never-ending threats against her very survival, modern-day Israel is going through the same kind of existential struggle experienced before, during, and after her 70-year Babylonian Captivity. The Babylonian exile was a smaller, but still terrible, parallel prototype of the Holocaust horror that led directly to the State of Israel and the miraculous mass return of the Jews to Israel. With one huge difference (the reason for which is that Israel is now back to stay forever): after 1948, Israel was able to defend herself because God is with her, not against her.

(Helicopters, Fighter Jets, Tanks, State of the Art Weaponry, and Superbly Trained & Skilled Soldiers … Israel is Ranked 6th in the World’s Military Powers, Behind the United States, Russia, China, France, and United Kingdom)

Still, the return of Jews from Babylon to Israel is akin to what has transpired since Israel’s statehood of 1948. It wasn’t until then that large numbers of Jews began to return to their ancient homeland and many more born in Israel thereafter. In fact, the population of the Jews in Israel has increased tenfold in the last 70 years.

(3) The Amazing Liberation & Reunification of Jerusalem (Six-Day War of 1967)

We must include the all-important Jubilee period of 50 years duration. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! Posted 1-23-16).

I am fully persuaded that Israel’s Jubilee was reinstated unilaterally by the Lord himself in 1967—Israel’s stupendous victory in which the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, Judea Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and especially Jerusalem and Temple Mount were all returned to Jewish sovereignty. The whole idea and purpose of a Jubilee year was for many to freely (freedom) return to their dispossessed land, which they originally owned and occupied. That is exactly what happened on a historical scale in the Six-Day War, especially the reunion of Jerusalem with the rest of Israel. Unfortunately, the Gaza, the Sinai, large parts of Judea/Samaria (called by some, the West Bank) and Temple Mount were subsequently relinquished back to Arab control. But all that will change one day soon.

This past summer, Israel celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s liberation. Do you see how precisely that tracks with the 100-year and 70-year generation of the 20th and 21st centuries? In fact, a case could be made that the Balfour Declaration was actually when the Lord revived the Jubilee, as that took place 50 years before the Six Day War.

Another incredible phenomenon begin to take place in 1967. A few, then many Messianic ministries sprang up in America but also the world over. Many thousands of Jews have accepted Jesus as their Messiah and Savior as a result … a Jubilee-like redemption for all their sins and freedom from the penalty thereof.

What better connection or more logical deduction could we make than the next Jubilee will see the magnificent inception of the Day of the Lord, which commences with the Rapture!

Things to Ponder

Let’s take a thumbnail look at Israel’s 2017 population, placed in the context of the 100-year generation that began in 1917 (Balfour Declaration); the 70-year generation that commenced in 1947 (UN Resolution or Israeli Statehood in 1948—either one will work); and the 50-year Jubilee of the Six-Day War of 1967.

Of the almost 6.5 million Jews in Israel, 10.3% are 65 and older, which would be approximately 669,500 Jews in Israel over 65. It’s likely these figures are similar with Jews all over the world, not living in Israel. However, life expectancy in Israel has increased ten years since 1970, to the average of 81.2 years for Israeli men and 84.5 years for Israeli woman.

(You may want to click onto the following link for more of Israel’s population details, however the following statistics will suffice for purpose of this article. The 8.3 million in population shown on the chart includes about 1.8 million Israeli Arabs).

https://www.populationpyramid.net/israel/2017/

If you click to the above link, and hover over the individual bars online you’ll find that there are 622 men and 895 women in Israel who are still alive at the age of 100 or more. For age bracket 95-99, there are 3,622 men and 5,963 women. For age group 70-74: 106,374 men and 122,671 women. For ages 50-54: 194,684 men and 202,742 woman.

Now let’s see the remarkable relevance of these statistics to the remnant of Israel (“they” and “their children and grandchildren” of the Ezekiel prophecy detailed earlier in today’s article).

Using a nuclear fusion term, the “critical mass” of the Jewish remnant ingathering back to Israel was certainly the fusion point of Israel’s national rebirth in 1947-48. The combined number of Jewish men and woman currently living in Israel beginning with the age group of 70-74 (approximately 229,000) would be “they” of the Ezekiel prophecy.

“Their children” (Ezekiel 37:25) would be those in the age bracket of 50-55 (or thereabouts) which total another 397,000 or so. And “their grandchildren” (also verse 25) would be hundreds of thousands more. These age groups represent and are part of the 70-year component of the last (what I’ve termed the Omega) generation spoken of by Jesus.

But it also goes back to the preparatory phase of the return of the Jews to Israel that started very slowly, but surely, in 1917. I’m convinced that a few of these Jews will also be alive to witness the Rapture—whether taken as and with other believers in Messiah, or left behind to experience the terrible Tribulation, but hopefully to choose Messiah at that time. Currently there are about 1,500 Jews who are 100+ years old in Israel. They, too, could be considered first generation of returning Jews in 1917; with their children those in the 70-year generation and their grandchildren those in the Jubilee time-frame. With all three groups part of the 100-year final generation (countdown).

These three pivotal epic events in Israel’s modern-day history are legitimate benchmarks with which to identify the last generation that will witness the Day of the Lord. Both the generation cited by Jesus and the generations identified by Ezekiel (and other prophets) are one and the same literal generational age-groups in the last days.

Here’s what the Lord said shortly after Ezekiel identifies they and them, and their children and grandchildren:

“I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27).

That is a time-capsule prophecy dedicated and applied to the last generation (100-year, 70-year, and 50-year Jubilee).

We are that generation!

“Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it? Asks the Lord. No! I would never keep this nation from being born, says your God” (Isaiah 66:9).

“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree (which represents Israel). When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:32-34, parenthesis mine).

The productive life span of many fig trees is 50 to 100 years! Except the Sycamore Fig which can live to be 1,000 years. But that’s a whole different analogy—to the Millennium!

Palestinian Terror Tunnels & Poetic Justice

The Book

The Bible is an amazing union of sixty-six books in one. In fact, it is known world-wide as simply, The Book. It contains every literary genre and style known to man.

What is it you’re looking for? History of peoples, places, times, and events—including the created beginning of all things? Biographies—including four separate but synchronized accounts of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus? Letters? Poetry? Inspirational Prayers and Psalms. Parables—short stories but always to illustrate real-life situations and realities? Genealogies? Divine doctrinal articles on truth and wisdom? You’ll find them all in Scripture and more.

“All Scripture is inspired by God…” (II Timothy 3:16, NASB).

“…I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

Plus that which is found nowhere else in history or literature or non-Biblical “sacred” writings: an autobiography of the true and living God, himself.

You know: The ONLY God who has foretold the future through hundreds of prophecies with one hundred percent accuracy. With, therefore, an absolute statistical probability (ten to an infinite power) that the yet unfulfilled predictions will most certainly come to pass. And scores of mighty miracles (of which only God, His Son, and their prophets and apostles have performed) that no other so-called gods and prophets of man-made religions can even come close to achieving.

Although somewhat of an oversimplification, there are three basic categories that comprise the style and substance of Scripture.

1) Outright proclamations of divine truth, with many of them spoken by the Lord himself. Such as: “Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). And hundreds more like: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Or: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21)

2) Historical records of people, places, and events. Creation, the Exodus, and the life of Christ come to mind.

3) Poetic and narrative metaphorical portrayals, with life-like illustrations, active analogies, and dramatic descriptions of God’s revealed truth to the human race. Such as: “The Lords lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!” (Psalm 18:46). Or Messiah Jesus described as, “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5). Or as found in the words of Jesus, himself: “…I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

(Jesus is also the “Good Shepherd” … John 10:11)

Another example of illustrative imagery in Scripture, specifically applicable to this week’s article, is as follows:

“The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads” (Psalm 7:14-16).

Then in the very next verse we read: “I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Verse 17, italics for emphasis).

The Justice of God

One of God’s awesome attributes is that of pure justice … justice dispensed with firmness but fairness. Such as administered by Messiah Jesus (God the Son) during his imminent glorious millennial reign on Planet Earth: “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity…” (Isaiah 9:7).

The very concept of impartial justice, including punishment fitting the crime, was given to the human race by God through Moses to the nation of Israel when the Jews were known as Hebrews or Israelites. Later, some of the essentials of Hebrew law were adopted by the Roman Empire, such as innocent until proven guilty. Then fine-tuned by the British system of law and order, and raised to new heights by the republic checks and balance standards of the United States of America. Moreover, there is no better example of jurisprudence than found in modern-day Israel.

Society’s system of justice was mandated by God to human government. But retribution (final reckoning) belongs to God, himself.

“For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the (new) covenant, which made us holy (separated to God), as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, ‘I will take revenge. I will pay them back…’” (Hebrews 10:28-30, parenthesis mine, the last sentence a quote from Deuteronomy 32:35).

During the course of human history, we see many examples of God’s justice. Including harsh discipline of God’s own people for their unfaithfulness to him, mostly because they turned to false gods and religious systems of their pagan neighbors. Resulting in what the Lord called, “despicable” and “evil” deeds; brazenly committed by even the prophets, priests, and kings of Israel and Judah.

God’s punishment began in full when the remaining Jews in Judah (Southern Kingdom) were exiled to Babylon and Jerusalem and the Temple were utterly destroyed. Although some of the exiles returned to Israel, God’s people still did seek him as a nation. Thus God’s Seven Times Over punishment of Israel continued uninterrupted until 1967, when the Israelis liberated Jerusalem and ended Gentile domination of the Jews forever. God’s prescribed time period for Israel’s discipline was over. [Refer to Eye of Prophecy articles Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power) I, II, & III and the sequel summary, The Omega Generation, posted 1-25, 2-1, 2-8 & 2-15-14, based on this astonishing prophecy found in Leviticus Chapter 26].

We also see God’s anger vented against Gentile nations in the deliverance and defense of his chosen people before, during, and after (to this very day) the miraculous rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation.

Very few people study the historical repercussions experienced by nations (including those which have fallen never to rise again, such as Babylon and the Roman Empire) in the context of how they related to and treated the Jews as a people and/or Israel as a nation. (See Eye of Prophecy article: For or Against Israel? which includes a section on Great Britain. Posted, 7-16-16).

Unfortunately, secular history is not concerned in the least with God’s two major magnificent designs and purposes for the human race, despite clear evidence and expression of these plans down through the ages. One of those plans is God’s prophesied destiny for his special possession, Israel. The other is God’s plan of salvation through the Jewish Messiah Jesus—for individual Jews and Gentiles alike.

Nor do most people in today’s world (sadly including some Christians) give a second thought to significant statements made by the Lord himself regarding Israel. Such as the oft quoted: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

Few and far between are those who have read Bible passages (at all or more than once) like the following, which was also referenced in the recent Eye of Prophecy article, Prophetic Fate of Israel’s Friends and Foes (posted 10-28-17); let alone place any historical or future value on it. Despite the fact that this warning is solemnly issued by God, himself.

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history” (Obadiah 1:15-16).

They see the incredible return of the Jews from the four corners of the earth to Israel as predicted hundreds of times in Scripture. But passively or actively refuse to make any Biblical connection to the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the rebirth of Israel in 1947-48; the reunification of Jerusalem to Israel in 1967; and the amazing alignment of Middle East nations against each other and Israel in today’s world.

As does much of the Old Testament, particularly prophecy, the above passage in Obadiah uses explicit illustrative imagery … entire nations and peoples that will drink and stagger and swallow the punishment of God’s judgment. This symbolism is designed to vividly depict God’s righteous justice to those nations/peoples that have harmed or even seek to harm Israel. When it comes to God’s discipline, deliverance, and defense of Israel, this figurative representation of God’s direct retribution or of justice in general (what comes around goes around) is normally carried out in principle and patterns. But also literally, as we shall soon see regarding the Palestinian terror tunnels.

Three Prototype Patterns of God’s Protection of Israel

1) God’s direct supernatural intervention. Such as the powerful plagues levied against Pharaoh and Egypt that would result in the dramatic deliverance of God’s people from (hundreds of years of) slavery. Or God’s remarkable rescue of King Hezekiah and all of Judah through one single angel who destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers overnight (see II Kings 19 & Isaiah 37). Or the massive defeat that God will inflict on the Gog/Magog coalition which invades Israel in the early part of the soon-to-come Great Tribulation. In these (and others such as II Kings 7) astonishing victories, the Jews had only to watch in wonder as God vanquished Israel’s enemies unilaterally and supernaturally.

(The 10th & Most Devastating Plague. The firstborn of all Egyptians, including Pharaoh were struck down by the Lord … Exodus 12:28-30).

2) God causing Israel’s enemies to turn on each other. As one example (with a practical application to the United States of America) here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Stand Still & Watch God Fight For Israel (posted 7-30-16). In italics:

“After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites (Aram) declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army from Edom (Aram) is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea’ … Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance … So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help” (II Chronicles 20:1-4).

Commentary: Good response. Not only the king, but representatives from all of Judah sought the counsel and help of the God of Israel. Once again, the Bible is crystal clear on this principle: If we sincerely call on the Lord to rescue us and with equal sincerity listen to him through his Word and obey him, he will hear us. If we exclude the Lord and certainly if we expel him from the affairs of our nation, individually and collectively, then we’re on our own.

“…O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!” (II Chronicles 20:6).

O that these words of Jehoshaphat speaking for the entire nation of Judah could be heard in our Halls of Congress, in the White House, in the seats of our Supreme Court Justices, and throughout the Pentagon:

He goes on to say:

“O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (Verse 12).

Biblical fact: Any nation, including what many think is the invincible United States of America, is powerless to help themselves if God is not with them. Period. End of story … end of nation.

Then Jehoshaphat and all the people bowed and worshipped the Lord. The next morning, Jehoshaphat said to the people as they prepared to meet the invading enemy: “…Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed” (Verse 20).

Here’s what happened next:

“After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’

“At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped” (Verses 21-24).

Many of us remember the wartime slogan, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” We all know that to mean: Seek the Lord’s help for a righteous cause and praise him for all he has done and will do; but we must still fight and some will die to win the victory. That is a maxim for armies that the Lord has aided down through the years.

Not so with Jehoshaphat and his people. All they did was to praise the Lord! No bows, arrows, spears, swords, or ammunition of any kind. The Lord did it all. There have been documented cases in war when an army or militia turned on one of its allies. Yet they are few and certainly didn’t result in total annihilation of each other, before they even began to engage their real enemy. Nothing like what happened to the armies of Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Aram. All the people of Judah had to do was trust the Lord, praise him for a victory already guaranteed against a massive coalition that would have annihilated Judah, and then, “…gather the plunder” (Verse 25).

3) God’s providential assurance of Israel’s victories when her people actually fight. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. But to demonstrate that God’s prophetic promises also apply to the return of the Jews to the Promised Land and rebirth of the State of Israel, I’ll cite the against all odds miraculous triumph of the Israelis in their 1948 War of Independence; their stunning victory in the Six-Day War of 1967; and their equally incredible defeat of the surprise attack launched by Egypt and Syria on the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur in 1973.

(At the Western Wall: Battle Hardened Israeli Soldiers Celebrating Liberation of Jerusalem. Some Wept Tears of Joy)

In all of these examples we see Israel’s enemies swallowing the pill of death and destruction meant for Israel, and staggering from the blows with which they would have pulverized Israel into oblivion. Or, Israel’s enemies drinking the same disabling concoction which they had intended to force down Israel’s throat.

“…I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them’” (Jeremiah 25:14-16).

Jeremiah goes on to list a lengthy array of nations and their kings—past, present, and future, beginning with Judah itself and ending with Babylon—that would drink from this cup of God’s wrath. To include, by default (based on other prophets and their prophecies) all end-times nations that despise, denigrate, demonize, and arrogantly seek to destroy Israel.

The allegorical language so often used by the Lord through his prophets has and will continue to apply to those peoples who hate the Jews and to nations that seek to erase Israel from the map. Even more remarkable is the literal demonstration (cause and effect) of justice that we find in Scripture and also in today’s world, as we shall soon see through a stunning turn of events in the Gaza Strip.

The term, “poetic justice” was first coined by English literary critic Thomas Rymer in the late 17th century. Initially and specifically it applied to some literary works that Rymer believed should reflect the rewarding of the good characters and punishment of the bad characters … a right representation of real life. Since then, poetic justice seems to have expanded to a universal code of cause and effect in ethics and morality, beyond literature.

This is reflected in the generalized definition of poetic justice found in Webster’s Dictionary: “An outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate.”

A well-known example of a literal “ironic twist of fate” (in the context of poetic justice) is that of the wicked Persian official Haman, as found in the book of Esther. Haman’s evil plot to kill Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, then to annihilate all of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire, came back to (ironically appropriate) haunt, humiliate, and hang him on a pole … literally.

It was Haman who ended up being executed; impaled on the same pole that he erected to murder Mordecai … a precisely peculiar ironic and literal “twist of fate.”

Recent Collapse of Palestinian Terror Tunnels; Justice Served—Literally

Less than two weeks ago on October 30th, 2017, eight Palestinians—some of whom (including senior officials) belonged to the militant terrorist cell known as Palestinian Islamic Jihad—were killed when Israelis “neutralized a terror tunnel” by blowing it up. At least eight more terrorists were injured or missing in the tunnel’s collapse. Israeli Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said that the tunnel had been exploded where it ended on Israel’s side of the border with the Gaza Strip. Obviously the detonation was large enough for a ripple effect to parts of the tunnel on the Gaza side.

(One of the Palestinian Terror Tunnels Uncovered by the IDF)

Lt. Col Conricus went on to call this tunnel a, “grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

Although Islamic Jihad is a separate militant organization from Hamas—which is the controlling entity of the Gaza Strip—Israel holds Hamas accountable for any terrorist attacks or illegal excursions into Israel, including tunnels.

In an article published on 10-31-17 in the online Op Ed News Source, Israel Hayom, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis is quoted: “Only conventional measures were used. The IDF used the same measures it uses regularly. The secondary damage underground resulted in fatalities … There was no intent to target any specific individual. The operation took place in our territory. Their people were killed in their territory.”

He also said that most of the casualties were from smoke inhalation, dust, and landslides, not directly from the detonation itself.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response was, “Those who try to harm us, we harm them. Today we detected a tunnel and destroyed it and we will continue to do so.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett reacted in the vein of other Israeli officials; however, his response also criticized IDF’s insinuation that human targets were not intended.

Said Bennett: “We must never apologize for success in eliminating terrorists. These are terrorists who were digging an attack tunnel inside Israeli territory. It was dug to kill Israeli woman and children. We are not interested in any escalation, and as a member of the cabinet who, since Operation Protective Edge has pushed for eliminating the terror tunnel threat, I fully support this operation. The IDF’s objective is to defeat the enemy, and we must continue doing that.”

Operation Protective Edge began in 2014, in justified retaliation for the abduction and brutal murder of three Israeli youths by Hamas militants, but also because Hamas terrorists were infiltrating Israel through dozens of tunnels, the sheer number of which caught the IDF off guard. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, Bring Back Our Boys, posted 6-28-14. Followed by Prince of Peace on 7-5-14, after the abducted boys were found dead).

During that campaign, the IDF destroyed 32 terrorist tunnels, and since then has made neutralization of tunnels one of Israel’s top priorities. Some of those tunnels were a mile long and sixty feet deep.

Whether dug by Palestinians between Gaza and Israel or between Gaza and Egypt to smuggle arms and ammunition, several Palestinians have been killed (in the past couple of years) during the excavation of tunnels, having nothing to do with Israeli intervention. On the contrary, tunnels simply collapsed with the implied conclusion that the diggers were not skilled enough in subterranean digging or safety to prevent their own deaths.

Yet, when the Israelis (through precautionary, preemptive defense strategies) blow up a tunnel while it just happens to be occupied by terrorists, here is the reaction of the Islamic Jihad leader, Mohammad Al Hindi: “The truce with the enemy is over and the response will be the size of the crime.”

In the Palestinian news agency Wafa, the military branch of the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) also called it, “the Israeli crime.” Boasting that, “the blood (of those killed) would not be wasted.”

Even this response is couched in gloomy irony. It is the Palestinians who are wasting their own blood in their hate-fueled and ill-fated agenda to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Worse, they are spilling the blood of Israelis.

(The “Knife Intifada” Began In October, 2016. Other Means of Palestinians Killing Jews Are With Guns, Axes, Clubs, Ramming Cars. Some of the Attacks Carried Out by Women. Even Slingshots Can Be Deadly)

Crime? Is it a crime for Israel to protect her people from death and injury at the hands of those whose life’s ambition is to kill innocent men, woman, and children? When the real crime can be found in the Palestinian “cause” which is based on lies and false rewritten history that Jews are the occupiers of land that rightfully belongs to them. Not only Jews but also Israeli Arabs who are citizens of the Sovereign State of Israel. When, in fact, there is no such thing as a Palestinian State or a Palestinian people or a Palestinian language. Or to deliberately ignore the fact that Israel’s name was changed to Palestine by a Roman Emperor in the 2nd century who hated the Jews, killed them, and drove out many Jews who had not been exiled by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank who are non-citizens … by their own preference and choice. They are the actual settlers (in the negative connotation) of the land, all of which belongs to Israel by God’s decree and also by historical presence and rights that existed long before Arabs occupied parts of Israel.

Yet, it’s even deeper than the land of Israel. It is the irrational, unreasonable, and unfathomable Arab/Muslim hatred of the Jews. And not only by the Arabs, but by entire nations and peoples the world over in the ugly expression of Anti-Semitism. See Eye of Prophecy article The Real Reason for Palestinian Terrorism (posted 9-30-17) to discover the historical underlying cause.

Two days before the tunnel in question was demolished by the IDF, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency revealed discovery of another tunnel dug by Palestinian militants directly beneath one of UNRWA’s schools in Gaza. UNRWA reported that they had, “sealed the cavity created by the tunnel.”

For years, this United Nations agency (along with UNESCO) has been a stubbornly stern critic of Israel, for any number of unfounded and bogus reasons. So much so that both the United States (via President Trump’s executive order) and Israel recently canceled their membership in UNESCO. Thus, it’s obvious that the press release by UNRWA (UNESCO’s counterpart in bashing Israel) was moderated toward Israel in order not to ruffle more United States’ feathers. Regarding the sealing of the tunnel beneath their office complex, an UNRWA official pretentiously protested, “…the violation of the sanctity and disrespect of the neutrality” of United Nations fixtures. Yet this spokesperson didn’t call the violators terrorists or identify them as Hamas or even as Palestinians. Instead, they employed the term “relevant parties” as those responsible for the tunnel.

In an Israel Hayom article written by Yoav Limor, also posted on 10-31-17, we read: “Israel told Hamas in no uncertain terms that as the sovereign power in Gaza it would pay the price for any form of retaliation (meaning by Islamic Jihad). It is unclear why Hamas failed to take this into consideration when it allowed Islamic Jihad to dig the attack tunnel into Israel … Although the armed factions in Gaza have coordinated in recent years, they remain far apart ideologically and are sponsored by rival powers. While Hamas is supported by Sunni Gulf States, Islamic Jihad is backed by Iran and Syria.”

*Note: The last sentence of the above statement by Yoav Limor is certainly accurate; however, recently Hamas sent delegates to Iran for two reasons: (1) to brief Iran on the signed agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, in which the PA will take over administrative functions of the Gaza Strip. (2) Iranian officials agreeing with and encouraging Hamas not to give up their weapons, which was a precondition for this truce with the Palestinian Authority. It’s apparent that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was embarrassed by Hamas’s unwillingness to lay down their arms, and it’s equally evident that Abbas will or can do nothing about it.

Summary

In light of this recent tunnel episode and the possibility of terrorists being in the tunnel when it was demolished (does it really matter in the context of Israel’s right or any country’s right to protect its citizens?), let’s look again at the Scripture quoted near the beginning of this week’s article:

“The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads” (Psalm 7:14-16, italics for emphasis).

The providential privilege and universal principles of justice, especially poetic justice, in this and previous “natural” collapses of terror tunnels is extraordinary. The metaphorical language of warranted payback, as prophetically and poignantly expressed in the above passage, literally took place. To wit: Dig a pit, fall into it … the backfire of the detonation to the beginning point of the tunnel … falls on their own heads.

Those of us who are believers in Messiah Jesus (both Jew and Gentile) can appreciate the perfect justice of our Great God and Savior and the Biblical standard that what is sown will be reaped. Whether through unprovoked, unjustified wars or the constant killing of innocent people the world over (by terrorist groups, lone-wolf terrorists, or evil-deranged murderers), we are satisfied when justice is served. Who among us doesn’t breathe a sigh of relief when the killer will kill no more because he or she has been silenced?

However, we need to maintain a Biblical balance. We need to distinguish between welcoming God’s justice against wicked individuals and nations during our lifetime, and the Lord’s final sentence against all unbelievers at the last judgment.

“…And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and grave were thrown into the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:13-15). *Note: The unsaved will be judged according to their deeds, because it is their erroneous belief that good works would be the basis for redemption; rather than Biblical salvation by simply believing and receiving Messiah Jesus as personal Savior.

Things to Ponder

God doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked, and neither should we.

This premise is not a contradiction of the following passage: “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is glad shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down” (Proverbs 11:10-11, NASB).

