Turmoil, Tragedy, & Terror in Israel (Part II … Tragedy)

Let’s start with the beginning of the previous Eye of Prophecy article posted 6-5-21: Turmoil, Tragedy & Terror in Israel (Part I … Turmoil). In italics:

From April 30th to May 21st, sirens pierced the ears and hearts of Israeli Jews.

Sirens to announce the arrival of personnel and equipment to fight fires all over Israel.

Ambulance sirens…

Police and military sirens…

Air raid sirens…

When you combine the turmoil of an Israeli government following the country’s 4th election (March 23, 2021) in two years (under the helm of what many consider to be Israel’s greatest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in terms of national and international accomplishments for Israel) but still unable to form a majority coalition of 61 seats in the Knesset, with the tragedy on Mount Meron (April 30th) followed recently by terror inflicted on Israelis via indiscriminate firing of over 4,000 missiles from Gaza into Israel (beginning on May 10th); preceded by tens of thousands of Arabs rioting in several towns, including Jerusalem (earlier in May); an argument could be made that Israel’s resolve and resiliency have not been tested like this since the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014.

…Some would say not since the Palestinian intifada of 2001. Or the most difficult time in Israel’s 73-year history since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Israelis needed and heeded the sirens which fortunately have subsided since Israel and Hamas of the Gaza Strip agreed to a cease fire on 5-21-21.

Hopefully, Israelis will now heed more than just sirens. With ears to hear and hearts longing to know, perhaps they (and Jews worldwide) will also have eyes to see the signs of the (end) times.

To that end the ongoing challenge and premise delivered in the previous article will be (partially) restated:

Challenge: …To compellingly consider that the recent developments in Israel should be a wake-up call to look up for divine guidance in general. And for their returning Messiah in particular.

Premise: The current (internal) turmoil produced in part by Israel’s political system and sometimes dysfunctional government, the tragedy of the recent Meron disaster, and the terror caused by the latest war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization contain precedents, parallels, and patterns of 1st Century Israel, before and/or after the (first) arrival of Israel’s Messiah—Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, these recent events are preparing and even precipitating the return of both Christ (Jesus) and Antichrist (Nero).

(*Note: After Part I article was posted, Israel did manage to form a bare majority (fragile) government with Naftali Bennett replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. And just a few days ago, the cease fire was interrupted when Gaza Palestinians lobbed fire kites and balloons into Israel setting several tender-dry farm fields on fire.)

(One of several of these fires) 

This week’s Part II article will focus on the incident on Mount Meron in northern Israel that occurred on April 30, 2021.

Tragedy in Israel

Definition of Tragic: “marked by, or expressive of tragedy; lamentable … disparity between the actual and the ideal…” (Webster’s Dictionary).

Definition of Tragedy (older and narrower concept): “a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror” (Webster’s Dictionary).

Greek tragedies (plays) were the main expression of “the literary genre of tragic dramas.”

The More Current and Expanded Meaning of Tragedy: “a disastrous event, calamity, misfortune … tragic quality or element” (Webster’s).

Tragedy is connected to the idea of flawed and/or irony. In fact, Webster’s Dictionary contains the term: tragic flaw (a flaw in the character of the hero of a tragedy that brings about his downfall).

Also, tragic irony.

Partial Definition of Irony: “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result…” (Webster’s).

Some synonyms of incongruity: strangeness, incompatibility, inconsistency, bizarreness.

The episode at Mt Meron was a tragedy in every sense of the concept. As opposed to the more general idea of natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and the like); or that of accidents caused by human negligence usually involving cars, trains, buses, airplanes, fires, and industrial mishaps.

For the most part, typical accidents that happen globally on a near daily basis could have been prevented—with proper lookout, management and control, quicker/better decision making, and other reasons. Negligence that is part of the natural human experience. People make mistakes.

Whereas tragedy supersedes simple neglect in that the incident SHOULD HAVE been prevented. Which would not have taken place had this, that, or the other occurred … or not occurred.

A tragedy (tragic event) entails more drama, irony, misfortune, and oft times deeper heartbreak than does a common—using the word neutrally and respectfully—disaster or accident. A chief characteristic of a tragedy: it is both surreal and all too real.

What happens is the exact horrible opposite of what could/should have been (incompatible and inconsistent with) a time of celebration and joy which was the intended or expected result. Then after the fact (speaking specifically now of the Mt. Meron tragedy) and after showing great respect for the time of mourning, it is vital to look closely at the how and why of the occurrence.

To examine one’s heart and the national conscience.

I realize these are difficult (perhaps painful) concepts and comments to consider. So, let’s survey what happened at Mt. Meron to determine if Israelis, Jews worldwide, and Christian supporters of God’s chosen people and promised land can and will listen and learn from this tragedy. With the realization that it has precedents, parallels, and/or patterns found in Israel’s Scripturally documented past. In preparation for the soon to come 21st century return of Messiah.

The Occasion … What, Where, and How

At the time of the incident, there were over 100,000 mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews who had just finished a celebratory worship style service and were exiting a stadium, having made the annual pilgrimage to/near the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who died in the second century A.D.

Suddenly, merriment turned into mourning at the annual Israeli Jewish festival of Lag B’Omer held on Mount Meron in northern Israel. On April 30th, 2021, 45 men and boys were literally crushed to death and 150 injured … several in serious condition.  Many leaving the main area of the massive service had fallen on slick metal flooring; made even more slippery by water and other liquids spilled from plastic bottles/cups with the containers also covering the walkway. This tunnel-like exit ramp was too narrow and too sloped which caused a domino stampede effect.

From an article written by Paul Shindman posted in the online news source World Israel News not long after this disaster, he quotes an eyewitness, Yehuda Gottleib, a volunteer EMT: “I was on duty when I saw dozens of people fall on top of one another during the collapse. A large number of them were crushed and lost consciousness.”

In one of several online articles written about Lag B’Omer celebrated in small groups all over Israel and in mass (huge crowds on Mt. Meron) a few days prior to its observation, we read the following in The Places of Israel:

“Meron, originally known as Merom, was first mentioned in the Bible as the site of Joshua’s victory over the Canaanite kings (Joshua Chapter 11) …. Meron is most famous as home to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, believed to be the author of the mystical Zohar…. Lag B’omer … is the day that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai died. As such, the day is traditionally devoted to celebrating life and accomplishments. During the festivities attended by Jews of every religious and political persuasion, bonfires are lit, music is blaring, and dancing is everywhere.”

Lag B’Omer is literally translated as “the 33rd day of the Omer, which is on the 18th day of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar (April 30th of this year). The Omer consists of seven weeks that begin on the second day/night of Passover and end at the Jewish Festival of Weeks called Shavuot … also known as Pentecost.

In an online United for Israel article posted just a few days before this tragedy, Rabbinic Director Ari Enkin wrote a summary of this festival and a (glowing) tribute to the long-departed Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, but also to Rabbi Yochai’s mentor, Rabbi Akiva.

“Lag B’Omer also marks the yartzeit (anniversary of date of death) of the great Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who among his many accomplishments, allegedly authored the Zohar, the primary work on Kabbalah” (emphasis is part of the original article).

Rabbi Enkin goes on to list some miracles attributed to Rabbi Yochai directly or miraculous events in his life. Such as: “A prominent feature of the celebrations is the bonfires and in Israel groups of people singing around a bonfire can be seen across the country. There is much discussion on what these bonfires represent. Some suggest that it is to recall the fire which was said to have erupted at the moment of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s death.

“It is also intended to recall Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s gaze, which was said to be as powerful as fire and would vaporize anything that earned his disfavor. Finally, bonfires represent the ‘fire’ of Torah, especially the esoteric side that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai revealed through the Zohar and other mystical teachings.”

*Note: It is evident that these and other paranormal-like attributes and episodes in the life of Rabbi Yochai are mostly conjecture … embellishments that produce legends. But there is no denying that this rabbi has captured the undivided attention and generated a sizeable following of observant Jews down through the centuries.

Wrote Rabbi Enkin: “Although one might think that a day of fasting and introspection would be appropriate for the … anniversary of the death of a tzaddik, a righteous person, as is the case regarding Moses, but Lag B’omer is uniquely different. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai had requested that the day of his death become an annual celebration, as it is the day on which he would reveal many secrets of the Torah.”

And celebrate they do. Including some of the most intense reveling in which Israelis (mostly Orthodox men and teenagers) participate annually. It is a time of rejoicing and partying in equal measure.

(One of many bonfires throughout Israel during Lag B’Omer festival)

Yet it is more than celebratory. From all I have read and seen—including the tragically ironic late-night service just moments before the disaster occurred in which tens of thousands sang Ani Maamin (“I believe”), a musical version of the Jewish sage Maimonides’ 13 Jewish principles of faith—Jewish honor of Rabbi Yochai borders on deep reverence … passionate esteem.

So much so that it is (seemingly) equivalent to worship. I am not stating that as fact, which is why the modifier seemingly is used.

However, I will list one more quote from Rabbi Ari Enkin’s article to add further commentary regarding the veneration afforded to Rabbi Yochai’s memory: “There is a well-known Lag B’omer custom for children to play with bows and arrows, which is said to be alluded to in the verse (he then quotes I Chronicles 8:40).

“…It is explained that playing with bows and arrows on Lag B’omer recalls that during the lifetime of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, no rainbow had been seen. This is because the rainbow, which represents God’s protection over the world, would have been superfluous, as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai served this purpose.”

Seriously!?

No (need for) rainbows during Bar Yochai’s lifetime!? Because he provided the protection before his death that only God could/would provide based on and through God’s promise never to judge the earth again by flood!?

The conclusion is inescapable: These kinds of attributes possessed by, and adoration afforded to are normally (expected) reserved for the God of Israel. And from Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians, also adulation for and worship of Jesus of Nazareth who arose from the dead to prove he was/is … the Son of God, Messiah.

Was the Lag B’Omer on Mt. Meron a True Tragedy? To What Extent?

Considering that both natural and man-made disasters occur all over the world on a regular basis—some with many more casualties—what makes this incident on Mt. Meron in Israel so terribly tragic … ironically so?

There are several, including the religious nature of Lag B’Omer already mentioned; but for sake of time/space only two more reasons with be provided.

(1) Magnitude of this sad occurrence: affirmed by how shockingly serious it was to Israelis, already traumatized by two years of turmoil from a mostly dysfunctional government (as presented in Part I of this trilogy) plus the same trouble experienced by the whole world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That and the casualty count. Considering the size of Israel and population of Israeli Jews (7.7 million) 45 fatalities is no small number. As a comparison, the population of the United States is approximately 43 times that of Israeli Jews. Using that analogy would result in a proportional count of 1,935 Americans dead. The injury figure of 150 in Israel would equate to 6,450 in the United States.

(2) Reactions on a global scale: demonstrate that the incident on Mt. Meron was, indeed, a tragedy as previously defined (with commentary) in today’s article. There were dozens of sympathy and empathy messages from high-ranking officials within Israel and without, including heads of state. Time/space permits only a few.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: (at that time but on June 13th replaced by Naftali Bennet)

“The Mt. Meron disaster is one of the worst disasters to hit the State of Israel. We grieve for the victims. Our hearts are with the families…. There were heartbreaking scenes here. People were crushed to death, including children.

“…We will carry out a thorough, serious and in-depth investigation in order to ensure that such a disaster does not recur.”

*Note: To date, no official investigation has taken place.

Benjamin then said: “I would like to declare Sunday (May 2, two days after the tragedy) as a day of national mourning…” (parenthesis mine).

(Prime Minister–at the time–Benjamin Netanyahu surveying the aftermath of the Mt. Meron tragedy)

It is uncommon, if not rare, that a nation’s leader proclaims a national day (or period) of mourning over an accident.

U.S. President Joe Biden: “The United States stands with the people of Israel, and with Jewish communities the world over in mourning the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron. The loss among worshippers practicing their faith is heartbreaking….”

German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer: “Waking up to the shocking news of the tragedy of Lag B’Omer festivities … I am deeply saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred tonight…”

Messages from other dignitaries including but by no means limited to: Russia (President Vladimir Putin); India (Prime Minister Narendra Modi); many European leaders and officials (including Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain); several Arab countries (like Bahrain and the United Emirates); Catholic Cardinal Vincent Nichols; and most of the political leaders within Israel.

Even from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who conveyed his (politically correct, so as not to seem insensitive) condolences to Israel’s President Rivlin … instead of to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“We are praying to the Lord for mercy to victims and speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries, and for the families of victims.”

*Note: To which “Lord” is Abbas referring? Could it be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (of the Promised Land of Israel and of God’s chosen people, the Jews)? Doubtful. For you see: the Islam god Allah (through the Koran) compels Muslims to persecute and kill Jews.

On the other hand, is it the thought that counts?

Who Is to Blame? Anyone … Everyone?

I have read dozens of articles on the Lag B’ Omer festival and/or the tragic event on Mt. Meron. As anticipated, most were written by op-ed authors who (or whom they wrote about, i.e., quoted) encouraged Israelis to do the right thing. To commiserate with the anguish of those whose relatives and friends were killed or injured … a time of mostly silence and mourning. Then later point fingers of blame if they were so inclined. Many Israelis (but not all) followed this protocol out of sincere sorrow and reflective respect for the dead/injured and their families.

But as expected, there were fingers of blame pointed soon after this horrific event. For example, in an Israel Hayom article posted that same day author Adi Hashmonel writes:

“Senior police officers told Israel Hayom the Mount Meron disaster was a ‘fiasco, start to finish.’ A former top Northern District Officer refused to absolve rabbis from partial responsibility for the events. ‘The real bosses on the ground at Mount Meron are the Haredi leaders. They have the final say on who gets in or not. That’s insane. The power of each Hassidic dynasty is reflected in how things take place on the ground and the police tend to seek compromises with them.’”

This district officer also cast (partial or equal) blame on the police by stating: “They (the police) should never had allowed so many people into the compound. What was the expected capacity? You have to stop letting people in when it’s met…”

In a subsequent Israel Hayom article posted 5-2-21 (just two days later), entitled, At Mt. Meron, the writing was on the wall, the co-authors began: “In yet another sign Friday’s deadly stampede could have been avoided, the State Comptroller’s Office repeatedly warned of overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure at Mount Meron.”

They referred to a 2008 report in which the State Comptroller at the time, “…wrote that inadequate maintenance at the mount ‘does not suit the sanctity of the site.’ He explicitly mentioned the possibility of a mass-casualty event taking place on the mountain and warned access paths ‘could not accommodate rescue services.’”

Subsequent studies and reports (2009, 2011, 2016) were cited with similar conclusions reached, … just a matter of time before this type of tragedy would take place.

(Some of the bodies of those killed on/near the site of the disaster)

So, who (or what) is to blame? How much, if any, responsibility for this tragedy will the Haredim themselves (primarily Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox) accept?

Will the Israeli government impose rules and regulations by means of placing this religious event under the ultimate control of a governmental agency—which it never has been? Will the strained relationship between secular and religious Israelis increase or lessen because of this tragedy?

The following excerpt is from an article written by well-known author Johanthan S. Tobin, editor in chief of the online news source, Jewish News Syndicate posted on May 3, 2021, entitled: Can a disaster breed Jewish unity or widen the communal breach?

“There is nothing positive to be gleaned from an event that led to the deaths of 45 Jews and injuring of 150 others. The wake of the fatal stampede in the early hours of Friday morning at Israel’s Mount Meron during the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage caused shock and mourning throughout the Jewish world. But perhaps it might also have put a more human face on a sector of the Jewish community—the ultra-Orthodox—that is often viewed by most other Jews with suspicion and hostility. And it might also be possible for many haredim to draw some conclusions of their own with respect to their unwillingness to subordinate their activities to state regulation and to think better of the secular Jews who did so much to save lives and who rally to their aid on-site, as well as comfort family members, elsewhere in Israel.”

Although Jonathan Tobin concludes his article on a somewhat (guarded) positive note concerning the more subtle changes in Israeli society regarding “…the ability of Jews to survive and surmount such problems…”, he states:

“Indeed, in Israel, as JNS has pointed out, part of the problem at Mount Meron was that the refusal of the ultra-Orthodox to let the government regulate their annual event—in much the same way that they demand autonomy about everything else—was clearly part of the prescription that inexorably led to tragedy….

Haredim, both in Israel and the United States, exists separately from the rest of the Jewish world. The two sides stare at each other across a seemingly unbridgeable divide…. The quick transition from sorrow to politics with respect to Mount Meron reinforces the notion that this divide is unbridgeable.”

In a prior article (May 2nd) Alex Traiman, managing director of Jewish News Syndicate, gets even more specific:

“The event should open up a period of national reckoning. Whether an honest reckoning will take place—one marked by constructive and unifying measures—will require Israelis to look deep down into their own behavior.”

*Note: I would add: How deep should Israelis look, and should it be for more than just their behavior?

Alex Traiman continues: “Despite their staunch religious observance, Orthodox sects have largely angered other sectors of Israel’s public for years. Men refuse compulsory army service. Many opt to study in state-funded learning institutions, rather than work and take on their share of the tax burden…

“While many of Irael’s Orthodox truly represent a beautiful blend of advanced religious observance within a modern state, that beauty is often marred by those who express a lack of appreciation for individuals and communities with lesser religious observance. As this tragedy has struck at the heart of their own community, it may be time for greater humility on their part.”

Op-ed author Akiva Bigman was even more direct in an article published on 5-7-2021 in Israel Hayom, entitled Support for the Haredim, but not their worldview.

“The week that followed the devastating Lag B’Omer stampede can be described in two words: love and alienation. On the one hand, all of Israel—secular, leftist, Arab, and Druze—embraced the Haredi sector and mobilized to donate blood, offer financial support, and visit the mourners’ homes….

“On the other hand, while the public is incredibly supportive of the ultra-Orthodox as individuals, the disaster exacerbated alienation from the Haredi worldview even more. The response of sage Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky to the tragedy is just one such example. The public cannot accept the view that such a heartbreaking tragedy was fated and that the answer is to become more observant.”

