Jerusalem / City Above All Cities

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Great Cities of the World

The creativity God gave to humanity is truly remarkable. But, then, the Lord is The Creator … of all things. And he created us in his image. Although we tend to focus on innovation that produces music, paintings, sculptures, and literature (fiction, non-fiction), everyone is gifted in some way or another. Each person has a special intelligence; an aptitude to be or do something better or different than most.

I am particularly impressed with those who design and build (architects, draftsmen, engineers, contractors, and craftsmen) such things as automobiles, ships, trains, airplanes, giant cranes, and intricate equipment and machinery of all kinds. But especially buildings— spectacular skyscrapers, colossal castles, beautiful museums, exquisite galleries, grand theatres, splendid stadiums, luxurious hotels, and just ordinary houses, that one after another grow into great cities all over the earth.

One of my favorite television programs is called Aerial America, which began as a flyover (with a historical narrative) of every state in the United States; and, recently, has morphed into Aerial Cities. There’s nothing like the stunning vista of mountains, valleys, canyons, rivers, lakes, prairies, landmarks, buildings, and entire cities from the air.

Preferring an aisle seat when flying, I, nevertheless, peer left or right through an airplane window to view the city as we approach it. The experience gives visual validation to the maxim: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The geographic size and demographic population of dozens of large cities world-wide is staggering. Because there’s more than one criterion to measure the size of a city, on-line statistical sites vary in their rankings of cities by population. But there seems to be near-unanimous consensus of the largest city in the world. Do you know which one it is?

In answer to that question, the web-site I chose was www.worldatlas.com

Answer: Tokyo, Japan. By far. Population: 38,001,000.

The next largest: Delhi, India, 25,703,168.

Third place: Shanghai, China, 23.740,778.

Sixth place: Mexico City, 20,998,543.

New York City sits in 10th place: 18,593,220. Paris, 25th place at 10,843,285. And London comes in at number 28: 10,313,307.

(Seoul, South Korea … population nearly 10 million)

These and others are considered great cities, at least in terms of the first definition of great as found in Webster’s Dictionary: “Notably large in size.”

Now, some shocking news: with a sudden shift to the final (21st) and most devastating of God’s judgments portrayed in the apocalyptic book of Revelation. I’ve quoted this passage in a few Eye of Prophecy articles, including an article that dealt extensively with the man-made carnage plus God’s wrath poured out on a wicked world—during a seven-year period that will be more devastating than all previous man-made and natural calamities combined: Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (Posted 6-6-15).

“Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worse since people were placed on the earth. The great city Babylon (Rome) split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble … And every island disappeared, and the mountains were all leveled. There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing as much as seventy-five pounds fell from the sky on the people below” (Revelation 16:18-21, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Can you wrap your mind around what you just read? I hope you can do a better job that I have, as indicated in the following excerpt from the article referenced above (in italics):

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.

I went on to say:

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.

An Intriguing Correlation

Jesus gave a lengthy answer to his disciples’ question, “…What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

Early in his response, Jesus used the following analogy: “But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Verse 8).

In the 20th century, we experienced the first of the birth pains. Some, like the rebirth of Israel, are exceptionally good. Others, like two World Wars and countless other wars, rumors of war, and international terrorism are not good (to say the least).

In this 21st century, I firmly believe we are in the more to come phase of labor pains. One of the more to come is the completion of the coalition that has recently begun to take shape with what many considered to be an unlikely, if not impossible, alliance between Russia, Iran, and Turkey—the three prominent nations of the Gog/Magog confederation.

(Let’s admit it men, we’ve never worked–labored this hard in our life)

Messiah’s analogy to a woman’s birth pangs is precisely what’s happening in our world. The contractions (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis) are increasing in record numbers and severity. The painful spasms of wars and rumors of war and ethnic rivalries continue with kaleidoscope intensity. But birth pains also signal that something so very good is about to happen. Concerning God’s providential purpose and plan for humanity, it is the birth of the Kingdom of God on earth, headquartered in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, The City That God Loves Above All Cities on Earth

The rebirth of Israel (May 14, 1948) as a sovereign nation was both miraculous and peculiar.

This is how the Lord foretold it through the prophet Isaiah:

“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? Asks the Lord. No! I would never keep this nation from being born, says your God” (Isaiah 66:7-9, notice that Israel and Jerusalem are inseparable in this birth process).

That’s exactly what has transpired with Israel; she was reborn in record time—one day. Then after her birth, the labor pains began in the form of intense persecution from surrounding Muslim nations resulting in four major wars and subsequent suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, and BDS actions that continue to this day.

This paradoxical birth was extraordinarily evident this past Monday. Some 800 Israeli and United States officials celebrated Israel’s 70th anniversary as a nation. At the same time tens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza (now in its seventh week of rioting) stormed the fenced border, and certainly not as peaceful protestors. In an acceleration of this rampage, Palestinians hurled firebombs, grenades, and stones at IDF troops. They fired guns toward the IDF and attempted to plant land mines near the fence. Many brought with them cutting tools to breach the fence. And they continue to attach fire bags to kites and fly them into Israel. Thus far, hundreds of acres of Israeli cropland have been destroyed.

Such a peaceful “Right of Return” march!

Sixty Palestinians were killed (most of them Hamas terrorists embedded in the huge crowd of Palestinians estimated at 40,000, with some “civilians” paid by Hamas to breach the fence) by the IDF who has every right to defend their people against the real intention of Hamas. To attack and overrun Israelis—many of whom live only a short distance from the border.

(For the past six weeks, every day that Palestinians march on the border, they burn tires–a literal smokescreen to try to breach the border fence)

The next day (May 15th), even more Palestinians were to march on Israel, as it was Nakba Day (Arabic for day of disaster). In remembrance of the Arab’s painful defeat when five Muslim countries attacked newborn Israel on May 15th, the day after Israel declared statehood.

Instead of the projected 100,000, only about 4,000 Palestinians showed up. Two more Palestinians died while attempting to breach the fence.

What happened? Why the drastic (fortunate) reduction in the number of Palestinians streaming to Israel’s border?

What happened is something the mainstream media has not fully reported; however, a handful of media outlets have. The following excerpts are from a May 16th, 2018 article by Daniel Siryoti posted in on-line news source Israel Hayom (in italics):

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was summoned urgently to Cairo Monday, where Egyptian officials severely admonished him over the terrorist’s group’s insistence on instigating violent demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza Strip border.

General Intelligence Service head Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel leveled scathing criticism at him over Hamas “riot policy.”

…Egyptian officials were stunned by the high number of casualties and angered by information provided by Israel that proved Hamas was paying civilians, including children, to place themselves in harm’s way by approaching the fence and clashing with IDF soldiers so as to allow Hamas operatives to blend into the crowd and try to carry out terrorist attacks….

Quoting the Egyptian official being interviewed, the article’s author writes:

“Kamel kept Haniyeh waiting outside his office. It was humiliating. When Haniyeh was finally called in, you could hear him (Kamel) yelling. Haniyeh didn’t answer back.

“Haniyeh was told, in no uncertain terms, that the blood of the dead was on his and (Hamas military leader) Yahya Sinwar’s head…”

The official said that “Haniyeh was stunned” by the Egyptian rebuke… Egyptian intelligence officers, “made it clear to him (Haniyeh) that the Hamas leadership will be held responsible for any more deaths in border riots. They told him history won’t forgive the Hamas leadership for such senseless deaths.

“Kamel demanded that Haniyeh order his people to cease the border riot campaign immediately. It was a very stern message,” the official said.

…As a result, the Nakba Day demonstrations on the border on Tuesday … were far less violent than expected.

Egypt still has a great deal of influence over Gaza Strip Palestinians and their terrorist organization Hamas, from the days when Egypt controlled Gaza almost exclusively. Despite Egyptian President Abdel el-Sissi and his government’s animosity toward the Muslim Brotherhood—the parent organization of Hamas—Egypt has allowed the Palestinians (under Hamas) to do pretty much want they wanted, in terms of hostility toward Israel. However, Egypt wants the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) Palestinian Authority to resume control of the Gaza Strip, something that could happen were it not for Hamas refusal to give up their weapons. A condition imposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

(Photo of Mahmoud Abbas to the right and of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to the left. Among other tirades against Israel Haniyeh has said: “Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be removed and uprooted.” Some 4-5 years ago when his one-year old daughter was seriously ill to the point of death, he asked and was given permission by Israeli officials for his daughter to be treated in an Israeli hospital. They saved her life!)

Egypt is currently one of only two Muslim nations (Jordan is the other) that officially recognizes Israel has a sovereign nation. However, most Egyptians continue to loathe the idea of a Jewish State and many still deplore Jews as a people. Which makes Egypt’s ultra-harsh reprimand of Hamas’ leaders dumbfounding. Here we have a Muslim nation (Egypt) supporting the truth espoused by the United States and Israel and a couple of other nations like Australia: it is Hamas who is responsible for the death of their own people. As opposed to Muslim heads of state and several leaders of other nations (particularly in Europe) that are holding Israel exclusively responsible for the Palestinian deaths, because they refuse to accept or they lie about the obvious—this so-called right of return march is anything but peaceful. At the very least, they assert that Israel’s response is disproportionate.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, The Right of Return … For Palestinian or Jew? Posted (4-7-18) during the first week of this march on Israel, which not only explained the ulterior motive and not so subtle methods of Hamas, but also dealt extensively with the real right of return belonging to the Jews.

Another unexpected event took place this past Wednesday: Hamas official Salah Bardawil admitted that 50 of the 60 Palestinians killed on Monday and Tuesday were members of Hamas. Weeks prior to that, Hamas refused to acknowledge that more than just a handful of those killed or injured up to that time were Hamas operatives. The connection of Egypt’s scathing criticism of Hamas’ top official (Haniyeh) to another Hamas official making this concession is unmistakable; as is the huge reduction of rioters on Tuesday. It’s deductively clear that Hamas made this admission to placate Egypt … by revealing that most of the Palestinians killed were Hamas agents, not Palestinian “civilians.”

At best this concession is a technicality, considering that non-Hamas Palestinians killed had either been paid by Hamas or ideologically and materially support terrorism. On the other hand, it exonerates Israel (not that Israel’s needs acquittal) from biased world-opinion that “innocent, non-violent” Palestinians are being indiscriminately wounded or killed.

The Heart of Israel Has Been Transplanted Back to Jerusalem

Let’s get back to the prophetically fulfilled good news that Israel is 70 years old, a significant generational benchmark of end-times prophecy. And in that context, a liberated, reunified Jerusalem is 50 years old, which is a representation of the 50-year Jubilee of Scripture (See Eye of Prophecy article, Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! Posted 1-23-16).

For nearly two thousand years, exiled Jews all over the world frequently and passionately exclaimed, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Beginning in 1948 and continuing in greater numbers to this day, many Jews are instead saying, “This year in Jerusalem!” (Here we are!) Nearly 6.5 million Jews are now living in the land promised to them by God, himself.

Said U.S. President Donald Trump in a video message played in Jerusalem during Israel’s 70th Birthday celebration on May 14th, this past Monday:

“Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government; it is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli Supreme Court, and Israel’s prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious. The plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy to the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem.”

President Trump went on to say that the embassy opening was, “many, many years ahead of schedule.”

Said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the ceremony: “What a glorious day for Israel. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history you have made history. All of us are deeply moved, all of us are deeply grateful. The truth and peace are interconnected. A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish State.”

Although those in attendance were obviously focused on this remarkable historical achievement, they were not oblivious to what was happening at Israel’s border with Gaza. Said U.S. Middle-East Envoy Jared Kushner: “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

That’s another way of saying that Palestinians in particular and others (Muslims and some national leaders even from Western nations) in general are not facing the reality that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years, long before Muhammad invented Islam as a religion. Let alone the absurd claim that Arabs were in Israel before the Jews. Or ignoring the equally embarrassing evidence that Jerusalem is not mentioned even one time in the Koran, as opposed to over six hundred references to Jerusalem in the Bible.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, The Myth of Al-Aqsa Mosque, posted 4-16-16. It is primarily this myth on which Muslims base their false narrative that Jerusalem belongs to Arabs and Muslims).

(Depiction of Muhammad’s fictitious night journey to heaven from Jerusalem)

Said Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, “America made the first courageous and bold move, and now we expect other states to follow. Do they want to take part in history or miss out? It’s theirs to decide, but Jerusalem is here to stay.”

I do not know whether Naftali Bennett has read Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel’s restoration and Jerusalem’s reunification as Israel’s capital. However, whether observant or secular, nearly all Israelis understand the monumental magnitude of Jerusalem as the physical and spiritual heart of Israel—indeed, of the entire world.

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

The fulfillment of this prophecy and others like it is underway in our generation. Paving the way for an even more spectacular fulfillment of prophecy when Messiah Jesus returns as the King of all kings to rule and reign from Jerusalem.

“For this is what the Lord says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever” (Jeremiah 33:17).

God’s Providential Plan for Jerusalem’s Destiny

The striking significance of Jerusalem as the City of God, as the eternal capital of the Promised Land of Israel, cannot be emphasized enough. Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God for about four hundred years—in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple on Temple Mount. It is to Jerusalem that Messiah Jesus will return to set up his Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace for 1,000 years, immediately after the Great Tribulation ends. It is in the New Jerusalem where the magnificent Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—will dwell throughout eternity with all those (Jew and Gentile) who have been redeemed by believing and receiving the salvation offered by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the substitutional sacrificial death of God’s Son, Yeshua.

Let’s examine Jerusalem’s prominence as promoted in Scripture in the framework of the following terms: Her Personification, Purpose, Protection, Prosperity, and Peace.

Although there are hundreds of passages in Scripture, by obvious restriction of time/space in this article, each of the listed categories will come with only two or three references.

The Personification of Jerusalem

“Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth….

Never again will you be called, ‘The Forsaken City’ or ‘The Desolate Land.’ Your new name will be ‘The City of God’s Delight’ and ‘The Bride of God,’ for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride…” (Isaiah 62:1-4).

Then later in that chapter:

“They will be called, ‘The Holy People’ and ‘The People Redeemed by the Lord.’ And Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Desirable Place’ and ‘The City No Longer Forsaken’” (Verse 12).

The personification (image, name characterization) of Jerusalem described in the above passage will be even more prominent in the not-so-distant future, exemplified by the presence of God with and love for his people. It is love that a husband has for his bride (but infinitely greater).

“But Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations. I will pardon my people’s crimes, which I have not yet pardon; and I, the Lord, will make my home in Jerusalem, with my people” (Joel 3:20-21).

*Note: Pardon for crimes (sins, transgressions against God) for Jews (and Gentiles) individually took place when Israel’s Messiah died for the sins of the whole world, then rose from the dead to seal the New Covenant. God’s discipline of Israel as a nation ended in 1967, when Gentile domination of Israel ceased through the liberation and reunification of the Holy City of Jerusalem in the Holy Land of Israel.

In one of the many Old Testament Messianic passages, we read what the Lord (God the Father) says about His Messiah (God’s Son as established in other passages):

“…He has sent me (Messiah) against the nations which plunder you (Zion … Jerusalem), for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8, NASB, parenthesis mine).

That’s personification at its best … Jerusalem as the apple (pupil) of God’s eye.

The Purpose for Jerusalem

“Rather, you must seek the Lord your God at the place of worship he himself will choose from among all the tribes—the place where his name will be honored” (Deuteronomy 12:5).

As we know, Jerusalem became God’s central choice (eternal capital of Israel) where his name would be honored. Moses’ prophetic admonition (just quoted) was confirmed in the following passage:

“May the God who has chosen the city of Jerusalem as the place to honor his name destroy any king or nation that violates this command and destroys the Temple. I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed with all diligence” (Ezra 6:12).

After King Solomon’s death, Israel’s ten northern tribes rejected Judah’s rightful heir (king) in Jerusalem. However, Jews—both before the Babylonian captivity and afterward—knew full well that Jerusalem was the heart and soul of Israel, where the Lord was to be honored in all the ways the Lord had specified to his people. Such as the requirement that all Jewish men travel to Jerusalem to attend three of the seven Jewish festivals—Passover, Festival of Weeks, and Festival of Shelters (Sukkot).

Astonishingly, here (through the Lord’s providential appointment and divine orchestration) we see a Gentile king issuing a decree for the “Right of Return” of the Jews to Israel … to rebuild the Temple. Sure enough, God’s prophecy through this king came to pass. Both the Babylonian and Roman Empires that destroyed the first and second Temples, were themselves destroyed by other nations.

The Lord’s ultimate purpose (in our near future) for Jerusalem is stunningly foretold by the prophet Micah.

“People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Micah 4:2-3, italics for emphasis).

Do you see the (unmistakable) correlation between the word of the Lord—proclaimed primarily by Messiah Jesus during his Millennial Reign on earth—and no more war? Under his divine leadership, there will be many astounding changes on the earth. But can you think of anything better than NO MORE WAR. Not even any training or preparation for war!

The Protection of Jerusalem

As in the glory days of King David, King Solomon, and a few kings thereafter—like Hezekiah—God will (has once again begun to) protect Israel and Jerusalem to the point of invincibility.

“But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 54:17).

Then in the above captioned chapter we read: “Even the strongest will quake with terror, and princes will flee when they see your battle flags, says the Lord, whose fire burns in Zion, whose flames blaze from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 31:9)

Even before the dynasty of Israel’s kings, God providentially protected his people from their enemies if they trusted and obeyed him. That Mosaic Covenant condition is no longer applicable.

Why is God’s protection and preservation of Israel unconditional in these last days? Because the Lord has unilaterally begun to accomplish His destiny for Israel, by fulfilling the promise set forth in his Covenant with Abraham. The hundreds of years when God withdrew his protection of Israel was for a prophetically set period (See Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power) and The Omega Generation, posted January-February 2014). That time of Israel’s discipline is over.

Plus, when Israel and Jerusalem experience one last perilous time as Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition commence the last days battle for Jerusalem (toward the end of the Great Tribulation), all Israel will turn their undivided attention and loyalty to and unwavering trust in their Messiah—Jesus of Nazareth who will return to deliver them one final time.

“The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16).

The Prosperity of Jerusalem (all Israel)

Since her rebirth in 1948 as God’s special possession, the tree of Israel has grown straight and tall and has produced bountiful fruit, just as the Lord said would happen in the last days and beyond.

“I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety…. And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations … And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 34:26-30).

Israel’s agricultural accomplishments since 1948 (in a mostly arid land) is stunning … the envy of even the most productive nations on earth. Her irrigation and water/land conservation systems are state of the art. Israel is also exceptionally avant-garde regarding computer, cell-phone, medical, and other sophisticated technology.

The Palestinians falsely claim that Israel belongs to them, the Arabs. Okay, then. Do they really think that they could continue the remarkable success of the Jews in agriculture (and other areas of technology and commerce), let alone improve on it—in direct reversal to the desolation of the land when the Arabs outnumbered the Jews in Israel and oppressed them? The few prosperous Arab/Muslim nations in the world are so for one reason only … Oil. Even then, only a small portion of Arabs in these Gulf-states share in this wealth.

Since Israel was reborn in 1948, the Jews have flourished collectively as a people and nation. Israel now has the sovereign state freedom and authority to determine her own destiny, to include entrepreneurial endeavors that are (in proportion to their population) amazing.

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

(A Terraced Vineyard in Israel)

The Peace of Jerusalem (means peace for the whole world)

From time immemorial, events in and conditions of the world have demonstrated that mankind is not capable of establishing ongoing regional peace and certainly not global peace. Peace has proven as elusive in our generation as it ever has been. Not only in the Middle East, but in every continent on earth. In fact, even harmony within nations is evaporating as fast as a morning fog.

Here in the United States, we need go no further than our country’s boundaries to realize that not since the Civil War has America been so socially, culturally, economically, and politically divided as we are now.

To be sure, we are to strive for peace. Our President’s bold decision to fully and finally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital, attested by his action of moving the U.S. Embassy, is a step in the right direction. (See Eye of Prophecy article, U.S. President Agrees with God … Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital, posted 12-9-17).

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6, NASB). In Hebrew, the first part of that verse reads: Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim.

When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are praying for the (soon) return of Messiah Jesus. Because, ultimately, lasting peace will come only through him as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And this peace will come only from Jerusalem, the City of God.

In a sweeping announcement of Messiah’s first and second coming, we read these powerful promises:

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

Things to Ponder

“On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel” (Psalm 87:1).

If the Lord loves Jerusalem more than any city in Israel, we can know for certain that this love is more than any city on earth.

“When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy…” (Psalm 126:1).

Joy and laughter filled the land of Israel when she was reborn as a nation in 1948. Then again in 1967 with the liberation of Jerusalem. And other times of festivities in the 70 years of Israel’s resurrected existence. Then this past Monday’s 70th celebration of Israel’s birthday, combined with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, when this Psalm was quoted by U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. That dream has become reality in Israel!

Soon to come is the reality of Jerusalem’s everlasting elevated position, literally and figuratively, over the entire earth. Earlier we read about cities flattened and mountains leveled by the final judgment of God during the Great Tribulation, in a world intent on defying God and destroying Israel.

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name along will be worshipped. All the land from Geba, north of Judah, to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become one vast plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up in its original place….” (Zechariah 14:9-10).

Listen to more amazing words of another prophet: “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship” (Micah 4:1).

This is not virtual streaming on a computer or smart phone screen. This is actual streaming (travel) to Jerusalem which will, by that time, have been literally elevated above all other places.

Jerusalem is forever the heart and soul of Israel, and one day will be for the entire world.

Jerusalem is the center of the universe! It is the City of God!

Daniel’s 70 Prophetic Weeks & The Number Seventy!

Did you really believe it would happen?

If just one current event had dominated world headlines, you would probably know to what this question refers. However, considering the recent flurry of global incidents, the normal response would be: What happening … which one?

To the ominous increase of missile strikes between Iran and Israel? To President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the infamous Iran Nuclear Deal? To the scheduled summit between the United States and North Korea? To U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s skillfully orchestrating the release of three Americans unjustly imprisoned by North Korea? To the extraordinary espionage pulled off by Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad—removal of a huge volume of incriminating Iranian (nuclear) documents from Tehran, right under Iran’s nose?

Notable as these events are, I’m referring to a milestone achievement that will take place this coming Monday. One that was set in motion when U.S. President Trump announced this past December 6, 2017: the U.S. Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Thereby, affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s (eternal) capital. Even with Trump’s disclaimer that Jerusalem’s geographical borders are still a matter of negotiation, it was still a courageous decision, considering global resistance to such a move.

Not only did our President make good on his campaign promise, he accelerated the Embassy transfer by several months, if not years. Instead of waiting for the cumbersome process of selecting a suitable site in Jerusalem, then the zoning and building process, our Executive staff decided to utilize the existing U.S. Counsel facility in Jerusalem as the temporary headquarters for the Embassy.

There was only one reason for this lightning-quick (as these things go) opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The reason is the date itself: May 14th.

Do you recognize the monumental significance of that date? May 14th is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s remarkable rebirth as a sovereign nation in 1948.

Technically, Israel has already celebrated her 70th birthday that falls on the Jewish calendar 5th of Iyar, which occurred a few weeks ago on the Gregorian calendar of April 19th, a Friday. If, however, the 5th of Iyar falls on a Friday—beginning of Jewish Sabbath at sundown—then Israel’s anniversary as a nation is celebrated on Thursday (this year beginning at sundown on the 4th of Iyar).

Most of the Gentile world uses the Gregorian calendar, thus we identify May 14th as the historical event when Israel was reborn from the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps.

Neither U.S. President Trump nor Vice President Pence will be able to attend; however, there will be dozens of dignitaries representing the United States such as Senator Ted Cruz and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. As well as the usual U.S. Executive Staff delegation to Israel—Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Jason Greenblatt and, of course, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. Plus, several journalists, educators, business leaders, congressional representatives, and religious leaders.

The 70th anniversary of Israel’s prophetic rebirth as a sovereign nation is nearly as stunning as the rebirth itself. One of, if not the main reason: the striking significance of the number seventy. Whenever we encounter that number in Scripture it applies directly to Israel. And concerning Biblical prophecy, it refers specifically to Israel in the context of the end times, the final (Omega) generation of which we are living. With a generation defined in Scripture as 100 years; also, the more common time-frame of 70 years (Psalm 90:10).

(One of the celebrations when Israel declared Statehood in 1948; Centered is Israel’s First Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion)

Here is an except from Eye of Prophecy Article, The Omega Generation (Posted 2-15-14):

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 (composed of all Jews and Gentiles who have been redeemed by Messiah Jesus), 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 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. Moreover, from the 4th Chapter through the 18th Chapter of the book of Revelation, the Church is not even mentioned, as such.

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

Virtually all Biblical prophecy focuses on Israel and the Messiah who would come from the tribe of Judah, through the lineage of King David. Let’s begin with a passage that I described as, The Most Panoramic Prophecy in the Bible. (See Eye of Prophecy articles of that same title, Part I & II posted in January 2018).

The following is one of the most recognized prophecies in all the Bible … obviously important for all believers, both Jew and Gentile. However, seldom do commentators indicate that the prophecy is directed specifically to and primarily concerns the Jews and Israel. For now, we’ll examine just the first verse of that passage, the composite of which is found in Daniel 9:24-27.

“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, italics for emphasis).

Some Bible translations describe the seventy sets of seven as “seventy weeks.” A prophetic week in the Hebrew Scriptures is seven years. Thus, a total of seventy weeks would be 490 years. However, the passage divides these seventy weeks into two basic periods of time. Fine tuning it even more, there are three periods; two of the three (seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven—Verse 25) combining to make sixty-nine weeks (483 years).

Then later in the passage (Verse 27), Daniel refers to the final week of the seventy by equating it to the seven-year treaty that the same ruler—whose armies destroyed Jerusalem and the (2nd) Temple—would make with Israel. As documented in my book Out of the Abyss and many of the 50 Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist, that ruler is the Roman Emperor Nero … who as the beast of Revelation will return from the Abyss (Revelation 17:7-8).

For purpose of this week’s article, we want to concentrate on the fact that Daniel’s prophecy in Chapter 9 is specifically addressed to (like so many other Old Testament prophecies) “your people and your holy city (Jerusalem).” It encompasses the prophetic timetable of Israel’s future in the panoramic context of Messiah’s First and Second Advent, as well as the appearance and reappearance of the Antichrist.

All but one of the six specific events detailed in Daniel 9:24 will be finally fulfilled during and shortly after the 70th week—the seven years of the Great Tribulation followed immediately by the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus. During that time: (1) any rebellion (of remaining unbelieving Jews in Messiah) will be finished; (2) their (national) sin of rejecting Messiah will come to an end; (3) everlasting righteousness will commence with the Millennial Reign of Messiah who will establish justice, righteousness, and peace on earth; (4) the prophetic vision (all prophecies concerning the end times) will be confirmed—realized; (5) the rebuilt Temple (Most Holy Place) will be anointed … by the very presence of Messiah.