This proverb is not suggesting that people should revel capriciously or vindictively in the actual death of wicked people (especially rulers and leaders), with the celebrating an end into itself. Yes, there is gladness when terrible tyrants and malicious murderers are dealt with. Who wasn’t elated, except a few die-hard Nazis, when Hitler (and others like him at all different levels) exited this earth?

Rather, the context and connotation of this proverb is how much better it is when a city (or state or nation) is governed by those whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12), not whose god is themselves.

“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? Says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live” (Ezekiel 18:23).

And again: “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

That’s right. This principle was applied even to God’s chosen people.

God is Love (I John 4:8). He loves all people equally (John 3:16). This love was graciously expressed through the death of his only Son, Messiah Jesus, for the sins that every human being has committed and the eternal pardon for those sins.

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

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36).

Islam and its false god, Allah, bestow the highest honor to those who die while they are killing the infidels … Jews and Christians, and even other Muslims who belong to a different sect of Islam. Thus, Sunnis kill Shi’ites and vice versa. And they both murder Jews and Christians. Whereas, the true and living God doesn’t force anyone to love him or to accept his Son as the only way of salvation. He asks only for a willing response to so great a love, so great a salvation.

God’s justice is firm but fair. It is pure; it altogether combines his love and his holiness. There is a perfect blend of life-giving grace and salvation with the truth of sin and its eternal consequences.

Iran and its proxies have repeatedly vowed to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.”

Listen to the word of the Lord when the armies of Gog/Magog (which includes Iran) dare advance against Israel in the soon to come Great Tribulation:

“You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:4-6).

Yes, Scripture tells us who actually will be wiping whom from the face of the earth.

Iran and all peoples and nations who bear ill-will toward Israel should take heed. God’s supreme power and justice will not be denied. So, too, against all who, “…refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them… They will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10 & 12).

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

Do you believe him?

Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing & Purpose

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Playing Games

Have you ever played the game of Twenty-One Questions? If not, you may have said or heard something like, “What is this … twenty-one questions?” Which can be a response to being asked one too many questions, especially those that are personal. Why is twenty-one questions still a catch-phrase, particularly among us Baby Boomers?

Twenty-One was one of the many television game shows which became widely and wildly popular during the 1950s. Two contestants were placed in separate sound-proof booths; the first to get to 21 points by successfully answering the questions was the winner. Hosted by Jack Barry, it aired in 1956; but lasted only three years. Its’ short television shelf-life was not a result of poor ratings; rather, it was the first game show (of a few) discovered to be “rigged” in various ways.

Whether a Baby Boomer or not, many may be familiar with another T.V. game show that aired in 1955. Several years later it, too, was discovered to have been fixed. If you don’t remember that show or are too young to have ever seen it, my guess is that you’ve still said or heard the following phrase: “That’s the $64,000.00 Question!”

The name of the show? What else? The $64,000.00 Question.

Some of the popular television game shows first aired in the 50s that were not tainted: The Price Is Right, This Is Your Life, What’s My Line, and To Tell the Truth.

(The TV Game Show, Twenty-One)

So what is the more modern version of Twenty-One Questions?

From the online source WikiHow, we read (quote in italics):

…The game “21 Questions” is a great game to play if you are trying to get to know someone, have a group of friends who want to know more about each other, or have a romantic partner you want to learn more about…”

In Understanding the Game of today’s Twenty-One Questions, Point 4 subtitled Consider the Setting, the article gives examples of questions to ask:

If meeting with members of a book club or writer’s group, you might want to ask questions like, “What is your favorite book?”… If meeting with a church group, consider questions such as, “What is your favorite Bible verse/story?”

Point #2 (of seven rule points) is subtitled: Identify what you want to know.

Point 5: Show respect.

Point 6: Identify off-limits questions.

Point 7: Set rules for how to pass on a question.

It’s sometimes fun to reminisce, particularly if the nostalgia takes us back to what we think (or maybe really were) the good old days!

For the purpose of this week’s Eye of Prophecy article we need to change a couple of the rules of Twenty-One Questions. For example: there are no-off limits questions when it comes down to our long-term eternal destiny … heaven or hell. There should be no passing on questions that challenge a person’s lack of concern for or interest in the short-term (soon-to-come) consequences of what will be the most terrible time of human history.

Stay tuned and we’ll look at:

Twenty-One Reasons Not To Play Games with the Future

All twenty-one reasons are graphically and powerfully portrayed in the book of Revelation. The apocalyptic last days of the end times including twenty-one colossal catastrophes are summarily lumped together in many Biblical prophecies under the term, Day of the Lord—which entails the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, The Return of Messiah Jesus, and the Millennium. By now you’ve probably realized that the twenty-one events are part and parcel of the Great Tribulation.

“In all history there has never been such a time of terror. It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel. Yet in the end they will be saved!” (Jeremiah 30:7).

From the prophet Daniel: “…Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence…” (Daniel 12:1).

Some 550 years later, Messiah Jesus, himself, affirmed and expanded on Daniel’s prophecy.

“For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22).

There are twenty-one specific calamities that will take place during the Great Tribulation in which billions will die from more war, disease, famine, murder, natural and supernatural disasters than the human race has experienced in all of its history to date. (Please see, Shocking Statistics of the Tribulation posted 6-6-15 in Eye of Prophecy, which details the terrible death toll of the tribulation).

Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls

The twenty-one judgments listed in Revelation are divided into three sets of seven. Three: the divine number that represents and expresses our majestic Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Seven: the finality of God’s purpose, providence, and justice.

Seven Seals: Broken one at a time by Jesus Christ.

Seven Trumpets: Blown/heralded by seven angels.

Seven Bowls: Poured out on the earth. “…Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues which would bring God’s wrath to completion” (Revelation 15:1).

We want to focus primarily on the when, why, and who of these massive judgments. When will (spacing and timing) the twenty-one catastrophes occur … such as first half or second half of the Great Tribulation? Why (what is the overriding purpose) must they take place? Who will be affected the most?

Beginning with a twofold comprehensive premise: (1) God’s wrath poured out on a totally corrupt, evil, and unremorseful world. (2) But for the specific purpose to get the attention of all unbelievers, giving them one final clear-cut (black and white decision … no gray areas) opportunity for salvation by choosing the true Messiah, Jesus. Or, at the peril of eternal death, to follow the false messiah in one last attempt for mankind to (unsuccessfully) prove that the human race can do what only God can do: save us from self-destruction—a direct result of our sinful nature and the consequences thereof. Thereby, establishing a Kingdom of true justice and real peace on the earth.

“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).

It often takes troubled times and extreme events to shake us out of spiritual apathy. To turn us to our Creator, and to remind us that we are desperately in need of Biblical redemption (believing and receiving Messiah Jesus as personal Savior) in order to live forever in heaven and escape eternal separation from God … in hell.

Indeed, it’s not a game. Yet we can draw from the analogy of Twenty-One Questions, especially rules 2 & 5. What is it you want to know? What is it you should know? Because the stakes are so high, wouldn’t it be good to identify the big-picture long-term questions that will determine our eternal destiny. And the short-term (near future) issue of whether we will be taken in the glorious Rapture or left behind to experience the greatest soul-shocking, gut-wrenching, and heart-failing episode of all time—the Great Tribulation. How much respect for Biblical prophecy do you have? Should you have?

Unbelievers often say something to the effect, “Aren’t there enough horrible things happening all over the world. Why bring up predictions of more gloom and doom?” Answer: Because that’s exactly what the Day of the Lord will be to those who have rejected Messiah Jesus, who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Then he backed up his claim as the Son of God by rising from the dead.

Sadly, the mindset of so many unbelievers is just as it was in Noah’s day … eat, drink, and be merry. Nothing wrong with that, unless it consumes one’s thoughts, actions, and entire purpose in life at the exclusion of what will matter most when God’s Day of Judgment comes.

(Noah & His Family Were In The Ark Seven Day Before The Rain Even Began … Genesis 7:10)

“Come, they say, let’s get some wine and have a party. Let’s all get drunk. Then tomorrow we’ll do it again and have an even bigger party!” (Isaiah 56:12).

Or the persistent pursuit of power, prestige, and pleasure.

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul. Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26, words of Jesus).

“Sound the alarm in Jerusalem! Raise the battle cry on my holy mountain! Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the Lord is upon us. It is a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick clouds and deep blackness…” (Joel 2:1-2).

The “everyone” mentioned by the prophet Joel (his prophecy is both near future and distant future—end times) are ultimately unbelievers left behind when believers are taken to heaven by Jesus at the Rapture. Believers need not tremble or be in fear of the Day of the Lord, as we will be spared from the horror of the Great Tribulation. But we are to be alert, ready at all times. We should be keenly interested in what’s happening in the world and see how the ongoing developments of the last seventy years or so fit precisely into the final (Omega) generation spoken of by Jesus.

The Seven Seals

The First Four Seals: Known the world over as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, depicted in Revelation 6:1-8.

First is a white horse whose rider represents the preparation of nations for the “many battles” (Revelation 6:2) that will take place after the chaotic vacuum created by the disappearance of hundreds of millions (believers) from the earth. Several nations and their leaders will seize the opportunity to do battle with enemies they think are ripe for the taking.

The second horse is red. Its rider represents the actual wars that will take place or those already in progress that will intensify exponentially after the Rapture. Such as the battles in the Middle East and conflicts between African nations. Or, an armed confrontation between the United States and Korea. Ethnic and national hostilities will erupt in many regions of the earth.

“…Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere” (Revelation 6:4).

The third horse is black. Its rider depicts global economic collapse and famine.

The fourth horse is pale green. Its rider is death and the grave itself, denoting the composite death and destruction caused by the three horsemen before it. The terrifying result: “…These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals” (Revelation 6:8).

When these seals are broken, the Lord will permit the human race to unleash the horror of aggressive war and terrorism—politically, economically, and militarily—like never before. However, the four horses are not direct judgments from God. They are man-made, but this time without any divine intervention or restrictions. Despite the carnage of wars throughout history (none more so than World War I & II), it could have been worse … were it not for the providential limitation God places on such things. That’s why Jesus said no one would survive the Tribulation if he didn’t stop it in time (Matthew 24:22).

Many have asked down through the years: “Why does God allow evil? And, “Why doesn’t God put an end to violence and wickedness?”

Answer: He did at one time … the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Through Noah’s family (just eight people), he replenished the earth and gave mankind a chance to start over. The long and short of it is that we “blew it” again. We proved to God and ourselves just how selfishly wicked we are.

One day soon, God’s patience will run out. Why that has taken thousands of years is for God alone to know. But Scripture gives us general clues. It has to do with (as alluded to earlier) God allowing the human race to choose to do what is right or wrong; thereby, demonstrating whether we’ve succeeded or failed (through various kinds of government) to achieve peace and stability on planet Earth. The outcome has been all too futilely apparent.

All the while, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise (the 2nd coming of Christ), 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 … based on verse 4).

The absolute horror of one-fourth of the world’s population dying in the early part of the Great Tribulation will be a terrible testament to the evil that men do. Moreover, by the time God’s wrath is poured out (beginning with the 6th Seal), all will see the justified relevance of God’s anger. They will know why God is judging the earth so severely.

Fifth Seal: Describes the tribulation saints pleading with the Lord to avenge their deaths at the hands of “the people who belong to this world” (Revelation 6:10). Throughout Revelation, the term those who belong to the world refers to unbelievers who choose Antichrist over Messiah Jesus and refuse to repent of their sins.

Sixth Seal: This is when God begins to intervene directly in the affairs of mankind on a global scale not seen since the Great Flood. Starting with a massive earthquake and (implied) volcanic eruptions from which: “…The sky was rolled up like a scroll…” (Revelation 6:14).

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

At least many people will acknowledge that this sixth seal judgment was directly from God. I believe millions will—up to and including that time—turn to the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, for salvation. But billions more will not. Despite knowing that the Day of the Lord is upon them, they will continue to give allegiance to Antichrist (Nero) as their messiah.

As indicated in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, including last week’s, there is a striking similarity between the fifth and sixth seals along with the first trumpet judgment and the specific disasters that the Lord inflicts on the Gog/Magog armies (see Ezekiel 38 & 39). Which is further corroboration that the Gog/Magog invasion will take place within the first 1 ½ years or so of the Tribulation.

Seventh Seal: The last seal also results in a “terrible earthquake” (Revelation 8:5), and is a preparation for the next set of world-wide cataclysmic disasters.

The Seven Trumpets

First Four Trumpets: (1) One-third of the earth on fire burning the trees and green grass. (2) One-third of the oceans turned into blood, with one-third of all sea-life and one-third of the ships destroyed. (3) One-third of the rivers and springs of water polluted, “…and many people died from drinking the bitter water” (Revelation 8:11). (4) One-third of the sun, moon, and stars darkened, with no light at all during one-third of the day and one-third of the night.

Although these four plagues are supernaturally imposed by the Lord, each involves heavenly bodies and earthly elements. It’s divine judgment through enormous natural disasters. What many have labeled for centuries as, “The Wrath of God.”

It’s also apparent that these disasters will include friendly casualties; there’s no indication that tribulation saints will be spared. It’s also deductively evident in Revelation that more saints will be murdered for their faith than those who die in the natural disasters.

Not so, however, when the fifth trumpet is blown; we see an astonishing announcement after the fourth trumpet judgment is finished.

A Spectacular Proclamation Before the Fifth Trumpet

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

The italicized portion of the above passage is the second time we see the phrase (or paraphrase), “all who belong to the world.” This descriptive term is also found in Revelation 11:10; 13:8; 13:14; and 17:8. Other designations with the same meaning are used in Revelation 9:4 (those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads), and Revelation 14:9 and 16:2—those who worshipped the beast or his statue, or who took his mark. Each is an unmistakable identification of the unsaved who refused to, “…repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:21). This obstinate defiance of and rebellion against God—despite overwhelming evidence that God, himself, was pouring out his wrath on them—is also mentioned other times in Revelation. Even to the extent that unbelievers begin to curse God.

Thus, there is a demarcation at this juncture of the Tribulation. God’s wrath has now begun specifically against the ungodly, and will continue in the last two trumpets and all seven bowls against Antichrist (Nero), his ten-nation coalition, and all the peoples of the world who have sworn allegiance to Nero by worshipping him, his statue, and/or taking the mark of his name or number.

This leads to the convincing conclusion that the fifth trumpet will be blown at or very shortly after the half-way point of the Tribulation. Which is the point when Antichrist Nero will break his treaty with Israel (see Daniel 9:27). Nero will have captivated the world’s attention by reappearing from the Abyss (Revelation 17:7-8), which the world will see as a return from the dead at the outset of the Tribulation (Revelation 13). However, it’s not until halfway through the Tribulation—to include consolidation of his ten-nation coalition by fully convincing the leaders and governments of those nations that he is, in fact, the Roman Emperor Nero—that God will allow Satan to impart extensive unbridled power to Nero.

“…And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5).

But beware you principalities and powers of darkness and people of the world who, “…loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:19). When Nero is afforded even more natural and unnatural power and authority—straight from the gates of hell—he and his kingdom will experience exponentially the full fury of God’s wrath. It begins with the:

Fifth Trumpet: This is the first truly supernatural expression of God’s supreme power, in contrast to the natural disasters up to this point of the Tribulation. The Lord permits the embodied demonic angels who have been imprisoned in the Abyss since the Great Flood (alongside of Nero for the last two thousand years) to be released. Listen to what they will do and to whom:

“They were told not to harm the grass or plants or trees, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with pain like the pain of a scorpion sting. In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them!” (Revelation 9:4-6, italics to emphasize that those attacked by the demonic angels were one and the same as those “who belong to the world”).

(Artist Rendition of the Locusts from the Abyss)

Then we read, “The first terror is past, but look, two more terrors are coming!” (Verse 12).

Sixth Trumpet: This is another exercise of God’s absolute divine sovereignty by releasing four evil angels who lead a vast army of demonic angels (could be the same angels of the fifth trumpet or other evil angels or a combination of wicked angels and human armies).

“Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth. I heard the size of their army, which was 200 million mounted troops” (Revelation 9:15-16).

We know that the incredible death and destruction unleashed by this vast army will also be directed against unbelievers. Why? Because, “…the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of the evil deeds and turn to God…” (Verse 20).

Seventh Trumpet: “…Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm” (Revelation 11:19). This is the third of four earthquakes during the twenty-one judgments.

However, before the actual execution of the 7th Trumpet judgment, there is an another awesome announcement that stunningly signals the beginning of the end of the beginning of the Tribulation. It is now time for the Lord to vent the maximum ferocity of his wrath against the remaining depraved, defiant, ungodly, unjust, and unrepentant inhabitants of the earth. With, however, sufficient restraint so as not to wipe out the human race, as the Lord did with Noah’s flood. And with the express purpose of purifying and preparing the earth for the Kingdom of God.

Read with me:

“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

“…We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power, and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come … It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth” (Revelation 11:16-18, italics for emphasis).

Earlier in Revelation (before the judgments began), we read these words: “…Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come” (Revelation 4:8, italics for emphasis).

Do you see the difference in the italicized words of the above two passages? When we get to the 7th Trumpet, it is no longer a matter of our great and glorious God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who is “still to come.” His magnificent reign has begun. There’s nothing Satan, Antichrist, or the False Prophet can do about it, although they will still arrogantly and vainly try.

Now it’s time for evil (personified) to drink the full cup of God’s wrath to the last drop.

The Seven Bowls

It’s not quite to the point where the Antichrist and his followers haven’t seen anything yet. But it’s close to that, because the final seven catastrophes are unimaginable, especially the last one.

Notice once again against whom the bullseye target of God’s retribution is drawn.

First Bowl: “So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue” (Revelation 16:2).

By this time, all or nearly all who have chosen Nero as their (false) messiah will have taken the mark of his name or number in their forehead or right hand (see Revelation 13:16).

Second Bowl: “Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse. And everything in the sea died” (Revelation 16:3).

Incredible! The remaining two-thirds of the seas not contaminated in the 2nd Trumpet have now been ravaged by death.

*Note: Prior to the bowl judgments we read a second time about the tribulation saints that were first introduced in the fifth seal … those who had been killed earlier in the Tribulation. We now see that more of their brothers and sisters in Christ (Rev. 6:10-11) had also been martyred.

“…And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name…” (Revelation 15:2). Though they had been slain, theirs was the ultimate victory—everlasting life instead of eternal death, which would be the fate of those who belong to the world.

Thus, the strong implication is that by now the vast majority of the remaining people on earth are unbelievers—those that follow Antichrist; also those who don’t, but still have not turned to God and Messiah Jesus.

Third Bowl: Just like the 3rd Trumpet blast, this bowl judgment was poured out on the inland bodies of fresh water all over the earth. Likewise, the remaining two-thirds will turn to blood. And the angel who poured out this bowl proclaims:

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

Fourth Bowl: Another extraordinary event—a solar flare of epic (Biblical!) proportions. Yet with the same obstinate response of unbelievers:

“Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire. Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory” (Revelation 16:8-9).

This is also another indication that the main purpose of these awesome events is to give unbelievers one last chance to acknowledge the Lord. Like the Exodus plagues against Pharaoh and Egypt: after each Tribulation judgment, people will be faced yet again with the decision to turn to God for salvation or harden their heart even more.

Fifth Bowl: “Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. His subjects ground their teeth in anguish, and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God” (Revelation 16:10-11).

This is eerily similar to the 9th plague against the Egyptians before the Exodus. “…A deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived” (Exodus 10:22).

Darkness so thick it could be cut with a knife! But only on, over, and around the Antichrist and his followers. And it will last much longer than three days.

Sixth Bowl: “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance” (Revelation 16:12).

By combining the sixth bowl with Daniel 11:36-45, here we see the definitive Biblical passages on the final battle of the ages … what virtually the entire world knows as Armageddon. Not long after the kings of the east (and the south—Daniel 11) march on Antichrist, all of these armies will join together to take on the rider of the true white horse (contrasted to the first seal horse), who is none other than Messiah Jesus, King of all kings and Lord of all lords (See Revelation 19:11-21).

During that epic battle to end all battles, Antichrist and the False Prophet will be seized and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire. Satan will be bound during the 1000-year reign of Messiah and believers on the earth.

Seventh Bowl: Now the end has come with inconceivable devastation that will dwarf all the disasters before it. Here, I would like to defer to an excerpt from the aforementioned Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (in italics):

Although all of the apocalyptic events allowed or caused by God are exceptional, none more so than the final earth-shattering demonstration of God’s power. Every time I read it, I shake my head in disbelief. I repeat the words, but they still do not compute. My imagination lags far behind the stunning reality of it all. A comparative image comes to mind; however, I realize that it is a fully inadequate analogy. I’ll mention it anyway—in order to gain a partial perspective and picture of how the final bowl judgment of God will surpass of all the catastrophes preceding it. The imagery that comes to mind is that of a lengthy fire-works display that culminates in the greatest, most magnificent grand finale ever seen. But the resemblance is similar only in form, certainly not in substance. Here is God’s final Tribulation judgment:

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

Once again, absolutely incredible! Not just cities all over the earth crumbling into rubble, or every single island—think of the Hawaiian Islands—completely disappearing (giant tsunamis that not only inundate but sink the islands), and all of the earth’s mountains flattened into level plains. No, that isn’t what causes the unrepentant who are left on the earth to curse God once again. It was the giant hailstones that obviously were even more devastating than the other colossal calamities. The disaster depicted in the recently released movie, San Andreas, is nothing more than a tiny dot on a Seismograph compared to this unbelievably powerful world-wide earthquake, its aftermath, and the hailstorm to follow in this final and most fearsome judgment of all.

Things to Ponder

Based on persuasive Biblical documentation and associations, I believe we’ve identified which judgments will take place in the first half and the second half of the Great Tribulation. There are eleven events before the half-way mark and ten afterwards. (Actually, ten and ten, as will shortly be explained!) There’s a lot of symmetry just in that apportionment alone. Now let’s see if we can fine tune the sequential timing/spacing of all twenty-one events. Granted, this will involve some speculation, but supposition that is derived from correlating evidence in Revelation that can logically lead to this premise:

Due to the continuous and consecutive nature of the judgements and God’s sovereign sense of order and distribution of the plagues throughout seven years, there’s every reason to believe that each judgment will take place over a fairly equal span of time, from the end of one to the beginning of the next judgment … with brief short-time overlaps.

There’s a specific example on which to base this premise: the five months duration in which the locusts (symbolical representation of demonic angels from the Abyss) torment unbelievers to the extent that they wished they were dead.

We begin with the 84 months of the tribulation (7 years x 12 months). Then we divide this time span by 21 (judgments) resulting in a period of four months (average between events).

However, in referring to Daniel Chapter 12, there is an additional 75 days (2 ½ months) at the end of the Tribulation (time/space doesn’t permit elaboration; however, I’ve explained this in a couple prior articles). Technically, we also need to reduce the judgments to twenty (20) as the 5th Seal is a depiction of the slain tribulation saints up to that point which takes place mostly during the first four seals. It is not an actual event (judgment) as such.

Thus, to be even more precise we need to use the figure of 86.5 (total) months of the actual tribulation, divided by 20 events with the result of 4.325 months average length of time between plagues. Conclusion: an average time of 4 to 5 months between each judgment. With the understanding that the first four Seal plagues interface and overlap each other; a total of about eighteen months duration for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

One example: The massive solar flare (4th Bowl) will conceivably take place right around the six-year mark of the Tribulation (with another 14 months or so to go).

In God’s mercy and patience even during the Tribulation, it would be just like him to give those who belong to the world a clearer picture of the approximate length of time between judgments, which they will have realized at least by the mid-point of the tribulation.

Make sense?

I do hope one thing makes sense above all. If you’re reading this article and don’t know Messiah Jesus as your personal Savior, it should be so very evident by now that you don’t want to be left behind at the Rapture to experience any part of the Tribulation.

“That terrible day of the Lord is near. Swiftly it comes—a day of bitter tears, a day when even strong men will cry out. It will be a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out—a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet calls and battle cries. Down go the walled cities and the strongest battlements!” (Zephaniah 1:14-16).

Do you see the stunning similarity between this passage in Zephaniah and the Great Tribulation passages in the book of Revelation, written some 700 years later?!

Please take stock of eternity … it’s such a very long time!

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Prophetic Fate of Israel’s Friends and Foes

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As We Watch and Wait

The fig tree is blooming and the vultures are circling!

Jesus used these two images to warn the world of the end times. Our 21st century generation is certainly living in the last days of the end times.

“Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near” (Matthew 24:28).

Then Jesus said: “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:32-33).

In the very next verse we read of the phenomenal generation prophecy from Jesus: “I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Verse 34).

The fig tree and vultures are compelling metaphors signaling the return of Messiah in the last (Omega) generation—our generation. But they are more than that. They are images that apply specifically to Israel (fig tree) and also to the nations aligned against Israel (the vultures).

Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption Is Near, Part I & II (posted 7-11 & 7-18-15). The following is an excerpt from Part II; including a list of twelve extraordinary events which have taken place, or are continuing to unfold since the Balfour Declaration of 1917—which laid the foundation for Israel’s rebirth in 1948 (In italics).

