The Terrible Trio of Gog and Magog

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Iran’s Direct Attack on Israel … A New Strategy

“Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran are on a collision course, a leading expert said on Sunday in the wake of Saturday’s clash between the Jewish state and forces loyal to Iran in neighboring Syria.”

These are the opening words of an article written by Benjamin Kerstein originally posted in the Israeli online news source, Algemeiner.com on February 12, 2018.

Before and especially after the outrageous Iran Nuclear Deal (finalized in April, 2015 … see Eye of Prophecy article, A Deal That Will Live in Infamy, posted 8-1-15), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Iran directly and the world-at-large secondarily that Israel cannot risk and will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. Nor will Israel condone the transfer of precision-guided Iranian missiles (sold by Russia to Iran) through Syria into Lebanon. For several years now, Israel has launched strikes into Syria against these armament convoys. It’s clear that the IDF’s surgical strikes have been a deterrent to an even greater build-up and deployment of missiles in Syria and Lebanon.

This past Saturday (February 10th), in the early morning hours, an Iranian “stealth” drone was launched from a caravan near the T4 (Tiyos) airbase in the central desert of Syria, not far from Palmyra. The “elite” Iranian Quds Force took over this airbase some time ago and operates it to transport and release drones and missiles throughout Syria. In the past (it’s been several years), Hezbollah has fired rockets into Israel, but Iran itself has not.

Until now.

(Iranian Drones & Iran’s Ayatollah)

The article by Benjamin Kerstein continues: “There is a ‘major strategic clash on the horizon,’ said Amos Yadlin, the former head of IDF Intelligence and Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies. ‘We are speaking about an attempt that has never been made before,’ Yadlin said of the drone infiltration, and added that the motivation was Iran’s desire to prevent Israel’s ongoing attempts to prevent weapons transfers to the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon.

‘The Iranians … wanted to show Israel that it is also capable of attacking (Israeli) territory,’ Yadlin commented. The Iranians hoped that Israel would not respond to the escalation, but were quickly proven wrong.”

*Note: The more immediate motive for Iran’s unprecedented action was retaliation for Israel’s raid on an Iranian/Syrian weapons production facility near Damascus a few weeks earlier. Yet, in the past Iran had not responded to Israeli raids on Syrian weapons facilities. Therefore, this was Iran’s audacious attempt to directly strike a blow against Israel, and to test Israel’s resolve.

The article concludes with, “Yadlin stated in a conference call that the ongoing conflict is born of ‘Iran’s determination to build a force in Syria, and Israel’s determination not to let them.’

“A former IAF pilot, Yadlin took part in 1981’s legendary Operation Opera, which destroyed Iraq’s nuclear facility in Osirak.”

Note: That daring Israeli attack into the heart of Iraq was subsequently acknowledged by the United States and most Western nations as the main reason why Saddam Hussein never developed nuclear weapons.

Iran’s Futile Scheme to Surprise Israel

As though the Iranians thought they would catch Israel off-guard or outwit Israeli defenses, they directed the flight-path of the drone through Syrian airspace into Jordan, with the drone then manipulated suddenly into Israeli airspace. After monitoring the entire course of the drone, Israel waited 90 seconds to determine if the drone would remain in Israeli territory. When the Israeli Defense Force concluded that the drone was heading deeper into Israel, an IDF Apache helicopter shot it out of the sky.

Slightly over an hour later, eight Israeli F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to deal with the original source of what could have been several Israeli casualties had this drone fired on whatever target the Iranians may have selected in Israel. Even if it was just a “spy” drone, there’s no excuse for entering Israeli airspace.

Not only did the IDF destroy the caravan that carried this drone to its propulsion point, it also took out nearly half of Syria’s air defense installations including Iranian military sites. Some of these targets were destroyed in the first wave of Israeli F-16 air attacks; others in a second wave after a surface to air missile brought down one of the fighter jets, which crashed in northern Israel. Fortunately both the pilot and navigator survived, albeit the pilot sustained serious injuries. This was the first fighter jet lost in battle by the Israelis since 1982 … the Lebanon War.

Said Ammon Ein Dar, head of the Israeli Training and Doctrine Division, “We carried out a wide-scale attack on the aerial defense system: radars, missiles, batteries, and posts.”

Here is the count of Israel’s swift and stunning damages to Iranian and Syrian fortifications, a total of twelve separate sites: Syria’s largest airbase, with 54 runways and a control tower destroyed; 3 weapons depots; 6 Syrian military installations; 2 Iranian military bases.

In an article posted on February 11, 2018 in the online news source Jewish News Syndicate (JNS), Yaakov Lappin writes: “The escalation is the latest in an epic struggle building between Iran, which is trying to turn Syria into a forward Iranian military base, and Israel, which is determined to prevent this from happening at all costs. Iran is now trying to set a new ‘rules of the game’ and limit Israeli defensive operations in Syria.”

Lappin concludes his article by saying, “The Israeli strikes hinted at an ability to do far more significant damage should Iran decide to escalate further. Iran has no assurance that its own territory would remain immune to Israeli firepower in the event of a future conflict. The stakes of this struggle remain very high. Iran will have to decide if it will again try to challenge Israel’s freedom to operate over Syrian airspace. The situation remains explosive. Israel does not seek war, but the signals coming out of Jerusalem indicated that it has no intention of backing down from its red lines.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian civil war is anything but over. In fact, fighting has intensified once again, including the recent killing of over 200 civilians by Bashar Assad’s Syrian government forces aided by Hezbollah troops, Russian airstrikes, and Iranian missiles. The humanitarian crises is getting even worse. In all, nearly 500,000 have lost their lives in this woeful war of attrition.

(Homs, Syria … Shows Massive Damage to Just One of Many Cities in Syria. See Eye of Prophecy Article, There’s No Place Like Homs; Posted 3-12-16)

Will Things Continue as Usual?

The Apostle Peter told believers that there would be many in the last days who would scoff at the very truth of Scripture, and would mock the idea that Christ would return anytime soon, if at all.

“This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome (healthy, sensible, practical) thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created’” (II Peter 3:1-4, parenthesis mine).

Keep in mind that 1st century Christians (first and foremost the apostles) eagerly expected that Messiah’s return would happen in their lifetime. With, however, the Holy Spirit inspiring Peter to also remind believers of God’s perspective of time: “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (I Peter 3:8).

Jesus arose from the grave in the very early morning hours on the 3rd day. It’s been two thousand years since his resurrection. Might the 3rd millennium A.D. that began just 18 years ago be the early morning hours of the 3rd day that will see his return?!

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return? Posted 11-18-17)).

Jesus himself said:

Day or hour is literal (no one knows the specific day or hour) and also expressive or indicative of years; but not an indefinite period of time. In fact, Jesus narrows this down to a generational time-span in his lengthy and fascinating end-times discourse (Matthew Chapters 24 & 25). That’s why he said, keep watch. Watch for what?

Answer: The signs of the “birth pains” (Matthew 24:8). Which prefaces Peter’s advice to know and understand the end-time signs predicted by the Old Testament prophets (remember what the holy prophets said long ago).

Continuing with the Apostle Peter: “They deliberately forgot that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and the earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed” (II Peter 3:5-7).

No different, said Peter, than the generation of the Great Flood. Like so many today, they were oblivious to or in denial disregard of the ark built right in front of them. They ignored Noah’s preaching for 120 years regarding the (obviously implied by Scripture) reason the ark was being built, including what they must do to survive God’s judgment of a world filled with evil and violence. In contemporary times, we have far more markers than just one ark. Indicators that are (should be) as obvious as an ark being built with no body of water nearby.

Jesus used the same analogy: “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:37-39).

Thus, Peter said: “I want you to remember … I want to remind you.” Not the least of which was Jesus’s profound time-dedicated prediction: “…this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).

Despite the extraordinary events of the 20th & 21st centuries and the ominous developments in the Middle East, most unbelievers and those Christian in name only continue to do what Jesus and the Apostle Peter said they would do in the last days. Sadly, in fact, many evangelical Christians have sometimes said pretty much the same thing, but not with a “mocking” mentality. Nonetheless, they are skeptical that the return of Messiah Jesus is very near, citing the constant chain of events in the Middle East and around Israel as an ongoing conflict with no end in sight. With a vague view that it could be decades or hundreds of years longer. That and they’ve forgotten the “generational” time frame that Jesus himself said would constitute the beginning (birth pangs) of the end.

As mentioned in several Eye of Prophecy articles, there are two time-parameters of a generation in Scripture: One hundred years and seventy years. One of the most prevalent prophecies of the Old Testament is the return of the Jews to Israel (including Israel’s rebirth as a nation), many of which were linked to Messiah’s coming to earth (his return) to rescue Israel from the godless Gentile nations. Two of these staggering predictions were the Gog/Magog invasion (Ezekiel 38 & 39) and the final assault led by the Antichrist such as found in Daniel 7, 9, and 11.

So, will things continue as usual? Answer: Yes and No.

Yes. The preponderance of people on this globe continue with (reckless) abandon their pursuit of the partying mentality at all cost, disregarding the “Arks” going up in plain sight around them. Signs that will affect their eternal destiny. For them, it is business as usual.

(Lasting Two Weeks, It’s The Longest Annual Celebration in the US. The Last Day of Mardi Gras Was This Past Tuesday, 2-13-18, Known as “Fat Tuesday” From the French: Mardi … Tuesday and Gras … fat).

Jesus isn’t saying there’s anything wrong with (in moderation) banquets and celebrations and business as usual. Messiah’s first miracle (along with dozens of other subsequent miracles) proving that he was the Son of God and God the Son took place at a wedding in Cana … turning water into wine.

What is wrong and eternally risky is to ignore obvious signs that the return of Messiah Jesus is drawing so very near.

Thus, the answer to the question is also, No. These amazing 20th & 21st century prophetic arks (end-time indicators) are anything but ordinary. When compared to the 18 centuries before (the 1st century A.D. was exceptionally uncommon) they are as unusual as it gets.

Things Are Different Now!

Considering Bible prophecy and its dramatic fulfillment, I don’t get how anyone could trivialize let alone ignore the notable end-times implications of events in the last 100 years. Our grandparents, parents, we and our children have seen or read about 20th & 21st century occurrences unprecedented in the annals of the human race.

Beginning with the First World War ever. One that, before it was even over, saw the mighty British Empire endorse Lord Balfour’s declaration that the Jews had a right to return to Israel, because it was their land to begin with. Then another World War, vastly more destructive than the first. Which, if it hadn’t (through God’s sovereignty) ended when it did, would have resulted in the success of Hitler’s diabolically malicious plan to exterminate the Jews. Then the rise of the United States to superpower status. A nation originally founded on Biblical Judaic/Christian principles, predicated on and patterned after the nation of Israel—God’s chosen and special possession. Then only three years after World War II, the miraculous rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation, just like the Bible predicted long ago. Followed by a remarkable return to Israel of Jews from all over the earth.

Also the establishment of a United Nations; a European Union; a Russian-led hub of socialist countries; an Arab League of over 50 Muslim nations; the awakening of a sleeping giant (China—kings of the East); and two rogue-nation governments (Iran and North Korea) that threaten world security like no others. All of which have been inordinately focused for decades on the tiny nation of Israel … mostly in a negative way. With this spotlight increasing exponentially to the point where you can hardly pick up a newspaper or click online without more news of what’s happening in the Middle East, particularly in, around, and to Israel.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Global Obsession with Israel … In Biblical Proportions! Posted 1-6-18)

ALL of these extraordinary new developments intricately tie in with old Bible prophecies. The old has become new again. It is more relevant now than ever before. It is an unusual interruption of business as usual. To include the amazing advancement of transportation, communication, and knowledge that has reduced the Global community to the size of the town where you live.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, The Seal of Approval, Posted 11-15-14)

Things are certainly not the same as they were before the 20th century, especially after Israel’s rebirth as a sovereign nation that set the last day’s wheels in motion. These dramatic developments are not only a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, they are also sovereignly (God’s plan) suggestive of Israel’s original birth as a nation, then their fall from God’s favor and protection when they abandoned the Lord. And now the beginning of Israel’s final restoration and redemption.

To become a nation the Jews had to fight against countries that were Israel’s immediate neighbors—in Joshua’s time, during the time of the judges, and finally when the twelve tribes were united under King David with Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel. Nations like Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Philistia, and others that Israel defeated in war. And peace treaties reached with a few nations either after Israel defeated them or instead of war.

However, when the Lord disciplined Israel beginning some two hundred years after the split of the twelve tribes when King Solomon died, he used powerful Gentile nations far away from Israel. Nations whose people had strange (wicked) practices and spoke strange languages as indicated in the Old Testament. Countries whose people were not descended from Lot or Ishmael or Esau nor who were Arabs. Nations like Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and finally Rome.

Remarkably, this paradigm resurfaced after Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948. The day after statehood was declared, Israel was attacked by modern-day versions (representations) of those enemy nations adjacent to Israel before the Jews were conquered by far away nations beginning in 722 B.C. (Assyria), then Babylon in 586 B.C., then under rule of Persia, Greece, and Rome for hundreds of years.

These nearby 20th & 21st century nations are Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and (to a lesser extent) Iraq. Against all odds, Israel defeated her Arab neighbors in the 1948 War of Independence. Likewise in the Suez War of 1956, the Six-Day War of 1967, and finally the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

The Arabs of these nations, including Palestinians living in Israel, realize they cannot defeat the Jews in a conventional war. Thus, they have resorted to terrorism, BDS, writing their own (false) history of the Middle East, and persuading the UN to pass (false, unjustified) resolutions against Israel.

(Height of Ignorance, Not Only Flying in the Face of God, But Boycott of Israeli Businesses Hurt Many Palestinians Employed By These Businesses)

(Good For You, New York!)

But now Israel has a peace treaty with Egypt and Jordan, and an implied understanding with Lebanon (it is the terrorist group Hezbollah who threatens Israel, not necessarily Lebanon itself). Iraq is no longer a viable threat because of its civil war, nor is Syria for the same reason.

In terms of national military threats, who are Israel’s main enemies now?

General Answer: Nations much further away from Israel, just like when the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans conquered Israel and dispersed the Jews. With Persia and Greece exercising control over the exiled Jews.

In the end times, things would be reversed between Israel and her enemies. God would use Israel (directly and indirectly) as a source of punishment for nations that would seek to once again destroy Israel. Rather than the Lord using those nations to punish Israel.

Which leads us to the more specific answer of who are Israel’s main enemies today?

Specific Answer: Russia, Iran, and Turkey, three non-Arab countries who will constitute, by far, the largest and most powerful components of the Gog/Magog coalition. Do you see this precedent and pattern?

In years past Russia, Iran, and Turkey have desired a dominant foothold in the Middle East nations surrounding Israel. And now all three have their wish. When the appointed time arrived, God would accommodate the warped wish of these nations, even to the extent of enticing them to march against Israel.

Said God to Ezekiel: “Son of man, turn and face Gog of the land of Magog … prophesy against him. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord … I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army…” (Ezekiel 38:2-4).

He also told Ezekiel that this would happen “in the distant future” (verse 8).

Does over 2,500 years qualify as the distant future? I certainly believe it does! That’s exactly what is transpiring before our 21st century eyes. Moreover, the global balloon full of war and rumors of war and threats and counter threats is far too full, not to burst in the near future. The chain of current events has been stretched so tight and so fast that there’s no way it can keep from snapping.

Revisiting Gog/Magog

In just the past two years or so there have been dramatic developments in the Middle East involving the three major nations that will comprise the Gog/Magog confederacy, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. As we’ve seen, the most recent is Iran’s first direct intrusion into Israel via the drone—a test of Israel’s resolve and a measure of Israel’s response. Also a demonstration that the Iranians not only intend to remain in Syria, but will continue to enlarge their surrogate sway over Lebanon (Hezbollah) and perhaps even a greater influence over Bashar Assad’s Syrian government than their partner in crime, Russia.

With a practical and predictable rule-of-engagement result: Israel dealt both Iran and Syria a devastating blow, inflicting massive damage to twelve military and weapons sites in Syria. Which has undoubtedly led to Iran’s realization (now or soon) that it cannot accomplish its treacherous boast of eliminating Israel from the face of the earth without Russia and (more reluctantly) without Turkey. That mindset is precisely what will lead to the formation of the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel in the near future—but after the Rapture.

In the past few weeks, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have bolstered their tenuous political, military, and diplomatic ties as a (terrible) trio, each nation with the other. Not all that long ago they were at each other’s throats. What originally brought them together?

Two-part answer: (1) ISIS … a common enemy. However, Turkey is known to have actually assisted ISIS, mainly because Turkey hates the Kurds based in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey much more than it fears ISIS. The Kurds have inflicted more damage on ISIS than all other freedom fighting groups in Syria battling both ISIS and Bashar Assad’s government troops.

(2) Syria’s Civil War. Russia and Iran have supported Assad’s troops, mostly with air support and missiles, respectively. Also, both nations have advisors and Special-Ops in Syria. Here again, President Erdogan of Turkey doesn’t like nor directly supports Bashar Assad; nevertheless, Erdogan is more than willing to overlook this animosity if Turkish relations with Iran and Russia are enhanced.

One huge advantage of Turkey cozying up to Russia and Iran: both of those countries extending carte blanch authority to and approval of Turkey’s latest incursion into Syria in the past two weeks to do battle with the Kurds. As a reminder or if you didn’t know, the United States supports the Kurds both militarily (air strikes and military advisors) and, to a lesser extent, politically.

It just may be the strangest, most complicated war (several wars into one) of all time. Even a simplified version of it is mind-boggling: A is fighting B who is fighting C who is fighting A … often wondering who they will be fighting today. All of them fighting D (ISIS). With the United States (and its allies) and Russia actually coordinating their bombing raids with each other!

With, however, fulfillment of Biblical prophecy an absolutely direct result. Which as alluded earlier: Russia, Iran, and Turkey cooperating not long after each was a staunch opponent of the other two.

Concerning Israel: Iran’s hatred of and overt animosity toward Israel is the most obvious. By establishing military bases in Syria and now attempting to build missile factories in Lebanon—through their puppet regime of Hezbollah—Iran is nearing the threshold of Israel’s northern border.

(“Come, they say, let’s wipe out Israel as a nation…” Psalm 83:4. The Modern Day Threat to Eliminate Israel Is Yet Another Fulfilled Biblical Prophecy)

Russia’s design for Israel is more subtle as currently demonstrated by its friendly approach toward Israel; nonetheless a shrewd scheme to take over the newly developed Israeli oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea. (See Eye of Prophecy: Gog, Magog, and Leviathan posted 1-3-15).

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin is clever. He understands this strategy of diplomacy will take him much further and more quickly than outright hostility toward Israel. Plus, he knows that the United States would instantly come to Israel’s aid should he (with or without Iran and Turkey) decide to do something about Israel now. Which is one reason the Gog/Magog attack won’t begin until after the Rapture—when millions taken from the United States will cripple America’s superpower status. That and the fact that Antichrist’s treaty with Israel will give the Jews a false sense of security; enticing Russia, Iran, and Turkey to take advantage of this peace treaty while Antichrist (Nero) is still forming and consolidating (forcing three nations … see Daniel 7:8) his powerful ten-nation coalition during the first half of the Tribulation.

Turkey is somewhere between Russia’s olive branch approach to Israel and Iran’s malicious motive to eliminate Israel altogether. Turkey’s President Erdogan loathes Israel; however, he, too, realizes the folly of taking on Israel alone. On the other hand, Turkey will jump at the opportunity to invade Israel, should Russia and Iran invite Turkey to join them.

At Putin’s incentive, three times in the recent past these three nations have convened to discuss and devise a partition type map of Syria, with the assumption that Assad will win the war against Syrian freedom fighters. Although a measure of agreement was reached to establish four demilitarized zones (no military operations), by and large these meetings have failed in their objectives. The latest was held in Sochi, Russia called, “A Congress of the Syrian People.” It failed miserably. Pending is another tripartite meeting called by Putin, with a date not yet specified. Ironically, it’s the failure of these resolution meetings that will keep Russia, Iran, and Turkey that much more entrenched in Syria.

(One of Several Recent Meetings Between Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu)

The signs of the times are mounting with incredible frequency and intensity. Here again is a list of twelve major indicators of the Omega Generation (the last generation that will lead directly to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus) originally summarized in Part II of Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near (posted July 2015):

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

Looking Back to 2016

The following excerpts are from one of several Eye of Prophecy articles about Gog/Magog, entitled: The Gog/Magog Countdown Has Begun! Posted 9-10-16. Since then, the terrible trio of Russia, Iran, and Turkey have tightened their ties and proliferated their presence in Syria that much more.

Russia and Iran

*Note: The first paragraph is an excerpt within the excerpts … from an earlier article, entitled. Beginning of the End, posted 3-5-16. As you read these excerpts (in italics) remember that they date back to 2016.

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

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

Turkey and Iran

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

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

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

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

*Note: A current reminder that in just the past couple of weeks Turkey reentered Syria to intensify its war on the Kurds.

Russia and Turkey

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

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

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

Since that article was posted, the strained relations between Russia and Turkey have, indeed, changed dramatically. This past July, (once again, this would have been the year 2016) Erdogan apologized for shooting down the Russian warplane; in August he flew to Russia, and shook hands with Putin as a prelude to normalizing diplomatic relations between the two (former) rivals. Subsequently, they have set aside their differences to the point where the Russians not only didn’t oppose Turkey’s entrance into the Syrian civil war just a couple of weeks ago; they welcomed Turkey’s sudden and direct participation.

Things to Ponder

Essentially, we can dismiss the pretentious reasons that all three nations are establishing a foothold in Syria! Ultimately, it is not because Russia and Iran want to keep Assad in power or that Turkey wants to keep the Kurds from declaring an independent state in Syria and Iraq, next to the Turkish border.

Their ultimate goal: Israel. They all have Israel in their sights.

Which is the biggest (final) mistake they and the other nations joining Gog and Magog will ever make. For to do so is to make an enemy of the God of Israel.

“Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your enemy!” (Ezekiel 38:3).

“It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

The Lord told Israel: The result of their refusal to enter the Promised Land because they didn’t trust the Lord to give them victory over the Canaanites, would be painful. Read with me what God said:

“Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy” (Numbers 14:34)

If the Lord (temporarily) made his own people an enemy, how severely will he deal with those nations who deny and defy him and who seek Israel’s destruction?

“O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times for the scorn they have hurled at you. Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever and ever, praising your greatness from generation to generation” (Psalm 79:12-13).

Scripture’s repeated predictions that Israel would be reestablished as a sovereign nation—with Jerusalem as its capital and return of exiled Jews to Israel—has taken place in our generation. And they have returned to stay, as exemplified in the following passage:

Nearly all of the Old Testament prophetic books (Isaiah through Malachi) contain warnings of Israel’s punishment and also God’s wrath against godless Gentile nations, especially those that participated in or condoned Israel’s destruction. Correlating secular history (dates) with Biblical history, one phenomenon you’ll find is that, for the most part, once a prophet first forecasted what would happen to Israel if they didn’t return to the Lord their God, the event normally occurred within 100 years. As the time of punishment (whether Assyria’s or Babylon’s conquest of Israel and Judah, respectively … or other events) drew closer, God’s warnings through his prophets increased in frequency and descriptive severity. In principle and pattern, that’s exactly what’s happening in and around Israel in our generation.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917, followed by Israel’s rebirth in 1947-48, then Israel’s liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 (when Gentile domination of Israel ended) have all occurred within a 100, 70, and 50-year generational time span.

The big difference, of course, is that the current events will lead to a totally different result. In our time, “…the Lord will make you (Israel) the head and not the tail, and you will always (from now on) be on top and never at the bottom” (Deuteronomy 28:13, parenthesis mine).

Although there are other indicators of the last days, the frenzied pace of the Gog/Magog formation in which the three most prominent nations of that confederacy have a foothold right next to Israel, can only mean that it’s a matter of just a short time before Russia, Iran, and Turkey cooperatively conspire to invade Israel. Which, in turn, means that the Rapture is at hand like never before!

Moses & Elijah vs. Antichrist & The False Prophet

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The Powerful Prophecies & Miracles of the Bible

The Bible is an amazing book. And why wouldn’t it be. Through God’s sovereign inspiration and preservation, the Bible is sixty-six books written over some 1,300 years, made into one.

Scripture reveals to us the true and living God who or whose angels appeared and spoke directly to prophets, priests, scribes, kings, apostles, and ordinary people like Gideon (Old Testament) and Mary (New Testament) who went on to do extraordinary things. Everything we need to know about creation; the fall of mankind; everlasting life through redemption that reconciles men and women back to their Creator; and the Messiah who would purchase that salvation through the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.

It is a historical book containing numerous details about people, places, and events. It is a timeless living book that imparts universal truth. It is a prophetic book that presents hundreds of predictions that have already come to pass and others awaiting fulfillment. The God of the Bible unequivocally claims that he is the only God. There are no other gods, except those mankind has invented. He backs up this claim with mighty miracles, the greatest of which is the resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, from the grave.

Has anyone ever taken the time to actually count the number of miracles in the Bible? I suppose someone has; there isn’t much that hasn’t been done in this mind-boggling age of pursuit and publication of fact upon fact (knowledge, not necessarily wisdom). Perhaps someday I’ll take on that task and count them. But, rest assured, there are dozens, if not hundreds. And these are just the ones recorded for us.

Regarding Jesus alone, we read: “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name” (John 20:30-31).

