Seven Wonders of The Millennium (Part II)

To set the stage for the Seven Wonders of the Millennial World, here is an excerpt from last week’s article considering that we are only 20 years into the 3rd Millennium, A.D. 2020.

Furthermore, this 3rd Millennium is also considered by many Bible commentators/teachers (including me) to be the 7th Millennium of recorded time as relates to God’s plan for humanity. With this 7th millennia soon to experience the beginning of a New World Order, but not the New Age that mankind currently wishes would occur. Certainly not the Age of Aquarius!

I’m speaking of the Millennial Reign of God’s Son, who is the Messiah … Jesus of Nazareth!

With this final epoch (that merges into Eternity—as described in Revelation Chapters 21-22) filled with awesome Wonders of the World never seen or experienced. All centered around one Person who will fashion these Wonders into the most wonderful thousand years imaginable. Essentially, there are seven of them. A case could be made that there are more than seven; however, any extras are aligned with one or more of these seven.

With his tremendous teaching, marvelous miracles, and phenomenal fulfillment of Messianic prophecies, Jesus transformed the ordinary into extraordinary and the natural into supernatural. And he did all this mostly in 3 ½ years of his approximate 33 years on this earth.

We can only imagine what he will do as King of all kings (physical wonders) and Lord of all lords (spiritual wonders) when he has 1,000 years—the Millennium!

The descriptive modified form (adjective) of Millennium is millennial.

Some synonyms of millennial: utopian, visionary, futuristic, idealistic, and optimistic.

Wonder of Wonders or Wonders of Wonder!

Wonder is one of only a comparatively few English words which can be used in four major grammatical forms … noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. From Webster’s Dictionary:

Wonder (noun): “A cause of astonishment or admiration; Marvel; Miracle … rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience.” But also, the flip side: “a feeling of doubt or uncertainty.”

Wonder (adjective): “exciting amazement or admiration. Effective or efficient far beyond anything previously known or anticipated.” Wonderful (most used adjective form): “Exciting wonder; Marvelous, Astonishing; unusually good; admirable…”

Wonder or Wondering (verb): “To be in a state of wonder; to feel surprise; to feel curiosity or doubt; to be curious…”

Wonderfully (adverb form): No definition given or needed. Except that which is understood: wonderfully modifies (enhances and emphasizes) the verb form of wonder or “to wonder.”

(Petra, Jordan, One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Might be the place to which many Israelis will escape during the Great Tribulation … Revelation 12:6)

Everything Jesus said and did was wonderful … full of wonder! Even when he overturned the money tables in the Temple and blasted the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (the blind leading the blind).

Example: While teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, Jesus saw and then immediately (miraculously) healed a woman who had been deformed—crippled, bent over—for 18 years.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!’ Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God! But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. ‘There are six days of the week for working,’ he said to the crowd. ‘Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.’

“But the Lord replied, ‘You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?’

“This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did” (Luke 13:12-17, emphasis added).

Things on Planet Earth are going to be wonderful for those 1000 years … in preparation for the New Jerusalem and Eternity. With, however, what may be a little jolt to your hope chest of whatever perfections you have perceived of Christ’s Millennial Reign. Although the Millennium will be more of a utopia than ever before, it will not yet be a (pure) paradise on earth. Close, but not quite.

Conditions in the World Just Before The Millennium Begins

Even before Messiah Jesus conquers Antichrist and the False Prophet and then vanquishes their armies at Megiddo (Armageddon), the earth’s population will already be decimated. (See Eye of Prophecy article: Sequel to Stunning Catastrophes & Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-20).

Soon after Armageddon, believers in Messiah Jesus—for the first time in history—will outnumber unbelievers.

(The verse goes on to say: “…so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord”)

There also will be more than just a few who did not take the mark of Antichrist; but neither have they accepted Messiah Jesus as Savior. At this point, Jesus, himself will judge nations and certain individuals in those countries (separation of sheep and goats, Matthew 25:31-46), predicated primarily on how they treated the Jews.

Throughout the Millennium, people will still be born, live, and die … albeit with longevity increasing dramatically. Every person born will still need to be saved through believing in and receiving Christ as Personal Savior. Most, at first, will. However, gradually throughout the Millennium, unbelievers will begin to (once again) outnumber believers. This observation is based on what will be mankind’s final rebellion against God, even though Messiah Jesus himself will be present on earth.

We read this in the same chapter that gives us the duration of Messiah’s reign, Revelation 20.

After Satan is released from his imprisonment in the Abyss, “He will go out to deceive the nations… He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them” (Revelation 20:8-9).

That is why—despite the marvelous changes (wonders) that will take place during the Millennium and how much better things will be compared to what they have been down through the ages—Scripture tells us that during the 1000 years Messiah will be given “…the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots” (Psalm 2:8-9)

That will be a combination of Jesus’s victory at Armageddon, to then continue ruling with a firm hand throughout the Millennium.

And those of us (believers) with whom our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ graciously will share his inheritance, will also be given, “…authority over all the nations. They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots (obviously meaning when necessary). They will have the same authority I received from my Father…” (Revelation 2:26-28, parenthesis mine).

The result: a global application of tough love!

Now for the Seven Millennium Wonders.

(1) Global Justice … Jesus as Mediator between Nations

“The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes…” (Isaiah 2:4a).

The scales of justice will be balanced like never. Individual and collective wrongs will be righted.

“…He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity” (Isaiah 9:7).

The firmness of Messiah’s reign will be blended beautifully and bountifully with fairness.

Historically, the most common dispute between ethnic groups and nations is over territory. It’s the stuff wars are made of. After Messiah Jesus crushes the armies of the world aligned against him at Armageddon, individuals and nations will fully acknowledge and appreciate his divine power and authority.

For that reason, nations will not just willingly, but eagerly submit their disputes to Christ. All the while, he will (continue to be) the Mediator between God and people … spiritually.

As with the passage cited earlier of the woman with a deformity, every time we read of Jesus healing someone they are healed instantly. Which is the most obvious reason they are classified as miracles. There is no surgery and/or no lengthy rehabilitation. I am convinced this will also be the case when Jesus settles disagreements between nations. Even the major issues will be settled rapidly, some with but a yes or no from Christ; though I am convinced he will allow both sides to present their views. He will be a (the) perfect mediator, arbiter, judge.

In that regard, Jesus will undoubtedly handle only the most difficult disputes. More routine cases will be delegated. Why? Because believers (those raptured and later the Tribulation saints) will reign with him a thousand years.

There’s a clear pattern for this in both the Old and New Testament:

“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” (Isaiah 2:3).

Right after that is the verse quoted earlier in this section, “The Lord will mediate between nations…”

Do you remember Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro’s advice to Moses and what Moses did about it?

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

A similar principle comes from one of Jesus’s many parables, which I believe (in this parable) is more than just an analogy or illustration. Rather, it is a combination of rewards for believer’s faithfulness to the Lord here on earth plus the privilege of serving him during the Millennium.

In what is called the parable of the ten servants of which the setting is the Kingdom of God (the Millennium), the precedent is established: “The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’

“Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward’” (Luke 19:16-17).

In summary, this global justice will be practically perfect.

Why won’t it be perfect? Answer: For the very reason that there will (still) be disputes between peoples … human imperfection. The Millennium will not (yet) be a perfect world, but it will be a far better world than what people have known since … well, since the Garden of Eden.

*Note: In Old Testament passages that pertain to the end-times reign of the Lord, sometimes the passage refers directly to the Messiah and other times to “the Lord,” which is God the Father (God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Nevertheless, God the Father will extend all power and authority to his Son during the Millennium (Kingdom of God) on earth. So, when we see, for example, “the Lord … will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness”; this will be done through God’s Son, Messiah Jesus.

In several other (Messianic) passages, it’s clear that the Messiah himself is acting.

Such as: “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited…” (Isaiah 11:1-4).

(2) World Peace … Through Messiah Jesus, The Prince of Peace

“…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 … for there is nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise!” (Micah 4:3-4).

The Lord’s promises are prophecies, and his prophecies are promises. Every prophecy is powerful. Every promise is precious and true. What he says he will do, he ALWAYS does. What he says will happen, ALWAYS happens.

Can you imagine … no more wars! Not even training for war. Also, no more weapons. For that matter, how can you prepare for war without weaponry?! Can you fathom how much money and material resources could be invested in all things peaceful and prosperous if there were no armed forces nor armaments!

Can you picture how many people would live longer lives because they did not die in some war somewhere on this planet. And it is not just the dead. Millions upon millions are displaced refugees, having lost their home and possessions … economic and emotional devastation.

So, for all practical purposes, 1000 years of peace is possible because of the Prince of Peace, a name that means much more than just its face value designation. It means someone who has the perfect character, proficient capability, powerful control, and prominent clout (authority) to establish global peace. To such an extent that “…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…The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Listen as the Apostle Paul tells us more about God’s splendid plan for humanity: “God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10, italics for emphasis).

That plan is none other than: THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

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

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

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

(3) Incredible Harmony in the Animal World

Continuing with the Messianic passage quoted earlier:

“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm” (Isaiah 11:6-8).

(This will happen during the Millennium, but the passage combines the wolf and the lamb; lion and a calf)

This amazing condition of the Millennium will, indeed, be one of the Wonders to behold. As much or more so than peace between peoples, which will be disrupted periodically by national and international quarrels … but without war.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Messiah’s Millennial Reign … Incredible Changes on Earth (posted 12-30-17, which detailed only a couple of the Wonders listed in today’s article).

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

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

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

Think about the possibilities.

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

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

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

“Okay, honey, but be careful.”

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

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

(Go hippo-hopping during the Millennium!)

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

(4) Amazing Longevity … Exceeding Even The Pre-Flood Length of Life

“When Methuselah was 187 years old, he became the father of Lamech. After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died” (Genesis 5:25-27).

Noah was 600 years old when God’s first global judgment—the Great Flood—cleansed the earth because, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (Genesis 6:5). Noah, himself, lived another 350 years after the flood.

Among the geophysical differences the Great Flood made on human life; one result was a dramatic decrease in longevity. Although this decline took place over a long period (at least two thousand years), by the time of Moses the average life-expectancy had dropped to 70-80 years.

Even though Moses was 120 years old when he died, he said in the only Psalm attributed to him: “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Well, folks, one of the splended features of the Millennium is that it will be pain and trouble (not all, but most) that will disappear … not the limited years people live because of the brevity of life as we now experience it.

Instead, years of life will increase substantially. Many will live as long (even longer) than Methuselah and Noah!

Because God causes all things to work together for the good of his people (Romans 8:28), I’m convinced that the devastation of some of the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments will not only punish those who refused to turn from evil during the Great Tribulation; they will also serve to purify the earth. To the point where climatological, geological, and biological conditions will once again be conducive for life spans not experienced since the beginning of time.

Listen to the true and living God announce another riveting description of the Millennium, that will get even better (as in perfect) when the 1000 years merges with Eternity:

“I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more. No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! … For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains… For they are blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed” (Isaiah 65:20-23).

Lifespans during the Millennium will vary, much as they do now. But proportionally they will be measured by centuries, not merely decades. As old as (some) trees. Think of the Olive trees in Israel and the Redwoods in California. A thousand years old … two thousand!

(1000-year old Olive trees)

There also will be a group of people on the earth whose life-expectancy is far beyond a mere 1000 years. As in … FOREVER. They will be those to whom people all over the world will look upon as extraordinary examples of what happens when someone believes and receives Messiah Jesus as Lord and Savior. They are none other than raptured believers whose bodies had been transfigured … immortal!

(5) Immortal Spiritual Bodies for Raptured Believers

“The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven… Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man” (I Corinthians 15:45-49).

Then the Apostle Paul made this stunning statement to reinforce what he had already wrote to the Thessalonians: “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We (believers in Christ) will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It (not the entire several-minute sequence of the Rapture events, but only the transformation itself) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown … our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (I Corinthians 15:51-53, parenthesis mine).

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part II (published 10-3-15):

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

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

But here are a few of the distinguishing characteristics:

Physical Barriers Are No Problem

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

Time and Space Are No Barriers

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

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

Gravity Does Not Affect the Spiritual Body, Either in a Positive or Negative Way

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

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

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

With these imperishable spiritual bodies, we believers will be like our Lord Jesus; able to do things above and beyond the ordinary … spiritually, mentally, and physically. (See Eye of Prophecy article: Superhuman Bodies for Believers / How & Why? Posted 12-14-19)

We will be able to freely move between earth and heaven during the Millennium; in preparation for our residency in the New Jerusalem after the Millennium gives way to Eternity.

(6) Reunion of Israel and Judah … Return of All Jews to Israel

Even before, but especially since Israel’s miraculous rebirth as a sovereign nation in 1948, millions of exiled (Diaspora) Jews have returned to the Promised Land. Millions more have been born there, with the current Jewish population in Israel at about 6.8 million. Yet there are another 8 million or so Jews still scattered throughout the world … most of those in the United States.

This ongoing remarkable return will accelerate during the Tribulation. Then at the outset of the Millennium, all Jews (including descendants of the so-called lost ten tribes that constituted the northern nation of Israel, with the southern nation called Judah) will be regathered to Israel.

“In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives (Israel of course) will be a glorious place. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people—those who remain in Assyria…and all the distant coastlands” (Isaiah 11:10-11. Parenthesis mine).

Jesus virtually said the same thing, adding that angels will do the gathering … towards the end of the Tribulation (see Matthew 24:31).

Isaiah continues: “He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth. Then at last the jealousy between Israel (primarily Diaspora Jews of today’s world) and Judah (primarily Jews in Israel) will end. They will not be rivals anymore” (Isaiah 11:12-13, parenthesis mine).

See Eye of Prophecy article: The Jewish Dichotomy In and Outside Israel (6-30-18). Also, Peace Between Israel & Judah … Then World Peace! (posted 12-8-18) from which the following excerpt is taken:

In today’s Judaism (the world over), the ten northern tribes of Israel are exemplified primarily by Diaspora Jews (those living outside Israel)—mostly secular; if observant, many belonging to Reformed Judaism. They are the more liberal Jews as represented by (for example) democrats in the United States; or, within Israel—Zionist Union and Yesh Atid parties of Israel’s Knesset.

Whereas Judah is characterized more by observant Jews … predominantly conservative in their political, social, economic, and religious worldview. Represented, for example, by the Likud (30 of the 120 Knesset seats) and Shas coalitions. Proportionally, there are more observant Jews in Israel than in their Diaspora counterparts.

As indicated, these are broad generalizations. However, they track with Israel’s and Judah’s history and are parallel with contemporary times.

Yet, when it comes to the tens of thousands of Messianic Jews the world over, they are a cross-section of all Jews … no matter from which tribe they have descended. That’s the incredible power of God through Messiah Jesus to save his people—a prelude to salvation of all Jews (the remnant) when Christ returns to accomplish Israel’s final redemption and reunion—physically and spiritually.

Now for the 7th Wonder of the Millennium World. It is the only one that is (like the Seven Wonders of the Ancient & Modern World) also a physical structure. The first two (Solomon’s Temple, then the Second Temple after King Herod’s improvements) could have qualified as one of the ancient wonders of the world. I am referring to:

(7) The Magnificent Third Jewish Temple

Ezekiel Chapters 40-47 meticulously describe a rebuilt Jewish Temple. Time/space in today’s article does not permit all the evidence to demonstrate that this Temple was not the one restored by those Jews who returned from their Babylonian captivity. Rather, it will be the Temple rebuilt during the (early part of) Tribulation period. And, most likely made even greater and grander after Messiah Jesus begins his Millennial reign.

(Depiction of Third Jewish Temple Complex)

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy Article, A Third Jewish Temple, Part II (posted 5-3-14), which among other things contrasts the river flowing from the Temple to the river depicted in the New Jerusalem.

When describing the rebuilt temple, Ezekiel says: “In my vision, the man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing east from beneath the door of the Temple and passing to the right of the alter on its south side” (Ezekiel 47:1). Notice that the stream (or river) flows from beneath the Temple door, but the river in the New Jerusalem flows from the throne of God.

Then later in this chapter, Ezekiel describes the length and directional flow of this river. Of particular interest is what he saw on both sides of the river: “When I returned, I was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the river” (Ezekiel 47:7). Then later in this passage the man (pre-incarnate Christ) showing Ezekiel all of these things states: “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing” (Verse 12).

Though there are similarities with the trees of the New Jerusalem (new crop each month and leaves for healing), there are some distinct differences.

In the New Jerusalem there are only two trees, one on each side of the river. And the river flowed down the center of the main street. In Ezekiel, there are (many) “fruit trees of all kinds (that) will grow…” *Note: The river trees of Ezekiel’s Temple will produce fruit for the people of the earth. The fruit of New Jerusalem’s trees will be for the saints who reside in that city.

…But the most compelling or convincing distinction of all (to demonstrate that these are different rivers and trees) is that the Temple river in Ezekiel flows to the Dead Sea and will make the Dead Sea waters fresh again, with an abundant supply of fish that, “…will fill the Dead Sea, just as they fill the Mediterranean” (Ezekiel 47:10). The Dead Sea will not be relocated to the New Jerusalem! It will remain as is in the holy land of Israel.

Plus, the fact that there is no Temple in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22).

There is also a strong inference that the medicinal qualities of these trees will contribute to the mostly disease-free quality and quantity (length of life and increased global population) during the Millennium.

It’s highly possible, if not probable, that the river flowing from the Temple will be created near the end of the Great Tribulation when Messiah Jesus first returns to earth physically, with the immediate task at hand that of rescuing Jerusalem and all Israel from the armies of Antichrist.

“Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south” (Zechariah 14:3-5).

Then, Zechariah writes:

(The eastern sea is the Dead Sea; western sea, the Mediterranean)

Summary of the Seven Wonders of the Millennium

Global Justice … Jesus as Mediator between Nations

World Peace … Through Messiah Jesus, The Prince of Peace

Incredible Harmony in the Animal World

Amazing Longevity … Exceeding Even The Pre-Flood Length of Life

Immortal Spiritual Bodies for Raptured Believers

Reunion of Israel and Judah … Return of All Jews to Israel

The Magnificent Third Jewish Temple

Things to Ponder

Animal sacrifices will resume when the Temple is rebuilt. However, these sacrifices will not be for ongoing atonement. Reason: The New Covenant of Grace (made possible by Messiah Jesus’s once for all substitutionary sacrifice for sin and its penalty) has permanently replaced the Levitical sacrificial system. Instead, the sacrifices will be one of the many ways to honor the King of kings … Jesus of Nazareth and what he has done for humanity.

Moreover, the only Jewish Festival that will still be mandatory is the Feast of Shelters (Sukkot) which just recently ended on October 9th, 2020. This feast celebrates the Lord’s provisions, protection, and presence (during His sojourn with the Israelites in the wilderness). And his physical presence in Jerusalem during the Millennium.

Immanuel … God with us! For a thousand years. Then, to infinity and beyond!

“In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters” (Zechariah 14:16).

Concerning the sacrifices: “…All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (like there were in the first two Temples)” (Zechariah 14:21, parenthesis mine).

Because of Jesus’s triumphant victory over sin and death—fully accomplished when he arose from the dead—he has power and authority to rule the nations … to do great and glorious things. Not the least of which will be his return to earth to jump-start the magnificent Millennium: “And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

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

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

As alluded to earlier, the Millennium is not a time of (pure) perfection. More like partial perfection. Perfect begins soon after the Millennium when God will make all things new, including the heavens and the earth.

Nevertheless, until that time the Millennium will be an exceptional era of virtue, justice, and peace. Filled with wonderful Wonders!

(The New Jerusalem soon after the Millennium ends)

The 1000-year reign of Christ will be: Peace on earth, good will toward men.

Seven Wonders of The Millennium

The Seven Wonders of the World!

Have you ever heard the term?

No? Then you must have been asleep in class that day!

Could you name perhaps one of them?

On the other hand, you would be especially astute (correct) if you answered that friendly challenge with your own: “Which world … the ancient world or the modern world?”

Even more perceptive if you asked, “Aren’t there also Seven Natural Wonders of today’s world?”

From Wikipedia: “Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world’s most spectacular natural wonders and human-built structures. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity; it was based on guidebooks popular among Hellenic sightseers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim and in Mesopotamia.

“The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it represented perfection and plenty, and because it was the number of the five planets known anciently, plus the sun and moon. Many similar lists have been made.”

Although the ancient Greeks produced philosophers and philosophies, they were also pagans. In fact, the Greek culture, with its pantheon of gods, fits the classic two-fold definition (dichotomy) of a pagan as well or better than inhabitants of the two world empires which preceded Alexander the Great’s Grecian empire: Babylon and Persia. And as much or even more than its successor, the mighty Roman Empire.

Webster’s Dictionary defines Pagan: “1: a follower of a polytheistic religion. 2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods…”

Whether by accident (coincidence) or by the counterbalance influence of Jews—particularly the Hellenistic Jews of the time—the Greek reverence for the number seven reflects the prominence of that number in the Hebrew and Greek Bibles … Old & New Testaments.

Seven: The Divine Number found throughout the Scriptures constitutes the completeness, conclusiveness, and providential sovereignty of God’s interaction with humanity. Beginning with setting aside the 7th day as a day of rest, remembrance, and recognition of our awesome God and his majestic creation. And other sets of seven such as the God-ordained Jewish festivals throughout the calendar year. The 7th of those (Sukkot—Feast of Shelters) just ended yesterday.

With the God of the Bible declaring in no uncertain term that He, alone, is the true and living God. That all other gods are idle (idol) inventions of alleged deities made in the image of man.

Indeed, both the Greek and Roman gods had more human than godly characteristics. As entirely opposed to the Bible’s declaration:

Moreover, the God of the Bible issues challenges for any other “god” or idol or prophet of any other religion to do what He alone has done and continues to do to this very day: (1) perform miracles; (2) fulfill prophecy (hundreds in Scripture) with 100% accuracy.

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

Another Divine number is the number three. We are only twenty years into the 3rd Millennium since the birth of Jesus Christ changed time itself … from B.C. to A.D. (before Christ to the year of our Lord). Or if you prefer: the modern secular replacement of BCE and CE (before the common era, common era). But if you do, then shame on you! Just kidding … only partially. Besides, there was nothing common about Jesus of Nazareth. Not in the traditional sense of the word, e.g. everyday or ordinary or commonplace.

Furthermore, this 3rd Millennium is also considered by many Bible commentators/teachers (including me) to be the 7th Millennium of recorded time as relates to God’s plan for humanity. With this 7th millennia soon to experience the beginning of a New World Order, but not the New Age that mankind currently wishes would occur. Certainly not the Age of Aquarius!

I’m speaking of the Millennial Reign of God’s Son, who is the Messiah … Jesus of Nazareth!

With this final epoch (that merges into Eternity—as described in Revelation Chapters 21-22) filled with awesome Wonders of the World never seen or experienced. All centered around one Person who will fashion these Wonders into the most wonderful thousand years imaginable. Essentially, there are seven of them. A case could be made that there are more than seven; however, any extras are aligned with one or more of these seven.

Ironically, during the seven-year Great Tribulation, many people from the religions, cults, and political systems of this world (Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, Socialism, Atheism, Communism, Capitalism, and more … including Protestantism for those denominations that have diluted, distorted, and even denied the authority of God’s Word, the Bible) will yield their allegiance—to the extent of worship—to one man known as the Antichrist.

Before we get to the Seven Wonders of the Millennium, I won’t leave you wondering about the three sets of Seven Wonders of the World, to the extent that you would take the time to look them up. Alphabetically, they are:

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

  • The Colossus of Rhodes
  • The Great Pyramid of Giza (the only one still standing)
  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • The Lighthouse of Alexandria
  • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

(Depiction of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in ancient Greece)

Seven Wonders of the Modern World

  • Chichen Itza (Mexico)
  • Christ the Redeemer Statue (Brazil)
  • Great Wall (China)
  • Machu Picchu (Peru)
  • Petra (Jordan)
  • Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Taj Mahal (India)

(A structure at Chichen Itza)

Seven Natural Wonders of the Modern World

  • Aurora Borealis (winter skies over N/W Territories & Alaska)
  • Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA)
  • Great Barrier Reef (Queensland, Australia)
  • Harbor of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil, where Christ the Redeemer statue is located)
  • Mount Everest (Himalayas, China/Nepal borders)
  • Paricutin Volcano (Mexico)
  • Victoria Falls (Africa, Zambia/Zimbabwe borders)

(Christ the Redeemer Statue at Rio de Janeiro Harbor)

The Messiah of the Millennium and of The Ages … Who Is He?

Despite the undeniable historical record, there are far more people on Planet Earth who do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth is who he said he is—God’s very Son, the Messiah—than those who have believed and received him as Personal Savior. Most of those who have trivialized, ignored, or rejected the indisputable evidence belong to one of the “isms” cited earlier.

That convincing evidence is found in four amazing accomplishments during Jesus’s short time on this earth … approximately 33 years.

(1) His Unparalleled Wisdom: Expressed mostly through his phenomenal teaching. You only need read the four Gospels to fully appreciate just how profound (but simple to those sincerely seeking the truth) his message was … still is to this day.

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law” (Matthew 7:28-29).

(2) His Marvelous Miracles … Hundreds (if not thousands): Some specifically portrayed, most just summarized by (for example): “Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:29-31).

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy Article, The Incomparable Power & Authority of Jesus Christ (Posted 5-28-16):

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’

“But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, ‘What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!’

“Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, ‘Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, Your sins are forgiven, or Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’

“And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before!’” (Mark 2:1-12).

By the very fact that Jesus had read their minds (what they were thinking), you would think that the religious leaders should have realized immediately that Jesus was no ordinary man. When Jesus asked them whether it was more difficult for him to tell the paralytic that his sins were forgiven or to instantly heal the man’s untreatable condition, he knew how they would react. They would affirm that it’s easy for anyone to say someone’s sins can be forgiven. Those are just words, and in this case words of blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins.

Which was exactly the point! By merely speaking the words, Jesus right in front of them told the crippled man to stand up and go home. Only God has that kind of power! And only God has the authority to forgive sins.

So, then, just who might Jesus be?

(3) His Stunning Resurrection from the Dead: Said the angels to the women who came to Jesus’s tomb. “…Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day” (Luke 24:5-7).

Wrote the Jewish Apostle Paul, who (when still named Saul) had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus that forever changed Paul’s life and destiny:

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me: Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church” (I Corinthians 15:3-9)

How can anyone who claims to have an open mind refuse to accept the fully documented facts not only found in the historical Biblical record, but also through secular reports of the 1st century?

Answer: It is a matter of the heart, not the head.

Said Jesus to the Jewish religious leader, Nicodemus, immediately after telling him that God so loved the world…: “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him (Jesus). But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved (matter of the heart) the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:18-19, parenthesis mine).

