Messiah and the Jewish Festivals … An Extraordinary Connection!

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Jesus and the Jewish Religious Leaders

The greatest event in the history of mankind took place in the first century when God, at the appointed time, sent his Son into the world as both God and man. Jesus the Christ (Messiah) is the Son of God, the Jewish Son (descendant) of David, and the global Son of Man. His astonishing Virgin-birth arrival on the earth changed the measurement of time itself (B.C. to A.D.), and he continues to change the lives and eternal destiny of those who have believed in him for their personal salvation.

The most tragic event of all time also took place in the first century, continuing to this very day. It was and is the widespread refusal of most Jews and Gentiles to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and, therefore, to reject him as Savior and Lord, the only way to God. Tragic, because this disbelief will result in eternal separation from God. Yet, God, as he so often does, turned this tragedy into triumph over sin and death that has plagued mankind since the day that our original parents defied their Creator … to do their own thing and go their own way.

One of the paramount proclamations in all of the Bible to unequivocally affirm the eternal existence of Messiah Jesus as (the Living Word of) God, is the first verse of the Gospel of John.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (New American Standard Bible).

Followed by: “He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him … In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:2-5, NASB).

Throughout the Gospels it’s crystal clear: Despite his profound teaching and the awesome miracles Jesus performed to prove his divine power and his God-given authority, the religious leaders scorned him for two indefensible reasons:

First, they could not tolerate anyone usurping or even sharing their position and prestige among the common people. Secondly, they deliberately declined to search their own Hebrew Scriptures to objectively determine if this man from the region of Galilee (whom they mistakenly thought was born in Nazareth, instead of Bethlehem—the prophesied birth place of the Messiah), just might be the long-awaited Messiah.

Among other things, they did not:

  • Bother to resolve if Jesus was from the lineage of King David (Son of David).
  • Carefully examine Daniel’s prophecy (Chapter 9) that the Messiah would arrive 483 years after Nehemiah began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Jesus’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey precisely fulfilled this spectacular prophecy.
  • Study the Scriptures (Old Testament) that show Messiah would also be a humble, suffering servant of a lowly birth, as found especially in Isaiah and the Psalms, but also other books such as Micah.
  • Match up specific things that Jesus said and did, or that were done for or to him such as crucifixion on a cross—during Jesus’s life, death, burial, and especially his resurrection—to dozens of Messianic prophecies.
  • Out-of-hand dismissal of Christ’s resurrection.
  • Then later, after the 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, to again review Daniel 9 which confirms that Messiah would come BEFORE the Temple would be destroyed.

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Said Jesus to the Jewish religious authorities:

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:24-27).

Jesus went on to say to the Jewish leaders: “But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me” (John 5:36 … John here is John the Baptist).

Then Jesus drives home the point:

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life” (Verse 39).

This scene ends with these astonishing words of Jesus:

“For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! … Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:43-47).

When Jesus said that they didn’t believe what Moses wrote, he was referring to what Moses—and also by extended implication what all of the prophets—had written about the coming Messiah. If they would set aside their pride and prejudice, then carefully and impartially match the prophecies with Jesus, they would plainly see that he was the Messiah.

Many Have Believed Jesus is Messiah … Many More Have Not

It was not just the religious leaders. Although most Jews didn’t have the same hang-up that their clerical leaders did—the incomparable power and authority of Jesus usurping the influence of the religious authorities—they, nevertheless, dismissed Jesus for another reason. He did not fit the image of a conquering Messiah who would deliver them from the oppression of the Roman Empire. To be sure, the Messiah would one day deliver Israel from all Gentile domination, but not until he first freed the people from themselves. Until the human heart is supernaturally changed by the righteousness that only God can give (as opposed to sin induced self-righteousness that only enslaves people), a kingdom (nation) cannot be changed from one of darkness to one of light.

Let’s read about one of the incidents between Jesus and the common folk of Israel:

“When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, ‘Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?’ Then they scoffed, ‘He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?’ And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him…” (Matthew 13:53-57).

The stories and illustrations referred to were no less than nine parables in this one chapter alone to explain “The Kingdom of Heaven.” As alluded to in last week’s article, the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are occasionally used interchangeably by Jesus. They both apply to the King of those Kingdoms, which is the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, the immediate context of the Kingdom of Heaven applies more directly to the rule and presence of the Lord universally in the hearts and minds of those who believe and receive the King (Messiah) as personal Savior.

Whereas the Kingdom of God pertains comprehensively to the actual physical kingdom of God on earth when Christ returns to rescue Israel from annihilation and defeat at the hands of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. Satan’s worldly kingdoms will be decisively crushed, and the Kingdom of God will be centered in Jerusalem, from where Messiah Jesus and all believers will rule and reign.

Kingdom of Heaven: Personal relationship to God.

Kingdom of God: Global governmental administration by God.

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The people looked only for the Kingdom of God that would be preceded by God’s judgment of ungodly Gentile nations (at that time, the Roman Empire). They missed entirely the clear evidence of the Old Testament (completely revealed in and accomplished by the New Covenant) that first must come the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of those who had been redeemed by the final sacrifice of the High Priest, Messiah. Their own sins must first be mediated and forgiven, which would spare them from the coming judgment of all people … Jews and Gentiles alike.

They had forgotten or had chosen to ignore the fact that the Temple and all of its instruments, the ceremonial laws, and even the Levitical sacrificial system, were only pictorial patterns of a greater Temple (Christ himself), a more-enduring (once and for all) Sacrifice for their sins, and the ultimate promise that God would live (tabernacle) among them. The sacrifices had become entirely ritual with strict observance to the letter of the law, not the real underlying spiritual purpose of the law.

They were too short-sighted to see that the seven festivals God gave them to celebrate would also be a pattern precursor to a new and better relationship with God through their Messiah.

Which leads us the theme of todays and the next two Eye of Prophecy articles: the Seven Festivals given by God through Moses for the people of Israel to observe annually and the remarkable prophetic correlation of these High Holy Days to Messiah Jesus.

Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) … Where It All Began!

God instructed the Hebrews to stop the daily routine of their lives seven times each year to memorialize the remarkable things that the Lord had done for them, not the least of which was deliverance from slavery and creation of the nation of Israel from the twelve sons of Jacob. The festivals were special times to reflect on the profound privilege afforded them through God’s providence, power, protection, provision, and even his very presence among them.

Observant Jews, especially the Orthodox and Conservative, keep all of the festivals in some fashion. So, too, does the Reformed branch of Judaism, but with more flexibility in their observance. Even many non-observant Jews (secular mostly) celebrate Passover, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), and Sukkot (Festival of Shelters) because, in their view, these holidays pertain to Israel collectively as a nation. Not much different than Americans celebrating the Western New Year, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas … whether the person is a Christian or not.

There are two other Jewish holidays celebrated as much or more than Passover and Rosh Hashanah. They are not among the seven festivals because the events that led to these festive occasions took place centuries later. They are: Purim and Hanukkah. The reason why virtually all Jews take part in these two celebrations is because there are more secular Jews in today’s world than religious.

Passover is the first festival God commanded the people to observe annually. Next to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, no event on earth is as well-known and remembered down through the ages as the Exodus. Jews and Gentiles, believers and unbelievers, rich and poor, young and old, religious and secular alike have heard or read or know something about the dramatic deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt, complement of ten miraculous plagues on the Egyptians.

Followed by one miracle after another: Parting of the Red Sea; Return of the waters to drown the Egyptian pursuers; Pillar of Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night; Bread (Manna) appearing every morning from nowhere; Meat (Quail) falling out of the sky; Water gushing from solid rock; The Finger of God writing the Ten Commandments on stone tablets; and more.

(Note: I’m not so sure about the young in today’s world. For example, a recent survey showed that 71% of Millennials in America, 18-26 years of age, didn’t even know where to look for Israel on a global map)!

Next to being alive in Israel when Jesus walked the earth, if I could have lived in another time and place in history, I would, without hesitation, select the Exodus. (As an Israelite, not an Egyptian!)

The Ten Commandments (Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and Anne Baxter) is still considered one of the greatest movies of all time. Other films have been made of the Exodus; numerous books, articles, and commentaries written; and countless sermons preached about this monumental historic milestone.

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(Depicting Moses Receiving The Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai)

Many know that it all began when God struck Egypt with ten spectacular plagues to demonstrate that he, alone, was the true and living God. But most likely not that many could identify all of the first nine of these divine judgments necessary before Pharaoh’s hard-hearted pride would finally be crushed. However, a great number of people recall the tenth plague, one that shook the very foundation of the mighty Egyptian empire, one that would take centuries for Egypt to recover.

You remember:

“And that night at midnight, the Lord struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died” (Exodus 12:29-30).

The Passover Changed the Hebrew Calendar

Whatever calendar the Hebrews had used to measure time was changed to accommodate and acknowledge this phenomenal event in Israel’s history. Then subsequently to regulate the months of the Hebrew year; a lunar calendar still used by the Jews today, instead of the Julian turned Gregorian solar calendar that came along much later.

“From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you” (Exodus 12:2). The month is called Nissan (originally Abib in the Bible) corresponding to the Gregorian calendar months of March/April.

Also amazing: God through Moses instructed the Hebrews to commemorate Passover on the 14th day of the first month of every year, before this catastrophic calamity actually took place! In other words, it was a sure thing that God would do what he said would be done. That’s also true with hundreds of other Biblical prophecies.

In fact, let’s read what God told Moses to announce to Pharaoh (God through Moses warned Pharaoh of this final catastrophic judgment, just as Pharaoh had been warned before all the preceding plagues).

“…This is what the Lord says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites, it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the Lord has made a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites” (Exodus 11:4-7).

*Note: We’ll see in a moment what this distinction was and what it was meant to be and do.

To this very day, Jews enthusiastically celebrate the Passover; with, however, primary emphasis on their deliverance from Egypt … with minimal or no reflection why the blood of innocent lambs had to be spread on the doorposts of every Hebrew house. Even before, but especially after Israel’s second Temple was destroyed by the Romans and their Levitical Sacrificial System eliminated, there had not been nearly as much attention paid to the very heart of Passover, itself. Instead, the Passover has been representatively reduced almost exclusively to remembering the emancipation from Egypt; which is, according to the Lord, to be observed in and by the 2nd Festival ordained by God … the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

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(Passover Today with Emphasis on the Meal … Unleavened Bread)

Let’s read the actual account in Scripture which reveals the more exact meaning of Passover and the purpose for its remembrance. For sure, the seven-day Unleavened Bread Festival that follows the day after Passover is an extension of Passover itself. However, this following feast served a different purpose and possessed a different meaning to God and (should) also to the Jews and now to Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews.

The Original Passover and Its True Purpose

First, an unblemished (without defect of any kind) one-year old male lamb or goat must be set aside by each Jewish family four days ahead of the Passover. One of the main reasons for selecting a lamb or goat four days before Passover was so each family would become more personally attached to the animal. Which, in turn, would make it even more difficult to (sacrificially) kill their lamb. Invariably, it was to impress on the people the high price of atonement … the shedding of innocent blood.

“Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal” (Exodus 12:6-7).

Why must the blood of their innocent slain lamb be applied to the doorframes? Many know the answer to that. Because the Lord said:

“On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12-13, italics for emphasis).

So … easy answer to the question. Right? God would pass over the Jews as long as they displayed the blood of the slain animals as directed by the Lord.

But wait a minute. That summary answer still doesn’t fully explain what’s going on here. Which is why virtually all Jews, except those who believe in Yeshua as Messiah, focus on the Pesach supper more in the context of and reason for the Feast of Unleavened Bread during their celebration of Passover.

Logically, that makes sense; because they no longer observe the all-important feature of Passover, which is the shed blood of a sacrificial lamb. Scripturally, however, the Jews are not obeying and following God’s original commandment, i.e. sacrificial slaying of innocent animals. That’s particularly true for Passover, but also for the entire Levitical Sacrificial system where sin, guilt, peace (thanks), grain, and other sacrifices were required, including the weekly Sabbath.

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(The True Essence of Passover)

Thanks be to our Sovereign God and His Glorious Son, Messiah Jesus. Although the Jews are not truly keeping the full Scriptural essence of the Passover (slain animal), what most of them don’t know or won’t accept is that God has taken care of that problem! Which will be more fully developed in next week’s article.

In the interim, you might want to read Eye of Prophecy articles, Where Is the Temple? Part I, II, & III, posted 11-19, 12-6 & 12-13-14. They explain in great detail the ongoing disbelief (in denial) of non-Messianic Jews regarding the real reasons for and results of the destruction of the 2nd Temple.

To better understand the very core of Passover, let’s ask some probing questions.

Sacrificial Blood Must Be Shed

Why did it have to be blood (of an innocent unblemished animal)? Why not the juice of grapes, or dye, or paint, or chimes, or anything else that could easily be seen?

For that matter, why must the blood be spread on the entrance to their homes at all?

Does anyone think for a moment that the angel of death sent by God to destroy the firstborn sons of Egypt couldn’t distinguish between Egyptian homes and Hebrew homes (even though it was dark)? Plus, the Hebrews lived in Goshen, completely separated from the Egyptians. Not only that, but all of the previous plagues (a couple partially, most entirely) had not touched nor affected the Israelites. Why wouldn’t or shouldn’t the Lord give his people carte blanche protection during the worst, by far, of the ten plagues?

Have you ever thought about these reasons/questions?

The answers, as always, are found in Scripture.

The Lord specifically states the purpose was to: “execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord!”

Egypt had numerous man-made deities, most of which were gods representing specific parts of nature … worshipping creation not the Creator. Their chief god was Ra, the sun god. During the passage of time (400 years of captivity) many of the Hebrews had begun to worship some of these Egyptian gods. They had forgotten that it was the God of their fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who had called them to be his special possession.

Thus, the Hebrews would also have been struck down by the angel of death; as a whole, they no longer believed in or trusted the true and living God. Which is why God sovereignly said, “I am the Lord.” Repeat those four words aloud three times. With each announcement successively emphasizing “I”, then “AM,” then “The Lord.” Then, you’ll get the full meaning of what God impressed on the Hebrews and why he would not pass over them if they did not follow his instructions.

Because they believed God and followed the angels out of Sodom, Lot and his two daughters were spared from God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife would also have lived, but she chose to “look back” with the obvious meaning that she longed to go back to this wicked city (her home). Noah and his family were delivered from the Great Flood because their trust in God had made them righteous in God’s sight. Righteousness by and through faith (as opposed to self-righteousness and good works and keeping of laws) alone was already a universal truth long before the Mosaic Law was given.

“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6).

When it comes to God dispensing his wrath on entire cities or nations and his mercy to spare those who love and trust him, there must first be obedient trust in God and his directions to be exempted from divine judgment. Even the Hebrews in the land of Goshen, which was part of Egypt proper, must agree with the Lord’s instructions in order to be spared from, “the plague of death … when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13, italics for emphasis showing that all of Egypt would be judged).

Thus, Passover is first and foremost God sparing his people from judgment, not precisely their departure from Egypt. The “Exodus” itself would be celebrated by the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Getting back to the distinction God would make between the Egyptians and the Israelites, we again ask the question:

Why blood? Because as Scripture teaches: without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Nor pardon from sin’s ultimate penalty … eternal separation from God. From the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned and infected all of humanity with that dreadful disease, God’s plan was to remedy the problem by the shedding of innocent blood. The Lord spilled the blood of innocent animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness, which became a source of guilt and shame to our original parents the instant they sinned. It was the fall of innocence.

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The very life of all created beings on this planet is in the blood. We can transplant the human heart and other organs, we can substitute arms and legs with artificial limbs, and we can do skin grafts. But drain the blood of any human being without replacing it, and we’re goners within minutes.

God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to demonstrate among other things that the death of the promised son (Isaac as opposed to Ishmael) whose descendants would bring us the Messiah, must die for the sins of Israel and the whole world. God spared Isaac by providing a nearby (innocent) ram in his place. But God did not spare his own (Promised) Son, the One for whom Isaac was a pattern and preview.

Which brings us to Messiah’s fantastic fulfillment and profound perfection of the original Passover. But that will need to wait until next week’s article, which will further distinguish between the festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread. Then we’ll look at the 3rd and 4th Jewish Festivals … their extraordinary connection to and completion by Messiah Jesus when he came to earth the first time. Finally, week after next we’ll examine the amazing perfection by Messiah Jesus of the last three Jewish Festival to be accomplished at his second coming.

Things to Ponder

All who personally agree with God and accept the sacrificial redemption of Messiah’s shed blood and death, will be saved (spared) from the judgment of God. That includes those who have died in Christ and those still alive seven years before Messiah Jesus physically returns to this earth, “…with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

At the spectacular Rapture, the dead in Christ will be raised and the living will be caught up from the earth to meet the Lord (I Thessalonians Chapter 4).

God’s Pre-Millennial Tribulation wrath and Post-Millennial final judgment of the dead and living will then Passover all who believe in God’s perfect Sacrificial Passover Lamb.

Messiah Jesus, the sinless innocent Son of God, dying in our place. Paying the ultimate price for our sins. Doing for us what we could not for ourselves.

As said in a previous Eye of Prophecy article: It is the Greatest Sacrifice Ever Made, by the Highest Price Ever Paid.

Ethnic Cleansing of Jews … The Real Palestinian Agenda

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A Shocking Statement

Just over a week ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a short but stunning video through social media that generated global shock waves, including a scathing response from the US State Department.

As stated or implied in several Eye of Prophecy articles, I am an unapologetically strong supporter of Israel and an ardent admirer of Benjamin Netanyahu. This enthusiasm for Israel comes from my firm belief in the true and living God; His Word as divinely recorded in the Bible; and personal salvation through God’s Son, the Jewish Messiah Jesus.

Benjamin Netanyahu is a consummate diplomat in all of the positive connotations of political diplomacy. He is firm but fair; passionate in his pursuit for true peace in Israel but objectively realistic of the obstacles to peace; completely committed to Israel, but considerate of any reasonable coherent demands made by the Palestinians and by surrounding Arab nations. When it comes to a matter of Israel’s survival, which is still an all too real threat facing the only Jewish nation in the world, Benjamin can tell it like it is.

Nevertheless, I was dumbfounded as I watched this video and listened to his words. My incredulity was not of being aghast that he would characterize the actual Palestinian agenda—whether it be from the Palestinian Authority or Hamas—of “ethnic cleansing” of all Jews in Israel. Rather, it was astonishment of how bravely accurate and daringly appropriate the phrase is to explain the real reason why Palestinians have rejected a two-state proposal on any terms but their own.

For example, it’s only been a few years since the Palestinians refused generous offers from two Israeli Prime Ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, that would allow Palestinian control over some 95% of the West Bank. Why would they scorn such offers? Easy answer: 95% of the West Bank is not enough. For that matter, 95% of all Israel is not enough. In fact, a Palestinian State within Israel is also unacceptable. By the time you finish this article, you’ll see what the Palestinians really want: A Palestinian State instead of Israel!

Personally, I would not have used the phrase, ethnic cleansing, because it conjures up the more common image: forced removal of ethnic or religious groups of people from a given territory. Yet, the more I thought about Netanyahu’s use of the term, the more I realized how it reliably reflected the true Palestinian narrative.

For many, the thought of genocide even comes to mind. Such as what the Third Reich did to European Jews and nearly succeeded; what the Turks did to the Armenians, or what happened in Yugoslavia. What Muslims in the Sudan are doing to the Christians; or what the Romans did to Israel in 70 AD that resulted in Jews being exiled all over the world. Only to miraculously return and be reborn as a sovereign nation in 1948. A return that is still going on to this day. One that God said would take place, as documented in hundreds of Old Testament passages.

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(Holocaust Genocide)

Various Ways of Ethnic Cleansing

Ethnic cleansing can be accomplished by means others than elimination of ethnic groups through extreme force. The pendulum can swing all the way from genocide to a lesser, but still imposing, intimidation through limited violence or non-violent pressure that results in the ethnic group leaving their homes.

Such as, for example, the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who left Israel because they were told to do so by the Arab nations (especially Egypt and Syria) which attacked the newborn State of Israel in May, 1948. That was ethnic cleansing of Arabs by Arabs. The rationale of Egyptian and Syrian leaders/generals was that they needed unhindered space to conduct their military campaign against Israel. The Palestinians (they weren’t called Palestinians back then) were in the way, so they were told to leave. Theoretically, they could return after Israel had been swiftly and soundly defeated. Israel miraculously won that war and told the “refugees” they could return; most did not.

Many people, who don’t know or don’t want to know, now believe that these “refugees” were forced out of Israel by the Jews. That is not what happened. But then the individuals, groups, and nations who blame Israel entirely for the Palestinian predicament don’t want to be bothered with historical or contemporary facts. The actual evidence would undermine their predisposed prejudice against the Jews and interfere with their pernicious plan for Israel, which (in varying degrees) is to replace the State of Israel with yet another Arab nation. An Arab state that the Arabs, themselves, originally declined in 1947. Why? For the same reason they did not acknowledge the Balfour Declaration of 1917: They would have to live alongside a Jewish territory, and then a Jewish State.

A more subtle strategy of ethnic cleansing is the removal, desecration, or denial of physical and cultural evidence that the targeted group has any valid historical existence in the land in question. The Palestinians have done all these things to Israel by excavating and then removing valuable Jewish artifacts from and around Temple Mount, Hebron, and Bethlehem. Also the rewriting of Israel’s history in Palestinian school curriculum, maps that depict Israel as “Palestine” (a state that never has existed), and in daily rhetoric denial of Israel’s legacy and heritage in the land.

That is the ultimate problem: Israel’s right to exist. The Palestinians and all Muslim nations save two (Egypt and Jordan … for political expedience only) deny the right of Israel to be a Jewish nation. But the Palestinians have tried to conceal this ambition so as not to jeopardize their cause by being too blatant in the eyes of Western nations. Thus, they focus the world’s attention on so-called Israeli settlements in the West Bank as the exclusive obstacle to peace. Pathetically, but sadly, virtually the entire European Union and also the United States Executive Staff have bought into this inaccurate and unhistorical “Israeli occupation.”

When, in fact, it’s just the opposite: Palestinians are occupying land that historically belongs to Israel.

If someone denies that, then they must challenge God, himself. Seriously!

Excerpts from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Astonishing Video

He began with these words:

“I’m sure many of you have heard the claim that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace. I’ve always been perplexed by this notion, because no one would seriously claim that nearly two million Arabs living inside of Israel are an obstacle to peace. That’s because they aren’t. On the contrary, Israel’s diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace. Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian State with one pre-condition: No Jews!

“There’s a phrase for that. It’s called ethnic cleansing.”

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(Prime Minister Netanyahu “Ethnic Cleansing” Video)

Let’s pause here for commentary. Benjamin Netanyahu knows there are other Arab demands. He chose the “No Jews” pre-condition because it is the ultimate Palestinian purpose that trumps all other (alleged) reasons for wanting a Palestinian State.

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

Here are the primary Palestinian demands:

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

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

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

This is nothing less than “ethnic cleansing.”

Which isn’t anything new. Which is why Benjamin Netanyahu wants the world to finally and fully realize the perpetual plan of the Palestinians that hasn’t (and won’t) changed since Israel became a Sovereign State … actually long before that when it comes to Muslim nations that surround Israel.

For example: In 1996, just three years after his farcical participation in the Oslo Accords (signed on September 13, 1993) with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (moderated by US President Bill Clinton), PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat uttered these words at a public press conference:

“We Palestinians will take over everything … You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel, and establish a purely Palestinian State … I have no use for the Jews, they are and remain Jews.”

Can anything be more callously clear? It’s equally clear to this very day: The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have every intention to continue Arafat’s atrocious agenda.

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(Oslo Accord … Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat)

Prime Minister Netanyahu went on to say:

“And this demand (no Jews in a Palestinian State) is outrageous. It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage. Ask yourself this: Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks? Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?

This moment, Jewish children in Judea and Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends. Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so. I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others.”

The Real Situation in Israel

My commentary: I have read extensively about Israel’s ancient and contemporary history, and have seen numerous documentaries about the Holocaust and the Palestinian intifadas in Israel, especially the one that began in September, 2000. I have traveled to Israel and saw no evidence whatsoever of Jewish animosity toward the Palestinians as a whole. Of course, they are saddened and angered when Palestinians kill Jews; but they are still tolerant of the existence of Arabs within Israel.

I spent some time with two taxi-drivers in Jerusalem. One of them was part Jewish and part Egyptian, the other a former Palestinian Arab, both of whom became Israeli citizens. Both of them were, in varying degrees, representative of the nearly “two million Arabs living inside of Israel” (Netanyahu’s description), called Israeli Arabs. Though one staunchly supported the State of Israel and the other barely tolerated Israel’s existence, the fact remains that neither would want to be forced to live in a Palestinian State. Both highly valued their freedom to work, travel, vote, and otherwise live in Israel, the only true democratic state in the Middle East.

Some 70% of Israeli Arabs do not want a Palestinian State. Here is an excerpt from an Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, A Palestinian State … No Say Many Arabs (posted 1-11-14).

I quote well-known columnist Khaled Abu Toameh from one of his articles:

“Arab Knesset members … do not want to wake up in the morning and discover that they are citizens of a Palestinian state. It is much easier for them to accuse Israel of racism than to admit that they do not want to be part of a Palestinian state.”

I then go on to say:

At face value that seems and sounds incredible—that Palestinians wouldn’t want to be governed by their own people. But after further review, it’s all too practical and easy to grasp. Pretty much ever since Israel became a nation, and especially since 1967 when hundreds of thousands more Arabs suddenly became citizens of Israel, those Israeli Arabs have been far better off than their Palestinian brothers living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although there’s still a lot of hostility emanating from Israeli Arabs toward Israel, they understand that Israeli citizenship affords them much more freedom, democracy, a higher standard of living, movement throughout Israel, more places to shop for and buy the things they want and need; in short, a better way of life. The last thing they want is an abruptly changed life in a Palestinian State, controlled by a Palestinian government that could just as quickly take away many of the privileges they currently enjoy as Israeli citizens.