The one prophecy in this list of six that would come to pass before the 70th week (the final seven years) is: “to atone for their guilt.” This took place when Messiah Jesus died on the cross as the final, once-for-all substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of God’s people, the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. How do we know this atonement would take place before the 70th week began to unfold? We know because of verse 25:

“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…”

This was exactly 173,880 days or 483 Jewish years … 30-day months of the Jewish calendar.

Astounding!

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have discussed this phenomenal date-dedicated prophecy, beginning with the article, An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy (Posted 1-18-14).

Later, we’ll return to the Daniel 9 passage specifically in the context of Israel’s 70th anniversary, as part of the final generation just before the Rapture will take place. Which then ushers in the 70th and final week (seven years) of Daniel’s prophecy, having been interrupted (postponed) for 2,000 years by what believers call the Church Age—the New Covenant of Grace for personal salvation to both Jew and Gentile. For now, let’s look at more examples of the number seventy in Scripture to see its significance as pertaining directly to Israel.

*Note: Including the phenomenal 70 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy, there are a total of seven (7) substantial Biblical episodes involving the number seventy. Imagine that! Truth be known, I didn’t realize that until I counted them.

Jacob & His Family Move to Egypt

When Joseph invited his brothers, his father (Jacob), and their families to move to Egypt, do you know or recall the size of Jacob’s extended family?

Though Israel (the Lord had already changed Jacob’s name to Israel) was not yet a nation, Jacob and his family consisted of and represented God’s chosen people, the Israelites—who would later be called Jews after Jacob’s fourth son, Judah.

“These are the names of the sons of Israel (that is, Jacob) who moved to Egypt with their father, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. In all, Jacob had seventy descendants in Egypt, including Joseph, who was already there” (Exodus 1:1-5, parenthesis in the text, italics for emphasis).

(Depiction of the Wrestling Scene when the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel … Genesis 32:22-30).

Obviously, this number of seventy applied exclusively to God’s chosen people through the Patriarch Jacob, whose twelve sons would be the ancestral catalyst of Israel’s exponential growth during their 400 years of bondage in Egypt, leading to the nation of Israel.

“In time, Joseph and all his brothers died, ending that entire generation. But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land” (Exodus 1:6-7).

By the time Israel became a nation (when they agreed to God’s Covenant with Moses in the wilderness or when they entered the Promised Land 40 years later under Joshua—either time could be considered Israel’s inception as a nation), her population was around two million people. From seventy to two million!

God’s Special Invitation to Select Elders of Israel

Beginning with a question. Where and to whom did God give the Ten Commandments? Most would answer that question with a roll of their eyes: Practically everyone knows God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.

True enough: “By the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18) the Ten Commandments were emblazoned on two tablets of stone; given along with other commandments to Moses while he was on Mount Sinai. But that was not the only occasion, nor was it even the first time.

The initial disclosure of the Ten Commandments was given by God in an audible voice (thunderous, Exodus 19:19 … you can bet that all two million Israelites heard God!) at the foot of Mount Sinai. The people were so terrified of God’s majestic voice, they pleaded with Moses: “…You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” (Exodus 20:19).

Later, Moses ascended the mountain where the Lord engraved the Ten Commandments on solid stone, as a written testimony of those Commandments.

Do you recall what happened while Moses was on Mount Sinai?

Correct: The people became impulsively impatient and decadently rebellious by crafting a golden calf idol (with Aaron’s help no less); thereby, breaking at least two of the Ten Commandments they had already promised to keep. As a result, three thousand Israelites died that day. Because Moses broke the stone tablets in anger, the Lord told him to ascend Mount Sinai a second time, where God again etched the Ten Commandments in stone. This, then, would have been a third bequeathing of the Ten Commandments.

Shortly after God’s audible presentation of the Ten Commandments directly to the entire camp of Israel and before Moses ascended alone to the summit of Mount Sinai, the Lord said that a select group of Israelites could accompany Moses part way up the mountain. Prior to and after that special exemption, no one was to set foot on the mountain (except for Moses and Joshua) on pain of death. Just before this unique invitation, God (through Moses) had reaffirmed to the people his covenant with their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Said the Lord:

“And I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the eastern wilderness to the Euphrates River. I will hand over to you the people now living in the land, and will drive them out ahead of you. Make no treaties with them or their gods. They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry” (Exodus 23:31-33).

In the very next verse we read the Lord’s special summons; however, it came with conditions:

“Then the Lord instructed Moses: ‘Come up here to me, and bring along Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s elders. All of you must worship from a distance. Only Moses is allowed to come near to the Lord. The others must not come near, and none of the other people are allowed to climb up the mountain with him (meaning to the summit)” (Exodus 24:1-2, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Before these “VIPs” began to climb part way up Mount Sinai, Moses read aloud to the people those laws which God had already given to him, prior to Moses (40-day/night) stay on the mountain to receive much of the Law, including the engraved Ten Commandments.

The people responded, “…We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey” (Exodus 24:7).

After Moses confirmed the Covenant between God and the Israelites with blood from animal sacrifices made earlier that day, we read one of the most amazing scenes in all of Scripture. An event that this select group was extremely lucky (using that word in its optimum connotation, i.e. favorable, fortunate, or privileged in a providential way) to witness.

“Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!” (Exodus 24:9-11).

Incredible!

This was one of the Pre-Incarnate appearances of God the Son (Messiah Jesus), of which there are several recorded in the Old Testament. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son? Part I & Part II (Posted 10-31 & 11-7-15).

Thus, whether it was Jacob wrestling with the Lord, or Joshua meeting Him just before the battle of Jericho, or Abraham visited by the Lord to reaffirm that Abraham and Sarah would miraculously conceive a child (Isaac) in their old age—all were appearances of God’s Son in human form.

Scripture is unequivocally clear that God the Father is Spirit and that no one can look on Him and live. That even applied to Moses. Said the Lord to Moses: “But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live…. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen” (Exodus 33:20 & 23).

(Exodus 33:9:  “God spoke with Moses face to face” (a figure of speech) on a regular basis. However, Moses was shielded from God’s glory by a dense, dark cloud. Even then, God’s brilliant light caused Moses’ face to glow)

A Second Selection of Seventy Jews … To Assist Moses

Fairly soon after the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt, Moses heeded his father-in-law Jethro’s advice to appoint administrators to help Moses with the judging of disputes among the people. Then about 14 months after the Exodus, the Lord lifted the cloud (by day, pillar of fire by night) over the Tabernacle. “So the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sinai and traveled on from place to place until the cloud stopped in the wilderness of Paran” (Numbers 10:12).

Shortly thereafter, the Israelites again began to grumble and mumble against the Lord and against Moses because they were fed up (pun intended) with their diet. “…Oh, for some meat! They exclaimed … Our appetites are gone. All we ever see in this manna!” (Numbers 11:4 & 6).

Reading on: “Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the Lord became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated. And Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? Did I give birth to them? … Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? … The load is far too heavy. If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!’” (Numbers 11:10-15).

I thought to myself: Could even Moses talk to God like that? I’m not sure I would or could, no matter how miserable. Then realizing: I’m certainly no Moses. Not only Moses, but David, other Psalmists, and several prophets sometimes bluntly expressed their feelings to the Lord and did so in a way that seemed to give up on or even challenge God. Such as Elijah: “…He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life…’” (I Kings 19:4).

I/We also realize that the Lord can certainly “handle” those challenges and does so with compassion and sovereign wisdom. If, that is, they are from a sincere (hurting) heart and they are not intended to, as such, defy God.

Seldom did the Lord respond directly to the precise words of the prophet’s or the king’s complaint. Nor did he engage them in a detailed (therapeutic-like) discussion of their problems, nor reprimand them for being so abrupt. He let them get it off their chest (so to speak) and then proceeded to give them practical solutions to alleviate their predicament. In fact, with Elijah, it was a gentle whisper from the Lord.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle to stand there with you. I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone” (Numbers 11:16-17, italics for emphasis).

Although Scripture doesn’t tell us, quite likely some of the 70 elders who accompanied Moses on Mount Sinai were part of this group of 70 administrators who would assist Moses in bearing the burden of the people.

Have you heard the term, Sanhedrin? If so, do you know what it is? One of the most well-known scenes in the New Testament is that of Nicodemus coming secretly to Jesus at night to determine just who Jesus might really be. Was he the Messiah? From that encounter, we get the most quoted verse of Scripture, at least in the New Testament (John 3:16).

Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, an organized Jewish council (the Greek word means assembly) of 70 men, with its reintroduction traditionally believed to be by Ezra after the return of some Jews from the Babylonian captivity. But historically (records) traced only to the 3rd century B.C.

During the 400 silent years the (Great) Sanhedrin consisted mostly of Sadducee nobles and priests, with a few Pharisees, scribes, or elders of Israel. It was patterned after the 70 leaders of Israel of whom we just read. Subsequently, the Sanhedrin expanded to 71 members, primarily to break any tie in voting. But the original design was that of a 70-member body. Subsequently, due to Roman Empire suppression and oppression, the Sanhedrin dissolved in 425 A.D.

However, the Sanhedrin has been revived in today’s Israel. Though it doesn’t possess the political or even religious power it once held, it is nevertheless recognized symbolically as a viable organization in Israeli society. Observant Jews ardently anticipate that when the 3rd Temple is built, the Sanhedrin will be the governing authority over religious life in Israel, perhaps even replacing the (secular) Supreme Court of Israel.

Also, it was members of the Sanhedrin who had Jesus arrested and who violated their own laws by an illegal mock trial in the middle of the night. Then they handed him over to the Romans to be crucified.

(Scene from the Acclaimed Movie, Passion of the Christ, showing the High Priest and members of the Sanhedrin. Film released in 2004, which happened to be the year that the Sanhedrin was reinstituted in Israel)

The Seventy Jewish Disciples

Many, even unbelievers, know that Jesus chose twelve men to be his inner circle of disciples. But that wasn’t the only group of followers whom our Lord selected for a special purpose.

“Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come” (Luke 10:1, NASB).

Messiah Jesus sent the seventy specifically to towns in Israel to, “…heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:9, NASB).

Then Jesus issued a severe warning of (final day) judgment to those towns that rejected the message of the Kingdom of God, which would have been established then and there in Israel had Messiah’s own people not spurned him.

Said Jesus to the seventy: “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me” (Luke 10:16, NASB).

I don’t believe it’s mere happenstance that Jesus selected seventy of his Jewish followers to proclaim that Israel’s Messiah had arrived. Seventy, the same number of Jewish elders who assisted Moses in the administration of the Old Covenant. The new set of seventy would announce that Jesus was God’s Son who had come to mediate the New Covenant announced by Jeremiah hundreds of years earlier.

Seventy Times Seven

The following is another widely known passage of Scripture.

(I’ve even heard unbelievers quote “seventy times seven!” Including some Hollywood movies)

Obviously, Jesus’s reply was figurative in principle. We need to forgive others as many times as it takes—something that is sometimes hard to do even once. However, Jesus did literally say, “until (up to) seventy times seven.”

Thus, it was no coincidence that our Lord selected seventy (times seven) in this formula for forgiveness. In fact, I’m convinced the correlation to the passage with which we began today’s article, concerning the seventy weeks of Daniel’s prophecy, is crystal clear.

“A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to…” (Daniel 9:24).

To what?

In the context of what Jesus told Peter concerning Peter’s brothers (the Jews): “to atone for their guilt…” (Same Verse 24). This took place 69 weeks or 483 years after Daniel’s prophecy (up to that point) culminating in Messiah Jesus’s sacrificial atonement for sin once and for all. Next would come the (final) 70th week—the seven-year Tribulation preceded immediately by the Rapture which is precipitated by the final (Omega) generation that includes the rebirth of Israel and the restoration return of Jews to Israel foretold in many Old Testament passages.

Seventy times seven said Jesus. A period of seventy sets of seven as prophesied by Daniel.

Returning to the Old Testament for our last example, which is:

Seventy Years of Babylonian Exile

A frequently quoted verse in Scripture, treasured by Jewish and Gentile believers and by non-Messianic Jews alike, is one of the most (and there are many) encouraging promises the Lord makes to Israel.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me … I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land” (Jeremiah 29:11-14, emphasis added).

The italicized words (Verse 11) is the part of this passage most often quoted. But in reading the following verses, we see that the plans, future, and hope are specifically linked to the return of exiled Jews to their Promised Land … the final restoration of the Jews, of Israel, and of Jerusalem. The beginning of which took place when Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948, seventy years ago!

Many also overlook the verse immediately preceding verse eleven. Examining the context of this passage more closely, we read:

“This is what the Lord says: ‘You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again” (Jeremiah 29:10, italics for emphasis). Then verse eleven begins with: For I know the plans I have for you…

Because God’s people never really returned to him, nor did most of them even return to Israel from Babylon or from Persia; and because hundreds of years later they rejected their very Messiah (Jesus), the ultimate fulfillment of this prophetic promise (the plans I have for you) would not begin to unfold for another 2,500 years.

In advance, the Lord (through Jeremiah) not only told the Jews that the southern kingdom of Judah would fall to and the Temple demolished by Babylon, he also specified the precise time of their exile—70 years.

The fact that what God says will happen, always happens; what he says he will do he always does, doesn’t diminish the drama of the Jews returning to Israel after seventy years captivity in Babylon. Then the even more dramatic return of Jews from the four corners of the earth when Israel was reborn in 1948. Since then Israel’s population has increased tenfold—from approximately 600,000 in 1948 to 6.5 million today. Well over a million Jews have made Aliyah to Israel from many nations, especially from Russia. Over six million Israelis in modern Israel to poignantly represent the six million Jews ruthlessly killed in the Holocaust.

(Aliyah–Immigrants Coming to Israel)

Is there a (prophetic) correlation between the 70 years of Israel’s exile in Babylon and the (ultimate) fulfillment of God’s promise to return his people to Israel, which began to take place 70 years ago? I would answer that question with a question: How could there not be?

The full passage (Jeremiah 29:10-14) establishes that link.

In that regard, was it mere chance that the 2nd Temple was destroyed in the year 70. A.D.?

The Bible is replete with the significance of some numbers and their pattern connection with events and/or examples of God’s interaction with humanity. Such as the number three, seven, twelve, forty, seventy, and four hundred. Several Eye of Prophecy articles have focused on this Biblical emphasis regarding certain numbers.

For example, the article: Countdown to Armageddon … End of the Fourth 400-Year Era (Posted 7-29-17). Here is an excerpt from that article:

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

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

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

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

Things to Ponder

What an amazing time of history we’re living in!

Israel born in a single day, May 14th, 1948 … a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 66:7-9.

Jews returning from virtually every nation on earth. A miraculous accomplishment, one foretold by dozens of Bible passages.

The Gog/Magog terrible trio of Russia, Iran, and Turkey forming an unheard-of alliance, considering the animosity of these countries one toward another just a few years ago. Precisely as predicted by Ezekiel (Chapters 38 & 39).

Alongside their Gentile brothers and sisters in Christ, tens of thousands of Jews believing and receiving Jesus as Messiah and Savior, especially in the last 70 years. Waiting for Messiah’s return to, “…lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace…” (Micah 5:4-5a).

Israel’s economy is booming and agriculture flourishing unlike any time in her history since the glory days of King David and King Solomon. Not only bountiful crops, lush vineyards, and beautiful gardens planted and blooming, but the Jews themselves planted and prospering in their ancient home.

There’s still trouble ahead. The seven-year Tribulation will be more terrifying than anything ever experienced on Planet Earth. But after it’s over, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11).

For those, Jew and Gentile alike, who have believed and received Jesus as Messiah and Savior, God will spare us from this time of great misery and calamity.

If you don’t know Messiah Jesus as your personal Savior, I implore you to call upon the name of the Lord. You will be saved immediately (from your sins and the penalty thereof) and from the Great Tribulation soon to come.

Are you in awe of the spectacular 20th and 21st century end-times fulfillment of Biblical prophecy? I certainly am.

“Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!…” (Psalm 96:4).

Let’s rejoice with Israel over her 70th birthday!

Jewish Christian / Christian Jew … An Oxymoron?

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Oxymoron: What a weird word.

The term consists of two conflicting Greek words: oxys, meaning sharp or keen (including mentally sharp) and moros, which means foolish.

Webster’s Dictionary defines oxymoron as a: “combination of contradictory or incongruous words (such as cruel kindness).”

Many, particularly observant Jews, consider the terms Jewish Christian or Christian Jew to be oxymoronic. They simply don’t go together. Like east and west … never the two shall meet. In Orthodox or Conservative Judaism, it is beyond just a foolhardy contradiction for a Jew to become a Christian. A Christian Jew is a traitor to Judaism; renouncing all that is Jewish, both physically and spiritually. It is siding with those who have persecuted the Jews for hundreds of years … be it the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the pogroms, or worst of all—the Holocaust.

However, the greater majority, by far, of those involved in these horrific events were Christian in name only. They were those who distorted the true Christian faith with extra Biblical man-made dogmas such as found in Roman Catholicism and pseudo-Christian cults. Even a few Protestants (such as Martin Luther) who rightfully exposed the false teachings of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, wrongly believed the true church has replaced Israel by inheriting (usurping) all the promises God made to the Jews concerning their destiny as a nation, especially Israel’s future restoration.

See Eye of Prophecy articles, Replacement Theology Part I & II (Posted July 2014).

Or those like Hitler and his Third Reich—an ungodly, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Christian, perverse, occult regime that used the insidious lies of Replacement Theology to justify murdering Jews, but also turned on both Catholics and Protestants. Hitler and Germany’s Third Reich were no more Christian than the Ayatollah and his Republican Guard of Iran.

Jewish Christian … Christian Jew. Both designations mean the same thing with a slightly different emphasis. However, both are represented by the term that has, in the 20th and 21st centuries, reversed the rationale that a Jew can’t be a Christian and remain Jewish. That term is: Messianic Jew. They are Jewish Christians and they are Christian Jews.

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Messianic Jews … Who Are They? (Published 4-25-15).

Jewish Christian: One who has experienced a spiritual rebirth by placing their trust for salvation and eternal life in Christ (Messiah) Jesus; yet one who remains Jewish by keeping the Jewish dietary standards, the Jewish Sabbath, and the Jewish Festivals.

Christian Jew: A Jew who has become a born-again believer (true Christian) without in any way, shape, or form ceasing to be a Jew … birthright descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Or a Gentile believer who had previously converted to Judaism.

Neither descriptive term nullifies the heritage of one who is born a Jew. Nor is a Jewish Christian (Christian Jew) obligated to continue Jewish customs or required to stop them. In Christ, we all have the liberty to observe certain days or not, to eat certain foods or not…. (Romans Chapter 14).

Whichever designation is preferred or whatever a better definition of these two terms might be, they no longer rely on Judaism as a religion to save them or to make them righteous before God. Messianic Jews (and Gentile Christians) recognize that the criteria for being made right with God is exclusively through faith in God’s Promise to Abraham. Specifically, that Isaac would be the first child of promise who would bring the ultimate Child of Promise (Messiah Yeshua) as the world’s Savior, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile.

“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).

The Jewish Apostle Paul continues:

“Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin. Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!

“…So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised. Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith” (Romans 4:8-13, emphasis added).

The Most Jewish Thing a Jew Can Do

It has been said that the most Jewish thing any Jew can do is to believe and receive their Jewish Messiah, Jesus. I fully agree. Why?

Because a Jewish Christian’s heart has been circumcised which is what God really wanted from his people in the first place.

“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem…” (Jeremiah 4:4, NASB).

Thus, it’s a matter of the heart … complete trust in the Lord’s Promise for redemption. As opposed to a circumcision (cutting away from pagan nations by keeping the ceremonial and civil law) of the flesh to be right with the Lord.

And because a Christian Jew has become a spiritual descendant of Abraham; thus, fulfilling the very reason why God chose Abraham and Israel in the first place—to bring Messiah to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. When a Jew becomes a spiritual child of God (through Abraham’s ultimate Child of Promise) that doesn’t annul their national identity or inheritance as a Jew/Israeli. Nor when a Gentile becomes a spiritual descendant of Abraham (by the same faith in Messiah Jesus) does it mean he/she qualifies as a physical descendant of Abraham, with entitlement to the national promises God made to Abraham … the eternal possession of Israel and Jerusalem by God’s chosen people.

Just ask any of the tens of thousands of Messianic Jews all over the world, and they will tell you why this is true. They will tell you that the veil that prevented them from seeing the source of their salvation has been lifted from their eyes. That once they were blind but now they see what spiritual redemption is all about. Shortly, we’ll look more closely at that veil.

With an added footnote: Neither Jew nor Gentile should dismiss out-of-hand the phenomenon that many Jews the world over have acknowledged Jesus as their Jewish Messiah. This is far more than just a token number of Jews. It’s no coincidence that this world-wide wonder of many Jews embracing Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah as their Savior is a direct result of Israel’s miraculous (God-directed) rebirth as a nation in 1948, and especially since the reclamation of Jerusalem as the Holy City of the Holy Land in 1967—which gave rise to dozens of Messianic ministries and hundreds of global Messianic congregations. No different than thousands upon thousands of Jews in the first century (A.D.) who believed in Jesus as Messiah while Israel was still a nation.

In contrast to their unbelieving Jewish brothers and sisters in the flesh, Messianic Jews fully realize that one can be made right with God even though the Old Covenant Levitical sacrificial system of atonement was terminated with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. It was no mere coincidence that the loss of the Temple occurred in less than a generation after Jesus arose from the dead to prove that he was the Son of God. Who came as the New Covenant sacrificial Passover lamb to forever replace the need for ongoing sacrifices mandated by the Law of Moses (see the entire book of Hebrews). And certainly, no accident that the curtain which separated and kept sanctified the Holy of Holies was torn apart when Jesus died on the cross.

See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Cross and the Torn Curtain, Part I & II (Posted February 2016).

The Law of Moses and Its Purpose Compared to the Promise

What about the Law of Moses? Must a Jew discount or even disregard the ceremonial, civil, and cultural parts of that Law when he or she accepts the Jewish Messiah Jesus as personal Savior? The answer is found in and prefaced by the all important need to identify exactly what the Law was intended to do in the first place. That and balancing the realization that: (1) the Law itself was very good. With the fact that: (2) no one can keep (all points of) the Law. Therefore, keeping of the Law is NOT the means of salvation … to be made right with God.

That’s precisely why God announced through Jeremiah that—after giving his people hundreds of years to (unsuccessfully) demonstrate they could earn right standing with God by keeping the Mosaic Law, especially the moral component found primarily in the Ten Commandments—a New Covenant was necessary.

Listen to the Apostle Paul, whose entire belief system and life as a devout Jewish Pharisee was forever changed by his direct encounter with Messiah Jesus whom Saul (before his name was changed to Paul) had violently opposed, by persecuting Jewish Christians/Christian Jews:

“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law… For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law” (Galatians 2:16).

Paul is not saying the problem is with the Law itself. Rather, Paul contends that it’s the notion (based on what the Jews had erroneously began to assume not long after the Law was given) that the keeping of the Law was the foundational basis for them to be accepted as righteous before God.

Paul wrote the book of Galatians primarily to Jewish Christians in the province of Galatia (modern-day Turkey) to remind them that they had been redeemed exclusively because of their trust in Messiah Jesus, with nothing to be added to the Gospel, i.e. religious requirements of the law, like circumcision. And certainly not for Gentiles to first convert to Judaism before they could be saved by believing in the redemptive sacrifice of Christ.

Paul continues: “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:19-20, NASB).

Then Paul gets even more serious by asking a probing question with this blunt introduction: “Oh, foolish Galatians! … Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ…. In the same way, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith” (Galatians 3:1-9).

*Note: Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Times of & Fullness of the Gentiles … What Do They Mean? Recently published on 4-21-18. Which addresses at length the difference between God’s two magnificent plans for humanity, a vital distinction to grasp for both Jew and Gentile.

One for the individual identity of God’s chosen people the Jews and national identity as his special possession, Israel, including Israel’s final restoration. The nation of Israel and Jerusalem will be the centerpiece of the soon to come Kingdom of God on earth.

The other plan is that of personal salvation to all people, beginning with the Jews and then extending to the Gentiles.

Thus, when Paul declares that the true children of Abraham are those who place their faith in God, he’s referring to the spiritual plan of God to save both Jew and Gentile through the person of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus.

Continuing in Galatians:

“But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.’ So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law … This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, ‘It is through obeying the law that a person has life.’” (Galatians 3:10-12).

Which is the reason that the Lord told his people that a New Covenant and the Messiah of that covenant was the only remedy to rectify their failure to keep the Old Covenant of Law.

Paul continues:

“This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be cancelled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.

“Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised…. Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

“Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed…. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus … There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you” (Galatians 3:17-29).

Observant (and even some non-observant) Jews in Paul’s time right up to the present day have not forgotten the reason why God chose them in the first place; to be separated from pagan nations, as the conduit of God’s Word and blessings for themselves and for all peoples. What some have misunderstood, and others marginalized is that these blessings would ultimately come through the Messiah, not by keeping the law of Moses, which they could not and would not do. They’ve dismissed to the point of rejection the historical evidence that Messiah and the New Covenant came to them with the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in the first century. And that Messiah’s soon appearance will be his RETURN.

Messiah was announced at the very beginning in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15); then to Abraham through the first child of promise, Isaac, not Ishmael (Genesis 17:15-19); to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19); through King David (Psalm 2, 22, & 110); the prophets beginning primarily with Isaiah (Chapter 53); and Jeremiah’s announcement of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31). And other passages.

Then the final prophet, Malachi, after which God did not speak to his people through prophets or angels, until the angel Gabriel made this glorious announcement: “…I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the City of David!” (Luke 2:10-11). Jesus brought and bought (with the enormous price of his very blood and life) the New Covenant to replace the Old Covenant.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:17).

Removal of the Veil

The curtain that separated the Holy of Holies (where the Ark of the Covenant rested and where God’s very presence dwelt until a few years before Solomon’s Temple was destroyed) from the rest of the Temple was torn asunder the moment that Jesus died on the cross. Then, just as Jesus had prophesied: less than 40 years later the Temple was demolished, and the Levitical sacrificial system was no more.

Paul contrasts the glory of the Old Covenant with the greater glory of the New Covenant:

“…This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!” (II Corinthians 3:5-11).

Unlike the Gentiles, whose laws (such as they were or didn’t exist at all) were both capricious and corrupt, God’s Law—beginning with the Ten Commandments—showed the Jews right from wrong, good from evil, life over death.

In principle, the Law would give them life, but ONLY if they kept every aspect of the law. Alas, no one ever did, is doing now, or will ever do. Except one Man—Messiah Jesus! It’s not the Law that failed. The failure belongs to Jew and Gentile alike because we could not AND would not keep it. Thus, in practical reality, the Law can’t give life (eternal). Instead, the Law—as morally perfect as it is—became a curse. Trying to keep the law as a means of getting right with God is not only impossible, it’s a breach of God’s spiritual promise to Abraham. Which is the gift of God’s grace (unilaterally and unconditionally) to ALL who accept the gift by faith in the Child of Promise—Messiah Yeshua.