On the other hand: “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved… Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect… For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:10 & 12-13, quoting Joel 2:32).

As we have neared the last days of the end times in the 20th and now 21st century, many thousands of Jews the world over have acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures and have accepted him as their Personal Savior. Sadly, most Jews (and Gentiles) have not. What John wrote in the 1st century is true today (as is all of Scripture):

“He (Jesus) 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).

(4) His First Appearance … Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled: The fourth accomplishment of Jesus of Nazareth was equally spectacular: an accumulation of one extraordinary fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy after another. First, as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) to provide the once for all substitutionary sacrifice for sin and its penalty.

Here is another passage from the prophet Isaiah in which God issues more challenges to gods (idols) or (false) prophets, followed by a message to Israel.

“This is what the Lord says—Israel’s king and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” (Isaiah 44:6-8, emphasis added).

The italicized words in this passage emphasize that God (the Father) several times explained to Israel (and the world at large) her future and his purpose for his chosen people … the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The most vital of those was the coming of the Messiah from the lineage of King David, who God (through King David) said was His Son (Psalm 2; Psalm 110).

God is speaking 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).

This is referred to as the First Advent of Messiah Jesus. Who, as John the Baptist proclaimed when pointing Jesus out to the crowd, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me’” (John 1:29-30, emphasis added).

John the Baptist knew the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) well. The phrase existed long before me undoubtedly echoed the well-known prophecy regarding the birthplace of the coming Messiah. Also, his ancient origin.

That is one of the (many) Messianic prophecies accomplished by Jesus. Let’s list seven more prophecies of Messiah’s first appearance (birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension) in preparation for our examination of the Seven Wonders of the Millennium following his Second Advent—the glorious return of Messiah Jesus to this worn-out and wicked world.

Time/space does not permit quoting each passage … only the reference of the Old Testament prophecy and New Testament completion:

  1. Born Through the Tribe of Judah: (Genesis 49:10; Hebrews 7:14)
  2. A Prophet Like (Greater Than) Moses: (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 7:15-17)
  3. The Son of God: (Psalm 2:7; John 3:16-17)
  4. Silent Before His Accusers: (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14)
  5. Unjustly Tried & Condemned: (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 27:1-2)
  6. Crucified: (Psalm 22:16; John 19:23-24)
  7. His Garments Divided: (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)

And, as pointed out in reason #3, Jesus’s magnificent resurrection (Psalm 16:10; Luke 24:1-7).

Even if Messiah’s resurrection hadn’t been predicted by the prophets, the event itself is proof positive that Jesus was/is Divine—Son of God and God the Son. That his First Appearance to humanity was for the Messianic purpose of providing God’s final, once for all sacrifice for sin.

Moreover, all the other Messianic prophecies concerning his rule and reign forever as King (of all kings) apply specifically to Messiah Jesus’s Second Coming. In fact, most observant Jews—who still disregard the compelling (conclusive) evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, and who are in denial that not only are the Temple sacrifices gone (the means of daily and annual atonement), but so is the Temple—are so puzzled by the ostensible paradox between the suffering Messiah (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53) and the conquering Messiah (Isaiah 2 and other passages) that many rabbis believe there are (will be) two Messiahs.

See Eye of Prophecy article: More Than One Messiah? (Posted 12-5-15). Also, God’s New Covenant with Israel … Minus the Temple, Part I & Part II (September 2018). And the two-part series, The Cross and the Torn Curtain (February 2016).

From the following magnificent Messianic passage, can there be any doubt that the Messiah is both human and divine, both man and God:

“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).

A Sequence to Further Establish the First & Second Advent of The Messiah (Jesus)

Let’s return to Micah Chapter 5 for a moment. Immediately after we learn of the ruler (Messiah) to be born in Bethlehem but whose origins are from the ancient past (meaning he already existed), we read:

“The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land” (Micah 5:3).

In context, the operative words until and then strongly suggest—to the point of certainty—that this is a sequential set of events … chronological.

First, the Messiah is born in Bethlehem and, as Isaiah said: he would bring “salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). Which is exactly what Jesus did when he, through his own life’s blood, purchased and sealed God’s New Covenant of Grace (Jeremiah 31) to not only the Jews, but also to the Gentiles.

Yet, it is clear (exceptionally so now that 2000 years have passed) in Micah Chapter 5 that this (first) appearance of Messiah would precede, “the people of Israel … abandoned to their enemies.” This occurred some 40 years after Jesus arose from the dead and ascended back to heaven awaiting the appointed time of his return. The descendants of those Jews, who several generations earlier had returned to Israel from their Babylonian exile, populated Israel at the time Jesus came on the scene.

Although Micah lived and prophesied before the Assyrian then the Babylonian conquest of Israel and exile of the Jews to those countries, he is not referring to those enemies of Israel.

Why? Because the woman hadn’t yet given birth.

Furthermore, after the woman gave birth, “then at last his (Messiah’s) fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land” (Verse 3). Plus, it’s crystal clear that the Messiah didn’t arrive during or near the time of the Babylonian exile.

Micah is prophetically referring to the final conquest of Israel by the Romans in A.D. 70, followed by world-wide exile and total “abandonment to their enemies” (time of the Gentiles’ domination of the Jews, until the Six-Day War of 1967, when that supremacy ended).

(Photo of Weary Israeli Soldiers at the Western Wall After Their Recapture of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War)

The abandonment of the Jews to their enemies would (begin to) cease when “the woman in labor gives birth.” Many Christian scholars believe this is referring to the birth of Jesus (Messiah). But it couldn’t be, because his “countrymen” hadn’t even been exiled yet, let alone “return from exile to their own land.”

The only possible contextual (including the chronology) rendering here is that the woman who gives birth is not the Virgin Mary; rather, it is Israel herself, reborn as a sovereign nation in 1948. Followed by, “then at last (meaning nearly 2,000 years later after Rome’s utter conquest of Israel) his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land.”

This application is reinforced by the remarkable prediction near the end of Isaiah’s book with its many Messianic prophecies, when he announces the rebirth of Israel.

“Before the birth pains even begin, 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? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it? … No! I would never keep this nation from begin born, says your God” (Isaiah 66:7-9)

Continuing in Micah to further demonstrate that Messiah–the same one born in Bethlehem before his countrymen were exiled (for the last time) and after Israel was reborn and the Jews began to return to their Promised Land in great numbers–we read:

“And he (Messiah) will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed (during the Millennium), for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace” (Micah 5:4, parenthesis mine).

Isaiah further established this two-part (now separated by 2,000 years and counting) arrival of the Messiah, i.e. the suffering servant followed by the conquering king.

“The Lord, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the Lord, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you” (Isaiah 49:7).

Before we examine the Seven Wonders of the soon-to-come Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus, let’s first do a:

Summary Review of Messiah Jesus’s Actions that Ends the Great Tribulation and Ushers in the Millennium

In Eye of Prophecy article, Armageddon and Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events (posted 2-3-18), the stunning Second-Coming events of Messiah’s arrival in Jerusalem as depicted in Zechariah Chapters 12-14 are correlated with the equally spectacular scene of Revelation 19, which is a graphic portrayal of the final battle of Armageddon.

Leading up to that finale is a sequential list of nine events and commentary for each episode.

Such as: (1) Antichrist Nero breaks the seven-year treaty with Israel. (4) The King of the South will march on Antichrist. (6) Invasion of the Kings of the East. (8) Messiah’s first phase (of his Second Coming) on the Mount of Olives.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The immediate catalyst for Messiah’s return will be the Antichrist’s attack on Jerusalem, which will most likely begin in the final 3-4 weeks of the Great Tribulation.

“Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the woman raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city” (Zechariah 14:1-2). *Note: These are the remaining Israelis; the others have escaped to the wilderness out of harm’s way at the mid-point of the Tribulation.

Continuing with Zechariah 14: “Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west … You will flee through this valley…” (Zechariah 14:3-5).

Based on Zechariah 14, nearly all Bible scholars and students (including me), even non-Messianic Jews, correctly believe that Messiah will arrive on earth by first stepping foot on the Mount of Olives. With, of course, believers in Christ proclaiming this to be the return of Messiah (Second Coming) and non-Messianic Jews believing this will be Messiah’s initial arrival.

At this juncture, I’m going to propose something I haven’t mentioned in any Eye of Prophecy article until now. Why? Because it was only during this week’s article that the Lord gave me this insight! This premise leads to a more complete, clarified, and sequentially accurate scenario. In bold print for emphasis it is:

Christ’s Second Coming to earth will happen twice … on two separate occasions!

First, he will arrive on the Mount of Olives as we just read in Zechariah. Then (a few days later) he will descend again from heaven on a white horse, but this time with the host of heaven (Raptured believers) as we will soon read in Revelation Chapter 19.

Then under the final episode of these startling series of events, I wrote:

(10) The Grand Finale

Zechariah 14:5 tells us that: “…Then (later, sometime after Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives) the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.”

This matches perfectly with what we’re about to read in Revelation 19, which clearly shows that the holy ones are the “armies of heaven” on white horses who will accompany Messiah in his final victory over Antichrist. Whereas Zechariah Chapter 12 explains that it is the Israelis who will be fighting alongside Messiah.

With the clear implication and deduction that the “holy ones” (believers taken in the Rapture, seven years earlier) with Jesus were not with him when he first returns to Israel on the Mount of Olives.

That and the stated fact in Zechariah 12:9: “For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” The final victory isn’t won during Messiah’s initial (first phase) return to the Mount of Olives. Plus, there’s no indication in Zechariah that Messiah arrives on the Mount of Olives on a white horse. For that matter (as a reminder) Scripture tells us exactly how Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives from whence he departed after his amazing resurrection.

The angels said to the disciples: “Men of Galilee … Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11).

Did Jesus leave the Mount of Olives on a white horse? Easy answer: No, he did not. If he is to return in the same manner (and he will) to the Mount of Olives, then it must be on foot. “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 14:4).

…First: to the Mount of Olives to, alongside the Jews, begin the fight against Antichrist in Israel and Jerusalem. Second: a subsequent return to completely vanquish Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their massive military in the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon).

With a literary drum roll, here is the awesome grand finale:

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations … On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

“…Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and worshipped his statue. Both the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies” (Revelation 19:11-16 & 19-21).

Seven Wonders of the Millennium

Sorry. As you have probably already surmised, they will have to wait until next week’s article (Part II). Rest assured, I didn’t deliberately mislead you!

Rather, my intention was to list the seven with only a little commentary in today’s article.

But, after further consideration, it’s evident that each one deserves a little more quantity (commentary) which, in turn, will provide more quality exposure.

Although next week’s article will be substantially shorter than this week’s post, it will still contain sufficient and significant material to hopefully do justice to the colossal changes that will take place during Christ’s magnificent Millennial reign.

Things to Ponder

Although the remarkable rule and reign of the Messiah during the end-times Day of the Lord is found in many Old Testament prophecies, the duration of that era is found only in the New Testament. And just in one chapter, albeit the “thousand years” is mentioned six times. Which further emphasizes and solidifies this length of time as literal, not symbolic as some suggest.

The 1000 years is as time-dedicated as the 400 years of the Hebrews bondage in Egypt prior to the Exodus; the Israelites sojourn in the wilderness for 40 years; Moses on Mount Sanai 40 days and nights; 12 ½ months of Noah and his family in the Ark … so forth and so on!

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection (at the Rapture and a few years later when the Tribulation saints will be raised from the dead). For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6, parenthesis mine).

The Millennial Reign of the Messiah (Jesus) is such a well-known phenomenon that Webster’s Dictionary defines millennium as: “a period of 1000 years; the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 during which holiness is to prevail and Christ is to reign on earth; a period of great happiness or human perfection.”

Before we focus next week on the Old Testament where we find most of the details on the fantastic features of this (1,000-year) epoch, let’s again acknowledge the One Person (God’s appointed and anointed One … that’s what Messiah means) who will make all this possible:

Which leads into the first of the Seven Wonders of the World during Christ’s Millennial Reign. In which he will physically on earth continue his Global role as the spiritual Mediator between God and humanity, but also arbitrate (settle) major disagreements between nations … in Person!

Don’t miss next week’s Part II article, in which these Seven Wonders will be identified, with some pertinent commentary.

May the Lord bless and keep you!

A Divine Solution to Global Polarization & Church/State Separation

Can the world get any more divided?

There are so many ways to divide: politically, socially, economically, geographically, nationally, racially, and religiously.

There are so many differences that cause (sometimes deep) divisions. Such as: Republican (conservative) or Democrat (liberal); upper class or lower class; capitalist or communist; city dweller or rural … an island paradise or slums; North Korea or South Korea; Jew or Arab … black or white; Christianity or Islam.

Then there are those universal distinctions which can and too often do create clashes.

Male/female … battle of the sexes; as experienced in the 20th century feminism movement. And now in the 21st century, some men in power abusing women, i.e. MeToo movement.

Young/old … generational gaps. A seemingly ever-widening gulf between parents and children. Never so obvious as in the attitudes and behavior over COVID-19 which has caused one new normal after another. Yet, the young seem oblivious to it because many have no or only mild symptoms. They continue to party with (imagined) immunity and impunity.

It does not take a geopolitical or socioeconomic expert to expose and explain the deepening divisions within virtually every level of life: families, communities, cities, states, nations, and internationally.

We talk about changes needed of “the system” as the only viable way to create mutual respect and unity within/between all the things that divide us. Unfortunately, we seem even more determined to solve the problems by treating the symptoms. Which often begs the age-old question: Can you legislate morality or unity?

Unity is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: “a condition of harmony; the quality or state of being made one; unification; the quality or character of a whole made up of intimately associated elements, parts, or individuals.” Synonyms are: Solidarity, integrity, agreement, unison, accord.

Yet after thousands of years of failed governments and societies and “systems” of all kinds (to “progressively” right the wrongs and lessen the ills of humanity), we are digressing in things that really matter. Not the least of which is morality. There is more disharmony, disagreement, disunion, discord than ever. The divorce rate tells us that, which is just one of many ailments of society.

(Do Black Lives matter? Of course they do. But anarchy is not the answer)

The Real Problem & Solution

We misdiagnose both the problems and the remedies because we define them horizontally … exclusively in human terms. Not vertically from God’s divine perspective. According to God’s very Word, the Bible, disunity in the world originates in the human heart because of sin and rebellion against God. That from the inside out the heart must first be transformed (made right with God) before our mind and behavior can/will be changed to the extent that we truly seek the welfare of others.

Listen to the Jewish Apostle Paul, who was miraculously changed by the risen Messiah (Jesus of Nazareth); thereby coming to terms with his own sin nature and all the wrong things that sin produces in people.

“Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one’” (Romans 3:9-12).

Paul then directs his primarily Jewish readers (at the time) to the New Covenant of Grace in sharp contrast to the former (Mosaic) Covenant of Law.

“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law (which no one can do as Paul also writes… we break one law, we break them all), as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:19-25, parenthesis mine).

Before all the differences and divisions that separate segments of society the world over can be dealt with, there must first be a supernatural change of the human heart which naturally is bent toward selfish (me, me, and me) desires.

Listen to the Apostle Paul as he explains this new life in Christ to new believers:

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirt wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:16-21, emphasis added to fit this week’s main theme of divisions).

For the record, Christians do sin. The huge distinction is that if someone is participating in one or more of the above listed “desires of your sinful nature” on a regular (lifestyle) basis, it’s highly unlikely that person is a believer. Thus, he/she will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Which means living forever in heaven, beginning with the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus upon his glorious return to the earth.

As Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18), we will not be sinless. But we should/will sin less.

Repeating Paul’s instructions: So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

Paul goes on to say:

I believe it would take only one or two of these supernatural spiritual byproducts (fruits) to harmonize humanity. To unite the disunited. And to bind the broken. Can you imagine if all nine were working at the same time!

A Division That Is Essential

There is one schism vital to humanity: Truth vs. Error (Lies).

It is a split so obvious that we metaphorically compare these opposites to light and darkness … day and night. It would be unimaginable if Planet Earth were covered in darkness all day long. It would be intolerable for every living thing if night did not yield to morning. It would literally be a matter of life and death.

So, too, is Truth a matter of life … eternal life. Beginning with the soon-to-come Rapture resurrection of those believers in Messiah Jesus who have died and their transformation (along with living believers) into our immortal, imperishable bodies equipped to live forever in heaven.

I’m referring to much more than those things in life that are proven to be true versus those that are false. With a simple example: If someone tells you that a hot stove burner will not burn you if you touch it, is that the truth or a lie? A more complex case would be all the religions and cults of the world, each one claiming that it is right and true. Can they all be right when in fact their theology is so different and often mutually exclusive or contradictory. That is clearly a rhetorical question.

Truth by very definition is exclusive. Meaning it excludes and precludes its’s opposite … lies.

The pivotal point here is the source of all truth. Indeed, Truth itself.

Do you remember Jesus’s trial when Pontius Pilate questioned him as to whether Jesus was, in fact, a king (of the Jews)?

“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’” (John 18:37).

Then Pilate cynically asked a question that many have posed, whether out of sincerity or sarcasm.

“What is truth?” (Verse 38).

To simplify and clarify anything and everything that people perceive to be true; and to answer the critics who contend that (most) truth is relative or those who claim (religiously or philosophically) to have a corner on truth; or to those sincerely seeking answers to this life and the life hereafter, Jesus had previously made this stunning statement:

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

It would be entirely appropriate and accurate if each of these three claims by Messiah Jesus were capitalized in this verse. Because Jesus said no one could come to Father (God) except through him, he was unequivocally declaring that he is the only Way, Truth, and Life. That he came into this world (as the Son of God) not just to show the way, tell the truth, and bring life (everlasting) to people. Oh, he has done all that.

No, he is more. He, “radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” (Hebrews 1:3).

He IS (the) Way.

He IS Truth (itself).

He IS Life (both now and forever).

He proved this when he, himself, arose from the dead.

Just prior to raising Lazarus from the grave, Jesus said to Lazarus’s sister, Martha:

“…I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live even after dying. Everyone who lives in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26).

Biblical salvation is both exclusive and inclusive. Redemption comes only through Christ, but everyone is invited to believe in and receive him as Personal Savior. But a choice must be made. There is no neutrality when it comes to deciding for or against Messiah Jesus. Otherwise, he died (willingly gave up his life) for no reason.

Do you believe what Jesus told Martha (and the whole world) is true? Do you believe that he is Truth itself? The only Way to eternal Life?

That’s all that God asks of you … of anyone. As Jesus said to a prominent Jewish religious leader Nicodemus who came to him searching for the truth about who Jesus was/is:

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

Then Jesus told him exactly what must be done to be born again:

“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. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:14-19).

So, the only real and (ever) lasting solution to our sins that separate us from God and from each other is not found in any system. It is found in a Person. That is as clear as day is from night!

From Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God (published 1-17-15). In italics as follows:

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

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

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together… For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).

Jesus stated assertively that he is the (only) Way. Which means that every person who doesn’t make a decision for Christ is deliberately driving into a danger zone marked, “Wrong Way, Do Not Enter.”

Said the Apostle John to believers late in his life: “So I am writing to you not because you not because you don’t know the truth, but because you know the difference between truth and lies. And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ (Messiah … God’s chosen one to redeem mankind). Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (I John 2:21-23, parenthesis mine).

John’s message here is both simple and profound. He is reducing all anyone wants or needs about knowledge (facts … such as 2 + 2 =s 4) and truth to the very essence of Truth itself … where it originated and where it is contained.

The peace that comes through believing in Christ’s (as the Lamb of God) substitutionary sacrifice has brought about the Kingdom of Heaven, in the hearts of all those who receive him as Personal Savior. But not until Messiah Jesus returns as King of all kings will the glorious Kingdom of God be established on Planet Earth. A Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and world peace.

Until then, we will continue to experience divisive rifts caused by disunity, disorder, discord, disarray, destruction and (unnecessary) death the world over.

How bad is it getting, and will it be? So bad that, despite overwhelming evidence during the (soon-to-come) Great Tribulation of God’s judgment on the entire world, “…they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:21)

One Of, If Not the Most Divisive Dichotomy of All

It is a proverbial bone of contention that has split society within nations and between nations, particularly in the 20th & 21st centuries. One that garners headlines more than just periodically.

It is the real or perceived fracture between religion and politics. A demarcation demanded by many, especially the liberal among us. In the United States, Europe, and other Western Countries, it is mostly referred to as the division between church and state. Whereas in most Muslim nations, especially the non-Arab nations of Iran and Turkey, there is (to differing degrees) such a union, i.e. an Islamic state or regime that controls nearly every feature of life.

Because time/space doesn’t permit in this week’s article and because I’ve written about it somewhat extensively, and because the main purpose here is a reminder of how contentious this issue has become, we’ll examine some evidence more hurriedly … in deference to the ultimate remedy. Which, as indicated, is found in a Person, not a system. Certainly not one that constitutes and/or ends with an “ism.” Such as: Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Socialism, or Communism. Yes, communism is a religion (belief system) that also has a god. Its’ god is the state and sometimes the ruler of that state. And, of course, Islam.

For that matter, even Judaism, when only part of God’s Word is acknowledged … Old Testament. And reliance on keeping the Law of Moses to the exclusion of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22:17-20) for right standing with God. Even Abraham was made righteous by his faith (Genesis 15:6), long before God gave the Law to Moses. Conversely, not recognizing the historical authenticity of the New Testament and its authors also inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I did not include Christianity because it is not a religion as such, i.e. a system of regulations, rituals, (impossible to keep) requirements, including a common denominator to all religions—good works outweighing bad deeds to merit the favor of their god or gods. Whereas the (true) Christian faith is based exclusively on a relationship to a Person and through him God the Father.

It is the only faith that says all people need to be redeemed (by a Redeemer) and, in fact, recognizes that Redeemer as the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

As examples of how much “intrusion” should be allowed of religion into politics, we will look at incidents/situations in three countries concerning this ongoing controversy.

United Kingdom

In an article entitled: When rabbis should not keep quiet, posted in the online source of Jewish News Syndicate on September 10, 2020, British author Melanie Phillips begins with:

“The former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, has come in for some stick over remarks he recently made about religion and politics. In an interview with JTA, he was asked what he thought about the observation by Rabbi Shmuel Kamenstsky, the head of the Agudath Israel Council of Torah Sages, that Jews should vote to re-elect President Donald Trump out of gratitude for the things he has done for the Jewish people.

“Rabbi Lord Sacks, who was made an independent member of the House of Lords in 2009, delivered an impassioned reply. ‘The division between politics and religion is absolutely fundamental,’ he said. ‘It’s one of the greatest things Judaism ever taught the world: Don’t mix religion and politics. You mix religion and politics; you get terrible politics and even worse religion. It’s an absolute and total outrage.’”

*Note: For what I think is a pretty balanced view of this church/state issue, you may want to read Eye of Prophecy articles: Separation of Church and State … For or Against? Part I & Part II (posted April 2016).

Melanie Phillips continued: “When he was chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Sacks drew some criticism from the Jewish community that he was politically timid. He always insisted, however, that rabbis had a duty to keep out of contentious political debate….

“As he said in his recent interview, politics was inherently divisive while religion should be about bringing people together. In Israel, the mix of politics and religion was ‘a catastrophe and may one day threaten the very survival of the state.’ As soon as religion became political, it, too, inevitably became divisive.

“The truth of that last remark was promptly demonstrated in the reaction to his comments. Jews who supported Trump and Sacks should have spoken in support of him. Jews who were against Trump and Sacks should have spoken against him. Ironically, therefore, Sacks denunciation of political divisiveness produced division.”

In her article, Ms. Phillips mentioned both Israel and (indirectly) the United States when speaking of President Trump in the greater context of the religion/politics enigma.

(Do you think both pictorials make valid points? My opinion … yes they do)

The United States

Just a couple of observations, the first general in nature, the second more specific.

General: I was born in Lawrence, Kansas, one of fifty states comprising the United States of America. The very reason for the formation and existence of the USA is because our ancestors revolted against England’s tyrannical rule. A British government that fit the classic definition of a State Church or a Church State (Anglican) that itself was formed when a couple hundred years earlier King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, whose popes controlled kings and queens and nations all over Europe.

Not in the entire history of our country has there been anything remotely resembling a religion church-controlled government in America. God forbid that would ever happen. God never intended Israel or the Jews to turn the truth of Torah (Old Testament) into a religion, as such. Rather, Israel’s very inception as a nation, both corporately and individually was based on a relationship with their Creator, not a religion, as such.

In a sweeping overview of what God really wanted for/from his people, we read:

“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).

It was in Micah’s time and long before in Moses time and it is to this very day: a matter of the heart. Of trusting and obeying the Lord because we want to, not because we must, i.e. rote keeping of requirements and rituals.

In his commandments, the Lord tells us what is right. Such as love the Lord with all our heart and honor our parents. And what is wrong … stealing, adultery, etc. Yet, God never forces anyone to comply, which is why organized religion (such as Islam, Catholicism, Mormonism, or any Protestant denomination) should not mix with politics in terms of forcing or enforcing specific doctrines of that religion. Which is a misguided and sometimes a malevolent top-down institutional control of people.

Specific: On the other hand, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with certain leaders of a country who embrace a specific faith being elected by the people. Such as U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on the same ticket (2016 & 2020) as Donald Trump, with Pence a professed Christian. In that regard, we have a bottom to top paradigm in which those governed choose (by voting) their leaders based on political platforms that (in the case of American voters) have a Judaic/Christian heritage, based in turn on Biblical truths and values.

The evidence is convincing: Were it not for the evangelical block of voters, it’s highly unlikely that Donald Trump would have beaten Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Is that a mixture of religion and politics? Answer: Sure is. But not in the classical sense of church vs. state.

Which, by the way, infuriated Hilary Clinton. Do you recall what she said about some of those who voted for Donald Trump?

Was she referring to millions of evangelical Christians? No matter who she was referring to, what a deplorable thing to say.

Yet, it’s illustrative of the ongoing conflict between all things political and all things religious. Except that in the United States and European countries it is almost exclusively the Christian faith that is attacked and accused of “meddling” or even “peddling” in politics.

Israel

Rabbi Sacks observations that the rift in Israel between secular and religious Israelis could one day threaten the very survival of the state is only a slight exaggeration. There seems to be increased friction between these two groups, intensified even more because two of the parties in Israel’s coalition-style parliamentary government (Knesset) consists of observant Jews—mostly Orthodox or Ultra-Orthodox. They are the Shas party … 9 members. And United Torah Judaism … 7 members. Essentially, they support the right-wing Likud (of which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belongs) which is the largest party.

