Where to Begin?
When we make a mess of things; when our best laid plans unravel and our dreams are shattered; when we are at wits end because the world is falling apart around us; when we feel helpless to do anything about anything, we sometimes respond: “It’s too much. What am I going to do? Where do I begin?”
Predictably, someone whispers a word of wisdom by suggesting: “Why don’t you start at the beginning.” Or, “Let’s get back to the basics.” Which we all know is the right place to begin if we’re going to even come close to fixing those things that make life more difficult than it already is. Even when we go back to what we think is the root of the problem, we still fail all too often.
Because we don’t go back far enough. We don’t go back to “The Beginning.”
Whether problems on a personal, family, job, community, state, national, or international level; or whether an existential search for the truth that will show us the way to a meaningful life that is filled with unconditional love; we inevitably look for answers in all the wrong places. We start at the end or in the middle by trying to treat the symptoms, not the cause; fixing the problem from the outside in instead of inside out.
There’s only one place to begin.
God begins with the beginning—Himself, and he wants (tells) us to do the same. He is the author of all things including life itself. In his wonderful Word written down for us in the Bible, he explains what happened to the human race when we decided not to believe what he said was true about disobedience and the consequences thereof. We defied the rules. We misuse and abused the privileged gift of free will God gave to us, by breaking one simple command. We forfeited paradise itself. We’ve been paying the price ever since—deceit, disorder, destruction, and death.
“…love comes from God … for God is love” (I John 4:7-8).
Because God loves each one of us, he provided a remedy; a redemptive resolution to the sin problem that separates everyone at birth from our Creator. A salvation that changes our eternal destiny; that gives us absolute truth to understand and follow the one way that leads to life (everlasting).
Messiah Jesus: Fully man.
“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).
Messiah Jesus: Fully God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind” (John 1:1-4, Complete Jewish Bible).
Jesus came to earth as the Living Word of God. He said: “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
In the beginning … God the Father. In the beginning … Jesus the Son of God.
A New Beginning
With Messiah Jesus came a New Way, a New Covenant between God and mankind. A Covenant of Grace that only requires faith in Jesus’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross for our sins to be forgiven and the verdict for those sins (eternal separation from God) to be overturned.
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people (the Jews), and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:10-14, parenthesis mine).
Sadly, many more people than not have refused to begin with the beginning by believing or remembering that God created them. “…Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
And many more than not have refused to believe and receive God’s Son Messiah Jesus as their Truth, their Way, and their Life.
Although comparatively few in number (to the billions who have lived on this earth), millions down through the ages have returned to the basics. They have started at the beginning by believing that, “…God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood … God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26).
That is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; rescuing and changing the human race one heart at a time. Yet this kingdom was designed by God as a preparation for the ultimate Kingdom of God on earth and heaven, ultimately composed of believers whose very bodies have been transformed like the body of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus, to live forever. A Kingdom that will have come (permanently and perfectly) full circle from the first man and woman created in the image of God—body, soul, and spirit.
Because so many people have denied—in theory or practice—that God exists or have rejected the source of salvation (Messiah Jesus), God has allowed mankind to establish humanistic systems of religion and government to prove him wrong. The worst of them—religious and political autocracies that force people to comply with whatever rules are imposed on them in a vain effort to establish a like-minded homogenous community that offers (a false) freedom—have failed miserably. Even the best of them—democracies with parliamentary or republic representatives that need to “legislate” morality and equality—can’t change the pride, greed, selfishness, and hated in the human heart to that of unconditional consideration and compassion for others.
The Great Tribulation Followed by the Majestic Millennial Reign of Messiah
The Lord will give the human race one last chance to show that it can—without God—unify the earth and establish global peace and “brotherhood.” He will give permission to Satan and the Antichrist beast (Nero) to undertake this (futile) plan.
“Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5, italics for emphasis).
The Apostle Paul warns us of what would happen:
“When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” (I Thessalonians 5:3).
Though Satan and his false messiah will come close to achieving their diabolical goal, they will not succeed. Tragically, this global endeavor of integration will result in, “…greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22, the words of Jesus).
(See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15).
We know that our Great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus will come to the rescue. For the sake of his chosen ones (referring specifically to the Jews during the Tribulation) he will conquer the Antichrist and his armies. He will also vanquish other nations that abruptly stop fighting Nero’s coalition and foolishly turn against the rider on the White Horse whose name is:
“…Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war… The armies of heaven … followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King all kings and Lord of all lords” (Revelation 19:11-16).