That’s why Jesus, himself, said: “…I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose” (Matthew 5:17). What was that purpose? To make people right with God IF they completely obeyed (kept) the entire law and writings of the prophets. They/we couldn’t, but Jesus could and did!

Which is why Jesus also said that when all is said and done, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29, referring to himself).

Next, Paul alludes to the Temple’s curtain by comparing it to Moses’ veil even before the Tabernacle (a portable forerunner of the fixed Temple), was built.

Paul writes: “Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’s writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (II Corinthians 3:12-17).

It all began when the curtain veil of the 2nd Temple was (supernaturally) ripped in half, signifying that all who believe and receive the mediator of the New Covenant, Messiah Jesus, have the awesome privilege of entering the Holy of Holies … God’s very presence.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters (referring directly to Jewish Christians the main audience of the book of Hebrews, but also Gentile Christians), we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him…” (Hebrews 10:19-22, parenthesis mine).

Paul wrote that “to this day … the same veil covers their minds … and hearts.” Sadly, to this day has continued into the 21st century to most of the house of Israel. But that will all change and soon, for we are living in the Omega Generation. The final generation that will see the return of Messiah Jesus in “power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

Listen to Paul’s impassioned plea and hope (as is mine and other believers who love the Jewish people and Israel):

“…the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.

“But faith’s way of getting right with God, says … If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:1-6a, 9-10).

That’s exactly what the New Covenant is and does, as first written about in the very Hebrew Scriptures (Torah … Tanakh) that so many Jews claim are the only Scriptures given by God.

Ever so sadly, in so doing, they deny the clear evidence that Jesus of Nazareth historically fulfilled (matched) all the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Including the Virgin Birth of Christ, his life in which he performed mighty miracles, his sacrificial death on the cross, and most of all his miraculous resurrection of the dead to ratify the New Covenant as recorded in the New Testament. Via the same Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who inspired writers of the Old Testament as well as writers of the New Testament (II Timothy 3:16).

(Or Brit Hadashah, Which is Hebrew for New Testament)

“The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, says the Lord.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord. I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people… And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Said the Jewish Apostle Peter to the rulers and elders of Israel, “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ For there is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12, quoting Psalm 118:22).

All the Jewish Apostles and thousands of Jewish Christians in the first century, thousands more Messianic Jews of today’s world, and millions of Gentile believers the world over passionately echo the Apostle Paul who said:

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

Summary

A Jew doesn’t stop being a Jew when he or she accepts the Jewish Messiah Jesus as personal Savior. It is not a conversion from one religion to another, because the Christian faith is not a religion. Instead, it is a reconciled restored relationship with God, which is the very reason that God created us in the first place.

A Christian Jew has recognized that the New Covenant foretold by Jeremiah is the new and far better way to God. In fact, it’s the only way to God.

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

As a born-again Christian, a Jew is still a physical descendant of Abraham with all the rights of national inheritance and destiny afforded to God’s chosen people. And MORE: He/she is also a spiritual heir of God’s promise to Abraham, inheriting eternal life through the Child of Promise.

A Jewish Christian doesn’t need to give up their Jewish traditions. Jesus, himself, observed the Sabbath, attended the Jewish Festivals, and taught in the Temple and in Synagogues as a Rabbi. However, not like the other rabbis. “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).

See Eye of Prophecy article: The Incomparable Power & Authority of Jesus Christ (Posted 5-28-16).

(Depiction of Jesus in the Synagogue, When He Effectively  Announced That He Was the Messiah, as Found in Luke Chapter 4)

The Jewish Apostles and other Jewish Christians of the first few centuries continued to observe the Sabbath and the Jewish Festivals, as do most Messianic Jews today. With, however, the understanding that each of the Festivals represented and pointed to Messiah. They keep the Sabbath (most on Saturday) but recognize that Messiah Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He is our Sabbath rest. They understand that the tabernacle and the temple were earthly patterns of the true heavenly temple. That each believer in Messiah becomes a temple of God, each believer a priest of God, each believer a living stone in the house of God, and a member of the body of Christ (I Peter 2 & I Corinthians 12).

Regarding terms or labels, we gentile believers should be called Gentile Christians. With the term Christian applying first and foremost to (1st century) Jewish believers in Jesus. They were not called Messianic Jews to begin with. Jewish Christians (Christian Jews) were simply called Christians, and only then to identify themselves as belonging to the New Way (Covenant); in contrast to the Old Covenant that constituted what had become the ritualistic religion of Judaism.

There is only one thing that a Jew must give up. Not the law itself. Rather, it is dependence on (keeping of) the law to make them right with God … meaning for salvation.

Yet this is no different than any religion or belief system—be it Roman Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Cult (isms), Humanism, or whatever. Good works, religious observances, or achieving some irreligious ethereal plateau of paranormal existence, will never ever save anyone. It’s not God’s way. Just ask Abraham!

The following passage sums this up as well as any: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so one of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Nor is this or should it be anything new, particularly to Judaism. It’s a New Covenant, because it permanently replaces the (temporary) old Covenant that God’s people couldn’t keep. But God’s Grace isn’t new. And it was a matter of faith in God’s forgiveness and pardon of sin through the shed blood of innocent animals to begin with. First with Adam and Eve, then Abraham (Genesis 15), then the Exodus Passover, then the Levitical sacrifices. All of which served as a prototype pattern to prepare both Jew and Gentile for the final, once-for-all substitutionary sacrifice of the precious blood and life of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus.

Things to Ponder

Although the significance of the Sabbath and Festivals for Jewish Christians has changed to a Messianic emphasis and remembrance, you can still observe them with unbelieving Jewish family members or friends, if they will let you. I’m sure it’s not easy, and especially painful if they refuse to even allow your presence during (for example) Passover. Yet all believers, Jew and Gentile, will experience some measure of resistance, resentment, or rejection, just as our Lord did.

Perhaps everyone in your immediate family is a Jewish Christian! If so, praise the Lord!

Whether a Gentile Christian or a Jewish Christian (Christian Jew), we want to keep the Lord’s commandments. Any celebration of the Festivals, the Lord’s table (communion), and/or observance of the Sabbath (Saturday or Sunday) is in gratitude for what Christ has done for us that we could never do for ourselves—pay the ultimate price for forgiveness of sin and pardon of sins penalty.

We DON’T observe these things to get right with God. We DO them because we have been made right with God through faith in Messiah Jesus. We love him because he first loved us.

Can a Jew be a Christian and remain Jewish? Absolutely. (For example, Romans 11:1. If the Jewish Apostle Paul could, anyone can!)

Conversely, must you stop observing the Festivals or Sabbath or Kosher foods or any other Jewish custom? Absolutely not. The choice is yours.

If you’re a non-Messianic Jew or unbelieving Gentile, please read at least one of the Gospels of the New Testament—perhaps the Gospel of John. You’ll see what Jesus is really like, who he really is, and what he has done for you. He is the Messiah!

Now ask Him to be your Savior.

And thank you Lord for grafting us believing Gentile branches into the spiritual tree of Israel (Romans 11)!

Has Antichrist Already Died … How, When & Why

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The consensus reaction to the title question of this week’s article most likely would be: Since the Rapture hasn’t occurred and the Tribulation hasn’t begun—therefore, the Antichrist hasn’t appeared yet—how could he have already died? At face value, that’s a reasonable response based on the logical presumption that the Antichrist will be a modern-day born man.

Reasonable and logical? Yes.

Historically and prophetically accurate? No.

My second book, Out of the Abyss (published 2011) and Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist provide an abundance of documentation to support the following premise: The Bible presents all necessary clues pertaining to the identity of the Antichrist, who is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.

Let’s begin with a summarized list of all ten Bible passages about this evil man, which contain the six designations by which he is known: little horn, king, ruler, man of lawlessness, beast, and Antichrist. There is a 7th term—worthless shepherd—however, this label contrasts with the Good Shepherd (Messiah) and incorporates all Antichrist’s roles identified in Scripture.

Then, more evidence will be presented to address the questions posed in the title of this week’s article.

Passages on the Antichrist in Biblical Sequence:

(1) Daniel 7: Described as a little horn and king. This very first passage about the Antichrist tells us that he would “suddenly … appear” on the Tribulation scene as a king who is directly from the 4th World Empire—Rome. He will not appear in a Revived Roman Empire during the Tribulation, as there is no such empire in Scripture. Instead, it is the arrival of a Revived Roman Emperor who will control a ten-nation coalition; but not as a World Government, as there will be leaders and nations who will oppose him. Scripture does not portray this man as a super statesman or political/military genius; rather, the Bible depicts him as a boastful tyrant who blasphemes God himself.

(2) Daniel 9: Here the Antichrist is described as a ruler, whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple AFTER Messiah arrived on the scene. By subsequent (now historical) fulfillment, this passage can stand alone to confirm that Nero was the ruler prophesied by Daniel some 560 years earlier; and, when combined with all other passages, yields air-tight evidence of Antichrist’s identity. It was Nero who ordered his Generals Vespasian and Titus to crush the Jewish rebellion that began in 66 A.D, with Jerusalem eventually sacked and the Temple destroyed in 70 A.D. Daniel 9 also fast forwards to the Tribulation.

(Bust of General Vespasian, Who Later Became Caesar, Ruling 69-79 A.D.)

(General Titus–Vespasian’s Son; Succeeded Vespasian as Emperor in 79 A.D.)

Bible teachers and students sometimes overlook or even dismiss the clear composition of Daniel 9:26-27. Which is: The ruler who would arise is directly linked (contextually and grammatically, by a possessive relationship) to the armies (Roman Legions) that would destroy the Temple. Then it’s this same ruler who will trigger the Tribulation through his seven-year treaty with Israel. The only way this could happen would be for the ruler to reappear during the Tribulation.

(3) Daniel 11: Here the Antichrist is called a king (King of the North), whose treacherous tactics are similar to a prototype antichrist also prophetically described in Daniel 11—fulfilled by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 2nd century B.C. Nero, like Antiochus, will invade Israel. During this invasion, “…his time will suddenly run out” (Daniel 11:45); referring directly to the last days of the Tribulation, specifically Armageddon.

(4) Zachariah 11: This little-known passage in the Old Testament depicts the ruthless actions of the “worthless shepherd” (Antichrist) against God’s people during the Tribulation. It also presents an intriguing description of the wounds that would cause Antichrist’s death, the same fatal wounds that the world will see and be in awe of when he (Nero) returns to earth.

(5) II Thessalonians 2: The Antichrist is called the Man of Lawlessness by the Apostle Paul. Since the main subject of this week’s article concerns that designation of the Antichrist—particularly his death—we’ll focus on this passage later.

(6) Revelation 13: Here the Antichrist is referred to as a beast (rising from the sea, literally). This passage also tells us precisely why people all over the world will “marvel at” the beast. For one reason only: the “miracle” of recovery from his fatal wounds and subsequent return to earth … some 2,000 years later. And, of course, this is the chapter that challenges the reader (with a mind of understanding) to solve the mystery of the number of the beast—six hundred, sixty-six. That has been done through Hebrew Gematria, which is the way Jews counted (numerical system) back then. Lo and behold, six hundred sixty-six matches with Nero Caesar.

(7) Revelation 16: We see the Antichrist (along with Satan and the False Prophet) joining forces with their enemies—the kings of the East—to do battle at Har Megiddo (Armageddon) with Messiah Jesus who has returned to Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14) to fight alongside of the Jews.

(8) Revelation 17: This chapter is another phenomenal passage that shows us beyond any doubt whatsoever that the Antichrist beast/king had already lived and died (in the 1st century) before John’s visions of the beast.

This chapter also provides a biographical overview of the beast’s geopolitical origin; one of the seven kings of the 1st century (Roman Empire), specifically one of the five who had already died BEFORE John’s vision of the beast. Which makes Revelation 17:7-11 historical to John. With the rest of the chapter fast forwarding to the future Tribulation—a confirmation of an elaboration on Daniel Chapter 7.

(9) Revelation 19: Soon after the battle for Jerusalem (Zechariah 12 & 14), Antichrist and all the armies aligned against Messiah Jesus are completely conquered in this final battle of the ages—Armageddon. Antichrist and the False Prophet are captured and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20) which tracks with II Thessalonians 2:8, one of the key verses we’ll examine regarding the main subject of today’s article.

(Two Other References to the Lake of Fire)

(10) I John: This is the only book of the Bible in which the term Antichrist is found. The Apostle John first explains “antichrist” (lower case) in general terms as: “…Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist” (I John 2:22).

Then John makes a remarkable observation that “the spirit of the Antichrist” … indeed is already here” (I John 4:3). Although John referred to the “spirit” of antichrist, he also specifically said, “the Antichrist” … as in “the” Antichrist himself. Nero had already lived and died before John wrote his epistles and before the book of Revelation was written (by either the Apostle John or another John of the first century). Either way, the Apostle John is telling believers of the 1st century that the Antichrist had already been there, because he referred directly to the spirit of “the Antichrist.” Not just of “an” antichrist.

This list of all passages on the Antichrist is a thumb-nail sketch compared to the detailed depth of my book Out of the Abyss, and 49 Eye of Prophecy articles written in the category of Antichrist to date, with each article emphasizing select features of and passages on this deplorable man.

The Man of Lawlessness

Because the Apostle Paul wrote I & II Thessalonians in 51-52 A.D. which pre-date the books of I John and Revelation, neither he nor other 1st century believers had yet been introduced to this man as Antichrist or the beast. As detailed in the Eye of Prophecy trilogy, A Beast by Any Other Name … Is Still a Beast (Posted 3-14, 3-21, & 3-28-15), there is a specific purpose for each Biblical designation of Antichrist.

The Old Testament titles for the Antichrist are little horn, ruler, and king—all prophetically pointing to the rise of a powerful leader from the 4th World Kingdom—fulfilled in and through the Roman Empire. They are terms denoting an imperial position common to anyone’s understanding in Daniel’s day, or of any generation.

However, the New Testament appellations are more metaphorically descriptive, portraying the contemptible characteristics of this evil ruler during his initial disclosure as a (the) man of lawlessness of the first century. Then his reappearance from the Abyss as the Antichrist beast of the Tribulation to perpetrate on a global scale (in the 21st century) what he began to a more limited (but still terrible) degree in the first century. King is also a designation of Antichrist in the book of Revelation; to add a literal component to the symbolic descriptions and is used in the immediate context of Nero’s reign as Caesar.

The Apostle Paul was the only one who referred to Antichrist as the man of lawlessness and did so for a special reason. However, the Lord didn’t reveal to Paul that this man would reappear as the Antichrist beast of the Tribulation. Consequently, Paul didn’t know the man of lawlessness’s desecration of the Temple and deification of himself as God (II Thessalonians 2) would take place after this wicked man returned (to earth) from the Abyss.

It’s clear that the Lord had revealed the identity of this man of lawlessness to Paul as Nero. However, Paul wouldn’t mention Nero by name because of the imminent danger that would create for believers in the Roman Empire. Thus, after calling him the man of lawlessness and citing the rebellion against God that Nero would begin in the 1st century (to be continued upon his return from the Abyss, which Paul wasn’t privy to), Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he had previously discussed this matter with them.

(One of Several Busts of Nero)

Secret Lawlessness & Its Restraint

Writes Paul: “Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed…” (II Thessalonians 2:5-8a, italics for emphasis).

The words I’ve italicized in this passage are enormously significant to fully grasp that the present-tense (in Paul’s day) Machiavellian-like schemes in the Roman Empire were precisely what Paul was writing about.

As follows: The “what” is holding “him” (the man of lawlessness) back is not a person—including the Holy Spirit. What is an impersonal pronoun. Plus, this lawlessness (that would lead to and soon reveal the man of lawlessness) was “already at work secretly.” And that it was a person (“the one”) holding “it” back, with the it (impersonal pronoun) not a person; rather the “it” was the secrecy of the lawlessness already at work.

Much detail, as summarized in the above paragraph, has been provided in Out of the Abyss and a few Eye of Prophecy articles. For example: Does the Holy Spirit Restrain (the Man of) Lawlessness? Posted 3-4-17.

The “what” (is holding him back) was the Roman Government—institution of law and order designed and implemented by the Roman Senate and enforced by the Roman Legions. It was not the Holy Spirit, because NEVER in Scripture is the Holy Spirit referred to as what. If a pronoun is used in place of the noun (Holy Spirit) it is ALWAYS the personal pronoun, he or him.

The “one” (who is holding “it” back) was Claudius Caesar before he was taken out of the way by his wife. Notice that the “what” (Roman law and government) was holding “him” back; meaning the man of lawlessness (Nero) from ascending the throne until his time came (albeit unlawfully). Whereas, the “it” that was being held in check (by Claudius— “the one”) refers antecedently in the context directly to the secrecy of the lawlessness, which was already at work … at the very time that Paul wrote his two epistles to the Thessalonians. There is absolutely no way to dismiss or avoid the present-tense context of this passage.

Paul was not referring to a distant-future man of lawlessness nor some far-off future lawlessness. One that most Bible scholars believe won’t take place until the Tribulation, because of the notion that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man—not one who returns from the ancient past. That lawlessness was (secretly) taking place in Paul’s time, one that would lead directly to the revealing of the man of lawlessness as the next Roman Emperor—Nero.

It’s vital to know that Paul wrote II Thessalonians about two years before Nero ascended to the throne at the age of 17. Also, that Nero was not the lawful heir to the throne. It should have been Claudius’ natural son, Britannicus, to have taken Emperor Claudius’s place. Nero’s mother Agrippina who (incestuously) married her uncle (Claudius) couldn’t wait for her husband to die a natural death. So, she poisoned him … according to historians either with Nero’s knowledge or complicity.

(Sculptures of Nero & His Mother, Agrippina, Not Long After Nero Became Caesar, He Had His Mother Killed)

History tells us that Claudius was very fond of his step-son, Nero, favoring him even above Claudius’s natural son, Britannicus.

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

Obviously, Claudius wanted Nero to succeed him, but certainly not as a result of Claudius being toppled from power by anyone, let alone his wife, Agrippina. Thus, Claudius was part of the scheme that would bypass his natural son’s right to the throne in favor of his step-son Nero. Little did Claudius realize that this plot would thicken with Agrippina’s lawless sub-plot to prematurely take him out of the picture; to remove him from power by revealing her true intention—that of Nero’s immediate unlawful ascension to the throne (Page 201).

Answer to the Questions of Today’s Article Title

Obviously, the Tribulation has yet arrived, because the Rapture has not yet taken place. So, what about the seemingly irrelevant question: Has the Antichrist already died? If so, how, when, and why?

Before answering these questions, remember that when John saw (his first vision) the Antichrist, the man (depicted as a Beast) had already recovered from his deadly wounds. The world will consider this to be a miracle to even surpass that of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. Thus, the greater majority of those left behind at the Rapture will be amazed at such a feat and will yield their allegiance to the Beast to the point of worship. (Revelation 13:1-8).

How (by what means) is the Man of Lawlessness Killed?

Earlier, I quoted II Thessalonians 2:5-8a, intentionally stopping after the first part of verse 8 which reads: “Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed…”

The Apostle Paul then makes an astonishing statement to complete that verse: “…but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8b).

Despite the staggering significance of this verse, it is seldom referenced or explained by Bible teachers and students of prophecy … whether through sermons, books, articles, or commentaries.

Paul not only announces that the man of lawlessness—who would later be called the Antichrist and the Beast—would die; he also makes it crystal clear that Jesus, by the breath of his mouth, would slay this man.

“By the breath of his mouth,” is another way of saying that Jesus (the true Christ) would intervene and preemptively terminate the man of lawlessness—Nero. It’s like the linguistic imagery used in Revelation when, during the final battle of Armageddon, we read: “From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations…” (Revelation 19:15).

Through Christ’s divine sovereignty, he would cause the death of Nero … an untimely death in the eyes of the Roman Empire and Satan, himself. Yet a timely part of God’s remarkable plan to set in motion another time for the man of lawlessness to return as the Antichrist beast during the end times.

This sovereign preemption of the man of lawlessness contrasts with the normal cycle of life and death, in which God prophetically knows the course of every person’s life but allows the cycle to complete. However, the Bible contains several examples that illustrate God’s proactive intrusion leading to the death of some people, before their time.

In my book Out of the Abyss, I cited five of these incidents (there are many more than five), in which the Lord—who has divine power over life and death, physically and spiritually—preemptively ended the life of a person or a group of people. Invariably, the reason was because the person or people involved, in word or deed, defied the Lord or recklessly violated his Laws (Word).

Throughout history, God obviously hasn’t struck down everyone who arrogantly denigrates him or arbitrarily disobeys him. But who would ever want to take that chance?

(Artist Depiction of King Herod Agrippa I; Struck Down After He Accepted Worship By the People as God … Acts 12:21-23)

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

God’s sometimes swift judgment even included his own people, the Jews; as well as one New Testament case involving two believers—Ananias and Sapphira. And on one occasion, resulted in the (at the hands of just one of God’s angels) overnight death of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers! Due exclusively to the Assyrian King Sennacherib’s taunts of and boasts against Israel and especially against the God of Israel (See II Kings 18 & 19).

When Is the Man of Lawlessness Killed?

First, a quick one-question review quiz. Who does Jesus kill? Correct: the man of lawlessness.

Before we discover when and more specifically how (then why) he was slain, I’d like to quote an excerpt from my second book. Purpose of which is to explain why three distinctive New Testament terms are assigned to the man who virtually the entire world refers to as Antichrist.

In italics:

Man of Lawlessness: Paul’s description as the man of lawlessness points to the soul or persona of the man. Simply put: the man is unruly, anarchistic, uncontrolled, ungovernable … outside the God-given laws of morality and nature.

Antichrist: The term antichrist refers directly to the spirit of this depraved man; in fact, the apostle John equates the Antichrist to the spirit of antichrist. Then John defines what this spirit represents or does: it denies God the Father, and God the Son as Messiah.

It is the spirit of a human being that is regenerated or made alive, when that person accepts Christ as Savior. Then the Holy Spirit bears witness with the redeemed spirit that we are children of God. The spirit of Antichrist remains forever spiritually dead, as does the spirit of every person who denies that Jesus is the Christ…

Beast: The bestial image of Revelation vividly depicts the physical nature (body) and corporeal deeds of this man, and all that entails. We still use a beast in modern language to expound the exploits of an individual. We might say, “He fought like a beast!” Or we might reduce the beast-like qualities to a specific animal and say, “She had the strength of a lion!” The soul and spirit of a person expresses all that is evil or good through the flesh or bodily presence of the individual (Out of the Abyss, Pages 204-205).

I then go on to say:

When a man kills (murders) another man unjustly and unlawfully, the murderer obviously terminates the body of the victim … But the real motive is to get rid of the very persona and spirit of the victim from the face of the earth…

When Jesus, with his divine rightful authority, killed Nero, he eliminated the very soul of this wicked man from the face of the earth, at that specific point in time (68 A.D.), for a very explicit purpose, with a unique twist to a twisted man. Jesus would preserve Nero’s body for the precise plan of sealing the final destruction of the Antichrist and the beast bodily in the lake of fire (Page 205).

Once again, we need to wrap our mind around the startling fact that when John first saw the beast/king, this man had already recovered from his fatal wounds and had returned to the earth in the same body in which he had died.

Then Scripture gives us even more proof by the angel’s unveiling of this mystery when John experienced his second vision of the beast as recorded in Revelation 17.

Although I’ve quoted this verse several times in prior articles, it bears repeating—if we are to fully grasp the incredible evidence that the beast had already lived and died BEFORE John saw it (him). Said the angel to John: “The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (meaning abruptly at any time) come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Yet, when the beast died, he died as the man of lawlessness.

What difference does that make? Are we splitting hairs semantically? Aren’t the beast and the man of lawlessness (as well as Antichrist) one and the same man?

Answer: The names of Antichrist make all the difference in the world, if we are to accurately ascertain that this man is not just future-tense (during the 21st century Tribulation). He also has a past … dating back to the 1st century.

Again, referring to Out of the Abyss:

Expressing it another way: Jesus did not kill the beast; he killed the man of lawlessness. Although the man of lawlessness and the beast are one and the same (Nero), this is not a contradiction. Why … because the Holy Spirit, through Paul, is telling us when the beast would be killed. The beast would be killed by Christ while the beast was the man of lawlessness, before he reappeared as the beast! As the beast, Nero will be cast into the Lake of Fire, alive (Page 206).

History shows that by a sudden change of the Roman Senate’s and the Roman Legion’s loyalty to and fondness of Nero, they turned on him and ordered his torture and execution. Already a Roman General, Galba, had been selected to replace Nero as Caesar. No Internet back then! But news still traveled fast in the Roman Empire and Nero rapidly learned of his impending fate. As a result, he tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide but was too much of a coward to do himself in. Consequently, his servant, Epaphroditus finished the job with a sword.

Note: The fatal wounds sustained by Nero are prophetically depicted by the prophet Zachariah in Chapter 11, where the Antichrist is called a worthless shepherd. This is another imitation of Messiah Jesus (who bore the scars of the nails and spear), by anti-Christ Nero, who will flaunt the scars of his fatal wounds upon his return from the Abyss.

Why Did the Man of Lawlessness (Nero) Die by the Word of Messiah Jesus?

In general, this question has already been addressed via the precedence (principle) of God’s sovereign intervention in the lives of some people throughout history.

There are two more specific reasons, both of which fit into God’s providential plan to establish the Kingdom of God on earth to replace Satan’s kingdom. In doing so, the Lord will give humanity one last chance to prove that they don’t need God in their selfish schemes to achieve paradise on earth. And, thereby, to judge those who choose Antichrist instead of Jesus Christ.

First Reason: Historically fulfilled as a catalyst to set in motion the second (future) reason. Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

Nero’s cold-blooded murder of family, friends and complete strangers, his unprecedented ruthless savagery toward Christians—taunting them with his “light of the world” sarcasm, as they slowly burned and succumbed to a horrible death—his self-appointed supreme god-like status, the boastful erection of a monumental statue to himself that was thirty feet higher than the one built for Nebuchadnezzar; all crossed the divine line that shouldn’t be crossed. Enough was enough. Christ would step in. Nero’s personification and inimitable perpetration of this lawlessness would end.

“But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God… And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21). History tells us that Nero specialized in these practices. When Nero reappears on the scene, he will mesh perfectly with the wickedness of the world. The world will embrace him as a leader who allows, endorses, and even initiates this immoral, ungodly, and contemptuous fist shaking at Almighty God (Page 213).

(People Will Also Curse God During the Tribulation, But Many Will Still Not Repent)

Second Reason: We know that the beast will arise up out of the Abyss (literally beneath the seas) as/when he returns to earth. To come out of the Abyss, he would have had to be placed (imprisoned) there. According to Scripture, the Lord alone has the authority to confine and release beings from the Abyss, which is not the same place as hell (See Luke 8, II Peter 2, Jude, and Revelation 17).

Thus, after the Lord revived Nero, he banished him to the Abyss for the express purpose of giving those left behind at the Rapture what they want … the very lie they wish to believe in the first place. The lie that Jesus is not the Messiah; yet, they’re all too willing to follow someone who opposes but also counterfeits Messiah Jesus. Someone who is just like them, who will promise them the power and pleasures they so desperately want.