Let’s pause here for an excerpt from my first book, a novel entitled O Israel … the end is the beginning for those left behind. One of the main characters, an American Jew Avram Levitt, is reminiscing about the paradoxical diversity and unity of Israel. In italics:

Avram marveled at Israel and its people. For a country not much larger than the state of New Jersey, with a population smaller than many of the world’s cities, Israel’s cultural, religious, and political diversity equaled that of many larger countries. No better expression of variance could be found than in the two cities that characterized Israel: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They balanced on distant points of the cultural and religious pendulum, yet both cities were distinctively Jewish.

…he proudly hailed Tel Aviv as one of the most modern, industrialized, high-tech cities in the world. It was Tel Aviv that best expressed and defined Israel’s remarkable progress … beautiful galleries, grand theatres, contemporary concert halls, modern restaurants, seaside skyscrapers, and luxurious beach hotels.

Jerusalem was always the ancient city … you will find the long, storied past of Israel, with its patriarchs, judges, prophets, kings, and divinely appointed destiny of land and people. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Temple Mount Wailing Wall or the Knesset. Take in some synagogues, yeshivas, Christian holy sites, and all four quarters of the Old City…

If a citizen of Israel preferred the label of Israeli, there was a good chance that person lived in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem or surrounding towns, residents embraced the time-honored appellation of Jew. After all, the word Jew originated from Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel….

For Jacob’s descendants who practiced Judaism, whether conservative, orthodox, or ultra-orthodox, Jerusalem was the main attraction. The secular, the atheistic, and the liberals preferred Tel Aviv. For the Reformed? Either city would do.

But all Israelis passionately exhibited one unifying trait and defended one ultimate purpose: the survival of Israel as a people, as a sovereign democratic state, as a nation reborn from the floods of dispersion and from the fires of Nazi death camps.

Jews synthesized over another common denominator … an enemy who wants to reduce them to ashes, to drown them in the sea, to erase Israel from memory, from all maps of the civilized world (Pages 15-16).

The main (some say sole) reason that it’s taken three Israeli elections in about one year’s time to finally form a viable government is because Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytanu party, bailed out of the Likud-led coalition after initially giving the support of his party. Which resulted in a less than majority (61 Knesset seats) coalition. In turn, requiring two more elections since then.

And the main reason (some say exclusive reason) that Lieberman and his party members withdrew from the majority coalition was over his demand that all (not just a select few) religious Jewish students studying Torah and/or to become a rabbi must serve in the IDF (military) was not acted on in the form of a vote. That and his disdain for the very idea of religious (especially the Orthodox) Jews serving directly in the Knesset.

(Members of the United Torah Judaism party)

The Priest/King Dichotomy

Here is an excerpt from the article, Separation of Church and State, Part II. Beginning with the profound but practical (Church-like and State-like) instructions that the Lord gave to his people when (not if … the Lord knew it would happen) Israel switched from the administrative blend of priests and judges to being ruled by a king.

“When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear (respect, hold in awe) the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, parenthesis mine).

When God permitted Israel to change from a Kingdom of Priests to a Kingdom of Kings, he also made allowances for the faults, frailties, and failures of the people. Thus, the Lord’s instructions to the king did not, by compulsion, mandate that the people do the same thing. It would be much better for them individually and as a nation if they did seek and acknowledge God in both private affairs and affairs of state; but above all, God still gives the human race free will to choose. No better exemplified than America’s freedom to vote someone into office, but then accept the consequences (good, bad, or indifferent) of that choice.

With divine foreknowledge the Lord knew all too well that unrestrained, unconditional power corrupts and that the vast majority of national and international leaders throughout history would be or become malevolent monarchs instead of benevolent, he also told Israel that the same man could not be both king and priest.

In that respect, there was a (balanced) separation of kingly duties and priestly duties. What we would probably identify today as some semblance of Separation of Church and State.

For one thing, no one person had the time or energy to occupy both offices. Also, if a king was wicked—which the vast majority of Israel’s king were, as were nearly all Gentile kings—the priests and the people that faithfully followed the Lord could still live and prosper in the land because of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises (of blessing).

Listen again to the well-known words that vividly explain God’s grace and mercy if people as a nation turn to him:

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

Make no mistake … this beautiful land of opportunity that we call the United States of America was, in fact, given to us by the true and living God. The surest way to lose our freedoms, if not the land itself, is to as a nation (all three branches of government) abandon, reject, and mock our Creator and Savior. Ironically, this is being done by many who claim they are protecting those liberties by eliminating all things shown, said, or done that smack of religion, with practically everything they do directed against Christians (true believers). Their real agenda is to eliminate the name of Jesus and take away the rights of those who name the name of Christ, including freedom of worship, speech, press, and assembly, in say a meeting room on a high school or college campus.

I firmly believe if we and especially our presidents, senators, representatives, governors, mayors, and judges adhered to (the basic) truths and principles found in Scripture, at least acknowledging God’s ultimate authority and thanking him for all of his blessings, there would be no need to debate the issue of Church and State separation. Our leaders would fully comprehend what it means to serve both God and the people. This service would not need to in any way, shape, or form result in a man-made religion or hierarchical religious denomination or institution to impose a distorted view of government ON the people.

Things to Ponder

When God approved Israel’s demand for a king, it was crystal clear that the king could not be a priest.

However, long before God’s people—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—became a nation, there was a man who was both priest and king. And there would be again.

He was the man called Melchizedek. We first read about him and his interaction with Abraham in Genesis 14. “And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High…” (Verse 18).

(Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Melchizedek … A Man of Mystery! Published 3-3-18).

Right after Abraham’s encounter with this mysterious man, God reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham (Genesis Chapter 15, as first found in Genesis Chapter 12). This included Abraham’s descendants inheriting Israel as their special perpetual possession; plus, not only Israel but the Gentile nations to be blessed. First and foremost, God’s blessings would be accomplished through His Messiah who would bring the ultimate blessing of redemption to Israel, individually and collectively as a nation. Individually as their High Priest. Nationally as their King (of all kings).

Listen to this spectacular prophecy of the coming Messiah in one of the most Messianic books of the Old Testament. One of many that makes yet another distinction between the Old Covenant of the Law and the New Covenant (through Messiah) of Grace.

“…Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles” (Zechariah 6:13).

Salvation for the individual, Jew and Gentile alike, via the New Covenant of Grace by faith alone (not good works) was implemented through the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth—a historical fact some 2000 years ago. This was/is his role as High Priest with one major difference. He offered himself (in our place) as the once for all sacrifice for sin.

It was in no uncertain terms: The greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.

“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey (believe and receive) him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:8-10, parenthesis mine).

When Messiah Jesus returns to bring redemptive restoration and rescue to Israel (from her enemies) as a nation, Israelis and Jews the world over will finally recognize him as both High Priest (Lamb of God) and King.

“Together they (Antichrist and his coalition) will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him” (Revelation 17:14, parenthesis mine).

That massive defeat of the armies of the world which dare to take on God’s Son will usher in the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.

At which time, there will be no more discussion of church and state separation!

There will be no more angst over mixing politics and religion! In fact, there will be no more religion(s).

Why?

Because:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Hallelujah!

Israel & The United Arab Emirates / A Diplomatic Marvel

Global attention on and preoccupation with the nation of Israel is stunning. It never ceases to amaze me.

Virtually every head of state and many people of most nations have an opinion on: (1) the right for the only Jewish nation on the planet to even exist and/or; (2) what Israel does or does not do, should or should not do.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Global Obsession with Jerusalem … In Biblical Proportions! (Posted 1-6-18).

Obsession: “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often-unreasonable idea or feeling” (Webster’s Dictionary). The persistent unreasonable idea or feeling harbored by Israel’s enemies and even by her (few and far between) friends is whether Israel and especially Israel’s capital Jerusalem truly belongs to the Jews. Or are the Jews “occupying” Jerusalem and other parts of Israel?

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

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

…It is political, racial, religious, and social OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) on steroids and on a truly global scale. Since her rebirth as a sovereign state in 1948, no nation on earth has received more world-wide attention as has Israel. It is mind-boggling. We only need to look at the United Nations—to which virtually every nation on earth belongs— to confirm that this obsession is not an exaggeration.

In that article, I went on to discuss the United Nations Security Council’s December 18th, 2017 resolution approved by fourteen of the fifteen member nations that declared the United States’ official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital as internationally illegal. Fortunately, the United States vetoed the resolution … five permanent members of the Security Council each have veto power. The five nations which hold a permanent seat on the Security Council: United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, and China. The other ten nations are appointed for two-year terms.

Earlier in December of 2017, President Trump had said the United States would finally honor the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by a wide margin in the U.S. Congress (1995) and move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In fact, that was completed in May 2018—on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s rebirth as a sovereign nation in 1948.

(New US Embassy in Jerusalem)

Since then, there have been more incidents that fit the parameters of Biblical prophecy, to include a recent dramatic development on August 13, 2020—which is the main subject of this week’s article. We’ll get to that shortly and will do so with a purpose (premise) in mind: To demonstrate the specific connection between this historical milestone and fulfillment of end-times Biblical prophecy.

Another objective in examining this astonishing accomplishment of August 13th, 2020: To again challenge unbelievers the world over who frequently ridicule anyone having anything to do with Jesus Christ or the Word of God (the Bible). Who would as prophetically pronounced by the Apostle Peter, “…in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth, and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created’” (II Peter 3:3-4).

Sadly, some believers are also wondering whether the Rapture is, in fact, real. Even to the point of doubt: questioning the accuracy of end-times Biblical prophecy (though hundreds of previous prophecies have been fulfilled). Saying about the same thing as unbelievers: Is Christ’s return going to happen at all, let alone any time soon?

And in this challenge, to further confirm that we are in the Omega (final) generation identified by Christ Jesus when he 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. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:32-34).

Jesus was referring not only to the events that he cited in Matthew 24 and 25 but also other details of the Day of the Lord (Pre-Tribulation, Tribulation, and Post-Tribulation) as prophetically announced by the Old Testament prophets.

Then after Christ’s ascension to heaven, by the Apostles Peter and Paul. And by Jesus (and angels) again in the final, “…revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place … to his servant John…. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1-2).

Three times in Matthew Chapters 24 & 25, Christ said no one knows the day (or hour) of his (two-part) return—meaning the Rapture phase. On the other hand, he also warned the Jewish religious leaders and encouraged his disciples to recognize the signs of the last days, in preparation for his return.

In fact, Jesus (not Paul) was the first to speak of the Rapture when he dramatically described the same event powerfully portrayed by Paul some 20 years later (I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15).

Said Messiah Jesus: “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left: (Matthew 24:40-41).

All believers in Christ (the saved) will be taken at the Rapture. All unbelievers (unsaved) will be left behind.

Direct & Indirect Biblical Prophecies (Fulfillment Thereof)

The main reason so many, even including some believers, are beginning to doubt if the Day of the Lord (beginning with the Rapture) is near or whether it will take place at all: they don’t realize that nearly all end-times developments directly or indirectly predicted (inferred) in the Bible are applicable primarily to the nation of Israel. Especially those that are indirectly prophesied, i.e. prophetically implied that contribute to the fulfillment of a direct end-times prophecy.

In fact, the only unfulfilled prophecy pertaining directly to believers in Messiah Jesus (Jew and Gentile alike) until the Tribulation begins, is the Rapture itself.

Direct Prophecy: One that is specifically stated in Scripture. Some of these are identified only once or twice. Others are mentioned dozens of times. Such as the coming of Messiah (first as the humble suffering servant to establish the New Covenant of Grace for Jews and Gentiles alike, then his majestic return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth). From the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world to the Lion from the Tribe of Judah.

And like dozens of prophecies that Israel would be reestablished as a sovereign nation with exiled Jews returning to their homeland in great numbers … ongoing right up to the time of the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus. Plus, Israel’s national recognition of her Messiah (Zechariah 12) followed by her spiritual restoration.

Indirect Prophecy: One that is not actually stated in Scripture but is otherwise strongly inferred. Moreover (obviously), we can make that indirect correlation only after the event occurs. When it happens, we must carefully determine if it relates directly to a declared (yet unfulfilled) Biblical prophecy. If it does—the evidence is crystal clear if not overwhelming—then we know for certain that the event is another sign of the end-times.

For example: the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not found in Scripture. Nonetheless, it is (indirectly) another sign of the last days of the end times, i.e. the president of the most powerful nation on earth acknowledging the supreme significance of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital.

Why?

Because it is part and parcel (actual and symbolic) of direct prophecies that stipulate Jerusalem as the premier center (city) of Israel from where the Messiah will rule and reign in the Kingdom of God on earth. Such as: “In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters” (Zechariah 14:16).

It’s evident that there are more events that fit the designation of indirectly fulfilled prophecies than fulfillment of direct prophecies. They are preparatory occurrences in the day-to-day life of people in Israel and the nations that propel us that much closer to God’s ultimate plan for humanity.

Since the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the United States has also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Not long afterwards President’s Trump staff presented the Deal of the Century’s economic phase (last year) to Israel and several Arab nations. Then the geopolitical phase of that peace plan announced earlier this year; to include implied recognition of Israeli autonomy over approximately 30% of Area C of Judea/Samaria.

*For an in-depth examination of the Deal of the Century and Israeli sovereignty over Judea/Samaria, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: Israel’s Annexation of Occupied Territory? We Must Define the Terms, posted 6-27-20; Israel Is Again the Head, Not The Tail (Deal of the Century) published 1-18-20; Jewish Settlements in Judea/Samaria … Are They Illegal? 11-23-19.

As these prophetic (of or pertaining to Biblical prophecy) events increase in both number and intensity, we can be that much more confident that the hour is at hand for the magnificent return of God’s Son … our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The sheer number of these prophetic signs coupled with the staggering increase in both number and intensity of natural disasters the world over (including the Covid-19 pandemic), delivers contemporary meaning and significance to the analogy of a woman’s birth contractions as presented by Messiah Jesus himself:

“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).

(An increasingly common occurrence in today’s world)

In the last hundred years (one Biblical measure of a generation, with 70 years another measure), two World Wars and a plethora of lesser wars and ethnic conflicts during the 20th and 21st centuries, coupled with an increase in natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires) demonstrate that we are in the final stages of prophetic contractions. It is tribulation with a lower case “t” yielding to the upper case (“T”) Tribulation. It will be seven years of Great Tribulation. Which will be preceded (triggered) by the remarkable catching up of believers to heaven … The Rapture.

Culminating with the glorious return of Jesus Christ to establish global justice and peace … the Kingdom of God.

Think about what’s happened thus far in the year of our Lord (AD) 2020. A catastrophic convergence of one “natural” calamity after another. Including, but not limited to:

  • Huge wildfires in California burning a million acres (and counting). And several in my state of Arizona
  • Unpreceded combination of high heat and practically no rain, particularly in the Southwest. With the metro area of Phoenix, AZ setting several daily records, including most days with 115 degrees temperature or higher
  • A massive flat wind clocked well over 100 mph (called a derecho) demolishing a 40-mile wide swath of the state of Iowa, destroying millions of acres of crops and grain storages
  • Hurricanes Laura and Marco in the Gulf of Mexico. Laura hit the Louisiana coast with level 4 hurricane force causing immense damage and several deaths. With more hurricanes than normal expected in the next few weeks
  • Global recession caused mostly, but not entirely, by the Coronavirus Pandemic
  • Famines in the making, especially in Africa, that some experts say may be of “biblical proportions”
  • Social unrest and protests (even for good reasons) misused … deteriorating into criminal conduct, bordering on anarchy
  • COVID-19 itself. Still wreaking world-wide havoc.

If not now and whether “coincidental” or not, by the end of 2020 these disasters could very well be considered a Perfect Storm.

(Scene from The Perfect Storm movie)

Yet, equal to or even greater in scope than natural disasters are the supernatural (God-directed) extra ordinary ongoing events in and around Israel for the last 100 years, particularly the past 70 years. Such as:

Israel’s Stunning Peace Agreement with UAE / Another Prophetic Milestone

On August 13, 2020 media headlines from all over the planet announced the startling news.

Followed by dozens of Op-ed articles from major newspapers and online journalistic sites.

The following is from an article written by Alex Traiman, posted that same day in the online site, Jewish News Syndicate: “Israel is set to sign a historic agreement with the United Arab Emirates that would see the two Middle Eastern nations officially strike diplomatic relations and exchange embassies.” (Note: this official signing is planned to take place in the White House in the next few weeks … exact date not yet set).

He goes on to say: “Both U.S. President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed their hope in separate press conferences that the deal struck between Israel and the Emirates will soon be followed by similar deals with other Gulf states.”

Although no one knows for sure, it is possible (some say probable) that two more Arab countries will follow suit … Bahrain and Oman.

Another excerpt from Traiman’s article: “With the United Arab Emirates—a nation far from Israel’s borders—normalization brings the potential for new economic opportunities, which will include direct fights between the two nations.”

And it’s likely that Saudi Arabia will extend permission for Israeli civilian airlines to fly over Saudi airspace to get to the UAE more directly and quickly.

From an Associated Press article: “Israel and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) announced Thursday they were establishing full diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that required Israel to put on ‘temporary hold’ Israel’s plan to extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu said the delay was instituted at the request of the United States (meaning the sovereignty declaration delay). The UAE, like most of the Arab world, long rejected official diplomatic ties with Israel. Its accord could usher in agreements with other Arab states, undermining the Arab rejectionism that was a source of leverage for the Palestinians” (parenthesis mine).

Since then, there is some ambiguity bordering on disagreement as to how much, if any, Israel’s decision to delay its official declaration of sovereignty over portions of Judea/Samaria (aka West Bank) contributed to this astonishing agreement between the only Jewish nation on earth and one of many Arab countries. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel had already decided to set aside the sovereignty issue (temporarily, not permanently). That it was part of the agreement reached with UAE, but it did not exclusively make or break the agreement.

On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu was adamant that his long-standing strategy and political premise was proven to be accurate by this momentous agreement, i.e. it was not necessary for a Palestinian State to be in place before diplomatic interaction with an Arab nation(s) was possible.

Quoting Netanyahu: “According to the Palestinians, and to many others in the world who agreed with them, peace can’t be reached without conceding to the Palestinians demands, including uprooting settlements, dividing Jerusalem and withdrawal to 1967 lines. No more. This concept of ‘peace through withdrawal and weakness’ has passed from the world.”

The Associated Press article correctly commented: “What has been a wall of Arab support for the Palestinians and their demands has begun to crack in recent years, in large part because of the shared enmity of Israel and other Arab states toward Iran and Iranian proxies in the region.”

Indeed, it’s no secret that one of the reasons the UAE consented to such a revolutionary agreement with Israel is because the Arab Emirates—like all the Gulf States especially Saudi Arabia—consider Iran as an existential threat. As do two Arab nations that border Israel … Egypt and Jordan.

Iran is an Islamic (Muslim) regime, but one that adheres to the Shi’ite sect of Islam. Nearly all Arab nations are predominately Sunni Muslims (for the most part … more secular, less radical). Plus, Iranians are Persians, not Arabs.

The United Arab Emirates is one of six Arab (Persian Gulf) nations that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Other members of this council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Except for a brief diplomatic liaison with Qatar some ten years ago (that was abruptly canceled by that increasingly belligerent county), Israel has had no formal diplomatic relations with any of these nations or any other Arab country since Israel’s “peace treaties” with Jordan in 1994 and Egypt in 1979.

To fully appreciate the magnitude of this diplomatic cooperation, we only need to remember the ancient animosity between Arab and Jew going all the way back to Abraham’s sons, Ishmael, and Isaac. This conflict has continued virtually uninterrupted for nearly 4,000 years. Which poignantly gives the name of the agreement more meaning: The Abraham Accord. And which makes this deal so amazing. Plus, the 100% fulfillment of Biblical prophecy is that much more amazing.

Returning to the article authored by Alex Traiman, he concludes with an observation that I have written about in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, sometimes in great detail: “Arab states are finally beginning to recognize what the Jewish people have known since Israel defeated multiple Arab armies in 1948, 1967 and 1973: Israel is in the Middle East to stay. And the benefits of aligning with the Jewish state outweigh any of the arguments that favor standing against the regions’ strongest nation.”

(Sunni) Arabs are gradually setting aside not only their religious prejudice and political objections to Israel’s existence as a sovereign state, but also their long-standing racial hatred of the Jews. At least enough to consider economic / political cooperation and maybe even social interaction with the Jews.

Conversely, two other Islamic nations which decades ago had (at least somewhat) friendly relations with Israel are now resentful enemies. What makes this reversal even more intriguing is that neither of these nations are Arabic. Rather, they are Turks (Turkey) and Persians (Iran). Both are identified as prominent nations of the Gog/Magog coalition. Spearheaded by Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin is essentially ambivalent toward Israel. Sometimes expressing his admiration for this Jewish nation; other times criticizing Israel and expressing his total support for the Palestinians.

Some have said that the diplomatic deal between Israel and the UAE is equal in substance to what were also considered historic Israeli treaties with Egypt, then Jordan. Others (including me) surmise that it exceeds those treaties in strategic significance.

Other than what will (most likely) be a temporary halt of Israeli official declaration of sovereignty over some 30% (Area C) of Judea/Samaria, this new peace deal does not involve direct Israeli concessions of land for peace. And from a Biblical prophetic perspective, this diplomatic marvel between Israel and UAE is of monumental meaning as it has further prepared and accelerated the Middle East conditions in existence just before the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel.

Which, in turn, means the Rapture is that much closer in all its glorious reality!

Moreover, the treaties with Egypt and Jordan were motivated more by security concerns and were mostly arranged to prevent further military conflict between Israel and those nations bordering Israel. Yet, Israel had to give up the entire Sinai to Egypt and all of Temple Mount (jurisdictionally) to Jordan; with serious restrictions to the Israelis on the most holy Jewish site of all. To the extent that Jews are not even allowed to pray on Temple Mount.

Said Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer in a JNS article posted August 21, 2020 regarding the difference in the recent peace deal and the prior treaties with Egypt and Jordan: “We’re not uprooting settlements. We’re not engaging in reckless territorial compromises. We’re suspending temporarily Israel’s extension of sovereignty into areas of Judea and Samaria. And we have the possibility now to have a peace agreement with the Emirates.”

Explaining that the pact with the Emirates was not from the “top down” but was from the “bottom up,” Dermer went on to say: “We have a formal peace agreement with those countries (meaning Egypt and Jordan). A cold peace is better than a hot war, but we would like to turn that into a warm peace of people-to-people, business-to-business contacts with both Egypt and Jordan” (parenthesis mine).

Whereas with the new peace deal, Dermer contends: “And when you marry the entrepreneurialism of this commercial center and the power of investments there in the Emirates with Israeli technology and innovation, I think the sky’s the limit.”

(The City of Dubai in the UAE)

Samples of World Reaction To The Diplomatic Agreement

Overall, it was a mixed-bag reaction from various world leaders. Although some European nations expressed general support for the agreement, they also seized the opportunity to insist on the worn-out, increasingly impractical, virtually unattainable solution to the Palestinian problem … A Palestinian State. For one thing, United Nations and subsequent Israeli offers of significant land mass in both Judea/Samaria and the Gaza have been rejected four times since 1947 by the Palestinians. And seven times since the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

For example: While welcoming the pact between Israel and the UAE, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also exclaimed, “We stand by our position that only a negotiated two-state solution can bring lasting peace to the Middle East…”

In response to the generalized (more favorable than not) Middle East Arabic support of Israel’s diplomatic relations with UAE, Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I thank Egyptian President al-Sisi, and the governments of Oman and Bahrain, for their support of the historic peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which is expanding the circle of peace and will be good for the entire region.”

In sharp contrast, Iran issued a statement describing the deal as a, “dagger that was unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims.”

*Note: that is the height of hypocrisy, as Iran’s government cares nothing about the Palestinians. Plus, as indicated, they are a rival of other Muslims all over the Middle East—including nearly every Arab nation. Turkey, too, was hostile in their scathing criticism of the UAE’s decision.

The Palestinians reacted as they normally do … a totally negative response to anything that they consider positive for Israel. Said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a Palestinian Authority spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: “Peace should be established on basis of the Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. This is the Arab and international consensus and anything else has no value.”

In fact, the Palestinians not only condemned Israel but also blasted the United Arab Emirates for “stabbing the Palestinians in the back” (words of Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip). Palestinians burned UAE flags and images of the co-architect (along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) of this historic agreement—UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed.

The Palestinian spokesman meant “no value” to the Palestinians. Which is not only ironic, but flat-out false.

Ever since the U.S. Deal of the Century was presented earlier this year followed by Israel’s intention (now delayed) to declare jurisdictional sovereignty over Jewish settlements in Area C, the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and their bitter rival (for power) Hamas of the Gaza Strip have strenuously opposed any such “annexation.” You would think that the postponement, if not abandonment (time will tell) of this Israeli sovereignty issue in Judea/Samaria would have pleased the Palestinians to no end. Instead they lambasted the UAE for the simple reason that anyone (nation or individual) who seeks to normalize relations with Israel is committing “treason” (the word used by PA President Abbas).

Treason against whom? Against a Palestinian State that does not exist, nor ever has? Treason against the citizens of United Arab Emirates nation? How can that be when most Emirates support this deal? Treason against Islam? Which Islam … Shi’ite or Sunni?

Oh, it’s treason all right. But only treason as defined by the Palestinians. Which essentially is treason against Palestinian hatred of the Jews and their never-ending insidious goal of wiping Israel from the face of the map and killing as many Jews as it takes to do that.

Time/space does not allow more quotes and observations about the many facets and repercussions of this remarkable development between Israel and a heretofore Arab adversary nation.

See Eye of Prophecy article, For or Against Israel? (Posted 7-16-16).

Summary … Correlation of This Historic Agreement w/Prophecy

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have extensively (collectively) covered the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel as foretold some 2,600 years ago. With different articles emphasizing varied features of this extraordinary prophecy, which, as indicated in most of those articles, will most likely occur within the first part (6-18 months) of the Great Tribulation, with reasons given.

The most recent of which is, The Prophetic Endgame of Gog/Magog (11-9-19). Also, Gog/Magog’s Clock is Ticking, Ticking… (6-16-18).

The emphasis in this week’s article is to confirm the correlation between the national condition of Israel when (and why) she is attacked by Gog’s colossal coalition. With three of those nations (Russia, Iran, Turkey) obsessed with Israel and garnering global media headlines.

With each of these nations envious of Israel’s speedy (for a nation much younger than those nations) and spectacular success in a variety of ways: agricultural, technological, entrepreneurial, energy exploration and extraction, e.g. Leviathan natural gas fields off the coast of Israel.

Israel’s diplomatic agreement with United Arab Emirates is another piece in place of the prophetic puzzle that fits with Ezekiel’s Gog/Magog scenario.