Even many Palestinians (non-Israeli citizens) who occupy the West Bank or Gaza do not want a Palestinian State. Especially since Hamas took over Gaza. If a Palestinian State was arbitrarily and unilaterally created by say the European Union, the United Nations, the P5 +1, or even the United States alone, who would govern this state? The Palestinians know that, in all likelihood, a civil war would erupt between Hamas and Fatah (Palestinian Authority), which would entice Iran, Hezbollah, ISIS, and perhaps even Russia to jump in. Not to mention Israel’s reaction if any Israelis were harmed in this struggle between Palestinian factions.

In addition to Khaled Abu Toameh’s perceptive understanding of the Middle East problems and their true historical source, there is another Arab who tells it like it is. His name is Fred Maroun, currently a resident of Canada, who lived in Lebanon from 1961 to 1984.

Although Arabic through and through, he looks at Israeli/Palestinian history objectively. The September edition of the Levitt Letter (Zola Levitt Ministries) presented a very brief bullet-point summary of articles written by Fred Maroun, originally published in the on-line news source Gatestone Institute, entitled, Arabs’ Historic Mistakes in Interactions with Israel.

  • “We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously. Our worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947.
  • Perhaps one should not launch wars if one is not prepared for the results of possibly losing them.
  • The Jews are not keeping the Arabs in camps, we are.
  • Jordan integrated some refugees, but not all. We could have proven that we Arabs are a great and noble people, but instead we showed the world, as we continue to do, that our hatred toward each other and toward Jews is far greater than any concept of purported Arab solidarity.”

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Bowing to internal pressure from his own people, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for elections to be held October 8, 2016. But Abbas totally misjudged Hamas, as he thought they would boycott the elections … exactly what he wanted them to do. Instead, they agreed to participate and introduced their own candidates.

Just last week, the elections were postponed!

Talk about Palestinian prejudice and bigotry. Obviously based on the Islamic religion that suppresses woman to the point of complete subjugation to men, the Palestinian Authority refused to identify some of their woman candidates for office by name. Instead, they listed them as the “wife” or “sister” of so and so. Little wonder that they have zero tolerance for Jews, when they won’t even publicly acknowledge their wives and daughters by name … and certainly not by photograph. On the other hand, if a Palestinian woman or girl kills a Jew or two in a lone-wolf terrorist attack, their names are immediately publicized and photographs posted.

Getting back to Benjamin Netanyahu’s video. He concludes by saying:

“Societies that respect all peoples are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don’t pursue peace. I envision a Middle-East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together, side-by-side in peace. Our region needs more tolerance, not less. So the next time you hear someone say Jews can’t live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications.

“Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did.”

Telling It like It Is

Boy, did he ever say it!

Not only did Benjamin hit the proverbial nail on the head by calling the ultimate overriding demand of the Palestinians (and by default all Muslim nations) exactly what it is, he also drove home the incontrovertible historical reality that the Palestinians want the Jewish “ancestral homeland” to be absent of all Jews.

It was horrifically pathetic and tragically “absurd” (irrational, hideously bizarre) enough for the Nazis to try to eliminate all Jews in Germany (also from all of Europe). It is no less appalling to remove the Jews from their own land, which is the outrageous intention of the Palestinians.

Indeed, Benjamin Netanyahu’s charge that Palestinian leaders want all Jews to leave Israel is shocking and provocative; but it is also poignantly proper. His description of “ethnic cleansing” is NOT an exaggeration.

Although a member of Netanyahu’s political party, Likud, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steintz, nevertheless, expressed what nearly all Jews and Palestinians already know to be true; what most of the Western World sweeps under the global carpet through ignorance, or deliberately because they don’t want to admit the real Palestinian agenda.

Said Yuval Steintz:

“It’s not the prime minister who is talking about ethnic cleansing. The prime minister’s remarks reflect what the Palestinians themselves are saying. [The Palestinians] talk about ethnic cleansing in their own school system and speeches. Netanyahu told the truth. When the Palestinians talk about being ‘cleansed’ of Jews, they don’t mean just (in) Judea and Samaria, but rather the entire country.”

It was no secret that Netanyahu’s reference to “otherwise enlightened countries” (that endorse and even encourage the idea of expelling all Jews from the West Bank, which also includes East Jerusalem) included first and foremost the United States. Thus, I’m certain that the Israeli Prime Minister wasn’t surprised at the reaction of the US State Department.

Here are some of the words of State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau:

“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful. We share the view of every past U.S. administration and the strong consensus of the international community that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace. We continue to call on both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to the two-state solution.”

She went on to condemn Israel’s “illegal outposts and unauthorized settlement units.”

Ironically, because of monumental blunders in yielding to international pressure, Israel herself has contributed mistakenly to forced removal of her own people. Something that Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders who now “see the light” never want to happen again. Although there are a few other less traumatic instances of Israel giving back part of their land to placate international demands (whims), I’m referring to two grievous gaffes in Israel’s remarkable history as a nation reborn from the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps.

The first was to relinquish control of Temple Mount back to the Jordanians (with what is now functional jurisdiction assumed by the Palestinian Authority) after Israel’s victory in the amazing Six-Day War, including the IDF’s recapture of their holy city, Jerusalem.

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(IDF Taking Jerusalem in 1967 Six-Day War)

The second was former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s eviction of 10,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005, which fits the stronger, more overt definition of ethnic cleansing: “systematic forced removal of an ethnic or religious groups from a given territory with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous” (Wikipedia).

Indeed, both of these tragic events resulted in “cleansing” of Jews from a part of their homeland—which the Gaza and West Bank are and always will be.

It would be absolutely no different than the United States disallowing American citizens to visit the Statue of Liberty. Instead, allow only the French who gave us this monument as a gift of appreciation for creating and continuing life, liberty, and equality in the New World.

Or permitting only the British to step foot on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Or only those who (still) support the Confederate idea and principal of succession from the Union, to visit the Lincoln Memorial. Or, to return the eastern half of Washington D.C. to England, because we believe too much was taken from the British in the Revolutionary War; or that we should have remained under the ethnic domination and control of England to begin with. These are not merely exaggerations for effect. They are precise parallels to what the Palestinians already have in part and want even more in full … to expel all Jews from all of Israel.

The Real Palestinian Mindset and Motive

We all need to understand one glaring grotesque fact. Since the United Nations in November, 1947 granted nation status to Israel and the Jews declared that statehood in May, 1948, Muslim nations surrounding Israel (then later Arabs within Israel that adopted the appellation Palestinian, previously applied primarily to Jews living in the territory called Palestine), the Arabs have had one ultimate objective: Ethnic cleansing of the Jews from Israel.

That malicious mindset and motive has never changed. Only their methods to achieve these gruesome goals have changed.

Israel fought four major against Muslim Arab nations: 1948 War of Independence; 1956 Suez War; 1967 Six-Day War; 1973 Yom Kippur War.

In each of these wars, Arab leaders said something to the effect (paraphrasing), “We will drive the Jews into the Sea.” Or, “We will annihilate Israel.” Or, “Not one Jew will be left.”

When the Muslims finally realized they couldn’t eradicate the Jews or even defeat Israel by conventional warfare, they resorted to terrorism—mostly by Palestinians from within Israel. This included thousands of mortars and missiles lobbed into Israel from the Gaza Strip after the Israeli government evicted its own people from the Gaza (with the proposed purpose of better protecting them). And thousands more rockets launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon into northern Israel. More recently, dozens of “lone-wolf” assassins killing Israelis with axes, knives, guns, and cars.

Make no mistake. Even these individual lone-wolf attackers (most of them very young in age) were doing their sordid part to rid Israel of Jews, one, two, or three at a time. All the while, Palestinian propaganda (lies) convinces their own people and most of the Western world that the obstacle to peace are Jewish settlements in the West Bank! Thus, the only solution is to cleanse the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, of all Jews. Of course, that’s not enough. Which explains why many of the lone-wolf attackers also murdered Jews in “West Jerusalem” and Tel Aviv and other Israeli towns.

If anyone thinks that “cleansing” is too harsh of a description, I will once again quote the words of Palestinian Authority President Abbas, as cited in a couple of previous Eye of Prophecy articles. “We must not permit the filthy feet of the Jews to desecrate our holy places.” He was referring first and foremost to Temple Mount. Do you see the connection, the irony? Clean those filthy feet of the Jews by removing them completely … ethnic cleansing.

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(Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas)

In a recent Eye of Prophecy article, Palestinian Propaganda Is Pure Poison, I quoted US State Department John Kirby’s latest tirade against Israel in general and West Bank Jewish settlements in particular. The earlier mentioned quote from State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau mimics Kirby’s words.

Said Kirby (which he has said before as noted in a previous Eye of Prophecy article) in denouncement of the Israeli government that they were, “…systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution by engaging in settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

I then quoted Alan Baker, former Israeli ambassador to Canada, who, along with others, justifiably criticized our State Department’s shortsighted, uninformed, and warped perspective of the Israeli, Palestinian conflict. Here is his quote:

“Reading the statement (Kirby’s statement) … An average reader having landed from space, would only conclude that Israel’s settlement activity is the source of all evil in the world, and the United States is waging a massive war of Armageddon against this evil. No international terror, no ISIS, no Iranian nuclear threat, no Syria, no Hezbollah, no Hamas, no hunger, no global warming. Only Israel’s settlements!”

Although Alan Baker’s statement was melodramatic, it was nonetheless accurate. Our US Presidential Staff doesn’t want to take the time and effort needed to fully investigate and comprehend the veiled Palestinian plan, which is no different than surrounding Muslim nations who want the Jews out of Israel. Thus, our State Department has reprehensively replaced the real source of Palestinian animosity toward in Israel in particular and Muslim hatred of Jews in general, with the preposterous supposition that a handful of Jewish settlements (compared to the large number of Arab settlements) in the West Bank is the sole cause of all Palestinian woes.

Instead, of catching up on the true history of the Middle East and coming to terms with the real agenda of not only the Palestinians but virtually all Muslim nations, our US State Department is determined to leave their executive head in the sand, and continue to blame Israel for a few Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

That is why Benjamin Netanyahu believed it was finally time to make a tougher statement so that the world would stand up and take notice of the true intentions of Israel’s enemies. To make sure that all interested parties fully grasp the underlying short-term agenda and long-term objective of the Palestinians and all Arab countries. Which is complete elimination (cleansing) of all Jews in Israel, whether a Palestinian State is created or not.

Things to Ponder

As said several times in past Eye of Prophecy articles, and as some of you know: The real strife between Arabs and Jews goes back to ancient Biblical times, all the way to Ishmael and Isaac. Then Esau and Jacob. Both of these older brothers hated the younger, as did their descendants. That brutally baseless and incessantly irrational “anti-Semitism” spread to Middle East countries, then to the whole world.

However, it’s deeper than racial hatred of the Jews. It is defiance, rejection, and replacement of the God of the Bible—the Creator of the universe and mankind who chose the Jews for a special purpose—in favor of man-made religions and gods and totalitarian state systems.

And so the Psalmist pleads with God for Israel:

“O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence’” (Psalm 83:1-4).

We need to astutely understand God’s plan for the human race: The Kingdom of God will one day be established on this earth.

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: ‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever … We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign” (Revelation 11:15-17).

Yet Scripture is abundantly clear that there are two parts to God’s providential plan of personally dwelling with mankind in his kingdom on earth.

1. Personal Salvation of both Jews and Gentiles through the Son of God, Messiah Jesus: The Kingdom of God is used interchangeably in Scripture with the Kingdom of Heaven. But an up close analysis of the different passages and contexts and applications shows that the Kingdom of Heaven more specifically relates to God the Father and God the Son (Jesus) establishing their spiritual residence in the hearts and lives of all who believe and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

“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 … There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16, 18). [See John 14:15-17 & John 16:5-15 on the Holy Spirit’s action of leading people to salvation and then indwelling those whom Christ has saved].

Yes, our great and glorious God and His majestic Son, Messiah Jesus loves you and me and the Jews and the Palestinians equally. The eternal destiny of every human being depends upon whether we choose everlasting life through Christ or eternal death by rejecting him as Savior.

2. The Kingdom of God will be literally established in the Holy City of Jerusalem, in the  Holy (Promised) Land of Israel: From there the entire world will be governed by Messiah Jesus. There is a heavy price to be paid by those who mistreat God’s chosen people—set apart to bring the Messiah and God’s Word to the whole world—and who seek to divide the land of Israel.

Concerning God’s plan for Israel:

“This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the Lord: This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

Those who devise boycotts and sanctions against Israel; those who hate the apple of God’s eye; those who desire to “clean” the House of David (Israel) by removing all Jews from their homeland (or anywhere else), should take heed.

“At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming by people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2).

God has already disciplined Israel for her disobedience. It was a severe and long punishment—exile to foreign nations lasting for some 2,500 years … ending in 1967.

Thus, no one should ever seek to harm or divide Israel, or to side with her enemies.

“The day is near when, I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads” (Obadiah 1:15).

The Gog/Magog Countdown Has Begun!

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Incredible Turn of Events in the Middle East

What is the purpose of a peace treaty?

Undoubtedly, your response to this question would be, “Seriously? What kind of question is that?” And you would be right. That peace is the incontestable ideal and exclusive end of any treaty of peace is as plain as the opposite result of a peace treaty producing war is perplexing.

Thus, it’s inconceivable that a peace treaty would be an instant guarantee of war. But that’s exactly what will happen soon after believers the world over are taken from this earth at the Rapture, which could happen any day … even while you’re reading this article. In last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, we covered this seven-year treaty in detail, including the conditions it will create; thereby, enticing the Gog/Magog coalition to suddenly attack Israel. Then a year or two after the ill-fated Gog/Magog invasion of Israel, the author of the treaty (Antichrist Nero) will himself break the agreement half-way through it.

Because of the false sense of security created by this peace agreement, the Jews will be caught perilously off guard. Let’s read again what The Lord says to a conceited Gog and Gog’s arrogant Magog allies:

“Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them … In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:7-8).

We read why an overconfident Gog of the land of Magog (Russia) and other smug countries like Iran and Turkey will pounce on Israel:

“You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence! I will go to these formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations. I will capture vast amounts of plunder, for the people are rich with livestock and other possessions now. They think the whole world revolves around them!’” (Ezekiel 38:11-12).

The Gog/Magog coalition will take advantage of Israel’s “confidence” generated because the Israelis, “…are living in peace in their land” (Verse 14). What better time to strike than when your victim is not expecting any aggression, thus, woefully unprepared? We also see two malicious motives that seduce Russia, Iran, and Turkey: (1) to capture vast amounts of plunder. (2) The deep animosity of these wicked nations toward the Jews compounded by a jealous hatred which claims that Israel, thinks the whole world revolves around them.

See Eye of Prophecy article, Gog, Magog, and Leviathan (posted 1-3-15) for, among other things, some remarkable repercussions of the natural gas fields discovered and now in production by Israel that will be an irresistible incentive for Gog to invade Israel.

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(Leviathan Natural Gas Field in the Mediterranean Sea)

Here is an excerpt from last week’s article, The Peace Treaty That Will Guarantee War:

In just the last few months and weeks, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have “mobilized their armies” and have taken “command of them” in Syria, which borders Israel. Although the mobilization is limited, the fact remains that for the first time in history these three Magog nations are conducting military operations in the Middle East. Unmistakably, this is the beginning fulfillment of Ezekiel’s astounding prophecy. It’s just a matter of (a short) time before the full military might of Russia, Iran, Turkey, and other nations descend on Israel to completely bring about the Gog/Magog prophecy.

Burgeoning Alliance between Russia, Iran, and Turkey

The countdown to the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel has begun; with each new prophetic tick-of-the-clock development taking place more rapidly than ever before. Once the fulfillment of a Biblical prophecy begins, it increases with rapid-fire frequency and intensity. This is true for any number of Bible prophecies, especially end-times events such as the rebirth of the Sovereign State of Israel in 1948. In fact, all of the last day’s prophecies leading to the Rapture, the Great Tribulation—which includes the Gog/Magog campaign in the first year or so of the Tribulation—and the Millennium will continue to unfold in one generation. Here we are using Scripture’s two literal definitions of a generation … 100 years and 70 years.

(Please see Eye of Prophecy article, The Omega Generation, posted 2-15-14 for some extraordinary evidence to show that the two generational milestones began in 1917 and in 1947, respectively).

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

As stated with Scripture-based authority in last week’s article, “Folks, we are that generation. The 21st century fig tree has sprouted into full bloom. Messiah’s return is very near.”

Let’s examine some of the fascinating, yet ominous, developments that have taken place so very recently between the three main Gog/Magog nations.

Russia and Iran

We’ll begin with an excerpt (in italics) from an Eye of Prophecy article, Beginning of the End, posted on 3-5-16, for a brief overview of the late 20th and early 21st century alliance between Russia and Iran, one that has turned avowed adversaries into “strange bedfellows.”

The two most powerful nations referenced in Ezekiel’s predictions are Russia, by clear inference, and Iran, by actual name. Once enemies by virtue of the Iranian’s (Persians) national adherence to Islam, directly opposed to Russia’s atheistic communism, Iran is now an ally of Russia. They have set aside their differences for the common cause of establishing a footing in the region, under the pretense of supporting Bashar Assad and his Syrian government. Russia’s main agenda is to take over the gas fields off the coast of Israel and newly discovered oil reserves in Israel. Iran’s objective is much less subtle. Their hatred of Jews and Israel has been repeatedly voiced by their leaders with genocidal threats to: Wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

To demonstrate how much stronger this unlikely alliance between Russia and Iran is getting: Less than a month ago, for the first time ever, Iran permitted a foreign nation’s (Russia, of course) fighter bombers and jets to take off from Iran’s Hamedan Air Base. If you’ve kept up with just a little of what’s happening in the Middle East, you’ll know that this military liaison between Russia and Iran pretentiously serves the purpose of striking ISIS targets in Syria. Because both Iran and Russia support the Syrian Government still led by Bashar Assad, they also bomb and strafe Syrian rebel militia fighting against Assad. These freedom fighters are supported by the United States and some Western nations. Although Iran subsequently restricted Russia’s use of the air field to refueling only, the sure fulfillment of the Gog/Magog prophecy will eventually lead to unhindered cooperation between these two nations. Their anti-God (of the Bible) and anti-Israel agenda will override any differences.

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The following is a thumb nail line-up of the major players vying for supremacy in Syria, including their involvement (for or against) with Russia and Iran … also Turkey.

Syrian Government: Bashar Assad’s fractured, but still formidable, regime composed mostly of Alawite Muslims, backed by some foreign Shi’ite Muslim fighters sponsored by Iran and by Russia. The two main groups supporting Assad are the Syrian Armed Forces (Assad’s original army) and the National Defense Forces—a paramilitary organization backed by Iran, Hezbollah of Lebanon, and elements of the Iran Revolutionary Guard. Their enemy is all of the Syrian opposition militia and the Islamic State.

Syrian Democratic Forces: An alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces assembled mainly by the United States to fight ISIS. However, these forces are now led by the YPG, the Syrian arm of the Kurdish Worker’s Party in Turkey, which both Turkey and the U.S. classify as a terrorist organization. The Syrian Democratic Forces are working directly with Russia and has maintained relations with the Syrian government. Its main enemies are ISIS, the anti-Assad Syrian opposition, and Turkey itself.

Syrian Opposition Groups: There are a myriad of individual militias in Syria composed mostly of Arabs, Sunni Muslims, Druze, and Kurds. Some of these groups are also considered to be terrorist’s cells, such as the Nusra Front (an offshoot of al-Qaida, now called Jabhat Fatah al-Sham); Ahrar al-Sham (allies include Turkey and Qatar); Jaish al-Islam (allies include Saudi Arabia and Turkey). Their main enemies are Assad and his Syrian Government, Russia, Iran, Syrian Democratic Forces, Hezbollah, and, of course, ISIS.

Southern Front: This is the main (anti-Syrian government) alliance that includes the Free Syrian Army whose allies are The United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Turkey. Their two main enemies have been Assad’s Syrian government and ISIS, but also include Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Islamic State (ISIS): Their enemies are all of the above!

(*Note: Although I have mentioned some of these groups in prior Eye of Prophecy posts, for purpose of today’s article, I used a column in USA Today written by Oren Dorrell, published 9-6-16, that presented a summary of the warring factions in Syria).

Here is another excerpt from Beginning of the End, to further illustrate the complex array of nations and blocs waging war primarily in Syria, but also Iraq. Beginning with a quote from a Rabbi:

As Jerusalem-based well-known scholar and author Rabbi Nachman Kahana recently opined: “One needs a scorecard to keep track of the sides and the initiatives of what is now transpiring in the Arab Gehennom (Hell) of the Middle East.”

Then my analogy expressed in that same article, depicting this Middle East quagmire:

A group mud-wrestling brawl, a bumper-car melee, or a free-for-all bar fight metaphor comes to mind, but only with regard to the bizarre, almost comical alignment of nations, ethnic groups, and terrorist cells. Otherwise any such analogy doesn’t come close to explaining the devastating death and destruction (over a quarter million killed thus far in Syria); nor the massive displacement of millions of Syrians into refugee status; nor the imminent threat of global war if just one of the more prominent nations like Russia, Iran, Turkey, or the United States gets truly serious about whether Assad should remain in power or not.

Unlike the United States engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq where the number of U.S. Coalition and enemy casualties have been periodically listed, there is no ongoing media reports identifying the number of combatant casualties in Syria, and certainly not categorizing which fighting group the slain soldiers belong to. We can only imagine the number of friendly fire casualties. Half the time the fighters probably don’t know for sure who they’re shooting at or who’s shooting at them.

Many of the troops are wondering: “Who are we fighting today?”

It is as the British are prone to say: A bloody mess … literally.

Fortunately for our United States pilots, there is Air Control coordination with Russia to avoid mid-air collisions and the bombing of “friendly targets.” But then, friendly is in the eye of the beholder!

Despite the incredible spectacle of Russia and the United States fighting against a common enemy (ISIS), the somber reality remains: Russia and Iran are being joined at the hip. With Russia and the United States teetering on the brink of another cold war, one that could get red-hot should so much as an “accidental” downing of an American or Russian plane by the other occur. And with Iran already a sworn enemy of Israel and of the United States, the Nuclear Deal notwithstanding.

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To add fuel to what has in a very short time become a smoldering (controlled … for now) burn, one that could instantly become a roaring military blaze, here is a quote from a Prophecy News Watch article published this past Wednesday, entitled Russia Prepares for War.

“According to US State Department figures released in March, 2016, Russia has added 150 new warheads (mostly tactical nuclear) to its arsenal in the past year while the US shrank its stockpile by 57 … Recently leaked plans show submarine drones capable of launching nuclear missiles. Also, a reported new stealth nuclear missile and warhead, called Satan-2, is designed to evade radar detection systems. Both hint at Russia’s intent to bolster its strategic nuclear power.”

Commentary: A stealth nuclear missile/warhead called Satan-2? What a fitting name! A stealth weapon named after Satan, the master of deception and destruction.

Russia and Turkey

Next, is the unimaginable reconciliation between Turkey and Russia? It was only last November that Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that allegedly strayed into Turkish airspace. The infuriated Russian President Vladmir Putin immediately leveled economic sanctions against Turkey, which cost the Turkish economy billions of dollars. The sabre rattling of the two nations against each other was heard around the world, to include absurd boasts by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Russia was no match for Turkish military power!

In the article, Beginning of the End (March, 2016) I made this observation:

Although diplomatic relations between Turkey (the third most prominent nation in this Gog/Magog confederation) and Russia are currently strained, that will change dramatically when Russia covertly, then openly declares its intention to invade Israel. In the classic mode of “if your enemy is also my enemy,” Turkey will go all in with Russia and Iran if it means conquering Israel.

Since that article was posted, the strained relations between Russia and Turkey have, indeed, changed dramatically. This past July, Erdogan apologized for shooting down the Russian warplane; in August he flew to Russia, and shook hands with Putin as a prelude to normalizing diplomatic relations between the two (former) rivals. Subsequently, they have set aside their differences to the point where the Russians not only didn’t oppose Turkey’s entrance into the Syrian civil war just a couple of weeks ago; they welcomed Turkey’s sudden and direct participation.

I certainly am not a prophet. In fact, no one needs to be a prophet to make such forecasts, because they are not (new) predictions at all. The Bible is and contains the full sum of all prophecies relevant to God’s plan for his creation, i.e. everything that God wants us to know. For the things that we don’t know but think we need to know, God’s response is to simply trust him! (Proverbs 3:5-6 and many other verses).

Thus, when I said a few months ago that the strained relations between Russia and Turkey, “will change dramatically when Russia covertly, then openly declares its intention to invade Israel…” I was simply relaying one of the many component parts of the Gog/Magog prophecy. To wit: Turkey will be one of the nations aligned with Russia and Iran when that campaign takes place.

The covert part has recently begun, which is a surprising but sinister turn-of-events alliance between these two nations under the pretense of doing battle against ISIS and for the ostensible purpose of permitting Turkey to join and participate in Russia and Iran’s expanding influence in the Middle East. Soon, this subterfuge will erupt openly into a massive invasion of Israel. That will occur because all of these nations have one (ultimate) malicious mindset: They hate Israel and will do whatever they can to destroy the Jews.

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(Recep Erdogan and Vladmir Putin August, 2016 Meeting)

Turkey and Iran

In that same article, Beginning of the End, I also wrote about an improbable joint military exercise (war games) between primarily Saudi Arabia and Turkey that took place this past February, called Northern Thunder. It was meant to be a show of force directly against Syrian President Assad and indirectly against Iran, which supports and subsidizes Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppet regime Hezbollah in Lebanon.

(Note: Since Israel’s last war with Hezbollah in 2006, Hezbollah has amassed an even larger stockpile of missiles … some 100,000, many with a greater load and distance capacity. Next to Iran, Israel considers Hezbollah as its most formidable foe).

Just like Erdogan of Turkey and Putin of Russia have cozied themselves and their countries together; in just the past three weeks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif (the same Iranian official who met with the P5 + 1 nations to seal the Iranian nuclear deal last year) met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. In a joint press conference, Zarif announced that Iran has every intention of resolving all remaining disputes with Turkey.

Emboldened by its sudden reconciliation with Russia and Iran, Turkey just a few days ago sent tanks and soldiers into Syria, to ostensibly strike at ISIS targets. However, as any of us who monitors the pulse of the Middle East knows: Turkey’s main interest was to attack the Kurds who seek their own independent state.