Someone who, “…will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies” (II Thessalonians 2:10-11).

Continuing this thought with another quote from Out of the Abyss:

Nero was born shortly after Jesus went back to heaven. He rose to power through a sequence of lawless events. He will be allowed to return from the Abyss, but not to actually duplicate the resurrection of Christ. Antichrist will not arise from the dead in the fashion of the true Messiah and Christian saints. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Only the Trinity has the true power of resurrection. Yet, the reappearance of the beast will, by all intents and purposes, resemble and mock the very cornerstone of the Christian faith, which is none other than the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This will be the “lie” (II Thessalonians 2:11) that billions of people will believe during the Tribulation (Page 215).

Things to Ponder

In closing, let’s return to the last part of II Thessalonians 2:8 following the amazing fact that Jesus would kill the man of lawlessness. Then we read: “…and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.”

At first glance, Paul is being unnecessarily redundant. Meaning, how can someone be killed and then destroyed? Aren’t they destroyed when they are killed? Thus, we must more closely examine the text. Paul is referring to two separate events, the first during the life of the man of lawlessness who Paul knew was Nero. In fact, Nero was Caesar (54-68 A.D.) during much of Paul’s ministry. However, as indicated, the Lord hadn’t revealed to Paul that the man of lawlessness would return from the Abyss (as the Antichrist beast) after he was killed by Christ. But he did know that Messiah Jesus would (finally) destroy this man upon the glorious return of Jesus.

The word “and” (destroy him by the splendor of his coming) contextually and grammatically is not a connective word in this passage that might otherwise link the clauses on either side of it just to emphasize each clause as being the same thing but expressed differently … kill and destroy. Rather it is used in its more common meaning of, in addition to. First, Jesus would kill this man, and (then—at the second coming of Christ) would “destroy” him. The man of lawlessness would not be destroyed until he had returned—as the Antichrist beast.

The term “man of lawlessness” is not used in Revelation or in the apostle John’s epistle. That doesn’t imply that Nero won’t be the epitome of lawlessness upon his reappearance. It just means that he was (prematurely) terminated by the word of Jesus after his (Nero’s) initial revealing as the man of lawlessness.

A final except from Out of the Abyss:

Revelation 17:8 tells us that the beast would come from the bottomless pit and, “go to eternal destruction.” There is, therefore, a first coming and a second coming of Antichrist, to replicate and counterfeit the First Advent and resurrected Second Advent of our true Messiah. Jesus came the first time to die for the sins of the world, as the Son of Man. His miraculous triumphant bodily resurrection completely validated the fact that he was the Son of God; that the Gospel of Christ was and is, in fact, the truth.

Jesus met the requirements of the Law and fulfilled the Law of Moses, thereby creating a new covenant between God and man, the Covenant of Grace. Nero came as the man of lawlessness. He was killed by Christ for Nero’s own heinous sins that crossed the divine line of God’s toleration. Yet, Christ will permit him to reappear bodily with the spirit of Antichrist to deceive the world through a lie.

Moreover, it would make all the sense in the world for the respective advents of the true Messiah and false messiah to occur within a very close proximity of time, but in a manner that God chose. Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life because he perfectly fulfilled the Law of Moses, arrived on the scene first. Then came the man of lawlessness who would seek to pervert and destroy this way, truth, and life. Nero arrived on the scene of humanity some three and a half years after Jesus ascended to heaven. Nero will be allowed to reappear some seven years before Messiah returns, but Nero’s ultimate authority during that time will be for three and a half years. Thus, Christ will have the final say in this matter. Yeshua is the First and the Last (Pages 207-208).

Meanwhile, we who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Messiah Jesus: “…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” (Titus 2:12-13).

Times of & Fullness of the Gentiles … What Do They Mean?

Are you familiar with one or both terms, Times of the Gentiles and Fullness of the Gentiles?

Bible teachers and students sometimes use these terms interchangeably or may even ascribe the same meaning to both. One expression originated with Jesus himself; the other coined by the Apostle Paul some thirty years later.

Although both designations end with “of the Gentiles,” they are different. What makes them different is the prophetic setting which defines them and determines their significance. Each phrase relates specifically and separately to one of the two remarkable plans that God has conceived for humanity, which I’ve mentioned in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles. Scripture is abundantly clear that God relates to all people, individually and as nations, in the parameters of these two providential plans.

Before either blueprint was implemented, God gave humanity the opportunity to determine if we could and would fully appreciate the reason for our very existence. Which was to revere and worship the Lord by: thanking him for life itself; obeying his instructions that would mean the difference between life and death; trusting (faith) him to provide for all our needs, both physical and spiritual. In short, to experience the full benefits and blessings of a paradise on earth … forever.

Both plans were conceived before “the foundation of the world” because God knew what would happen. Like any parent, but infinitely more so, God wants people to love, trust, and obey him because they want to, not because they’re forced.

Thus, he gave men and women that which is essential to the very core of our existence; which we value above all else to the point of dying if necessary to gain and maintain it—Liberty. It is the freedom to choose—right from wrong, good from evil, life over death. Not freedom from God; but freedom with God. It is as theologians call it: Free Will.

That purpose came to a screeching halt when Adam and Eve decided they would devise their own rules and determine their own fate. Although they had God-given authority over nearly all the Garden of Eden, they would expand that control by touching and eating from the one small part (tree) of the Garden off-limits to them. They believed Satan’s lie when he said they wouldn’t die if they ate the forbidden fruit; instead they would be like God himself. It was a fateful decision, to say the least.

Borrowing from the titles of John Milton’s two epic masterpieces, it would be Paradise Lost, but Paradise Regained. God would not leave mankind without a redemptive remedy that would restore men and women back to where they began—intimate fellowship with God who created us … body, soul, and spirit.

God’s Two Plans for Humanity … One Spiritual, The Other Physical

First PlanSpiritual: Personal Redemption through Messiah Jesus.

This individual salvation for all people would be made possible through one man—the 2nd (perfect) Adam … Romans 5—as first announced in Genesis 3:15.

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

Then God said: “I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf” (Verse 19, italics for emphasis).

For every person, salvation is personal (John 3:16).

As are the (eternal) repercussions if so great a salvation is spurned (John 3:36).

Some 1,300 years later, Moses (along with Elijah) heard these same words from God. Words spoken for the benefit of three Jewish disciples (Peter, James, and John) as well as the whole world. “As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus … a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him’” (Matthew 17:2-5, italics for emphasis).

Every person is given the freedom but also the responsibility to make that choice: To listen to Messiah Jesus or not. To believe him (or not) when he says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

God’s Plan of Salvation is the simplest of plans. Yet people make things so complicated, what with all the irreligious existential philosophies or religious rules and regulations. The common denominator of which is trying to agnostically attain some enlightened plateau of paranormal self-realization or to religiously please or appease their god(s) with good works or ritualistic observances.

You can throw out all the metaphysical maneuvers along with religious ruminations that people have concocted, through which they have attempted to categorize (with descriptive names and titles and the such) belief systems. That won’t work with God. That’s not His way (See I Corinthians Chapters 1 & 2).

God’s plan of personal salvation is so basic that he has divided humanity into two categories … spiritually.

People are either: Saved or Unsaved.

That’s how he sees us and relates to us. We are born unsaved—spiritually dead. We are saved when we listen to Jesus who said that we need to be born-again (spiritually … John 3:3-8). By agreeing with Scripture: “And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

The Christian faith is not a religion, it’s a new-birth restored relationship with God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the way it was in the beginning.

Second Plan—Physical: Through a People (the Jews) & In a Land (Israel)

To accomplish the First Plan, God called Abraham to begin a nation through whom God would reveal himself (recorded in God’s Word, the Bible) in extraordinary detail. A people chosen to bring the truth of God’s attributes and salvation to all nations. The inclusive essence of that truth and the exclusive source of that salvation would be the Messiah (Jesus) who is the: “visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). He is the Son of God who, “…radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” (Hebrews 1:3).

The nation of Israel with its capital Jerusalem would be the land promised by God to Abraham and his descendants FOREVER. This unilateral covenant that God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was unconditional. As opposed to the conditional Covenant of Law given through Moses that mandated the people’s obedience to God to remain in the Promised Land. Because Israel abandoned the Lord, he substituted the Covenant of Law with the Covenant of Grace.

“The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:31-32 … Jeremiah goes on to explain this New Covenant).

It’s vitally important to understand that the New Covenant of Grace would replace the Mosaic Covenant of Law—NOT the Abrahamic Covenant. God told Abraham that covenant would be in perpetuity: “…from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant; I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).

As there are two categories of people (spiritually) in God’s Plan of Salvation, so there are two groups of people (physically) in God’s Second Plan for mankind.

People are either: Jew or Gentile.

Consequently, the Bible distinguishes between God’s interaction with Israel and with Gentile nations. Historically, Scripture explains in detail Israel’s inception and rise to prominence as a great nation, then her decline leading to two agonizing exiles. As well as numerous prophecies that God would restore Israel as a nation and bring the Jews back to the Promised Land from Gentile nations all over the world.

Nowhere in the Bible does it state or even imply that the physical nation of Israel and her people the Jews would be replaced by the Church—the spiritual body of believers … the saved. Several Bible passages, including Romans 9, 10, & 11, explain explicitly that Israel’s formation, restoration, and perpetual existence is corporeal in God’s plan and execution of that plan. The Church via spiritual rebirth in the New Covenant does not under any circumstances or conditions take the place of national Israel’s inheritance derived from her original birth and rebirth.

Although the two plans are distinctive, they’re both based on a rebirth.

Distinguishing Between the Two Plans

It’s imperative that we distinguish between God’s heavenly rebirth (spiritual) plan of salvation—which makes believing Jews and Gentiles one in Messiah—and God’s earthly rebirth (physical) plan for Israel as the nation from where Messiah Jesus comes and from where he will rule and reign in the Kingdom of God.

Thus, when the Jewish Apostle Paul states that, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.… There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you” (Galatians 3:26-29); he is referring to God’s spiritual plan that was set in motion by the Lord’s Covenant with Abraham (the second plan).

That spiritual feature relates exclusively to Abraham’s faith in the ultimate purpose for God choosing him (and his descendants to bring the Messiah); a faith that would “save” Abraham and all peoples (Jew and Gentile alike) who would exercise that same faith in the ultimate Child of Promise (Messiah Jesus).

“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6). Which led directly to the physical component of the Abrahamic Covenant as stated in the very next verse:

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession’” (Genesis 15:7).

Paul cites Genesis 15:6: “In the same way, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God” (Galatians 3:6-7).

Does this mean that the Lord has disinherited the Jews and disenfranchised them as a people? Has the Lord abrogated his covenant with Abraham regarding Israel as the land promised to Abraham’s (physical) descendants? Absolutely not, as explained emphatically by Paul.

“I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning…” (Romans 11:1-2).

Then he writes, “So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have … but the hearts of the rest were hardened” (Romans 11:7).

As in the first century when Paul penned these words, so, too, in the 20th & 21st century there have been thousands upon thousands of Jews who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. But the clear majority have not. Not yet.

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

Therefore, the real children of Abraham—Jew and Gentile alike—are those who have been reborn spiritually by placing their faith in Messiah Jesus, who physically descended through King David’s lineage from the tribe of Judah.

*Note: I’m using the concept of two plans for clearer understanding of God’s purpose and role for the Jews within the framework of God’s plan of salvation, PLUS the unique destiny of Israel as a nation. If someone prefers the alternative of saying there’s one plan with two parts, that’s fine; if, that is, each of the two parts are correctly (Biblically) seen as unique.

Concerning the subject title of this week’s article, one of these plans includes the “Fullness of the Gentiles.” The other relates to the “Times of the Gentiles.”

Let’s examine the distinction. Beginning with:

Fullness of the Gentiles

Quoting one of the most recognized passages in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul states: “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Why was the Gospel of Jesus Christ (death, burial, and resurrection) first presented to the Jews instead of the Gentiles? The main answer to that question was summarized earlier in today’s article. The fact that the New Covenant (of Grace), as historically detailed and recorded in what we now call The New Testament, was originally prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah specifically to (but not exclusively for) the Jewish people … to Israel (Jeremiah 31).

Other reasons why Israel would be first invited to receive the New Covenant is interwoven with the primary reason why the Lord chose the Jews in the first place—to be the source of salvation’s light and life to all people, beginning with themselves.

Read with me Paul’s expanded answer to the question of why, “to the Jew first.”

“They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them (during the Exodus, at Mt. Sinai, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple). He made covenants with them (Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic) and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshipping him and receiving his wonderful promises” (Romans 9:4, parenthesis mine).

One of the splendid promises God gave to Israel was the New Covenant. Not long after Jeremiah wrote about this Covenant, the Babylonians conquered Judah and tore down Solomon’s magnificent Temple. By that time, God’s glory (God himself) had left the Temple because of the detestable sins of the people, including the priest’s defilement of the Temple (see Ezekiel Chapters 8-11). Even after the 2nd Temple was built, God’s Shekinah Glory (his presence) never returned. That is, not until God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, visited the Temple during his time on earth. Then in 70 A.D. the 2nd Temple was destroyed, and the Levitical Sacrificial system ended, still gone to this very day.

When most of God’s people no longer acknowledged or even cared that faith (trust) in the Lord was the real source of being made right with God—just like Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God)—their Levitical sacrificial system became perfunctorily rote and ritualistic.

When the Jews—socially, politically, and most of all spiritually—stubbornly stopped trusting God to provide for all their needs (instead turning to false gods for security and prosperity), the Lord unilaterally proclaimed, then initiated a New Covenant. One that still was/is based on trusting God, but one in which God provided the (final, once for all) sacrifice himself—his very Son.

Please see, Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Where Is the Temple? Part I, II, & III. Posted 11-29, 12-6, 12-13-14. The theme of those articles was tendered primarily to capture the attention and stir the hearts of God’s chosen people who are still in denial as to how and why the loss of the Levitical Sacrificial System has dramatically affected Judaism, for both observant and secular Jews. The rolling premise in those articles was:

No Temple, no sacrificial offerings. No sacrifices, no atonement forgiveness of sins. No forgiveness, no redemption. No redemption, no right standing with God.

Writes the Jewish author to the Jews in Israel: “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said, ‘The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah” (Hebrews 8:6-8).

The author of Hebrews continues:

“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins… For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant” (Hebrews 9:11-15).

Wrote the Jewish Apostle John: “He (Christ Jesus) came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people (the Jews), and even they rejected him. But to all (Jew and Gentile alike) 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, parenthesis mine).

While on the cross, Jesus spoke these poignant words:

Certainly, his accusers (the Jewish religious leaders) and the executioners (Romans) knew what they were doing to Jesus. Jesus meant they didn’t understand that their wicked actions would result in the very source of their salvation—if they would only repent (change their minds) and receive him as Messiah and Savior. Which some later did, beginning right then and there with the thief on the cross and the Roman centurion.

Even at the cross the first to be saved was a Jew, then a Gentile. It’s highly unlikely that the thief on the cross was a Roman (Gentile) as most Romans in Israel were either military personnel or government officials (and their families). The Romans executed their own by beheading. If by crucifixion it was for treason, not lesser crimes.

Yet in terms of preaching the Gospel—throughout Judea, Samaria, and the Roman Empire—after Jesus ascended back to heaven, it was to the Jew first. The New Testament records the fact that thousands of Jews, including rabbis and priests, did, in fact, believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior—their Messiah. Including, three thousand in one day! (See Acts 2).

Sadly, most Jews did not believe Jesus was their Messiah, which led to proclaiming the Good News to the Gentiles.

Grafting Gentiles Into the Tree of Israel

The Apostle Paul compares this mystery—to include Gentiles in God’s (First Plan) of salvation—to a tree, specifically Israel (Abraham’s tree) by saying:

“…God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! … For if the roots of the tree are holy (the original tree of Israel planted through Abraham), the branches will be, too.

“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised to Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you (Gentiles) must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root” (Romans 11:13-18, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

A pause here to re-emphasize: The entire Jew-Gentile paradigm that Paul established in Romans Chapters 9-11 (especially the above passage) categorically refutes and rejects the deceptive theory of Replacement Theology. Which speculates that the Church has replaced Israel by (erroneously) thinking that all the promises God made to the Jews as a people and special possession as a nation have been stripped from Israel and arbitrarily transferred to the Church.

Paul continues: “And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree … So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong” (Verses 23-24).

This brings us to the meaning of “fullness of the Gentiles” which is how the term is phrased in older translations of the Bible, like the King James Version and American Standard Bible—including up-dated versions of both translations.

In the very next verse, Paul then states: “I want you to understand this mystery … so that you (Gentiles) will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of the Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25-26, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

Once the full number of Gentiles (“fullness of the Gentiles”)—the number of which is known only to the Lord—comes to a saving knowledge of Messiah Jesus, then all Israel will be saved.

My Pastor, Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix Arizona, on more than one occasion has described what happens when the “fullness of the Gentiles” takes place.

He said (paraphrasing): Someday there will be one final person (Gentile) who will be saved, and immediately afterward the Rapture will take place. Can you imagine what that person would say. Something like, “Wow, Lord, that was quick! This salvation really works! Thank you!”

That’s not to say that the last person saved just before the Rapture will be a Gentile. He or she could very well be a Jew. In keeping with Paul’s explanation, it means that when the last Gentile (known by the Lord) comes to Christ for salvation, then the Rapture will take place; followed by the Great Tribulation, culminating with “all Israel being saved” … spiritually.

Thus, the fullness of the Gentiles is directly linked to God’s First Plan for humanity. Which is the ongoing individual salvation (rebirth) of both Jew and Gentile. Beginning, however, with the Jews.

Times of the Gentiles

This is not the same as the Fullness of the Gentiles. Rather the Times of the Gentiles is linked directly to Israel as a people and nation—their history, exile, and national rebirth. Then rescue and final restoration during the last phase of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus in the Kingdom of God on earth, from Jerusalem.

Care to venture a guess where in Scripture that Times of the Gentiles is found?

Hint: It’s found in just one of the Gospels, even though three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—record in varying detail the scene containing this expression. A stronger hint: Because the scene takes place on the Mount of Olives directly across the Kidron Valley from Old Jerusalem, Bible scholars and teachers call it, The Olivet Discourse.

Most of the quotes or references to these three gospel accounts of the Mount of Olives Discourse usually concentrate on Matthew’s gospel, for the primary reason that Matthew’s account is the longest and most detailed … the entire chapters of Matthew 24 & 25.

For sake of time/space, I can only summarily state that both Matthew and Mark’s account of Jesus’s stirring explanation of the end times (in response to his disciple’s question, “Tell us, when will all this happen”) was exclusively related to the pre-Tribulation birth pains and the Tribulation itself, culminating with Jesus’s triumphant return to earth in power and great glory.

The disciple’s question was prompted by Jesus’s prophecy that the entire Temple would be demolished. Said Jesus:

(Also in Mark 13:2 & Luke 21:6)

The answer to the question of where “the times of the Gentiles’ is found: It’s in Luke’s Gospel.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation in near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave … because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written must be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24, NASB, italics for emphasis).

The times of the Gentiles began when Israel and Jerusalem were conquered by Babylon in 586 B.C. That initiated a virtually uninterrupted Gentile subjugation of the Jews and of Israel. Even though a remnant of Jews returned to Israel 70 years later and rebuilt the Temple, followed by rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls a few decades after that; from the Babylonian captivity forward, Israel was never again an autonomous nation. Next came Persia, then Greece, then Rome’s domination of Israel, then exile to the four corners of the earth.

That is, until 1948. When Israel was REBORN as a nation, to prophetically continue (fulfill) the corporeal feature of the Abrahamic Covenant—God’s second plan for humanity.

As detailed in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, especially in Seven Times Seven (to the 4th Power), Parts I, II, & III (Posted 1-25 through 2-8-14), followed by the article, The Omega Generation (2-15-14), an amazing prophetic passage in Leviticus Chapter 26 predicts (by applying God’s seven times over discipline of Israel to actual years, beginning with the Babylonian captivity of 586) to the very year when God’s discipline would end. By doing the calculations on the Jewish calendar, that time expired in 1967. Which just happens to be the year when the Jews liberated Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967. That’s when the Times of the Gentiles ended!

No longer will Jerusalem be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles. Never again will God’s chosen people be under the thumb of Gentile nations, helpless to defend themselves. Today, despite her small population and miniscule land mass, Israel possesses one of the most powerful militaries on earth. Never again will there be another Holocaust. Although Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition will invade Israel and Jerusalem (even setting up shop in the outer “Gentile” courtyard of the rebuilt Temple), the Jews will fight ferociously. And they will do so alongside Messiah! (See Daniel 11, Zechariah 12 & 14, and Revelation 11). Also see Eye of Prophecy article, Armageddon & Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events! Posted 2-3-18.

If you read all three gospel accounts of the Olivet Discourse (it’s not found in John’s Gospel), you’ll find a composite account of everything Jesus said. However, like other words spoken or actions taken by Jesus during his ministry on earth, one or more than one Gospel may record different features of what Jesus said and did. With each Gospel containing at least one thing not found in the other three. (Especially with the Gospel of John).

This is no different than any reporter or historian highlighting certain features of a speech or event, with other reporters emphasizing different aspects of what is being said and done. In addition to how much of Jesus’s discourse is recorded in the three gospels respectively, there is sometimes a variation to the order (sequence) of what Jesus said. That is also common with any news source, including contemporary journalism.

Several verses of the Olivet Discourse read virtually the same in all three Gospels, including the first part of the passage already quoted in Luke’s Gospel, in which Jesus warns the inhabitants of Jerusalem to flee the impending danger, i.e. “Woe to those who are pregnant…”

However, as we’ve seen, Luke follows this passage with Jesus’ statement not included in Matthew and Mark. Which is:

Whereas, Matthew and Mark follow Jesus’s warning to flee Jerusalem with the following: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22, NASB; also Mark 13:19-20).

Jesus is clearly referring to the Great Tribulation, still to (soon) come. Whereas in Luke’s account, Jesus follows the warning of “woe to those who are pregnant…” with an additional (separate) follow-up description of the brutal Roman demolition of the Temple that took place less than 40 years after Jesus’s prophecy.

What is the reason? Why the difference?

In general terms, the answer has already been explained: The gospels don’t contradict each other, they complete and correlate. But sometimes part of the narrative is not always recorded in all the gospels, nor chronologically identical, nor the sequence of Jesus’s words or actions always the same.

A more specific explanation is that Luke’s gospel was written primarily to and for the benefit of Gentiles; to illustrate that Messiah Jesus is the Savior to the Gentiles as well as to his own people, the Jews. Consequently, Luke recorded the part of the Olivet Discourse where Jesus refers to “the times of the Gentiles’ in the immediate context of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. But also in the greater context of the Diaspora that would last until the Gentiles no longer had dominion over Jerusalem.

Summary

The Times of the Gentiles has ended. Which is one of the significant prophetic events spoken of by Jesus to signal the birth pains (alongside of all the other signs Jesus mentioned combined with the O.T. Prophets and N.T. Apostles) of the last days—of which this generation is a part.

The cessation of the times of the Gentiles (which took place in 1967) precedes and precipitates—in this same Omega generation in which we are living—the fullness of the Gentiles, when one last Gentile will accept Jesus as personal Savior.

Then boom! The Rapture. Yes, there will be a global noise equivalent to or exceeding a sonic boom. See Eye of Prophecy article, The Shout Heard Around the World (Posted 4-22-17).

Things to Ponder

On the Gentile Gregorian calendar Israel was reestablished as a sovereign nation on May 14th, 1948. On the Jewish calendar it was the 5th of Iyar. Thus, this past Thursday, beginning at sunset, Israel joyously celebrated its 70th anniversary!

For nearly two millennia, the ardent anticipation and passionate plea of Jews has been, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Through millions of native-born Israelis and well over a million Jewish immigrants, that dream has come true. Millions more (especially from the United States) could return if they wanted to. And one day soon they will (want to).

(One Group of Many Celebrating Israel’s 70th Anniversary)

May 14th, 1948 marked the rebirth of Israel, a prophetic realization of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was the beginning of God’s plan for Israel to be the center of world attention and the source of God’s blessings to the nations. A land from which God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—would literally live with his people. As he did for hundreds of years before disciplining Israel during the Times of the Gentiles. A restoration of national Israel followed by a liberating reunification of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel (in 1967), the city loved by God above all others.

Have you seen in person or pictures the astounding agriculture accomplishments since the Jews returned to Israel? Heard or read about the tremendous technological advancements in medicine, science, geology, and other fields of physics? Been informed of the new and restored beautiful buildings throughout the cities and towns of Israel? They will only get better, because never again will God’s people be removed from the Covenant Land of Promise given to them by the Lord God.

All these achievements were foretold long ago.

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

To be followed soon by the national spiritual rebirth of Israel when the Fullness of the Gentiles arrives.

The Unsaved (Jew and Gentile) are living in such a time as this.

The Saved (Jew and Gentile) are living for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).

 

This short, but inspiring video ends with Yom Ha’atzmaut Semeach (Saw-ma’ach)which means Happy Day of Independence

The Phenomenal Thousand Years/One Day Parallel

An Intriguing Passage in Scripture

Writing to believers in the first century, the Apostle Peter said:

“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” (II Peter 3:8).

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

“They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (II Peter 3:3-7).

*Note: According to other passages in Scripture, the “ungodly” are one and the same as all those who are unsaved. They are not just the most wicked among us, on whatever sliding scale such wickedness is gauged. They are those who (as the Apostle Paul said): “…refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:10). Those who have spurned God’s love and grace demonstrated through the greatest sacrificial gift ever given to humanity, God’s Son—Messiah. Those who don’t believe one of the clearest expressions of Biblical salvation:

Peter explains why the Lord might delay his return. “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 will come as unexpectantly as a thief … and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (II Peter 3:9-10, italics for emphasis).

“…A day is like a thousand years…” (II Peter 3:8). Based on the simile existing in the passage itself (a day is like a thousand years), it would appear to be exclusively figurative.

Webster’s Dictionary defines simile as: “a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses).”

Indeed, this comparison of one day to a thousand years is symbolic. One that illustrates the “essential value” of time in the context of a timeless God who is outside of time and who created time itself, contrasted to humanity’s existence and experience in linear time.

But for both specific and general reasons, I’m also convinced that there is a literal association with this analogy of time. One of those (general) reasons: There are a few prophetic passages of the Bible which are both symbolic and literal. Such as Isaiah 65, which will be quoted near the end of today’s article. And in this same book of II Peter (see II Peter 2:12ff).

In II Peter 3:8, the central clue of both figurative and literal application is that he repeats the correlation in reverse. There would be no purpose to reiterate this time-dedicated comparison exclusively for the sake of emphasis, although repetition for emphasis is probably part of the reason. Still, at face value, if a “day is like a thousand years,” then it’s redundantly evident that, “a thousand years is like a day.”