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

This malicious mindset of Gog and his allies is precisely what we see with Russia (in a more clever and concealed manner); blatantly with Iran whose Aytollah and other leaders constantly threaten to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth; and an increasingly brazen bluster from Turkey and its leader, Recep Erdogan. That and the phenomenal turn of events in just the past few years in which these former adversaries are now allies. If right now they could, they would do exactly what they will do when Ezekiel’s prophecy is fully realized.

They are also leery of Israel’s military might, including the fact that Israel has not yet lost a war, with each of those victories against (Arab) enemy forces much greater than Israel’s, in terms of soldiers and armaments. Which is why none of these nations including Russia or even other nations not specifically mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy would dare attack Israel alone.

Nor will they currently invade Israel as a coalition because the United States would come to Israel’s aid.

That and the fact that the Arab nations are somewhat warming up to Israel, as both literally and symbolically manifested in the Abraham Accord between Israel and the UAE. As mentioned, most Arab countries (including the Gulf states) are already antagonistic toward Iran and Iran’s desire to dominate the Mideast. Also, Turkey, because of Turkey’s threat to sever diplomatic relations with the UEA and Erdogan’s ambitions to restore the Ottoman Caliphate to the region.

Instead, they will wait for the right time when certain conditions exist in Israel. We just read about some of those conditions. God continues to instruct Ezekiel what to prophesy:

“Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast calvary and your mighty army, and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud…” (Ezekiel 38:14-16a).

Living in peace in their land is the result (condition) of a far greater peace treaty than the one just struck between Israel and the UAE. However, this recent pact is clearly a precursor or prototype of perhaps a few more Arab countries that might reach out to Israel for diplomatic relations. The peace treaty in effect when Gog/Magog launches its assault against Israel is none other than the seven-year treaty that Antichrist (Nero, upon his return from the Abyss) will orchestrate between Israel and most Muslim countries in the Middle East. Israel will let down her guard and/or be overconfident that Antichrist and his coalition will come to their rescue, based on that treaty.

Instead, it will be God himself who intervenes and supernaturally crushes the Gog/Magog nations. You may want to read the entire account in Ezekiel 38 & 39. Warning: It’s pretty graphic!

Earlier, Ezekiel reports that other nations will challenge Gog/Magog’s plans to invade Israel but will not do anything (militarily) to stop them. One reason the United States will not rescue Israel is because America will be decimated by loss of millions at the Rapture. Another reason that the U.S. and other nations will not come to Israel’s aid is because their leader (Antichrist) will simply sit by and watch Gog/Magog (attempt to) do to Israel what he wants to do. And what he will try to accomplish after breaking the treaty halfway through it (Daniel 9:26-27).

Things to Ponder

As each one of these events occurs, they add one more piece of the prophetic puzzle, with the puzzle almost complete. There are still four months left in this year 2020. Yet we have already witnessed or experienced electrifying events that are coming together in a Perfect Storm of apocalyptic preparation for seven catastrophic years of Biblical proportion.

Listen to what the Lord tells his prophet Isaiah some 2,700 years before the prophetically fulfilled miraculous rebirth of the Sovereign State Israel on May 14, 1948:

“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever heard of 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? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. 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 66:7-9).

The birth pains began AFTER Israel’s rebirth. These contractions are affecting not only Israel but the whole planet. They are the birth pains cited by Messiah Jesus in Matthew 24 as signs of his imminent return. Although the Abraham Accord was not specifically foretold in Scripture, it (like several other events) is certainly prophetic. It is an integral part of Israel’s (and the world’s) preparation for specific prophecies soon to unfold, like the Gog/Magog invasion; and a short time before that, the spectacular seven-year treaty between Israel and many Arab/Muslim nations.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Two State Solution & The Seven-Year Treaty … Impossible? Posted 1-26-19.

Whether Gog/Magog’s audacious assault on Israel in the early part of the Great Tribulation or Antichrist Nero and his ten-nation coalition vast invasion near the end of this seven-year period, the power and authority of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the only true God) and his Son, Messiah Jesus will be fully recognized by the entire world.

The Lord continues with his promises and his warnings in this last chapter of Isaiah:

“I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child… Everyone will see the Lord’s hand of blessing on his servants—and his anger against his enemies. See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. The Lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him” (Isaiah 66:13-16).

Is God’s patience nearing its limit? How many more contractions before the Lord decides to remove his people from this earth to spare us from the greatest series of calamities ever experienced by humanity.

At which time:

And then, Armageddon:

“He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this tile: King of all kings and Lord of all lords” (Revelation 19:13-16).

Seven Essentials of the Rapture (Part II)

Let’s begin with an unusual beginning: an excerpt from an unusual Eye of Prophecy article.

Entitled: A Dramatic Enactment of the Rapture (posted 4-20-19), which was a seven-act play … preceded and followed by commentary.

In Acts One, Two, and Three, characters were introduced from Israel, the United States, and Australia … respectively. With the initial stage of the Rapture beginning in those three acts, then ending for each set of characters in Acts Four through Six.

The following scene is Act Four which fits nicely with Rapture Essentials Number Four and Five, coming up shortly.

*Note: Netanya is a real town in Israel. In this (fictitious) Jewish family Eitan is the husband; Esther is the wife; Netanya (named after the town) and Naphtali their daughter and son.

Netanya, Israel (7:10 PM)

Eitan Shaked nestled close to his wife. He held the hand of their son, Naphtali. Esther grasped Netanya’s arm. As they stood at Benjamin’s gravesite, Eitan counted five other believers from his congregation who evidently had the same idea as him. They, too, were standing near graves of family or friends. They waved to each other with shouts of, “Yes!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mom, Dad, look!” Netanya yelled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Look at you!” Benjamin pointed to Eitan.

“Look at you!” Eitan trumpeted in return.

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

“Hallelujah,” Eitan roared.

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

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

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

“COME UP HERE!”

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

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

A Brief Review

Before examining the next four essentials of the Rapture, here are the first three covered in last week’s article:

Essential Number One: The Rapture Is Real

Essential Number Two: The Rapture Precedes The Great Tribulation

Essential Number Three: The Rapture & Physical Return of Christ Are Different Events

To include the following excerpt from that previous post:

*Note: A reminder before we continue with the remaining Rapture essentials. These Part I & Part II articles are but a summary of the Rapture features that are examined in much more detail through several prior Eye of Prophecy articles….

Also, a reminder that—with a modified exception (as close as it gets to doctrinally requiring a Pre-Tribulation Rapture) of the next essential, Number Two—the component features of the Rapture itself is something that should not separate true believers to the point of division. That for the following well-known paradigm (and only this paradigm or purpose) the Rapture would best fit into the non-essentials category:

That every prophecy is vital to the Christian faith, even if there is a difference of opinion over some prophecies.

Although the next feature of the Rapture is no more or less important than the other six, it is, perhaps, the most intriguing. One that many believers, including Bible prophecy teachers, have not considered carefully enough. Why? Because they assume that the “the blink of an eye” phenomenon in I Corinthians 15 applies or equates to the entire Rapture episode which is found in I Thessalonians 4.

Essential Number Four: Only the Transformation (Itself) of Believers Will Take Place in the Blink of an Eye

Conversely, the series of Rapture events revealed in I Thessalonians Chapter 4, will assuredly take several minutes. In fact, as glorious as it will be for believers, would be even better if it lasted an hour or so!

For an in-depth examination and clarification of this extraordinary component of the Rapture, please refer to Eye of Prophecy post: The Shout Heard Around the World (4-22-17). Early in that article I established a premise—the first part of which applies more to Rapture Essential Number Five, with the last sentence relating to Essential Number Four:

Premise: Contrary to the prevailing notion even among well-known students of prophecy, this shout and series of trumpet calls will be heard by the entire world, not just believers taken to heaven in the Rapture. And, all the sights and sounds of the entire sequence of the Rapture will last for several minutes. Only the transfiguration of the bodies of both the dead in Christ and believers alive at the Rapture will take place in “the blink of an eye.”

From there, I went on to emphasize the importance of correctly separating but also correlating (both are necessary) the two main Rapture passages. As follows:

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

Next is Paul’s second disclosure of the Rapture, which provides additional information to I Thessalonians 4:

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed… our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (I Corinthians 15:51-53).

That article included excerpts from one of the first five Eye of Prophecy articles: How the Rapture?

For the past several decades, every commentary, sermon, book, or article that deals with this passage–at least everything I’ve heard and read–consolidates, by default, the dynamics of this passage on the Rapture with the other main passage found in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. With a resulting conclusion that the entire scope or sequential events of the Rapture will transpire at warp speed … blink of an eye. For sure, the two passages are intricately related; but there is also a specific variance found in I Corinthians 15 that is profoundly distinct from the companion passage in I Thessalonians Chapter 4.

In I Corinthians 15, what is it precisely that takes place in the nanosecond blink of an eye? A little hint: To one thing only, which (blink of an eye) does not apply to the rest of the Rapture events described in I Thessalonians 4, in terms of those events also taking place in a split-second.

Here is where we students of the Bible (including myself) overlooked or took for granted one little (impersonal) pronoun. Because we skimmed over this two-letter word, we missed or dismissed the important textual relationship of this pronoun to the antecedent that immediately precedes it….

First defining “antecedent.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines antecedent as: “One that goes before … a substantive word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun …a word or group of words replaced and referred to by a substitute…”

The substitute is almost always a pronoun found immediately after the “substantive word or phrase”, which is the case in I Corinthians 15: 51-52. So let’s break it down.

First, the phrase in this passage: “…but we will all be transformed!”

Second, the pronoun, “It “, which begins the very next verse, “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye….”

Can you make the connection? What specifically is “it” referencing or taking the place of in the text? You got it: It is referring to and the same thing as what Paul just said would occur which is, “…but we will all be transformed.”

The Apostle Paul further explains “it” (meaning the actual transformation itself, which is the astonishing change of our earthly body to that of our brand new heavenly body) by explaining how it (the transfiguration) will take place. “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye.”

When will it happen?

Answer: “…when the last trumpet is blown.”

In the New King James Version of the Bible we read:

Continuing with the excerpt:

Notice, that the pronoun (it) is not found in this translation. Why? Because the connection between the action of “changed” (transformed) and the how of the change (twinkling of an eye) is inseparable, irrefutable, and exclusive. Both passages contain essentially the same composition; with the New Living Translation and other translations (such as the Jewish Bible) accurately and emphatically reinforcing the translation from Greek to English, by use of a pronoun that substitutes for the mystery of the transformation itself.

I hope you see this as much more than just a boring exercise in grammar and syntax. It is exceptionally significant that we understand what is going on in this passage. Saying it another way: The only thing that will happen in a moment or blink of an eye … is the actual physical transfiguration of our earthly bodies. The “it” does not apply to anything else in this passage; nor can “the transformation” specifically apply to the events so majestically portrayed in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. In fact, I Thessalonians 4 doesn’t say anything about the blink of an eye transformation at all. But we have inadvertently extended or expanded the instantaneous change found in I Corinthians 15 to include the entire sequence of events described in I Thessalonians 4.

It is (obviously) speculation regarding the precise time involved … no one can know for sure. But based on the supreme significance of the number seven or its multiples (especially applicable for the end times—including the sevens in Revelation), the progression of the Rapture will most likely take…?

Well, here is a final excerpt from, The Shout Heard Around the World.

Whether the entire Rapture sequence takes seven minutes or fourteen or somewhere in between….

This will allow time for such things as: pulling cars over to the side of the road; awaking in the middle of the night from a deep sleep; turning off the T.V or loud music; stop the yelling at someone; hugging your un-believing spouse or friend good-bye; the short, but most intense praise and worship ever experienced by Christians on this earth; and, hopefully, a few minutes for some foxhole conversions all over the world.

Do you see what difference it would make and how it could enhance and expand our view of and increase even more our enthusiasm for the Rapture, if the order of events in the Rapture took place over several minutes? It would be far more than just a “poof” one second here, next second gone type of experience. Next to the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ, it will be the greatest celebration of joy ever experienced by believers in Christ. And in real-time and space no less; no special effects, no suspension of time, no virtual reality … just the real thing. None of which (except for the transfiguration of our bodies) can or will take place in the twinkling of an eye.

Now that’s something to shout about!

This fourth essential seamlessly leads to the next one that is also misjudged by many Bible teachers and students.

Essential Number Five: The Rapture Will Be Seen and Heard by Those Left Behind

For several decades and for whatever reason, the prevalent portrayal of the Rapture is that believers will simply disappear without those left behind hearing or seeing anything.

Why? Perhaps because of the Bible’s description of Enoch’s departure from the earth while still alive. “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah… So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years” (Genesis 5:21-23).

Then in that genealogy chapter of Genesis, Scripture simply but mysteriously, says:

That is a quote from the New American Standard Bible, with other older translations of Scripture virtually identical.

However, The New Living Translation—from which I use and quote most often—translates verse 24 as, “Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”

Although I understand why the NLT translators wanted to emphasize the descriptive abruptness of Enoch’s departure from the earth, the word “disappeared” is probably stretching the text a bit too far.

When God took Enoch to heaven without dying, the implication from the text is that this departure was somewhat abrupt. Meaning one day he was there and the next day, hour, or minute he was not. But not necessarily that abrupt; not necessarily without warning or preparation.

There is certainly nothing in this passage to indisputably indicate that Enoch just disappeared without any warning whatsoever—although it could have happened that way. Nor any statement or suggestion that no one saw Enoch being taken to heaven. It very well could have occurred somewhat like Elijah’s transition to heaven. I am not speaking of the supernatural way in which Elijah was taken (chariot of fire). Rather, I’m referring to the fact that Elijah’s protégé Elisha (and other prophets) were told ahead of time and even saw him being taken away.

Although Enoch was a personal preview of the Rapture, this prototype of raptured believers is in principle only. He (his departure) was not a precise pattern. Other than the parallel principle of Enoch taken to heaven without experiencing death, there is no indication in the Genesis text (stated or implied) that he experienced anything like what I Thessalonians 4 describes for believers at the Rapture, from beginning to end. For that matter, neither I Thessalonians 4 nor I Corinthians 15 state or even imply that believers will disappear (in a nanosecond) at the Rapture.

Moreover, there is nothing in those passages to insinuate that the left behind will neither see nor hear the sights and sounds of the Rapture.

Here is another excerpt from How the Rapture? Posted August 2013. (In italics):

Normally, the blowing of the shofar was not a simple quick, one-time burst of sound. Rather, it entailed a series of blasts lasting several minutes, with each part of the series different from the others, and sometimes each component part repeated.

Nowhere in Scripture do we find that only God’s people heard trumpet calls or the blasts from a shofar. All within earshot, including their enemies, heard the shofar sound. In the Bible, we also see events in which God’s prophets and sometimes the people saw and heard angels or the pre-incarnate Christ, but so did unbelievers. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel. Those three were thrown into the hotter-than-hot furnace, but how many men did Nebuchadnezzar see when he peered into the furnace? That’s right: Four. And the fourth was none other than the pre-incarnate Messiah.

Was it only Saul who heard the voice of Jesus on the road to Damascus? No, his accomplices also heard the voice that spoke to Saul. They didn’t actually see Jesus, but then neither did Saul; he only saw the blinding light that caused him three days of blindness. My point and premise: I’m wondering how we ever arrived at the notion that those left behind at the Rapture won’t hear the trumpet calls, and not see perhaps a flash of light or afterglow or radiance or some tangible evidence at the precise spot where a believer miraculously changed in front of them when the final trumpet call was sounded. Why would God close the ears or the eyes of the unsaved? Seeing and hearing is often believing.

With the Biblical precedents and parallels to support the premise that the entire world will hear the trumpets and, conversely, the lack of reference in Scripture to say otherwise, why wouldn’t God want the world to see and hear the Rapture? I’m convinced that many will immediately fall down on their knees and call upon the name of the Lord to save them. This applies not only to the trumpets, but also to the Lord’s shout and the voice of the archangel. Why wouldn’t they be heard the world over?

…We’ve mistakenly (meaning without any direct support or evidence from Scripture), assumed that the microsecond change of our bodies’ means that those bodies instantly vanish. Since the blink of an eye phenomenon relates only to the actual transfiguration itself, why do we also equate that with a split-second disappearance?

I Thessalonians 4 tells us that we will be “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

Why would caught up necessarily equate to an instant vanishing? Remember how Jesus ascended to heaven as described in Acts 1: 9-11? All who were with him saw him rising into heaven, until they could no longer see him. One of the two angels who showed up even said, “Why are you standing here staring into heaven?” There was no vanishing going on… Why wouldn’t our meeting Jesus in the clouds be just like His ascension to heaven?

In summary: The lightning quick transfiguration of believers will preclude those left behind from seeing or processing that phenomenal part of the Rapture. However, many of those left behind will witness most if not all the other Rapture dynamics, including the astonishing ascension of transformed believers on their way to meet Jesus in the air.

Essential Number Six: Only Some Children Will Be Taken

This essential of the Rapture might be the most controversial.

Reason: Nearly all teachers and students of the Bible hold to the notion (as did I at one time) that ALL children under the age of innocence or accountability—too young to make an informed decision whether to accept Jesus as personal Savior—will be taken during the Rapture.

However, for reasons provided in a couple of Eye of Prophecy articles and also in my first book (novel), O Israel … the end is the beginning for those left behind, I am convinced that none of the children of those left behind (unbelievers) will be taken.

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Will All Children Be Taken in the Rapture? (posted 2-23-19).

In the Epilogue of O Israel, one of the main characters (Avram Levitt) posts his final email to those left behind at the Rapture, which had taken place about a year earlier. Beginning with:

Why were only some of the children taken on that fateful day? Why were more children left behind than taken? … Are there answers to these difficult and heart-wrenching questions? Yes, I believe there are, but they will not be fully understood until Messiah returns to earth to set up his kingdom.

Then referring to Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah followed by the passage in I Corinthians Chapter 7, Avram explains why the children (age of innocence) of those taken (raptured) were also taken. But the children of those left behind were also left behind. That God did not spare the children in the first world-wide judgment (Noah’s flood) nor in the regional judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah and surrounding cities.

Avram continues:

Both Noah and Lot were allowed to take their children with them, although the children were grown. So, too, the Lord took the children of believers to spare them from the devastation to come. I realize this is a harsh explanation. Yet God left your children with you as both a comfort and a conviction. He wants you to understand there is still time. But this time is shorter than ever before in history.

Listen to the prophet Micah: “…Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? 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 6:7-8).

The Bible also says there is no one who is righteous, for all have sinned…. Scripture says that all have fallen short of his beautiful and perfect standard of holiness, of the essence of his glory. How then is it possible to do what is right?

“Yet God with underserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:24).

Essential Number Seven: Believers Will Be Like Messiah Jesus

Not only will the raptured transformation (the extreme makeover of raised-from-the-dead believer’s remains and of living believer’s bodies) be a profound privilege to possess the same kind of indestructible body as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The spiritual bodies of believers will also be a physical necessity to live in the Kingdom of God on earth during our millennial reign with Messiah Jesus and forever in heaven (New Jerusalem).

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part I & II (9-26, 10-3-15).

Listen to the Holy Spirit inspired words of the Apostle John as he reminds Christians:

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

An excerpt from another Eye of Prophecy post concerning the Rapture: Superhuman Bodies for Believers / How & Why (posted 12-14-19):

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

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

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

To them, being born-again was (only) a spiritual phenomenon. That believers would spend eternity in spirit-form only…. Paul wanted them to understand that their spirit was born again (made alive), but their bodies also would undergo a rebirth as it were … in the same manner that Messiah Jesus was transfigured….

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

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

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

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

There was even more to God’s magnificent plan of salvation than spiritual rebirth.

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

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

Things to Ponder

Jesus means so much in so many ways to so many people. Beginning with: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Jesus declared (promised): “…I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25).

There is no greater thing (truth) than to know beyond any doubt whatsoever that Messiah Jesus arose from the dead. It is an historical fact.

His resurrection is the very essence of our redemption; proving that:

And proving that he is: “…our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

“God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown (more proof) to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:2-4, parenthesis mine).

The Rapture will be resurrection from the dead for millions of saints. It is also the transfiguration of believers from our old earthly bodies to our new spiritual bodies (yet bodies, nonetheless).

“…we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved…” (Romans 8:23-24).

Mortal to immortal!

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, the Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:54-57).

If you want to refer to the essentials of the Rapture more often and/or discuss them with others, then you may want to print the following list as a handy reference guide:

Essential Number One: The Rapture Is Real

Essential Number Two: The Rapture Precedes The Great Tribulation

Essential Number Three: The Rapture & Physical Return of Christ Are Different Events

Essential Number Four: Only the Transformation (Itself) of Believers Will Take Place in the Blink of an Eye

Essential Number Five: The Rapture Will Be Seen and Heard by Those Left Behind

Essential Number Six: Only Some Children Will Be Taken

Essential Number Seven: Believers Will Be Like Messiah Jesus

Seven Essentials of The Rapture (Part I)

For the first five years of Eye of Prophecy blogsite, an article was published every Saturday.

Due in part to the increased mileage (some call it getting old … I prefer older!) on your administrator/author, I have found it necessary to throttle back a bit.

Nonetheless, as the Lord guides and provides, posts should continue periodically. Hopefully at least one each month … perhaps two.

This week’s post marks a milestone: the 7th anniversary (almost to the day) of the first Eye of Prophecy article published on 7-26-13. And what more fitting subject than the title of the first article: What is the Rapture?

Followed in August of that year by the Why, When, Who, and How of the Rapture. Of the 315 Eye of Prophecy posts to date, 50 are in the category of The Rapture. However, in this anniversary special, there will be only one sequel … Part II posted next week.

Other than the marvelous resurrection of Messiah Jesus some two thousand years ago, the Rapture will be the most extraordinary experience of human history—for those taken and for those left behind. Followed by one enormous episode after another over a period of seven years. Only to be eclipsed in magnitude by another stunning spectacle—the physical return of Jesus Christ to this earth.

There may not be any other Biblical prophecy that elicits such expectancy, while at the same time causes confusion with (some) Christians. Uncertainty that comes from misunderstanding some, most, or even all the essentials and dynamics of the Rapture. With the principal reason: inadequate consideration (scrutiny) and correlation (one with another) of the three powerful passages on the Rapture.

The term rapture equates to euphoria, ecstasy, excitement, exhilaration, and exultation. Good old-fashion joy. Rapture and its synonyms are nouns—which can be altered to adjectives, such as euphoric or exciting—that express our emotional state over an exceptional event.

But in Biblical prophecy (The) Rapture is also the event itself.

Some of the more neutral synonyms of confusion: misunderstanding, mix-up, mystification, and even mistakes. Regarding the Rapture, misperceptions are found among even the most sincere and astute Bible students, teachers, and scholars.

Is The Rapture an Essential or a Non-essential Tenet of the Christian Faith?

The answer: Both … I’ll explain.

A believer’s (correct or incorrect) view on any feature of the Rapture is not on the same level as truth/error over one of the essentials of the Christian faith. Such as found in the Apostle’s Creed. Or as summed up in the Apostle Paul’s magnificent Holy-Spirt inspired statement that salvation comes by faith (in Christ and his substitutionary death for our sins), not by works … Ephesians 2:8-9.

Good works are a result of redemption, not the means.

The Rapture events are neither the start nor the end of Biblical salvation, but rather the instrument to connect the remarkable beginning (born again … John Chapter 3) to the glorious end of our redemption (spiritual bodies equipped to live forever in heaven … I Corinthians Chapter 15).

Thus, it technically can be classified as a non-essential to the Christian faith. Notice I said “a” non-essential, as opposed to non-essential. There is a difference.

However, a crucial (essential) component of the Day of the Lord—Seven Year Tribulation; Physical Return of Jesus Christ; his Millennial Reign—is that the Rapture will take place BEFORE the Great Tribulation. What has been theologically classified as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. With the opposing view (Mid-Tribulation or Post-Tribulation) a direct contradiction of one of the main reasons for the Rapture … protecting believers in Messiah Jesus from the Great Tribulation by removing them from harm’s way.

Putting it another way: Different views on the Rapture, including those that are incorrect, does not determine one’s eternal destiny. With, however, a clarified emphasis that non-essential (in general terms) does not mean that the essential (specific) features of the Rapture are insignificant or unnecessary to correctly comprehend and appreciate.

I am convinced that the Lord wants his people to be accurate regarding (especially the more prominent) Bible end-time events; to grasp the essentials of these prophecies. Of which the imminently pending Rapture is—in the opinion of many Bible teachers and students—the most significant for true believers in Messiah Jesus … Jew and Gentile alike. With the prophetically fulfilled 1948 rebirth and subsequent (soon-to-come) final restoration of Israel the most prominent prophecies concerning God’s plan (destiny) for Israel and the Jews

For several reasons, the Rapture will be a monumental milestone of human history; including the flashpoint catalyst to the seven-year treaty (Daniel 9) orchestrated by the Antichrist beast upon his reappearance from the Abyss (Revelation 17). Followed by the magnificent bodily return of Messiah Jesus to rescue Israel from utter defeat at the hands of Antichrist’s (Nero) ten-nation coalition. Which will include the final battle of Armageddon, in which this ten-kingdom alliance joins with their enemy (Kings of the East) to dare take on the King of all kings.

We believers will ride to victory with Christ during his final conquest of all that is evil (Revelation 17:14 & 19:11-21). Then Messiah Jesus will rule the Kingdom of God from Jerusalem, accompanied by believers reigning with him over all the earth (Revelation 20:4-6).

The seven essentials of the Rapture in this week’s and next week’s Eye of Prophecy article will be a condensed summary of a few previous articles that clarified, correlated, and/or corrected one or more features of the Rapture in depth.

The first three essentials will be presented in this week’s post. To examine misunderstandings including outright errors (made mostly by unbelievers or believers who have studied little about the Rapture) which have been rationally and responsibly refuted by several Bible commentators, including myself. The last four will be examined next week in Part II. Those that even mainstream Bible prophecy pundits have inexactly or insufficiently presented since Bible prophecy exploded on the scene in the 1960s.

In those four essentials, I have proposed an alternative application to the stunning Scriptural passages that deal specifically with how the Rapture will unfold … in what manner and approximate duration of time. Accordingly, whether those left behind will both see and hear what happens. And whether all children at/below the age of innocence will be taken in the Rapture.

Essential Number One: The Rapture Is Real

In the past few decades (especially since Y2K), we have seen and heard many unbelievers do precisely what the Apostle Peter said they would do during the end times. Just as bad, if not worse: the increasing apathy of some Christians concerning the last days—an indifference that rivals the mindset and (live-for-only-the-present) lifestyle of unbelievers.

“Most importantly (the Apostle Peter said it was/is important!), I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created’” (II Peter 3:3-4, parenthesis mine).

Denial or even disregard of the obvious (Rapture) may be the most puzzling, if not provocative inaccuracy of all.