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

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

The Fig Tree (Also the Olive Tree) Represents Israel

Never before in history has a nation—completely destroyed and its people scattered to the four winds (Roman conquest of Israel and the devastating Diaspora exile of the Jews in 70 AD)—been reborn as Israel has. The (fig) tree, Israel, has been replanted in miraculous fashion, just as God said would happen in dozens of Old Testament prophecies. Although the magnitude of Israel’s restoration won’t be fully realized until the Millennium, not since the glory days of King David and King Solomon has her branches blossomed so bountifully … symbolically and literally.

Today Israel is one of the most advanced and successful nations on the earth; with a powerful military, a democratic parliamentary government, an accomplished agriculture, state-of-the-art technology particularly in medicine and computers, and other groundbreaking innovations for global use—such as the cell phone and drip irrigation systems.

For example: “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 (which began in great numbers in 1948), and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15, parenthesis mine).

(Beautiful Example of Israel’s Agriculture … Even Their Desert Blooms!)

Prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Israel’s final restoration and redemption fall into two time-frames: One is the rebirth and renovation of Israel in the generation (100-year and 70-year Biblical definitions of generation) prior to the millennial reign of Messiah Jesus. The passage in Amos that we just read speaks of that preliminary phase, which are the last days leading to Messiah’s glorious return. The second group of prophecies (in some passages both time periods overlap) describes the even higher elevated status of Israel among the nations of the earth during the Millennium.

Such as: “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 war anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear” (Micah 4:2-4).

The Vultures Circling Israel

As in Biblical Israel’s formative and glory years when so many nations aligned against her with their diabolical determination to “…wipe out Israel as a nation … destroy the very memory of its existence” (Psalm 83:4); so, too, vulture nations menacingly surrounding Israel in today’s world have sworn to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jews. They would like nothing more than to see the “carcass” of Israel laying before them as they taunt the Jews and the true and living God, saying: “…Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” (Psalm 83:12).

In the contemporary end time’s world we live in, the vast majority of people in Arab/Muslim nations continue to despise the Jews and long for Israel’s destruction. Including the non-nation territory occupied by the Palestinians of the West Bank (Israel’s region of Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip. The most obvious of these nations are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Muslim controlled African nations, Iraq, and (most of all) Iran. And to a lesser but still formidable extent, Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf States. Anti-Semitism also has reared its ugly head in many European countries, even Great Britain, to a level unprecedented since World War II.

In another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy in our time, we are witnessing what appears to be a dichotomy involving some of Israel’s sworn enemies. In contrast to the majority populace of the above listed nations loathing the Jews and Israel, some of their governments and leaders (like Saudi Arabia) have cozied up to Israel albeit under pretentious political and ulterior military motives. This also includes non-Muslim nations such as Russia and China.

This surprising conciliation of some national leaders toward the State of Israel—taking the form of peaceful co-existence—is exactly the conditions predicted by Ezekiel just before the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel by Russia, Iran, Turkey, and several other smaller nations, such as Ethiopia and Libya.

Said God to his prophet: “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…. and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud…” (Ezekiel 38:14 & 16, italics for emphasis).

The world is watching this ambivalent, ambiguous attitude toward Israel … just as predicted in Scripture. On the one hand, as expressed by the peoples of many nations, an intense animosity toward Israel and the Jews. On the other hand, a diplomatic gesture of good will, albeit pragmatically applied to the underlying antagonistic agenda of these nations towards Israel, such as Russia and Turkey.

The most glaring exception to nations seeking diplomacy with Israel is Iran; whose leaders have called for the annihilation of Israel with an exact quote or paraphrase of the words we read earlier in Psalm 83. Such malicious threats come from Iran’s military and government leaders, including their supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who has repeated the following phrase (or something similar) several times: “We will wipe Israel from the face of the map.”

All the while, nations the world over including the United States are urgently trying to follow a (doomed to failure) road map of peace to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Exactly as Scripture said would happen just before and during the Day of the Lord.

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

As conveyed in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there will be two colossal campaigns against Israel during the seven-year Tribulation.

(1) Gog/Magog

The first of these is the Gog/Magog invasion, which I’m convinced (with documentation provided in some of those prior articles) will take place in first year or so of the Tribulation. God will supernaturally rout the Gog/Magog countries without any need for Israel to defend herself. See Ezekiel 38 & 39 for the astonishing details and results. The means God will use to destroy Gog/Magog tracks closely with the 6th & 7th seal judgments of Revelation, as well as the 1st Trumpet judgment. God’s direct intervention (judgments) begins when the sixth seal is broken by Messiah Jesus.

(Gog/Magog Nations)

At that point, unbelievers the world over will realize that it is God, himself, who has now begun to judge the earth.

Beginning with: “…a great earthquake … the sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?’” (Revelation 6:12-17).

And the 7th seal: “Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake” (Revelation 8:5).

Then the 1st Trumpet judgment: “The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth…” (Revelation 8:7).

Look closely at the descriptive comparison between the last two seal judgements and the first trumpet to how God will annihilate Gog/Magog (Gog leads the armies and Magog is the land or nations that sends the armies).

“…Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth … I will punish your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:20-23, italics for emphasis).

The italicized portion of the above passage matches precisely with the world’s realization that this first great global earthquake (6th seal of Revelation) is a clear sign that the Lord God has begun to vent his wrath on an ungodly, corrupt, evil world.

Then again in Ezekiel Chapter 39, we read:

“And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord…. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:6-7).

(2) Ten-Nation Coalition Led by Antichrist Nero

The second massive campaign against Israel leads to the final battle of the ages (Armageddon) near the very end of the seven-year Tribulation; dramatically depicted in the books of Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew, and Revelation. This time Israel will fight furiously to defend herself and will survive only because Messiah Jesus returns to rescue them, but also to prevent the entire world from self-destruction (see Matthew 24:22).

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring To Rule Them All…” (Published 11-21-15) which provides detailed documentation that the Gog/Magog and Armageddon incursions are not the same, nor are their leaders … Gog and Antichrist. That article also proposes the composite list and identity of the ten major nations, with secondary countries aligning themselves with one or more of the ten nations. If the Armageddon campaign is led by Antichrist (which it is) and begins in the 2nd half of the Tribulation (which it will)—the forty-two months in which Antichrist Nero will be allowed great power and authority—then the Gog/Magog assault would need to occur in the first half of the tribulation. Reason: Gog/Magog won’t be in the picture during the last half of the Tribulation. Only the kings of the east and the king of the south will oppose Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation (See Revelation 16:12 & Daniel 11:40-45).

History and God’s Sovereignty

I consider myself a student of secular history … and even more so of Biblical history. Most unbelievers classify the Bible as a “faith-based” book, which it certainly is; giving us God’s marvelous plan of everlasting life through salvation in His Son, the Jewish Messiah Jesus. Yet Scripture is replete with meticulous historic records of peoples, places, and events. There are no other (so-called) “sacred” texts of any religion or belief system that even comes close to the amazing historical details found in the Bible. I repeat for emphasis: None whatsoever.

Concerning the peoples of the earth, the Old Testament centers around Israel—the nation that God chose to be a conduit of truth and light to the Gentiles. And that light would be placed in and personified by Messiah.

Hear the words of Jesus:

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

He also claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah, and he backed up that assertion by rising from the dead.

Scripture provides a wealth of historical facts about ancient Israel and also many Gentile nations, primarily focused on their interaction with Israel. Beginning primarily with Egypt, then the Canaanite countries west of the Jordan and Gentile nations to the east, like Moab, Edom, and Ammon. Followed by the first nation God used to discipline the ten northern tribes of Israel—Assyria. Next came the four Gentile kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, with the Roman Empire an integral part of New Testament history … the time of Christ. All four of those mighty empires were also employed by God in his plan to discipline Israel for abandoning the Lord their God. All for the purpose of refining and purifying his chosen people in preparation for their restoration and final redemption in the end times.

Ultimately, God exercises sovereignty over the earthly fate of nations and individuals; however, his justice is pure and fair and he gives individuals and nations the time and freedom to choose right from wrong, humility over pride, life instead of death. Our choices will determine our destiny. Yet those destinies were predetermined in God’s ultimate plan for mankind, i.e. heaven or hell.

For example: “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’ … It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalm 75:4-5 & 7).

As stated in a few prior articles, there are two basic plans that the Lord has designed for the human race, both of which are plainly and frequently mentioned in Scripture: (1) On a national level, selecting a special people, the Jews, and their nation, Israel, through whom God’s Word and Messiah would come. (2) On a personal level, God’s Biblical Plan of Salvation graciously given to all who believe and receive the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, as their Savior.

However, the Lord is sovereign concerning whom he chooses to carry out these two plans. He began by identifying Abraham, over every other man on earth, to be the progenitor of the Jewish race. Then he chose Isaac over Ishmael to be the promised child, the ancestor of the even greater Child of Promise—Messiah Jesus. Next, he determined that Jacob, not Esau, would be Isaac’s heir, the one to father what would become the twelve tribes of Israel.

Most of all God appointed and anointed His Son to be born the Son of Man, as only the sinless God/Man was qualified to be the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and the penalty thereof—eternal separation from God.

God’s plans are perfect, as is the timing to carry out those plans, as is his justice to judge which nations will rise, fall, and perhaps rise again.

Edom and Assyria

These two nations are frequently cited in Scripture as both nations were sworn enemies of Israel. More so than the other nations recorded and discussed in Scripture, Edom and Assyria were also designated to represent all godless Gentile nations that would be destroyed because of their arrogance and violence, but mostly because of their deplorable treatment of the Jews and Israel.

For example, in the one-chapter book of Obadiah (as well as other prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel) God condemns Edom:

“Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever” (Obadiah 1:10). Obadiah proceeds to list ten reprehensible things the Edomites (descendants of Esau) did to Israel. Then Obadiah conveys the Lord’s sweeping indictment of all nations that have persecuted Israel, indicative of Edom’s horrific crimes against the Jews.

“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 evils deeds will fall back on your own heads” (Verse 15).

Obadiah concludes with God’s breathtaking promise that the Jews would return to live in the entirety of the Promised Land of Israel, which is much more land on which the Israelis currently reside (See Obadiah 1:19-21).

So, too, does the Lord throughout the Old Testament convict and sentence the Assyrian Empire to destruction for its vile deeds, and for going way too far as God’s instrument to discipline his people. Like Edom, Assyria is often used to represent other godless Gentile nations. With one major distinction that once again hinges on God’s providential plans for certain nations. The difference is that Edom would never be heard from again, which is the case when it was utterly destroyed thousands of years ago. Even Petra (part of ancient Edom) was thought to be impenetrable and indestructible. The ancient inhabitants of Petra are long gone, never to return.

Although Assyria would also be decisively decimated (by the Babylonians) and cease to functionally exist as a people and nation, it would not be a once for all judgment like Edom.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, A Most Unlikely Ally of Israel! (Posted 6-11-16), which is based principally on Isaiah Chapter 19. The setting is also the end-times, specifically the last part of the Tribulation and into the Millennium. The most unlikely ally is Egypt, but also includes Assyria.

“In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. And Israel will be their ally. The three will be together, and Israel will be a blessing to them. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, ‘Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!’” (Isaiah 19:23-25).

Astonishing!

We catch a glimpse of the Lord’s favorable disposition towards Assyria during its early rise to what would be the most powerful nation on earth at the time. Remember Jonah and the whale?! The Lord sent Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh, but it took a while for Jonah to get there! Nevertheless, the entire city of Nineveh expressed remorse for their horrific sins and turned to the God of Israel, acknowledging him as the only true God. Alas, a couple of generations later they turned back to their evil ways, which led eventually to God’s severe judgment of Assyria.

Yet, Assyria along with Egypt will one day, “…know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him…” (Isaiah 19:21).

Egypt & Iran (Ancient Persia)

These are two other Gentile nations that figure prominently in history both secular and Biblical. Neither, however, is used much in a symbolic sense of representing other Gentile nations, not to the extent of Edom and Assyria. Rather, both are detailed in Scripture relating to the formation of Israel as a nation (Egypt) and restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple (Persia).

Like the difference between Edom and Assyria, there is also a vast disparity between the millennial fate of contemporary Egypt and that of modern-day Iran. We’ve already seen the remarkable reconciliation of Egypt and Assyria to God and to Israel that will take place in the last days—that are so very near. In stark contrast, Persia (Iran) will be crushed during the Gog/Magog campaign against Israel, with no indication in Scripture that Iran will ever function as a nation again.

(Note: The Bible is unequivocally clear that there are people from every race, language, and nation who will come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus and live forever in heaven. When the Bible addresses those nations that God will corporately judge, it is referring to the governments and the majority of people in such countries that want nothing to do with God or God’s Son and/or despise God’s special possession Israel and his chosen people the Jews).

Although Biblical Egypt and Persia’s interaction with Israel were similar in form and substance, the 21st century events unfolding daily demonstrate a substantial difference between Iran’s overt, self-publicized hatred of Israel contrasted to Egypt’s contemporary conciliatory temperament toward Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most Israeli government officials have repeatedly stated that Iran (especially a nuclear Iran) poses, by far, the greatest threat to Israel than any source. Not only from Iran directly; also from Iran’s terrorist proxies—Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Conversely, Egypt is only one of two Arab/Muslim nations that have recognized Israel as a Sovereign State. The other nation is Jordan. Egypt’s administrative acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist is the beginning of her end-times brotherhood with Israel and blessings from the Lord. Whereas, Iran relentlessly continues its perverse purpose to eliminate Israel from the family of nations on the earth.

A Brief History of Ancient Egypt and Persia’s Involvement with Israel

Egypt:

  • Beginning with Pharaoh’s gratitude to Jacob’s son Joseph for interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams and predicting (from God) seven years of plenty followed by seven years of severe famine. Accordingly, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to second in command of all Egypt. Also Pharaoh warmly welcomed Jacob and his sons and their families to live in Egypt.
  • The Jews began to increase exponentially (hundreds of thousands) in population and eventually the Pharaohs of Egypt enslaved them, which was a fulfillment of God’s amazing prophecy to Abraham that his people would be subjugated by Egypt for four hundred years.
  • Next came one of the best remembered events of all time: God’s severe punishment of Egypt through a series of ten miraculous plagues before Pharaoh finally yielded to God’s persistent demand to, “let my people go.” We all know this as The Exodus. Soon afterward, the nation of Israel came into existence.
  • This was the first and perhaps the most well-known example of exactly how and why God relates to and interacts with peoples and nations. Which is based on their treatment of the Jews. How nations (and individuals) rise and fall and perhaps are allowed to rise again according to the divine principle and Biblical mandate. Said God to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3).

Persia:

  • The Lord predicted the rise of the Persian Empire through Isaiah long before it actually happened. He did the same thing with the Babylonian Empire. In one of the most spectacular prophecies (all Biblical prophecies are amazing, some more than others—at least the way we view or rate them) in Scripture, God announced that a ruler from the Persian Empire would not only deliver the Jews from their God ordained (discipline) 70-year captivity in Babylon, but he named the Persian ruler who would carry out God’s plan some 150 years before Cyrus was even born!
  • “When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple’” (Isaiah 44:28). Then later we read: “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). That is exactly what happened!
  • Cyrus, indeed, issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Israel to rebuild their Temple. And in the very first year of his reign, no less!
  • A few decades later, we read about the famous story of Esther and her Persian husband, King Xerxes. The king allowed his second in command—the wicked official Haman—to pass a law that would allow extermination of all Jews on the appointed date. God sovereignly intervened in the affairs of state by seeing to it that Xerxes chose Esther as his queen; then Esther’s passionate plea for the king to save the Jews, which he did. Beginning with orders for Haman to be executed in the same way in which Haman would have killed Mordecai. Now that’s justice! Thus the Jews throughout the Persian Empire were saved, including those who had returned to Israel from Babylon.
  • Subsequently another Persian King, Artaxerxes, permitted his Jewish cup-bearer Nehemiah to return to Israel to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

How ironically sad that the die-hard Anti-Semitic Iran of today’s world has fallen so far from their Persian heritage of friendship with Israel. It appears that the Haman(s) among them have the loudest voice. Thus, Iran will suffer the same fate as Haman.

From the 1970s to the Present Time

Following those ancient encounters with Israel, both Egypt and Persia vacillated in their treatment of Israel up to the 1970s. During that decade, we saw a substantial variance between Iran’s (Persia became Iran in 1935) and Egypt’s attitude toward Israel. Beginning in the 1970s and early 1980s both Egypt and Iran staked out a course of action involving Israel that will seal their respective destinies, as predicted by the Lord in Scripture. For Egypt, eternal blessings and favor. For Iran, eternal damnation and extinction.

After Egypt (with her allies of Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon) was soundly defeated by the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War of 1973—the third war since 1948 fought between the Jews and her Arab enemies—Egypt began to “adjust” its perception of and protocol toward Israel. On March 26th, 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty (albeit one that is tenuous, motivated by political pragmatism) with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin including official recognition of the State of Israel, which is still in effect to this day.

(Camp David Treaty Between Egypt & Israel, Also Signed by President Carter, Left to Right: Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin)

Not so with Iran. When the radical Shi’ite Muslim sect of the Ayatollah overthrew the secular Iranian government led by Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iran intensified its virulent hatred of Israel like never before. This has continued unabated to the present day.

Would you like to know when Iran became the Islamic Republic of Iran? The date was April 1, 1979—just six days after the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Talk about providence and timing in the context of Biblical prophecy!

In addition to the Israeli clashes (last of which was 2006) with Iran’s proxy in Lebanon—Hezbollah, Israel has fought several battles with the terrorist Hamas of Gaza Strip, the last of which was 2014. Iran has funded both of these terrorist groups, although Iran and Hamas parted company for a few years for various reasons. Now they are reconnecting in order to accomplish their wicked agenda to destroy Israel.

As part of the recent “truce” between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas (who knows what will become of that), Hamas insisted—to the chagrin of PA President Mahmoud Abbas—that they will remained armed.

The following excerpt is from the online Gatestone Institute article written by accomplished Middle-East analyst and author Khaled Abu Toameh, posted on October 23rd:

“The Iranians are urging Hamas to hold on to its weapons in spite of the recent ‘reconciliation’ agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah (the military and police force of the Palestinian Authority) under the auspices of Egypt. Iran’s goal in this move? For Hamas to maintain and enhance its preparation for war against Israel (parenthesis mine).

“A high-level Hamas delegation … traveled to Tehran last week to brief Iranian leaders on the ‘reconciliation’ deal with Fatah. During the visit, Iranian leaders praised Hamas for resisting demands (by Fatah) to disarm and relinquish security control over the Gaza Strip.

‘We congratulate you on your refusal to abandon your weapons, an issue that you consider a red line,’ Ali Velayati, … advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, told the Hamas officials. ‘The Palestinian cause is the most important cause of the Islamic world, and after all this time you remain committed to the principle of resistance against the Zionists despite all the pressure you are facing.’”

My comment: the Iranian advisor couldn’t be more hypocritically wrong or abjectly absurd. If the Palestinians and their “cause” (to find a home outside of refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan) was so important to the Muslim world, then why haven’t any of the Muslim nations like the ones just mentioned permitted the Palestinian Arabs to become citizens of those countries? Israel certainly allows Arabs to become citizens, of which 1.8 million have done so. But the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have refused citizenship, in favor of completely replacing Israel with a Palestinian State, which is also part of the Palestinian “cause.”

After President Trump’s diplomatic staff to Israel said that any Palestinian government must recognize Israel and that Hamas must disarm as part of the agreement with the Palestinian Authority, here’s what Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar retorted: “…the discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel.”

(Hamas Senior Officials: Left- Ismail Haniyeh; Right- Yahya Sinwar)

Things to Ponder

The winds of war are blowing fiercely, just as they were in the years, months, weeks, and days leading up to World War I and World War II. The political and military balloons of the major players of the last days are much too full of rhetorical hot air. Something has to give; something will break, and it will snap in the Middle East.

However, I’m convinced that nothing major (full-scale war between Jews and Arabs or major powers like the United States and Great Britain against Russia or China or even the lesser powers like Iran or North Korea) will occur until after the Rapture.

The reason for that statement: The eruption of any cataclysmic conflict between such nations would entail alliances with other nations that would, in turn, result in World War III. And that war won’t begin until the Great Tribulation, after the Rapture. Such a global conflict would (and will, especially during the first four seal judgments) devastate the earth—with ¼ of the world’s population killed. And that’s only the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Tribulation (Posted 6-6-15).

The Lord will not permit this to happen while believers are still on the earth. The Bible unmistakably tells us that believers will be spared from such carnage by the glorious event of the Rapture. Only the post-Rapture Tribulation saints will go through these disasters. Those saints that survive will be killed by Antichrist.

Soon after Paul tells believers about the wonderful event of the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:15-18), which will happen suddenly when the Lord comes for his own, “…like a thief in the night” (I Thessalonians 5:2), Paul assures the believers:

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us” (I Thessalonians 5:9).

In the immediate context of that passage, the saving is from the “anger” of God, which is a direct reference to the final judgment of God during the Tribulation.

Messiah’s Number & Its Prophetic Value

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First, Let’s Review The Number of the Beast, 666.

“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six-hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:18, New American Standard Bible).

Some Bible translations convert the written expression of the beast’s number to three sixes (666). However, the original Greek text (as seen in the above NASB translation) spells out the number—a matter of utmost significance if the reader is to “calculate” the meaning of the number. Which is tantamount to solving the identity of the beast … Antichrist.

Only one other passage in the New Testament besides the one just quoted actually presses the reader to comprehend the clues; it, too, concerns the origin and identity of Antichrist. As follows:

This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (Revelation 17:9-10, italics for emphasis).

Earlier in Revelation 17:7, the angel says to John: “…I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits.”

Disclosure of this mystery was for the express purpose of identifying the man (in the image of a beast) by understanding that he was one of seven Roman Emperors, five of whom had already died—including the beast himself—in the 1st century when Revelation was written first and foremost to the believers alive then. Because Christ could have returned any day in the first century or thereafter, the beast must also be ready to reappear … from the Abyss where he had been confined after his death and revival.

(First Five Roman Emperors Known as Claudian Dynasty … Left to Right: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero)

Complete confirmation concerning the Antichrist’s identity is possible only when we correlate Revelation 13 & 17 with other pivotal passages on the Antichrist as found in Daniel 7, 9, and 11. Also, II Thessalonians 2 and a more obscure passage in Zachariah 11. Then combining all of these remarkable disclosures of the Antichrist (also described as a king, ruler, little horn, beast, and man of lawlessness) with 1st century Church and secular history.

That is precisely what was done in Parts II & III of my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? Followed by more elaboration found in several Eye of Prophecy articles under the category of Antichrist. Ending with what I firmly believe is an accurate identification of the beast—who had already lived and died, but would return from the Abyss during the Tribulation—as the Roman Emperor Nero.

(*Note: I do not by any stretch of the imagination support the Preterists’ view, which also identifies Nero as the Antichrist. But they do so with the absurd supposition that the Tribulation occurred in the 1st century, which has been correctly and convincingly refuted by many Bible scholars, including me. And yet most of these scholars have made the same (one) mistake as the Preterists. They missed the astounding reality stated clearly by John in Revelation; that the man—the Antichrist beast—had already lived and died. A clear textual fact that I also had overlooked for many years, until November, 2008).

“Why are you so amazed, the angel asked … The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon 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).

Hebrew Gematria

Although this week’s article began and will continue briefly with a review of the number of the anti-Messiah beast, the main emphasis will be on another number—the number of the true Messiah.

Both numbers are found in and understood by Hebrew Gematria. Which is the way that Jews in Bible times (actually up to the point when the Roman decimal system became the dominant numerical standard) counted and performed mathematical calculations. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a number from one to ten or in multiples of tens or hundreds. Many Jews today are familiar with and sometimes use gematria to compare Hebrew words, names, phrases, and places to the significance of their numerical value.

As you may (or may not) know, the New Testament was written in Greek. That was done through God’s providential direction; Greek was the universal language in the 1st century, much like English was/is in the 20th & 21st centuries. However, Jesus and all Jews spoke primarily Aramaic or Hebrew, though many were proficient in Greek and others in Latin. And, of course, the entire Old Testament (often quoted by Jesus and the writers of the New Testament books) was written in Hebrew. That same Hebrew language, with modern-day words added, has been miraculously restored; spoken by Israelis and also by rabbis the world over.

Because it would take a mind of understanding to decipher the identity of the Antichrist beast, I’m convinced that, at first, only a few of the 1st century Christian Jews realized that six hundred and sixty-six was a Hebrew Gematria reference to the name of the man. They then passed on this insight to their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ less likely to use gematria to ascertain the meaning of the number of the beast; or Gentiles Christians who would have no understanding of Hebrew Gematria.

(22 Letters in Hebrew Alphabet. There Are Five More Hebrew Symbols Representing Numbers 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900, When Necessary For Mathematical Functions)

Eventually, identifying the beast by combining all of the Biblical passages about this wicked man led to four centuries of a phenomenon known as the Nero Redivivus Legend. (Please see Eye of Prophecy article, The Legendary Return of Nero, posted 4-4-15). Even many unbelievers in the Roman Empire were persuaded that Nero would soon return to reclaim his throne.