Turkey’s incursion into Syria and the Turks newfound affinity for the Russians pleases Iran to no end. In his Gatestone Institute article published August 26th, Burak Bekdil quotes Meira Svirsky at the Clarion Project: “Not only will Turkey have to digest that (Russian-Iranian-Syrian) line, it will have to join it, entering into a pact with Putin and the ayatollahs. Clearly this is where Erdogan has decided is the best place to pledge his allegiance.”

All the while, Turkey’s relations with the United States and the European Union is cooling considerably, not far from the freezing point.

Burak Bekdil goes on to write:

“Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey and Russia have similar views on the need for a ceasefire in Syria, the provision of humanitarian aid, and a political solution to end the crisis. That must have caused shy smiles in Moscow: the Turkish John Wayne on his knees begging to work on Syria only months after he threatened to shoot down any Russian aircraft and kick the Russians out of Syria. Now Turkey is calling on Russia to team up and carry out joint military operations in a bid to crush ISIS in Syria.”

My commentary: Meanwhile, the Ayatollah, the Iranian imams, and Iran’s Revolutionary (Republican) Guard are dancing and singing in their mosques to the menacing music of, Let’s take Syria, then Israel, then the United States, the great Satan!

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(Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Troops)

In the online news source Israel Hayom, columnist Zalman Shoval posted an article on August 23, 2016 entitled: The Unholy Trinity. As you may have already surmised, the subject was that of Russia, Iran, and Turkey’s swift and surprising diplomatic and now military ties between each of these nations. This unholy trinity is an apt description. The very fact that these three nations have agreed to resolve or at least set aside all differences is a seemingly stunning shift in Middle East balance of power as seen by national leaders the world over, particularly geopolitical experts.

Stunning? Perhaps? But when placed in the sweeping context of Bible prophecy it’s nothing more than another piece of the prophetic puzzle put into place. Stunning, nevertheless, in the speed at which all these things are happening. Parts of the prophetic puzzle that formerly took centuries, then decades to fit together, are now taking only months, weeks, and days. Which is why the Bible describes the last days by the shorter time frame of, The Day of the Lord and the hour is at hand.

The Time is So Very Near!

Listen to these astounding words of Messiah Jesus, some of which include the first reference to the Rapture itself:

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered the boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two woman will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:37-42).

Then a short while later Jesus repeats his warning: “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matthew 25:13, italics for emphasis).

Thus, when the signs that Jesus gave—which are to be combined with all of the prophecies given by the prophets and apostles, for “this generation” (what I have called the Omega Generation)—begin to unfold, the time of his reappearance is reduced to, “the day and hour.”

As indicated in last week’s article, the best analogy to describe our post-modern shrinking world and the geopolitical and military spasms that shake media headlines almost daily, is none other than the birth contractions of a woman in labor … exactly the comparison made by Jesus to describe events of the last days.

Israel’s Peace Initiatives with Russia and Turkey

Yet another remarkable development is Israel’s recent policy to establish and/or improve diplomatic relations with Russia and Turkey, spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself. Over the past several months, Netanyahu has met several times with Russian President Putin.

Likewise, this past June, Israel and Turkey reestablished diplomatic ties; both nations proposing mutual cooperation in matters of economic, political, and cultural matters. For example: Israel promised to supply Turkey (as well as Egypt) with energy resources from the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

From the internet news source Israel Hayom, contributing author Isi Leibler writes in his article of July 13, 2016:

“The Netanyahu government is moving away from what was hitherto almost total dependency on the United States and is seeking to bolster relations with other countries. These efforts have been accelerated by the Obama administration’s undisguised attempts to create daylight in its relationship with Israel to appease Muslim states hostile to Israel, in particular the Iranian terrorist state.

“Today Israel welcomes alliances based on pragmatic mutual economic, political or defense interests. Turkey fits into this category, as do a number of Arab countries threatened with Islamic State or Iranian hegemony. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, at least for now, are willing to covertly benefit from an Israel military presence in the region.”

Then later in his article, Leibler writes:

“Our most extraordinary, even dazzling, relationship is with the Russians. Who could have envisioned that a former KGB officer, now president of Russia, would hold more annual meetings with the Israeli prime minister than the U.S. president does? And that this Russian president would speak in endearing terms about the Jews in his country and his admiration for Israel…”

Israel has also enhanced international interactions with China, India, and several African countries.

Quoting columnist Zalman Shoval in the aforementioned article, The Unholy Trinity:

“The fact that Turkey, Russia (now Israel’s ally) and Iran (a supporter of global terrorism and Hezbollah’s patron) are establishing practical understandings should raise red flags in Israel and make it clear that we must address this new reality in a practical, thoughtful way, looking at the situation from all sides.”

Israel has already been doing what Shoval recommended. In addition to strengthening ties with Russia and Turkey (two of the three prominent nations to turn on Israel as part of the Gog/Magog coalition), Israel is responding favorably to more friendly diplomatic gestures from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. Certainly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands the underlying motive of these nations—to seek Israel’s protection against the Iranian threat. He fully realizes that Muslim people, as a whole, in these countries still despise the Jews and Israel. Yet, Benjamin recognizes the volatile times and the need to establish closer ties with government leaders of surrounding nations as a practical means to the passionate pursuit of Israel—peace with its enemies.

For example: Dr. Anwan Eshki, a Saudi Arabia retired general has met with Israeli officials to promote diplomatic cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Wrote Khaled Abu Toameh in an August 8, 2016 article for Gatestone Institute entitled, The “Anti-Normalization” Campaign and Israel’s Right to Exist:

“Arabs and Muslims are up in arms over a controversial visit to Israel by … Dr. Anwar Eshki, who is being accused of promoting ‘normalization with the Jews and the Zionist entity.’ Then, Khaled Toameh comments: “If ‘normalization’ with Israel is being denounced as a major crime and sin, one can only imagine what ‘peace’ with Israelis would be considered in the Arab and Islamic countries.”

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(Israeli Official Dore Gold & Retired Saudi Arabia General Anwan Eshki)

Likewise with Egypt. Columnist, Bassam Tawil writes in another Gatestone Institute article published on August 15, 2016 entitled, Egypt’s Crucial Role in the Middle East:

“The visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Israel in early July 2016 could be an indication that the frozen peace between Israel and Egyptians, signed by Begin and Sadat in 1979, might be thawing.”

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(Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu)

The remarkable reality that Israel has suddenly and dramatically improved her standing with a diverse array of nations, most of which were (and still are to varying degrees) staunch opponents to the existence of a Jewish State, fits precisely into our prophecy of the day … the Gog/Magog attack against Israel. These maneuvers for peace between Israel and adversarial Islamic nations will pave the way for The Treaty to End All Treaties!

That treaty effected by Antichrist Nero soon after the Rapture will not only bring together two ancient enemies (Jews and Arabs); it will also defuse hostilities of other nations toward Israel … even Iran.

But only for a short time!

Because at that time, which is just around the corner, Russia, Turkey, Iran and other lesser nations will, “swoop down on the land of Israel … You (Gog) and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:8-9).

This massive Gog/Magog invasion of Israel will be a direct “shock and awe” aftermath of: The Rapture disappearance of hundreds of millions from planet Earth (shock). Then the spectacular reappearance of Nero Caesar from the Abyss and his impressive treaty with Israel and the nations (awe).

But the Lord will have the final say. Without Israel needing to fight at all, here is what will happen to Gog from Magog—Russia, Turkey, and Iran when they dare take on God’s special possession, Israel:

“But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over! In my jealousy and blazing anger, I promise a mighty shaking in the land of Israel on that day … all the people on earth will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth. I will summon the sword against you on all the hills of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn their swords against each other. I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:18-23, italics for emphasis).

Did you catch the italicized words? What will begin as an apparently indissoluble coalition of nations aligned against Israel will dissolve irreparably by a combination of God’s divine display of nature’s power and each of the Gog nations turning on each other.

Things to Ponder

Our Great and Glorious God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Father of our Sovereign Savior and Lord, Messiah Yeshua—has a wonderful way of simplifying and solving the complicated mess we’ve made of and on planet Earth.

Nationally: According to Scripture, God reduces all countries into two groups. Those that bless and support Israel and those that despise and curse Israel (Genesis 12:3). History is littered with the rubble of nations who have harmed Israel.

Individually: The human race is also divided into two groups. God does not look at us through the problematic prism of race, language, culture, religion, or status.

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God loves everyone equally (John 3:16).

But God is also holy and righteous and just. Every person who has ever lived has sinned and fallen far short of the righteousness required to live forever with God in heaven (Romans 3:23). Hence, God sent his Son, Messiah Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins and give us His righteousness, for we have none of our own.

“As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous—not even one’” (Romans 3:10, quoting Psalm 14:2-3).

“The Lord is Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6).

“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).

Everyone must make a decision to believe in Christ and receive his salvation (right standing with God) or not to believe and receive, and remain in their sins. Therefore, all people on earth are either saved or unsaved (from the penalty of sin). Accordingly, there are two places where everyone will spend eternity: In heaven with God; or, in the Lake of Fire without God.

The following two passages highlight the distinction and destiny of every person on earth:

Believers: “We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).

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

Said Messiah Jesus: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish…” (John 10:27-28).

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“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

In all seriousness, you don’t want to be a goat.

The Peace Treaty That Will Guarantee War

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Times of the Signs!

A forest fire, a merry-go-round, a spinning top, a kaleidoscope, a domino effect, an avalanche, or a one-thousand piece puzzle assembled every day: pick one of these metaphors or choose one of your own. Any one of them reliably represents the frantic pace at which global events are occurring, particularly in the Middle East. It is nothing short of astonishing.

I think the most applicable analogy of all would be childbirth pains. That is the picture used by Jesus to depict the exponential escalation of natural disasters, epidemic diseases, wars, ethnic conflicts, surge and resurge of Anti-Semitism, rampant immorality, distortion of and deviation from the absolute truth of God’s Word (Bible), and the international geopolitical maneuverings that are part and parcel of the rumors of war the world over—just before the Rapture and the ensuing Great Tribulation.

“But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Matthew 24:8).

It is ominously obvious that we are experiencing the final global contractions before the unbearably painful, but divinely devised, delivery from self-destruction. Employing another analogy: things are taking place at the speed of light. In this case referring to the light of the sun as it rises each day; hardly a day goes by without a new development or a spin-off of an earlier event.

Listen to the climatic comparison used by Messiah Jesus:

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

Folks, we are that generation. The 21st century fig tree has sprouted into full bloom. Messiah’s return is very near.

Many Eye of Prophecy articles are dedicated to that reality. See for example, The End of the Age … How Close Are We? Posted 11-23-13; The Omega Generation (2-15-14); The Seven-Year Treaty (5-2-15). Also, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I & II, published 7-11 & 7-18-15.

Biblical signs of the times are so prominent and prevalent that some have appropriately switched this often-used phrase to, “Times of the signs.”

Watershed waves of uncertainty have breached our sense of security like never before. One menacing world incident after another has compromised our hope for a brighter, better future. The threat of economic collapse or terrorism striking our country, our city, our neighborhood, our home has created an air of apprehension and even dread, because there’s little we can do to prevent these kind of things from happening. Above all, there is acute anxiety over another world war. Our world is smaller now than when World War II engulfed the planet with death and destruction. The smaller our world, the more likely that local and regional conflicts will become global.

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(Actually, those in Christ can be calm!)

Who among us doesn’t fear and hate war?

Or should I say those of us who truly love and long for peace, as there are some who are blood-thirsty and power-hungry; who embrace violence to achieve their warped objectives and continue vicious oppression even after their conquests.

Is there really any glory in war? Perhaps to the victors? Perhaps for a while? But what about the dead, civilians and soldiers alike? The horribly wounded … those who have missing limbs or scarred bodies for life? The dispossessed and displaced refugees? Why must so many woman and children suffer so much?

Yes, righteous wars are necessary. Without them there would be no freedom, or less freedom. However optimistically these questions and others like them might be answered, there is still the repulsive reality and awful accuracy of the well-known maxim:

War is Hell.

How else can we explain approximately 72 million people killed in World War II, except to say it was hell on earth. Unimaginably, WW II will pale in comparison to the catastrophic carnage of the Great Tribulation, in which well over half of the world’s population will perish. Actually closer to five of every six people will not make it through those seven years. (Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15. I didn’t realize the significance of the posting date of that article until later … it was the anniversary of D-Day).

We’re getting a terrible taste of mass casualties of war again … the quarter million who have died in Syria. Which, appallingly, will be the proverbial, “drop in the bucket” (a very large bucket) compared to the loss of life when the most astounding “peace treaty” of all time takes place shortly after the Rapture of believers to heaven.

War is so horrendous that we not only make treaties to end wars, such as the Versailles Treaty of June 28, 1919 that brought an official end to the Great War—the war that was supposed to end all wars—but we also arrange treaties to (hopefully) prevent nations from warring against each other. They are peace pacts before the fact. Whether these agreements are full-fledged treaties or limited to “non-aggression pacts,” the idea is for a nation or a coalition of nations to agree to disagree on political, economic, and cultural differences. But not to resolve these differences through war. Thus, we have NATO, the EU, the UN, and individual treaties between two nations; all with the noble, yet often unrealistic, objective of creating then maintaining peace between peoples on this planet.

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(Photo of the Versailles Treaty)

The futility of these preventive peace agreements is found in their historical irony. This travesty comes in two fragile forms: (1) the truly peace-loving side appeasing a dictator or state dictatorship through a non-aggression pact or peace treaty. (2) Peace driven nation or nations conducting a justified military campaign with “limited” objectives, such as mere containment of the enemy. There is no real resolve or commitment of forces necessary to decisively “win” the war.

Examples of Appeasement and Failure to Go All In

Non-Aggression Peace Pacts

Regarding appeasement, there are several examples throughout history. Sticking to the more recent 20th century, there are two that stand out.

Will any of those still alive today or the many more born later ever forget the phrase, “Peace for our time.”

Even if you only got a “D” in history, you probably remember that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proudly pronounced these words after he negotiated a “peace treaty” with Adolph Hitler, called the Munich Agreement … September 30, 1938. It is undoubtedly the most egregious example of appeasement in the annals of diplomacy. What was supposed to be one of the greatest peace agreements ever, permitted Germany to annex part of Czechoslovakia and part of Austria (Sudetenland) in exchange for Hitler’s promise of non-aggression anywhere else in Europe. How long did it last? Until March, 1939, when Hitler unilaterally annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Then on September 1, 1939 the Third Reich began its blitzkrieg conquest of Poland, followed soon by a lightning quick defeat of France. Thereafter (1940) England was smack in the middle of their bloodiest war in history. One that erupted into a World War, which dwarfed The Great War (World War I) that was to end all wars. Prime Minister Chamberlain also used the phrase, “peace with honor,” to describe the Munich Agreement. With his impression of an ostrich (head in the sand), Chamberlain naively and blindly believed Hitler would honor the agreement.

God Save the Queen! Because one-way, lop-sided peace agreements (appeasement) certainly won’t!

The second example of appeasement was the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact that the Third Reich duped Russia into signing in August, 1939 just before Germany invaded Poland. Hitler had no intention of honoring that agreement; in June, 1941 Germany launched Operation Barbarossa against Russia. Battles fought by these two countries produced, by far, the most casualties of World War II.

Limited War … Lack of Commitment for Total Victory

As an example of lack of all-out commitment to decisively defeat an enemy that crosses national and racial (red) lines, we need look no further than Korea and Vietnam. All kinds of concessions were made by our Presidential Staff, by our Congress, and even by some of our military leaders. It was pacification borne mostly from fear of drawing Communist Soviet Union and/or Communist China into these wars. There were also others to appease, such as the liberal left within our country. But the disastrous results were the same: a tenuous truce with North Korea that is still a communist country and still poses a (nuclear) threat to South Korea, the United States, as well as other nations. And a truce that was more of a surrender to North Vietnam which also remains communistic, under the oxymoronic name of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The definitions and concept of socialism and republic are absolutely incompatible.

That’s not all. How many fewer American and coalition casualties would there have been, if Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War of 1991 had been allowed to continue north in Iraq, right up to the front door of Saddam Hussein’s palace? Instead, we had to go back again in 2003, suffering even more casualties. Even then, we adopted a containment policy. And it only got worse. In just a few short years after President Obama pulled our ground forces out of Iraq, ISIS filled the gap.

Then there’s the Iran Nuclear Agreement completed just last year. Where do you suppose that will lead? Is there any indication, whatsoever, that Iran’s supreme potentate, Ayatollah Khomeini, is or will be any different than Adolph Hitler? Among many other sordid similarities, they both uttered their diabolic diatribe that not a single Jew remain on planet Earth. Ever so tragically, Hitler almost succeeded (Holocaust). Iran will pick up where Hitler left off when it joins the Gog/Magog attack on Israel.

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With a few exceptions, Eye of Prophecy articles do not get all that “political.” Even when they do, the topic is in the larger context of Biblical principles and prophecies. In the context of today’s post, the point needs to be made that peace treaties, especially those designed to be preemptive, are seldom (as is said) worth the paper on which they are written. There is a reason for that: Invariably, one side is not honest … they have ulterior motives. The only thing a non-aggression type peace treaty does is to give the sinister side more time to accomplish their amoral agenda.

Scriptural Precedents to Affirm Our Premise: Conciliatory Agreements between Good and Evil Never Works

There are two striking examples in the Bible, one past and one future.

Past Example

The past precedent involves much of Israel’s chronicles from the time that Joshua led them into the Promised Land to the time that Nebuchadnezzar crushed Israel, demolished Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple, and exiled the surviving Jews to Babylon. We’ll focus only on the early stages of Israel’s history … their conquest of Canaan, as commanded by God himself. For two reasons: (1) God promised this land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. (2) The majority of the Canaanite nations were exceedingly evil people, engaged in detestable practices such as sacrificing their children to pagan, man-made gods.

God gave his people specific instructions as to which societies to destroy and which ones to show mercy, to the extent of allowing some gentile nations to exist alongside of the Jews in the Promised Land of Israel.

Instead, the Israelites permitted a few of these wicked tribes to exist and their evil conduct to continue. The “peace treaties” that Israel made with them came back to bite all twelve tribes for centuries … through constant attack by and war with some of these pagan nations. Even worse, Israel began to worship pagan gods. It was the first classic example of ill-advised and God forbidden peace pacts that led directly to war.

War and Peace. Incompatible. Right? Of course, right. Which also means that a treaty of peace should never be an intentional or even unintentional guarantee that war will inevitably follow. Correct? No, not even close.

Future Example

Fast forwarding to the (near) future. Let’s look at the most famous (infamous) treaty of all time, one that has yet to be made. One that will absolutely guarantee war against Israel followed by World War III … Armageddon. Starting with the treaty, the man who orchestrates it, and the aftermath, we read:

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

In several Eye of Prophecy articles, I have written much about this treaty and the one (Antichrist Nero) who persuades Israel and Muslim nations to accept this settlement. In order for both the Jews and Arabs to agree to such a treaty, substantial concessions will be made by both sides, most of which will be tantamount to appeasement of the Arabs. Israel will agree to most anything just to regain full functional control of Temple Mount, and rebuild their Temple on their most holy site in the holy city, Jerusalem.

Likewise, some Eye of Prophecy articles have been wholly or partially dedicated to the Gog/Magog war against Israel, but in today’s article we’ll make a connection that perhaps even many students of the Bible haven’t seen. What we’re going to see is that a devastatingly deceptive “peace” treaty is what will prompt the Gog/Magog coalition to march against Israel, which will take place in the first year or so of the Tribulation. It will be, “Peace for our time” all over again.

Let’s revisit one of the most well-known prophetic passages in Scripture.

“This is another message that came to me from the Lord: ‘Son of man, turn and face Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your enemy! I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army…” (Ezekiel 38:1-4).

*Note: The hooks in Gog’s jaw will be this seven-year peace treaty and the ensuing sense of security (complacency) it will bring to Israel.

The Lord then gives Ezekiel the identity of some of the nations that will join forces with Gog. The nations today that are the most prominent in this satanic confederation are Russia, Iran, and Turkey. There are also several other countries.

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Through Ezekiel, the Lord says to Gog: “Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel. You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:7-9, italics for emphasis).

This spectacular prophecy was written some 2,550 years ago. But, there is little doubt that we are living in the days of what the Lord told Ezekiel would be, “the distant future.”

Why can we know that?

Because, the Jews (in great numbers), “have returned from many lands” to the Promised Land, especially after Israel was reborn as a sovereign state in 1948. This miraculous rebirth took place just three years after six million Jews had been slaughtered in the Holocaust. The phenomenon of Israel being “born in a single day” (Isaiah 66:8) signaled the greatest “recovery from war” that any nation on earth has ever experienced. Four subsequent wars would conclusively confirm the prophecy that the Gog/Magog alliance would attack Israel when she, will be enjoying peace after recovering from war. They were Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, 1956 Suez War, 1967 Six-Day War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

In just the last few months and weeks, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have “mobilized their armies” and have taken “command of them” in Syria, which borders Israel. Although the mobilization is limited, the fact remains that for the first time in history these three Magog nations are conducting military operations in the Middle East. Unmistakably, this is the beginning fulfillment of Ezekiel’s astounding prophecy. It’s just a matter of (a short) time before the full military might of Russia, Iran, Turkey, and other nations descend on Israel to completely bring about the Gog/Magog prophecy.

Why the Gog/Magog Offensive against Israel Won’t Take Place until After the Rapture

As a refresher from previous Eye of Prophecy articles on this subject, two of the reasons are: (1) if such an attack were to occur before the Rapture, then the United States and our Western allies would definitely come to Israel’s rescue. However, the (soon to come) Rapture will leave the United States (and to a lesser extent its coalition countries) much weaker, if for no other reason than the number of believers taken. (2) God’s direct intervention against Gog/Magog includes supernatural plagues that are akin to the sixth seal and first trumpet of Revelation 6:12-14 and Revelation 8:7, respectively. Obviously, all of the Revelation judgments take place during the Great Tribulation.

There is a third reason—the focus of today’s article—why the Gog/Magog prophecy won’t take place before the Rapture: the prerequisite condition that Israel “will be enjoying peace when the attack begins. We’ve already looked at the first reference to that “peace” in the above quoted verses. For emphasis, the Lord makes two more references … one implicit, the other direct.

Again, the Lord is speaking to Gog:

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

Although Israel is, and will be when Gog attacks, a formidable fighting force, the location of the land leaves her vulnerable to invasion from all sides (unwalled villages). Moreover, this “confidence” of Israel and the Jews will arise from a false sense of security stemming directly from the seven-year treaty orchestrated by Antichrist Nero between Jews and Muslims. This amazing treaty will be unopposed by virtually all nations on the earth that have been temporarily stunned by the disappearance of hundreds of millions from the earth and the chaos created by this staggering global event.

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Talk and a “paper” treaty will be cheaper than ever. Meaning that Antichrist Nero will pledge to come to the aid of Israel if she is attacked. Which, of course, he, and the ten-nation confederation that he is consolidating at the time, will not do when Russia, Iran, and Turkey liftoff their campaign against Israel. The extent of Nero’s (and his ten kingdoms) resistance to the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel will be lip service only. There will be no military challenge to Russia, Iran, Turkey, and other smaller nations in this Magog confederacy. (See Ezekiel 38:13).

Let’s look at the third mention of peace in Israel that will be the incentive for Gog/Magog to attack her; also the reason that Israel will be caught off guard and unable to defend herself against such a massive coalition.

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

Certainly, today’s Israel has a measure of peace; at least in terms of no full-scale active war being waged. Yet, Israelis still experience on-going “lone-wolf” terrorist attacks, BDS sanctions from many nations, and the constant threat of full-scale assault from terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS, as well as entire nations like Iran, which has repeatedly avowed to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.”

This is not the extent of peace and confidence portrayed in Ezekiel. There’s only one thing that will bring Israel to a durable assurance that all is well; that they are stoutly secure in their beloved land. Obviously, it will be a phony peace and false sense of security, but the Jews won’t know that until it’s too late.

It is nothing other than the astounding treaty initiated by Antichrist (Nero) that will “guarantee” this peace and security. It will be considered the greatest, most unlikely treaty of all time. Did you know that Nero’s main claim to fame during his 14-year reign as Caesar was a treaty he made between Rome and their arch-enemy (at the time) Parthia? That treaty endeared him to the common people as well as to the elite Senate and Roman legions.

His post-Rapture treaty will also accomplish the impossible: reconciliation of differences between ancient enemies, Jew and Arab.

There are two astonishing achievements that will immediately propel Nero into the international spotlight; with people from many nations, races, and languages yielding their allegiance and adoration. In order of significance, they are: His return from the grave (Abyss) and the Seven-Year treaty that he will orchestrate.

But the reality of it: that treaty will guarantee war. First, the Gog/Magog assault against Israel; which will be dealt with directly by/from God himself. (See Eye of Prophecy article, God Fights for Israel, posted 7-30-16). Then the ten-nation confederation led by Antichrist in the last half of the Tribulation against many nations, but first and foremost Israel. This time, Israel must fight for its very survival. And this time, Messiah Jesus will return to the earth to rescue Israel (and the whole world) from annihilation.

Summary

This final peace agreement will be orchestrated by Antichrist, and will be principally between Israel and Muslim nations. Out of envy, and also being unscrupulous, Russia’s Magog alliance with Iran and Turkey will seize the opportunity to invade Israel while also challenging the fledgling coalition begun by Antichrist Nero, who will need a couple of years to consolidate these ten nations (three of which will be forced to join Nero) into a powerful empire. That is another reason why the Antichrist will do nothing to interfere with the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel.

Because of this treaty and because of the relatively peaceful relations with most of the Magog nations (excepting Iran), Israel will be taken totally by surprise. It’s a good thing that God will directly fight for Israel and completely destroy Gog; because Israel won’t stand a chance on her own. She will be caught too much off guard and there will be far too many of the enemy advancing (vast hordes).

It will be like a scene in one of my favorite movies, Shane. Just before Shane takes on the bad guys in the saloon, the boy played by Brandon deWilde pleads with Shane (Alan Ladd) not to fight. With the reason shouted by the boy: “But Shane, there are too many. There’s too many, Shane!” I often repeat this when watching any movie where the bad guys far outnumber the good guys!

