Three … A Divine Number of God!

A Personal Introduction to This Week’s Article

This is the third time that I’ve begun an article on a personal note. The reason: this week’s post is number 300 since my first article was published.

Given that 300 is an obvious multiple of 3, what better subject than the number three!

After my 2nd book Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? was published in 2011, a few people asked if/when I would write a third book. At the time, I had no answer for them or for me. But the Lord knew, and it wasn’t long afterward that he answered that question with the inception of Eye of Prophecy blog site in July 2013.

Out of curiosity I searched the statistics available through my blog site host Word Press for the combined word count of all 299 articles prior to this week’s post. That count: 1,400,049 words. Then I divided that number by the manuscript word count of Out of the Abyss (111,470 … 286 pages).

The comparison: these 299 articles would be the equivalent of 12.5 books the length of Out of the Abyss!

This is in no way, a boast. Instead, I’m in awe of the Lord who can and will do for his people, that which we could not do for ourselves … either in quantity or quality.

Said Jesus to his followers: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The profound implication here is that we can do nothing that produces eternal dividends unless we are in Christ and Christ in us.

There are several numbers in Scripture that bear remarkable relevance to the accomplishment of God’s providential plans for his creation, especially humanity. Such numbers as 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 40, 70, 400, 1,000. But none more so than 3 & 7, which are divine in both essence and expression. They are the numbers that, above all, reveal and relate to God’s ultimate sovereignty in all things pertaining to life and death—past, present, and future.

The number three decisively defines who God is; I AM … everlasting to everlasting.

The number seven dramatically demonstrates what God does in the course of his interaction with people and nations, reflecting his creative love but also his consuming judgment of sin and evil. For example: the seven days of creation and seven years of the Great Tribulation, soon to come.

Thus, it’s no coincidence that there are three sets of seven judgments each (Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls in the book of Revelation) in preparation for the magnificent Kingdom of God on earth. Which will bring mankind full circle back to where it all began in the Garden of Eden. Only this time even better and lasting forever—New Jerusalem, new heavens, new earth!

Continuing briefly with the personal introduction of today’s post: In Romans 12:6-8, the Apostle Paul lists the seven gifts given (one to each believer in Messiah Jesus) by the Holy Spirit. They are:

Prophecy (forthtelling, not foretelling as that ended with the closed Canon of the Bible): Declaring the Truth.

Service: Practicing the Truth

Teaching: Explaining the Truth

Exhortation: Applying the Truth

Giving: Supporting the Truth

Leading: Organizing the Truth

Mercy: Ministering the Truth

(Note: Credit goes to my Pastor, Mark Martin; Senior Pastor of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix, AZ for the concise one-word summary of how each believer uses his/her gift to serve the Lord)

The Lord has graciously given me the gift of teaching, primarily through the written word. And by the Lord’s grace, through the discernment and insight given to me, I will do as exhorted by the Apostle Paul: “…If you are a teacher, teach well” (Romans 12:7).

Whether I have taught well is not mine to gauge. That critique belongs first to God, then to the readers.

Whatever the result or harvest, it is a profound privilege and humbling honor to serve him.

One other observation: Today’s article is the 21st in the Category of Devotional / Miscellaneous (one of five categories for Eye of Prophecy articles). Which is meaningful to me in the following way: 3 x 7 =s 21!

The Number Three

The number 3 is used 467 times in the Bible. Then the intriguing fact that there are 27 books in the New Testament. Which is 3 x 3 x 3. With the 39 books of the Old Testament also a factor of three … 3 x 13.

Although there are several sets of threes in Scripture, we’re only going to examine the two most prominent. The first set comprising the very essence/existence of God; the second set containing the three primary attributes of God. Plus, a third general group presenting analogies to or examples of threes that track with their divine counterpart.

But first, I need to cite three passages that encapsulate the purpose, productivity, and (hopefully) the profitability (spiritually to the readers) of Eye of Prophecy website. Particularly to help believers, whether students of Bible prophecy or not, to: “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. (II Peter 3:18).

First Passage: “…For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” (Revelation 19:10b). Without changing the meaning of this part of the verse, the idea could accurately be expanded to: For Jesus is the very essence of prophecy.

Second Passage: “…defending and confirming the truth of the Good News” (Philippians 1:7b). Because we are near the end of this age, there is no greater time in history for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached, defended, and confirmed by believers, through the gift given to them.

Third Passage: “Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does” (Psalm 96:3, emphasis added). Thanks be to the Lord, people from 189 nations have visited this website.

First Significant Set of Threes: The Trinity

Trinity is a theological term that succinctly describes the Triune God; however, the word itself is not found in Scripture. It doesn’t need to be. Because the existence of One God (the only true and living God) in Three Persons is crystal clear in the Bible: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are even a handful of situations (passages) in which all three are identified at the same time. For example, Matthew 28:19.

Based on this universal, eternal truth, Webster’s Dictionary defines Triune as: three in one; of or relating to the Trinity (of God).

There are multiple references in both Old and New Testaments to confirm the existence of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but in keeping with today’s theme, only three pivotal passages (with relevant associated verses) will be quoted. Beginning with the very beginning of the Bible … the Book of Genesis.

First Passage:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).

Most know that the original language of the Old Testament is Hebrew. Elohim—the first of several names/titles of God found in the Bible—is in the plural. In His magnificent account of creation given to Moses, the Lord makes this astounding statement:

“Then God (Elohim) said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” (Genesis 1:26, NASB, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

Although Judaism doesn’t recognize the Triune existence of God and unfortunately will not accept the Biblical evidence that God has a Son as clearly conveyed in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Lord plainly pronounces from the beginning that he is Three Persons in One.

Jewish scholars have tried to explain away this remarkable referral of God to himself as “Us,” by proposing that the plural is used in deference to (God’s) divinity or royalty. Which is sometimes the case with rulers (monarchs) when referring to themselves. At the very best, this is a woefully weak argument as applied to the account in Genesis. If that were the case, then the Lord would have more frequently and consistently referred to himself in the plural throughout the many times he spoke in the first person to Moses and subsequent prophets.

Instead, God uses the plural of his name in a startling manner to specifically reveal (from/in the beginning) that He (Us) created tri-part man/woman—body, soul, spirit—in His image.

God the Father is a Person and has personal characteristics, three of which we will examine shortly. The Holy Spirit is also a (the third) Person of the Godhead and was there at creation, “…hovering over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). God the Son was first introduced immediately after Adam and Eve sinned; disobedience that would devastatingly result in death and all their descendants inheriting that sin nature. A nature that could only be transformed by God’s remarkable plan of redemption, which would come through a special man (in bodily form).

Thus, God said to Satan, “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head (an eternal death blow), and you will strike his heal” (Genesis 3:15, parenthesis mine).

This strike on the heel would be a temporary wound (Jesus’s death on the cross) that would providentially lead to eternal salvation to all who believe that God raised his Son from the dead and then receive the Son as their Personal Savior.

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

Second Passage:

“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’) (Isaiah 7:14, parenthesis in the text).

This is a powerful prophecy of the coming Messiah, a child (son) born of a Virgin. Moreover, this Son would indisputably be from the woman’s seed only … as we read in Genesis 3. With the extraordinary evidence that the child would not be fathered by a man, rather through God’s supernatural means by which the woman (Mary) would conceive her son.

Said the angel Gabriel to Mary: “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his kingdom will never end!’

“Mary asked the angel, ‘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.… For nothing is impossible with God’” (Luke 1:31-35 & 37).

Returning to the book of Isaiah; just two chapters after God announces that a Virgin will conceive and deliver a son who would be Immanuel (fully man and fully God), we read what is one of my all-time favorite passages in the Bible … though all of Scripture is dear to me.

How plain can anything be? This supernaturally conceived child, this son (of God) IS God, as much as God the Father is surely the only true and living God. Furthermore, the child was born and given to us—the whole world. Which is why Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man. Meaning universally.

Third Passage (Another Messianic prophecy/reality):

“For the Lord declares, ‘I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.’ The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father (the today would be the composite “day” of the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus some 1,000 years later)….’

“Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 2:6-7 & 10-12, parenthesis mine).

The existence of the Trinity is overwhelmingly manifest in Scripture, both stated and implied. Including the exceptional evidence that God has a Son and King David recognized the Son as his Lord (Psalm 110).

Note that these three leading passages have been taken from the Old Testament, commonly referred to as the Hebrew Scriptures. This to once again demonstrate (with love and concern for both non-believing Jews and Muslims) that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit comprise the One God in Three Persons. Whereas, those believers in Messiah Jesus, Jew and Gentile alike, already know that the New Testament is replete with references to our Triune God.

Second Significant Set of Threes … The Three Omni(s)

There are a multitude of attributes ascribed to the Triune God, all of which express the Lord’s glory (essence). Such as: God IS Love; God IS Truth; God IS Righteousness; God IS Justice; God IS Light (literally and spiritually); God IS Immutable (does not change), and God IS (the very source of) Peace.

Yet, there are three features that supremely contain and supernaturally convey God’s sovereign capacity to accomplish his purpose and plan for humanity.

All three of these characteristics begin with the word, Omni.

The word (used almost exclusively as a prefix) Omni is derived from the Latin word omnis which Webster’s Dictionary defines simply as: “all; universally.”

As applied to God’s absolute divinity this prefix, by default, both states and infers that the following three ascendant attributes of God belong only to Him. Not to mankind and certainly not to man-made gods such as the god of Islam, or of any other religion or cult.

God’s Omnipotence (All Powerful)

We’ve already read Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and bear a son (through the non-physical spiritual power of the Holy Spirit). The same Holy Spirit who “hovered above the waters” at Creation. When Mary asked how such a thing could be, Gabriel explained it by summarily saying: For nothing is impossible with God.

Amazingly enough, the first time this expression to communicate God’s omnipotence is found in Scripture regards another miracle birth of a child. Nearly every student of the Bible (and even many unbelievers) know the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac. Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to the promised child, Isaac … impossible!

Do you remember the Lord’s (the first Pre-Incarnate appearance of Messiah Jesus) response to Abraham when Sarah laughed at the thought? Read with me:

“…Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything to hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:13-14, emphasis added).

Throughout Biblical times right up to our post-modern world, we see God’s unequaled power (omnipotence) on display through mighty miracles, not the least of which is Creation itself that established the natural laws of physics in the universe and biological order of life itself.

Then more miracles that transcend those laws; often performed to deliver and defend his chosen people. Each of the ten awesome plagues against the Egyptians that led to the Exodus, fall into the category of “super” natural (above and beyond the natural). As did the Lord’s unimaginable extension of daylight hours, enabling Joshua to soundly defeat Israel’s enemies during the conquest of Canaan. There are dozens of incidents in the Old Testament where God divinely intervenes in the affairs of people to demonstrate his sovereignty and omnipotence.

And, of course, the Gospels of the New Testament are replete with miracle after miracle performed by Messiah Jesus to irrefutably validate that he is the Son of God and God the Son. To wit: Setting aside the laws of nature by turning water into wine and then walking on water. Feeding thousands of men, women, and children with hardly enough food for one person. Healing hundreds (if not thousands) from incurable diseases and irreversible deformities. Casting out demons with but a simple command. Raising the dead. And the greatest of all: his own resurrection from the grave.

Once again in the soon to come Great Tribulation, our Triune God’s incomparable power and authority will be on full display. This time to judge the earth and prepare the whole world for Messiah’s return to establish the eternal Kingdom of God. It will begin with God’s decisive defeat of the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel.

The result: “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).

By the time that the seven seal, seven trumpet, and seven bowl judgments have run their seven-year Tribulation course, there will be no doubt whatsoever among all the earth’s inhabitants who have chosen the Antichrist over the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, that: “I am the Lord; there is no other God … so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:5-6).

And, “For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place… I am the Lord, he says, and there is no other…. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right…. For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me. Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other” (Isaiah 45:18-19 & 21b-22).

Did you come away with the same conclusion as I did from these verses (and many others like them): The Lord alone is God and there are no other gods! That assuredly includes Islam’s Allah and the Koran which is virtually devoid of miracles and prophecies in stark contrast to the Bible which contains a plethora of both.

Speaking of prophecies, the second sovereign attribute is that of:

God’s Omniscience (All knowing)

Scripture tells us that God is timeless; indeed, he created time itself. He is everlasting to everlasting … with the past, present, and future the same to him. He knows precisely what will happen tomorrow, next month, next year, and for all eternity. This omniscience is why only God can foretell the future with 100% accuracy and has done so countless times throughout Scripture. Then through his providential omnipotence, he brings his prophecies through his prophets to pass. Thereby, accomplishing his purpose and plans for humanity. With the greatest of these: His (free) gift of salvation through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ to pardon the penalty of our sins.

Says the Lord: “…I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future” (Isaiah 44:6-7, emphasis added).

Can anyone know all that God knows? Or do what he has done and will do? Yet, there are a host of philosophies, religions, and geopolitical schemes that purport to know and presumptuously tell billions of people on this planet what’s best for them. With these man-made religions and systems and their adherents, “…refusing to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:10). Whereas, true Christianity is NOT a religion. Rather it is a personal relationship with the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Ever so sadly, billions on Planet Earth have and will continue to reject their only hope for salvation. They don’t want to know and do not acknowledge the truth of God’s Word, such as:

Regarding mankind’s vain search for wisdom and knowledge that excludes the very source of both, God issues a challenge with some fascinating images.

“Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?” (Isaiah 40:12-14).

Despite theory after changing theory, to this day secular scientists still disagree over how the universe came into being.

They still cannot explain precisely where gravity came from or how such an invisible force can hold the heavenly bodies in place. Or the wonders of where a sperm and an egg came from originally or how the union of the two can produce thousands of species after their own kind, the most intricate and most complex of which is human life. How is it possible that certain cells create certain organs, then for these organs to fit and work together with intricate body chemistry, not to mention sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch? And the capacity to inductively and deductively think (the human brain). And how on earth did the blood originate?!

Here is another challenge from the Lord regarding his Omniscience and his amazing ability to predict the future, to include false gods and false prophets not even able to recall the distant past with any degree of accuracy or certainty, let alone the future:

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

There’s more: “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols. Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens” (Isaiah 42:8-9).

Hundreds of years later, the Apostle Paul summarized the matchless knowledge and wisdom of the true and living God, but this time in the context of the New Covenant—established and sealed through the once for all shed blood of Messiah Jesus for our sins.

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

“So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish…. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:18-24).

What’s your preference? Have you looked to astrological horoscopes or to so-called psychics or to political and socioeconomic pundits to tell you what’s going to happen? Do you seriously believe they can, with 100% accuracy? Or any accuracy at all? Would you really trust them with your life and future?

(The Stars won’t determine our future. But the One who created them will, if we only let Him)

As for me, I have entrusted my eternal destiny to the God of miracles, whose prophecies (promises) are fulfilled 100% of the time. Whose Son rose from the dead to prove that he is who he said he is: “The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). With the Holy Spirit sealing my salvation and indwelling (guiding, counseling, comforting) me during my time on this earth.

“In him (Messiah Jesus) lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3, parenthesis mine).

God’s Omnipresence (Everywhere, All at Once)

Our Great God is confined neither to time nor space, because he created both. He can be anywhere he chooses; at any time, he chooses. If you think about it, that’s incredible. No human being can do that. Nor can any other god, because there are no other gods. Even Satan and his demons (fallen angels) can not be in two places at once.

The Third Person of the Triune Godhead, the Holy Spirit, is the one who expresses God’s divine attribute of omnipresence. Although Messiah Jesus is Omnipotent and Omniscient and though he has an immortal glorified body since his resurrection from the grave, he can only be in one place at a time. However, the primary purpose and practical performance of the Holy Spirit is to indwell believers in Messiah Jesus world-wide (from every nation, language, and peoples) to do what Jesus would do if he were still on earth. And do so everywhere, all the time.

Listen to these stirring words from Jesus given so his followers would not be discouraged when he returned to heaven until Father God’s appointed time for him to return to earth:

“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you (that he would be leaving them). But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.

“…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me’” (John 16:5-15, parenthesis mine).

Which effectively means that Jesus—who is the express image of God and who reveals to us the very essence of God (Hebrews 1:3 & Colossians 1:15 & 19)—is also omnipresent, i.e. through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

By virtue of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers, God the Father and God the Son is with every believer ALL THE TIME, wherever we are. Not just individually, but in groups of two or three or three hundred or three thousand … on and on. No matter how many of these groups happen to be meeting at the same time around the world.

That is truly amazing!

Third Significant Set(s) of Threes

Here, we’re going examine in more general terms examples of threes that represent (analogies to) and/or resemble (examples of) the dynamics of the Trinity.

The Sun: Though it’s nigh on impossible to fully wrap our minds around God’s existence as Three Persons in One, it’s possible to at least partially grasp this phenomenon by considering the intrinsic qualities of our Sun, as applied to the Trinity. It’s a paradigm I and others have used before. The Sun (as a whole) itself represents God the Father. The light of the Sun depicts the Son of God, Messiah Jesus—who said himself that he is the light of the world. The warmth of the Sun is reflective of the Holy Spirit who envelops believers in the wonderful warm-heartedness of God’s unconditional love, protection, provisions, promises, and very presence.

Water: Nearly everyone knows from elementary school science that water can be in three forms or states of existence—liquid, solid (ice) and gas (vapor or steam). This is a three-in-one dynamic because at any time under the right conditions, each of these behaviors of water can become one of the other two. If this prototype of three-in-one exists in the natural (nature), then why not in the spiritual (supernatural).

Human Beings: Although each of us is one person, we consist of three distinct parts—body, soul, and spirit. This unified yet tri-part existence is what makes us in the image of God. Among other things (like language), it is our spirit that distinguishes us from the animals, for our spirit is eternal. (And one day so will the bodies of believers be transformed to that which is immortal … spiritual bodies).

Every(body) is unique, even identical twins. As is our soul (persona, who we are).

However, the human spirit is the same in every person.

It is our spirit that connects us to God. Yet, because we are born with a sin nature, the Bible tells us that our sprit is dead (to God). It must be made alive. Jesus explained the spiritual rebirth (of all who personally accept him as Lord and Savior) as that of being “born again” (John 3:3).

Without the second (spiritual) birth, no one can truly relate to God, be in right standing with him, or spend eternity in heaven with him (Romans 3:22-25).

Measurement & Experience of Time Itself: Past, Present, & Future.

Obviously, we always experience time itself in the immediate present. A second after we live the next moment of the future, it becomes the past. However, think about it: for one fleeting nanosecond, we are essentially in the past, present, and future all at once. Which for all practical purposes, makes these divisions of time three-in-one.

A Three-Branch Government: Until Messiah Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God on earth which will effectively be a Divine Monarchy with Christ as the King of all kings, the best form of government is one of checks and balances via Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. Each is separate from the other, but each serves to identify and (hopefully) unify the people governed as one nation. Whether this is through a Republic or Parliamentary representative system doesn’t matter that much, if the three branches serve in the role designed for each branch without any one branch usurping the constitutional designated authority of the others. At least in principle, this is a three-in-one model.

Things to Ponder

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

“When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised’ but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature…. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:8-11 & 13-14)

If you were condemned to die, wouldn’t you accept a pardon if freely offered to you as a gift? Especially, if someone else had died in your place to make that pardon possible?

No one can earn God’s favor or work their way to heaven by hoping their good deeds outweigh the bad. It’s not only impossible, it’s an insult to God. Because, if our intrinsic worth or good works could set aside our sins, then Messiah Jesus died for absolutely no reason.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) … God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:4-5 & 8-9, parenthesis in the text).

Now, three more threes:

“…Grace and peace to you from the (1) one who is, (2) who always was, and (3) who is still to come (1 God the Father); from the sevenfold Spirit (2 another name for the Holy Spirit) before his throne; and from (3) Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:4-5a, parenthesis mine).

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (II Corinthians 13:14).

Iran’s Boasts to Annihilate Israel

Global focus on Israel is mindboggling.

People and governments all over the world have an opinion about this tiny Jewish State that is surrounded by a huge land mass of Islamic nations with populations that dwarf Israel in size.

But for Muslims of all nationalities, Israel isn’t small enough. They wish for it to shrink to the point of disappearance from the face of the earth.

News sources repeatedly report on proposals to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Often, with an unbalanced, uninformed, and preposterous premise that Israel is exclusively to blame for not only the plight of the Palestinians, but absence of peace in the entire Middle East.

It’s absolutely astonishing how so many know so little about the real history of Israel—ancient and modern—and yet claim to know so much about what (they think) needs to be done to solve an age-old dilemma between Jews and Arabs.

Other than the United States, just a handful of nations express support for Israel; and, then, only on certain conditions and select occasions. By and large the gamut of those antagonistic toward the only democratic state in the entire Middle East range from toleration (barely) to loathing.

Particularly in Europe, antisemitism has reared its ugly head again. It is a hatred that defies all that is rational. Polls reliably show that most people who dislike or even despise Israel or Jews in general have never been to Israel or have never met a Jew. Even many Palestinians in Israel have never talked to a Jew face to face. Instead they are brainwashed from a young age never to associate with the Jews.

When Muslim nations failed to win four majors wars with Israel (1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973—all of which were provoked by the Arabs), they switched their tactics to terrorist attacks that, for example, killed hundreds of Jews in the 2nd Intifada (2000-2005). Although fewer in number since the Jews built a wall separating much of the non-citizen Palestinian population from Israeli Jews in critical corridors of Judea/Samaria (West Bank), these brutal attacks continue to this very day.

Another tactic is that of UN Resolutions against Israel, each one sponsored by dozens of Muslim nations to denigrate and delegitimatize Israel by falsely accusing the Jews of “occupying” land that belongs to them in the first place. (See Eye of Prophecy article: United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334) Posted 1-7-17.

Or of apartheid practices of which there are NONE in Israel. I repeat for emphasis: Absolutely none. There are several dramatic differences between Israel’s democratic state and an apartheid state … as South Africa once was. Most obvious is the fact that Israel allows its’ minority Arab population (Israeli Arabs who are citizens) not only to vote, but to serve in both the national and local governments. You would NEVER find that in an apartheid state.

(One of many signs posted in the once apartheid South Africa. No such equivalent signs in Israel, nor any other “signs” of apartheid)

Yet Israel’s enemies know how to influence the court of global opinion by repeatedly accusing Israel of non-existent abuses, understanding that the world-at-large is prone to believe these lies if told often enough. People love the “underdog.” So much so that they don’t want to be bothered with the evidence, either historical or contemporary facts on the ground. And they conveniently forget that the Jews were the underdogs for centuries. Not only treated like dogs but slaughtered like sheep in the millions, i.e. Holocaust. The State of Israel is the reason that this must/will NEVER AGAIN happen.

The Sinister Strategy of BDS

A strategy to impair Israel that has recently gained even more momentum is that of economic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Although there are differing opinions regarding the impact of this insidious plot to bring Israel to its economic knees, one thing is crystal clear: it negatively affects Palestinian workers as much or more than Israeli businesses.

Reason: Thousands of Palestinian are employed by Israel companies throughout Israel, including the West Bank (Judea/Samaria). For example: BDS actions forced the Israeli business SodaStream to relocate out of the West Bank, which, in turn, cost over 100 Palestinians their jobs. Even worse: if Israelis companies are adversely affected, the majority of BDS activists couldn’t care less about Palestinians losing their livelihood. They’ve harmed Israel; that’s all that matters to them.

Fortunately, BDS from the few in the United States who support this deplorable practice was dealt a decisive defeat in the recent July 23, 2019 bill passed by the US House of Representatives … with an overwhelming vote of 398 to 17 (18 abstentions). Although House bill 246 was a non-binding resolution, it sent a clear message that the United States will not condone attempts to shut down Israeli businesses in the democratic sovereign State of Israel.

And, if you’ve kept abreast of the constant publicity generated by three newly elected members of the House of Representatives (Ilhan Omar/Minnesota; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/New York; and Rashida Tlaib/Michigan), you know that they have spent most of their congressional time in office condemning Israel. At the expense of what they otherwise should be doing that would truly benefit their constituents.

Ironically, Omar and Tlaib have planned a trip to Israel to “learn more” (their words) about the situation over there. By all rights, Israeli authorities should deny visa entrance to someone (anyone) who harbors and overtly expresses hostility toward Israelis and who radically supports the BDS movement against Israel. However, it appears that Israel will allow them to make this trip—which I agree with.

Although it’s highly unlikely that they will visit Israel with an open mind, it certainly wouldn’t hurt for them to see the objective truth of what this miraculously reborn nation is all about. It is a Jewish State with equal rights for ALL its citizens—which includes some 1.8 million Israeli Arabs. Plus, giving wide administrative control for non-citizen Palestinians in the West Bank (Palestinian Authority) and the Gaza Strip (Hamas). In fact, Israel withdrew all Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip 13 years ago.

And yet these US Congresswomen have claimed that Israeli Jews are occupying “Palestinian land” including the Gaza Strip. Indeed, they need to learn more!

(Left to right: Rashida Tlaib; Ilhan Omar; Alexandria Cortez; Ayanna Pressley … Pressley did not vote against the anti-BDS House bill, but still criticizes Israel frequently)

Wiping Israel From the Face of the Earth

UN Resolutions and BDS are non-violent but nonetheless perfidious plots hatched by Israel’s enemies (of which there are hundreds of millions particularly in Islamic nations) to disrupt and wear down the State of Israel … politically, culturally, and economically. As insidious as they are, these tactics are not (even close to) the main threat to Israel. That “honor” belongs to Iran. A rogue nation that for 40 years now has repeatedly called for, “Death to Israel.” Also, “Death to America.” And not just most of the populace but from high ranking officials and the top tyrant himself … the Ayatollah.

Beginning with this Islamic Regime’s overthrow of its government in 1979 and taking of dozens of US Embassy hostages for 444 days; to recent acts of aggression—shooting down an American drone and seizing a British oil tanker. Knowing that the Iranian military could never defeat the United States in war, its politicians, religious leaders, and high-echelon military personnel have instead threatened to retaliate against Israel if the United States initiates any military action against Iran.

Moreover, these threats against Israel are not just proportional responses, they are all-out swaggers pledging and predicting Israel’s rapid destruction at the hands of Iran’s lethal arsenal. Of course, this is based on Iran’s presumption that it is a super-power with a superior fighting force capable of an easy victory over the Israelis!

As a result of Israel’s periodic air attacks against Iranian military bases in Syria (past couple of years) to halt the building of even more precision-guided missiles aimed at Israel, Iran has intensified its arrogant threats to erase Israel from the map of the world. And, it isn’t just Iran. It’s their puppet terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad of the Gaza Strip whose only purpose in life is to kill as many Jews as it will take to eliminate Israel.

At one of the many protest marches at the Gaza-Israeli border fences, Hamas senior leader Fathi Hammad crowed on July 14, 2019 that, “There are Jews everywhere. We must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help. We will lacerate and tear them to pieces.”

This vile language explicitly expresses the real agenda of radical Islam; yet, it is also silently endorsed by hundreds of millions of so-called moderate Muslims world-wide. To illustrate the duplicity of Israel’s enemies, both within Israel and without: While spewing even more abhorrent rhetoric (as we just read) against the Jews, Hamas’s “diplomatic hand” is now attempting to sway world opinion under the pretense of considering a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem rather than its sworn objective (found in Hamas’ Charter) to destroy Israel.

At about the same time that Hammad uttered these ugly threats against all Jews, Hamas’ main leader Ismail Haniyeh was being interviewed by a Turkish journalist in Istanbul. The post-interview headlines in Turkish news sources read: “Hamas does not oppose the establishment of a (Palestinian) state on the 1967 borders.”

As I’ve written in several prior articles, the only two-state solution that Palestinians will agree to is Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 Six-Day War truce lines … which are NOT borders at all. This would dangerously weaken Israel’s ability to defend its citizens from what is essentially a high-ground advantage of a Palestinian State along those armistice lines.

Palestinian conditions (non-negotiable) for a Two-State solution—which would create more problems that it would solve—is endorsed by nearly all nations of the European Union and, of course, by every Muslim nation on earth. Included in these absurd demands is the “right of return” for millions of so-called Palestinian refugees, which effectively would spell the end of the sovereign state of Israel. Another major pre-condition for a Palestinian State is its capital in the eastern part of Jerusalem—dividing Israel’s eternal capital city. Two capitals in one city is illogical, if not ridiculous; when several West Bank cities would do just fine, especially Ramallah where the Palestinian Authority is currently headquartered.

Returning to Ismail Haniyeh’s interview, Turkish news headlines gave the deceptive impression he was now in favor of some sort of agreement between his Hamas (terrorist) organization and Israel. With the implication that even Hamas, the most militant of the two Palestinian organizations within Israel (the other is, of course, the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank), was willing to talk peace with Israel.

In fact, what Haniyeh said was: “Hamas is not opposed to the establishment of a state on the 1967 borders but insists on not recognizing the Israeli occupation of the rest of the Palestinian territories.”

What Haniyeh means when he refers to, the rest of the Palestinian territories is essentially all Israel. They do not recognize the Israel’s national sovereignty nor even Israel’s right to exist. Which is why Palestinians have flatly turned down the creation of their own state. Not once, or twice, or three times. But a TOTAL OF FOUR TIMES, the latest of which was in 2008. They simply cannot tolerate the thought of a Palestinian State alongside Israel; rather, they want a state to replace Israel.

Here is another quote by Haniyeh in that interview: “We often resort to peaceful and popular resistance. This does not mean, however, that we have given up our armed resistance against Israel.”

When he says Hamas often resorts to peaceful resistance, he obviously means as a last resort.