[*Note: Akiva Bigman was referring to Rabbi Kanievsky’s (preventative) resolution for such tragedies: that of reading the Torah more; for women to dress more modestly; washing of one’s hands before eating was not being done properly in Israel. Concerning Bigman’s statement that the Israeli public cannot accept the tragedy as being “fated” (destined), does not mean that it wasn’t. The consensus already is that it was physically (inadequate infrastructure and logistics) and socially (mindset and behavior of the Orthodox) inevitable. In a moment we’ll explore the spiritual side of whether this tragedy was “fated.” However, I totally agree—but as a believer (with a Biblical worldview) in Jesus Christ as Messiah Savior—with Bigman’s observation that the Rabbis’ prescription for Jews to be even more religious/observant presumably as a remedy … is way off the mark.]

Listen Up … Look Up

Ironically (in the context of the Mt. Meron incident and Rabbi Kanievsky’s recommendations which were more like challenges to both religious and irreligious Jews alike), the ultra-Orthodox Jews of the 1st century, called Pharisees, made a similar challenge to the man who had already demonstrated his divinity—by many marvelous miracles. Some of which the Pharisees witnessed, but still would not acknowledge him as the Son of God—the long-awaited Messiah.

Read with me:

“Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, ‘Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat’” (Matthew 15:1-2).

Jesus’s answer was somewhat like his response to several other challenges issued by Israel’s religious leaders of that time (not unlike the Orthodox in today’s Israel); he exposed their rote emphasis on tradition and the letter of the (Mosaic) law in contrast to the spirit of the law. Said Jesus:

“…And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” (Matthew 15:3-9, with Jesus quoting Isaiah 29:13).

In that same scene Jesus later said to his disciples about the Pharisees:

Should there be serious introspection among religious and secular alike or merely investigation? To what extent? Limited to just the external features of this tragedy, such as better crowd control and facilities to accommodate so many.

Or with the broadest perspective possible? Such as: Internal examination of the heart and soul searching. To also, “Look Up.”

My opinion/response is yes (in fact, imperative). All Jews everywhere should stand up and take notice of this tragedy, preceded by the turmoil within Israel created by their polarized dichotomies, politically and religiously. With the tragedy followed shortly by the terror (next article) created by not only the latest war between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas (Gaza); but also, the unprecedented Israeli Arab rioting that destroyed Israeli property (homes, businesses, synagogues), and killed or injured Israelis in (mixed, where Jews and Arabs live side by side) several Israeli cities.

For both blind guides and the blind (religious and secular) to have eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to heed the words of God the Father, “O Israel, if you would only listen to me” (Psalm 81:8). And to God the Son: “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your redemption is near!” (Luke 21:28).

Precedents, Patterns, Parallels, Principles, and Prototypes

For the religious and secular alike to carefully consider correlations between the extraordinary events in Israel’s 1st century history (and before that) and its’ 20th century prophetic fulfillments of Israel’s rebirth and remarkable return of many Jews to Israel, plus its’ 21st century prophetic destiny. To give equal historical and theological weight to the New Testament as God’s inspired Word as they do with the Old Testament. To see that it gloriously unwraps the New Covenant predicted in Jeremiah and the Messiah who would implement that Covenant of Grace.

To give as much (if not more) time and attention to the prophecies contained in the Psalms and prophetic books of the Old Testament, particularly the end times and Messianic prophecies. Then match them with the birth, life, teachings, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

And while they are at it to perhaps recall two incidents in the Jewish Scriptures that are surprisingly similar to the tragedy at Mt. Meron.

To that end, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Ark of The Covenant, Part II (posted 6-27-2015). The setting is the Philistines capture of the Ark. In italics:

…So, too, were the Philistines familiar with the presumed legendary power of the Ark of the Covenant.

“What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. ‘What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?’ When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. ‘The gods have come into their camp!’ they cried. ‘This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness’” (I Samuel 4:6-8).

…To them—sadly even to the Israelites—the Ark of the Covenant was a mysterious object that possessed magical, cryptic clout. The army that carried it into battle would be invincible. But this was not just some ancient fantasy that would be considered absurd in today’s ultra-modern civilization. This same perverted belief drove Hitler and the Third Reich to extreme measures to try to find and wield the Ark of the Covenant in their conquest of Europe and eventually the world.

Then the incident in question after the Ark of The Covenant was returned to Israel:

In a foregone conclusion, the Philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant to Israel, specifically to the Jews of Beth-shemesh who were overjoyed to get it back. So much so that they, too, forgot God’s solemn instructions as to how the Ark must be handled reverently and treated respectfully; including only Levites carrying it … which was done upon its return. But that no one must look inside the Ark, which some of the Israelites failed to obey. The Lord would not permit even his own people from misusing the Ark of the Covenant; to flippantly disrespect and disregard the holiness and sanctity that the Lord had placed on the perfect purpose and proper position of the Ark—God’s very presence above the Ark of the Lord in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

The result: “But the Lord killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord. And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. ‘Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God?’ they cried out. ‘Where can we send the Ark from here?’” (I Samuel 6:19-20).

Indeed, it was a severe object lesson.

Followed by a similar incident during King David’s first attempt to transport the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Although this time the Lord struck down only one man (for touching the Ark), it was still a powerful parallel to the precedent set with the first Ark tragedy (see II Samuel 6).

(Depiction of Uzzah’s death when touched the Ark of the Covenant)

Yet, it was broader than the act of touching and looking into the ark. It had to do with God’s people giving as much or more significance to what they considered mystical powers of the Ark itself, instead of the Lord of the Ark—the God of Israel. In that regard, they were no different than the pagan Philistines.

In an eerily similar fashion, many of the Orthodox at Mt. Meron follow to some extent the Kabbalah (or Chabad … a more modern adaptation), especially the version taught by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai—which is the whole purpose for the Lag B’Omer festival. Time/space does not permit elaboration on this branch of Judaism. Except some descriptive words to summarize the extra-Biblical (even anti-Biblical) practice: mystical, esoteric, secretive (generally only for the more knowledgeable or persistent), including features of the occult and Eastern mysticism.

On the more positive side, those Jews who delve into Kabbalah (at least in theory) place a great deal of emphasis on the coming Messiah. So much so, that the practice of this off-shoot of Judaism will allegedly hasten his coming. Since the 2nd century A.D. a few rabbis and/or prominent Jewish leaders were (some still are) considered to be the Jewish Messiah. On the negative side, Jesus of Nazareth has continuously been ignored, dismissed, or outright rejected as the Messiah—despite the historically verified account of his resurrection, among other overwhelming evidence.

More Tragic Irony

A notable fact is that the number of Hebrews killed in the first Ark tragedy was seventy. Which matches the number of elders appointed by Moses to lead and govern the Israelites before and after they entered the Promised Land. With Moses as their leader, the number was 71, but the governing body itself consisted principally of seventy men. This entity is better known as the Sanhedrin.

An uncanny parallel to that number is the number of Jews killed in the April Mt. Meron tragedy … 45.

Plus, the number who died in the first Lag B’Omer disaster in 1911 when a roof railing collapsed causing people to fall almost 30 feet on another part of the crowd below … 11.

Plus, the number who (in May 1976—45 years ago) lost their lives when a tour bus carrying passengers to the Lag B’Omer festival fell (drove) off a cliff at Mount Meron … 13.

A total of 69. Only one less than the number who died trying to get a glimpse of (determining) what kind of mystical, magical powers the Ark of the Covenant contained. Thereby, affording more reverence to the Ark as the supernatural source of power than to the Lord of the Ark of The Covenant.

There’s more: On May 16, 2021 (2 ½ weeks after the Mt. Meron disaster), bleachers collapsed in a Jerusalem synagogue which was still unfinished and not yet approved for use under city code requirements. Fifty were injured. The number of fatalities … 2.

Adding 2 to 69 (the three Mt. Meron tragedies) equals 71—the full number of the Sanhedrin including the leader (President). Tragic? Ironic? Tragic irony?

(A gathering in Israel to mourn for the 45 who died on Mt. Meron)

Summary Conclusion  

Am I implying that the Lord brought about the Lag B’Omer disaster?

Two-part answer: (1) Absolutely not, am I absolutely saying that. (2) Possibly, yes.

However, no matter what the evidence might show or suggest, shouldn’t Israelis (and Jews everywhere) take stock in what’s happening. Beginning with COVID-19.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, COVID-19 / Just Another Plague? Part I (posted 5-9-2020).

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?

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?

In principle, these same questions could be asked of the Mt. Meron tragedy.

To consider the incongruity (remember that word defined earlier in this article) between one of the reasons for this celebration—ardent desire for Messiah to come while identifying a few Orthodox rabbis of the past and even the present as Messiah or Messiah-like. Set against the continual rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as fulfilling in extraordinary detail the Messianic prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures.

There are 10 annual festivals observed to varying degrees by Jews worldwide including, of course, in Israel.

Seven were ordained directly by God to his people through Moses. With four of them by and large celebrated more than the others: Passover (Pesach), Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).

The eighth was instituted as a national holiday after God’s providential deliverance of the Jews (through Esther and Mordecai) … Purim.

The ninth is not found directly in the Bible but was clearly the result of God sovereignly protecting and providing for the Maccabean Jews when—against all odds—they defeated the mighty Greek army led by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 2nd century B.C. Plus the miracle of one day’s supply of holy oil lasting eight days. This well-known celebration is called Hannukah.

Lit menorah, Israel

The tenth is not found at all in the Bible. Nor is there anything in Israel’s national experience (as the Promised Land and/or Chosen People of God) to consider it worthy of commemoration… Lag B’Omer.

Instead of lighting bonfires in remembrance of the (alleged) light of Rabbi Yochai’s mysterious writings and life that was as much or more legend than fact, why couldn’t / shouldn’t God’s people take a hard look at their own Scriptures—especially end times prophecies including the Messiah. Then give themselves the benefit of the doubt to also (at least) read the amazing account of Jesus of Nazareth in the four Gospels. Plus, the books of Romans and Hebrews in the New Testament.

They just might see the light. The real light of the Messiah as foretold by Isaiah: “…and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant (the new covenant) with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind…” (Isaiah 42:6-7, parenthesis mine).

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

Things to Ponder

The incident at Mr. Meron was truly a tragedy. It resulted in deep mourning … individually, nationally, and even internationally.

As much or more than Israelis killed in their four wars of survival … 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973. Or regional conflicts with terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Or by individual (lone wolf) Palestinian atrocities against Jews with guns, knives, rocks, fire balloons, and vehicles.

One only need consider the source (Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians) and the reason—hatred of the Jews and desire to replace the sovereign State of Israel with another Arab state … and in the Promised Land of Israel no less.

But an internal tragedy like what happened on Mr. Meron in which so many observant Jews died during one of the most jubilant of Israel’s festivals is considerably harder to process and ponder.

Still, that should not prohibit the processing or prevent the pondering.

For example: To correlate the Mt. Meron mourning over the death of some of the most religious of Jews just minutes after singing a song that included a longing for Messiah’s arrival to the following passage that so poignantly points to the Messiah. In fact, the Messiah is speaking:

“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pieced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. All Israel will mourn, each clan by itself, with the husbands separate from their wives…” (Zechariah 12:10-12).

Question: Why on earth would the Jews mourn for/over their Messiah who arrives to supernaturally rescue them from utter defeat (at the hands of Antichrist and his coalition) in the final battle for Israel and Jerusalem, as prophesied in Zechariah Chapters 12 & 14? And Daniel 11:36-45.

This should be a euphoric time of great jubilation, instead of massive mourning.

The text is crystal clear why Israel will grieve. This is the 2nd appearance (return) of the Messiah because he had already been pierced (crucifixion) when he came the first time to save his people from their sins through his substitutionary death on the cross (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53).

They will rejoice but not until they mourn deeply for missing and dismissing Jesus as Messiah when he arrived in the 1st century.

As recorded in the Gospels based on the event (along with hundreds of other events) seen and heard by (in this case) Jesus’s disciples, Peter, James, and John on what is called the Mount of (Jesus’s) Transfiguration.

Jesus is the Son of God; the Son of David; the Son of Man.

He is the Light of the World.

HE IS MESSIAH!

Turmoil, Tragedy, & Terror in Israel (Part I … Turmoil)

From April 30th to May 21st, sirens pierced the ears and hearts of Israeli Jews.

Sirens to announce the arrival of personnel and equipment to fight fires all over Israel. Fires in businesses, homes, cars, busses, and fields of crops. Lit mostly by rampaging Arab Israelis but also by non-citizen Palestinians … from fire kites hurled from the Gaza Strip.

Ambulance sirens to prepare for emergency treatment and transfer of the wounded and dying. And to transport the dead for burial.

Police and military sirens to clear the way for Israel’s men and woman in uniform; to rescue and defend; to stem the tide of lawlessness and violence rampant throughout Israel.

Air raid sirens to give Israeli civilians a few precious seconds to seek shelter from thousands of mortars and missiles launched by Hamas of the Gaza Strip into Israel. Hoping that Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system would blow the rockets from the sky before they destroyed property and people.

When you combine the turmoil of an Israeli government following the country’s 4th election (March 23, 2021) in two years (under the helm of what many consider to be Israel’s greatest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in terms of national and international accomplishments for Israel) but still unable to form a majority coalition of 61 seats in the Knesset, with the tragedy on Mount Meron (April 30th) followed recently by terror inflicted on Israelis via indiscriminate firing of over 4,000 missiles from Gaza into Israel (beginning on May 10th); preceded by tens of thousands of Arabs rioting in several towns, including Jerusalem (earlier in May); an argument could be made that Israel’s resolve and resiliency have not been tested like this since the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014.

Some would say not since the Palestinian intifada of 2001. Others might even compare the inner turmoil—political, social, and (most of all) religious division among Israelis—combined with the Mt. Meron tragedy in which 45 men and boys were crushed to death during what was supposed to be one of the most jubilant religious celebrations among Orthodox Jews; plus, the recent Palestinian terrorism uprising to constitute the most difficult time in Israel’s 73-year history since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

(Israelis light candles for the 45 victims killed in a stampede at Mount Meron during the Lag B’ Omer celebrations)

It is mind-boggling in scope and should give serious cause for Israelis and Jews worldwide to pause; to ponder their perplexing past, perilous present, and portentous future of the reborn state of Israel.

In fact the whole world would do well to carefully consider its imminent destiny and take heed of these three tenses of Israel’s existence in the context of the three main subjects of Biblical prophecy and its fulfillment: (1) The Promised Land of Israel given to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in perpetuity; (2) The New Covenant foretold by Jeremiah to replace the Old Covenant of Law, that would (has for 2,000 years and counting) bring redemption to all who believe and receive God’s Son (Messiah); (3) The Jewish Messiah Jesus of Nazareth who would implement that Covenant of Grace for Jew and Gentile alike. To then return to establish the Kingdom of God in Jerusalem from which he will rule and reign for a thousand years. After rescuing Israel from annihilation at the hands of Antichrist and the world from self-destruction during the Great Tribulation soon to come.

Listen Up … Look Up!

It is time for God’s chosen people—religious, secular, leaders, and common folk alike to—individually and collectively, nationally (the state of Israel) and internationally (Jews worldwide)—heed the passionate warning of the only true and living God, the God of Israel’s ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:

“Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me!” (Psalm 81:8).

It is time for Israel and Jews worldwide, especially the observant among them (Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed) to realize that thousands of Messianic Jews all over the world (who have believed and received Jesus as the Son of God—the Messiah foretold in the Jewish Scriptures) have indeed listened to the God of Israel. They have heeded the Lord’s precious promises, powerful prophecies, and stern warnings given to his prophets, who practiced, preached, and prophesied precisely what God told them to do and speak.

Prophets such as Amos who declared: “Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

Like King David who unequivocally proclaimed in one of the Messianic prophecies in Scripture that the God of Israel has a Son, who is the Messiah: “For the Lord declares, ‘I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.’ The king proclaims the Lord’s decree…” (Psalm 2:6-7a).

Then the king speaks: ‘The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.’

“Now then, you kings act wisely! Be warned you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear; and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him” (Psalms 2:7b-12).

King David also wrote: “The Lord (God the Father) said to my Lord (God the Son), ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’ The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies” (Psalm 110:1-2, parenthesis mine).

In Psalm 22, David presents stunning specifics of Messiah’s suffering and death before, during, and after his crucifixion hundreds of years before the Romans perfected this cruel torture and death. With Jesus of Nazareth fulfilling every one of these prophecies in startling detail. 

Whether religious or secular, all Jews need to seriously consider the extraordinary evidence that Jesus explicitly fulfilled Isaiah’s shocking portrait of a (the) suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53. Such as: “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

Just hours before he was falsely arrested, illegally tried, unjustly condemned to die, and ruthlessly nailed to a cross, we read what Jesus said to his disciples (and all who would believe in him): “After supper he took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you’” (Luke 22:20).

Then in the profound book of Hebrews (New Testament), the Jewish author summarizes so great a salvation purchased by Jesus Christ with the highest price ever paid, through the (once for all) greatest sacrifice ever made … the blood and life of the Son of God. Beginning with:

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

Not long before his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus provided more startling features of the last days of the end times. In the context of those predictions and the many end times prophecies found in the Old Testament, he uttered these words intended first and foremost to his Jewish disciples and the nation of Israel: 

Great Expectations for Messiah

This heading was the title of an Eye of Prophecy article (posted 8-8-15). Here is an excerpt from the beginning of that article, in italics:

Jews all over the world, especially observant Jews in Israel, are becoming exponentially excited over Israel’s redemption. They see this restoration as both physical—rescue from and protection against their enemies—and spiritual … individual and national return to God through renewal of the sacrificial system lost to them when the second Temple was destroyed. No matter what form this revival takes and no matter whether a Jew is religious or secular, there is one prevailing and passionate premise: Messiah will make all these things happen upon his glorious appearance.

For most Jews this will be the first arrival of Messiah. For born-again believers, Gentiles and Messianic Jews alike, this will be the majestic return of Jesus Christ.