Shaneposter

It’s a sure thing that the seven-year treaty shortly after the Rapture will lead directly to fulfillment of the Gog/Magog prophecy. But Scripture says nothing about the kind of peace existing in Israel as portrayed by Ezekiel before the seven-year treaty.

Currently, there are too many adverse conditions to permit peace through a so-called two-state solution before the seven-year treaty. Two virtually insurmountable factors are: (1) the Arabs’ denial that Israel is a sovereign Jewish nation, which is why they have rejected direct negotiations with Israel; (2) Israel’s Biblically based refusal to allow Jerusalem to be a divided city, let alone the divided capital of both Israel and a Palestinian State (so-called East Jerusalem).

If a Palestinian State does come into existence, it will most likely be one of the conditions of the seven-year treaty orchestrated by Antichrist Nero. (See Daniel 11:39 which speaks of the Antichrist “dividing the land” to those who submit to him).

In next week’s article, we’ll examine some recent extraordinary turn of events, specifically involving Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Israel to demonstrate how close we are to the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel and, therefore, the astounding transfiguration of believers and our transportation to heaven … The Rapture!

Things to Ponder

What God says will happen, always happens. I repeat for emphasis: ALWAYS. There are hundreds of Biblical prophecies that have come to pass to validate this truth. It’s just that they are happening with much more regularity in our generation. The birth pangs are increasing in frequency and severity.

When all is said and done, the Bible is unambiguously clear that only one person can bring real lasting peace to the Middle East, to the entire world. None other than the Prince of Peace, Messiah Jesus (Isaiah 9:6).

Until that time, all other treaties of peace will be both false and transient. Like past historical treaties that failed miserably and actually led to war, both parties to the settlement must have honor, integrity, and sincerity. There must be no ulterior motive, especially when the arbiter and/or one side to the treaty uses the pact to deceive and then destroy the other side.

For all those who defy the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and reject their only hope for salvation and peace, through God’s Son, Yeshua, Scripture declares: “But there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord” (Isaiah 48:22).

For Israel and the Jews, God promised: “I will make a covenant of peace with my people…” (Ezekiel 34:25).

Before that, Jeremiah announced this New Covenant would be radically different from the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law). Because, “…They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:32).

No longer would it be a covenant written on stone tablets, commandments that God’s people wouldn’t and couldn’t keep because their hearts were as hard as the stones on which the commandments were written.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord. I will put my instruction deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Says the Lord God to Ezekiel: “And I shall give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh…” (Ezekiel 11:19, NASB).

As explained throughout Scripture: The difference between a heart of stone and a heart of flesh is the difference between a rote, hard-hearted, cold-blooded, compulsory adherence to religious rituals and creeds; versus a sincere seeking of God, with willing tender-loving heart-felt response of listening to and loving the truth about God and His Messiah (our Savior) that will lead to salvation and everlasting life.

Individually for Jews (and Gentiles) that New Covenant of Grace began when Messiah Jesus arose from the dead after giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins and the penalty of those sins.

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

For the nation of Israel, corporately, this covenant of peace will be fully realized when Messiah Jesus returns to deliver Israel from Gog/Magog and then from the worst war of all time … Armageddon.

For all peoples, peace on earth among men must first begin through peace with God.

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

amazing-grace

Soon Comes the Antichrist … Straight From the Abyss (Part II)

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A Review of the Abyss

“Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea. Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea…” (Revelation 12:18, Revelation 13:1).

In last week’s Eye of Prophecy article we discovered that the Abyss is all too real, but is not the same place as Hell. We peered into the Abyss and found it to be occupied by excessively wicked angels banished there because they took on human form with the devilish intent of perverting the human race; thereby, corrupting (unsuccessfully) the genealogy of the Messiah. We examined the shocking scene in Luke Chapter 8; a legion of demons, who possessed one man, begged Jesus not to send them to the bottomless pit (Abyss).

We learned that hordes of embodied demons will be released from the Abyss to torment unbelievers for five months during the Tribulation (Revelation 9). And we covered in great detail the extraordinary evidence that Antichrist (Nero) will return from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 17). The immediate reaction of many left behind at the Rapture will be: “…The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast” (Revelation 13:3).

In this week’s article we will discover the location of the Abyss. We will also learn why Nero was imprisoned in the Abyss after he died and was then revived by God. Yes, you read that correctly: Nero will return in the same body that has been preserved (alive) in the Abyss.

Revelation Chapter 13 is the first of two visions given to John of the Antichrist, characterized as a beast and also referred to as a king in John’s second sighting of the beast found in Revelation Chapter 17. However, the first mention of the Antichrist beast in Revelation is not in the form of a vision. Rather, the initial reference to this evil man is that he will come (straight) from the bottomless bit. Later in Revelation 17, we know his emergence from the Abyss will be a reappearance on earth, because the beast had already lived and died before the book of Revelation was written (1st Century A.D.).

Here is our first introduction in Revelation to the beast:

“When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them” (Revelation 11:7).

Who are “they” and “them” that Antichrist will kill? Many of you know that Revelation Chapter 11 is referring to the two men anointed by God to do mighty miracles for 1260 days (3 ½ years) of the Great Tribulation. I firmly believe these two prophets are Moses and Elijah. For an absorbing study of these two wonderful witnesses, including how and why they will return to Jerusalem with the same bodies in which they left the earth, please read Eye of Prophecy articles, The Two Witnesses, Part I, II, & III (posted 6-7, 6-14, and 6-21-14).

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(Fairly Accurate Depiction of the Two Witnesses, Also Represented by Two Lampstands and Two Olive Trees. See Revelation 11 & Zechariah 4)

You might also recall that the bodies of the two prophets are left as they lie, “…in the main street of Jerusalem … And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. All the people who belong to this world (unbelievers) will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them. But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them. Then a loud voice from heaven called to the two prophets, ‘Come up here!’ And they rose to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched” (Revelation 11:8-12).

Take that Mr. Six Hundred, Sixty-six!

Moses’ and Elijah’s spectacular resurrection from the dead will remind those watching of the Rapture—also witnessed by many on planet Earth. For those who have already denied that Jesus is Messiah, those who have sealed their fate by taking the mark of the beast; it will be a painfully stark object lesson of the truth of Messiah’s resurrection and his ascension into heaven.

Notice the command of the Lord for Elijah and Moses to, “Come up here!” These are the same words Jesus spoke to John when the scene shifts from earth to heaven where amazing visions are given to John of the future … and also the past tense existence of the Antichrist (Revelation 17).

“… Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this” (Revelation 4:1).

I am convinced that they will be the same words Jesus shouts when he appears in the clouds to take believers home to heaven, which will usher in the awesome Day of the Lord—terrible Tribulation followed by the magnificent Millennial Reign of the King of all kings.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God…” (I Thessalonians 4:16).

Personally, I can’t wait to hear that jubilant shout from the Lord. “Come up here!”

Yet, I and all those who have been personally redeemed by our Great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus, won’t have to wait long! The time is near … so very near.

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Where is the Abyss?

Our first clue is exceptionally strong, if not conclusive. One, however, easily missed because it is an unassuming, natural linguistic extension of two passages that primarily focus our attention on the beast and the Abyss. The first passage is the one we just discussed.

“When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit…” (Revelation 11:7, italics for emphasis).

Notice that the angel doesn’t limit his explanation to John that the beast will (only) come out of the Abyss. The word preceding out is there for a reason; because it would otherwise have been enough to understand that the beast comes out of the Abyss, i.e. the origin of his stunning reappearance to the world.

Instead, the angel tells John that the Antichrist comes up out of the Abyss.

Webster’s Dictionary definition of up (which is used as a preposition in the verse we just read): “used as a function word to indicate motion to or toward or situation at a higher point.”

Why does John accentuate out (of the abyss) with up?

Answer: To make sure we grasp the fact that the Abyss is DOWN. If we’re below a place or level we want to reach, the only way to get there is up.

A preposition (prepositional words) comes from the concept, “to put in front.” As applied to the syntax of this verse: Before the Antichrist can come out of the Abyss, he must first go up.

The same phrase is used in Revelation 17; the remarkable passage covered in last week’s article, in great detail in my book, Out of the Abyss, and to some extent in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles. Such as: Antichrist … Is He Alive Today? Published 9-14-13. Followed by, Reappearance of the Beast (Antichrist), posted 9-21-13. .

Said the angel to John: “…I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast … on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (suddenly or imminently) come up out of the bottomless pit…” (Revelation 17:7-8, bold and italics for emphasis).

The very fact that one must travel up and out of the Abyss, makes it a literal place. You don’t need directionality to escape a place (prison) that is merely metaphorical.

Again, “up” reinforces the fact that the Abyss is down … below, beneath, under. Conversely, to eliminate the possibility that the Abyss is on the earth and certainly not above the earth. Not in or on some galaxy, star, planet, moon, comet, or some black hole in space.

Let’s return to the sea! By again quoting the passage that began today’s article; verses that contain the same prepositional phrase found in Revelation 11 and 17.

“Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea. Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea…” (Revelation 12:18, 13:1).

This time John tells us explicitly that he saw the beast, “rising up out of the sea.”

We all know pretty much what “sea level” is and means. Although there are a few places on earth that are below sea level, the vast majority of land on planet Earth is at or above sea level. With the plain (pun intended) understanding that generally speaking sea level is the lowest point to which we can descend on earth; or ascend if we “rise from (below) the sea.”

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(Marker in Israel Situated Above the Dead Sea)

Where do the major rivers of the world end? Correct: in the oceans or seas. Another question: What does water always seek? Right again: its lowest level.

Thus, the convincing conclusion (based on the Bible passages covered especially the syntax, as well as geophysical laws and a great deal of common sense): The Abyss is beneath the oceans or seas of the earth. We’ll further see the credibility of this deduction when we look at more supporting evidence in today’s article. But first we need to address a major misunderstanding or misapplication that would otherwise challenge the clear evidence that the Abyss is beneath the Sea from whence the Beast rises, and that both places are literal.

The reason it’s necessary to establish that the Sea in Revelation is literal stems from the prevailing view of Bible scholars that the Sea identified in Revelation 13:1 is metaphorical. More precisely, they say: The Sea is an allegorical representation of humanity … masses of people the world over. Thus, the (erroneous) application is that the Antichrist Beast simply arises from somewhere on earth … from some nation or people. Which, at face value, would be the natural logical conclusion, i.e. a modern-day born man (Antichrist). However, most of the end-times events as dramatically depicted in Scripture are supernatural, either directly from God or allowed by God—meaning that Satan, Antichrist, and especially the False Prophet will be permitted to display paranormal powers.

Is the Sea of Revelation Chapter 13 Real or Figurative?

Before we look at two other major passages in Scripture to decisively demonstrate that the Beast rises up from a literal ocean/sea, let’s begin with an exceedingly sensible premise in the form of questions (italicized for emphasis):

If the beast comes up out of the Abyss and rises up out of the Sea, then where might the Abyss be located? Rhetorical question, right? Putting it another way: Why would the beast come up out of the literal Abyss, but then rise up out of a symbolic sea?!

I’ve never read or heard any Bible scholar or teacher or anyone else state or imply that the Abyss (bottomless pit) is smack in the middle of humanity; but that’s where the Abyss would be if the Revelation 13 Sea symbolically represents humanity. This is true even for those who believe that the Abyss is also symbolic. Figuratively or actually (real), it makes no sense for the Abyss to be in or under the “sea of humanity.”

Continue with me on this fantastic voyage and watch Antichrist Nero rise from the Sea.

(Parenthetical Pause: For those of us who will be taken in the Rapture, our “watching” is the imagery we can muster for the soon to come real thing, which we will not be around to see … thank you Lord! For those left behind at the Rapture, some will actually witness Nero’s ascent from the Abyss/Sea and many others will watch on video replay from those who captured it on their smart phone cameras. Don’t roll your eyes at that scenario! There even may be television crews alerted ahead of Nero’s ascent from the Sea, by some mysterious things going on such as smoke billowing from the surface of the sea. Did you know that there are huge subterranean volcanoes and rock structures that include chimney-like formations in these underwater fissures? Geologists call the ocean floor, The Abyssal Plain! They call these open vents in subterranean rock formations, Black Smokers. We looked at the embodied beings (fallen angels) that come from the Abyss (Revelation Chapter 9). Here is John’s description: “When he opened it (the Abyss), smoke poured out as though from a huge furnace, and the sunlight and air turned dark from the smoke” (Revelation 9:2). This 2000-year old description matches recent 20th & 21st century geological discoveries and vernacular—dark, smoke, furnace, shaft, poured out!)

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(Photo of Undersea Black Smokers)

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(More Hydrothermal Ocean Vents)

Before we look at the principle passage in Scripture from which many students of Bible prophecy form their opinion that the Revelation 13 Sea is metaphorical, I want to again say what I’ve said in my book Out of the Abyss and a few Eye of Prophecy articles:

My ardent aspiration is to correctly refit certain parts of the prophetic puzzle (which is an already complete tapestry from God’s timeless point of view) that have been inaccurately placed in what is still an unfolding sequence of events to us. It is not merely to correct and certainly not to criticize them for the sake of correction or criticism. For that matter, I, too, at one time imperfectly viewed the Antichrist as being a modern-day born man as well as a handful of other wrongly understood prophecies. I give a great deal of credit to and harbor a boat-load of respect for these pioneers of prophecy, most of whom began their study of end times events soon after the stunning Six-Day War of 1967. It was also at that time that dozens of Messianic ministries sprang up all over the world.

Daniel Chapter 7

“Earlier, during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon, Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and this is what he saw. In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction. Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others” (Daniel 7:1-3, italics for emphasis).

You probably recognized this remarkable chapter as one of the most well-known in Scripture. It is the second prophetic vision of the four world empires to rise and fall … Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Further, that a little horn “suddenly appeared” (Daniel 7:8)—a perfect description to explain Nero’s abrupt arrival from the Abyss—among the ten horns of the fourth beast (Rome). With the accurate application, as further amplified in Revelation 17, that these ten horns are the ten kings (and their kingdoms) of the Tribulation period who will yield their authority to the “little horn.”

The sudden appearance of the little horn (Antichrist) is in direct contradiction to the prevailing view that Antichrist will be an already well know modern-day born man, who rises to global power from say the United States, the European Union, or some other nation or confederation on earth.

Most commentators derive their supposition that the Sea in Revelation 13 is allegorical from the above quoted verses in Daniel Chapter 7, especially the italicized words. That argument is as follows: Because the four beasts of Daniel 7 are symbolic of actual kingdoms that would arise on the earth, so is the “great sea” and the “water” from which the four beasts emerge, metaphorical. Therefore, the subsequent use of the word Sea in Revelation 13 is a metaphorical equivalent to the waters of the great sea from which the four Gentile kingdoms would come. Thus, many contend that the Sea of Revelation 13 also represents all of mankind, as these four great kingdoms seen by Daniel logically arose from the human race.

Whereas this application is certainly true in Daniel 7, it does not apply to Revelation 13!

Here’s why:

First: the very fact that Daniel is later told by the angel that the four empires (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) would materialize in the expected fashion that any kingdom arises—from certain people in a certain geographical area on the earth.

However, there is no such explanation or application in Revelation 13.

There are other differences. (1) The sea in Daniel is referred to as “a sea,” meaning sea or waters in general, not a specific sea. (2) Daniel’s description is a, “great storm churning the surface of a great sea.” (3) The Sea identified in Revelation 13 appears to be calm; there is no indication that it is a stormy sea. (4) In Daniel, we see four Gentile kingdoms rising from the water; whereas, in Revelation 13 the beast rising from “the sea” is a direct depiction of a man … Antichrist. (5) Of particular relevance is that the four beasts (kingdoms) “came up out of the water” (Daniel 7:3). This is more than just a matter of semantics. There was a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, but the actual ascent of the four beasts was from the water.

*Note: The reason that the Revelation 13 (Antichrist) beast bears the “symbolic” image of a leopard, bear, and lion relates directly to Nero’s ascension as Emperor of the Roman Empire, which was an eclectic combination and continuance of the best, or worst, legacies of the Babylonian (lion) Persian (bear), and Grecian (leopard) empires before Rome dominated the world. With the overriding fact that the composite beast of Revelation 13 (and Chapter 17) is a man.

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(Fairly Accurate Depiction of the Beast of Revelation 13)

The explicit portrayal of the sea in Daniel 7 as stormy is for a specific reason. Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss to elaborate on that:

The symbolism of a stormy sea is limited to the tempestuous, tumultuous birth pangs of war and destruction that produced each of the four consecutive world empires. The reason for this limited symbolism approach can be found later in Daniel 7, verse 17 where the angel is telling Daniel what these four beasts represent: “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth.” In other words, the angel has switched from a symbolic sea to the literal earth, which intimates that the metaphorical sea of humanity should be specifically applied and limited to a uniquely stormy sea, the kind that churns when one nation conquers another (page 234).

Thus, Daniel was given the meaning of the waters from which the four beasts would arise. The waters represent peoples of the earth. In a moment, we’ll see a fascinating correlation between the waters in Daniel and the “many waters” of Revelation Chapter 17.

Nowhere in Revelation Chapter 13 does the angel give any explanation to John that the Sea from which the beasts rises represents something else, including all of humanity. This is in stark contrast to the application made in Daniel Chapter 7, to help Daniel and all readers understand that the four Gentile kingdoms would arise from the earth via the “stormy sea” of conquest through war.

Revelation Chapter 17

This passage also affirms that the Sea of Revelation 13 is literal, not figuratively representing the Antichrist coming up out of the “sea of humanity.” Read with me:

“One of the seven angels who had poured out the seven bowls come over and spoke to me. ‘Come with me,’ he said, ‘and I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters’ … There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast…” (Revelation 17:1-3, italics for emphasis).

Then, the angel proceeds to expound the phenomenal mystery of both the woman and the beast. For purpose of today’s article, we’ll skip forward to the angel’s interpretation for John of the many waters.

“Then the angel said to me, ‘The waters where the prostitute is ruling represent masses of people of every nation and language’” (Revelation 17:15).

Once again, Revelation 13 provides no explanation whatsoever to indicate that the Sea is symbolic, that it is anything but the literal sea. Whereas, the many waters of Revelation 17 is explained to John (like the stormy sea “water” is explained to Daniel, i.e. the earth) as representing masses of people. Such clarification was necessary in order for John to fully understand the “mystery” of the woman sitting on the scarlet beast. Then later in Revelation, John is told: “And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18).

Whore-beast

So, here is a challenging question: If the angel explained to John what the many waters over which the great prostitute rules, represents, then why wouldn’t the angel also make clear what the sea from which the beast arises represents; if, in fact, the sea was an illustration of the mass of humanity? For that matter, you would think that John would have also used the same term “many waters” in Revelation 13, instead of the sea.

The answer and, therefore, our understanding is compellingly clear: The Sea from which the beast comes up out of is a real, literal sea. Thus, there was no need for the angel to enlighten John as to any symbolic meaning of the sea in Revelation 13.

Summary of a Literal Abyss and Sea

Permit me to quote again from Out of the Abyss (in italics):

Question: Why can’t the Revelation 13 Sea be literal? The Antichrist beast of Revelation 13 is not a kingdom or kingdoms; it is a personal pronoun (he) person. A symbolic application in one part of the Bible does not have to be the same symbolic representation in another passage, or even symbolic at all … It all depends on the context of the passage, to include, if necessary, comparison or contrast to other passages…

Unless the Scriptural text is clearly and exclusively symbolic, or specifically interprets an image of something, or explains the imagery by such words as “like” … the word or phrase should be taken literally…

Conversely, there’s no reason to create a metaphor or simile comparison for something that is what it is. In Revelation 13, there’s every reason to consider the sea as the sea. The same reasoning can be applied to the False Prophet who, “came up out of the earth.” The angel is making a distinction as to the origination point for the first and second beast.” (Page 235, Note: The first beast is the Antichrist, the second beast is the False Prophet).

Regarding the first part of the passage that began today’s article: (“Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea” Revelation 12:18), I would also like to refer to Out of the Abyss:

…We find the dragon (Satan) taking his stance beside the sea … But the angel doesn’t indicate that the sea represents something else. If the sea is the mass of humanity, why would the dragon take “his stand on the shore beside the sea?” Why wouldn’t he take his stand right in the middle of humanity?

If the sea is humanity, then what does the shore represent? If a student wrote a story for an English teacher and used this metaphorical imagery, the paper would be returned with a lot of red marks on it. The teacher would say something to the effect that the sea of humanity doesn’t have or need a shoreline. Or, if it does need a shore, then the entire imagery is extremely awkward and ineffective (page 236).

The Greek word for sea is Thalassa. It is used many times in the New Testament, twenty-two times in the book of Revelation alone, including Revelation 13:1.

The meaning of Thalassa: The or a sea in general; more specifically (often) … the Mediterranean Sea. Both seashore and sea in Revelation 12:18 and 13:1 are from the Greek word, Thalassa.

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(Mediterranean Shore Near Rome–Not Far For Nero to Go After Rising From the Sea!)

Whereas the Greek word for waters is: Hudor (pronounced hoodore), which is the word used in Revelation 17—many waters. The meaning is water found in rivers, pools, springs, lakes, or the water of the deluge (flood).

In fact, the Greek word Hudor, translated into English, waters, is often used symbolically in Scripture. Such as we found in Daniel 7; the water from which the four beasts arose represents (peoples or nations of) the earth. This is not the case with Thalassa. It is almost always a direct reference to a literal sea and many times refers to the Mediterranean Sea, and also Dead Sea or Sea of Galilee. If the sea isn’t specifically identified, then usually we know which sea by the context of the passage.

In Revelation 13:1, the sea isn’t specified nor do we know exactly which sea it is. However, based on everything presented in this article and as comprehensively contained in my book Out of the Abyss, most of all Scripture itself; there is overwhelming evidence that the Antichrist beast will rise from the Abyss (part or all of which is) directly beneath the Mediterranean Sea, which borders Israel and also Italy. What more logical place for the Revived Roman Emperor Nero to rise from the Abyssal Sea?

One other quote from Out of the Abyss:

The False Prophet comes from the earth, meaning a natural origination through a normal birth. In contrast, the Antichrist appears from the Abyss and rises from the sea that contains the Abyss. That would be anything but natural or normal. This extraordinary reappearance will passionately attract and rivet the attention of a world desperately seeking a miracle man, a superman, who will lead them to Utopia (page 239).

Why Did The Lord Confine Nero to the Abyss?

In part, we’ve already answered that question: To keep Nero as Nero (the same body in which he died). Another obscure, but stunning, passage about the Antichrist can be found in an Old Testament reference to the Antichrist—Zechariah Chapter 11. Time/space doesn’t permit a detailed commentary (as is contained in Out of the Abyss); except to say that this passage describes the wounds sustained by the Antichrist. These are the same (fatal) wounds observed by John when he first sees the beast of Revelation 13.

As seen thus far, the only place identified by Scripture where some beings (fallen angels) continue their existence in bodily form is the Abyss. In fact, they are imprisoned there, reserved for the Day of Judgment.

In another excerpt from Out of the Abyss, we read:

In all of Scripture, there is only one reference to a human being coming from, therefore, having been placed into the Abyss. That man is the man of lawlessness, who is the Antichrist, who is the beast of Revelation. Such an honor! (Page 232).

Though I was being facetious (such an honor), I was also conveying Biblical truth; stated and deductive facts that are as extraordinarily evident as anything can be. Meaning there is crystal clear confirmation that (1) the Antichrist beast of Revelation 17 had lived and died before John saw him for the second time—with the first vision that of his reappearance on the earth in Revelation 13. (2) This beast would come up out of the Abyss. (3) By plain logic and obvious implication: in order to come from the Abyss, this man would first need to be placed there. (4) Nero was killed by (divine intervention) Jesus himself—as strikingly stated in II Thessalonians 2:8, after Nero was revealed as (became) the man of lawlessness … see pages 204-206 in Out of the Abyss. (5) By equally obvious deduction: in order for Nero to be placed in the Abyss, the Lord would first need to revive him from the dead, which, took place very soon after Nero died. The site of Nero’s grave has always been a historical mystery. (6) Thus, Nero in his original body, healed wounds and all, would be preserved in the Abyss until the appointed time for the Lord to release him.

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(Artwork Portraying Nero Rising to Divine Status After His Death)

Which leads us to the two main reasons why God literally removed Nero from the grave and transported this despicably evil tyrant to the Abyss:

  1. As part of God’s plan, to allow Satan and his man of sin one last chance to fail. To prove to the world that the free will God gave to both angels and human beings—the freedom to choose between good and evil, between God and Satan, between Christ and Antichrist—will determine their eternal destiny. By confining then releasing Nero from the Abyss, the Lord would make it clear to Tribulation believers that Nero would not duplicate the actual resurrection of Jesus Christ. God would not grant this resurrection power to Satan, because he never has and never will allow Satan to be God or be like God. The Lord would not allow Satan or the Antichrist to share in his glory … in which God’s very essence and attributes are expressed.
  2. However, the Lord will allow Satan to mimic the resurrection without actually accomplishing such a miracle. Nero will flaunt this counterfeit “resurrection” by boasting that he arose from the dead through his own power. The unsaved world won’t be able to or won’t want to distinguish between a return from the grave and a reappearance from the Abyss. Only the tribulation saints will know the difference.

Things to Ponder

For comprehensive Scriptural and historical documentation of all things pertaining to Messiah’s antithesis Antichrist, including extraordinary evidence that Nero (by correlating, connecting, and matching 1st century facts known about him to prophecies by Daniel, Zechariah, Paul, and John) was first exposed by the Apostle Paul in II Thessalonians Chapter 2 as the man of lawlessness during Nero’s reign of terror (54 AD – 68 AD), and will reappear as the Antichrist beast, please read Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666.

In closing, here is another excerpt from that book:

The world will be amazed that a man who had been dead for some two thousand years could return with the same body and the same scars caused by the fatal wound. In fact, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Nero said something to the effect, “Now tell me who the true God is. I died two thousand years ago and I’ve come back. Look close and I’ll show you my deadly wounds. That presumptuous Nazarene was dead for only three days, so he says. Even if he was dead for three days, who is the greater of the two? Whose miracle is the greatest? Where is this imposter now?”