For sake of illustration, let’s say there were only ten recorded miracles in Scripture … perhaps the ten plagues of the Exodus. Armed with only those ten, I would dare any man-made religion (including Islam) to list ten miracles performed by the god or prophets of that religion. Likewise, show me ten (or five or two) prophecies that have come to pass. Actually, all other “sacred texts” are virtually devoid of miracles and prophecies.

As an introduction to this week’s article on two of the greatest prophets portrayed in Scripture and the exceptional evidence to confirm that they will engage Antichrist and his false prophet in an epic struggle during the Tribulation, we’re going to begin with one of the many astounding miracles recorded in the Bible. In fact, these two prophets are part of the miracle itself, long after they left the earth. Perhaps a better way to describe this scene is to say that there were two miracles happening at the same time.

The Powerful Pre-Resurrection Glorification of Messiah Jesus

Not long after Jesus plainly told his disciples that it would be necessary for him (just like another prophet had written hundreds of years earlier … Isaiah 53) to “…suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law … be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” (Matthew 16:21), we read:

“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

“Peter exclaimed, ‘Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’

“But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.’ The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.

“Then Jesus came over and touched them, ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus” (Matthew 17:1-7).

Later, Peter wrote about this incredible scene in which they witnessed first-hand a preview of Jesus’ glorious eternal imperishable body, even before Jesus arose from the dead. A spiritual body (I Corinthians 15) that also will be given to believers at the miraculous resurrection of the dead in Christ and equally amazing transfiguration of believers alive at the Rapture.

(See Eye of Prophecy articles: Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part I & II. Posted 9-26 & 10-3-15. Also: The Tremendous Transfiguration of Believers. Posted 6-23-16. And based on Daniel 7:13-14: Messiah’s Ascension & Coronation … Seen Long Before It Happened. Published 5-27-17).

Said the Jewish Apostle Peter:

“For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’ We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain” (II Peter 1:16-18).

In Luke’s account of this magnificent scene, he writes, “Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:30-31, italics for emphasis).

Not until Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven would the Kingdom of Heaven arrive; spiritually signified and sealed by the Holy Spirit who would now indwell the hearts of believers on the earth. Not until three foundational things took place would the Kingdom of God be established physically on the earth: (1) World-wide spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (2) Final return of exiled Jews from the four-corners of the earth to once again possess the Promised Land of Israel. (3) God’s second and final judgment of evil to prepare the way for Messiah’s Kingdom on earth.

Moses & Elijah Preparing the Way for Messiah’s Return

Moses and Elijah will be part of that end-times preparation, as the two mighty prophets (witnesses) so dramatically described in Revelation Chapter 11. Just as Christ and Antichrist will return in the same bodies in which they left the earth, so would Moses and Elijah … twice. The first time on the Mount of Transfiguration, the second time on Mount Zion (Jerusalem).

Their presence will be a direct affront and threat to Antichrist Nero and the False Prophet, who will do most of the speaking for and perform wonders on behalf of Antichrist (Revelation 13). Next to the final showdown between Messiah Jesus and the combined armies of Antichrist and kings of the east at Armageddon, the clash of Moses and Elijah with Nero and the False Prophet will be the most titanic struggle ever witnessed. It will affect hundreds of millions on Planet Earth for 3 ½ years.

Although I wrote extensively about these two prophets in an Eye of Prophecy trilogy, The Two Witnesses Part I, II, III (posted in June, 2014), those articles focused primarily on extensive evidence in the Old Testament to demonstrate convincingly that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are, in fact, Moses and Elijah. Among other details, those articles explained how and why both prophets appeared in their earthly bodies on the Mount of Transfiguration, and will so again during the Tribulation.

In this week’s article, we’ll review some of that material in summary fashion; however, our main focus will be the monumental impact that these two mighty prophets will have on Antichrist and the False Prophet, and also on the world at large.

With, however, a special emphasis on their respective roles during the Tribulation that you may not have considered, even if you’re quite familiar with their Old Testament biography. To wit: Moses will be God’s chief challenger to Antichrist. Elijah the key opponent of the False Prophet.

It was Moses who confronted the Gentile ruler Pharaoh. As we will see, Pharaoh is a generic prototype of Antichrist (Nero).

Pharaoh was the most renowned monarch of the mightiest nation on earth at the time. Antichrist Nero—by means of his amazing reappearance from a 2000-year old grave (Revelation 17:7-8 and Revelation 13:3-4)—will be the most revered and feared leader of the Tribulation period. To even exceed his popularity (especially with the common Roman citizen) during his 14-year reign as Caesar … 54 – 68 A.D.

It was Elijah who challenged the Jewish King Ahab, and exposed the prophets of Baal for what they were … false prophets.

The Lord prepared both Moses and Elijah for their colossal conflict with the political and religious forces of evil, respectively, by means of a miracle. Moses at the burning bush; Elijah fed and kept from starvation (near the end of a 3 ½ year devastating drought and famine in Israel) by ravens!

After we look at a summary of Moses vs. Pharaoh and at Elijah vs. the false prophets, we’ll focus on the amazing scene in Revelation 11, in which these two prophets will perform the same kind of miracles as they did long ago.

Since Moses came along before Elijah, let’s begin with him.

Moses vs. Pharaoh

Most Christians, Jew and Gentile alike, and non-Messianic Jews are conversant with the Biblical account of Passover and deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. I would also venture to say that billions of people have at least heard of the Exodus and God’s powerful miracles before, during, and after the Exodus. Even if some have never actually read the book of Exodus (and other books of the Bible that mention the Exodus …mostly the Psalms), many in the 20th & 21st centuries have seen or at least heard about the epic movie, The Ten Commandments.

First, Moses (and Aaron) had to assure their own people that God had truly sent them to deliver the Israelites from 400 years of Egyptian bondage.

“Aaron told them everything the Lord had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. Then the people of Israel were convinced that the Lord had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped.

“After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go…’

‘Is that so?’ retorted Pharaoh. ‘And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go’” (Exodus 4:30-31 & 5:1-2).

As we say nowadays: “Famous last words!”

The next thing Pharaoh and all of Egypt knew, they had blood instead of water to drink.

“Then all the Egyptians dug along the riverbank to find drinking water, for they couldn’t drink the water of the Nile. Seven days passed from the time the Lord struck the Nile” (Exodus 7:24-25).

Pharaoh’s heart grew harder with each successive plague. Yet, several times he begged Moses to take away the plagues. His pleas began with the second plague. Already he had begun to realize that, this Lord he didn’t know just might be the true and living God.

“Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and begged, ‘Plead with the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people. I will let your people go, so they can offer sacrifices to the Lord” (Exodus 8:8).

After the seventh plague of destructive lightning and hail, here’s what Pharaoh (Ramses II) said:

“…This time I have sinned. The Lord is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. Please beg the Lord to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer” (Exodus 9:27-28).

We know that Pharaoh reneged again on his promise. It would take a calamity of locusts and total darkness and the most devastating of all—death of Egypt’s firstborn sons—for Pharaoh to finally acknowledge the universal sovereignty of the true and living God.

After God struck down the oldest male child of all Egyptian families, including Pharaoh’s son, Pharaoh knew beyond all doubt that the God of Israel is God … the Lord of heaven and earth. He even called God by name … the LORD. Whenever you see LORD capitalized in Scripture, it is identifying the name God first disclosed to Moses at the burning bush. Yahweh! (I AM). Initially, God called himself, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Listen to Pharaoh as he commands the Israelites (though desperate, he was still an arrogant autocrat) to leave after the greatest disaster that had ever befallen Egypt:

“Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. ‘Get out!’ he ordered. ‘Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the LORD as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.’ All of the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, ‘We will all die!’” (Exodus 12:31-33).

Seriously? This powerful, proud ruler actually asked Moses to bless him before leaving!

Then we read: “That night the people left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children” (Exodus 12:37, italics for emphasis). *Note: Many Biblical historians place the total number of Israelites in the vicinity of 2 million.

I italicized Rameses in the above passage for a reason. It is first mentioned in the first chapter of Exodus:

“So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king” (Exodus 1:11).

Rameses was a name of some of the Pharaohs and a city built to honor that name.

Pharaoh Ramesses II (also spelled Rameses and Ramses)

Many historians and archeologists consider Ramses II one of the most powerful, if not the greatest Pharaoh of all. In fact, he was known as Ramses the Great. Born in 1303 B.C. he lived to be ninety years old. He ruled as Pharaoh from 1279 B.C. to his death in 1213 B.C. However, his father Seti appointed him Prince Regent while Ramses was still in his teens, meaning that he probably ruled with Seti for a few years.

Ramses II is one of, if not the most, remembered Pharaohs, especially in the 20th & 21st centuries. Whether you realized or recall it, you’ve probably seen a picture of his mummified remains or the colossal statue he had built for himself. Or perhaps you recognize the name of his favorite and most famous consort, Nefretiri.

(Sculptured Statue of Ramses II)

(Remarkably Well-Preserved Remains of Ramses II)

Other than the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Egypt—erected hundreds of years before his time—Ramses II is considered to be the most prolific builder, unprecedented in Egyptian history. Throughout his reign, he was worshipped as the god above all gods … on equal footing with the chief Egyptian sun-god, Ra.

Many historians believe there is more evidence than not to select Ramses II as the most popular (historically accurate) candidate for the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Although there are two possible historical time-lines of the Exodus, most scholars (including me) place it at or very close to the year 1280 B.C. That would have been the very beginning of Ramses II’s reign as Pharaoh, or perhaps in the last couple of years when he was the Prince Regent.

The blockbuster movie The Ten Commandments was based heavily on the book of Exodus and also books by Dorothy Clarke Wilson and J.H. Ingraham. Producer and director Cecil B. De Mille chose Ramses II as the Exodus Pharaoh, which tracks with the preponderance of the historical evidence and time-line. For the most part, his classic film is an accurate portrayal of the book of Exodus … factually and sequentially. His imaginative pictorial splitting of the Red Sea and the finger of God imbedding the Ten Commandments in stone are reliable reproductions of the actual text in Exodus.

The fulfillment of prophecy as recorded both in the Bible and secular history plus the absolute truths of Scripture demonstrate that God, in his ultimate sovereignty, providentially controls (allows or disallows or actually causes) the rise and fall of rulers and nations.

For example: “It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalm 75:7).

In fact, the first Pharaoh encountered by the Jews was most favorable toward them, complements of the Lord giving Pharaoh two dreams that eventually led to the very survival of Egypt and Jacob’s family. You remember the story of Joseph! By the time we get to the Exodus, the current Pharaoh (Ramses II) had forgotten all about Egyptian history, i.e. God’s divine rescue (through a Jew … Joseph) of Egypt and surrounding nations from a devastating seven-year famine.

I believe there are at least three reasons why God allowed his people to remain in Egypt for so long. One reason he gave to Abraham: to give the Canaanites plenty of time to repent—which, of course, they didn’t. Another reason was to allow the Israelites to grow in great numbers to prepare them for nationhood. Third: to wait until it was (God’s) time for the greatest Pharaoh of all to assume the throne; for the express purpose of God displaying his stupendous power to prove that he alone is God. The Lord wouldn’t do this while some weak, short-tenured, soon to be forgotten ruler was in place.

In case you’re wondering if God would refer to some rulers that way, here’s what God told Isaiah to tell King Ahaz of Judah: “Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah” (Isaiah 7:4, italics for emphasis).

Elijah vs. Baal’s False Prophets

Moses confronted Pharaoh, a great Gentile ruler of his or any time, in order to deliver God’s people from a pagan nation.

On the other hand, God used Elijah to deliver the Jews from themselves … from worship of false gods, the most conspicuous of which was Baal.

Scripture’s introduction of Elijah is swift and succinct, just as Elijah himself was often abrupt and boldly to the point, particularly when facing Israel’s (Northern Kingdom) wicked King Ahab.

“Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, ‘As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!’” (I Kings 17:1).

Then we read:

“Later on, in the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him I will soon send rain!’ So Elijah went to appear before Ahab. Meanwhile, the famine had become very severe in Samaria (capital of the Northern Kingdom)” (I King 18:1-2, parenthesis mine).

However, before the Lord would end what was the worst drought in Israel’s history (after they became a nation), the Jews would first need to abandon their despicable worship of Baal and turn back to God.

What follows is an event almost as well-known as the Exodus. Time/space doesn’t permit a complete recitation of the episode. You may recall that the 450 prophets of Baal tried all day long to persuade their (pathetic) god to meet Elijah’s challenge and bring down fire from heaven to burn their offerings. For purpose of this week’s article and the comparison between Elijah’s classic confrontation with the false prophets of Baal and his epic battle with the False Prophet of the Tribulation, we’ll go directly to Elijah’s turn in this contest; whereby, he exposed the fraudulent prophets and their futile, non-existent god of fertility and harvest.

(Worship of Baal, Included the Depraved Practice of Child Sacrifice)

Let’s read Elijah’s powerful prayer and God’s astounding answer. First, as a reminder, Elijah daringly raised the stakes by drenching the animal sacrifice, the wood on which it was placed, and even a trench around the altar with four large jars of water … a total of three times! Each jar was equivalent in those times to 25-30 gallons of water.

“At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.’

“Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench!” (I Kings 18:36-38).

Do you remember what the people said and did when they saw this magnificent miracle?

“And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, ‘The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!’” (Verse 39).

We know that the prophets of Baal weren’t among the Israelites who stunningly returned to the Lord that day. Because the people seized the false prophets, and Elijah proceeded to execute them. Being a fake prophet was a capital offense under the Mosaic Law. False prophets, corrupt priests, and wicked kings would lead directly to the downfall of Israel and then Judah.

There is no greater source of evil in the world, even today, than perversion of God’s truth … the truth that leads to redemption and eternal life. False religions—including cults, evolution, communism, and fascism which are man-made belief systems—have led more people to hell in the proverbial handbasket than we can possibly fathom. Which is exactly what the False Prophet will attempt to do by presenting and promoting his boss, the Antichrist, as a (the) messiah. By directly challenging their hero, the False Prophet, Elijah will help convince some unbelieving Jews to turn to the true Messiah during the Tribulation.

Incidentally, Mount Carmel (where this spectacular incident took place) wasn’t the only time Elijah brought down fire from heaven. See II Kings, Chapter 1.

If you didn’t know, or as a reminder if you did know, it is Elijah whom the Jews ardently anticipate will reappear to pave the way for what they believe will be Messiah’s first arrival on earth. (See Matthew 17:10-13—the Transfiguration chapter—where Jesus clarifies that it was actually John the Baptist who prepared the people for Messiah’s first arrival).

As opposed to his Second Coming, which is precisely what Malachi is referring to.

(The Day of the Lord Hasn’t Begun Yet, But It Will Soon!)

Now let’s fast forward to the Tribulation, which will be immediately preceded by the imminent Rapture of believers from this earth. We’ll see how precisely the two prophets of Revelation correspond to Moses’ and Elijah’s fabulous feats of long ago.

The Two Tribulation Prophets (Witnesses)

Instead of the New Living Translation, from which I quote most often, let’s read the amazing account of these two prophets from the New American Standard Bible.

“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth” (Revelation 11:3-4).

*Note: Once again I would encourage you to read the trilogy of articles, The Two Witnesses, mentioned earlier. In those articles, you’ll find extensive Scriptural documentation to persuasively match Moses and Elijah to the two prophets of Revelation, including the fact that they stood before the Lord of the earth during their era.

Moses specialized in plagues; Elijah’s sphere was that of stopping the rain, and bringing fire down from heaven! Only next time the enemy will be Antichrist (resembling Pharaoh) and the False Prophet, who I’m convinced will (unfortunately) be a Jew just as the false prophets of Baal were. (You may also want to read Eye of Prophecy articles, The False Prophet Parts I & II, posted 5-24 & 5-31-14).

Continuing in Revelation 11:

“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.

“When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:5-8).

*Note: Rather than fire coming directly from the mouth of Elijah (and perhaps Moses), the imagery here is similar to the sword in the mouth of Messiah when he returns to earth for the final time and strikes down the massive military coalition at Armageddon—Revelation 19.

The fire is literal, but it will come down from heaven when Elijah speaks the word. Also, Sodom and Egypt represent Jerusalem, signifying and reinforcing the fact that some of the Jews in Israel and Jerusalem have followed Antichrist, and also the Gentiles who have taken over the outer court of the Temple—Rev. 11:2).

Continuing:

“Those (some, a cross-section) from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth” (Verses 9-10, parenthesis mine).

That emphatically underscores just how much the entire world has been traumatically affected by this epic battle of Antichrist Nero & the False Prophet vs. Moses and Elijah. Can you imagine people from all over the world clapping and cheering and probably dancing in the streets over the death of these two mighty men of God? Let alone giving gifts to each other!

Their brief ecstasy turns to serious shock.

“But after three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them” (Revelation 11:11-12).

Summary

Moses and Elijah will work in tandem as the ultimate dynamic duo! Yet, as alluded earlier, the plagues including turning rivers into blood will most likely be from Moses. Drought and fire from heaven will come through Elijah.

Moses will be to the Antichrist what he was to Pharaoh. Ramses II was the greatest Pharaoh; he ruled in the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egyptian kings. Nero was the fifth and final Caesar in the first dynasty of Roman emperors, considered by many to be the most glorious of the Roman Empire.

Elijah will be to the False Prophet what he was to the false prophets of Baal.

In addition to the spectacular seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments; for at least 3 ½ years, the Gentile nations will be subjected to awesome plagues and judgments at the hand of Moses. And unbelieving Jews will once again see God’s power over a false prophet as God’s true prophet Elijah rains down fire from heaven by merely speaking the word. The obvious implication in Revelation 11 is that this fire will greatly exceed the fire that the False Prophet is allowed to bring out of nowhere (Rev. 13).

Through the testimony of Moses and Elijah backed up by mighty miracles, I’m convinced that many Gentiles and Jews will be redeemed by trusting in Messiah Jesus during the Tribulation. It will be New Covenant redemption based in principle and pattern on the physical deliverance of God’s people in the Moses-led Exodus. And spiritual revival akin to the Jews returning to God after Elijah’s powerful victory over the false prophets of Israel.

Until God’s specific purpose and time for Moses and Elijah ends during the Tribulation, they will be untouchable. Just like God protected them from what could have been a swift death for Moses at the hands of Pharaoh and Elijah at the orders of Ahab and his false prophets, who outnumbered Elijah, 450 to 1. (There were also another 400 prophets of Asherah present, whom Jezebel had recruited.) Yet, the odds were all on Elijah’s side. With God, one man or woman is a majority. The false prophets didn’t stand a chance!

In Eye of Prophecy article, Major Earthquake in Israel … When & Where It Will Strike (posted 11-25-17), I began one section with: Ten Intriguing Observations of the Earthquake and the Two Witnesses.

Here is an excerpt from that article that lists points 3 and 4 (in italics):

(3) 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.

(4) 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. Which, in turn, would be the same time-frame as the 2nd to 3rd Seal judgements (Horses of the Apocalypse).

An interesting side note: Moses did battle with the Gentile ruler Pharaoh about 400 years before Elijah took on the Jewish King Ahab and the false prophets of Israel. Then another 400 years or so between Elijah and Zechariah’s vision of two lampstands … the two prophets who stand before the Lord of all the earth. There are several 400-year epics in Biblical and secular history that are integral intervals in God’s magnificent plan for the human race. For the four most prominent, including the last days of the current 400-year era, please see Eye of Prophecy article, Countdown to Armageddon … End of the Fourth 400-Year Era. Posted 7-29-17.

Things to Ponder

Messiah Jesus is the Second Person of the majestic Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8 & 17). He is the express image of God in human form, fully God and fully man (Colossians 1:15). He is the living Word of God (John 1:1). He is the light of the world (John 8:12). He is the resurrection and the (eternal) life (John 11:25). He is truth itself and the only way to the Father (John 14:6).

It’s all about Jesus.

During the Tribulation, there will be 144,000 dynamic Jewish witnesses to proclaim so great a salvation purchased for the human race by Jesus Christ, to those who believe and receive him as their personal Savior. (Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand Messianic Jews Part I & II … posted 4-23 & 4-30-16).

Let’s also remember two of God’s mighty servants, Moses and Elijah, whose earthly bodies the Lord has kept preserved in heaven. First to appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then to reappear in those same bodies during the seven-year Tribulation. For the express purpose of fighting the good fight of faith; demonstrating to the entire world that the incomparable power and authority of Messiah Jesus far exceeds and will ultimately prevail over Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.

When the angel blew the 7th Trumpet which immediately follows the death and resurrection of Moses and Elijah in Jerusalem, it signaled the last of the very last days. At the sound of that trumpet, the host of heaven shouted:

“…The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever … We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign … It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth” (Revelation 11:15-18).

Following that will be seven incredibly powerful bowl judgments that target Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their unrepentant followers. With Messiah completing at Armageddon what Moses and Elijah began in Jerusalem by preparing the way of the Lord.

“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!

“Amen! Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

Armageddon & Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events

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Final Battle of the Ages

Armageddon!

At face value, quite an ordinary term composed of two Hebrew nouns; one a thing, and the other a place. It is nothing more than a hill (Hebrew word Har) in a valley of Israel—Megiddo. Har Magedon … Armageddon.

Yet, such a powerful word picture that has captured the attention of people from every nation, race, and language … believers and unbelievers alike. So much so that many think of it exclusively as an event, with little thought to Armageddon as a place (in Israel). Or realize that more people on earth will have already died—from the man-made carnage of war and murder, and by God’s wrath poured out in the 6th & 7th seal, the seven trumpet, and seven bowl judgments– before Armageddon takes place!

What comes to mind when you think, hear, read, or say Armageddon?

Total Destruction? End of the Age? Apocalypse? World War III? Judgment Day?

Or: Final Battle of Good vs. Evil; God vs. Satan; Christ vs. Antichrist.

Books and articles have been written about Armageddon. Movies made of it. Sermons preached on it. Songs composed around it. Many people have used the term in normal conversation, particularly during World War I and even more so during World War II. And later during the perilous Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union, which on several occasions could have erupted in global conflict. Both World Wars were compared to or even considered to be Armageddon in the making. Especially WWII … exponentially more horrific than WWI (the War to End All Wars) with over four times the loss of life. Yet the death and destruction during the Great Tribulation will make WWII look like a skirmish with only a few casualties.

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15).

Many people equate Armageddon to the entire Tribulation period. In this week’s article, you’ll see that it actually occurs in a 30-day period as and after the full seven years of the Tribulation ends. It is not the war (or wars) fought between nations that are depicted primarily in the first four Seal judgments, commonly called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Rather, it is the final battle between Messiah and the (surviving) nations and kings on earth, led by Antichrist.

Just before Armageddon, the ten-nation confederation of Antichrist Nero will be opposed by the Kings of the East (China and most likely Japan, North Korea, Indonesia). Over 500 hundred years before the book of Revelation was written, the prophet Daniel was the first to mention this imposing threat to Antichrist.

Antichrist—who is Nero, as extensively documented in my book Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist—will be powerful, but not a world dictator. He will be opposed by several nations and leaders on earth who have not yielded to him.

As depicted in Scripture, they are the:

King of the South & Kings of the East

“Then at the time of the end, the king of the south will attack the king of the north (Antichrist). The king of the north will storm out with chariots, charioteers, and a vast navy. He will invade various lands and sweep through them like a flood. He will enter the glorious land of Israel, and many nations will fall, but Moab, Edom, and the best part of Ammon will escape. He will conquer many countries, and even Egypt will not escape. He will gain control over the gold, silver, and treasures of Egypt, and the Libyans and Ethiopians will be his servants.

“But then news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great anger to destroy and obliterate many. He will stop between the glorious holy mountain and the sea (valley of Megiddo) and will pitch his royal tents. But while he is there, his time will suddenly run out, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:40-45, parenthesis mine).

Because the North African nations of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia are specifically named in this passage, it’s evident that they (and other African and Mid-east nations) will combine their forces to attack Antichrist and his coalition. The gist of this passage also conveys the idea that this “king of the south” will attack just a portion of Antichrist’s armies stationed in the area of the Mediterranean Sea. With the hope that the kings of the East (who undoubtedly have already threatened the ten-nation confederation of Antichrist) will join them.

But their attack is premature. The Asian kings (nations) don’t come to the aid of this southern alliance in time. Antichrist (king of the north) will respond by mobilizing his entire military including a “vast navy” and will crush the king of the south. During this campaign, Antichrist will prepare to launch an assault on Israel … “enter the glorious land”. Although the African nations will be defeated, Antichrist will not be completely victorious over Moab, Edom, and Ammon—parts of modern-day Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

Just as Antichrist is celebrating this triumph over the audacious king of the south, news from the north and east will enrage him. How dare the kings of the east (Revelation 16) march on him?

This military opposition combined with the last three trumpet judgments (the trilogy of terrors) and the first five bowl judgments (directly exclusively at Antichrist and those who have taken his mark) will both alarm and infuriate Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. To the extent that Satan’s demonic powers will be unleashed to form an alliance with the powerful nations of the East for the express purpose of making war on Messiah Jesus himself.

This massive military in the valley of Megiddo will undoubtedly be the largest ever assembled in all of history.

(A Portion of the Valley of Megiddo, Which is Part of the Jezreel Plain of Israel. I’ve Been There! Using Conservative Figures of Just the Main Expanse of Megiddo, It Is Some 280 Square Miles … Enough to Accommodate Millions of Soldiers Plus Armaments)

In fact: with the sixth bowl judgment God supernaturally drains the great Euphrates River to accommodate these eastern armies’ march against Nero and his ten-nation confederation. This is similar to the Gog/Magog attack on Israel early in the Tribulation period (primarily by Russia, Iran, and Turkey … see Ezekiel 38 & 39). God himself entices Gog/Magog to do what they had wanted to do for a long time—invade Israel. In order for God to display his mighty sovereign power over Israel’s enemies. “…Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:16).