What Peter says to begin with is that, “a day is like a thousand years to the Lord…” It’s, to the Lord that makes this association allegorical. It is a metaphorical measurement of the quality of time as seen by God as opposed to the linear quantity of time experienced by humanity.

On the flip side, when Peter repeats the phrase in reverse, he doesn’t end with, “to the Lord.” Granted, that alone doesn’t conclusively infer that it’s not, to the Lord. Nonetheless, I’m proposing that any question concerning a literal application of this verse (in addition to figurative) will be answered by the end of this week’s article. Meaning that the repeated paradigm with a reversal of the words to “a thousand years is like a day,” is directly for the perspective and perception of people. That a thousand years is not only “like” a day; it can be likened unto a day. In terms of historical events and near-future realization, there are certain “days” in Scripture that are prophetically fulfilled in a span of time that represents and/or lasts for a thousand years.

The Genesis Account

Peter cited the ancient principle (even in his time) of this extraordinary equivalence of time, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. In fact, Verse 8 begins with: “But you must not forget this one thing…”

Specifically, Peter is referencing the one and only Psalm written by Moses. In the context of the brevity of life compared to the everlasting God who created time and life, Moses writes:

“Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, you mortals!’ For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours” (Psalm 90:1-4).

Certainly, this is a figurative expression of time from God’s vantage point. Yet in the context of Genesis, the book of beginnings, Moses also knew that a thousand years was emblematic of and could be (depending on the subject or event) extended to both meanings of the word “day” in Scripture. One application is that of a literal 24-hour day, by far the most common use in Scripture. The other is that of a longer period, i.e. days, weeks, months, and years … with such Biblical terms as, “The Day of the Lord.” Or, “on that day.” Or, “in that day.”

We’ll begin by examining this one day/thousand-year parallel as found in Genesis. Prefaced with the obvious observation that the Pentateuch (what Jews refer to as the Torah) was written by Moses. The Torah is a chronological record of major events involving God’s early interaction with humanity; beginning with God’s creation of the universe, life, and time itself; ending with Moses’s death just before the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

(The Pentateuch)

Moses wrote Psalm 90 during the same span when God revealed to him an astonishing amount of information. Including but not limited to a genealogy of Adam’s descendants; Noah and the Great Flood; the Tower of Babel; selection of Abraham as the father of God’s chosen people and Israel as the Promised Land; and the lives of the Jewish Patriarchs, including a lengthy account of Jacob’s son, Joseph. Then Moses himself—called by the Lord to deliver the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage, lead them back to the Promised Land, and give them God’s Laws that would identify and separate them from evil pagan practices. Above all, God’s chosen people would be the source of the Messiah to bring light and (eternal) life to both Jew and Gentile.

As we shall see in the second chapter of the first book of the Bible, this thousand years/one day correlation was (still is/will be) a central component of God’s timeless interaction with human beings whose lives are lived chronologically, day-to-day. It is a merger of the timeless with the timed, the infinite with the finite. Although one thousand years is not infinite, for all practical purposes it is when compared to one day.

The word “day” in Scripture almost always (logically so) refers to a literal 24-hour day. For example, many times we read, “on the following day” or “the next day.”

The Hebrew word for day is Yom (pronounced yome). Have you heard the term, Yom Kippur? Do you know what it is? You already know what yom primarily means—a literal 24-hour day. Kippur is the Hebrew word for atonement. Thus, Yom Kippur (this year arriving on September 18th) is the Day of Atonement. In the King James Version of the Bible, yom is used an astounding 2,279 times in the Old Testament, 139 in Genesis. Including the following passage in which God is speaking to Adam:

“The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17, NASB, italics for emphasis).

The Complete Jewish Bible translation interchangeably uses the word “on” (the day). Whether in or on, the face value meaning is that Adam and Eve would die “the day” when they disobeyed God’s command.

They should have died on that very day, but they didn’t. Thus, there’s a problem between what God said would happen and what happened. It is a discrepancy created by the fact that neither Adam nor Eve died “on” or “in” (during) the very day that they ate the fruit.

One alternative explanation is that Adam and Eve were also given the privilege and responsibility of procreation that would continue the human race. However, an argument against that option: the Lord could have carried out the death sentence, then have started all over again by creating another man and woman. Consequently, there must be another reason to explain what appears to be a contradiction why Adam and Eve lived beyond the very day of their disobedience. While keeping in mind that they did, in fact, eventually die.

To better understand what’s going on here, we need to (as with a few other difficult passages of the Bible) compare Scripture with Scripture. To study and apply the whole counsel of God as it were.

The Remarkable Precedent of the Thousand Year/Day Model

In keeping with the solar-day meaning of the Hebrew word yom throughout the Old Testament and used in Genesis 2:17, both Adam and Eve should have died within 24 hours of their disobedience. That is, unless we transfer and literally exchange a (the, that) day to a thousand years!

Let’s examine the evidence beginning with a question that many could answer correctly without a whole lot of mental grinding and facial grimacing.

Who is the oldest man to have lived on this planet?

Answer: Methuselah.

Next question, this one a little harder: How long did he live?

What about Adam? Nine hundred, thirty years (Genesis 5:5).

Other than Enoch (taken alive to heaven by God and spared from the Great Flood) who lived 365 years, the shortest life-span of several men identified in Genesis Chapter 5 was Lamech, who lived 777 years.

Time/space doesn’t permit elaboration on both Biblical and scientific evidence why men and women could have lived that long. Except the most basic reason: the genetic purity of people until the consequences of sin’s disease intensified, thereby shortening life expectancy to what we see in today’s world.

Biblical and secular history yield the following premise: There are certain “days” in Scripture that not only represent but literally are a thousand years, marking millennial epochs of human history.

Regarding the “last days”, this applies to the literal 1,000-year (Millennium) reign of Jesus Christ, which is the glorious part of what is called the Day of the Lord in Scripture. Preceded by the Rapture of believers and the seven-year Great Tribulation, which is (the Tribulation) the terrible phase of the Day of the Lord, described in Biblical prophecy (for example, Joel 3:14).

For now, however, to focus on the amazing fact that not even Methuselah lived to be 1,000 years old. Close, but not quite. Had he lived to be a thousand years old (more precisely 1000 years and one day), God’s pronouncement of death from disobedience (on that day … meaning a thousand years) would have been wrong. And the last time I checked, God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has never been wrong! He is always right, because he is RIGHT. As in righteous and righteousness. Not just giving us the truth, but TRUTH itself. Not just creating life, but LIFE itself.

“In the day that you eat from it … you will surely die” (NASB) was an expression and application of the Biblical precept that a day (certain days identified in Scripture) literally encompasses one thousand years. Even if God meant that Adam and Eve would die in a more generalized unspecified period (on the day), why did none of our ancient ancestors live to be a thousand years or more? Mere coincidence? I don’t think so.

(Depiction of Adam and Eve Exiting Paradise)

Which is why Peter reminded believers of this one day/thousand-years Biblical paradigm as historical precedence but did so in the context of “the last days” and the “day of the Lord” (recall that he uses that phrase … II Peter 3:10)—Messiah Jesus’ return to earth to complete God’s magnificent plan to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Beginning with the Millennial reign of Messiah on earth.

From Methuselah to the Millennium

Although Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Millennial Reign … Incredible Changes On Earth! (posted 12-30-17) focused on what the title states, the following excerpt from that article corresponds directly to this week’s subject. As follows (in italics):

Longing for better days ahead is enhanced in multiples of ten, then hundreds, and even thousands. A new decade for years that end in zero—with the average life expectancy in most nations of the world allowing many to see eight, nine, or even ten decades in their lifetime. Some actually experience the beginning of a new century, or have lived for a century or more. However, the human race has undergone only a few transitions from one millennium to another. Including our generation! We have witnessed the first number of the calendar switch from 1 to 2!

Epochs (millennia) of time don’t necessarily take place precisely on the Gregorian calendar year ending with three zeros. Nonetheless, the pivotal milestones of God’s interaction with man—as recorded in the Bible and documented by secular history—in accomplishing his plans for the human race are pretty close to those millennial markers.

For example: God chose Abraham as the progenitor of the Jewish race—through whom the Child of Promise would come to save both Jew and Gentile—around 2,000 B.C., the third millennium. From the tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David, Messiah would descend; David ruled as Israel’s greatest king from 1010 to 970 B.C. … onset of the fourth millennium.

Two thousand years ago marked the fifth millennium of recorded human history, when the miraculous birth of Jesus changed time itself. The number five in Scripture represents God’s grace. And that’s exactly what happened: the advent of the New Covenant of Grace foretold by Jeremiah (Chapter 31). God’s grace through the gift of his Son Messiah Jesus, who died to forgive sin and pardon the penalty of our sins—eternal separation from God. And God only requires one thing of us: to believe and receive the substitutionary death of His Son as the Gospel truth.

Very close to a thousand years after King David, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11) was born in Bethlehem. Just a few years and months before the world-changing birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, many Jews brimmed with enthusiasm for Messiah’s arrival. That same Messianic fervor—for believers the Second Coming; for non-Messianic Jews, Messiah’s first arrival—has exploded all over the world once again.

Beginning with the estimated time when God created Adam and Eve (using the Roman, then Gregorian calendar), we became part of the 7th millennium in the year 2,000. Seven, the Divine Number found throughout Scripture constitutes the conclusiveness, completeness, and providential sovereignty of God’s interaction with his creation. Beginning with the Lord setting aside the 7th day as a day of rest, remembrance, and recognition of our awesome God and his majestic creation.

The year 2,000 was also the beginning of the third millennium (A.D.). Which is a meaningful milestone correlation to the fact that Messiah Jesus arose from the grave on the third day.

I’m convinced that this one-day-to-a-thousand years model is not only a symbolic comparison, but also a literal time-measurement of and connection to the third-day resurrection of Messiah and his soon glorious return (in this 3rd Millennium A.D, also the 7th Millennium overall).

The second Millennium (marked by the year 1000) and sixth overall, was a continuation of the Age of Grace. Six represents the number of man. In the same passage we just looked at, Peter provides the reason why the Lord might (in the 1st century) have delayed his return—explained by the one day/thousand-year paradigm.

But now the time has come. We are almost eighteen years into the Third Millennium A.D. End-time prophecy is being fulfilled or is unfolding in the 20th & 21st centuries in unparalleled fashion since the first century. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up … Redemption Is Near, Part I & II. Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15, for twelve Biblical prophetic signs occurring in the last 100 years).

The New Testament Third Day

The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus marked (literally, from B.C. to A.D.) the inception of a new millennium. From the beginning (Genesis) it was the fifth millennium. But it was also the first millennium of the New Covenant, the Age of Grace in which the once for all time substitutionary sacrificial death of God’s Son produced the third-day prototype that will culminate in the magnificent millennial reign of Messiah Jesus in the Kingdom of God on earth. We are at the very threshold of that 3rd Day (New Covenant) Millennium, which is also the 7th Millennium from the time that God pronounced judgment on Satan that eventually would restore mankind full circle back to eternal life existence with our Creator and Savior.

Moreover, the resurrection of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, on the third day to bring salvation to Jew and Gentile alike would also match the Old Testament third day restoration of the Jewish nation/people, to the extent that the Lord will once again dwell among his people on earth. Two days in the grave (rising on the third day) experienced by Messiah Jesus; two days (two thousand years) until Israel collectively would be spiritually and physically reconciled and restored to the Lord God.

“Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, ‘Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again’” (Luke 18:31-33).

That’s exactly what happened! How could Jesus have known that, and in such detail? Answer: because he knew it from the beginning, even before the foundation of the world.

Said the Apostle John of Messiah Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NASB).

Wrote the Apostle Paul: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation … For God in all his fulness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself” (Colossians 1:15 & 19-20).

Continuing with the Third Day:

“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day’” (Luke 24:1-7).

That very same Sunday, Jesus suddenly appeared (without going through the door) to some of his disciples who were still hiding in a locked room. Two other men were there, with whom Jesus had traveled on the road to Emmaus.

Said Jesus: “…Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do. As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet” (Luke 24:38-40).

There’s more! Jesus ate a piece of broiled fish, “…and he ate it as they watched” (Verse 43).

Proof positive: Jesus was alive in the same body in which he died, albeit a resurrected, glorified body that would live forever. Just like the bodies of believers in Messiah Jesus will be raised and transformed to immortal “spiritual bodies,” but bodies nonetheless (I Corinthians 15).

“Then he said, ‘When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, ‘Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day’” (Luke 24:44-46).

During the seven-mile walk with the two men on the road to Emmaus earlier that day we read: “…Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself … They said to each other, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:27 & 32).

Notice that it wasn’t their ears that burned; although it could have been had Jesus scolded them any more than getting their attention with a reprimand intended not just for them but for all his Jewish brethren, especially those who had rejected him.

Here’s what Jesus said just before explaining from the Scriptures that he was the Messiah: “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26).

From there, the Lord compassionately proceeded to make their “hearts burn” (elation) with a panoramic review of all the Messianic prophecies. The journey to Emmaus would have taken up to three hours. That would have been sufficient time for Jesus to explain, “from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Not some of the Scriptures, but ALL of them pertaining to Jesus as the Messiah.

Such passages as Genesis 3, 12; Deuteronomy 18; Psalm 2, 22, 69, 110; Isaiah 53, 61; Jeremiah 31; Zechariah 9; Malachi 3, and more. To also include what I’m thinking is a more obscure prophecy, to even the most astute of Bible students. Which is:

The Old Testament Third Day

Read with me:

“Come, let us return to Adonai (the Lord); for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck, and he will bind our wounds. After two days, he will revive us; on the third day, he will raise us up; and we will live in his presence” (Hosea 6:1-2, Complete Jewish Bible, parenthesis mine).

By correlation with other Old Testament prophecies and Jesus’ own precise prediction of his death, this is a phenomenal prophecy which providentially links Israel’s discipline by God to Messiah’s suffering, death, and two (Jewish measured) days in the tomb that led to and corresponds with (the two days of) Israel’s final punishment because they rejected their Messiah.

For example: “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be made whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

A sacrificial death followed by Jesus’s miraculous resurrection that would seal the New Covenant foretold by Jeremiah (Chapter 31).

Question: Is Hosea referring to two literal days?

Answer: Yes, and No.

No, he is obviously not identifying two 24-hour solar days. In the context of his prophecy that is neither feasible, nor is it borne out by Biblical or secular history.

Yes, the two days are literal when transferred and applied to the Biblical premise and principle that (concerning God’s two-part plan for humanity—Israel’s birth and rebirth restoration plus salvation for Jew and Gentile alike through Messiah Jesus) a day becomes a thousand years.

Hosea was a prophet from 753 B.C. to 715 B.C. He not only was one of the prophets that warned Israel of God’s first national judgment on Israel (the ten northern tribes), he also lived to see those tribes conquered by Assyria and exiled to other nations. But Hosea’s “two-days … third day” prophecy would extend far beyond his time.

The two days (two thousand years) could not have begun during that phase of God’s discipline of Israel. Nor could it have begun or continued with the next phase of the Lord’s punishment, in which the remaining two southern tribes of Israel (Judah and Benjamin) were subsequently crushed by Babylon in 586 B.C. The reason is because that exile lasted for only 70 years followed by a return of a Jewish remnant to Israel, where they would once again live and even prosper in their Promised Land. For some 600 years Israel was a nation again and her people had (at least) some measure of autonomy, even under Roman rule. Until, that is, 70 A.D., when the Romans tore through Israel, ravaged Jerusalem, killed hundreds of thousands of Jews, demolished every stone of the Temple, and exiled most of the surviving Jews to the four corners of the earth for … how long?

Correct: (almost) two thousand years.

These are the “two days” Hosea is referring to. What else could they be? The only specific corresponding time-frame directly connected to “a day” in Scripture is that of a thousand years. If a day is (like) a thousand years, then what would two days be? They are two thousand years before the “third day” of Israel’s restoration. That’s exactly what has transpired (with the rebirth of Israel in 1948) and is continuing to unfold before our 21st century eyes.

(Jewish Celebration of Nov., 1947 UN Resolution 181 Giving the Jews the International Right to Form a Jewish State … Which Was Done in May, 1948)

Summary

The resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day is intricately linked to and an integral part of (cause and effect) God’s chosen people the Jews and his special possession Israel being raised up on the third day, just as God through Hosea said would happen. One that will result in God’s people once again (as in the days of God’s Shekinah glory in Solomon’s Temple) living in his presence. (Read Hosea 6:1-2 again).

“Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel” (Zechariah 10:9).

Never Again became the somber refrain of the Jews following the horrific Holocaust. The annual memorial of which was solemnly observed this past Wednesday on Yom HaShoah—Israel’s Day of Remembrance.

After nearly 2,000 years, never again will Israel be under the thumb of those who seek to destroy her.

God’s discipline of his people through Gentile nations began to end in 1948 and ended completely with Israel’s triumphant liberation of Jerusalem in the stunning Six-Day War of 1967.

Hardened IDF soldiers wept with joy as they touched the Western Wall at the foot of Temple Mount. Their generals strode in triumph on Temple Mount on which Jews had been forbidden to set foot for decades. Israelis all over Israel danced in jubilation and sang songs of gladness including, Hatikva (Israel’s unofficial national anthem in 1948, officially declared in 2004).

One hundred years after Hosea’s magnificent prophecy of the “third day” (following two days—two thousand years—of God’s heavy hand of discipline) restoration of Israel, another Jewish prophet wrote:

“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster. On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, ‘Cheer up Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior…” (Zephaniah 3:14-17, italics for emphasis).

Things to Ponder

We are living in the Omega generation, the last generation on the threshold of the 7th Millennium, 6000 years after God promised in the Garden of Eden that one would come who would conquer evil (Satan) and death itself. And the 3rd (A.D.) Millennium, 2000 years after the promised Messiah came to earth to fulfill God’s promise of a New Covenant. The 3rd Millennium that will see a crowning completion of that Covenant, of so great a salvation purchased by the Author and Finisher of that Covenant, Messiah Jesus. Who proved who he is by rising from the dead on the third day.

Among the many spectacular changes (for the better) on the earth during the literal 1,000-year reign of Messiah Jesus (the third day), we read:

“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…” (Isaiah 65:20 & 22).

Sequoia redwood trees often exceed 1000 years longevity.

(Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, Israel, Reported to be Over 1,000 Years Old … I Walked The Path in This Photo During My Trip to Israel)

Regarding the above quoted verse, here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss:

“Isaiah and many other Old Testament prophetic books speak often about the complete restoration of Israel and the reign of Messiah on earth… What we see here is that mankind has come full circle, from the early creation of an unlimited lifespan that sadly was preempted by sin, to a future age of extreme longevity. And these references are only to those on the earth. Those of us in heaven at that time will have access to the earth, and we will never die!” (Page 92).

There are some days that last for a thousand years. They are God’s days and they are so very good.

“…For them (Jewish and Gentile believers alike) 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).

It’s the year 2018. A new day is dawning!

It’s time to wake up and get ready to meet that day!

The “Right of Return” … For Palestinians or Jews?

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The Middle East (News) Beat Goes On and On

Are you keeping up with the news in the Middle East? If not, then you’re missing some electrifying events that are part of end times Biblical prophecy which tells us what to expect in the last days … just before the return of Messiah Jesus.

Biblical prophecy is centered around two subjects: Israel and the Messiah. God’s purpose for humanity consists of two plans; each plan composed of two parts.

Israel: God’s selection of the Jews as his special possession to be a light to all nations, which included discipline of his people through exile to foreign nations because of their disobedience. Then final restoration of Israel as a sovereign nation, accomplished by return of the Jews to Israel, which began substantially in 1948.

The Messiah: First, to implement the New Covenant proclaimed by Jeremiah (Chapter 31) and prophetically pinpointed by Isaiah (Chapter 53): Fulfilled through Messiah’s once-for-all redemptive sacrifice that took place when Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross and rose again from the dead. Second, for this same risen (Jewish) Savior to return as King of all kings to complete Israel’s physical and spiritual restoration in the soon to come Kingdom of God on earth.

World headlines once again focused on Israel this past week. Such concentration is continuous; but some Middle East incidents—most of which include Israel—garner more press than others.

On March 30th, an estimated 30,000 Gazan Palestinians marched on the border fence separating the sovereign state of Israel from the Gaza Strip, a “territory” (nonetheless part of Israel) occupied exclusively for over twelve years by “Palestinian” Arabs.

In late 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (now deceased) ordered the eviction of some 8,000 Israelis from Gaza; thereby, uprooting his own people from their homes. Although the ostensible objective was to better ensure the safety of Israelis from Palestinian attacks in the Gaza, the ulterior motive was the ill-advised “exchange of land for peace.” A strategy that has never worked in or for Israel. Not long after the Israelis withdrawal from Gaza, the terrorist enclave of Hamas took over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority headquartered in the West Bank and began to lob thousands of mortars and rockets into Israel.

(Sadly, Some Jews Had To Be Forcibly Removed from Their Homes, by Their Own Soldiers)

Because Israel has every right to defend her people, these attacks have led to three wars with Hamas, a more secure border fence, and Israeli destruction of terror tunnels. Consequently, mortar attacks and illegal border crossings from Gaza into Israel have subsided, much to the chagrin of Hamas. Not, however, from West Bank Palestinians or Israeli Arab citizens in Israel itself who continue “lone-wolf” attacks that have killed dozens of Israelis, especially in the past three years. Hamas is embarrassed that their rival Palestinian Authority (supposedly the “moderate” of the two groups) can kill more Jews that Hamas. Thus, Hamas is (at least for now) switching strategies to appease world preference for a more peaceful means of advancing their agenda.

It is an attempt to reverse the Biblical David and Goliath duel by identifying the Palestinians as/with David (a Jew, no less) and Israel (Jews in a Jewish nation) as the pagan Philistine Goliath. It is not only a perversion of history, it denies the beginning of God’s modern-day miraculous restoration of Israel to the glory years of King David when Israel was the most prominent nation on earth. A position among the nations that God has solemnly sworn will be restored; culminating with Messiah (Jesus) ruling Israel and the nations as King of all kings. We are witnessing the unfolding of this magnificent prophecy in our generation.

The “March of Return” … What It Is & What Most of the World Thinks It Is (But Isn’t)

A. What the March of Return Isn’t (About)

The phrase “March of Return” is based upon the Palestinian doctrine/demand for The Right of Return of nearly seven million Palestinians and (mostly) their descendants since the Israeli/Arab War of 1948.

The terrorist regime Hamas of the Gaza Strip isn’t being subtle as to what the march is all about. Contrasted to their rival Palestinian Authority of the West Bank led by PA President, Mahmoud Abbas—still in office 13 years after what was supposed to be a four-year election term—who usually appeals to world opinion under the softer guise of wanting “peace,” for his people. Who, however, is himself becoming more blatant in expressing his real agenda—a Palestinian State in place of Israel, not one that “peacefully” exists within Israel.

(1) It Is Not a Peaceful Protest

Despite Hamas propaganda that this “March of Return” is and will continue to be a peaceful protest of (alleged) Israeli occupation of (alleged) Palestinian territory. Which territory is, according to Hamas leaders such as Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar, “from the river to the sea.” In no uncertain terms, they are referring to ALL of Israel … from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

This “peaceful protest” began on March 30th and is supposed to continue for six weeks cresting with Palestinian remembrance of Nakba Day on May 15th. The tactic will be constant probing of the security fence with mass demonstrations each Friday of the six-week “March of Return.”

Nakba is an Arabic term for disaster or catastrophe. What was that catastrophe?

Generally, it was the entire Israeli War of Independence to defend the reborn Jewish nation against Arab armies that attacked the Jews the day after Israel declared statehood on May 14th, 1948. More specifically, it was the humiliating defeat of all five Arab nations—Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan—by the fledgling Jewish State of Israel against all odds. Nakba focuses on one Palestinian demand more than any other: The so-called “Right of Return” of Palestinian “refugees.” With their (supported by the corrupt United Nations agency UNRWA) classification of refugee extending to all descendants of the original Palestinian refugees defined as only those who left Israel between December 1947 and January 1949.

Question: How can a protest march be peaceful, when Gazans (many of whom are members of Hamas) hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails, and other fire bombs against Israeli soldiers. Or by brandishing weapons such as hatchets and a few guns. And by firing some of those guns toward the IDF. Or by rolling burning tires into the border fence to breach it by creating a huge smoke screen? If there was a breach in the fence, several thousand “peaceful demonstrators” would have poured into Israel and even more would have been killed. Which is exactly what Hamas wants … the killing of their own people that would spark world outrage (already has) of Israel’s “disproportionate response.”

(Israeli Soldiers On One Side & Palestinians on the Other Side of the Border Fence. The IDF Didn’t Use Live Ammunition Unless Firebombs, Rocks (slingshot) or Guns Were Used by the Palestinians. Could/should the Israelis Have Just Withdrawn? No, Because Thousands of Palestinians Would Have Torn the Fence Down and Poured in Israel)

Seventeen Palestinians were killed, and hundreds injured (the number of injured grossly inflated by Palestinian sources), with Israel identifying by name and photos eleven of those killed as militant members of Hamas. Obviously, the march was anything but peaceful. You don’t bring weapons to peacefully protest anyone or anything. And you certainly don’t attempt to breach the borders of a sovereign nation. There is absolutely no country on the face of the earth that would willingly permit such an intrusion onto their sovereign soil.

This isn’t the first time such an incident occurred. The last time was in 2011, when Syrian Palestinians attempted to forcibly enter Israel and occupy the Golan Heights which Israel reclaimed in its amazing Six-Day War victory in June 1967. A dozen “protestors” were killed during that incident; which, unlike the current one, didn’t pretend to be peaceful.

(2) It Is Not About the Current Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

However, much of the world thinks it is. Worse, that Israel is responsible because of (alleged) border restrictions on Gaza Palestinians. It’s true that Israel maintains a naval blockade (from the Mediterranean Sea) to prevent Iran, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups from smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip. However, the land border checkpoint to and from Israel is open to Gazans (for essential goods including medical supplies and for tens of thousands of Palestinians to work in Israel) at the northern Gaza border, called the Erez crossing. This includes hundreds of foreign journalists, diplomats, and international aid agencies crossing the border into Gaza throughout the year. In 2017, this border crossing was open 280 days. When Israel closes the border it’s for a legitimate reason.

In contrast, the southern Rafah border was closed permanently by the Egyptians for most of last year; opened earlier this year and then for only 2-3 days at a time. Foreigners, including Arabs, who want to help the Palestinians in Gaza are not allowed passage through the Rafah crossing most of the time.

Why, then, don’t the Gazans march on the Egyptian border crossing? Simple answer: Egypt’s reaction would be far more severe than Israel’s response. Egypt would use artillery and warplanes to indiscriminately shoot and kill as many protestors as necessary to force them to withdraw, peaceful or otherwise. Besides, world reaction wouldn’t be nearly as negative against Egypt as it is against Israel.