And so, the world will believe the Lie, just as Scripture tells us. The lying spirit of Antichrist claims that Jesus is not the Christ, and that God is not the Father. Nero will boast that he alone is God or Messiah, for no one could possibly return from the dead in this manner.

Thus, Satan would get his wish. Though he would not be permitted to literally raise Nero from the dead … it would just be a matter of waiting for God to release Nero and the real fun would begin. Satan would play his final card. In the interim, day by day since the first century church, Satan plays the deadly game of building empires, persecuting the church, and attempting to destroy Israel (pages 233-234).

As believers we know the truth of how much greater is our God, Messiah Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, than the Evil One who is the god of this world.

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God” (I John 5:4-5).

Let those of us who have been redeemed by our Great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, say so! (Psalms 107:2).

“…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4, NASB).

Is Christ in you and are you in Him? If not, there is no hope for everlasting life in heaven.

Please click on the Eye of Prophecy page, God’s Plan of Salvation.

Soon Comes the Antichrist … Straight From the Abyss (Part I)

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Business as Usual … But For How Long?

Try as we might to live normal lives, to conduct business as usual, and to be as secure on this planet as we possibly can, the ominous global events unfolding with alarming regularity are a constant cause of trepidation, turmoil, and terror. Although some folks apathetically disregard or even contemptuously scorn those whom they consider to be “prophets of gloom and doom,” it doesn’t change the fact that the sheer number and severity of 20th & 21st century experiences (not the least of which were two World Wars) demonstrate that we are perilously close to plunging into an apocalyptic abyss.

Lest anyone think that we, who are proclaiming, confirming, and defending the truth of God’s prophetic warnings (such as can be found in Eye of Prophecy articles—although there’s much more including the wonderful promises of God for Israel and for those who have been saved by God’s grace), are preaching our own ideas; then read with me just one of many Biblical pronouncements that noticeably apply to our generation:

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

*Note: Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up Redemption Is Near, Part I & II, (posted 7-11-15 & 7-18-15) for a list of twelve monumental mileposts of the 20th and 21st centuries that have taken place or are unfolding precisely has predicted in the Bible.

We are on the brink of what the One Person who can and will deliver those who to turn to him when “…that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives” (Joel 2:31), forbiddingly forewarns as:

“For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days” (Mark 13:19-20).

From other passages in Scripture, we know who the chosen ones are: They are chosen because they choose Jesus, the true Messiah, over the false Antichrist messiah during the Great Tribulation. They are not, however, those born-again believers who are alive before this terrible turmoil begins; as we will be spared by the Rapture from the coming devastation and death.

Thus, there is still great hope, because: “…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32).

Scripture tells us that this final time of terrible travail among peoples of all nations will last (be shortened to) seven years, with the final 3 ½ years the worst of all. Messiah Jesus will return to earth to abruptly end the catastrophic carnage caused primarily by Antichrist in the last part of the Tribulation. Before that, God will destroy the massive Gog/Magog campaign against Israel in the first half of the Tribulation. Messiah’s glorious return will also complete God’s just but severe judgment of the ungodly, of all evil in this wicked world we live in.

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

The Sure and Stunning Return of Messiah

Read with me the astounding account of what the entire world (those who haven’t already perished at the hands of Antichrist or from the judgments of Almighty God) will see and experience just before the awesome days of the Millennium begin:

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war … He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven … followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords” (Revelation 19:11-16).

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Then later in this spectacular chapter, John gives a brief, almost anti-climactic, report of the final Armageddon confrontation between Christ and Antichrist:

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

Many in today’s world are thinking, acting, and saying exactly what the Apostle Peter predicted they would say in the last days:

“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 3:4-7).

Peter wasn’t told how long it would be until God judged the earth again or when Jesus would return; however, the Lord reminded him and Peter reminded all believers in Christ:

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends. A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about this 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 unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (II Peter 3:8-10).

So, to all those out there who scoff at Scriptural truth in general and prophecy in particular, please understand that hundreds of Bible prophecies have come to pass, including the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus. If they persist in claiming that Jesus isn’t coming again and/or don’t care; that the intensified evil in this world has nothing to do with demonic influence because Satan knows his time is short; or that they are not required by their Creator, the true and living God, to make a decision whether to accept Jesus as Savior or face him as their judge, then the Lord will let them have their way. Which is the worst thing that any person could ever do … go their own way instead of God’s way, as clearly mapped out in Scripture.

Listen to the Lord’s indictment (through the Apostle Paul) of all those who disbelieve, defame, and deny their Creator and the eternal truth of His Word:

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools … So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen” (Romans 1:21-25).

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It’s little wonder then that entire governments, including the United States of America, are listening to those who want nothing to do with the written Word of God—the Bible—or with the Living Word of God, Messiah Jesus. Instead of concern about the true cause and effect of what’s happening the world over (especially in Israel) and what really matters, our Executive Staff and the Supreme Court have surrendered to the agendas of the “ungodly” (II Peter 3:7).

They have divisively diverted our attention to such things as: transgender bathrooms, same-sex marriage, pro-choice (abortion), global warming, and absurd extremes for environmental protection (plants and animals are far more important than people); or any number of “politically correct” issues. No matter that the world is teetering on the edge of an apocalyptic abyss, we must (they say) promote plurality, diversity, tolerance, and love—all based on self-serving, distorted, and deceptive secular humanistic definitions covered with the cloak of political correctness.

Scripture tells it like it is. Neither God nor His Word is politically correct.

Read the Bible and see for yourself. See what the Sovereign Lord says about sin and the human heart. Find out about God’s amazing grace, unconditional love, and magnificent plan of salvation for the human race. Discover that all you need to do is believe that Christ Jesus died for you and then receive him as your personal Savior, for your sins to be forgiven and the penalty of those sins pardoned. Nothing else is required. I repeat with a Biblical emphasis: Nothing whatsoever!

Eternal life in heaven is a gift, not something we earn through good deeds or religious rituals.

“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 undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:22-25).

“He (Christ) was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (Romans 4:25).

Well, this may be the longest introduction to the main topic of any Eye of Prophecy written to date! But that’s okay, because there are two parts (articles) to the subject at hand. Also, I sometimes get carried away when focusing on who and what Eye of Prophecy is ultimately all about: Messiah Jesus and his Gospel (Good News) of salvation.

Continuing Where We Left Off in Revelation … Focusing on the Abyss

After Messiah Jesus triumphantly defeats Antichrist and the False Prophet and throws them into the Lake of Fire (forever) then annihilates their armies, the scene switches immediately to:

“…an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).

*Note: The New Living Translation from which I quote in Eye of Prophecy articles, unless otherwise noted (other Bible translations), uses the term bottomless pit instead of the designation most translations use: Abyss. They are interchangeably, one and the same.

In November, 2008, while I was reading from the book of Revelation, the Lord shook me with the equivalent of what I call in my second book “a 9.0 spiritual earthquake” (Out of the Abyss, page 114). This dramatic disclosure led directly to a substantial study of all Biblical passages about the Antichrist along with considerable research of both church and secular history, especially the 1st century. From that journey came my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666 (published February, 2011). After the fashion of a mystery novel building suspense (only fact not fiction), the actual identity of the Antichrist is revealed.

Then in July, 2013, I began the Eye of Prophecy website with all articles placed in one of four categories: Current Events, Prophecy in General, The Rapture, and The Antichrist. Many articles in the latter category provide amplified evidence that the Antichrist is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.

It all began with proper understanding and accurate application of Revelation 17:7-8. Revelation Chapter 17 opens with John’s second vision of the Antichrist beast, this time with a woman sitting on the beast. John’s first observation of the beast is found in Revelation 13, which includes the infamous number of the beast, six hundred sixty-six—one of several keys to his identity. Revelation 17 then provides a more detailed biography of the beast.

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The angel explains the stunning meaning of the amazing scene John had just witnessed:

“Why are you so amazed? the angel asked. I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, italics for emphasis).

The focus of today’s and next week’s Eye of Prophecy article is on the Abyss; thus only a brief commentary will be made on the other startling things found in this passage.

Beginning with the italicized portion: The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. These ten words sent an electrifying current through me that turned on a huge beacon light, and subsequently guided my journey to and through all of the other passages on the Antichrist. After a mountain of Biblical and historical evidence, the resulting conclusion was (for me and I believe for anyone who carefully examines the evidence with an open mind and heart) irrefutable.

First fact: John saw this beast (man … the Antichrist) in real time—present tense while he was on the isle of Patmos.

Second fact: The astounding (refitting of the prophetic puzzle) statement by the angel who unveiled the mystery of the woman and the beast on which she sat: This man had already lived and died before John saw the bestial representation of the man (was once alive but isn’t now)!

Third fact: However, the Antichrist beast would soon (suddenly) return from the bottomless pit (Abyss).

Fourth fact: Unbelievers (those who belong to the world) “will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.”

The staggering implication through correct comprehension and accurate application of this passage is as follows:

The Antichrist will NOT be a modern-day born man. How could he be when the angel plainly tells John that this man had already lived and died? Read the verse again. How else can it be understood? This same man who had already lived and died, before John saw the beastly image of the man, will return and the vast majority of those left behind at the Rapture will be utterly amazed at his reappearance. Why will they be so amazed? This answer is amplified in Revelation Chapter 13 which talks about the fatal wound (Nero was killed with a sword by his servant after Nero tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide).

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast…” (Revelation 13:3-4).

There is one, and only one reason why so many will (voluntarily, as some will capitulate out of fear) yield their body, soul, and spirit to this evil man (Nero): Because of—what will appear to them—a miraculous return to the earth … some 2,000 years after his death.

However, as we will see, Nero doesn’t actually return from the grave. Instead, he reappears from the Abyss as clearly stated in Revelation 17:8.

Thus, we’re going to take an up close and personal look at the Abyss. What is it? Where is it? And why Antichrist Nero was placed (banished to) in the Abyss as opposed to what would have been his certain destiny—Hades (hell).

In the course of this fantastic voyage this week and next, we’re also going to see those “beings” that have been banished to the Abyss all have bodies, including Nero. They are not merely spirits. This also applies to Satan, because the passage we read earlier states that he will be bound by chains (you don’t need chains to bind a spirit) and cast into the Abyss as “the dragon.” The passage then proceeds to make sure we understand who the dragon is, i.e. the devil, Satan.

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(Artist Rendition of the Bottomless Pit)

Actually, all angels have (spiritual) bodies that are in a different (unseen) dimension from ours; however, the Bible is clear that both evil and good angels from time to time have taken on human form.

What Is The Abyss? (Who Inhabits It?)

Beginning with a logical premise: In order for the Antichrist beast to “reappear” from the Abyss, he must first need to have been placed there. Along with another foundational fact: The Abyss is a literal place, but not the same place as Hell. The Hebrew word for hell is Sheol—place of the dead—in the Old Testament. In the New Testament the Greek word for hell is Hades.

Both Sheol and Hades are used numerous times in the Old Testament and New Testament, respectively. However, the Greek word abyssos, translated Abyss or bottomless pit, is only used nine times in the New Testament, seven of which are in the book of Revelation. In the Old Testament Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew) abyssos is the translated word from primarily the Hebrew word Tehom; which represents the deep waters of the earth (as in oceans) as opposed to the land. It never relates to the place of the dead; that is reserved for the word Sheol.

During the four hundred silent years of transition between the Old and New Testament, the concept contained in the Greek word abyssos was expanded to include the sinister underworld that was the realm of (some) demons. While still (partially) retaining the Hebrew tehom … the idea of deep waters in terms of where the Abyss is actually located.

In fact, John’s first vision of the Antichrist begins with these words: “Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea” (Revelation 13:1). Next week’s article will provide convincing evidence to show that the sea in this verse is literal, not symbolic!

Let’s read about an extraordinary incident involving Jesus, his disciples, and a man possessed by several thousand (“legion”) demons.

It took place immediately after Jesus and his disciples had crossed the Sea of Galilee from the Jewish side (west bank) to the Gentile side (east bank). During this journey, Jesus performed another remarkable miracle—that of commanding the wind and waves generated by a huge storm to be silent … literally to “shut up.”

Do you remember the reaction of his disciples?

“…The disciples were terrified and amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!’” (Luke 8:25).

Let’s pick it up with the very next verse:

“So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him … As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, ‘Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him…

“Jesus demanded, ‘What is your name?’

‘Legion,’ he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit” (Luke 8:26-31, italics for emphasis).

Do you recall what happened next?

The Lord allowed these hideous demons to enter into a herd of nearby pigs, with the pigs so overcome that they ran headlong into the sea and drowned!

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

Can you imagine that? These sons of Satan, as it were, would do anything just to stay on the earth, even if it meant possessing a pig or two. Note, that I said they would do anything to remain on the earth. As we’ve already seen, the earth and some heavenly places are the current dwelling place for Satan and the fallen angels. Not hell, although they may have access to hell. The bottom line is that they are free to roam the earth and certain parts of the heavenly places.

What made them so terrified? The passage answers that question. “The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit” (Luke 8:31). Ouch … anything but the bottomless pit. Give us a break. Have mercy. Give us these pigs to live in, but don’t deport us to the Abyss. Please….

We see two very distinct features in this passage: (1) fallen angels absolutely dread the thought of banishment to the Abyss. (2) Whereas, many demons roam and wreak havoc on the earth; some are restricted to the Abyss. (Pages 228-229).

Now let’s examine one of the most intriguing passages in all of Scripture that dovetails with our inspection of the Abyss.

“And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment” (Jude verse 6, italics for emphasis).

In the New American Standard Bible, the above italicized words (taken from the New Living Translation) reads, “eternal bonds under darkness.” The King James Version states: “everlasting chains under darkness.”

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The Apostle Peter also writes about these fallen angels:

“For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment” (II Peter 2:4).

In that verse, the Greek word translated into English as hell is not the normally used word, Hades. Rather, it is the Greek word, Tartarus.

By combining Jude 6 with II Peter Chapter 2—from both the definition (meaning and concept) of the Greek words abyssos and Tartarus, and from the next passage in Revelation that we’ll examine (actual physical evidence)—it’s quite evident that they are the same place. With the Abyss pertaining primarily to a deep underworld pit reserved for extremely wicked angels, and Tartarus relating mainly to the imprisonment of these beings.

Another excerpt in italics from Out of the Abyss to amplify and clarify this:

Most Bible scholars link this special group of angels to the Genesis Chapter 6 account in which some of the fallen angels cohabited with women; thereby, producing the Nephilim … the clear gist of II Peter and Jude is that some angels continue to roam the earth and the heavenly places; whereas, other angels were confined and chained in a pit of darkness called Tartarus, which is the same as the bottomless pit or the Abyss.

That’s why the demons (the ones begging Jesus not to banish them to the Abyss) wanted no part of the bottomless pit. I believe the combination of these passages plainly indicate that the Abyss is a special place currently reserved for extremely wicked angels who, at Satan’s behest, attempted to dilute and pervert the whole human race. In short, Satan used some of the fallen angels to corrupt the racial line of the prophesied Messiah. In fact, the Bible tells us that God sent the Great Flood primarily because of the wickedness perpetrated by the offspring of this unholy union between angels and woman (pages 229-230).

Continuing with: What is the Abyss? (More Evidence of Who/What Resides There)

The following passage is the first mention of the Abyss in the book of Revelation:

“Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. When he opened it, smoke poured out as though from a huge furnace, and the sunlight and air turned dark from the smoke. Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. They were told not to harm the grass or plants or trees, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with pain like the pain of a scorpion sting” (Revelation 9:1-5).

Subsequently, verses 7-11 provide a chilling description of these hideous creatures and who leads them.

Another excerpt from Out of the Abyss, again in italics:

…Several scholars believe the locusts are merely symbolic of who knows what. A strong hint: only real creatures can do what these locusts are released to do …

Also, we can once again draw on the significance of personal pronouns. In this chapter, the locusts are repeatedly referred to as, “they” … The text leaves no doubt that the locusts are real beings with real bodies. “They” is distinctly a personal pronoun. Moreover, these locusts originate from a specific place, the Abyss, not some figurative location that represents something else. I don’t see helicopters or tanks or drones or any other symbolic representation for locusts coming from the Abyss. We don’t use personal pronouns in place of objects or things.

I personally concur with Bible scholars who contend that these locusts are the fallen angels described in Genesis, II Peter, and Jude. Scripture unmistakably shows that God’s good angels sometimes take on human form; there are several examples of that in the Bible. With respect to fallen angels, they had their one chance to take on human form, and they blew it. They used this privilege to (unsuccessfully) eliminate the purity of the chosen seed of Messiah, through Adam’s son, Seth and his descendants. To Satan’s irony, these demonic beings will torture only the unbelievers during the tribulation … I’m not sure even Nero will have an explanation for this, except he might blame it on God for releasing them from the Abyss.

These locusts, as John describes them, are actual beings and have a body. It’s not too hard to imagine that the sheer evil of these angels coupled with thousands of years in the bottomless pit, would result in a twisted and repulsive appearance. The fact is, however, they come from the Abyss … not hell.

Hell is not under lock and key; in fact, the souls of all who die without Christ go directly to hell. No permission is needed to get in. Of course they can’t escape because Jesus tells us there is a great chasm separating hell from Abraham’s bosom, the place that believers went before Christ arose from the dead. Now, when the believer’s body dies, his or her spirit is instantly with the Lord!

Notice the difference: hell has a great gulf. The Abyss has a shaft and is essentially bottomless. Unbelievers go to hell; warped angels are confined to the Abyss. At the final judgment, however, all of the unsaved will be thrown into the Lake of Fire along with Satan and his demons, to join the Antichrist and False Prophet, who get a one-way ticket to the Lake of Fire one thousand years before the others (pages 230-231).

Summary

The next page or so in Out of the Abyss contains compelling evidence to affirm what I alluded to earlier in today’s article: Satan will be incarcerated in the Abyss under lock and key as an embodied being during the Millennium.

Satan is specifically and uniquely referred to as “the dragon” in Revelation Chapter 20; he will be chained during his time in the Abyss. I believe that Satan’s depiction as the dragon is not a symbolic description. For one thing, the text says that Satan is “the dragon.” Not, “a dragon,” which would then convey a metaphorical image. It’s clear in Scripture that Satan can personify himself in other forms, i.e. a serpent in the Garden of Eden. The image of a dragon is strikingly similar to that of a serpent.

In keeping with their symbolic interpretation, many scholars also say the chain that binds Satan (Revelation 20) is symbolic.

My response: If the chain is metaphorical, then why is the chain referred to as heavy. If the chain is symbolic, there’s absolutely no literary or linguistic need to describe the chain as “heavy.”

Moreover, it’s not at all unusual to imagine that a dragon-like creature could be the ultimate incarnation of pure evil. In fact, literature from all cultures for thousands of years has employed the image of a dragon as man’s nightmarish enemy. On the other hand, it’s probably best not to equate Satan’s bodily appearance with the kind of fire-breathing dragons we’ve all seen in movies. Likely as not, Lucifer has retained some of the beauty and splendor that God created him with. (See Ezekiel 28:11-17). In that context, he disguises himself as an “angel of light.” (II Corinthians 11:14).

5-wills

(The Arrogant “I Wills” of Lucifer … Isaiah Chapter 14)

Things to Ponder

Just as there is a difference between a main street and Main Street (in a city) so is there a distinction between an/any abyss (chasm, gulf, deep pit) and The Abyss—of which there is only one.

Don’t miss next week’s article. I’ll answer the question: Where is the Abyss? As well as the intriguing question: Why was Nero sent to the Abyss?

Please keep in mind as we continue: There are two significant reasons why it’s important to realize that Scripture enables us to know the identity of Antichrist (Nero) and from where he will reappear. In fact, Revelation 13:18 and 17:9 challenges the reader to solve the mystery of the Antichrist … his identity.

(1) The need to accurately ascertain (correctly refit the prophetic puzzle) all things disclosed by Scripture and found in the history books pertaining to the past, present, and future of the tyrant who would dare boast that he is God and Messiah. A man who will deceive millions upon millions of people because they will believe that he arose from the dead. That, because of the 2,000 year time-lapse, they will consider Nero’s revival greater even than that of the true Messiah’s resurrection. They won’t know or even care that he actually comes from the Abyss, who put him there in the first place, and who allowed him to be released (the Lord).

(2) Knowing who the Antichrist is and that he comes from the Abyss instead of the grave (realm of the dead) is a vital distinction to be made, both now and after the Rapture. Otherwise, many will continue their efforts to identify a contemporary (modern-day born) man who fits whatever people think they know about the Antichrist. Even more importantly for those left behind at the Rapture: Knowing the actual identity of the Antichrist and from where (how) he arrives on the scene will greatly reduce, if not eliminate, their amazement at his (re)appearance. Which, in turn, will encourage them to choose the true Messiah (Jesus) instead of the false messiah … Nero.

Yet, it’s far better to choose Messiah Jesus now. If you die without Christ, it’s too late. If you’re alive after the Rapture, it will be agonizingly difficult to choose Jesus over Nero; because it will mean extreme hardship and almost certain death to refuse Nero’s demands on you.

Say, “Yes” to Jesus now and be assured that one day you will be with the host of heaven shouting and singing:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13).

Double Israel’s Trouble & Double Her Blessings!

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Israel’s Twice Over Punishment

In this week’s article, we’re going to look at another remarkable prophetic passage in Scripture; one, however, that is often overlooked, minimized, misconstrued, or simply not understood at all. I suppose the main reason for that is because students of the Bible haven’t yet “discovered” the phenomenal meaning and application of the Seven Times Over prophecy given by God to Moses as recorded in Leviticus Chapter 26, which is a key to comprehending the verses we are about to read. Nor, unfortunately, have many studied Israel’s history as found in both Biblical and secular records.

Here is the poignant passage—an inspirational appeal to action and also (actually) a prophecy:

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1-2, italics for emphasis).

Many Old Testament prophets predicted the final restoration of Israel to include return of the Jews to Israel in the last days, none more so than Isaiah. Often he speaks about the future in the past or present tense, as though it had already occurred or was taking place when he spoke.

When you think about that, it makes all the sense in the world. For one thing: All Biblical prophecy has come to pass, or is currently unfolding before our eyes, or will happen in what I believe is the near future. For another thing, God is timeless. In fact, he created time itself. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He knows the end from the beginning; to him all time is compressed conveniently into the present. He sees all the parade floats (events) of the human race before him at once—from start to finish. For human beings, time and events unfold in a linear fashion … in sequence. On the best of days, we can see only a few floats at a time.

Isaiah Chapter 40 begins with this marvelous prophetic promise to Jerusalem, the Holy City of the Holy Land; which God separated, prepared, and gave as an everlasting inheritance to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.

In less than twenty years after the Lord called Isaiah to be his prophet, Assyria vanquished the ten northern tribes (Israel). It would be another 136 years before the Babylonians destroyed Judah and Jerusalem and exiled most of the survivors to Babylon. Isaiah foretold the Babylonia conquest of the two southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin) before Babylon even became a world power. Likewise, with Mede-Persia subsequently conquering Babylon with such prophetic detail that God through Isaiah gives the name of the Persian King (Cyrus) who would defeat Babylon long before Cyrus was even born!

Yet, Isaiah says: “…Tell her (Jerusalem) that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned…”

Individually, Jews (and Gentiles through the light of the Jewish Messiah Jesus) first experienced this New Covenant salvation when Christ arose from the dead in the first century. Nationally, the complete physical and spiritual restoration (sad days gone … sins pardoned) will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation when Messiah Jesus returns to the earth. We are only a hop (up to heaven at the Rapture), skip (directly to the seven-year tribulation), and jump (immediately thereafter into the Millennium) away from the few Bible prophecies not yet fulfilled.

Isaiah tells us that by the time all of Israel’s sins are pardoned, she will have been “punished … twice over for all her sins.” Which is why the passage also begins with a double or twice over instruction to “Comfort, comfort my people … Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” Why? Because the Lord has punished her twice over. The twice over prophecy has come to pass in my generation, with the second national discipline of Israel ending in 1967.

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Which begs an intriguing question that has three possible answers (options): Why does God repeat himself … Comfort, comfort my people, and (because he has) punished Israel twice over for all her sins?

First Option:

Repetition exclusively for emphasis. There are a few instances in Scripture of a prophecy repeated for emphasis; to make sure that everyone fully understands what is being said as well as to stress the surety that what God said will happen would indeed take place.

Example: Pharaoh’s consecutive dreams of cows and stalks of grain that Joseph interpreted (directly from God) as the soon-to-come seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in Egypt.

Another example: The two visions recorded by Daniel (one given to Nebuchadnezzar and one to Daniel himself) of the four Gentile kingdoms that would rule the world. Four nations chosen by God to rise and then to fall, accomplishing his primary purpose: to begin, complete, end, resume, and continue God’s judgment of Israel until the appointed time to end this discipline—the “twice over” punishment identified by Isaiah.

A third example: John’s (two) visions of the beast as recorded in Revelation Chapters 13 & 17. The doubling up of these prophetic visions is for emphasis and also to provide a few more details in order for each of the two revelations to complement the other.

Second Option:

The “twice over” punishment of Israel’s sins is a way of stating its severity; symbolically saying that God’s punishment will be twice as harsh because of her (detestable) sins. There is one huge problem with this application: Many times through many prophets beginning with Moses, God uses descriptive language vividly depicting Israel’s punishment that is not associated at all with numbers (twice over and seven times over). Such explicit expressions as: severe, violent, shatter, without pity, unforgiving (Israel had passed the point of no return), cursed, cut off completely, no escape, demolish, crush, and others.

There are many passages of such warnings, particularly applied to Babylon’s cruel destruction of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple. The following passage in which the Lord is speaking to/about Judah is a prototype example which includes specific means that God would use to punish his disobedient people:

“So I will turn you into a ruin, a mockery in the eyes of the surrounding nations and to all who pass by … You will be a warning to all the nations around you. They will see what happens when the Lord punishes a nation in anger and rebukes it … I will shower you with the deadly arrows of famine to destroy you … And along with the famine, wild animals will attack you and rob you of your children. Disease and war will stalk your land, and I will bring the sword of the enemy against you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 5:14-17).