Two Eye of Prophecy articles entitled Look Up, Redemption is Near (Part I & II) were recently published on 7-11-15 and 7-18-15, respectively. In these articles, we looked discerningly at twelve unmistakable signs of the 20th & 21st centuries showing that Biblical end-times prophecy has been and is being fulfilled in one generation alone. In the second article, these signs were itemized for quick reference. They are as follows:

  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 God/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 to the World 

…The time of Messiah is near, so very near. Why can we say that? Because the last time that Israel and even surrounding Gentile nations were so zealous about the arrival of Messiah, that’s exactly what happened! Jesus Christ appeared on the scene of history fulfilling dozens of Biblical prophecies that he was, in fact, the Messiah … with an abundance of documentation, the greatest proof of which was his resurrection from the grave!

It has been nearly six years since Great Expectations for Messiah was posted. Based upon observations of pivotal events, both positive and negative, going on in Israel and the world at large (including op-ed articles from both Messianic Jews and non-Messianic Jewish sources), it is becoming evident that the anticipation for Messiah’s return is waning.

The following is an excerpt from a recent Eye of Prophecy article, Reexamination of Messiah’s Imminent Return & The Omega Generation (published 1-16-21). In italics:

Just How Imminent is the Imminent Return of Messiah?

That is the title of an Eye of Prophecy article posted over three years ago (11-18-17).

In the 20th & 21st centuries, there have been and still are an abundance of flashpoint signs to signal that the return of Messiah Jesus is more imminent than ever. There are also patterns, parallels, and principles plus correlations (including certain numbers) in Scripture that strongly suggest that we are in the last days of the end times.

I then went on to write:

However, because it has been nearly 2,000 years (close to 1,988 years) since Jesus ascended to heaven, we need to reexamine the question posed earlier that Peter said would be in the form of mockery from unbelievers in the last days (and it certainly is): “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?”

In other words, repeating: Just How Imminent is the Imminent Return of Christ?

Or in stronger terms: Is his return imminent at all? Could it be hundreds of years from now? Might it not even be in this Third A.D. Millennium?

It’s not just the skepticism, sarcasm, and scorn coming from many unbelievers. That’s to be expected; in fact, the Apostle Peter prophesied of such. Unfortunately, in the last few years some disillusionment has developed concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ even among believers. There is a growing concern that the imminent return of Christ is anything but that.

Instead, the Second Coming appears more indefinite than ever.

I believe there are two reasons (sources) for this concern that is causing varying degrees of complacency and/or pessimism in the hearts and lives of some Christians.

(1) From Without: This is particularly true of American Christians in the context of the current state of our Union. Or should I say: the (deplorable) state of our disunion within these (dis)United States of America. Not since the Civil War (blue vs. gray) have we been so divided (blue vs. red). Violent radicals on both sides (liberals and conservatives) have crossed the lines of democratic decency, of moral accountability, of law and order which is (should be) the heart of a republic. Some say that we have irretrievably breached the middle ground of cooperation in this country and are holding tight to ground on opposite sides of an unbridgeable gulf between left and right, democrat and republican.

*Note: No need to quote the 2nd reason, as only the first reason applies to today’s article.

A Challenge Based on a Premise

For Jews even half-way interested in the Messiah, the ardent anticipation for his arrival also seems to be diminishing within Israel and the global Jewish community. Much like the United States and most of the world, Israelis and Diaspora Jews are becoming increasingly polarized, particularly in their politics. Expressed mostly through the deepening divisions between observant/religious (called Haredim in Hebrew … especially the Orthodox) Jews/Israelis and secular Jews.

Challenge: This week’s Part I article (Turmoil in Israel) includes a respectful but also robust challenge to Israelis and to Jews throughout the world (whether religious or secular). To compellingly consider that the recent developments in Israel should be a wake-up call to look up for divine guidance in general. And for their returning Messiah in particular. The challenge will continue with Part II (Tragedy in Israel) & Part III (Terror in Israel) of this trilogy, as will the rolling premise.

Premise: The current (internal) turmoil produced in part by Israel’s political system and sometimes dysfunctional government, the tragedy of the recent Meron disaster, and the terror caused by the latest war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization contain precedents, parallels, and patterns of 1st Century Israel, before and/or after the (first) arrival of Israel’s Messiah—Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, these recent events are preparing and even precipitating the return of both Christ (Jesus) and Antichrist (Nero).

Turmoil in Israel

Webster’s Dictionary defines turmoil as: “an utterly confused or extremely agitated state or condition.”

In addition to confusion and agitation, some of the lighter synonyms of turmoil: turbulence, unrest, disorder, commotion.

Some of the heavier synonyms: chaos, mayhem, havoc, upheaval.

The greater percentage of the 7.7 million Israeli Jews and 1.8 million Israeli Arabs seem to be somewhere between the lighter and heavier meanings of turmoil. With a smaller percentage on either end of the scale, i.e., just slightly confused/agitated (at the very least, frustrated) or tremendously disturbed over the turbulence in the Israeli government for the past two years or so.

Politics in a democracy (governed by a parliament or a congress) is both a reflection and an expression of society and its diversity of religious beliefs, ideologies, and economics.

Principally through Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s skilled leadership (with support from the United States—primarily from former President Trump), Israelis have seen some significant accomplishments in the past few years. Such as moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to its rightful (mandated by the Jewish Embassy Act of 1995 that passed the U.S. Senate and House with a large margin) location in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem. And the Abraham Accords last year resulting in unprecedented diplomatic relations between Israel and a few Arab (Muslim) countries like the United Arab Emirates. Plus, a pre-pandemic booming economy that has already experienced a resurgence.

For the past two years, however, a dark political election cloud has hovered tenaciously and tempestuously over Israel. Creating an atmosphere of uncertainty, confusion, and agitation … with varying degrees of turmoil. Thereby, testing the overall optimistic attitude of Israeli Jews.

In my opinion, Israel’s parliamentary coalition government as contained in 120 members of the Knesset, is one of the finest in the world. At least it used to be. But when the kind of acute tribal polarization that has enveloped the entire world (especially in the United States) found its way into Israeli politics … well, four elections in two years without forming a majority coalition tells the whole story.

The first of these elections that failed to reach a majority coalition (61 seats in the Knesset) took place in April 2019.

Since then, the same kind of pattern has developed; the only difference is that some of the parties and party leaders have changed and/or changed allegiance—partially or completely. Something like: Party leader A formerly aligned with B is now with C who swore never to affiliate with either A or B.

That and the seemingly irrational movement (considering all his accomplishments for the State of Israel) to oust Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Which more than any other platform or purpose, is making strange bedfellows of the political parties and their leaders.

(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu … for now?)

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Israel’s Government in Limbo … Unprecedented! (Posted 7-6-19) to summarize what happen to that election, including the party leader “culprit” primarily responsible for preventing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from establishing a majority Knesset coalition led by his Likud party (the largest … still is). In italics:

For the first time since Israel was reborn as a sovereign Jewish State in 1948 and following unscheduled mid-term elections just three months ago, the Israeli Knesset failed to establish a majority coalition.

Nonetheless, despite the (sometimes) perplexing parliamentary paradigm of Israel’s government and election process, it truly is one of the most democratic systems in the world. Reason: It combines the best of pure democracy and a representative republic by giving voice to many more platforms than those nations which have just two parties, or even three or four.

When Israelis participate in national elections they vote for a party, not for an individual.

Parties that garner the minimum number of votes required (which also determines the number of Knesset representatives) then decide which of their associates will serve in the Knesset. The ruling coalition, which can consist of several blocs, must have a minimum of 61 of the 120 Knesset seats. Israel’s Prime Minister is the recognized leader of the largest party of the majority coalition. In this case, it would have been a reelected Benjamin Netanyahu.

You may not know about this situation in Israel. Or, if you do, you may not be familiar with the details, some of which will be provided in the context of today’s focus: the prophetic destiny of Israel’s national redemption and restoration. And how that destiny will determine the fate of the entire world.

I then quoted an excerpt from a previous Eye of Prophecy article, The Jewish Dichotomy In & Outside Israel (posted 6-20-18). As follows from that article:

In much larger geographic and demographic nations like the United States of America (population 327 million) you would expect a wide range of political, social, economic, cultural, and religious diversity. But with only 7.7 million Jewish citizens of Israel (7.7 is the current population to match the posting date of this week’s article) and only 14+ million Jews on the planet you would anticipate fewer differences and certainly not such dramatic dichotomies within Israel nor among Jews throughout the world.

At the same time, both Israelis and Jews outside of Israel are an extraordinary example of a cohesive dichotomy (an oxymoron) unparalleled on Planet Earth.

Nevertheless, differences between Jews themselves can be troublesome, especially when the Jews as a people and Israel as a nation have so many adversaries….

Though there is significant solidarity of Jews within and outside of Israel, there are three basic Jewish dichotomies.

I went on to identify those dichotomies, with the most noticeable difference between secular and observant Jews….

Then later in that article, a summary pinpointing the principal cause for the failure to form a coalition government (Knesset) for the first time in Israel’s history. As follows:

By the time of the extended deadline, the Likud party and its supporting factions could muster only 60 seats—a deadlock. Consequently, the 21st Knesset voted to dissolve itself and schedule another snap election on September 17, 2019.

Why did that happen?

Answer: Even though there were smaller parties supporting Likud (35 seats) with a total of 30 additional would-be Knesset representatives, it took just one party and its leader to dissolve the new Knesset, an unparalleled event in Israel’s modern history. The party: Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our Home). Its leader: Avigdor Lieberman.

… In principle, both Lieberman and his party had agreed to back the Likud. As a result of the April 9th election, his party was reduced from six to five Knesset members; still resulting in a convincing mandate of 65 seats for the majority coalition. Yet, they reversed their support after the election.

This abrupt turnaround came with an ultimatum imposed by Lieberman, summarized in this quote from a June 4, 2019, Associate Press article reposted in the online news source World Israel News: “After appearing to win April 9 elections, Netanyahu was blocked from forming a government coalition by his political ally turned rival Avigdor Lieberman, who insisted on passing legislation that would require young ultra-Orthodox men to be drafted into the military like everyone else.”

This issue of observant Jews serving in the IDF has been controversial for years; it is one of the two main platforms of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party….

Lieberman further dug in his heels when he learned that Bezalel Smotrich of the United Right Party (ultra-Orthodox) was being considered as the next Justice Minister. Said Lieberman:

“To my sorrow, the State of Israel is going to elections (again in the same year). We are natural partners (but only under his terms) in a right-wing government; we won’t be partners in a halachic government. The Likud failed in this work of building a coalition (thanks to Lieberman’s rigid and impatient position) … and they and the Haredim are to blame for Israel going to elections” (emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

(*Note: Haredim is a term applied to observant Jews, particularly the Orthodox … in contrast to secular Jews, who far outnumber their religious kindred. Halachic is a Hebrew expression from the root word, halacha. Which means, “the way” or the “way of walking” or path. …In short, it’s the idea of an entire community or even a nation—as a whole, majority—following the instructions of the Lord in all areas of life … including politics.

(A gathering of Orthodox Jews in Israel, comprising about 13% of the total Israeli population)

I then wrote in that article:

Although not nearly reason enough to join the Likud-led conservative coalition, liberal Jewish politicians also adamantly oppose any thought that Judaism would be the (a) governing base for the State of Israel. Said left-wing Meretz party member Tamar Zandberg, “It is clear that there cannot be a justice minister serving in Israel who wants to establish a theocracy.”

Which is, in fact, what ultra-Orthodox Knesset Member Bezalel Smotrich proposed when he said: “The State of Israel will be run, God willing, as it was run during the days of King David and King Solomon—according to Torah law.”

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is passionately patriotic about Israel and gives considerable weight to Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that he often reads; he, too, does not favor what would be tantamount to an Israeli version of a State Church or Church (Synagogue) State. Said Netanyahu in a terse response to Smotrich: “The State of Israel will not be a halachic state.”

That portion of the article concluded with:

It’s nothing short of amazing that Israel’s dichotomy between secular and observant Jews is, in unparalleled fashion, the overriding reason that this mid-term election (April) did not result in a new government… Of all the variables that could have blocked Netanyahu’s Likud-led government from being reinstated (renewed), it was Lieberman’s party withdrawal from the conservative bloc that reduced the majority from 65 seats to a deadlock of 60 seats. Moreover, this withdrawal was driven by fear that the Israeli government would be heavily influenced, if not dominated, by the religious minority.

That election was just a little over two years ago. Three more mid-term elections (most recently March 23, 2021) have resulted in an ongoing non-majority deadlock. With (points of) disagreements far outweighing agreements constituting the main reason for this governmental stalemate in Israel.

Prophetic Correlation of the 20th / 21st Century Reborn State of Israel with 1st Century Israel

First to state the obvious which, nevertheless, bears pertinent historical and profound prophetic importance, particularly in the context of so many other signs that we are living in the last days of the end times that will see the return of both Christ and Antichrist. The obvious—but most significant of all the signs of the end times is the rebirth of the Jewish Nation-State of Israel (1948). Then the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem during Israel’s stunning victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Significant for any number of reasons as found in Scripture, including the Biblical/historical evidence that many of God’s plans involving his chosen people (Jews) and their Promised Land (Israel) and/or sovereign intervention in human affairs come in sets of two.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article: Significant Sets of Twos in The Bible (posted 3-30-19).

Although there are more, I identified ten (10) sets in that article. Some of the sets complement each other such as the already mentioned birth and rebirth of the Sovereign State of Israel.

Other sets of two are in sharp contract. For example, Christ Jesus vs his antithesis, Antichrist (Nero).

Some sets are a combination of correlation and contrast. For example: The New Covenant of Grace (implemented by/through Jesus) completing but also replacing the Old Covenant of the Law (given to/through Moses).

Let’s review the premise of this week’s post, which will continue (the Lord willing) with Part II (the tragedy of the Meron disaster in Israel) and Part III (the terror generated by massive Arab rioting and even more so by thousands of Hamas missiles fired into Israel from Gaza).

Premise: The current (internal) turmoil produced in part by Israel’s political system and sometimes dysfunctional government, the tragedy of the recent Meron disaster, and the terror caused by the latest war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization contain precedents, parallels, and patterns of 1st Century Israel, before and/or after the (first) arrival of Israel’s Messiah—Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, these recent events are preparing and even precipitating the return of both Christ (Jesus) and Antichrist (Nero).

As indicated, the turmoil produced by the unprecedented instability and uncertainty (past two years) of Israel’s government which, in turn, has been caused by the harsh and unrelenting ideological, societal, and political divisions between blocs of the 13 current parties that make up a partially dysfunctional Knesset bears striking resemblance to what happened in 1st Century Israel. The First Century AD was/is of great prophetic significance to the Jews and to/for Israel … indeed, for all mankind.

Plus, there is a Biblically prophetic “ring” (relevancy) between 1st century and 21st century … a divine multiplied connection regarding several monumental events in the past, present, and still future fulfillment of prophecy. If for no other reason than the two numbers of great prominence in the Bible are considered divine … three and seven. Multiplying these two numbers equals 21. Also, 1 x 21 is still 21.

Several rabbis and Jewish scholars not necessarily religious have attributed the Jewish rebellion instigated primarily by the activist party called Zealots against Rome in A.D. 66 to sectarian divisions within Israel. Not just secular versus observant, but also sharp disputes between the main religious groups: Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes. In addition to thousands of Romans in Israel—mostly military, there was also a group called the Herodians—lackeys of Rome, often alienating their own people, the Jews.

These competing and often conflicting factions were already in existence when time itself was changed by the birth of Jesus Christ (B.C. to A.D.). And became more antagonistic one toward the other during Jesus’s life and ministry. The animosity of these groups intensified that much more after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven.

And, of course, there were thousands upon thousands of Jesus followers, at first called The Way, then later called Christians. However, Christians were already under severe persecution by both Jews and the Romans (under Nero). They had no part, whatsoever, in the Jewish revolt against the mighty Roman empire.

Which led to a massive invasion of Israel led by Roman General Vespasian, and finished by his son, Titus—both of whom were handpicked by Emperor Nero to crush the rebellion. The campaign ended in August of A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem; utter demolition of the 2nd Temple (9th of Av on the Jewish calendar … exact day of the month/year when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.); slaughter of over a million Jews; and the beginning of a world-wide dispersion of Jews—their 2nd exile after Babylon.

[*Note: as of today’s posting, of this article, it appears that Israel will soon have a new prime minister and a coalition majority … albeit it a very shaky one that might not survive the year. When Naftali Bennett leader of the Yamina party in Israel announced last Sunday that he was entering a coalition with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid (and other parties) to form a majority coalition “unity” government (also called “the change bloc” … meaning anyone other than Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister), he made this startling statement: “Two-thousand years ago, we lost a Jewish nation here because of infighting. That’s not happening again. Not on my watch.”

Though Bennett is as guilty as anyone of this “infighting” and though he is reneging on several prior promises and though (just my opinion) he is not nearly as qualified as Netanyahu to lead Israel (Prime Minister), his statement does fit with the premise regarding the correlation … parallels and patterns between 1st century and 21st century Israel.]

Summary

Naturally, there were differences in that 1st century Israel was occupied and controlled by the Roman Empire. With, however, much autonomy granted by the Romans to Israel’s religious and secular rulers and leaders. Although nearly all Jews despised the heavy taxes imposed on them by the Romans, it was this tribal unity (mentality) which generated disunity that made the Jewish revolt possible.

Yet, the Old Testament is replete with end times prophecies of God’s sovereignty in the return of his people to the reborn sovereign state of Israel. Hundreds of prophecies, some of which state that once this (begins to) happen, they will never again be expelled from the Promised Land. That the Holy City Jerusalem will forever be the undivided centerpiece (capital) of the Holy Land of Israel.

*Note: For a broader perspective (ultimate reason) for these monumental events in the 1st century involving destruction of the 2nd Temple, the 2nd Jewish exile, followed 2,000 years later by the 2nd return of Jews to the reborn state of Israel, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: Where is the Temple, Part I, II, & III (published 11/29, 12-6, 12-13-14). Also, God’s New Covenant with Israel … Minus the Temple, Part I & II (Sept. 2018).

Moreover, the geopolitical differences between 1st century and 21st century Israel by no means invalidates the earlier stated premise of precedents, parallels, and patterns experienced during both times of Israel’s epic saga.