For that matter what is peaceful to Haniyeh and most Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (also in the West Bank) is anything but. If anyone thinks the rioting at the Gaza/Israeli border is peaceful—hurling rocks, firebombs, explosive devices, and burning kites at the IDF with repeated attempts to knock down the fence to allow hundreds of Palestinians to attack Israeli communities—then they’d definitely be interested in some choice swamp land in Florida sight unseen … at a reasonable price, of course.

In an online Gatestone Institute article posted July 22, 2019 entitled, The Hamas-Iran Plan to Eliminate Israel; written by Bassam Tawil (a Turkish journalist who writes mostly about his native country but often in the context of his firm belief that the state of Israel has an undeniable right to exist), he offers his own paraphrased assessment of what Ismail Haniyeh was really saying to the Turkish press and to the world at large.

“If we are offered a Palestinian state next to Israel, we will not say no. While we will take whatever Israel gives us, we will never recognize its right to exist. We will use the state as a launching pad to liberate all Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.”

Liberating “Palestine” (a state that doesn’t even exist) from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River is, in fact, an official slogan of Hamas. Often repeated by most Palestinians, as well as representatives from many Muslim nations.

Oh, and did I mention that Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives still (periodically) launch rockets and mortars into nearby Israeli towns, some of which have resulted in Israeli casualties. And that both non-citizen Palestinians from the West Bank and a few Israel-Arab citizens continue to stab and shoot Israeli Jews, and slam cars into them—men, women, and children.

(Israeli buildings near Tel Aviv damaged by Hamas launched rockets a few weeks ago)

See Eye of Prophecy articles: The Real Reason for Palestinian Terrorism (posted 9-30-17); Palestinian Refugees … Are They Really Refugees? (1-27-18); “The Right of Return” … For Palestinians or Jews? (4-7-18); Judea/Samaria & Gaza Strip / Who Has Sovereignty? (5-11-19).

Iran’s Relentless Rants Against Israel

In the same timeframe of Ismail Haniyeh’s interview with a Turkish journalist, Hamas sent a delegation to Iran, presumably to ask for more funding to accomplish their (mutual) warped plot of obliterating Israel.

Listen to the most recent boast from Iran, this one from Iranian National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Chairman Mojtaba Zolnour: “If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.”

Here is an excerpt to include Iranian intimidations of Israel from the previously referenced article of Bassam Tawil (in italics):

In another threat earlier this year, the second-in-command of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that Iran will obliterate Israel if it starts a war, and the Israelis will not even be able to bury their dead. “Our strategy is (to wipe) Israel (off) the world’s political geography and Israel seems to be approaching this reality by its mischief,” Brigadier General Hosseln Salami told reporters in Tehran. If Israel “does anything that leads to a new war, certainly it will be (the kind of war) that will result in their elimination, and the occupied territories will be retaken. Israelis won’t even have a cemetery in Palestine to bury their corpses.”

It’s profoundly clear that President Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the outrageous 2015 Nuclear Deal with Iran that was all take by and no give from the Iranians, plus the renewed economic sanctions has substantially stifled Iran’s economy. Which is a positive development. Because it’s equally transparent to the United States and even to the other five signatory nations to this agreement (Great Brittan, Germany, France, China and Russia … though they won’t acknowledge that the deal has benefited only Iran plus the fact that in a few more years, Iran can start producing higher grade uranium necessary for nuclear warheads) that much of Iran’s income for the past few years has been diverted to its blatant funding of terrorist cells in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.

Bassam Tawil’s assessment of Hamas’ intensified relationship with Iran is accurately expressed in the final paragraph of his article: “The most effective way to stop Hamas from carrying out its plan to ‘slaughter’ every Jew is by increasing international sanctions and other means of pressure on Iran—before it is too late.”

In the context of Hamas-Iran’s bashing of Israel on a regular basis, I might as well include a recent comment from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who also hates Israel. Said Erdogan:

“Whoever is on the side of Israel, let everyone know that we are against them.”

If you think about it, this is incredible. Here is another leader of a prominent nation whose view of and diplomatic relations with entire countries depends almost exclusively whether they’re on Israel’s side or not! On the other hand, it is another pronounced prophetic development signaling the last days of the end times. In this instance: global attention on Israel.

Since Israel’s rebirth in 1948 and especially the reclamation of all Israel including Jerusalem as her eternal capital in Israel’s astonishing Six-Day War victory of 1967, end-times prophecy has unfolded with kaleidoscope intensity and flash-point frequency.

The Startling Correlation Between Biblical Last Days Prophecy & Iran’s Boasts

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have been posted on the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel. For example: Gog/Magog’s Clock Is Ticking, Ticking… (posted 6-16-18).

In just the past 4-5 years, we’ve witnessed military presence in the war-torn nation of Syria of the three prominent nations that will lead this huge confederacy—Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Syria is Israel’s adjacent (unfriendly) neighbor to the northeast. During that span, Iran has ratcheted its malevolent posturing against Israel in both frequency and severity.

(Russia also has several military bases in Syria, and Turkey has sent troops into Syria more than once)

“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 (the Jews); 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, parenthesis mine, emphasis added).

This passage related to nations surrounding Israel during Biblical times. However, based on many other Old Testament passages depicting the fate of certain Gentile nations that harm or even threatened to harm Israel in the final generation–beginning with Germany’s devastating defeat during World War II–Psalm 83 extends, at least in principle and pattern, to modern-day nations antagonistic toward Israel.

In a moment, we’ll see how this will play out in the Gog/Magog alliance found in Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39.

When leaders of a somewhat powerful nation like Iran spew venomous threats that are virtually identical to those cited in the end-times prophecies of Scripture, it’s that much more evident that we are living in the last days of the end-times.

So, too, are the amazing correlations that ironically (God’s poetic justice) depict nations hostile toward Israel suffering the same fate as they audaciously assert will happen to Israel. When nations boast that they will take out Israel, they are taking on the true and living God—who has promised that Israel would once again be a sovereign nation and the Jews would return to their Promised Land. Both of which are taking place before our 20th & 21st century eyes.

Scripture is replete with what God has to say about such haughtiness and hostility toward Himself, toward his special possession Israel, and against his chosen people, the Jews.

The Lord has already punished the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through two painful exiles, the second of which lasted nearly 2,000 years. Those years of heartache for the Jewish people were part of God’s discipline to bring them back to him—specifically for them to fully grasp that the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah was implemented when their (our) Messiah came to this earth in human form … Jesus of Nazareth. To die for their sins; indeed, the sins of the whole world. To bring redemption to all who believe and receive him as personal Savior. To one day (soon) gloriously return as their King; indeed, King of all kings.

God’s wrath will be poured out against the Gog/Magog alliance in the early part of the Tribulation and against Antichrist’s ten-nation coalition in the last half of the Tribulation because they will seek Israel’s total annihilation. Essentially, they are not now (nor will be then) satisfied with the horrible suffering of the Jews down through the ages, not the least of which was the Holocaust. Their perverse plot is to finish what Hitler started.

God’s Poetic Justice

In general terms, especially applicable to leaders of entire nations, God has issued a stern warning against the kind of pride that mocks Him and His absolute truth as contained in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments. For example:

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

Concerning God’s providential plan for Israel’s restoration, both physical and spiritual, his warnings are even more severe to those people and nations who would dare seek Israel’s destruction (again) and attempted extermination of the Jews (again). This time, God the Father will personally defend and fight for Israel (Gog/Magog invasion of Israel). And, the Son of God, Messiah Jesus, will return to earth to personally fight alongside the Jews in the epic battle for Jerusalem (Zechariah 12 & 14; refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Armageddon & Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events, published 2-3-18).

Followed by the marvelous Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus from Jerusalem.

Listen, as God speaks to Israel:

“Yes, says the Lord, I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I rescued you from slavery in Egypt. All the nations of the world will stand amazed at what the Lord will do for you. They will be embarrassed at their feeble power. They will cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them. Like snakes crawling from their holes, they will come out to meet the Lord our God. They will fear him greatly, trembling in terror at his presence” (Micah 7:15-17).

Along with Russia and Turkey, the terrorist state of Iran will experience terror like they’ve never known. They will see once and for all who is God and who is not.

What the Lord will do to Iran and its Gog/Magog allies will stun the world in its scope and severity. It will give a whole new meaning to poetic justice. Before we read part of this spectacular scene, I’m going to repeat the boast of a top-Iranian military officer quoted earlier in this week’s post.

“…it will be the kind of war that will result in their (Israel’s) elimination, and the occupied territories will be retaken. Israelis won’t even have a cemetery in Palestine (he contemptibly still refers to Israel as Palestine) to bury their corpses” (parenthesis mine).

Considering what Russia, Turkey, Iran, and other smaller nations intend to do to Israel, God’s unilateral (Israel will not need to lift a military finger in this awesome display of God’s power) response is one of pure absolute justice. Moreover, it’s the beginning of the Lord’s final judgment on a world gone mad with power, persecution (of Jews and Christians), and perverted pleasure-seeking people not seen since violence and immorality saturated the earth before the world-wide flood of Noah’s time.

Now let’s see what the God of the Bible has to say. Warning: it’s not a pretty sight.

Read with me:

“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 … and 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).

*Note: This devastation of mountains and cliffs and walls crumbling will take place world-wide. That and the ensuing graphics (such as fire) as well as the world’s reaction are quite like the 6th & 7th seal judgments as found in Revelation 6:12-17 and 7:3-5. Which is one of the reasons the Gog/Magog campaign will take place in the early part of the Tribulation.

Let’s continue with the ruinous results of God’s colossal conquest over an army of nations that will undoubtedly number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

“You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord. In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel (this will be Israel’s national recognition that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will fight for them as he did in days of old). I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign Lord. Everything will happen just as I have declared it” (Ezekiel 39:4-8, parenthesis mine).

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: What God says will happen, always happens. What God says he will do, he always does. Period … end of story!

Every person’s eternal destiny depends upon whether they agree with God or not. Whether they meet Messiah Jesus who is The Way (to God); The Truth (of redemption) and The Life (everlasting) as Personal Savior now. Or, after it’s too late, to meet him as Judge.

Time and again in Ezekiel 38 & 39 (and other chapters of Ezekiel), God refers to himself as, The Sovereign Lord. In the context of the arrogant alliance of the Gog/Magog nations, including Iran, the Lord is making it undeniably clear that he alone is God. He is sovereign over all the man-made gods of man-made religions, such as Islam and its “moon-god”, Allah. In fact, other than Russia, other Gog/Magog countries will be predominately Muslim.

Now for the grand finale to demonstrate a reoccurring premise and principle of Scripture, summarized in such axioms as: Be careful what you wish for (think, Iran’s boastful wish to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth). Or, paraphrasing Jesus’s words: whatever or how ever someone unjustly or inappropriately judges someone else (whether individually or as a nation), they will suffer that same judgment.

Before we read God’s description regarding the aftermath of his crushing victory over Gog/Magog (including Iran), remember the Iranian General’s boast that Israelis won’t even be able to bury their dead:

“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 (think in terms of today’s weaponry), and they will use them for fuel. There will be enough to last them seven years! … They will plunder those who planned to plunder them, and they will rob those who planned to rob them, says the Sovereign Lord.

“And I will make a vast graveyard (not just a graveyard, but a vast one!) for Gog and his hordes in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea. It will block the way of those who travel there, and they will change the name of the place to the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies and cleanse the land. Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign Lord. After seven months, teams of men will be appointed to search the land for skeletons to bury, so the land will be made clean again. Whenever bones are found, a marker will be set up so the burial crews will take them to be buried in the Valley of Gog’s Hordes” (Ezekiel 39:11-15, parenthesis mine, italics for emphasis).

Once again, the name of that conceited Iranian military commander who condescendingly said Israel won’t even have a cemetery to bury their dead: Hosseln Salami. I wouldn’t bet against one of those markers set by Israeli burial crews to be next to the bones of Mr. Salami. Yes, the Rapture and the Great Tribulation to follow is that close at hand.

Summary

The near-future devastating defeat of the Gog/Magog coalition to include the smug Iranians is not the first time that God’s (poetic) justice was on display against Persia … now called Iran.

Once before, some 2,500 years ago, an evil man named Haman—the 2nd most powerful official in Persia—surreptitiously persuaded King Xerxes I to pass a law that ordered the extermination of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. Jews of today’s world are well acquainted with this episode of their history. The annual feast of Purim is one of the most festive Jewish celebrations both in Israel and world-wide; a memorial to the deliverance of the entire Jewish race (at the time) from certain genocide.

The Lord’s sovereignty (the Sovereign Lord) is overwhelmingly evident throughout this epic story. Beginning with Persian King Xerxes’ highly improbable selection of a Jewish girl to be his queen, from among hundreds of beautiful Persian women. And Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, encouraging her (for such a time as thing) to boldly approach the king and plead for the Jews to be spared from Haman’s malicious plot of annihilation. Followed by more amazingly timed events (seemingly by chance) that were unmistakably orchestrated by the Sovereign Lord.

(Depiction of King Xerxes extending his scepter to approve Queen Esther’s entrance … even the Queen needed permission to see the King)

With the grand but ironic finale: King Xerxes sentencing Haman to death on a 75-foot high sharpened pole on which Haman had intended to impale his archenemy, Mordecai—a Jewish official in the Persian Kingdom. After Haman’s death, Mordecai was appointed to his position, second only to the king!

Now that’s justice!

Moreover, it’s astonishingly similar (ironic) in precedent/parallel fashion to devilish modern-day Iranian boasts to so utterly destroy Israel, that the Israelis won’t even have a place to bury their dead.

As is said: Famous last words!

Things to Ponder

Echoing the lyrics of the departed Christian songwriter/singer Rich Mullins: Our God is an Awesome God! He reigns from heaven above. With wisdom, power, and love; our God is an Awesome God!

Throughout the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Psalms, we read about God’s perfect justice, often in the poetic sense. Both metaphorically and in some divinely designed circumstances … literally: Those who dig pits to capture and bury the Jews, will fall into those very pits. Those who set traps for Israel and the Jews will themselves be caught in those very traps.

And a passage I’ve quoted in more than one prior Eye of Prophecy article:

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:15-17, emphasis added).

Israel’s inheritance of/to the Promised Land was reclaimed in 1948, then expanded in 1967.

Next (soon) on God’s divine agenda is the Rapture of born-again Jew and Gentile believers. A prelude to the Lord’s crushing defeat of Israel’s enemies in two epic battles (Gog/Magog and Armageddon) during the Great Tribulation. This in preparation for the majestic Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus from Jerusalem.

We love you Lord, because you first loved us!

A Revived Roman Empire … Or Not?

In just one generation, two dramatic developments have deeply affected and significantly shaped the short-term course and long-term fate of the world.

Each was a prophetic flashpoint to which all other last day’s events are linked.

They are: (1) the miraculous rebirth of the sovereign Jewish State of Israel in 1948. (2) Israeli victory in the stunning Six-Day War of 1967 in which Jerusalem was liberated and reclaimed as Israel’s eternal capital.

Consequently, there has been a remarkable resurgence in the study of end-times Biblical prophecy. The Middle East, especially Israel and Jerusalem, continues to dominate global headlines.

Hundreds of Biblical passages foretold the against-all-odds return of the Jews to their Promised Land and restoration of national Israel to the glory days of King David and King Solomon. Including powerful predictions of Israel’s final redemption—people and land. Which will be accomplished exclusively by and through the majestic reappearance of Messiah Jesus, this time as King of all kings.

But Christ won’t physically return to earth until the end of the greatest calamity ever experienced by mankind. With the immediate reason for his return that of rescuing Israel from destruction at the hands of Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition. This Great Tribulation will be triggered by an event that is discussed by believers in Jesus Christ as much or more than any other—The Rapture.

Though the term Rapture is not found in the Bible, its meaning is an apt representation of what will take place as breathtakingly depicted in I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15. See any number of Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of The Rapture for in-depth examinations of this spectacular occurrence that will shake the world. The prevailing presumption by most Bible prophecy enthusiasts is that those left behind on Planet Earth will soon find themselves (willingly or unwillingly) in the middle of a world that is a reproduction of an ancient empire.

The term ascribed to this empire is also not found in Scripture but one that is commonly used by many students of prophecy for decades: Revived Roman Empire.

Will there be such a thing?

Other than the Rapture, it is probably the most scrutinized prophetic subject of many Christians.

Regarding the tremendous transference of believers from earth to heaven, there most certainly is such an event that will take place … any day now.

It’s just that scholars down through the years elected to use the Latin term Rapture as a composite image depicted by the Greek word found in I Thessalonians Chapter 4, … harpazo. Which means catching up or snatching away. It is described in vivid detail not only by the Apostle Paul, but also by Jesus himself in Matthew 24 & 25. Please see two recent Eye of Prophecy articles: Will Believers Go Though the Great Tribulation? Part I & II (Posted 6-15 & 6-22-19).

Concerning a Revived Roman Empire, there’s neither the term nor the model itself delineated in Scripture. Certainly not a replication or duplication of the once mighty, yet long-gone Roman Empire. However, as first explained in my book Out of the Abyss, followed by several Eye of Prophecy articles, there will be a Revived Roman Emperor.

Many of those left behind at the Rapture will give him their allegiance to the point of worship but not because he’s the leader of a so-called Revived Roman Empire or because he will establish a One World Government. There won’t be such a thing during the Tribulation. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, One World Government? (Published 2-28-15).

The verses of Revelation 13:1-4 & 17:7-8 are crystal clear in explaining the one and only reason people will be amazed at the Antichrist: his reappearance 2,000 years after he died. I have written about this extensively in Out of the Abyss and several articles in the category of The Antichrist.

There are two primary passages from which most prophecy scholars derive the idea and nomenclature of a Revived Roman Empire. Incidentally, a few prophecy buffs in the past decade or so have dismissed the idea of a replicated Roman Empire during the Tribulation. In favor of an Islamic Caliphate, with the Antichrist purported to be some notable Muslim (possibly an Imam) from that regime. I’m convinced that theory is even more difficult to support with Biblical evidence than a revived Roman Empire; which, as we will see, has its own serious difficulties to defend.

First Passage: Daniel Chapter 7

Most believers who are even slightly interested in Biblical end-times prophecy are familiar with the 7th Chapter of Daniel. In that chapter we find a second prophetic vision of the four Gentile Kingdoms (symbolized by four different beasts) given to Daniel; the first was given to Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar as a dream in the image of a four-part statue (Daniel Chapter 2). Although the kingdoms are the same (Babylon, Persian, Greece, and Rome), there are different purposes for and, therefore, different features of these revelations. For example, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream did not include anything about the Antichrist; whereas Daniel’s vision provides the first disclosure of this evil man, described as a little horn and king.

Because the fourth beast was not in the form of an animal but, nevertheless, more terrifying than the previous three, Daniel wanted to know more about this fourth kingdom. Particularly about the little horn that suddenly appeared, different from the ten horns brandished by this beast.

(Fairly accurate depiction of the four beasts of Daniel Chapter 7)

*Note: It’s exceedingly important to know that this beast is the fourth and FINAL Gentile kingdom, which (several hundred years later) would prophetically be fulfilled in/by the Roman Empire. Neither in Daniel 2 nor Daniel 7, nor anywhere else in Scripture do we find more than these four kingdoms in terms of prophetic significance as they relate to God’s two major plans for humanity. (1) Israel as the Promised Land and the Jews as the chosen people from which; (2) Messiah would come to replace the Old Covenant of Law with the New Covenant of Grace (redemption for Jew and Gentile alike through Messiah’s once-for-all substitutionary sacrifice).

On the other hand, the beast of Revelation 13 & 17 is indisputably a man … the Antichrist himself—the little horn king of Daniel 7 who would rule over the ten horns (kings). And, the ten kings of Daniel 7 are the same ten kings of Revelation 13 & 17; who yield their authority (kingdoms) to the Antichrist during the Tribulation.

Read with me as the angel discloses more dynamic details to Daniel:

“…This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them” (Daniel 7:23-24, italics for emphasis).

In just a moment, we’ll get back to that passage, particularly the italicized sentence. First, a brief interlude with an excerpt from Out of the Abyss to explain why the Antichrist is (so) different. In italics:

The expression different is both intriguing and forceful. Why or how is the Antichrist different than the ten kings who yield their allegiance? Especially as utilized in the context, the world itself is too strong to suggest an intrinsic variation, such as being a more polished, captivating, charismatic, or powerful leader. This difference is more fully developed in Revelation.

Different denotes different, in all the word means and implies. I think this is important enough to refer to Webster’s Dictionary. Different is: “partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality.” It is: “dissimilar (could hardly be more).” It is: “not the same as.” Other synonyms are: “distinct, unusual, special, diverse, divergent, and disparate.” It is: “unlike in kind or character.” The synonym diverse “implies marked contrast.”

That my friend is “different,” and it yields a comprehensive, composite explanation of the fundamental contrast between Antichrist and the ten kings. You might ask, “What specifically is that difference?” I’m glad you asked!

The one thing that makes Antichrist different from the other ten kings is that he is a living miracle, and they are not.

He has arisen from the underworld, and they have not. The ten kings have a birth certificate, but the Antichrist does not. Nor will anyone, including crime scene forensic investigators be able to prove that he had died a short time before he arose, as there will be no autopsy or death certificate; nor any fingerprint records or dental records, nor any evidence of a crime scene, nor a coroner’s report, nor a coffin or a grave.

We must remember the shocking fact announced by the angelic messenger: Antichrist died before John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ (the book of Revelation). Therefore, his sudden appearance to a Post-Raptured world will be from the dead, which makes him dramatically different than the ten kings. There’s no way the beast can or will be born during the generation that experiences the Day of the Lord… (Pages 185-186).

Also, please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Sudden Appearance of Antichrist … Why So Different? (Posted 1-21-17).

Once again to emphasize: any semblance of a (so-called) Revived Roman Empire will be entirely predicated on, portrayed (characterized) by, and reflected in a Revived Roman Emperor.

Returning to the highlighted sentence of the above quoted passage: Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. This constitutes one of the conditions from which the notion of a Revived Roman Empire developed. As indicated in the About Page of Eye of Prophecy website, all quoted passages from the Bible are taken from the New Living Translation, unless noted otherwise. By and large, the NLT contains one of the most contemporary user-friendly translations of the Bible. However, in the case of the highlighted sentence of Daniel 7:24, the NLT ever so slightly modifies what is really being said here. In fact, this modification could have been influenced by the translator’s/commentator’s endorsement of the Revived Roman Empire hypothesis.

For example, in both the New American Standard Bible and the Complete Jewish Bible, we read: “…out of this kingdom ten kings will arise…” This is also the case with other translations.

Do you see the difference? The better translation is that these ten (tribulation) kings will arise from that kingdom. What kingdom? The kingdom represented by the fourth beast which was the Roman Empire. However, that kingdom is (now) ancient history.

(The Roman Coliseum is a shell of the original)

Therefore, the angel Gabriel is effectively telling Daniel that these ten kings will arise from (what are now modern-day) nations that are roughly in the geographical sphere of the ancient Roman Empire. Which constituted part of but not all contemporary Europe. Also, some of the Middle East and much of what is now North African countries.

But the more precise translations do not say that these kings will rule that empire.

What they will do is clarified even more by Revelation 17: “The ten horns of the beast are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will be appointed to their kingdoms for one brief moment to reign with the beast (Antichrist). They will all agree to give him their power and authority” (Revelation 17:12-13, parenthesis mine).

Once again, do you see the difference? Although the ten tribulation kings arise from (vestiges of) the Roman Empire, there is no (new or revived) empire as such in which they will rule. Instead, they will yield their authority and give their kingdoms (ten in all, not, for example, the 28 nations that now comprise the European Union) to the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation 17, who are one and the same, i.e. the Antichrist. Thus, we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that there will be or must be a Revived Roman Empire. And certainly not a One World Government, as Antichrist and his coalition will have enemies—not the least of which are the massively populated nations of the Far East.

For sure, Antichrist’s realm will be powerful, but it will be only one of four major coalitions that coalesce after the Rapture. With the first confederacy that of Gog/Magog consisting of Russia, Iran, Turkey and other smaller nations.

See Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring to Rule Them All…” (11-21-15).

Second Passage: Revelation 17

In order to support the supposition that there will be a Revived Roman Empire, prophecy teachers/students had to do two things with Revelation 17.

First, they substituted kingdoms for kings in the text. Or, giving them a little more benefit of the doubt (I, too, once subscribed to this premise), they extended the meaning of the word kings to kingdoms. Not only to try and prove the theory of a Revived Roman Empire but also because the seven heads of the beast didn’t track numerically with the number of 1st century Roman emperors, or so it seemed. But they can match up; because from our historical hindsight there’s more than one option to identify the sequence (number) of Roman Emperors.

Time/space doesn’t permit details in this week’s article. Instead, please refer to my book Out of the Abyss and/or Eye of Prophecy articles, Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence Part I & II (3-18 & 3-25-17).

Second, they dismissed or at the very least discounted the personal pronouns of the passage that simply cannot be attributed to an object, in this case kingdoms.

Immediately after the angel announces to John the incredible fact—still overlooked by prophecy students—that the Antichrist had already lived and died before John saw him in the form of a beast (with this same man reappearing from the Abyss at the outset of the Tribulation), we read:

“This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief. The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer (another statement to emphatically reinforce that the Antichrist beast had already lived and died before John’s 1st century visions), is the eighth king. He is like (Greek word is “ek” meaning one of, out of, from) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:9-10, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Before examining the Greek word for kings (and then kingdoms), we need to fully grasp another notable feature of the beast of Revelation. This beast has seven heads, which are not found in Daniel Chapter 7. In both Revelation 13 & 17, the beast is clearly a man, not a kingdom—as is the fourth beast of Daniel 7. However, both the kingdom beast (Roman Empire) of Daniel 7 and the king beast (man … Antichrist) of Revelation 13 & 17 have ten horns, which are the ten kings who will yield their authority (kingdoms) to the Antichrist during the seven-year Tribulation.

What is the significance of this? Answer: These ten kings yield their personal authority directly and their nations (indirectly) to the Antichrist, not to a Revived Roman Empire. In fact, Antichrist will subdue three of these nations by some measure of force (economic and/or military).

Daniel Chapter 7 provides the initial introduction to the Antichrist (little horn, king) but with an extraordinary emphasis on his sudden appearance among the ten kings whom he will control during the Tribulation. These ten kings will arise from that kingdom, not rule it nor revive it during the Tribulation. Because there will be no such kingdom, i.e. Revived Roman Empire.

There will be no Roman Legions marching on Israel during the Tribulation! That’s more than just a facetious comparison. It’s a representative image to reinforce the fact that it’s a Revived Roman Emperor who will be worshipped by many of those left behind, but there will be no resurgent replication of the once mighty Roman Empire.

The sole purpose for the Antichrist beast of Revelation 17 (first presented in Chapter 13) having seven heads is to give the 1st century believers (and all believers thereafter) a biographical and geopolitical profile in order to identify the (Antichrist) beast of Revelation … the same man as the little horn of Daniel 7. It was more conclusive proof in follow up to the first stunning clue regarding Antichrist’s identity, provided in Revelation 13—the number of the beast.

Putting it another way: The Antichrist has a (1st century) past tense existence as well as a (21st century) future tense reappearance at the outset of the Great Tribulation. When the angel revealed the stunning news to John that the Antichrist (scarlet beast) had already lived and died but would return from the Abyss, he didn’t stop there. He disclosed more extraordinary evidence. The beast is not only the Antichrist (eighth king), he is also one of (from, out of) the seven heads of this beast. These seven kings were obviously (who else could they have been) Roman Emperors of the 1st century. Five of whom had already died, including the beast himself; one who was currently reigning when John saw his second vision of the beast; and the next ruler (the seventh) whose reign would be brief.

First century believers knew immediately who six of the seven Roman emperors were and would soon know the seventh when the reign of the sixth emperor ended. Or the identity of all seven, if they hadn’t read Revelation until after the 7th Caesar’s (brief) rule was over. They could then reduce the choices to the five emperors who had already died, including the Antichrist.

Then by decoding the number of the beast—six hundred, sixty-six—with the use of Hebrew gematria (counting by use of the Hebrew alphabet translated from the Greek name of the Caesars), they could identify exactly which of these emperors was the beast. None other than Nero. Which is why both Christians and unbelievers believed (for different reasons) for some 400 years that Nero would return as Emperor. Known historically as the Nero Redivivus Legend.

(Modern Statue of Nero in Anzio, Italy–his place of birth)

See Eye of Prophecy articles: The Legendary Return of Nero (posted 4-4-15); Nero & The Remarkable Revival of His Name (4-1-17); Antichrist & Anzio … What Do They Have In Common? (4-29-17).

Returning to our emphasis in today’s article that there will be a Revived Roman Emperor rather than a Revived Roman Empire, let’s look at:

Kings Vs. Kingdoms

First and foremost, to underscore the obvious: The word used by the angel unveiling the mystery of the beast (his identity) is kings. The seven heads of the beast are kings. NOT kingdoms. This is of paramount importance to grasp, because in order to support the speculation of a Revived Roman Empire kings must become (substituted with) kingdoms. Thus, (erroneously) presuming that the seven kings are kingdoms and the 7th kingdom will be the Revived Roman Empire.

Regarding the English translation of the Greek word to kings, permit me to ask a rather rhetorical question: Is there a distinction between king(s) and kingdom(s) in the English language … or any language? We’re going to see that there is not only a discernable difference, but that substituting kings with kingdoms is grammatically, contextually, and Biblically incorrect.