*Note: Although Ethiopia and Libya will be part of the Magog confederacy, it will be their armies which are supernaturally (with Israel not needing to fight at all) crushed by God. The civilians and soldiers left behind to guard their countries will be overrun by Antichrist later in the Tribulation (Daniel 11). He will gain complete control of their governments and economy (gold and silver).

The sixth bowl:

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance. And I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouths of the dragon (Satan), the beast (Antichrist Nero), and the false prophet. They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty…

“And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon” (Revelation 16:10-14 & 16, parenthesis mine, italics in the text which is the English transliteration for Harmagedon).

This is a startling shift in the strategy of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet; born out of increasing concern (bordering on fear) for two reasons: (1) the mounting challenge by primarily the kings of the east to Antichrist’s power base. (2) The increasingly severe and intolerable supernatural plagues of God’s bowl judgments directed specifically at Antichrist and his followers. By this time Nero will know beyond all doubt that Messiah Jesus would be soon returning, as the other end-time’s prophecies recorded in Scripture were being fulfilled before his very eyes.

Here is the fifth bowl judgment immediately preceding the drying up of the mighty Euphrates River which brings Satan, Nero, and their false prophet to the point where they’ve (almost) had enough; but not enough for their followers to repent, which is the main purpose for God’s Tribulation judgments.

Drastic action is required. Thus, this unholy trinity summons all the demonic powers of Satan and the underworld needed to turn the tide—beguiling the massive armies of the kings of the east to join forces with them. As we shall soon see, the kings of the east oblige Satan and Nero but not until Messiah actually returns to the earth.

The Progression of Events Leading to Armageddon … Beginning Half-Way Through the Tribulation

We’re going to examine that I believe is a Biblically sound scenario including passages quoted above, to show the startling sequence of events preceding Armageddon. To even demonstrate that the battle of Armageddon itself will take place AFTER the 42 month period of power and authority (1,260 days) given to Antichrist, which is the additional 30 days mentioned in the following passage:

“From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshipped, there will be 1,290 days” (Daniel 12:11).

Another way to read this verse: There will be 1,290 days between the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object is set up.

Which is contrary to the prevailing view that the object is erected when the treaty is broken … at the half way point of the seven-year Tribulation. Instead, Nero will profane the Temple just a very short time before he is defeated by Christ at Armageddon.

Right after Satan’s (and his demons) unearthly merging of Antichrist’s coalition with the mighty armies of the Asian countries, the 7th bowl is poured out by God’s angel. In terms of global destruction, it is the most powerful of all of God’s judgments. Later in today’s article we’ll look at the full scope of that enormous event. For now and for purpose of demonstrating that the actual seven years of the Great Tribulation will end (prior to the 30 day-period of time in which Christ will route Antichrist and his expanded confederacy in the valley of Megiddo), only the first verse of that final judgment will be quoted:

“Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, ‘It is finished!’” (Revelation 16:17).

What is finished? Answer: God’s specific judgments on “those who belong to this world” (Revelation 17:8). The only thing left is Armageddon itself.

(Jesus First Spoke These Words As He Was Dying on the Cross as The Lamb of God To Take Away the Sins of the World. The Second Time is When He Returns as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah!)

Now let’s look at the amazing events preceding and including Armageddon. One of which will result in a surprising premise that Messiah’s Second Coming (physical touch down on earth) will actually be in two phases, separated by no more than a few weeks (probably days) in duration.

In order of occurrence:

(1) Antichrist Nero breaks the seven-year treaty with Israel

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings…” (Daniel 9:27). We’ve already discussed some of the features of this event.

(2) The broken treaty will precipitate Satanic vengeance against the Jews and intensify persecution of tribulation saints (Jewish and Gentile Christians)

“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 (Israel) was given two wings like those of great eagle (most likely aircraft) so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness (perhaps Petra). There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time (3 ½ years or forty-two months or 1,260 days).

“…And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus” (Revelation 12:13-15 & 17, parenthesis mine).

(3) God’s Protection

As we just read, those Jews in Israel and other parts of the world who agree to flee their homes will be safe throughout the Tribulation in the place (wilderness) that God has prepared for them. But many Jews will remain in Israel or wherever they reside on earth with the misguided notion that their allegiance to Antichrist, voluntary or forced, will protect them. At first, it will, because Antichrist will let loose his evil agenda primarily on the Tribulation Saints. He will also enhance the consolidation of his power during the last half of the Tribulation. To include economic control of (buying and selling goods) people from many nations and languages willing to take his mark in their forehead or right hand.

This, however, will NOT be a One-World Government; rather it will be a corrupt counterpart to and counterfeit of the true Messiah Jesus; whose followers were from every nation, race, and language but without a centralized global government … until Jesus sets up the Kingdom of God during the Millennium. Governments of many nations will oppose Antichrist. If just one nation (as a whole) does not submit, then there can’t be a One-World Government. In fact, Antichrist’s coalition may not even be as formidable as the kings of the East.

For example: China has already risen to the status of a world-power (behind only the United States) ahead even of Russia and European powers like France, Germany and Great Britain—none of which currently possesses a powerful military that they formerly had. And China will not be the only nation that comprise the “Kings of the East.” (See Eye of Prophecy article, A Sleeping Giant, posted 2-14-15).

(China’s Standing Army–3.7 million; Reserves–1.5 million; Available Manpower-750 million!)

(4) The King of the South will march on Antichrist

This will most likely begin in the last few months of the Tribulation. With the rationale that it leads directly (in an implied fairly short period of time) to the kings of the East marching against Nero with their realization that he has global ambitions and could soon control the entire Middle East.

(5) Antichrist’s Coalition routs the Southern Alliance

While Antichrist is in the vicinity, he will “enter the glorious land of Israel.”

We’ve also covered that in Daniel Chapter 11.

(6) Invasion of the Kings of the East

From the Far East, across a dry Euphrates River, all the way to Israel … probably in the last 4-6 weeks of the final 1,260 days of the Tribulation. This is where Zechariah Chapters 12 & 14 come into the picture. Which is:

(7) Messiah Jesus will return to the earth!

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

Here’s what will happen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(8) Messiah’s first phase (of his Second Coming) on the Mount of Olives

That’s when the Jews will mourn for him, in solemn remorse that they hadn’t recognized nor accepted him as their Messiah. Then to rejoice that he has come to rescue them.

With evidence in that same chapter of Zechariah that Messiah will require his people to fight furiously for their very survival. At that time he will help them, but only up to a point. They must first relive the experience that their ancestors had in Joshua’s time and in King David’s time—the necessity to fight for the precious Promised Land of Israel.

God fought for and with them during those series of victories over the Canaanites, then Philistines and other enemies. But the Israelites still suffered casualties—the price necessary for national sovereignty and freedom to worship the Lord. It was a lesson to completely rely on (trust and obey) the Lord their God for victory, while doing their part to courageously fight in order to fully acquire and appreciate what God had prepared for them. There were only a handful of occasions throughout Israel’s history where God supernaturally intervened unilaterally for his chosen people, without Israel lifting a finger. (See Eye of Prophecy article: Stand Still & Watch God Fight For Israel! Posted 7-30-16).

Which is why Zachariah states: “Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past.

First, he will stand beside them after stepping foot on the Mount of Olives. Yet his people must also fight, just like they did in Old Testament times. At that point, I believe that Christ will be with his people mostly for motivation and inspiration. Just to know that he’s there, will give the Jewish soldiers and civilians extraordinary strength, skill, and courage in battle. However, when Nero joins forces with the kings of the East, Jesus will return a second time with the host of heaven. This time he will rescue the Jews from potential annihilation by himself.

When Jesus descends to the Mount of Olives we read: “On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them!” (Zechariah 12:8).

Do you see what’s happening? The Lord will “defend” his people, but the Jews must fight alongside of him. And, oh will they fight. Even the weakest among them will be valiant warriors like King David! But that victory won’t be won the instant that Christ steps foot on the Mount of Olives.

To further confirm that complete conquest will not yet be achieved immediately after Christ arrives on the Mount of Olives, let’s read the very next verse: “For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9, italics for emphasis). The text is as plain as it can be: This is only the beginning. However, it is the beginning of the end.

Now let’s return to Zechariah Chapter 14 to further validate the premise that Christ’s Second Coming will begin on the Mount of Olives, but there will be another arrival soon afterward—in the final 30 days of the 1,290 days (Daniel 12).

We’ve examined the verses that tell us Messiah will (first) step-foot on the Mount of Olives to defend his people, and begin to destroy their enemies. After that we read: “…Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him” (Zechariah 14:5b, italics for emphasis). I’m sure you caught the significance of the word, then. It means just what it says: later … in this case not much later. But this time (then) the Lord will come with all “his holy ones.”

Exactly when (what event) is then? Before we get to then, we need to look at the next major occurrence in this sequence of events leading to the final battle of the ages … Armageddon.

(9) China and other Far-East nations will align with Antichrist Nero

Jesus temporarily leaves the (his) defense of Jerusalem in order to prepare for the FINAL victory over this colossal military coalition, now united together at Har Magedon (Armageddon).

Soon after Antichrist joins forces with the kings of the East, the final bowl judgment strikes. It is unfathomably catastrophic in scope. In fact, immediately after we read that the “demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to … Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16), this final judgment is described in verses 17-21. Here, I will defer to Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation for both the passage itself and commentary on it (in italics):

Although all of the apocalyptic events allowed or caused by God are exceptional, none more so than the final earth-shattering demonstration of God’s power. Every time I read it, I shake my head in disbelief. I repeat the words, but they still do not compute. My imagination lags far behind the stunning reality of it all. A comparative image comes to mind; however, I realize that it is a fully inadequate analogy. I’ll mention it anyway—in order to gain a partial perspective and picture of how the final bowl judgment of God will surpass of all the catastrophes preceding it. The imagery that comes to mind is that of a lengthy fire-works display that culminates in the greatest, most magnificent grand finale ever seen. But the resemblance is similar only in form, certainly not in substance. Here is God’s final Tribulation judgment:

“Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple saying, ‘It is finished!’ Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worst since people were placed on the earth. The great city of Babylon (Rome) split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble … And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing seventy-five pounds fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm” (Revelation 16:17-21).

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

Notice that the passage says “cities of many nations.” But not all nations. Thus, not all major cities will be destroyed. Rome (encoded as Babylon in the above verses) will be devastated, as graphically portrayed in the entire 18th chapter of Revelation.

However, Jerusalem will be spared. In fact, Jerusalem will have already experienced an earthquake earlier in the Tribulation as described in Revelation Chapter 11. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Major Earthquake in Israel … When & Where It Will Strike, published 11-25-17.

(10) The Grand Finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

For me, this revised understanding of Christ’s return to earth in two phases is a much better fit of all of the passages and the sequence of events leading to Armageddon.

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

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

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

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

Wow!

Summary

Such a swift, anticlimactic end of the battle for Jerusalem that we read about in Zechariah and as alluded to in Daniel 11. The Antichrist and the False Prophet are (simply) captured. But it’s evident that their armies decided they could still defeat Messiah because they continued the battle.

Big mistake!

We know that because it was necessary for Christ to kill this “entire army.” And he does so by the power of his Word—merely speaking the judgment!

Back to Zachariah for more graphic details of what will happen at Armageddon:

“And the Lord will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day they will be terrified, stricken by the Lord with great panic … Judah, too, will be fighting at Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 14:12-14).

*Note: The battle for Jerusalem will continue (on a smaller scale) during Armageddon as Antichrist will undoubtedly leave part of his armies to continue the fight there. If you’ve reached the conclusion that the description of how these armies will die matches that of nuclear explosions, then I believe you are correct. The Lord will unleash the power of the atom, by merely commanding it to happen. And he won’t need enriched uranium or plutonium. There will be no radioactive fallout!

In Revelation Chapter 14 (one of the parenthetical portions in the book—an interlude between the chronological unfolding of events—we read another passage that vividly depicts what will take place during Armageddon with an analogy to the pressing of grapes:

“The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle” (Revelation 14:20).

Astonishing!

Things to Ponder

God’s predictions through his prophets always come to pass. What he says will happen always happens. Not to say that we know beyond doubt in what sequence ALL end-times prophecies will unfold. Many we know, such as the chronological progression of the seven seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. However, by comparing and correlating the Tribulation prophecies (Daniel 7, 9, 11, 12; Matthew 24; II Thessalonians 2; Zechariah 12 & 14; Revelation 4-19), we can be confident of the sequence identified in the ten points listed earlier. And concerning Messiah’s physical return to earth, I’m now convinced that it will take place in two phases.

The FACT that all of these things will take place is ultimately the most important thing to grasp. Although the sequence of events leading to Armageddon should be understood as accurately as possible, it’s not absolutely imperative that we know precisely in what order they will unfold. Nonetheless, the more (accurately) we comprehend, the more we can marvel at the astounding features of Bible prophecies that have shaped and will determine mankind’s destiny.

This includes Messiah Jesus’s physical return to earth. However, his physical return is not the Rapture, which is the event that triggers the reappearance of Antichrist Nero and the seven-year Tribulation. See Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Return & The Rapture (Same or Different Events?) Posted 12-3-16.

As indicated, the prevalent view (including mine until now) is that Messiah returns to earth as conveyed in Revelation 19—on a white horse with the host of heaven, which incorporates stepping foot on the Mount of Olives. That of somehow combining the two into one. But as examined in today’s article, Revelation 19 doesn’t fit with Zechariah 12 & 14 by merging the two together.

Instead, we now have a more feasible (better) scenario to consider: Jesus returns by first arriving on the Mount of Olives, to begin the defense of Jerusalem. Then returns again from heaven to win the final victory, alongside of Raptured believers—Jew and Gentile alike.

(Photo Taken From Mount of Olives, Overlooking the Eastern Gate, Temple Mount, and Much of Jerusalem. I’ve Been There, Too!)

Another reason for this two-part return, beginning on the Mount of Olives: When the Lord touches the Mount of Olives it splits in half, with some Jews escaping (through a valley created) the onslaught of Antichrist in Jerusalem. As opposed to Messiah’s triumphant descent on a white horse (Rev. 19) where there will be no need for the Israelis to escape in that manner. At that point, Antichrist and his hordes will give their undivided attention to Messiah and it will be from the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon), not from Jerusalem.

Messiah’s triumphant descent from heaven on a white horse obviously results in the FINAL VICTORY over Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their armies; AFTER he begins to defend Israel in Jerusalem.

And believers will have the awesome privilege to ride to final victory with our Lord when he defeats evil, and makes all things right in this wicked wrongful world we live in.

We love you Lord because you first loved us!

Come quickly Messiah Jesus, and put an end to the ugliness of sin and evil.

Establish your Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace.

All praise to the Living Word of God, The Lion of Judah!

Palestinian Refugees… Are They Really Refugees?

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And the beat goes on…

The brutal beat of Islamic and Palestinian terrorism; the shameful sound of geopolitical horns blatantly blasting President Trump’s decision for the United States to officially acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital; the demonstrative drums of war banging threatening messages of Israel’s demise by her sworn enemies; and the raging roar of Muslim rhetoric with convoluted claims that the Jews don’t belong in the sovereign nation of Israel.

Among other derogatory denunciations against President Trump and Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently placed a curse on Donald Trump: “May your house be demolished”… presumably referring to the White House. In this same rambling two-hour speech to the PLO, he repeated that the Palestinians will no longer participate in peace negotiations with Israel if the US is involved.

Abbas then refused to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence during Pence’s recent trip to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Instead, Abbas flew to Brussels; attempting again to persuade the European Union to unilaterally and arbitrarily declare a Palestinian State in Israel with all of the rewritten history conditions and unrealistic pre-condition demands that the Palestinians have made for years.

The top three of those demands are:

(1) A Palestinian State with pre-1967 (Six-Day War) borders that really weren’t borders in the first place. Rather, they were armistice lines established on a temporary basis—until Israel and the Palestinians could agree on more permanent boundaries including those for Judea/Samaria (so-called West Bank).

In the Six-Day War, Israel reclaimed and liberated ALL of today’s Israel, especially the entire city of Jerusalem. If Israel were to agree to such lines, she would be virtually defenseless in the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights, and most of Judea/Samaria. If a Palestinian State is created with sovereign borders, Mahmoud Abbas has already boasted that no Jews will be allowed to live in that state. Whereas, many Israeli-Arabs would continue to live in Israel, undoubtedly with visitation rights of Palestinian relatives to/from Israel.

See Eye of Prophecy article: Ethnic Cleansing of Jews … The Real Palestinian Agenda, published 9-17-16.

Consequently, any Israeli excursion into those territories (for example to hunt down a terrorist who had just murdered a Jew) would be considered an act of war. You can bet your life-savings that, under those conditions, the Palestinians would never agree to prosecute and certainly not extradite the offender to Israel. But the biggest concern for Israel would be rogue nations like Iran gaining a foothold in a Palestinian State as a safe sanctuary to wreak havoc on Israel.

(2) East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State. This is unthinkable and unfeasible. It would be similar to the former West and East Berlin dichotomy which was a disaster, one that came perilously close to war between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

There is only one city in the entire world that is claimed by two countries as their capital. The Republic of Cyprus (southern half) and North Cyprus share Nicosia as their capital; however, Northern Cyprus is not officially recognized internationally as a nation. If ever it did become a member of the United Nations, it’s highly unlikely that (the northern half) of Nicosia would be accepted as its capital.

(3) Right of return for all Palestinian refugees. With an impractical and unreasonable definition of refugees as all generational descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, who willingly left Israel during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. And did so at the request (actually orders) of Arab military leaders representing the five Muslim nations that attacked Israel the day after she became a sovereign state on May 14, 1948. Many of these displaced refugees were well-to-do Arabs who didn’t want to get in the way of their own armies, and who could afford the exit from Israel. As opposed to the typical and more accurately defined refugees who flee their country because they are being persecuted, attacked, and killed by hostile forces. Such as hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians disenfranchised by the ongoing six-year civil war in Syria.

Some Equivalent Examples

Let’s stretch our imagination to the theatre of the absurd with comparisons to the United States regarding these three untenable demands that Arabs have persisted in for 70 years … 50 years since they began to call themselves Palestinians. With the overview that these ultimatums are those of a people who participated directly in or were collaborators with surrounding Arab counties defeated by Israel in four wars (1948, 1956, 1967 & 1973) … wars that the Arabs started. Despite victory in these wars, the Israelis gave back Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and what the Arabs call the West Bank to Jordan. Egypt and Jordan then surrendered functional control to the Palestinians.

In a broader scope, Israel relinquished political and administrative regulation over these areas to appease international pressure (including that from the United States) to allocate the West Bank and Gaza as “Palestinian territories.” Which included giving up some rights and privileges that have belonged to the Jews from the historical founding of Israel, then the historic rebirth of that same Jewish nation in 1948, with Jerusalem as the capital. But not just because the United Nations passed a resolution in 1947 granting the Jews retroactive possession of the land of Israel.

Most of all because God gave this land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hundreds of years before King David made Jerusalem its capital. Arabs claim Jerusalem (actually all of Israel) as their own largely based on their Muslim religion citing the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount as their 3rd holiest site in Islam. When, in fact, Jerusalem is not mentioned even one time in the Koran; whereas Jerusalem or Zion is named over 800 times in the Bible and always has been the holiest site of Judaism. Wouldn’t the holiest site of Judaism supersede the 3rd holiest site of Islam, especially if that 3rd holiest site is not even mentioned in the Koran?! (See Eye of Prophecy article, The Myth of Al Aqsa Mosque, posted 4-16-16).

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

(The Ottoman Turks Surrendered Jerusalem (all of Israel) to British General Edmund Allenby in 1917)

(1) Pre 1967 Six-Day War Lines: With the equivalent of recognizing and siding with Palestinian demands that Israel returns (retreats) to pre-1967 so-called boundaries (cease-fire lines), an appropriate analogy would be for the United States to give back some of the original thirteen colonies to England. Not that the United Nations or European Union or the United Kingdom would make such ridiculous demands of the United States; however, that is equivocally what UN resolutions and many nations of the European Union and ALL Muslim countries have demanded of Israel. Refer to Eye of Prophecy article, United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334). Posted 1-7-17.

Another parallel is that of France insisting the United States return all or part of the states that comprised the Louisiana Purchase, because the purchase price was too low or because many Frenchmen and women in the United States (whether citizens or not) were “unjustly” affected by such a transaction. Or Alaska reverting back to Russia. Or Mexico wanting New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California returned to them. Or any nation refusing to recognize the sovereign geographical borders of the United States. But that’s what’s happening in and to Israel: International pressure for the Jews to give back to the Palestinians what Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinians never legally had in the first place—which makes it even more absurd than the above cited examples.

(2) Demands for East Jerusalem as the Capital of a Palestinian State: No different than the United States conceding the eastern part of Washington D.C. back to the British, with what would be tantamount to an apology for defeating the British in war. And not one war, but two (War of 1812). For the record, I am an admirer of the British. But concerning nationality and national rights, especially those afforded by victory in war that always comes with the highest price that can be paid—the blood of American soldiers and civilians—I am first and foremost an American.

Obviously, such a ludicrous demand (East Washington belongs to the British) is not going to happen.

Why then do so many nations of the world side with Muslim Arabs that the eastern half of Jerusalem (there is still no such thing as East Jerusalem; for example, Nir Barkat is Mayor of all of Jerusalem) should be abandoned by the Israelis to the Palestinians who want it to be the capital of a Palestinian State? When any other city in the West Bank could be made its capital, particularly Ramallah which currently houses the Palestinian Authority governmental agencies. The ONLY reason that the Arabs want part of Jerusalem as their capital is because the Jews claim all of Jerusalem as the God-given historical and eternal capital of Israel.

(3) Right of Return of the Original Palestinian “Refugees” to Israel, Including all Descendants: The Palestinians have arbitrarily twisted the definition of a refugee to include (an infinitum) all descendants of these refugees. Even most of the 1st generation Arabs who fled Israel should not be considered refugees because they left on their own volition; the Jews asked them to stay and be partners in the United Nations approved State of Israel in 1948.

A similar comparison would be the United States allowing the descendants of English, French, Spanish, and Hispanics who left the United States as a result of armed conflict—Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Spanish/American War, Mexican War—to return, no questions asked. Or descendants of those returning to their country (also voluntarily) because certain territories were purchased by the United States.

Yet that is exactly what the Arabs have demanded since 1948. If the Israelis did allow such a return, it would, for all practical purposes, spell the end of Israel. The sheer number of such returnees would reduce the Jews to a minority in their own country. There is no other nation on earth that would do such a thing. In fact, the Arab nations that permit (actually they purposely keep) these “refugee camps” to remain have done so because they have disallowed their fellow Arabs (Palestinians, who didn’t even assume that name until after the PLO came into existence in 1964) to become citizens of those countries. Rather, they are using the Palestinians (refugees) as a bargaining chip to eliminate the state of Israel, just in case many or all of them are allowed to return to Israel.

(One of the Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan)

The Head and Not the Tail

Since the astounding victory against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel for the first time in over 2,500 years is the primary power in the Middle East. Israel can now negotiate (if she chooses) from a position of strength and not weakness. She is once again the head and not the tail.

“…the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom” (Deuteronomy 28:13).

In the four major Arab/Israeli wars, two of Israel’s enemies (Egypt and Jordan) plus Saudi Arabia are beginning to realize that Israel has no intention, whatsoever, to dominate her Arab neighbors. Though not admitting it, they know beyond all doubt that there is no such thing as Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians of Judea/Samaria or the Gaza. They are finally grasping the obvious: Even though Israel regained its rightful God-given supremacy over the Promised Land, she has nonetheless permitted some 4.5 million Palestinians (non-citizens of Israel) to occupy choice parts of Israel … Judea/Samaria and the Gaza.

Israel’s rise to a prominent economic, political, and military player on the world stage means that she no longer must make concessions to international demands that are unfounded, unfair, and unnecessary. And which are downright dangerous to Israeli safety and survival. Not the least of which is Israel’s right to establish her capital in the city of choice—Jerusalem. A privilege that has always existed; one that the United States Congress recognized in 1995 (Jerusalem Embassy Act) followed on December 6, 2017 by the first United States President to reaffirm this right.

Nor is Israel (or any nation) obligated to accept the return of refugees (especially 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation) whether they fit the international definition and standards of refugees or not. Like any sovereign nation on earth, Israel has the prerogative to determine immigration quotas and citizenship requirements.

The modern-day phenomenon of refugees began during World War I but especially during World War II when millions of people from several counties were displaced by the carnage of that global conflict. The whole idea of refugee status is a humanitarian effort to help those suffering from deprivation, displacement, and despair caused by war and sectarian conflict. Nevertheless, refugee sanctuary is designed to be temporary, to get dispossessed people back on their feet. It is not meant to be an indefinite welfare system or perpetual source of aid that deters people from doing as much as they can for themselves.

Moreover, refugees of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, of the Syrian & Iraqi civil wars (and other sectarian conflicts all over the world) were citizens of their respective countries. Not so with the Palestinians, who voluntarily left Israel in 1948 and some in 1967 to give their Arab military time and space to conquer Israel and eliminate the Jews from the State of Israel. Those Arabs (now called Palestinians) were not citizens of Palestine (there was and is no such state). If they had citizenship, it was from mostly Jordan … also Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt.