Yet, the vast majority (easily 99%) of these prophetic warnings contain no reference to a multiple (numerical) “formula,” like the twice over declaration in Isaiah Chapter 40. There’s no reason to, because the severity of the discipline is clearly indicated by the graphic descriptions in great detail of what would happen if Israel refused to return to the Lord, their God.

Another argument against this option: Use of numbers in the context of God’s punishment of Israel is confined to “seven times over” and “twice over.” If they are applicable to the severity factor/feature of Israel’s discipline, then there is a contradiction. Which is it? Seven times over as found in Leviticus Chapter 26, or twice over as found in Isaiah Chapter 40?

For one thing, there’s really no way to measure (how much) the severity of God’s discipline in terms of multiplication. To what do we compare it? Do we measure it by the quality (inherent severity of the punishment) or by the quantity of horrible things taking place. Even if severity could be measured with a multiplication factor, there’s a substantial difference between being punished seven times versus two times more strictly for Israel’s disobedience.

For another thing, neither twice over nor seven times over fits the clear principle found in the Levitical Law that the punishment must fit the crime. This is a legal and moral standard God established for Israel that some nations throughout history have borrowed; albeit, some of the inherent punishments for the Jewish people were harsher than those subsequently adopted by Gentile nations and others not nearly as severe. Plus, Leviticus Chapter 26—later summarized in Deuteronomy absent the “seven times over” paradigm—contains God’s general, panoramic (down through the ages) long-term promises (blessings) and warnings (curses) related to Israel’s ongoing national trust in and obedience to God and her rebellion against God, respectively. As opposed to the specific, day-in, day-out wrong things done and the consequential punishment imposed.

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(Scales and Sword of Justice)

Third Option:

The only application of the twice over punishment and the corresponding, comfort, comfort, my people that fits is the same one that fits the amazing seven times over prototype model found in Leviticus Chapter 26. Neither have to do with the harshness of the punishment, as the severity factor is mentioned separately in Leviticus 26 … a total of four times, with each punishment becoming increasingly stern. Likewise in Isaiah with the “twice over” having nothing to do with a multiplied severity of punishment, as the severity feature is explained in hundreds of other passages by several Old Testament prophets.

Answer/Application: The correct choice is that God’s utilization of the multiplied factor of seven specified in Leviticus and two as found in Isaiah directly denotes the time duration of the punishments. Both are successive and both involve the 70-year Babylonian captivity of Israel followed by an agonizingly longer time-lapse of Gentile domination over Israel that finally ended in 1967.

Thus, the “seven times over” prophecy in Leviticus occurred twice in Israel’s history.

Revisiting the Amazing Seven Times Prophecy

I would like to begin this review by quoting from the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Jubilee & Messiah … They Go Together! (Posted 1-25-16), which included a brief overview of the trilogy of articles posted in January & February, 2014 on the Seven Times Over phenomenon and the subsequent article, The Omega Generation.

Here are excerpts (in italics) from Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together:

Then the entire 26th chapter of Leviticus is God’s promise of his blessings on Israel if they worshipped only him; if they loved, respected, and obeyed him and the commandments given to them for their own good. Followed by God’s warnings if they did not, “…listen to me and obey all these mitzvot (commandments or more broadly—general principles for living), if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my mitzvot but cancel my covenant, then I, for my part, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you … I will set my face against you—your enemies will defeat you, those who hate you will hound you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you” (Leviticus 26:14-17, New Jewish Bible).

Throughout this stunning 26th chapter of Leviticus, the Lord specifies four successive seven times over punishments that he would inflict on his people if they began and continued their disobedience. Which is exactly what they did leading up to the Babylonian Captivity, but also following their return to Israel after seventy years of exile. Then continuing without interruption to and through the Diaspora that began with the Roman conquest of Israel and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

The worst of this divine discipline took place during the horrible Holocaust; which, however, led to the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the final end of Gentile domination of the Jews in 1967.

Here I want to pause and refer you to an astounding disclosure that the Lord gave to me nearly ten years ago (October, 2006). Namely, that these four cycles of seven times correction of God’s people was administered consecutively in actual years, both in principle and practice, to correlate with the seven-year Sabbath land cycle and the fifty-year Jubilee cycle. In order to see the amazing details of how this developed historically, coming to an end in the phenomenal year of 1967, please read the three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power!) Parts I, II, III, published 1-25-14, 2-1-14, and 2-8-14, followed by the summary article The Omega Generation, posted on 2-15-14.)

A review of the seven times over prophecy in Leviticus Chapter 26 will enhance our awareness that Isaiah’s prophetic twice over punishment of Israel is literal. It is exactly what it says and means—two separate time periods and events. Therefore, as previously indicated, the twice over terminology is not referring symbolically to the severity of the judgment. The final (fourth phase) of the first seven times over began with Assyria’s conquest of Israel, but not completed in its entirety until the 70-year exile of Judah in Babylon fully ended in 516 B.C. with construction of the second temple.

The second seven times over began immediately after the first (four phases) set of seven times over ended; and sadly lasted much longer. It included such horrible events in Israel’s history as (temporary) subjugation by Antiochus Epiphanies IV in 167-168 B.C; destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 AD followed by massive exile of the Jews (a second time) from Israel—known as the Diaspora; subsequent European pogroms against the Jews; hundreds of years of persecution at the hands of Muslims; and worst of all … The Holocaust.

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Let’s read the introductory warning to each phase. Focus on the words italicized for emphasis in each verse that clearly infer successive, uninterrupted periods of disobedience in Israel’s history.

First phase: “And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins” (Leviticus 26:18).

Second phase: “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins” (Verse 21).

Third phase: “And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins” (Verses 23-24).

Fourth phase: “If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins” (Verses 27-28).

Moses then provides the longest narrative, by far, of what this fourth and final phase will bring (compared to the first three phases), ending with the worst possible disaster that could have befallen Israel: “I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you…” (Verse 33).

That’s exactly what happened to Israel; not just once, but twice over (Isaiah’s Chapter 40 prophecy). The first time was the culmination of the first seven times over punishment inflicted on Israel—the Babylonia Captivity. The second was the horrific forced exile of the Jews from Israel beginning in 70 AD, lasting until the 20th century. Moreover, this final dispersion of the Jews from Israel took place within the fourth stage of the four continuous phases.

With the fourth phase beginning shortly after the end of the third phase (167-168 BC) when Antiochus IV devastated Israel, but one that did not result in complete exile of the Jews. As explained in Part III of the Seven Times Seven articles, the first three sets of seven (7 x 7 x 7) equals (348 Jewish calendar years) exactly the time from 516 BC (when the 2ndtwice over seven times seven pattern began again) to when Antiochus IV (temporarily) conquered Jerusalem and defiled the Temple.

Details from Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power), Part II:

(*Note: The non-italicized words in the following italicized excerpts were italicized in the original article).

It’s all too evident that the prophetic clock of Leviticus Chapter 26 begin to tick when Israel entered the Promised Land. The entire book of Deuteronomy is a condensed summary of God’s instructions to Israel just before Joshua led them to several victories over the Canaanites. They were given the choice between life and death, blessing and curses (Deuteronomy 30:19). God even told Moses that the prophecy would, in fact, come to pass; because it (unfortunately) was a foregone conclusion that the Israelites would rebel and turn from God (see Deut. 31 & 32). And that’s exactly what they did, not long after Joshua died.

It’s important to understand that the ultimate seven times over discipline is chronologically consecutive and even more so that it is uninterrupted or continuous in its prophetic unfolding. This is clarified by the passage itself. The Lord repeats a total of four times: IF Israel continues to disobey him, then he will prolong the corrective discipline and each time the punishment will be harsher, culminating in exile to foreign nations. Thus, the seven times over is not a symbolic expression of the severity of the discipline; rather, it is (as we have seen and will see) a measure of the lapse of time that all this will take place.

So, then, in examining Israel’s history from the Promised Land advent to the Babylonian captivity, do we find an unbroken, continuous, linear time-lapse (chain of events) in which Israel never repented and turned back to the Lord? No, we don’t. This is crystal clear during the times of the Judges and Kings of Israel. There were several periods of time lasting at least two generations (80 years or more), such as the consecutive reign of King David and King Solomon or the subsequent reign of a few “good” kings like Josiah. There were cycles of disobedience, deliverance, and restoration; but, on the whole, the Jews became progressively “hostile” toward the Lord, their God. Thus, the seven times over cycle was not continuous during this period of Israel’s history, which is why the Babylonian exile (as devastating as it was) would last for only 70 years—a relatively mild punishment considering the hundreds of year that Israel was mostly, but not entirely, unfaithful to God and his commands.

You might ask: “Relatively mild compared to what?” Good question. Answer: Compared to what happened AFTER their return to the Holy Land from the 70-year captivity.

So, did the Babylonian exile bring a conclusion to the seven times over prophecy of Leviticus? Sadly, the answer is, NO. Instead, it set into motion the ultimate severity of the prophecy. What transpired after the return of the Jews was even more tragic. Despite a relatively brief (part of a generation) resurgence of Israel’s devotion to God, as found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Israel never fully returned to the Lord. As indicated, the book of Malachi vividly illustrates Israel’s unyielding stubbornness.

Even though the Jews returned to Israel and rebuilt the second temple, they never again became a completely sovereign nation. They never again experienced the full blessings of the Lord. There were no more kings, and the Shekinah glory of God never returned to the temple. There were no prophets for the last 400 years before the birth of John the Baptist, and then the birth of Messiah. Israel had been, to some degree or another, under the domination of the Persians, Greeks, Syrians, and finally the Romans before and after the utter destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

The first set of seven times over judgments (up to the time of the Babylonian captivity), is best illustrated by the formula: 7 + 7 + 7 + 7. When the people confessed their sins and returned to God, the cycle of discipline ended. In other words the punishments were not continuous; however, each one lasted for a certain period of time, culminating with a specified period of 70 years for the Babylonian captivity.

Because the people didn’t (by any stretch of the imagination) continually seek the Lord when they journeyed back to Israel, the seven times over paradigm began again. This time it would be continuous, leading all the way to and through the greatest horror of all … the Holocaust of the 20th century. There would be no stoppage of the increments of punishment until all four phases had run their course. In fact, the seven times syndrome contained a mathematically measured built-in period of time, with a beginning and an end.

Tragically, Israel did not learn from its Babylonian captivity lesson. From the time Nehemiah returned to Babylon in 433 BC, 12 years after arriving in Jerusalem with another group of exiles to rebuild the walls; to his second trip to Israel a few years later, the people’s promise to serve the Lord had evaporated like an early morning fog. They had fallen into all kinds of detestable practices. Listed to Nehemiah’s words: “So I confronted the nobles of Judah. ‘Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?’ I asked. ‘Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!’” (Nehemiah 13: 17-18).

And, so the seven times over sequence had begun again. This time the prophetic march of time relentlessly continued unabated and uninterrupted. If, however, the seven times over to the 4th power represents a measurable period of time, then it must come to an end. That’s what occurred to me that night in October, 2006: Although I didn’t know where it would lead me (what year in history), I realized that God was telling Moses and the people that the seven times seven model necessitated and would, in fact, unfold according to an exact prophetic timeline. Moreover, the formula was built into the prophecy: 7 x 7 x 7 x 7. When this prophetic paradigm reached its measurable deadline, Israel’s punishment would also reach its predetermined limit; and they would no longer be under Gentile domination!

A Phenomenal Finding (Let’s do the Math)

Calculations: 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 equals 2,401 (years). Remember the premise: This prophecy is a specific time-lapse utilization of sevens that can be measured in years, in a very similar manner to the Daniel Chapter 9 prophecy. We must now convert the 2,401 years to Jewish years.

Roman to Jewish calendar: 2,401 years x 365 Roman calendar days = 876,365 days. Dividing 876,365 by 360 Jewish calendar days = 2,434 years Jewish years. (We’re rounding this off, because we’re only interested in the year, unlike the exact day(s) of the Daniel prophecy).

Jubilee Years: Again, we need to remember that the ultimate criteria that God used to preclude or preempt any excuses or rationalization of the people was the Sabbatical rest of the land. But we also need to include all Jubilee years, which was a 50-year cycle of freedom from debt, servitude, and also resting the land from crop planting. Because of space/time restraints, I didn’t cover this, but it can be found in Leviticus Chapter 25. Because the Israelites also failed to keep the Jubilee requirements, this would be a central part of God’s formula for discipline.

So we divide 2,434 Jewish years by 50 and we get 49 (rounded off) Jubilee years over that period of time.

We add 2,434 years + 49 (Jubilee) years. The sum of these two: 2,483 (years).

The Astonishing Result: 2,483 years minus 516 BC (we must subtract BC years from the total) leads us to the year: 1967! Or 1,967 years AD plus 516 years BC is a total of 2,483 years.

What makes the year 1967 so amazing? We will cover this in more detail during next week’s article, but for now I will simply say: In 1967, one of the three monumental milestones of Jewish modern history took place. In fact, many students of Biblical prophecy (including me) identify the six-day war of June, 1967 as the turning point of Israel’s future, even surpassing her statehood of 1948. For the 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 prophecy to end in 1967 is no coincidence or a mathematical fluke.

*Note: Reminder that the preceding paragraph’s reference to “next week’s article” is still part of the excerpts from the Seven Times Seven (Part II) article; thus the next week article would have been, Part III.

Significance of the (Twice Over) Double the Trouble and Double the Blessings for Israel

First Significance: Other than the seven times prophecy from Moses, the twice over from Isaiah, and two other “double their punishment” passages in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:18 & 17:18), the scarcity of numerical based prophecies in the Old Testament is reason alone to realize that Israel’s punishment—so noted by the model of seven times over occurring twice in Israel’s history—was meant to be understood in actual years. With the first seven times over coming to an end with the Babylonian captivity, some 700 years after the Jews entered the Promised Land.

Babylonian Empire

The reason that the otherwise continuous (in terms of years) seven times over ended and then started again during the period of Israel’s judges and kings is because there were, at different intervals, one or two entire generations of Jews that returned to the Lord.

However, with the second installment of seven times over, there was no meaningful or recognizable interruption of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Lord, tragically epitomized by rejection of their Messiah in the first century. This national denial of their Savior led directly (less than 40 years later) to their second exile to the nations, which ever so sorrowfully lasted until the Jewish nation of Israel was reborn in 1948. Gentile domination of Israel finally ended when the Jews recaptured Jerusalem, the Holy City of the Holy Land in 1967.

Second Significance: For many, including even ardent students of the Bible in general and prophecy in particular, Isaiah’s (profound) prediction that Israel would be punished twice over for her sins isn’t exactly a prophetic headline grabber. But now that you know the rest of the story, I’m thinking you just might place this seemingly inconspicuous prophecy and the significance of the words to describe it (twice over) alongside of the seven times over prophecy; with both of them right up there with such prophecies as the miraculous return of Jews to the land promised to them by God himself.

Such as found in Jeremiah as quoted in the following excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Second Exodus (published 5-10-14).

The way I see it, all Bible prophecies fall into the category of amazing; if for no other reason than they were fulfilled just as prophesied. But there are some like the subject of this article that zoom right past amazing to astounding, incredible, or mind-boggling. After you read it, pick your own superlative description. Here is the prophecy:

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

Third Significance: Another considerable impact of Isaiah’s twice over prophecy is one that is both stated and implied in today’s article and previous Eye of Prophecy articles. One that can be applied directly to the deceitfully insidious hypothesis that many term, Replacement Theology, i.e. the Church has replaced Israel including the individual and national prophecies (exclusively) applied by God to Israel in the end times.

Taken from an article entitled, Why Is Support for Israel Waning among Younger Evangelicals? Written by Dr. Michael Brown, his final point #6 begins with, “The theology of preterism is rising in some circles teaching God judged Israel forever in 70 A.D. and that no national promises remain for the Jewish People as a nation.”

Time/space does not permit a long dissertation on preterism, except to say that the underlying premise of “scholars” who support this theory claim that there is no Rapture … that all of the Tribulation events predicted in Daniel and Revelation took place in the first century. Not only is this one of most absurd errors of prophetic study, but also the easiest to refute. As indicated, however, one very harmful side effect is that it reinforces the completely erroneous anti-Biblical claims of Replacement Theology.

Thus, when we grasp even tighter the fact that God’s discipline of Israel didn’t end until 1967 (Gentile domination), then compare this to the same generation when Israel once again became a sovereign state (1948), we clearly see that Isaiah’s prophecy of Israel’s national salvation (soon to come … all sins pardoned) dovetails in space and time with the end of Israel’s 2nd seven times over judgment from the Lord.

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(IDF Paratroopers at Western Wall, Celebrating Six-Day War Recapture of Jerusalem)

Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Replacement Theology, Part I & II, posted 7-19-14 and 7-26-14.

Things to Ponder

Double Israel’s Blessings: God, through his prophet Isaiah, proclaims that his special possession Israel is to be comforted, then comforted again. This isn’t merely a repetition for effect. Instead it is a direct correlation to the “twice over” punishment of Israel announced in the very same passage.

Time/space in this week’s article doesn’t permit an in-depth examination of Israel’s double blessing; thus, a very brief overview:

The first comfort relates to the return of the Jews from Babylon. The second comfort fast forwards 2,500 years to the permanent return of the Jews (never to be exiled again) to the Promised Land that began primarily and prominently in the 20th century. There is another verse in Scripture that fully tracks with Isaiah’s purposeful repetition to “comfort, comfort my people” (Israel). Says the Lord to his chosen people, the Jews:

“Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles” (Zechariah 9:12).

The two blessings are described frequently throughout both the Old and New Testaments: The first is even mentioned in this same chapter in Zechariah, when it says, “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” (Zechariah 9:9).

Remember? Jesus precisely fulfilled that prophecy when he rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, less than one week before he was crucified and exactly one week before he arose from the grave! This was the first giant blessing (comfort) for Israel—spiritual salvation through their Messiah that has continued since the first century, and which will be finally fulfilled when Jesus returns on the same Mount of Olives from which he ascended to heaven.

The second blessing is also spoken of hundreds of times in Scripture: Total physical restoration of the Jews to God’s beloved land of Israel and to its consecrated capital, Jerusalem.

A very comforting double blessing for Israel to replace her twice over punishment, wouldn’t you say!

“Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’ … He will judge all peoples fairly” (Psalm 96:9-10).

“…He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth” (Psalm 96:13).

“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

Palestinian Propaganda Is Pure Poison

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The Real Poison Comes From Palestinian Rhetoric

The propaganda drums pound relentlessly from the Palestinian occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; more so from the “moderate” Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, rather than from his heated rival, radical Hamas. Yes, you read that right. It is the Palestinians who are the occupiers, not the Israelis, as documented in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles with the real history, Scriptural and secular, of the Middle East.

Mahmoud Abbas has stooped to new lows in his increasingly desperate attempts to convince the entire world that the Israelis are exclusively responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in Israel. Several years ago he was more subtle and less aggressive in his rhetoric, with his strategy of persuading Western nations, especially European, that the Palestinians are the “good guys” and the Israelis the “bad guys.” Even then, most of what he said was pure propaganda based on lies or half-truths.

Webster’s Dictionary defines propaganda as: “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. Also, “ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.”

Thus, some propaganda can be positive and constructive. However, you can be sure that there are precious few facts and a severe shortage of accurate information presented by Mahmoud Abbas. Nowadays, when he speaks, the negative connotation of propaganda is all too evident. We hear nothing but rumors, allegations, and an abundant supply of outright lies from him.

Here is an excerpt (in italics) from the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, If You Tell a Big Lie Long Enough… (Posted 10-10-15):

Muslims in general, Palestinian Arabs in particular, and entirely too many nations and news sources have become increasingly confident of global impunity to and world-wide acceptance of what they say; to the extent that no matter how big the lie or omission, nations and peoples will now or one day soon believe them.

Moreover, it’s abundantly clear that the growing deadly attacks on Israeli civilians is a result of incitement directly from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; who is himself becoming progressively and intensely bolder in his proliferation of big lies about Israel and the Jews. As epitomized in his recent speech of September 30th to the United Nations General Assembly, he is overtly implementing the Muslim strategy of distorting events and facts to the point of literally rewriting history. Middle East history as found in the Palestinian education system and textbooks and journalism and maps is markedly different from the real history of Israel’s existence, especially since 1948.

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(Palestinian Map of Israel)

In that article, I also quoted several parts of Abbas’ inflammatory and mendacity-laced speech to the United Nations.

In a subsequent Eye of Prophecy article, More Palestinian Lies (posted 2-20-16)), primarily on the topic of the “lone-wolf” attacks that began in October, 2015, mostly by young Palestinians, I wrote:

Just when you think that PA President, Mahmoud Abbas couldn’t possibly tell more and bigger lies, he does just that. It’s one thing for his own people to be deceived by this bombast that is designed to incite them to even more vicious attacks on innocent Israelis; it’s quite another for dignitaries all over the world to turn their collective heads away from what is really happening in Israel and stick those same uninformed heads in Arabic quick sand. Either through ignorance or deliberate distortion of the facts, even our U.S. President doesn’t truly understand the real reasons for Palestinian violence in Israel, or Muslim atrocities in the rest of the world. Mainly because he doesn’t really grasp the significance of Islamic goals of world domination, fostered by uprisings and isolated but incessant attacks on the “infidels.” Summed up in one word: Jihad.

PA President Abbas went on to say that the Palestinians were simply employing, “…all peaceful means” to “resist Israeli occupation.” This noble pursuit of a “peaceful” strategy to resist an Israeli occupation that doesn’t exist in the first place has resulted in the deaths of 30+ Israeli Jews with dozens more injured; as well as some 170 Palestinians—many of them children—who have launched these “lone-wolf” attacks to carry out the abhorrent self-fulfilling prophecy of the politically corrupt and morally bankrupt Palestinian Authority.

A Ridiculous Hoax, Yet Horrendous “Anti-Semitic Blood Libel”

PA President Abbas recently condescended to an even lower (lowest … worst) level of lies about and libel against Israel with his speech to the European Parliament on June 23, 2016; ostensibly to tell the European lawmakers that the Palestinians are still very much interested in a two-state solution in Israel.

He pleaded with EU leaders to save Palestinians from “Israeli provocations.” With one of these provocations a plot described by Abbas as, “…a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians.”

In the same context of this deliberate hoax (lie), Abbas also said that he and the Palestinians, “…are against terrorism in whatever form it may take, and whoever carries it out.”

More on his “against terrorism” comment later in today’s article. For now we only need to see that he was deceitfully diverting attention away from the ongoing Palestinian acts of terrorism against the Jews by suggesting that the Israelis were, themselves, guilty of terrorist acts of violence (plotting to poison Palestinian wells).

He went on to say, “Once the occupation (meaning what he and much of the world thinks is Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories) ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.”

*Note: At the very least that may be the most naïve, uninformed (stupid) statement ever made, and to a group of national leaders and lawmakers, no less. At the very worst, it is a flagrantly false, malicious indictment against Israel; that, in no uncertain terms, accuses Israel of being the sole reason that terrorism (of all kinds, from all sources) exists in the world, i.e. because the Jews “occupy” so-called Palestinian territories. In case someone thinks my use of the word, stupid, is inappropriate and/or too harsh, read with me the words of the Psalmist:

“Arrogant people smear me with lies … Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions” (Psalm 119:69-70).

During his insidious speech, Abbas received standing ovations from members of the European Parliament. These are supposed to be intelligent, informed lawmakers—similar in role and stature to the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The last I heard, standing ovations were reserved for speakers who are believed and revered by their audience. It’s the “believed” part that should scare us the most.

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(European Parliament Standing Ovation for Mahmoud Abbas)

It no longer matters to Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, or to Hamas, or to Hezbollah, or to Iran, or to most Muslim nations how many fabrications they foist on both uninformed and informed listeners; or how belligerent they are toward Israel. Their twisted tactics have become pathetically plain. The more lies they tell and the bigger those lies, the more likely it is that some people will believe most or all of them; and a lot of people will believe some of them. With their warped objective accomplished: If enough people in Europe and Russia and the United States and other less powerful nations all over the globe believe that Israel is doing just a few of the things that they are falsely accused of, they will continue or begin to support the Palestinian narrative no matter the real history of Israel and no matter the truth of what is taking place there.

It was also an increase in the severity of inflammatory lies spread by Abbas that incited his people to begin the lone wolf attacks last year—a falsehood that the Jews were desecrating Temple Mount.

Reaction to the Blatantly False Accusation of Israel Poisoning Palestinian Water Supplies

As expected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly rebuffed Abbas’ absurd accusations. Said Netanyahu:

“I think that Abu Mazen (Netanyahu often refers to Abbas by his given or original name), last week, again proved to the entire world that he is not interested in direct negotiations with Israel. Worse, he also spread abhorrent lies about the State of Israel and Judaism.”

Netanyahu was referring to two things in his rebuttal: (1) Mahmoud Abbas had just a couple of days earlier refused to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (also in Europe at the same time as Abbas) who had invited Abbas to renew preliminary discussions of a two-state solution. Which is what Benjamin meant by Abbas not being interested in direct negotiations with Israel … which Abbas is not.

Instead, Mahmoud Abbas wants the international community to sanction Israel and force the Israelis to adopt previous roadmaps for peace, including pre-1967 territory lines that would leave the Jews virtually defenseless for much of north central and northeast Israel, not the least of which is the strategic Golan Heights.

As I’ve said periodically in Eye of Prophecy articles and by others who know what’s really going on in Israel: The Palestinians don’t actually want a state of their own. If they did, they would have had one by now … actually as long ago as 1948. What they really want is for Jews to no longer be a nation … for Israel to cease to exist as a sovereign state. Which is why, to this day, the Palestinians (and all but two Muslim nations … Egypt and Jordan) do not recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

(2) The second part of Netanyahu’s response was, of course, reference to the “abhorrent lies” about rabbis (Judaism) and the Israeli government plotting to poison Palestinian water supplies.

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(Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Press Conference in Reaction to Mahmoud Abbas’ False Allegations of Poisoning Palestinian Water)

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, a respected and recognized historian, had harsher words for these preposterous charges. Comparing it to the blood libels against the Jews during the Black Plague of the middle Ages, current Knesset Member Oren replied:

“…objectively, empirically, and historically it was a blood libel. Tens of thousands of Jews lost their lives because of these rumors. It’s not just any anti-Semitic comment. It is an anti-Semitic comment that has deep and horrific reverberations for Europe and Europe’s history.”