I’m going to say it with a little more oomph: Under no circumstances should kingdoms replace kings in the Biblical text!

Let’s find out why.

The Greek word for kings found in Revelation 17 (and other passages) is basileus. Its meaning: leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king. Moreover, it is a masculine noun, which make sense, i.e. men are kings, women are queens. Every time we find the English word king or kings in Scripture (or any other literary source), it ALWAYS means just that: a person (man)!

The Greek word for kingdoms is basileia. With its meaning just as clear: a territory or dominion or base of royal power, subject to the rule of a king (or queen or prince or whatever). Moreover, the Greek (and other languages) noun basileia is feminine. Nearly all nations are referred to in the feminine … a small handful in the impersonal neutral (it). Which personal pronoun would you use in place of America? He or she? Easy answer: She is the land of the free and the home of the brave!

There are other reasons, but the gender quality of any noun is reason enough not to substitute it with the opposite gender, even if the nouns (words) closely resemble each other. Although kings and kingdoms (English) and basileus and basileia (Greek) are similar in spelling, they are also as distinctive as they can be, one from the other.

In fact, after John describes the current status/disposition of these seven 1st century kings (Roman emperors), he then switches (fast forwards) to the ten horns … kings of the Tribulation period. Read with me:

“The ten horns of the beast are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will be appointed to their kingdoms for one brief moment to reign with the beast” (Revelation 17:12 italics for emphasis to juxtapose and distinguish the kings from their kingdoms).

Regarding that verse, here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss (in italics):

This verse makes an unambiguous grammatical distinction between the kingdom and the kings of those kingdoms.

I then compared verse 12 to verse nine where the angel first tells John that the seven heads of the beast are seven kings. Continuing with the excerpt:

Why then, would John remotely imply or suggest or leave room for doubt that the kings of verse nine are or could be kingdoms? Though it is somewhat logical that a kingdom must have a king, it isn’t and shouldn’t be an automatic assumption… Following the return of the Jewish exiles to their land, Israel (she) continued as a nation (kingdom) without a king. Conversely, not all kings necessarily have a kingdom. Using the same example as the Babylonian captivity, Israel’s last king, Zedekiah, no longer ruled in Judah….

Still, a king needing a kingdom is not the strongest argument for or against the correct application of the Greek word. By far the most dominate feature of Revelation 17:9 is that John does not use the Greek word for kingdoms that he uses in verse 12…. Although the same word for kings (used in verse 12) is employed for the seven heads in verse 9, they (those who subscribe to a Revived Roman Empire) substitute kings with kingdoms. At the very minimum, that seems to be inconsistent. At the maximum, it’s simply not grammatically accurate.

However strong the presumption that a king merits a kingdom or vice versa, the fact is that the Greek words used for king(s) and kingdom(s) are precise definitive words that delineate and distinguish between the two….

Both Greek words are utilized in the same revelation scene given to John; hence, it’s even more imperative that there is no confusion generated by liberally substituting the actual Greek word for kings with a kingdom interpretation. I believe this would be a violation of the textual and contextual language and meaning.

…To a great extent, one could make a strong case that the Greek words alone would decide the issue here. It is a case that probably would stand the test of any formal debate, in any etymological or linguistic court, as it were. But since there’s more evidence that the seven heads are, in fact, seven literal kings, we will continue (Pages 124-125).

I went on to explain the vital significance of the personal pronouns in Revelation Chapter 17 (which we’ll get to shortly) and of:

World Kingdoms in Scripture

In order to support the supposition that a Revived Roman Empire is the seventh head of Revelation 17, it’s necessary to substitute kings with kingdoms. We’ve already examined the linguistic reasons why that can’t and shouldn’t be done. Now for more Biblical evidence.

Although Daniel Chapters 2 & 7 plainly indicate that there are only four Gentile Kingdoms (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome), Bible scholars have added three more kingdoms to that equation. With conjecture that, in addition to the 7th (future Revived Roman Empire), the first two were Egypt and Assyria. As already indicated, Scripture is overwhelmingly clear that there are only FOUR such kingdoms in the context of all prophetic events relating to their interaction with Israel, through which God’s plans for humanity will be accomplished. Not the least of which was Messiah’s first Advent and the beginning of the New Covenant during the era of the Roman Empire—the fourth and final kingdom.

Even if there were more than four kingdoms disclosed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the four-part statue and Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (which there are not, plus once again emphasizing that the 7 kings are actual 1st century Caesars, not kingdoms), the following excerpt from my book Out of the Abyss further demonstrates why neither Egypt nor Assyria qualify.

…neither matches criteria of what makes a world empire, as depicted and deductively defined in the statue and beasts of Daniel.

Among other things, the four kingdoms of Babylon, Mede-Persia, Greece, and Rome were successive and were on the scene of history as empires for a known and sequential period of time. There was no overlap of these nations in terms of being concurrent empires that coexisted in their dominance. Also, these four kingdoms like no other nation on earth before or since, truly controlled most of the civilized world; or civilized much of the uncivilized world, albeit with ruthless force.

On the other hand, both Egypt and Assyria were powerhouses at more than one period of history.

*Note: I went on to identify those periods. Continuing with the excerpt:

But the most significant historical event to demonstrate simultaneous rule by Assyria and Egypt was the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC. In this battle Babylon soundly defeated the alliance of Assyrian and Egyptian armies. Assyria would seldom be heard from again, and Egypt began what would essentially be an irreversible decline…

Assyria and Egypt dominated sporadically over a long period of time; some 15 centuries and 20 centuries respectively… But the four empires of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 were different. Once they ended as a military world power that was it; no more empire, no resurgence to power, only a shell of their former glory.

If the inspirer of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, wanted us to know that there would be another kingdom before the first (Babylon) or after the fourth (Roman Empire), I believe the information would have been explicitly given to Daniel. Otherwise, there would be far too much confusion and conflict with the subsequent visions of John in Revelation, which is exactly what has transpired in our time, i.e. trying to add three kingdoms that are not found in the book of Daniel. But there is no confusion or contradiction at all if the seven heads of Revelation are seven kings, rather than seven kingdoms.

The fact of the matter is that no kingdom before Babylon or after Rome, including Assyria, Egypt, Napoleon’s France, Hitler’s Germany or even Genghis Khan exclusively dominated the world as did the four empire beasts of Daniel (Pages 132-133).

And now for the striking significance of:

Personal Pronouns

Although Bible teachers/students (including me at one time) have missed or dismissed the astounding disclosure given to John (Revelation 17:7-8) that the Antichrist beast had already lived and died BEFORE John’s vision of him, they do concur that this is a man (not a kingdom).

Not only is it contextually clear that the beast of Revelation 17 (and Chapter 13) is a man—one of the seven kings as well as the eighth king … because of his reappearance from the Abyss—the use of personal pronouns convincingly compels us to not think otherwise. This same paradigm applies just as persuasively to the seven heads of the beast as kings, not kingdoms.

“This calls for a mind with understanding. The seven heads of the beast (the composite beast is the Antichrist, but also one of its seven heads) represent the seven hills where the woman rules (seven hills of Rome). They also represent seven kings” (Revelation 17:9, parenthesis mine).

We’ll stop here for a moment and jump ahead to verse 11, then back to verse 10.

“The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like (Greek word “ek” means out of or one of) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:11, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

(Greek word “Ek” as applied to the true church, the body of Christ–born again believers)

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. The Antichrist is referred to as “he” and he is one of the seven kings. Why on earth then, would the other (six) kings be kingdoms? It’s a rhetorical question because in the preceding verse we are, in no uncertain terms, told that these kings are just that … kings, not kingdoms. And this is by/through another (masculine) personal pronoun.

Verse 10: “Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (much emphasis added!).

Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss to put the finishing touches on this unequivocal, undeniable fact that the seven heads of Revelation 17 are kings (Roman emperors) of the 1st century. Five of whom had already died, one of whom was ruling at the time of John’s visions, with the reign of the next king (the 7th) to be brief.

In terms of all the literary and grammatical rules of and applications to any given character of any given story (true or fictional), a personal pronoun refers exclusively to an individual, not to whatever or whoever that person might represent, lead, or otherwise influence. Thus, the seventh king can not be a kingdom, because, “his reign will be brief” …. By overwhelming contextual application and grammatical persuasion, the other kings of verse 10 must also be individual kings (men) (Page 127).

Things to Ponder

Whatever semblance the sphere of Antichrist’s ten-nation confederation bears to the ancient Roman Empire will be limited to, represented by, and in juxtaposition to a Revived Roman Emperor—Nero Caesar.

One final quote from Out of the Abyss:

In this respect, the Antichrist will exceed all tyrants before him, but in a different way. His influence will extend far beyond the somewhat fragile alliance that he runs. Billions of people from nations, tribes, ethnic groups, and languages will worship him; they will care less about his “kingdom.”

…Historically, dictators were unavoidably associated with the nation from which they ruled. And the nation was afforded as much, ore more fear than the tyrant himself. In fact, kings were there and then they were gone. Not so with the man of sin. His reappearance from the dead will stun the world. Thus, he will be elevated to a status as high as Christians have accorded to Jesus Christ. So high, that the world will believe the ultimate lie foisted on them by this man of sin and his accomplice, the false prophet, that he is God.

This is one of several ways that the Antichrist will successfully imitate the true Christ, who was not the head or ruler of a nation or country as such. Rather Jesus and his gospel reached people from all over the world. Our Messiah didn’t need a seat of government from which to teach, heal, perform miracles, die on a cross, and then rise from the dead….

The Antichrist will be given ten kingdoms (not one specific, easily identified kingdom) through which he will share and exert his authority (Pages 133-134).

However, at the height of Antichrist’s arrogant authority, the true Messiah will intervene (to rescue Israel from Nero’s conquest).

Along with other passages of Scripture, we read the spectacular result of Messiah’s victory:

“His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:7).

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Praise and honor and glory to the King of all kings!

Israel’s Government in Limbo … Unprecedented!

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No, I’m not talking about Knesset members in Jerusalem doing the Limbo. An acrobatic dance to see how low one can go by bending over backwards, while passing under a horizontal pole low enough to step over.

Lately there has been very little bending over backwards of Israel’s leaders. Or for that matter leaders of virtually every country on earth, what with the pitiful polarization of people between and from within nations.

I’m referring to that other kind of limbo, defined by Webster’s Dictionary: “a place or state of restraint or confinement; an intermediate or transitional place or state.”

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

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

When Israelis participate in national elections they vote for a party, not for an individual. Parties that garner the minimum number of votes required (which also determines the number of Knesset representatives) then decide which of their associates will serve in the Knesset. The ruling coalition, which can consist of several blocs, must have a minimum of 61 of the 120 Knesset seats. Israel’s Prime Minister is the recognized leader of the largest party of the majority coalition. In this case, it would have been a reelected Benjamin Netanyahu.

(Interior of Knesset)

(The graph on the left represents the 20th Knesset before mid-term elections were held this past April. With the 61 Knesset members to the right on that graph part of the Likud-led majority coalition)

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

I’d like to begin with an excerpt from my first book—a novel entitled O Israel. Which was also quoted in a prior Eye of Prophecy article: The Jewish Dichotomy In & Outside Israel (posted 6-20-18). It summarizes the intriguing divergence of the Jewish people (unity despite disunity) as seen through the eyes of one of the main characters—Avram Levitt, a Jewish Scribe:

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

…It was Tel Aviv that best expressed and defined Israel’s remarkable progress: …beautiful galleries, grand theatres, contemporary concert halls, modern restaurants, seaside skyscrapers, and luxurious beach hotels…

Jerusalem was always the “ancient city.” Here you will find the long, storied past of Israel, with its patriarchs, judges, prophets, kings, and divinely appointed destiny of land and people.

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

Any Jew who had read the Torah, attended synagogue, or passed bar mitzvah, knew that Jacob blessed each of his twelve sons. For Judah, the blessing included two remarkable predictions. Like a lion, Judah would defeat its enemies. And “the scepter will not depart from Judah … until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom the nations will honor.”

In Israel, the majority of Jewish Israelis agreed they were either hiloni (secular) or masorti (traditional). For Jacob’s descendants who practiced Judaism, whether conservative, orthodox, or ultra-orthodox, Jerusalem was the main attraction. The secular, the atheistic, and the liberals preferred Tel Aviv. For the reformed, either city would do.

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

Jews synthesized over another common denominator, which Avram had not been afraid or embarrassed to articulate: “an enemy who wants to reduce them to ashes, to drown them in the sea, to erase Israel from memory, from all maps of the civilized world.” (Pages 15-16).

In the article referenced above, I wrote:

In much larger geographic and demographic nations like the United States of America (population 327 million) you’d expect a wide range of political, social, economic, cultural, and religious diversity. But with only 6.6 million Jewish citizens of Israel and only 14+ million Jews on the planet you would anticipate fewer differences and certainly not such dramatic dichotomies within Israel nor among Jews throughout the world.

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

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

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

I went on to identify those dichotomies, with the most noticeable difference between secular and observant Jews, which will be the prominent point of this week’s post.

A Remarkable Turn of Events

On April 9th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party received enough of the popular vote to guarantee 35 seats. But with the same number of seats voted to the (newly formed just for this election) opposition party, Blue and White; co-led by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and head of another party (Yesh Atid) that joined Blue and White—Yair Lapid. However, Netanyahu’s ruling right-wing alliance won the election with a coalition total of 65 potential Knesset seats, four more than the required minimum. Or, so everyone thought.

(Leaders of the Blue & White Party, the name of which represents the blue and white Star of David Israeli flag, Left to right are: Moshe Ya’alon; Benny Gantz; Yair Lapid; Gabi Yshkenazi … Gantz and Lapid are the two main representatives)

By Israeli Law, the winning coalition—comprised of smaller parties that unite with the leading vote-getting party—must formally structure a majority government, which is normally not that difficult. This must be done within 42 days after an election, which includes a two-week extension granted by the President (more of a ceremonial position in Israel, but important during the election process) if necessary. In this case, President Rivlin gave Benjamin Netanyahu one more week … to May 28th.

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

Why did that happen?

Answer: Even though there were smaller parties supporting Likud (35 seats) with a total of 30 additional would-be Knesset representatives, it took just one party and its leader to dissolve the new Knesset, an unparalleled event in Israel’s modern history. The party: Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our Home). Its leader: Avigdor Liberman. I mentioned him in Eye of Prophecy article: Peace Between Israel & Judah … Then World Peace! (Posted 12-8-18).

As a background, here is an excerpt from that article:

About three weeks ago, another crisis developed in Israel’s government.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned his post (in protest over the government’s alleged lack of toughness with Hamas’ launching of some 450 rockets into Israel as well as the now eight-month Palestinian rioting at the Gazan border with Israel) and withdrew himself and his coalition party…. Thereby, reducing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition from 67 to the bare minimum of 61 seats.

Shortly thereafter, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (leaders of the Jewish Home Party—8 Knesset seats) threatened to exit the majority coalition government if Netanyahu didn’t appoint Bennett to Defense Minister to replace Lieberman.

If Bennett and Shaked didn’t back down, then the regular election scheduled for November 2019 likely would have taken place in 2-3 months. Netanyahu called the bluff of the Jewish Home party and Naftali Bennett withdrew his demand.

However, as a result of other developments—of which Liberman was the main catalyst—the Knesset ended up scheduling a mid-term election anyway (for April 9th, 2019). In principle, both Lieberman and his party had agreed to back the Likud. As a result of the April 9th election, his party was reduced from six to five Knesset members; still resulting in a convincing mandate of 65 seats for the majority coalition. Yet, they reversed their support after the election.

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

This issue of observant Jews serving in the IDF has been controversial for years; it is one of the two main platforms of Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. Even though this debate and/or passage of a law one way or another could have waited for official establishment of the 21st Knesset, Lieberman insisted that legislation be passed immediately that would force ALL Orthodox Jews to serve in the military (there are some who voluntarily report for duty). At the very minimum he insisted that the new government must make an advance commitment to mandatory service for the Orthodox.

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

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

(*Note: Haredim is a term applied to observant Jews, particularly the Orthodox … in contrast to secular Jews, who far outnumber their religious kindred. Halachic is a Hebrew expression from the root word, halacha. Which means, “the way” or the “way of walking” or path. It encompasses the Torah commandments from God plus additional man-made rules added by rabbis over the centuries. Also, oral traditions handed down through the ages. In short, it’s the idea of an entire community or even a nation—as a whole, majority—following the instructions of the Lord in all areas of life … including politics. We’ll get back to that a little later.)

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

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

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

When there was some talk that the 21st Knesset might consider the possibility of a 60-seat Likud coalition (instead of the majority of 61 seats) even though it had been dissolved, Liberman again said: “A government of 60 is not a right wing government, but an ultra-Orthodox government that, instead of preserving Israel as a Jewish state, will change it into a theocracy.”

For now, the Knesset remains suspended with the Executive Staff of Israel’s government still intact (on an interim basis). However, no new laws can be introduced or voted on until the 22nd Knesset is formed. Elections are still scheduled for September but not merely because of what Liberman said. Which, in and of itself, is inaccurate, i.e. a 60-seat (or however many seats) Likud coalition government would in no way be an ultra-Orthodox government.

(Avigdor Liberman)

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

Even to the point of a Theocracy!

A Theocracy?

Should there be a theocracy in Israel? Yes!

But not the kind that many equate with a man-made Church State or State Church system. A hierarchal system such as found with the Roman Catholic Church which dominated many European kingdoms (nations) for hundreds of years, until the Reformation and Renaissance took hold. Or the past and threatening present-day geopolitical/religious Islamic Caliphate sought by both radical and moderate (if there is such a thing) Muslims. Or the antithesis of a government run by a religion (the true Christian faith is NOT a religion but a personal relationship with Messiah Jesus), found in agnostic state secular systems like Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and the like.

Which is why the Crusades, the Catholic Inquisitions, or Muslim conquest of much of the Middle East in the 20th & 21st centuries and a part of Europe hundreds of years ago bear absolutely no resemblance to Biblical Christianity. Simply put: God graciously gives us his precepts as the source of light and life for individuals and for nations, but he NEVER forces anyone or any government to trust and obey him. That’s why he gave us free will. To choose him because we want to, because we love him and are immensely grateful for the salvation freely given to us through his Son.

The following is an excerpt from Part II of, A Religion of Peace? (posted 4-18-15):

…Then by guilt through association, the observable connection between political and religious Islam and Muslims. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to separate the two; because the Koran doesn’t distinguish between Islamic political and religious decrees or demands. Although the number of Islamic militants (including the actual terrorists among them) is relatively small, the prevailing belief of Muslims the world over is that the Koran not only encourages submission to Islam by force if necessary, but actually demands it.

The practical painful result of this religious government can vividly be seen in the Middle East through brutal enforcement of Islam by terrorist atrocities; and to a lesser (in terms of the level of violence) but nevertheless large-scale implementation of Sharia law by national governments, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria. And Turkey is becoming more and more Islamic in its daily administration of national affairs.

Only Messiah Jesus can and will one day establish an absolutely Divine Government on this earth, one that will bring universal peace and prosperity. Indeed, he will administer the Kingdom of God on the earth, and the entire world will be the better for it.

Read with me the inspiring prophecy from Isaiah: “The government will rest on his shoulders … His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

This magnificent Kingdom will be in its purest form a Divine Monarchy, based on God’s truth and justice. But until that time, Jesus, himself, recognized the necessary distinction between governmental administration and personal belief and conduct; between man’s individual interaction with God and his collaboration with the lawmakers and law enforcers of the land, when he said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:14, NASB).

This was an amazing response (one of many) given by Christ. The implications include acknowledgment that God is ultimately in control, but that he allows and even ordains that men shall be governed by higher authorities. With the strong inference that (given the fallibility of man) governments and administrative authorities cannot successfully legislate morality or spirituality, nor should they try. Meaning the Ten Commandments, as an illustrative example, came directly from God, not from a king or human ruler or government official or even a constitution. A constitution can and should reflect divine values from the true and living God of the Bible and enforce the legislative laws of the land; but a constitutional government of any kind (monarchy, parliamentary, democratic or representative republic) should not dictate its own (dictatorial) scruples, whether religious or secular, whether godly or ungodly. That belongs to the individual, and that person’s relationship (or lack thereof) with Almighty God.

Scripture is fundamentally clear that it is impossible for man (without God’s direct and personal authority through Messiah Jesus) to establish and execute a governmental system built on and from a religion, which is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church and the Islamic Caliphates have attempted to do down through the ages, often with tragic results. Even the Mosaic and Levitical laws (decrees, regulations, commandments) handed down by God to the Israelites were designed for two purposes: (1) A God-like high standard of excellence for human interaction, but also (2) to demonstrate to the Jews and all of mankind that they could not effectively keep God’s laws, either individually or nationally. That only Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled the law and, thus, qualified as God’s divine sacrificial offering for the sins of every man, woman, and child.

In this context, here is an excerpt from Part I of A Religion of Peace? (4-11-15):

The contextual, historical comparison that needs to be made between God’s instructions to the Israelites to vanquish some of the original tribes of Canaan and the commands from the god of Islam found in the Koran is this: The Old Testament provides an account of a particular historical episode at a specific time in Israel’s (beginning) history, for a precise duration of time, for a special purpose. The Israelites were to be the instrument of God’s judgment on a very perverse people while taking over a relatively small portion of the earth (all of which belongs to God in the first place) to live and serve God. Whereas, the Koran’s instructions to all Muslims is a perpetual edict (to subjugate Christians and Jews and kill them if they don’t submit) that has no historical parameters, no national boundaries (world-wide), and is to continue indefinitely. It is, in effect, an unlimited Koranic license to suppress and kill infidels, i.e. all who refuse to become Muslims. There is a world of difference between these antithetical models.

The State of the State of Israel

What we see taking place in Israel is of Biblical proportions! It is yet another dynamic prophetic development in these last days. It is a dispute between religious and secular Jews in Israel serious enough to temporarily topple a democratically elected government. Unwittingly, both sides are preparing themselves and the nation of Israel for the glorious return of Jesus of Nazareth, their Messiah and Savior.

He is the Jewish Messiah who will first bridge the gulf within Israel and between Jews everywhere. When that takes place, then:

The Orthodox among them have rekindled a burning desire to acknowledge the God of Israel in the affairs of state. This is generally good. What is not so good is that the religious Jews are still in denial that their Temple is gone and with it the all-important Levitical Sacrificial system for atonement of sin. They have refused to accept the reality that the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah to replace the Old Covenant of the Law came to pass when Messiah Jesus died on the cross for their sins (and of the whole world) and rose from the dead to prove that he is God’s own Son.

King David himself recognized that God has a Son, and this Son was also David’s Lord! (Psalm 2 & Psalm 110).

What the Jewish Apostle Paul wrote nearly 2,000 years ago still applies today. Especially now that Israel has been reborn, and observant Israelis once again are able to freely practice their version of the Law of Moses (minus the sacrifices):

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

On the other hand, many secular Jews or those just partially observant possess a passionate hope for Messiah to arrive. Even though they know little of their own Scriptures, they have as much or more desire for Israel’s place in the family of nations that affords at least a measure of peace and security, than many observant Jews do. This perplexes the Haredim as their emphasis is on a Messiah who they say will not come until Jews begin to return in greater numbers to halachic (the practice of) Judaism, i.e. keeping of the Torah.

The following are the opening words from Eye of Prophecy article: Where is Messiah … Is He Already Here? (posted June 2016):

Globally, especially in Israel, both religious and secular Jews are longing for redemption.

Yet, they do not all agree on the scope of this redemption. Will it be individual, national, or both? Will it be physical, spiritual, or both? Orthodox Jews, particularly Rabbis, contend that penitence is a prerequisite to their redemption. But they differ on what constitutes repentance … to what degree or for what exactly should they repent. Most Jews simply don’t know what’s expected of them, if anything.

Tens of thousands of Messianic Jews have embraced Jesus as Messiah; they have accepted Scripture’s claim that only he can redeem individuals and nations. They believe (along with their Gentile believer counterparts) that redemption is precisely what the Bible and Jewish tradition says it is: a purchase or buy back from slavery. Which is, Biblically, first and foremost an enslavement to sin and its consequences—eternal separation from God.

It is what Webster’s Dictionary defines as: “to free from captivity by payment of ransom.”

The Bible says: “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins, says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:20).

…Isaiah is referring to the initial appearance of Messiah for individual salvation; but also, his return to accomplish Israel’s national redemption.

Many Jews see redemption almost entirely from a more secular meaning of the concept:

“To free from what distresses or harms; to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to change for the better; to get or win back.” (Webster’s Dictionary).

Thus, redemption to them means freedom from the constant distress and brutal harm from Palestinian terrorist attacks. They long for peace to overcome and replace the incessant detrimental threats of entire Muslim nations seeking Israel’s annihilation. They seek to exchange the relentless BDS actions against them for a better life of personal and national well-being and security. Some want to get back all the land that has been given to them by God, himself, some 4000 years ago—the entire Promised Land of Israel, including but not limited to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Prophet, High Priest, and King

Returning to the statement made by the ultra-Orthodox politician Bazalel Smotrich: Israel should be, run as it was run during the days of King David and King Solomon—according to Torah law.

Is he right about the reign of King David and his son Solomon, according to Torah law?

In all due respect to his honorable intentions, he is not correct. Why? Because he’s not factoring in all that happened in Israel’s ancient history, including the glory years of David and Solomon.

For that matter, there was a marked distinction between the roles of executive leaders (beginning with Moses) and the mediators (beginning with Moses’ brother, Aaron—the High Priest) who offered sacrifices for themselves and the people when they broke God’s laws given to/through Moses and other national leaders. Whether guided by the mighty prophet Moses, then the warrior-leader Joshua, followed by several judges (like Gideon), and finally kings, Israel’s government wasn’t run by the Torah as such, on anything approaching a consistent basis. Not even during the reign of King David and King Solomon. Time/space doesn’t permit citing several examples.

A true theocracy? It should have been, but it wasn’t.

Why?

God through Moses answers that question:

(New Living Translation: Four times the word choose, or choice is used!)

Who is the Lord addressing here? Israel’s government? No, there was no government as such then. He was speaking directly to the people, every individual. Did he say that his instructions would be forced on them one way or another—by a judge or a king or a prophet or a government? (Note: I’m not referring to the enforcing of ceremonial or civil or criminal laws; that’s not the main point here). No, it must be from their heart. A willing choice to love and obey Him. From the inside out, not outside in.

Though both sought God’s wisdom and counsel to govern Israel, neither King David nor King Solomon made keeping of the Torah compulsive. They knew that the best they could do was to seek and love the Lord themselves, follow his instructions, and be an example to their people. In today’s terminology, they didn’t legislate morality (or godliness). Rather, they endeavored to exemplify God’s standards of righteousness and holiness. But even they failed from time to time.

God’s main purpose for choosing David was threefold: (1) To unite the 12 tribes of Israel into one cohesive nation—Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital. (2) to complete the task that even Joshua didn’t—that of conquering parts of the Promised Land that God had given exclusively to his people. (3) Through David, a King would come who could and would do things even David couldn’t do. This King would redeem and restore Israel to God’s original plan for his special possession … Israel and the Jews. That of being blessed internally and an external blessing to the nations.

Although it was God’s preference not for Israel to have a king, he gave his people what they wanted. But he is omniscient, and he knew full well that His Law given through Moses wasn’t the problem. Rather it was the deliberate disobedience of his people. This is expressed explicitly and frequently in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. For example, in Psalms 78:

“…for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them” (Psalm 78:22).

“But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him” (Verse 32).

And, “Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant” (Verse 37).

Again, “But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws” (Verse 56).

Thus, invariably and inevitably, it was the preponderance of the people that determined their fate—individually and nationally. Because God has given them/us free will to decide right from wrong, good from evil, he wants everyone to willingly and eagerly choose him and his life-giving salvation. Accordingly, the Lord struck a balance between a nation’s government (governing officials) and its spiritual (Biblical) leaders. He doesn’t want kings (today’s Presidents and Prime Ministers) or their governments to assume the role of ministering to the people as do synagogue or church leaders. And vice versa.

Which is why a priest could be a prophet (example, Ezekiel) and a king could be a prophet (King David). But a priest could never be a king; nor a king be a priest.

Look no further than Judah’s King Uzziah, who for the most part, “…did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight…” (II Chronicles 26:4). But later in Uzziah’s reign, he entered the inner sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple to personally burn incense; thereby, arrogantly assuming the role and audaciously acting on behalf of the priests.

Big mistake! God struck him with leprosy while he was still in the Temple.

Government leaders are to administrate to/for the outer needs of the people. Spiritual leaders are to minister to the inner needs of people. Neither in terms of time nor talents, should one role assume the other. Am I, as a born-again believer in Messiah Jesus, suggesting a separation of Church and State? Yes, but not as perceived by the secular liberals among us, who want all vestiges (even symbolic ones) of God removed from government or public places. That is missing the point ENTIRELY! For a more detailed presentation of this topic, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Separation of Church & State … For or Against? Part I & II (4-2 & 4-9-16).

(President George Washington often prayed in public, before people. Is that a lack of separation of Church and State?!)

Things to Ponder

The Lord doesn’t want his Word and the truth/source of redemption therein that produces eternal life, as well as the powerful promises and precious provisions for everyday living—no matter the kind of government—to be forced (legislated) on the individual or the nation. Even by or through a ruler and/or government whose intentions may be good, but whose faults and frailties and failures will sooner or later lead to laws and enforcement thereof which are detrimental to the greater populace. Producing the opposite effect to which they were intended.