If the United Nations seriously wants to repatriate millions of Palestinian Arab “refugees” (most of whom—descendants—have never lived in Israel), then they should be returned to the host country in which their parents and grandparents were citizens. Which very well could be the country in which they currently reside as “refugees.”

UNRWA (United Nations Relief & Works Agency)

In Mahmoud Abbas’s previously mentioned speech, he also railed against President Trump’s decision to cut in half the first of three-four Palestinian aid (through UNRWA) installments scheduled for 2018. No matter that Abbas had previously refused to discontinue or even reduce hundreds of millions of dollars the PA spends on monthly stipends to the families of Palestinians imprisoned because they have murdered or attacked Jews. President Trump followed through by cutting 65 million from the first installment of some 130 million in aid. In all, the United States contributes around 370 million dollars annually to UNRWA, about 30% of UNRWA’s budget.

In addition, the US provides millions of dollars in aid directly to the Palestinian Authority, which President Trump has also threatened to reduce or end if the Palestinians persist in their recent demands that the US cannot be a part of any Middle East peace process.

UNRWA was created in December, 1949 exclusively for Arab refugees—nearly all of whom fled Israel at the request (more like orders) of the Arab armies that attacked Israel on May 15, 1948. At that time there were about 750,000 such refugees. Currently there are an estimated 7 million so-called Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, with approximately 4.5 million residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip of Israel, and the remaining primarily in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Of the 7 million, around 5.3 million are registered with UNRWA to receive economic assistance. About one-third of these Palestinians live in 59 refugee camps (West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan) with the remaining two-thirds residing in cities and towns around the camps.

(Many Palestinians Registered with UNRWA Are Also Gainfully Employed!)

There is a second UN refugee agency called: United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) created in December, 1950, a year after UNRWA. This second agency was designed to provide refugee status and aid to millions displaced from their homes during World War II. Although the agency was originally devised to assist European refugees and last just three years, it is still in existence and has expanded to include refugees worldwide.

However, there is a distinction between these two organizations that extends beyond the fact that UNRWA is exclusively for Palestinians.

According to Wikipedia, “The UNRWA has a much broader definition of ‘refugee’ than the UNHCR, including not only refugees, but their descendants in perpetuity, however it (was originally intended to) only covers refugees from the 1948 & 1967 Arab-Israeli wars” (parenthesis mine).

Wikipedia also states: “UNRWA has had to develop a working definition of ‘refugee’ to allow it to provide humanitarian assistance (meaning welfare-like aid). Its definition does not cover final status” (parenthesis mine).

Originally Palestinian refugees were considered: “Persons whose regular place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

One problem with that definition is the way it’s phrased. As stated earlier: the reason the Arabs lost home and livelihood was one of choice. They could have accepted Israel’s offer to remain, but they chose to flee (temporarily) awaiting what they assumed would be a five-nation Arab victory over and obliteration of Israel.

When some of them wanted to return, Israel essentially said: Too late, you had your chance to stay. Israel considered them a “fifth column” who would continue to do whatever they could to eliminate Israel from the face of the map.

One other quote from Wikipedia: “Unlike UNRWA, UNHCR has a specific mandate to aid its refugees to eliminate their refugee status by local integration in (the) current country, resettlement in a third country or repatriation when possible.”

*Note: There’s hardly any country on earth whose government will allow repatriation of former citizens who hated and/or fought against that government, whether the government was democratic or autocratic, good or evil. At least not without severe conditions and restrictions imposed on the returnees. The exception would be 2nd or 3rd generation refugees that wanted no part of their parent’s or grandparent’s revolt against or disdain for their government. In that regard, Israel is an exception to the exception. In the case of the Palestinians, their children of today hate Jews (are even taught how to kill Jews) as much or more than their ancestors.

(Alarmingly Sad … I’ve Seen Part of This Video)

A comprehensive study in September, 2016 revealed that UNRWA spent an average of $256.00 for each of the 5.3 million Palestinian it classifies as refugees, while UNHCR spent only $58.00 per non-Palestinian refugee.

Even though UNRWA extended refugee status to Arabs who left Israel in 1948 and 1967 or those who stayed but refused to become citizens of Israel (West Bank and Gaza), there’s no way that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those Arabs should be kept on the refugee payroll. It’s glaringly obvious that the “refugee” status of Palestinians has far exceeded the original purpose and mission of UNRWA. It was not meant for descendants of the 1st generation Arabs that packed up and moved out of Israel in 1948-1949 to maintain their refugee status in perpetuity.

Palestinians claiming (a non-existent) East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State and Israel’s territorial retreat to 1967 cease-fire lines are critical threats to Israel’s serenity, security, and sovereignty. But there is no more contentious issue than the insistence of Palestinians and most Muslin countries (a couple of exceptions like Saudi Arabia and perhaps Egypt) that millions of Palestinians living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan be allowed to migrate to Israel, a country in which most of these 3rd and 4th generation outsiders have never resided. If that were to occur, hundreds of thousands of Jewish citizens born in or who immigrated to Israel would themselves be displaced from their homes, or would have no land in Judea/Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem in which to build more housing.

Israel … Beacon of Democracy in the Middle East

In some prior Eye of Prophecy articles, I have made references to the clear evidence that Israel has treated its Arab Palestinian population far better than Palestinians (or even Arab citizens) are treated in Muslim countries. But it bears repeating.

Because Israel is the only democratic nation in the entire Middle East, 1.8 million Arabs have chosen to become citizens of Israel. They have the right to vote, start and own businesses, attend Israeli schools, enroll in higher educational institutions, apply for government loans, move about the country with ease, and even serve in the Knesset. Yet, they are not conscripted by the IDF, which is mandatory for all Jewish men and women when they turn eighteen years of age. Even the Palestinians (non-citizens) who live in Judea/Samaria and the Gaza have a standard of living that exceeds hundreds of millions of Arab in surrounding Muslim nations, the exception being wealthy Arabs complements of oil.

Moreover, the Israelis do not hate the Palestinians nor is there anything approaching apartheid as some absurdly claim. It is extremely rare for an Israeli Jew to commit an act of violence against a Palestinian. When that occurred, it was normally personal revenge for a Jewish death at the hands of Palestinians. Conversely, Palestinians for years have viciously and repeatedly killed and injured thousands of Jews.

See Eye of Prophecy article, The Real Reason for Palestinian Terrorism (Posted 9-30-17).

God’s Point of View & Instructions Concerning the Promised Land and Its Inhabitants

Question: Does modern-day Israel’s attitude toward and treatment of Palestinians match up with God’s Biblical standards?

Let’s answer that question by examining the way God originally said it should be.

Beginning with the Lord’s instructions to Moses concerning non-Jews:

(Other Bible Translations for Stranger are: Foreigner or Alien)

And, “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

*Note: By all international rules and standards Israel is a sovereign state with constitutionally mandated requirements for citizenship and definitions of foreigners that most nations on earth have—at least those not ruled by a dictator. No matter your view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fact remains that non-citizen Palestinians are foreigners in Israel. Many nations of the world would have expelled such foreigners—who refused to become citizens or who didn’t qualify for citizenship within a generation’s time—back to their home country, i.e. the country that issued their passports. For the majority of Palestinians in Israel, that would be Jordan.

It’s historically true that the Lord commanded the Israelites to destroy certain tribes/nations of Canaan … the Promised Land that would become Israel. And for a valid reason, one that God originally explained to Abraham.

“…This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).

Before that God told Abraham that the Jews would be captives (in Egypt) for 400 years, but, “…After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:16, italics for emphasis). The Amorites also represented all of the wicked, decadent nations of Canaan.

This demonstrates God’s amazing patience … allowing the inhabitants of Canaan considerable time to repent and stop such ugly, depraved practices as sacrificing their own children.

When it came time for the Israelites to enter Canaan, God through Moses told them: “You must destroy all the nations the Lord your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you” (Deuteronomy 7:16).

Also: “And I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the eastern wilderness to the Euphrates River. I will hand over to you the people now living in the land … Make no treaties with them or their gods. They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry” (Exodus 23:31-32).

See Deuteronomy 18:9-14 for more details of the “detestable customs” of the Canaanite nations.

In contrast to God’s unilateral destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (for example), the Israelites had to do much of their own fighting to establish their nation in the Promised Land. Even then God supernaturally supported them in several battles, the most famous of which was Jericho.

This continued off and on through the period of the Judges; to and through the reign of King David, who consolidated the twelve tribes of Israel into the most powerful nation on earth at the time. The Lord once again did the same thing when Israel was reborn in 1948. The Jews fought four wars initiated by the Arabs, winning each war against all odds—with divine assistance from God himself.

Time/space does not permit elaboration, but the Lord made exceptions for some of the peoples/nations within Israel (formerly Canaan). Those peoples who chose not to fight against Israel were granted foreigner status, even though some were required to effectively serve Israel. But even those of servanthood were to be treated with respect and dignity.

I visited modern-day Israel in 2006. I’ve read volumes about Israel and the Middle East, watched numerous documentaries, studied the Scriptures intensively, and have written extensively about God’s special possession Israel and his chosen people the Jews. The truth of the matter is that overall Israeli disposition toward and treatment of both Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians matches and has prophetically fulfilled God’s timeless instructions and standards given to Moses and Joshua. Can Israel do better? Of course, so can all of us.

What about the Jews Themselves?

Why are they the chosen people? Just how special are they?

Listen to the answer: “But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised.

“After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land… to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 9:3-5).

God isn’t saying that his people had no integrity or that they didn’t have good hearts when it came to other people. Rather, the Lord is making a distinction as to the REASON that he gave them the Promised Land. A reason to preclude all boasting. A reason to give honor and glory to God, not themselves. It was a lesson in humility, a lesson that Israel eventually was forced to learn the hard way.

God did not choose the Jews because they were special. They became special because he chose them. Moses reminded the people what he had said to God, before Joshua led them across the Jordan River into Canaan: “But they are your people and your special possession, whom you brought out of Egypt by your great strength and powerful arm” (Deuteronomy 9:29, italics for emphasis).

*Note: There are several reasons why Anti-Semitism has been irrationally and insidiously prevalent for so long by so many peoples on this earth. But one thing stands out above all the rest: Envy. Of Jewish accomplishments in all walks of life—business, politics, entertainment, medicine, industry, literature, and music.

Ultimately, however, they are the chosen people because God selected them to be a conduit of light to the nations of the earth. And the beautiful brightness of that light shines through Messiah Jesus and the salvation he has brought to both Jew and Gentile through the New Covenant.

The foreigners in ancient Israel would be equivalent to today’s Palestinians, but not as refugees. More like the 1.8 million Israeli Arab citizens of Israel, who at least recognize Israel’s right to exist as a nation, whether they believe this is a divine right and regardless of what they think about Jews as a people.

Conversely, the some 4.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and Judea/Samaria have refused Israeli citizenship because they effectively do not recognize Israel as a nation. In God’s purpose there was only one nation in/of the Promised Land—Israel. And you can be very sure of this: God’s plan for Jews possessing the Promised Land of Israel has never changed. It is as true and real today as it was when God gave this land to Abraham and his descendants and when Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan.

Things to Ponder

God loves all people, individually, and wants everyone to be saved from their sins and the penalty of sin—eternal separation from God. Yet, we also need to fully grasp his two-part plan for the human race. One for salvation—both Jew and Gentile. The other for the sovereign state of Israel and Jerusalem its capital as the seat of God’s kingdom on earth. Thus, God deals harshly with both individuals and nations who seek Israel’s destruction; and also those who in any way, shape, or form aid in this destruction. All the while extending his love through so great a salvation, to all who believe and receive Messiah Jesus as personal Savior—Palestinians included!

What will happen to the Palestinians during the soon-to-come Great Tribulation? I seldom speculate in Eye of Prophecy articles; in favor of commentary based upon Scripture and then correlating God’s word with ancient and modern history and current events. But I offer this (sad) observation:

It’s highly unlikely that Palestinians (nor most Muslims on both an individual or national level) will embrace the Jewish Messiah or the Jews. Even most Jews do not yet recognize Jesus of Nazareth as their (the) Messiah. But when Jesus returns to deliver Israel and Jews across the world from annihilation—first at the hands of God/Magog, then the ten-nation confederation led by Antichrist Nero—Jews by the millions will look upon the one whom they pierced (Zechariah 12).

Then they will say: Baruch haba beshem Adonai … “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39).

“And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:26).

Unfortunately, the Palestinians will most likely be fighting on the side of the Antichrist and his conventional armies by means of insurrection and continuing acts of terrorism within Israel. It will be Ishmael’s final attempt to overcome Isaac and replace his step-brother as the promised child. But Isaac has always been God’s choice to bring the ultimate Child of Promise (Messiah Jesus) to mankind.

To Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ, the Jewish Apostle Paul writes: “And you … are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit” (Galatians 4:28-29).

“…Joseph, son of David, the angel said, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).

There will be no displaced people in Messiah’s government, for those who love and follow him.

“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will never let me be part of his people…’” (Isaiah 56:3).

“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him…” (Isaiah 56:6).

“For the Sovereign Lord, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: ‘I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel’” (Isaiah 56:8).

The Most Panoramic Prophecy in the Bible (Part II)

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Antichrist … Modern-Day Man or From the Distant Past?

If I were to ask someone, believer or unbeliever, if the Antichrist is a man who will be born in the end-time’s generation, he/she would probably look at me cross-eyed and reply, “How else would he appear on the scene?” Or, “who else would he be, other than a present-day world leader?”

And I would be the first to acknowledge that this perception is both natural and logical.

On the other hand, God’s magnificent plan for the human race has unfolded providentially, sometimes through God’s supernatural intervention that is anything but natural or logical. Such things as the miracles of the ten plagues of the Exodus, parting of the Red Sea, the Virgin Birth of Messiah Jesus, and (most of all) his resurrection from the dead. Plus dozens of others recorded in Scripture. Or “secular” events in the course of history, significant or not, that apparently have nothing to do with God, or so we think.

The rise to power of dictators throughout history has been through the seemingly normal course of human events; whether through dynasties, by subterfuge, via the power afforded to them by the position they hold, or usurping control of the political, economic, and military institutions of a nation. Though great victories over their enemies and/or pouring out messianic-like messages with persuasive promises of a paradise on earth, they convince the common people to yield their complete allegiance, even to the point of worship. Such historical figures as: Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, some of the Roman Emperors (Augustus, Nero, Vespasian, Hadrian), Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Hirohito, and Mao tse-tung.

Regarding the Antichrist, even Bible scholars and students see no reason to question this historical paradigm of how both good and evil rulers have (naturally) ascended to power. Most, if not all, also agree that the Antichrist will exceed all of the tyrants before him; with the notion that he will be a geopolitical, economic, and military genius unequaled in human history.

(This Passage Encapsulates the Actual Character of Antichrist, As Will Be Developed in Today’s Article)

As stated in my second book, Out of the Abyss, and some prior Eye of Prophecy articles, I, too, once subscribed to this (reasonable) characterization of the Antichrist. Until, that is, the discernment that led to a remarkable refitting of the prophetic puzzle: the overlooked evidence that the Antichrist had already lived and died BEFORE the author of Revelation observed this despicable man in the form of a beast. Consequently, the following passage bears repeating:

“Why are you so amazed? The angel asked. I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world (the unsaved during the Tribulation) … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8; italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

To eliminate any doubt, this “beacon-light illumination” was subsequently confirmed by exhaustive research of all Biblical passages on the Antichrist, as well as first century history—especially that of the Roman Emperors and the early Church. What I found was absolutely stunning. Including the fact that nowhere does the Bible present a portrait of this man possessing extraordinary charismatic or oratorical skills or genius-like traits … commonly attributed to world leaders who have persuaded entire nations to follow them and their schemes for whatever kind of utopia they concocted.

The World Will Marvel At Antichrist For One Reason Only

For sure the Antichrist will be boastful, to the extent of blaspheming God himself (Daniel 7 & Revelation 13), but he will not be afforded blind worship because he is a super statesman, military mastermind, or inborn leader. Actually, the False Prophet will be the consummate spokesman of the two—promoting the one thing that will galvanize the world’s undivided attention: Antichrist’s miraculous reappearance from a 2,000 year-old grave as the world will see it (actually he comes up out of the Abyss).

In the New American Standard Bible, the Greek word thaumazo (thou-mad-zo) is used 43 times in the New Testament, 44 times in the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

According to Thayer’s Greek lexicon, thaumazo means to: wonder or marvel at, even to the point of honoring or worshipping; denoting incredulous surprise; in (complete) admiration of. It is most often rendered in Bible translations as: amazed, marveled, astonished, astounded.

For example: The familiar conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus found in the third chapter of John that contains the most universally well-known verse in all of the Bible (John 3:16). Jesus prefaces that fabulous verse of redemption by telling Nicodemus: “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:7, italics for emphasis, Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Surprisingly—considering the many apocalyptic revelations and shocking scenes found in the book of Revelation—the Greek word thaumazo is employed only four times. Once in Chapter 13 and three times in Chapter 17. And (not so surprisingly) all four times the term pertains to John’s two visions of the Antichrist beast, by describing John’s reaction … even more so the world’s reaction when they first see the beast. This impact far exceeds the normal response of witnessing a world leader’s rise to power in the usual way and customary period of time—which is at least a few years. Rather, the world’s reaction of utter amazement and awe of this man pertains to one thing only: his reappearance from the grave.

It is a knee-jerk response of astonishment to who the Antichrist is (a man from the distant past), and also how he arrives on the scene. Best described by the very first passage on the Antichrist found in Scripture: “As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them…” (Daniel 7:8, italics for emphasis).

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

In Revelation 17, the first use of the Greek word thaumazo is found in verse 6, which conveys John’s incredulity at the vision of the woman on the beast. The noun form is used, translated, amazement. The next use of the word is in verse 7, when the angel says to John, “Why are you so amazed … I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast…”

(A Fairly Accurate Depiction of John’s Reaction to One or More of His Visions)

Now let’s read Revelation 17:8 again, this time from the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

“The beast you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (the unsaved) will be astounded when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again (italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine)”

What is the one and only thing in this passage that “astounds” the world? It is when (because) they see the Antichrist beast who had already lived and died. A man they would see (be present again) immediately after he comes up out of the Abyss. Not charismatic character or exceptional eloquence or super statesmanship, or anything of the sort. Rather, the world is riveted on and mesmerized by him because he has miraculously returned from a 2,000 year-old grave.

In fact the term, “miracle” found in John’s first vision of the Antichrist beast is one of the four times Revelation uses the Greek word thaumazo, translated as marveled in the NLT. As follows:

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They 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).

Let me ask five questions to reinforce the one and only thing about the Antichrist beast to create such wonder over the entire earth, as clearly conveyed in the passage just quoted.

What did the world marvel at? Answer: “at this miracle.”

What was the miracle at which they marveled? Answer: “the fatal wound was healed.” And the context is crystal clear: this wound had already been healed before John witnessed the beast arising from the sea which is the scene that begins Revelation Chapter 13.

What was the power given to the beast by Satan (the dragon) and demonstrated by the beast himself, to the extreme that people will worship both Satan and Antichrist? Answer: the power of the Antichrist’s miraculous recovery (and reappearance as further described in John’s second vision of the beast … Chapter 17).

Why could/would they exclaim (in the form of a question) that no one is greater than the beast? Same Answer: Because of the marvelous miracle of his return from the dead.

Why can no one fight against the beast? This question is not as rhetorical (obvious), but the reason nonetheless is overwhelmingly inferred by the text. Answer: How can anyone fight against a man who has risen from the dead? Even if you wanted to, how can you kill such a man?

Do you get the prophetic picture of what’s going on in Revelation 13 & 17? The very next verse in Chapter 13, begins with, “Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God…” (Verse 5). Thus, the beast (also illustrated in Daniel 7 as the little horn railing against God) is depicted as an arrogant blasphemous tyrant who will boast that he alone is God (or Messiah) complements of his amazing return to the earth in the same body in which he left it.

The very fact that he has returned after a 2,000-year absence will soundly trump and effectively preclude all other traits of a leader otherwise needed to seduce hundreds of millions left on earth to yield their complete loyalty, and actually worship such a man.

In my book Out of the Abyss, I also spent considerable time on a more obscure Old Testament reference to Antichrist, found in Zechariah Chapter 11. Specifically, the sword thrusts by Nero’s servant that inflicted the fatal wounds to Nero, who wanted to commit suicide but couldn’t complete the act, are prophetically (partially) described as follows:

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

Zechariah vividly depicts this “worthless shepherd” as a ruthless, but also a pathetic figure. It’s entirely feasible that Nero will be self-conscious of these wounds; though he will make the most of the fact that he died from these wounds, and then returned from the dead. His physical appearance in the tribulation and the historical evidence that Nero was not that great of an orator, explain why the False Prophet will do most of the talking for the beast.

The erection of a statue of Antichrist (Nero) will further immortalize him, but I believe also to lessen the need for Nero to appear publicly any more than necessary. To a great extent, it’s an evil representation of Moses and Aaron. You recall: Aaron did much of the talking for Moses, though Moses was the actual Deliverer chosen by God to liberate the Hebrews.

…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… (Page 248-249).

A Refit of the Prophetic Puzzle Pertaining to Antichrist

Realization that the Antichrist beast of Revelation had already lived and died, and would return at the outset of the Tribulation to the utter astonishment of those left behind at the Rapture, led to my abandonment of these two (otherwise sensible) views. (1) That the Antichrist would arrive as a modern-day born man just like all tyrants who preceded him in their time. (2) He would possess genius-like traits and extraordinary skills that would capture global attention and allegiance.

Once this “amazing” refit of the prophetic puzzle was in place, it was just a matter of more study, research, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and correlating 1st century history to identify which of the seven heads (kings … Roman Emperors at the time) was the man of lawlessness—the Apostle Paul’s appellation of the Antichrist as written in 51-52 A.D. just 2-3 years before Nero unlawfully became Caesar.

In addition to Out of the Abyss (a comprehensive expose of the Antichrist), of the 235 Eye of Prophecy articles to date (one each Saturday since July, 2013), 47 have been assigned to the category of the Antichrist … nearly all of which have provided elaboration that Nero is the Antichrist.

Brief Revisit of Last Week’s Part I Article

First to quote again the four verses of Daniel Chapter 9 that constitute the most panoramic set of prophecies in Scripture:

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

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

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

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

Next, a restatement of the first four components of this prophetic passage, with a reminder that a Hebrew week represents seven years.

(1) The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

(2) Sixty-Nine Weeks to Messiah’s Arrival on Earth

(3) Messiah’s Death

(4) Soon After Messiah’s Death, a Ruler (Antichrist) Would Arise

We’ll pick up where we left off with the 5th of these tremendous predictions, including what is probably the most proof positive prophecy (fulfilled in the 1st century) that Nero is, in fact, the Antichrist. Prefaced with a brief review of the:

Resounding Revival of Interest in Biblical Last Days Prophecies

Beginning in 1948 and especially following the incredible Six-Day War of 1967 when Israel liberated and reclaimed Jerusalem as its eternal capital, there was a remarkable resurgence in the interest of end-times Biblical prophecy.

(Jewish Celebration of the November 1947 UN Resolution That Paved the Way for Israel’s Statehood in May, 1948)

(Exhausted Israeli Soldiers Resting at the Western Wall After Liberating Jerusalem in the Six-Day War)

This renewed focus is based on the three most significant prophecies in Scripture. (1) The first arrival of Messiah for the express purpose of establishing the New Covenant—through his death and resurrection to forgive sin and pardon the penalty thereof. (2) The return of the Jews from the four corners of the earth to their Promised Land and the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign state, which took place in 1948. (3) Which, in turn, will precipitate the return of Messiah to establish the Kingdom of God from Jerusalem. But also the Antichrist who would counterfeit the true Messiah (Jesus) by aligning with Satan, the False Prophet, and all who take the mark of the Beast to set up their own kingdom.

However, there were three major and a couple of minor pieces of the prophetic puzzle that were inaccurately fitted, all of which were based on the assumption that the Antichrist would be born in the generation of the Day of the Lord.

One is the grammatical, contextual, and historical change (substitution) of the seven heads of the beast of Revelation 17 to kingdoms instead of what the text clearly identifies as kings. One of the mistaken results of ascribing the Greek word for kings to kingdoms is that of the now famous conjecture that there will be a Revived Roman Empire (the 7th head).

When in fact, Revelation states: “The seven heads of the beast 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” (Revelation 17:9-10, italics for emphasis—a personal pronoun referring to the seventh king as “his” as opposed to a kingdom). Also, the terms for king (basileus) and kingdom (basileia) are as definitively distinct in Greek, as are the English translated words, king and kingdom.

Instead there will be a Revived Roman Emperor (Nero), as first indicated in my book Out of the Abyss!

In the context of today’s article, you may also want to refer to, Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence Part I & II, published 3-18 & 3-25-17 (concerning the seven heads/kings of the beast).

Because of the prevailing persistence that the Antichrist must be a modern-day man, the second improperly fitted piece is to attribute the restrainer of lawlessness to the Holy Spirit (II Thessalonians 2). When, in fact, Paul was referring to a restraint that was holding back this man and the secrecy of the lawlessness during the very time when Paul wrote II Thessalonians … 51, 52 A.D. The (temporary) restrainer at the time was the current Roman Emperor, Claudius, and the Roman government in general. See Eye of Prophecy article, Does the Holy Spirit Restrain (the Man of) Lawlessness? Posted 3-4-17.