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss, Chapter 18, pages 167-168 (in italics):

I’m convinced the early Christians knew why the identity of the man of lawlessness was encoded in Hebrew gematria. To simply divulge the man’s name would have been a death sentence for thousands more Christians who had survived persecution and death that had already begun (under Nero, who had died not long before Revelation was written) before John wrote Revelation … The current emperor would have jumped at the opportunity to kill more Christians just because they claimed a former emperor was a “beast,” instead of a god and all of the repercussions that go with that seditious disdain for the perceived divinity of a Roman emperor.

…Besides, John told them that the beast would “come up out of the bottomless pit.” They immediately knew that this would be the return of the beast that, “was once alive but isn’t now.” (Parenthesis added in today’s article).

The final portion of Chapter 18 in Out of the Abyss begins under the heading: Let’s Count in Hebrew.

To better grasp the process of the early Christians’ decoded discovery of the beast’s identity and also to make it more intriguing, I explained what certainly could have happened (and logically did occur) after the book of Revelation was written and disseminated among believers. In the form of a little narrative, it is as follows (in italics):

Picture, if you will, a Messianic Jewish wife greeting her Messianic Jewish husband. After a hard day at work, the husband has just stepped through the threshold of their home in Philadelphia. That’s the city of Philadelphia of ancient Asia Minor, not Pennsylvania! You remember: the location of one of the seven churches of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.

She hands him a newly transcribed scroll of Revelation, which is being passed from Christian house to house in Philadelphia. “Honey … Quick, let’s eat, put the kids to bed, and read this incredible letter that John wrote.” Throughout the evening, they take turns reading aloud to each other; the entire time they are shaking their heads in amazement.

“So incredible,” the wife exclaims. “Let’s pray, go to bed, and talk about it tomorrow.”

“You go to bed, if you like,” he replies. “I’m going to solve the name of this beast.”

“Not without me, you’re not,” she scolds with a playful grin.

They put everything together. This is how they did it:

One by one they wrote down the Greek equivalent to the names of the five dead or fallen Roman emperors. With each name they used the Greek suffix, “Kaiser;” you really could not separate the Emperor’s name from his title (Caesar). All of the emperors were addressed this way—Augustus Caesar….

The book of Revelation had been written in Greek, so they understood they needed to use the Greek spelling of the Latin names of the emperors. But they also knew that the only way to understand the meaning of the number was to transpose the Greek spelling to the Hebrew alphabet, as that is the only way Jews were able to accurately calculate the number. In fact, that is the way they counted.

And so they did. To their utter astonishment, six hundred, sixty-six was an exact match to one (and only one) of the fallen emperors. Wide-eyed, he looked at her in stunned silence. She stared at him with mouth opened. They peered again at the transliteration from Greek into the Hebrew alphabet.

Resh – 200; Samech – 60; Kuf – 100; Nun – 50; vav – 6; Resh – 200; Nun – 50. They added the numbers together. Six Hundred and sixty-six.

Neron Kaiser. The beast is NERO! (Pages 167-168).

(Note: Hebrew is read from right to left, thus you can match up the sound of the Hebrew letters by spelling/pronouncing them (right to left) in English to Neron Kaiser—which is read and written from left to right. Try it!)

The Title of Messiah & Its Numerical Value

Since all Hebrew words, phrases, and names bear a number (total value of all letters), it’s obvious that the appellation (title) of Messiah also would have an equivalent numerical value.

As follows but going from left to right to make it easier:

Mem = 40; Shin = 300; Yod = 10; Chet = 8. Combined total is 358.

Messiah in Hebrew is: Mashiach. (Once again sound out the letters. Hint: the “Y” in “Yod” is a consonant vowel, pronounced more like a short “a” … ah)

As found in Out of the Abyss Chapter 7 and also a few Eye of Prophecy articles as fitting the topic, certain numbers in Scripture have substantial meaning in God’s sovereign plan for and interaction with his creation, especially mankind. Such as: three, four, seven, twelve, forty, seventy, and four hundred. (For example, please see article, Countdown to Armageddon … End of the Fourth 400-Year Era, published 7-29-17).

Likewise, the gematria value of many Hebrew words and phrases are a vital component of Judaism and Jewish life. One of those significant numbers is 18, which is the sum value of the Hebrew word, Chai or life. Consequently, monetary gifts among Jews are often given in the factor of eighteen.

(Common Hebrew Phrases With the Word Chai–life or lives)

In breaking down the composite number for Messiah (358), we find the following:

Three: The number of the Trinity … Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Five: The number representing God’s Grace.

Eight: The number signifying what is new as in New Beginning.

Messiah Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son, the second Person of the Triune God. The majestic Three in One. God’s grace was lavishly poured out to both Jew and Gentile through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus to save us from our sins. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are a new creation in Christ; we have a new beginning with all our sins forgiven and the penalty for those sins pardoned. During the Rapture, the dead in Christ will be given a brand new body via resurrection, and then the transfiguration of living believers follows quickly (I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15).

However, there’s no need for Scripture to specifically identify the numerical equivalent (gematria) of anyone or anything, as the Bible itself provides all the needed content that enables us to comprehend God’s plan for the human race. Yet, if we’re truly interested in knowing the Lord and his Word, we will better see the literal and figurative value that God places on certain numbers (identified earlier). In addition to those stated numbers, the numerical values revealed through Hebrew gematria is one of those peripheral—yet still significant—tools for those who want to understand the Bible that much more.

As alluded to earlier: there is one exception. Which is the encoded number of the Antichrist beast given to us as one of the pieces of the prophetic puzzle to decode and declassify what most think must remain a mystery until after the Rapture—the identity of the Antichrist. The text is clear: Revelation 13:18 unequivocally declares that the number six-hundred and sixty-six is the number of “a man.” Not man’s number in general which many believe to be six (created on the sixth day). Rather, it is the number of “a” man—who obviously is the Antichrist Beast.

And it’s through Hebrew gematria that we can match up six hundred and sixty-six with Nero Caesar. Then by disciplined study and a good dose of God-given wisdom and understanding, to confirm that disclosure with all of the other passages on the Antichrist found in Scripture.

Conversely, there is no question that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah … The Anointed One, which is what Messiah means. Anyone with any degree of objectivity, but also an open mind and sincere heart passionately wanting to know the truth of who Jesus is, will see that … even the most orthodox of Jewish rabbis. Jesus literally fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah, including the following prediction that indisputably shows Messiah must arrive BEFORE the second temple was destroyed (in 70 AD).

Biblical Numbers Expressed in Specific Prophetic Periods of Time/Years

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

Jesus’s birth was so supremely significant that it changed time from before Christ (BC) to after Christ (AD). Only 33-34 years after Jesus was killed by crucifixion, Nero personally ordered his Generals Vespasian and Titus and their legions to march on Jerusalem in 66 A.D. It was Nero’s armies that destroyed the city and the temple.

(Many More Jews–Men, Woman, & Children–Were Killed Than Taken Captive)

While we’re on the subject of numbers in Scripture—the kind given by the Lord in the form of an astonishingly specific time-dedicated prophecy—let’s read part of the passage just prior to Daniel 9:26. The archangel Gabriel is speaking to Daniel:

“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven (483 years total) will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes…” (Daniel 9:25, parenthesis mine).

Time/space in today’s article doesn’t allow a detailed explanation of this phenomenal prophecy. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, An Incredible Time Lapse Prophecy (posted 1-18-14)) for elaboration (also found in a few subsequent articles). Here is an excerpt from that post:

Sir Robert Anderson calculated (with partial assistance from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich) the Julian date of King Artaxerxes edict to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to have been March 14th, 445 BC. Furthermore, the Julian date for Jesus’s magnificent ride into Jerusalem was April 6th, 32 AD. By employing the Hebrew calendar, Sir Robert Anderson tallied 173,880 days had elapsed which is exactly 483 Jewish years!! Absolutely astounding! I repeat for emphasis: Incredible!!

Another astonishing prophecy (Leviticus 26) that the Lord graciously gave me understanding of was the exact amount of time specified by what I term Seven Times Over (uninterrupted succession of years) ending the Gentile domination of the Jews and Israel in 1967—the Six Day War. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, The Omega Generation, posted 2-15-14, which was an epilogue to three preceding articles, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power I, II, III) published 1-25, 2-1, and 2-8-14.

In summary: the Bible contains three categories of numbers to express God’s plan and fulfillment of prophecy. They are:

(1) Certain numbers to represent significant models and methods of God’s interaction with both Jews and Gentiles. Such as: Three, Four, Seven, Twelve, Forty, and others.

(2) Prophetic announcements and fulfillment that involve precise dates/times.

(3) Hebrew Gematria that connect and correlate Biblical words, phrases, and names to the importance of certain numbers as indicated in Category 1. With, however, the recognition that (except for the encoded gematria number of the Antichrist beast) Scripture does not actually state or specify the numerical equivalent or values. That is a “bonus” for those who are willing to learn more about the dynamics of the Hebrew alphabet and how letters and words impart deeper meaning to numbers and vice versa.

Regarding Messiah’s number of 358, we find this in a few Old Testament passages. Such as one we just looked at.

In both Daniel 9:25 & Daniel 9:26, we find the title of “Anointed One” translated Messiah in many Bible translations. Mashiach (Hebrew for Messiah) equals 358.

We also find the numerical value of 358 in the italicized phrase of the following passage: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes…” (Genesis 49:10, NASB, “Yibo Shiloh” in Hebrew).

Bible scholars and teachers (including me) recognize this as a reference to the coming Messiah.

There are a few other passages where the name or phrase equals 358, with either a direct reference to Messiah or a type or symbol of Messiah. Such as Deuteronomy 34:9 and Isaiah 44:24.

Ironically (but not to God), the term snake or serpent adds up to 358. You might be thinking, what’s that all about? Read with me the analogy Jesus used shortly after he told Nicodemus: “you must be born again” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

In this context of salvation, Jesus was emphasizing the lifting up part … meaning his death on the cross. Which is the only remedy for sin and death and final conquest over the original serpent, the Devil … Satan.

Here’s the Old Testament scene referred to by Jesus in which God had to discipline his people for yet another rebellion against him:

“So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.’ So Moses prayed for the people.

“Then the Lord told him, ‘Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!’ So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!” (Numbers 21:6-9).

Everyone has been bitten by sin and (without God’s remedy) will die an eternal death because of that deadly bite. Among other literal and symbolic lessons of this “snake” incident graphically portrayed by the Lord to describe his death on a pole (the cross), is the life-giving truth that all a person need do is believe in the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Messiah Jesus … John 14:6) for forgiveness of sin and once-for-all redemption that leads to eternal life instead of death. It wasn’t just looking at the snake that saved those who had been bitten. It was their trust in God to do what he said he would do if they simply looked at the bronze serpent. If they looked with complete faith in God, then he would save them.

To look is to see and to see is to believe. This is also true in reverse. To believe is to look and to look is to see. “I once was lost but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” (Words from song, Amazing Grace).

A Captivating Correlation between the Number of Messiah and an Event Some 358 Years Ago

The following occurred to me: If we convert the numerical value of Messiah to years and look back some 358 years, would we find something or someone of some historical note. I’m placing this in the representative comparative (not actual) context of the soon return of Messiah and the corresponding years associated with Jesus’s amazing statement that all of the end-times signs would occur within a span of one generation (see Matthew 24:34). As indicated, I have written about this in several Eye of Prophecy articles, with reference to the monumental milestones of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the UN Resolution of 1947 (followed in seven months by Israel becoming a State in 1948), and the Six-Day War of 1967 in which the Holy City of Jerusalem was reunited with the Holy Land of Israel.

All leading to a time-frame (converting Roman calendar years to Jewish years and months) of the Rapture possibly taking place before the year 2020. With, however, heavy emphasis on the fact that Jesus said that no one knows the day or hour (Matthew 24 & 25). However, he also said we should recognize the signs of the last days, with one of the most important of those actually transpiring in our generation, compliments of evangelism via the media … radio, television and the internet:

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

With the conviction that the Day of the Lord is so very near, I’m simply using the present time (this year … 2017) as a benchmark reference point to see where the number of Messiah (in years) retroactively takes us. If I hadn’t found what was found, neither this week’s article nor any Eye of Prophecy article would have been written on this subject (Messiah’s number).

A Rabbi Named Sabbatai Zevi

During his lifetime (1626 to 1676) this mystic Jewish rabbi claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah. Unlike a few others who have made such a claim down through the ages, this man had a huge European following of both Jews and Gentiles. So much so that a legacy was named after him—the Sabbatean movement. More so than anyone before him since the Jewish Zealot Bar Kokhba led the last revolt against Rome in 130-135 A.D. Many hailed Kokhba as the Messiah. Except, of course, Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians who knew beyond all doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was (still is and always will be) Messiah—if for no other reason than his resurrection from the dead.

Interestingly enough, Zevi was born in the city of Smyrna, which at that time was part of the Ottoman Empire. This is the same Smyrna named as one of the seven churches in Revelation Chapters 2 & 3. Among other things that Jesus said of the church in Smyrna:

“…I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan” (Revelation 2:9).

In the first century, there were two main antagonistic forces against the Christian Jews and Gentiles in Smyrna. One was the Jewish population openly opposing Christianity. The other was the Gentile population aggressively aligned with Rome; Gentiles who lived there were loyal worshippers of the Roman emperors.

There was still a thriving Jewish community in Smyrna in the 17th century, and there were two major events during the mid-part of that century.

First Event: A resurgence of Messianic fervor greater than any since the time of Christ Jesus. For Gentile Christians and their Messianic Jewish brothers in Christ, it was the return of Messiah. For non-Messianic Jews (as is still the case today) it was the first appearance of Messiah. In fact some of those Jews actually identified the year 1648 (then later 1666) as the year of their final redemption by their long-awaited Jewish Messiah.

Time/space doesn’t permit more information on this obviously false messiah, who later converted to Islam to avoid persecution and possible death at the hands of the Sultan of Turkey! In stark contrast to the true Messiah Jesus, who as the Son of God willingly came to this earth as a man (Virgin Birth) and freely laid down his life for our ugly sins and the penalty of those transgressions, eternal separation from God. As well as all of Jesus’s disciples (except John) who were killed for preaching the Good News, and millions of Christians down through the ages (more in the 20th and 21st centuries than ever before) who have given the supreme sacrifice of their lives to testify that only Messiah Jesus can save us.

(Portrait of Sabbatai Zevi, Next to a Crown)

Here is an excerpt from the Jewish History website article:

What happened next is indescribable. We know it from diplomatic records, from ambassadors of countries who sent records to their government describing what happened throughout the Jewish world. Sabbatai Zevi was not just a Jewish phenomenon, but an international one. His arrival affected the economy and politics of all Europe.

Wild rumors regarding the advent of the Messiah circulated all over the civilized world. Jews is Greece, Italy, Syria, Egypt and Turkey, began to sell out their properties in anticipation of moving to the Holy Land.

The Jewish communities of Amsterdam, Hamburg, Altona, Frankfurt and Main were all taken over by supporters of Sabbatai Zevi. The chief opponent of Sabbatai Zevi was a rabbi in Amsterdam by the name of Jacob Sasportas. He sent letters to the rabbis of Europe to oppose Sabbatai Zevi. Shockingly, hundreds of rabbis refused to do so. Many of them said in effect that even if Sabbatai Zevi was not the Messiah he was good for the Jews because a lot of assimilated Jews were now more religious or at least more aware and proud of their Jewish identities…

By the end of 1665, the messianic fervor had moved from the Mediterranean basin to Western and Eastern Europe. In short, Sabbatai Zevi hysteria swept throughout Europe, especially Eastern Europe which was still reeling from the Tach V’tat massacres. The Jews were looking for something. Here was the solution; here was the Messiah.

This last paragraph leads us directly to the:

Second Event: Quoting from the first paragraph of an article with the heading of Tach V’tat, also posted in the online source of Jewish History:

“The years 1648 and 1649 represent a watershed in Jewish history. In Jewish tradition they are referred to as Tach V’tat (which are the Hebrew letters representing the numbers 408 and 409, which correspond to the years of 1648 and 1649 on the non-Jewish calendar). One can even say that Tach V’tat marks the beginning of modern Jewish history. It is certainly the harbinger of enormous changes in and enormous destruction of the Jewish world.”

The author of that column was referring to and did mention the mass slaughter of an estimated 300,000 Jews (30% of the Jewish European population) by Russian Cossacks, Tartars, and mostly by Polish peasants during these two years, but continuing through 1653. Proportionally, the number of Jews killed during this relatively short 5-6 year period of time exceeded the Crusades or the Inquisition before, both of which took place over a long period of time. It was the largest mass murder of Jews until the Holocaust, which also took place over a 5-6 year period of time.

(I Hesitated To Post This Holocaust Mass Grave Picture, one of many photos and videos taken of the Holocaust. But We Must Never Forget. The Tach V’tat massacre of the Jews was done one at a time by hand, compared to the machine gun and gas chambers of the Holocaust)

As the author of the Jewish History article concluded: it was the harbinger of enormous changes in and destruction of the Jewish world to come.

The Starling Correlation

The Holocaust of the Second World War was a direct (prophetic) catalyst of the rebirth of the State of Israel, which is one of the three epic achievements of the 20th century that signal specific time frames of the Day of the Lord (in a generational period that the Bible defines as both 100 years and 70 years).

Sabbatai Zevi was a false messiah, who deceived many by special (questionable) paranormal abilities and pious living. He would be a pre-cursor to the next infamous and last anti-Messiah who will reappear shortly after the Rapture. Followed seven years later by the true Messiah’s return.

Let’s do the math:

Starting with this year (2017), and then transposing Messiah’s number of 358 to years, we’ll go backward in history. Once again, however, we need to convert Roman calendar years to Jewish calendar years. Those calculations give us 363 Jewish years. Subtracting 363 from 2017, we end up in the year 1654.

That was the year that immediately followed the end of the worst mass murder of Jews (1648-1653) until the Holocaust; with the Holocaust immediately preceding the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Which, in turn, was the epic beginning of the 70-year generation (within the 100-year generation of the Balfour Declaration of 1917) that would usher in the Day of the Lord.

Also it was the last prominent anti-Messiah to deceive both Jews and Gentiles alike, until (the) Antichrist (Nero) will return from the Abyss. Only to be totally vanquished by the true Messiah.

Things to Ponder

Certainly, there is some speculation on my part even to match the number of Messiah to years. As indicated in some prior Eye of Prophecy articles: Unlike a great many—even well-meaning Bible scholars—who focus on Biblical prophecy, I seldom do any speculating at all. Rather, I rely on the comparison of Scripture to Scripture and then correlation to historical events. If you have read just a few Eye of Prophecy articles, I’m convinced you will see that.

In that regard, I would classify the 358 paradigm as a secondary (probable but not absolutely certain) prophetic development or sign. One that is more hidden and harder to discern than the obvious Biblical prophecies of Messiah’s first and second advents and Israel’s final redemption and restoration as covered extensively in Eye of Prophecy articles, including current events that pertain to these prophetic developments.

Nevertheless, the fact that 358 years ago, give or take a few years, finds us at the very time of what was the most prominent false messiah up to that point—including the worst massacre of Jews until the Holocaust—is, I think, quite relevant … even remarkable.

Messiah Jesus’s return is so very near. This is the ardent anticipation and strong belief of most evangelical Bible scholars and teachers and millions upon millions of Christians. Although there are many articles on several subjects, one of the main purposes of Eye of Prophecy website is to provide Biblical and historical documentation to support that powerful premise.

The 358 template that connects a false messiah (a pre-cursor of the ultimate Antichrist—Nero) to the true Messiah is one more piece of the prophetic puzzle. Albeit the fitting of this piece requires a magnifying lens that includes looking at Hebrew gematria coupled with a strong working knowledge of Biblical prophecy and secular history.

In that context, it’s pretty amazing what was happening 358 years ago! Was that mere coincidence? Or could there be a prophetic correlation and time-lapse application to the imminent return of Christ in today’s world?

“But it was to us that God revealed things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets … And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us” (I Corinthians 2:10 & 12, parenthesis in the text).

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

“…If you are a teacher, teach well” (Romans 12:7).

By the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Eye of Prophecy articles will teach well, as we are:

Whom Do You Most Want To See In Heaven?

Such an easy question posed in the title of this week’s article, with an equally obvious answer: Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Were it not for Messiah Jesus and what he did before, during, and after the cross, there would be no entrance into heaven nor any place for us in the future Kingdom of God on earth. Believers will have the awesome privilege of going back and forth between heaven and earth during the Millennium and throughout Eternity.

Next question: After Jesus, is there anyone you especially want to see soon after your arrival in heaven? Keep reading for the opportunity and reason to think about that question, which extends beyond loved ones. But first, let’s get back to Jesus.

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

And in order to be born again (spiritually), there is only one thing that the Lord requires of us:

“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.’

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

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:26-29, italics for emphasis).

Years later the Apostle Paul reinforced this profound yet simple truth of salvation to reconcile us back to God and, thereby, seal us with that same approval that God has for his beloved Son, Messiah Jesus.

“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood… God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26).

That is the Good News of the Gospel.

Is there bad news? Unfortunately, there is. Not the news itself. Rather, for those who have not believed and received Jesus as personal Savior, the question posed in the title of this week’s article is irrelevant. In order to see or be with anyone in heaven, they must first be born-again.

Other than Messiah Jesus

Next to Jesus, the question of whom believers most want to see in heaven also has an obvious answer: family or, perhaps for some, very close friends. With, of course, the compassionate hope that their loved ones will be in heaven. I think the majority of people—both believers and unbelievers (who are mistakenly relying on the presumption that they will qualify for heaven based mostly on their good deeds outweighing the bad)—look forward to being reunited with their spouse.

Which, however, poses a problem. If, that is, there will be problems as such in heaven. Which there won’t be because we can’t even imagine how wonderful or how much better all things will be in our eternal paradise. But we can know this: heaven is problem-free!

For example: “…Look, God’s home is now among his people. He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:3-5).

(Please see Eye of Prophecy article, To Be or Not to Be in Heaven (A Revisit). Posted 5-6-17. Scroll down near the end of the article to heading of Heaven is a Place, But Not For Some Things!)

Spouses

The “problem” alluded to can be best understood by those who have had more than one spouse in their lifetime. Which one would they like to greet first in heaven? Or not at all—in case of a divorce! Actually, even divorced couples will rejoice that both are there. What about a woman who remarries after her first husband died? Who, at the end of her life, realized she loved both men the same.

Let’s look at what Jesus, himself, said about this issue. His explanation was in the context of the question of resurrection of the dead, which the Pharisees of Jesus’ time believed in, but not their rival group, the Sadducees. In one of several attempts to trap Jesus into saying or doing something that the religious leaders could hold against him or even prove him wrong (which they never were able to do, including some amazingly awesome answers from Jesus), we read:

“Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: ‘Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers…” (Mark 12:18-20).

The religious leaders went on to say (their example wouldn’t have been so absurd had they stopped with say two or three brothers) that the seven brothers married her in succession, but each died without conceiving a child with the woman. She then died, childless. Their question:

“So, tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her” (Verse 23).

Jesus corrected them:

“Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry or be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels of heaven. But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—haven’t you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead. You have made a serious error” (Mark 12:24-27).

Jesus plainly told the religious leaders (of all people) that their most serious error was not knowing their own Scriptures. The single greatest error made by so very many, then and now, is passively ignoring the Bible or actively rejecting it as the source of God’s absolute truth. It is sixty-six books of accurate history, detailing people, places, and events; telling us about the fall of man, and God’s remedy through the prophesied Messiah who would bring salvation to all who would believe what he said and did.

All beginning with God choosing Israel as his special people and land to bring forth a Redeemer for Jew and Gentile alike. The Bible is replete with astounding miracles that God and His Son have performed, alongside the astonishing fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies to prove that He alone is God, and His Son is the only Savior.

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even the best of long-term marriages are imperfect and can’t compare to the ultimate rapport and unity of all believers in heaven. If a man or a woman deeply loved their spouse during two (or maybe even three) marriages on earth, then which one should they be with in heaven? Answer: Both, but not as husband and wife. Rather, as transfigured believers with new spiritual bodies and minds—worshipping, praising, and serving the Lord undefiled forever. Along with the host of heaven; with, perhaps, a little more bond to those they loved while on the earth.

Mothers, Fathers, Children, Sisters, and Brothers

Next to Jesus and then spouses, it’s logical that most people will first want to see their immediate family members or perhaps a very dear friend in heaven. For many it would be a mother and/or father, or child, followed by siblings. Or, maybe all at the same time. Once again, let’s put this in perspective of what Jesus said and did. Let’s get his view on family, but with a warning: His standpoint is in the context of something that supersedes even family—immediate or extended–relationships.

Before we look at a couple of passages on that subject, we can better grasp the dynamics of what’s going on with a brief review of where it all began.

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Along with human beings and everything else that God created (which was everything!) we read: “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (Genesis 1:31).

One day soon, it will be as good as or even better than it was in the beginning!

God created Adam from the dust of the ground (all the component parts of a human being can be found in the elements of the earth). Then the Lord gave the man the best gift that any man could or should ever want or need, in terms of human companionship on this earth.

“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep (God’s anesthesia!). While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:21-22, parenthesis obviously mine).

And what was Adam’s response? “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.’ This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:23-24).

Then we’re told about Cain, the first child born to Eve.

“Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel…” (Genesis 4:2)

Most people, even unbelievers, know the story of the first murder when Cain killed his own brother—a direct second generation result of the sin nature that had been inherited by Adam and Eve’s children … passed down to this very day. But then we read:

“When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who was just like him—in his very image. He named his son, Seth. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:3-4).

Thus, we see the vital significance of husband and wife and children—brothers and sisters—as the foundational bedrock of the God-given institutions of marriage and family. In fact, the Lord draws on that paradigm to illustrate that all believers in Christ are his bride (Ephesians 5:21-33). If we accept God’s salvation, then we also have the awesome privilege of being reborn into the family of God after we are born the first time into the family of man. Believers are not only Messiah’s bride, but we are God’s children.

“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).

The Lord gives us life and then gives us life again … everlasting!

Jesus and His Family

“Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. There was a crowd sitting around Jesus (something that happened frequently, sometimes crowds of thousands), and someone said, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.’

“Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then he looked at those around him and said, ‘Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:31-35, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Did Jesus mean that his mother, brothers, and sisters were unimportant or irrelevant to him? Of course not. There are other scenes in the Gospels where it’s clear that Jesus honored his mother and father, and respected his siblings. Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law—perfectly (without sin) keeping all commandments. One of which is to:

But there is something and someone higher and eternally more important than family bonds and identity. Jesus clearly said who and what that was: anyone who does God’s will. They are Messiah’s true family.

And what is God’s will? There is a plethora of both Old and New Testament passages that convey the ultimate will and plan of God for his creation. Beginning with the Messianic promises in the Old Covenant (Testament) and ending with the accomplishment of those prophecies/promises in the New Covenant—centered in Messiah. I’m going to quote just one, but it happens to be the one most are familiar with (both believers and unbelievers).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NASB).

“Whoever believes in Him” (Christ) is doing God’s will.

Let’s look at one more passage comparing the human to the spiritual family of God.

One of the more well-known stories in the Gospels is the rich man who asked Jesus, “…what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).

After Jesus quoted some of the Ten Commandments, including honor your father and mother—with the rich man’s response that he had kept those commandments—we read: “Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. ‘There is still one thing you haven’t done … Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’” (Mark 10:21).

It was not a happy ending for the man: “At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions” (Verse 22).

Many know what Jesus said next. “…How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God … 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” (Verses 23 & 25).

We read on: “The disciples were astounded. ‘Then who in the world can be saved?’ they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.’

“Then Peter began to speak up. ‘We’ve given up everything to follow you,’ he said” (Verses 26-28).

Then Jesus drives home the point of this entire scene, which is the truth that he and the Gospel he brought with him to mankind are much more essential and eternal than earthly possessions, prestige, and power.

What every person does with and about Messiah Jesus will literally determine their eternal destiny. It will also determine eternal rewards for those who do believe in Jesus and choose to follow him. Moreover, in his reply to Peter, Jesus includes family relationships that also must be prioritized in the light of who Jesus is and what he would do for the human race.

{In the very next scene Jesus reminded his disciples what would soon happen to him: “…the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again” (Mark 10:33-34)}.

Getting back to Peter’s question, Jesus went on to say:

“Yes … and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be the least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then” (Mark 10:29-31).

Because the Lord has graciously given me the gift of teaching (all believers are given a special gift to serve the Lord—see Romans 12 & I Corinthians 12), I almost always provide my own commentary on Scripture or secular sources quoted in Eye of Prophecy articles. However, the following commentary on the above passage in Mark is from the New Living Translation (Application Study Bible) that I normally quote from unless otherwise noted:

Jesus assured the disciples that anyone who gives up something valuable for his sake will be repaid a hundred times over in this life, although not necessarily in the same way. For example, someone may be rejected by his family for accepting Christ, but he or she will gain the larger family of believers. Along with these rewards, however, we experience persecution because the world hates God. Jesus emphasized persecution to make sure that people do not selfishly follow him only for the rewards.

Jesus explained that in the world to come, the values of the world will be revealed. Those who seek status and importance here will have none in heaven. Those who are humble here will be great in heaven…

As important as spouses and children and our extended families are, our ultimate purpose for being on this earth is to prepare us for eternity. That preparation begins by being “born-again” through total trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus for forgiveness of sins. In that regard, believer’s brothers and sisters in Christ are our real family. Which makes a flesh and blood brother or sister (or any family member) who is also a believer, even more precious. After we are saved, it’s also by regular reliance on the Holy Spirit that we love, worship, honor, serve, and in general seek the Lord above all else.

“So don’t worry about those things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all you needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:31-33, Words of Jesus).

Jesus Takes the Family Analogy a Step Further

Husbands, Wives, Fathers, Mothers, Children, Brothers, or Sisters. Natural born or adopted. Full or step or half siblings. Blended or unblended families. As wonderful and enduring as family relationships can and should be, the truth of the Gospel exceeds such bonds. One of the greatest joys in any believer’s life is when a family member comes to Christ for salvation. One of the greatest sorrows is when a loved one dies without Christ as their personal Savior.

And who doesn’t want to go to heaven or not go to hell when they die, whether a person believes in either place or not? For God and Christ and heaven and hell are as real as the words you are reading right now. I say this on the authority of God’s Word, in which the God of that Word says, “Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

The world longs for lasting love and perpetual peace, but not for absolute truth. Most search for the elusive qualities of love and peace in people without including God who IS LOVE (I John 4:8 & 16). Without Christ who IS Peace (Isaiah 9:6). One day soon he and only he will bring permanent peace to the world. However, the first time Jesus came to Planet Earth, he came to bring peace with God. For without peace with God there can be no enduring peace between peoples.

“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).

That’s why Messiah Jesus was so blunt when he said:

“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword (referring to the spiritual sword which is the Word of God—Scripture). I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own households! If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39, parenthesis mine).

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, One Nation Under (the wrath of) God, posted on 7-4-15, soon after and primarily on the subject of the United States Supreme Court Decision that legalized same-sex marriage:

“Pilate said, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus responded, ‘You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked…” (John 18:37-38).

We see two things happening in this crucifixion passage: (1) Jesus explaining his mission on coming to this earth … to testify of the truth. Earlier in his ministry he had said that he, himself, was The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He also said the truth would set us free, meaning himself. God’s truth for mankind is that his Son is the only Way to God, his son is Truth itself, and his Son is Life (salvation that comes from God’s great love for the human race which leads to eternal life, John 3:16). (2) Pilate diverted and deflected Messiah’s declaration and explanation of truth by facetiously asking, “What is truth?” With his clear inference that truth is relative to anything and everything; what is true for one isn’t true for another.

Messiah Jesus came to show us God and God’s love. He provided the only Way to God by giving us everlasting Life through his once for all sacrifice for our sins. Notice that the Truth is in the middle of John 14:6. Christ as THE TRUTH connects the way of salvation to the life it produces. Without recognizing that Jesus Christ is absolute truth that everyone needs, there is no way to God or everlasting life from God.

Continuing with the excerpt from the aforementioned article:

Many people (particularly unbelievers and especially those who practice or promote homosexual behavior and/or assert equal rights to a marriage license) claim that love trumps everything else, including truth. Of course it would, because there is no longer any such thing as absolute truth, i.e. given to us by God, himself as found in Scripture, the very Word of God. They refuse to consider real truth; accordingly, they really don’t understand what love is.

First comes truth, then comes love. Scripture tells us in no uncertain terms that it is the Truth that sets us free, not love. Without universal divine truth as found in Scripture, we simply cannot and do not understand what love is. We confuse it and substitute it with passion or at the very most, a deep brotherly type affection that is good among people, but apparently not enough to overcome the racial, political, cultural, and religious differences among people, including men and woman.

In fact, marriage is the least likely relationship in which the basic motivation and subsequent words of, “I love you,” or “I promise to love, cherish….” will stand the test of time. The 50% plus divorce rate should tell us that much. We are much more likely to say and mean those same words to a brother, sister, child, parent, or friend forty years from now than a spouse.

Institutions are characterized by and predicated on relationships.

The fundamental components of any relationship are love, honor, and respect; but here we must defer to Scripture’s definition of love and how that love determines the boundaries of relationships, particularly marriage.

Rephrasing the Question of Today’s Article Title

Those of us who are believers in Messiah Jesus passionately anticipate the soon to be glorious return of our Lord, to see him as he really is at the Rapture. Or if by death, to see him first and foremost in heaven. We will also rejoice to be reunited with loved ones, including dear departed friends.

But what about those mighty (in faith and service) men and women of God whose lives and stories are dear to us as found in the Bible. Or, post-Biblical figures down through the ages who have given their all to proclaim the Gospel and to confirm and defend the truth of the Good News? Have you ever thought about which of them you would want most or first to meet in heaven?

The last of the seven major Jewish Festivals—Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles—just ended day before yesterday, October 12th. Many Jews, especially the Orthodox, invite one person in the Bible to “tabernacle” with them each of the seven basic days of this festival, also called the Festival of Shelters. Jewish tradition recommends the invited guests to be: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and King David.

All of the above people except Aaron are also identified in the New Testament book of Hebrews Chapter 11, in what many Bible scholars and teachers call the “Hall of Faith.” Plus ten others such as Noah and Enoch and lesser known names such as Jephthah and Rahab. But also included are, “all the prophets.” As well as: “the people of Israel” when they “went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground.”

Which Bible heroes and heroines of faith would you want to meet right away in heaven? Out of intrigue, curiosity, excitement, to ask them to tell you more about themselves and the stories you’ve read or heard about them.

Who wouldn’t want to listen to Moses depicting in great detail how the waters of the sea stood up like walls? Or to describe the finger of God writing the Ten Commandments on solid stone tablets on Mount Sinai? Or ask Noah how long it took for two of every pair of animals to come to the Ark, and just how amazed he was when they did?

Or an up close and personal explanation by Daniel, spending the night in a den full of hungry lions. Did the lions give him a soothing sleep by purring all night? Could have happened that way!

(Their Given Hebrew Names Were: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Would You Ask Them What Jesus Said to Them While in the Fiery Furnace? Yes, it was the Pre-Incarnate Messiah With Them!)

Pick your favorite man or woman in the Bible and think what they could tell you about what they saw, did, and said that isn’t recorded in Scripture. Just how dumbfounded was Saul when the risen (and ascended) Christ appeared in a blinding light, and jolted him out of unbelief on the road to Damascus … forever changing Saul’s life and even his name to Paul?

My Choice

My personal preference is a man who isn’t even named in Scripture. Other than my Lord and my loved ones—family and a couple of friends—the person I would like to meet and talk to first is found in the following passage:

“At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’

“…Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:33-39).

This is nothing short of amazing. The Roman officer was a centurion in charge of the death squad that crucified Jesus. Undoubtedly, he had been hardened by many other executions. Most assuredly he was convinced that every man crucified was guilty as charged, including the two thieves on either side of Jesus.

In Luke’s gospel we read: “When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshipped God and said, ‘Surely this man was innocent’” (Luke 23:47).

Between these two accounts, it’s exceptionally evident that this Roman centurion believed on the spot that Jesus was completely innocent of any crime or wrongdoing. Even more: This Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God! Thus, the centurion was born-again that very day along with one of the two thieves on the cross. Astonishing!

I want to ask this Roman: “Why?”

“Why did you believe that Jesus was the Son of God? What made you think he was innocent of trying to overthrow Rome as the King of the Jews? Had you talked to Pontius Pilate or were you there in the courtyard when Pilate said he could find no fault in Jesus? Was it the three hours of total darkness in the middle of the day, or the earthquake that made you think this was no ordinary crucifixion? That this was no ordinary man? Was it anything or everything that Jesus said while dying an excruciating death?

I would say to him, “All of the words of Jesus before the cross and on the cross and after the cross had a powerful influence on my life. But none more so than when he said (after your men had nailed him to the cross): Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing. Did those words soften and change your heart, too?”

I would ask him: “When you acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God and praised God for that fact, did you also realize that his sentence that you carried out would be the source of eternal life for you and for all who would believe in him?”

There are a ton of questions I’d like to ask this commander of Roman soldiers. Or just the one question “Why did you believe?” And let him tell his poignant story of how a Roman officer could possibly believe (let alone publicly say so with his words and actions of worshipping God) Jesus was/is the Son of God before Jesus even arose from the dead!

Things to Ponder

We’ll have literally forever to talk one on one or in groups with every Biblical character in heaven, known and unknown. But that’s certainly not all. Eternity is a very long time! I’m convinced that we will meet every single believer in heaven at one time or another, sooner or later. Actually—since heaven will be timeless—will there be such a thing as sooner or later? Well, we’ll have plenty of time to think about that one!

Then there are the angels. Why wouldn’t we want to pick their angelic mind on what it’s like to be an angel; and listen to their stories about watching over us and protecting us from danger while on earth? Or how good angels fight the bad angels and such things.

Most of all we will echo the words of John:

“…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” (Revelation 1:5-6).

Las Vegas Massacre … A Broader Perspective

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Will the Killing Never End?

Though difficult to even think about it, I’m compelled to write about the savage slaughter in Las Vegas this past Sunday. Never before in the 220 Eye of Prophecy articles to date have successive posts begun with the same sectional heading. Especially one as grim as: Will the Killing Never End?

Last week’s article, The Real Reason for Palestinian Terrorism, was about the murder of three Israelis on September 26th by a 37-year old Palestinian who, by means of his Israeli issued work permit, had a good job and above average income from working in one of the Israeli communities in the West Bank. Neither his age nor his economic status fit the profile of Palestinians who murder Jews. Nor did the 64-year old financially well-to-do killer who ruthlessly snuffed out the lives of 59 fellow Americans, with an unprecedented number injured … over 500.

Not since 9/11 do I recall sitting in front of the television for hours over a single event, flipping between news stations; watching the deadly details of this malicious massacre in silent and solemn disbelief. Occasionally mouthing the words along with millions of Americans … unbelievable, incredible, shocking, and inconceivable. And mostly, “Why?”

A wounded person is walked in on a wheelbarrow as Las Vegas police respond.

Our hearts ache, our minds numbed, our spirits distressed, and our eyes and ears repulsed by the horror of it all.

There are not adequate words in any language to describe such cruelty. I suppose that President Donald Trump said it as well as could be said: “An act of pure evil.”

Every moral and spiritual fiber of our being cries out: “This is wrong, this is so very wrong.”

The sheer number of victims is staggering. It is the worst mass shooting in United States history, exceeding the 49 killed in the Orlando night club in June, 2016. The only other atrocity committed by an American that resulted in more deaths was the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City (1995 … 168 dead) by another malevolently evil man.

Twenty times as many Americans killed in Nevada on October 1st, than the three Israelis murdered in Israel just six days earlier. I don’t make this observation just for the sake of comparison. Anyone with any sense of morality, human decency, and respect for life knows full well: The murder of just one person (especially indiscriminate acts of terrorism that have become all too common, to the appalling point of normalcy) is one too many.

Rather, I make the connection between America and Israel because both Americans and Israelis have been affected by these brutal crimes on a national level. We, the people, are seriously shocked, righteously outraged, and deeply grieved by the deaths of our fellow Americans and Israelis, respectively. Both Americans and Israelis are intensely saddened at the devastating effect that the loss of loved ones (particularly at the hand of a random killer) has on their immediate family and friends.

In the context of this week’s subject, I only want to point out that the Jews have suffered many more of these arbitrary acts of terrorism in the last thirty years or so than have Americans. In that regard, killing of the three Jews was a greater loss (in numbers) to Israel than the fifty-nine Americans—mercilessly struck down before their time—were to America. With 320 million Americans and 6.5 million Jews in Israel, the United States population is approximately 50 times larger than Israel. Which statistically means that the death of three Israelis is 2 ½ times proportionally more than the loss of fifty-nine Americans.

Yet, it bears repeating: Even one innocent person randomly stabbed, shot, bombed, or run over by a vehicle is one too many. Whether it be in the United States, Israel, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, or anywhere. Reliable statistics show that 89% of such mass killings are committed by Muslims in general and/or those with actual or ideological ties to Islamic militants in particular. The Las Vegas massacre falls into the remaining ten per cent.

(Shows Body Covered on Ground … One of Two Woman Killed at Marseille, France Train Station by Muslim Terrorist–Also On October 1st)

Motive for the Law Vegas Bloodbath

Most Americans seem to be stunned at the Las Vegas massacre more than previous attacks for two reasons: (1) the frightening number of those killed and wounded. (2) Not knowing why … motive of the butcher.

Not just the leaders of our country and other nations who have condemned the Las Vegas atrocity, but celebrities and ordinary Americans have heard and probably uttered the word, senseless, or something similar. In a USA Today article entitled, Celebrities mourn a senseless act: ‘Why?’ posted on 10-3-17, some 30 celebrities (mostly country western singers and musicians) were quoted with such phrases as “stilled and speechless” from Keith Urban. Or Brad Paisley: “There are no words right now that suffice.” Blake Shelton said: “I don’t even know anymore … Why?” Thomas Rhett couldn’t, “fathom what happened.”

Contrasted to, for example, the Orlando and the San Bernardino (December, 2015 … fourteen killed) mass murders that were committed by a single man and a married couple with religious ties to Islam and/or political affiliation—at least ideological—to ISIS. Thus far, the Las Vegas assassin has no known religious or political connections to anyone or anything. Killing with absolutely no reason except to kill is, indeed, pure evil.

That’s what makes the Las Vegas attack even more gut-wrenching and mind-boggling. We want to know why, but we don’t. We want to process it all, but we can’t. Some think or say: even if there was a reason, it’s reached the point where it’s too much. Enough is enough.

If we just knew the reason, then maybe we could do something. Or can we? Where do we start? What could or should we do different? Should we deal just with the surface of the problem? In the case of mass shootings, do we eliminate altogether the constitutional right for American citizens to bear arms? Do we increase our security to the brink of becoming a police state in America? Do we give up going to indoor or outdoor stadiums and arenas to watch basketball, football, baseball, soccer; or listen to open-air concerts or attend conferences in a crowd of thousands?

Or is the problem much deeper than what can be addressed on a social or political or law enforcement level?

When all is said and done, is there really any way we can make sense of the senseless?

(Fort Hood Mass Shooting in Nov., 2009. Shows one of the 31 Wounded on Stretcher. Twelve American Servicemen and One Civilian Killed By Major Nidal Hasan, Who was a Practicing Muslim and Described Himself As, “A Soldier of Allah.” Thus, in This Case, the Ultimate Motive Was Clear).

Only Through God and His Word Can We Make Some Sense of It All

God’s Word, the Bible, does give us hope for the future, knowing that God knows why and that he cares more than we can imagine. How much does he care?

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

Jesus understands pain and death. He, too, was murdered. Though his death was unique—the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous—his blood was just as real, just as red. His agony was so great that the word excruciating comes directly from crucifixion.

Many inevitably ask the question: “Why did God allow this to happen?” That is a question that could be asked of any tragedy on a personal, city and state, national or international level—such as two World Wars that resulted in a combined death of some 90 million people.

Except for Messiah Jesus, no one who has ever lived knows all the relevant reasons why God does or doesn’t preemptively do certain things for certain people or cities or nations at any given time.

Yet, both general and specific principles can be found in Scripture … starting at the beginning when God allowed mankind to choose between good and evil. Including the realization that if God intervened in (prevented) every sin that every person or group of people were about to commit, then he would be revoking the free will that he has given us to choose between right and wrong, between light and darkness, between life and death. Which means that we would not choose to love, respect, and worship him for who He is—our Creator and Savior. We would become puppet robots with a deep-seated desire to rebel against God even more than we already do. What parent doesn’t want their child to love them willingly? What child wants to be forced to love and respect their mom and dad? In that sense, God has given everyone the freedom to determine his or her eternal destiny, depending on what they do with his Son.

Throughout the people, places, and events of Scripture—as borne out in history in the context of such things as terrible tragedies—if there’s one thing that stands out above everything else it is this: God sometimes allows bad things to happen to get our attention, including man-made disasters. When it comes to natural disasters, the Lord may even cause them from time to time. He allows things to happen in order to jolt our individual attention because our attention span is so short when it comes to focusing on God as the giver of all good things. He gives us life, then he gives us life again (everlasting) by redemption through his Son, Messiah Jesus. Or the principle as applied to entire nations so profoundly stated in the following passage:

And, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Inevitably and invariably, the only way to make sense of these senseless acts is by seeing things in the broadest and best perspective possible. And there is no other bigger or better source that God, himself. Moreover, the Lord’s divine perspective of his creation, of all things, is portrayed powerfully through His Word, the Bible.

For example: In last week’s article we looked past the presumed reasons why Palestinian Arabs continue to kill Jews on a regular basis. Motives such as alleged Jewish occupation of Israel (what Arabs still insist is Palestine) or non-existent apartheid propagandized by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to their own people and erroneously believed by millions all over the earth. As opposed to the real reason which goes back thousands of years; one that is explained explicitly in Scripture—the ancient rivalry between Ishmael and Isaac, ancestors of the Arabs and Jews, respectively.

The origin of 20th and 21st century terroristic-style killings can be traced primarily back to the Palestinian massacre of eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. Followed throughout the years by plane hijackings, then suicide bombings, and now lone-wolf attacks. Then largely beginning with 9/11, Muslim mass murder of anyone they considered infidels, which are Christians (including “Christian nations”) and Jews. And more recently Muslim Sunni and Shi’ite sects killing each other.

With one or two exceptions, such as the University of Texas student/sniper who shot and killed fourteen and wounded thirty-two in 1966, this perverted pattern of terrorism began in Munich, Germany. It then spun off into copy-cat massacres that have taken place all over the world, but mostly in the United States. The deadliest, in terms of numbers, took place near Oslo, Norway, with the lone gunman bombing and shooting to death 77 people in 2011. Although fewer in numbers (fortunately) than the Las Vegas massacre, the killing of twenty Sandy Hook Elementary school children and six staff members by a 20-year old man—who also didn’t have any political or religious motivation—was as gruesome as it gets. He also shot and killed his own mother.

For sure Palestinian murder of Jews is terrorism. But as developed in last week’s article, it has a much deeper root than just excuses created through political or religious conflict and opportunities. These are just branches of the tree. The tree itself is that of sheer hatred traced all the way back to Ishmael’s animosity towards Isaac.

(Isaac, not Ishmael was the Child of Promise. God Spared Isaac. But God Did Not Spare Isaac’s Descendant, Messiah Jesus–Who Is the Ultimate Child of Promise to Save Us From Our Sins)

The Depravity of Mankind … How Terrible Sin Really Is

Thus, there is a known reason for Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general committing acts of terror or BDS against Jews and (in some parts of the world) Christians. Whereas, the reprehensible massacre of so many in Las Vegas seems senseless and even more maddening because of an apparent lack of motive, the end result is the same. Whether serial killers over a period of time or a single act of mass murder, these killings actually do have a common denominator—the ultimate reason given to us by God:

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

Then immediately we read:

“But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10).

Then painting an even broader picture in order to show us that the universal divine standard from which we can make sense out of the senseless, and by which our eternal destiny is determined can be found in such verses as:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standards” (Romans 3:23).

Also, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a).

That’s right: everyone has sinned. And the “reward” (wages) for that sin is death—eternal separation from God throughout eternity.

The Apostle Paul went on to emphasize:

“…So we can see how terrible sin really is…” (Romans 7:13).

But here’s where so many people make such a huge mistake. Nearly all unbelievers (and sadly even some Christians) have a wrong impression of what sin really is, thinking that sin consists of only the worst of the wrong things people do. They compare themselves to others and customarily conclude that there are many people worse than they are. So we hear them say such things as, “Well, I’m not that bad.” Really? Where do they draw the line? What’s their definition of bad? Or for that matter … good? Do they wonder how many others have said the same thing about them? Is there anyone, anywhere who could make that statement about every other person in the world?!

In order to make such a distinction, they have to set up their own personal standards, which makes the whole thing totally relative … no absolute or fixed reference point. Actually, that’s what most people do. It’s a cafeteria style morality: Choose only want you want to be or think is sin.

Many equate this relative standard (of acceptance by or right standing with God) only to criminal violations of statutory laws. Others view sin as no more than a lapse in judgment, with a mindset that, “we all make mistakes.” Or, “no one is perfect.” They’re correct on both accounts, but so very wrong that only some of the sins (the ones they choose) listed in Scripture are actually transgressions against God. If we think that so many of the bad things we do are not really sin, then why do we lie about them so often? Why cover them up? Why hide them? Rhetorical questions, wouldn’t you agree. And then there are those who boast about their transgressions.

Worse, yet:

“If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts” (I John 1:10).

In terms of redemption—accepted by faith as a free gift from God as opposed to good works leading to salvation (Ephesians 2:8)—there is no difference between say a few small sins or even one small sin and one huge act of evil such as murder.

The Bible is absolutely clear: Concerning our need for redemption through Jesus Christ and him alone, God does not grade or measure us on a curve or sliding scale of little and big sins. All who die without Christ will be separated from God forever. Only their degree of retribution in hell (punishment fits the crime) is determined by the severity of their wrong thoughts and actions while on this earth. In that regard, Stephen Paddock might not be that far behind such infamous characters as Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler concerning the degree of their eternal punishment.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, A Trilogy of Terror, posted 12-26-15:

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

For example: “O God … you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked … You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers” (Psalm 5:4-6).

This passage, like so many others, speaks of unbelievers whose entire life is lived apart from God, doing their own thing, going their own way.