He wants people to seek and serve him because they love and fear him (hold in awe, respect). The more of these people there are in a nation, the greater the Lord will bless that nation (Psalm 33:12; II Chronicles 7:14).

There’s only One Person—he who was, who is, and who is to come—who has accomplished and will one day soon completely fulfill for individuals and nations the redemptive role and governmental authority of Prophet, Priest, and King. He is, MESSIAH JESUS.

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

“…For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of the created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Hebrews 9:9-12, italics for emphasis).

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

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

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

Will Believers Go Through The Great Tribulation? (Part II)

“Dad, I want to be just like you when I grow up!”

What father wouldn’t want to hear those words from his son? Or from his daughter, “Daddy, I’m going to marry a man just like you.”

Or a mother whose daughter praises her: “I hope I’m as good a Mom as you.” Whose son hugs her and beams, “You’re the best Mom ever.”

Precedents, prototypes, patterns, parallels, models, blueprints, and examples; both positive and negative. We recognize them. We relate to them. We learn from them. We literally and figurately build on them. World views and lifestyles are influenced by them.

How many times have you read, heard, or said: “For example…”?

One of several definitions in Webster’s Dictionary of example: “one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated; a parallel or closely similar case … when serving as a precedent or model.”

Precedent: “an earlier occurrence of something similar; something done or said that may serve as an example … or justify a subsequent act of the same or of an analogous kind.”

“Have you ever seen anything like that. It’s unprecedented.” Or: “They have a perfect marriage.” Or: “This is a pattern you want to follow.” And: “That’s a blueprint for success.”

On the other end of the spectrum: “What a terrible example.”

Even many unbelievers know that the first book of the Bible is called Genesis—the very name of which means beginnings. In it we find the (unprecedented) origin of all things, the epitome of which is life itself. With the embodiment of God’s masterpiece: creation of man and woman, husband and wife. And, ever so sadly, Adam and Eve’s introduction of sin through disobedience to God’s one and only command not to do something. With devastating results, the most tragic of which is death.

It is a model that has been physically reproduced and spiritually replicated in every person because we all are born with a sin nature, molded by our original parents and inherited from them. A paradigm that has produced all the ills of humanity. A pattern that can only be changed by God himself, by making all those who believe and receive His Son, Messiah Jesus, into new creations. A new beginning; a changed heart and life; a permanent right standing with God; a different eternal destiny (heaven).

This new life begins the moment we consciously accept Messiah Jesus as our Savior. Notice the present tense action (italicized for emphasis) in the following verses:

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life…” (John 3:36).

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:11-12, emphasis added).

This new life will one day soon bring about an extreme make-over of our bodies, the astonishing result (completion) of being born again spiritually. Spiritual Bodies! (I Corinthians 15:44).

“…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 15:52-53).

Christ Jesus came to earth as a human being, born of a Virgin—fully God and fully man. His sacrificial death purchased our salvation by the highest price ever paid. But then: HE AROSE FROM THE DEAD! Death could not defeat him. The grave could not hold him. The gates of hell will not prevail against him nor his redeemed followers.

He was the first to rise with an everlasting body. His is the unprecedented prototype. He is our living model and perfect example of what’s in eternal store for all who have believed and received him as Savior. Which will (begin to) take place at the Rapture.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Last week’s article provided direct Scriptural corroboration of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This week we’ll focus on what might be called indirect proof; nonetheless, evidence just as convincing because it includes Biblical examples and precedents.

Here is an excerpt from the previous post in preparation for this week’s article:

Biblical Precedents, Parallels, Prototypes, & Patterns

Virtually everything that happened during early New Testament times and those that will take place in the end-times of the last days (in which we are living), has an Old Testament forerunner—in terms of both correlation and contrast.

In the Old Testament we read: “Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants his prophets” (Amos 3:7).

Those plans include specific people, places, and events obviously relevant to Old Testament times. But also:

“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (I Corinthians 10:11).

This is God’s way of preparing New Covenant believers, Jew and Gentile alike, to fully grasp the promises that are part and parcel of the New Covenant of Grace. Not the least of which is the Rapture and its two-fold purpose: (A) Resurrection of dead believers followed by their transformation (along with living believers) to our imperishable spiritual bodies equipped to live in heaven forever. (B) Sparing living believers from the Great Tribulation by removing us from the earth.

All of which validate the oft-quoted axiom:

There’s a multitude of Old Testament people, places, events, or things that possess and preview the most prominent and powerful promises of God’s Word the Bible: (1) Individual redemption both spiritually and physically through Israel’s (Jewish) Messiah. (2) National restoration of the Jews to Israel followed by, “And so all Israel will be saved… And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27).

Such things as the Old Covenant Tabernacle, then the Temple in which God’s presence dwelt among his people. Giving way to the New Covenant in which the Lord would dwell in the hearts of men and women. Even the furnishings of the Tabernacle were shadow types of the real thing. For example, the Menorah lampstand representing the Messiah.

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

And the seven Jewish Festivals, four of which have been fulfilled literally by the First Advent of Messiah Jesus beginning with Passover. The remaining three to be fulfilled when he returns, the last of which is Sukkot, the Festival of Shelters. “…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).

The writer of Hebrews compares the Old Covenant with the New: “They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: ‘Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.’

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: ‘The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah’” (Hebrews 8:5-8, the writer then quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Scripture is replete with precedents of something or someone that would be a foreshadow pattern of those things that would take place at the end of the age … The Day of the Lord that would usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.

Such as the parallel pattern of Joseph and his brothers that prophetically portrayed the first coming of Messiah. Were it not for Joseph’s forgiveness of what his brothers did to him, they would not have been saved from famine (starvation).

Jesus proclaimed: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). And, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25).

Or King David’s prototype eternal dynasty bequeathed to him by God; to be triumphantly restored upon the soon-to-be glorious return of his descendant, Jesus of Nazareth; who is also David’s Lord (Psalm 110).

Like Joseph’s brothers and their father Jacob were exempted from the massive seven-year famine (no coincidence that the Great Tribulation is also seven years in length) of their time, there are other Old Testament events to show that believers will be spared from the Great Tribulation to come.

Let’s begin with one that nearly all students of the Bible agree constitutes the most prominent prototype. In fact, it’s referred to it as an Old Testament Rapture.

First Example: Enoch

Both the New American Standard Bible and the New King James Version read as follows: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

From the New Living Translation (which I quote from most of the time): “When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah… Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared because God took him” (Genesis 5:21, 23-24).

I’m fairly certain that one of the reasons the NLT translators/commentators chose disappeared was to match the prevailing premise that the Rapture will take place in “the blink of an eye. With the derivative presumption that believers will suddenly disappear without the left behind unbelievers knowing or seeing what happened.

As detailed in three prior Eye of Prophecy with a magnifying glass scrutiny of I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15, it’s impossible for the entire sequence of the Rapture to be over in a nanosecond. Only the actual bodily transformation of dead and living believers will take place in the blink of an eye. With the entire episode of the Rapture itself requiring several minutes.

Please see articles: How the Rapture? (Posted 8-24-13); The Shout Heard Around the World (4-2217); A Dramatic Enactment of the Rapture! (4-20-19).

Whether in the more traditional translations of the Bible or the relatively newer (easier to read contemporary language) translations like the NLT, nowhere in this passage is it stated or even implied that Enoch’s departure from the earth was not witnessed by someone. Or that he was alone at the time. Others certainly saw Elijah taken away.

It’s certainly logical and reasonable to conclude that when God took Enoch it happened quickly, perhaps even, “here one second, the next second gone.” But we shouldn’t presume that no one saw him disappear. Those who assume he did are making a retroactive (reverse) analogy that raptured believers will instantaneously vanish based on that assumption. That’s effectively arguing in a circle. It’s using one presupposed feature of Point A (Enoch) to prove all facets of Point B (Rapture of believers) to further prove Point A.

In fact, Enoch as a composite preview prototype of the Rapture breaks down at this point. Why? Because there are none of the Rapture events described in I Thessalonians 4 that fit with Enoch’s example, excepting that he was taken to heaven while still alive.

Which is why the older translations better reflect what took place. “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

How he was taken and whether anyone saw what happened (“He was right beside us. Where did he go?”) is unknown.

If Enoch is, indeed, a foreshadow of raptured believers (and he is but in limited way) there’s only two reasons that God would take him from the earth: (1) For the sake of precedence itself. (2) To spare Enoch from God’s first global judgment of the earth … The Great Flood. As a preview of living believers taken out of harm’s way before God’s 2nd and final judgment of the earth … The Great Tribulation.

Time/space doesn’t permit presentation of the calculations. But based on life expectancy (up to a thousand years) in the pre-Flood world, Enoch very well could have been alive when Noah’s Flood began. Would he have been spared? Of course, for the same reason Noah was delivered. But that’s not what God wanted us to see and know. He wanted New Testament believers to fully realize and marvel at the awesome privileges we have as his sons and daughters in Christ. Which among a plethora of promises is that of being spared from his final judgment of this wicked world.

Thus, Enoch is the optimum example of the Rapture, in terms of why believers will be taken from the earth and when (Pre-Flood and Pre-Tribulation, respectively).

Second Example: Noah

“When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous…. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created” (Genesis 7:1 & 4).

Here we have another prototype parallel to the Rapture, but only in terms of preserving Noah from the lethal result of God’s first global judgment. It further establishes that New Testament events (linked to the First & Second Advents of Messiah Jesus) including the Rapture, are at the very least generically rooted in Old Testament paradigms.

As stressed in last week’s Part I article: of paramount importance is that God’s judgment of the earth during the Great Tribulation is ONLY on and against the unsaved. So, it was when Noah’s flood occurred. Consequently, Noah (and by God’s merciful exemption of Noah’s family—for his sons and their wives to repopulate the earth) was spared because of his close relationship with God.

“…By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world (condemned because they didn’t believe God or in God), and he received the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7, parenthesis mine).

This was exactly how and why the Lord declared Abraham righteous (in right standing with God for eternity … Genesis 15:6). Since Messiah Jesus’s death and resurrection, people’s faith must now be placed directly in his substitutionary sacrificial death—paying the penalty of our sins to be made right with God. There’s absolutely no other way (John 14:6; Romans 3:21-26, and many other passages).

Obviously, Noah and his family weren’t taken from the earth (to heaven). But they were taken off the earth (on top of the water that covered the earth)! No matter the nature and extent of their departure, they were spared from God’s global judgment. In that respect, they were examples of believers taken out of harm’s way at the Rapture.

Third Example: Lot

“The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. Abraham approached him and said, ‘Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? … Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked… Should not the judge of all the earth do what is right?’” (Genesis 18:22-23 & 25).

“Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation” (Genesis 19:24-25).

This is also one of the most well-known events recorded in the Bible. Beginning with the Lord’s disclosure to Abraham: Sodom (and surrounding cities) were about to be destroyed because, “their sin is so flagrant” (Genesis 18:20).

Then Abraham’s amazing negotiation with the Lord, commencing with his statement of the obvious: the Lord is the righteous judge of all the earth. Surely the righteous wouldn’t be obliterated with the wicked. Abraham began his intersession with a plea for the Lord to spare the cities if 50 righteous people could be found. Six requests later, it was all the way down to 10.

As it turned out, there weren’t even ten. Only 4 escaped this monumental judgment—Lot, his wife, and their two daughters. And as many know, Lot’s wife didn’t make it all the way.

Although the destruction of these wicked cities was regional (as opposed to a global event), it was nonetheless massive … engulfing the plains.

Followed by a few others recorded in Scripture, such as one angel annihilating 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they could attack Jerusalem … without even one Jewish casualty (II Kings 18 & 19). And who knows how many incidents since the Canon of Scripture was closed with the 66 books of the Bible. For example: I’m convinced that most natural disasters are a direct result of the steady deterioration of and disturbances in the earth; but there are those in which God has directly intervened (caused) to get our attention. We can speculate which ones are which, but we don’t know for sure. However, Tribulation unbelievers will know beyond any doubt when God’s judgements begin.

The dynamics of this ancient yet timeless event is another illustration of God’s perfect justice. Had there been but six more who believed in and trusted the true and living God, all the cities would have been spared. That’s grace and mercy at their divine best. Plus: “…The earnest prayer of a righteous person (in this case Abraham) has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16, parenthesis obviously mine).

However, the sins of the inhabitants of these cities was “so flagrant” it was time for the Lord to intervene. Not only to deal with an out-of-control wickedness so perversely detestable that the men of Sodom intended to rape the two strangers (angels of the Lord no less); but as an object lesson for millennia to come.

Some synonyms for flagrant: blatant, brazen, scandalous, shameless, and glaring. The fact that the population of entire cities had openly committed such vile and reprehensible acts was a contemptuous red line crossing of God’s tolerance.

While preparing for this portion of today’s article, there was something I hadn’t considered before.

As we know, the Lord removed Lot from the pending disaster. Which is another forerunner Rapture-like action on the part of God to spare believers from enormous destruction. Like Noah, Lot and his daughters weren’t taken from the earth; however, the practical result was the same.

But I don’t think Abraham anticipated that Lot would be spared, if the Lord carried out his verdict and sentence. Here’s why:

When Noah pleaded with God to spare these cities, they finally agreed on ten. “…And the Lord replied, ‘Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten’” (Genesis 18:32).

There’s no direct or even indirect indication that Abraham expected his nephew (and family) to be spared from this judgment unless there were a total of ten. If there were ten, then no one would be destroyed. Conversely, it’s evident that Abraham confidently anticipated that there would be at least that many. Thus, he didn’t specifically add to his request that the Lord spare the cities, if there were, for example, five.

Then we read: “Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace” (Genesis 19:27-28).

Surely, Abraham was distraught at what he saw. Not just because the cities had been destroyed, but also because he assumed that Lot had not been spared. Even though Abraham had reminded the Lord that He was the righteous judge who would (should) not condemn the righteous with the wicked, Abraham didn’t know for sure what would happen. For one thing, he knew all too well that his nephew Lot had made a bad choice to live in Sodom in the first place.

In the very next verse: “But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain” (Genesis 19:29).

Since Abraham had not specifically asked that Lot be spared regardless of the outcome, the convincing conclusion is that the Lord listened to Abraham’s heart’s desire (unspoken request) to keep Lot safe. A vivid Old Testament precedent of not only removing him from disaster in Rapture-like manner, but also validated in the New Covenant promise:

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Fourth Example: Elijah

“When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.’ And Elisha replied, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.’

‘You have asked a difficult thing,’ Elijah replied. ‘If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.’

“As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven” (II Kings 2:9-11).

This stunning scene is another renowned event in Scripture. Elijah and his amazing transfer to heaven while still alive is also a (partial) preview of the Rapture. However, in a different way and for a different purpose.

Elijah was taken to heaven without dying. Which fits with living believers caught up in the Rapture. With, however, one major distinction as covered extensively in my second book, Out of the Abyss, then again in Eye of Prophecy trilogy, The Two Witnesses (Posted in June 2014); and Moses and Elijah vs. The Antichrist and The False Prophet (2-10-18). That variance is Raptured believers will ascend to heaven with our transfigured eternal bodies.

The Lord’s reason for taking Elijah became evident when he and Moses met with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. In that riveting scene, we know both prophets are in their original bodies. Why? Because Scripture is crystal clear: Jesus would be the first to rise from the dead in a glorified eternal body. Not until he was transfigured permanently at his resurrection (Mount of Transfiguration was a preview of coming attractions!), would or could Old and New Testaments saints receive their transformed bodies.

*Note: Time/space doesn’t allow today; thus, refer to the above articles for dramatic details and compelling commentary that Moses was revived shortly after he died and was buried by God himself.

The above referenced articles also provide elaborate evidence from Scripture coupled with correlative commentary to demonstrate that Moses and Elijah are the two powerful prophets (witnesses) who will return to the earth a second time during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11). For 3 ½ years they will perform mighty miracles which will hold Antichrist and his confederation at bay—for a while. During that period, God will make them untouchable.

Yet, when the time comes, the Lord will allow Antichrist to kill both Moses and Elijah. Which is also why we know that they return to earth (a second time) with the same bodies in which they left the earth. If they were in their new eternal bodies, they would have been indestructible.

As we know, they will be raised from the dead after 3 ½ days. That’s when they will be given their resurrected spiritual bodies.

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Will All Children Be Taken in the Rapture? (2-23-19). Part of the evidence/rationale presented in that article includes reference to Elijah. As follows:

…Elijah was taken in preparation for his return in his earthly body to Jerusalem during the Great Tribulation, for the express purpose of doing battle (alongside Moses) with the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

However, both Elijah and Moses will be raptured after their spectacular service to God and dramatic defense of Jerusalem. Their sudden transportation to heaven will vividly depict and convincingly demonstrate to the world how and why believers, both dead and alive, were taken earlier from the earth.

The how of their ascent to heaven was in full view of those left behind. The why was to protect them from the Great Tribulation, equivalent to that of Raptured believers a few months earlier. In other words, their resurrected transference (with eternal spiritual bodies) to heaven will be a Post-Rapture reminder (after the fact) of what the left behind unsaved missed.

You may be asking: “How will/could Moses and Elijah be spared from the Great Tribulation; when, in fact, they’re right in the middle of it and they will be killed?”

Good reasonable question.

Answer: During their 3 ½ years in Jerusalem, they suffer no harm, though it won’t be for lack of intent and action on the part of Antichrist and his followers. Instead, Moses and Elijah will, unscathed, demonstrate and dispense God’s awesome power during their appointed time.

“And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire” (Revelation 11:5-6, NASB).

As I’ve written before, the plagues they inflict on a wicked and rebellious world closely resemble some of the judgments in Revelation.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Major Earthquake in Israel … When & Where It Will Strike (posted 11-25-17). In italics:

Revelation Chapter 11 begins with an (interlude) introduction to the two witnesses; however, it also chronologically continues the set of trumpet judgments ending with the 7th trumpet. Because the two witnesses are killed after 3 ½ years of their time on earth and this occurs between the 6th and 7th trumpet judgments, I believe we can determine what part of the Great Tribulation during which they testify.

I would encourage you to read Eye of Prophecy article, Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose, recently posted on 11-4-17. As explained in that article: Based on the chronological sequence and evidence of all twenty-one judgments (actually twenty plagues as the 5th seal depicts slain tribulation saints, not a judgment as such) in Revelation, we can accurately estimate the approximate time duration of or gap between the judgments. The projected time between a preceding and successive judgment will be 4-5 months. Because the two witnesses are killed (and come back to life 3 ½ days later) between the 6th and 7th trumpet judgments, that would place their time of death at 48-50 months into the tribulation. They would have begun their mission 3 ½ years earlier (42 months) or about 6-8 months after the tribulation begins…

If their 3 ½ years on earth fall within the above period of the Tribulation (which I believe it will approximate), then they, by virtue of being taken to heaven after they arise from the dead, will miss the horrific final eight judgments. That’s as Rapture-like as you can get, considering that they also will not be subject to any of the Revelation plagues while on the earth. Instead, they will themselves dole out some of the punishment!

Killed at the hands of the Antichrist is NOT commensurate with going through the Great Tribulation as such and suffering all the horrors thereof. Rather, their deaths mirror the deaths of the Apostles Paul and Peter as a result of their heroic service for Christ. Ironically, both Paul and Peter were killed by Nero—during his tenure as Caesar before his return from the Abyss as the Antichrist beast.

Things to Ponder

Will Believers Go through the Great Tribulation?

On the authority of Scripture, No. Repeated for emphasis: No way!

In last week’s article we examined several passages to conclusively demonstrate that God’s final judgement of the earth during the seven-year Great Tribulation is directed only against unbelievers.

Consequently, the Rapture will occur BEFORE this great time of anguish takes place. By transporting living believers directly to heaven—after they have been transformed into eternal bodies, along with our brothers and sisters in Christ who have already died.

Believers who will go through the Tribulation are commonly referred to as Tribulation saints. Many (most) of them will be killed by Antichrist Nero. They are not spared from this great time of anguish because they were unbelievers when the Rapture takes place.

Those passages directly declaring that believers will be exempt from the Great Tribulation are affirmed by more indirect evidence, in the form of examples found both before and after the Rapture occurs … as we looked at in this week’s article.

Once again quoting Paul who summarized the Day of the Lord with these stirring and encouraging words written specifically within the context of God’s anger released during the seven-year Tribulation.

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

Will Believers Go Through the Great Tribulation? (Part I)

Necessity as the mother of invention has produced unprecedented technological wonders through the ages, especially in the 19th, 20th, & 21st centuries.

The list is long.

We all have our favorites—unrivaled innovations most of which are followed by immense improvements; not just in the side-benefits thereof, but of advances in the invention itself.

What would be the favorite on your list: electricity, radio, the automobile, the airplane, television, the computer, or the smart phone (sure choice of Millennials!)? I’m sure one invention is on everyone’s list—the Microwave!

My choice is mega-ton ships. Oh, I know and at least partially understand Archimedes principal of water displacement, etc. But come on… huge aircraft carriers or titanic cruise ships (lower case “t” so as not to bring up bad memories of that capital “T” ship) are simply stunning. And submarines … above and below the water!

However, when thinking of things that can change not just the external world, but the significantly more valuable internal dimension of our life’s experiences, let’s briefly consider the most remarkable and unparalleled event of all time.

Prefaced by first remembering King Solomon’s astute observation that: there’s nothing new under the sun. He was referring to the basic stuff of life as he penned in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, including true wisdom and its divine source. Then the pleasures and problems encountered in work, recreation, creativity, wealth or lack thereof, human intimacy, and a host of other pursuits.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

The essence of which has little or nothing to do with technological achievements and the like. The core of which is meaningless unless we consider Solomon’s final conclusion: “Fear (respect, hold in awe) God and obey his commands (the last and most important of which is expressed through God’s New Covenant with mankind), for this is everyone’s duty” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, parenthesis mine).

Some 300 years later, God announced this New Covenant through Jeremiah, one that was without precedent for Israel.

This astonishing New Covenant would be accomplished by and through Israel’s prophesied Messiah, born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14), God’s very Son (Psalm 110). He would die for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53 + a plethora of New Testament passages). In unprecedented fashion (resurrection from the dead), Messiah Jesus would bring about a once and for all right-standing with God that would guarantee resurrection and eternity in heaven for those who believed in Him (Psalm 16, Luke 24, John 11:25-26). Moreover, he would be the only Way to God (John 14:6). When his mission on earth was complete, he would ascend back to heaven (Daniel 7:13-14 & Acts 1).

Finally, Jesus as King of all kings will one day rule the nations in the Kingdom of God on earth upon his return to establish that Kingdom (several passages).

Do you believe that? Then say, “Yes,” to Messiah Jesus. If you do:

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ…” (II Corinthians 5:17-18a).

The soon-to-come end-times events that comprise the Day of Lord begin with another first-time occurrence in its scope and nature; but not one without a prototype or pattern. Which is referred to as the Rapture of all those who have believed and received Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior.

Although many believers firmly believe that the Rapture will precede the Great Tribulation, there are more than just a few who maintain there’s no such thing as the Rapture; or it won’t take place until the end of the Great Tribulation. Which implies that the Rapture and the physical return of Messiah Jesus to earth are virtually simultaneous.

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Return & The Rapture (Same Or Separate Events?) Posted 12-3-16.

What is of more concern is their contention that believers must go through the Tribulation.

Consequently, we’re going to examine:

Biblical Evidence to Confirm That Believers Will Not Experience the Great Tribulation

There are two template-like sources in Scripture to demonstrate decisively that the Rapture will occur and when. Not “when” in terms of the time/date (setting). As you may know, Jesus himself said three times that no one knows the day or hour of his return. He was explicitly referring to the Rapture phase of His Second Coming. Thus, we’ll examine when the Rapture will take place in juxtaposition to the Great Tribulation.

Those two sources are:

(1) Actual Biblical Passages: Discussed in this week’s Part I post. They will be separated into two main components:

(A) Passages cited by those who place the Rapture half-way through or at the end of the Great Tribulation; thereby, concluding that believers will experience the Tribulation either partially or in its entirety. Yet, this deduction is derived from a misunderstanding or misapplication of tribulation in the lower-case (general) meaning of the word contrasted to the upper-case Tribulation, which is the one-time series of events taking place in a designated period.

(B) Companion passages stating succinctly that believers will be spared from the Great Tribulation. That God’s wrath during this 7-year calamity will be directed only to unbelievers.

To that end, we’ll focus on not only the text, but the context of these passages; which is critical to understanding the on-going tribulation, trials, and testing of believers. Contrasted to the specified apocalyptic episodes completely unparalleled in human history, in terms of scope and severity—the Great Tribulation.

Then in next week’s Part II article, we’ll scrutinize another significant paradigm of Scripture. Which will present more convincing evidence that the spectacular experience of the Rapture will precede the Tribulation.

With just a brief overview in this week’s article, I’m referring to:

(2) Biblical Precedents, Parallels, Prototypes, & Patterns

Virtually everything that happened during early New Testament times and those that will take place in the end-times of the last days (in which we are living), has an Old Testament forerunner—in terms of both correlation and contrast.

In the Old Testament we read: “Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants his prophets” (Amos 3:7).

Those plans include specific people, places, and events obviously relevant to Old Testament times. But also:

This is God’s way of preparing New Covenant believers, Jew and Gentile alike, to fully grasp the promises that are part and parcel of the New Covenant of Grace. Not the least of which is the Rapture and its two-fold purpose: (A) Resurrection of dead believers followed by their transformation (along with living believers) to our imperishable spiritual bodies equipped to live in heaven forever. (B) Sparing living believers from the Great Tribulation by removing us from the earth.

Biblical Text and Context

The Bible is replete with universal truth of and from God concerning the epic matters of creation, sin and its penalty, salvation only through God’s Son, eternal destiny (heaven or hell) and more. There are several stand-alone precepts in which the context is important and interesting, but not necessarily crucial to the truth announced. Such as the most well-known and oft-quoted verse in the Bible:

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

This powerful life-changing promise could be placed in the framework of virtually any passage of the Bible. That verse and many others like it can be and are reasonably cited independently of the setting or situation, without affecting the essential meaning of the statement whatsoever.

However, of interest and even intrigue about the scene in John Chapter 3, is the fact that a Jewish religious leader, Nicodemus—a member of the elite Jewish Sanhedrin of the 1st century—came to Jesus to find out for himself who Jesus was/is … especially in light of the miracles Jesus had already performed. As well as the way in which Jesus taught, i.e. with power and authority. Quite unlike any of the religious leaders, including Nicodemus himself.

Jesus knew why Nicodemus was there and that even (especially) a Jewish religious leader needed to realize what and who it was that could permanently reconcile him to God, the result of which would be everlasting life. Thus, the first words out of Jesus’s mouth were: “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

On the other hand, background is of paramount importance for many Biblical truths.

To the extent that if the verse or verses are “taken out of context,” or if the context is simply discarded or misunderstood, it could and sometimes will distort the intended purpose and meaning of the message. Also contributing to this error is failure to correlate any given passage with others on the same subject in order to gain a proper perspective on the matter at hand, i.e. the whole counsel of God. Another error is that of skimming over key modifiers, e.g. adjectives, adverbs, definite vs indefinite articles. In short, simply not scrutinizing the text/context with any degree of diligence.

Thus, let’s look at the text/context regarding Points A & B, listed earlier.

(A) Passages Cited to Infer a Post-Tribulation Rapture vs Pre-Tribulation

There are a couple of prominent passages cited by those who contend that born-again believers will go through the Great Tribulation. We’ll examine them in and with their contextual meaning; followed by other passages (also in context) which irrefutably confirm that believers will not be subject to or physically present when God’s Wrath is poured out on a wicked world during the Great Tribulation.

First Passage: You may want to read the entire 16th Chapter of John, the setting of which is just a few hours before Jesus’s arrest, trial, and crucifixion. The final three verses are:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world’” (John 16:31-33, NASB, emphasis added).

The Greek word translated “tribulation” in this passage is: Thlipsis.

Synonyms for tribulation: affliction, distress, trouble, persecution, and anguish. Also, trials and sorrows which are the words used in the New Living Translation of this passage.

Note that Jesus told his disciples, “in the world you have tribulation.” He’s clearly speaking in general terms regarding the troubles that believers in Jesus would experience. This is evident by the present tense dynamics of his words … you have tribulation. Meaning now and continuing throughout their/our life as we follow and serve the Lord. The NLT reads, “you will have tribulation.” Which is saying the same thing, i.e. now and throughout our lives. However, note that there is no definite or even indefinite article or modifying terms. Which, conversely, are attached to and expressly define the Great Tribulation—as we will soon see.

In the immediate context, the tribulation described by the Lord is plainly generic.

This foregone conclusion of generalized tribulation for born-again believers (including suffering and persecution) is prevalent in Paul and Peter’s epistles, and to a lesser extent in the book of James. As Christ suffered, so will his born-again followers. To some degree or another, at one time or another—individually or collectively as the body of Christ—anyone who speaks out or lives for the Lord (even sporadically) will experience some measure of rejection, derision, ostracism, or even hostility.

However, thlipsis also entails all of life’s negative experiences, e.g. distress, trial, sorrow, and just plain ole trouble.

In this passage, Messiah Jesus is NOT referring to the Great Tribulation, which is part of the Day of the Lord and will take place between the Rapture and His Millennial Reign. In fact, Jesus had already told his disciples about that coming great time of anguish and did so in dramatic detail, to include the (Pre-Tribulation) Rapture and his (Post-Tribulation) Second Coming … Matthew Chapters 24-25. We’ll get to that in a moment.