(Bust of Emperor Claudius, Married to Nero’s Mother, Agrippina–Who Poisoned Claudius to Hasten Nero’s Rise to Power as Caesar)

The third major misapplication is disassociating or detaching the armies of the ruler to arise from the ruler himself, i.e. to separate the Roman Legions that destroyed the Temple from the ruler (Nero) who actually issued those orders while he was Commander-in-Chief (Caesar) of all Roman armies.

Which leads us to the fifth featured prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.

(5) The Armies (Roman Legions) That Destroyed the 2nd Temple Belonged to Nero Caesar

In last week’s article, we examined the historical fulfillment of Daniel 9:26 which occurred in the first century. “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise…”

Specifically, that this ruler would arise shortly after Messiah was killed. Historically, such a ruler was born some four years after Jesus arose from the dead and was already being touted as the next Roman Emperor about 18 years after Jesus returned to heaven. In 54 A.D. this same ruler became the fifth Caesar of the Roman Empire. As you already know, I’m referring to Nero, Mr. 666 himself. (The numerical equivalent of Nero Caesar in Hebrew gematria is six-hundred and sixty-six—Revelation 13:18).

Continuing with Daniel 9:26, we read: “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…”

Which precisely and perfectly fits Daniel’s prophecy as we will see in the following evidence.

Once we wrap our minds around the startling statement (yet one presented matter-of-factly by the angel) in Revelation 17:7-8—the Antichrist beast had already lived and died before John’s vision of this man, then would return from the Abyss—all of the other passages on the Antichrist fall into place. Matching Nero as the: little horn/ruler of Daniel 7; the worthless shepherd of Zechariah 11; the man of lawlessness in II Thessalonians 2; the number of the beast in Revelation 13; and the eighth king (one of, from the seven kings) of Revelation 17.

Although there is an abundance of evidence in all of the above listed Biblical passages and also 1st century history to decisively demonstrate that Nero was, is, and will still be the Antichrist (upon his reappearance), the fifth prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 and its fulfillment is more than enough evidence (by itself) to confirm that this ruler was none other than Nero.

To encourage you to read my second book, which contains a comprehensive overview of the Antichrist … and more; but also because I believe it was explained as well or better than I could rephrase it, here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss (in italics). Beginning with a partial quote of Daniel 9:26: “…and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple” cited earlier from the New Living Translation:

In some Bible translations such as the New American Standard, we read, “…and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” The perception of a Revived Roman Empire flows from the attachment or affiliation of the Ancient Roman Empire’s armies or people that destroyed the Temple to a modern-day Antichrist. But as we will soon see, this application contextually, grammatically, and prophetically stretches the connection to the breaking point.

The Hebrew word for “people” is am, which means people(s), people of a nation, members of one’s people, kinsman, or compatriots … And invariably, when relating people to a nation, king, ruler or to God, the word is employed in the logical and sensible Scriptural context of possessive, immediate, or generational relationship.

…In other words, “People” of the prince or ruler to come includes all of the prince’s country-men; but more exactly it was the armies (Roman Legions) of this people that fulfilled the prophecy.

…If you study the text carefully, there is a clear possessive correlation between the ruler and the armies or the people. The New Living Translation simplifies the English to demonstrate this connection by stating that, “…a ruler will arise whose armies.” Whose is possessive, meaning those armies or people specifically belonging to that particular ruler. Or, if you prefer the translation that says, “people of the prince,” the same possessive principle applies. The people directly affiliated, associated, or united with the prince destroyed the Temple.

…If Gabriel had meant that the Temple would first be destroyed by the people of the prince, and then the prince would come at a (much) later date, he would have told Daniel that the armies or people of the prince to come will have or would have already destroyed the city and the Temple. This would leave no doubt that the city would first be destroyed, and then the ruler would come later.

…What Gabriel is emphasizing or distinguishing is the fact that the armies of the prince would destroy Jerusalem, instead of the prince and his armies together; that it would be the armies independent of the ruler, with an excessively strong implication that the ruler didn’t live to see the conquest finished.

This is true when reading history. Almost always, a historian (we speak in the same terms) will say that Alexander the Great conquered Persia, not Alexander and his armies. We fully understand what it means; that Alexander the Great or Napoleon or whoever couldn’t have done it without their armies.

Yet, if a ruler dies, and his armies continue the battle or the war, we see, for example, that it was Genghis Khan’s armies or troops that did such and such after he died. “People of the prince who is to come” neither prophetically or grammatically state nor even imply that the city would be destroyed before the prince arrived. In other words, this ruler and his armies are inseparably linked together in possessive relationship and in a real-time context…

Where have you ever read or seen or thought that a ruler of any era would be connected to armies or people hundreds or thousands of years earlier. All monarchs, both in Biblical and secular history, are linked directly with the armies of that particular time of the ruler’s life.

…Why, then, should Gabriel and Daniel mean a far-off, time-warped differential between the Roman Legions and a prince that wouldn’t arrive on the scene for what is now a nearly two-thousand year gap?

…But that’s the current hindsight application made by those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist and a Revived Roman Empire. Meaning that this “prince who is to come” must be born and rise to power after an enormous lapse of time, with a 21st century result of an impractical and unrealistic time-capsule detachment from the armies that destroyed the city and the Temple. (Chapter 26, pages 254-257).

Summary of Point #5

Bible students and secular scholars and historians know beyond any doubt what armies demolished (stone by stone, as Jesus said would happen … Matthew 24:2) the 2nd Temple and destroyed much of Jerusalem in the process. This campaign against Israel began with seven Roman legions under the command of General Vespasian in 66 A.D. Because civil war erupted soon after Nero died in June, 68 A.D., Vespasian returned to Rome to put an end to this chaotic condition which included the brief reign of three pseudo-emperors over a period of only 18 months. Vespasian then become Emperor in 69 A.D. In the interim, he turned the conquest of Israel over to his son, Titus, who finished the sack of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D.

Yet, there’s one thing that you seldom read about in the history books, one that is not very often emphasized (or even mentioned) by Bible or secular historians or teachers: It was Nero who personally commissioned Vespasian and Titus to crush the Jewish rebellion.

Summarizing this subject with an excerpt from the next chapter in Out of the Abyss:

Think about it! Historically, that exactly what happened. Nero issued direct orders and personally selected the Roman generals to carry out the directive. But Nero wasn’t around to see the outcome of this Judean campaign. Thus it was necessary for Daniel to prophetically tell us that it was the armies of the ruler who actually finished the job.

…Nor has any conquest, in ancient or modern warfare, been accomplished or even recognized by means of troops conquering a city or country, then the supreme leader (king or emperor) of that army born hundreds of years later or even a few years later. In fact, that makes no sense at all. The only way the armies can be connected to, belong to, controlled, or ordered by their leader, is a direct result of the leader—by virtue of being alive—delivering commands to his subordinates; thus, for that ruler to be unequivocally associated with and attached to the people that do the conquering.

…The armies or people who destroyed the city and the Temple were Roman Legions that belonged to Nero, as ultimate Commander-in-Chief of all Roman legions. These legions are long gone, and couldn’t possibly be the people or armies of a modern-day born Antichrist. (Chapter 27, pages 263-264).

Does this, or is this beginning to make sense to you? With the scholarly, grammatical (the text itself), historical, and most of all common-sense conclusion that the people of the prince (Antichrist) were the very Roman Legions that belonged to Nero, and not some ruler who would come afterward—which is now nearly 2,000 years later. Then combine that with the fact: This same ruler lived and died during the 1st century—not long before Revelation was written—but who would “reappear” from the Abyss (Revelation 17:7-8).

Point #6 of Daniel’s prophecies in Chapter 9—Antichrist’s (the ruler) Seven-Year Treaty with Israel

First, to quote the last part of Daniel 9:26: “…The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end.”

By comparison with other Biblical end-times prophecies (not the least of which are the twenty-one massive plagues found in the book of Revelation), at this point in the passage Daniel is transitioning from the 1st century to the Tribulation period.

Next comes: “The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings… (Daniel 9:27a).

Time and space do not permit extensive elaboration on this well-known component of the seven prophecies found in Daniel Chapter 9. Except to reiterate that this period of seven years is the 70th (final) week of the seventy weeks mentioned in verse 24. It begins with a treaty that is broken by the Antichrist half way through, which also tracks with Revelation 13 that shows us the apex of Antichrist’s (Nero) power and authority will take place during the last half of the seven-year Tribulation.

“…And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5).

(This Is An Accurate Time-Line as Found in Daniel Chapters 9 & 12)

Also, one other important feature specifically applicable to last week’s and this week’s article: the obvious but still amazing fact that this ruler whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple would be the same one to orchestrate the seven-year treaty with Israel when, “the end will come.” Amazing because the ruler of Daniel 9 is (of course) the beast-king of Revelation 13 & 17 who had already lived and died in the 1st century before John’s vision of the beast.

That “end” begins with the Rapture of believers and the immediate reappearance of the Antichrist beast, followed by the Great Tribulation. Which means that if Nero was the ruler whose armies destroyed the Temple (and he was), then Nero (this same ruler) must return to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat—in the context of today’s strife in the Middle East—of brokering a treaty between Israel and her enemies.

See Eye of Prophecy article, The Peace Treaty That Will Guarantee War (posted 9-3-16).

(7) Antichrist Final Fate Sealed At the End of the Tribulation

First, to quote the last sentence of this phenomenal panoramic passage in Daniel:

“And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27b).

The sacrilegious object is one Nero will erect in the rebuilt Temple … a repetition of what his archetype predecessor, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, did in 169-168 B.C. (See Daniel Chapter 11).

Although covered extensively in Out of the Abyss and in condensed fashion in a couple of prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there’s also a phenomenal fact missed by many students of the Bible, relating to the final words of Daniel 9:27.

Which is:

“Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed (which Nero was when he ascended to the throne as Caesar in 54 A.D.), but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth (meaning at the providential direction of Jesus, himself) and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8, parenthesis mine).

First, Nero would be “revealed” as the man of lawlessness, ending the secrecy of this lawlessness explained earlier in II Thessalonians Chapter 2. Then he would reappear from the abyss as prophesied in Revelation 17.

Before fulfillment of God’s purpose (permission) to give Satan and mankind one last chance to challenge God and counterfeit and corrupt God’s magnificent plan for the human race, Messiah Jesus himself would preemptively kill the man of lawlessness. Once again, we’re short on time/space to detail all the reasons why that happened in 68 A.D. including the obvious deductive conclusion that Christ revived Nero after his death and banished him to the Abyss.

(See articles: Soon Comes the Antichrist … Straight From the Abyss, Part I & II, published 8-20 & 8-27-16)

But then Jesus would finally “destroy” Nero who will return as the beast-king (designation in Revelation) from the Abyss.

Read II Thessalonians 2:8 again. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus will kill this man of lawlessness AND (at a future time) destroy him. If you kill someone, you destroy them, right? Right, but not if the deceased is revived and then placed in the Abyss, which Scripture shows us is inhabited by extremely wicked angels in bodily form—see Revelation 9:1-11).

Thus, Paul is telling us that in addition to Jesus killing this man of lawlessness, Jesus would ALSO destroy him. How and when would this final destruction take place?

Answer: Defeating Antichrist at Armageddon by the “splendor of his (Christ) coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8b). Then throwing Nero and his False Prophet alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

Which matches perfectly with Daniel 9:27: “…until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.”

(This is the Great White Throne Judgment Which Takes Place After the 1000-year Reign of Messiah, Revelation 20:11-15)

Things to Ponder

Permit me to present one last excerpt from Out of the Abyss to explain why most of that book and 20% of all Eye of Prophecy articles have focused on clarification and (when needed) correction of misunderstood Biblical passages pertaining to the Antichrist.

We’re nearing our final destination. If the sights and sounds of the voyage, or the ship’s Scriptural log haven’t yet influenced you that Revelation 13 & 17’s wisdom or mind of understanding enables any believer of any generation to know the identity of the beast, Antichrist, that’s okay. As indicated earlier, when some left behind at the Rapture realize that Nero’s initial revealing and subsequent reappearance had been predicted long ago, they will hopefully, without amazement at this protégé of Satan, accept Jesus as Messiah (Page 249).

Speaking of Whom (Messiah Jesus), the same angel, Gabriel, who gave these spectacular prophecies to Daniel said to Mary some 540 years later:

“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” (Luke 1:31-33).

Hallelujah!

The Most Panoramic Prophecy in the Bible (Part I)

For those not all that familiar with the word panoramic, it is the adjective form of the noun, panorama. From the Greek word, horama (which means “sight”), Webster’s Dictionary defines panorama as, “…2a: an unobstructed or complete view of a region in every direction; b: comprehensive presentation of a subject; c: range; 3: a mental picture of a series of images or events.”

Picture a helicopter circling over the Grand Canyon, with a panoramic 360 degree vista. Standing on Mount Everest with a wide-angle camera lens, shooting a spectacular scene that … seems to go on forever. Or reading four verses in the book of Daniel that bear a breathtaking bird’s eye (let’s make it an eagle) view of the two most influential men and significant events in mankind’s history and destiny. One man of light, life, salvation, and all that is good; the other for darkness, death, judgment, and all that is evil.

There are no greater prophecies in Scripture than those of Messiah’s coming to the earth that he created, not once but twice—commonly referred to by theologians as the First and Second Advent of Christ. Though the far greater majority of people on earth, past and present, have not accepted Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior; a vast number of people from every race, religion, and nation recognize the name of Jesus Christ.

(One of My Favorite Passages in All of Scripture … The 1st & 2nd Advent of Jesus in Two Verses)

So, too, have billions of people on this planet heard, seen, or read about the evil antithesis of Messiah Jesus. This corrupt counterfeit of Christ bears several names in the Bible: ruler, king, little horn, man of lawlessness, and beast. But he is most commonly referred to as: Antichrist.

As a student of Scripture, I have intently studied Bible prophecy since the 1970s. Yet it wasn’t until November, 2008, when I realized that some of the pieces of the prophetic puzzle on the Antichrist were not accurately assembled. It began with a dramatic disclosure from the Lord (proper discernment and application of two verses in Revelation 17) that the Antichrist had already lived and died before John even saw him (in the form of a beast) and wrote about him. The implication was staggering, to the extent that it changes and corrects the conception of a modern-day man rising to power as the Antichrist during the soon to come Great Tribulation.

After seeing the astounding vision of a woman (a great city, which is Rome … see the six-part Eye of Prophecy series, The Woman and the Beast, posted 10-12 through 11-16-13) sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns (this is the same beast depicted in Revelation 13), the angel explains the mystery, beginning with the beast. Said the angel to John:

“Why are you so amazed? …I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world (the unsaved during the Tribulation) … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8; italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

There is absolutely no ambiguity with regard to what the angel told John. This beast (man) had already lived and died before John first saw it (him) in the first century.

Antichrist passages explored extensively in Out of the Abyss and several prior Eye of Prophecy articles are: II Thessalonians 2 (man of lawlessness); Daniel 7 (sudden appearance of the little horn, king to lead a ten-nation confederation); Daniel 11, Revelation 16 & 19 (Antichrist’s final advance on the Middle East and attack on Israel—Armageddon); Zechariah 11 (worthless shepherd); Revelation 13 (the Hebrew gematria number of the beast matching Nero Caesar and the fact that the world will be amazed at the miracle of his reappearance); Revelation 17 (the Antichrist had already lived and died but would return from the Abyss, to continue on a global scale what he began in the first century). And a panoramic passage which is the main focus of this week’s and next week’s article.

These riveting passages provide evidence of the geopolitical and biographical origin of the Antichrist—none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. With Revelation 17:7-8 presenting the foundational fact that the Antichrist’s appearance during the Tribulation is not that of a modern-day man born in that (our) generation. Whereas, the other Biblical references listed above (including the rest of Revelation 17) relay more specific details to narrow down the Antichrist “candidates” to one man.

*Note: As stated before in a few Eye of Prophecy articles, my identification of Nero as the Antichrist is neither a Preterist View (as they subscribe to the exceptionally erroneous conjecture that the Tribulation took place in the 1st century) nor is it new in the sense of being revelatory. Rather it is discernment from the Lord to revive the clear understanding of the early church (1st through 4th centuries) that Nero was, indeed, the beast of Revelation. For example, see Eye of Prophecy article: The Legendary Return of Nero, posted 4-4-15.

The first mention of the Antichrist (designation of king and little horn) is found in Daniel Chapter 7, which is Daniel’s dream vision of the four beasts—world kingdoms. Chapter 7 primarily confines the introduction to and exposure of Antichrist in the context of his sudden unexpected appearance (reappearance as Revelation 13 & 17 tells us some 600 years later) at the outset of the Great Tribulation.

(Beasts Symbolizing From Left to Right in Order … Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome)

However, there is one passage in Scripture (in just four verses) which panoramically juxtaposes and correlates the first and second coming of Messiah alongside of the initial appearance and then reappearance of the Antichrist. This passage is nothing short of astonishing, to include the precise amount of elapsed time until Jesus would be hailed as the Messiah in Israel—one week before his crucifixion and resurrection. It is also the passage that, more than all the others in Scripture, confirms that the Antichrist would be and was (as fulfilled some 600 years later in the 1st century) the Roman Emperor Nero—the man of lawlessness, the ruler, the little horn, and the king. This wicked man has been kept alive in the Abyss for some 2,000 years and will return as the Antichrist beast of Revelation.

This most sweeping of all Biblical prophetic passages is found in:

Daniel 9:24-27 (Vision of Daniel in 539 B.C.)

Let’s briefly look at the setting.

Daniel had been taken captive to Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s first attack against Judah in 605 B.C. Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon in the 2nd campaign of 597 B.C., with the third (and final) most destructive onslaught occurring in 586 B.C. when Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple were destroyed. Jeremiah was also a contemporary (older than Daniel and Ezekiel); however, he was never deported to Babylon.

In 539 B.C. right after Persia had conquered Babylon, Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy, “…that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years” (as quoted by Daniel in Chapter 9, verse 2).

That had been the warning given by God through Jeremiah to the two southern tribes of Israel—Judah and Benjamin. If God’s people persisted in worshipping false gods (idols) and refused to return to him, the prophecies given to Moses long before would come to pass—the final and most devastating of which was the inconceivable exile to foreign nations.

Daniel then proceeded to offer one of the most poignant and powerful prayers recorded in all of Scripture, acknowledging the unrepentant sins of the people and God’s perfect justice in judging them. Then pleading with the Lord to be merciful to him and his people. It was tantamount to asking the Lord to please remember his promise to limit the punishment to seventy years (Daniel 9:4-19).

Daniel had barely begun praying when God sent the angel Gabriel to him, but not just to answer Daniel’s prayer, as it was already a foregone conclusion that the Babylonia captivity would last for only 70 years. Rather, the Lord would give to Daniel an astounding panoramic prophecy concerning Israel’s future that would encompass the New Covenant of salvation and Israel’s ultimate physical and spiritual restoration; also times of great turmoil caused by both the first and second appearance of the anti-Messiah. And other phenomenal events that we’ll get to later in this and next week’s article.

Before we read the four verses of this powerful prophecy, let’s pick it up with Gabriel’s first words to Daniel:

“…Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision” (Daniel 9:22-23).

(Depiction of Gabriel Appearing to Daniel, Who Would Have Been in His Early Eighties By This Time)

Here is Gabriel’s stunning revelation to Daniel, quoted in its entirety. However, for purpose of easier referencing later on, each verse will be cited individually.

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

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

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

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

In just four verses, the angel Gabriel revealed a total of seven (once again illustrating the striking significance of the divine number seven) distinct components to this amazing prophecy. Some of the seven are well-known and sufficiently grasped by students of Bible prophecy; others have been misunderstood or misapplied, especially verse 26.

*Note: You may want to print the above portion of today’s article that quotes the four verses of Daniel Chapter 9, for easier reference as we proceed.

(1) The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

In Hebrew, the 70 weeks represent 490 actual years (one week equals seven years) of time that began with the Persian King Artaxerxes’s decree in 445 B.C.—recorded later in Nehemiah Chapter 2—allowing Nehemiah to return to Israel and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. However, the 70 weeks (particularly the sweeping events depicted in verse 24), would also prophetically span the interlude between the first 69 weeks of this era and the remaining (70th) week.

Sixty-nine of these weeks (483 years) would end with the triumphant ride of Jesus on the back of a donkey (as foretold by Zechariah) into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. Seven days later, Messiah Jesus would arise from the dead to seal the New Covenant of Salvation through faith in God’s grace … the substitutionary sacrificial gift of His Son. That is the (once for all) atonement spoken of in verse 24.

The 70th week would not commence until: “The end will come…” (verse 26) at which time the Antichrist would make a seven-year treaty with Israel (verse 27). From which we get the duration of the Great Tribulation, beginning with believers taken from the earth in the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15).

Take special note that the same ruler (Antichrist) introduced earlier in verse 26 is the one who orchestrates this seven-year treaty with Israel; separated by a (long) period of time before the 70th week would begin, as clearly conveyed in the last half of verse 26: “…The end will come…” Which perfectly matches with Nero’s first time/tenure on earth as a Roman Emperor to his return from the Abyss at the outset of the Tribulation.

At the end of that 70th week (seven years) when Messiah returns triumphantly to earth to set up his Millennial Reign, other of Daniel’s predictions in verse 24 will come to pass. Israel’s rebellion (their persistent refusal by the majority of Jews to accept Jesus as their Messiah) is finally ended when the remnant left at the end of the Tribulation embraces Jesus as their Messiah. First they will mourn for Jesus because they (and their ancestors) had denied him as their Messiah Savior (Zechariah 12:10-14). Everlasting righteousness will be established in the Kingdom of God, and the Most Holy Place (the 3rd Temple) will be divinely “anointed” or set apart for worship and prayer during the Millennium.

At that point the entire scope of the prophetic vision will have been confirmed … completed.

These 70 weeks would comprehensively comprise everything pertaining to Israel’s redemption (individually then nationally) and their ultimate physical and spiritual restoration to the Promised Land. In between the 69th and 70th week, the times of the Gentile domination would continue over Israel, which finally ended in 1967.

(2) Sixty-Nine Weeks to Messiah’s Arrival on Earth

Daniel gives us the starting point of that phenomenally precise prediction, and the Gospels tell us exactly when Messiah Jesus (“the Anointed One comes” … Daniel 9:25) fulfilled the prophecy as foretold in the following well-known passage:

“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt” (Zechariah 9:9).

Not until the appointed time during his marvelous and miraculous ministry on earth did Jesus allow Israel to “officially” acknowledge him as the long-awaited Messiah; even though his profound teaching and his powerful miracles that no one had ever done before proved that he was the Son of God … exactly who King David said the Messiah would be (Psalm 2 & Psalm 110).

Read with me from Matthew’s Gospel: “The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowds spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting.

‘Praise God for the Son of David (all Jews knew that term was equivalent to the Messiah)! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!’

“The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. ‘Who is this?’ they asked. And the crowds replied, ‘It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee’” (Matthew 21:6-11; italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Although mentioned in subsequent Eye of Prophecy articles, here is an excerpt from an older article, An Incredible Prophecy Time-Lapse Prophecy (Posted 1-18-14). That article was all about the amazing discovery (disclosure) given to Sir Robert Anderson, published in 1894 in his book, The Coming Prince.

Once again, time/space prohibits extensive review of what he found, so I will highly condense his amazing discovery: Sir Robert Anderson calculated (with partial assistance from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich) the Julian date of King Artaxerxes edict to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to have been March 14th, 445 BC. Furthermore, the Julian date for Jesus’s magnificent ride into Jerusalem was April 6th, 32 AD. By employing the Hebrew calendar, Sir Robert Anderson tallied 173,880 days had elapsed which is exactly 483 Jewish years!! Absolutely astounding! I repeat for emphasis: Incredible!!

Sir Robert Anderson factored in leap years and the 24 days from March 14th to April 6th. Some mathematicians/scholars determined that Anderson was two days off or so; but whether they’re right or Sir Robert was right, doesn’t matter all that much. The fact is: to calculate within two days, or two weeks, or two months, or even two years is remarkable. When you’re talking about 483 years, even a gap of two years still gives significant validation to the prophecy. Meaning that it’s not the God-given prophecy that’s a little off; rather, it might just be a slight miscalculation of what is a fairly complex system of balancing two calendars over such a long period of time.

Unless God, himself, directly inspires someone (such as the prophet Daniel), there’s absolutely no way for a man or woman to predict either the decree of Artaxerxes (some 95 years after Daniel’s vision) or the coming of the Messiah (some 483 years—Jewish calendar) years later to the year and the very day! Or, for that matter to predict anything, with or without a definitive time-frame of fulfillment, on an error-free, 100% standard of accuracy….

*Foot Note: Sir Robert Anderson recognized that Daniel’s prophecy was one (of a very few) Biblical prediction based on an actual calendar time-lapse projection … in this case regarding Messiah’s first coming. The insight given to me comes from the “hidden” gem of prophecy found in Leviticus Chapter 26, pertaining to the Lord’s second coming during the generation that would see the end of Gentile domination of the Jews in 1967. It also is based on a precise period of time, in this case the four phases of seven times over representing the actual historical time-line of God’s uninterrupted discipline of Israel.

(Sir Robert Anderson … 1841-1918)

See Eye of Prophecy articles, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th Power) Parts I, II, III; followed by The Omega Generation—published 1-25-14 through 2-15-14. Also refer to articles: Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! (1-25-16) & Double Israel’s Trouble and Double Her Blessings! (8-13-16).

Whether coincidental or not: Sir Robert Anderson was an Investigator for Scotland Yard and my profession was principally that of an Insurance Investigator.