This view held by some believers (especially those who are amillennial … who do not believe in the literal 1,000-year reign of Messiah Jesus on earth) is not only surprising.

It is inexplicable.

And then, what do they do with the extraordinarily clear Bible passages on the Rapture: (I Thessalonians Chapter 4; I Corinthians Chapter 15; Matthew Chapters 24-25; Luke Chapter 17)?

The defense of this denial most often used is that the passages are symbolic or “spiritual” rather than literal. But figurative of what? Or that the word Rapture is not found in the Bible. Please see Eye of Prophecy post: Biblical Terms Not In The Bible … Are They Biblical? (posted 3-10-18).

In a moment we will peruse these pivotal passages in their New Testament chronological order. With a reminder that there are Old Testament precedents that prophetically preview and parallel the Rapture. For instance: the whisking away of Enoch and Elijah to heaven without either man dying first. And the removal of Noah (and family) and Lot (and family) out of harm’s way before God poured out his judgment, globally, then regionally.

But first, an excerpt from the first Eye of Prophecy article ever posted: What is the Rapture? (In italics):

Where in the Bible do we find the term, Rapture? We don’t, so you can stop searching for the word in Scripture…. Are you surprised that such a Biblically oriented word, one that has been heard or spoken by many Christians and non-Christians alike, isn’t even in the Bible?

…the term, Rapture, is derived from a Latin word, raptus (to carry off or away), and the Bible was not written in Latin. Rather … the New Testament was written in Greek. Although the English word itself is not found in the pages of Scripture, the concept and truth of it certainly is. In fact, the Apostle Paul attributes this amazing disclosure as coming from the Lord Jesus, himself, as found in I Thessalonians 4:15, “We tell you this directly from the Lord…”

*Note: A brief interruption of the excerpt with this observation: Not that the inspiration of Scripture from the Holy Spirit to the respective authors is insignificant. It is of utmost importance (II Timothy 3:16-17). Yet in similar fashion to the many times when God spoke directly to Old Testament prophets, Jesus himself disclosed this amazing prophetic truth “directly” to Paul. Which is another rock-solid confirmation that the Rapture will take place.

Back to the excerpt:

The Greek word translated “caught up” in the I Thessalonians 4 passage is harpazo, which literally means to seize or snatch away….

Yet the English word “Rapture” is entirely appropriate as a one-word description of the remarkable prophetic proclamations found in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15.

Remember, the word Rapture is not a direct translation of the Greek word, although it is a very close transliteration of the Latin word; rather it is a substitute or alternative or expanded way to describe emotionally or spiritually what is taking place. One of the definitions for rapture found in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is, “a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things,” and a companion definition is, “an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion.”

Thus, we have a captivating combination of the original Latin and Greek words, which is accurately rendered “caught up” in most English translations of the Bible. These words convey the dynamics of the actual time/space sequence involved in this literal transfiguration of the Christian’s physical body, with the spiritual joy, emotional bliss, and mental delight in what is taking place. Those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior (both the dead and the living), will experience the highest degree of spiritual and physical euphoria possible, as we will be instantly changed and then transported to heaven, there to be with our Lord and King forever.

As the sayings go, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” And, “What a way to go!”

In 1st century chronological order of the disclosure, beginning with Jesus himself, we find three powerful purposes for the Rapture, as contained in the following three passages. Though close to, they are not technically (the same as) the seven essentials or features or characteristics of the Rapture covered in this and next week’s article. Rather, they are what can better be described as the dynamics of the Rapture. They are supernatural actions that literally separate believers from unbelievers: resurrection (from the grave); transformation (to immortal spiritual bodies); and transportation (to heaven).

The Phenomenon of Those Left Behind (A Warning): “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquests and parties and weddings right up to time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left” (Matthew 24:37-41).

Those prophetic words of Messiah Jesus are part of his lengthy explanation of signs and events of the last days. And are in the context of the exponential increase in natural disasters, false prophets and messiahs, persecution of Jews and Christians, rampant sin, before (birth pains) and especially during the Great Tribulation. Followed by his physical return to earth, “with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). The flashpoint of which will be those who are taken (Rapture of believers) before God’s second and final judgment of the entire earth.

Those left behind will be “swept away” (in the Seal, Trumpet, & Bowl judgements).

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

In this preeminent Rapture passage the Apostle Paul discloses the astounding sequence of events, to include (by means of confirmation of the resurrection) dead believers first raised to life, then they and living believers “caught up” (literally rising together) in the clouds to meet the Lord.

Unless the Scriptural text is clearly and exclusively symbolic, or specifically interprets an image of something, or explains the imagery by such words as like, many scholars (including me) contend that the word or phrase or passage should be taken literally. For one thing it is far less confusing to understand the verse or verses literally. For another thing, a figurative interpretation could often have two or more meanings. Which one is correct?

This is particularly true when the Bible is conveying dynamic events … past, present, or future. Seldom is the action itself figurative. When it is, it’s presented as a simile. Such as: “He fought like a lion.”

Jesus said if anyone wanted to be his follower, he/she must “take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The cross in this case was figurative (a figure of speech). But it also could be and sometimes was/is literal … for the many who have been martyred for their faith in and obedience to Messiah Jesus.

(Depiction of Simon carrying the cross when Jesus could no longer carry it. A scene from 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ)

On the other hand, when describing beings (human or angelic or even sometimes Messiah Jesus, e.g. sword coming from his mouth with the sword representing His Word) symbolism—particularly in prophecy—is sometimes utilized. Such as the Antichrist characterized as a beast (Revelation) or a little horn (Daniel). However, what the Antichrist beast does (action) is literal.

Then there are the plain crystal-clear metaphors, e.g. Jesus is “the bread of life.”

There is nothing (repeat for emphasis … “nothing”) in the I Thessalonians 4 passage or any other passage on the Rapture to suggest symbolism of any kind. On the contrary: the (Lord’s) descension from heaven, the shout, the voice of the angel, the trumpet call, dead believers rising from their grave, then they and living believers “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air; all are literal … as real as anything could be.

Transformation of Believers Bodies From Mortal to Immortal (Spiritual Bodies): “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52).

This third dramatic dynamic of the Rapture also confirms that the dead in Christ will be raised.

However, in this passage, the Apostle Paul adds what he didn’t tell us in I Thessalonians 4: all believers—those raised and those alive at the Rapture—will be “transformed” to immortal or “spiritual bodies” (I Corinthians 15:40-46). And it will take place in an instant … blink of an eye.

In one of the four essentials in next week’s Part II article we’ll again see that it’s only the transfiguration itself that takes place in a nanosecond; with the entire sequence of the Rapture itself, beginning with Jesus’s descending in the clouds, covering several minutes.

*Note: A reminder before we continue with the remaining Rapture essentials. These Part I & Part II articles are but a summary of the Rapture features that are examined in much more detail through several prior Eye of Prophecy articles. In that regard, a composite list of the seven essentials will be summarized at the end of next week’s article. Just in case you wanted to print-out this “nutshell” list for future reference.

Also, a reminder that—with a modified exception (as close as it gets to doctrinally requiring a Pre-Tribulation Rapture) of the next essential, Number Two—the component features of the Rapture itself is something that should not separate true believers to the point of division. That for the following well-known paradigm (and only this paradigm or purpose) the Rapture would best fit into the non-essentials category:

To also remember that there are accurate (versus inaccurate) applications to Biblical prophecies.

That every prophecy is vital to the Christian faith, even if there is a difference of opinion over some prophecies.

However, there will be no “I told you so(s)” when we believers get to heaven in our new undefiled spiritual bodies!

Essential Number Two: The Rapture Precedes The Great Tribulation

As indicated, this feature of the Rapture is often referred to as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. As opposed to the Rapture taking place at the end of the Tribulation or part way through it.

What makes this feature doctrinally essential to the Christian faith is the clear Scriptural evidence (fact) that believers are not subject to the end-times wrath of God which will be poured out it all its fury during the Great Tribulation. A primary purpose of the Rapture is to spare living believers from this terrible time of one colossal catastrophe after another. Jesus himself said: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. 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 (Israel and the Jews)” (Matthew 24:21-22, parenthesis mine).

Immediately following the amazing passage on the Rapture in I Thessalonians 4, Paul continues the subject of the Day of the Lord (consisting of the Tribulation, then Millennial Reign of Christ to reverse all the terror and turmoil of the Great Tribulation) by warning of the disaster that will befall the unsaved … much like Jesus’s description that we just read.

Said Paul: “When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” (I Thessalonians 5:3).

Then just a few verses later while still on the same subject, Paul penned this pivotal and precious promise to affirm what could be argued as the main purpose of the Rapture, i.e. taking believers from the earth and sparing us from the Tribulation. “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever” (I Thessalonians 5:9-10).

Moreover, the resurrection of dead believers and subsequent transformation of their bodies and the bodies of living believers into imperishable bodies is vitally necessary so that, “we can live with him forever.” In that regard, the transfiguration itself could be considered a secondary (albeit extraordinarily significant means-to-an-end) event to the “snatching away” from the earth aspect of the Rapture. For the express purpose of taking us out of harm’s way.

In fact, the Rapture is the trigger point; the catalyst from which the Tribulation will commence and continue for seven years.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Why the Rapture (A Revisit). Posted 11-5-16.

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us” (I Thessalonians 5:9). By virtue of this verse’s proximity to the Rapture verses in Chapter 4, it clearly puts it in the context of the soon-to-follow Great Tribulation; with both direct and indirect affirmation that believers will be spared from God’s final dispensing of justice on the wickedness of a world gone mad.

Thus, when Christians use the term, “saved,” we are not only referring to being saved from the justly deserved penalty of our sins which is eternal separation from God; but also for the generation alive at the time of the Rapture being “saved” or rescued from the unimaginable deceit, violence, death, and horror perpetrated by the Antichrist, followed rapidly by God’s justice directed to a very depraved, and rebellious world.

It will be the second, and final, time in history that God will effectively say, “Enough is enough.”

After thousands of years in which God has exercised great patience, it will be time for God to finally pour out his wrath on a corrupt world that has twisted the truth of the Gospel, has blatantly rejected Jesus as Savior and Messiah, has thumbed their noses at their Creator–the true and living God–and has yielded all their loyalty and worship to the Antichrist.

But thanks be to the love, grace, and mercy of God, he has chosen to spare the bride of Christ (believers) from this dreadful apocalypse….

For more detailed analysis, you might want to refer to the following Eye of Prophecy articles: The Rapture / Before or After The Great Tribulation? (posted 9-7-19); Will Believers Go Through The Great Tribulation? Part I & II (June 2019).

The next essential facet of the Rapture flows from Essential Number Two:

Essential Number Three: The Rapture & Physical Return of Christ Are Different Events

The following exceprt is from: Messiah’s Return & The Rapture (Same or Separate Events?) Posted 12-3-16:

Perhaps the biggest distinction between the Rapture and the Return of Messiah to the earth is found in the respective purpose they serve. Rapture is exclusively for the Church, the body of Christ, consisting of all Jews and Gentiles who have placed their faith in our Jewish Messiah, Jesus. The Second Coming of Christ to the earth is for the preliminary purpose of rescuing Israel from destruction and the Jews from annihilation at the hands of the Antichrist. In doing so, Jesus will destroy the armies of Antichrist; thereby, completing the wrath of God on a very wicked world.

Then, towards the end of that article:

The Rapture and the Return of Messiah Are not “Yo-Yo” Events

Although the Biblical evidence is conclusive, we can also rely on the common sense of it all. Or in reverse, the nonsensical notion of being caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds/air, only to immediately go back down to the earth with the Lord to dispense the final wrath of the Lamb at the final battle of Armageddon.

All phases of the Second Coming of Christ will take place in real time and space (place), not virtual time or reality. Among other things, how is it possible for the wedding feast with our Savior to take place before we return with Christ at the final battle of Armageddon, if we’re caught up to heaven at the same time Christ is coming down to the earth? Revelation is crystal clear that believers will celebrate the wedding feast with Messiah BEFORE Jesus returns to do battle at Armageddon.

Believers will not meet Christ going (up) and coming (down) all at once. That makes no sense at all. That would be like an elevator full of employees going up to meet their boss with the unmistakable understanding that he is waiting for them in the Penthouse Suite having prepared a great Christmas party for them. Only for the boss to change his mind after they arrive, and then take the elevator back down with all the guests to first “take care of business” below.

Praise and thanks to God … born again believers will sit out the tribulation! There will be seven years between our elevator rides!

As indicated: I and other Bible scholars/teachers have confirmed and defended these three essentials of the Rapture (especially #2). Scripture convincedly supports the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church and a clear (7-year Tribulation) gap between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ when he sets foot on the Mount of Olives, from where he ascended to heaven some 2000 years ago.

Don’t miss next week’s final four features of the Rapture. They are those given as insight to me by the Lord for the purpose of correlating, clarifying, and perhaps even correcting a few of the details of what will (soon) be the most spectacular event in human history since the resurrection of Messiah Jesus from the grave.

Even if you have already read them in previous Eye of Prophecy articles, it will be a good review.

Things to Ponder

Although I infrequently provide an excerpt from a prior Eye of Prophecy article in the final Things to Ponder section of every post, it would be fitting to do so this week … given the 7th anniversary of this blog site and the topic.

From: The Tremendous Transfiguration of Believers (posted 7-23-16).

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matthew 17:1-2, NASB).

Normally I would have quoted the above passage from the New Living Translation; all Scriptural references in Eye of Prophecy articles are from the NLT, unless otherwise designated. In Matthew 17, the NLT uses the English word, transformed, which is the same word it uses in the I Corinthians 15 passage concerning the change of our earthly bodies to spiritual bodies at the Rapture. The reason I chose the NASB (which translates the Greek word to transfigured) is because that Greek word is different than the word, allesso, found in I Corinthians 15.

Although the meanings are substantially similar (transformation or transfiguration … both are accurate and appropriate), the Greek word used in the exceptional scene we just read is, metamorphoo. Which makes the saying, “It’s all Greek to me,” not entirely true! There are several Greek words that are nearly identical to their transliterated English counterpart. This is one of those words. So what is the English word? You’re right: It is metamorphosis.

Webster’s definition of metamorphosis: “change of physical form, structure, or substance (especially) by supernatural means; striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.”

Which is why the English word, transfiguration, is the better description of the astounding change in Jesus’s appearance on what most Bible scholars refer to as the Mount of Transfiguration.

Transfiguration is defined by Webster’s Dictionary at two different levels. The first level is more closely akin to transform, which is: change in form or appearance. But the second (higher) level of transfiguration is defined as: “an exalting, glorifying, or spiritual change.” In fact, Webster’s cites the transfiguration of Christ as an example. As noted, both definitions for metamorphosis and transfigured directly attribute this kind of “striking, exalted, glorified” change to one that is supernatural … by (the power of) God.

Which is exactly what Jesus experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was a preliminary divine demonstration that Jesus was fully God and fully man. It was also a stunning “preview of coming attractions.” The greatest of which was the resurrection of Messiah Jesus in a new glorified body; one that was exalted even above and beyond the human body he was born with. It was a spiritual, heavenly body that could never die.

Although our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus, is far above us in every way (for all the reasons found in Scripture), God has promised born again believers that we, too, will someday be graciously given the same kind of eternal, indestructible body like Jesus has; whether we have died before Jesus returns or are still alive.

How great is that!

Yes, we will be transformed at the Rapture, but at the higher level of transfigured! Immediately after the transfiguration of our mortal earthly bodies to heavenly spiritual bodies, we will be “transported” directly to heaven. The change in our bodies and in our address and living quarters will involve a “transition.”

While we’re still in Webster’s Dictionary (at least I am), let’s also define, transition: “A passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another; a movement … from one form … to another; an abrupt change in energy state or level…”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for my transfiguration and transition!

And away we go!

Israel’s Annexation of Occupied Territory? We Must Define The Terms

No matter the ubiquitous COVID-19 pandemic.

Once again, the world is in an uproar over Israel.

This time as concerns the newly elected Israeli government’s plan to “annex” what most of the world labels as “Palestinian territory” that is “occupied” by “Jewish settlers.”

Which is also allegedly in “violation of international law.”

Whether this “annexation” will take place on or shortly after July 1st, as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends; or is delayed pending a more detailed mapping of the affected areas in the Judea/Samaria region; and/or is subject to further scrutiny by the United States—remains to be seen.

Either way, it is imperative that some of the crucial terms—annexation, territory, occupation—be defined as they apply (or more accurately … do not apply) to the Sovereign State of Israel.

Why is that necessary?

Because these words are frequently used by Israel’s enemies and (non-enemy) critics in either a deliberate or uninformed denial regarding the ongoing (3,800 years and counting) connection of the Jews to the Promised Land of Israel.

To that end, the expressions are carelessly and callously exploited with a reverse (negative) connotation to denounce the right of Israeli Jews to live wherever they choose in the Jewish Nation-State of Israel—even though only 30% of Judea/Samaria is potentially affected. With the underlying motive of discrediting Jewish sovereignty throughout Israel that includes but is not limited to allegations that some or all of Israel (depending on how much animosity the person or nation harbors) is illegitimately inhabited by Israeli Jews.

In an article posted June 15th in online news source Jewish News Syndicate, author Jerold Auerbach begins with:

The New York Times recently devoted an entire page to a decision by the Palestinian Authority to sever relations with Israel. It represented a ‘desperate’ attempt ‘to deter Israel from annexing occupied territory,’ also known, but unacknowledged, as the biblical homeland of the Jewish people.”

His article is one of dozens of recent op-ed articles from multiple authors (for, against, or neutral) regarding this sovereignty issue in Judea/Samaria … also referred to as the West Bank. This region is literally and figuratively the heartland of Israel, in which about 8% of the Jewish population resides (some 500,000 of 6.7 million Jews in Israel).

The strongly biased (anti-Israel) New York Times is but one of many sources in a frenzy over reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to declare official sovereignty over a portion of Area C … 30% of Judea/Samaria. Or, (to begin with) perhaps only the strategic Jewish communities of Ma’ale Adumim (between Jericho and Jerusalem … 40,000 population); Ariel (between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem … 20,000); Gush Etzion (south of Jerusalem … 24,000).

Also, Kiryat Arba (7,400 population) close to Hebron; location of the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Cave of Machpelah) where Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Rebekah; Jacob and Leah are buried.

(Tomb of the Patriarchs … Hebron, Israel)

Many Jews, especially the observant, consider Hebron as the 2nd holiest city in Israel. Despite the current condition in which Hebron is more heavily populated by Arab Palestinians than by Israeli Jews.

If you know anything about the glory years of Israel from the time of King David (1010 B.C. to 970 B.C.) to the Babylonian conquest of 586 B.C, then again from 515 B.C. to 70 AD, Hebron is also where King David began his reign in Israel before unifying the twelve tribes and moving to God’s appointed eternal capital of Israel … Jerusalem.

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

If God loves Jerusalem above all Israeli cities, then rest assured he loves Jerusalem more than all the cities of the world. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel, and Israel is the heart of the world—literally and figuratively. It is in promised perpetuity: THE PROMISED LAND. That promise is just as authentic and binding and consequential in our time as it was when the Lord bequeathed the Holy Land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.

Notice, that the following promise extends to Jacob directly through his grandfather Abraham’s son (Jacob’s father) Isaac, not through Ishmael—the progenitor of the Arab race:

Speaking to Jacob whose name God changed to Israel. “… I am El Shaddai—’God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you’” (Genesis 35:11-12).

The Promised Land of Israel

The rebirth of the State of Israel on May 14th, 1948 and Jewish victory over five Arab nations/armies that attacked the fledging state the very next day did not result in Israeli sovereignty over nearly as much of Israel as it could/should have.

However, Israel’s stunning defeat of the Arab armies poised to strike the Jews in the Six-Day War of 1967 enabled Israeli control over the Golan Heights, Judea/Samaria, all of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. Unfortunately (bowing to international pressure), Israel relinquished functional jurisdiction of most of the Judea/Samaria region (to even include Temple Mount), the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai back to Jordan and Egypt respectively and later in stages to the Palestinians.

Truce lines were agreed to between the Israelis and Jordanians around and through Judea Samaria, which includes the Jordan Valley. However, these armistice lines were not internal borders. To repeat for emphasis: These lines drawn on the map are NOT national boundary lines (borders) between two nations. Because there is no such autonomous entity as Palestine or a Palestinian State.

Although I (and a few others) have repeatedly written about Israel’s right of sovereignty over the entire expanse of Israel where it borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, it bears repeating. Particularly considering the latest wave of harsh criticism and unwarranted condemnation leveled against Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the planned “annexation” of the 30% of Judea/Samaria inhabited mostly by Israeli Jews.

As a reminder, the Palestinians (Palestinian Authority created in 1993) have rejected two astoundingly generous but unwise offers by Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak (2000) and Ehud Olmert (2008) that would have given the Palestinians over 95% of Judea/Samaria. Which could/would have led to the creation of a Palestinian State.

Before there was such a thing as a Palestinian Arab (Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians after their defeat in the Six-Day War of 1967) or the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO … 1964) or the Palestinian Authority, the Arabs rigidly rejected the opportunity to create a state of their own alongside Israel in 1947-1948. What most of the world also doesn’t know or has conveniently forgotten: The entire country of Jordan (east of the Jordan River … initially called Transjordan) was supposed to be the actual Palestinian State—not land west of the Jordan River.

Shortly, we will examine a significant conference of (some) nations held in 1920, in follow-up to the more well-known Balfour Declaration of November 1917. Then the League of Nations ratification of 1922.

Although aware of this conference, I (like other Middle East historians) had given more attention to the Balfour Declaration, having written about it several times. Including two articles with that name: The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation (Part I & II). Posted May 2017.

In acknowledgment of its 100th anniversary, several authors recently posted articles about this conference. While reading many of them, it was evident (as indicated, a reminder) that this forum contributed substantially to realization of Jewish rights to their ancient homeland; the land and the (Jewish) people that is the focus of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning the rebirth of Israel and return of the Jews from world-wide exile. All leading to the final restoration of God’s chosen people—physically and spiritually.

Through God’s divine sovereignty, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (through King David’s lineage) brought to Jew, and Gentile alike, the crucified and risen Messiah … Jesus of Nazareth.

God the Father, speaking through the prophet Isaiah of the Messiah who Daniel later said would come before the 2nd Temple was destroyed (Jesus of Nazareth fits that requirement along with dozens of other O.T. prophecies) declared:

[Note: Concerning an in-depth analysis of who has ultimate sovereignty and jurisdictional control over the “disputed areas” within Israel proper, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles including but not limited to: United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334) (Published 1-7-17); What is Palestine & Who Is A Palestinian? (Posted 12-2-17); Israel’s Controversial Nation-State Law (8-11-18); Does Israel Belong to the State of Israel? (5-4-19); Jewish Settlements in Judea/Samaria … Are They Illegal? (11-23-19); Palestine or Israel? Which Is It? Your Answer May Be in Jeopardy! (1-18-20)]

The Deal of the Century

Before we consider that conference and its remarkable repercussions in more detail, let’s briefly revisit what has been called, The Deal of the Century. Which has been rejected out-of-hand by the Palestinian Authority in Judea/Samaria and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article posted 2-8-20: Israel is Again the Head, Not the Tail (The Deal of the Century), in italics:

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

ALL OF ISRAEL!

Including Judea and Samaria!!

I then referenced an article written by journalist/author Caroline Glick.

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

In keeping with the main theme/emphasis of today’s article, we will define terms that the entire world uses in a derogatory (negative connotation) way against Israel. Whereas, the accurate facts on the ground demonstrate that neither Israeli Jews nor Israel’s government are doing anything “illegal” or contrary to “international law.”

One more excerpt from the Deal of the Century article:

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

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

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

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

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

“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation (by nationally rejecting their Messiah, Jesus, although many in the first century and many more in the 20th & 21st century have accepted him), think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:11-12, parenthesis mine).

Although there are more, in that previous article I listed nine specific proposals (points) of The Deal of the Century. As pertaining to today’s post, just the first of the nine will be revisited.

Which is:

Although all Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) belong to Israel, the proposal recognizes Israel’s prerogative to officially annex about 30% of this region, which comprises about 50% of Area C where most of the nearly 500,000 Jews already reside.

Reactions to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Intentions to Formally Apply Israeli Sovereignty Over the Jewish Portion of Judea/Samaria

Although Benjamin Netanyahu has, on behalf of Israel’s new unity government, announced in general terms Israel’s intentions to declare official governmental sovereignty over all or part of the aforementioned 30% of Judea/Samaria, more precise details won’t be provided until at least July 1, 2020.

(Current Areas of Judea Samaria, with Palestinians exclusively in Areas A & B; mostly Israelis in Area C)

But that has not deterred massive complaints from multiple sources against the very idea of Israel assuming or presuming ultimate sovereignty over (any) part of the Judea/Samaria region. The diehard critics … “the usual suspects” are: The Palestinians (Arab non-citizens within the sovereign state of Israel); Muslim nations; several European Union heads of state (such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom); many United States Democrats in Congress; a segment of liberal Jews in America; and ultra-liberal media such as The New York Times.

When Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations issued scathing criticism of Israel’s plans, he also displayed his ignorance of international law and Israeli sovereignty when he said: “The Security Council will assume its responsibilities and will ask the Israeli government to suspend all activities … in the occupied Palestinian territories” (emphasis added).

In expressing his (uniformed) anti-Israel opinion, what Guterres meant by “activities” was an illegal or at the very least illegitimate action of annexation. As we shall soon see: if, indeed, Israel proceeds with official administrative sovereignty over part or all of the 30% land mass (Area C) of Judea/Samaria currently inhabited by Israeli Jews, it will NOT be unlawful. And it will NOT be annexation, as such. Nor will it be over or in “occupied Palestinian territories.”

Even if it did affect Areas A & B (which it does not), these are NOT Palestinian territories; in the classic sense of holding supreme dominion over a specific region … a domain.

The pragmatic results of what the watching world is (erroneously) labeling as “illegal annexation” and “contrary to international law” is accurately assessed by author Caroline Glick in an op-ed article posted on 6-16-20 in the on-line news source of Israel Hayom.

She writes: “…The immediate implication of applying Israeli law to these areas is that the military government and its civil administration, under which they have been governed for the past 53 years (since the Six Day War of 1967), will be replaced by government ministries and officials. Unlike the military government and its civil administration, those ministries and bureaucrats are accountable to Israel’s elected leaders who govern under the liberal Israeli legal code…. (parenthesis mine)

“…The Trump vision, which the sovereignty plan embodies is geared towards normalizing the status of the half-million Israelis who live under the unelected military government and the civil administration in Judea and Samaria.”