So, too, do several Old Testament prophets warn of that great and glorious (for believers) but terrible Day of the Lord (for unbelievers), particularly those who have and will continue to persecute God’s chosen people, the Jews, during the Great Tribulation.

Such as: “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 (which means valley of decision). There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession (Israel), for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2, parenthesis mine).

The time of those events leads us to the 2nd passage sometimes referred to by those who claim that believers must go through the Great Tribulation. Which is found in the 24th & 25th chapters of Matthew, just referenced.

Second Passage (A combination of two passages): In addition to misidentifying the generalized tribulation/trouble that believers face during our time on this earth with the Great Tribulation, another error made by the Mid or Post-Tribulation viewpoint is mistaken identity of the elect.

Said Jesus: “For then there will be a great tribulation (as opposed to general tribulation), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22, NASB, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

If the elect are all believers who enter and experience the Great Tribulation, as proposed by the Post-Tribulation Rapture hypothesis, why would this great time of anguish be cut short just for them? I pose this question in the light of: (1) most of the Tribulation saints (believers in Christ AFTER the Rapture) already have been killed by the Antichrist by the end of the Tribulation … Revelation 7 & 20. (2) For reason #1, if so many of them had already died, the idea of for the sake of the elect is anticlimactic. By and large, it would be too late (for them) when Jesus returns. The massive damage (death) had already been done.

Although I’ve written about this in a few prior articles, time/space in this article doesn’t permit extensive discussion (passages and commentary, much of it from the Old Testament) to demonstrate that “the elect” are God’s chosen people, the Jews. Except to say that when Jesus physically returns to earth, his primary purpose is to rescue Israel and the Jews from annihilation at the hands of Antichrist’s confederation (Daniel 11, Zechariah 12 & 14, and other passages).

After seeing a great crowd of (post-Rapture) Tribulation saints, John was asked, “…Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?” Because John didn’t know for sure, he replies, “Sir, you are the one who knows” (Revelation 7:13-14).

If these believers had entered the tribulation (without there being a Rapture yet), he certainly would have known from where they came and why they were there. They would have been born-again believers still in the Church age (body of Christ) alive when the Tribulation began. But John didn’t know, because these saints had been redeemed after the original set of believers in the (our current) Church age were no longer on the earth. It’s a foregone conclusion that John already knew about the Rapture, as it was disclosed not only by Jesus, but by Paul many years earlier. It’s just that neither John nor other believers yet knew—until the book of Revelation was written—that there would be those (post-Rapture) born-again after the Day of the Lord began.

The following is another reason why the Rapture will most assuredly precede the Great Tribulation.

After describing those (birth-pain) Pre-Tribulation events and then the Tribulation itself (explained in much more detail in the final Revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded by John of Revelation), Jesus returns to a description of the days leading to God’s first global judgment of the earth—Noah’s flood. Then he makes a compelling comparison to the unsaved world’s ignorance of and willful oblivion to the 2nd and final of God’s wrath poured out on the earth.

“In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:38-39).

Then, immediately after conveying the apathetic condition of humanity just before the Day of the Lord begins, Jesus reveals something utterly remarkable:

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left” (Verses 40-41).

In Luke’s Gospel, we read of a third example Jesus presented: “That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left” (Luke 17:34).

Then, of course, the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 4 describes the entire sequence of the Rapture.

This sudden and unexpected taking or catching up (Greek term harpazo in I Thessalonians 4) of some on the earth (believers) right in front of unbelievers is in stark contrast to Messiah’s physical return to the earth, preceded in time and space by signs and wonders during the Tribulation. Not the least of which was: “the sign that the Son of Man is coming…” (Matthew 24:30). Unbelievers, as well as surviving Tribulation believers saved after the Rapture, will have plenty of time and indicators—not the least of which is the linear sequence of the seven seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments—prior to the physical return of Christ to earth. With Jesus first stepping foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).

Although the physical return of Messiah Jesus to earth will be an awesome event and will stun many, especially the unsaved, it won’t be sudden in the sense of being totally unexpected.

Not so, the Rapture. It will dramatically catch everyone off guard (believers included, but in a good and joyful way).

*Note: When Jesus spoke of his “return”, he was referring to the composite scope and entire length of the Day of the Lord, that begins with one person taken, the other left … the Rapture. Then the agonizing time of anguish (tribulation) to follow. Mercifully ending with his glorious physical return to establish the incomparable Kingdom of God on earth. However, Jesus mixed these stages of his return together, as his greater emphasis was “get ready.”

These three phases are then expounded sequentially by the Apostle Paul and by John of Revelation. Thus, Jesus’s sweeping disclosure of these stunning events is better understood in the context of Paul’s and John’s exposition (I & II Thessalonians and Revelation, respectively). Which, in turn, helps to identify which of the three phases Jesus is describing in the Olivet Discourse.

(B) Direct Text/Context Confirmation of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The Apostle Paul’s first letter (epistle) to believers is found in the book Galatians. Shortly thereafter (A.D. 51-52), he wrote I & II Thessalonians; both books speak of the suffering and persecution that believers in Christ were already undergoing throughout the Roman Empire.

At that time, the persecutors were almost exclusively the religious Jews. In fact, Paul himself had been a devout Pharisee who tormented Christians, imprisoning many and even participated in killing them. That is, until he had a life-changing, destiny-altering encounter with the risen Jesus (Acts 9). Gentile persecution began several years later with the brutal murder of thousands of Christians at the hand of Nero Caesar.

James was the first to remind his brothers and sisters in Christ that they would undergo testing, trials, and suffering. In effect, James was echoing Jesus’s words that we looked at earlier … in the world you have tribulation.

Wrote James: “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return… You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near…. For examples of patience in suffering … look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:7-8 & 10).

Next, Paul, then Peter wrote extensively about persecution that they and other believers were experiencing and would continue to endure. All three men addressed this fact in the context of their eager expectation that Jesus would return very soon—in their lifetime.

However, the Apostles Paul and Peter made it crystal clear that believers alive just before God’s final wrath was poured out on the world would not have to go through that terrible time of terror. This in keeping with Jesus’s startling revelation to his disciples (Peter was obviously present during that discourse), that believers would be taken out of harm’s way.

For it was this great time of anguish that Jesus was warning about, as well as the world’s indifference when it struck. In other words: if believers were meant to go through the Tribulation, then there would be no reason for them to be abruptly removed from the earth, let alone for Jesus to reveal that fantastic fact.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered!

The Apostle Paul writes:

What a magnificent promise! One made in the past tense with a future tense application, which indisputably demonstrates that believers had already (the moment they were born again) been spared from the coming judgment before it even occurred. It was a done deal! Believers had not only been saved from the penalty of their sins (eternal separation from God) in advance. So, too, had they been delivered in advance from the coming Great Tribulation.

Furthermore, this “coming judgment” is clearly referring to and in the immediate context of the seven-year Great Tribulation followed by the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.

It is NOT referring to the Great White Throne Judgment which takes place soon after the Millennium. For one thing, that applies only to the raised-from-the-dead unbelievers and their final sentence (doom) to the Lake of Fire because they refused to believe and receive God’s Son as the only source of their salvation. (Revelation 20:11-15).

After Paul discloses the sequential details of the Rapture itself in I Thessalonians 4, which is an elaboration on what Jesus had already revealed, he expounds even more on the return of Messiah Jesus in Chapter 5. It’s vitally important to grasp that he’s still talking about the Day of the Lord, having already announced the resurrection of dead believers, transfiguration of both dead and living believers into our eternal indestructible bodies, and being caught up to heaven.

Then Paul writes: “For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectantly, like a thief in the night (referring pointblank to the Rapture that he had just revealed). When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” (I Thessalonians 5:2-3, parenthesis mine).

The people referred to by Paul are obviously unbelievers who will be totally unprepared, both physically and spiritually for the Rapture. Then Paul puts the contextual finishing touches on the entire sequence of events by making this astounding statement of security for believers in Christ:

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever” (Verses 9-10, emphasis added).

God’s anger referenced by Paul unmistakably pertains to God’s final wrath poured out on the world as also prophesied by several Old Testament prophets.

Then again in II Thessalonians, Paul decisively declares by default deduction that God’s (Tribulation-time) judgment applies only to unbelievers. Why? Because Jesus takes believers home to heaven.

“And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven…” (II Thessalonians 1:7a). This “rest” is in the immediate context of the Day of the Lord theme that dominates the last two chapters of I Thessalonians and the first two chapters of II Thessalonians.

It would be the Rapture that would provide rest for them (generation of believers alive) when God’s 2nd and final global judgment of the earth commenced. The word rest also includes the idea of rescue, security, and safety.

Of course, they didn’t know for sure, but Paul and believers in the 1st century eagerly expected that Jesus would return in their time. This rest would be from their present-day sufferings for Christ plus out-of-harm’s-way rescue from the Great Tribulation. A seven-year period (Daniel 9) that would begin when the Antichrist beast (man of lawlessness) would return from the Abyss (Revelation 17:7-8). Which believers weren’t aware of until later, when John saw incredibly detailed visions of the Day of the Lord.

Continuing in the passage: “…He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power” (II Thessalonians 1:7b-9).

The “flaming fire … judgment” is a direct allusion to the Tribulation judgments of God, which are graphically depicted in Revelation. The eternal destruction is a reference to the final fate of unbelievers in the Lake of Fire.

Of paramount importance: God’s anger that will be unleashed on a corrupt and violent world is a specific time-dedicated series of events relayed as a prophesy. As opposed to generic tribulation (troubles) that believers were already experiencing. AND, as Paul explicitly specifies: this final judgment would be only on the unsaved … not believers. God’s way of totally protecting believers from his global wrath is to remove us from the earth. And while he’s at it, the dead in Christ are resurrected and both dead and living believers are transfigured into our spiritual bodies!

As is said: It doesn’t get any better than that!

Will there be believers during the Tribulation? Of course. However, that fact was not revealed until John wrote the book of Revelation. Neither Paul nor any of the Christians (including John the author of Revelation, until the angel told him) knew that would be the case. Which also confirms that the Rapture would take place before the Tribulation began.

One more passage to cement the unmistakable Biblical evidence that pre-Tribulation believers will be taken out of harm’s way, as God’s judgments are directed only at unbelievers.

This time from the Apostle Peter: “And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire (instead of a flood as with God’s first global punishment). They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (II Peter 3:7, parenthesis mine; italics to emphasize that the day of God’s final wrath is only for/against the unsaved).

Summary

Think about it once more: It would make no sense for the Rapture to be one and the same as Messiah’s physical return to the earth as some speculate. What purpose would it serve for the Lord to abruptly take believers home to heaven after they had gone through (the survivors) the horrific Tribulation? The entire reason for Jesus and Paul to remind believers (encourage them because they would be taken out of harm’s way) and warn unbelievers (to take heed and accept Jesus as their personal Savior) is to prepare for the coming judgment.

Summarized in the words of the song, “People get ready, Jesus is coming, to take from the earth his own.”

Here is an excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Return & The Rapture … Same or Separate Events? (in italics):

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

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

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

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

Things to Ponder

In addition to misapplying Biblical passages that describe the general suffering and/or persecution of believers during their life on earth to the Great Tribulation, I’ve also heard and read such things as:

“Why shouldn’t Christians go through the Tribulation? We’re not better than non-believers, just different.”

I totally agree with the second part of that statement. Believers are not innately or intrinsically better than unbelievers, for God loves everyone the same.

But we are (far) better off, by virtue of our irrevocable adoption as God’s children with an unprecedented inheritance that Christ will share with all believers. With spectacular promises such as eternal life, resurrection of the dead in Christ, along with living believers at the Rapture to be transformed into eternal spiritual bodies. And that most assuredly includes being spared from God’s 2nd and final global judgment.

“And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation” (Romans 5:9).

From the whole counsel of Scripture, we know that God’s condemnation entails two distinct events and times: (1) Wrath of God during the Tribulation; (2) Sentencing of unbelievers to the Lake of Fire at the beginning of Eternity.

“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. So encourage each other with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).

There would be no encouragement whatsoever if believers in what we call the Church Age of Grace were required to go through the Tribulation. Instead, the comfort comes from knowing that we will be sovereignly spared from the greatest time of calamity ever experienced by humanity.

Great is our God and His Messiah, and greatly to be praised!

Why The World Idolizes Antichrist & How It Reacts To The Tribulation

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“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).

This powerful and precious promise (and many others like it) is available only to those who have accepted Messiah Jesus as personal Savior. We who have been given new and everlasting life in Christ Jesus, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

That’s not to say believers don’t sometimes ask the same probing questions posed by unbelievers when things go terribly wrong. Especially at the wrong time, which is pretty much every time!

Such as: “Why Lord?” Or, “Why me. Why now?” Or, “How much longer will this go on?” And, of course, “When it rains it pours!”

Trials and heartaches reach the saved and the unsaved alike.

However, believers realize that we live in a fallen world. A Planet engulfed in pride, greed, immorality, corruption, crime, violence, rebellion, poverty, famine, disease, natural disasters, and (often untimely) death.

The whole world seems to be spiraling out of control. The difference is that believers know that our Great God and Savior is sovereignly spinning the world under his control.

And so, while we wait patiently and watch eagerly for the resurrection of the dead in Christ and their tremendous transformation into eternal spiritual bodies (along with believers still alive) at the Rapture, we continue to rely on the truth of such passages as: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB).

Most believers have family or friends who haven’t fully grasped that they must make a personal decision for Jesus Christ (John 3:16). The unsaved look around them, and surmise that billions of others appear to be in the same boat. They contemplate: Wherever I go after death, there should be a lot of people there. So, what’s the big deal? Isn’t church membership; infant baptism; religious rituals; or doing more good things than bad, enough to merit God’s acceptance? Aren’t there many paths to God? Or to some enlightened state of being.

Some doubt, that God even exists. Other have fashioned their own gods, such as the moon-god called Allah.

Biblical Salvation: Inclusively Exclusive

Then there is the 20th and 21st century politically correct dogma (for that’s exactly what it is … a belief system) of tolerance and inclusiveness at all cost.

However, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, only the Biblical Christian faith is considered an enemy of these two post-modern pillars of secular humanism. Not even Islam. For if someone cites the glaring facts of Muslim terrorism and the intolerant and suppressive tenets of both Sharia and Sunni Islamic law, they are branded Islamophobic. Shame on them for quoting statistics and telling the truth.

Unbelievers fail to realize or refuse to accept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all-inclusive. But to be inclusive, it must first be exclusive. All-encompassing, because a pardon for the penalty of our sins and eternal life is offered to all who believe and receive the One whose substitutionary death paid that penalty. Exclusive because Jesus himself tells everyone that he alone is, The Way, the Truth, and the (everlasting) Life, no one can come to God the Father except through him (John 14:6).

They also deny the obvious (see Romans Chapter 1): God is God and we are not. As Creator, he has the right to make the rules and set the standards. He alone has provided the solution to the horrendous problem of sin and its ugly consequences. And he has done so with unconditional love and grace.

And, yes: God has given people the freedom to choose His Way or their humanistic highway.

If they want to make their own rules, they can. But at such a cost! It’s costly to them (eternal separation from God) because they reject what it cost God to justify them … just as if they had never sinned. No less than the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid—the life blood of His very Son. And then Jesus’s resurrection to prove that He is who He said He is: Son of God and Son of Man.

Everyone needs Jesus. Those with good hearts as well as those with bad hearts.

Commonly referred as the “good guys” and the “bad guys.”

God wants all people to carefully comprehend: “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 for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:23-25).

The Irony of the “Progressive Elite” During the Tribulation

The prejudice of the liberal progressives among us is now and will be even more so during the Tribulation as evident as day is from night. Their (false) accusations that Judeo-Christian values are intolerant is, itself, an expression of bias and intolerance.

The following is an excerpt from my second book Out of the Abyss commenting on this hypocrisy. After discussing Romans 8:28 (verse quoted to begin today’s article) and the sometimes incomprehensible ways in which God can and does, “circumvent the innumerable bad decisions that we all have made, not to mention the evil in the world to accomplish his purpose,” I went on to write:

…If we could wrap our finite minds around his infinite omnipotence and omniscience, I suppose that we would be God.

Ironically, that’s exactly what… natural scientists, human secularists, occult spiritualists, God-less governments, and agnostic academia in general try to do. They inevitably ascribe to themselves the controlled capacity, the distinctive domain, and the potent position of determining their destiny. And, if you will but afford them the privilege and opportunity; if you will “give them an ear,” they will gladly assist you in discovering your origin and purpose for life. Ultimately, if you yield complete attention and allegiance, they will be delighted to direct your future.

Okay, a little sarcasm here. And I don’t mean to unduly pick on the scientific, academic, philosophical, political, cultural, and social elite; through they carry a lot of weight and exert a significant influence on the common person. Ultimately every man and woman must choose what they believe, and to whom or what they will listen and follow. As Joshua said, “…choose today whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).

Make no mistake; we all believe in something and we all follow someone or an ideal, even if it’s ourselves. This will be vividly exemplified in the final days of this age, when the rich and the poor, the rulers and those ruled, the intelligentsia and the uneducated alike will enthusiastically (some reluctantly) surrender all they have and who they are to one man known as the Antichrist. This commitment will be no different than the liberated modern man’s disdain for anyone who would give up their mind, heart, and soul to God; or those who, in their opinion, would use Christianity as a crutch by surrendering their entire life to one man, Jesus Christ (Pages 22-23).

God’s justice will be on full display against the arrogant boasting and audacious blasphemy of Antichrist during the seven-year Great Tribulation. And of the multiplied millions who, despite knowing full well their impending fate, will remain defiant to the bitter end. A rigid rebelliousness that defies reason and belies responsibility. One that has been prevalent throughout history, but not in the sheer magnitude exhibited during the Tribulation. A defiance mentioned several times in Scripture, personified by the Antichrist man of lawlessness and his followers as summarized succinctly in the following verse:

“He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:10).

The result: “Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (Verse 12).

A Review of Antichrist’s Life/Death & Reappearance

Out of the Abyss, and most of the 58 articles to date in the category of Antichrist provide extensive Biblical and historical evidence that the identity of the Antichrist can be known. This man—called a little horn, ruler, king, man of lawlessness, beast, and Anti-Christ—is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.

We’ll look at his 1st century biography (existence), his reappearance at the outset of the Tribulation, the world’s reaction to him, his actions, and then the world’s unbelievable response to the Tribulation judgments.

Revelation 17:7-8

Revelation’s author, John, had already seen the beast arise from the sea (Revelation 13); however, he is given a second vision, this time with a woman sitting on the beast.

The purpose for this second image is quite evident in the text: to further enable John and all believers to accurately decode the identity of the (Antichrist) beast. With strong clues—each one of them convincing on its own merit—previously provided to John in Revelation 13 and a few years before that to the Apostle Paul in II Thessalonians 2. Even hundreds of years earlier to the prophet Daniel in Chapters 7 & 9.

*Note: The reason that the angel encrypted the Antichrist’s (symbolized as a beast) identity instead of simply naming him was to protect believers from even more persecution than already experienced—that began with Nero himself. Most in the Roman Empire, especially the common people, still adored Nero and wished that he would reassume the throne. In fact, many Romans believed he would return, i.e. Nero Redivivus Legend.

Thus, the angel reveals the “mystery” of the beast and woman, which is tantamount to discernibly disclosing their identity. The woman is the great city (Rome) of the Roman Empire when Revelation was written and would morph into the Holy Roman Empire (Vatican) of the last days.

Please see Eye of Prophecy trilogy: Shameful Saga of the Great City (Revelation 17); Cunning Makeover of the Great City; Humiliating End of the Great City, posted 5-26, 6-2, & 6-9-18.

(The Vatican … Among Antichrist’s alliances will be the Roman Catholic Church. Ironically he will destroy it … Rev. 17:16; then Rome itself will be devastated in God’s final judgment, the 7th Bowl … Rev. 19:17-21)

Although the angel provides more clues of the beast’s identity in Revelation 17:9-11, we’ll examine just the initial unveiling of the beast.

“…I will tell you the mystery of the 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 (abruptly, at any point in time) come up out of the bottomless pit… And the people who belong to this world (those left behind at the Rapture) … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

Although all Bible passages on the Antichrist are extensively detailed in my book Out of the Abyss and elaborated/expanded in Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist, the passage we just read kick-starts the refitting of the prophetic puzzle, concerning Antichrist.

To wit: Although a natural and normal conclusion, the Antichrist is NOT a modern-day man born before the Tribulation. Yet, beginning with the Rapture, nearly everything that takes place during the Tribulation is neither natural nor normal.

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

The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? …If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with these verses … and all the other passages that help refit the prophetic puzzle?

John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast that had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos (Page 271).

Revelation 13:3-4

After John describes his first vision of the beast arising from the sea (literal … think Mediterranean Sea), with the dragon giving the beast his own (Satan’s) power and authority, John immediately describes the world’s reaction to the beast’s sudden and different (Daniel 7) arrival (reappearance, Revelation 17) from the grave (Abyss, Revelation 11 & 17).

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast (the Antichrist is the composite beast but also one of the seven heads, i.e. Roman emperors—Revelation 17:9-11) seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, parenthesis mine).

We’ll stop here before getting to what the beast does.

What is it that, on a global scale, compels people to give their allegiance to the point of worshipping the beast? What persuades people to both revere and fear him? Is it because he’s a consummate genius, an eloquent orator, a powerful politician, a superb military strategist, a charismatic leader, or that he exhibits other appealing characteristics commonly attributed to a dynamic world leader?

Did you read that in the passage? No, you didn’t, because it’s not there; nor in any other passage on the Antichrist. There is ONLY ONE reason why so many people will marvel that much and surrender their loyalty and lives to him. It will be shock and awe over just one thing. The verses clearly tell us what that is: “The whole world marveled at THIS MIRACLE” (emphasis added).

What miracle?

Answer: Return from the grave as the world will see it/him (actually from the Abyss, which is a separate place from the grave/hell); repeated twice more in Revelation 13 and twice in Revelation 17.

On behalf of and in divine deference to this man, the False Prophet, “…ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life” (Revelation 13:14, emphasis added).

To those left behind, it will be a supernatural event to rival and even surpass that of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. Hence, who can fight against the beast? You can’t kill a man who already had been killed and then came back to earth some 2,000 years later. Forget it. Even for those reluctant to yield themselves to anything or anyone, their response will inevitably be: if you can’t beat him, join him.

Keep in mind that Revelation 13 is a progression of events beginning with the beast’s arising from the (Abyssal) Sea, concluding with the angel’s stimulating challenge to John and all readers to solve the meaning of the number of the beast (verse 18). Which is expressly equivalent to identifying the man himself. Thus, the initial reaction of the world still reeling from post-Rapture shock is that of absolute awe over the return of a 1st century Roman Emperor.

Nero will capitalize on such global attention by first orchestrating a treaty between Israel and Muslim nations. A peace treaty that the world (even now) will consider to be an impossible feat.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Two-State Solution & The Seven-Year Treaty … Impossible? Posted 1-26-19)

After convincing the relatively few who doubt that he really is the 1st century Caesar and, thereby, consolidating his ten-nation confederation, Nero will begin to rage against God like no one ever has or ever will (be permitted) again.

Antichrist’s Barefaced Blasphemy Against God, Revelation 13:5-6

Immediately after John explains the world’s reaction to the stunning reappearance of the beast, we read:

“Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:5-6).

In its most deplorable demonstration, Nero’s taunting of God will begin at the half-way point of the Tribulation—after he breaks the treaty with Israel and when he is given the greater extent of his authority. No other autocrat in history has come close to such conceited arrogance toward and diabolical denigration of God Almighty. Though many have persecuted Jews and Christians through the ages, have you read of any of these megalomaniacs who directly took on God, to the point of saying one vile thing after another against Him?

Even with the worst of them, there was a healthy measure of restraint or reluctance to denounce God himself. They didn’t dare test their fate by perniciously and persistently berating the God of Heaven. In fact, world rulers like Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus the Great even extoled the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the true and living God. As did Alexander the Great, after a fashion.

Though many monarchs claimed to be a god or representing God on earth, they didn’t elevate themselves to the position of the only God (of the universe). Except that is for Nero.

(Other Nero coinage contained inscriptions that he was “almighty God” and “Savior”)

Antichrist’s blasphemy will be unrivaled in the annals of history for two reasons inherent in this passage: (1) the fact that God gives him permission to carry this blasphemy to such extremes; (2) by sheer emphasis in these two verses. Twice, it speaks of these tirades against God. Twice John uses amplified terms … “great blasphemies” and “terrible words of blasphemy.”

This isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill attacks on the very name and character of God. Not only will Nero’s boastful insults exceed any before him; they are shockingly despicable to the point of slandering God’s name. Webster’s Dictionary definition of slander will be multiplied exponentially when it comes to Nero’s defamation of God:

Slander: “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.” Synonym … “malign.” Webster defines malign as: “evil in nature, influence, or effect … malignant, virulent, vicious ill will … malevolent and sinister.”

The Bible’s first reference to the Antichrist (Daniel 7) also explains his actions in virtually the same terms: “…a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:8). And, “the little horn’s boastful speech” (Verse 11). Again, “a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Verse 20). Then, “He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High…” (Verse 25).

Daniel 7 also tells us that this king will appear “suddenly” (Verse 8). In stark contrast to a (modern-day) man who gradually rises to a position of prominence and power. That he is “different” (Verse 24) from the ten kings who will yield their kingdoms to him … during the Tribulation.

See Eye of Prophecy article: Sudden Appearance of Antichrist … Why So Different? (1-21-17).

Notice that Antichrist not only blasphemes God but rants against believers in heaven … recently raptured. Which include the thousands of Christians whom he murdered during his 1st century reign of terror and will resume to a far greater extent in the Tribulation.

(Depiction of Christians wrapped in pitch/tar, used as torches to light Nero’s palace garden during parties. With diabolical depravity, Nero mocked them and Christ by saying, “Now you are truly the light of the world”)

Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss to summarize this portion of today’s article regarding Scripture’s depiction of Antichrist, in contrast to the mainstream portrayal of this loathsome man as a contemporary prodigy:

Search the Scriptures. You will not find any direct evidence that the beast is a great orator, statesman, or consummate genius as modern-day views characterize him. He is clever; he is a braggart and a blasphemer, but that doesn’t make him charismatic. Antichrist’s accomplishments and “charisma” are attributed to his miraculous resurrection, the statue, and the persuasive ability of the False Prophet, including, but not limited to “astounding miracles” (Page 249).

When Nero begins his sacrilegious slander and malicious mockery of God, everything at that point will be a flashpoint of black and white to the world. No more gray areas, no more fence-riding, no more which religion or worldview is best for me.

The choice will be crystal clear: Christ or Antichrist. Eternal security, though at the pain of physical death. Or temporary safety … a false sense thereof.

In fact, this final show-down between God and Satan, between Jesus Christ and Antichrist is how God’s providential purpose during the terrible turmoil of the Tribulation will be accomplished; that is, EVERYONE will be required to make a choice.

Although many who refuse to take the mark of the beast may not choose Messiah Jesus (especially Antichrist’s enemies like the Far-East nations), they will still have made a choice. Though this compulsion will come directly from Antichrist Nero and his False Prophet, inevitably it will serve God’s purpose to get the world’s attention like never before. To stand up and choose:

Salvation or judgment.

Heaven or Hell.

Take heed and choose well.

“For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes…” (Revelation 17:17).

Reaction of the World to the Seven Seal, Seven Trumpet, and Seven Bowl Judgments

Since the explosion of interest in Biblical prophecy began over fifty years ago—particularly after the amazing Six-Day War of 1967—the imminent return of Messiah Jesus has dominated prophetic headlines. As well it should, because the signs of the times (some are calling it the times of the signs!) are validating that we are in the last days of the end times. The Day of the Lord will commence with the remarkable resurrection of dead believers who will be raptured (caught up) to heaven with living believers.

For whatever reason (a presumption not found in Scripture), Bible scholars, teachers, students have pictured (I, too, at one time) the Rapture to occur as follows: (1) The entire sequence of events as contained in I Thessalonians 4 condensed into a nanosecond when believers will be transformed to our spiritual bodies as Paul dramatically describes in I Corinthians 15. (2) The world-at-large will neither see nor hear the events of the Rapture itself.

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: The Shout Heard Around the World (4-22-17) and a more recent article, A Dramatic Enactment of the Rapture! (4-20-19). In those articles, I combined commentary analysis with several Scriptural references and real-life simulations to demonstrate that the entire sequence of the Rapture will (very likely) take several minutes. Only the bodily transfiguration of believers will happen in “the blink of an eye.”

Believers will not suddenly nor silently disappear … here one second, and (poof) the next second gone.

Instead, many of those left behind will witness the entire sequence of events.

Other than the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Rapture will be the most stunning event of all time, followed by one staggering episode after another during the Great Tribulation. In addition to the bodily resurrection of the dead in Christ, the purpose of the Rapture is to spare living believers from the final wrath of God poured out on a wicked world, eager to follow the detestable example of their Antichrist superhero.

I’m convinced that most of the Tribulation saints will choose Messiah Jesus in the early part of the Tribulation … within the first two years or so. To even include some “foxhole conversions” during the Rapture itself or shortly thereafter. Conversely, many unbelievers will immediately celebrate the earth’s cleansing of those “bigoted, intolerant” Christians. As the Tribulation unfolds, the minds of unbelievers will grow increasingly stubborn, their hearts progressively hard.

The first four seals—commonly called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—are NOT (yet) the Lord’s direct intervention into the Satanic agenda and/or affairs of mankind. Rather, they are God’s permissive unsealing of man-made catastrophes (war, famine, disease, death) on a truly global dimension. As bad as it has been throughout history and is in today’s world, between the Great Flood of Noah’s time and the Tribulation period, God has imposed a divine limit on the scope of Satanic evil and human wickedness in this world.