Leaders of rogue nations or territories contrive incidents to divert world attention from serious issues and conditions going on in those countries. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a direct result of long-term Palestinian mismanagement and corruption, but also the recent increase in hostilities between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Including, but not limited to, Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to severely curtail electrical power (controlled by the PA from the West Bank) to the Gaza Strip until Hamas agrees to abide by the “agreement” between the PA and Hamas that includes the disarmament of Hamas’ military wing. Which, of course, isn’t going to happen. Like the P5 +1 Nuclear Agreement (deal) with Iran, the agreement between the PA and Hamas is the most disagreeable agreement possible.

($50 Million-Dollar Personal Mansion Built for PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinians Are Banned From Staging Protests At This Site or Anywhere in Front of Abbas or His Headquarters)

(3) It Is Not to Reinforce The Palestinian Demand for Their Own State

Virtually all nations and their leaders, including the United States, still believe that the only viable option of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is that of a Palestinian State (Two-State solution). The world buys into this (what would be the worst solution for peace) paradigm because they still nod to the notion that Jews in Israel are “occupying” Palestinian territories.

I (and a few others) have written much about this so-called occupation and the dangers of a Palestinian State within the geographical borders of Israel itself. Including the necessity to define Palestinian and a Palestinian State. And the (unreasonable) pre-negotiation demands for such things as: East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital; all Jews expelled from the West Bank (to coincide with expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip); Israel’s withdrawal to pre-1967 Six-Day War cease-fire lines (including return of the Golan Heights to Syria). All of which would seriously jeopardize Israel’s line of defense against Muslim attacks from nations outside Israel and a Palestinian State within Israel.

And, of course, the Palestinian right of return, which is the main topic of this week’s article.

B. What the “March of Return” Is (About)

Unlike what this March of Return is not about—demands for more autonomy or better living conditions which Arabs in Israel enjoy far more than Arabs in Muslim countries—Palestinians leaders know better than anyone that they are responsible for the plight of their own people. To divert world attention on the real cause for the Palestinian maladies, they have ratcheted up their incessant rhetoric that Israel is responsible for all Palestinian woes. Much of the world buys into this hype.

Ultimately there’s only one purpose for such a protest march; one that represents the true Palestinian agenda.

It’s quite simple: Elimination of Israel as a sovereign state, replaced by a Palestinian State. By any means possible, including return of millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees” to flood Israel with a demographic imbalance that would be untenable for Israelis … economically, politically, socially, and logistically.

There’s an abundance of reasons why a Palestinian State is not only dangerous to Israel, but also to Palestinians. Starting with the implausible idea that there could be a single Palestinian State at all. When two bitter rivals (PA and Hamas) refuse to budge an inch on who would control that state, whether elections were held again or not. Short of a Palestinian civil war (which Israel would never allow to happen), a Palestinian State isn’t feasible.

As it stands today, both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority know that there’s no way they could conquer Israel militarily. The only possibility of Hamas and the PA agreeing to share administrative and military authority between them is if they conclude that other Muslim nations or terrorist groups might join them in an attack against Israel, from without and from within (the borders of a Palestinian State).

Thus, the biggest demand—as great or even greater than East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital—and the one that appeals to most Palestinians (people and leaders alike) is, The Right of Return.

If some seven million Palestinians refugees (who are not refugees by any world standard or definition) were to deluge Israel from within and without (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and a few other countries), Israel would functionally cease to exist as a Jewish nation.

Why is it that a normal, reasonable person (including heads of state) won’t take seriously Hamas’ boast (supported by Hamas’s rival Palestinian Authority whose common enemy is Israel) when they both state and imply that this “March of Return” would be a clear path to destroy Israel, or at least thwart any “peace plan” proposed by the United States?

What part of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s or Yehya Sinwar’s statement that such a march would lead to “liberation of all of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River,” don’t many world-leaders accept at face value? Not to mention incessant threats by the rogue terrorist nation of Iran (staunch supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas) to “erase Israel from all maps of the world.” And then give Iran the (time-capsule) capacity to resume manufacturing of nuclear weapons in a few years. As the title of the 1963 movie says (but much more seriously): It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. And most of this madness is directed toward Israel. Just as the Bible predicted long ago.

On What or Whose Authority Can the Palestinians Claim a “Right of Return”

Return to what? To a land that never belonged to them in the first place? To a (Palestinian) nation that doesn’t exist? By Islam, whose religious text, the Koran, never mentions Jerusalem even once, with the obvious inference that neither Israel nor Jerusalem were of any real importance to Islam or Arabs except to oppress and suppress Jews (including the number thereof) in the Holy Land? And to expel the Crusaders in the 11th & 12th centuries.

Or because that 1948 generation of Arabs fled Israel because Israel forced them to leave? As opposed to the accurate historical record that most Arabs voluntarily left Israel, and did so at the request (orders) of the five Arab nations that attacked Israel the day after Israel declared statehood on May 14, 1948? That many of them expected to return after a quick and decisive Arab victory over Israel. Guess what didn’t happen?!

This is explained in varying detail in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles. The most recent of which is: Palestinian Refugees … Are They Really Refugees? Posted 1-27-18. And, What Is Palestine & Who Is A Palestinian? Posted 12-2-17.

Here is an excerpt from the first of the above-mentioned articles (In italics):

What we see today are Palestinians (Arabs) still alive who fought with or supported or cheered Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in these wars (and their children and grandchildren who don’t know any better or who know and don’t care) who were defeated in battle; yet, who make demands as though they were the victors in these wars. That and rewriting history itself by making preposterous claims that they were in the land of Israel first, or there the longest, or that they bear sovereign status over the Jews because for a while Arabs ruled over Israel (when it was called Palestine). When, in fact, both before and after the Arabs (beginning with Mohammed) took possession of most of Israel, it was the Romans, then the Crusaders, then the Arabs (again), then the Ottoman Turks, and finally the British who seized and maintained control of the Promised Land for varying intervals of time.

One of the indefensible Palestinians arguments is that for hundreds of years Arabs outnumbered Jews in Israel, whose name had been changed to Palestine (a territory) by a Roman Emperor in the 2nd century A.D. If, however, that rationale is used, then contemporary (facts on the ground) numbers create an exceedingly stronger case for statehood or land rights, which is the current situation of Jews outnumbering Arabs in Israel and has been for decades.

Which is what the Right of Return propagandized by the “March of Return” is all about. If millions of Arabs (erroneously designated and wrongfully detained in camps by Muslim countries as Palestinian refugees) can “return” to Israel, then the population explosion would virtually overnight make the Jews a minority in their own country. This would be unconscionable to a Jewish State that is already outnumbered by hundreds of millions of Arabs around Israel with land masses infinitely greater than Israel.

The Real Right of Return Belongs to the Jews

There are four fundamental reasons why the Jews have (always had) the Right of Return to the Promised Land of Israel. The first three will be listed in chronological cause and effect order, with any one of these ratifying why Israel belongs to the Jews. With, however, the fourth foundational principle vastly superseding the other three; in fact, rendering them (as convincingly valid as they are) irrelevant.

(1) The United Nations Resolution of 1947

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved Resolution 181 in which the British Mandate over Palestine would be abolished allowing for partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab State. The Jews accepted the resolution, the Arabs rejected it. In principle and practice, Arab Palestinians (not called Palestinians until the 1960s) have refused a state alongside Israel ever since. Although they attempt to convince liberal sympathizers to the contrary, the Palestinian objective is crystal clear: They want a state in place of Israel, not inside Israel.

It was the first time in history that the international community supported the Jewish Right of Return to their ancient homeland. It was a monumental decision by the newly formed United Nations that has changed the course of history. And for an obvious reason: Despite (irrational) Anti-Semitic persecution of Jews for thousands of years, people were horrified at the Holocaust. Six million Jews slaughtered; at the hands of a national government (Third Reich), no less.

For one brief shining moment, more nations and peoples than not knew in their individual and national heart that this must never happen again. The Jews must have their own country. And what better place than… their own county—Israel!

Sadly, the United Nations has since deteriorated into Nations United Against Israel.

Many people forget that the Arabs had a golden opportunity to create a state alongside the State of Israel in 1948. They forfeited that right by rejecting UN Resolution 181. Which was an international recognition of Israel’s right to statehood approved by the United Nations itself, no matter if the Arabs consented or not. Instead the Arabs viciously attacked the infant state of Israel the very next day. Which leads us to the 2nd reason why Israel legally and legitimately belongs to the Jews, and why the Jews alone had (still have) the Right of Return … for those still in Diaspora.

(2) A Righteous War of Self-Defense

There is an innate time-honored tradition that any nation or people have the right to reactively or preemptively defend themselves from armed attack. In fact, it’s moral common sense. This includes the prerogative, if exercised, to annex or purchase land (Jews have purchased most of the land on which Israelis reside) within the geographical boundaries of that nation. When obviously justified, it also includes adjacent territory (such as the Syrian section of the Golan Heights) from which an enemy had constantly rained down rockets, shells, and small arms fire.

As opposed to a unilateral unprovoked assault on neighboring nations for the exclusive purpose of taking over all or part of another country … an unrighteous war of aggression.

The historical record is indisputable: Israel was forced to defend herself when attacked by an Arab coalition that far outnumbered and outgunned the Jews. Against insurmountable odds, Israel won her “War of Independence.” An independence that had already been granted by a convincing majority of the UN’s member countries.

But the world at large sees it differently. To this day, many entertain the notion that the Arabs made a mistake. So, give them another chance to reconsider acceptance of the UN Resolution. Or, even that UN Resolution 181 still applies to the Arabs—which it doesn’t because the Arabs rejected it. Or, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ farcical fantasy that Resolution 181 is invalid, much like his accusation that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was illegitimate.

The Arabs made more mistakes, one after another. I’m referring to three more wars in which Israel was forced to fight for its very survival; Suez War of 1956, Six-Day War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. In the Six-Day War, Israel reclaimed ALL of what was formerly called Palestine, including the historic liberation of Jerusalem itself. Israel had every individual, national, and international RIGHT to keep those liberated lands of the Golan Heights, Judea/Samaria (West Bank), the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and ALL of Jerusalem.

Instead, Israel relented to international pressure and has since given back jurisdictional control of Gaza, West Bank, and Sinai Peninsula to the Arabs and Egyptians. This despite the sacrifice of Israeli blood and lives to protect themselves and the land that has belonged to them for some 3,500 years.

The Palestinian mistakes continued, this time politically. On two separate occasions, the Palestinian Authority rejected massive concessions made by two Israeli Prime Ministers (Ehud Barak in 2002 and Ehud Olmert in 2008) to yield control of 98% of the West Bank to the PA. This was tantamount to and could have (probably would have) resulted in Palestinian State.

With the summary highlight of this point being: The Jews didn’t “invade, conquer, and occupy” a territory that didn’t belong to them. They defended and liberated their ancient and now modern homeland.

(3) Majority Numbers Within a Nation

We’ve already touched on this issue. Aside from the United States of America (a truly eclectic mix of nationalities from all over the world), most nations on earth have a majority population based primarily on race (nationality), religion (Muslim nations), ethnic and cultural identity, or all the above. One reason so many countries have been formed in the 20th and 21st centuries is because of post-World War I (somewhat) arbitrary creation of countries; or because an ethnic minority group or groups succeeded from the parent country and were given nation-state status.

(This Is Just a European List of New Countries After WWI. Other Nations Came Later Especially in the Middle East Before or After WWII, Such as Iran–formerly Persia–and Iraq, and Israel)

The Jews first came to the Promised Land when God called Abraham to be the father of a special people and nation, nearly 4,000 years ago. And as a nation when Joshua led them to victory after victory over the wicked Canaanite tribes, some 3,300 years ago. The Canaanites were a pagan people whom God told Abraham would be given 400 years to repent of their evil ways, during which time the Hebrews would live in a foreign land (Egypt). Then 3,000 years ago, Jerusalem became the eternal capital of Israel.

Said God to Abraham: “But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth … After four generations (400 years) your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites (representing all the tribes of Canaan) do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:14-16, parenthesis mine).

Which leads us to the fourth reason for the Jewish Right of Return to Israel.

(4) Israel Is the Land Promised and Given to the Jews by God Himself

Absolutely no other reason is needed. If anyone disagrees, then they can take it up with the God of the Bible … the ONLY true and living God. (*Note: Whether they lose the debate now or in the next life…. Well, why debate in the first place?). He has proven this time and time again by mighty miracles and powerful (fulfilled) prophecies that no other god or prophet of any other religion has done or can do.

“Present the case for your idols (man-made gods), 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 can 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” (Isaiah 41:21-23, parenthesis mine).

This Right of Return has been accomplished in spectacular fashion three times in Israel’s history, each one foretold in Scripture. With the last two returns after God disciplined his people by exile to foreign nations. A right of return promised and orchestrated by God himself. With the final return and/or result of that return prophesied in hundreds of Biblical passages.

“But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. For their sakes, I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 26:44-45).

That covenant was none other than God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that their descendants (the Jews) would forever possess the Promised Land of Israel.

It was the right of return to Israel after 400 years of enslavement by the Egyptians. A right proven to both Egyptians and Israelites by one awesome miracle (ten plagues) after another. Miracles that humbled an arrogant and defiant Pharaoh, that terrified and devastated the entire nation of Egypt. A right demonstrated by the splitting of the Red Sea allowing God’s people to cross on dry land and drowning Pharaohs’ charioteers and soldiers who dared pursue the Israelites. Then more spectacular signs in the wilderness, like water gushing from solid rock and bread (manna) from heaven that fed God’s people for forty wilderness years.

Miracles performed by the same God who promised them the right of return after 70 years of captive exile to Babylon, during which time God spared and protected a remnant of his people. A return prompted by a decree from a Persian king whose name the Lord identified some 150 years before Cyrus was even born! During the Babylonian captivity, the Lord revealed marvelous prophecies to Daniel and Ezekiel of the end times. Such things as the Gog/Magog invasion and the Antichrist-led ten nation coalition, both of which are soon to come during the Great Tribulation.

The God who miraculously wrote on the wall of the Babylonian palace, warning the Gentile king of a pagan nation that he and his nation were about to end. A warning that applies in perpetuity to all leaders and nations who have dared defy the true and living God and attempted to enslave or destroy God’s people the Jews.

It was the right of return after 1,900 years of dispersion to practically every nation on earth. A prophetic right that was fulfilled by the miraculous rebirth of Israel in a single day (May 14, 1948).

Providentially planned and divinely orchestrated by the same Sovereign Lord who foretold such a birth: “Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? By the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born” (Isaiah 66:8).

A final right of return that has seen Israel’s population increase exponentially in just 70 years, and the numbers are growing.

A return accomplished by more mighty miracles of God supernaturally assuring Israel of victory in four major wars against enemies that (without God’s intervention) would have otherwise overwhelmed the Jews. The same God who finally ended the discipline of his people and delivered them (forever) from Gentile domination in the phenomenal Six-Day War when the Holy City of the Holy Land was liberated.

A return made possible by preserving the Jews and their customs during their exile to foreign nations. Then restoring their all but dead language of Hebrew which is now the main language of Israel.

There is no question. The Right of Return to Israel belongs exclusively to her people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Foreigners are welcomed, but not to replace or to displace the Jews. Isn’t that true of any nation? Why, then, don’t billions of people recognize the devastating result of millions of Arabs “returning” to Israel? But you see, many do know. In fact, they would love to see that happen, especially Muslims.

Any peaceful coexistence must be through the lawful requirements of residency extended by the national rights of Israel as a sovereign nation to permit citizenship to those who qualify. Not to those who through violence and terror assert a right of return that never has and never will belong to them. A return shrouded in the sinister strategy of eliminating Israel as a Jewish state.

Things to Ponder

This Right of Return for God’s people is part of His providential plan not only for the Jews but for the Gentiles. It began when the Lord said he would bless the nations through Israel, and curse those who hold Israel and the Jews in contempt (Genesis 12, and other passages).

“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. When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the Lord’s hand of blessing on his servants—and his anger against his enemies’” (Isaiah 66:12-14).

Said Ezekiel in the 6th century B.C., not long before God gave the Jewish exiles in Babylon (and Persia) the right of return to Israel, a prophetic promise that would begin to unfold in 1948:

“When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see. Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 39:27-29).

Thousands of (Messianic) Jews world-wide have embraced Jesus as Messiah and Savior, and the Spirit of God has been poured in and upon them, as well as Gentile believers. Most have not, but that will soon change.

We who love Israel and the Jews echo the passionate hope of the Jewish Pharisee who recognized and accepted the risen Jesus as Messiah. Said the Apostle Paul:

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

One day soon, Israel’s physical and spiritual redemption will be complete. God’s chosen people will recognize their (our) Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, as both Savior and Lord—the very Son of God.

“Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:12).

And when that day comes….

 

Fountain of Youth & Fountain of Life … Is There a Difference?

A Quick Quiz

Has anyone not heard about the Fountain of Youth?

Next question, multiple choice this time: Which famous explorer allegedly searched for this elusive fountain: (A) Ferdinand Magellan; (B) Marco Polo; (C) Rocky Balboa; (D) Ponce de Leon?

Fairly easy question, especially if you live in Florida.

Answer: Ponce de Leon. If you’re not at all interested in things historical, perhaps not so easy.

If you picked up on Rocky Balboa as a choice, at least you’re paying attention; Sylvester Stallone would have appreciated that. On a more serious note: What was the explorer Balboa’s full name? Answer: Vasco Nunez de Balboa.

Whether searching for a Fountain of Youth or not, exploring was sometimes hazardous to one’s health. At the ages of 41 and 47, respectively, in the territories they explored Ferdinand Magellan and Ponce de Leon were killed by natives. Christopher Columbus contracted either gout or arthritis (through food poisoning) that eventually caused his death 14 years later at the age of 55.

How about a harder question? Does the Fountain of Youth exist? Yes. No.

How can that possibly be harder, you ask? Because whether you answered yes or no, you would be wrong. After finishing this article, you can decide if it was a trick question.

One final question: Is the whole idea of the Fountain of Youth absurd, including anyone who would search for it? Yes. No.

Historians agree that Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth was a myth, though he may have half-way believed Native Americans (in Florida) who said there were springs of water in the land of Bimini that restored one’s vitality. Only problem: Bimini was a fictional place. Thus, the obvious answer to the final question is: Yes.

Or is it?

(In St Augustine, Florida)

Whether the Fountain of Youth is real or not, borders on the irrelevant. Because billions on this planet have searched for “a” Fountain of Youth, in whatever form or substance they think it exists. It all depends upon what people imagine it is or want it to be; how a fountain of youth is perceived or defined. However, one thing is undeniably clear: people want to be “forever young.” Why anyone would want perpetual life on this earth filled with incessant evil and death and all the ills of humanity is beyond me.

The idea of such a fountain goes back a long way before Ponce de Leon. For example, Alexander the Great purportedly searched for a “Water of Life.” There are known locations of springs that (seem to … perhaps the placebo phenomenon) slow (the signs of) aging or restore vitality to the body inside and out; however, there is no known Fountain of Youth to prolong one’s life and certainly none that has ever preempted death.

All Must Die, But Do We Know (Accept) How and Why?

This past Tuesday (March 27th) marked the anniversary of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon’s first sighting of present-day Florida in 1513. Did he hope that he would discover the Fountain of Youth there? Or should such a wonder be called the Fountain of Life? Is there a difference?

Tomorrow (April 1—because Easter, fluctuating from year to year, has in the past sometimes fallen on the same day as de Leon’s sighting) is the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, which is the greatest event in human history. One that truly gives those who believe in Christ hope of eternal life and one that guarantees the eternal life hoped for. To keep us forever young, because we will never again grow old again, once we are transfigured in the same fashion as Jesus Christ in his glorification preview on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then permanently (forever) upon his resurrection from the dead.

Eternal life is a no-strings-attached gift; the source of which only needs to be believed and received. We don’t need to literally or symbolically travel to the ends of the earth, or astrologically look to the planets and stars, or explore exotic, esoteric places to find it. Nor can everlasting life be earned through good works or self-merit.

The Problem: Billions on this earth don’t believe that anything, let alone their eternal destiny, can be as simple as Biblical salvation. And the reason for that is because mankind refuses to believe God himself and the redemptive truth found in His Word, the Bible. Just like our original parents, Adam and Eve, they refuse to concede that physical death would be (is) a direct result of disobedience to and sinning against God. Rather, death is “just a part of life.” Which it obviously is, but not why they think it is. Some go as far as to say that they don’t sin against God, or even sin at all. If they do anything wrong, it’s only against another human being; even then, it’s a “mistake in judgment.”

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth … If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts” (I John 1:8 & 10).

Even the most brilliant of scientists still don’t know why we age to the point of death. The general idea that our body (cells, organs, tissues) breaks down and wears out is only an explanation of the symptoms, not the original root cause of death. And that’s only for those who aren’t killed by others (war or murder), or take their own lives, or succumb to life-shortening diseases and catastrophic natural disasters, or even simple accidents.

All God asked of Adam and Eve was to trust him, which included only one command not to do something—imposed because the Lord gave them the freedom to choose to obey him or not.

However, death would not be an end to their existence (oblivion). Rather death is a separation of soul and spirit from the body, plus a separation of body, soul, and spirit from God for eternity. Unless and until God’s gracious (free) remedy is accepted by simple faith in the redemptive sacrifice of God’s Son … Messiah Jesus.

So many people are confused because they look to myriad sources of explanation other than the God who created them, and his revelation of truth as found in Scripture … especially concerning salvation and eternity. Accordingly, they consider life on this earth as all that really matters, presuming that they have no final say in their eternal existence. They attempt to control and cling to their life and treasures on earth as though it and they would last forever. Nothing really matters after death, they muse; it’s all over then.

Some believe in heaven, but not hell. Others believe in neither. They wonder if existence is eternal at all.

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, To Be Or Not To Be … In Heaven (A Revisit) posted on 5-6-17. In italics:

…But the fact remains: Every person is eternal. Every soul will continue into and throughout eternity.

According to Scripture, every person was born (created) to live forever. That is what is meant when God breathed life into Adam (and Eve) and they became a “living soul.” (Genesis 2:7, KJV). Other translations read, “A living person” or “a living being.” Soul, person, being … all convey the idea of infinity, of time without end. That’s one reason we’ve conceived the expression human being. We don’t say that about animals, i.e. animal being. But a human is a being, made in the image of God. Part of that image is the eternity breathed into us by our Great God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.

Shakespeare’s statement of, “To be or not to be; that is the question,” is, indeed, a profound reflection. A living soul will always “be.” To be born is to be, and be, and be….

Those (and there are many) who subscribe to good deeds outweighing bad deeds as the formula to get to heaven never know for sure on what side of the scales God will find them. How could they, when the Bible clearly shows there is no such sliding scale that measures the relative weight of good and bad as a determination of where we will spend eternity. And when there is no other religion or philosophy that can tell them just how good they must be to merit whatever paradise they think awaits them.

Whereas some unbelievers might concede to the Biblical truth that physical death is a result of original sin, they stop short of acknowledging another vital Scriptural truth: That every person is born with a dead spirit (separated from God). That both physical and spiritual death is inherited from our original parents. Physical death takes varying lengths of time. But spiritual death begins at birth, because we are born with a sin nature. Which is why we must be “born again” (spiritually)

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

The Fountain of Youth Paradigm Presumption

To unbelievers, the concept of living forever is pretty much confined to life on this earth. Many people have said something to the effect, “Well, you can’t live forever.” Which, obviously reflects their priority of this life over the next one, at all costs. They refuse or are afraid to look past their time on earth. They do so despite the inescapable truth explicitly conveyed in Scripture and indelibly planted in the human heart … there is life after death. Death is only a change of address, not a cessation of existence. Life on this earth is merely a drop in the ocean of eternity.

Their concept of eternity is that it be lived on the earth in this earthly body … a Fountain of Youth mentality. Only the pleasures of this life experienced in this earthly body are worth considering and pursuing. As expressed, for example, with another saying (paraphrased) you’ve probably heard:

(Derived from the Song, “In Heaven There Is No Beer” … “that’s why we drink it here”)

Am I saying that all pleasures on earth are bad? To be avoided or suppressed at all costs? Of course not. God created such pleasures—to be appreciated as gifts from God and enjoyed in moderation, as we all know what excess can do. Such enjoyments as food, drink (including alcoholic beverages if so preferred), reading a good book next to a warm hearth in a cozy home, transportation, sex, recreation, and so on.

Speaking of excess, there is one story after another of famous people who had all these pleasures (and more), whose life ended empty. Not to mention the Biblical principle and age-old adage: “You can’t take it with you when you die.” Or those who ended their own life despite having a surplus of everything by which the world measures success and satisfaction.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, The Right to Life? Posted 8-16-14. Written soon after Robin Williams ever so sadly took his own life. His Fountain of Youth had apparently gone dry).

We’re talking here about a Biblical PERSPECTIVE on PRIORITIES. Putting it another way: God’s viewpoint contrasted to the world’s.

All these delights (and more) will be experienced one way or another in the new earth and heavens that God will recreate (Revelation 21:1-2), to a much higher and nobler degree … with exception of marriage and matrimonial intimacy (Matthew 22:30). For that matter, we certainly won’t miss the horrendous heartache and revolting repercussions caused by infidelity and divorce; nor will there be any battle of the sexes.

At the Last Supper, Jesus said: “For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come” (Luke 22:18).

Living Water

The Fountain of Youth? People live in denial as though there was such a source of perpetual existence. We grow old but wish we were still young, in body and mind. We know we’re going to die, yet preparations we make for death are limited to this life—financial, family, and such. Why is it that most people give little or no thought to “estate planning” for eternity? Because they believe they have no ultimate control over their eternal destiny, or because they mistakenly assume that a loving God (conveniently forgetting that he is also a Holy God), couldn’t possibly send anyone to hell forever.

The Bible clearly shows that we send ourselves, because hell is simply a place where God isn’t. It is a place reserved for all who deliberately reject God’s universal truth as found in the Bible. It is a place prepared for those who don’t want (not really) any part of God, certainly not on His terms. For those who see no need to accept the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid to pardon us from our sins—Christ’s death on the cross and total victory over death by his astounding Resurrection. Instead, they long for and pursue their Fountain of Youth.

I repeat: Who would seriously want to live forever on this earth in its current uncertain, volatile, sin-saturated condition? A condition that is getting worse, not better. Fortunes can be lost in the blink of an eye. Families can be torn apart in a flash of unbridled passion. Cities and nations can fall with the breath of a nuclear blast or a burst of intercontinental missiles. Terrorism, war, murder, and brutality of all sorts erupt daily. In a moment of distrust, pride, anger, or frustration, we wrong others and are wronged by them. With one more heartbeat, our life can suddenly end.

An article in Psychology Today, entitled: America’s Obsession with Never Growing Old is one of many written on the subject; the title says it all. Americans, Europeans, people all over the world spend billions on rejuvenation health products … liquids, ointments, supplements, and cleansing treatments for the body (inside and out) of all kinds. What if all this money was given to alleviate poverty and hunger?