Notice that the Lord detests not only murderers, but also deceivers. Deception is as bad as or worse than the sin itself … lying to cover up wrong things we’ve done. We even lie about lying.

Because Scripture is replete with all kinds of sin and also many stories of people who have sinned, I’ll refer only to Galatians 5:19-21, that begins with: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear…”

The Apostle Paul goes on to list fifteen specific sins in that passage plus, “other sins like these.” He makes it clear that Scripture is referring to: “…anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). As opposed to those whose life (and lifestyle) has been changed from the inside out by trusting in Messiah Jesus for forgiveness of their sin.

We have absolutely no right to deliberately take someone’s life unless its self-defense (including justified wars) or the Biblical mandated right of society to administer capital punishment. Concerning “lesser” sins: although not dead as such, how many lives have been ruined permanently or for long periods of time by adultery, loss of life savings through fraud, selfish indulgence of alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, molestation, and a host of other offenses that devastate the offended and sometimes even the offender. To the point of wishing they were dead … some even tragically acting on that wish.

Eternal Life or Everlasting Death

There is, in fact, a fate worse than physical death. It is spiritual death—which the Bible classifies as eternal separation from God. As opposed to eternal life in heaven. But thanks be to our great and glorious God; there is a remedy.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

Yes, the wages of sin is (eternal) death. But the second half of that verse gives us wonderful hope:

“….but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (I John 5:11-13, italics for emphasis).

Not think, not wish, but we can know (beyond any doubt) that personal trust in Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection will guarantee everlasting life with our Lord and the host of heaven. Along with a complete pardon for all the wrong things we’ve done.

In light of the unspeakable tragedy that took place in Las Vegas, it is also imperative that we highlight another feature of the above quoted passage. Which is: Whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

The Apostle John also wrote: “And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36). These and many other Bible passages tell us that all who die without accepting Jesus as personal Savior will sadly end up in hell, awaiting final sentence because they remain under God’s angry judgment.

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

Jesus claimed not only that he was the anointed Messiah; he also said in no uncertain terms that he was God (the Son). He applied the name of God to himself—the same sacred name (Yahweh … I AM) that God gave to Moses at the burning bush.

Without personal belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and God the Son and his finished work on the cross, a person will “die in their sins.”

“Then death and the grave (all those in hell) were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15, parenthesis mine).

Is Eternal Separation From God Too Harsh of a Penalty?

Though I am so very grateful for my salvation and eternal destiny in heaven, I have sometimes wondered whether the second death is an inordinately severe penalty for those who die in their sins because they have refused to personally accept God’s invitation to, “…Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

Scripture is unequivocal: If we commit one sin, if we break one of God’s laws, we’ve broken them all. But it’s more than that. The fact is we were born with a sin nature that has to be dealt with. The sins we commit are merely symptoms of the disease of sin that we’ve all inherited from Adam and Eve. Even King David recognized that fact when he said to God:

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

But then I think about the enormous price that Jesus paid to save us from our sins and the eternal penalty for all the wrong things we’ve done. As I’ve said in a couple of prior Eye of Prophecy articles: God’s grace freely given to us through the death of his son is, the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.

Or as the words of the song go: I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sins upon that cross.

It’s far too high a price to trivialize or flippantly ignore, or certainly to scorn and reject. The price of Messiah’s precious blood and very life makes it clearer to me how terrible sin is … and its consequences. That the final verdict on those who have refused a complete pardon for their sins is as the Bible declares:

“…Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just” (Revelation 16:7).

Would you agree with the following statement about the Las Vegas mass murderer, especially if it were made by say the wife of a husband who was one of fifty-nine shot and killed:

“May he burn in hell!”

What Stephen Paddock did was, in fact, pure evil. And he will eternally suffer more for this horrible act than most who end up in hell. But just how much comfort will that be to millions upon millions of others who will also be eternally separated from God for far less grievous sins?

Yet the Bible is crystal clear when it tells us that (ultimately) it’s not our individual sins that will condemn us. We’re already under condemnation the moment we’re born. We’re not sinners because we sin. We sin because we’re sinners. What will keep us under that verdict of guilty and the penalty that goes with it is one thing only: refusal to accept the pardon God has already provided by believing and receiving the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He satisfied God’s justice, and in doing so expressed God’s great love for us.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:8-9, NASB).

“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).

Summary

Listen to the true and living God:

“…At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked … I warned the proud, Stop your boasting! I told the wicked … Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance. For no one on earth … should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges…” (Psalm 75:2-7).

Scripture is explicit: The wicked are all those who have not been pardoned by believing and receiving Christ as Savior. They, at one time or another, have raised a defiant fist toward God, figuratively … even literally. Every sin ever committed is in defiance of God’s holy laws. Some are wicked and more defiant than others, such as the Stephen Paddocks of the world. But all hearts, good and bad, need God’s salvation.

We are shocked over the deadly results of such evil as witnessed in Las Vegas this past Sunday. As well we should be. It is a time to grieve and a time to heal. But it is also a time to take stock of ourselves and this once great land we call home, the United States of America. There is no doubt whatsoever: This country is not what it used to be, just one generation ago. Nor is the world at large. What has happened to us? What have we done? What can be done about it? Have we gone too far? Is it too late to turn it around? Will God still bless America? Why should God bless America?

Things to Ponder

I’d like to close with an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, America the Beautiful is Getting Ugly, posted 7-9-16.

Scripture is exceedingly clear on the following: God normally deals with sin on an individual basis for those who have rejected the Lord’s only remedy for sin and its penalty—the once for all redemptive substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus. But when the leaders of a nation (in today’s society … presidents, prime ministers, legislative officials, celebrities, and especially judges) and many of its people corporately and blatantly defy and distort God’s truth as found in His Word, then God’s punishment is applied to the entire nation.

It’s one thing for individuals within a society to abort babies; participate in same-sex behavior; individually mock and despise God, Christ, born-again Christians, and Jews; engage in hedonistic lifestyles; and privately wish there were no vestiges of Biblical Christianity (prayer, Ten Commandments, Christian emblems) in our courts, halls of government, centers of education, and any public place whatsoever. That’s between the individual and God.

However, from God’s vantage point, it’s altogether a different matter when governments and nations and organizations openly condone, publicly flaunt, then legislate and fund these practices. Please understand: neither I nor by brothers and sisters in Christ are judging individuals for their sins. Because I/We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). We all need the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.

Then in conclusion of that article:

Though I am, like many Americans, passionately patriotic about my country, the truth must be told.

Some reading this article might question the premise that America the Beautiful (based on the song) is getting uglier by the day. Others could even be offended by the word, ugly as applied to America … especially its people.

First, my reference point and context is the condition in which the United States has fallen. One of many definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for condition is: “State of being.”

Secondly, let’s also defer to Webster’s Dictionary for some of the definitions of ugly: “Morally offensive or objectionable; repulsive … neither pleasing nor beautiful.”

For those things that begin in a perfect or near perfect state, then deteriorate to the point of demise, it is good if we can come full circle. As it was in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, so will it be again when Christ Jesus returns to set up his Kingdom of truth, justice, and peace.

As it was when the United States of America gave birth to freedom of worship and pursuit of life, liberty, and well-being through adherence to the timeless truths of Scripture and reliance on the Triune God of the Bible, we can only hope and pray that we will come (at least close to) full circle before it’s too late.

The Real Reason for Palestinian Terrorism

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Will the Killing Never End?

This past Tuesday, September 26th, another Palestinian lone-wolf terrorist struck. Border Police Staff Sgt. Solomon Gavriyah and security guards Youssef Ottman and Or Arish were shot and killed at point-blank range by Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal just northwest of Jerusalem. A fourth security guard was seriously injured. The Palestinian murderer was killed on the spot, near the check-point crossing that leads to the Jewish community of Har Adar where he had worked in the past.

By Palestinian preferences and terrorists’ standards this was a long time between attacks on the Jews, with the previous assault occurring on 7-22-17 and the one before that on 7-14-17. Two months’ time between attacks presumably creates withdrawal symptoms among Palestinian Arabs—whether it be the militants among them that actually do the killing or the (so-called) moderates who nevertheless cheer their “martyrs” and celebrate by giving treats to each other. Others dance in the streets, ecstatic over the death of more Jews. Some of these streets are named after the murderers.

(The Three Israeli Victims at Har Adar)

I wrote about the July 14th attack in Eye of Prophecy article, An Unprecedented Palestinian Attack in Jerusalem, posted 7-22-17. You may recall that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately ordered metal detectors to be installed at all Temple Mount entrance gates. Which caused a local Palestinian and international Muslim uproar—as though the murder of the Israeli police officers was nothing compared to the (temporary) inconvenience for Arabs to ascend Temple Mount through metal detectors, which were subsequently removed.

Eye of Prophecy articles, Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount, Part I & II were then published on 8-5 & 8-12-17. Here is an excerpt from Part I of those articles (in italics):

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

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

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

Among other vile things the murderer posted online before he butchered the Salomon family was that the Jews would not, “open the gates of al-Aqsa.” Even that was a distortion (lie) as the only (reasonable) change was erection of metal detectors—not taking away the privilege of Arabs to enter the gates that lead to Temple Mount.

Responses to the Most Recent Murders of July 26th

Immediate reaction from the ultra-militant Hamas—the terrorist governing body in the Gaza Strip—was as expected. Said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem:

“Hamas praises the operation in Jerusalem today and considers it as a normal reaction to the crimes of the occupation and to the continuous occupation of our Palestinian land and sacred sites. We can assure that Jerusalem is the main reason for our conflict with the occupation and our people will continue to resist until they achieve their freedom … The operation this morning in northern Jerusalem is a new chapter of the Jerusalem intifada…”

Was Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and sacred sites the main reason for this conflict and intifada? That question and others will be answered in this week’s Eye of Prophecy article.

Soon after this latest killing of Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again pointed the finger of blame at the, “…systematic Palestinian incitement” calling for Mahmoud Abbas to, “condemn the attack and not try to justify it.”

As written by contributing columnist Yoav Limor in an article posted in the online news source Israel Hayom on September 27, 2017 entitled, Unusual attack, limited solutions: “There is no doubt that the Palestinian Authority had nothing to do with the attack or the terrorist…. But the support the Palestinian Authority gives terrorism via incitement, offering no condemnation, and financing the families of security prisoners and terrorists who were killed, all but pushes many Palestinians to embark on the path of terrorism….”

Was there condemnation from the Palestinian Authority, the governing entity in the so-called West Bank (Judea-Samaria) who’s President, Mahmoud Abbas ironically bears the same first name as the Arab murderer? Normally, there would not have been. Under intense international pressure, especially from the United States, Abbas uttered a token (politically correct) condemnation—but not until this past Thursday, well over 48 hours after the brutal attack.

(Scene of the Har Adar Shootings)

Even on the rare occasion when Abbas condemns Palestinian murder of Jews to the international public in English, he will later justify and even praise the attack to his people in Arabic.

Citing social media, especially among young Palestinians planning attacks and Israeli security such as Shin Bet preempting many of those plots hatched as a result of incitement from the Palestinian Authority, columnist Yoav Limor goes on to say:

“In this respect, Jamal (the Arab who killed the three security officers on July 26th) was different. Neither young nor particularly active on social media, he did not meet the profile of the average terrorist. On the contrary—he was a married man in his late 30s, a father of four, with no prior record of any security offense or known affiliation, who had received consecutive work permits in Israel. It is quite possible that some of the people he murdered knew him, or at least recognized him, as he had worked in Har Adar for years.”

Mahmoud Jamal was one of a large number of West Bank Palestinians (about 100,000 in all) who have been issued permits to work at Israeli and Israeli-Arab businesses throughout Israel, especially in and around Jerusalem. In fact, the guards he shot and killed were engaged in their daily check-point duties that allowed him and other Arabs from the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Surik (where he lived) access outside the West Bank. These permits are similar to work visas that, for example, allow foreigners to work in the United States for specified periods of time. Also that of “green card” immigrants in America, except that the Palestinians do not live in Israel proper because they have declined to apply for Israeli citizenship.

(Example of Israeli Security Permitting Palestinians to Enter Israel with Proper Identification and Work or Visitation Permits)

On the other hand, that “difference” cited by Yoav Limor is exactly what makes these atrocities repulsively the same. Meaning that it exposes and confirms the ultimate reason why Arabs continue to kill Jews. Which we will identify shortly, by process of eliminating those reasons (excuses) that much of the world believes to be the apparent cause of Palestinian terrorism.

In another Israel Hayom article also posted on September 27th, the day after this troubled man murdered the three Israelis in cold blood, we read a statement by Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh:

“Unfortunately, there is no real profile for terrorists. We’ve seen elderly terrorists, single and married women, youths—we’ve seen that in recent years, many terrorists have personal issues. It could be anyone who decides that he or she is fed up, and they carry out terrorists attacks to garner some respect.”

*Note: It was reported that Mahmoud Jamal’s wife had left him and fled to Jordan leaving him with their four children, because he beat her. He may have been committing what is called, “suicide by cop.” Whether that was his intent or not, it’s painfully evident that he would kill as many Jews as he could before he was silenced.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas Latest Speech at the United Nations

On Wednesday, September 20th, 2017—just a week before Mahmoud Jamal’s murderous rampage—the Palestinian Authority President spoke again at the United Nations. Why Abbas is even allowed to address the United Nations is beyond me, as he is not the leader of a nation or state as such. Even before the UN granted “non-member status” to the Palestinian Authority in 2012, Mahmoud Abbas had addressed the UN, as had his predecessor Yasser Arafat.

Actually there is a reason. It’s the United Nations itself (especially UNESCO) which has become a mouthpiece not just for anti-Semitic nations to denigrate Israel; but for NGOs (non-government organizations) and ethnic groups to spout anti-Israel propaganda to all who will listen. Little wonder that the attack took place not long after Abbas’ rabble-rousing speech to the UN General Assembly. The incitement created by Abbas’s malicious and blatantly false accusations against Israel (and Great Britain) contributes to Palestinian terrorism; but it’s not the only nor even the main reason why Muslims continue to attack and kill Jews whenever and wherever they can.

Moments after his (politically correct) wish for Jews to have a “Happy New Year” (his speech took place last week on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year of 5778), Abbas launched into a tirade against Great Britain concerning the Balfour Declaration of 1917—which he had also done several months ago.

(Mahmoud Abbas’s UN Speech. His Hand Gesture Could Be Silently Saying that “Israel Doesn’t Deserve Even This Much Land”)

According to Abbas’s warped and prejudicial view, the Balfour Declaration endorsed by Great Britain: “…inflicted a grave injustice on the Palestinian people.”

Part of his rationale for this “injustice” was his allegation that only 3% of the population of Palestine in 1917 were Jews. When, in fact, of the 600,000 inhabitants of the territory known as Palestine (there has never been a nation called Palestine), 90,000 were Jews—15% of the population in 1917.

He went on to say that the Palestine of 1917 was a, “prosperous, progressive country” and the British Mandate that enforced the Balfour Declaration was a “historical injustice.”

Prosperous, progressive country? Not even close. Not in 1917 or even in 1947. Palestine was not a country at that time or since. It was a territory formerly controlled by the Ottoman Empire, then by the British as a result of their victory over the Ottoman Turks in 1917. The designation of Palestinians referred primarily to the Jews of that day, and did so until Israel was reborn as a sovereign state in 1948. That’s when Palestine was called by its rightful historical name of Israel, and that’s when it began to be prosperous and progressive—thanks exclusively to the Jews. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Arabs referred to themselves as Palestinians on a regular basis, when they created the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

Mahmoud Abbas also said in his speech, “What is worse is that this November, (the British government) wants to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this crime against our people.”

He insisted that the UK “apologize” for the Balfour Declaration, and demanded that the British “provide compensation.” And, of course, Abbas seized the opportunity afforded to him by the UN to blast Israel … accusing Israel of “apartheid,” calling for a boycott of Israel.

Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, said of Abbas’ diatribe: “Mahmoud Abbas has spread falsehoods from the UN podium which encourage hate, instead of ending the education towards violence in the PA. Today’s lies and excuses have proven once again that the Palestinian leadership is a serial evader of peace.”

Although Abbas deliberately evades the truth about Arab rejection of a Palestinian State alongside of Israel (what he really wants is a Palestinian state in place of Israel), he is right about the historical significance of the Balfour Declaration. It eventually led to the rebirth of the Jewish state.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation, Part I, posted 5-20-17; Part II posted on 5-27-17.

At that time, the Balfour Declaration was the single greatest event in history since the tragic dispersion of the Jews from Israel when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. It was the beginning fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies guaranteeing the final restoration of Israel and salvation of the Jews. Accordingly, it was also the beginning of the final (Omega) generation identified by Jesus that involves the entire world as found in his amazing disclosure of the end times while on the Mount of Olives with his disciples.

Then another excerpt near the end of that article:

Certainly, the Balfour Declaration was the “right and moral thing to do.” But it was more than that. Whether Lord Balfour realized it or not, his courageous initiative to speak for both Britain and the Jews was an acknowledgment and affirmation of God’s divine mandate to nations and peoples the world over concerning his majestic plan for Israel and the nations. One that absolutely will come to pass including the fall of nations who seek to harm Israel, and the success of those who support Israel in the journey of reaching God’s destiny for Israel and the Jewish people.

(The Original Boundaries of Israel as Specified by God Were Much Broader Than Modern-Day Israel … And Will Be Again Upon Messiah’s Return)

Supposed Reasons for Palestinian and Muslim Intifada (Including Lone-Wolf Attacks) against the Jews

Although the following four issues are factors of Palestinian terrorism, they are not the fundamental cause and origin. Nevertheless, these features are part of the Palestinian and Muslim nations’ propaganda accepted by peoples (especially liberals) and entire countries the world over as plausible, even justified reasons why Arabs attack Jews. Because these reasons have been discussed at length in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles and for sake of time/space in today’s article, they will be looked at only in summary review.

(1) Temple Mount Desecration

Stated earlier from a previous Eye of Prophecy article: Not that Arabs need a stated reason to kill Jews, but the latest and most prevalent excuse is to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount from what they call (non-existent) Jewish desecration.

As a reminder, it was Mahmoud Abbas’ inflammatory statements made in September, 2015 which fueled the lone-wolf attacks—about 400 to date … some successful, others not—that have resulted in dozens of Israeli deaths (including two Americans) and hundreds of injuries. You might recall that Abbas provoked his people to prevent the filthy feet of the Jews from desecrating Temple Mount.

My commentary: Simply not true.

There has been absolutely no Israeli desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount. But as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to pathologically publish these incendiary lies, what do you think the Palestinians will continue to do? Rhetorical question if ever there was one. Still, neither this issue nor the three to follow are the real reasons. They are more like symptoms, not the disease.

(2) Israeli Occupation of Palestine through Dispossession of a Palestinian People

Recall, Jewish occupation of Palestine was the main reason given by the Hamas spokesperson after the latest murder of Israelis.

My commentary: Nothing could be further from the truth.

Once again, there is no such thing as Palestine (a state or nation). There is no Palestinian people, language, or nationality. Palestine is Israel. Period. The true occupiers are Arabic speaking Arabs, most of whom have Jordanian passports; who now call themselves Palestinians as though they exist as a nation and Israel doesn’t. The Promised Land of Israel was given to the Jews as a title deed in perpetuity by the true and living God. If Islam’s god Allah and Muslims want to contest and continue their protest against this fact, then they will need to take it up directly with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In his speech to the UN, Mahmoud Abbas didn’t pass up the opportunity to once again demand a “right of return” of all Palestinians who he claims are refugees expelled by the Jews during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. As indicated in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, it was the armies of five Arab nations that told the Arabs to leave Israel so they wouldn’t be in the way until the Jews were annihilated. Of course, that didn’t happen. Israel won that war against what all military experts consider insurmountable odds. As were the Israelis miraculously victorious again in the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

(Five Arab Nations/Armies Attacked Israel on May 15th, Day After Israel Became a State. The Fifth of These Arab Countries Not Shown on Map is Iraq)

Not only the few (old in age now) Arabs who remain from 1948, but Abbas includes in his right of return all of their descendants, who now number in the millions. By sheer numbers and by the exorbitant expanse of land in Israel needed for these refugees, this would, in effect, eliminate Israel as a viable nation. The majority of these Arabs outside Israel live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Refugee camps because those Arab nations have refused to this day to grant citizenship to their displaced Palestinian brothers. Not to mention that when Israel became a State in 1948, several Arab nations evicted most of the Jews living in those countries with not much more than the clothes they were wearing. But I’ll mention it anyway! Actually, this turned out to be a good thing for the Jews as many of them immigrated to Israel!

As long as 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation (Palestinian) Arabs believe the lie that Israel is Palestine and belongs to them—with the Jews as the occupiers and settlers—they will continue to rationalize their “resistance fighter’s” murder of Israelis.

(3) Apartheid

All of the professed reasons for Palestinians to wage intifada against Israel are pernicious, but none more so than the patently false accusation that is catching on the world over. I’m talking about the word, “apartheid” being applied to Israel, comparing it to South Africa during its apartheid days.

In fact, Webster’s Dictionary even references South Africa in its definition of apartheid: “Racial segregation: a policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of So. Africa.”

My commentary regarding the comparison to Israel: Absolutely false.

There is unequivocally no such thing in form or substance that even resembles apartheid in Israel.

The following three areas of “discrimination” or “segregation” are included in the definition of apartheid:

  • Racial (and Religious): Israelis go out of their way to ensure racial and religious freedom and equality throughout Israel. And they do so to a fault. Relinquishing their own right of religious freedom to, for example, worship on Temple Mount … just to maintain the “status quo” and prevent what would be an even larger intifada.
  • Political: Israeli Arabs (citizens of Israel) serve in Israel’s government, the Knesset. Obviously, they have the right to vote. The only reason the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip don’t have the right to vote or serve in Israeli government is because they’re not citizens of Israel. The reason they are not citizens is because they have chosen not to be. And the reason they have chosen not to be … well, we’ll get to that in a moment when explaining the real reason for Arab animosity and violence against the Jews.
  • Economic (and Educational): Arab Israelis are free to attend Jewish schools, start their own businesses, and go wherever they please for their shopping and recreation in Israel. As indicated earlier, many non-citizen Palestinians have been granted permits to work for Arab and Israeli companies in Israel. That is exactly what the Palestinian murderer of the three Israelis had done for several years. In the cruelest fashion imaginable (murder), the Palestinians continue to bite the hand that feeds them.

So much more could be said about the absence of any Israeli discrimination against Arabs. The Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs are afforded more freedom in Israel (by far) than granted to their brothers and sisters in nearby Arab countries. In summary, there is simply no apartheid in Israel. In that regard, I’m going to bluntly state: those who claim otherwise are either ignorant or liars.

(4) A Palestinian State … Lack Thereof

Naturally, Abbas also conveniently failed to mention that the UN Resolution of 1947 called for what was tantamount to a two-state solution; one state for the Jews and one for the Arabs. That the Arabs flatly refused to live alongside a Jewish state even though they could have had a state of their own. Nor would he dare say that the Jews now outnumber the Arabs in Israel and have for several years. Which is why he goes all the way back to the Balfour Declaration to make his perverted point.

My commentary: None of the above reasons, including lack of a Palestinian State, is ultimately why Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general continue to kill Jews—whether in Israel or Paris or Berlin or London, or anywhere.

Recently, Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have gone so far as to audaciously accuse Israel (and the United States) of discarding the two-state solution. When, in fact, the Palestinians not only turned down this option in 1947-48, but also forfeited what would have led to a Palestinian State in 2002 and again in 2008, when they flatly rejected generous (but misguided) offers from Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert for complete Palestinian autonomy in some 95% of the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

The only way the Palestinians would even remotely agree to a Palestinian State is with their already stated pre-negotiated conditions of East Jerusalem as the capital and return of all aforementioned “refugees.” Also, a reversal to pre-1967 cease-fire boundaries within Israel, including the Golan Heights and all of the Jordan Valley. These demands would leave the Israelis virtually indefensible. Which is exactly what the Palestinians want and would take advantage if granted this kind of state with these conditions.

It would be just a matter of time before a Palestinian State would be embolden to attack Israel with the probable assistance of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the nations of Syria, Iran, Turkey, and perhaps even Russia.

(This Doesn’t Even Include the Golan Heights, the High-Ground Strategic Area North, Near Syria)

At the very least, the current lone-wolf attacks would continue. Ironically, what the Arabs don’t know is that Russia, Iran, Turkey, and smaller Arab nations will, in fact, attack Israel—but not until after the Rapture occurs. Which is of no concern to the Arabs (or sadly of many Jews) because they don’t believe in Messiah Jesus as their only source of salvation and hope for the future when he returns as Prince of Peace and King of kings.

To Negotiate or Not to Negotiate

Shortly after the July 26th killing of the three Israelis, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that there was, “no difference between Palestinian terrorism and radical terrorism targeting sites in Europe and elsewhere. Before talking about any kind of negotiations, the world must demand of the Palestinians to stop its incitement and encouragement of terrorism.”

Regarding any serious negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the following is an excerpt from an Eye of Prophecy article, Let’s Make a Deal, posted 12-14-13. That article was in the context of the November, 2013 meeting between the G5 + 1 nations and Iran, which later would result in the now infamous Iran Nuclear Deal.