Rather, the prophetic correlation that the sectarian divisions of Israel in the years just before, during, and some 30 years or so after the time of Christ Jesus, saw his First Advent (arrival). With contemporary conditions (especially in Israel) contributing to and shaping the world for the magnificent return of Messiah Jesus at the end of the Great Tribulation.

The 1st century also experienced the initial arrival of Antichrist … Nero; the ruler/king predicted in Daniel 7 and Daniel 9, whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. That same ruler who would make a seven-year treaty with Israel … yet to happen. Who would obviously have to return in bodily form to do that. Which is exactly what Revelation 17:7-8 tells us … a reappearance from the Abyss.

Please see my 2nd book, Out of the Abyss and/or any number of the Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist for what I believe is compelling, even conclusive evidence: the Roman Emperor Nero is the ruler introduced in Daniel, the man of lawlessness cited by Paul in II Thessalonians, and the beast of Revelation … the Antichrist.

Things to Ponder

Both God the Father and God the Son (Messiah Jesus) are referred to as Alpha and Omega in Scripture. Said Jesus to John as recorded early in the book of Revelation:

In the context of more revelatory disclosures later given to John in Revelation about the Antichrist beast/king including the fact that he lived and died before John even saw these visions and would return from the Abyss (during the outset of the Tribulation), I’m convinced that Jesus’s Alpha & Omega title is not only referring to his eternal existence … everlasting to everlasting. This designation also applies to the divine order of things beginning in the 1st century and culminating (soon) in the 21st century. As follows:

Christ (Jesus) was born at the turn of the 1st century A.D. Indeed, the keeping of time was changed from B.C. to A.D., a profound transition from the Old Testament (Covenant) to the New Testament (Covenant). Antichrist (Nero) was born in A.D. 37, just a few years after Jesus arose from the grave and ascended to heaven.

Thus, Messiah Jesus is the FIRST.

Antichrist will reappear soon after the Rapture at the beginning of the Tribulation. Then Christ will return about 7 years later to end the horrific reign of Satan, Nero, and the False Prophet at the final battle of Armageddon.

Messiah Jesus is, therefore, the LAST (He will have the final say).

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

JESUS IS MESSIAH!

The Most Significant End-Times Sign Of All

“And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately” (Luke 21:9, words of Jesus Christ).

Not immediately, but within one generation as the Lord would later clarify.

“Then he added, ‘Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven’” (Luke 21:10-11).

Messiah Jesus revealed several riveting signs of the last days of the end times as recorded in Luke Chapter 21, with the longer text of what is called the Mount Olivet Discourse found in Matthew Chapters 24-25. Flashpoints such as: prevalence of false messiahs and prophets to deceive many (both spiritual and secular, i.e., national leaders); moral decline and intense persecution of Jews and Christians; rampant sin and hatred; partying like there was no tomorrow.

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

Although Jesus did not mention a prominent end time development prophesied by Daniel—substantial increase in the speed and quantity of transportation and information world-wide (Daniel 12:4)—he did refer to Daniel’s prophetic warning of the sacrilegious object that Antichrist will erect in the Jewish temple (rebuilt during the Tribulation period … Matthew 24:15 & Daniel 9:27).

The (abundance of signs) analogy presented by Jesus was that of birth pains, beginning with the pre-Rapture Omega (last) generation and reaching the agonizing crescendo of contractions during the Tribulation. All in preparation for his physical return to earth which will generate the birth of a New World—the Millennial Reign of the Messiah … the very Son of God.

“Then he gave them this illustration: ‘Notice the fig tree or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place’” (Luke 21:29-32, emphasis added).

If (a big if because many, even including some believers, are inexplicably disinterested in the powerful prophetic signs being fulfilled in front of our 20th & 21st century eyes) people would only look at what’s happening in the world, matched with (the extraordinary unfolding of) Biblical prophecy; they would realize that “summer is near.”

And they would “know without being told.”

The reality in our generation: that summer is here.

Whether it is the signs of the times or times of the signs, to look objectively is to see and understand that the time is short.

Messiah Jesus left out what is undoubtedly the most significant and stunning last days prophecy of all. We’ll get to that shortly including the (proposed) reason.

First a glance at some remarkable but bone-chilling 20th & 21st century facts and figures regarding the earth-shattering happenings that Jesus did announce. Which provide dramatic documentation of the (one) generation timeframe when these birth pains would expand in frequency and severity; that’s what birth contractions progressively do.

Wars & Insurrections (Ethnic Rivalries)

Armed conflict (justified or not) including but not limited to matters of race, religion, nationality, secular ideals, political persuasions, economic disparity, and land disputes have plagued people from the beginning of the human saga. Who knows how many hundreds of millions have been killed in local, regional, national, and international wars?

Yet, not until the 20th century did Planet Earth experience one, then (incomprehensively) a second war that were truly global in severity and scope. With the ultimate irony that of World War I bearing the banner: The War To End All Wars. Ending in 1918, generationally there are still some people alive who were born during that war.

Even more tragically ironic is that World War II (just 21 years later) dwarfed the first world war in its bloodshed. Over four times the number of people (combined military and civilian) lost their lives in World War II … some 72 million than in World War I … 17 million.

Then on an equally unparalleled scale, the insidious initiation of mass killings (purges) in the 20th century in which tens of millions of Russians and Chinese were systematically slaughtered or starved by the dictatorial communist regimes of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.

Several online sources provide the numbing statistics of displaced civilians, death, and destruction that have taken place in clashes raging all over the planet. With the larger national and international conflicts taking place in the 1st half of the 20th century and the startling number of ethnic and civil conflicts taking place in the last half of the 20th century into the 21st century. The sheer frequency of these armed struggles clearly confirms the words of Jesus regarding nation against nation and ethnic group against ethnic group in our generation (defined in Scripture as both 100 years and 70 years). As well as his birth pain and fig tree comparisons.

Earthquakes

Worldwide Surge in ‘Great” Earthquakes Seen in Past 10 Years was the title of an article dated October 26, 2014 posted in the online website of Science News. Beginning with the enormous 9.0 quake that struck Indonesia in late December 2004, which, in turn, caused a massive tsunami that took the lives of about 250,000 people. I vividly recall watching hours of film footage and later on docudramas of this horrific disaster.

An excerpt from that article reads: “The annual number of ‘great’ earthquakes nearly tripled over the last decade, providing a reminder to Americans that unruptured faults like those in the northwest United States might be due for a Big One.

“Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That’s an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“…If we look at all earthquake magnitudes, the past 10 years is not unusual in terms of the rate of events, the rate increase are just seen for events with magnitudes larger than 7.5 or so, he said (referring to comments made by Thorne Lay, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California … parenthesis mine).”

In a more contemporary context, just a few weeks ago there were three back-to-back-to-back powerful earthquakes of 7.0 or higher that jolted parts of New Zealand. Through various sources including the United States Geological Survey, op-ed author Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz wrote the following in a March 8, 2021 article posted in the online site of Israel 365 News:

“In the first 65 days of this year, 42 major quakes, magnitude 6 or higher, have shaken the planet. The year with the largest total was 2010, with 24 major earthquakes greater than or equal to 7.0. In 2011, a total of 207 earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or higher shook the earth, culminating in a 6.6 magnitude earthquake that caused the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactor and the concurrent 9.1 magnitude earthquake in Tohuka, Japan that killed over 20,000 people.”

After citing the recent cascade of earthquakes in and around Iceland (some 18,000 in one week including three Richter scale quakes of 7.3, 7.4, and 8.1), Berkowitz continues by comparing the first 65 days of some previous years to the 42 major tremors so far in 2021.

“…In the first 65 days of 1921, exactly one century ago, only seven major quakes, magnitude 6 or higher were recorded globally according the USGS Data Base. In the same period last year (2020) a total of 24 major quakes, magnitude 6 or higher were recorded around the globe. Back in 2019, just 20 major quakes had been reported up to March the 6th, just 50% of this year’s total… in 2015, just 18.”

Both in his article and in other articles I read online, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) pretty much dismisses these facts/figures as either cyclical or random.

I do not agree with that analysis. If for no other reason than the persistent increase of major quakes all over the world over a period of some 100 years, particularly in the last 20 years or so. That and the imposing evidence of a similar sliding scale surge in other natural disasters, e.g., tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, forest fires, and volcanic eruptions.

Again, quoting Messiah Jesus immediately after he warned of wars taking place on a global scale: “There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands…” (Luke 21:11). Great earthquakes are self-explanatory. Many lands clearly convey a global range.

Famines

In examining (what would be considered) major famines in the 20th & 21st centuries, I discovered that the number was considerable, as was the number of deaths from starvation. But not necessarily that many more than found in centuries going back hundreds of years. That and factoring in a greater world population in the last century or so.

What was both apparent and alarming (yet in keeping with Jesus’s forecast): The correlation or causative link between many of these 20th & 21st famines to war (both national and civil) and/or dictatorial oppression such as mentioned earlier regarding Russia and China. As opposed to many pre-20th century famines that were caused by the usual suspects (reasons)—drought, locusts, natural and weather-related disasters, and/or mismanagement of the land.

For example: What some consider to be the greatest famine of all time between 1959-1961 was caused by the inept yet ruthless agricultural system imposed by Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward policy. Estimates vary: 15 to 55 million deaths by starvation in what is simply called, The Great China Famine. Whatever the numbers, it devastated China, which for centuries has been no stranger to famines.

Another is the estimated 8 million famine deaths in the Soviet Union during the early 1930’s when Joseph Stalin ordered the government to seize grain for export (rather than to feed the people). It was simple, but cruel: he and his Soviet government needed cold cash for industrial purchases. Most of those who died were in the Ukraine; Stalin refused to provide any food aid to them.

There are other national or sectarian conflicts that led directly to massive famines and fatalities in the hundreds of thousands or millions. Such as the Second Congo War (Africa) of 1998-2004 in which some 2,700,000 people died of starvation and disease attributed to and caused by warring factions in the region.

The title of a recent article posted in the online site Global Citizen reads: War-Torn Yemen on Brink of ‘World’s Worst Famine in 100 years.’ It begins with, “There are 13 million people at risk of starvation.” While the number would be less than The Great China Famine, it nevertheless, is a monumental tragedy in the making if the civil war continues. Particularly if the Yemen rebels that Iran funds ousts the Yemenite government, supported by Saudi Arabia.

(Houthis in Yemen–a Gulf State … The Biden Administration eliminated the terrorist status of these ruthless rebels)

Also, the imminent risk of over 1 million children in Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan dying of starvation—famine induced by civil war in these nations.

“Then he added, ‘Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands…” (Luke 21:11).

As a reminder, Messiah Jesus’ disclosures are in answer to his disciples’ inquiry, “…When will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7).

Like labor pains, they would intensify in frequency and/or severity, especially during the last (Omega) generation preceding the Rapture, continuing with the 7-year Great Tribulation. We have seen that advancing phenomena in wars, earthquakes, other natural disasters, and famines in the last hundred years or so.

Next are:

Plagues

Some online sites list the 10 or 20 greatest epidemics or pandemics of recorded history.

There are a few differences on these lists; however, the most devastating of the plagues are found in nearly all of them. The largest of which you probably have read or at least know about: The Bubonic Plague (Black Death) in Europe … 1346-1353. It is estimated that nearly ½ of Europe’s population died from this dreaded disease.

On the other hand, this was not a viral sickness; rather, it was bacterial in origin—carried by fleas that had been on rodents. Had the cause/origin been known at the time, it is likely that the death toll would have been much lower because of preventive measures that could have been taken. Chalk it up to superstitious medieval medicine and substandard technology at the time.

Beginning chronologically with a major epidemic in ancient China around 3,000 B.C., another pre-20th century epidemic was the Great Plague of London (1665-1666) in which some 100,000 people died. And the potent Smallpox that lasted from 1520 to 1600, taking an estimated 56 million lives.

Still, what is both startling and what we would expect (knowing the absolute reliability of Biblical prophecy … 100% accuracy) is that 8 of the 21 most deadly plagues to strike mankind have occurred in the 20th & 21st century.

Your reaction might be: That is logical due to the rapid population increase in the last hundred years or so? Which is an accurate observation. But so, too, is the offsetting factor that medical training, technology, and medicines (especially vaccines) have advanced exponentially in the last 100 years or so.

Chronologically, those plagues were:

American Polio Epidemic … 1916.

Spanish Flu … 1918-1920. Some 500 million—nearly 1/3 of earth’s population at the time infected, with some 50 million deaths.

Asian Flu … 1957-1958. Worldwide, 1.1 million deaths.

Aids Pandemic … 1981 to present. About 35 million dead.

Swine Flu Pandemic … 2009-2010. Killing primarily children and young adults.

West African Ebola Epidemic … 2014-2016. Not necessarily a high fatality count—11,325, but a dangerous deadly disease (high percentage of fatalities).

Zika Virus … 2015 to present.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) … 2019 and counting. Statistics as of March 27, 2021: Number of cases worldwide—126,834,725; deaths worldwide—2,781,928. Number of cases in the United States—29,925,133; deaths in the U.S.—543,933.

These and other signs that Jesus declared are unfolding in snowball (make that avalanche) style in the last ten decades or so. Yet, as indicated, he omitted what is arguably the single-most significant last days event of all time … to date.

(Avalanche on Mt. Everest)

Israel’s Rebirth as a Sovereign State Accompanied by the Return of Many Jews To Their Promised Land

In his panoramic litany of end-times events, why would Jesus exclude this monumental milestone prophecy divulged numerous times in the Old Testament?

Prophecies such as: “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…. This is what the Lord says: ‘I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her… I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child” (Isaiah 66:9-13).

Also: “Therefore., prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:12-13).

In several Eye of Prophecy articles, I have written extensively about the modern-day miracle of Israel’s rebirth in 1948, followed by the end of Gentile domination (God’s way of disciplining his people to prepare them for the first arrival and soon-to-come return of Messiah Jesus) when the Jews (IDF) reclaimed Jerusalem and all Israel in the stunning Six-Day War of 1967.

Says the God of Israel: “I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land (these things began intensely in 1948 and continue strongly to this very day). They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15, parenthesis mine).

The extensive prophecies of Israel’s restoration—including the return of the Jews to the Promised Land never thereafter to be removed from that land—is the very reason why Jesus did not mention it as one of the end-times signs. It was unnecessary. By that time, his disciples were sufficiently (some thoroughly) familiar with their Scriptures … the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets. They understood Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Further validated by his spectacular resurrection from the grave after voluntarily surrendering his life as the once for all redemptive sacrifice, to all who would believe and receive him as their personal Savior.

Do you recall the question his disciples asked just before Jesus arose in the clouds to heaven … 40 days after his resurrection?

“…Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” (Acts 1:6).

They knew the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel’s restoration—physical and spiritual—would be possible only by and through Jesus of Nazareth—their (our … all who believe in Him) Messiah. However, they did not know that Jesus would leave them so soon, nor could they (or anyone) know the length of his absence along with the seemingly interminable duration of a 2nd major exile of the Jewish people.

Or that the restoration of Israel would, indeed, be a miracle of miracles. Greater even than one that would/could involve a Messiah-led victory against the Roman Empire in the first century. It would be a truly remarkable rebirth of a dysfunctional if not defunct nation, a defeated scattered people, and a nearly dead language (Hebrew) all in an astonishingly short period of time—once God set the wheels in motion. It would be an unprecedented revival from the floods of global dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps.

Just a few days before his crucifixion, Jesus had disclosed to his disciples that the rebuilt Temple would be demolished, which took place in A.D. 70, less than 40 years later.

After Jesus told them about the Temple’s destruction, his disciples asked him, “…Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

Although they wanted to know when, his disciples did not need to be told (the fact of) that a crucial sign of the end times would be Israel’s restoration … from Roman dominion at the time of these questions to whatever the conditions of the world might be at the time of Messiah’s return. By reading the Scriptures, they and all believers since then would/should presume the prophetic fact that the Messiah (Jesus) would return to an intact Israeli nation, and rule and reign from her eternal capital, Jerusalem. But only after rescuing the Jews one last time from their enemies, then fully restoring and redeeming Israel for all time (Zechariah Chapters 12-14).

By no means does that diminish the magnificent miracle of Israel’s rebirth and the remarkable return to (against all odds) and natural birth of millions of Jews in Israel.

Rather, he provided details that they would not have known or even imagined, e.g., global wars, earthquakes. Not just ordinary but “great” earthquakes everywhere on earth, and other catastrophes increasing in number and size in the same fashion as a woman’s childbirth pains.

And in one generation’s time!

Israel’s Real Labor Pains Began After Her National Rebirth!

The labor pain analogy used by Jesus to describe the intensified calamities leading to the (soon-to-come) Rapture and reaching a climax during the Great Tribulation are some of the same birth pains God describes through Isaiah regarding Israel’s birth. The (big) difference is that Israel’s contractions began AFTER her birth virtually overnight on May 14, 1948. These troubles consist of four major (defensive) wars fought by Israel after her declaration of statehood, as well as persecution suffered at the hands of nearby nations and from within by the Palestinians. Such as mortars and missiles, suicide bombings, car-ramming attacks, gun, knife, and rock attacks in which thousands if Israelis have been murdered and maimed.

This is particularly true with Jesus’s prediction of kingdom against kingdom… literally ethnic group against ethnic group. In Israel’s case, the Palestinians in Gaza, and Judea/Samaria (West Bank) with their (real) agenda that of replacing the sovereign state Israel with a Palestinian State. Not a state alongside of Israel, which they have turned down at least four times.

Listen again to the words of the only true and living God regarding the Holy City of the Holy Land given to his people in perpetuity:

“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who has 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…” (Isaiah 66:7-9).

One of several examples of Israel’s labor pains after the fact of birth is that the very day following declaration of statehood, Israel was attacked by five Arab nations—Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. Which is why the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign state in 1948 is the single most significant sign … fulfilled prophecy of what (I passionately believe and have written about often) is the last generation spoken of by Jesus—the one with all the birth pains!

See Eye of Prophecy article: Reexamination of Messiah’s Imminent Return & The Omega Generation (posted January 2021).