As expected, several PA officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, have issued “warnings” of Palestinian upheaval, i.e. retaliation. These warnings are simply self-fulfilling extortion-type threats: give us what we want, and we’ll try not to let anything bad happen (such as lone wolf terrorist attacks and intifadas).

What the Palestinians really want is all Israel (the land) and no Israel (the nation-state).

(Weizmann was one of the founding fathers of the reborn State of Israel in 1948. Palestinian Authority President Abbas has also said that if there is a Palestinian State, not one Jew will be allowed to live there)

For over seventy years, the Arabs have been in denial over the existence of the Jewish Nation of Israel (UN Resolution of 1947 granting a Jewish State, then Statehood declared in May 1948).

For over a hundred years (Balfour Declaration) they have been in denial that a Jewish State even has the right to exist.

It is one thing for the Palestinians to be in denial, as the Arab/Jewish conflict goes back thousands of years (Isaac vs. Ishmael). But it is quite another matter for so many all over the planet, including heads of state, to question (let alone denounce) Israel’s right of sovereignty over ALL Israel. Particularly when they do not know nor appear to want to know the historical facts that have produced the contemporary reality in the Promised Land.

In the context of terminology bandied about by Israel’s critics (occupation, annexation, contrary to international law, etc.), of even more significance is an event that took place in 1920, which extended recognition of the Balfour Declaration and more precisely defined its goal, i.e. Jewish right of return to and reestablishment of their own country/state.

I had read about this event, but failed to fully realize the magnitude of it, having placed more weight on the Balfour Declaration. What brought this mostly forgotten event to my attention (recall) were a few articles posted in various online sources this past April and May. Its historic significance is especially applicable in the context of current world consternation over Israel’s potential “annexation” of “territory” that allegedly does not belong to the Israelis, which supposedly constitutes a “breach of international law.”

San Remo Conference of 1920

It was held during the last week of April 1920 in San Remo Italy with four of the nations that fought against the German and Ottoman empires of World War I participating … France, Britain, Italy, and Japan. Their primary purpose was to restructure Allied conquered regions of the Middle East, particularly land of the defeated and now defunct Ottoman Empire.

The San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 was to the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 as Israel’s statehood rebirth of May 1948 was to the UN Resolution of November 1947 which afforded nation-state rights to the Jews. Subsequently, the San Remo decisions were ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, as was the British Mandate for Palestine. Great Britain was given regulation of the Palestine region until the Jews were ready for self-determination. The Arabs would get (what is now modern day) Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

In an April 26, 2020 article published in Jewish News Syndicate, author Yishai Fleisher begins by saying, “One hundred years ago this week, the British Balfour Declaration—which recognized the Jewish rights to the land of Israel—became international law.”

The title of that article: San Remo: The original ‘deal of the century’

As significant as the UN Resolution of 1947 was—followed by Israel’s declaration of statehood the following year—Fleisher (correctly) confers more significance to the San Remo summit. He went on to say:

“…The San Remo Accords were binding law, ratified by member states, which took quick effect. Even the United States, which was not a member of the League of Nations, took measures to recognize the accords.”

The United Nations General Assembly (non-binding) vote in 1947 to partition Israel was the stuff that high drama is made of; one that led directly to the rebirth of Israel in May 1948. Yet, it did not carry (as argued by Yishai Fleisher) the legal weight nor the international precedent established by the trifecta of the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Conference, then League of Nations support of the British Mandate of Palestine; reserved for Jewish return and sovereign reclamation of their ancient land.

Fleisher then writes: “The text of the Mandate for Palestine (the 1922 document that put the resolution of San Remo into practice) is straightforward: ‘Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.’

“At the San Remo conference, delegates never contemplated giving ‘Palestine’ to the Arabs—the absurd idea of taking Judea away from the Jews and creating an Arab state there. For the delegates, giving Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq to the Arabs (which they did and later the land that now comprises Jordan) and giving the Jews their historic and biblical land was equitable enough. This was in line with the Wilsonian (referring to US President Woodrow Wilson) ‘self-determination’ doctrine—indigenous peoples would gain independence from former empires and govern themselves….” (parenthesis mine).

In another April 2020 article, author Jonathan Feldstein also provides compelling historical evidence that the San Remo declaration carries (to this day) a time-tested international legal precedent for Israeli sovereignty over any/all of Israel.

He summarizes: “In short, San Remo affirmed Jewish rights to the Land of Israel and established the legal foundation and borders of Israel under international law. It was so significant that British Lord Curzon is said to have called it Israel’s Magna Carta.”

The “borders” referred to are Israel’s external geographical borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. They are NOT internal borders with Palestinian communities of Judea/Samaria or the Gaza Strip. Those are nothing more than “armistice lines.” Thus, Israel has sovereign rights over ALL land within her national borders. That certainly includes Judea/Samaria.

(Some of the leaders of the San Remo Conference)

*Note: Since the San Remo Conference and League of Nations ratification of its resolutions, there has been NO international legal changes to this “Magna Carta”-like declaration.

Jonathan Feldstein continues:

“It’s understandable why Balfour and the 1947 UN partition plan are celebrated as significant milestones. They are. But San Remo was an inextricable link between the two. The resolution adopted represented the first time in 2000 years, since the Roman conquering of Israel, the destruction of the Second Temple, and the ensuing exile, that the international community called for the establishment and restoration of a Jewish homeland in the historic Land of Israel.”

Time/space in today’s article does not allow more details of the San Remo Conference, which has become little more than a footnote in the history books.

Except to say: We must not dismiss or even marginalize both the international and national (as applied to Israel) legal repercussions of this agreement just because it happens to be 100-years old. At the very least, the (still applicable) impact of that moment in history refutes the notion that Israel’s sovereignty, officially declared or not, over Judea Samaria is a contradiction of international law.

Consequently, Israeli Jews never have and are not now illegally occupying any part of Israel whatsoever.

Those Arabs (Palestinians) who have refused Israeli citizenship are the actual occupiers of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip—in the negative connotation of “occupied.” Even, then, Israel has extended privileges (not the least of which is a large measure of self-governing autonomy) to the Palestinians that most nations on earth would not think of granting to non-citizens. Especially to those who deny the very existence of the host nation, and who constantly commit acts of terror (maiming and murder) of its citizens.

Which is why certain terms used by those who (falsely) accuse Israel of wanting to “annex Palestinian territory in violation of international law” need to be defined so as not to rewrite Israel’s history as it relates to world history.

Definition of The Terms

Palestinian Territories: At the very most, this often-used phrase would geographically apply only to Areas A & B of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip which are inhabited exclusively by Arab non-citizens of Israel … Palestinians. As a reminder: Israel will not be incorporating (declaring official sovereignty) over any part of Areas A & B, or even all of Area C; nor, of course, the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians and those who blindly support their agenda with little regard to/for the League of Nations and United Nations original endorsement of the existence of the Sovereign State of Israel, would have us believe that their territory is being (illegally) usurped (annexed) by the Israeli government; based on the (false) presupposition that the Palestinians have complete (sovereign) control over those regions. They do not. Israel has that (final) sovereignty. Moreover, this deceptive and distorted premise contradicts the very definition of territory or territories in general and specifically as relates to the Oslo Agreements of 1993.

The following definitions are from Webster’s Dictionary and accurately reflect the relationship between Israel’s Jewish / Arab citizens and the non-citizen Palestinians, pertaining to Judea Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Territory: “a geographical area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a government authority; an administrative subdivision of a country; a geographical area … dependent upon an external government but having some degree of autonomy.”

Despite victory in four wars in which the Arabs were clearly the aggressor (1948, 1956 and especially 1967 and 1973) Israel relinquished functional jurisdiction to Jordan, then to the PLO and later the Palestinian Authority of most of the West Bank and all the Gaza Strip, with that coastal area taken over by an even more militant organization … Hamas. All this despite ancient Jewish claims to and presence in the land that far exceed in time and antiquity any Arab or Islamic presence.

But ultimate authority (sovereignty) still belongs to Israel.

Any reference to or use of the term “Palestinian territories” does not state or even imply that the Palestinians have final sovereignty over these areas of Israel. However, much of the world does not (either deliberately or inadvertently) get that. Rather the world at large prefers to call Judea Samaria by its Johnny-come-lately name of West Bank. With the mistaken impression that there are established (nation-like) “borders” within Israel and the Arabs of that region (plus Gaza) have “territorial rights” completely free of any Israeli sovereignty. With Jewish Israelis allegedly infringing on those rights by wanting to “annex” land that they are (illegally) “occupying.”

To further propagandize and, thereby, confuse even heads of state, PA President Mahmoud Abbas frequently refers to the West Bank as the “State of Palestine.” Even those smart enough to know there is no Palestinian State, eventually concede (capitulate) to the misleading presumption that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are sovereign Palestinian territories.

Occupy: “to fill up (an extent in space or time); to take or hold possession of; to reside in as an owner or tenant.”

Israeli citizens (settlers) living in these so-called Palestinian territories are, indeed, “occupying” the land. But in the matter-of-fact positive connotation of the concept. Not in the adverse overtone which is one of the component definitions of occupation: “the holding and control of an area by a foreign military force. Military force occupying a country…”

Newsflash: Although the non-citizen Palestinians comprise all the Gaza Strip population and approximately 80% of Judea/Samaria’s population, neither of these regions have ever been or are now countries (states or nations). One reason is because they are already part of a country … Israel. Nor do they qualify as sovereign territories such as large swaths of the United States were designated, e.g. Wyoming territory, before they achieved statehood. Yet, each state is subject to the ultimate federal sovereignty of the United States of America.

(Map of Montana Territory approved by President Lincoln in 1864. Montana later became a state in 1889)

Israel is no less a sovereign nation than the USA.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is not (repeat for emphasis, NOT) a “foreign military force” in its own country. A country that sovereignly includes the regions of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The IDF has the same power, authority, and responsibility as the military force of any nation; to defend and maintain the domestic security of ALL land within the recognized national borders adjacent to other countries.

Thus, neither Israel’s military nor its civilian citizenry are “occupying (negative connotation implying “illegally” or “illegitimately”) Area C of Judea/Samaria. Or, for that matter, any land within Israel’s national boundaries.

Annex: It carries both a general and specific meaning. “to bind to; to attach as a quality, consequence, or condition. As applied specifically to countries, Webster’s defines annex: “to incorporate a country within the domain of a state.”

As already noted: in much of the world’s criticism of Israel’s intentions to officially incorporate all or part of the Jewish 30% residency of Judea/Samaria into Israeli governmental jurisdiction (rather than under the direct or even indirect administration by the IDF), the term “annex” or “annexation” is used. Which is wrong. That is not what Israel is doing. Even if some of the proponents for this official declaration of Israeli law and jurisdiction (sovereignty) over the lawful Jewish settlements within Area C of Judea/Samaria also use the terminology of annexation.

Wrote Eugene Kontorovich, astute scholar on international law: “Annexation in international law specifically means taking the territory of a foreign sovereign country” Neither the Jordan Valley nor the West Bank belong to, “a foreign sovereign country.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross defines annexation as a unilateral act of a state through which it proclaims its sovereignty over the territory of another state. Moreover, international law declares any such annexation as illegal only IF, in fact, it takes place after one country initiates a war or forceful takeover (unjustly), i.e. unprovoked aggression against another country.

On the other hand, any country that is victorious in fighting a defensive war has every right to take possession (occupy, annex, or whatever concept is involved) of land that was used by their enemy to launch an attack. Which is exactly what happened in Israel’s stunning Six-Day War victory.

Frankly, it is inconceivable to me that well educated professors, politicians, and pundits of all things legal, deliberately distort and misapply Israeli legal rights to ALL Israel. When, in fact, there are multiple factors why Israeli Jews are lawfully occupying land that belongs to them … no matter where they live in Israel. With liberation (reclamation) of those lands in the Six-Day War of 1967 just one of those reasons. With the other reasons identified in the earlier portion of today’s article.

Summary

Just a brief summation in the form of an excerpt from an article posted in the on-line news source of Israel Hayom (June 9, 2020) co-authored by Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky:

“Much of the international community, NGO world and foreign press, even some in the Jewish community, have been referring to this aspect of the plan (referring to President Trump’s Peace to Prosperity plan or The Deal of the Century) as ‘annexation.’

“…In essence, annexation means one state imposing legal authority over the territory of another state acquired by force or aggression, normally during war. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines ‘annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof’ as ‘constituting the grave Crime of Aggression.’ Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus are prime examples of such cases” (parenthesis mine).

Later in that article, the authors mentioned the San Remo resolutions that conferred the right of Jewish return to and reclamation rebirth of the State of Israel.

They wrote: “One may ask, then, how you can annex territory to which you are legally entitled and that which already has been assigned to you? Indeed, it is factually incorrect to assert that Israel intends to ‘annex’ parts of Judea and Samaria—a territory to which it has legitimate claim and that never has been part of a ‘state of Palestine.’ More accurate would be to say that Israel is ‘extending Israeli sovereignty’ or ‘applying Israeli law’ to parts of Judea and Samaria.”

Things to Ponder

In principal, I support the United States Peace Plan for Israel and the Palestinians, for reasons given in Eye of Prophecy article: Israel is Again the Head, Not the Tail (The Deal of the Century).

Yet, all parties, including Israelis themselves, who seek to carve up any part of the Promised Land and hand it over as a sovereign state to peoples other than the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, need to take heed of what the true and living God says about the land as applied to the last days of the end times … in which we are living.

“I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again (taking place in our generation) …. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

Addressing those nations/peoples who have (in the past) and those who are attempting in today’s world to denigrate, divide, or destroy Israel, God issues his verdict:

“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 (referring to Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria), so you and the surrounding nations (complicit in “swallowing up” any part of Israel by other than the Jews) 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, parenthesis mine).

Then the last three verses of Obadiah describe much (but not all) of Israel’s original land mass.

In parenthesis, the modern-day portion of Israel will be inserted to match the Biblical names, some of which are still the same. Notice that the passage uses the word “occupy.” And does so with a matter-of-fact positive connotation. Not the negative occupation accusation by Israel’s enemies (and even some of her “friends”) that is patently false … Biblically, historically, and currently.

“Then my people living in the Negev (still called the Negev … southern part of Israel next to the Sinai Peninsula which is part of ancient Israel that bordered Egypt and Arabia) will occupy the mountains of Edom (southern Jordan and western part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah (land and cities south of Jerusalem, including Hebron) will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza Strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (the West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (portion of northwestern Jordan and southwestern Syria).

“The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (ancient Tyre and Sidon … the coast of Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Temple Mount which has belonged to the Jews in perpetuity but currently under administrative control of Jordan and the Palestinians) to rule over the mountains of Edom” (Obadiah 1:19-21a, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

The Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference followed by League of Nations affirmation of those resolutions paved the way for the return of the Jews to their ancient God-given land; the land occupied by God’s chosen people long before the Arabs were there. Even the United Nations Charter (Article 80) published in 1945 (before the 1947 UN Resolution to “partition” the land) fully acknowledges the rights that various peoples acquired via the post WW I mandates, from which several contemporary nation-states were formed.

Not the least of which is the stunning rebirth of Israel in a single day (prophecy found in Isaiah Chapter 66) facilitated by the British Mandate (1922) confirming the inherent rights of the Jews to settle in the Land of Palestine. Once again called by its original, God-given name of Israel.

(The original British Mandate did not include any such thing as a “West Bank” or Gaza Strip. Transjordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon were intended for Arabs and “Palestine” for the Jews. Israel reclaimed ALL its land in the Six-Day War)

As God repeatedly said would happen through his Old Testament prophets, the Jews have returned to reclaim their inheritance.

Never again, “to be uprooted from the land…”

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

Personally I’m pondering: If nations, including those in Israel who oppose Israeli sovereignty and/or want to “divide up the land” were to cease and desist from doing so (thereby, blessing Israel); would the Lord providentially reduce or even lift the curse of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Just wondering….

Sequel to Stunning Catastrophes & Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation

It is fitting to begin this week’s article with an aide-memoire. Which is a fancy synonym (I’ve never used before) for reminder or note.

Note: Today is one of the most distinguished and dramatic dates in (20th century) history that is not an official holiday … D-DAY.

Also fitting is to explain why this week’s post would begin with such an introduction.

Which is: All Eye of Prophecy articles are posted on Saturdays. Since this website began in July 2013, this is the 2nd time that D-Day (June 6th) fell on Saturday.

The first was five years ago … June 6, 2015. Which I did not realize until sometime later was D-Day. The significance of that is the article I wrote for that week/day (Saturday) was entitled, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation. Which has generated enough visits to put it in the top ten Eye of Prophecy posts (313 articles) at number 3.

I thought it would be appropriate to revisit that article, considering the world’s population has increased from 7.3 billion in 2015 to the current figure of 7,789,504,610 and counting. Spelled out: 7 billion, 789 million. Since it won’t take much longer for the number to reach 7.8 billion, let’s round it up to that figure for our (revised) calculations in this week’s post.

With some new material, today’s article mostly will be a hybrid of the June 6, 2015 post combined with a subsequent post on 11-4-17, entitled: Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing & Purpose. That article listed and summarily discussed the Seven Seal, Seven Trumpet, and Seven Bowl episodes in the book of Revelation; including the generalized time (sequence) during the seven-year Tribulation when they would occur. Along with the frightening features and primary purpose for these terrible calamities.

In some Eye of Prophecy articles, I quote from prior articles … with the quotation in italics to distinguish it from that week’s article.

However, with a few exceptions (a direct quote/excerpt from those two articles), today’s content will include extracts from those articles with changes in the calculations, plus other revisions (additional or different commentary). Since I am the author of all Eye of Prophecy articles, there is no plagiarism taking place!

Some D-Day Facts

That prior inadvertent D-Day article (Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation) began with some pertinent and powerful casualty counts of the American Civil War, then World War I and World War II. As a lead-in to the gruesome body-count of the Tribulation period that will dwarf the combined fatalities of those three giant conflicts and other lesser wars.

(One of many photographs taken during the American Civil War … at least 620,000 Americans killed; some say as many as 700,000)

D-Day itself was not part of that article’s subject/content. However, since the 20th & 21st century world is getting accustomed to “big” events (like the current COVID-19 pandemic), it would be timely to provide just a handful of interesting tidbits about the greatest military enterprise of the largest (global) war in the annals of history… D-Day of World War II.

Most military experts agree that D-Day was the trigger-point (pun intended) for the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. Which was more destructive and deadly than the War in the Pacific (Japan as the enemy of the Allies). Other pundits cite the Battle of Stalingrad, in which Russia turned the tide against the Germans on the Eastern front as the main turning point. My own opinion: It was a relatively equal measure of both events; however, the Allied invasion of western Europe dealt a crushing blow to Hitler’s Third Reich, from which it never recovered.

  • D-Day (June 6th) launched the Battle of Normandy, codenamed Operation Overlord, and lasted through most of August 1944.
  • Under Supreme Commander, Dwight Eisenhower, some 156,000 Allied forces (primarily Americans, British, Canadian) landed on five separate beaches along a 50-mile swath of France’s Normandy region coastline.
  • Though bitter fighting ensued, particularly on Omaha beach (Americans), the Allies were able to capture and control the beaches in a relatively short time. In part because the Germans were convinced the Allied invasion would take place at Pas-de-Calais (France).
  • There were an incredible 5,333 Allied ships involved in the invasion, with an even more astonishing number of aircraft (11,000+) to provide air cover and support.
  • By the end of June, about 850,000 Allied troops and 150,000 vehicles were moving across France toward Germany. By the end of August, Paris had been liberated. The following spring, Germany surrendered to the Allies (May 8, 1945).

To this day, what the “D” in D-Day signifies is still debated. The most accepted meaning is that D stands for “day.” Which results in some redundancy. However, if you concede that the “D” means (is emphasizing) The Day or That Day, then it makes more sense. Just like “H” stood for hour. (The hour/day that it all begins).

Another application is that the D in D-Day stands for debarkation or disembarkation. Which are synonyms for arrival or landing … going ashore. And there was a whole lot of that taking place on June 6th, 1944.

(One of many Normandy D-Day Photos)

My personal favorite is that the D stands for “Decision.” As in Decision-Day or Day of Decision. That seems to fit best with the ultimate success of D-Day; to historically qualify it as the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

And it certainly correlates with these last days, end-times Armageddon passages as a transition to the rest of this week’s article:

“Sound the trumpet in Jerusalem! Raise the alarm 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 2:1-2a).

“Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the Lord, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.

“Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:12-16, emphasis added).

Several hundred years later, another prophet (John) wrote even more extensively about the Great Tribulation than did Old Testament prophets, sometimes with similar imagery. And just as, if not more, graphic:

“After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, ‘Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment. So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and the blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle” (Revelation 14:17-20).

That will be D-Day (Battle of Armageddon … Day of Decision) of the Great Tribulation: the beginning of the end for the rulers/armies of this world, including Antichrist and his coalition.

Which begins with Messiah Jesus descending from heaven whose name is, “…Faithful and True for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war … From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations … King of all kings and Lord of all lords” (Revelation 19:11-16).

The resounding result:

“…Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies” (Revelation 19:20-21).

The most recent Eye of Prophecy articles (two parts) were entitled COVID-19 / Just Another Plague? (Posted May 9th & May 23rd, 2020). Both contained up-to-date statistics of cases and deaths.

Here are the figures as of today:

United States Cases: 1,965,912 (2 weeks ago – 1,577,758)

United States Death: 111,394 (2 weeks ago – 95,971)

Global Cases: 6,871,728 (2 weeks ago – 5.3 million)

Global Death: 398,663 (2 weeks ago – 338,480)

(An all too familiar global scene)

Who knows what the final count will be? But if we look at what’s happening as a wake-up call from the true and living God (of the Bible), then it behooves us to once again examine the Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, revised numbers and all.

If for no other reason, than the eventual COVID-19 casualty count will be the proverbial “drop in the bucket” compared to the Great Tribulation. For that matter, so are the combined fatalities of both World Wars no more than a couple of drops in a (large) bucket of water.

World at War

Beginning with the following excerpt from the article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (in italics):

World War I was nicknamed, The Great War. For two primary reasons: (1) it truly was the First World War, involving multiple nations that formed two main coalitions, one against the other. Never in the history of mankind had such a war been waged with such modern and massive weaponry, with unequaled destruction and cruelty, including the use of poisonous gas. (2) The atrocious death toll: A total of nearly 17,000,000 deaths, military and civilian … in just 4-5 years of fighting. Unheard of … an impossible number to consider (at the time).

It was also labeled, The War to End All Wars; because it was simply inconceivable that the nature of man would ever again harbor such hatred, let alone express (act on) this hostility knowing what another world-wide war could do to the human race. The staggering loss of life and ongoing suffering of millions more wounded would preempt any notion of another world war. The League of Nations was formed to ensure that this was the War to End All Wars.

Alas! Apart from God and his salvation, humanity doesn’t grasp nor really wants to come to terms with just how evil people can be. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The answer to that question is all too experientially evident … meaning it’s bad. Some worse than others, but bad is bad. Which is why there will never, I repeat sadly—never be peace on this earth until the Prince of Peace returns to make all things right.

Incomprehensibly, in less than thirty years, another World War began and ended, with unimaginable bloodshed. Moreover, the conclusion to that war was apocalyptic in scope … the atomic bomb. Japanese casualties in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, indeed, horrific, but all the experts agree: Not only would American casualties have been extraordinarily high (hundreds of thousands) but also the Japanese would have suffered even more deaths and injuries from protracted American assaults on the shores of Japan.

In that article, I went on to present some of the staggering number of casualties in World War II. As follows:

Heads of state and people the world over were appalled at the shocking scale of fatalities and injuries inflicted during the Great War. Yet, the deplorable death and repulsive ruin of the First World War pale in comparison to World War II. Though the numbers vary, a fairly reliable figure places the total number of dead at 72,468,900….

Absolutely staggering! Over four times the number of dead in The War to End All Wars. It borders on the unbelievable. The number exceeds the population of most nations of the earth. As gut-wrenching as it was to lose nearly 405,000 Americans in this devastating war, that was only slightly more than 1/2 of 1% of the total fatality count.

It wasn’t just the stunning scope of World War II compared to the First World War; it was also the detestable increase in civilian casualties that shocked the sensibility and scarred the psyche of the whole world. It does not matter that reasons can be provided for such carnage. For example: indiscriminate bombing by the Axis powers, carpet bombing by the Allies, slaughter of a vast number of Chinese civilians by the Japanese, and, of course, the horrendous extermination of some 11,000,000 non-combatants by the Nazis, six million of whom were Jews.

Of the approximate 17 million killed in the First World War, only 5% were civilians. The ugly fact of WWII is that civilians comprised 67% of the 72+ million killed. With regard to the Axis powers, particularly Germany and Japan, killing of civilians was often deliberate, disgraceful, dreadful, and depraved (diabolical if you will) and was sometimes done after they conquered a territory, or nation, or ethnic group. With respect to the Allied nations, civilian casualties were mostly inadvertent because the enemy had refused to surrender even when it became clear that neither Germany nor Japan could win the war. War is war, and War is Hell, but the treatment of enemy civilians partly defines the difference between waging war justly and unjustly. Still, the loss of so many civilians was poignantly tragic in the Second World War.

Tens of millions more (civilians) were murdered in the Soviet Union and China during the perverse purges of their Communist dictators, Joseph Stalin and Mao tse-tung, respectively. It would take another World War to match these appalling body counts. There will be such a war. It will reach its conclusion in the valley of decision.

(The valley is part of the Jezreel Valley in Israel. I’ve stood on Har Megiddo–which means hill or Mt. Megiddo that gives a panoramic view of this immense valley. From Har Megiddo, we get Armageddon)

Even more incomprehensible: Before World War III, in which Antichrist Nero and his ten-nation coalition suddenly unites with his enemies (Eastern nations, headed by China) to dare take on the King of kings, Messiah Jesus, Planet Earth will undergo a series of cataclysmic catastrophes unparalleled in human history. Consequently, the combined death count of both World Wars—in fact, all wars, and epidemics of at least the last two millennia—will not begin to rival the loss of life during the horrendous seven-year Tribulation.

How bad will it be?

“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, words of Jesus Christ).

Numbers that we simply cannot wrap our minds around. Numbers so great that they are indigestible … mentally, emotionally, and physically. The enormity of which could/should make us sick to our stomach. Not unlike the author of Revelation, John, who savored the pleasant taste of the scroll in his mouth, but which turned sour in his stomach while digesting it. (Revelation Chapter 10). This occurred with one Trumpet and all seven Bowl judgments remaining. The scroll tasted good because it represented God’s final plan to eliminate all war and evil, a plan that was approaching its awesome conclusion and fulfillment. But the scroll was bitter to digest because of the countless number of deaths and extreme desolation still to come.