(The Four Horsemen … Revelation 6:1-8)

God’s direct supernatural (above and beyond natural disasters) judgments don’t begin until the sixth seal is broken. It is an extraordinary earthquake; one in which the sun will be darkened, the moon turned blood-red, the sky rolled up like a scroll, mountains and islands moved from their places (Revelation 6:12-14).

Moreover, Tribulation unbelievers will be fully cognizant of what’s happening and why.

Read with me and notice the awareness of the world that this sixth-seal catastrophe is directly from God. As opposed to natural disasters up to that time in which no one knows for sure whether God had commanded them at various intervals in history; or if they are simply part of nature’s increasing volatility (deterioration) since the Great Flood. Also note that, at this point, they express both fear of and respect for the Lord.

“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).

As indicted in a few prior articles (for example, see Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose, posted 11-4-17), this judgment as well as the 7th seal and 1st trumpet is strikingly similar to the disasters that God will inflict on the Gog/Magog coalition and nations that support their massive invasion of Israel.

One astounding result of God’s crushing victory over Israel’s enemies (led by Russia, Iran, Turkey): “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).

That’s precisely the response of the unsaved world when the sixth seal is broken.

Would the World’s Deference to God Continue? Will They Relent and Repent?

Not hardly. As is said: “Dream on.”

After the subsequent 7th seal and first four trumpet judgements, each of which is clearly an Act of God, you would think that more unbelievers than not would get it. Perhaps say something to the effect: “I’m sorry Lord, what was I thinking. You are God and there is none like you. I want Jesus to save me.”

They could but they don’t. They should but they won’t.

Still, the Lord gives the survivors more chances before he unleashes his full wrath on the world in the seven bowl judgments. By this time, even angels are proclaiming God’s ultimate sovereignty with dire warnings to a world hell-bent on defiance of all that is good, right, and true. Before the seven bowls are poured out, we read the message of the first of three angels:

“And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to his world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6-7).

To evolutionists out there … are you listening?

To all unbelievers, especially those who have procrastinated your decision about Messiah Jesus time and again … are you listening, too? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you accepted him now as Savior, than face him later as your judge?

By and large, Tribulation unbelievers won’t listen even to angels. Instead, they become little pharaohs whose hearts will harden beyond remedy.

With one major exception. Unlike Pharaoh who finally yielded to the true and living God after the firstborn male of every Egyptian household was killed, most of the left behind unsaved will still not acknowledge the sovereignty of God Almighty and their only hope of salvation through His Son, Messiah Jesus. This despite the colossal carnage caused by people (also demons, as we will see) and justified judgments inflicted by God that will result in far more deaths than just the firstborn sons of one nation.

The following is the first reference to the world’s irreversible rebelliousness during the Tribulation, recorded after the 6th Trumpet.

“But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons…. And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).

Even more mind-boggling: unbelievers had reached this point of no return after the 5th & 6th trumpet judgments. Why is that so unfathomable? Because those two catastrophes are not direct plagues from the Lord. Instead, they are demonic hordes which God permits to be released for this precise end-times period.

The 5th trumpet was a (temporary … for five months) liberation of the embodied evil angels who had been imprisoned in the Abyss since the time of Noah’s flood. They were given power to inflict excruciating wounds (stings) on only the unbelievers (Revelation 9:1-12).

How painfully ironic!

(There are several depictions of these demonic angels, described as locusts by John. This one comes the closet to representing their features as vividly pictured in Revelation)

The 6th trumpet is much worse (Revelation 9:13-19).

More demonic hordes (numbering 200 million) are released to cause death and destruction even greater than experienced thus far during the Tribulation. To the extent that 1/3 of those still alive would be killed by this malevolent army. You would think that such massive death at the hands of their comrades in crime would make them realize that worship of not only Antichrist but of Satan himself didn’t give them a protective edge after all. Now it was the forces of Satan that were torturing and killing them left and right.

God’s direct judgments resume with the 7th trumpet and then the seven bowls, well into the 2nd half of the Tribulation.

Still, the obstinacy of unbelievers continues unabated.

Only now they ratchet up their insolence several notches. Emboldened by the brazen blasphemy of their divine Emperor we read that they actually: “…cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory” (Revelation 16:9).

This malignant malice towards God (cursing Him) takes place after the 4th bowl judgment in which God releases a massive blast of heat (most likely solar flares), “causing it to scorch everyone with its fire” (Revelation 16:8).

Then again after the 5th bowl (plunging Antichrist’s regime into total darkness for a while), we read: “…and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God” (Revelation 16:10-11).

Summary

And why wouldn’t they mimic and model themselves after their Antichrist cursing champion? By now, their hearts are hard as rock; their minds irreversibly warped. We have our own messiah. Who can fight against him? We’re all in. We don’t want or need the God of heaven or His Messiah.

Right up to the ever so bitter end … Armageddon. In which their superheroes, Antichrist and the False Prophet, are simply captured; but their armies continue the vain (incomprehensibly stupid) attempt to fight against the King of all kings. I mean, they will even see Messiah Jesus (and the host of heaven) descending from the sky on white horses! Wouldn’t that be cause for pause? Perhaps panic?

Nope. Just wicked willfulness. Or willful wickedness. Take your pick.

Consequently, “Their entire army was killed…” (Revelation 19:21) by Messiah Jesus. That is unequivocally the final solution to pure evil.

One more excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

When Nero reappears on the scene, he will mesh perfectly with the wickedness of the world. The world will emulate him as a leader who allows, endorses, and even initiates this immoral, ungodly, and contemptuous fist shaking at Almighty God (Page 213).

After the last and worst of these colossal calamities, the 7th bowl—a global earthquake and giant hailstones from which, “cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble … every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled…” (Revelation 16:17-21)—we read, “They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm.”

Not the catastrophic destruction from the earthquake. No, they cursed God because of the (75-pound) hailstones. With the obvious conclusion that the hailstones were even more devastating than the earthquake.

(Only two pounds! Now try to picture a 75-pound hailstone!)

(Maybe this picture will help. Ice-balls that washed up on a Russian coastline after a large polar storm. I’m guessing the largest of these might weigh in at 20 pounds. But these ice-balls didn’t come from the sky like hailstones!)

Without meaning to be flippant: This round planet called Earth is going to be flattened. Nearly everything vertical—natural and man-made—will be horizontal. Plus, the death and destruction of the Great Tribulation will make World War II seem like a small shoot-out between two rival gangs in Chicago.

When will they ever learn? All too sadly, those who want no part of God’s Love and Amazing Grace freely and generously given through His Son, Messiah Jesus, won’t learn. Not now and not then.

However, at the final Great White Throne Judgment even the knees of raised-from-the-dead unbelievers will bend, and their tongues confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). But it will be too late then to accept Messiah Jesus as Savior or to willingly acknowledge him as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. That decision must be made while we’re alive on Planet Earth.

Things to Ponder

We who know the Lord, who have personally accepted his wonderful gift of redemption, have full assurance of our eternal destiny in heaven. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

We are forever grateful for so great a salvation. Messiah Jesus doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

With love and humility, we also want those who have not yet trusted the Lord for their salvation to do so and be spared from not only the Tribulation but delivered from an eternity separated from God.

To know that: “…Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just…” (Revelation 19:1-2).

To appreciate and acknowledge that: “The Lord is king! Let the nations tremble! He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the whole earth quake! The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy!” (Psalm 99:1-3).

Comparing A Phenomenal Prophecy in Leviticus With One in Zechariah

Most of the time, those even half-way interested in Biblical predictions (about 1/3 of the entire Bible) recognizes a prophecy when they read or hear it.

Moreover, they understand that the hundreds of prophecies fall into two categories: (1) Those already fulfilled; (2) Those still awaiting fulfillment.

However, there are a handful of prophecies that many aren’t certain whether they have come to pass yet, or if the passage is even prophetic. Such is the case with Leviticus Chapter 26.

Biblical eschatology also encompasses different forms (prototypes). Of which there are three main groupings: (1) Promises … the good news; (2) Warnings … the bad news; (3) Neutral … more matter-of-fact prognostications. Which nonetheless are as consequential as the precious promises and somber warnings of Scripture—for Jew and Gentile alike.

Sometimes all three paradigms fit a prophetic passage, as they do in Leviticus Chapter 26. The chapter begins with God’s promises to keep and prosper his people in the Promised Land of Israel if they trusted and obeyed him. Followed by warnings of hardship then eventual expulsion from Israel for their distrust and disobedience.

Yet, it is the third feature of that chapter that (others still to this day), I, too, had missed as being a precise prophecy, with a specified duration of the penalty for Israel’s rebellion. But once the discipline had ended, a resumption of God’s powerful promises to/for his people. It is one of the extraordinary handful in Scripture that contains a dedicated period (time-lapse) between the beginning and end of the prophecy.

In a revisit summary: The seven times over (in four phases) was (in reality) the uninterrupted sequence of the Lord’s on-going discipline that astonishingly applied directly to the prophetic duration … exact number of years! Which is equivalent to the Times of the Gentiles domination over Israel and the Jews from its precise beginning to its exact end.

See two-part Eye of Prophecy series: Extraordinary Prophecies w/Predicted Times of Fulfillment. Posted 3-2 & 3-9-19. Leviticus 26 is one of eight time-dedicated prophecies discussed in those two articles. Here is an excerpt from Part I (in italics):

Regarding the hundreds of Biblical prophecies, there are only a few time-capsule forecasts involving specific dates or duration of fulfillment. Which, in that context of comparison, makes these prophecies unique…. They are integral components of God’s magnificent plans for and interaction with his chosen people, the Jews; his special possession, Israel; and for all other peoples (Gentiles).

Also refer to article: Times of & Fullness of the Gentiles … What Do They Mean? (4-21-18).

(The 1st sentence in this prophecy from Jesus took place when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70 which led to the Great Diaspora of the Jews. The 2nd half of this prophecy came to completion when Jerusalem was liberated by the IDF in the Six-Day War of 1967 … no more trampling of Jerusalem! Except for a few brief weeks during the Tribulation)

Seven Times Seven (to the 4th Power)

That is the title of a trilogy of articles posted in 2014; followed by a general summary in the subsequent article, The Omega Generation. With emphasis in that article on the last day’s significance of Israel’s miraculous Six-Day War victory in 1967, resulting in liberation of the Holy City of Jerusalem, the capital of the Holy (Promised) Land of Israel.

That amazing achievement once and for all ended Gentile domination of the Jews, which was the definitive means and measure of God’s discipline of his people. For the express purpose of establishing the soon-to-come Kingdom of God ruled by his Son, Messiah Jesus from Jerusalem, upon his glorious return.

This seven-times over prophecy is being reviewed for the purpose of correlating it with another puzzling prophetic passage, concerning the scope of Israel’s (and Jews elsewhere in the world) turmoil during the Great Tribulation.

Before we tie-in these prophecies—thereby, clarifying our understanding of the extent of Israel’s suffering to come—here is another excerpt from Part I of Extraordinary Prophecies w/Predicted Times of Fulfillment. (In italics, the latter part of which is, in turn, a quote from Part II of the Seven Times Seven articles):

Although the seven times over (four times successively) prophecy in Leviticus doesn’t identify days or years as such, it is nonetheless a time-dedicated forecast of exactly how long Israel would remain under Gentile domination, to complete the Lord’s discipline of his people and nation…. I proceeded to do the math of seven times seven (four times) translated into years! Where the calculation led me was nothing short of stunning.

After inception of the Eye of Prophecy website, I consolidated this amazing prophecy and its fulfillment in a trilogy of articles, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power), posted 1-25, 2-1, & 2-8-14. Providing detailed analysis of Leviticus Chapter 26 in conjunction with the lapse of time beginning with the rebuilt Temple in 516 B.C. … The official end of the Babylonian captivity….

I later realized that the Lord’s disclosure of the meaning or application of this phenomenal hidden gem of prophecy was in the same vein of what Sir Robert Anderson had “discovered” (discernment from the Lord applicable to Daniel 9:25-26 and later published in his book, The Coming Prince1894).

*Note: Sir Robert’s astute analysis of Daniel’s prophecy is also one of the eight time-dedicated prophecies summarized in the Extraordinary Prophecies…. articles. And, the subject of one entire Eye of Prophecy article, An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy (1-18-14). Plus, passing references to it in a few other of my articles.

Continuing with the excerpt:

Anderson’s insight related to the prophesied time parameters of the first Advent of Messiah which resulted in Israel’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. Whereas, the Seven Times Over prophetic paradigm pertains to the physical return of the Jews to Israel—specifically the (time dedicated) end of Gentile dominance of the Jews in preparation for the Second Coming of Messiah Jesus.

…With that in mind, there is an even stronger and more compelling reason that the seven-times over doesn’t apply to or represent in any way the severity factor or degree of punishment.

(Comment: that the seven times over represents the severity degree of God’s punishment is the general assumption, which obscures and even prevents seeing the seven times seven—four times—representing an uninterrupted sequence of time, i.e. years).

If you read the passage carefully, here’s what you will find: Each time (phase’s one through four) that God identifies the punishment to be experienced by Israel, the punishments themselves ARE more severe. In other words, the severity factor is built-in to each of the four phases of discipline, as they become progressively more severe, one through four. With, by far, the most severe that of being completely conquered, destroyed, and exiled to other countries by their conquerors in the fourth set of the seven times over punishments. With the corresponding result that there would be absolutely no purpose or reason for the Lord to metaphorically describe the successive phases of punishments in terms of seven-times over. Because the text is very clear that each discipline, in and of itself, becomes progressively worse.

So, what does the seven times paradigm represent or mean? Then it came to me; that is the Lord showed it to me. The express purpose for seven times over pertains to one and only one element: TIME. (As in chronological years of history).

I then wrote:

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, 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!

Having already explained why the year 516 B.C. (completion of the rebuilt Jewish Temple) was the starting point of God’s seven-times over discipline, I wrote:

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 resting the land from crop planting… 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….

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.

In summary of this portion of today’s article, we need to fully appreciate the striking significance of Israel’s Six-Day War victory.

(One of several IDF celebrations of their astonishing Six-Day War victory)

(At the Western Wall, battle-hardened IDF soldiers wept tears of reverence and joy)

NO LONGER would Israel be under the thumb of Gentile nations. Although Israel won an equally amazing victory in her 1948 War of Independence, it wasn’t until 1967 that Israel reclaimed the Holy City of Jerusalem (in fact, all Israeli land) in her reestablished sovereign nation by means of a powerful military that not only could defend her people, but could (and did) take the offensive in ways not seen since the glory years of King David.

The one exception (on a limited basis) was when the Maccabees defeated Antiochus IV and his Syrian/Greek Army. Yet, not even the Maccabees of the 2nd century B.C. conquered their enemies as swiftly or soundly as the Israelis did in 1967 (and again in 1973).

The Maccabean victory was followed by the Hasmonean Dynasty in Israel that lasted for about 100 years. Only for Israel to once again fall under Gentile domination … in the 60’s B.C. to the first Roman conquest of Israel. Which eventually produced an even more devastating defeat at the hands of the Romans in 70 A.D. Followed by the great Jewish Diaspora resulting in Gentile nations’ (national) control over the Jews, culminating in the worst Jewish catastrophe of all … the Holocaust.

But no more.

With Israel’s rebirth in 1948 and subsequent (slow at first) rebuilding of a potent military—on full display in 1967. Then again in 1973, and even more powerful today,

NEVER AGAIN will Israel be subjected to Gentile domination … in which the Jews couldn’t defend themselves.

Despite Biblical prophecy of Israel’s troubles during the impending Great Tribulation (commencing soon after the any-day-now Rapture), she will never again be conquered nor utterly defeated as a nation, nor suffer shocking numbers of deaths as happened with the brutal Roman conquest and then the more horrific Holocaust.

Let’s look at the Biblical reasons why Israel won’t experience that kind of horrendous suffering, though times will be terribly tough for her—indeed, for all peoples during the unprecedented Great Tribulation. With the most significant factors: (1) God has restored his providential protection of Israel. (2) Now the Jews can furiously fight back more forcefully than since the time of King David.

Two-Thirds of the Jews Killed … Past or Future?

This, too, is the title of a prior Eye of Prophecy article (posted 5-19-15). It ranks as one of my (author’s) favorites. A favorite in the context of its pathos for me (and perhaps for others). A dilemma that was settled when the Lord graciously provided another insight to me.

I’m referring to one of the more poignant, yet puzzling passages in all of Scripture. In just three verses, we find a far-reaching three-stage prophecy concerning Messiah’s death and the scattering of the sheep/lambs resulting in 2/3rds of “the people” (Jews) dying. Conventional commentary places the death of so many Jews during the end-times Tribulation period.

For years I had grappled with this conundrum—unable to process the idea that the Jews would be killed in such great numbers a second time after six million of them had been slaughtered during the Holocaust. What made this mainstream interpretation even more implausible (unacceptable) was the fact that Israel is now a nation with one of the most powerful militaries on earth, despite its small size and population. That and the fact, as already demonstrated, that God’s discipline (primarily through withdrawal of his protection) of his people ended in 1967.

First, the passage:

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs. Two-thirds of the people in the land will be cut off and die, says the Lord. But one-third will be left in the land. I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zechariah 13:7-9).

I literally pleaded with the Lord to show me one way or the other if the prevailing application of this passage was accurate, i.e. 2/3rds of the Jews killed during the Tribulation.

Praise the Lord, he did just that; but not for several months and more “please Lord” sessions. To benefit from the in-depth treatment of this subject, please consider reading the above listed article.

Once again, I’m combining this subject with the seven times seven paradigm to demonstrate that, despite the terrible tribulation times ahead, Israel will not experience another Holocaust. God simply will not allow that to happen; not after bringing his people back to Israel in great numbers and not after giving birth to the Jewish Nation-State of Israel again (Isaiah 66).

(Israeli President Rivlin welcoming Aliyah immigrants from the USA and Canada. Most immigrants to Israel have come from Russia)

The Times of the Gentiles is no more. Israel is Israel again … forever!

Whereas, the Fullness of the Gentiles is still to come.

Here is an excerpt from the article Two-Thirds of the Jews KilledPast or Future? (in italics):

Dozens of Bible prophecies speak of the last day’s return of Jews to Israel from global exile, with the Divine guarantee that never again would Jews be stripped of or away from their Promised Land. Despite the perilous end-times turmoil that will engulf the entire earth during the Great Tribulation, including Israel—which is referred to as Jacob’s troubles—there is no indication in Scripture that the Jews will suffer the catastrophic casualties at the hands of Gentile nations that started with the Assyrian conquest of Israel in 722 BC and the Babylonian overthrow of Judah in 586 BC. Then the even more devastating defeat of Israel by the Romans in 70 AD and their ensuing global Diaspora, culminating in the unfathomable genocidal massacre of some six million Jews during the Holocaust.

Except that is, for one passage. It is a portion of Scripture that had perplexed and troubled me for some time.

Bible prophecy, particularly those involving last day’s warnings, can be either terrifying or touching, horrifying or heartening; depending mostly on whether you are an unbeliever or believer, respectively. Even the believer can be alarmed at the enormity of, for example, death and destruction by the forces of evil in the end times but also by the wrath of God poured out on a very wicked world. As Christians, we need not be afraid of a world spinning out of control before the soon-to-come Rapture, then tilting on an apocalyptic axis and falling into the Abyss during the Tribulation. But we certainly should be motivationally moved by the apocalyptic anxiety that those left behind will experience, particularly by the tribulation saints and Jews; some of whom will be one and the same and both of whom will be relentlessly persecuted.

(Refer to article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, published June 2015)

Continuing with the above excerpt:

Jesus referred to the scattering of the sheep as what his disciples would do when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:31); but Zechariah’s prophecy was broader in scope than that. Why? Because Jesus also denoted the Jews as the (lost) sheep of Israel. Moreover, the next line in Zechariah 13:7 reads, “and I will turn against the lambs.” …Both sheep and lambs are frequently used as a metaphorical analogy to God’s chosen people, the Jews.

The scattering of the sheep also took place when the Romans conquered Israel and destroyed much of Jerusalem including complete demolition of the rebuilt Temple in 70 AD. The scattering and the turning against the lambs signified God’s withdrawal of his protection from his chosen people for rejecting their Messiah who established the New Covenant with the greatest price ever paid … his very blood, the life of the Son of God. The Great Diaspora ensued in which millions of Jews were exiled to many nations. With, however, the greater majority of the Jewish population settling in countries of today’s Europe over hundreds of years. Also, a sizeable number ended up in Russia. Not until the birth of the United States and later the horrendous Holocaust, would more Jews live in America than anywhere else in the world. Even that has now changed, with the greatest concentration of Jews in Israel, itself … 6.3 million. (*Note: that number is now closer to 6.8 million).

In that article, I went on to explain Zechariah 13:7-9 in more detail, to include evidence that “the land” (some translations say “that land”) in which 2/3rds of the Jews would be killed was NOT Israel—which had been my assumption for many years. Rather, it was that land to which they had been scattered … predominately the European continent.

Another excerpt from that article:

What I missed was the fact that the passage of Zechariah 13:7-9 is distinctly separate from verses one through six of Chapter 13 and all the other (on that day) end-times content of Chapters 9-14, except for Messiah’s procession into Jerusalem and his subsequent betrayal. However, Verses 7, 8, & 9 of Chapter 13 cannot be separated, one from the other. They are all an integral part of a succession of three events: Messiah’s death, the sheep scattered, and two-thirds of them killed … all of which have already taken place!

(*Note: Verse nine of Zechariah 13 describes the purifying result of the Diaspora for God’s chosen people. This is also referenced in Daniel 11:33-35. Though there are more secular Jews than observant in Israel and the world over, there were three monumentally constructive results of the worse disaster to ever befall the Jews—the Holocaust: (1) Rebirth of Israel, a catalyst to the return of millions of Jews to the Promised Land; (2) Freedom of observant Jews to worship the God of Israel without fear of wide-spread and incessant anti-Semitic persecution during their exile; (3) An explosion of Messianic Jews and Messianic ministries the world-over, beginning on a burgeoning scale in 1967. This is the refining spoken of by the Lord through Zechariah, that will reach its perfect and purified conclusion when:

I then presented facts and figures in that article concerning the number of Jews in Europe (“the people in the land”) as phrased by Zechariah. With the astonishing (but appallingly sad) evidence that almost exactly 2/3rds of the Jews in Europe were killed during the Holocaust. Which leads to another remarkable reality: The Bible does, in fact, make a prophetic reference to the Holocaust, some 2,400 years before it happened.

One last excerpt from that article:

The overwhelmingly clear evidence of the Bible is that once the Jews returned from exile, they would never again be driven from the land. Their time of physical and spiritual restoration would begin. Though they will undoubtedly suffer many more casualties during the Antichrist’s assault against Israel leading to Armageddon, it will not be anything like the appalling losses suffered during World War II or before.

…A two-thirds loss of life seemed to be an incomprehensible contradiction to the wonderful blessings God would begin to bestow on Israel beginning with the regathering of the Jews from world-wide exile and the rebirth of the Jewish nation.

No longer do I need to agonize over such a contradiction. Because there is no contradiction! The two-thirds of Jews killed was horrendous. Yet, it was … as in past-tense. Never to happen again!

On the authority of God’s Word, I repeat for emphasis: NEVER.

Evaluation of Other Passages Concerning This Week’s Topic

Since the ominous presence of Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Syria that began about four years ago, Israel’s security has been threatened unlike anything since her last major war in 1973. Last week’s Eye of Prophecy article (Judea/Samaria & The Gaza Strip in Israel / Who Has Sovereignty?) began with the heading: Things Are Heating Up Again.

However, that observation was confined to another episode in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict that resulted in Gaza terrorist cells (Islamic Jihad and Hamas) launching some 700 rockets into Israel … with substantial Israeli airstrikes in retaliation. In a broadening of that heating up, just a couple of weeks ago the United States sent an aircraft carrier strike force to the Persian Gulf in response to reports that Iran was planning an attack on U.S. military installations in the Middle East. The whole world is waiting and watching to see what may become of this sword rattling.

Like other incidents in the past 18 months or so, Israel may be involved in more skirmishes with Iran. However, as written in a few prior articles, I’m convinced that Israel will not be engaged in a major conflagration until the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel which will take place within a year or so of the Great Tribulation … following the Rapture.

Most of my articles about the Gog/Magog attack emphasize Israel’s astounding victory over this massive coalition, without the Jews needing to fight at all! It is God who supernaturally deals this ungodly confederation a devastating defeat through (among other things) catastrophic plagues, which also include nations that approve of and/or apathetically standby and watch Gog/Magog’s invasion of Israel. Those calamities are nearly identical to the sixth and seventh seal and 1st trumpet judgment in Revelation—more confirmation that Gog/Magog will be destroyed in the early part of the Tribulation.

This will be the beginning of global realization that God and His Son (Messiah Jesus) are now overtly actualizing sovereign control and completion of their providential plans concerning the destiny of individuals and entire nations, especially Israel.

More than once in Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Gog/Magog invasion), the Lord says of his people and the entire planet: “…And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:7). The world’s terrified reaction (though most still do not repent and turn to God) is expressed explicitly after the sixth seal judgment (Revelation 6:15-17).

Now let’s look at three passages to both clarify and confirm the premise that Israel (Jews) will not experience another Holocaust, though they will once again be the object of persecution and attempted genocide.

In fact, the prophet Zechariah says it will be the other way around. As follows:

The gathering against Israel begins unsuccessfully with the Gog/Magog invasion, and resumes/intensifies during the last few months of the Tribulation when Antichrist’s (Nero) ten-nation coalition arrogantly attempts to accomplish what Russia, Iran, Turkey, and lesser nations couldn’t.

Zechariah 12

“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a flame that sets a woodpile ablaze or like a burning torch among sheaves of grain. They will burn up all the neighboring nations right and left, while the people living in Jerusalem remain secure. The Lord will give victory to the rest of Judah first, before Jerusalem, so that the people of Jerusalem and the royal line of David will not have greater honor than the rest of Judah. On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! …For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:6-9).

After Antichrist Nero breaks his treaty with Israel (3 ½ years into the Tribulation), he will begin to persecute the Jews. But not until the latter part of the Great Tribulation will he and his ten-nation empire invade Israel. As this passage indicates, the campaign will begin in Judah—equivalent to the land and cities outside of Jerusalem. Which makes sense, as Jerusalem is the interior heart of Israel … literally and figuratively.

Contrary to the notion that Israel will suffer horrendous casualties, it’s the Jews who will fight more ferociously and will win many battles. This will be the beginning of the Lord’s destruction of all the nations that come against Jerusalem. With two major differences than during the Gog/Magog campaign. This time the Jews will need to fight for what they will perceive as Israel’s very survival. And, the awesome arrival of Messiah (Jesus) in person, to rescue them!

Jerusalem will be secure, but only for a while. Which leads us to the next Tribulation-passage pertaining to Israel.

Zechariah 14

“Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city. Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west…. You will flee through this valley…” (Zechariah 14:1-5a).

Note: Only the city of Jerusalem is mentioned in this passage, not the rest of Israel, i.e. Judah. Whether a period of days or a few weeks, Antichrist (who has set up camp in Megiddo) will eventually get to Jerusalem and wreak havoc on the city, including rape and pillage.

HOWEVER, also note that there is no direct or even indirect indication that many Jews will die.

Instead, half the city will be taken into captivity (where held captive is not stated). Some Jews will escape to safety during this incredible battle for Jerusalem, through the valley formed when Messiah Jesus steps foot on and splits the Mount of Olives. Though speculation, they very well could join their fellow-Jews who had bolted to safety several years earlier. The event we just read in Zechariah 14 is not the same as when many Jews throughout Israel will flee and be protected for 3 ½ years (we’ll get to that in a moment). Rather, the awesome flashpoint of Messiah’s appearance on the Mount of Olives will take place near the very end of the Tribulation. Though the Israeli Defense Force will have already won several battles, eventually they will be no match for the size and strength of Antichrist’s massive assault on Jerusalem.

Then, at the right time, God will see to it that Antichrist withdraws most of his forces back to Megiddo to confront alarming news that the kings of the East are marching against him (Daniel 11 and Revelation 16). There he will meet his decisive defeat and final fate.

See Eye of Prophecy article: Armageddon and Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events (Posted 2-3-18). Which explains that Jesus’s bodily return to earth is in two-phases. First on the Mount of Olives to begin the liberation of Jerusalem. That’s when the Jews will fully realize that Jesus is their Messiah. Then, after mourning deeply the fact that they and their ancestors had rejected Jesus as their Messiah/Savior, they will rally around him with great jubilation. And, they will fight even harder … weakest among them as mighty as King David.

However, the final battle in the valley of Megiddo won’t take place until (a short time) later when Jesus returns to heaven in preparation for his final physical return and victory over Israel’s enemies and evil itself (Revelation 19:11-21). This will be soon after the final and most devastating (a global earthquake unlike anything ever experienced by mankind) of all the seal, trumpet, and first six bowl judgments (Revelation 16:17-21).

(I’ve been there … 2006. And, along with the host of heaven riding white horses behind Messiah Jesus, I’ll be there again, arriving this time from heaven, not from the United States!)

Now let’s combine these passages with:

Revelation 12

After Revelation’s author John presents a short but spectacular sweeping depiction of Israel, her child (Messiah), Satan and 1/3 of the angel’s expulsion from heaven long ago, ascension of Christ back to heaven (after his resurrection), and a brief reference to the Millennial Reign of Messiah, we read:

“And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days” (Revelation 12:6, parenthesis mine).