*Note: Not only during and after the 14th century Black Plague that Jews were accused of starting (you guessed it … by allegedly poisoning the water in many wells), but also these same kind of lies and libels were believed by many Germans before and during World War II. Which allowed Hitler and the Third Reich to round up, impound all their property, imprison, haul off to ghettos, and exterminate six millions Jews during the Holocaust.

But some might say: “We’ve come a long way. We’re way past doing or condoning such barbaric acts.” Really? Why then is anti-Semitism slowly but surely reaching alarming proportions throughout Europe and even in the United States, especially on university campuses?

The Palestinian Authority Retraction

Fortunately, Abbas’ outrageous (poisonous) rhetoric that accused Israel and many of its rabbis of the plot to poison Palestinian water was ludicrous enough that—with exception of many of the European Parliamentary members present during the speech—there was an international outcry.

So much so that, just two days later, President Abbas retracted his appalling allegation. Actually it wasn’t Abbas himself; rather it was a statement issued by the Palestinian Authority on his behalf.

The announcement went as follows:

“After it became evident that the alleged statements by a rabbi on poisoning Palestinian wells, reported by various media outlets, are baseless, President Abbas has affirmed that he didn’t intend to harm Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world. This is rooted in the President’s deep respect for all religions including Judaism.”

Anyone can see through this half-hearted “apology.” Of course the allegation was baseless because it was a flat-out lie. But the Palestinian Authority didn’t call it a lie or even a hoax; they called it baseless which was a euphemism implying it was merely an unsupported rumor. The reason they called it that is because it was so outrageous that many people the world over this time sided with Jews (for a brief shining moment!) and/or realized that it was sheer propaganda.

(FYI, on reliable authority from a few Muslim Imams, President Mahmoud Abbas owns a beautiful green oasis in Antarctica that he will sell you at half-price if you buy it sight unseen! Not to worry. If this alleged statement proves not to be true, I’ll ask the Palestinian Authority to print a retraction on my behalf. On second thought, for me, they may use the term, scandalous lie instead of baseless; and that I intended to harm Islam and the Muslim people).

Back to (sometimes repulsive) reality!

The retraction didn’t say that Abbas was sorry that he had broadcast such a slanderous story to (because of media coverage of his speech) the whole world. Rather, the communique simply said that it wasn’t Abbas’ intent to harm Judaism or Jewish people! Once again, anyone with even the slightest degree of awareness of what’s taking place in Israel knows that both Abbas and many of the Palestinian people have done and will continue to do everything they can to “harm the Jewish people.” Including murder.

Yet, even murder is not enough. If a Palestinian terrorist succeeds in his/her diabolical mission, they are eulogized to the extent of a monthly stipend to their family, posters of their picture throughout the West Bank and Gaza, and streets named after them. Is there any street in America named, Lee Harvey Oswald?

Regarding Abbas’ purported respect for “all religions including Judaism,” I could provide dozens of examples to the contrary if time/space permitted in this article. As it is, I will mention only one: If, indeed, Abbas harbors “respect” (which supposedly would include the modern-day emphasis on tolerance and diversity) for all religions including Judaism; then why doesn’t he allow Jews or Christians to worship, pray, or so much as do anything that looks like prayer, on Temple Mount? Why to Palestinian Arabs constantly harass Jews when they ascend to Temple Mount? Why is the presence of police even necessary on Temple Mount, if President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority “respect” Judaism and the Jewish people?

Those questions are as rhetorical as any question can be.

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(Palestinians Picking Up Rocks to Throw at Jews on Temple Mount)

The only positive thing about this retraction is the extremely rare use of the words Judaism and Jewish people (Jews). Seldom do Palestinians (Muslims in general) speak the words Jew or Judaism or even Israel, unless it’s something to the effect of “death to the Jews … death to Israel.” Normally they call Jews: settlers, occupiers, usurpers, Zionists, or the more ugly denigration of pigs and apes.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Hypocritical Remarks on Terrorism and Occupation

Once again, a reminder that the European Parliament gave Abbas a standing ovation. For what? We’ve already discussed the laughable but also hideous hoax that Israel was on the verge of poisoning Palestinian wells; a flagrant fabrication that the Palestinian Authority retracted just two days later. Wouldn’t it, therefore, have been appropriate for the European Parliament to have rescinded their standing ovation for Abbas? To have made a “retraction” video showing them booing instead of applauding! Not likely, if for no other reason than most European leaders prefer to believe the Palestinian propaganda machine that churns out lies as fast as the Swiss churn out cheese. European heads of state that appear to support Israel do so mostly out of left-over guilt from the Holocaust. Of course, there are a few exceptions, like the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Praise the Lord for that!

The European Parliament enthusiastically extended their applause for two other core statements made by Mahmoud Abbas, as quoted earlier in today’s article. As follows:

Against Terrorism?

Mahmoud Abbas’ statement that, “Palestinians are against terrorism in whatever form it may take, and whoever carries it out,” is as two-faced and double-tongued as any assertion could be.

Read again what Abbas said. He didn’t limit terrorism to just ISIS or even Hamas, which is Abbas’ chief (bitter) rival for authority among the Palestinians. No, he said, whatever form terrorism takes and whoever carries it out. What would anyone, with any trace of objectivity and with any tidbit of knowledge of what’s taking place in Israel, call the hideous slaughter of dozens of Israelis by Palestinian “lone-wolf” assassins?

Because of Mahmoud Abbas’ hatred of Israel, he has deluded himself to the point that any and all Palestinian atrocities against innocent Israelis is what he has called, “justified popular unrest.” To a large extent that is expected of him, as are the lies that he tells to support that premise. What is or should be unequivocally unexpected and immensely inappropriate are many Western nations buying into that logic as being (even half way) reasonable and justified. But that is exactly what is taking place. There is a world-wide effort to selectively pick and choose who are terrorists and what is terrorism; including but not limited to distinguishing between what is commonly called “radical Islam” versus “mainstream Islam.”

Anyone (especially Muslims themselves) who know anything about Islam and the Koran fully realize that those who are classified as radical are doing nothing more than what the god of Islam (Allah) commands. Which is: convert the infidel through coercion, and kill them if they refuse to convert or even get in the way of Islam’s ultimate objective to force all peoples and nations under the Muslim mantle.

isis daily devotion violent verses quran islam

Which is why Abbas refused to condemn the hideous murder of 13-year old Hallel Yaffa Ariel by a Palestinian youth, while Hallel slept in her bed at home. This occurred on June 30th, just one week after Abbas’ address to the European Parliament. Nor did he respond in any way to subsequent media and international inquiries as to what his reply would be to the murder of Rabbi Miki Mark, the father of ten children, killed the following day. Abbas refused even to return phone calls from media sources. Furthermore, he ordered his West Bank organization Fatah to suppress news of any Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

The following are (italicized) excerpts from the Eye of Prophecy article, Can A Murderer Be A Martyr? (Posted on 1-30-16); to further emphasize that there is no difference whatsoever between a Palestinian murdering an Israeli and a muslim member or devotee of ISIS or other terrorist cells (mass) murdering innocent people in Syria, Iraq, France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States.

Although these murderous Palestinian assaults on Israelis are perpetrated by individuals (as opposed to known terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas), in my opinion they can no longer be classified as “lone-wolf” attacks. If for no other reason than there have been nearly 300 such incidents just in the past four months or so, resulting in the death of 30 Jews and wounding of dozens more. In other words, the sheer number of the attackers can now be classified as a concerted group of individuals in a cruel combined effort to instill terror among Jewish communities, no different than a terrorist group or grouping of terrorists with a collaborative mindset and a callous communal cause of killing Jews.

As such, this makes them vastly different from the “ordinary” murderer in the United States or anywhere in the world who kills someone for any number of different reasons, but certainly not just because their victims are Jews (or Christians). Surely the parents, families, national leaders, and fellow citizens don’t glorify the murderer in these kind of killings. Conversely, they are appalled.

Not so with the Palestinians. If they, in turn, are killed in the commission of their hideous crimes, their own people (including parents and leaders) and religion can call them martyrs to their heart’s content. But by all the universal laws of morality, of right and wrong, of good and evil, there’s no way that a murderer or would-be murderer (in case they don’t succeed) can be considered a martyr for a cause that is anything but righteous or a religion that is anything but peaceful.

Which is another compelling argument that there must be (and is) a universal standard of law and truth that can objectively define right and wrong. Moreover, these universal truths have, in fact, been given to us by the true and living God through the Bible.

Otherwise, we are left with the moral and spiritual dilemma that a murderer is actually someone’s martyr. That a terrorist is another one’s activist. If that were true then all Nazis (participating in Jewish genocide) who were killed during the Second World War or who were tried and executed for war crimes after the war could be designated as martyrs “for their cause.”

Thus, when our own President and most of his staff ignore the true history of Israel, and the acrimonious (no longer hidden) agenda of the Arab Muslims living in Israel, they also apathetically disregard the insidious (but no longer subtle) and all too real objective of Arab Palestinians and Muslims the world over: To eliminate Israel as a State and the Jews as a race. All the while, taking out as many Christians as they can.

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Occupation?

Mahmoud Abbas also said:

“Once the occupation (meaning what he and much of the world thinks is Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories) ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.”

The so-called Israeli occupation of a small portion of the “West Bank” by alleged “Israeli settlers” continues to be the biggest lie foisted by the Palestinians and the greatest misunderstanding by many Western nations, not the least of which is the United States of America, especially the current Administration. In several Eye of Prophecy articles, I’ve provided historical and contemporary documented details to demonstrate that all of Israel belongs to the Jews. Which effectively makes the Palestinians the occupiers and settlers.

In today’s article, we’ll confine our examination to Mahmoud Abbas’s senseless conclusion (I would like to use the description of “stupid” again, which is a synonym of senseless, but I won’t): That the end of (so-called) Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories will eliminate terrorism not just in the Middle East but throughout the entire world.

Poof! Just like that, there will be no more terrorism!

First, you don’t need to go beyond Israel itself to realize that elimination of Israeli housing divisions in the West Bank would have absolutely no effect on President Abbas’ chief rival (for Palestinian supremacy) which is Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In fact, the Israeli government completely removed all Israelis (sadly, some by force) from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

And what did the Palestinians promptly do? They tore down buildings and greenhouses built by the Jews that could have provided instant housing, agricultural, and commercial enterprises for them. Followed soon by several episodes of Palestinian missiles and mortars lobbed into Israel from Gaza. Followed by the obviously justified need for the IDF to intervene and protect Israeli citizens.

What planet does Abbas live on? Does he seriously think that the daily terrorism against civilians in Syria and Iraq and Muslim lone-wolf attacks throughout Europe and the United States will stop overnight just because a few Israeli settlements were disbanded in the West Bank?

The glaring fact is this: The vast majority of militant Muslim Arabs and non-Arabs (such as Iran), couldn’t care less about Jewish settlements in the West Bank. That is also true with the majority of “mainstream, moderate Muslims.” Most of them didn’t blink an eye when Israel vacated the Gaza Strip. But they danced in the streets when the Twin Towers fell. And they hand out gifts and sweets when Israeli Jews are hacked, stabbed, shot, and beaten to death throughout Israel. Excuse me, I forgot to include death by high-speed vehicles used as weapons.

In an article by one of my favorite Israeli columnists, Ruthie Blum, reprinted in Israel Hayom and also Prophecy News Watch, she cites and comments on a recent publication by ISIS in their on-line news source, Dabiq. (Yes, ISIS has their own media). ISIS gives six reasons why, “We hate you and want to fight you.” That article was given the title, Break the Cross, and was directed primarily toward Christians. Yet it’s clear: The post also includes anyone and everyone who opposes the right of ISIS to be the supreme Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East and Islam’s right to govern the globe through Sharia Law.

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(Writer Ruthie Blum Also Appears on Israeli Television)

Space in today’s article does not permit quotation of the six reasons. However, rest assured that the article says nothing at all about withdrawal of Jewish settlements (occupation); or that ISIS would cease and desist from all terrorist attacks if Israel complied with Palestinian demands as Mahmoud Abbas so arrogantly and foolishly claims.

Nonetheless, I will quote the final overriding reason given by ISIS explaining why they will continue their barbaric torture, mutilation, and murder of innocent people the world over.

Here it is, ISIS talking:

“What’s important to understand here is that although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary … The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam” (italics for emphasis).

The “usurping our lands” could be stretched to include Palestinian territory in Israel, but the larger context includes all Middle East, European, and African nations/territory that were at one time partially or fully controlled by Muslims, including the Ottoman Turk Empire defeated by British and allies during World War I.

Rather than summarizing with my own editorial comments, some of which I’ve already submitted in today’s article (as also found in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles on this subject), I’ll defer to Ruthie Blum’s observations, as they track closely with mine and several others who are ardent students of Scripture and/or Middle East events, both historical and contemporary.

She states: “But it is the response of the West, which has been suffering increasingly bloody attacks on its shores, that is both baffling and worrisome. On the one hand, Americans and Europeans view Islamic State as the world’s ultimate bogeyman—one worth defeating, even on the battlefield. On the other hand, the very same leaders and pundits who have reached a consensus on the evil nature of Islamic State remain in denial about the many other Islamist organizations and “lone wolves” who commit atrocities on their behalf.

“What those leaders and pundits choose not to see is that though Islamic State terrorists may be a bit more theatrical than competing killers, they are not worse than members of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, al-Qaida or Boko Haram. Indeed, though their PR machine is as well-oiled as their literature is articulate, they are not more deserving of eradication than the others. Indeed, every point on Islamic State’s list could have been and is made by all jihadis.”

*Note: The “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PLO) was reconfigured to become today’s Palestinian Authority currently led by the “featured guest of today’s article” President Mahmoud Abbas; who took over for Yasser Arafat, the founder of Fatah (military wing of the PLO and now the Palestinian Authority).

Ruthie Blum continues and then concludes: “Instead of separating Palestinian terrorists into a different category—of terrorists with a legitimate gripe that can be resolved with Israeli concessions—the West needs to wake up to reality… Islamic State is merely one strain of the deadly disease of jihad. An urgent antidote is needed to combat all of its manifestations and mutations…”

Summary (Shame on Our State Department)

Just a few days ago, the United States State Department issued more defamatory and inflammatory remarks against Israel, pertaining to the possibility of more settlement construction in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria by its rightful name … part of Israel proper).

In response to what he termed the State’s Department, “remarkable assault on Israel … both in tone and content, marks a new hostility and plenty of sheer ignorance,” Elliot Abrams (former deputy national security advisor to President George W. Bush) also noted that the State Department’s, “…obsession with housing construction by Israeli Jews is certainly not shared by any Arab government…”

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(Photo of Elliot Abrams)

With his reaction, Elliot Abrams seriously challenged the current Presidential Staff’s hostile disposition toward Israel and its aforementioned fixation on housing construction as specifically articulated by State Department spokesman, John Kirby.

Said Kirby (which he has said before as noted in a previous Eye of Prophecy article) in denouncement of the Israeli government that they were, “…systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution by engaging in settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

Others joined in with Abrams, including Alan Baker, former Israeli ambassador to Canada, who said:

“Reading the statement (Kirby’s statement) … An average reader having landed from space, would only conclude that Israel’s settlement activity is the source of all evil in the world, and the United States is waging a massive war of Armageddon against this evil. No international terror, no ISIS, no Iranian nuclear threat, no Syria, no Hezbollah, no Hamas, no hunger, no global warming. Only Israel’s settlements!”

Things to Ponder

As terrible as it can be, it is not terrorism. As calamitous as it might seem, it is not political corruption or economic collapse. As woeful as it is, it is not war. As horrendous as it might get, it is not … well, you fill in the blanks. These are but symptoms of what has plagued the human race from time immemorial … sin.

There is no doubt: It is the debilitating and disastrous effect of sin that produces pride, greed, lust for power and pleasure, selfishness, cruelty, hatred, disobedience, lawlessness, ingratitude, and eventually death—both physical and spiritual.

The true threat, the real risk, the actual angst, and the ferocious fight facing this tumultuous world of ours—specifically for believers, but also in general extended to those searching for truth and peace—is summarized succinctly in Scripture.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

The real battle is spiritual. The real enemy is the false belief system of those who distort, deny, and replace the universal truth of The Bible—both Old and New Testaments. The spiritual becomes physical, the mind becomes matter, and what’s in the human heart turns into action—either for good or evil.

The ultimate fight is not against Muslim terrorists and certainly not against those Muslims who do not support torture and killing of Jews and Christians as the only way to advance Islam. Rather it is against the creeds of a religion (any man-made religion) that claims good works and self-righteousness as the only way to please the god of that religion. It is also against secular humanistic belief systems that seek to silence those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and especially those who believe in the truth of God’s salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. For the activists among such religious and secular ideologies, silencing can include actual elimination of anyone who opposes their twisted ideas.

But, there is powerful protection and profound peace against these wicked spiritual forces and mighty powers in this dark world and the billions of people who have been influenced by this evil. It is God’s protective covering given to all those who have believed and received the Prince of Peace, Messiah Jesus.

It is the belt of Biblical truth. It is the full body armor of God’s righteousness, not self-righteousness. It is the Gospel shoes shod with true peace with God and with each other. It is the shield of faith to stop Satan’s weapons from defeating us. It is the helmet of Biblical salvation freely given through the grace of God to all who believe and receive Messiah Jesus. And it is the sword of the Holy Spirit enabling us to understand and trust the Word of God that will sustain us through this wicked and weary world we live in. (Ephesians 6:14-17, paraphrasing).

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“…His faithful promises are your armor and protection” (Psalm 91:4b).

“May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 6:24

Stand Still & Watch God Fight for Israel!

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Universal Truth of Scripture

“For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” (Isaiah 64:4).

This amazing verse is one of many in Scripture that declares a universal truth for individuals, peoples, and nations whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12)—those who sincerely seek after God, and who believe and trust his Word as recorded in the Bible. However, like most passages and prophets in the Old Testament, Isaiah is first and foremost speaking directly to Israel, which God calls his “special possession,” and to the Jews … God’s “chosen people.”

For instance, in the preceding chapter, Isaiah writes: “Lord … return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession … Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people” (Isaiah 63:17, 19).

Then Isaiah Chapter 64 begins with: “Oh that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! For since the world began…. (Isaiah 64:1-4a).

Isaiah is referring to God’s presence on Mount Sinai and before that the Lord’s deeds in the form of mighty miracles to deliver the Jews from Pharaoh and from Egyptian slavery.

There are many things that separate the Bible and the true and living God of the Bible from all other so-called sacred texts and the man-made gods of those religions, but two features stand out: (1) Only Biblical God-given prophecies come to pass with 100% accuracy—hundreds of them. What God says he will do, he does. What God says will happen, happens.

(2) Only God’s Word (the Bible) offers salvation as a free gift by simply believing and receiving the substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son (Messiah Jesus) to forgive our sins and pardon the penalty of those sins. All other religions promote a form of self-righteousness based on good works.

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God Does Take Sides

History confirms the following premise: God has providentially intervened in individual battles and the outcome of wars that eventually determined the destiny of entire nations, especially the nation of Israel. There are numerous examples of divine interdiction through the accounts of soldiers, civilians, generals, and national leaders trying to explain mysterious events that led to rescue and/or victory. The ultimate (only) conclusion: there had to have been purposeful providential participation.

As an example, here are some excerpts (in italics) from the Eye of Prophecy article, The Reign of Terror (posted 9-13-14), concerning the three major wars of Israel’s modern-day history and God’s divine direction that directly led to Israel’s victories. But still, the Jews had to fight.

On May 15, 1948, the day after Israel became a sovereign state, five Arab nations led by Syria and Egypt attacked with armies that vastly outnumbered and outgunned the hastily assembled, rag-tag Jewish army. National leaders the world over, including US President Harry Truman, gave the Jews no chance whatsoever of winning; Israel would die a national death within days or weeks after its rebirth. Instead, it was the Arabs who were soundly defeated in Israel’s War of Independence. Even hardened Israeli officers and soldiers, some of whom had abandoned the notion that God any longer cared about Israel’s destiny, attributed the victory to divine intervention. The miracle of this victory was transparently obvious: there’s absolutely no way that Israel could have or should have won that war. Perhaps God was on their side after all.

The Six-Day War in June, 1967 was equally stunning. Not because Israel didn’t have (by that time) a much stronger military than in 1948; but because of the sheer brilliance of the Israeli Defense Force’s strategy and execution of those plans. Which accomplished a feat that has never in military history been achieved: A massive rout of an enemy that was still much stronger (on paper) in men and material in only six days! Strong evidence that God was on their side.

Finally, the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Because the Arab nations struck without warning on one of Israel’s high holy days (Day of Atonement), they caught Israel woefully unprepared. It was the bloodiest war with, by far, the highest casualties on both sides. Yet, Israel’s victory was no less miraculous for the very reason that such a sudden attack from an enemy that still boasted a clear military superiority should have by all rights defeated a foe that was caught completely off guard. It would be similar to the United States rebounding in a short time and actually defeating the Japanese at Pearl Harbor or soon afterward; rather than taking another four years to finally conquer Japan. There’s no doubt that God was on Israel’s side!

Although there have been a handful of battles won “without firing a shot” (such as British Field Marshal Edmund Allenby capturing Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks during World War I), invariably they were part of a larger series of local, regional, national, or international conflict (war).

With exception of three extraordinary events, there is no record, Biblical or secular, of God (alone through direct intrusion) supernaturally defeating an enemy of Gentile nations involved in a righteous justified war, without the necessary fighting and dying of those whom God helped to accomplish their worthy cause and God’s ultimate plan. Each of these three exceptions involve Israel. All three validate the Lord’s ultimate authority and power over nations. It is God’s demonstration to Israel and Gentile nations that his ultimate plan and purpose for all peoples will be accomplished despite the evil and terror that the Lord has allowed to exist for millennia.

No one can completely understand the thoughts and ways of our great God or the entire scope of his purpose for mankind.

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We know that for believers in Christ Jesus, God causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28). What we don’t even come close to grasping is how he carries out this promise and many other majestic promises and prophecies in Scripture. Or how he circumvents the innumerable bad decisions we all have made and the adverse consequences of those regrettable choices, not to mention the evil in this world, to accomplish his plan for the human race. The how and sometimes the why of it all is for God and God alone to know. Our job is to simply trust and obey him.

But throughout Scripture, the Lord does give us a panoramic view of why he has permitted individuals and nations to exist despite the incessant evil that men do and the perpetual death and destruction that results.

A Biblical Overview: After the Great Flood, God gave the human race another chance (and a lengthy one at that, i.e. some 5,000 years) to follow him and his ways; OR to demonstrate that individuals, governments, and nations can bring peace and stability to this world without God. We don’t have to read much history or look very far in today’s world to comprehend the obvious: Mankind has failed miserably to establish any kind of paradise whatsoever on earth.

Even God’s chosen people/nation wouldn’t and couldn’t accomplish this noble objective. They, too, abandoned the only One who had assured them that they and all nations through them would be richly blessed and protected if they would simply love, listen to, and obey the Lord their God.

The other reason that God has allowed societies to continue on a path of apocalyptic ruin is so that many will come to a saving knowledge of God’s magnificent design of redemption through Messiah (Jesus) who came at the appointed time. Ultimately, however, God will need to unilaterally intervene in the affairs of Planet Earth on a scale that will affect every man, woman, and child. Thereby, fulfilling God’s prophetic plan and purpose for his creation; while, at the same time, saving the human race from self-extinction.

Let’s look at the three improbable exceptions and the reasons for these departures from the normal course of human events, particularly involving war; in which God fought for Israel, winning an awesome victory without his people so much as lifting a finger in battle.

*Note: I am not including God’s miracle of splitting the Sea, allowing his people to cross on dry land, and then drowning Pharaoh’s army when they arrogantly pursued the Israelites. For two reasons: The Hebrews were not yet the nation of Israel. And, they did not yet have a standing army.

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The Backdrop of the First Major Exception Made by God

For the most part, Jehoshaphat was one of the better kings of Judah, which along with the tribe of Benjamin comprised the Southern Kingdom of Israel. He was the fourth king to rule Judah (872 BC to 848 BC) after the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms when King Solomon died.

“Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the example of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel” (I Kings 22:43-44).

Good News: Jehoshaphat “made peace with the king of Israel.” Bad News: That king of Israel (northern kingdom) was none other than the infamous Ahab, husband of the very wicked Jezebel.

In fact, Jehoshaphat agreed to go to war with Ahab, who enlisted Judah’s help to defeat the armies of Ramoth-gilead in particular and the nation of Aram in general. Jehoshaphat agreed but only if they first consulted a true prophet of God (Micaiah) instead of the false prophets of Baal whom Ahab preferred. Ahab agreed, but when Micaiah predicted that the combined forces of Israel and Judah would be defeated and that Ahab would be killed in battle, Ahab became furious. He ordered Micaiah put in prison. Even though Jehoshaphat had recommended Micaiah, he went along with Ahab’s decision. Bad mistake.

Nevertheless, Ahab was more than a little concerned about Micaiah’s prophecy. To the extent that he came up with a “brave” plan to lead their respective armies into battle. Said Ahab to Jehoshaphat: “…As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes” (II Chronicles 18:29).

What a magnanimous gesture on the part of Ahab! Not! Equally pathetic is that Jehoshaphat went along with it. Many students of Scripture know the rest of the story: An Aramean soldier randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit Ahab (disguised as one of his soldiers) between the joints of his armor. Later, Ahab died from this wound. Jehoshaphat barely escaped with his life. God was angry with Jehoshaphat for ignoring the words of God’s prophet; but also, as asked rhetorically after the battle by another prophet, Jehu, “Why should you (Jehoshaphat) help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” (II Chronicles 19:2).

The First Exception … King Jehoshaphat & Israel’s Victory Won Exclusively by God

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

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

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord

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

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

Jehoshaphat then goes on to honor the Lord by acknowledging and remembering (reminding the people) how the Lord stood with the Jews when they entered the Promised Land, when they were faced with “war, plague, or famine.” This prayer and others like it in Scripture could easily apply to the United States of America in our times of adversity and uncertainty. Also in our times of prosperity!

He goes on to say: “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance” (Verses 10-11).