(3) Messiah’s Death

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven (69 sets of seven in all or 483 years—173,880 days), the Anointed One will be killed…” (Daniel 9:26a, parenthesis mine).

In Verse 25 the angel Gabriel describes (breaks down) the 69 weeks by saying, “seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven.” There could be two reasons for this: (1) sometimes the way in which the Hebrew language would (poetically) emphasize periods of time. But not just in Bible times. Do you remember a famous U.S. President who used the same kind of expression? “Four score and seven years ago…!”

(2) Gabriel is indirectly but nonetheless prophetically underscoring the time (seven weeks or 49 years) that would pass from the time of the Jerusalem walls decree to the 400-year period of silence when the Lord did not speak to his people through prophets, which is the last 400 years of B.C. time. Forty-nine years from 445 B.C. would lead to the year 396 B.C. which very well could have been the year when Malachi’s prophecies ended. Personally, I lean towards option 2.

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

Daniel’s prophecy confirms prior predictions of Messiah’s death as found, for example, in Isaiah Chapter 53. Right up to this present day, the suffering of the Jewish Messiah is a source of consternation and bewilderment to many Jews, especially the observant among them. It is such a paradox that several Rabbis endorse the theory that there are two Messiahs, not just one. See Eye of Prophecy article, More Than One Messiah (12-5-15) and a companion article, Messiah’s Arrival … On Whose Authority? (11-25-15).

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

(If I counted correctly, there are 36 personal pronouns of he, him, or his; plus “a man of sorrows” for a total of 37 references to an individual man–the Messiah–in Isaiah 53, a chapter with 12 verses)

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

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

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

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

Even before Isaiah 53, we read this in the preceding chapter:

“See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted (which is the only prophetic image most Jews have of Messiah). But many were amazed when they saw him (Isaiah is switching to the past tense to emphasize what must come first, even though the entire passage in prophetically future). His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance one would scarcely know he was a man” (Isaiah 52:13-14, parenthesis mine).

The Gospels vividly tell us that Jesus was struck about his face, part of his beard pulled out, beaten on his head with a rod, a crown of thorns placed on his head, and mercilessly flogged with a lead-tipped whip. Combine that with long nails driven through his wrists and feet on the cross and you get a graphic picture of Isaiah’s prophecy—that Jesus could hardly be recognized as a man.

But then immediately switching back to the future (return of Messiah), Isaiah states, “And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence…” (Isaiah 52:15).

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

(4) Soon After Messiah’s Death, a Ruler (Antichrist) Would Arise

In amplification of Daniel Chapter 7 which deals primarily with the activities of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation (although Chapter 7 does identify that this ruler would come from the 4th World Kingdom—Rome), Daniel 9 informs us when and from where the Antichrist would first appear as further supported by Revelation Chapter 17.

Long before the book of Revelation was written telling us that the Antichrist beast of the Great Tribulation had already lived and died in the 1st century (but would return from the Abyss), Daniel Chapter 9 paints a clear picture that this evil man would arise (soon) after Messiah’s birth, life, death, and resurrection.

We know that this ruler would appear soon after Messiah’s death, because of the qualifying language in Daniel 9:26. Beginning with:

“…the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26a, italics for emphasis).

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

Another convincing reason to assign contemporary status, correlation, and connection between the ruler (Nero) and the Roman Legions of 70 AD relates to the ruler arising after the Anointed One (Messiah) is killed, “appearing to have accomplished nothing…” (Daniel 9:26).

If the ruler is a modern-day man, then this verse doesn’t fit. Worse, the first part of the verse is simply inaccurate. What am I saying? I am saying that, as this book is written, we can look back some 2000 years and clearly see the monumentally astounding accomplishments of Christianity. Yet Daniel 9:26 effectively tells us that the ruler will sequentially rise to power during the time that Messiah’s death “appears” to have accomplished nothing. In other words, the ruler would arise fairly soon after Messiah is killed.

Nero was born just three to four years after Christ died, and he ruled as Emperor just two-three decades after Christ’s resurrection and return to heaven. Christianity was still in its infancy. To the populace of Israel, the Roman Empire and world at large, the tragic death of Jesus of Nazareth seemed to have accomplished very little. To Jewish Zealots, Jesus’s death accomplished absolutely nothing … It took several centuries for Christians and the secular world to comprehend the increasing influence that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ had exerted on the world (Pages 256-257).

(Busts of the First Five Roman Caesars …. Left to Right: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero)

The next paragraph after the above excerpt reads:

“Stating it bluntly: the Roman Legions of 70 AD could not be of, from, or belong to a ruler born some two thousand years later. This would stretch the chain that binds the Roman Legions of 70 AD to a modern-day man to the breaking point. Remember again: this ruler or king originates directly from the fourth world power (Roman Empire) of Daniel Chapter 7. The ruler does not come from a future 7th empire, because there is no such empire in the book of Daniel, as there are not seven heads to the beast of Daniel, only the ten horns (tribulation kings)” (Out of the Abyss, page 257).

Which leads us to the next remarkable feature of this four-verse passage in Daniel Chapter 9, as hinted at in the preceding paragraph just quoted. But one that will need to wait until next week’s Part II article!

That next point is:

(5) The Armies (Roman Legions) That Destroyed the 2nd Temple Belonged to Nero Caesar

As opposed to the impractical notion of these Roman legions belonging to a ruler who wouldn’t be born for another 2,000 years.

Points 6 & 7 will also follow in next week’s article, to, among other things, further demonstrate that Nero is the Antichrist, because the same ruler whose armies destroyed the Temple will initiate the seven-year treaty with Israel (at the outset of the Tribulation).

Things to Ponder

As with other visions seen by Daniel, I’m sure he was overwhelmed at the magnitude of all that Gabriel was telling him, particularly because the breadth of it was comprehensively condensed to a few sentences.

All of the seven component prophecies explained to him by Gabriel as recorded in Daniel 9:24-27 were astounding. But I think the one which probably stunned him the most was the fact that the Temple would be rebuilt. And then destroyed yet again! By a ruler who would arise shortly after Messiah was killed, which he already knew would happen by virtue of Isaiah and King David’s prophecies of Messiah’s death. Yet Daniel didn’t need to wait long to see the unfolding of the rebuilt Temple facet of these seven prophecies.

Less than a year later, the Persian King Cyrus, in his very first year of reign after conquering Babylon, issued a decree that the Jews could return to Israel and rebuild the Temple (See Ezra Chapter 1)!

Although Jeremiah had prophesied that the Babylonian Captivity would last only 70 years, God had not disclosed to him that the Temple would be rebuilt. In fact, it was the year when the Temple was finally finished (516 B.C.) which completed the 70 year-exile of the Jews, after Solomon’s Temple was demolished in 586 B.C.

Do you see how graciously the Lord answered Daniel’s prayer for mercy on and forgiveness of Daniel’s people, the Jews? Not only would the Jews return to Israel (some of them, as not all agreed to go back), the Temple itself would be rebuilt! That’s grace and mercy that only the Lord God can express in real time and in concrete ways. And then the Lord gave Daniel a condensed but nevertheless panoramic view of Israel’s future and destiny like virtually no other found in Scripture. One, however, that we can understand even better than Daniel, if we eagerly and thoroughly compare Scripture with Scripture and also history … particularly the 1st century

(Depiction of The Third Temple Superimposed on Temple Mount Next to the Dome of the Rock)

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

“The time has come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again … 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 8:13-15).

To the Gentile believers in Rome, the Jewish Apostle Paul wrote:

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

Long live Israel!

Long live Messiah Yeshua!

Global Obsession with Jerusalem … In Biblical Proportions!

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The World’s OCD over Israel

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

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

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

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

As the first Eye of Prophecy article for a new year, there is no more fitting topic than the world’s fanatical focus on the tiny state of Israel, smaller in population than many cities on earth. It is political, racial, religious, and social OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) on steroids and on a truly global scale. Since her rebirth as a sovereign state in 1948, no nation on earth has received more world-wide attention as has Israel. It is mind-boggling. We only need to look at the United Nations—to which virtually every nation on earth belongs— to confirm that this obsession is not an exaggeration.

Question: Is the United Nations really united? Answer: Of course not. How could it be when there’s such dissimilarity in geopolitical ideologies and practices from one country to another? If anything, there are deeper more divisive differences between nations than ever before—surpassing the disparities that spawned World War II, i.e. fascism versus democracy. Even within nations there is a growing polarity between such things as globalism and populism.

(United Nations General Assembly)

However, when it comes to Israel, the vast majority of otherwise disunited nations of the world have set aside their differences in a common cause that is glaringly and transparently anti-Israel. It is a unified agenda against the one and only Jewish state in the world, with only a handful of nations showing overt support for Israel. In both form and substance, it is a global conspiracy that defies all that is logical, reasonable, and moral. It is peer pressure at its worst. It is so very wrong.

Consequently, the Psalmist pleaded with the Lord:

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

You can count on it! The Lord has heard the incessant threats of the nations against Israel. He has seen the dozens of UN Resolutions against Israel that are shamefully unfounded (based on ignorance or deliberate denial of Israel’s true historical right to the Promised Land), far outnumbering those against truly rogue nations like North Korea, Iran, Yemen, and Syria.

United Nations Retaliates Against the United States & Israel

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, U.S. President Agrees with God … Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital! Posted 12-9-17. Which includes quotes from Palestinians and Islamic leaders who blasted President’s Trump decision of 12-6-17 to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. But also from some of our allies who protested Trump’s decision, such as Great Britain, France, and Germany.

Soon after President Trump’s daring declaration on behalf of our Executive Staff to officially support the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by a wide margin in the U.S. Congress (1995), the United Nations Security Council convened to vote on yet another resolution effectively against Israel, although the United States was directly targeted.

On December 18th, 2017, less than two weeks after President Trump’s historical announcement, a resolution to declare America’s recognition of Jerusalem as internationally illegal was approved by the UN Security Council. Although it only takes nine of the fifteen council member nations to pass a resolution, fourteen of the fifteen nations voted in favor. As you probably know by now, our United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, vetoed the decree.

As a reminder, there are five nations which hold a permanent seat on the Security Council: United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, and China. Each of these five nations possesses veto power for any Security Council resolution. The other ten nations are appointed for two-year terms.

The impetus for this resolution came from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) consisting of 57 Muslim countries, which conducted an “emergency meeting” soon after President Trump’s announcement. Egypt was selected as the country to draft the resolution.

(The Real Founding Purpose of the OIC Was to Deal With the “Zionist Entity” … Israel)

Not that the OIC needed any incentive to once again denigrate Israel (this time via the United States); however, their resolution was spurred on by comments such as made by Turkey’s President Erdogan—who regurgitated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ previous rhetoric that the United States should be disqualified as a negotiator in Israeli/Palestinian peace process—because the US was no longer an “unbiased” peace broker.

Excuse me: Does that mean that all of the Islamic countries (both Arab and non-Arab) as well as many European nations are NOT biased (toward Israel), or do not favor the Palestinian narrative? That’s like saying the sun rises in the east only for some nations. Whether a good bias or a bad one (in the eye of the beholder) a bias is still a bias. But did President Trump show bias? If simply affirming the historical reality that Jerusalem is and always has been the only capital of Israel is prejudice, then every nation on earth is bigoted because they have exercised their sovereign right as a country to recognize any city of any nation on earth which has declared that city as their capital.

Essentially then, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that contradicts and even defies one of the integral features and purposes for its very existence: acceptance and recognition of member states to establish its capital in the city of its choice.

Said US Ambassador Nikki Haley after the United States vetoed the resolution: “Today for the simple act of deciding where to put our embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty. The record will reflect that we did so proudly. Today for acknowledging a basic truth about the capital city of Israel, we are accused of harming peace. The record will reflect that we reject that outrageous claim. For these reasons and with the best interest of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people firmly in mind, the United States votes no on this resolution.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this about President Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, then the subsequent U.S. veto of the malicious and misguided Security Council resolution, which took place during Israel’s celebration of Chanukah.

“Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Chanukah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump. Thank you, Nikki Haley.”

(Jewish Family Celebrating Hanukkah– See Eye of Prophecy Article: Hanukkah … The Festival Born of a Prophecy! Posted 12-31-16)

Ambassador Haley also referenced the deplorable UN Resolution 2334, supported (some even say instigated) by outgoing President Obama also in the month of December (2016). Among other anti-Israeli accusations, that resolution condemned the construction of Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Although the U.S. didn’t vote for the resolution, it nevertheless abstained, which was tantamount to supporting it.

Said Nikki Haley: “In December 2016, the US elected to abstain. Now it is a new administration. Given the chance to vote again we would exercise a veto power. The US will not make that mistake again.”

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334) Posted 1-7-17.

The Security Council Resolution against the United States and Israel Was Not Enough

It was no secret to the entire world that the United States would veto the Security Council resolution. Thus, the Muslim nations convinced the United Nations to urgently convene a session in its General Assembly. Although it would be (legally) non-binding, the General Assembly passed its own resolution just three days later (12-21-17) declaring the U.S. action on Jerusalem, “null and void.”

The vote was 128 in favor and 9 against, with 35 countries abstaining and another 21 nations whose representatives didn’t attend the session. The Palestinians considered the vote to be a great victory for them and for the Muslim world, even though the resolution was unenforceable as compared to Security Council measures that are (legally) binding by international law. Said Palestinian Authority spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdainah: “We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation, and to establish a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Central American countries Guatemala and Honduras were two of the nine nations that voted on the side of the United States and Israel. In fact, after speaking directly with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales had already stated that he would move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem after the United States had done so. The other five countries (besides the US and Israel) were: Micronesia, Nauru, Tonga, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. How many of these countries have you heard of? None of them? Make no mistake: the true and living God—the God of Israel and of all who have placed their faith and eternal destiny in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus—heard their vote. According to God, he will bless those nations who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. (Genesis 12).

The experts were wrong; they had predicted at least 150 nations would vote in favor of the sanction against the US and Israel. Accordingly, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated:

“Israel rejects the decision of the United Nations and, at the same time, we show gratitude to the high number of countries that abstained from this resolution. Israel thanks President Trump on his unequivocal position in favor of Jerusalem and thanks other countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth.”

However, the political experts were right in forecasting that several nations who have in the past voted against Israel abstained this time because of what President Trump and Ambassador Haley had boldly said before the General Assembly’s vote on 12-21-17.

Tweeted President Trump with the clear message that US aid to some nations might be cut off or reduced if they defied America’s sovereign right to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

Said Nikki Haley: “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the U.N. and when other member nations ask Washington to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Echoing President Trump’s pledge, she went on to say: “America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N. And this vote will be remembered.”

(US Ambassador to United Nations … Nikki Haley)

Author and columnist Sarah Stern wrote in an article published by the online new source Israel Hayom on 12-26-17 in which she comments on the UN’s reprehensible vote against the US, considering that America pays 22% of the U.N. budget—billions more than any other nation.

Said Ms. Stern: “Seeing as 20 of the 26 General Assembly votes in 2016 were directed against Israel—a full 77%–with only three on Syria, and one each on Iran, North Korea and Crimea, it came as no surprise that on Thursday, the General Assembly rejected President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…

“The reason for this is the presence within the U.N. of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation—the largest body inside the U.N. and a powerful force against Israel. It is beyond ironic that nations with the glorious human rights records of Syria, Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia are lecturing the United States on democracy.

“Thank you, Nikki Haley for finally putting an end to the notion that nations can continue to insult the U.S. and its single democratic ally in the Middle East and then expect a free ride at the American taxpayer’s expense.”

Seventy-seven percent of UN resolutions against Israel (in 2016) is certainly nothing new. Since 2012, some 85% of the almost 90 UN Resolutions have been directed at Israel. And before 2012, UN resolutions were disproportionately anti-Israel. In fact, ever since Israel’s statehood in 1948, she has been the favorite target of this global organization that actually should be called, Nations United Against Israel.

Which reinforces the main theme of today’s article: the extraordinary focus of global attention on Israel is absolutely unprecedented in recorded history. Which is what the Bible said would happen in the last days. Our generation is witnessing the culmination of God’s two sweeping plans for the human race that will complete his three enduring covenants with Israel. Which, in turn, have brought and will bring untold blessings to Gentiles as well as to all Jews who recognize and accept the One destined to bring these covenants to final fruition.

That’s why the entire world is mesmerized by what is happening in the Middle East, especially in, to, and through Israel.

God’s Majestic Plans Accomplished Through Covenants

The first plan was set in motion by God’s covenant with Abraham, which itself was in two parts.

(A) The Chosen People: Abraham as the Patriarchal Father of God’s designated people the Jews, through whom Messiah would come. Messiah Jesus would be the ultimate source of blessing for both the Jews and Gentiles (Genesis 12:1-3, which lists seven promises).

(B) The Promised Land of Israel: As a perpetual inheritance and special possession of the Jews.

Said the Lord to Abraham: “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give you the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).

Subsequently, there are several passages in the Old Testament that define the comprehensive boundaries of the Promised Land of Israel, such as Ezekiel Chapters 47-48 and Obadiah 1. Trust me (better yet trust the Bible): The original expanse of Israel when first given to the Jews (and will be returned to them during the Millennium) was much larger than modern-day Israel.

In preparation for the ultimate Promised Child (Messiah Jesus) through Isaac and a New Covenant that would provide a once for all substitutionary atonement for Israel and all people, the Lord gave a set of universal laws (Ten Commandments) and principles to Israel, but also hundreds of civil, ceremonial, and celebratory laws unique to God’s chosen people.

Because God’s people failed to keep the covenant of the law given through Moses, they were expelled (not once, but twice) from Israel just as the Lord said would happen if his people disobeyed and abandoned him.

Nonetheless, God’s covenant promise to Abraham was unconditional … though it would take thousands of years to be fully realized. In the interim, there are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies declaring that God himself would unilaterally restore the Jews to the Promised Land of Israel. This ultimate physical and spiritual redemption would come through Messiah.

“In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people—those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 11:11-12).

The second plan was for God to replace the Mosaic Covenant with a New Covenant, as prophesied by Jeremiah (Chapter 31).

This superb Covenant of Grace would also be extended to the Gentiles, beginning with the substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son (the Messiah) as so poignantly pictured in Isaiah Chapter 53 and other passages, to make all people right with God by simple faith in so great a salvation.

This covenant was implemented 2,000 years ago with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus. Just hours before he was mercilessly and unjustly crucified on a cross, Jesus ate a final meal with his disciples.

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

That covenant of once-for-all sacrificial redemption has continued to this day, and will remain until the soon to come Rapture of Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews the world over. Followed by the greatest time of calamity the world has ever known, one that will last seven years.

The third covenant was one God made with King David, also in two parts … one conditional the other unconditional.

(A) Conditional Requirements: For descendants of King David to remain on his throne in Israel, they and the people must continue to follow the Lord their God. They did not. Result: End of the Davidic dynasty of kings.

(B) Unconditional Aspect of Davidic Covenant: At God’s appointed time, a King from the tribe of Judah would reinstate the Davidic dynasty. “…He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity…” (Isaiah 9:7).

Messiah Jesus will rule and reign as King of all kings from Jerusalem.

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9).

God’s Covenants Go Through Isaac, Not Ishmael

This is what infuriates Israel’s sworn enemies, which is virtually all Muslims and Islamic nations. They simply cannot tolerate a tiny Jewish nation whose people (whether religiously observant or not) claim to be descendants of a man chosen directly by a God who asserts that he is the only true and living God. But this hatred goes much further back than Muhammad’s invention of Islam and his selection of the moon-god Allah from among other pagan gods worshipped by the Arabs, to replace the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It goes back to the Lord’s decision that Isaac, not Ishmael, would be the child of promise—ancestor of the greater Child of Promise to come later—Messiah. Some 1.5 billion Muslims on this planet simply will not tolerate the truth of God’s Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

They have rewritten the Biblical historical record to, among other things, fraudulently claim that Ishmael was Abraham’s rightful heir to the promises of God’s Covenant with Abraham. All the while asserting that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (which is how God initially referred to himself) was really Allah. And that Abraham was actually Muslim—some 2,500 years before Muhammad concocted Islam as a religion. Which to anyone with any (historical) objectivity and common sense at all would realize is pathetically absurd.

(*Note: Once again I will say in no uncertain terms: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who then revealed his Divine universal name (Yahweh) to Moses is NOT the same as Allah. Or any other man-made god. The differences between the Bible and the Koran and between El Shaddai (God Almighty … another name for the God of the Bible) and Allah are absolutely light years apart.)

But this irrational hatred of the Jews extends far beyond the Arabs and Muslims of the world. The Crusades, the Inquisitions, the European and Russian pogroms, and most (worst) of all the horrendous Holocaust at the hands of the “superior Aryan” Third Reich prove that anti-Semitism has crossed all racial, religious, political, and cultural lines.

No matter the ideology—whether eastern mysticism or western pragmatism, whether religious or non-religious, whether political or apolitical—there is a convergence of world opinion that something must be done about Israel … good, bad, or somewhere in between. Nations are taking sides for or (mostly) against Israel with such a powerful polarity that they will not allow Israel to determine her own destiny.

Even President Trump said that his decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would mean that the Israelis would have to “pay” (meaning reciprocate) for “concessions” that would be required of Israel should peace negotiations ever resume. He did not intend that as a threat to Israel. Rather, he was responding to Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ staff which claimed that President Trump was “blackmailing” them with his threat (which it was to the PA) to cut off aid unless the Palestinians included the United States in peace negotiations.

The winds of war are whipping across this planet. As born again believers, we know full well that the ultimate source and force behind the evil ideologies (fascism, communism, state religions, totalitarianism, and New Age globalism) is Satan, himself. He knows the Scriptures and he’s well acquainted with God’s plans so powerfully presented in the Bible. He’s fully aware that God intends to carry out his covenant with Abraham, whereby the Jewish people will forever possess the Promised Land, with Jerusalem as the Holy Capital City of that Holy Land.

Here’s what Jesus said about Satan:

Satan has been preoccupied with eliminating both the Jews and Israel from the face of the earth. He knows that Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel. It is to Jerusalem that Messiah will return. And it is from Jerusalem that he will rule and reign victoriously in a Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace—all three of which Satan hates. In Satan’s warped mentality: No Jerusalem, no Israel. No Israel, no return of Messiah.

In a two-front war, the devil has also continued his campaign to kill as many Christians as possible. While also devising false religions to strike the Kingdom of Heaven from within—an even more deceitful and dangerous threat, because many more will die in their sins from a false gospel than true believers killed for their faith.

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

An Intriguing Paradox

There is a remarkable phenomenon underway whereby some national leaders are developing friendly ties with Israel, even though the majority of their people still harbor anti-Semitic feelings against Jews. Still, when it came time on a global level to support Israel (by accepting at face value America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), many nations (such as India) that have recently struck up a liaison with Israel, bowed to international peer pressure and voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution.

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

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

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

It’s actually not so much the fact that the vast majority of nations still oppose Israel publicly, as demonstrated by the ridiculous and completely disproportionate (especially against the only democracy in the entire Middle East) UN resolutions. As indicated, this hostility towards Israel has been around for a long time. What’s Biblically important to grasp is the incomprehensible, inordinate obsession with Israel by virtually every nation on earth—not the least of which are the most powerful countries including, of course, the United States.

I’m convinced that the “wicked scheme” prophesied by Ezekiel is currently being devised by those nations who seek Israel’s total destruction. The particulars of their diabolical plan to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth” is already underway. All the pieces are in place like never before. They fully intend to move the “immovable rock of Jerusalem” from Israeli control (Zechariah 12:3). First, politically, through a United Nations (against Israel). When that doesn’t work, then an all-out military attack against Israel. But that won’t happen until after the Rapture. However, the Rapture is as imminent as it ever has been.

Thanks be to our Great God and Savior (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); he has his own majestic plan. And he has the incomparable power and authority to achieve his purpose for national Israel and for spiritual Israel (Jew and Gentile believers in Messiah Jesus).

Here is God’s warning to those people and nations who defy the Lord and his Son:

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God.’

“But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lords scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. 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. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.’

“Now then, you kings act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 2:1-12).

The Lord knows exactly which nations are devising a wicked plan against Israel and what that plan is. And we who know the Lord as personal Savior (Jew and Gentile alike) fully realize that we are here for such a time as this. Moreover, many Jews in Israel and the world over—who do not yet recognize Jesus as their Messiah nor have accepted him as God’s Son, their Savior— readily realize that their redemption is drawing near.

The nations are in a frenzy over Jerusalem. God said that one day he would grant their wish to try to solve the Jewish problem on a truly global scale.

In fact, the Lord will take the initiative himself as demonstrated in his words to Gog, “I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north” (Ezekiel 39:2).

God himself will crush this arrogant Magog confederation in the early part of the Great Tribulation.

Then during the final battle of Armageddon regarding the ten-nation coalition led by Antichrist Nero, we read:

“At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land…

“Say to the nations far and wide: ‘Get ready for war! Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack. Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Train even your weaklings to be warriors. Come quickly, all you nations everywhere. Gather together in the valley.’

“And now, O Lord, call out your warriors! Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the Lord, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all” (Joel 3:1-2 & 9-12).

Summary

We are in the 3rd Millennium since the birth of Messiah Jesus and the 7th overall, as indicated in last week’s Eye of Prophecy article. Both are vitally significant numbers and periods of time in the Bible. Although there are multiple signs of last day’s prophecies being fulfilled in our generation, those millennial reasons (numbers) alone are signaling the soon return of Messiah Jesus. There have been seven major epochs in Jewish history (three since Messiah Jesus’s first advent) in which some nations have attempted to (literally) eliminate Jews and/or Israel from the earth.