What also makes Israel’s rebirth as a nation and return of the Jews to their Promised Land the centerpiece of the generational birth pains disclosed by Messiah Jesus is the ongoing obsession of virtually the entire world with this tiny nation of less than ten million Israeli citizens (7.8 million Jews and almost 2 million Arab Israelis). Plus, another 4 million or so Palestinians who don’t want to be citizens of a Jewish State.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Global Obsession with Israel … In Biblical Proportions (1-16-18). In italics:

Obsession: “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often-unreasonable idea or feeling” (Webster’s Dictionary).

The persistent unreasonable idea or feeling harbored by Israel’s enemies and even by her (few and far between) friends is whether Israel and especially Israel’s capital Jerusalem truly belongs to the Jews. Or are the Jews “occupying” Jerusalem and other parts of Israel?

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

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

As the first Eye of Prophecy article for a new year, there is no more fitting topic than the world’s fanatical focus on the tiny state of Israel, smaller in population than many cities on earth. It is political, racial, religious, and social OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) on steroids and on a truly global scale. Since her rebirth as a sovereign state in 1948, no nation on earth has received more world-wide attention as has Israel. It is mind-boggling. 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.

Then later in the article:

There is a remarkable phenomenon underway whereby some national leaders are developing friendly ties with Israel, even though most of their people still harbor anti-Semitic feelings against Jews….

This ambivalent, puzzling disposition of nations toward Israel is exactly what Scripture said would happen, especially when the Gog/Magog coalition invades Israel. This massive campaign led by Russia, Iran, and Turkey (all three of which have a military presence in Syria right next door to Israel) will occur not long after the Rapture.

Says the Sovereign Lord to Gog/Magog, “…At that time evil thoughts will come to your mind, and you will devise a wicked scheme. You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence!” (Ezekiel 38:10-11).

The clear concept conveyed in this passage is that Israel will be at a level of peace not thought possible by Israelis or the rest of the world. Obviously, it will be a false sense of security.

Hardly a day goes by without some news about Israel, whether internally such as the recent Israeli election or externally concerning any number of nations, some of which are Arab countries that have recently in unprecedented fashion agreed to diplomatic and trade interactions with Israel. And, of course the three most prominent anti-Israel nations of the Gog/Magog coalition: Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

Although there have been many official and unofficial exchanges between Israel and several other nations, I’ll close this week’s article with a brief example of recent episodes involving Israel and each of these three nations. This to further confirm the amazing accuracy of Biblical prophecies regarding the world’s preoccupation (good, bad, and neutral) with Israel and the Jews. Each example is somewhat typical of how Russia, Iran, and Turkey currently interact with or react to Israel. It reflects their national mindset that will continue after the Rapture, but with the malevolent twist (development) of an all-out alliance between these three countries culminating in their surprise Gog/Magog invasion of Israel.

As indicated earlier in this article and in some prior Eye of Prophecy, each of these nations are to varying degrees entrenched in Syria, bordering Israel on the north.

Moreover, it was not that long ago that Russia, Iran, and Turkey were at odds each with the other. Although they continue to have disagreements (mostly concerning who would/should be the dominant foreign power in Syria), their mutual ties continue to develop. With, according to Scripture, their ominous goal that of conquering the State of Israel.

Currently, the temperament of each country and their leaders (Vladimir Putin of Russia; Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran; Recep Erdogan of Turkey) toward Israel is that of: (1) Bilateral relations and ostensible friendship … Russia. (2) Incessant hatred and threats … Iran. (3) Wavering between antagonism and agreeable … Turkey.

Iran & Israel

On March 16, 2021, Iranian Major General Mohammed Bagheri issued another in a long line of genocidal threats against Israel, with some of those past tirades mouthed by the Ayatollah, himself.

Said Bagheri: “Before entering the second step of the Islamic Revolution, the capacities for the annihilation of the Zionist regime and, by God’s grace, the elimination of the fake, child-murdering and odious regime from the political geography of the region have been prepared.”

Iranian leaders make no pretense about their loathing for the State of Israel. This hatred is the epitome of irrational Antisemitism.

Iranian leaders rarely need a reason to threaten Israel. It’s what they do and who/what they are: a radical rogue Islamic nation that funds terrorism and terrorizes its own people. More likely that not Bagheri was responding to a statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a few weeks earlier during Israeli celebration of Purim—Israel’s ancient deliverance from and victory over the wicked Persian official Haman and those who sought to kill all the Jews.

Said Netanyahu, “On the eve of Purim, I would like to say to those who seek our lives, Iran and its proxies in the Middle East: 2,500 years ago, another Persian villain tried to destroy the Jewish people and just as he failed then, so, too, you will fail today. We will not allow your extremist and aggressive regime to attain nuclear weapons.”

(Major General Mohammad Bagheri & Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran)

Turkey and Israel

Since Turkey’s Recep Erdogan became Prime Minister (2003) then President of Turkey (2014), Israel’s relationship with this country has covered the ambivalent scale of hot, cold, and lukewarm. Nonetheless, Erdogan’s overall attitude is one of hostility toward Israel. That and increasing boldness in his plans for Turkish influence to escalate in Israel, especially Jerusalem.

The following is an excerpt from an article written by veteran Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, originally appearing in the online news source Israel Hayom. Then reposted in Jewish News Syndicate on March 1, 2021:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to change the name of the Directorate of Religious Affairs to the “Directorate of Jerusalem and Umrah Affairs” isn’t about semantics but substance. Erdogan views himself as a successor to the line of Ottoman sultans. He wants to restore the empire of old and sees himself as responsible for Jerusalem from the Islamic perspective.

“In his own eyes, Erdogan is the successor to Salah al-Din (Saladin) and Suleiman the Magnificent. Hence, Erdogan has adhered to the dream of a Muslim caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital…

“From Erdogan’s point of view, Jerusalem is ‘under occupation,’ is of utmost importance after Mecca and Medina, and should be part of the ‘Umrah’ (the ‘regular’ Muslim pilgrimage throughout the year, unlike the Hajj). True to this worldview, as early as 2017 the Turkish president called for ‘conquering’ the city through a mass infusion of Muslim tourists to Israel. ‘We must visit Al-Aqsa much more,’ he said at the time.

“Erdogan believes that Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is a historic accident. All his moves relating to Jerusalem, including the aforementioned name change, are geared towards amending it…”

See Eye of Prophecy, The Myth of Al-Aqsa Mosque (posted 4-16-16).

Russia & Israel

As contained and explained in several Eye of Prophecy articles, Russia will spearhead the malicious Gog/Magog alliance. Which makes the current relationship between Russia (President Putin) and Israel (Prime Minister Netanyahu) even more intriguing. Obviously, the majority of what Putin does for or with Israel is self-serving; but the fact remains that the two leaders get along quite well, having held several meetings in the past four years or so.

Although Russia and Iran both support the Syrian government and are allies of sorts, Russia permits Israel (with an occasional objection or two) to conduct airstrikes in Syria against Iranian and Syrian forces, including Iran’s proxy … Hezbollah. This to prevent a buildup of armaments (especially sophisticated guided missiles) aimed at Israel.

This cordial diplomatic arrangement between Russia and Israel includes even some smaller incidents such as Russia’s recent agreement that its troops would conduct searches in Syria for the remains of famed Israeli spy Eli Cohen—who was killed in the 1960’s near or in Damascus. Moreover, the Russians were pressing the Assad regime to provide more information as to the location of Cohen’s remains.

(Photo of Eli Cohen)

This situation came on the coattails of a Russian-arranged prisoner exchange to secure the rescue and return of a young Israeli woman captured in Syria after she crossed the Israeli/Syrian border.

Or Russia’s assistance in locating and returning the remains of a slain IDF solder, Zechariah Baumel, held in Syria since 1982.

*Note: Israeli Jews place a great deal of importance (value) on proper burial of their own in the land of Israel—much like Joseph wanted his remains to be transferred from Egypt to Israel for a permanent burial site—especially those killed in battle or in the line of duty. On more than one occasion, Israel has traded live enemy prisoners (many of them) for just one Israeli soldier, alive or dead.

Strange, but true stories, regarding two nations that will one day (not long from now) become bitter enemies, when Russia along with Iran, Turkey, and lesser nations furiously attack Israel.

Things to Ponder

Returning to the arrogant Iranian general’s boast with a question: Which God is he referring to when he said, “by God’s grace…”?

Obvious Answer: the Muslim god, Allah. Although even Muslims will sometimes substitute Allah with God, as will journalists when reporting someone who has mentioned the name Allah.

The main point: The Islamic god (in the Arab’s original pantheon of gods before Muhammed selected the moon-god Allah to imitate the Biblical monotheistic God of the Jews and Christians) certainly is not the God of the Bible. Among other names, He refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not of Ishmael nor Mohammed.

The God of the Bible states unequivocally that He is the One true and living God. There are no other gods, except those devised by people.

Here’s a quote from Iran’s so-called Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in direct response to the quotation that I cited earlier from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (concerning Purim and Iran). From an article posted in United With Israel on 2-24-21 written by Aryeh Savir.

Said Khamenei: “That clown of the global Zionism (Netanyahu) is saying that he will not allow Iran to attain nuclear weapons; however, it should be said that if the Islamic Republic had decided to attain (an) atomic bomb, the Zionists and powers bigger than them could not have been able to prevent it.”

On the authority of the true and living God and His Word, the Bible: There is a power bigger than the powers which are bigger than Israel (such as the United States). One that is immensely (universally) bigger than the USA, the European Union, Russia, Turkey, and especially big-headed Iran.

When Iran—along with its partners in crime—attack Israel, they will learn first-hand which God IS God. They will see up close and personal that Israel won’t need to lift a finger to defend herself. The God of Israel, Himself, will crush the Gog/Magog armies.

Listen to the astonishing details and stunning results as God speaks to Gog and his confederation through Ezekiel:

“…When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over! …all the people on earth—will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth…. Your men will turn their swords against each other (Russians will turn on Iranians who will turn on the Turks, who will turn on the Russians … because each country will want to be in charge of the others). I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:18-23, parenthesis mine, italics for emphasis).

Then in the next chapter: “You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 39:5). And the verse before that:

Followed with: “And I will make a vast graveyard for Gog and his hordes in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea… It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies and cleanse the land. Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign Lord.

“After seven months, teams of men will be appointed to search the land for skeletons to bury, so the land will be made clean again. Whenever bones are found, a marker will be set up so the burial crews will take them to be buried in the Valley of Gog’s Hordes” (Ezekiel 39:11-15).

This time it will be the Israelis looking for the remains of Russians (Iranians, Turks, and others).

Only there will be no exchange of prisoners!

Then, a few years later, near the end of the seven-year Tribulation, God’s Son Messiah Jesus will soundly defeat Antichrist and all the nations aligned with this evil man.

The staggering 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).

During the Millennium and throughout Eternity, this Psalmist prayer will be realized globally on a spectacular scale.

“May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Yes, may all the nations praise you. Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world” (Psalm 67:2-4, parenthesis mine).

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

Reexamination of Messiah’s Imminent Return & The Omega Generation

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

This phenomenon took place while Jesus and his disciples were on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem.

Since Messiah Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his earth-shaking, penalty (of sin) taking, salvation making, precedent breaking (Elijah needed a chariot), hope waking resurrection, those who have believed and received him as their personal Savior have staked their eternal destiny on this powerful promise of his return.

If he does not leave heaven again, neither of the following events will happen.

(1) The Rapture: Catching up of believers from the earth to heaven in which the dead in Christ will be raised to life. They along with living believers will be transformed into immortal bodies like that of our Lord Jesus. However, Christ does not touch down on earth when this occurs; rather, believers will meet him in the air. See I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15 for the dazzling details.

(2) The Kingdom of God on Earth: Which requires the reappearance (Second Coming) of Messiah Jesus in the same manner and place as when he left this planet nearly 2,000 years ago. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth the first time, Zechariah prophesied this spectacular event which will take place near the end of the Great Tribulation. The perfect timing and powerful purpose of Christ’s physical return is to rescue Israel from annihilation at the hands of Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition. Also, to complete the wrath of God at Armageddon preceded by the seven bowl judgments on an unrepentant and irreversibly wicked world.

“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…” (Zechariah 14:3-4).

Christ will bring an end to this seven-year period of global travail and tribulation greater than … well let’s read what Jesus’s said:

Messiah’s reappearance is often referred to as, The Imminent Return of Christ.

Webster’s Dictionary defines imminent: “ready to take place … hanging threateningly over one’s head.”

The intrinsic idea is something that will take place, at any time. And, without warning.

Invariably, there are two types of reactions to something spectacular that occurs suddenly (without immediate warning) even if the impending event has been common knowledge for a long time. One response is surprise … in a delightful sense.

The other (opposite) is shock. Which is what those left behind (unbelievers) at the Rapture will experience. Which is why the Imminent Return of Messiah Jesus has been and will continue to be something that hangs threateningly over their heads.

That is why the Apostle Peter wrote passionately about the last days of the end times.

His words would be an encouragement to believers (mixed with a little admonishment … to live godly lives); and a warning to unbelievers … be (get) ready. The getting ready is through repentance—changing one’s mind/heart by accepting Christ as Savior. Which, in turn, would change their adversarial attitude toward Christians in general and Messiah’s promised return in particular.

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’

“They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord (Rapture phase) will come as unexpectedly as a thief… and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (II Peter 3:3-10, parenthesis mine).

Just How Imminent is the Imminent Return of Messiah?

That is the title of an Eye of Prophecy article posted over three years ago (11-18-17).

In the 20th & 21st centuries, there have been and still are an abundance of flashpoint signs to signal that the return of Messiah Jesus is more imminent than ever. There are also patterns, parallels, and principles plus correlations (including certain numbers) in Scripture that strongly suggest that we are in the last days of the end times.

We just read about one of these parallel principles and comparable use of numbers. A day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. Which was originally penned by Moses.

Concerning the amazing prophecies in Scripture that often involve extraordinary episodes and numbers (years, days) to or during their fulfillment, there is often a literal application that is more than just an analogy … metaphoric. Or they are both symbolic and actual—in terms of a dedicated time-lapse fulfillment. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, The Phenomenal Thousand Years / One Day Parallel (Posted 4-4-18). Also, Extraordinary Biblical Prophecies w/Predicted Times of Fulfillment, Part I & II (March 2019).

As applied to the 1st century resurrection of Jesus Christ—which was also his return to earth on the 3rd day—and the Second Coming of Messiah, the correlation could conceivably be that of Jesus in the grave for a full two days (only part of the 3rd day) as a pattern parallel to two thousand years between his First and Second Advents.

Christ arose (returned to the earth) on the third day. Accordingly, there is every reason to make the compelling connection that he will return soon to establish the third thousand-year era since he changed time itself (B.C. to A.D.) … The Millennial Reign of Messiah on earth!

However, because it has been nearly 2,000 years (close to 1,988 years) since Jesus ascended to heaven, we need to reexamine the question posed earlier that Peter said would be in the form of mockery from unbelievers in the last days (and it certainly is): “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?”

In other words, repeating: Just How Imminent is the Imminent Return of Christ?

Or in stronger terms: Is his return imminent at all? Could it be hundreds of years from now? Might it not even be in this Third A.D. Millennium?

It’s not just the skepticism, sarcasm, and scorn coming from many unbelievers. That’s to be expected; in fact, the Apostle Peter prophesied of such. Unfortunately, in the last few years some disillusionment has developed concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ even among believers. There is a growing concern that the imminent return of Christ is anything but that.

Instead, the Second Coming appears more indefinite than ever.

I believe there are two reasons (sources) for this concern that is causing varying degrees of complacency and/or pessimism in the hearts and lives of some Christians.

(1) From Without: This is particularly true of American Christians in the context of the current state of our Union. Or should I say: the (deplorable) state of our disunion within these (dis)United States of America. Not since the Civil War (blue vs. gray) have we been so divided (blue vs. red). Violent radicals on both sides (liberals and conservatives) have crossed the lines of democratic decency, of moral accountability, of law and order which is (should be) the heart of a republic. Some say that we have irretrievably breached the middle ground of cooperation in this country and are holding tight to ground on opposite sides of an unbridgeable gulf between left and right, democrat and republican.

However, there’s another source of this spreading consternation among believers (even the evangelicals) pertaining to Bible end-time prophecies and unfolding events. To the extent that some of even the most ardent believers are showing signs of declining interest in and/or indifference to Biblical prophecy.

(2) From Within: Not disbelief in the sure Biblical prophecy (fact) of the literal return of Messiah Jesus to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, preceded by the Rapture some seven years earlier. Rather, perhaps a growing weariness with Bible teachers (like me) periodically or even constantly reminding them of the imminent return of Christ; to sometimes include the approximate timeframe (within years) of his Second Coming!

I’m certainly not referring to precise calendar days, as some misguided and misinformed prophecy seers (most are Christian in name only) have erroneously calculated, to their embarrassment. Considering that Jesus himself said three times that no one could/would know the day or hour of the Rapture—the first phase of his return (Matthew 24 & 25).

After 323 articles posted in Eye of Prophecy website (ministry) with 52 of those in the category of The Rapture, it occurs to me that I may be facing a choice when it comes to appraisal of the approximate period when the Day of the Lord will begin.

I can stop writing about this specific aspect of Biblical prophecy with the thought that there should be absolutely no speculation at all. Even though Christ said it was important to wait and watch for the signs of the last days, then presented many of those markers himself.

This could conceivably involve deletion of two or three Eye of Prophecy posts from the archive of articles. Such as, The Omega Generation (posted 2-15-14). And the post identified earlier … Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return?

Conversely, to leave those articles intact and even revisit them (which is what this week’s article is doing)!

With, however, a minimum of speculation and a maximum of Biblical evidence and concise commentary to provide further clarification and correlation that the approximate time table of his return can be assessed. And with a robust reliance on Jesus’s clear message that the primary measuring criteria (benchmark or milestone) is that of a generation.

“I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen…” (Matthew 24:34-36a).

My Decision: To Double Down but with More Clarification!