Make no mistake: There are many in America who, given any legal and even illegal means at their disposal, would like nothing better than for all those who think and live by the Judeo-Christian values of the Bible, especially believers in Jesus Christ, to be gone from this country. At the very minimum, to relieve us of our God-given right to worship, publish, and proclaim the everlasting universal absolute truths of God’s Word.

Whether now or later—preferably now because later could be too late; whether it is those from within who recklessly abandon and ruthlessly attack all that is good and right in this country; or those from without such as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Muslim terrorists who would gleefully applaud and (when they think the time is right) enthusiastically participate in the demise of the United States, we and our leaders need to echo the words of Jehoshaphat:

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

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

Immediately, we realize that the Lord heard and honored Jehoshaphat’s plea on behalf of Judah. We know because of the astonishing miracle that followed—beginning with God’s Spirit poured out on one of the men standing nearby when Judah called out to God. This man, Jahaziel, boldly proclaimed what he knew would happen, because the people had opened their hearts to the Lord.

Said Jahaziel, “…Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” (Verses 15-17).

Then Jehoshaphat and all the people bowed and worshipped the Lord. The next morning, Jehoshaphat said to the people as they prepared to meet the invading enemy:

“…Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed” (Verse 20).

When Jehoshaphat said, “believe in his prophets,” he was referring to all of God’s Word spoken and written down by the prophets at that time, not the least of which were the greatest prophets, Moses and Samuel.

Here’s what happened next:

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

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

Stunning!

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

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

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This monumental miracle of a victory ends with: “When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side” (II Chronicles 20:29-30).

You think!

Second Historical Incident … King Hezekiah and Judah

In the year 701 BC, during the reign of one of Judah’s greatest and most godly kings, Hezekiah, God on a massive scale once again delivered his people from national destruction; and did so without any fighting on the part of Judah’s army. Let’s look at this astounding event, paying special attention to the pattern and parallels of what happened with Jehoshaphat some 140 years earlier. In terms of time-comparison, think of the gap between our Revolutionary War and World War I. And once again remember: our ancestors had to fight in both of those wars (and of course World War II) in order for God to providentially guide us to victory.

As a backdrop, the powerful nation of Assyria had already conquered the ten northern kingdoms of Israel in 722 BC; this according to God’s warning of what would happen if Israel continued to abandon and disobey their God who created the nation of Israel (through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and protected and prospered her for hundreds of years thereafter. God’s patience ran out and he allowed Assyria to vanquish Israel.

The Assyrian King, Sennacherib, had already attacked and taken most of the fortified towns of Judah and had marched on Jerusalem to complete his conquest of the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Sennacherib proudly boasted in messages to King Hezekiah that no one, not even the God of Israel, could prevent him from capturing Jerusalem (that alone was a huge mistake … to blatantly and arrogantly defy the true and living God).

“When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord” (II Kings 19:1).

Obviously Hezekiah was distraught for he knew that Judah was no match against the mighty Assyrian army. So he sent for Isaiah (again seeking God’s Word through the voice of God’s prophet). Isaiah’s response was an immediate and emphatic promise from God:

“…This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword” (Verses 5-7).

After a second taunting and threatening message from Sennacherib’s officials, Hezekiah went to the Temple again, spread the message out before the Lord, and prayed passionately:

“…O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God” ((II Kings 19:15-19).

Though it hasn’t come yet to an immediate threat of another world war, the winds of war and the rattling of sabers can be heard all over the globe in today’s world. In a matter of a few weeks, precipitated by the unparalleled and virtually unmitigated civil wars, terrorism, and unrest in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, the entire world could erupt into an international conflagration.

What would happen if either or both of our presidential candidates now or as the next President, senators and congressmen from both parties, Supreme Court justices, and other prominent men and woman (especially those who know the Lord personally) poured our hearts out to God to deliver us from our enemies and from ourselves? What if we prayed the words of Hezekiah who humbly acknowledged God’s greatness and pleaded for his sovereign intervention?

I don’t know how God would do it or how quickly; but on the final authority of God’s Word (Scripture), I can confidently say, “This nation would be great again.” Or, if you’re in the other camp, “Stay great.” For the standing of any nation is determined by God himself. Any maintenance of or return to greatness through that same divine determination is predicated on a verse quoted recently in the Eye of Prophecy article, America the Beautiful Is Getting Ugly, posted 7-9-16.

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

Turn from our wicked ways. Stop killing our babies while they’re still in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). Stop worshiping creation and the god of evolution (Romans 1:21-23). Worship the Creator instead. Stop calling God a liar or that he’s outdated when he gives clear timeless warnings against same sex-behavior (Romans 1:24-32). Overturn immoral legislation and ungodly high court decisions that sanction and even fund abortion and same-sex marriage proponents.

Will we never listen? Will we never learn? Will we never turn or return to God?

The following verses are just a part of Isaiah’s second message to Hezekiah, because Hezekiah had prayed to the Lord. The second message was much longer, and repeats some of the first message.

“And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: ‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city, says the Lord. For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it’” (II Kings 19:32-34).

Do you remember what happened next? It is only the most mind-boggling event in the annals of warfare. It will remind you of what happened to the first-born of every Egyptian when Pharaoh’s arrogance had stretched God’s patience to the limit, which also happened at the hands of an angel sent by God. Read with me:

“That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there” (Verses 35-36).

Once again, you think!

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Boom, just like that. Sennacherib and what was left of his decimated troops were “out of there.” And why not! This boastful king had just lost 185,000 soldiers. Scripture doesn’t give us the size of his army, but that wouldn’t matter anyway. When you lose that many soldiers in one night while the survivors slept through it, you’re not going to stick around to see what might happen next.

But there’s more, to fulfill the precise prophecy of Isaiah:

“One day while he (Sennacherib) was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria” (Verse 37).

Assyria was never the same again. In a few decades, Babylon would utterly destroy the once mighty Assyrian kingdom.

Just like with Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and his army didn’t so much as shoot one arrow at the Assyrians. God did it all.

The Third and Last Event in Which God (alone) Annihilates Israel’s Enemies

Do you know which one it is? How it happens? Who is involved? If you know, then many kudos to you; because they are, in part, trick questions. Why? This final, most spectacular God-directed and God-inflicted defeat of Israel’s enemies hasn’t taken place yet. But it will, just as sure as God’s predictions for Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, the people of Judah, and their enemies came to pass.

We’re talking about the (soon to come) massive Gog/Magog invasion of Israel, which many Bible scholars have written about, including me in several Eye of Prophecy articles.

*Note: For more details on Russia, Iran, and their anti-Semitic agendas leading to fulfilment of the Gog/Magog prophecy, please see articles entitled: Beware of the Bear (posted 3-22-14); Russia & Iran Versus Israel (10-4-14); Gog, Magog & Leviathan (1-3-15); The Russians Are Coming! (11-14-15); Beginning of the End (3-5-16).

As indicated in some of those articles, I’m convinced (reasons given) that this monstrous campaign against Israel will occur within the first year or so of the seven-year Tribulation, which immediately follows the Rapture, which will happen any day now. Because you may be familiar with Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39, and because of past columns on this subject, I will limit this week’s article to comments that fit today’s theme.

Which is to show that God’s autonomous confrontation of the Gog/Magog confederacy fits the same pattern as demonstrated in the first two incidents.

Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39

“But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over! In my jealousy and blazing anger, I promise a mighty shaking in the land of Israel on that day … all the people on earth will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth. I will summon the sword against you on all the hills of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn their swords against each other. I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur!” (Ezekiel 38:18-22)

As we’ve seen: God’s victorious rout of Israel’s enemies in the time of Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah was nothing short of stunning. For Jehoshaphat, God supernaturally turned Israel’s enemies against each other, so completely that all of the armies of that coalition were eliminated. For Hezekiah, the Lord sent only one of his mighty angels; overnight, 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain.

Against Gog and Magog, the Lord doubles down. He strikes this massive alliance of several nations—what presumably will be hundreds of thousands or even millions of troops aligned against Israel—by turning the forces of nature against them and also causing their troops to turn on each other.

Yes, this will be the third time in the chronicles of warfare that God alone will destroy Israel’s enemies without the Jews needing to fight at all. As with Jehoshaphat and his people, the Israelis will simply, “stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.” As did Sennacherib in Hezekiah’s time, all of Israel will watch Gog (if he survives) flee the scene with the proverbial “tail between his legs.”

Oh, the Israelis will need to contribute, but only after the fact. Here is what they will do:

“Then the people in the towns of Israel will go out and pick up your small and large shields, bows and arrows, javelins and spears, and they will use them for fuel. There will be enough to last them seven years! They won’t need to cut wood from the fields, or forests, for these weapons will give them all the fuel they need. They will plunder those who planned to plunder them…” (Ezekiel 39:9-10).

In today’s terms think of guns, grenades, mortars, missiles, assault vehicles, tanks, and aircraft.

Things to Ponder

Twice Almighty God directly struck down Israel’s enemies without the Jews needing to fight at all. In the near future, the Lord will do so again. What is the primary reason for this departure from the normal means of God helping Israel and nations who at least acknowledge the God of Israel as God, but with the requirement that the people participate in defense of their land and freedom?

Answer: At that critical point in Israel’s history, to get the undivided attention of both Israel and their enemies; that God’s sovereignty and glory is supreme over all peoples and nations. Which requires that both Jews and Gentiles, individually, make a decision: To turn, trust, and yield to the true and living God as Savior and Lord; OR to defy and reject him at great risk and peril, both now and throughout eternity.

For Jehoshaphat and his people: “When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them” (II Chronicles 20:29).

For Hezekiah and his people: “Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God” (Isaiah 37:20).

For wicked Gog and the evil forces of Magog: “In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:23).

And also to Israel:

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By the time Russia, Iran, and the nations aligned with them in conspiracy against Israel are utterly crushed by God alone, all of Israel and all of the world will know beyond any doubt who was responsible for Gog’s humiliating defeat. At that point, both Jew and Gentile must decide whether to believe and follow God and the true Messiah, Jesus; or to ignore and defy the God of Israel and choose Satan’s false messiah, Nero.

First part of Psalm 83 says: “They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence’” (Psalm 83:3-4)

Then, “O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord” (Verses 13-16).

Does that sound like what takes place when God triumphs over Gog/Magog?

This Psalm closes with: “Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth” (Psalm 83:18).

The Tremendous Transfiguration of Believers!

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What’s It All About?

Why am I here? What is the meaning of it all? Is there a purpose for my life? Does God have a plan for the human race? Does God really care about me and my future? Or, in today’s incredibly insecure terror-filled globe: “What in the world is going on?”

Have you thought about and even asked these existential questions, silently to yourself or aloud to others at some time in your life? It’s startling how many people seek answers from any and all sources other than the Word of God, which addresses all these anxieties and more. It’s also alarming that so many people avoid these questions because the right answers interfere with personal pursuit of power, prestige, prosperity, and pleasure.

The Bible contains a sweeping record of God’s majestic plan for the universe and mankind. Untold volumes of books and articles and commentaries have been written and sermons preached about the tremendous truths of Scripture; thus, the following is a super condensed summary that gives added meaning to the term, in a nutshell:

God created man and woman to worship him, fellowship with him, and enjoy the magnificent earth on which the human race was placed. It was, in fact, Paradise; aptly defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “a place of bliss, felicity, or delight.”

Unlike animals, we were made in God’s image (soul and spirit) which includes the profound privilege of free will and choice. God did not create us as puppets. He wants us to willingly love, obey, and follow him because we want to; not because we have to. Adam and Eve chose wrongly. Sin entered the world, as did the revolting result of that deliberate disobedience: death, both physical and spiritual—eternal separation from God. To use the title of John Milton’s superb book, it was: Paradise Lost.

But God, through his immeasurable love and grace and mercy, offered a remedy: Salvation through the supreme sacrifice of Messiah Jesus, the Son of God (John 3:16). The just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, the innocent for the guilty.

For Adam and Eve, it was to believe what God said about disobedience bringing death to the human race. But if they listened to him and obeyed what he said, they would live forever in Paradise. It was really that simple. Then at the time of Christ, it was to totally trust the Lord by personally believing and receiving God’s ultimate plan of redemption for the human race, only possible through Messiah Jesus. A plan of salvation applicable to and sufficient for all people who have ever lived… before, during, and after his sacrificial death, and resurrection to validate the truth of so great a salvation.

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As it was in the beginning, so shall it be at the end of this age. All those who have acknowledged God’s solution for the otherwise unsolvable human predicament, and have agreed that only Messiah Jesus can bring us back full circle to what and where we were meant to be, will be (once again) given bodies equipped to live forever. God himself will bring Heaven down to the (new) earth through the (new) Jerusalem where all believers will live. Only it will be even better. In the Garden of Eden, God visited with Adam and Eve, but did not dwell with them.

Listen to the awesome promise for believers: “…Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:3). There have been so many down through the ages and alive today that don’t want God living with or among them. Tragically for them, they will get their wish.

How will The Lord accomplish all this? What will he do in order to complete our destiny as first announced by Jesus: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:1-3, italics for emphasis).

The Glorious Rapture

This wonderful promise from Jesus was then revealed in more detail to the Apostle Paul in one of the most famous prophecies in all of Scripture. Before we read it, let’s look at some synonyms of Rapture: Ecstatic, blissful, joyful, elated, and euphoric.

“We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died, will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:15-17, italics for emphasis).

Compare the italicized words in the John 14 passage (spoken by Jesus) to the italicized words from the Apostle Paul. Jesus, himself, will come to take believers from the earth to live with him forever in a place he has already prepared for us.

Since this is the first article that begins the fourth year of the Eye of Prophecy website, I’d like to quote from the very first article written (July, 2013). I would encourage you to click on the July and August archives of Eye of Prophecy and read the five-part series on the What, Why, When, Who, and How of the Rapture.

From, What is the Rapture?

The Greek word translated “caught up” found in the following passage is harpazo, which literally means to seize or snatch away (quickly).

I then quote the rapture passage from I Thessalonians 4. Continuing with the excerpt from What is the Rapture:

Yet the English word “Rapture” is entirely appropriate as a one-word description of the remarkable prophetic proclamations found in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15. Remember, the word Rapture is not a direct translation of the Greek word, although it is a very close transliteration of the Latin word; rather it is a substitute or alternative or expanded way to describe emotionally or spiritually what is taking place. One of the definitions for rapture found in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is, “a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to knowledge of divine things,” and a companion definition is, “an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion.”

Thus, we have a captivating combination of the original Latin and Greek words, which is accurately rendered “caught up” in most English translations of the Bible. These words convey the dynamics of the actual time/space sequence involved in this literal transfiguration of the Christian’s physical body, with the spiritual joy, emotional bliss, and mental delight in what is taking place. Those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior (both the dead and the living), will experience the highest degree of spiritual and physical euphoria possible, as we will be instantly changed and then transported to heaven, there to be with our Lord and King forever. As the sayings go, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” And, “What a way to go!”

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More Spectacular Features

Just three of four years after Paul disclosed this extraordinary event to the Thessalonians, he elaborated on God’s phenomenal plan for that part of the human race who trust in the redemptive sacrificial atonement of Messiah Jesus.

In this subsequent revelation to the Corinthian Church, Paul goes all the way back to Adam, giving us more marvelous details that can answer all of the questions (and more) posed in the opening paragraph of today’s article.

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul:

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

“What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (I Corinthians 15:45-53).

*Note: If you only have time to read one of the aforementioned series of articles on the Rapture, then please choose, How the Rapture (will take place), posted 8-24-13. Reason: It explains in great detail that the sequence of Rapture events described in I Thessalonians Chapter 4 (by carefully correlating I Corinthians Chapter 15 with I Thessalonians 4) will take several minutes, and NOT be over in the twinkling of an eye. The only thing that will happen in the blink of an eye is the actual “transformation” from our earthly bodies to our heavenly bodies.

The New American Standard Bible translation uses the words, “changed” and “put on” (the immortal body in place of the mortal), which is the same as “transformed” employed in the New Living Translation … only a little less emphatic.

The Greek word used in I Corinthians 15 is, allesso. Which means: altered, changed, or transformed.

Transform is defined in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: “to change in composition or structure; to change the outward form of appearance; to change in character or condition.”

The operative description in I Corinthians 15 of transform is an action verb that further illustrates, confirms, and emphasizes God’s implementation of his divine plan and ultimate purpose for which we were created … to live with our great and glorious God and Messiah forever. But first we need to be saved from our sins and the penalty of those sins by accepting Christ as our personal Savior. When we do that, we immediately have (present tense condition) eternal life. Because we will need a body equipped to last forever, our earthly bodies must first be changed/transformed to a spiritual body like our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus who arose from the dead with the first (ever) heavenly body.

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Thus, the composition of our bodies will undergo an extreme makeover that will alter our appearance to a form or condition that will far surpass the most perfect of earthly bodies. Yet, we will still recognize each other and will no longer change in appearance.

We will never grow old again! No more balding, stooping, sagging, folding, wrinkling, expanding, or shrinking!

An Even Stronger Concept

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How great is that!

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

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

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

For a more in-depth examination of I Corinthians 15 where the Apostle Paul uses the seemingly conflicting term, spiritual bodies, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part I & II (posted 9-26-15 & 10-3-15).

The Second Adam

Often in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), Jesus is referred to and refers to himself as the Son of Man. Whereas Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son (the main emphasis in the Gospel of John), he made it clear that he was also fully human. But in a unique way.

Thus uniqueness is readily apparent in I Corinthians 15. As we read earlier in that chapter, Messiah Jesus is referred to as the, “last Adam.” The context in that passage was a contrast of Adam’s natural body (which all human beings are born with and in which we will die) to our glorious hope of receiving an eternal spiritual body like our Lord Jesus Christ, made possible by his resurrection from the dead.

Later in the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul expands on the correlation, but also difference between the first and the last Adam. Before reading this passage, we need to remember that Adam was created physically, morally, and spiritually perfect. Not God-perfect (only God is God), but humanly perfect when created by God … “without fault or defect” (Webster’s).

The integrated body, soul, and spirit given to him was meant to be eternal. Had Adam and Eve not disobeyed God, they would still be alive today. And this wicked, weary world we live in would still be as it was in the beginning … a paradise.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Let’s pause here for a moment. Granted it’s a deep subject, one that cannot be fully explained or understood, even by doctors of medicine, physics, and theology. I’m referring to the process of aging and death itself. But Scripture is clear and the record of man’s existence fully attests to that clarity: Sin is a disease of the entire person—body, soul, and spirit. It is the ultimate cause of death in every human being. We begin to die soon after we are born. God said that if Adam and Eve chose to disobey the one and only commandment given to them, they would surely die. Which is exactly what happened, although God graciously gave them and others a long life before they died.

Many have heard the expression, “Two things in life are certain: Death and taxes.”

Wrong! Some down through the years have escaped taxes, like kings and queens and others. Not so, death. Mortality is a 100% certainty. One out of every one people dies. The only exception can be made by God … when he took Enoch and Elijah directly to heaven.

Whether through the blood, genes, DNA, or all of the above, every human being has been infected with sin. It is not a result of society, culture, or upbringing. Those can be factors that contribute to the nature and extent of wrong things we do, but they are not the innate cause. Any parent can attest to that fact when the first word they hear from their two-year old child is, “No!” Followed by a temper tantrum that shock mom and dad so much that they can’t believe what they’re seeing. Not their little angel! It took less than one generation for Adam’s son, Cain, to murder his brother Abel.

Time/space only permits partial examination of the Romans Chapter 5 passage that begins in verse 12 (earlier quoted) and goes through verse 21. You may want to read the entire passage; for purpose of our subject at hand (first and last Adam), let’s pick it up with:

“…Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ … For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.

“…Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone … So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:14-21).

Adam and Jesus

Quoting from the commentator in the New Living Translation on this passage: “Adam was the counterpart of Christ. Just as Adam was a representative of created humanity, so is Christ the representative of a new spiritual humanity. We were all born into Adam’s physical family—the family line that leads to certain death. We have inherited his guilt, a sinful nature (the tendency to sin), and God’s punishment. Because of Jesus, however, we can trade judgment for forgiveness. Christ offers us the opportunity to be born into his spiritual family… To which family line do you now belong?”

The Virgin Birth of Messiah Jesus

The entire life of Christ was a miracle, if for no other reason that the numerous miracles he performed to heal horrible afflictions, dreaded diseases and inoperable conditions such as those who were leprous, lame, deaf, and blind. And also his supernatural power over the laws of physics, i.e. turning water into wine and walking on water itself.

Jesus’s entrance into this world was also a marvelous miracle. Some call it the Immaculate Conception, others refer to it as the Virgin Birth … which it was. Jesus came to us through the natural process of birth; but Mary’s conception was supernatural.

“Mary asked the angel (Gabriel), ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:35).

*Note: Luke was a medical doctor. He knew full well how babies are (normally or naturally) born! Yet he reports the Virgin Birth as absolute fact. And why wouldn’t he, after also receiving first hand witness accounts from the Apostles (mostly Peter) and many others of all the miracles Jesus did, including the greatest of all—the resurrection!

Luke began his Gospel by citing other people who had also undertaken written accounts “about the events that have been fulfilled among us…” via eyewitness reports. He writes: “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught” Luke 1:1-4).

God’s perfect plan to rescue the human race from spiritual death (eternal separation from God) required a sacrificial shedding of blood by a human being who had never sinned … the perfect sacrifice. Why? Because as Scripture says, “For the life of the body is in its blood … It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible” (Leviticus 17:11).

Blood and what it means to human life has been an enigmatic source of wonder and amazement from the beginning. Blood is symbolic of life, which is why we sometimes honor our fallen soldiers with words like, “they spilled their blood to keep us free.” Which is another way of saying, they died. Yet, it is much more than that: it is the literal indispensable substance of life.

That is why God gave himself, through the 2nd part of the Trinity: God’s Son who was born of a woman, but not from the seed of a man (which would have infected Jesus as a human being with sin). Because everyone in the human race has sinned, only God, himself, was qualified to be the perfect substitution to pay for our sins and pardon the punishment we all deserve.

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All true Jewish and Gentile believers (and even some unbelievers) accept this astounding but also unfathomable truth: that Jesus was (still is) God in human flesh. We believe the truth of it, although we don’t fully understand how it could be done. But then, there are myriad mysteries of life and the universe that no one comprehends completely, or even partially. Not even the scientists!

The Virgin Birth was necessary in order for Jesus to retain his Divine nature that he shared with his Father from before time began. As the prophet Isaiah tells us: Messiah (Jesus) is: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus had to remain God in order to accomplish something no mortal man could possibly do: Become the flawless sacrifice to restore man (woman) back to God; thereby, enabling us to live forever with the same kind of transfigured, resurrected body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There’s more … perhaps something that even some believers haven’t fully considered. We’ve already touched on this comparison; let’s examine it in more depth. I’m referring again to Paul’s representative depiction of Jesus as the second (last) Adam.

Another purpose for this correlation is to refute the notion that because Jesus is God, then, of course, he couldn’t sin. That his divine nature would automatically win out over his human nature. With this inaccurate inference: It was a foregone conclusion that Jesus couldn’t or wouldn’t sin; thereby diminishing or even discounting the once and for all efficacy of his substitutionary atonement for our sins. In other words: Though Jesus was fully man, his sacrificial death on the Cross was essentially meaningless because he didn’t have the capacity to sin. Thus, he was not a true representative of the human race. He was innocent of sin, but that innocence was predetermined by virtue of the fact that Jesus is God.

Not so!

As we know, Adam and Eve were created without sin. Evil existed, but only in the spiritual realm of Satan and his fallen angels. Not with God’s creation of man. Adam and Eve were given a choice of trusting and obeying their Creator to know and determine what was best for them, and what was required to live forever in their earthly Paradise. They chose badly. They sinned. They died. Their sin nature was transmitted to their descendants and all peoples thereafter. Which means that it is never an issue if a person will do something wrong. Rather, it’s only a matter of when. Contrary to popular opinion, a child does not enter this world with a “clean slate.” That slate is already tarnished and inevitably will bear ugly marks of outright sin.

Summary

Even though Jesus wasn’t born with the infected disease of sin (inherited by the entire human race from the time of Adam and Eve), he, nevertheless, came into this world in the same physical and spiritual condition as did Adam. Exactly like Adam, Jesus, as a man, could have chosen to go his own way, do his own thing, and seek the pleasures and power (which Satan offered him) of the world instead of the purpose for which he came. Jesus could have listened to Satan and agreed with his lies, just as Eve and Adam did.

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Although the Virgin Birth prevented Jesus from inheriting the dread disease of sin and assured the whole human race that he was the Son of God, it did not eliminate the free choice that Jesus was given as a man to obey or disobey God the Father. Thus, it was not impossible for Jesus to sin. That is why Jesus is called the second or last Adam. With one awesome distinction: Not only did he choose (as a man) to completely trust and obey God, he completed the plan and task given to him by God the Father … excruciating death on a Cross to take away our sins and pardon us from the eternal penalty of those sins.

How perfect is that? Answer: Christ is completely perfect. And so shall we, who have been made right with God, someday soon be transfigured to a heavenly body like our Lord’s. Which will complete our salvation begun when we were justified by God because we believed and received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Throughout eternity, we will worship and serve Him, undefiled; in a transfigured body that can and will no longer sin; nor suffer any of the former consequences of sin … sorrow, pain, crying, or death (Revelation 21:4).

Things to Ponder

As the words of the song go: “Amazing love, how can it be; that you, my God, should die for me.”

To express my profound gratitude for so great a salvation because of what Jesus Christ did for me personally (for everyone who will simply place their eternal destiny in his hands), I’d like to quote an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666 concerning Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

“Yet, it was the temptation scene that dealt the first Messianic blow to Satan’s plans, because that was the devil’s first opportunity to create an antichrist right then and there; to, in one fell swoop, twist and turn the true Messiah into Satan’s messiah.

“Eternal praise to our God and his Messiah that this did not happen! All glory to Yeshua who did not send a legion of angels to annihilate those who had arrested him in the garden! Everlasting gratitude to our Lord for not saying I’ve had enough, and stepping down from the cross! All power and dominion to the Son of Man for arising from the grave and conquering death once and for all! Go ahead, say it aloud with me. Amen!” (page 219).

“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).

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).