Who needs a Fountain of Youth to perpetuate life on this earth, when there’s something so much better. Something not found in “magic potions,” sparkling mountain brooks, soothing hot springs, subterranean reservoirs, crystal-clear lakes, or deep pure wells.

We’re talking about a Fountain of Life-giving, eternal-destiny altering living water that changes our heart, transforms our soul and spirit, and one day will even transfigure our bodies to live with God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As opposed to eternal death to which vain pursuit of a Fountain of Youth will lead.

The Greek word for eternal is the same in such passages as Matthew 24:41 (eternal punishment) and John 3:16 (eternal life).

Thus, it’s a matter of WHERE and WITH WHOM we will spend eternity.

Which is why eternal existence WITH God is called everlasting life. Where? In heaven and on a new earth.

And why eternal existence without God and the host of heaven is called eternal death … the Second Death. Eternal death doesn’t mean annihilation—the cessation of existence. It means eternal separation from the Lord. Where? In the Lake of Fire—whatever and however horrible that will be. (See Revelation 20).

So great a salvation (from eternal death) is freely given through the Living Waters of who Messiah Jesus is and what he has done. It’s available to God’s chosen people the Jews, also to Gentiles. The first mention of such a living fountain is when Jesus graciously spoke with the Samaritan woman (part Jew, part Gentile … whom Jews despised and vice versa) at the well.

“…Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’

“…She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’

“Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’

‘But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket … and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?’

“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.’

‘Please sir … give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water’” (John 4:7-15).

A short time later, the Samaritan woman would realize that she would still need to draw water from the well, but only to quench her physical thirst. Her eternal thirst for spiritual cleansing through thirst-quenching salvation leading to eternal life would forever be satisfied. Reading on:

“Jesus replied, ‘Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.’

“The woman said, ‘I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’

“Then Jesus told her, ‘I AM the Messiah!’” (John 4:21-26).

Obviously, the Samaritan woman didn’t at first realize that Jesus was talking about eternal life-giving spiritual water, which is infinitely more lasting than physical water, as important as the elements (H2O) are to sustain life. Which is why she referred to ropes, buckets, and the physical well dug by Jacob long ago. No different than all the ropes and buckets we use to draw what we think is the satisfying source of life’s necessities and pleasures from man-made religions and philosophies. And/or by indulgent pursuit of material gratifications—systems and sources of all kinds that can never quench the innate thirst and hunger in our hearts. Things that will imprison us in and poison us with polluted waters of self-righteousness and stagnant self-reliance that make us totally independent of God, who alone can cleanse and free us from the stain and penalty of sin.

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent’” (I Corinthians 1:18-19).

Manna from Heaven

We’ve all read or seen or heard factual and fictional accounts of people dying from hunger and thirst. Books and movies are full of (mostly near-death) these episodes. Except for the excruciating death on a cross (the word excruciating comes from cross), experienced by our Lord and Savior (shortened because of the savage whipping he received by the Romans before being nailed to the cross), I can’t imagine a more horrific death than from thirst or starvation.

We pamper ourselves with food and drink as much or more than any other need or want. For many that’s pretty much what life is all about. We wouldn’t dream of withholding either from our daily existence, nor would we tolerate for a minute someone else who would deprive us of either.

Naturally, food and water are essentials of life. Without them, we die. Which is why Jesus also (in addition to living waters) utilized the analogy of food to illustrate the supreme need for spiritual sustenance. Without which, we also die … eternally.

The day after Jesus miraculously fed five thousand men (along with woman and children which would have doubled or tripled the number), many in that crowd hopped in their boats to look for Jesus on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had earlier slipped away from the crowd without his disciples. Later that night Jesus walked on water toward his disciples who were frantically trying to cross the lake during a fierce storm. Two mighty miracles in less than 24 hours!

Let’s pick it up with a question from the crowd when they found Jesus.

“…Rabbi, when did you get here?”

*Note: It was a reasonable question followed by (as we shall soon see) an unreasonable demand. It’s like, Okay, what’s with this … your disciples got here in a boat and we also got here in boats. But you didn’t take a boat!

The walking on water miracle was between Jesus and his disciples, so he didn’t answer the crowd’s question. Jesus often did this; a response that got to the heart of the matter, exceedingly more perceptive and profound than answering the question at hand. And almost always, it was a matter of directing people’s attention to the miracle of who Jesus is (God Incarnate … Messiah Savior), not just the miracles he performed.

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

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

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one he has sent.’

(*Note: Jesus’s answer constitutes the universal fundamental difference between the Christian faith and ALL man-made religions, cults, and philosophical systems).

“They answered, ‘Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! … Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat’” (John 6:25-31).

*Time out!

Seriously? They insisted on a “miraculous sign” a day after they and thousands of others had been stuffed with all the fish and bread they could eat (including leftovers) with only five small loaves of bread and two fish at the Lord’s disposal. The smallest of restaurants would become multi-million-dollar corporations with that kind of food and its preparation! Come to think of it: Farmers and fishermen wouldn’t do so well!

What if Jesus had looked up to heaven (Mark 6 … another gospel account of the feeding of the five thousand) in response to their demand? Only this time, instead of blessing the food (thereby multiplying it exponentially), he brought down huge lightning bolts that struck the ground. And before that he told them to stand still; if they moved they would be struck by lightning. Of course, some panicked and moved. (“Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me!” Psalm 81:8).

Or what if he had thrown his staff to the ground like Aaron did before Pharaoh? Only this time, the staff broke into hundreds of pieces, and each piece became a poisonous snake!

(After Ten Mighty Miracles (plagues), That Smirk on Pharaoh’s Face Was Gone)

As the saying goes: Be careful what you wish for…. Better yet: What more proof to you need?

Wouldn’t a miracle of love and compassion that fed so many with so little food (to begin with) be as equally convincing and so much better than a miraculous sign that might terrify them. Like God speaking in a thunderous voice from Mt. Sinai, prompting the people’s panicked plea for Moses to (please) make God stop it.

Continuing in the text, it’s clear that Jesus ignored their demand for a miraculous sign. Knowing full well the problem was not with their eyes, but with their heart.

“Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said, ‘give us that bread every day.’ (*Note—sound like the woman at the well regarding water?).

“Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:32-35).

He then said, “For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day” (Verse 40).

For those who have never seen Jesus in the flesh, yet believe in him, Jesus said to Thomas (and all the disciples in that poignant scene when Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead):

“You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me” (John 20:29).

Scripture also tells us there’s a way to see him without seeing him.

To see is to believe, and to believe is to see. Right? Of course, right!

Birth and Rebirth

In addition to water and food, Jesus also used the illustration of birth to explain that life is more than just time on this earth. Life is eternal; where and with whom we spend that eternity depends entirely on another birth. A second birth that Jesus said was from above, of the Holy Spirit.

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

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

In that same amazing scene with the Jewish religious leader Nicodemus, Jesus went on to say how we are born again and the result thereof:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

A new birth which gives us a potent position (inheritance) in the family of God. One that assures the precious privilege of everlasting life with our Awesome Creator in the Kingdom of God.

During the wilderness temptation attack against Jesus—who as the Son of Man was extremely hungry and thirsty—Satan said, “…If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.

“But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:3-4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3).

God’s Word(s) is found in the Bible, which also tells us about His Son, the Messiah—the Living Word (John 1:1).

Not the Koran, not the Book of Mormon, not Jehovah Witness pamphlets, not Roman Catholic catechism, or any so-called sacred writings of other religions. They all say that people must earn God’s favor. Instead, the Bible presents God’s Grace imparted through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son … doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Making us right with God! Because we have no righteousness of our own.

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind” (Isaiah 64:6).

“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 … 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, with underserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. 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 3:20-25).

Sadly, so many remain spiritually hungry and thirsty, a hunger and thirst that will result in spiritual death throughout eternity. All the while accumulating anything and everything they think will bring them happiness and satisfaction, by drinking deeply from a fountain of youth.

They will be born only once, but tragically will die twice.

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26).

*It doesn’t get any worse than that.

Thanks be to God. Those who accept Jesus as personal Savior will be born twice but die only once. Isn’t birth so much better than death?

“…And because of his (Messiah-Jesus) experience (death and resurrection for our life-giving forgiveness), my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:11, parenthesis mine).

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

*It doesn’t get any better than that!

Things to Ponder

Today’s article is posted on March 31st, 2018. Tomorrow, millions upon millions will celebrate Resurrection Day.

Just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die (the Second Death). Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26).

Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe IN Jesus?

The tomb where Jesus was buried is EMPTY.

Said the angels to the women who came to the tomb taking all the spices they had prepared: “…Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5-6).

Just what kind of miracle do we need to believe? Or how many spectacular signs? Does resurrection from the dead qualify?! Not just a resurrection in which the person must die again while on earth, as did Lazarus and a handful of others as recorded in Scripture. Rather, an ad-infinitum resurrection in an imperishable body that will live forever. Christ was the first. Those who believe in him will follow:

“…For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died (believers in Christ) will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed … into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:52-57, parenthesis mine).

Why keep searching for fountains that will never satisfy. Enticing, but deceptive fountains that contaminate our body, soul, and spirit. Fountains that poison us with alluring pleasures, prestige, power, and possessions. Soon dried up temporary fountains that blind us to eternity.

Instead, believe the Lord: “With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!” (Isaiah 12:3).

“…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9).

Fountain of Youth & Fountain of Life. Same or different?

As for me, I will continue to drink from the Fountain of Living Waters.

Because:

He has risen! He has risen, indeed!

Conspiracy Theories … A New World Order

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What is it about conspiracies? What attracts people to them? Is it the thrill of solving mysteries or exposing the shadowy systems that threaten the world? Is it saving the world from all sorts of treacherous plots, in the matrix of such heroes as James Bond or the warriors of The X-Files?

Personally, my biggest concern is that of television commercials. I’ve been known to mutter “conspiracy” when flipping channels during a commercial and finding commercials on other stations, simultaneously. Especially disturbing is when the same commercial is aired at the same time on different channels with what appears to be a synchronizing of T.V. sponsor’s watches.

Seriously, many believe that many other people belong to a certain group of people who want to do more than merely promote their own agenda. That they conspire with others of similar beliefs to disregard, disrespect, denigrate, dominate, displace, and even destroy (their character or even their person … death) those who disagree with them. We see this in all walks of life: family, ethnic groups, race, (man-made) religions, business, associations, politics, governments at all levels—city, state, national, and international.

By very definition a conspiracy is secretive, at least to begin with.

Webster’s Definition defines conspiracy as: “the act of conspiring together, an agreement among conspirators, a group of conspirators.”

Conspire: “to join in a secret agreement to an unlawful or wrongful act or to use such means to accomplish a lawful end…”

Conspiracies and conspiracy theories can be small or large, real or imaginary. All the way from those in a Homeowners Association that perceive their HO board is secretly serving its own interests at the expense of and detriment to individual owners; to a plot of conspirators to overthrow one government and replace it with another. However, invariably and inevitably, what began in (actual conspiracies) secrecy materializes into real-life situations, usually in a fairly short period of time. For example: Lenin’s communism that in short order resulted in the overthrow of the Russian Czar monarchy. Likewise, Hitler’s Third Reich fascism—a dramatically different and opposing ideology—caused a radical change in Germany’s government that affected the entire world.

This also applies to good ones like the American Revolution. The fact that the colonists “conspired” against Great Britain was predicated on the longing to govern themselves … free of tyrannical suppression, including religious persecution. This conspiratorial plan soon conceived a Declaration of Independence which gave birth to what many consider the greatest republic democracy of all time.

(The first/original Bill of Rights that amended the U.S. Constitution)

Subsequently, entire nations adopted at least in principle the American ideal of government and society. One in which kings and queens yielded their absolute or near absolute power to people-represented democracies, whether a republic or parliamentary system. However, North America and especially the United States of America was considered and called, The New World—minus the Order.

New World Order

I think most would agree: The biggest conspiracy that has captivated humanity’s attention, particularly in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, is that of a New World Order. However, this new world (order) is not the beneficially desirable kind that the United States modeled. Rather, it is sinister; borne from one or more menacing conspiracies. Those that allegedly will produce a One World Government and/or One World Religion.

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have mentioned these (perceived) threats in passing; two articles in their entirety have been dedicated to these subjects. See One World Government? & One World Religion? (posted 2-28-15 & 8-15-15, respectively).

What you will find is evidence and rationale to demonstrate that there never has been and never will be a (man-made) World Government or World Religion. Not until Messiah Jesus returns to judge the world and bring mankind full circle back to where we began in the Garden of Eden, will there be a One World Government. One with NO RELIGIONS. Rather, one that is based on God’s original design—perfect Father/child family relationship and face-to-face fellowship with and loving obedience to our Creator.

It is evident (true): conspiracies have been conceived to create a new world order. Here the emphasis is on “a” (new order), as opposed to what will be “The” New World Order—The Kingdom of God on earth.

There has been a succession of different world orders throughout history; one replacing and sometimes overlapping another. Even then, a truly global government has never been realized. God has seen to it that this won’t happen. The Lord has supernaturally intervened, whether humanity had rebelled against him on a global scale without or with governments (the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel). Then the rise and fall of world kingdoms like Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Each of these empires exerted extensive power in much of the known world, but never over the entire earth. Several nations and cultures did not come under the thumb of these mega-nations.

(Depiction of the Tower of Babel, supernaturally preempted by God, which led to multiple languages, nations, and national boundaries)

For sake of argument and explanation we can also use the term New World Order to identify significant changes down through the ages, which affected much of the earth’s population. Furthermore, we can place these epic events in one of two categories: Governments and Societies.

Obviously, the following is an oversimplification but nevertheless a summary categorization of epic periods of human history, with each (substantial) successive change constituting in theory and practice the idea of a New World Order. New in the sense that it would replace the previous dynamics of governments and societies on a sweeping scale.

Government:

– Tribes or city states that developed into nations when they united together in (for the most part) geographical boundaries.

– Nations that expanded (by force or by diplomacy) into uncharted land and/or into the domain of other nations.

– After the fall of Rome, it was back to mostly tribal life in those nations that had been dominated by Rome (with indigenous peoples still living in the conquered empire nations of Egypt, Assyria, Persia and Greece).

– The repeated merger of ethnic groups resulting in the emergence of nations (mostly in Europe) that were ruled by monarchies in some fashion or another. This also included African, Asian, and what is now South America countries.

– Sometimes unity, more often clashes between the Roman Catholic Church and European monarchies that produced Church States or State Churches, depending on whether the Pope or King/Queen prevailed in those nations.

– The discovery and then migration to the New World. Which gave rise to democracy; and, in turn, led to similar forms of government in Europe and westernized nations such as Canada and Australia.

Society:

– Beginning with one nation (Israel) selected by God himself, inhabited by the descendants of Abraham chosen by God to both preach and practice that which God had intended from the beginning—the truth that there is only One God, who is the Sovereign Lord over all nations. As opposed to the belief in a non-existent man-made god or gods, which was a direct product of the original rebellion against God by Satan. Although people inherently know that (only one) God exists (Romans 1), much of mankind copied Satan’s conspiratorial agenda and created gods in their image, rather than acknowledging that God created them in his image. They worshipped the creation, not the Creator.

– The First Advent of the Messiah, whose very existence and coming was first and foremost presented in Scripture (Genesis 3:15). This Messiah was clearly shown to be the Son of God (Psalm 2 & 110, Micah 5, Isaiah 7, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 53—and other passages) in the Hebrew Scriptures. Then the New Testament (Covenant) prophesied by Jeremiah recorded the miraculous Virgin birth of Jesus of Nazareth, followed by his mighty miracles. The most magnificent of which was his resurrection from the dead to prove that he is the Messiah, the Savior. And he will return as King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

(One of several passages showing Messiah would be of divine origin)

– The spread of Christianity (the true Christian faith) has impacted the world like nothing else in history. It is the only faith that has truly influenced (changed) people from every nation, language, race, and tribe. For the most part, all man-made religions are indigenous to countries and peoples of those nations, i.e. Islam mostly for Arabs and Arab nations (also including Indonesia); Hinduism for India; Buddhism or Shintoism for Asian countries; and Judaism for Jews. In fact, Messiah Jesus altered the very measurement of time itself … before (B.C.) and after (A.D.) he came to earth.

– Epic periods that have been given designations to describe (new) world developments such as: The Middle Ages (considered to be the darkest age in terms of spiritual subjugation and economic poverty); The Renaissance; the Age of Enlightenment; the Industrial Age (Revolution); the Age of Romanticism and Realism; the Age of Communication (mass media of radio, television, motion pictures); and now the Information Age (computers and digital messaging).

Each of these monumental changes in governments and transformation of societies conceivably constituted the onset of New World Orders

Major New World Order Conspiracies & Common Threads

Since we have space and time to address this only in thumbnail fashion, Wikipedia is as good a summary source as any. Beginning with Wikipedia’s article entitled, New World Order (conspiracy theory), we read:

“The New World Order or NWO is claimed to be an emerging clandestine totalitarian world government by various conspiracy theories.

“The common theme in conspiracy theories about a New World Order is that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government—which will replace sovereign nation-states—and an all-encompassing propaganda whose ideology hails the establishment of a New World Order as the culmination of history’s progress. Many influential historical and contemporary figures have therefore been purported to be part of a cabal that operates through many front organizations to orchestrate significant political and financial events … to achieve world domination” (bold print in the text).

In the following section entitled, History of the term, the article goes on to say:

“During the 20th century many politicians, such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, used the term ‘new world order’ to refer to a new period of history characterized by a dramatic change in world political thought and in the balance of power after World War I and World War II. They all saw the period as an opportunity to implement idealistic proposals for global government … to address worldwide problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nations-states to solve, while always respecting the right of nations to self-determination. These proposals led to the formation of international organizations (such as the UN in 1945 and NATO in 1949) ….”

*Note: Former U.S. President George W. Bush also used the term new world order in a 2002 speech.

There are other 20th century developments considered to be part of or indicative of a world-government conspiracy, such as: U.S. Federal Reserve System; International Monetary Fund; the World Bank; World Health Organization; European Union; Euro Currency; and the World Trade Organization.

(Many are under the impression that all EU counties use EURO currency … not so)

Even before the 20th century and especially continuing into the 21st century, conspiracy theorists have pointed to several organizations or ideologies whose purpose they say is to create a new-world order with malevolent goals in contrast to the benevolent, noble aspirations of the Winston Churchill’s of the world. As indicated in the first part of Wikipedia’s article quoted above: A common denominator of conspiracy theories is that of a One-World Government shaped in secrecy and operated by the “elites” of society. In the 21st century the most prevalent expression of this dichotomy has been condensed to Globalism vs. Populism.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Globalism or Populism … Which Will Antichrist Prefer? Posted 9-16-17).

Populists vs. Globalists probably depict the conspiratorial threat of a New World Order better than any other paradigm of opposing world views. However, both alleged conspirators and those claiming to be conspired against span the entire gamut of belief systems. Liberals accuse conservatives of fascism conspiracies, and conservatives rail against liberals who seek socialistic or communistic world control. There are left-wing and right-wing ideologies found among both Globalists and Populists. However, there remains one basic distinction: Populists consider Globalists to be the so-called elite, whose sinister goal is to by persuasion or by power assume the “rightful” supremacy of the informed over the uniformed. Thus, creating an intelligentsia utopia as the pinnacle of human progress on this earth, mostly by dissolving nation-states into an international (multi-national) régime.

Although there are several conspiratorial groups cited in the Wikipedia article (not an exhaustive list), the most well-known in today’s world are: Illuminati, Freemasonry, Fourth Reich, Brave New World, and New Age. With these and others supposedly working through frontrunner groups like Skull and Bones, the Bohemian Club, Trilateral Commission, and the more well-known Bilderberg Group.

Organizations like the John Birch Society both accuse and are accused by rival organizations of being conspiratorial in their existence and function.

The varying theories as to how the conspiratorial groups will accomplish their objectives are: Coup d’etat (forced takeover); mass surveillance; population control; mind control; financial systems control, and occultism. With the most common method (theory) that of: Gradualism—a systematic takeover of universities, cities, states, nations, and international organizations … that may include all the above listed strategies.

However, two common threads can be found in conspiracy theories, no matter what world-view or belief system is held by the conspirators and those conspired against:

  1. Secrecy. This component is quite evident in conspiracy theories: conspiratorial groups allegedly function in some form or to some extent in secrecy, whether through clandestine operations (such as the Illuminati) or mystical occult belief systems (such as the New Age).
  2. A Dictatorial Leader (a messiah-type figure): This second feature of a new world order (conspiracy) is not given as much weight as the secrecy factor, except by Christians. There is much more emphasis on an oligarchy elite who will progressively revamp the financial and political systems of nations to achieve their global goal of supremacy. From within that group or from without as supported by the elite, a strong autocrat will gradually arise. However, the theory (plan) is that a select few will control the rise of this man and the man himself, with the elites ultimately in charge.

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the first messiah-like world leader. Followed by Alexander the Great of Greece and Antiochus Epiphanes IV of Syria. Although the ancient Persian and Roman Empires consisted more of a succession of autocratic rulers, they nevertheless created and carried on dynasties for hundreds of years.

Then in more modern history: Beginning with Napoleon (France); then Stalin (Russia), Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), and the Emperor (State) of Japan, humanity witnessed the rise of dictators with global ambitions beyond their own country. None of these empires (new world orders) would have arisen without one man whom the people followed, to the point of worship. In other words, the man was the empire, and the empire was (represented) the man.

They were prototype messiahs of the Antichrist, who Scripture clearly indicates will conspire against God and the true Messiah with a treacherous goal to set up Satan’s kingdom on earth.

Therefore, I would like to propose a thesis based on Scripture that is contrary to the prevailing emphasis on conspiratorial secrecy and deemphasis on one man leading such a conspiracy as opposed to an elite group of people seeking control. This is not to say that there are currently no “elites” brandishing such authority or that they don’t operate in secrecy. But that is NOT what will transpire during the last days of the end times, to which this generation belongs.

Premise: There will be no secrecy whatsoever, nor any “gradual” rise of a world-dictator (Antichrist) from within one or more of these elitist conspiratorial groups; or from a national leader (Prime Minister or President) or international organizations that might be visible realities of these conspiracies, i.e. the United Nations or European Union.

A Summary of Eye of Prophecy Articles in the Category of Antichrist

Because time/space doesn’t permit in this week’s article, but also to encourage you to read at least some of those (48 of the 244 total posts to date) articles, we’ll examine just the flashpoints.

Beginning with the identity of the Antichrist, which was and still is (even by students of Bible prophecy) considered to be a secret until the Tribulation begins. This despite the clear challenge in Revelation 13:18 and 17:9 for the believer to (with wisdom and understanding) solve the number of the beast and, therefore—with many more clues given in Revelation 17 and other Bible passages—to know the identity of the beast of Revelation … the Antichrist.

If you’ve read Out of the Abyss or even a few Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist; you’ll know that I’ve identified this evil despot, via an abundance of Scriptural and historical evidence.

The king and little horn of Daniel 7; the treaty-maker then treaty-breaker with Israel of Daniel 9; the (Armageddon) King of the North in Daniel 11; the evil shepherd of Zechariah 11; the man of lawlessness of II Thessalonians 2; the beast-king of Revelation; and the Antichrist of I John (the only place in Scripture where this man is labeled Antichrist) is none other than: The Roman Emperor Nero!

Suddenly & Openly, Not Gradually & Secretively:

“As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn … was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:8, italics for emphasis).

“…Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time (3 ½ years)” (Verses 24-25, italics for emphasis).

The following is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss to explain how and why Antichrist (Nero) will be so different (in italics):

The one thing that makes Antichrist different from the other ten kings is that he is a living miracle, and they are not. He has arisen from the underworld, and they have not. The ten kings have a birth certificate, but the Antichrist does not. Nor will anyone, including crime scene forensic investigators be able to prove that he had died a short time before he arose, as there will be no autopsy or death certificate; nor any fingerprint records or dental records, nor any evidence of a crime scene, nor a coroner’s report, nor a coffin or a grave (Page 185).

“Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea … And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority” (Revelation 13:1-2, parenthesis mine).

Commentary: The Antichrist will not gradually be promoted and pushed to power by any elitist national or international organization or government. Nor will his dominion be politically or militarily global. He will rule over ten nations (also see Revelation 17) which is not a world government. His compelling influence over tribes, people, languages, and nations (Revelation 13:7) will be mostly spiritual (of the mystical kind). Meaning people all over the world will give him total allegiance, adoration, and worship. Which is a counterfeit replication of Messiah Jesus’s world-wide influence that is not based on a physical global government (not yet … that will come later when Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God—a royal reign of righteousness, justice, and true peace).

Only One Reason That a Large Cross-Section of People Will Yield to Antichrist Nero:

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, italics and bold font to emphasize the one reason [this miracle] a cross-section of people from many nations will give their loyalty to Antichrist).

Commentary: These verses are crystal clear in refuting the prevailing hypothesis. Which is the Antichrist will be a super statesman, a powerful orator, a consummate economic, political, and military genius who will exceed all tyrants before him; thus, persuading people all over the planet to follow him. He is arrogant and boastful but not an eloquent, mesmerizing speaker in the mold of Adolph Hitler.

The False Prophet will do most of the speaking and will also cause a monstrous monument to be erected of Nero. “…He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die” (Revelation 13:14-15)

What is it that causes the world to “marvel” at him and “worship” him and Satan? Answer: his (miraculous in the eyes of the world) return from the dead … “the fatal wound was healed” and “he came back to life.”

From Where Does Antichrist Directly Come (Return) to Earth?

“…And yet he will soon (meaning abruptly) come up out of the bottomless pit…” (Revelation 17:8). Also see Revelation 11:7.

Commentary: Referring again to Revelation 13, John’s (first) vision of he Antichrist beast clearly conveys the fact that when John initially saw the beast, the beast has already recovered from his fatal wound … returned from the dead. This deadly wound will not be inflicted during the Tribulation. Soon after the Rapture, the Tribulation will begin with the reappearance of the beast from the Abyss (bottomless pit), not from the grave. When people die without Christ they go immediately to Hades. But Hades (hell) is not the Abyss; they are separate (and literal) places.

Only extremely wicked angels are imprisoned in the Abyss (book of Jude and II Peter 2, also see Revelation 9). There is only one man in all of history who has been confined (deposited in) the Abyss: the Antichrist (Nero), when the Lord struck him down (II Thessalonians 2:8a). To arise/appear from the Abyss, the beast-king would have had to be placed there. This is part of God’s plan to give people, who have rejected the truth of His Son’s redemptive sacrifice, an ostensible reason to choose a false messiah. It’s because they, “…refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:10).

So much so that, “…God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (Verses 11-12).

Yes, you read that right. God himself will assist those (who he already knows have and will continue to defy and deny him and His Son, Messiah Jesus). How will God do this? Answer: By allowing (notice in Revelation 13 that everything Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet do is permitted), Nero to return from the Abyss where the Lord has imprisoned him in Nero’s original body after reviving him from the dead. However, the world will see it as a return from the grave (resurrection) exclusively by Satan’s and Nero’s own power to do so. That’s why so many people will marvel at this miracle.