Beginning with:

The Certainty of The Second Coming of Messiah Jesus

Just as Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s (first) arrival on earth in dramatic detail, so will he fulfill the two primary panoramic prophecies of the last days: (A) His return to earth, preceded by the Rapture and Tribulation. (B) His final restoration of God’s Promised Land Israel and the final rescue and redemption of God’s chosen people, the Jews.

In fact, hundreds of other Biblical prophecies have also been fulfilled throughout history, many of them through God’s majestic miracles. Not the least of which was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

*Note: A brief pause here to boldly and bluntly state, but with compassion and humility, that any unbeliever reading this article should heed the overwhelming Biblical and historical evidence regarding God’s (only) plan of salvation available (only) through His Son, Messiah Jesus. To distort, disregard, or deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his substitutionary death on the cross for their (our sins) is to do so at their own peril.

“Said John the Baptist about Jesus as found in the Apostle John’s Gospel:

“He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:31-36).

Among many other points of truth about God and about himself, Jesus emphatically and exclusively said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Returning to the sure scenario that Jesus will assuredly return, let’s revisit the passage cited earlier. Beginning with that same chapter, we read:

“This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago, and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles. Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come…” (II Peter 3:1-3a).

The Holy Prophets

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us…” (Isaiah 9:6a). Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of David, and (as he often referred to himself) the Son of Man. He was the (universal) child born for and son given to redeem mankind … all who would personally believe and receive him as Savior.

That child became a man, like no other who has ever walked this earth. Listen as God speaks of his Messiah through the prophet Isaiah:

“My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:2-6).

In his First Advent, Jesus was, “…led like a lamb to the slaughter…” (Isaiah 53:7). John the Baptist acknowledged and addressed Jesus as, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Upon Messiah’s glorious return, “…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 9:6b-7).

From the suffering Savior of Isaiah 53, Christ will return as the King of all kings. Listen again as God speaks about his Messiah:

(Yeshua Ha Mashiach is Hebrew for Jesus the Messiah … Verses 7 & 8 go on to say: “The Lord, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the Lord, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you… Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again’”)

Through the Apostles

The Apostle John—A Direct Command & Second Coming Promise From Jesus:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:1-3).

The Apostle Paul—Through His Letter to Titus:

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14).

Although Not an Apostle, James—The (Half) Brother of Jesus:

“Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near (at any time)” (James 5:7-8, parenthesis mine).

Perhaps this patience could even be extended to Bible prophecy teachers who keep reminding us of these passages and others like them! To be sure, it is vital that we thoroughly examine what is presented; to determine the accuracy of it and whether there may be too much speculation with too little Biblical and historical documentation. Particularly true when the subject is when (approximate timeframe) the Day of the Lord might begin.

*Note: I would encourage you to read Eye of Prophecy article (a short one) entitled Value of Prophecy (posted 8-29-13).

The Apostle Peter—Returning to II Peter Chapter 3:

“But the Day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire…. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (II Peter 3:10-13, emphasis added).

“And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters….” (Verse 15).

How and when will the Day of the Lord begin?

Answer: With the Rapture.

What we cannot know: The day/hour of the Rapture.

What we can know: The general (generational) timeframe … a window of time.

Listen again to the definitive words of Jesus himself: “I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place.”

What things? Everything he described during his Mount Olivet discourse to his disciples, PLUS (of course) all the other last days prophecies found in Scripture, many of which have come to pass or are still unfolding in the 20th & 21st centuries … the birth pains.

All in a generation’s time. Moreover, I am still convinced that we are living in and are part of that very generation … The Final Generation.

A Revisit of the Omega Generation

Before we reexamine Eye of Prophecy article, The Omega Generation (posted 2-15-14), here is an excerpt from article, Look Up, Redemption is Near Part II (July 2015) including the summary list of twelve (flashpoint) events discussed in Part I & Part II:

I’m going to conclude by saying something a bit unexpected, something that at face value may seem contradictory to the flash point theme of this article.

All these twelve indicators, including the restoration of Israel as a nation, could have developed and taken place in the first century or any century thereafter. For example, the transportation and communication advances have been relative to each generation … progressively expanding in quantity and quality. The reason that all these things could have been in place is that Christ could have returned at any time in history, what we call the imminent return of Messiah.

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

Here is the list of the twelve in a handy concise format. Check each one to see if they either have been fulfilled or if they have reached or nearly reached their optimum and maximum flash point.

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

Next is an excerpt from The Omega Generation article (also in italics):

When Jesus says, “this generation” he is not referring to some vague, unspecified, undefined, ambiguous period of time. Rather, he is identifying the precise generation that will be alive and witness the amazing end time’s events described in Matthew and Luke. In other words, this is a literal, identifiable generation. Scripture gives us two primary designations or parameters of a generation, both of which are measured in real time.

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

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

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

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

Application of Biblical Generations to the Last Generation

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

…Is it, then, possible to select or identify events/dates in Israel’s contemporary history that correspond to the Biblical definition of a generation … that is one hundred years and/or seventy years? The answer is a resounding, YES. In fact, we’ve already touched on these dates in the previous three articles.

…Some Christians are confused about or don’t entirely understand the role of the Church and Israel during the last days beginning with the Rapture.

Please fathom one critical premise/truth: Although the Mount of Olives discourse indirectly applies to the Church … the whole purpose of Christ’s majestic return is to set up the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God) on the earth IN the Holy Land and THROUGH / FOR his chosen people, the Jews. And what triggers the need for Christ to return to Israel is none other than the ultimate and final rescue of the Jews (Israel) from conquest and destruction at the hands of Antichrist.

Concerning the Church, the sole purpose of the Rapture is to snatch away believers from the earth so that we do not have to experience the final wrath of God poured out on an ungodly generation of unbelievers. Otherwise, ALL the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Last Days or End Times focus on Israel, not the Church; in fact, the Church (consisted of all Jews/Gentiles who place their trust in Christ’s sacrificial death) doesn’t even come into existence for over 400 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written….

So, let’s look again at the three monumentally crucial events of the last 100 years, relating to the return of the Jews to Israel.

A. Balfour Declaration of November 1917: England extended official support that Palestine could be a home for the Jews. This was the beginning of Jewish autonomy in Israel, although the land was still called Palestine at that time.

Recognizing this especially important event/date, we can then apply the Biblical generational measurement of 100 years. Once again, however, we need to convert Roman calendar years to Jewish years. Doing the math, we come up with 101.4 Jewish years which translates to 101 years and 5 months. From November 1917, this would take us to March or April 2019.

B. United Nations Resolution of November 1947: UN voted to grant statehood rights to the Jews; the nation would be called Israel. (May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion proclaimed the reborn existence of the State of Israel!).

…Without the UN resolution of November 1947, there would have been no recognized Israeli State in May 1948. Yet, there is only a period of 6 months separating these two events; thus, selection of either one would be a legitimate application to the 70-year generational measurement of time.

Again, doing the conversion math, we arrive at a total of 70.97 or (rounding it off) 71 Jewish years. Adding 71 years to November 1947, we arrive at November 2018. If we utilize May 1948 as the benchmark date, the 71 years would take us to May 2019.

*Note: For more detail on the Balfour Declaration, please see Eye of Prophecy articles, The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation Part I & Part II (May 2017).

Time/space in today’s article does not permit elaboration on the third milestone, which is the Six-Day War of 1967 in which the Israelis reclaimed all of Israel. After some more facts and figures, that article concluded with the following summary:

… First, none of these three possibilities give us an exact day/hour of Christ’s return that begins with the first phase which is the Rapture and ends with his physical return at the end of the Tribulation. And that’s good. Why? Because Jesus, himself, said that no one can possibly know the day or hour of his return…. Therefore, I wouldn’t even pretend to know the exact date of Christ’ return, nor would I ever venture a guess. Forget it!

On the contrary, Jesus did advise us to recognize the seasons, the times, the signs, and the symptoms if you will, of his glorious return. If he didn’t want us to put 2 and 2 together, then why did Jesus provide so many clues and signals? ….Why would he have selected a time-measured or time-dedicated point of reference (generation), if he didn’t want us to identify the noteworthy benchmark events of the final days, aligned alongside the pre-Rapture birth pains and post-Rapture (Tribulation) incidents that he describes.

With these questions in mind, what other specific events have occurred relating to Israel during the 20th or 21st century that would surpass or supplant the 1917, 1947 (48), and 1967 highlights….?  I’ll give you a hint: There are NO other events that even come close to these historical mileposts….

Summary

Here’s what we find when we combine all three projected dates of generational or Jubilee time-lapse… meaning 100 years, 70 years, and 50 years (Roman calendar….

It’s conceivable that we will hear the blast of the last Rapture trumpet: BETWEEN FEBRUARY 2018 and MAY 2019!!

Of course, Christ may Rapture the Church any day between now and the above listed dates, or after those dates…. Concerning a generation (whether 70 or 100 years): unless the prophecy specifies actual periods of time such as found in Daniel 9, there is normally some flexibility built-in to God’s use of numbers in Scripture. For example, there are, relatively speaking, a handful of people on the earth who live to be 105 or 110, or whatever. Also, the average life expectancy in many developed countries is in the vicinity of 76, 77, or 78 years.

But, if the Lord decides to combine all three timeframes, then I would be very surprised if we Christians are still on this earth after the year 2020 …. based on some solid evidence from Scripture, particularly the passages quoted in this article and prior articles.

(End of excerpt from The Omega Generation)

Please consider reading (for the first time or again) Eye of Prophecy article, Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return? (posted 11-18-17) which contains even more facts and figures. Which also includes Ezekiel’s Dry Bones prophecy that fits perfectly with our Omega Generation. Here is an excerpt from that article:

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s read on:

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

Do you see semantically what’s going on here?

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

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

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

Things to Ponder

Again, listen to the prophetic words of Messiah Jesus concerning the last days of the end times just a few verses before his “this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” statement.

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

As indicated, I’m even more convinced that the most accurate Scriptural criteria (benchmark) to use in identifying the approximate period for commencement of the Day of the Lord (Rapture), is that of our Lord’s reference to a (the final) generation.

Am I surprised that the Rapture has not happened yet (2020 has come and gone!), as stated some seven years ago in The Omega Generation article?

Yes, but not as much as otherwise would/could be. For two reasons:

(1) With regard to the first definition (parameter) of a generation, to have given more weight to the San Remo Conference of 1920 which affirmed the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Then, perhaps, even more consideration to the 1922 League of Nations ratification (on a more global scale) of the San Remo Conference decisions and declarations. Therefore, the milepost beginning of the final generation would be revised to 1922 instead of 1917.

Which takes us to the year 2022 (100-year generation).

*Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Israel’s Annexation of Occupied Territory? We Must Define The Terms (6-27-20), for a more detailed account of the San Remo Conference.

(2) In hindsight I would have placed even more emphasis on the built-in flexibility of God’s timetable with more highlighting in a few prior articles on our passage of II Peter 3 … the Lord’s patience in extending the prophetic clock so that more people would be saved.

Thus, we could stretch the 100-year generation to the maximum life expectancy of say the oldest person in the world at any given year, conceivably from 110 to 115 years old. Which, using the age of 110 years, would take us to the year 2032. Same thing with the 70-year generational span to accommodate the increased longevity of people in several nations.

For example: The oldest (highest average) life expectancy on Planet Earth is found in Hong Kong; women at 87.8 years and men at 82 years, with their combined average at 85 years (rounded off). Second highest—combining both men and women—is in Japan … 84 years. With the beginning point of Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948, we could then add some 14 years (to the generational age/figure of 70 years) which takes us to the same year 2032.

Accordingly, I’ll revise my surprise year to 2032. If I live that long, I will definitely be surprised that the Rapture has not yet occurred, fully understanding that no one knows the day of the Rapture! Nevertheless, the signs of the times (there are so many that some are calling them the “times of the signs”) strongly suggest that believers will meet the Lord in the air even sooner.

“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon! (at any moment). Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people” (Revelation 22:20-21, parenthesis mine).

How and When Does The World End?

The End of the World

Is that time coming? Or is the saying just a figure of speech?

If it is real, how will it happen? When? All at once with some massive man-made disastrous global event? Nuclear war? A Pandemic? Armageddon?

Or a series of natural catastrophes—enormous earthquakes, vast (super) volcanic eruptions, terrifying tsunamis, horrific hurricanes—that render this planet uninhabitable.

Life is full of end of the world drama and trauma, or threats thereof.

When tragedy strikes, many have thought, “it’s the end of the world.”

Sometimes followed with, “What’s the use of going on?” Sorrowfully, there are too many who do not go on. They give in or give up on the living of life. Others literally quit their life (suicide).

Fortunately, some have family or friends who sincerely remind them (us) despite their woes, “It’s not the end of the world.”

For those who get to the point of doubt, disillusionment, and even despair, it invariably involves the loss of something: A job or financial setback costing an arm and a leg; actual loss of hearing or sight or a (literal) loss of a limb from disease or accident.

Even more devastating: the loss of a loved one. It can turn someone’s world upside down. And it does not have to be through death. Departure and divorce can be just as painful … just as likely to result in loss of hope for a better world. Instead, it’s “the end of my world.”

Movies have been produced, docudramas played, books published, poems penned, articles printed, sermons preached, and even songs sung about the end of the world.

For you (we) Baby Boomers out there, can you hum the tune to the lyrics of this song composed by Dee Sylvia and Kent Arthur, first sung by Skeeter Davis in 1962, entitled: The End of the World?

Why does the sun go on shining?

Why does the sea rush to shore?

Don’t they know it’s the End of the World

Cause you don’t love me any more

 

Why do the birds go on singing?

Why do the stars glow above?

Don’t they know it’s The End of the World

It ended when I lost your love

When someone special in a trusted, time-tested relationship doesn’t love us anymore, it can seem like the end of the world. Without trivializing the heartbreak portrayed in this song and others like it or real-life heartaches it represents, such End of the World experiences pale in comparison to global catastrophes like World War II and the Holocaust. And will pale even more to what will take place during the Great Tribulation, duration of which is just seven years.

In an ironic twist of some of the lyrics of the song, The End of the World to some of the Tribulation judgments, we read, for example:

Song: “Why does the sun go on shining?” (1st verse). “Why do the stars glow above?” (2nd verse)

Scripture: “Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night” (Revelation 8:12).

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

Song (third verse):

I wake up in the morning and I wonder

Why everything’s the same as it was

I can’t understand, no I can’t understand

How life goes on the way it does

It will not be long at all into the seven-year Tribulation, when earth’s inhabitants will wish that life would go on the way it does. Listen to what they will say:

Scripture: “I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood… The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive’” (Revelation 6:12-17, italics for emphasis).

That could be an end of the world scenario if ever there was. On the other hand, it will be only the beginning of God’s wrath poured out during the seven-year Tribulation.

What Constitutes An (The) End to the World?

Will there be a detectable (definable) end to the world? Based on the authority of Scripture—through which Messiah Jesus and all Bible prophets have been proven 100% accurate in prophecies that have been fulfilled to date—the answer is an emphatic …Yes. There will be a demarcation in the destiny of mankind in which what we refer to as “the world” will come to an end. However, it will be in God’s time and on his terms.

What will trigger the end of the world? The final bowl judgment? The Battle of Armageddon?

Said Messiah Jesus about this horrendous time of death and destruction during the Great Tribulation: “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).

[For a more detailed description of the Seal, Trumpet, and Bowl events and Scripture-based estimation of the loss of life during the Great Tribulation, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (posted 6-6-15); Stunning Catastrophes of the Great Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose (11-4-17); Sequel to Stunning Catastrophes & Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (6-6-20), which uses more current world population figures]

Soon after the Rapture resurrection of all dead believers in Messiah Jesus plus the removal of living believers from this planet, there will be man-made carnage on a scale never seen, as portrayed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:1-8). Through war, famine, and disease one-fourth of the earth’s population will be killed in just the first part of the Great Tribulation.

Because of the scope and severity of the Four Horsemen calamities it will be necessary for God to purposely permit them to happen. That is what takes place when Jesus breaks the seven seals, which is the first of three sets of seven apocalyptic events during the Tribulation. Then, beginning with the 6th Seal (the details of which we just read) followed by the seven Trumpets and seven Bowl judgments, God will judge the earth with the brunt of his wrath poured out against Antichrist and his followers during the bowl judgments.

For example: “Then I heard a mighty voice from the Temple say to the seven angels. ‘Go your ways and pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.’ 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 16:1-2).

So, too, could an argument be made that the 7th bowl (God’s final judgment) near the end of the seven-year Tribulation is the end of the world. At the very least it will change the face (landscape) of the earth on a scale of Biblical proportions.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Stunning Catastrophes of the Great Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose, which, in turn, quotes from a prior article:

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

As we read earlier, the (unbelieving, unsaved) world’s reaction to God’s 1st judgment (6th seal earthquake) was one of at least partial reflection and acknowledgement, albeit with shock and awe. But not one of repentance and, therefore, redemption. Although there will be many who turn to Christ for salvation, in each successive judgment (fourteen in all between the 6th Seal and the 7th Bowl) the hearts of most survivors will become harder and harder.

Accordingly, God’s wrath will get harsher and harsher, to the extent that Planet Earth will hardly be recognizable after the final bowl judgment.

And there is still Armageddon to go, the battle of the ages! A series of battles that begin primarily in Israel, especially Jerusalem (Zechariah 12 & 14). That is when Christ will return to Planet Earth and first step foot on the Mount of Olives; to do battle against Antichrist and his ten-nation confederacy that culminates in the valley of Megiddo, Israel.

After his spectacular appearance to/in Israel, Messiah Jesus will rally the Israeli soldiers and they will turn the tide for the Battle of Jerusalem. Then Christ will return to heaven to lead his army (we believers taken in the Rapture some 7 years earlier) against the now aligned forces of Antichrist’s coalition and the Kings of the East.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Armageddon and Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events posted 2-3-18).

Here is the graphic description of Armageddon:

“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 … 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 title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky, ‘Come! Gather together for the great banquet God has prepared. Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.’

“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 19:11-21).

For all who have died before the finale comes, their world has ended … through war, murder, disease, famine, accidents, natural death. The rest of the world goes on.

But for how long?

And what is that world? Is it everything that makes life what it is on earth? Is it the earth itself? What about our sun and moon and the galaxies of stars and planets? Or is it the end of an era?