Revisiting the Numbers as Foretold in the Book of Revelation

This section is extracted from Eye of Prophecy articles mentioned earlier in this week’s post, without direct excerpts or quotes.

Instead, there will be revisions based on the current population of the world at 7.8 billion (7.3 billion in 2015 when Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation was published).

If the Rapture were to occur today, it is feasible that one out of every seven people on the earth would be taken … in deference to the divine implication and consequential meaning of the number seven. I realize this is speculation (1 of 7), but it is what we might consider as sanctified speculation! The Bible is replete with the number seven, especially the book of Revelation. This number bears tremendous significance in Scripture, no more so than during the last days of the end times.

The 1 in 7 would include children of believers under the age of innocence. If you haven’t yet (or if you have, to refresh your memory), I would encourage you to read the first five articles published in the Eye of Prophecy website nearly seven years ago, on the What, Why, When, Who, and How of the Rapture. The fourth article on the Who of the Rapture provides Scripture, rationale, and commentary to support the premise that some children will be taken, and some left behind at the Rapture.

A more recent article provides even more details, entitled: Will All Children Be Taken in The Rapture? (Posted 2-23-19)

Let’s do the math: 14.3% (1 in 7 people) x 7.8 billion =s 1.12 billion … 1 billion, 120 million gone in the Rapture.

Thus, approximately 6.7 billion people would be left behind. The 1.12 billion (believers in Messiah Jesus) who were transfigured and transported to heaven is a substantial sum; enough to create instant confusion, chaos, and consternation throughout the earth.

Now for some facts and figures that are infinitely incomprehensible. They defy the definable; they annul the ascertainable; they cancel the conceivable.

Beginning with: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Each horse/rider is a symbolic representation of the horrible reality that the earth will experience soon after the Rapture. They are the first four of the seven seals broken by Messiah Jesus early in the seven-year Tribulation. When Christ breaks the seals, it is effectively a release (God’s permission for this great time of anguish to begin) of the nations of the earth to begin a conflict—a prelude to World War III, culminating in the greatest and most decisive battle of all time … Armageddon.

In order, the four horses and their riders represent Conquest—beginning with peace, but the kind of cold-war peace (in our time) that erupted in World War II, e.g. Chamberlain’s pathetic agreement with Hitler. War and great slaughter. Famine of epic proportions. Then finally: Death itself from all sources, including plagues, that cause people to perish in large numbers.

The dreadful consequence: “When the Lamb broke the fourth seal … I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals” (Revelation 6:7-8, italics for emphasis).

Death and the Grave, a composite of the first three horsemen, accomplish their appalling agendas … massive death by war, famine, disease, and even by the animal kingdom. What is the sickening outcome? One-fourth of the world’s population will die.

The (awful) calculations: 25% x 6.7 billion people left behind =s 1.7 billion (rounded off) dead on this planet. Which leaves roughly 5 billion survivors. Thus, more people will die in a relatively short time than those taken in the Rapture.

Just a brief pause here for an excerpt before we continue with the staggering death toll that will ravage the earth in just seven-years’ time. The following is from the 2nd of two Eye of Prophecy articles earlier identified … Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing & Purpose:

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.

Continuing with that article, regarding the first four seals (Horsemen of the Apocalypse):

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).

As calculated in that article, the approximate duration of the first four seals will be the first year and a half of the Tribulation.

More from that article:

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).

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 … 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.

More Shocking Numbers During the Seven Trumpet Judgments

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 providentially imposed by the Lord, each involves heavenly bodies and earthly elements, i.e. supernatural sentence through (extraordinary) natural disasters. What many have labeled for centuries as, “The Wrath of God.”

Although we are certainly beyond the beginning phase of the Great Tribulation, it’s far from over.

The next huge loss of life is from a different source of terror, with the four horsemen depicting death and destruction at the hands of man, himself. The 6th trumpet signals another exponential increase in death and destruction and is the second of three “terrors” trumpeted by God’s angels (5th, 6th, & 7th trumpets).

“And the voice said to the sixth angel who held the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great Euphrates River.’ 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 9:14-16, italics for emphasis).

I and several other Bible prophecy scholars believe that these “mounted troops” (which is a natural expression to describe what are otherwise supernatural beings) are fallen angels or demons—as they are led by four angels who had been restrained and then released just for this purpose, at a very specific time during the Great Tribulation. How ironic that there are four of these evil angels, to rival the number of the four horsemen, which represent men and nations. In other words, demonic angels—those who are part of Satan’s rebellious kingdom—themselves will be released and given permission by God to wreak havoc and death on the earth. How many will they kill?

One-Third! This is a higher percentage than died during the onslaught of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

We must continue with these cruel computations, as there is no sugar-coating the statistics when it comes to the carnage that will be the global norm during the Great Tribulation.

Recall that there were about 5 billion left on the earth after the first four seal judgments. Thus, 1/3 x 5 billion =s 1.65 billion killed. This Satanic army will slay a higher percentage than the four horsemen; however, about the same number will die, 1.6 to 1.7 billion. But only because there will be fewer people left on earth when the demonic hordes began their killing spree.

How many people are left? The alarming figures show us that there are now only 3.35 billion (3 billion, 350 million) souls left on planet earth.

The numbers are shocking! Approximately 50% of the earth’s post-Rapture population from virtually every nation on earth, dying by the end of seven seal and six trumpet judgments—which will be just a little over halfway through the Great Tribulation. Try this exercise: Line up and lean three billion, three hundred fifty million dominos one against another, and see how long the line is. Hint: Think circumference of the earth at the Equator which is 24,901.5 miles. Then push the first one and see how long it takes for all of them to fall.

Or test your cognitive capability, your endurance, and your patience by counting to 3.4 billion. How long before you give up? If you don’t give up counting, how long would it take you, counting one number per second? If my math is correct, I’ll tell you how long: Too long! Seriously, it would literally take (more than) a lifetime: 102+ years!

And these are people … not dominoes or dollars or seconds.

What a titanic tragedy the Tribulation will be.

The fatalities of the American Civil War plus all wars of the 20th & 21st centuries (including both World Wars) has not reached 100 million. And that number is a mere 3% of the 3.4 billion people who will perish in just a little over 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation.

The Seven Bowl Judgments

Although not quite to the point where the Antichrist and his followers haven’t seen anything yet, it’s close to that, because the final seven catastrophes are unimaginable, especially the last one. Moreover, they are directed almost exclusively against Antichrist’s coalition—but also towards his enemies … other unbelievers.

For example, the 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, 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 (Revelation 13:16).

And the fourth bowl: “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 the ultimate solar flare!

Astounding! Not only do they not say, “Okay, Lord, we’ve had enough. We’re sorry. Please save us.” Now they begin cursing God.

The Grand Finale … Seventh Bowl Judgment

Here is a quote from Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation:

Although all 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 firework 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, incredible! Not just cities all over the earth crumbling into rubble, or islands—think of the Hawaiian Islands—completely disappearing (giant tsunamis that not only inundate but sink the islands), but also all the earth’s mountains flattened into high or low plains.

Deferring again to the number seven: It’s entirely plausible that only 1 to 1 ½ billion people will be left on planet earth by the time the Tribulation comes to an end. It would be like preparing for the Tribulation by lining seven people up at a time, and telling them, “Sorry, but six of you are not going to make it.” (Starting with roughly 6.7 billion after the Rapture)

A reasonable conclusion: If you are going to die (or live), then why not die (or live) for Christ, instead of Antichrist or yourself? One leads to everlasting life, the other to eternal death.

Things to Ponder

In keeping with this week’s revised revisit of the two identified articles, the following is a modified excerpt from one of those articles:

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 is symmetry in that apportionment alone. Now let’s 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.

There’s an 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 (Revelation 9:1-12, which is the 5th Trumpet and 1st “terror” judgment).

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 reference to Daniel Chapter 12, there is an additional 75 days (2 ½ months) at the end of the Tribulation (time/space does not 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. It is not a singular 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).

Please take stock of eternity … such a long time! Compared to such a short time on this earth.

To repent simply means a change of mind and heart toward Messiah Jesus, by believing and receiving him as your personal Savior.

“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).

COVID-19 / Just Another Plague? (Part II)

Eye of Prophecy is back with the second and final post on the subject that has dramatically dominated headlines and adversely affected people’s lives all over the world.

So radically that it has been compared to the upheaval experienced during the last global event … World War II.

The previous article concentrated on the characteristics and consequences of the first pandemic since the Spanish Flu struck in 1918. With COVID-19 on an even greater global scale in terms of the lightening-quick spread of this highly contagious and insidiously infectious disease. One that can (and has in great numbers) be transmitted even by those who have no symptoms whatsoever.

As said in the prior post: it is a plague not playing by the rules; it’s a game-changer and a game-stopper (no sports for the foreseeable future). So much so that many pandemic pundits are predicting that there will be a “new normal” in people’s lives the world over.

Will I ever get to hug my five grandchildren again?

Two weeks ago (May 9, 2020) when Part I of this two-part series was posted, the numbers were: 3.9 million people from 212 countries diagnosed with the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19. With a global body count of 274,655.

In the United States the count was 1.3 million infections, higher than any nation, including China and India the most populated countries on earth. At 4.24% of the world’s population, the U.S. coronavirus related fatalities of 78,200 (two weeks ago) represented 29% of world-wide deaths from this dreadful disease.

At time of today’s post, the numbers are: 5.3 million cases worldwide … a 36% increase in just two weeks. Global deaths have risen to 338,480 … a 23% increase.

(Shows current cases in the United States, compared to other countries. Latest death count in the U.S. is 95,971)

This week’s article will shift gears just a bit and delve more deeply into if and how COVID-19 fits with Biblical calamities. Whether it is a direct judgment from God or perhaps just a warning … albeit one that could reach Biblical proportions.

But first, an excerpt from the latter part of the previous post (in italics):

In preparation for the Part II sequel to this week’s post, I will propose a premise as to where the COVID-19 pandemic falls within the framework of God’s sovereignty over all things. To, in that next article, provide Scriptural case studies to support this premise, including examples of when God causes a disaster, or when he just allows it, or when he does neither. To conceivably find some answers to the questions posed earlier.

…The Bible provides compelling evidence to demonstrate that there is a difference between ordinary natural disasters and those that are extraordinary … supernatural.

Premise: The Lord did not cause (initiate) this virus, but he permitted it to spread … as opposed to divinely intervening to stop it sooner. The purpose of which is to prepare … the world for the soon-to-come Great Tribulation in which the Wrath of God will be poured out on a global scale for the second and final time in human history. That and man-made carnage which will result in death and devastation, including economic, that far (beyond measurement) exceeds the impact of COVID-19.

Thus, without forecasting the severity of the numbers, this pandemic will subside with infections and fatalities less than most models predict.

Disclaimer: The last part of the premise is by no means a prediction. I am not a prophet. Rather, it is an opinion; albeit it one that relies heavily, if not exclusively, on the principles and parallels of Scripture concerning natural disasters and diseases (plagues).

Two of the questions posed in the prior article, each one somewhat rhetorical, were:

Did God merely allow this pandemic, or did he send it? Meaning, is it simply a warning or is it a judgment? Is there even a difference between the two, considering God’s ultimate sovereignty?

Is this global epidemic, in fact, a wake-up call from God to get our attention? A preview of and preparation for coming attractions? In which His sovereignty will be on universal display….

Natural or Supernatural?

Concerning the “extraordinary” (supernatural) disasters, including plagues and famines, we will examine the Lord’s occasional divine intervention in the lives of his people to accomplish his plans and purposes for them. That God uses extraordinary events to either deliver his people or discipline them. We will look at a few Biblical examples that fit this “supernatural” criteria.

As opposed to ordinary (natural) disasters—both geological and biological—that are (as stated in the previous post), a direct result of the loss of the earth’s original perfection found in and represented by the Garden of Eden?

(The perfect Garden of Eden, part of an unblemished earth. Now, an earth that is imperfect and flawed)

Continuing with that excerpt (in italics):

With the Biblically based premise that supernatural entails God’s sovereignty which may use something natural but with divine design and direction, i.e. providential purpose.

In contrast to a natural (event) absent divine control or intervention. Meaning that God is not in it, as such.

Consequently, when some (I would propose most) disasters strike us, they are not caused by the Lord … because he has already permitted nature to periodically alter its normal activity, hence natural disasters. Which, then, are a direct result of the monumental geological and geophysical changes the earth has undergone since the Great Flood of Noah’s time, i.e. earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes.

This also includes, both before and after Noah’s flood, the progressive and devastating biological consequences of our original parent’s original sin … diseases that affect animals and people alike.

Thus, some disasters are an ordinary feature of life, just as death is a natural part of life. Others are supernaturally initiated by God or allowed to intensify.

Said God to King Solomon and all Israel: “At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore (heal) their land” (II Chronicles 7:13-14, emphasis added).

The meaning and repercussions of the first four words of this passage are crystal clear. There are times when the Lord causes (sends) droughts, crop failures, and diseases. And there are times when he does not, but they happen anyway. Moreover, these examples are just three of several types of disasters, including geological disturbances, e.g. earthquakes.

Based on that verse alone (there are others like it) plus Biblical precedents and principles of God’s sovereignty and supernatural direction in some ways we can understand and other ways we simply cannot grasp, there are four basic explanations (dynamics) for geological and biological calamities. If you like, feel free to come up with more, less, or different ones than these. With, however, an understanding that supernatural or extraordinary entails that which is above and beyond; at the very least exceeding the natural/normal in scope and severity.

A. God’s Supernatural Intervention to Deliver/Protect Israel & the Jews From Their Enemies

B. God’s Supernatural Intervention to Discipline His Chosen People, Individually and Nationally, Thereby Rescuing Them from Themselves & Fulfilling Their Destiny

C. God’s Hands-Off Allowance of Nature to Continue Its Progressive Deterioration, via “Natural” Geological and Biological Calamities

D. God’s Warning to Believers and Unbelievers of Catastrophic Judgments, Through Bible Prophets, His Written Word, and/or Allowing Otherwise Natural Adversities to Intensify

We will look at examples in each of these categories along with some pertinent commentary; to see if COVID-19, indeed, fits into Category D, as suggested by the previously stated premise, partially repeated as follows:

The Lord did not cause (initiate) this virus, but he permitted it to spread … as opposed to divinely intervening to stop it sooner. The purpose of which is to prepare (warning, not a judgment) the world for the soon-to-come Great Tribulation….

(A) God’s Supernatural Intervention to Deliver/Protect Israel & the Jews From Their Enemies

Although most of Israel’s ancient victories required that the Jews fight in battle, Scripture is clear that when the Lord was on their side, they were invincible.

This dynamic was again on display after Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948, via their astonishing triumphs against all odds in that War of Independence; the Suez War of 1956; the Six-Day War of 1967; and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. There are several accounts of supernatural events that enabled the Jews to win strategic battles of those wars. Indeed, God was on their side. Which should not be at all surprising because there are hundreds of prophecies regarding the Jews return to Israel, Israel’s rebirth as a nation, and God’s renewed protection of Israel during the last days of the end times in preparation for her national restoration and redemption.

Such as:

Two of the following three examples in this category are those of God’s deliverance of his people without the Jews needing to lift a finger. Which also will be the case shortly after the Rapture (during the early months of the Great Tribulation) when God will unilaterally and supernaturally vanquish the Gog/Magog coalition—spearheaded by Russia, Iran, and Turkey—when they invade Israel.

(1) Defeat of an Entire Army: This incredible incident occurred in 701 B.C. during the reign of Israel’s King Hezekiah. It is found in II Kings 18 & 19; II Chronicles 32; and Isaiah Chapters 36 & 37.

The mighty nation of Assyria had already conquered the ten northern tribes of Israel (722 B.C.) and had now invaded the southern kingdom of Judah. King Sennacherib led the Assyrian army which had defeated several cities in Judah and were on the verge of attacking Jerusalem with a vastly superior military. Sennacherib was so confident of victory that he sent his chief of staff to goad (humiliate) the Jews into surrender. Not only the Jews, the Assyrian king also taunted the true and living God. Big mistake!

King Hezekiah pleaded for help through God’s prophet Isaiah and directly to God by prayer. In response, the Lord told Isaiah that the Assyrian armies would not even enter Jerusalem, let alone destroy it. Do you remember what happened next?

“That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there” (Isaiah 37:36-37).

In the II Chronicles account, we read: “And the Lord sent an angel (just one angel is all it took) who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers… This was how the Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. So there was peace throughout the land.” (II Chronicles 32:21-22, parenthesis mine).

It is highly unlikely that the angel killed so many soldiers with a sword. That would have awakened many of their comrades plus taking much more time than just overnight. Instead, the implication is that the angel slew so many in their sleep by a deadly plague that began and ended all in one night. The survivors were not even aware of what happened until they awoke!

(2) Demolition of an Entire City: Even many unbelievers know the Biblical account of Joshua and the walls of Jericho; the mighty walls of Jericho came crashing down, allowing the Jews to easily defeat their enemies. The only thing required of the Israelites was for the fighting men and seven priests to obey the Lord by marching around the city for seven days with the Ark of the Covenant, while blowing shofars (seven times on the seventh day). To then trust the Lord to give them victory.

Although there was no plague involved in this supernatural event, the miraculous collapse of the entire perimeter wall surrounding Jericho was akin to what happens during an earthquake. But in this case with divine direction and supernatural intervention at precisely the time called for by the Lord.

“When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords….” (Joshua 6:20-21).

Although it was necessary for the Jews to finish the fight, it is obvious that the defenders of Jericho were already stunned and demoralized at the sight of their impenetrable walls tumbling down.

(3) Destruction of an Entire Nation: Recorded in Exodus Chapters 5-12. Who has not heard (at least something) about one of the greatest (series of) events of all time: God’s deliverance of his people from hundreds of years of Egyptian bondage? Commonly referred to as The Exodus.

Which was accomplished through the Ten Plagues against Egypt that decimated the land—crops, livestock, and people. Beginning with God (through Moses and Aaron) turning the Nile River to blood. With the grand finale that of the first-born son of every Egyptian family, including the arrogant and defiant Pharaoh, mysteriously killed by an angel of death.

Some have tried to explain away the divine (supernatural) origin of the first nine plagues by pointing out the “natural” disaster potentially inherent in each one; although the entire Nile river becoming blood instantly is considerably beyond natural or normal causes or explanations.

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

Same thing with the fifth plague in which the domestic animals in Egypt (horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats) were killed by a deadly plague, that didn’t touch the livestock of the Israelites. There was no natural explanation for this. It was clearly a God-thing. Likewise, with the 6th plague of festering boils that struck only the Egyptians while sparing the Hebrews.

Even God’s use of frogs, gnats, flies, hail, and locusts was immensely greater (in terms of scope and severity) than any normal disaster of that kind and quantity before or since these plagues against Egypt. Plus, the fact that they started and stopped at Moses’s command—as he was given the power and authority by God to do so!

Commentary

It’s obvious that each of these divinely orchestrated events were supernatural in origin. They were God’s judgments against Gentile nations to either deliver his chosen people or to protect them after they entered the Promised Land as the nation of Israel. There are other Biblical and post-Biblical incidents in history to demonstrate that from time to time disasters (geological or biological or through warfare) are judgments from God against Gentile nations whose national defiance of God included persecution of the Jews.

There are also incidents since Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948 of natural disasters (such as hurricanes) striking countries, including the United States, at about the same time that unfavorable decisions/actions were handed down against Israel.

Make no mistake: God is once again actively protecting Israel in preparation for the final restoration of the Promised Land and final redemption of God’s chosen people the Jews.

“And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:26)

Thus, COVID-19 should not be considered as a plague “sent” (initiated) by the Lord as judgment. As it has also affected Israelis, albeit with a much lower (proportion to population) infection and death rate than most nations on earth. On the other hand, it has disproportionally killed Jews in New York City, particularly the Orthodox among them. Consequently, there seems to be some divine protection going on in/with Israel as a nation.

(B) God’s Supernatural Intervention to Discipline His Chosen People, Individually and Nationally, Thereby Rescuing Them from Themselves & Fulfilling Their Destiny

The greatest and longest-lasting periods of discipline in Israel’s mostly painful history was a result of the Lord withdrawing his protection of his people; thereby, allowing Gentile nations to conquer Israel and even to exile them from the Promised Land. Before, between, and after those periods, God “sent” geological and biological scourges against Israel that were less serious than eviction from the Promised Land; nonetheless severe. This was particularly true during the times of the Judges. Although those events could be considered judgment, the more accurate concept clarified by the Bible is that of God’s discipline of Israel, as a Father disciplines his children … out of love and concern for their ultimate welfare and destiny. Indeed, God called Israel both son and daughter at various times.

Although God’s discipline of Israel (Jews) was harsh at times, it was still different than the heavy, sometimes total, punishment of Gentile nations for their mistreatment of His people—even the ones that God used to punish Israel, i.e. Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Roman Empire. No matter the degree of the Lord’s discipline of Israel, he has always preserved a remnant—by and large those faithful to him. For the providential purpose of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus one day ruling and reigning from Jerusalem, Israel as the physical and spiritual center of Planet Earth.

Here is one of many verses that splendidly portrays the Millennial Reign of Messiah.

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

In the context of COVID-19, let’s briefly look at three examples from Scripture regarding God’s discipline of Israel via geological or biological incidents involving an individual, a group, and then all Israel.

Discipline of an Individual: In Numbers Chapter 12, we read the story of Moses’s sister, Miriam whom the Lord struck with leprosy, instantly. Though Miriam was devoted to God and to her brother Moses (God’s servant), she and their brother Aaron made the mistake of unreasonably criticizing Moses for marrying a Gentile woman. With an even more serious mistake of unjustly accusing Moses of monopolizing access to and contact with God.

“They said, ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?’ But the Lord heard them” (Numbers 12:2).

After Aaron confessed his and Miriam’s sin (essentially that of pride and jealousy, plus questioning God’s choice to speak directly to and through Moses), he and Moses pleaded with the Lord to heal Miriam. Which God did, but only after Miriam was banished from camp for seven days. During that time, the entire nation of Israel waited for her to recover before they continued their journey.

Discipline of a Group: Also found in the book of Numbers during Israel’s 40-year trek to the Promised Land. As with Miriam and Aaron, there was envy in the camp that God led them only through Moses. But this resentment was about to become a revolt against Moses that even included contempt for God in not allowing some of them more power and authority.

“One day Korah … conspired with Dathan and Abiram… They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. They united against Moses and Aaron…” (Numbers 16:1-3a).

Hugh mistake! One of many grumblings and mumblings against Moses and even against the Lord, made by some of the people all the time and by all the people some of the time.

Immediately after Moses predicted what would happen if the Lord did not support him as the chief chosen leader, exactly what Moses said would transpire did:

“He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men (Korah, Dathan and their families), along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned… The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel… Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense” (Numbers 16:31-35, parenthesis mine).

Discipline of Israel as a Nation: Even mighty King David (a man after God’s own heart) of Israel’s glory years sinned against the Lord and not just with Bathsheba. Late in his life David ordered a totally unnecessary census to be taken of Israel’s population. His motive was a combination of pride in his accomplishments and an implied lack of trust in the Lord to defend Israel. David wanted to know how many “capable warriors in Israel who could handle a sword” (II Samuel 24:9) there were.

The passage tells us that God was already angry with Israel. When David realized that what he had done was a sin (that of pride) against the Lord, he immediately confessed it. But there was still discipline that must be administered. Through the prophet Gad, the Lord even gave King David a choice of three punishments: “…Will you choose three years of famine throughout your land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout your land? Think this over and decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.” (II Samuel 24:13).

David chose the plague with a good motive, “…But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands” (II Samuel 24:14).

On the other hand, when 70,000 people in Israel died in less than 3 days, David realized that his choice wasn’t the least severe after all. He pleaded with God to end the massive death count. Which God, in his mercy, did.

Commentary: Scripture shows us that anytime God chastised Israel either partially or totally, it served two primary purposes. One is an object lesson from which others can learn. Second is to restore and return Israel to the Lord their God. To also note that when God disciplined Israel, the punishment did not include surrounding Gentile nations. Thus, once again, the COVID-19 pandemic is not God’s punishment (discipline) of Israel, as both Jew and Gentile have been affected world-wide.

(C) God’s Hands-Off Allowance of Nature to Continue Its Gradual Deterioration, via “Natural” Geological and Biological Calamities

Many argue (particularly unbelievers but also some Christians) that all geological and biological calamities—famines, epidemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the like—are “natural disasters”, because they are simply part of nature. That they are not divinely directed or providentially planned as such. And I would agree that most calamities are, indeed, part of nature’s gradual decline to the extent that we are experiencing more catastrophes on a regular basis greater in severity than ever before. Particularly in the last 100 years or so.

The Bible clearly supports this option as one of the four dynamics or paradigms … meaning that God is “not in” every natural calamity. Neither, however, does that state or even suggest that God does not “send” plagues and such things on select occasions, as we saw in the first two models.

In this Section C, we’re going to look at three back to back “natural disasters” that the Lord created, but for the unusual reason to show Elijah that he didn’t cause them to get Elijah’s attention. Moreover, had there not been this object lesson, the three events would have been exclusively “natural.”

Instead, the Lord captured Elijah’s attention with a “gentle whisper.” Meaning that some (probably most) calamities happen normally and naturally as part of creation’s abnormalities because of mankind’s fall. That God does not cause/create them either as a judgment or a warning. But as we will see in Section D, God does specifically allow certain disasters to increase in scope and severity, which is what’s happening with COVID-19.

Do you remember the entire episode? Elijah had just won a great victory over King Ahab and Queen Jezebel’s false prophets on Mount Carmel in northwest Israel. Soon afterward, God sent rain after 3 ½ years of drought/famine in Israel—a direct discipline of Israel because virtually the entire population had left the Lord to worship Baal. Then Jezebel put out an all-points bulletin for Elijah to be captured and killed for what he did to her (bogus) prophets.

Elijah ran for his life, all the way to Beersheba in southcentral Israel. Then later walked to Mount Sinai, about 200 miles away. There God met with him.

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain, the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper… And a voice said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (I Kings 19:11-13).

(Depiction of Elijah on Mt. Sinai)

Commentary: God is clearly showing Elijah that he doesn’t always (in fact, seldom) cause natural disasters. That is even more true after the Canon of the Bible was completed with the last book of the New Testament … Revelation. Since then, God “speaks” primarily through his Word, the Bible. There’s not nearly as much need for the Lord to get our attention (warning) via nature as he did more often in Biblical times, when much of even the Old Testament wasn’t yet available to the people. The exception being the Torah (first five books) which, unfortunately, Israel time and time again violated and/or ignored. And when they did, they suffered the discipline that God specifically detailed through Moses.