  1. Pharaoh’s Suppression of the Jews From Becoming a Nation
  2. The Canaanite Tribes Effort to Drive the Jews out of Israel (Joshua to King David)
  3. The Assyrian and Babylonian Conquests of Israel/Judah, Resulting in “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel”
  4. The Evil Persian Haman’s Planned Genocide of the Jews
  5. The Roman Destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple & Massive Dispersion of the Jews to Other Nations
  6. A Genocide Attempt by Hitler’s Third Reich … Killing Six Million Jews
  7. The (Soon to Come) Gog/Magog, Then Antichrist Nero’s Coalition to Eliminate Israel as a Sovereign Nation.

Things to Ponder

The eyes of the world are on Israel. That magnified telescopic focus will only intensify in 2018.

And so is God intently watching over Israel.

“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12, NASB).

Says King David about the Lord’s love for and protection of Israel and of God’s people:

“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).

Listen to the song of those in Israel’s antiquity as they ascended to Temple Mount (and even in today’s world with the millions of Jewish and Gentile tourists and Israeli citizens who visit Temple Mount):

Wake up people of the earth. The King is coming!

God has given everyone the freedom and authority to answer the following questions, but they must be answered. Neutrality is not an option with God.

Is Messiah Jesus coming for you or against you? Is he your Savior or your Judge?

“The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey (the obedience of faith in Messiah Jesus) the Son will never experience life but remains under God’s angry judgement” (John 3:35-36, parenthesis mine).

Messiah’s Millennial Reign … Incredible Changes on Earth

“The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow…” (Isaiah 65:25).

Hold that thought … we’ll get back to it.

Meanwhile, it’s that time of the year. So shout it out: Happy New Year!

Cherishing and celebrating the Savior’s (Christmas) birthday or not, one week later many of us look forward to a new year. Whether a person’s year begins on January 1st (for most of the world), or the 1st day of Tishrei (Jewish calendar), there’s something about a new year that seems to renew or continue our hope for a meaningful life, and rekindle aspirations for a finer world with some measure of peace. People still make resolutions (some seriously) to be a better person to themselves and others.

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

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

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

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

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

(See Eye of Prophecy articles, Great Expectations for Messiah and Amazing Anticipation for Messiah. Posted 8-8-15 & 8-29-15. Also refer to, The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah, posted 1-28-17).

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

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

The Apostle Peter reminded us:

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

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

“The Lord isn’t really slow about his promise (to return to the earth), as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (II Peter 3:9, parenthesis mine).

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

Imminent Arrival of the (Lord’s) New World Order

This new world order (not the kind that man-made conspiracies are made of) begins with the Rapture of believers; followed by the greatest time of death and destruction the world will ever experience, culminating with the triumphant return of Christ at the end of this disastrous seven years. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, published 6-6-15).

Whatever time of year that Messiah returns to earth, the following year will bring a whole new meaning to Happy New Year.

There will be the need for only one all-encompassing resolution, which is expressed in many ways throughout Scripture. And that will be to acknowledge the Lord when he says: “For my people will serve the Lord their God and their king descended from David—the king I will raise up for them” (Jeremiah 30:9).

Although that passage is directed to Israel regarding her last day’s restoration, it will also extend to the whole world, because salvation comes through the Jewish Messiah (Jesus) to the Jew first, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

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

No matter what year it takes place—2018, 2019, 2020, or soon thereafter—it will be the beginning of the glorious one-thousand year reign of Messiah Jesus on earth. He will usher in a remarkable era of righteousness and justice. Whenever it begins, the 1000-year reign of Christ will finally be: Peace on earth, good will toward men.

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). See Revelation 20:11-15 for God’s Great White Throne Judgment and the second death.

Blessed, because Messiah Jesus will graciously and generously share his inheritance with believers, including the awesome privilege of reigning with him. Holy, because those who are given the incomparable benefit (through faith in Christ) to be children of God (John 1:12) will be separated just for that purpose—empowered to represent and serve our Lord all over the earth. The “first resurrection” takes place at the Rapture, and then continues with the resurrection of Tribulation Saints, many (probably most) of whom will be murdered by the Antichrist during the Tribulation. (Refer to: The Magnificent Millennial Reign of Believers with Messiah. Posted 7-15-17).

Christ, himself, will establish the Kingdom of God on earth and he will settle international quarrels, the kind that make a cold war hot. All wars will cease, even the cold ones. And the weapons of war will be no more.

(Jesus First Had to Reconcile Man to God)

“The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise!” (Micah 4:3-4).

Concerning Israel: “…Then I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever. As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel (capital) of God’s people, your royal might and power (as seen in the glory years of King David and Solomon … only better) will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem” (Micah 4:7-8, parenthesis mine).

Nothing like what Jesus will do when he returns has ever occurred in the long, painful, and all too often evil expression of the human heart throughout mankind’s sordid history. Man’s attempt to govern without acknowledging that, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12) has resulted in unimaginable misery, destruction, and death of hundreds of millions of people (by the end of the Tribulation it will be in the billions) at the hands of other human beings.

Think about it for a moment; pick a time, any time, in history. In anyone’s lifetime (using 70 years as the most common measurement of a generation) when was there peace everywhere on earth? Or even in their sphere of the world? Perhaps once or twice; even then, all too fleeting.

But one day (soon), Jesus will return to make all things right. And, oh, how different and right they will be!

Not only will the phenomenal 1,000-year government of Messiah Jesus (until the very end when God will release Satan from his imprisonment in the Abyss to lead one last rebellion … quickly crushed by God—Revelation 20) eliminate all aggression on earth, the hostility of nature itself will be a thing of the past. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and famine will be few and far between, if at all. In fact, Zechariah both states and implies that the Lord will use nature only to discipline (no rain) those nations who refuse to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Shelters and worship the King (Zechariah 14:16-19).

It’s true: Messiah Jesus will “rule with an iron rod” (Revelation 19:15). No more or less (but with perfection) than any benevolent king would do to preserve the peace in his kingdom. But Messiah’s peace will blanket the earth during the Millennium! “His government and its peace will never end.” (Isaiah 9:7a).

Continuing with that verse, Jesus will also: “…rule with fairness and justice…” (Isaiah 9:7b).

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

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

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

Spiritual Bodies

Speaking to believers, the Apostle Paul discloses this powerful promise about our amazing inheritance in the Kingdom of God on earth, but also the radical reversal of the curse on nature … a direct result of our original parent’s rebellion against God.

“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us” (Romans 8:16-23, italics for emphasis).

(Scene in Movie, Ben Hur. Charlton Heston–Playing Judah Ben Hur to the Left; Jack Hawkins–Playing Roman Naval Commander Quintis Arrius in Center. Arrius Adopted Judah Ben-Hur. Romans knew full well (as did Christians at the time) That Adoption Bestowed All the Rights of Inheritance)

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part II (10-3-15). Beginning with Paul’s message to believers who were questioning a physical resurrection from the dead, even though that’s exactly what Christ accomplished.

“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory … They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies” (I Corinthians 15:42-44).

…So, Paul is saying that it’s silly to think that there is no resurrection. Didn’t Christ, himself, rise from the dead? Or, once past that point of doubt, to think that we would be raised with the same earthly body in which we were born. As a result of sin, it was all too clear that our bodies grow old, deteriorate and eventually die. And why on earth would God raise us in spirit form only; when in fact he originally created us with a spirit and body to live forever… Furthermore, this everlasting life will be lived in and with a superbly superior body … a spiritual body!

Then in the final Things to Ponder portion of that article:

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

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

But here are a few of the distinguishing characteristics:

Physical Barriers Are No Problem

We’ve already touched on this earlier in the article … Luke Chapter 24. That account is also recorded in John’s Gospel. Even after they had been told that the Lord had arisen, his disciples were still in hiding from the Jewish leaders—meeting behind closed and locked doors.

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

Time and Space Are No Barriers

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

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

Eating, Drinking (Presumably Sleeping) Will Still Be Possible, but Optional

Notice in the account we just looked at with the two followers of Jesus that Jesus chose not to eat. He blessed the bread, gave it to the two men, and disappeared. The very evident implication in this scene is that the seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus followed by the time spent at the house preparing dinner and whatever else occurred would have taken several hours. The men were hungry and so could have been the Lord. But he chose not to eat most likely because he didn’t need to.

On the other hand, he ate with his disciples in the account later in Luke Chapter 24. Our spiritual bodies will be such that eating, drinking, and probably sleeping will be optional. With exception that we will periodically partake of the water of life and tree of life in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22). Thus, we will have the pleasure of eating … who doesn’t want or like to eat! On the other hand, there are times when we just don’t want to take the trouble to eat. We will eat when we want to; won’t eat when we don’t want to!

Gravity Does Not Affect the Spiritual Body

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

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

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

Back to this week’s article.

The scourge that has affected nature for thousands of years will be over; even the behavior of animals will change drastically for the better.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I recall quoting this famous line from the Wizard of Oz once before. Why or in which article I have no clue, but it must have been for a (good) reason! It certainly fits today’s theme. Though lions and other predators prefer natural game, they have from time to time attacked people. With the advent of the gun, these and other menacing animals are not as much of a threat as they were centuries ago, especially in Biblical times. Yet even in today’s high tech arsenal of weapons, people can still find themselves, in the blink of a tiger’s eye, on the food chain.

Despite what man has done to man especially during the 18th, 19th, 20th, & 21st centuries (think the Napoleonic Wars, two World Wars including genocides, terrorism, and all of the other “lesser wars”), at least we’ve improved our disposition towards animals—a partly serious and partly cynical observation. We’ve placed some animals under protection, such as the buffalo, hump-back whale, and sea-lion; thereby, alleviating their endangered species predicament. Through excellent conservation efforts (for example, bringing wolves back to Yellowstone National Park) we’ve better balanced the (unnatural) increase in the elk population.

(American Buffalo Herd–technically Bison as opposed to the African Water Buffalo. There was truly a “slaughter” of bison in the “Wild West” reducing their numbers from the millions to about 1,000 in 1890. Today, their population is estimated to be nearly 1/2 million).

One day soon, the King of kings and Prince of Peace will return to enact his own conservation program, one that will protect and preserve human life from ruthless predators—tyrants, terrorists, corrupt leaders, and everyday murderers. And also protection from wild animals.

When Adam named all the animals, it’s apparent that none of them were “wild” to the extent of being afraid of or threatening to people. This continued to Noah’s time, as the animals were not food for each other during the twelve and a half months that Noah, his family, and the animals were on the ark. However, it’s evident that the judgment of the Great Flood changed much of the earth’s topography, and also the dynamics of the animal kingdom. That is a reliable conclusion because of what God told Noah after the flood.

“I have given them (fish and animals) to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat meat that still has the lifeblood in it. … If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die … For God made human beings in his own image … Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth” (Genesis 9:3-7, parenthesis mine).

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

Scripture only tells us about some of these remarkable transformations. Some of this restoration will take place during the Millennium; some not until after the 1,000-year epoch, which is the beginning of what many Bible scholars simply call “Eternity.” Such as:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people… God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever’” (Revelation 21:1-4).

The rest is left to our imagination; but even that is inadequate to fully comprehend it all.

This applies to the wonderful benefits of salvation during our journey on this earth, but also to the millennium following the Great Tribulation.

Concerning the renovation of the animal kingdom, listen to this incredible prophecy from Isaiah:

“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow (which is the way it was in the beginning). The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm … for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6-9, parenthesis mine).

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

No matter your disposition or your viewpoint, we all could respond to Isaiah’s astounding prophecy with something like, “Wow! How is that possible?”

In that same passage (and others) we’re told who can and will make such a thing happen.

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together…” (Isaiah 11:1-6).

Because of Jesus’s triumphant victory over sin and death—fully accomplished when he arose from the dead—he has power and authority to do such things. In this life, in the Millennium, and throughout eternity: “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. Glory to him in the church (born again believers) and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

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

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

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

Think about the possibilities.

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

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

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

“Okay, honey, but be careful.”

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

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

(Go Hippo Hopping During the Millennium, Or Just Slide Onto a Hippo’s Back and Enjoy the Ride!)

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

Things to Ponder

Personally, I have planted my life and placed my eternal destiny in the promises of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so wonderfully and powerfully proclaimed in Scripture. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. Why wouldn’t or shouldn’t the remaining prophecies come to pass?

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 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. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son” (Romans 5:8-10).

That Jesus arose from the dead is a historical fact. He was seen by hundreds of people after his death and burial. But there’s even greater evidence than eyewitness accounts.

“Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. 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 5:9-12).

Is Messiah Jesus your personal Savior? Is it really worth an eternity separated from God by disregarding or denying that Jesus is who he said he is, or that there’s another way to God and heaven? Do you believe Messiah’s exclusive claim that inclusively says to all who believe in him:

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

Said the Apostle Peter to his people, but also to the entire world:

“…Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved’” (Acts 4:8-12).

Do you believe that? Do you want to be in heaven and watch the Lord do what he said will be done: “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)

If you do—while you and I and other believers are waiting eagerly for Jesus to inaugurate his Millennium—then have a Happy New Year! For those who don’t believe in Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God, I pray that they will find new life and joy in Him this coming year.

Said the Gentile jailor to Paul and Barnabas, “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…’” (Acts 16:30-31).

Does Christmas Really Need Christ?

The Irony of Christmas in an Increasingly Anti-Christian Culture

Whether Jesus Christ was born on December 25th or from mid-September through October, perhaps even on the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) as some Bible scholars propose, doesn’t really matter. The Son of God and God the Son came into this world on Christmas Day.

According to God’s prophet, Messiah would be born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Mary was that virgin, and Jesus was that child.

The prophet Micah pinpointed the exact place of Messiah’s birth—Bethlehem Ephrathah—for there were two towns in Israel named Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Yet Micah’s stunning prophecy encompassed more than just the place of Messiah’s birth and his divine origin from the ancient past. It also foretold of Messiah’s people, the Jews, returning to Israel even before their exile to Babylon and long before their second exile to the four corners of the earth in 70 A.D.

“But you O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land (which began to take place in great numbers in 1948). And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace…” (Micah 5:2-5a, parenthesis mine).

Micah’s prophecy was sweeping in scope, from the time of Messiah Jesus’s birth to his Millennial Reign on earth, which is soon to come. When that happens, “Then the remnant left in Israel will take their place among the nations” (Verse 7). That remnant is already taking shape in our generation.

Has the name of Jesus, which the Scriptures say is the name of above all names, been “highly honored around the world?” Yes, but not like he will be revered upon his majestic return to the earth.

And, also no, as the name of Jesus Christ has been scorned more and more in our generation, as have believers who bear his name.

According to Messiah Jesus, there would be a time just before the (last days) Day of the Lord—set into motion by the imminent Rapture—when true believers in Christ, “…will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other… Sin will be rampant everywhere and the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:9-12).

Reliable statistics tell us that more Christians have been deprived of property and jobs, imprisoned, tortured, murdered, or forced to flee their homes in the 20th & 21st centuries than in all preceding centuries combined including the 1st century. This unparalleled brutality has been noticeable (documented) in at least 50 countries such as North Korea, China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria; and in several Middle East Muslim nations like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

Although not (yet) in the form of physical cruelty, we’ve seen an alarming surge of anti-Christian legislation and hostility in our halls of government, our schools and universities, the military, and private businesses in the United States of America … supposedly the greatest sanctuary of liberty and individual rights on this planet.

Wrote the Jewish Apostle Paul: “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (II Timothy 3:1-5).

Scoffing at God … nothing is sacred … loving pleasure rather than God.

Many unwittingly and some deliberately are preparing the way for a New Age; an utopian era that will nevertheless be established and led by an (the) Anti-Christ who, “…will have no respect … for any other god, for he will boast that he is greater than them all” (Daniel 11:37). He will satisfy their desire to, “…break their chains … and free ourselves from slavery to God” (Psalm 2:3).

They will embrace to the point of worship, “This man (who) will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 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 2:9-10).

The opposite of truth is untruth (lies).

“And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist” (I John 2:22).

This spirit of antichrist is facilitating the reappearance of The Antichrist (Nero). Among other things, it has begun to suppress and swap the true spirit of Christmas. Our humanistic, relativistic society has redefined Christmas, and relegated the Christ of Christmas to what is considered an irrelevant distant past.

Is the Christ of Christmas Relevant Any Longer?

Beginning some 50 years ago and accelerating in the last decade, nowhere are these prophetic end-times’ characteristics more exemplified than in the decline of the real meaning of and purpose for celebrating Christmas. Individuals, groups, businesses, and entire (so-called) Christian nations all over the globe are trivializing and even removing Christ from Christmas, both passively and actively.

Which, if you think about it, is preposterously perplexing. No different than saying that George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays have no relevancy to President’s Day in February. Or that the 4th of July Declaration of Independence has nothing whatsoever to do with the birth of a nation … the United States of America.

(Memorial Day: Should We Not Even Give A Passing Thought to the Brave Men and Women Who Died or Were Disabled While Serving the USA?)

What if your parents and other loved ones ignored the “you” of your birthday?

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Merry Christmas … What’s It All About? Posted 12-20-14 (in italics, with non-italic words italicized in that article):

Historical figures, nations, and events other than Christ Jesus and Christmas have their own recognized anniversaries. Does anyone demand that observance of these special occasions be religiously generalized and socially or politically expanded to embrace other religious or national figures or events, so as not to be inclusive of just one person? So as not to offend those of other faiths or ideological persuasions?

Even an ordinary birthday or event merits the minimum consideration of that day belonging to an individual or a city or a nation and, therefore, acknowledged as such. What would you think if I refused to wish you a Happy Birthday because I didn’t want to offend someone else who wasn’t born on the same day, and who didn’t share the same enthusiasm for your birthday? Or who believed differently from you, or belonged to another race, or was left-handed? Ridiculous? Of course. It’s your special day. So Happy Birthday already! I mean that sincerely … unless it’s not your birthday!

Might we be more politically correct never to say Happy Thanksgiving? After all, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is much closer to Thanksgiving than it is to Christmas. Shouldn’t it be: Happy Thanksramadan?!

Perhaps we should no longer wish someone a Happy Valentine’s Day in case they take an exception to anyone who has a Saint in front of their name? It is Saint Valentine isn’t it? Might we say, “Happy Heart Day” or “Merry Chocolate?”

…It isn’t whether we use the word happy or merry. It’s that word, Christmas that causes all the fuss.

More than that: it’s the name Christ that gets so many people all up tight. That’s right … all it takes is a mention of his name. That is, unless it’s used as profanity … no problem then.

Why? Because His name is who he is (Yeshua in Hebrew, Jesus in Greek/English, both mean Savior), and a lot of folks just can’t handle that. They don’t want or need a Savior. Certainly not one who claims that he is the Son of God, that he alone is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” (John 14:6). How exclusively narrow-minded can anyone be? The fact that he was born of a Virgin, performed amazing miracles, and then arose from the dead to validate his claim as Messiah who alone can redeem, can forgive sin; is an affront to those who maintain that self-enabled good works and innate self-worth is the only way to God.

…No other holiday causes anything close to the angst experienced and consternation expressed by the secular among us or those of another religion who take offense at hearing the very name of Jesus or even a special representation of his name—Christmas. What relevance does the birth of a Savior (no man-made religions have a Savior … did you know that?) any longer have to the last holiday of the year? In fact, the very name of Christ and Christmas is an embarrassment to many. It’s just not politically correct.

A Hallmark Christmas

Hallmark Cards is one of the largest corporations in the world. From this greeting card giant came the Hallmark Television Channel in 2001, having begun as the American Christian Television System in 1984; then changing to the Faith & Values Channel in 1993 and the Odyssey Network in 1996.

According to Wikipedia: “The Hallmark Channel is an American cable and satellite television network that is owned by Crown Media Holdings, which is owned by Hallmark Cards. The channel’s programming is primarily targeted at families, and features a mix of television movies and miniseries, original and acquired television series, and lifestyle programs. As of February, 2015, Hallmark Channel is available to approximately 85,439,000 pay television households (73.4% of households with television) in the United States.”

Subsequently the network created Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, a separate channel dedicated almost exclusively to movies especially Christmas films (shown year around), with the newest sister channel debuting just this year … Hallmark Drama.

For women between the ages of 25-54, the Hallmark Channel was the most watched network during the 4th quarter of 2016. Included in Hallmark’s archives are 136 Christmas films produced since the movie channel’s inception. With 33 new Christmas movies aired in a marathon that began in October, 2017 and continuing as this week’s Eye of Prophecy article is being posted.

According to Crown Media’s CEO Bill Abbott, summarizing Hallmark’s underlying philosophy and objectives especially through movies: “We are a place you can go and feel good.”

Although Hallmark is becoming progressively secularized (in contrast to its early beginning of Christian-oriented programming), it still purports to convey the virtues of family and faith.

But faith in what? In whom?

Faith in “feeling good.” Or faith in “the spirit of Christmas.” That phrase or something similar is emphasized in the majority of Hallmark’s Christmas movies, and is often the passionate pursuit of one or more of the characters; no matter what that spirit of Christmas means to them, as long as they find it. I say this first-hand, as I have watched about 15 of these movies over the past year. And in the four to five years before that, perhaps 7-8 Hallmark Christmas movies. I would assume they’re a cross-section representation of all their Christmas films.

So, what is the spirit of Christmas?

Is it just to feel good for a few days at the end of every year? Not that there’s anything wrong with feeling good. Unless it becomes an obsessive goal in life at all cost. A relentless quest to feel good, no matter the repercussions, can sometimes result in others feeling bad (hurting them). Particularly when such a pursuit excludes the very source of what is absolutely good and right and true and eternal—God who created us and who has given us so great (good) a salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. The intent of today’s article is not to bash Hallmark Christmas movies; in general terms, they have improved considerably in the last 2-3 years (personal opinion). Especially with their scripts—as a writer, I appreciate and look for a well-written screen-play—with the acting, and with the plot. There is more substance and depth to (some of the) recent Hallmark movies, Christmas or otherwise.

However, Hallmark Christmas films have become so secularized (politically correct) that rarely do they mention the name of Jesus or Christ. And certainly not Jesus Christ in the same breath. Seldom do we hear the hallowed Christmas hymns and carols, excepting an occasional Joy to the World or Silent Night. But they are replete with secular Christmas songs that convey the sights of Frosty the Snowman, smells of Chestnuts Roasting by the Fire, and sounds of Jingle Bells.

What does the true meaning of Christmas—the real significance of the Savior’s birth—have to do with children getting their two front teeth at Christmas, or a reindeer running over grandma, or wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas (for only a hippopotamus will do)? For sure, these images are cute, warm, and fuzzy (except for poor grandma) and probably would make even the Grinch feel good about himself and others.

(If Ebenezer Scrooge Had Only Watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, I’m Sure He Would Have Changed His Ways Long Before Seeing the Ghosts of Christmas Past!)

And, would Christmas be Christmas without Santa Claus? I’ll let you answer that question for yourself. But remember, Santa Claus believes in Christmas! Which begs another question: Could Christmas survive without Santa?

Invariably, the “spirit of Christmas” entails one of the main characters in a Hallmark movie discovering the “meaning of Christmas” that they never knew or had lost somewhere along the way. That true meaning is normally found by someone who has been down on Christmas because of business, or family, or personal setbacks. Or meeting and falling in love with someone who loves Christmas for any number of feel good reasons. Or believing again or for the first time in the “miracles of Christmas.”

With the miracles unfolding in various ways such as: mysteriously arranging or reuniting the paths of star-crossed lovers; resolving otherwise irreconcilable disputes of family members or friends; or getting an impossible career promotion … all worthy of successful conflict-resolution storylines. Yet, omitting the very miracle of Christmas itself—the Virgin Birth of the child Jesus. And never mentioning the miracle of his Resurrection as the triumphant conclusion to why Jesus was born in the first place—to sacrifice his life for the sins of humanity, and to establish the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth in his Second Coming.

Hallmark Movies in a Broader Perspective

As indicated, this week’s article is not about denigrating Hallmark Christmas movies. To do so would be to focus on a symptom, not cause and origin. The problem is much more pervasive than a few secular-stained Christmas movies. In fact, I personally like some of the (more) recent Hallmark productions. Who doesn’t like a good story with a happy ending? It’s just that these stories are wrapped in disguise of the real Christmas spirit, discarding the Christ of Christmas who was gift-wrapped for us in God’s amazing grace.

One of my favorites is, Journey Back to Christmas (2016), starring Candace Cameron Bure, Oliver Hudson, and Tom Skerritt. Yet, even that Christmas miracle is based on a “Christmas comet” which mysteriously strikes Bure; catapulting her into the future where she encounters first, second, and third family generations of those she met during World War I. And then is reunited with her husband thought to be killed in the war, when the comet returns (now 71 years later) and transports her back to the present. The movie was skillfully written, produced, directed, and acted … one that will tug at the strings of your heart.

Obviously the primary purpose of a movie is entertainment. As a Christian, I certainly can and will remember the real reason why I love and honor Christmas, without Hallmark Christmas movies affecting that reverence for the birth of Christ, whether in a positive or negative way. There are two reason why I have watched more Christmas movies in the past few years: (1) For the entertainment, enhanced even more with a narrative that emphasizes morality and Judeo/Christian ethics. (2) To see what’s happening with and in those movies concerning the real meaning of Christmas.

Unfortunately, what I have noticed is that—unintentionally or intentionally (I would hope the former)—the portrayal of Christmas has tainted the message and purpose of Christmas itself. By and large, the movies present a (vague) “spirit of Christmas” as an end unto itself, without any need for the Christ of Christmas. Which is equivalent to redefining, or at the very least minimizing, what the spirit of Christmas is really all about.