(Refer to Eye of Prophecy article: A Mysterious Sign in Virgo … What Does It Mean? Posted 9-23-17. Which provides an in-depth examination of this portion of Revelation 12, plus more).

Then later in Revelation 12—after John records the astounding fact that Satan will be thrown out of heaven for good (his first eviction was from his residency in heaven; however, he is still allowed access to heavenly places)—we read:

“When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman (Israel) who had given birth to the male child (Messiah Jesus). But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time (3 ½ years or the 1,260 days previously mentioned in the chapter)” (Revelation 12:13-14, parenthesis mine).

Most Bible scholars believe this sanctuary of safety will be Petra in Jordan. That’s very possible, even probable. However, what is not often, if at all, addressed is who among the Jews (some or all) will be flown (think airplanes and helicopters) out of harm’s way.

Answer: Children, the aged, the disabled, and women not fighting in the IDF. Also, most of Israel’s government officials to set up new headquarters. But NOT Israel’s military, excepting a few units to protect and supply those Jews in refuge.

Why? Because they will be left to fight for and preserve their beloved Promised Land; otherwise, Revelation 12 wouldn’t track with the passages in Zechariah already discussed. Not all Israelis will choose to leave Israel (especially Jerusalem). Those who remain are the ones who will be persecuted—slowly at first but increasing as the last half of the Tribulation unfolds.

Initially, Satan (through Antichrist and the False Prophet) will be frustrated in his diabolical determination to destroy Israel. Thanks mostly to the two mighty prophets and their protection of Jerusalem and Israel (see Revelation Chapter 11). Also, Eye of Prophecy article: Moses & Elijah vs. Antichrist & The False Prophet, posted 2-10-18.

Once again, the evidence is intrinsically clear: many more Jews will survive the Great Tribulation than not; added affirmation that 2/3rds of them will not perish during the Tribulation. If that were the case, then over four million of the current 6.8 million Jews in Israel would die. The (implied) sheer number of Jews safely protected by the Lord in the wilderness (on two separate occasions) is proof positive that many more will survive than not. That and IDF soldiers in the hundreds of thousands who will not only remain in Israel to fight but will win many battles during this series of clashes with their enemies (Zechariah 12).

Things to Ponder

The Bible is incomparable. Because it’s author, the Triune God, possesses incomparable power and authority.

God’s magnificent Word about himself, the origin of all things, a panoramic picture of humanity, and much more is nothing short of spectacular.

(What did the Lord say following this verse? We read it earlier in the pictorial of Zechariah 12:2 & 3)

Whether prophetic or non-prophetic passages of Israel’s saga; the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the tremendous truths of salvation from sin and its penalty; the destiny of mankind determined by people’s decision to choose redemption through Christ or reject Him, Biblical details are mind-boggling both in quality and quantity.

There are NO other (so-called) sacred texts in any of the man-made religions or humanistic philosophies on earth that can hold a candle to the blazing light and universal truth of the Bible.

For many reasons; not the least of which is the virtual absence of prophecy or miracles in these religions. In anemic contrast to the 100% fulfillment of Biblical prophecies and the majestic miracles that God and His Son have performed and will do so (again … soon), but on a truly global scale—with unimaginable magnitude and inconceivable results.

“…Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations” (Revelation 15:3).

Judea/Samaria & Gaza Strip / Who Has Sovereignty?

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Things Are Heating Up Again

Not since Operation Protective Edge—Israel’s military confrontation with the terrorist organization Hamas of the Gaza Strip in 2014—have Code Red sirens in southwestern Israel been heard on such a massive scale.

Although Palestinian rockets have terrorized Israelis since they vacated the Gaza in 2005, not often have missiles been launched by the hundreds in just two days.

About 1/6 (1.1 million) of the Israeli population were forced to seek shelter for over 48 hours.

Compared proportionally to the USA, some 54 million Americans would be diving for cover from missiles fired mercilessly and randomly at civilian targets.

It began on Friday (May 3rd) when terrorist snipers shot and wounded two of the IDF soldiers who were guarding against Palestinian infiltration through the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel. Though Palestinian civilians have been hurling rocks, firebombs, and fire kites into Israel since this (so-called) peaceful March of Return began over a year ago, firearms are used almost exclusively by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israel reacted by striking only a few targets in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and mostly Islamic Jihad (the smaller of the two terrorist cells in Gaza) retaliated by raining down nearly 700 rockets/mortars on a wide swath of Israeli towns outside of the Gaza Strip. Israel responded again, hitting nearly 350 targets (aggregate total) in the Gaza, all of which were terrorists’ military sites, i.e. headquarters and personnel, munitions, rocket launchers, and tunnels. Although the IDF always tries to prevent non-combatant casualties, it’s nearly impossible to do so completely when Hamas and Islamic Jihad use schools, mosques, commercial complexes, and private homes in the Gaza to hide weapons and fire missiles.

Four Israelis were killed and 145 injured, some seriously. Palestinian rockets inflicted death and injuries in a variety of ways and locations, including a synagogue, hospital, and school that were hit. Property damage is estimated at 14 million dollars.

(A direct rocket hit on an apartment complex in the Israeli community of Kiryat Malachi)

Moshe Agadi, a 58-year old father of four, was killed by a rocket that struck his house in Ashkelon. Moshe Feder (68) died when an anti-tank missile hit his car. A 21-year old Jewish man Pinchas Prezuazman (dual Israeli American citizen) perished from a blast while he was running to a bomb shelter in Ashdod. How ironically sad is that? Also poignant was 47-year old Ziad al-Hamamda who died when a missile crashed into an Ashdod factory where he worked. Poignant (ironic) because, although he was an Israeli citizen, he was an Arab Bedouin.

But then neither Hamas and Islamic Jihad of the Gaza Strip nor the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) of the West Bank really care about their own people getting hurt or killed, whether they’re Israeli Arabs or Palestinian Arabs. They don’t mourn these deaths … not really. Instead, they praise them and death in general. In fact, they bank on the idea that those deaths will generate more (unwarranted) global criticism against Israel. If an (Israeli) Arab is killed by Palestinians, then, too bad … it was for the cause. When Palestinian “civilians” are killed in the IDF’s defense of Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority tell the world they are victims of Israeli human-rights violations or war crimes.

The world-at-large only reads or cares about the (alleged) “disproportionate response” by the Israelis when more Palestinians are killed than Jews. The Palestinians sometimes inflate the numbers of civilian casualties or lessen the number of actual Hamas or Islamic Jihad members killed. The number of Gaza Palestinians reportedly killed was thirty. Reliable Israeli intelligence indicates that most of the Palestinians killed and injured were terrorist operatives, with at least ten of those Islamic Jihad.

*Note: Islamic Jihad (funded and manipulated by Iran) more so than Hamas was responsible for this latest bombardment against Israel. Nonetheless, Israel constantly reminds Hamas that they will be held responsible, as Hamas is the governing body of Gaza.

(An Israeli house in Ashkelon; shows what damage shrapnel can do from a nearby exploding missile fired from Gaza)

False Reporting / Fake News in the Palestinian Narrative

Often, Hamas lies about how some Gazan civilians die in these skirmishes. They’ll cover up the facts, until exposed by indisputable evidence of Israeli intelligence. For example, Gazan officials hurriedly announced to the world (as found in several media headlines) that IDF airstrikes were responsible for the deaths of a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 14-month old infant daughter killed in their house.

Soon thereafter, Israel disclosed evidence that it was a missile launched by Islamic Jihad which, through misfiring and/or premature denotation, struck the house. Hamas then acknowledged this mishap and described it as a “technical failure.”

As expected, one of Israel’s many critics who blasted (pun intended) the Israelis for their actions was US Congress woman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar. Chiming in with other media reports, she conveniently omitted the fact that it was the Palestinians who started the whole thing (they always do). Or that Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched nearly 700 rockets, with only token reference that Israelis were killed or wounded contrasted to full focus on Palestinian casualties.

However, the thing that got my attention was Omar’s incredibly uninformed (she doesn’t care about facts, only about her obsessive anti-Israel agenda) statement that the Gaza Strip is “occupied” by the Israelis. Here, I’m not even referring to the fact that Israel does not occupy (in the sense of being illegal) either the West Bank or Gaza Strip, as explained in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, including last week’s post. You can’t (unlawfully) occupy land that belongs to you in the first place.

No, I’m referring to her shockingly ignorant statement that Israel (still) maintains a presence in the Gaza Strip. Where has she been all these years? Does she not know that Israel totally vacated the Gaza nearly 14 years ago? Not one single Jew lives there. Or does she know and can lie about it because many who harbor anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments are either uniformed or wish not to be bothered with the facts.

Well, enough said about that.

Sovereignty & A “Two-State Solution”

If you already haven’t, please consider reading last week’s article, Does Israel Belong To The State of Israel? The article’s title is not a “trick” question; rather a rhetorical one, as thoroughly explained in that article, and alluded to in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles. Documented evidence and ensuing commentary were presented to demonstrate convincingly that the Jewish Nation-State of Israel is sovereign over the entirety of Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel).

Part of Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of sovereign or sovereignty: “Independent (a state); autonomy; an autonomous state.” And, “freedom from external control” (parenthesis in the definition).

External includes such entities as the United Nations and their incessant unfounded resolutions against Israel, the only democratic state in the entire Middle East. External also means any country outside of Israel’s exterior borders, i.e. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and beyond.

However, it does not mean (so-called) internal borders within Israel between the (also so-called) Palestinian Territories of the Gaza and Judea/Samaria—more often referred to by its Johnny-come-lately designation of the West Bank. With a reverse application that means the Palestinians cannot claim they have a right to freedom from Israel’s sovereignty on the (non-existent) basis that the demarcations between Gaza and the West Bank and Israel proper are external borders. They are not. At best, they are armistice lines.

A partial definition of autonomy: “A self-governing state” (emphasis added).

Repeating for emphasis and continued clarification what I (and a few others) have stressed: There never has been and is not now a Palestinian State. A Nation-State must exist before the prerogative, principle, and practice of sovereignty or autonomy is granted absolutely.

Although the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been given administrative self-governing privileges—Palestinian Authority created in 1993 by the Oslo Accords, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip by virtue of the Israelis withdrawing (nearly 10,000 Jews) from Gaza and relocated to other parts of Israel—they do NOT possess ultimate sovereignty over these regions.

(Principal participants of the Oslo Accords: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton; PLO President Yasser Arafat; one of the worst land for peace deals ever made)

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people and heads-of-state push for this two-state solution when the fact remains that the Palestinians don’t want such a state unless:

(1) There is no Jewish state—which is stated in both the PLO Charter of the West Bank and Hamas Charter of the Gaza Strip. With both groups in denial over the reality that Israel is here to stay and will fight to the last Israeli against anyone who launches an all-out assault against her. Hamas has vowed never to deviate from its sworn objective to destroy Israel; thus, they would never approve a Palestinian State unless it replaced an Israeli Nation-State.

(2) The Palestinian Authority would (just barely) consider a state of their own; however, will never back down from at least two pre-negotiated conditions: (a) East Jerusalem as its capital—in sheer spite of Israel’s heritage and self-determination that Jerusalem is an undivided capital; (b) Return of most of the five million (so-called) Palestinian refuges scattered throughout the Middle East—no matter that this status of refugee ended within one generation after 1948. For Jewish Israelis, this would be demographic disaster by virtue of the sheer number of Arabs.

(3) A Palestinian State with borders equal to the armistice lines before Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

And those factors are just the hypothetical paper-feature of such a two-state option that would not be any solution at all. Israel’s external and internal enemies have proven more than once that Israel’s giving up land to them is no guarantee of peace. What is guaranteed is that the Palestinians (and whatever allies are brought into the fold of a Palestinian State … some literally) would never cease and desist from overt hostility toward Israel.

But the day-to-day features of such a state are that much more impractical and incomprehensible than even than the paper-principal (also principle) factors.

Though I consider myself informed about Israel and what’s happening there and in the Middle East, when it comes to some of the “land logistics” (especially in Judea/Samaria), I’m no expert. However, the experts have already said that it would be a logistical nightmare to realign the already apportioned areas in the West Bank designated as A, B, & C. This is especially the case for the eastern part of Jerusalem.

But I know enough to with a great deal of certainty present the following facts on the ground obstacles to anything approaching a practical two-state option. It would be an unworkable solution to an already misunderstood problem (the root thereof) that would create a problem far greater and more dangerous than the existing status quo.

Why A Two-State Solution (Option) Won’t Work

Although there are other less conspicuous considerations, we’ll look at four prominent factors to further demonstrate why the creation of a Palestinian state in Israel is not only unfeasible but unreasonable. Particularly a second state that would itself be separated into two regions … West Bank and Gaza Strip.

(1) Judea/Samaria: As cited in last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (along with his shady Fatah organization, the supposedly “moderate” voice of Palestinians), with the clear connotation that smacks both of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, has said on more than one occasion: No Jew will ever be allowed citizenship in a Palestinian State.

It doesn’t get any more glaring than that. If (and he is) Abbas is referring to his already stated condition that such a state include ALL pre-1967 lines of demarcation, then it would include ALL of the West Bank … even areas designated by the Oslo agreements for Israelis to live (area C), eastern part of Jerusalem, much of the Jordan Valley, and of course Gaza. It’s agonizingly evident that the result of such boundaries would be the uprooting of all Jews from their homes in the central part of Israel historically called Judea/Samaria.

The Israelis themselves already tried something similar by extracting nearly 10,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005, with the (misguided) motive of placating the Gaza Palestinians in exchange for peace. Did peace come? Hardly. The Jews didn’t even receive so much as a thank you from their Arab neighbors? But the Gazans did give Israel something in return: deadly rockets from the sky and terror tunnels from the ground.

(A resident of the Gaza Israeli community of Gush Katif at the time. One of the most heart-rending times in Israel’s modern history. Some Jews had to be forcibly removed by the IDF and Israeli police from their homes)

Not only would total Israeli withdrawal from Judea/Samaria be a logistical nightmare, it would enormously endanger Israel’s security … her very survival. Moreover, it wouldn’t be “just” 10,000 Jews (as if that were only a few); it would be hundreds of thousands. And that’s only one reason why a two-state “solution” is unfeasible and unreasonable.

(2) Two Dangerous Corridors in the Heart of Israel: At the closest point of a proposed Palestinian State western border, there is a strip of Israeli land only nine miles in width to the Mediterranean Sea.

And there would be another corridor (with one or maybe two highways) from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank that would also cut central Israel in half. One can imagine the repercussions thereof.

Beginning with the sovereign right of a Palestinian state to allow anyone or anything (think large weaponry) it chooses into its country. Given their affinity for Muslim terrorists and for alliances with militant Islamic nations, who do you think a Palestinian State would welcome into their nation. Does Lebanon (Hezbollah), Syria, Iran, Yemen, and Turkey (which is already spending lots of money on Muslim enterprises in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem) come to mind?

Moreover, the United Nations would be in a tizzy if the Israelis didn’t allow commercial flights from other nations (including Israel’s enemies) into a West Bank (plus Gaza) Palestinian State, though those flights would have to pass over Israeli airspace to the West Bank. Even if the Israelis flatly refused such entrance and egress to Judea/Samaria, there would still be air and sea access to the Gaza Strip, as it borders the Mediterranean.

With this highway corridor in place, Hamas could transport as much military personnel and equipment as they wanted to/from the West Bank, and visa versa for the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip. If Israel did stop such Palestinian movement by force, it would be considered an act of War on Israel’s part. Moreover, Israeli entry into the West Bank or Gaza to hunt down Palestinian terrorists who had escaped capture after attacking Israelis, would be considered a violation of international law. Palestinian extradition of these killers to Israel for trial certainly won’t happen.

(3) In-Fighting Between the Palestinians: Included in the scarcity of and distortion by media sources and world-at-large ignorance of what’s (really) happening in the Middle East is the issue of animosity (more like hatred) between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Which is as much, if not more of an obstacle to a two-state solution than are the absurd demands for Israeli concessions, such as a divided Jerusalem with two capitals.

Though the Palestinian Authority celebrated Israel’s relocation of Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005; subsequently, PA President Mahmoud Abbas (who succeeded Yasser Arafat) was in for a rude awakening when the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated terrorist group Hamas ousted Palestinian Authority officials through a bloody coup and took control of the Gaza in 2006-07.

Then later through elections called for by Abbas himself, Hamas rubbed salt into his and the PA’s wounds by winning that election. Of course, PA President Abbas and his cronies refused to allow Hamas to run the West Bank in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it was then and still is the other way around. By and large, the Palestinian Authority calls the shots regarding economic control of the Gaza Strip. It is not Israel that is causing economic hardship in the Gaza. It is Abbas himself by, for example, allowing electricity only a few hours a day in the Gaza. One disgusting result is the limited operation of sanitation facilities causing tons of raw sewage to be dumped daily into the Mediterranean Sea.

Plus, Abbas knows full well that Hamas would gladly have him killed and the Palestinian Authority replaced by Hamas in the West Bank. In fact, the only thing that prevents that from happening is Israel itself, by virtue of its military presence in the West Bank when needed. That’s the main reason that Abbas and his Palestinian police often cooperate with Israel regarding security matters.

(Bitter Rivals: PA President Mahmoud Abbas on the right; on the left is one of the two Hamas leaders, Yahya Sinwar–the other not pictured leader is Ismail Hanijeh)

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are bitter rivals. The only thing they agree on is that Israel needs to go—permanently. Yet, they can’t even settle on the best way to accomplish that diabolical goal. For the most part, Abbas uses public relations—based primarily on lies to the international community—while he and his staff speak in Arabic to his own people, assuring them that he will never make concessions to the Israelis.

Publicly, Hamas no longer makes any pretense of its avowed objective to replace Israel with a Palestinian State. Consequently, its strategy is to employ Jihad-like resistance against the Jews. The following is an excerpt from the Hamas Charter (Article 13) from which they have sworn not to deviate:

“There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except jihad. Regarding the international initiatives (think of heretofore proposed peace plans plus the forthcoming Deal of the Century to be released in June), suggestions and conferences, they are a waste of time and complete nonsense” (parenthesis mine).

How can anyone negotiate with a “partner” like that. Even if the Palestinian Authority somehow agreed to discuss their previously stated “non-negotiable” conditions, Hamas is not about to agree. This is just one of several impassable (as in improbable and impossible) issues that the Palestinians won’t come to terms on among themselves.

With whom would Israel negotiate? Which faction would sovereignly govern a Palestinian State? Would a Palestinian State soon erupt in civil war? You can mark it down.

(4) Peace in Our Time? An Example of What Would Have Occurred if a Palestinian State Had Been in Existence Last Weekend

In the (misinformed) opinion of many, a Palestinian State would solve not only the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but would bring peace throughout the Middle East. In that regard, their argument naively infers: Is it really so hard to establish another state within Israel?

Just do it! And, presto, there will be peace.

Never mind the lessons of history. See Neville Chamberlain’s peace in our time with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. See other ill-fated peace for land exchanges throughout history. See the 13-state Arab Summit in Khartoum, Sudan a little less than three months after Israel’s stunning victory in the Six Day War. The Arabs issued the now infamous three “No(s)”:

With another statement that vowed: “maintenance of the rights of the Palestinian people in their nation.”

What (kind of) rights? What nation?

Once again, national sovereign rights belong to citizens of the nation in question. The existence of a Palestinian State was not then nor is now. With, as being discussed, the creation of which would be calamitous for both the Jews and Arabs. Instead, all the Palestinians need do is apply for Israeli citizenship just as 1.9 million of their fellow-Arabs have that citizenship.

IT’S REALLY THAT SIMPLE … unlike a thorny two-state option. But inevitably, it’s a matter of the heart. Of seriously and sincerely wanting to live in peace with the Jews, not to eradicate them or eliminate the State of Israel.

For sake of illustration, let’s say that the West Bank and Gaza Strip were a (geographically two-part) Palestinian State in existence last weekend. If Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza had fired just seven, let alone 700 hundred, missiles from its sovereign state into the sovereign state of Israel, do you think Israel’s response would have been different?

If you said, yes, to that question you would be 100% correct. If you then asked how it would be different, consider the following scenerio. For those who think and have said (headlines throughout the world) that Israel’s response this past weekend was entirely disproportionate; OR for those (of which there were several high ranking officials in Israel) who said Israel’s retaliation wasn’t severe enough, both groups would be wrong … to the point of astonishment.

Had there been a Palestinian State in place last weekend, the attack would unequivocally have been considered an Act of War, i.e. one nation against another nation. No different than Israel’s previous wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, all initiated by Arab states.

Israel’s reprisal would have been enormous in comparison to the more limited responses to local battles with Hamas and Hezbollah over the past two decades, including last weekend. Though Israel justifiably considered those prior attacks against her as “acts of aggression,” she did not declare or conduct an all-out war in the magnitude of the above listed four wars.

Israel’s objective was and still is to allow Palestinians self-governing privileges, with understanding that Israelis maintain the ultimate national right of sovereignty (in the overriding context of its security and survival) over ALL Israel, which includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Under current conditions, Israel is giving individual Palestinians the benefit of the doubt, knowing many of them are being oppressed by their own officials. Thus, even when Israel responds harshly to Hamas’s terrorism, it’s nothing compared to what Israel would do if attacked by a standing army operating from an official (sovereign) state.

Now we’re talking WAR and declaration thereof.

Annexing Judea/Samaria (West Bank)

In both the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Palestinians—particularly journalists who criticize their government—have been arrested, imprisoned, and even tortured. What’s funny (facetious connotation) is that each accuse the other of these grievous offenses.

However, there is a remarkable development taking place in which a handful of notable West Bank Palestinians are challenging their people (without ostensibly confronting their government, knowing if they do there could be reprisals) to accept the reality of Israeli sovereignty over all land within the national borders of Israel.

For example: A well-known and highly respected Palestinian business owner in Hebron (which is in the southern part of Judea/Samaria), Ashraf Jabari has founded the Reform and Development party. Among other things including development of business enterprises with Israelis, he promotes the continued existence of one state, Israel. Not the proposed two-states.

From a May 5, 2019 World Israel News posted article written by Batya Jerenberg, here is quote from Jabari: “The Oslo Accords have failed. Most people realize that the economic situation was much better before the Oslo Accords. Let’s focus now on the economic track. We can deal with the political track later. The people are caught hostage to Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. The situation is very bad, and people want economic security.

“[PA President Mahmoud] Abbas recently threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority if Israel annexes the West Bank because that would mean the end of the two-state solution. That’s why we are proposing the one-state solution to Israel. We want an end to violence and blood … going on for the past 70 years.”

(Palestinian Businessman Ashraf Jabari in the center; Israeli businessman to the right)

He went on to say: “Of course, it would be better for Israel if it accepted an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders. But no Israeli prime minister would dare to accept such a solution. On the other hand, no Palestinian leader can give up Jerusalem or make concessions.”

He also said that what the “silent majority” of Palestinians really want is economic security. And, “There is no solution until we all live under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. We can live together without hatred. We have to stop, enough violence and terror. We have to continue together, shoulder to shoulder, in order to succeed.”

Of interest (to me) is that this article just happened to be published one day after my post of last Saturday, which focuses on Israel’s sovereignty (as does today’s article).

*Note: Ashwaf Jabari is not “on track” to conclude that Israel would be better off accepting a Palestinian State with 1967 borders, for all the reasons presented in today’s article and others. I’m speculating that he included that qualification so as not to offend (too much) PA officials, knowing the possibility that he might be harassed or worse. He’s being pragmatic, while at the same time using his stature among his people to propose a much better solution that two states.

Nonetheless, in virtually unprecedented fashion, he is courageously taking a position that effectively encourages his people not to be in denial any longer concerning the reality of a sovereign (he used that word) Jewish Nation-State that is here to stay. To live and work with the Jews. Working against them results in death and destruction for both sides and retards a flourishing Palestinian economy.

Not only did President’s Trump March 2019 declaration that the United States recognizes Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights generate a backlash of criticism, so did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise concerning Judea/Samaria (he successfully won reelection on April 9).

In the context of the dismal failure of total Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 that produced previously non-existent Hamas driven terrorism instead of peaceful co-existence between Israel and the Gaza Palestinians, plus the seemingly never-ending Palestinian lone-wolf terrorist attacks mostly against Israeli Jews living in the West Bank, Netanyahu promised to extend Israeli (functional) sovereignty over Area C of the West Bank in which Israeli Jews live.

Immediately most global media headlines conveyed his campaign announcement by saying that Netanyahu (Israel) was going to “annex the West Bank” … or something to that effect. That is NOT what he said, although Israel has every right to annex the entire area of Judea/Samaria if they choose, not just Area C.

Another reason for Netanyahu’s proposal to officially exercise (administrative) sovereignty over Area C is in the event (albeit remote) a Palestinian state is created, which would include the portion of this area crucial to Israeli security, especially the Jordan Valley. Nor will Israel consider dismantling Jewish communities in Area C, causing massive displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jews. It just isn’t going to happen. Netanyahu’s sovereignty promise was a public statement of that fact.

Annexation is nothing more than an official exclamation point on that portion of Israel (like the Golan Heights annexed in 1981) already sovereignly controlled by Israel. But as indicated, Netanyahu stopped short of saying Area C of the West Bank would be annexed.

Summary

As author Victor Rosenthal recently wrote in an article posted by the online news source Jewish News Syndicate: “Netanyahu’s decision to extend Israeli law to the settlements in Area C would not have any effect whatever on Palestinians living under the control of the PA, and it does not change the status of the territories in which they are located.”

It occurred to me while writing this week’s article: In prior Eye of Prophecy posts pertaining to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I don’t recall identifying the three areas into which Judea/Samaria (West Bank) was apportioned by the Oslo Accords that began in 1993. Which included reorganizing the original Palestinian Liberation Organization (1964) that resulted in the entity called the Palestinian Authority.

Since Victor Rosenthal has done it for me, here is another excerpt from his article:

“When Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords in 1993-95, they agreed to divide Judea and Samaria into Areas A, B, and C. Area A was under Palestinian security control and civil control, Area B (much smaller) under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control, and Area C under full Israeli control. Area C contains all Jewish communities. More than 95% of the Palestinian population lives in area A and B, where they are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). While it is true that Israel’s security forces reserve the right to enter area A to arrest wanted terrorists, Palestinians have civil and political rights granted by the PA to vote and hold political office (such as it is … my comment). There are Palestinian courts and Palestinian police, Palestinian ministries of health, finance, labor, etc. It’s hardly fair to blame Israel for the fact that the PA is corrupt and dictatorial, and hasn’t held an election for years.”

Sadly, these thoughts expressed by Jabari and Rosenthal (and others, including me) have fallen and will undoubtedly continue to fall on the deaf ears of Palestinian officials (certainly the terrorists among them) as well as people and heads-of-state the world over. As, for example, stated by Mahmoud Abbas when he—much like a child who is denied his (against the rules) way and then refuses to “play” with you any longer—stated that he would dissolve the PA if Israel “annexed the West Bank.” Deliberately distorting two things: Netanyahu didn’t say “annexed.” Nor did Israel (or will unless forced to) assume national administrative sovereignty over the entire West Bank … only area C.

Or when Abbas said that he wouldn’t accept any of the tax money gathered by the Israelis and paid to the Palestinian Authority (also part of the Oslo Accords) just because Israel (as has the United States) said it would withhold only the equivalent amount that the PA pays to imprisoned terrorists or their families, if the terrorist is deceased … for maiming and killing Jews.

Now then, God loves all people, including the Palestinians! But, according to the Scriptures, he doesn’t appreciate (understatement) nor will he indefinitely tolerate any peoples’ (collective) persistent hostility toward the Jews or Israel.

He wants each Palestinian (everyone, including his own people) individually to reach out to His Son as the only way to God for salvation. In that regard, Scripture says that the Lord is no respecter of any one person over another.

“For God loved the world so much…” (John 3:16 the most well-known verse attesting to the truth of God’s universal love).

His greatest expression of that love was, “…that he gave us his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (remainder of John 3:16).

All that is required of people, Jew and Gentile alike, is to believe and receive Messiah Jesus as the only redemptive “way, truth, and life” (John 14:6).

God is Love, but God is also Holy. No one can be made right with God or spend eternity with him in heaven unless they, “…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Once again, that is for Jew and Gentile alike.

Things to Ponder

During the seven-year Great Tribulation the Lord will pour out his wrath for two main reasons:

(A) Wickedness not seen since before the Great Flood of Noah’s time. Plus, the obstinate, deliberate, defiant refusal of most of those left behind at the Rapture to turn to God and His Messiah. Instead, they will yield their loyalty and worship to Antichrist.

“But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God… And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).

(B) More genocidal attempts (unsuccessful but nonetheless, abhorrent) to eliminate God’s chosen people the Jews and the Sovereign State of Israel.

Those nations (their leaders and all who follow them) will be dealt with decisively, through utter defeat (many of them will die) during the Tribulation. Beginning with the Gog/Magog assault on Israel in the early part of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38 & 39). Ending with the Antichrist led ten-nation confederation that invades Israel but meets its end at the Valley of Megiddo (Daniel 11 & Revelation 19).

God didn’t choose the Jews because they were special; this is made clear in several Old Testament passages. Rather he chose them for a special reason: to be the conduit of His Word (the Bible) and to bring Messiah to the world to solve the otherwise unsolvable problem and terrible consequences of sin. Which culminates with Messiah’s majestic return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, after rescuing Israel and Jerusalem and bringing an end to the greatest calamity ever experienced by mankind. This Kingdom will be ruled from Jerusalem, the capital of the Promised Land of Israel given to Abraham and his descendants FOREVER.