Thus, as God told King Solomon (who knew all about the plague in Israel after his father’s ill-advised census), “At times, I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you” (II Chronicles 7:13).

Elijah knew all about God’s power to shut up the skies, “so that no rain falls.” He himself prayed to God for that to happen, and God answered his prayer.

On the other hand, God is showing/telling Elijah that sometimes he does supernaturally cause or expand otherwise “natural” events to get his point across. That even though the Lord caused the (rapid) succession of a mighty storm, earthquake, and fire, he was not in them. That it was up to Elijah to wait for and then listen to God. Who simply asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?”

With the obvious implication that the Lord still had work for Elijah to do. That Elijah needed to get back to total trust in and service for God. Which is exactly what happened.

(D) God’s Warning to Both Believers and Unbelievers of Catastrophic Judgment to Come, Through Bible Prophets, His Written Word, and/or Allowing Otherwise Natural Adversities to Intensify

For the following reasons (there are others), I am convinced that the COVID-19 is a plague of warning—to prepare for judgment, not judgment itself.

(1) Still Waiting For the Rapture: At the time of this article’s posting, the Rapture has not yet occurred. Which means that the COVID-19 pandemic is not one of the Seal, Trumpet, or Bowl calamities (to come). During the Great Tribulation, there will be one judgment of God after another. Other than Noah’s flood, most of them will be more devastating than any single disaster experienced by mankind prior to the outset of the Great Tribulation. The exception could be the bubonic plague of the 14th century.

However, the cumulative effect of the Seal, Trumpet, and Bowl Judgments graphically depicted in the book of Revelation will dwarf all pre-Tribulation natural disasters and plagues. That includes the Covid-19 Pandemic. The very fact that the Rapture has not occurred means that this global virus—as devastating as it has and (for a while) will continue to be—will fall far short of the death and destruction during the Great Tribulation.

(2) Comparisons/Contrasts: The ten plagues of Egypt were plainly supernatural (from the Lord), directed specifically against Pharaoh and Egypt to deliver God’s people from bondage. Likewise, with God’s discipline of Israel after King David’s wrongly ordered census. Whereas the coronavirus is natural in origin, affecting those over 65 and/or those with pre-exiting medical conditions far more than other segments of the world’s population. Also, those with type A blood are more susceptible than type O blood. That’s all physical … natural. If it were divinely designed to punish everyone, everywhere, then far more young people would succumb to the disease. Thus, the Lord is allowing this coronavirus to serve as a warning, not a judgment.

(3) Precedents/Parallels in Scripture Still Applicable in Today’s World: There are highway digital signs (messages) all over my home state of Arizona, as I’m sure there are where you live. With words like, Help Stop Covid-19. Stay Home, Stay Healthy.

One unique feature of the COVID-19 pandemic is more than just coincidence. I am referring to the chief means of protection against this amazingly contagious disease. That of seeking shelter within one’s own home. It is a parallel to two major Biblical precedents in which there was a place of refuge for those who sought safety from the coming judgment.

The first example was the first time God judged the entire world … the Great Flood. It took Noah over 100 years to build an Ark that would provide refuge for Noah and his family and pairs of many animals. During this time of preparation, the entire world of Noah’s time had the opportunity to abandon the evil and violence that had clearly permeated the earth. They did not and God protected Noah and his family by sheltering them in the Ark.

The second major incident was the 10th (final) most devastating of God’s judgments against the Egyptians, which most know was the death of all firstborn males—both people and animals. With God’s provision to spare the Israelites from this same angel of death that of spreading the blood of a (Passover) lamb over the doorposts of each house. Plus, staying in one’s house throughout the night until this final plague had run its course.

(Passover … Pesach in Hebrew)

In the comparative context of these examples that involve warnings to both believers and unbelievers (to get ready), COVID-19 is a tune-up; a preview of coming attractions that will be anything but attractive.

(4) Condition of the World Just Prior to the Rapture: Another reason why COVID-19 is a warning and not a judgment from God comes directly from Jesus’s description of the dynamic activities of people all over the earth just before the Rapture occurs. Although there will continue to be an increase in natural disasters (geological) and plagues (biological), the general overall situation or status will be:

“…like was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:37-39).

As we speak, the gloom and doom of COVID-19 is still overshadowing Planet Earth—despite governments of all levels lifting restrictions in varying degrees. However, this fear and uncertainty that goes with a (any) pandemic, will not be what people are experiencing just before Jesus takes believers home to heaven to spare them from the Great Tribulation. It will be a time of “partying” the world over. Which, in turn, suggests that this corona epidemic will diminish even if it makes somewhat of a comeback soon.

Once again, this is NOT a prediction. It is simply a word picture based on Biblical precedents, principles, and parallels. To include specific Biblical prophecies about the shape of the world in these last days of the end times.

Things to Ponder

Sadly, despite many people on earth quarantined or sheltered to some extent or another, few will take the time to sit up and take stock of this pandemic. That maybe, just maybe, it will be God’s final warning, for the main reason that it is truly global in scale. Instead, as the coronavirus subsides in scope and severity, the world will party like never. Oblivious to God’s impending final judgment of a wicked and violent world.

Comparing the condition of the world just before the Rapture to Noah’s flood, when Jesus said that, “people didn’t realize what was going to happen” he didn’t mean that they were innocent or that God was unfair by doing something so catastrophically and suddenly. The people knew full well that God had warned them through Noah. God also warned Pharaoh and Egypt of the plagues, including the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons.

What Jesus was saying is that those left behind at the Rapture (all unbelievers) will fail to realize that what God said would happen will, indeed, happen. When God issues warnings like the coronavirus to get our attention, we best take heed and be reminded that Biblical prophecies ALWAYS come true … 100% of the time.

“So, you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42, words of Messiah Jesus).

I and many believers—both Jew and Gentile—are yearning for the magnificent return of Messiah Jesus to establish his Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace on this earth. A planet rampant with corruption, evil, and violence; ravaged by disasters, disease, and death.

While we watch, we must also wait upon the Lord, knowing that his plans are perfect. That for his people: “He causes all things to work together for good…” (Romans 8:28).

( Verses 12 & 13 read: “In those days, when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me”)

Many people feel things are out of control. They want direction. They want someone or government to tell them when all this will end and make everything better. They want certainty and reassurance.

There is a GPS that will get us through this pandemic, that will guide us through the uncertainty of a world that is teetering on the edge of the abyss.

That GPS is found in the Bible. God’s Plan of Salvation. Summed up in the most quoted verse in Scripture: “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).

Since we are spending more time in our homes than out there; and since we are doing a lot more waiting than ever, let’s ponder this:

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

COVID-19 / Just Another Plague?

Good to Be Back!

If you are a regular visitor to Eye of Prophecy website, then the absence of a new article for the months of March and April (2020) has been obvious.

Indeed, it is the longest period between articles since the inception of this blogsite in July 2013—with a new article every Saturday, uninterrupted, through July 2018. Since then, at least one post a month, usually two or more … until now.

And you would be correct in making a connection between this gap in Eye of Prophecy postings and the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, only partly.

Ironically, I did not write an article during March due to my own respiratory problems that resulted in a middle-of-the-night trip (acute shortness of breath) to the ER and a hospital stay of two days. Followed by a healthy dose of medications, then rest and recovery. Bad enough as it was, fortunately my ailment was NOT the coronavirus.

COVID-19 has caused physical, mental, and economic devastation on a global scale. But there are also other viruses out there—including the common flu—that can still wreak havoc with our health. Especially on the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, like COPD or diabetes. In my state of Arizona, nearly 80% of COVID-19 caused deaths are aged 65 or older. However, higher fatality figures among the elderly also apply (obviously) to many other causes, including pneumonia not caused by this strain of coronavirus.

But Oh, this Corona thing!

It was the primary reason why the lack of Eye of Prophecy articles continued throughout April.

I seriously didn’t want to write about it, mostly because so many others—both secular and religious—have commented on it. They have done so from a variety of vantage points and a wide variance of analysis and opinions. It has dominated news coverage longer and more intensely than anything else since 9/11.

Still, how could it not be the subject of my next (this) post.

Paradoxically, despite no articles posted recently, the number of visitors to Eye of Prophecy website have spiked significantly since this virus has seized the attention of the whole world. Undoubtedly, this is the case with other internet sites that specialize in Biblical prophecy. People all over this planet are looking for answers to questions that they never needed or even wanted to ask before now. And that includes Christians—both real and those in name only.

What in the world is going on?

Other than the obvious physical phenomenon and economic backlash of this distressing disease, why is this happening?

Or is there a why?

Nonetheless: If I were a visitor to this website, frequent or infrequent, I would expect the author to say something about this epidemic. One that has been officially designated as a pandemic (global). Is it a scourge or a plague in the Biblical sense? One that is already or will be before it’s over, considered a disease of “Biblical proportions.”

Thus, I am compelled to offer some commentary. To calculate and correlate from a Biblical perspective one of the most stunning (on-going) crisis since World War II. And before that: World War I and the Spanish flu that erupted toward the end of the “War to End All Wars” which killed millions more than the war did.

(1918 Spanish flu photo of policemen in Seattle, WA wearing masks, but not “social distancing” as such. Ironically, Seattle was the first city in America to experience multiple COVID-19 deaths).

World War II’s death count was simply unimaginable—some 70 million soldiers and civilians. It dwarfs even the projected loss of life from COVID-19. On the other hand, the current pandemic has interfered with our lifestyles on a truly global level that, in some ways and to some extent, rivals and even exceeds the life-altering conditions of World War II. Except, that is, for the horror of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were systematically murdered by Germany’s Third Reich. That was an appalling, unrivaled tragedy.

On the other, other hand, the mind-numbing numbers of World War II dead and wounded, especially the civilian count and displaced refugees, will absolutely pale in comparison to the death and destruction that will take place during the horrendous Great Tribulation over about the same period of time as World War II (seven years).

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (Posted June 6th, 2015).

Let’s take a cursory look at both the national (USA) and international statistics; then determine if we can answer some questions, including how much, if any, God may be in this pandemic.

Somber Statistics of The Coronavirus

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a).

Even many unbelievers are familiar with these famous words from King Solomon, which introduces a list of fourteen extremes that most people have experienced in their lifetime (unless they died an “untimely” death). Ending with, a time for war and a time for peace (verse 8).

Several, including some dignitaries and experts, have compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a war. In some ways, it is an apt comparison. Both war and epidemics result in death. And lives are disrupted by both. But with this pandemic that has paralyzed virtually every aspect of our daily lives to some degree or another, there’s no distinction between soldiers and civilians. Everyone is a soldier and everyone a civilian in this fight against an invisible enemy (to the naked eye).

(Yet another image of the Novel Coronavirus that produces COVID-19, abbreviation for “coronavirus disease” that began in 2019)

Solomon begins with the beginning: life itself … a time to be born. And ends with the reverse of life … a time to die. Death is unavoidable, a certainty for every living thing. But when is it (a) time to die? It’s evident that Solomon is emphasizing the normal cycle of life and death, after a person has lived a typical lifetime. In the one Psalm attributed to Moses, he defines this (generational) lifespan with some poignant commentary: “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

When a person dies young—or at least younger than we think they should have—we sometimes call it, “an untimely death.” Or, we might say: she died before her time. Yet, no matter the circumstances, dealing with death is always difficult. It is hard to lose a loved one; probably harder to think about and experience our own death. But there is something about death that arrests our attention more than any other time: when many people die in a relatively short amount of time from the same cause. How many casualties and over what period depends on the nature and extent of the event, i.e. war, famine, plague. Or abrupt natural disasters … earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes/tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions.

Along with most of the world, you have probably been keeping track of the numbers since the first coronavirus death in China four to five months ago. Then the first U.S. fatality some three months ago. And the exponential spread of the disease in Europe, particularly Italy, Spain, and now England.

As of the morning of this post (May 9, 2020), approximately 3.9 million people from 212 countries have been diagnosed with the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19. With millions more undoubtedly infected and contagious, without a formal test diagnosis. With a global body count of 274,655.

At 1.3 million cases, the COVID-19 count in the United States is higher than any nation on earth. Granted, we are the third largest country with nearly 330 million residents; however, that is much less than China (1.4 billion) and India (1.36 billion). At 4.24% of the world’s population, the U.S. coronavirus related fatalities of 78,200 represents 29% of world-wide deaths from this dreadful disease. Much higher proportionally than any other country. A few days ago, some compared the death count in America to the 58,220 lost in the Vietnam War (over approximately ten years). If the pace continues, we may be relating it to the number of our soldiers killed in World War II … 405,000.

Obviously, these figures will increase daily.

I won’t even bother with projections (tables, models, algorithms) that pandemic pundits have presented in an attempt to determine if/when the disease will dissipate or even die out, or the number of cases and casualties projected before that happens. There are simply too many models and/or they change frequently.

Hopefully, we can look back in a few months, breathe a global sigh of relief, and utter an oft-used axiom: It could have been worse.

For me and for millions of others who are and will be forever (literally) grateful that Messiah Jesus is our personal Savior (whether we fully understand the why of it all, or even if there is a why), it will be: Thank you Lord that it wasn’t worse.

(It doesn’t say, be thankful “for” everything; rather “in” all circumstances)

Whether a believer or unbeliever, should we do more than just breathe a sigh of relief … individually or collectively? Should not something like this cause us to sit up and take notice? To think outside the proverbial box with cause/effect explanations that transcend the ordinary biological reasons for viruses and such things. To ask questions. To make correlations with other historical events. To put into the context of and comparisons to similar Biblical events. To see if it might fit into Biblical prophecies … which have proven time and time again to be 100% accurate.

Though not (yet) as deadly, this pandemic is more widespread (four corners of the earth) than any other event in human history; be it the world wars, the bubonic plague of the 14th century, and even the Spanish flu of the early 20th century.

One of the significant features of end times prophecies, especially those foretold by Jesus himself (Matthew Chapters 24-25) and described in the book of Revelation is that calamities will increase and intensify globally, in scope and/or in severity. Before the Rapture and more so afterwards, especially during the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation. Jesus used the graphic analogy of contractions experienced by a woman giving birth.

Cruel Characteristics & Consequences of This Novel Coronavirus

Many consider it to be the most rapidly spread disease of all time. What other disease is carried and transmitted in wholesale numbers by those infected and yet who are asymptomatic? That’s how menacing and virulent this strain of virus has become. It gives a whole new meaning to infectious or contagious. With any other virus or bacterial infection (including the common cold and virtually any strain of the flu or communicable diseases) there are symptoms to warn the person infected and those not diseased to stay away from each other.

Not so, with COVID-19. Scientists and doctors are convinced that millions of people have the coronavirus but were not, are not, and will not be symptomatic at all. Yet they can infect others, even if they never suffer any of the symptoms.

That is just not fair! That is not playing by the rules. Aren’t there rules, even in war?

But then, this novel (new strain) coronavirus is a game-changer. And a game-stopper (think sports unless it hurts too much!).

Thus, the whole world has been forced to make up new rules such as 6-foot social distancing. Billions of people wearing face masks, some daily. Because we don’t necessarily know who’s infected and who is not. There are more repercussions with this plague than ever experienced, even during times of war.

(A model case of both masks and distancing!)

How many times have you read or heard doctors and nurses say, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” Or patients exclaiming, “I’ve never been through anything like this!”

A plethora of routine activities in our lives—recreational, social, sporting, political, and religious have been shuttered, scuttled, or stopped … some temporarily and some permanently.

Restaurants (dine in), schools and colleges, churches, theaters, salons, entire shopping malls, thousands of retail stores that carry non-essential goods, and public transportation have been shut down for varying periods.

It is NOT business as usual. It is anything but that.

Not even during two world wars were such things as children’s playgrounds, public pools, and zoos closed on such a massive scale. The list is long, but there’s time only for a few more examples.

Here in the United States the unthinkable has happened: NCAA basketball is done for the year with no March madness or Final Four. The madness is the kind that the word was intended to mean: the madness of an enemy killing us or imprisoning us via lockdowns and restrictions normally reserved for criminals. Professional basketball and hockey seasons may not resume even for the playoffs. Baseball might not even begin this year and the NFL may not start until later in the season.

This dreaded disease has dominated the news and dramatized our lives like nothing has since … well, many say since World War II.

When was the last time the Olympic Games were cancelled? Answer: World War II.

Or the Masters Golf Tournament? The (British) Open? Wimbledon?

Same answer. In fact, COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of more events than did World War II.

Special occasions taken totally for granted where entire families and friends could ordinarily attend have been drastically curtailed or condensed or cancelled or postponed: weddings, funerals, reunions, concerts … to name just a few.

All the while politicians, business managers, educators, religious leaders, and a host of others are conducting “virtual” meetings and “remote” conferences all over the world. Just ZOOM in from wherever you are.

And the list goes on.

Including the worst of all: massive loss of jobs all over the world. Thirty-four million layoffs during April in the United States alone. How many will be permanent? Unemployment in March of 4.4% skyrocketed to 16% by the end of April. The most since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Businesses folding daily.

The consensus is clear: the economic fallout will surpass the recession of 2008, and then some. As has the largest (by-far) federal bailout of businesses of all sizes; plus, un-heard of individual “stimulus” payments to most Americans—to the tune of over two trillion dollars. Incredible! Who is going to pay for that and when? For how long? Is that kind of debt sustainable?

An economy so devastated that many say will never fully recover, not nationally nor internationally.

It’s not just the big things. All the little inconveniencies add up to a level of frustration quite unlike anything people have experienced. And once again … on a global scale. Bordering on disbelief that something like this could happen for this long that does not involve an all-out war.

With a nagging uncertainty over whether things will ever be the same again.

For example: The last time someone other than a professional barber or stylist cut my hair was my mother when I was six or seven years old. Just last week my wife cut my hair for the second time. Thanks honey, I look as good as ever! (Really … she did a great job).

Here in Arizona, even the Grand Canyon is closed! Did they throw a tarp over it? Okay, chill out—we need a little humor from time to time. But, hey, I know: this whole thing is not one bit funny.

So, back to the serious side. The debate continues within and between nations—politically, economically, socially. How much do we shut down? Are the restrictions too many or not enough? Too strict or not strict enough? What to reopen and when? To what extent? Are we moving too slow or too fast? Too soon or not soon enough? Who has the final right to define what things are “essential” or what are not?

There’s nothing that gets our attention more than when the things (or places) that we take for granted and feel we have a right to have, own, do, go, be … suddenly have been taken away. Freedom to travel, work, play, worship, shop, and gather with friends and family. Nature does not always cooperate with our inalienable right of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. But then, maybe it takes natural (or supernatural) interruptions of these freedoms to remind us that it is, in fact, God who has given us the privileges and prosperity that we take for granted.

To remember:

Obviously, COVID-19 has not (yet) equaled the collective trauma of a world war. And God forbid that this pandemic will result in anything approaching the number of deaths attributed to World War II. Or the estimated 50 million who died from the Spanish flu some one hundred years ago. And certainly not the bubonic plague … estimated 100 million but who knew for sure back then.

God forbid. Why did I say that?

Was it because those words are often used when speaking of things that we dread happening; with a sinking realization that they are ultimately beyond our control? Or whatever control we have may not be enough to deal conclusively with the problem. Calamities that only God can control or prevent.

We are much more accustomed to exercising at least enough control to keep our daily routines reasonably intact. Or, if interrupted, to regain some degree of normalcy within an acceptable period. This applies to virtually every natural disaster; even the catastrophic ones like the earthquake and tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 killing a quarter million people, many of them children. Or to a lesser, but still devastating damage and loss of life from Hurricane Katrina the following year.

Yes, that is one reason I said: God forbid.

Also, for another reason.

God forbid. In that phrase is the profound theological question as to just how much sovereignty God will exercise at any given time, during any given event or series of events. To either prevent something from happening; or reduce the extent of the catastrophe (damage control); or allow it to express the full magnitude (literally, like a 9.0 earthquake) of its potential. Especially those things which have national and then international consequences. The corona pandemic would certainly fit that criteria, now and as projected for both the near and more distant future.

There have been deadly disasters, devastating droughts (famines) and powerful plagues down through the centuries, but this is the first that is truly global in scope. Which was to be expected eventually, considering the ease and volume of international travel in today’s high-tech, high-speed, portable world. Which is one of many Biblical prophecies concerning the condition of the last days of the end times. “…when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4).

What Are The Best Questions to Ask / Are There Answers?

Because there hasn’t been a scourge quite like this coronavirus—how easily and extensively it has spread—both believers and unbelievers are voicing their opinions and/or seeking answers to questions outside of or in addition to quantified (data based) “scientific” solutions and explanations.

Like (but not limited to) the following:

(If) God is in control; will he step in and bring it under control? If so, when? How many people must suffer and die? How much damage to the economy will there be?

Did God merely allow this pandemic, or did he send it? Meaning, is it simply a warning or is it a judgment? Is there even a difference between the two, considering God’s ultimate sovereignty?

With the understanding that God can and sometimes will prevent natural disasters and man-made catastrophes from happening in the first place, does he on other occasions not only allow such things to happen, but intensify them? In the case of the coronavirus, on a global scale.

Is this global epidemic, in fact, a wake-up call from God to get our attention? A preview of and preparation for coming attractions? In which His sovereignty will be on universal display, i.e. His obliteration of the Gog/Magog coalition and then resounding victory over the Antichrist-led ten nation coalition following the Seal, Trumpet, & Bowl Judgments.

Does this pandemic have special relevance to the last days of the end times?

Some of these five questions (or to some degree or another, all of them) could be considered rhetorical. Particularly so, because we are the Omega generation … living in the last days of the end times. There is an abundance of 20th & 21st century signs that match up with Biblical prophecy to affirm that statement. Several Eye of Prophecy articles have been written on that subject. For example: Look Up, Redemption is Near … Part I & Part II. (Published July 2015).

The following is an excerpt from Part II with a summary list of 12 flashpoint indicators:

  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

Natural or Supernatural?

There is another question, with the response to this question concluding this week’s (Part I) article. The next Eye of Prophecy article (Part II) will address, to some extent or another, the five questions posed earlier.

Question: Is this coronavirus merely the latest natural calamity (one of many in human history) that is a direct result of the loss of the earth’s original perfection found in and represented by the Garden of Eden? Or is it supernatural in origin and/or spread?

With the Biblically based premise that supernatural entails God’s sovereignty which may use something natural but with divine design and direction, i.e. providential purpose.

In contrast to a natural (event) absent divine control or intervention. Meaning that God is not in it, as such.

Consequently, when some (I would propose most) disasters strike us, they are not caused by the Lord. Technically, they are also not even allowed by God, because he has already permitted nature to periodically alter its normal activity, hence natural disasters. Which, then, are a direct result of the monumental geological and geophysical changes the earth has undergone since the Great Flood of Noah’s time, i.e. earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes.

(Geological evidence for Noah’s Flood)

This also includes, both before and after Noah’s flood, the progressive and devastating biological consequences of our original parent’s original sin … diseases that affect animals and people alike.

Where does COVID-19 fit? With the ultimate catastrophic result that of death itself.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12).

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

Death is the ultimate pandemic. It claims every human being. And, there are all kinds of ways to die, including “old age” itself.

Thank God, he provided a remarkable remedy for the penalty of sin and (reversal of) death itself.

All who believe and receive his Son, Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior will be given new everlasting transformed bodies at the soon-to-come (any moment now) Rapture. The dead in Christ will be raised and those believers alive at the time will be taken with them to our home in heaven (I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15).

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

Getting back to the first (imperfect) Adam and the second (perfect) Adam, we read: “…For Adam’s sin led to condemnation… But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:16-17).

Believers in Messiah Jesus can (and do) have supreme confidence in every promise made by our Great Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even in (especially in) these troubled times when everything seems to be going viral (pun intended). And the world is spinning out of control.

Let it spin. The Lord has assured believers that we will win!

Said Jesus to his disciples (all believers): “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

However, until the Rapture then the Second Coming of Christ takes place, we await the final victory.

Between the Rapture and the Return of Messiah Jesus to this earth to rule and reign for a thousand years, the seven-year Great Tribulation will be a time of, “…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; words of Jesus).

Following the Millennial Reign of Christ when he establishes his Kingdom of justice, righteousness, and peace on earth, everything will be made new. Everything geologically, biologically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually wrong with this world will be made right, including the elimination of natural disasters and diseases.

To even include, “…a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

“…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” (Verses 3-4).

Summary

In preparation for the Part II sequel to this week’s post, I will propose a premise as to where the COVID-19 pandemic falls within the framework of God’s sovereignty over all things. To, in that next article, provide Scriptural case studies to support this premise, including examples of when God causes a disaster, or when he just allows it, or when he does neither. To conceivably find some answers to the questions posed earlier.

In fact, as intimated earlier, the Bible provides compelling evidence to demonstrate that there is a difference between ordinary natural disasters and those that are extraordinary … supernatural.

Premise: The Lord did not cause (initiate) this virus, but he permitted it to spread … as opposed to divinely intervening to stop it sooner. The purpose of which is to prepare (warning, not a judgment) the world for the soon-to-come Great Tribulation in which the Wrath of God will be poured out on a global scale for the second and final time in human history. That and man-made carnage which will result in death and devastation, including economic, that far (beyond measurement) exceeds the impact of COVID-19.

Thus, without forecasting the severity of the numbers, this pandemic will subside with infections and fatalities less than most models predict.

Disclaimer: The last part of the premise is by no means a prediction. I am not a prophet. Rather, it is an opinion; albeit it one that relies heavily, if not exclusively, on the principles and parallels of Scripture concerning natural disasters and diseases (plagues).

Things to Ponder

In the long-term effort to contain Covid-19 and the effect on our daily lives, will we be tasked to accept a “new normal?”

But maybe this new normal would be a return to the old normal in America at least. The norm of Judeo/Christian Biblical principles and practices upon which the United States was built. Our founding fathers (and mothers) who, at the very least, acknowledged God in the affairs of our nation. Those who expressed their gratitude for God’s blessings.

Then came a new normal: secular humanism that seeks to eliminate all traces of God and His Son, Messiah Jesus from society. A deceptive philosophy and lifestyle whose (many) followers, “…traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshipped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself; who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen” (Romans 1:25).

Even we believers are sometimes too preoccupied with the things of this world, beyond moderation. Piling up possessions. Pursuing pleasure. Producing idols out of our entertainment, sports, business, and political heroes. Pushing God out of our lives and forgetting that he is the source of every breath (physical and spiritual) that we take.

In the meantime, where does COVID-19 fit? I wonder if it is more than just coincidental that the coronavirus literally takes the breath out of our lungs (and oxygen from our body).

Said God to his people: “At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore (heal) their land” (II Chronicles 7:13-14, emphasis added in preparation for the next article).

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:16-18)

*Note: Elijah will be one of the examples in the next post … Part II.