God’s Word (the Bible) is clear that death is the end of life in our earthly bodies, but not final cessation of life itself. All who die will be resurrected: believers at the Rapture and end of the Tribulation with transformed immortal bodies (I Thessalonians 4; I Corinthians 15 & Revelation 20). Unbelievers at the conclusion of the Millennial Reign of Christ (Revelation 20).

What Does Jesus Say About the End of the World?

What better authority than the Messiah himself to tell us definitively what “The End of the World” is … when it will come; and what (when) it is not.

*Note: You may also want to refer to Eye of Prophecy article: End of the World Events … In Chronological Order (posted 2-25-17). It is a panoramic view in summary form of all 21 major events that comprise the end times. Beginning with (1) The Rapture and finishing with (21) Eternity. This week’s article is geared more to identifying what constitutes The End of the World.

What The End of The World Is Not

Do you recall what his disciples asked Jesus not long after he had told them the 2nd Temple would be destroyed (which happened about 40 years later … A.D. 70)?

Jesus then presented them with an array of actions that included the sack of Jerusalem and destruction of the 2nd Temple, but mainly the somber signs that would be harbingers of his return. Early on in this lengthy conversation, Jesus provided the pivotal point in his comprehensive response to their question. He said: “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, italics for emphasis).

To what end did Jesus refer? The end of the world as posed in the disciples’ question?

Notice that Jesus did not say, end of the world. Rather he said, “…then the end will come.”

Putting this into the complete context of the Mt. Olivet Discourse and all the activities that would take place preceding his return to earth, Jesus is referring to the Great Tribulation which Daniel prophesied would (beginning with a treaty) last seven years (Daniel 9:27). He even mentions Daniel by name in this remarkable revelation to his disciples.

Jesus focused on the first question posed by the disciples, regarding his physical return to earth. In doing so, he covers global conditions during the generation before the Tribulation (triggered by the first phase of his Second Advent … The Rapture) begins. Then the cataclysmic circumstances and consequences of the Tribulation—of which he provides even more dramatic details as recorded in the Book of Revelation a few decades after his resurrection and ascension to heaven.

Thus, when Jesus said and then the end will come, he was referring directly to his Second Coming. Although Christ had more to say, he summarized his return to earth with these words:

“And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angles with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Consequently, the Lord was NOT referring to the end of the world. Rather, his answer was directed to the question of when (the signs of) he would return to earth. We later learn from the Book of Revelation that the earth will be decimated (both landscape and life) by the time Jesus returns, but the earth will still be the earth. The end referred to by Jesus was the termination of the Great Tribulation which also ends the global rebellion against God and Messiah Jesus spearheaded by Antichrist.

Upon his return and just before Messiah Jesus judges the nations for their treatment of Israel and the Jews (Sheep/Goat separation that concludes the Olivet Discourse) and begins his 1,000-year reign on earth, the angels gather his chosen ones—Jews from all over the earth who will be transported to Israel and be part of Israel’s remnant who will be saved … physically and spiritually (Zechariah 12-14 & Romans 9-11).

Though there will be some startling changes to/on the earth during the Millennium, it will still be the earth as we know it. The world will continue with one huge difference: Messiah Jesus will personally rule and reign (believers granted authority to rule with him) over the entire earth from Jerusalem!

See Eye of Prophecy article: Messiah’s Millennial Reign … Incredible Changes on Earth, posted 12-30-17.

What the End of the World Is

Once again, we will refer and defer to the prophetic power and absolute authority of Messiah Jesus, who is the very essence (subject, purpose) of prophecy … Revelation 19:10. With his resurrection from the dead, he proved that he is the Son of God and God the Son. Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled dozens of Old Testament predictions of the coming Messiah and will fulfill many more upon his remarkable return.

He even predicted the details of his arrest and death. Unless Jesus was God (he is) there is no way he could have known in such detail what would happen.

Speaking to his disciples, Jesus said: “Listen… we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead” (Matthew 20:18-19).

(Jesus also knew which of his disciples would betray him)

Prior to the Mount Olivet Discourse, Jesus had already announced that there would be an end to the world (as they and we know it). Apparently, his disciples forgot (some of the things Jesus said) during the series of seven parables Jesus used to explain what the Kingdom of Heaven would be like … Matthew Chapter 13. In two of these parables, Jesus refers to, “the end of the world.”

The first of these is categorized as the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds (tares) found in Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43. Time/space in this week’s article only allows commentary on the 2nd story, known as the Parable of the Fishing Net.

Said Jesus: “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:47-50, emphasis added).

Biblical Salvation: Just a short pause to make sure we’re all on the same page as to who the righteous and wicked are in this illustration and others like it. To that end, the Bible is crystal clear what makes a person righteous … right standing with God.

Beginning with the fact that, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s righteous standard” (Romans 3:23).

But God has provided a remedy. In the very next verse we read, “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…

“Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith (in Jesus Christ) and not by obeying the law” (Romans 3:24-25 & 27-28, parenthesis mine).

The Apostle Paul was reinforcing what Jesus said to Nicodemus and others. That salvation and eternal life are gifts given by God—to be believed and received. They are not earned.

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36). Everyone is in the camp or category of “wicked” until or unless they are made “righteous” (right standing with God) by believing and receiving Messiah Jesus as Personal Savior.

That’s why the above passage says, “they remain under God’s angry judgment.” Because that is where we all are (begin in life) and will remain until and unless we receive God’s pardon by accepting His Son.

Receiving such a pardon is no different than walking out of a prison cell if the State has pardoned (released) us from a sentence of death. If we disbelieve the warden that our sentence has been commuted and remain there, then we will die in that prison (our sins).

Back to the End of the World

Repeating what Jesus said: “that is the way it will be at the end of the world.”

What way?

Answer: “The angels will come and separate the wicked people (unsaved) from the righteous (saved), throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace…” (Matthew 13:49-50, parenthesis mine).

Now let’s match those words with what Jesus said (himself or through angels) in his final revelation to humanity, as recorded by John in the Book of Revelation just a few decades after Jesus had ascended back to heaven. Even Christians sometimes forget that the Book of Revelation is, “…a revelation from Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place…” (Revelation 1:1, emphasis added).

In Revelation Chapter 20 we are told about the marvelous 1,000-year (Millennium) reign of Messiah Jesus on the earth. Which undoubtedly will commence with a massive restoration (clean-up) of this planet that has been rocked off its axis by the earth-shattering events of the Great Tribulation. We also read about Satan’s imprisonment during this (literal) period; his release to lead one last rebellion against God; then God’s rapid rout of this insurrection.

Followed by the final verses of this chapter:

“And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave (Hades … hell) gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

(Depiction of the Great White Throne Judgment)

The lake of fire is not the same place as hell—which is where the soul/spirit of unbelievers go when they die, waiting for the final judgment. We don’t know what this lake will entail, but it is one and the same as the “fiery furnace” imagery (reality) used by Jesus in his depiction of the end of the world.

Those standing before God’s throne are the unsaved brought back to life (Revelation 20:5) at the end of the Millennium, alongside all the living unbelievers at that time who may have survived the final revolt against the Lord (Revelation 20:7-9).

Believers in Christ are not included in this final judgment. That is what Jesus meant when he said the wicked will be separated from the righteous at the end of the world. In fact, believers are not judged at all for the wrong things (sin) we did on earth. The reason is extraordinarily evident: We accepted Jesus as our Personal Savior whom God judged on the cross in our place.

Speaking of/to believers, Paul writes: “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of underserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” (Romans 5:1-2, emphasis added).

Believers have been given the awesome privilege of standing in God’s presence to share his glory, which includes Christ sharing his inheritance with us; including, but not limited to, ruling and reigning with him during the Millennium. We will not be among those standing before God during this final time of judgment.

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

A Contradiction?

Ephesians 2:8-9 and other similar passages clearly convey that salvation is by faith in Messiah Jesus—the Mediator of the New Covenant of God’s Grace—not by good deeds or by keeping the Law of Moses. There is no such thing as good deeds outweighing bad deeds that will make us right with God or of earning/meriting redemption.

Is there, then, a contradiction of that concept (truth) when Revelation 20 states that the unsaved will be “judged according to their deeds?”

Not at all.

At this final judgement, God is giving unbelievers (any among them who may now want to “get into heaven” … there will be those who still want nothing to do with God, Christ, or believers) a final chance to boast about their good deeds. To convince him why more good deeds than bad deeds should tip the scale in their favor, without considering God’s clear truth that any sin (no matter how small or great) requires the remedy of redemption. Which was accomplished by the perfect man, Jesus Christ. If any degree of human self-righteousness, good behavior, or achievements could impart or impute a right-standing with God, then the Son of God died for no reason at all.

(Amen! Because, innately, we have no righteousness of our own)

Another reason that God judges the unsaved according to their deeds does relate to the severity of the bad things they did while on the earth. Time/space does not permit elaboration, but Scripture discloses that there will be various levels of punishment for unbelievers. God’s justice is just as perfect as He and His other attributes are.

Don’t forget about the Book of Life mentioned in this passage. The books that contain the deeds of those (the wicked as Christ calls them) standing at God’s judgment throne will be the basis for the nature/extent of punishment. Yet, they are ultimately found guilty and sentenced for one thing only: They are not in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They are not there because they chose not to accept Messiah Jesus as their Lord and Savior while on this earth.

Is It The End of the Age or The End of the World?

As you probably know, the New Testament books were originally written in the Greek language of the 1st Century AD. Occasionally, we need to examine some Greek words more closely. Especially when different translations of the Bible use different English (or whatever language) words to determine through context, correlation, and comparison with other passages which is the best word choice.

In the New Living Translation passages quoted earlier in this week’s article, the Greek word translated world (as in end of the world) is Aion (pronounced ahee-ohn). Meaning of which is, “an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, period of time, forever, age, world.” The transliterated English word aeon is defined in Webster’s Dictionary: “an immeasurably or indefinitely long period of time.”

Some Bible translators and commentators prefer the rendering of the Greek word aion to/with the English word, age. Which is the translation found, for example, in the New American Standard Bible in several verses, including Matthew 13:40 & 49 and Matthew 24:3. Thus, we read, “the end of the age.”

Some definitions for age as found in Webster’s Dictionary: “generation, a long time, a period in history or human progress, a cultural period marked by the prominence of a particular item, division of geological time that is usually shorter than an epoch…”

So we hear such terms as, the Atomic Age, the Age of Pericles (Greek philosopher), the Stone Age, The Industrial Age, etc. In the context of the Bible, we refer, for example, to the Age of Innocence or the Church Age. Which are specified times (sometimes called dispensations) of God’s various covenants with the Jews and/or Gentiles (the world). When Messiah Jesus arose from the dead, he sealed the New Covenant of Grace and we are still in that Age of Grace.

For that matter, the Millennium (Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus) will be an age, albeit one with a specified duration … 1000 years.

Also, you have probably heard the term/word: Cosmos. Which is a transliteration from the Greek word, Kosmos. Meaning of which is: “the world, the universe, the earth, the inhabitants of the earth, world systems or affairs.”

Although the terms age and world can be (often are) used interchangeably, the intrinsic difference is that aion (age) refers primarily to a period marked distinctively by a person (such as Jesus Christ when he changed the very measurement and keeping of time from B.C. to A.D.) or an event or series of events (culturally, scientifically, economically, politically, geologically). Overall, it is more of an intangible (spiritual) phenomenon.

Whereas the Kosmos applies primarily to the tangible (physical) world … universe, earth, governmental entities, and the like. Nevertheless, there is still significant overlap between these two Greek words.

Interestingly, The King James Version mostly translates aion to world (end of the world) in the Matthew verses and other passages. With the NASB translating aion to age more often than world.

(The universe is the largest definition or expression of Cosmos)

Final Summary Proof

For purpose of definition, delineation, and demarcation of the end of the world or end of the age, what we are about to read next will demonstrate that it is the Great White Throne Judgment (final separation of the wicked from the righteous … Jesus’s own words) that will be the signal of and catalyst to the end of an age PLUS the end of the cosmos … as we know or recognize it.

Immediately succeeding the sentencing of all unbelievers to the Lake of Fire where Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Satan (bodily) himself have already been deposited (Revelation 19 & 20), we shift to this stunning scene described by John:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2).

Whether the current heavens and earth will undergo an extreme makeover by the Lord or whether He will create a completely new earth is not for us to know this side of heaven. Based on other passages in Scripture, I believe the preponderance of evidence is that of an extreme makeover of the existing Earth.

But for believers, we can rest assured: The end of the world is not the end of the world!

Nor is death the end of life, knowing that we will be raised from the dead and given immortal bodies equipped to live forever in heaven, on the New Earth. and in the New Jerusalem.

That will be the Age of Eternity. A New World. That Age and World will never end!

And it will give a whole new meaning to: A New Beginning.

With us will be our glorious Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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

Sadly, not so with the “wicked” … Jesus’s description of not just especially evil people, but of all unbelievers.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshippers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, emphasis added).

Don’t they know it’s the end of the world … it ended when you (God) said goodbye.

If only they had said, Hello (Yes) to Jesus during their lifetime on earth.

Things to Ponder

Yesterday was the 8th and final day of the Jewish celebration of Hannukah with the lights of the Menorah as centerpiece. This coming Friday, people the world over will commemorate the birth of the Jewish Messiah, the Light of the World—Savior to all who put their trust in his once-for-all sacrifice for sin and the penalty thereof.

Jesus of Nazareth goes by many precious and powerful names and designations including but not limited to: Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, The Lord, The Great Shepard, Alpha and Omega, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Son of David, Son of Man.

Next to his most prominent position and title (Son of God), my personal favorite name is Immanuel.

Also spelled, Emmanuel … God with us!

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us (believers in Christ) from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, parenthesis mine).

Not even the end of the world!

Powerful Proof of Messiah’s Identity & Arrival in The First Century!

The historical record of Jesus of Nazareth constitutes the most remarkable series of events in human history … to say the (proverbial) least.

In all the chronicles of humanity, what other person’s life consisted of one miracle after another? His very (Virgin) birth was a miracle. As was his resurrection from the dead and ascension back to heaven.

His teachings were profoundly powerful; without equal. Like no other person before or since.

He performed a mountain of miracles; instantly healing all kinds of diseases and deformities. Sometimes setting aside the laws of nature, e.g. walking on water, and turning water into wine.

In some fashion or another, everything he said (or was said about him) and did (or was done to or for him) fulfilled Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah.

Yet most Gentiles and Jews still refuse to believe the evidence or to act on it by making a personal decision to accept Christ as Savior and Lord. They persistently deny the overwhelming evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah who changed the course of history, including time itself (B.C. to A.D.)

And will once again alter the course of human events upon his return.

Even unbelievers are familiar with one of these monumental milestones in the life of this extraordinary man. Like other events in the life of Jesus, it is recorded in what is termed the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), but also, in some cases, the Gospel of John (who wrote mostly to document Jesus’s divinity).

“The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, ‘Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!’

“Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: ‘Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.’

“His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory (when he ascended back to heaven), they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign” (John 12:12-18, parenthesis mine).

Most likely you know the name of this historic scene, one that can be found on most calendars to this very day.

(Palm Sunday)

Followed later that week with his cruel crucifixion by the Romans on Good Friday.

Yet for an immensely important purpose as prophesied by Isaiah hundreds of years earlier. One that would accomplish God’s providential plan for humanity—redemption through the once for all sacrificial atonement of the very Son of God.

“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all…

“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief… When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many (those who place their trust in Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice for their sins) to be counted as righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:5-6 & 10-11, parenthesis mine).

This would also be (the means to implement) the New Covenant as prophesied by Jeremiah (31:31-34). And as affirmed by Jesus himself during the Last Supper with his disciples:

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

Then to victoriously rise from the grave a week after Palm Sunday on what is universally known as Easter (Resurrection) Sunday.

Jews (and Gentiles) in Denial

Whether during Jesus’s lifetime or the next couple of generations when the New Testament books were penned and combined with the Hebrew Scriptures to give us The Bible. Or fast forwarding to today’s world in which we have the complete Word of God publicized in hundreds of millions of copies of the Bible: many more people than not still deny the undeniable testimony (historical record) of the Bible; some even refute the irrefutable secular account of the historic Jesus.

After beginning his Gospel with what is perhaps the most unique and spectacular introduction of a person ever made in the annals of mankind, the Apostle John provides conclusive confirmation that Jesus was not only the Son of David and Son of Man as emphasized in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; but that he was also the Son of God and God the Son.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:1-4, NASB).

Along with tens of thousands in first century Israel, including many Jewish religious leaders, John and his fellow disciples had been eyewitnesses to the tremendous things that Jesus said and did on a regular basis. So much so that John concluded his Gospel with these words:

“This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate. Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:24-25).

Despite the exceptional evidence available to anyone in the first century (or thereafter) who had ears to hear, eyes to see, and an open heart/mind to know, John also submitted this summary about the preponderance of people’s response to the Living Word of God (Christ):

Yet, that very rejection led to the accomplishment of God’s mysterious but marvelous plan for Jew and Gentile alike—redemption through His Son … the God/Man Jesus Christ.

“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. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory (on the mount of Transfiguration and after Jesus’s resurrection from the dead), the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:12-14, parenthesis mine).

Many books and articles, including several Eye of Prophecy posts, have been written to explain the reasons (excuses) why non-Messianic Jews (especially the Orthodox) rigidly reject the emphatic evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah and also the originator of God’s New Covenant with his chosen people (Jews) but also the Gentiles.

Though I love and admire God’s chosen people, the Jews, and long for the day that the Jewish Apostle Paul said they will in great numbers embrace Jesus as Messiah (all Israel will be saved … Romans 11:26), their insistence that he is not that Messiah is both stubborn and unreasonable. Sometimes with illogical or imprudent interpretations of key Messianic passages in their Hebrew (Old Testament) Scriptures.

That and remaining denial why (the ultimate providential reason) the Jewish Temple and the Levitical Sacrificial system are gone—destroyed and done away with in the First Century A.D.