Though God had to discipline his people for their own rebellion against and abandonment of Him, the covenant with Abraham was unconditional. Which lead to a plethora of prophecies in the Old Testament declaring God’s promise that the Jews would return to Israel and Israel’s rebirth as a Sovereign nation.

Such as: “I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15).

There never has been nor ever will be a Sovereign greater than the true and living Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In fact, among the other titles that God ascribes to himself, is The Sovereign Lord … especially in Ezekiel.

Concerning the one reason that is greater than all others for Israeli sovereignty in all of Israel—God’s divine gift of the Promised Land to the Jews in perpetuity—the following is a quote from last week’s article:

If anyone wants to dispute this historical and (still to this day) contemporary truth, they are welcome to take it up with God himself.

I’m serious.

And they need to get serious too, because one day (soon) there will come a time of reckoning when all nations will need to give an account of their treatment of Israel.

Such as:

“At the time of these 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 (valley of decision, which physically will be at Megiddo). There I will judge them for harming my people (the Jews), my special possession (Israel), and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2, parenthesis mine).

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

“During the reign of those kings (leaders of nations just before and during the Tribulation that align themselves against God and Messiah Jesus and Israel), the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Daniel 2:44, parenthesis mine).

Does Israel Belong To The State of Israel?

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One reaction to the title of this week’s article might be: Is that a trick question?

Not really.

Why?

Because many have allowed themselves to be tricked (misled) into thinking that certain disputed regions of Israel do not belong to the Israelis. Or there is a legal; or, if non-legal, then at least an acceptable argument to challenge Israeli sovereignty over and Jewish communities within Palestinian territories … also the Golan Heights.

There are three groupings of people world-wide that to some extent or another participate in this debate—whether all of Israel’s borders, annexed or not, include sovereign Israeli ground within what the Israeli government recently affirmed as the Jewish nation-state. (Refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Israel’s Controversial Nation-State Law, posted 8-11-18; which explains what this law means, what it does not mean, and the repercussions thereof).

The three groups are:

(1) Those who deliberately distort contemporary facts on the ground (reality) and intentionally dismiss or flippantly falsify (rewrite) history to promote the agenda that Jews are occupying land that does not belong to them. For the most part they are Palestinians, Islamic nations, and other national leaders and their people—most notably many western nations within the European Union.

Although non-Muslim nations occasionally express their support for the Jew’s right of self-determination and security, they (even the United States, particularly under the Obama administration) accuse the Israeli government of allowing “illegal Jewish settlements” and even of apartheid. (See Eye of Prophecy article: Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? Posted 5-16-15. Also, Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount Part I & II … August 2017).

(2) Those ignorant of or indifferent to Israel’s true history and the Middle East chronicle in general. Without bothering to become familiar with at least the basics, they blindly support the anti-Israeli rhetoric accompanied by an intersectional bandwagon approach that includes the Palestinian narrative along with other causes on their eclectic bucket list, e.g. LGBT, racial discrimination, women’s rights.

Ironically, the extremists (of group #1 above) like political activist Linda Sarsour, a “leader” of the women’s rights movement, don’t like or want other women who support Israel in any fashion as part of these intersectional movements. Even more paradoxical is that Sarsour’s strenuous support of Islam includes toleration for Islamic subjugation of women as 2nd class citizens, who have nowhere near the rights of Muslim men; nor anything resembling the liberties of western women. As is said, “Go figure.”

On the other hand, it’s easy to figure out. Everything that campaigners like Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib promote (literally for Omar and Tlaib, as each is a U.S. Congresswoman) is fueled by and couched in their innate (antisemitic) hostility toward Israel and the right of Jews to a sovereign state. Which is the ONLY Jewish nation on the planet. And the ONLY democratic nation in the entire Middle East. Yet, they and most Muslims want Israel replaced with yet another Arab nation (currently there are 22 of them) or at least an Islamic dominated nation, of which there are 57 in the world, including the 22 Arab countries.

(One Muslim nation missing, didn’t have time to figure out which one!)

(3) Those who have studied Israel’s national and spiritual heritage (Biblical and secular), keeping abreast of historical and contemporary cause and effect developments in the Middle East. I put myself in this category.

Though several Eye of Prophecy articles have dealt at length with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict generally and the disputed territories as understood (or not) by the world community specifically; it’s time to revisit this issue that has captivated global attention in an exponential fashion since Israel’s rebirth as a sovereign-state in 1948. (Refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Global Obsession with Israel … In Biblical Proportions! Published 1-6-18)

From north to south in Israel those contested regions: the Golan Heights, Judea & Samaria (in the last 50 years or so-called the West Bank), and the Gaza Strip.

In this week’s post, we’ll focus our looking-glass on the Golan Heights. Next week’s article will concentrate on Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Let’s begin with a comparative overview of:

Israel / A Small Island in the Middle of an Arab Sea

Literally, Israel is to the vast land-mass of surrounding Muslim nations as the island of Cyprus is to the Mediterranean Sea … you could throw in the Black Sea, too. Actually, Israel is a smaller comparison than Cyprus, even though I’m limiting these countries to Israel’s immediate Arabic neighbors: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. If extended adjacent nations like Turkey, Iraq, and Iran are included, the analogy is inadequate. I would need to pick a much smaller island in the Mediterranean.

Israel proper where about 91 % if Jews reside (8,020 square miles, excluding West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights) most closely approximates the American state of New Jersey in geographical size. New Jersey’s population is 8.9 million. Oddly, so is the Israeli populace at 8.9 million; composed of 6.7 million Jews, 1.9 million Arab citizens of Israel, and other ethnic citizens like the Druze. Ten states the size of all Israel—including Judea/Samaria (the West Bank), Gaza, and Golan—would fit in my home state of Arizona. And Arizona is less than 1/3 the size of just one of these Muslim countries listed above … Egypt.

However, if we compare the entire sovereign State of Israel’s total square miles that includes the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights to the aggregate square miles of the Muslim nations (mostly Arab) of the Middle East that are in proximity to Israel, we end up with a comparison almost to miniscule to measure … about 1/6 of one percent.

Yet, according to the United Nations Security Council in a resolution endorsed (surreptitiously) by outgoing U.S. President Obama at the time, that’s still too much land for the Jews. See Eye of Prophecy article, United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334), posted 1-7-17.

For most Palestinians and Islamic nations, any acre of land possessed by Jews in Israel is one acre too many. However, it’s not one square mile or foot of Israel that her enemies really contest; it’s whether the (Jewish) State of Israel has the right to exist at all. Why else would the Arabs, then later the Palestinian Arabs have flatly rejected offers for their own state alongside Israel; not once, twice, or thrice … but four times.

Those four occasions: Balfour Declaration of 1917 followed by the British Mandate of 1922; UN Two-State Partition Plan of 1947; Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s (ill-advised) offer in 2000; Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s (equally ill-advised) offer in 2008.

Which makes the question posed in the title of this week’s article not at all strange or illogical.

From the vantage point of those who understand that the Jews were given the Promised Land of Israel by God himself and were there about 2,400 years before the Arabs—with the Jews in today’s Israel once again outnumbering Arabs—the article title’s question is rhetorical. Of course, all the land belongs to the Jewish nation-state called Israel, including the Golan Heights.

Israel’s Sovereignty Compared to United States’ Sovereignty (Or Any Democratic Nation)

To challenge Israel’s right to the entirety of its land is no different than someone saying that a certain area of the United States doesn’t belong to the Republic of the United States of America; including two non-contiguous states. One state (Alaska) separated by the country of Canada; another state (Hawaii) by the Pacific Ocean.

Or that some American citizens are inhabiting land that doesn’t belong to them. Citing reasons that would be just as ludicrous as the Palestinian narrative contending that part of Israel (legally) belongs to the Arabs who keep referring to Israel as Palestine. Never mind that there has never been a state of Palestine or a Palestinian language. The more militant Palestinians (like Hamas and Fatah), make no pretense in their claims that all of Israel belongs to them, a mindset harbored by many “moderate” Palestinians, though they may not voice it as loudly.

Israel legally occupies (in the original positive meaning of occupy) land that she was bequeathed by the United Nations and has purchased, developed, annexed, or won in justified wars of independence and survival. Still, a comparison with America doesn’t tell the whole story. In that regard, Israel has a distinct and superior advantage over the United States in terms of sovereign rights of ownership and possession currently and in antiquity.

America was birthed as a nation, decades after immigrants came to a virgin land that was neither titled (legally parceled) nor adequately (at first) developed politically or economically to support a free democratic society. Then we fought a bloody civil war to end slavery but also to prevent succession of several southern states from the union. Not until the Union’s victory in the American Civil War did this country truly become The United States of America.

The United States acquired much of its land through expansion, albeit with a practical geopolitical and demographic dynamic that included bordering on two sides by oceans. In all due respect to Native Americans (still rich in heritage, of whom several I’ve met and appreciate), they constantly fought among themselves for various reasons, particularly over land; with minimal resolution as to what territory belonged to which tribe.

(Westward Ho!)

Not so the Jews. They already had a border-bound, parceled-out heritage in the Promised Land of Israel. Now it was time to reclaim that inheritance.

In great numbers they returned to the land that had belonged to them far longer than the United States has even been a nation. Thus, Israel was reborn (reinstated) as a nation, and in one day! Israel is Israel again. Moreover, Israel’s status as a sovereign nation had been approved by the United Nations itself—back in the days when the UN was functioning the way it was intended. And before that by the League of Nations when the Balfour Declaration of 1917 materialized into the British Mandate of 1922.

Why did the Arabs decline statehood then and now? Is Israel responsible for that? Not even close. Not one iota.

Easy answer: The Arabs simply cannot abide the thought of a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state.

Intellectually and emotionally, they are in complete denial that Israel has decisively won four major wars started by Muslim Arab nations. For that reason alone, Israeli Jews—legally, morally, geopolitically, and demographically—have the right to claim every inch of land within Israel’s borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Including the Golan Heights, annexed by Israel.

Plus, 1.9 million Arabs in Israel have chosen Israeli citizenship in contrast to the 4.7 million Arabs (Palestinians … the 4.7 million is probably inflated because Palestinians still include those who have moved out of Israel) of the West Bank and Gaza Strip who have rejected citizenship. The privilege of which has been a standing offer from Israeli Jews since they won their War of Independence in 1948-1949.

The following is an excerpt from the earlier referenced article, United Nations Downsizing of Israel … (in italics):

On December 23rd (the beginning of Sabbath day for Jews) of last year (2016) the Security Council passed UN Resolution #2334. It was yet another motion condemning Jewish settlements in the so-called West Bank, which includes all of what the Palestinians (and much of the world) classify as East Jerusalem.

Then later in that article:

In gleeful reaction to Resolution 2334, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presumptuously said, “We are calling for 2017 to be the year of international recognition of the State of Palestine because more recognitions will strengthen the possibility of achieving a two-state solution and real peace.”

As though Palestine was already a state, Abbas continued, “I say to you that settlements on the land of the occupied State of Palestine are on their way out. We secured a historic UN Security Council resolution, which said that any changes since 1967 to the demographic composition or land of the State of Palestine including East Jerusalem are unacceptable.”

(Comment: “Unacceptable only to Palestinians and those who support the Palestinian narrative. But certainly not illegal. Not only that: Abbas’s statement smacks hypocritically of the very ethnic cleansing and apartheid of which he falsely accuses Israel. In fact, Abbas has said on more than one occasion: No Jew will ever be allowed citizenship in a Palestinian State. Such a fair and balanced view (yes, I’m being sarcastic) considering that Israel has 1.9 million Arab citizens, many of whom (via polls) prefer living in an Israeli state than they would in a Palestinian state.

Refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Ethnic Cleansing of Jews … The Real Palestinian Agenda published 9-17-16. Also: A Palestinian State (No Say Many Arabs!) Posted 1-11-14.

Continuing with the excerpt:

By prematurely referring to Palestine as a state, which has never legally or legislatively or nationally existed in the first place (it has always been Israel no matter that a Roman Emperor arbitrarily and spitefully changed Israel’s name to Palestine nearly 2,000 years ago); an impression is made on both the informed and uninformed that Jews don’t belong anywhere in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. When, in fact, much of the land in Judea and Samaria on which some 600,000 Jews reside was purchased by the Jews … even land won from the Arabs in the Six-Day War.

Does the United States and the United Nations believe that any portion of land within the sovereign borders of any nation on earth could be (illegally) “occupied” by citizens of that country? With the resulting conclusion that no citizen of that country has any right to purchase and own land in select areas of their nation that are indwelt mostly by a certain ethnic group of people….

(Comment: That would be no different than denying land ownership to anyone else other than the French for land lawfully purchased from France in 1803, called the Louisiana Territory … now consisting of parts or all of several states. Or, territory in Texas plus what is now the entire state of California won in wars with Mexico, as off-limits to Americans. Or, only ethnic Hawaiians living on land in Hawaii which was annexed by the United States before it became a state. That is exactly what the UN Security Council is saying about the “Palestinian territories” within Israel. I repeat for emphasis: exactly).

(Louisiana Purchase: Nearly 1/3 of the Continental United States)

Concluding that excerpt:

The so-called Jewish “settlement occupation” is neither (1) illegal, nor, (2) the main obstacle to peace in Israel. Nor is a Palestinian State the solution. Certainly not one that is unilaterally imposed on Israelis with little or no input from them, especially relating to their national security and survival. Which means that imposition of the pre-1967 truce boundaries (lines) cannot be accepted by Israel. Some concessions could be made (through negotiation), but at least two demands cannot be met: (1) Jerusalem as a divided capital, or (2) Israeli departure from the Golan Heights.

Which leads us to:

The Golan Heights

On March 21, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!”

Then on March 25th, President Trump signed a resolution to affirm this declaration: the Golan Heights belong to Israel. This was a long overdue recognition that Israel’s annexation of (most of) the Golan Heights in 1981 was both practical and legal, contrary to those who claim Israel has no right to the Golan Heights.

This bold, but controversial decision was the latest of President Trump’s solidarity support for Israel as a Jewish State. Beginning with Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, then relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018. And a substantial reduction of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority because of its insidious “pay for slay” financial support of tried, convicted, imprisoned Palestinians who have maimed and killed Israelis Jews. Or to the immediate relatives of those terrorists if their family member was killed during his/her depraved act or in a manhunt (shootout) later. Also, Trump’s recension of the horrendous Iran Nuclear Deal, that will benefit Israel’s security enormously.

Similar resolutions have been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, but President Trump’s signed pledge makes U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights belonging to Israel as official policy.

Israel’s recently reelected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heartily thanked President Trump for this decision and later indicated that Israel would name an Israeli community in the Golan after Trump. Will the town be called, Trumpville? Probably not, as there are no other Israeli towns ending in ville! At least none that I know of. (I couldn’t resist a little fun here).

Seriously, this latest demonstration of United States support for Israel is huge, both symbolically and practically. I sometimes cringe at President Trump’s unpredictable style (idiosyncrasies). And it remains to be seen what his Deal of Century (supposed to be introduced in June) will entail. But no matter what anyone thinks of Trump—good, bad, indifferent—his consistent and active promotion, as opposed to merely lip service, of Israel’s sovereignty and security exceeds all U.S. Presidents before him. Even that of President Harry Truman who was the first head of state to congratulate and recognize Israel’s Statehood in May 1948.

For the reason of unreserved (thus far) support of Israel, God may withhold judgment (or greater judgment) on the United States, which is no longer one nation under God, nor one that even comes close now days to:

(Refer to Eye of Prophecy article: America the Beautiful is Getting Ugly … 7-19-16)

As expected, there was an international uproar that (almost) equaled President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and subsequent move of the U.S. embassy. I’ll reference only one of these responses, which is from Syria itself—the country that claims the Golan as theirs (Note: about 1/3 of the Golan Heights still belongs to Syria, called the Syrian Golan).

From the Syrian Foreign Ministry Department came a statement that Trump’s decision was a “blatant aggression” against what they considered the territorial integrity of Syria. That classifying the Golan Heights as within Israel’s borders was the, “…highest level of contempt for international legitimacy…” So on and so forth.

Are they right?

Not even close. Which is why neither Syria nor any other nation or head of state who agrees with Syria care to discuss in-depth the true history of the Golan Heights. Such things that I (and others) have written about before but bear repeating. Not the least of which is: The Syrians constantly and conveniently forget that they lost the Golan Heights to Israel twice (1967 & 1973) after attacking Israel from that very region.

Moreover, the so-called borders of the Golan Heights that separated Syria from the newborn State of Israel were only armistice (truce) lines agreed to by the Israelis when they defended themselves against five Arab armies (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and of course, Syria) that attacked the Jews the day after Israel declared in May 1948 its (1947) UN-voted right for statehood.

For the next 18 years, Syrian armed forces rained down bombs from the Golan Heights on Jewish farms and communities in the valley regions of the Galilee. Though terrifying for the Jews who lived there, Israel elected not to engage in another “all-out war” with Syria. However, that all changed when once again Arab armies massed for war against Israel in 1967. Though Israel struck first, it was crystal clear to the entire world that Egypt and Syria were about to attack Israel again.

Politicians, military experts, and historians—whether religious or not—consider the Israeli Six-Day War victory as the most stunning achievement in the annals of military history. The word miracle is entirely appropriate. Not only was an Israeli victory considered unlikely (impossible by many), to accomplish it in six-days was mind-boggling. Plus, it was a decisive victory—not just one narrowly achieved.

As is said, “the rest is history.” Then more history when Israel again defeated the Syrians and Egyptians in an even bloodier war, when Israel was attacked on her High Holy Day of Yom Kippur in 1973.

The Israeli portion of the Golan Heights comprises about 500 square miles … roughly the size of Phoenix, Arizona, a suburb of which I reside. That is not my comparison, although I should have thought of it and looked it up! Instead, I found it in an article written by well-known columnist for The Washington Times, Clifford D. May. Entitled: Trump’s clear view of the Golan Heights (April 16, 2019).

Whoever controls the Golan Heights has a vastly superior high ground advantage over the Galilee region and the Jordan Valley.

(Portion of the Golan Heights)

In the Six-Day War, Israel defeated Syria in the north. In the south the Israelis were victorious over Egypt, but eventually relinquished control of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip back to Egypt. In the center of Israel (Judea/Samaria), the Israelis defeated Jordan which entered the war despite Israel’s warnings for them not to. As a result, the IDF won a vicious battle for Jerusalem itself, thereby liberating the Holy City from Jordan’s illegal occupation that began after Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Because of international pressure, Israel returned administrative jurisdiction of the eastern part of Jerusalem, including Temple Mount, back to Jordan and (eventually) the Palestinians. However, for purpose of ultimate national sovereignty, Israel annexed Eastern Jerusalem in 1967.

Although Israel did not return the Golan Heights to Syria, the IDF presence in/near the Golan was not that substantial after the Six-Day War. The Israelis came perilously close to losing the Yom Kippur War in 1973 (especially against Syria in the north); thus, they knew beyond all doubt that they must never leave the Golan and must strengthen their military there.

Consequently, in 1981 Israel officially annexed the Golan Heights.

Was that illegal?

Absolutely not. From time immemorial (including our post-modern world) the “rule of international law” is that a nation that captures territory from which they are attacked has the right to maintain control of that territory, including annexation if they choose. Conversely, land that is captured by a nation that launches an unprovoked (unjust) war against another nation is not recognized as legitimate. Whether other nations can do anything about it depends on several variables, not the least of which is their ability to, by force, counter and correct such acquisitions. Which, of course, the allies did in World War II when Germany, Italy, and Japan attacked not only the allies, but also seized control of other territories or entire nations for no other reason that unilateral conquest.

If Egypt in 1956 (Suez Canal War); Syria, Egypt, Jordan in 1967; and Egypt/Syria in 1973 had defeated Israel, would the United States or any other nation(s) have commenced a campaign against the Arabs to return the sovereign state of Israel back to the Jews? Highly unlikely. Except for military material aid given by President Richard Nixon to Israel in the Yom Kippur War, there was no direct military assistance (boots on the ground) provided to Israel in 1967 or 1973. (Some Americans and Europeans did fight for Israel in their 1948 War of Independence).

Further commenting on international law: The whole idea is not to allow nations who unjustly attack other nations (just because the attacking nation doesn’t think the nation attacked should exist or for land-grab purposes) to reclaim “disputed” land that the aggressor used to launch its assault, but subsequently lost to the nation attacked.

That would be a blatantly unwarranted “win” for the aggressor that lost. And a “lose” for the nation that won.

With a dramatically distorted application of national and international integrity or “legitimacy” as the Syrians put it, the Golan still belongs to them. No matter that Israel defeated her enemies via a just (defensive for her very survival) response to an unprovoked attack, Israel must return the Golan Heights to Syria. So, it doesn’t matter if Syria loses (which they did) the wars. All the Golan still belongs to them. That’s convoluted logic at its best … or worst.

As well-known Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz (an ardent apologist for Israel, albeit I don’t agree with his support for a two-state solution in Israel) so aptly stated: “No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy, militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war.”

*Note: Dershowitz participated in a peaceful public gathering outside the New York Times building earlier this week. Purpose was to strenuously protest the deplorable cartoon of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu published in this virulently anti-Israeli newspaper that for years has denigrated (through propaganda style reporting that even makes otherwise objective news reports into op-ed articles) the nation of Israel.

(Alan Dershowitz)

Comparison of West Point to the Golan Heights!

For purpose of today’s article which focuses on the Golan Heights, consider this parallel during America’s Revolutionary War which, like Israel, was fought to preserve the birth of a nation. In 1776, England obviously didn’t acknowledge the American colonies Declaration of Independence of The United States of America. Neither did Muslim Arab countries even remotely recognize Israel’s existence when she declared statehood in 1948.

With one huge difference: All Islamic nations except two (Egypt and Jordan) and other Muslim non-Arab nations still do not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign country in the global family of nations. Almost all those nations also have refused any diplomatic relations with Israel. Whereas, England, later called Great Britain, has been for well over a hundred years and still is one of America’s closest allies.

Do you remember Benedict Arnold? Even if some aren’t familiar with the details, most Americans and many people in the world know him as perhaps the worst traitor in American history.

Benedict Arnold was a General in the Continental Army who, in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, fought valiantly for the newborn nation of America. For reasons that time/space do not permit in this article, he defected to the British in 1780.

Arnold’s objective was first to be made commander of the fort of West Point on the west bank of the Hudson River, which he persuaded General George Washington to do. His scheme was to weaken the ability of the Continental army stationed there to the point where the West Point garrison would have no choice but surrender to the British General Sir Henry Clinton. On a high plateau overlooking the crucial terrain of the Hudson River in New York State, both the Americans and the British were fully aware of West Point’s strategic advantage. In fact, General Washington made it his main headquarters in 1779, although he spent much of his time on other battle fronts.

Short version: Arnold’s plot was exposed, and he escaped capture during the ensuing fight for West Point. The colonists barely won that battle when a contingency of Washington’s army arrived just in time. Arnold eventually fled to England and died in London in 1801.

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed an order creating West Point Academy which is still world-famous for its training of American officers in the Army branch of the U.S. Military.

In terms of logistical location, West Point and its surrounding topography was as vital to the Americans as the Golan Heights is to Israel in today’s world.

(West Point)

Now then, the analogy: Can you imagine if the newly elected 1st United States President George Washington and/or Congress decided after the war to give West Point along with 500 square miles of land surrounding it to the British? Say as a token of their appreciation for England not continuing the war against the colonists any longer than they did. Or, perhaps a gesture of good will toward those colonists (called Loyalists) who preferred what they considered as more stability under British rule over the uncertain risk of American independence. After all, the original 13 states were called New England. Plus, some of the colonists had fought for the British against the French in the French-Indian Wars just a few decades earlier. Good reasons?

What’s the first thing that would/should come to mind?

If you said, “Absurd” or something like it, you would be 100% correct. Suicidal also fits.

Would it make any difference if, for example, the main ally of America at the time (France, of all countries!) would have said something to the effect that return of West Point wasn’t just a nice gesture, but that it also followed international law? Or that some otherwise neutral nations would have backed this proposal, with the thought that perhaps the British would appreciate the offer and it would discourage them from starting another war with America. (Land for peace!)

Would your response be the same? “Ridiculous!” I would think so.

England did go to war with America again in 1812. Though not as long, a war every bit as fierce as the Revolutionary War, including the British burning our Capital and the White House. Had the British already held a foothold in the West Point area, the war might have lasted six years instead of three. I’m just saying…

This is fundamentally no different than Israel relinquishing the Golan Heights and control thereof to Syria. For that matter Syria’s President and regime are far less honorable and much more vicious than were the British in the 18th & early 19th century. Plus, Syria is now indebted to Russia, Iran, and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah for their assistance in crushing the (Arab-Spring) uprising of many Syrians who want at least some form of democracy in Syria.

Yet, this is precisely what nearly all Muslin countries and Western nations critical of Israel’s right to the Golan Heights are demanding. Western European nations like France, Germany, Great Britain have recognized Israel’s right to exist as a nation but are adamantly opposed to Israel’s prerogative position in and on the Golan—despite all the reasons discussed in this article and acknowledged for years by those who really know and care about what’s (really) happening in the Middle East.

Summary

The Jews continuous presence in the Promised Land of Israel for some 3,800 years; United Nations Resolution of November 1947 leading to the rebirth of Israel’s sovereign state; Jewish purchase of land throughout Israel; victory in four defensive wars of survival; amazing agricultural and hi-tech economic development of Israel; annexation (2/3 of the Golan Heights)—each one provides extraordinary evidence and undeniable reasons why Israeli Jews have both national and international rights (by definition) to live ANYWHERE in Israel.

Combining them together yields an overwhelmingly convincing conclusion that: All of Israel’s land is within and belongs to the Jewish nation of Israel.

However, as detailed in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, it bears repeating that there is one top of the line truth and irrefutable reality that eclipses all these reasons:

God’s Sovereign Determination of Israel’s Borders and Destiny

If anyone wants to dispute this historical and contemporary truth, they are welcome to take it up with God himself.

I’m serious.

And they need to get serious too, because one day (soon) there will come a reckoning when all nations will need to give an account of their treatment of Israel. We’ll cover that more next week.

In several passages of the Bible’s Old Testament, the Lord presented to his people both a panoramic picture; then later, more precise parameters of Israel’s borders and division of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel. Land that was given by God to the Jews in perpetuity. The word forever applies.

Beginning with the entire land of Canaan given by the Lord to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac, that encompassed much more than present day Israel (Genesis Chapters 12, 15, & 17). Followed by Moses’ limited description of Israel’s land inheritance to Jacob’s sons (Numbers 34-35, which didn’t include the allotment for the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh in what is mostly present-day Jordan).

Then an expanded meticulous map-like depiction of the land that comprises seven entire chapters in the book of Joshua (Chapters 13-19). Plus, Chapter 21 for the Levites. Followed by a condensed summary of the land found in Ezekiel Chapters 47-48.

Things to Ponder

Since our focus today is on the Golan Heights, I’ll cite another passage (somewhat obscure for some) in the book of Obadiah. Prefaced by an earlier verse that is similar in nature to dozens of other prophecies that foretell the final return of the Jews to Israel.

“…And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:17b).

The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? In italics:

The last three verses of Obadiah describe much (but not all) of Israel’s original land mass. In parenthesis, the modern-day portion of Israel will be inserted to match the Biblical names, some of which are still the same. Notice that the passage uses the word “occupy.” And does so with a matter-of-fact positive connotation. Not the negative occupation accusation by Israel’s enemies (and even some of her “friends”) that is patently false … Biblically, historically, and currently.

“Then my people living in the Negev (still called the Negev … southern part of Israel next to the Sinai Peninsula which is part of ancient Israel that bordered Egypt and Arabia) will occupy the mountains of Edom (southern Jordan and western part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah (land and cities south of Jerusalem, including Hebron) will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza Strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (the West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (portion of northwestern Jordan and southwestern Syria).

“The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (ancient Tyre and Sidon … the coast of Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Temple Mount which has belonged to the Jews in perpetuity but currently under administrative control of Jordan and the Palestinians) to rule over the mountains of Edom” (Obadiah 1:19-21a).

The land of Gilead as mentioned by Obadiah overlaps with the modern Golan Heights.

Another prophet also referenced Gilead, plus Lebanon: “Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel … I will resettle them in Gilead and Lebanon, until there is no more room for them all” (Zechariah 10:9-10, italics for emphasis).

*Note: The “return again” isn’t grammatically redundant. It’s referring to the second (more massive) return of Jewish exiles to Israel, the first long ago from Babylon.

When consolidating all the Biblical passages in which God outlines the expansive borders of Israel, they constitute not only modern-day Israel; but also, all of Lebanon and Jordan and some or much of Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. As delineated in the following pictorial, which I believe is somewhat more than the original Biblical boundaries, especially to the south.

Through a Divine promise that is being fulfilled before our 20th and 21st century eyes; after 2,000 years of Jewish exile to the four corners of the earth, the Jews have returned to Israel in great numbers, beginning primarily in 1948.

It is unprecedented … never done before by any other nation or peoples.

It is incomprehensible … many including most Jews said it couldn’t be done.

It is nothing short of miraculous.

No longer is it, “Next year in Jerusalem.” For millions of Israeli Jews, it is, “This year in Jerusalem. We’re home!”

It is a God-thing.

“…Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King!” (Psalm 48:2).