The undermining end result is that the media’s “spirit of Christmas” is competing with and even contradicting the Christ of Christmas. Which is, sadly, a representation and repetitive reinforcement of what’s happening in America and all over the world in two ways, and not just at Christmas time: (1) an intense agnostic style attack on Christianity and the authority of the Bible as the Word of God; with increasing antagonism toward “born-again Christians” who have a personal relationship with the One Person who exclusively claims to be the Way, Truth, and Life, thereby, the ONLY way to God. (2) Or, a superficial show of religion—acting religious but denying the real power and authority of God by refusing to consider Christ as the exclusive source of salvation.

I think we would all agree on one thing: the immense influence of the entertainment media and also that of literature and journalism in our daily and seasonal lives. They reflect, but also restructure society’s attitudes, preferences, morality, and belief systems.

On the plus side, there are three things that Christmas movies and Christmas specials contain. All three of which are a bona fide reason to celebrate this joyous time of the year.

They are: (1) Lights/decorations; (2) Giving and receiving of presents; (3) Harmony and togetherness of family.

However, on the minus side: all three in our post-modern society are conspicuously empty of the real reason for the season—Christ Jesus himself.

*Note: Despite the modern-day emphasis of Christmas without Christ, there is still a sense of awe over the entire earth that something very special happened 2000 years ago. As for me, I never get tired of the Good News: from beginning to end—the birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and soon to be glorious return of the greatest man to ever walk the earth.

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

And when was that time? Might it have been Christmas Day!

The Honored Tradition of Christmas Lights

Beginning with an incidental what if: What would we call Christmas trees, or Christmas lights, or Christmas presents, or the holiday (Holy Day) itself if we deleted the name of Christ? Silly question … perhaps. Actually, many have devised an answer to those questions: Holiday trees, lights, and presents. If so, then are we really celebrating Christmas as Christmas?

The problem with that mentality is that we should then call all of our holidays by no other name than holiday. So New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Resurrection Day (Easter), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving should be dropped. Instead, we would number the holidays chronologically on the calendar and designate them as Holiday #1, #2, #3, and so on!

What do Christmas lights represent? I trust that you know the answer to that question; however, there are some who don’t. Or don’t want to know. Or, worse … don’t care.

Jesus the Christ (we just say Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus the Messiah) bears many wonderful names and titles, signifying who he is and what he has done for mankind. Such as:

He is the Good Sheppard and the Gate for the sheep … all of us who have been saved by believing and receiving him, the one who sacrificed his life for the sheep (John 10:7 & 11).

He is the Lord of all lords and King of all kings, who will soon return in power and great glory (Revelation 17:14 & Matthew 24:30).

He is the Living Word of God, who existed from the beginning with God for he is God the Son the second Person of the Trinity. Jesus himself said he is “I AM” … Yahweh, the Holy Name of God (John 1:1 & John 8:58).

And, in keeping with today’s theme: “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).

Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning the Messiah. Such as: “…the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined” (Matthew 4:16, quoting Isaiah 42:6: “…And you will be a light to guide the nations”).

When Christ first set foot in the rebuilt Temple, after God’s presence (glory) left Solomon’s Temple that was subsequently destroyed, he accomplished—temporarily, with final fulfillment upon his glorious return—another prophecy of the Messiah:

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Why else do we put up lights at Christmas time? The beautiful lights of Christmas illustrate the magnificent light of salvation that illuminates our minds and hearts through Messiah Jesus when we personally trust him for our salvation. Christmas lights brighten our homes and communities.

The Giving and Receiving of Presents

Can you think of anything about Christmas more treasured than the giving of gifts, then the receiving of those gifts by our loved ones? Especially the children. To watch their eyes light up as they brim with excitement, and eagerly unwrap their package. To listen to their squeals of delight or shouts of joy when they see what you have given them. To cherish their gratitude, “It’s what I’ve always wanted. Thank you Mom!” Or, “Thank you, Dad. You remembered.” Or a husband to his wife, “It’s not what I expected. It’s even better. I love you, honey.”

Christmas without lights and also without giving is like the 4th of July without fireworks. Or like Thanksgiving Day without giving thanks. Even if your only gift is wishing someone a Merry Christmas, it is as they say, “the thought that counts.” If all you can do is to revere the very reason for the season and whisper a prayer of gratitude, then that’s a sacrifice of (thanks) giving to God (Psalm 50:14).

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? It is cherishing the greatest gift of all time. Born fully human and fully God; Christ freely gave his life to purchase our redemption, a complete pardon for all of our sins.

There are no conditions, except to simply accept that gift by believing and receiving Christ as our personal Savior. Do you know of anyone who receives a Christmas gift and then says, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t earn this gift. I can’t accept it.”

No one can do enough or be enough or even give enough to earn redemption. For it is Christ who willingly paid the price, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

“So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21, italics for emphasis).

The Family

The time-honored celebration of Christmas reminds us of the brightest light to ever shine on this dark and dreary planet—Messiah Jesus. His light was snuffed out through the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid. But in three days, his glory shone brighter than ever; the resurrected Christ now seated at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the appointed time to return and make all things right in this wicked world. To brilliantly light up the world with righteousness, justice, and peace.

No matter the size of your immediate family or extended family or even if you are alone this Christmas and limited to calls or emails or Christmas cards; Christmas is for family, including a family of one. If all we do is pray for our loved ones, that is still the best gift of all.

Even if your parents or children have “disowned you” you are still a member of their family. Once born on this earth you can’t be unborn, no matter what you do or what is done to you.

So, too, with the family of God. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn. You are an adopted child in God’s family with all the rights of God’s magnificent inheritance for his children.

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

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Writes the Jewish Apostle Paul:

“God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him” (Ephesians 1:12-14).

Things to Ponder

Whether you put up Christmas lights or not, whether you give or receive a single present or not, whether you are with immediate or extended family or are all alone. The gift of God’s salvation shines as bright as ever, and gives birth in God’s family for simply believing and receiving God’s gracious gift of His Son. That is what Christmas (or any time of the year) is all about.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every true believer on earth and maybe even some unbelievers would open their Bible or at least get online and read one, two, or all of the following Christmas passages … the Greatest Story ever told. A story that began long before Jesus was born, one for cause to pause and ponder the core of Christmas.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

To Joseph, the angel said: “…do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).

To Mary, the angel said: “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!” (Luke 1:31-33).

To the shepherds guarding their sheep that night an angel suddenly appeared and said: “…Don’t be afraid … I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10-11).

He came to us as the light of the world, the greatest gift ever given … his precious blood and life for our sins. To give us the awesome privilege of birth in the family of God that leads to everlasting life.

Christ Jesus is the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room…

“For God so loved the world…” (Go ahead, finish the verse)

It’s all about JESUS!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Fulfilled Prophecy Proves We Can Trust The Bible

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The Word of God

In the Apostle Paul’s final epistle before he met his death at the hands of the evil Roman Emperor Nero, he writes to Timothy: “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (II Timothy 3:15-16).

In no uncertain terms, the Bible claims that it is the source of absolute universal truth concerning the origin and purpose of life; and wisdom that tells us all about the (need to choose) salvation that will determine our eternal destiny. Biblical truth defines and separates right from wrong, good from evil, light from darkness, and God’s magnificent plan of redemption by faith in Messiah Jesus alone as opposed to good works making us right with God.

Although the New Covenant of Grace had replaced the Old Covenant of Law because of Messiah Jesus’s once for all substitutionary sacrifice for sin, Paul reminded Jewish and Gentile believers that the writings of the prophets, priests, scribes, and kings of the Old Testament remain a valid source of prophetic truth. Knowledge that would continue to teach them about their spiritual heritage and glorious future upon Messiah’s return and the remarkable end-times restoration of Israel as a nation.

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Romans 15:4).

Jesus of Nazareth had already fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah, proving who he said he was by rising from the dead!

One of dozens of prophecies accomplished by Jesus was:

Now it was time for Paul and other believers to spread this Gospel Good News to the whole world, while Christians continue to, “…live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed” (Titus 2:12-13).

There’s only one way to be made right with God: a way that existed from the beginning; a way that God revealed to Abraham long before the law was given to Moses; a way that was sealed in blood—validated retroactively and progressively by the author and finisher of the New Way (Covenant), Messiah Jesus.

It is the simple child-like way of trusting God’s prophetic promises because they are true.

“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise… He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (Romans 4:20-25).

Prophecy and Its Fulfillment: A Trustworthy Test that Validates Scripture

Biblical prophecies and promises are virtually one and the same. The only difference is that prophecy conveys the promise. Which means that if any prophecy doesn’t come to pass, it becomes a broken promise, a misleading pledge (which is the case with man-made predictions).

Biblical promises are to be embraced by trusting in the God of those promises; they are to be believed by virtue of the remarkable 100% fulfillment of those prophecies. The Lord who inspired all of Scripture claims that he is the very source of truth and life; that HE ALONE IS GOD. What he says will happen, always happens. What he says he will do, he always does.

No other god can do this because there is no other god, except those invented by false prophets and man-made religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and even the unbiblical and works-oriented creeds of Roman Catholicism. Their so-called gods and religious leaders have refrained from predicting the future; they wouldn’t dare foretell what they cannot control. Non-religious seers and fortune-tellers who do make predictions are far more often wrong than right. Anyone can “guess” what’s going to happen and be correct maybe 15% of the time. If anyone is going to trust their life and destiny to a self-proclaimed prophet, the clairvoyant better be right all the time. Otherwise it’s a classic case of “crying wolf.”

People all over the world are longing to know what life is all about and what the future holds for them—tomorrow, next year, and the day they die. Yet, they refuse to consider the claims of the true and living God so meticulously detailed in the Bible; they can know those things that really matter, not the least of which is their eternal destiny. Which is why it never ceases to amaze me that so many look to astrology (the stars instead of the One who made the stars), psychics, genealogies, or ritualistic keeping of man-made religious rules that they hope will earn (merit) them a good-standing in the hereafter.

(On The Serious Side, There Are Countless Advertisement for Psychics Everywhere You Look … On the Streets in the Media–Internet and Television)

If any local newspaper, such as The Arizona Republic that I subscribe to, would remove the Horoscope column, they probably would lose at least 50% of their readers!

God, himself, declares that it is fulfilled prophecy that proves: (1) He alone is God; (2) His Word as recorded in Scripture is the ultimate fountain and foundation of truth and knowledge about the past, present, and FUTURE. The proof is found in both Biblical and secular history … in the people, places, and events that come to pass exactly as predicted in Scripture. The Lord not only foretells the future with one hundred percent accuracy; he also reminds us of life-changing, eternal-destiny altering events that occurred long ago. Things otherwise forgotten or dismissed if not preserved in the Word of God—the Bible.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:9-10, NASB).

The New International Version rendition of a portion of that passage reads, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”

The New Living Translation (from which I quote, unless otherwise noted) states: “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”

More from the prophet Isaiah: “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer and Creator: ‘I am the Lord, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth? I expose the false prophets as liars and make fools of fortune-tellers. I cause the wise to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. But I carry out the predictions of my prophets!

“…When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple’” (Isaiah 44:24-28).

Here, God names the Persian king who would issue those orders 150 years before Cyrus was even born!

God issues challenges to and indictments against religions, gods, or prophets of those (so-called) gods to do what only He can do. Such as:

“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).

Synonyms of polluted are: contaminated, poisoned, adulterated, dirty, infested, infected, tainted, and rank.

(I Hope The Little Girl Didn’t Jump in After the Photo Was Taken! Adulterated Spiritual Pollution of God’s Truth Is Far Worse … Literally a Matter of Eternal Life or Death)

One more: “But you are my witnesses, O Israel! Says the Lord. You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God (with the New Covenant, both Jew and Gentile can know God intimately when they are redeemed by and through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus). There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God, says the Lord. From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done” (Isaiah 43:10-13, parenthesis mine).

Long-Term Prophecies

As a rule, the prophecies that impress us the most are those accomplished hundreds or even thousands of years after they are foretold, such as Jesus fulfilling all of the many Messianic prophecies hundreds of years later. Anything that happens one hundred years (the longest time-span definition of a generation in the Bible … the other is seventy years) after it’s predicted makes it that much more spectacular.

For example: As prophesied numerous times in Scripture, the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation and return of (millions of) Jews to the Promised Land—now 2nd & 3rd generations born in Israel—some 2,700 years after the first major prophet, Isaiah, foretold of such a remarkable event. Longer than that if we go back to Moses.

Or the destruction of Tyre, an ancient city just north of Israel on the Mediterranean Sea, foretold by Ezekiel in 586 B.C. (See Ezekiel Chapters 26 & 27). That very year Nebuchadnezzar attacked Tyre: it took him 15 years to complete some of the prophesied demolition of Tyre. Then, some 250 years later, Alexander the Great utterly destroyed Tyre, an event well documented by secular history.

Or Babylon’s massive final attack on Israel and Jerusalem in that same year of 586 BC resulting in devastation of Judah, complete destruction of Solomon’s Temple, and exile of the Jews predicted by Isaiah some 120 years before it happened. And an even more precise prediction that the captivity in Babylon would last seventy years, with Jews rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem—about 100 years after Jeremiah’s prophesy.

Short-Term (Time Lapse) Fulfillment of Prophecy

Even students and teachers of the Bible sometimes minimize prophecies that came to pass a relatively short time later. However, Biblical forecasts that materialized immediately or a few hours, days, weeks, months, or years are every bit as phenomenal as those that don’t occur for hundreds of years. We’re going to look at only five of them … three in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. The first Old Testament example is well-known; I’m guessing the next two may not be all that familiar to someone who is not a regular student of the Bible.

First Short Term Prophecy: The Miraculous Birth of Isaac

When Abraham was seventy-five years old, God appeared to him for the first time and told him to leave his home and travel to the land that God would give to him and all his descendants. (Genesis Chapter 12).

Subsequently, the Lord reaffirmed his promise that Abraham would be the progenitor of a great nation, with many descendants. This time God specified that Abraham (and Sarah) would conceive their own child. Abraham’s heir would not be his servant, Eliezer—which was the custom if a couple did not have their own son. Not long before Abraham turned 86 years of age, Sarah became impatient and convinced Abraham to father a son through her servant, Hagar … which was also the custom in those days if the wife could not bear a son. (Genesis Chapters 15 & 16).

Four years later God appeared to Abraham (age 90) and again confirmed his covenant; the Promised Land (Israel) would be given to Abraham and his descendants. It would be, “…their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

When Abraham turned 100, the Lord told Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her!” (Genesis 17:15-16). Abraham didn’t disbelieve the Lord, but he did laugh at the thought of fathering a child with Sarah because of his and Sarah’s age—90 at the time.

A short time later, the Lord (the Pre-Incarnate Messiah) visited Abraham and Sarah in person … along with two angels. They told Abraham and Sarah that at about this time next year Sarah would give birth to a son, whom they were to name Isaac (meaning laughter), because this time Sarah laughed at the thought (see Genesis Chapter 18).

“…and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would” (Genesis 21:2).

Does anything ever not happen or transpire differently than the way and time and place that God said it would? Such a rhetorical question. Through the seemingly impossible birth of Isaac, God demonstrated to Abraham that which Abraham already knew and believed: God is God, and his prophetic promises always come true.

Second Short-Term Prophecy: Dramatic Description of a Queen’s Demise

The following passages are not for the faint of heart or the squeamish. But then Scripture tells it like it is. When it comes to God pronouncing judgment on evil individuals and wicked nations (including Israel during her time of punishment, which has ended) it can get pretty graphic.

Most believers and many unbelievers know the name of the infamous Queen Jezebel, who was more contemptible that her appalling husband, King Ahab. Even in today’s post-modern world, people all over the planet have been named after a Biblical character such as John or Jacob or Sarah or Mary. But do you know of any woman named Jezebel? If you do, stay away from her! No parents in their right mind would name their daughter Jezebel, would they?

(One of Many Depictions of Jezebel)

So, too, have many people heard the name of one of the mightiest prophets in the Old Testament … Elijah. (Along with the other great prophet Moses, they will be the two witnesses testifying for God during 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation).

Not long after Elijah made a mockery of the false prophets appointed by Jezebel to represent their god Baal—then killing them because they were deceiving all of Israel—Elijah had another encounter with Ahab and, indirectly, with Jezebel.

Do you recall Jezebel’s devious plan when an Israelite named Naboth refused to sell his land to Ahab, who desperately wanted the beautiful and productive vineyard belonging to Naboth?

Simple solution for a wicked queen: just have Naboth killed (stoned to death) which is exactly what she did. When Jezebel broke this happy news to her husband, “…Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it” (I Kings 21:16).

Soon afterward the Lord sent Elijah to confront Ahab with some really bad news (for Ahab and for Jezebel). Said Elijah to Ahab:

“…I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the Lord’s sight. So now the Lord says, ‘I will bring disaster on you and consume you …I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son Ahijah, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’ And regarding Jezebel, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel’” (I Kings 21:20-23).

Subsequently, Ahab was killed in battle, which was also foretold by another prophet named Micaiah. Remember: Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier instead of his royal robes (which made a king an easy target). Yet, an arrow randomly shot by an enemy soldier hit Ahab “…between the joints of his armor” (I Kings 22:34).

Poor Ahab … his wine guzzling days from Naboth’s vineyard were over!

Then a few years later, Elisha who had been given the prophetic mantle of Elijah—while Jezebel was still the “Queen Mother” during the reign of King Joram of Israel, son of Ahab and Jezebel—commanded a young prophet in Elisha’s circle to prophesy to Jehu, a Commander in the Israelite army. Accordingly, the young prophet anointed Jehu as the next king of Israel and told him to avenge the murder of the Lord’s prophets and servants by wiping out the entire family of Ahab as well as many priests of Baal. Jehu did what he was told and even what he wasn’t commanded to do … when he also killed Ahaziah the King of Judah in addition to King Joram.

Now it was Jezebel’s turn (to die).

“When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window. When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, ‘Have you come in peace, you murderer? You’re just like Zimri, who murdered his master!’” (II Kings 9:30-31).

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Jezebel was deplorably proficient at murder.

Reading on: “Throw her down! Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves … But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands. When they returned and told Jehu, he stated, ‘This fulfills the message from the Lord, which he spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe. At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel’s body. Her remains will be scattered like dung on the plot of land in Jezreel, so that no one will be able to recognize her” (II Kings 9:33-37).

Thus, the prophecy was precise, right down to the dogs. And its fulfillment took place within a couple of decades.

Third Short Term Prophecy: The Phenomenal Healing of a Gentile’s Incurable Disease

Before Messiah Jesus implemented the New Covenant of Grace to the whole world—Jew and Gentile alike—nearly all Old Testament encounters that the Lord initiated with Gentiles involved prophecies of how God would use them or what would happen to them (good if they listened to the Lord’s message, bad if they didn’t).

The Commander of the Aramean army was no exception.

“The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy” (II Kings 5:1).

*Note: By this time the Lord had periodically used Israel’s enemies to discipline his people as they had already begun to rebel against the Lord, imitating the despicable practices of surrounding pagan nations.

A young Jewish girl who had been taken captive (as a slave) to Aram recommended that Naaman seek the help of a prophet in Israel (Elisha). But the King of Aram sent Naaman first to the king of Israel; who in dismay, but nonetheless cynical and insensitive said, “…This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me” (II Kings 5:7).

When Elisha found out that Naaman was in Israel and why, he advised Israel’s king to send Naaman to him. Upon Naaman’s arrived at Elisha’s house, he became angry when Elisha didn’t come out to greet him. Instead, Elisha sent a messenger instructing Naaman to: “…Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of leprosy” (Verse 10).

Naaman was furious as he, “…expected him (Elisha) to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!” (Verse 11).

Then his officers got real profound, through an intuitive insight of the ability of God’s anointed prophet Elijah to heal Naaman. They told him: “…Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’ So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!” (II Kings 5:13-14).

Listen to Naaman’s response: “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel…” (Verse 15).

God’s prophetic promise of healing came to pass immediately when Naaman accepted the fact that he didn’t have to do anything but agree with Elisha. All he had to do was immerse himself seven times in the Jordan. Actually, it wasn’t the “dipping” that healed him; it was believing God’s prophet and totally trusting God.

It’s a beautiful illustration of the Lord’s healing salvation extended through his grace (even to Gentiles!), accomplished by simply trusting in the Son of God, Messiah Jesus. That is the Bible’s wonderful prophetic promise—just as relevant now as it was two thousand years ago. “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loves 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).

New Testament Short-Term Prophetic Fulfillments

Now let’s look at two amazing events in which Messiah Jesus foretold what would happen, each one coming to pass soon afterwards. For you see: Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King, all in one. No king of ancient Israel could be both a priest and a king. Jesus was the greatest prophet ever, greater even than Moses and Elijah and all the prophets who spoke about his coming. He is also our final High Priest who gave himself as the once for all time substitutionary sacrifice for sin (Hebrews Chapter 7, 8, & 9); thereby, replacing the Levitical sacrificial system that had to be repeated continuously—actually one that ceased to exist when the 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. And Jesus is the King of all kings, who one day soon will return in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30 & Revelation 17:14).

First Short-Term Prophecy: A Coin in the Mouth of a Fish!

“On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, ‘Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?’ ‘Yes, he does,’ Peter replied. Then he went into the house.

“But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?’

‘They tax the people they have conquered,’ Peter replied.

‘Well then,’ Jesus said, ‘the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us’” (Matthew 17:24-27).

Astonishing!

This isn’t your ordinary weather prediction, stock market projection, or sporting event prognostication.

What are the odds? There are no odds, not really. The laws of probability are off the charts; to whatever tenth power you care to calculate. How many fish in the Sea of Galilee? How many of those fish had a coin in its mouth? Not just any coin … a “large silver coin.” Instead of using the usual nets to catch a lot of fish at once, all Peter had to do was throw in one single fishing line. What were the chances that it would be the first fish that Peter would catch?!

Come on, give yourself a break! Open your heart and mind to your Creator and Savior, Messiah Jesus. He loves you so much. If you’ve already been born again, then praise him some more for doing the impossible—such as saving you!

How many leaders or followers of any religion or cult or occult system on earth, or anyone at any time could have predicted this; let alone with such certainty that all Peter had to do was go fishing. Easy answer: Absolutely no one. And the situation was seemingly an every-day ordinary detail in the life of Peter and the disciples. But then, Jesus is no ordinary man. Who but the Son of God could do such a thing?

Second Short-Term Prophecy: Meticulous Details of Jesus Death

“As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead’” (Matthew 20:17-19).

Astounding!

Once again, who but the Son of God (who came to this earth as the Son of Man through a Virgin Birth … fully God and fully man) could predict that he would be killed, let alone by crucifixion? Moreover, it would happen on this specific trip to Jerusalem. After all, the Jewish religious leaders had other opportunities to seize Jesus, but did not in fear of an uprising among the people. How did Jesus know that this time the common people would also turn on him, especially just a few days after many of them hailed him as the Messiah?

How did he know that he would be betrayed (by Judas), which created the opportunity for the religious leaders to find Jesus in a secluded area, and arrest him in the middle of the night?

Jesus even predicted what would happen to him before and after he was handed over to the Romans for crucifixion, and in precise sequence. First, betrayal; then sentencing him to die; then turning him over to the Romans with the religious leaders hoping the Romans would agree to carry out the sentence (the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone). But that didn’t mean that the Romans would mock him and then beat him with a whip. That was reserved for criminals or traitors who had been tried and convicted by the clear evidence of their crime. Jesus was totally innocent and the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, knew that.

Although the law of probability may not have been as high as the coin in the fishes mouth (or the donkey’s colt that Jesus told the disciples to fetch on which Jesus would ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and exactly where they would find it); the fact of Jesus’s trial and the precise prophetic order of what would happen is absolutely extraordinary.

And let’s not forget the crowning wonder of that prophecy: the stunning fact that Jesus would rise from the dead! And he would do so on the third day, just like he said.

(See Eye of Prophecy article: There’s Resurrection; And There’s Resurrection! Posted 3-19-16)

Things to Ponder

The matchless, marvelous message of the Gospel (Good News) of salvation and eternal life comes from the Word of God. The Bible and its promises are backed up by countless miracles found in no other religion or belief system. The truths of Scripture are founded on and verified by numerous prophecies that have come to pass and many more awaiting fulfillment when the Day of the Lord will soon arrive. Man-made religions are devoid of prophecy. Only the true and living God can declare the end from the beginning.

Personally, I’ve chosen to stake my eternal destiny on a God who loves me; on his Son who has saved me by taking the punishment for my sins and granting me a full pardon; and the Holy Spirit who indwells me (all believers) and who has sealed my new birth in Christ forever.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1: 1, 4, NASB). The Apostle John is referring directly to Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah for all … Jew and Gentile alike.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (the living Word of God)” (Romans 10:17, NASB, parenthesis mine).

“…And that message is the very message about faith that we preach. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you will be saved” (Romans 10:8-10).

I am persuaded not only by the powerful truths and historical accuracy of Scripture, but also by the spectacular fulfillment of prophecy and the mighty miracles found in the Bible. With the miracle of salvation continuing to this very day—changing the lives of people from every race, language, and nation.

Regarding Messiah Jesus, the Jewish Apostle Peter powerfully proclaimed:

Do you believe that? Do you believe in Messiah Jesus?

Or, do you think that you need to do more, be more, give more, or work more to earn God’s favor? Are you weary of trying?

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

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:28-29).

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28).