At about that same time, the Israelis had just released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to appease the Palestinian Authority and the United States in preparation for potential negotiations between Israel and the PA which Mahmoud Abbas later reneged on. Here is the excerpt applying to both the pending Iran Nuclear Deal (at that time) and Israeli/Palestinian peace conference that never materialized (in italics):

Would you make a deal with someone whose main purpose in life was to destroy you and members of your family or your best friend? How do you negotiate with those who would lie to you, cheat you, and ultimately kill you to accomplish their warped objectives? Where do you start? What do you say? How sure can you be? Why are you even there in the first place?

Regardless of your view on the right or wisdom of Israel to act independently of the US, or the G5+1, or the entire world, I would again ask: Would you sit down at the table with an enemy who has sworn to do anything and everything they can to terminate your existence on this earth? And keep in mind that Iran has not only threatened to wipe Israel from the global map, it has also avowed to destroy the “Great Satan.” That’s right. Iran refers to America as the Great Satan; Israel is only the “little Satan.” We should be so honored?!

Then towards the end of that article, I wrote:

Never before in history has the entire world been so focused on one little nation inhabited by a mere six million Jews. (Note: It’s now closer to 6.5 million Jews). And yet that’s exactly what the Bible predicted. In addition to several million Arabs in Israel, surrounding Arab countries number in the hundreds of millions, with land space that dwarfs Israel; enough land to accommodate millions more Arabs. But oddly and unfortunately many of these nations fight among themselves (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon).

Even more nonsensically, they blame the Jews for their misfortunes. However, they do have one basic mindset: They detest Israel. I suppose if they ever agree on how best to govern themselves (Sunni or Shi’ite Muslim law), then they might (God forbid) agree on how to best destroy Israel. Or perhaps they think and hope that Iran will do that for them. Personally, I don’t dislike the Arabs or the Persians. I sometimes pray for their salvation, as I often do for the Jews. I will do my best to pray equally for both peoples….

The Real Reason That Palestinians and Muslim Nations Want to Kill Jews and Destroy Israel

All of the aforementioned reasons why the world at large thinks that Palestinians kill Jews are really nothing more than opportunity created excuses.

With the actual motive simply and sadly: Arabs and Muslims hate the Jews and despise the sovereign nation of Israel.

This bitter hostility retroactively goes beyond the Yom Kippur and Six-Day Wars, past the rebirth of Israel in 1948; it reverts further back than the Balfour Declaration and even Muslim persecution of Jews since Mohammed invented Islam. It goes all the way back to Ishmael and Isaac; with the Arab nations descending from Ishmael and the Jewish nation from Isaac, whom God chose instead of Ishmael as the child of promise. Isaac would be the progenitor of the ultimate Child of Promise, Messiah Jesus. (Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, The Child of Promise Part I & II. Posted 8-23 & 8-30-14).

To Hagar, mother of Ishmael and his descendants, the angel said: “…You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’) for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives” (Genesis 16:11-12).

Then, do you remember Abraham’s reaction when God reaffirmed to him that his wife Sarah would, herself, bear the child of promise?

“Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. ‘How could I become a father at the age of 100?’ he thought. ‘And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?’ So Abraham said to God, ‘May Ishmael live under your special blessing!’

“But God replied, ‘No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year” (Genesis 17:17-21).

Earlier in this same scene, God reaffirmed the Promised Land portion of the covenant with Abraham. “And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

Ishmael hated Isaac because, as the oldest child, he was passed over in favor of Isaac as God’s covenant child. This seething hatred has not dissipated to this very day, despite God keeping his promise to greatly multiply Ishmael’s descendants. Like Isaac’s son Jacob, Ishmael was also the father of twelve sons. Moreover, today’s Arabs far outnumber the Jews (except in Israel) and their land space is roughly equivalent to all of the United States compared to the state of New Jersey (the size of Israel).

Concerning the hostility against all his (Ishmael’s) relatives: History and current events have clearly demonstrated that Arabs not only detest the Jews, but Arabs have fought each other for centuries, including today’s vicious wars between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. From time to time some peoples and nations have battled each other over internal issues such as America’s Civil War. Even the Jews divided into two kingdoms for some four hundred years after King Solomon’s reign. However, I know of no other racial group that have been at such odds with other peoples/nations and with each other for so long (nearly 4,000 years) than have the Arabs.

Things to Ponder

This week’s Eye of Prophecy article is posted on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), one of the most important of the seven annual Jewish Festivals. During last’s year’s Jewish fall festivals, I wrote a series of five articles on these seven feasts.

The first article: Messiah and the Jewish Festivals … An Extraordinary Connection! Posted 9-24-16. The fifth article: Sukkot: The Forever Festival! Posted 10-22-16.

We’ll conclude with an excerpt from the final portion of the fourth article in that series: Yom Kippur / With or Without Atonement? Published 10-15-16, very close to Yom Kippur of last year. The summary of that article was directed with love toward the Jews, combined this year with the hope that the Palestinians also will see God’s love expressed through the gift of his Son, Messiah Jesus, to die on the cross for their sins, too.

We who love Israel will continue to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:6). Praying for peace is the same as praying that all Israel will someday soon be saved (Romans 10:1).

For until and unless Israel comes to a saving knowledge of Messiah Jesus and is made right with God by believing and accepting him as God’s only remedy for sin, individually and as a nation, there will be no peace with God. Unless there is Shalom with God, there cannot be real peace between peoples.

When all of Israel is saved by changing their minds and hearts about Messiah (who he is and what he has done and will do for them), then the Jews will have accomplished the very purpose for God choosing them as his special possession. Which is to be a source of light to the Gentiles: through the Promised Messiah from the tribe of Judah and the genealogy of King David—descended from Isaac, the promised son of Abraham.

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

While in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus said: “…I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12).

For a brief, shining moment, Christ Jesus while on this earth brought back the Shekinah glory of God to the Temple. And he will do so again upon his imminent arrival to this war-torn, wicked, and weary world.

Yes, Israel, your Messiah has already come. And he will return soon in great glory and power (Matthew 24:30).

If only you could see that. If only you could somehow realize that the horrible things that men have done to you were not Christian (Christ ones) at all—who misused and abused and distorted the true Christian faith. Also, there are some Christians who have misapplied the Scriptures; who have erred grievously in thinking that the true Church (body of Messiah) has replaced Israel. We have not. Rather, we are a product of and a partner in the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny. We have seen the light that God has shone through the Jewish Messiah.

To believe in Yeshua as your Messiah is the most Jewish thing you could ever do or be.

We, who have truly been born again by the precious blood of Messiah Jesus, love you and long for your Day of Atonement.

But most of all, Hashem, the Lord your God loves you. So much so that he sent his beloved Son, to die for you. (Isaiah 53 & John 3).

And know this: All terrorism and war will cease when Messiah Jesus returns.

 

A Mysterious Sign in Virgo … What Does It Mean?

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The Book of Revelation

I can’t think of any book in the Bible that is so well-known (in name) by both believer and unbeliever alike, while at the same time the least read or understood.

For example: If ten people were asked where in the Bible we find the term Antichrist, I would (safely) surmise that eight of them would answer … in Revelation. However, the only book that refers to this despicable man as the Antichrist is the epistle of I John. Other titles of this false messiah (little horn, ruler, king, worthless shepherd, man of lawlessness, beast) are found in Daniel, Zechariah, II Thessalonians, and Revelation.

Here is an easier question: Is the Book of Revelation about the future? Yes, I realize; that is one of those “duh” questions. But not as rhetorical as you might think.

Which begs the next question: Is Revelation exclusively future tense? The fact that I even asked this question probably gives cause to pause. If you didn’t know for sure, you’d probably answer that it isn’t solely future merely because I asked the question! And you would be right. But just barely. So, then, do you know what passages in Revelation are past tense? Let’s make it simpler —there are only two.

Other than the present-tense dynamics of Chapters 1, 2, & 3 and a reference to the woman (that great city—Rome) that rules (present tense at the time Revelation was written) the kings of the world (Revelation 17:18), the Book of Revelation is almost entirely future tense; except for the two past-tense passages that we’re going to examine. Consequently, it’s natural to view and process everything in the book as taking place in the (still) future, beginning with Chapter 4. For that reason, it’s also easy to miss (more like skim over or actually dismiss) the significance of the past-tense events.

Because nearly the entire book of Revelation pertains to the Tribulation, Second Coming of Messiah, the Millennium, and post-millennial Eternity, the vast majority of prophecy students have overlooked the evidence that the beast of Revelation (Antichrist) had already lived and died before John’s vision of the beast.

Until November, 2008, I, too, had failed to catch the startling significance of the angel’s explanation to John in Revelation 17. It was a disclosure that led to rediscovery of what most 1st through 4th century Christians knew all along … the identity of the Antichrist.

One of the Two Past-Tense Passages (Revelation 17:7-11a)

Said the angel to John: “…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 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, italics for emphasis on the past tense portion of this passage).

(See Revelation 17:3-6 for Description of the Woman and the Beast)

Besides Jesus revealing to John, “…the mystery of the seven stars … and the seven gold lampstands” in Chapter 1, there’s only one other meaning that is explicitly exposed in Revelation. The disclosure relates directly to (identity of) the beast. In Chapter 17 it is the discovery of the “mystery” of the beast and the woman. In Chapter 13 it is the “meaning” of the number and, therefore, name of that same (Antichrist) beast. Moreover, the angel encourages John and all readers to ascertain the identity of the beast AT THAT PRESENT TIME.

In Revelation 13:18 the meaning can be “solved” with Hebrew gematria—counting by the alphabet. Six hundred and sixty-six is the equivalent spelling of Nero Caesar, from Greek to Hebrew. In Revelation 13:14 the angel tells John of the beast, “…who was fatally wounded and then came back to life” (One of three times in Chapter 13 where John is told the beast had recovered from his fatal wound).

And three times in Revelation 17, we’re told the same thing. Except this time the angel elaborates even more by confirming that the beast had already lived and died before John saw the beast from the isle of Patmos in the first century! Which invalidates the prevailing view that a modern-day born Antichrist will be killed during the Tribulation, then arise from the dead.

After telling John that the beast he had just seen “was once alive but isn’t now” (verse 8), the angel again states:

“The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like (Greek word is ek, which means from, one of, out of) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:11, parenthesis mine).

Before that John is told that the seven heads of the beast, “…also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (Verses 9-10).

Here we see another past tense phrase: “Five kings have already fallen.” All this and more is explained in great detail in my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved. As well as in many Eye of Prophecy articles under the category of Antichrist.

The Birth Contractions Are Getting Stronger

The second set of past tense events in Revelation is found in Revelation 12:1-5. Before we examine that passage, let’s review the words of Messiah, himself. In what is called the Mount of Olives discourse, the longest narrative of which is found in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said:

“Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Matthew 24:7-8).

In Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up … Redemption is Near Part I & Part II (published 7-11 & 7-18-15), I listed and discussed in some detail twelve prophetic signs and developments of the 20th and 21st centuries—six pertaining to Israel and six to the rest of the world—that clearly show we’re in the last (Omega) generation cited by the Lord in Matthew 24:34.

In addition to two titanic world wars, there have been dozens of smaller wars and ethnic clashes in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Concerning natural disasters, here is an excerpt from Part II of the above cited articles (in italics):

Our Lord mentions just two (famines and earthquakes), but the implication is unmistakable that he is referring to natural disasters of all kinds. The unbelievable increase in the frequency and severity of natural catastrophes in the last hundred years far exceed proportionally what happened in the nineteen centuries before that.

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

*Note: Since those articles were written, we’ve witnessed more huge hurricanes and earthquakes such as the one below that struck Mexico City recently:

Near the end of that article, I summarized:

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

Here is the list of the twelve in a handy concise format. Check each one to see if they either have been fulfilled or if they have reached or nearly reached their optimum and maximum flash point.

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

The Second Past-Tense Passage in Revelation

We’ve already examined one of those two passages … Revelation 17:7-11. With the last part of verse 8 referring to the future reappearance of the Antichrist beast from the Abyss at the outset of the Tribulation, AFTER he had already lived and died. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now.

Here is the other passage (Revelation 12:1-5):

“Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth” (Revelation 12:1-2).

(Depiction of the Other Woman in Revelation … The Good One, As Opposed to the Woman On the Beast)

“Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:3-5).

First, we’ll scrutinize the history of these events of great significance. Later we’ll examine a display in the sky taking place today, September 23rd, 2017—the same day that the Eye of Prophecy article you are reading was posted. Some say that this spectacle is related to the first event of great significance mentioned in the first two verses of Revelation Chapter 12. Does it or doesn’t it?

Let’s begin with the meaning of the metaphorical images.

The Woman:

“…I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth” (Revelation 12:1-2).

The woman represents Israel, specifically the physical existence of the Jews and corporate entity of the nation Israel. This application is reinforced by the twelve stars depicting the twelve tribes of Israel. The woman is “clothed” with the sun that materially symbolizes the rest of the world—the Gentile nations, which (until 1967) had enveloped and overshadowed Israel for some 2,600 years. But the sun also represents the spiritual light as foretold by the prophet Isaiah. God says about his Messiah: “…You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

The prophet Malachi refers to Messiah as the “Sun of Righteousness,” who will bring healing, but only after “the day of judgement” of the wicked (Gentile nations). See Malachi 4:1-2.

The moon is also Israel, but more specifically a spiritual representation of the Jews, as exemplified by the seven appointed festivals of Israel and other new moon celebrations (see primarily Leviticus Chapter 23). As you may or may not know, the Jewish calendar consists of 30-days based entirely on the moon’s cycles. Whereas, all Gentile nations measure and track time with a solar calendar. All references to days, months, and years in Scripture relate to the Jewish lunar calendar. Those dates can then be matched up to the Gregorian calendar.

The woman (Israel) is in the throes of intensive labor pains, preparing to give birth to Messiah. These labor pains essentially began when Babylon destroyed the Jewish Temple in 586 B.C. and ended the Levitical Sacrificial System for a period of time—to begin the Lord’s intended transition from the Mosaic Covenant of Law to the New Covenant of Grace. The contractions reached a peak during the birth, life, and especially the death of Jesus Christ. The labor pains portrayed in this scene are a historical review of the first coming of Messiah Jesus.

The Red Dragon:

“…I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads” (Revelation 12:3).

Although correlation of the woman, sun, moon, and stars to what/who they represent requires a fairly good measure of Bible study and familiarity with Jewish and Gentile history, the identity of the dragon is given to us later in verse 9: “This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan…”

Have you ever wondered or even thought about the difference in the location of the crowns on the dragon and those on the Antichrist beast in Revelation 13:1? You’ll find few, if any, commentaries on this variance.

“Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns” (Revelation 13:1).

Both Satan (as a dragon) and Antichrist (as a beast) are portrayed with seven heads and ten horns. Satan is shown with crowns on the seven heads of the dragon. Antichrist (Nero) is seen with crowns on the ten horns of his bestial image.

The explanation: Although Antichrist is the composite beast of Revelation 13 & 17, he is also one of (from, out of, belonging to) the seven heads. These heads were seven Roman Caesars (including Nero) who ruled in the first century. Thus, Nero is equivalent to the other six in rank—all Roman emperors. The ten horns of the beast are the ten kings who will give their kingdoms (crowns) to Nero during the Tribulation, upon his astonishing reappearance from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8). Nero will exercise direct authority over them.

However, crowns are shown on the seven heads of the dragon, not the ten horns. The seven heads of the dragon are the same Roman Emperors of the Roman Empire—Satan’s 4th Gentile empire (following Babylon, Persia, and Greece) allowed by God for the express purpose of accomplishing his plan for Israel, and also for the nations. Likewise, the ten horns seen on the dragon are the same ten horns depicted on the Antichrist beast (ten kings of the tribulation period). However, Nero will control the ten horns (crowns of the kings) of the tribulation; whereas, Satan exercised direct authority over the heads (crowns of)—seven Roman emperors, including Nero, during the first century.

One-Third of the Stars:

“His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4).

The stars represent one-third of the angels who joined Satan in his ancient revolt against God. When Satan was evicted from his heavenly residence, those “fallen angels” were also banished from heaven and—because of Satan’s direct authority over them—assigned to the earth by the devil.

Satan has permission to be in God’s presence and only then on special occasions (see Job 1). There is no indication in Scripture that other fallen angels can access heaven (God’s throne) itself. However, they can come and go on the earth and in hell if they choose. The Lord banished the excessively wicked of these fallen angels to the Abyss, to be released only during the Great Tribulation (See Jude 1:6 & Revelation Chapter 9).

We get a vivid picture of Satan standing in front of the woman, ready to devour her baby beginning with King Herod’s vicious murder of Bethlehem’s children. Then Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, and the satanic influence over Judas to betray Jesus. Culminating with the Jewish religious leaders (children of the devil as Jesus called them … John 8) handing Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified.

The Son’s Ascension to Heaven in Preparation for His Rule of the Nations:

First to state that: The “baby … son … child” in Revelation 12 are not figurative expressions. They refer directly to Messiah Jesus; “…a child born to us, a son given to us” (Isaiah 9:6). Born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

“She (Israel in general but also the Jewish Virgin Mary in particular) gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5, parenthesis mine).

Notice the wording: Was to rule indicates that the appointed birth of the child/son (which includes the entire life, death, and resurrection of Jesus) would not immediately result in setting up the Kingdom of God on earth. That would come later … upon the return of Messiah.

First things first: “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be made whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

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

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

In contrast to the angel’s appearance to Joseph with an emphasis of Jesus bringing salvation, the announcement to Mary (the woman representing all of Israel) corresponds with Revelation 12 … the Son who would rule the nations. It would be the Kingdom of God headquartered in Jerusalem governing the nations after Israel’s final restoration. A plan that began with God choosing Abraham to be the ancestor of the Jewish people, through whom Messiah would bring redemption to Israel and the whole world (John 4:22).

It was necessary for Jesus to return to heaven in his resurrected eternal body, awaiting God’s fulfillment of his plan to redeem people from every nation and language because they believed and received Messiah Jesus as personal Savior.

“The child” would be “snatched away” from the dragon as a preview and prototype of believers being caught up (Rapture, I Thessalonians 4) to meet Jesus in the air, sparing us from the Great Tribulation. Jesus’ work on earth was finished when he arose from the dead. By returning to heaven and sending the Holy Spirit in his place to indwell all believers, the Kingdom of Heaven (in the hearts of men and woman all over the earth) would spread much wider and more rapidly. Jesus had already defeated Satan and death. His ongoing battle with the devil would be waged from heaven, with the Lord’s final victory over Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet realized upon his glorious return.

The Book of Revelation is a panoramic view of the Tribulation, Second Coming, Millennium, and Eternity. The first part of Revelation 12 is a brief but equally epic review of what John termed significant events. In just five verses, they encompass Israel’s history and destiny (physically and spiritually) to bring Messiah (the very Son of God) to Israel and the whole world, and Satan’s devilish design to prevent Messiah from completing God’s purpose for the human race.

Beginning with verse six of Revelation Chapter 12, we are moved forward into the coming Great Tribulation. There we see the devil’s vile, but vain, effort to once again destroy Israel and vent his wrath against the tribulation saints (both Jew and Gentile).

“And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).

An Event in the Heavens Occurring On September 23rd, 2017

In the Eye of Prophecy article, Hurricane Harvey & A Year of Prophetic Milestones (2017) posted 9-9-17, we looked at a possible correlation between the total eclipse of the sun on August 21st and Hurricane Harvey that struck four days later. Then, the probable connection between Harvey and other devastating hurricanes in America over the past three decades with (failed) attempts by the United States Executive Staff to force a one-sided peace agreement on Israel. Also covered were prophetic milestones of the 20th and 21st century directly related to the 100-year and 70-year generations defined in Scripture and the 50-year Jubilee—all pertaining to Israel’s rebirth as a nation and the Day of the Lord occurring at the end of the final (Omega) generation. Our generation!

What is this event taking place on September 23rd, 2017—today, if you are reading this article on its posted date? You may or may not have heard about it.

It is an unprecedented astronomical configuration in the zodiac constellation of Virgo, initially determined (discovered) in 2011. One that will appear only in the sky over Israel.

(*Note: Concerning another “end-of-the-world” date setting prediction associated with a meteor or a planet called Nibiru allegedly striking the earth on September 23rd, all I’m going to say on that subject is: Nonsense! It didn’t happen in May, 2003 as predicted. Nor during the Mayan-calendar omen of 2012, which also came to nothing. Those foolish predictions are not related to the Virgo Constellation event).

To explore the potential implications of the Virgo Constellation alignment, Kade Hawkins—founder of the website Prophecy News Watch—put together a four-part video series entitled, The Great Sign.

Although I have not seen these videos, I have read the preview and listened to the trailer. To some extent, it would appear that the interest level of this solar and planetary phenomenon is akin to the extraordinary attention given to the tetrad of blood moons which took place on the dates shown below:

Two well-known pastors and authors, Mark Biltz and John Hagee, wrote extensively about those blood moons before they took place. After the first of those moons, I joined in with an Eye of Prophecy article entitled (of course) Blood Moons, posted 4-19-14 … but with more of a cautionary approach. Here is an excerpt from that article, including the below sub-title in bold (in italics):

Fortunately, neither Pastor Biltz nor Pastor Hagee dogmatically claim that one of these events will be the day when Christ raptures the Church. And, that’s good, because no one knows the day or hour of our Lord’s return. To select any one of the four days would be just another attempt to “guess” even though the guess may be on a significant date, such as those that comprise the tetrad. As said, one of those days has already come and gone (April 15th), without an event of huge consequence happening to/in Israel or, for that matter, anywhere in the world.

Connections between Rapture, Festivals, Moons, End Times?

Personally, I think it would be great if the Rapture would occur on one of these very important festival dates. Especially September 28th … my birthday. Kidding, but not entirely! But all of us who passionately long for the return of our glorious Savior Jesus Christ know full well that ANY day (the sooner the better) would be a wonderful day! Alongside of the triumphant return of Christ to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem to set things right throughout the entire earth, the Rapture of believers in Christ will be the most spectacular event of all time. Not necessarily the most important (that belongs to the day that our Lord arose from the dead), but arguably the most stunning.

Then later in that article, I summarized with:

The Joel prophecy of what is clearly a one-time moon turning to blood-red and giving no light event, preceded by the sun (completely) darkened doesn’t fit with 2000 years of periodic lunar eclipses in which the moon is described as a “blood moon.” However, these blood moon lunar eclipses have been a harbinger and a forerunner of what will take place during that great and terrible day of the Lord. And, in God’s sovereignty and emphasis on holy days that he established for the nation of Israel, blood moon tetrads have been linked with milestones in Israel’s history, and very well may do so again. And, as much as I (and many of us) would like to see the Rapture take place on one of these glorious festivals (holidays, meaning Holy Days), I’m equally convinced it will not.

Instead, the Rapture will most likely take place on some “ordinary” day far removed from such days as Passover, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Christmas, Resurrection Sunday, Purim, or any other vitally important day that we might revere and celebrate. Why on earth would I say something so anticlimactic, so over-the-top, so uninspired, so uneventful, so … well, so, negative!?

What is the basis for such a conclusion? This premise is based on what Jesus, himself, said. Most of us know the passage; in fact, we’ve just referred to it, i.e. Matthew Chapter 24 (and 25). Many of you will recognize the verse. Here it is: “You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44, italics for emphasis).

…To further emphasize and reinforce his statement that no one knows the hour or the day of his return, Jesus gave us another strong clue. He will return (on a day) when we least expect him to arrive. There are 365 days in the year (360 if you use the Hebrew calendar). If we rely heavily on what Jesus is telling us, then combine it with all the other end times passages, I think we can safely assume (predict) that he will not take us home in the Rapture on any holiday of great importance to us or to the Jews. Besides, the only prophecy remaining for the church, itself (the body of Christ consisting of both Jews and Gentiles) is the Rapture. This prophecy has no bearing whatsoever on all the predictions pertaining to Israel and the Jews, such as the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel as a people and a nation.

Thus, I believe it is a mistake, at least a miscalculated presumption to claim or even to speculate beyond mere possibility that blood moon tetrads (lunar eclipses) have a direct correlation with the Rapture of the Church.

(Back to Today’s Article)

Were the blood moons important? Is the once in a “blue moon” alignment of the sun, moon, and planets in the Virgo Constellation over Israel also meaningful? Yes, to both questions; but as applied to and in the context of what Jesus, himself said in his amazing answers to the disciple’s questions, “…Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken … So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:25-28).

In The Great Sign series, Kade Hawkins again draws on views expressed by Mark Biltz. Here are some excerpts from Kade’s pre-program article with statements from Mark Biltz or Scripture in quotation marks (in italics):

On that day, the sun will be in the constellation Virgo (known as the virgin). The moon will be below the “feet” of the constellation. Additionally, Venus, Mars and Mercury will be above the constellation. As the constellation Leo has nine stars and will also be above Virgo’s head, the alignment can be interpreted as a “crown” of 12 stars.

Revelation 12: 1-2 reads: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

Kade Hawkins’ article continues:

“The woman clothed with the sun is the constellation Virgo and represents the nation of Israel,” he explained. “The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Interestingly, the constellation Leo, the lion, which is above Virgo, is made up of nine stars. The lion represents specifically the tribe of Judah. It just so happens this year during the Days of Awe, three planets will join the constellation Leo making up 12 stars. Virgo will be clothed with the sun, and the moon will be under her feet, fulfilling this sign to precise detail.”