Only the Lord has ultimate power over life and death, including resurrection.

Antichrist—A Modern Day (Born) Man?

At face value, most contemporary portrayals and theories about the Antichrist are plausible, including his purported statesmanship qualities, and his gradual preparation and promotion to the most feared world leader of all time. They are logical if, in fact, the Antichrist will be a modern-day man who has already risen to a position of world prominence, which is the natural order or progression of all past tyrants. None of them suddenly appeared on the scene “out of nowhere.”

Not so the Antichrist, as we’ve already seen in Daniel and Revelation. There is much more evidence as I’ve disclosed in past articles and in my book Out of the Abyss. But I’m going to focus on the passage that “revolutionized” (not as a conspiracy!) my understanding and discernment of the Antichrist—which formerly fit with the prevailing notions of what the Antichrist would be. But not who he is; that was supposed to be unknown until after the Rapture!

There is one passage that launched my exciting and exhaustive journey on the road to accurate identification of the beast-king. It is a passage that preemptively disproves that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man. It is a passage that propelled me on an unforgettable voyage to the ancient Roman world, to the very origin and lair of the beast, to the first-century church, to the abyss and back again, to the pre-emptive death and eternal destruction (yet to come) of Antichrist, to the mesmerizing visions of John, Daniel, and Zechariah.

In Out of the Abyss and most of the articles in the category of Antichrist, I have (discernment from the Lord) exposed and declassified that which has been concealed and classified: the secret of the beast presumed to be confidential until the body of Christ is taken from the earth. Saying it with utmost love and respect for fellow believers in Christ (especially the students of Bible prophecy) and using the term somewhat facetiously, the “conspiracy” which claims the identity of the Antichrist cannot be known until after the Rapture, has been uncovered. Including a long-forgotten fact that 1st-4th century believers believed Nero was the Antichrist; that he would return (from the Abyss) soon after the Rapture. (See Eye of Prophecy article, The Legendary Return of Nero, published 4-4-15).

(Actual Gold Coin of Nero Caesar. The legend of his return believed by both early Christians and secular Romans was called the Nero Redivivus Legend)

Here is the passage that removes the mysterious veil of the beast. Then, when compared to all other passages about the Antichrist and use of Hebrew Gematria to “solve” the number of the beast (six hundred, sixty-six), leads to the convincing conclusion that Nero Caesar was and will return as the beast of Revelation. Thus, the Antichrist CANNOT be a modern-day born man. The angel is explaining John’s vision of the woman and the beast:

“…I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now…” (Revelation 17:7).

Let’s pause here before quoting the rest of the passage. In just these ten words, we have the incredible fact that when John saw the Antichrist (in the image of a beast) in the present tense on a Sunday from the Isle of Patmos, the angel revealed the mystery by stating something that most Bible scholars (including me at one time) missed or conveniently ignored; because the otherwise natural foregone conclusion is that Antichrist must be a modern man when he arrives on the scene.

The italicized words above unequivocally state that when (at that point in time of the 1st century) John saw the beast, the beast (a man) had already lived and died, but that… well, let’s finish the passage.

“…And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction (in the lake of fire … Revelation 19). And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

“Not until the Holy Spirit riveted my attention on that pivotal verse in Revelation did I remotely consider that anyone could or would determine the identity of the beast. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now…

“There is no question; the meaning of the verse is as irrefutable as anything can be. The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? … If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with this verse … and all the other passages that help refit the prophetic puzzle?

“John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast that had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos….

“However, when I discovered that many of our first, second, third, and fourth century brothers and sisters in Christ also tagged Nero as the man of lawlessness, the beast, and the Antichrist … well it’s like underlining, italicizing, and using bold print on a sentence that already has three exclamation marks!!!

“Invoking a comparison from a popular television program, we have refitted the prophetic puzzle and solved the mystery of the beast in the fashion of Cold Case files” (Pages 271-272).

Mystery solved! Conspiracy cancelled and closed! No need to wonder about some elite secret organization that will prepare for and produce a utopian world dictator. No need for us or those (Tribulation saints who will even on pain of death choose Messiah Jesus) remaining after the Rapture to be amazed at the sudden reappearance of a man 2,000 later. It was all foretold in Scripture!

(One of several alleged Illuminati and/or Masonic symbols … So stop worrying already!)

Things to Ponder

For all practical purposes, it’s irrelevant whether clandestine conspiracy groups exist or not.

Concerning a World Government, the only truly global government will be the Kingdom of God.

Stay tuned … it’s coming soon!

The original conspiracy that overrides and produces copy-cat conspiracies was Satan’s rebellion against God; one based on a blatant lie.

Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve was two-fold: (1) God had lied to them; they wouldn’t die if they disobeyed his one and only command of what not to do. (An instruction given because they had been created with the tremendous freedom of choice, rather than a puppet-like existence).

(2) They would be equal to God by knowing both good and (by experiencing) evil. Therefore, they would be able to take God or leave him, listen to or ignore him as they wished. They could be their own god.

Satan’s (not so secret) conspiracy against God would spread to all generations, because Adam and Eve’s original sin infected humanity (Romans 5:12).

Said Lucifer: “…I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Also see Ezekiel Chapter 28.

Throughout the ages, that has been the underlying rebellious intent of people and nations. To prove to God and themselves that they don’t need him or even want him. No matter that Father Knows Best. That we can, independently of our Creator, establish governments and systems that will allow us to indulge our every whim without regard for consequences of sinning against a holy God. The historical ash heap of cultures and nations have proven us wrong. Despite spectacular technological advancements and new world orders of all kinds, have people (as a whole) improved ethically, morally, spiritually? That is as rhetorical a question as ever will be.

The real issue is not the best political persuasion or economic example or societal style or religious representation. The core issue is spiritual.

It’s a matter of the heart and will. Do we believe God (of the Bible) or not?

(Treasures are both tangible and intangible, i.e. ideologies and beliefs)

The choice before us is abundantly clear: Will we participate in Satan’s conspiracy by rejecting God’s Messiah, the Savior of the world? Or will we put our trust and eternal destiny in the hands of the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth; the God/Man who arose from the dead to validate so great a salvation? For those who miss the Rapture, will they choose Satan’s messiah? Ever so tragically, most will. This choice will not come gradually or secretively. There will be no hidden or gray areas during the Great Tribulation. There will be black and white, night and day decisions to make. No more fence-riding.

Listen to the words of Jesus:

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all … Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:26 & 28).

Governments have changed, cultures have rearranged, nations and boundaries have come and gone, conspiracies have been inflated and deflated. But the age-old problem of sin and rebellion against God remains. There is a solution, but only one.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).

For those who believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, one day soon our God and His Messiah’s “…home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people … 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).

Now that’s: THE New World (of) Order!!

A Government Crisis in Israel

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Can Israelis Endure This Crisis?

The Palestinians certainly hope not.

While continuing his incessant rhetoric and relentless campaign through the United Nations (of which the Palestinians are not even a member) to denigrate and delegitimize Israel—the only democratic state in the entire Middle East—Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ecstatic over the turmoil within the Knesset, the seat of Israeli government. His narrative tracks with Muslims and Islamic governments: Wouldn’t it be great if Israel would implode from within … it would save them the risk of destroying Israel.

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

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

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

… Moreover, the destiny of nations (both good and bad) has often been determined by the benevolence or malevolence of rulers … the laws they make and enforce, the decrees they issue, decisions they make, benefits they provide, and goals they aspire to. As the leaders go, so go the people. A ruler with integrity, compassion, and wisdom can be, and often is, a moral compass to the entire nation. Conversely, a selfish, deceitful, evil ruler can bring an entire nation down.

Although our United States republic form of government is quite impressive (as are a few constitutional monarchies with parliamentary democracies such as Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and some European countries), I’m not alone in my opinion that Israel’s coalition Knesset—in principle and practice—is the optimum representative government on this planet. Though sometimes complicated, the Israeli government allows the voice of its citizens to be heard as much or more than any other nation.

(A Young Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom. Though not directly involved in England’s Parliamentary Government, The Royal Throne of England still carries considerable prestige and positional authority to balance democracy with monarchy)

(A 2012 photo of Queen Elizabeth II. Currently she is 91 years old and has reigned for 66 years)

As effective as the two-party system is in America; once a Republican or Democrat President is elected, short of impeachment we’re stuck (good or bad depending on your point of view) with that administration for four years. This was especially revealing in the past three presidential elections. Seldom in our history have Americans been so diametrically divided, so poignantly polarized. After Donald Trump’s election to the highest office in America, many democrats exclaimed, “He is not our President.” This was more than mere rhetoric; it was an expression of fermented frustration and seething hatred. Republicans effectively said the same thing when Barack Obama was elected, not once but twice.

Mid-term elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate sometimes level the playing field between a Republican or Democrat administration and Congress. However, they also can partially paralyze an administration’s platform, by refusing to cross-vote approval (bipartisan) of Presidential policies, to the detriment of the greater American populace.

Israel’s Knesset

Israel’s government is unique. Unlike America’s two-party system (sometimes a third party can influence the outcome of an election, but not often) and other democratic countries that have three, four, or five parties, the Knesset normally has ten or more coalition blocs. The current Knesset has eleven parliamentary groups each with a certain number of representatives that constitute the 120 members of the Knesset, called MKs. After an election, the Prime Minister must form a composite (minimum) 61-seat coalition consisting of any number of the parties who agree to be part of that majority. All the remaining parties (seats) constitute the “opposition.”

The current Knesset is the 20th since Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948. The Prime Minister and his/her government is elected for a four-year term. But when you do the math, it doesn’t add up. Israelis will celebrate their 70th year as a nation this coming May. Which means this should be the 17th Knesset (70 years of statehood divided by four-year Knesset terms). Why the discrepancy? Answer: Because Israeli law allows for any Knesset government to be dissolved, with special (between terms) elections held to form a “new” government, which may or may not retain the current Prime Minister.

In fact, the current Israeli government came into being by such a special election in March 2015. The 19th Knesset with Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister was elected in 2013 but lasted less than two years. The current administration’s term is set to expire in November 2019, with actual elections taking place earlier next year.

Theoretically, Israelis have the best of both worlds: The same (or different) Prime Minister they support as a unified whole with a new-look coalition government that still represents the entire population. One of the remarkable features (proofs) of that cross-section representation and voice is that Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beitenu party composed currently of only 6 seats.

Liberman is Israel’s Defense Minister, one of the more prominent and powerful positions in the Israeli government, appointed by the Prime Minister (just like the U.S. President appoints Department heads). You would think that the Defense Minister would come from the Likud (Netanyahu’s party) which currently has 30 of the 120 Knesset seats. Such is the political sharing of power and responsibility in the Israeli government. For example, how often does a Democrat President of the United States appoint a Republican as Secretary of State or Defense? Or vice versa?

In the United States, we have two main parties (platforms) to choose from. In Israel, each of the current 10 parties has a primary platform with several secondary agendas—all of which have potential to be implemented in some form or another. This despite the adage (paraphrasing): If you put three Jews together, you’ll get at least four opinions. I repeat this saying as a compliment to Jews and to Israel; proportionate to their numbers, they get more done for themselves and for humanity than any other race. Which is one of the reasons they have been irrationally persecuted through the ages … Anti-Semitic jealousy.

Nonetheless, whenever a special election in Israel has taken place with a new coalition government and possibly Prime Minister, it has occurred under trying times and controversial circumstances. To some degree or another, it is a crisis that can compromise Israel’s stability and jeopardize her security.

Troubling Times in Israel

Since when has Israel not had troubling times? Here, I’m referring to the more obvious turbulent trials and tests from Israel’s not-so-friendly (understatement) neighbors. Some of whom want to destroy Israel as a nation. Others stop short of threatening Israel’s annihilation, but still want Israel to become Palestine again, free of all Jewish presence. Despite the Biblical and historical fact that this land promised by God to Abraham and his descendants has been Israel for 3,000 years.

Internally, Israel is experiencing some exceptionally troubled times especially in the past few weeks. Beginning with inordinate focus by some on whether Benjamin Netanyahu should remain as Israel’s Prime Minister. Should Netanyahu call for a special election or should the Knesset dissolve itself to determine if the people want him to stay or to be replaced?

Like many leaders of free nations—as opposed to tyrannical countries whose citizens are forbidden to openly criticize their government, and whose dictator is virtually immune from legal prosecution—Benjamin has been under suspicion of misconduct (whether illegal or only unethical or neither remains to be seen). In this case, it pertains to alleged kickbacks and/or coercion in the private sector.

(Although Israel can barely been seen, by color its rating is “high.” For many reasons, Israel should be colored green on this chart. What other nation in the world allows those who don’t even acknowledge the sovereignty of the nation to serve in government? See Knesset chart above that shows the Arab party as the 3rd largest in the Knesset!)

Although these “scandals” are still in the investigative stage (much like former US President Obama’s birth certificate issue or President Trump’s supposed complicity with Russia’s interference in U.S. elections or any number of suspected improprieties of other democratic leaders the world over), there are those who have demanded that Netanyahu resign from office. Which is tantamount to admitting guilt without even being charged, let alone convicted.

These issues have been compounded by the recent threat of the (ultra-Orthodox) United Torah Judaism party (6 seats in the Knesset) to abandon the current 66-seat majority held by Netanyahu’s coalition(s), which could jeopardize not only passage of the pending national budget but would end (numerically) the coalition itself. Reason for United Torah’s threatened exit from the coalition: insisting their bill to amend IDF conscription for Jewish religious students must be voted on before the budget vote. This was countered by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s staunch support of conscription laws for ALL Jews; so that secular Jews would not bear the unequal burden of defending Israel alone.

Other parties and their leaders (each party has one main leader) were in favor of a special election or not, depending upon whether they (according to the polls) would gain or lose seats in the Knesset. For example: Opposition party, Yesh Atid, which stood to double their Knesset seats (11 current seats) and the Meretz party (would gain 1-3 seats) called for dissolution of the Knesset. Which, if approved, would mandate a special election whether one had been called for by the Prime Minister or not. By law, this special election must take place within three months. In fact, there were several bills introduced in rapid-fire succession to dissolve the Knesset. All of them have failed to pass.

Time/space does not permit extensive elaboration on the ins and outs of what was, could have been, and what still may happen in Israel. Except to say that the repercussions of an unwarranted (or if warranted through due process of law) premature removal of any free-world leader, especially someone of the prominence of Benjamin Netanyahu, could do substantially more harm to a nation than allowing the leader to remain in office until he/she is arraigned, but also convicted. At the very least, the opposition parties in Israel should wait to see if Netanyahu will be charged with any wrongdoing. This also appears to be the passionate position of most Israelis.

A premier example of such a situation was that of former US President Richard Nixon. Before and even after his illegal circumvention of the law (Watergate), he orchestrated some major improvements in America’s diplomacy with several foreign nations, particularly China. He also sent massive aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Without such aid, Israel would have been hard pressed to win that war. I’m not defending Richard Nixon for what he obviously should not have done. Rather, I’m putting it in a broader perspective of his accomplishments until the facts proved him complicit in/of burglary.

Here’s what Prime Minister Netanyahu said to the opposition parties, with emphasis that he wanted to keep his current six-party (66 seats) coalition intact. In my opinion, he was not boasting. Instead he was simply summarizing the current state-of-affairs within Israel and outside of Israel, including the amazing diplomatic progress Israel has made with foreign nations. Whether they like Netanyahu personally or not, Arab nations such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and some of the Gulf-Coast nations are beginning to acknowledge Israel’s achievements and presence on the world stage. These and other non-Arab governments also realize that Israel is the only Middle-East nation that has the military might and national courage to stand up to their common enemy, Iran.

Said Netanyahu:

“I do not think we had to get to this point. We have an excellent government that carries out its duties responsibly, with the proper discretion and with stability. This is a government that marks great achievements for Israel. I call on all the coalition partners, and chief among them (Yisrael Beitenu party) Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to remain in the government and continue this partnership in order to ensure security, prosperity and stability for Israel.”

Netanyahu repeated the need for a “solid, stable government,” then went on to say:

“Should there be an election, we will run and we will win” (Note: that statement was based on several polls recently taken in Israel).

“But we are not there yet. The hour is late, but not too late. We have to make an effort—a supreme effort—to preserve the government in its current composition.”

Why Is This Dilemma Different or Could Be More Damaging?

Why is the current situation more acute and potentially more dangerous than difficulties experienced by past Israeli governments which did or didn’t survive their four-year term? Two mains reasons:

(1) It comes at a time when Israel’s overall posture in world affairs and global scrutiny has never been better. A time that (slowly) began at Israel’s rebirth in 1948; then its extraordinary agricultural, economic, scientific, cultural, medical, and military achievements. It is a growth phenomenon that has developed exponentially, particularly in the past few years under the superb leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has adeptly promoted Israel’s accomplishments and willingness to share (in principle and in practice …. by helping those who wants Israel’s help) these advancements with other nations.

(2) Muslims may see the current crisis in Israel as an opportunity to act more quickly … meaning in the not so distant future. Since defeat in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Islam in general and Muslim nations have been content with a patient, plodding plan based partly on the Koran, in which Muhammad (allegedly from Allah) believed that whatever Jews remained in their land would eventually self-destruct through corruption of some sort. Unlike the true and living God and God’s prophets through whom God forecasted the future, Muhammad could not have known (and probably has, as they say, turned over in his grave) the miraculous return of the Jews to and restoration of the Promised Land of Israel. And approaching a pinnacle not experienced since the glory years of King David and King Solomon.

However, in the past few years and even months, Muslims (whether Arab or not) have grown impatient. They see Israel progressing rapidly, not regressing as they had been told and hoped would happen. This impatience is fueled (mostly) by the radical Shi’ite Muslim terrorist government of Iran, embodied in its supreme leader Ayatollah, with a menacing motive that the Muslim messiah (Mahdi) will soon appear to subjugate all Jews and Christians.

(Time will soon tell who will appear as the true Messiah!)

(Please see Eye of Prophecy articles: The World Wants a Messiah … But Needs (The) Messiah, posted 1-28-17. Also, Globalism or Populism … Which Will Antichrist Prefer? Posted 9-16-17)

These are counterfeit copy-cat versions of the amazing anticipation of many Christians that the true Messiah is about to return. Many Jews also harbor great expectations for the coming Messiah, but only Messianic Jews know (believe) him to be Jesus. Obviously, there is night and day differences between the true Messiah and these false messiahs.

For example: Radical Muslims believe their Mahdi won’t appear until or unless moderate Muslims actively (instead of just passive agreement) support and expand Jihad on a greater global scale, to accomplish their sinister goal of a Caliphate (Islamic World Government).

Listen to this direct quote from Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan (keeping in mind that Turkey is a member of NATO): “The term ‘moderate Islam’ is ugly and offensive. There is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam.”

(For an in-depth expose on “radical Islam” vs “moderate-Islam” and Islam in general, please see Eye of Prophecy articles, A Religion of Peace! Part I & II. Posted 4-11 & 4-18-15).

Now, I’m going to propose a surprising and even illogical premise:

The current crisis in Israel is a good thing.

Because it fits with another premise: Which is in the form of a covenant oath made by the true and living God with Abraham that Israel would belong to Abraham’s descendants forever. From the God of all who are his children because they (Jew and Gentile alike) have believed and received his Son’s sacrificial death for sins, by the New Covenant of Grace promised by God through Jeremiah the prophet. The Lord began his post-Noah relationship with humanity as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then after the Moses-led Exodus and subsequently the Joshua-led victory into the Promised Land, he became the God of Israel. The same God who said Israel would be a light to all the nations (through Messiah). That he would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.

Problem Resolved (For Now)

Following some whirlwind negotiations with the divergent parties, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the Knesset earlier this week. He said:

“I promised to preserve the government and I kept my word. I thank my partners in the coalition for demonstrating responsibility so that we can continue to lead Israel with determination and success in security, economy, society and foreign relations.”

Alluding to the potential adverse aftermath of an unsuccessful resolution of the problem, Netanyahu went on to say with a bit of humor: “That was scary, wasn’t it? I see you have some color back in your cheeks. I know that I spared you some anguish… The public’s support for us is tremendous.”

(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset)

Shas (religious party with 7 seats) leader, Aryeh Deri said: “I congratulate the coalition partners for acting responsibly in the moment of truth and allowing this good government to carry on in its activities, which benefit the entire public.”

Thus, the current crisis—seemingly resolved between the involved Knesset parties, but one that could erupt again—is ultimately good for Israel. It’s good because both secular and observant Jews realize that too much disunity could adversely affect Israel’s solidarity within the nation; but also jeopardize Israel’s security with its enemies. It’s good because the secular among them will hopefully see more clearly that ultimate (optimum) uninterrupted unity is only possible by once again returning to their God, the God of Israel. For secular and religious alike to fully realize that God’s appointed Messiah (the Son of God, Psalm 2, Psalm 110) will be the only one who can (and will) redeem and restore Israel to what God intended for them in the beginning—a nation of born-again priests—who will rule and reign with Messiah in Israel. And yet who are one in Messiah (Jesus) with Gentile believers, who have been grafted in to the prophetic tree of Israel. In that regard, they will fulfill their (Israel’s) destiny.

It’s also good for the United States and other nations/peoples when we more fully appreciate the miracle of Israel itself. That against all odds, Israel has won (survived) four wars against Arab nations. And not only survived but has grown in prosperity and posture among the nations.

Despite the sometimes-debilitating disputes among themselves, Jews in Israel (and all over the world) passionately exhibit one unifying trait and defend 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.

Jewish citizens of Israel synthesize over one 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.

The Final Kingdom of God on Earth … Jew & Gentile, One in Messiah

Though I love all of Scripture, I will quote (as done in a few previous articles) one of my favorite passages in the Bible; a sweeping prophecy portraying both the first and second coming of Messiah:

Here is another excerpt from the earlier mentioned article, Kingdom of God (in italics):

Paul proceeds to tell us more about God’s splendid plan for the human race. In fact, he calls it a mystery, because at the time that God gave it to him even the new Christians didn’t completely understand the eternal implications of what Christ would achieve at his first coming and would continue at his second coming. Listen to these extraordinary words:

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

That plan is none other than: THE KINGDOM OF GOD (on earth) ….

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

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

Summary

Beginning with another excerpt, this one from Eye of Prophecy article: Israel Is Here To Stay … Forever! Published 4-15-17. (In italics)

In the first century A.D., thousands throughout Israel believed Jesus was the Messiah. Tragically, most of the religious leaders and many people did not—despite the dozens of miracles they witnessed or heard of first hand. Even after Jesus arose from the dead, most did not believe in him. Then, just as Jesus predicted, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans less than 40 years after he ascended back to heaven. This happened because God’s own people rejected Messiah, just as Jesus said would happen with these poignant words:

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

God withdrew his protection of Israel. He would leave them to their own fate until the appointed time when the Lord would unilaterally initiate the completion (fulfillment) of his covenant with Abraham. Which was the sovereign possession of the Promised Land forever by the Jews.

That appointed time has come.

Despite 1,900 years of exile and persecution at the hands of many nations and peoples (even by Christians … with the vast majority Christian in name only, not true born-again believers), culminating in the unimaginable Holocaust perpetrated by a perverse man and his equally sadistic Third Reich, Israel is alive and well. According to the sure word of Biblical prophecy, the Jews will never again be uprooted from their Promised Land. They will never again be decimated, dominated, or defeated by Gentile nations.

I repeat with Biblical authority for emphasis: NEVER AGAIN.

Persecuted, yes. Attacked, also yes—by the Gog/Magog coalition in the first half and by the ten-nation confederation of Antichrist Nero in the second half of the Great Tribulation. But not destroyed.

Only those who oppose Israel will be soundly defeated and destroyed. That should be a cause for pause for peoples or nations that would seek to harm the pupil of God’s eye.

…Despite our many individual and national faults, I love the United States of America. And I love Israel and the Jews. They are God’s special possession, chosen to give the world God’s awesome Word, including the Living Word of God, Messiah Jesus. With the Apostle Paul (once named Saul, once a devout Pharisee and defender of the Mosaic Law who was changed forever by a direct encounter with Jesus), I also say:

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

There is only one nation on earth that has been guaranteed everlasting existence … Israel. That ironclad promise is unfolding before our 21st century eyes. No more will Israel implode from within as she did before the Babylonian Captivity of 586 B.C. and the Roman Dispersion of 70 A.D. No more will she be exploited and exploded from without by nations who tried to destroy the very existence of the Jews as a race and Israel as a nation in perpetuity.

The Kingdom of God and the reign of its Messiah King will last forever.

“He (Messiah) was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14)

The Kingdom of God will rule from Jerusalem, Israel. Thus, the eternal undivided capital of Jerusalem and Israel are also eternal.

“How great is the Lord, how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain! It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion (Jerusalem), the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! … It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever” (Psalm 48:1-2 & 8).

“…I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The Lord is Our Righteousness.’

“For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever’” (Jeremiah 33:15-17).

Quoting again from the article: Israel Is Here To Stay … Forever!

AS ISRAEL GOES SO GOES THE WORLD

Israel is alive and well!

God will fulfill his promise to Abraham. Not only to give the Promised Land in perpetuity to the Jews, but to also richly bless the Gentile nations from the land where Messiah himself will one day (soon) live and rule. We would do well as individuals and as a nation to support and defend Israel, both in word and deed.

Then later in that article:

Against impossible odds, the Jews have returned to Israel; Hebrew has been resurrected from a dead language; Israel is once again a sovereign nation among the family of nations on this earth. This has never happened to any other people or nation. There is one and only one reason for it: The sovereignty of the one and true living God. What the Lord says he will do, he does. What he says will happen, happens.

Recording and reviewing history without including the God of the Bible—a timeless book, past, present, future—is like pretending that a watch doesn’t have a watchmaker. Or that the watch was not created to measure and tell time…. The Bible is not only the measure of universal divine truth, it is also a historical timeline of timely events integral to God’s prophetic plan.

Things to Ponder

“Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! … Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. O nations of the world, recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! … Worship the Lord in all his splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’ The world stands firm and cannot be shaken… (unless and until the Lord shakes it himself … Haggai 2:21).

“…He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth” (Psalm 96:4-13, parenthesis mine).

Since we declared our independence in 1776, for the most part the United States of America has heeded these words of wisdom and warning. That is until the past few decades—our current (Omega) generation that I’m convinced will see the Day of the Lord, beginning with the Rapture.

Sadly, we’ve fallen into a perilous condition that the Apostle Paul graphically described as characteristic of the final generation:

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God” (II Timothy 3:1-4).

On the other hand, we’ve seen many of the wonderful positive things that would occur, not the least of which is Israel’s rebirth and an explosion of the gospel throughout the world. To include the salvation of thousands upon thousands of Jews, unprecedented since the first century. I personally know some of these Messianic Jews, one of whom I consider a good friend.

(There are an estimated 350,000 Messianic Jews–Christian Jews / Jewish Christians– in the world) 

Said the Apostle Paul: “I ask then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning…” (Romans 11:1-2).

One day soon, “…all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

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

One day soon, “…the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9).