The following is a reoccurring theme (excerpt) from Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Where is the Temple? (published Nov./Dec. 2014) regarding what once was the heart of Judaism for hundreds of years:

To repeat the basic premise as set forth in last week’s article: No Temple, no sacrifices. No sacrifices, no forgiveness of sin. No forgiveness of sin, no redemption.

And we can include one more principle: No redemption, no right relationship with God.

That and what/who has replaced this void. Hint: God himself called it … A New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Jesus and the Jewish Temple

Even if you are a believer in Christ, you may not recall that Jesus spent considerable time in the Jewish Temple between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. In fact, one of the first things Jesus did after his royal procession into the Holy City—when the people rightfully acclaimed him as the Messiah—was as follows:

“So Jesus came to Jerusalem, and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples” (Mark 11:11).

Jesus’s appearances in the Temple during the final week of his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection was prophetically significant. If for no other reason than what he said after his last visit to the Temple that week. As we shall soon see, this startling statement that Jesus made was a prophecy itself; one that matched a prophetic passage in the Old Testament.

What if there was a prophecy that foretold when the Messiah would arrive? And what if this prophecy and its fulfillment proved irrefutably that the Messiah had to and did arrive during what would be the 1st century A.D.? As opposed to the (our) future in what is now the 21st century in accordance with most Jews (especially the Orthodox, but even the secular) who are adamant that the Messiah hasn’t yet arrived … yet ardently anticipate his appearance.

Is there such a prophecy?

Absolutely. Not just one, but two!

And in the face of such evidence, how could and why would anyone diminish and even deny the truth of it.

In one magnificent passage covering four verses, we have what I believe is the most sweeping scope of predictions in all of Scripture. A passage that I’ve written about partially a few times and fully in two Eye of Prophecy articles entitled: The Most Panoramic Prophecy in the Bible, Part I & II (posted 1-13 & 1-20-18).

This passage covers the range regarding the start and finish of Israel’s redemption via the New Covenant and the First and (by clear inference) the Second Advent of Messiah. Also, the first and subsequent appearance of his antithesis, the Antichrist … written about in several Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist.

For purpose of today’s article, the focus will be on the prophecy of Messiah’s (initial) arrival.

First, however, let’s examine more of Jesus’s dramatic visits to the Temple during the week of what is often called, The Passion of The Christ.

The very next day after Palm Sunday, Jesus returned to Jerusalem with his disciples. Jesus then did something that he had done once before, earlier in his ministry. Read with me:

“When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, ‘The Scriptures declare. My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.’

“When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city” (Mark 11:15-19).

Then the next day: “Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, ‘By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?’

‘I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,’ Jesus replied. ‘Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!’

“They talked it over among themselves. ‘If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?’ For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, ‘We don’t know.’

“And Jesus responded, ‘Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things’” (Mark 11:27-33).

As in other scenes similar to this one in which the religious leaders tried to set-up (trick) Jesus, they were promptly and profoundly put in their place by Jesus’s wisdom, unlike any(one) they and the common people had ever heard.

For example: “Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?’

“Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, ‘Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.’ When they handed it to him, he asked, ‘Whose picture and title are stamped on it?’

‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.

‘Well then,’ Jesus said, ‘give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’

“His reply completely amazed them” (Mark 12:13-17).

You think!

Every time I read this passage (and others) I never cease to be amazed. Who else could ever have come up with such a reply? Moreover, Jesus did this time and time again.

Let’s look at one more Temple scene during these few days of marvelous messages from Jesus after his triumphant ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Recall, that much of the crowd hailed him as the long-awaited Messiah as he entered the Holy City. Once again, we find Jesus in the Temple, but this time he is posing the questions and challenges.

“Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question, ‘What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?’

“They replied, ‘He is the son of David.’

“Jesus responded, ‘Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah, my Lord? For David said, The Lord said to my Lord, sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet. Since David called the Messiah, my Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?’

“No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions” (Matthew 22:41-46, Jesus is quoting Psalm 110).

Once again … you think!!

No one could answer Jesus, partially because none of the Pharisees wanted to answer him.

Despite Jesus’s dynamic teachings and miracles, they could not and would not embrace him as their Messiah; even though they knew this stunning Messianic statement by King David in their Scriptures revealed that the Messiah would be (was) of Divine origin. That and the equally emphatic evidence that the Messiah was also the Son of God (Psalm 2) and God the Son (Isaiah 9).

During his magnificent ministry while on this earth, many believed Jesus was the Messiah.

Many more did not.

Sadly, that is still the case in today’s Judaism. But also, with most of the Gentile world—both the religious and irreligious. Widespread disbelief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Except for hundreds of thousands of Messianic Jews world-wide, most Jews continue to deny the exceptional evidence that Jesus is their Messiah.

A Phenomenal Prediction by Jesus As He Leaves the Temple

As alluded to earlier, we are going to look at what is (should be to any Jew, observant or not; indeed, to anyone with an open mind/heart) more convincing confirmation of Messiah’s arrival in the 1st century. Thereby, to demonstrate beyond any doubt that Jesus was/is Messiah.

The timeline is that of Jesus and the twelve disciples leaving the Temple for the last time before Passover began. With this Passover shaping up to be dramatically different from all the rest…. a supremely special Passover. The Passover in which the (sinless) Messiah offered himself as the once for all time sacrificial Passover lamb.

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away… He was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong…” (Isaiah 53:7-9a).

Two days before he was crucified, we read:

“As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, ‘Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Matthew 24:1-2).

Although King Herod had been an evil tyrant during his reign, he had also commissioned some impressive improvements to the second Temple, which when originally rebuilt (finished) in 516-515 B.C. sorely lacked the splendor of King Solomon’s Temple. So much enhancement that the renovated Temple of the 1st Century B.C. and A.D. was a magnificent structure that rivaled the Seven Wonders of the World (at the time).

In fact, that majestic edifice was thoroughly razed by the Roman legions in the final stages of their cruel conquest of Israel that began in A.D. 66 and ended in A.D. 70—less than 40 years after Jesus predicted the fate of the Jewish Temple.

Scripture does not give us the reaction of his disciples to the Lord’s astonishing prediction. My impression, however, is that most of them had to be dumbfounded and/or dismayed. If one or more of the disciples were not shocked or even surprised by Jesus’s prophecy, it was undoubtedly because they knew that one of the Jewish prophets had predicted the same thing hundreds of years earlier. In fact, we know the exact year of this first prophecy … 539 B.C.

Yes, Jesus prediction of the Temple’s destruction was the second. Which led to several other prophecies from Jesus, most relating to the Tribulation period (Matthew 24 & 25).

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Significant Sets of Twos in The Bible (posted 3-30-19) for a list of ten sets of these twos.

Some stunning prophecies also come in pairs, pertaining directly to Israel and indirectly (affecting) Gentile nations. For example: the God-given dreams to Egypt’s Pharaoh and Joseph’s prophetic interpretation of each dream being the same—seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. (We humans have such a short attention span. Repeating something for accuracy and emphasis greatly increases our chance of both believing and remembering it!)

Remarkably, this (first) prediction of the 2nd Temple’s destruction was made about two years BEFORE the project of rebuilding that temple even began.

Do you know which prophet?

Read with me this panoramic four-verse set of prophecies that includes a time-specified sequence of events, one verse at a time.

“A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place” (Daniel 9:24)

“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times” (Verse 25).

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end” (Verse 26).

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).

For purpose of this week’s article, the only commentary on the final verse (27) is that it has fast forwarded from the 1st century to the (soon to come in our 21st century) Great Tribulation, triggered by the Rapture and commencing with Antichrist’s seven-year treaty with Israel. In fact, the seven-year duration of the Great Tribulation comes from this verse. (one set of seven … meaning years)

In this powerful passage there is not just one but two profound predictions from the angel Gabriel through Daniel to the Jews (and the whole world) that forecasted beyond any reasonable doubt WHEN the Messiah would come. The first is found in verse 25 and is a precise time-capsule prognostication that Jesus fulfilled when Israel hailed him as the Messiah on Palm Sunday.

The second is found in verse 26 … the first prophecy announcing the (2nd) Temple’s destruction.

(One of several depictions of the Romans conquest of Jerusalem and destruction of the 2nd Jewish Temple)

Lots of firsts and seconds … ones and twos here! Nonetheless, the fact remains: God often does things in sets of twos, not the least of which is the First and Second Advent of His Son, Messiah Jesus. And, as disclosed in my second book (non-fiction) entitled Out of The Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved … 666?; plus, several Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist: the appearance and reappearance of Antichrist … also separated by some 2,000 years!

Now for Daniel’s (two) time-related predictions of Messiah’s first arrival.

First Prophecy, A Precision Prediction & Fulfillment: The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy (posted 1-18-14).

Regarding Daniel’s prophecy, he was told that a period of 70 weeks would be needed to, among other things: “finish their rebellion … atone for their guilt … bring in everlasting righteousness…” (Daniel 9:24). One significant Hebrew expression and measurement of time is that of one week equaling seven years, which is certainly the case in this passage. Nearly all Bible scholars agree with this application. Thus, there would be a total of 490 years (70 x 7) to achieve this remarkable transformation for the nation of Israel—one that would accomplish the very purpose for being a people chosen by God (to bring God’s Word and God’s Savior to all mankind); and one that would ultimately fulfill Israel’s destiny of people and land … complete physical/spiritual restoration of Israel and Messiah ruling the world from Jerusalem..

Then, however, this specific time-lapse prophecy is narrowed down and essentially “split” as noted in the following verse. “…Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass…” (Daniel 9:25).

The preciseness of this prophecy is indisputable in terms of the exact period needed (483 years) to accomplish an integral, component part of the entire prediction. When will the 483-year count begin, and what will take place at the end of this fixed time? We find the answer in the last part of the verse: “…from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes…” (Verse 25).

I went on to clarify that Daniel is not talking about the command to rebuild the 2nd Temple; rather the command to rebuild (the walls of) Jerusalem. Continuing with that article:

The Anointed One is none other than the Messiah; in fact, many Bible translations use the term Messiah in Daniel 9:25 (Messiah means Anointed or Chosen One). Yet, Messiah Jesus was on this earth for some 33 years, so what aspect (timeframe) of his life do we select as the year/time when he would come (to the earth)? His birth, passing into Jewish adulthood (age 13), beginning of his ministry, his crucifixion, his resurrection? Answer: none of the above. The moment in time to identify the passage of 483 years can be none other than Palm Sunday, a week before his crucifixion. Why? That is the precise time when Jesus allowed others to recognize and worship him as the Messiah, which is the specific fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

Sir Robert Anderson

In 1894, a Scotland Yard Detective, Robert Anderson, who was also an ardent student of the Bible, especially prophecy, published his book called, The Coming Prince. Through extensive study and research, he corrected and clarified previous applications of Daniel’s prophecy from such notables as Sir Isaac Newton … one of the greatest scientists of all times, but also a Christian who studied Biblical prophecies extensively. We simply can’t do justice to Sir Robert Anderson’s book in one article; therefore, we will briefly examine the two most important discoveries by him (which are really disclosures and discernment given to him by the Lord).

  • Correct Application of Biblical Years: Simply stated, every Jewish month consists of 30 days (based on the moon’s phases); therefore, every year contains 360 days, not 365 days that we use on the Julian or Roman calendar. Biblical months/years are based on the Jewish calendar. The Roman calendar came along thousands of years after the Jewish calendar… Sir Robert Anderson fully realized the necessity of converting Julian years to Jewish years if he or anyone could accurately correlate precise dates in Biblical and secular history.
  • Pinpoint Identification of Exact Dates, via Meticulous Investigation of Historical Records: Sir Robert Anderson calculated (with partial assistance from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich) the Julian date of King Artaxerxes edict to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to have been March 14th, 445 BC. Furthermore, the Julian date for Jesus’s magnificent ride into Jerusalem was April 6th, 32 AD. By employing the Hebrew calendar, Sir Robert Anderson tallied 173,880 days had elapsed which is exactly 483 Jewish years!! Absolutely astounding! I repeat for emphasis: Incredible!!

Second Prophecy, A Non-Dated Forecast … Yet Still Time-Dedicated: “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven (69 sets of seven in all or 483 years—173,880 days), the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26a, parenthesis mine, emphasis added).

Equally astonishing in Daniel’s Chapter 9 prophecy: Not only was Messiah’s arrival on Planet Earth (prophetically earmarked in time by thousands of people in Israel hailing him as Messiah exactly 173,880 days after the Artaxerxes decree) precisely foretold, so is the fact that he would be killed and that his death would occur BEFORE the 2nd Temple was destroyed (Verse 26). The implication of that fact is stunningly significant; there is no other time for Messiah to (first) arrive other than before the temple would be (was) destroyed.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Where is Messiah … Is He Already Here? Posted 6-25-16:

Daniel’s prophecy is unambiguously clear: The Messiah would appear before the destruction of the Temple, which took place in 70 AD. And that’s exactly what occurred … Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection some 40 years before the Romans sacked Jerusalem, which irrefutably validates the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy.

Whereas, the religious leaders and people of Jesus’s time scorned him for the reasons given thus far—most prominent of which was ignoring the plain evidence for the time of Messiah’s appearance and marginalizing or outright rejecting his teachings and miracles—all those who deny that he is Messiah after the Temple was destroyed have no grounds whatsoever to refute the Messiahship of Jesus.

Why?

Because they have the 20/20 hindsight of history, right up to the present day. The Messiah would come at the end of 483 years, exactly when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem … hailed by the people as the Son of David, the Messiah.

Then the Messiah would be killed BEFORE the Temple was destroyed by the armies of a ruler who would arise (shortly) AFTER Messiah arrived and was killed.

According to the timeline of Daniel’s prophecy, there is no way that the Messiah could (first advent) arrive on the scene of history AFTER the Temple was destroyed.

Jesus of Nazareth was falsely arrested, mercilessly mocked, brutally beaten, unlawfully tried, unjustly condemned, then ruthlessly killed (crucified) less than a week after he gloriously entered Jerusalem to complete yet another Messianic prophecy.

These events not only fulfilled the Messianic prophecies of Daniel Chapter 9, but also those of Zechariah 9 (riding on a donkey into Jerusalem); Psalm 22 (crucifixion, including everything that took place on Golgotha); and Isaiah 53 (the horrible things that Messiah must suffer for the sins of his people—all peoples).

(As the words of the song go: “I’ll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross.”)

To think all that was mere coincidence is not only illogical and unreasonable, but also absurd. Not to mention in complete denial of the experienced time-tested Laws of Probability.

Here’s just one of many instances: Old Testament Messianic passage with the Messiah speaking via King David’s prophecy, “Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads saying, ‘Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!’” (Psalm 22:7-8).

Rhetorical question: Would Jesus have had any control over what people were saying as he was dying on the cross?

New Testament fulfillment: “The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. ‘…Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!’

“The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. ‘He saved others,’ they scoffed, ‘but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, I am the Son of God’” (Matthew 27:39-43).

Right up to this present day, the suffering of the Jewish Messiah is a source of consternation and bewilderment to many Jews, especially the observant among them. It is such a paradox that several Rabbis endorse the theory that there are two Messiahs, not just one. See Eye of Prophecy article, More Than One Messiah (12-5-15) and a companion article, Messiah’s Arrival … On Whose Authority? (11-25-15).

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Most Panoramic Prophecy in The Bible, Part II:

…They (the Jews … Judaism) continue to maintain that the personal pronouns applied to the Messiah (a man) speak of Israel as a nation in Isaiah 53. Which is impossible because no nation can be “an offering for sin” or “bear all their sins” or “had done no wrong” (Isaiah 53). The nation of Israel certainly couldn’t or wouldn’t be, “…buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave” (Isaiah 53:9).

I respect and admire and love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. But with tough love I must say that for anyone, scholar or otherwise, to allege that the personal pronouns describing a man (the Messiah) in Isaiah 53 apply to Israel as a nation is a grammatically ignorant and/or deliberate contextual distortion of the passage.

For that matter, how could Messiah victoriously, but also humbly, enter Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt while at the same time appearing to Israel as their conquering King, liberating them from their enemies? In Biblical times, a king entering a city on a donkey was a gesture of redemptive-like resolution and peace, without the need for armed conflict. As opposed to a king riding into a city on a horse, symbolizing triumphant conquest in war. In fact, immediately after the verse quoted earlier from Zechariah (Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a donkey) we read:

“…I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea … to the ends of the earth. Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners…” (Zechariah 9:10-11).

The only possible explanation is that Messiah came first as Israel’s Sacrificial Redeemer to establish the New Covenant (sealed with his blood) prophesied by Jeremiah (Chapter 31), then will return as King of all kings to establish the Kingdom of God from Jerusalem.

…One day soon all of Israel will recognize beyond any doubt that Jesus is the Messiah when he returns to the Mount of Olives (from which he ascended back to heaven) and rescues the Jews from annihilation at the hands of Antichrist.. Then and only then will their redemption as a nation be complete.

Things to Ponder

Finishing on a bit of a different note: If you live in the USA, did you vote in this week’s Presidential election?

Whether you did or did not vote, dare I ask the question: “Is your candidate going to win?” Or, if the results are final now: “Did your candidate win?”

Either way, did you hear what Joe Biden said during his campaign (as did Donald Trump say something similar)? If so, did you agree with him? Said Biden: “We are in a battle for the soul of the nation. And you have the ultimate power to determine the outcome: your vote. Use it.”

Everyone’s vote is vital. Yet it is also just one of millions.

So, too, is everyone’s soul vital … of great value.

There is one vote that belongs to all of us which is the only vote that counts.

With that vote we determine our eternal destiny—everlasting life in heaven or everlasting death (separation from God) in the Lake of Fire.

The ballot is for God’s Son. The vote is either Yes or No.

But we must vote. Not to vote is the same thing as a No vote.

Why?

Because he did for us what we could not do for ourselves, through the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid. Much too high of a price to simply ignore our responsibility to vote.

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

How does anyone vote for Messiah Jesus?

First, by knowing the platform (the truth): “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 3:25).

Then, registering your vote (agreement with God): “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved… for, ‘Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9 & 13, quoting Joel 2:32, NASB).

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

If you haven’t, please take/make the time to say “Yes” to Jesus with all your heart.

Your vote will count forever!

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).