Biltz cited Luke 21:25, which says: “And there shall be strange signs in the sun, moon, and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.”

But why should believers care about what is happening in the sky? Isn’t looking for such signs uncomfortably close to the practice of astrology?

Biltz points out Scripture itself speaks of the importance of signs in the sky. He also says there is a critical distinction between astrology and what he calls “biblical astronomy.”

“Biblical astronomy has nothing to do with astrology,” Biltz said. “The devil likes to pervert everything God does as a way of sidelining believers. In astrology, it’s all about you and interpreting the signs in the sky about how it affects your life. In biblical astronomy, it’s all about God. It’s an entirely different focus. God even stated, the heavens are declaring the glory of God.”

Things to Ponder

I totally agree with Pastor Biltz’ distinguishing between astrology and Biblical astronomy. God even referred to constellations when he challenged Job:

“Can you direct the movement of the stars—binding the cluster of Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?” (Job 38:31-33).

We are not to set day and hour dates that the Lord will Rapture his church. But we are to recognize the signs of the last days of the end times.

Thus, I believe that today’s alignment over Israel of the sun, three planets, nine stars, and the moon is one of the “strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars” spoken of by Jesus.

But is it a fulfillment of Revelation Chapter 12? When, in fact, Revelation 12:1-5 was not a prophetic vision of the future; it was a reminder (review) of what had already taken place.

Did Revelation 12:1-2 also apply to a future event, i.e. today’s astrophysical sign over Israel?

Answer: Possibly, but unlikely. Why? Because Revelation beginning with Chapter 4 is about the (still future) post-Rapture Tribulation, Millennium, Second Coming, and Eternity. It is NOT about the pre-Rapture birth pains and signs in the heavens foretold by Jesus. The book of Revelation picks up where the Mount of Olives discourse ends. It is the Final Revelation of Jesus Christ—the Day of the Lord beginning with the Rapture.

Revelation 12:1-5 and the aforementioned verses in Revelation 17 are (parenthetical) past-tense passages called interludes that briefly interrupt the future tense continuity and sequence of Revelation. With Revelation 12 a review of historic events that had already occurred; and Chapter 17 a revelation (disclosure of the mystery of the beast) that the Antichrist had already lived and died … but would return from the Abyss.

And as indicated—with the exception of the child/son born to the woman, who is Messiah Jesus—all of the other images of Revelation 12 are figurative … representing Israel, fallen angels, and Satan. Though much of the book of Revelation is literal, there’s no solid evidence to suggest that the sun, moon, and stars are literal in this passage, i.e. representing today’s Virgo Constellation display. Even if they are literal, three planets are part of the Virgo spectacle. The planets are not stars.

Either way, it is certainly time to: Look up, for our (final) redemption is drawing near!

Regarding the Rapture: On whatever day it happens… for believers it will be the first day of the rest of our (eternal) life!

Globalism or Populism … Which Will Antichrist Prefer?

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Polar Opposites

The North Pole and the South Pole are on opposite (vertical) ends of the Earth’s Axis. Thus we have a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere. With the (horizontal) Equator splitting the difference. Some have successfully traveled to these extreme poles on Planet Earth. However, no one has been to the eastern or western most point on the Globe; there is no such thing as an East Pole or a West Pole. North is up; south is down; east and west are left or right, depending on whether we’re facing north or south. All maps of the world are made in this fashion.

The North and South Poles symbolically characterize the extreme polarization taking place all over the world. East and West represent the immeasurable and unbridgeable distance between two opposite points of reference that otherwise don’t tangibly exist, except for the identifiable extremes between right and wrong, good and evil.

Left is left and right is right. East is east and west is west and never the two shall meet. However, the increasing polarization of the human race is just as predictably obvious on a horizontal level as the vertical polarity between those who have a personal relationship with the Lord and those who don’t. Between those who are spiritually reborn (John Chapter 3)—who no longer have a “polar opposite” disconnect with the Lord—and those who deliberately remain separated from their Creator and Savior.

In fact, when we believe and receive Messiah Jesus as personal Savior, then:

The first definition of pole in Webster’s Dictionary is the physical one that we would expect: “a long slender cylindrical object…”

The next definition set: “either extremity of an axis of a sphere and esp. of the earth’s axis. Either of two related opposites … point of guidance or attraction …. The fixed point in a system of polar coordinates that serves as the origin…” This definition expands the tangible nature of poles and polar to the intangible. So we often use the term “polar opposites” when discussing disparate political, economic, social, and religious paradigms, along with our beliefs and opinions.

Polar: “diametrically opposite.” Polarity: “diametrical opposition.”

All of which lead to a term used to describe the extremes that have always been the norm for the human race, but nothing like what we’ve progressively experienced in the 20th and 21st centuries … polarization. Our personal, state, national, and international pendulums swing far to the left or far to the right; we seldom see them stationary in the middle.

After depicting the physical characteristics, Webster’s Dictionary defines polarization as: “a division into two opposites.”

Polarize: “to break up into opposing factions or groupings; to become polarized.”

People and countries all over the world, especially western nations, are more polarized than ever before. These extremes have created a mentality of “us or them” with virtually no political or social or interpersonal conciliatory balance for the greater good of a state or nation.

We seldom communicate rationally or politely anymore, particularly on social media. We rant and rave. We yell and curse. We clash verbally and physically. It’s not, “I’m a Democrat (or Republican), but I respect your opinion.” Instead: “I’m a Democrat and the Republican Party shouldn’t even exist; it’s a threat to this nation. President Trump is not (my) president.” Some Republicans said the same thing about President Obama.

What amazes me most is that all those people out there who claim there is no absolute truth—everything is relative or situational—are the same people who are the most adamant that their world-view is absolutely the only one that should be tolerated. They are politically correct because of their tolerance; however, anyone who disagrees with them is wrong … and, therefore, shouldn’t be tolerated.

In today’s world—ready to explode and in some places has already exploded—if hatred could be registered on a meter, the needle would be deep into the red zone.

A rational polarization that at one time afforded some measure of point, counterpoint (agree to disagree) between individuals, groups, and entire nations has become irrationally dangerous to the point where there is no middle ground, no buffer zone, and no safe haven.

It use to be that:

Now it’s: “This world isn’t big enough for the both of us.”

It’s: Democrat OR Republican; liberal OR conservative (left or right); black OR white; federal OR state; poor OR rich; socialist OR capitalist. So much so that (for example in the United States) we now have physical clashes between the far “Alt-right” and the ultra-left “antifa” (anti-fascist)—as seen in the recent Charlottesville and Berkeley demonstrations.

Many say with their lips but not with their hearts: “Let’s make peace.” What they’re really saying is: “I want a piece of you.” In the Middle East, Muslim nations and the Palestinians don’t want peace with Israel. They want a piece of Israel here, a piece there, until the entire Jewish pie is theirs.

Or: If I can break you into little pieces, then I can put you back together the way I think you should be.

Only the Lord can put Humpty Dumpty (individuals and entire nations) back together again.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. 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).

The most far-reaching polarization—increasing with kaleidoscope intensity—is the conflict between national sovereignty and international supremacy on Planet Earth. It is global in its scope and fateful in its implications; a socioeconomic and geopolitical rift that is preparing the earth’s population for the soon to come Antichrist. It is currently experienced on two levels between:

(1) Populism v. Ultra-Federalized Government (of the elite)

Webster’s Dictionary defines Populism as: “belief in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people.” It is the grass-roots premise that the ordinary person has equal say in electing and running the government of his/her nation. For the United States, it is the bedrock belief of America’s founding fathers proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence: the inalienable rights for all citizens of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the noble idea so eloquently expressed by President Abraham Lincoln: Government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is the rank and file expressing and exercising their right to “equal opportunity,” whether that opportunity leads to success or not.

If it’s necessary to fairly but firmly, peaceably but persistently challenge the “elite establishment” who assume it to be their privilege and authority (just by virtue of being the self-defined elite) to govern the masses, then so be it.

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

Ironically, that’s exactly what … 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, academic, 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 22-23).

Although U.S. President Donald Trump ran on the Republican ticket, he considered himself to be a “Populist.” Among other things his objective was to be a people’s president who would “drain the swamp” (of bureaucracy in Washington D.C.), change the status quo, take back the country for the people, and “make American great again.”

Essentially, he appealed to the rank and file and the silent majority of America’s population who, by and large, wanted a return to the Judeo-Christian moral and spiritual foundation upon which the United States was built, and then blessed by God.

A people who wanted to once again be “in charge” of their government instead of elite federalists determining and even dictating what (it assumed) the people needed or wanted. A bottom-up instead of a top-down administration that would get back to the uncomplicated basics of government that represents the people … not just in theory, but in practice.

Subsequent populism movements failed in the Netherlands when moderate Mark Rutte won the election of March 15, 2017 over the populist candidate, Geert Wilders. Also in France during the final election run-off on May 7, 2017 when liberal-moderate candidate Emmanuel Macron became President over populist Marine Le Pen.

Although the Dutch and French “people” candidates lost, their party platforms are still strong. These countries and others like Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and, of course, the United States have experienced an incredible change in geopolitics.

The following is a quote from Geert Wilders which conveys his passion for the common people of The Netherlands to regain control of their country. And also speaking for the populist movement in many nations. (An excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The World Wants a Messiah … But Needs (The) Messiah, posted in January, 2017). Said Geert Wilders:

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?

It remains to be seen who will win Germany’s election of 9-24-17; however, one of (many say the most controversial) key issues to all of these elections was/is immigration, both legal and illegal.

(2) Nationalism v. Globalism (International Sovereignty over Individual Nations)

This is a polarization that will supersede all other schisms: after the Rapture, one that will separate people into two global camps. One that will force “fence-riding” individuals and nations to choose a (would-be) messiah over personal and national interests. It will be a day and night contrast never before seen. A pre-tribulation polarization is already underway in the European Union, sparked by the United Kingdom’s popular vote last June to leave the European Union (Brexit). The United Nations is an even broader example of an international organization that is supposed to act as a defender and arbiter of the national rights of signatory members. Instead, it has become more of a totalitarian confederation whose underlying purpose is to delegitimize and eventually ostracize Israel from the family of nations.

Most of the recent UN Resolutions have been passed to sanction Israel for non-existent and unfounded reasons, not the least of which is so-called settler occupation of the West Bank (Judea/Samaria). UNESCO is rewriting history by claiming that all of the holy sites in Israel belong to Palestinian Muslims. Nearly all of these injunctions are drafted by Islamic nations, yet dozens of nations including Europeans vote in favor of condemning Israel, the only democratic nation in the Middle East. These sanctions are greater in number than the combined resolutions against such repressive countries like Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China combined.

Of the utmost irony is that polar opposite groups like the alt-right KKK and far left Black Lives Matter or white supremacists like Richard Spencer v. extreme liberalists like Linda Sarsour have one thing in common: they hate Israel and the Jews. As do the polar extremes of Communism and Fascism, and Islamic bitter rivals Sunni and Shi’ite whose governments and people have been at war with one another for several decades now. Both Sunnis and Shi’ites have called for the eradication of the State of Israel.

According to the Bible, that would be the way of it during the end-times. Nation against nation, ethnic group against ethnic group. And virtually all nations against Israel and her Messiah, who is the Divine Son of God, Savior of Jew and Gentile alike. Several passages in Scripture speak of multiple nations rising up against (reborn) Israel in the last days. And though I haven’t counted them in my constant study of Scripture, I would venture to say there are an equal number of times in which the Lord warns nations against harming his special possession Israel. Such as:

“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).

Though we don’t know for certain, it’s highly unlikely that Israel will be attacked (as happened in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, 1967 Six-Day War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War) by a coalition of (Muslim) nations before the Rapture occurs. I say this for two reasons: (1) It’s clear to many Bible scholars (including me) as well as Christians and (mostly Orthodox) Jews world-wide that we are living in the last days … leading imminently to the Messianic Age. (2) Thus, the next international attack against Israel will be the Gog/Magog coalition composed of Russia, Iran, Turkey and other smaller nations. I have written about this campaign in several Eye of Prophecy articles. God, himself will supernaturally and soundly crush this ungodly, anti-Semitic coalition. As I’ve written with strong supporting evidence, the Gog/Magog assault will take place in the early part of the Tribulation.

The Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition will then attempt to finish the job of conquering Israel (and nations opposing the Antichrist) that Gog/Magog never came close to accomplishing. Although Antichrist will break the seven-year treaty with Israel half-way through it (Daniel 9), his military campaign against Israel won’t take place until the end of the Great Tribulation.

Antichrist Will Appeal to Populists and Globalists, To the Common Man and to the Elite

Another irony is that these extremes will enable Antichrist Nero to capture the attention of many left behind at the Rapture. Both the far left and far right and everyone on a sliding scale in between will realize that there is no geopolitical or social solution to such polarization; only one man can bridge the chasm. This false messiah won’t need a world government or a world religion. Although he will assemble a ten-nation coalition for military purposes, his global appeal will extend far beyond individual differences, political poles, national boundaries, and international coalitions.

In my book, Out of the Abyss and in many Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist, you will find an abundance of material from Scripture (including an in-depth study of every single passage on the Antichrist) and from secular history yielding convincing evidence that the Roman Emperor Nero is the Antichrist. For purpose of this week’s article, I will quote only two of those passages:

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

This is the passage that riveted my attention in November, 2008, and which launched my quest to determine the identity of the Antichrist beast because Revelation 13:18 challenges, “the one with understanding (to) solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.” Who in the first century had already lived and died even before John saw the vision of the beast? Who would “reappear” from the Abyss to the utter astonishment of a chaotic world in shock because hundreds of millions had been taken from the earth?

Second Passage: “I saw that one of the heads (each one of the seven heads were Roman Emperors of the first century, with the composite beast the Antichrist himself) of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle 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).

(Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence, Part I & II, published 3-18 & 3-25-17)

There’s absolutely no ambiguity in either of these passages. The angel is revealing the mystery of the visions. Once a mystery is revealed, it’s no longer a mystery. It’s meant to be understood clearly and convincingly. The identity of the beast was meant to be known; in fact, the angel even challenges the reader to do so. In this passage, there was one and only one reason that people all over the earth gave their undivided loyalty to the Antichrist beast. They did so because they “marveled at this miracle.”

What was the miracle that they marveled at? They were amazed (Revelation 17) because an ancient Roman emperor had returned from a 2,000-year old grave. Thus, people from ethnic groups, from languages, and from nations all over the earth will, “give allegiance to” and “worship” this man. Many will set aside their differences. Common and elite alike will identify themselves with the same “mark (of the beast) … either the name of the beast or the number representing his name…” (Revelation 13:18).

(I Suppose a Bar Code Could be Used Instead of an Implant of the Numbers 666, But Many Will Simply Choose the Name of Nero in Their Hand or Forehead)

Nero will flaunt his miraculous return by claiming that he is the Messiah, that he is God. He will cut across cultural, religious, social, and political diversities. He will depolarize liberals and conservatives including the far left and far right. He will bridge an otherwise unbridgeable gap between the elite and the “average person.” He will eliminate the impassable gulf between the nationalists and the globalists. Polar opposites will be in shock and awe due exclusively to Nero’s “reappearance” on Planet Earth.

Nowhere in Scripture do we read that the Antichrist is a military, political, or economic genius or a great orator, a consummate politician, a charismatic leader—all traits commonly exhibited by a world leader. He is a braggart and a blasphemer of God Almighty (see Daniel 7 and Revelation 13) but he is not portrayed as an eloquent statesmen who will persuade the world with an irresistible personality. His magnetism will come directly from a world in wonder and fear of his incredible return from the grave.

From Out of the Abyss:

“The Antichrist is not afforded blind worship because he is a superman in terms of being an accomplished statesman, orator, or leader. The False Prophet does that for him. The superhuman qualities accorded him will literally lie in his mystical return from death” (Page 182).

In the context of Antichrist’s accomplishments upon his reappearance from the Abyss soon after the Rapture by galvanizing the attention and allegiance of a cross-section of people from every nation and language, let’s look at:

A Brief Summary of Nero’s Reign as the Fifth Roman Emperor

During the first half or so of his fourteen-year reign, Nero found enormous favor with the common Roman citizen and (to a lesser extent) with the nobility—including the Roman Senate composed mostly of the wealthy elite—despite his enactment of laws that favored the middle and lower class more so than the upper class. Actually, the masses adored him during most of his reign. When he began to display his base nature of gross immorality, brutality (mostly against Christians), and disregard for the everyday affairs of the Roman Empire, many still revered him … even after his death.

The following is an excerpt from the Britannica.com website (in italics):

He put an end to the more odious features of the later years of Claudius’s reign (Nero’s step-father, the Roman Emperor who preceded Nero, parenthesis mine), including secret trials before the emperor and the dominance of corrupt freedmen, and he accorded more independence to the Senate… His government forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and accorded permission to slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust matters… Claudius had put 40 senators to death, but between the murders instigated by Agrippina (Nero’s mother, Claudius’s wife, parenthesis mine) in 54 and the year 62, there were no like incidents in Nero’s reign. Nero also inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theatre, and in athletics to counter attractions to gladiatorial events. He saw to it that assistance was provided to cities that had suffered disaster, and at the request of the Jewish historian, Josephus, gave aid to the Jews.

Scripture is clear: When Nero returns, one of his first accomplishments will be a seven-year treaty with Israel (most likely between Israel and the Muslim world). During his rise to power—propelled by world-wide allegiance because of his amazing reappearance—he will curry the favor of both the elite and the common person … just as he did during his first reign as Roman Emperor. Looking again at the above excerpt, it’s evident that many segments of society will adore him: the lower and middle class because of any number of sweeping changes he will make for their benefit; but also celebrity politicians, entrepreneurs, artists, actors, and athletes.

Because of the Jekyll and Hyde transformation of Nero (the overt, noticeable changes) in the latter years of his reign, the Roman Senate turned on him. And Nero turned against Israel when Jewish zealots began a rebellion against Rome in 66 A.D. Nero personally ordered Generals Vespasian and Titus (Vespasian’s son) to crush the uprising. As many know, this ruthless campaign against the Jews ended with destruction of the Jewish Temple and world-wide dispersion of the Jews in 70 A.D. Vespasian became Caesar in 69 A.D.; Titus in 79 A.D.

*Note: In Order, the following are color-tinted busts of Caesars Nero, Vespasian, and Titus

Another thing that appalled the noble senators and their wealthy constituents: their Emperor had embarrassed himself and the image of the powerful Roman Empire by performing in the theatre, including playing the role of slaves. In today’s world, artists and actors are held in much higher esteem than they were in the first century. Long and short of it: the Roman Senate agreed to depose Nero as Emperor, convincing several Roman Generals and their legions to go along with them. Nero knew his time was up and unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide—finally ordering his servant to strike the fatal blows (June 9, 68 A.D.).

An excerpt from Wikipedia (in italics):

According to Suetonius and Cassius Dio, the people of Rome celebrated the death of Nero. Tacitus, though, describes a more complicated political environment. Tacitus mentions that Nero’s death was welcomed by Senators, nobility and the upper class. The lower-class, slaves, frequenters of the arena and the theater, and “those who were supported by the famous excesses of Nero”, on the other hand, were upset with the news. Members of the military were said to have mixed feelings, as they had allegiance to Nero, but had been bribed to overthrow him.

Eastern sources, namely Philostratus II and Apollonius of Tyana, mention that Nero’s death was mourned as he “restored the liberties of Hellas with a wisdom and moderation quite alien to his character” and that he “held our liberties in his hand and respected them.”

Modern scholarship generally holds that, while the Senate and more well-off individuals welcomed Nero’s death, the general populace was “loyal to the end and beyond, for Otho and Vitellius both thought it worthwhile to appeal to their nostalgia.”

Galba began his short reign with the execution of many of Nero’s allies…

Otho overthrew Galba. Otho was said to be liked by many soldiers because he had been a friend of Nero’s and resembled him somewhat in temperament. It was said that the common Roman hailed Otho as Nero himself. Otho used “Nero” as a surname and re-erected many statues to Nero. Vitellius overthrew Otho. Vitellius began his reign with a large funeral for Nero complete with songs written by Nero.

The Treaty

One of Nero’s greatest accomplishments during his tenure as Caesar (which was tantamount at the time to being ruler of the civilized world) was a treaty he initiated between Rome and her bitter enemy, Parthia. Off and on for many years, Rome and Parthia (part of which was ancient Persia) had been at war until the treaty of 63 A.D.

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss that explains both the historical and future implications of this treaty coordinated by Nero. (In italics):

Ancient historians tell us that Nero was obsessed with being popular. He wanted everyone to like him to the point of complete loyalty, adulation, and even worship. For most of his reign he achieved that popularity, especially with the common Roman citizen, but not because Nero was a brilliant speaker or a charismatic leader.

Of all things, it was a treaty that Nero engineered between Rome and Parthia that helped endear him to the Roman Senate, the Roman Legions, and the Roman citizens….

His popularity increased dramatically and this peace between Rome and Parthia would last for another 50 years. Moreover, this accomplishment was not a result of any extraordinary talents or gifts that Nero possessed. In fact, when examining history, the single most influential factor in negotiating a treaty relates to the state-of-affairs conditions and circumstances that gave rise to an agreement between people and nations.

After the Rapture, Nero won’t have much of a problem in negotiating a treaty with Israel. Remember, there will be no Christians left immediately after the Rapture. But there will be chaos, confusion, and disorder. Most Arabs and many Jews will be among the left behind. The world will be ripe for conciliation, for unity, for peace, for order. Nero will capitalize on this pandemonium by orchestrating a treaty, one that will allow the Jewish Temple to be built…. I use the word orchestrating, because one of Nero’s talents was that of arranging and synchronizing things, such as a group of people with dissident views or like a musical play, of which he wrote and performed several—in Greek.

And, who in the world is going to argue with a man who returns to the earth after a two thousand-year absence? With regard to the sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD, all Nero need say is that the Roman Generals went way too far. He will probably remind tribulation Jews that he died in 68 AD, two years before the Roman Legions destroyed the Temple. That he had not intended for the Jews to be exiled from Judea or for the Temple to be destroyed. After a fashion, he might even apologize to the Jews. His way of making up for the ancient Roman mistreatment of the Jews will be to offer them a new Temple.

He will also placate the Arabs, telling them that if there is a god to follow or worship, Allah would be that god. He will remind the Jews and Arabs that his hostility as a Roman Emperor was rightfully and justifiably directed against the Christians—those narrow minded, bigoted, self-righteous hypocrites whose disappearance has done mankind a favor by cleansing the earth of religious intolerance.

If you like, you could come up with any number of lies that a resurrected Nero will fabricate and foist on Israel and the nations. But the bottom line is that untold millions will follow him for the same reason that many have followed Jesus Christ: RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD (Pages 179-180).

Things to Ponder

All the other designations of Antichrist in Scripture—ruler, king, little horn, man of lawlessness, and beast—have been consolidated into one appellation that is much more well-known the world over: Antichrist. Or Anti-Messiah. (Please see the Eye of Prophecy trilogy: A Beast by Any Other Name … Posted 3-14, 3-21, & 3-28-15.

Nero will be anti-Messiah, but he will also counterfeit the true Messiah. The very idea of a Messiah comes from Scripture, through numerous Old Testament prophecies of the coming “anointed one.” Then the fulfillment of those prophecies in meticulous detail by Jesus of Nazareth.

Through his status as a messiah, Nero will depolarize individual and national differences. Most likely during the first half of the Tribulation, before he reveals his true colors—in the same fashion during his reign as Caesar. This time he will be given only seven years, not fourteen, with the last half of the Tribulation the (God-given) “…authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5).

For the globalists, Nero will unify and consolidate many (but not all) peoples and nations into a world utopia mentality as he almost did for the Roman nobility and masses with his pursuit of the Pax Romana. For the populists and nationalists, he will appear to champion individual rights by promoting personal pride and national identity, as he did with the greater populace of Rome. Before he destroys the Vatican, Nero will conciliate Roman Catholicism with Islam. (Pope Francis is already setting the stage for such an appeasement. See Eye of Prophecy article, The Vatican and Islam … A Perfect Match for Antichrist, posted 6-4-16).

Isn’t that what the world will want and expect? Isn’t that what a messiah is supposed to do?

Nero’s arrogant ambitions will coming to a screeching halt when he and his enemies vainly and absurdly decide to collectively fight the King of all kings, as they watch Messiah Jesus and the “armies of heaven” (we believers) descend to earth! (See Revelation 19).

The irreconcilable polarizations are: Good and evil, truth and lies. Though Nero will deceive billions into believing evil is good and his lies are the truth, he will not succeed in merging these polar opposites together. Good and evil are forever separated by their very definition and essence. The ultimate solution is not coexistence. Only Messiah Jesus—Son of God, Son of David, and Son of Man—can and will eliminate the Satanic polar opposite of all that is good, and right, and just.

“But then the court will pass judgment, and all his (Antichrist) power will be taken away and completely destroyed. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:26-27, parenthesis mine).

“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, ‘It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah” (Revelation 12:10).