The Divine Monarchy of Jesus Christ will be much better and far greater than any human form of government ever conceived or established on the earth.
“The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. 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” (Isaiah 2:4).
He is the, “…righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The Lord is Our Righteousness’” (Jeremiah 33:15-16).
“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” (Micah 5:2).
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King David also foretold of his descendant who would rule and reign from David’s throne. David’s royal heir would be the very Son of God, who existed long before David was born.
“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’” (Psalm 2:6-8).
David also wrote: “The Lord (the Father in Psalm 2) said to my Lord (the Son in Psalm 2), ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’ The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies” (Psalm 110:1-2, parenthesis mine).
(Refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son? Part I & II, published 10-31-15 and 11-7-15).
But there’s more. Referring to believers raised from the dead (along with living believers who will likewise be transfigured) at the Rapture and also the saints resurrected near the end of the Great Tribulation, we read:
“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, italics for emphasis).
(Please see Eye of Prophecy articles: The Tremendous Transfiguration of Believers! Posted 7-23-16. Also, The Magnificent Millennial Reign of Believers with Messiah, posted 7-15-17)
One Pure Language
Among many glorious changes that Jesus Christ will make during his thousand-year government on the earth, will be a return to one universal language. But this time it will be the Lord’s idea and choice of language to accomplish his sovereign plan: establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.
“Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the LORD together” (Zephaniah 3:9, The New Living Translation—which I quote from unless otherwise noted).
The New American Standard Bible reads: “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”
The King James Version: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language that they may call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.”
The International Standard Version: “Indeed, then I will return my people to a pure language so that they all may call upon the name of the LORD, serving him with a united will.”
(New King James Version, Except “YHWH” in place of “The LORD.” Zephaniah 3:8 Describes God’s Judgment of the Nations, Similar to Joel 3:1-2 and other passages. Whenever you see the LORD in capital letters in Scripture, it is in place of the Holy Hebrew Name, YHWH–with inserted vowels reading as Yahweh. All Too Often When I Quote Scripture and Type “the Lord,” I Forget to Capitalize Each Letter in LORD)
Although there are more, of the seventeen translations I looked at, eight used the phrase “pure language” and nine chose the wording of “pure speech (or) purified lips.” Those that prefer the “speech” translation of the Hebrew word support the application that all languages will be refined or purified during the Millennium. Meaning primarily: free from profane cursing, absent any blasphemy against God or taking his name in vain, and other means of cleansing. In modern vernacular, it is akin to saying, “clean up your language.” Or even, “go wash out your mouth with soap!” With, however, the inference that there will still be multiple languages on the earth.
Others are convinced that the “pure language” translation is the better one because that is the intrinsic meaning of the text: one language spoken by all.
A few, like me, believe both interpretations are appropriate and accurate, although I have a preference for “pure language.” The 20th and 21st century polluted deterioration of the spoken and written word—in private and public conversation, in entertainment circles, books, movies, and particularly in online social media—will undergo an extreme makeover when Jesus Christ comes to this earth to personally set up the Kingdom of God.
However, this cleansing of indecent and obscene speech and writing will be accomplished first and foremost through a pure (universal) language. A language that is innately uncontaminated and free of competing languages.
Part of Webster’s Dictionary definition of pure is: “Spotless, Stainless; free from harshness or roughness and being in tune—used of a musical tone.” (Referring to words that uplift, we sometimes say, “That’s music to my ears” parenthesis mine). More definitions: “free from what vitiates, weakens or pollutes; containing nothing that does not properly belong; chaste.”
*Note: For me and others who have never used the word vitiate, it means: “to make faulty or defective often by the addition of something that impairs; to make ineffective or weak.” The main synonym is: Debase.
With one pure language, God will, “…teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
And there will be no need for translators when, “The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes…” (Verse 4).
Whether pure speech/lips or pure language, all of the Biblical translations of Zephaniah 3:9 present the same purpose for and result of this purified language with such phrases as: worshipping the Lord together; serve him shoulder to shoulder; serve Him with a single purpose; serve him with one consent in a united will.
With the summary conclusion: The rendering of “pure language” (meaning one language) is the ideal application of the Hebrew word. One universal language is a far better way to call on the name of the Lord to serve him with one accord, than purifying the speech of all (roughly) 6,000 languages and dialects in today’s world.
If God doesn’t reverse the curse of Babel, then the same confusion (divinely purposed for a period of time) of multiple languages would be a serious hindrance to what will obviously be global praise and worship of, tribute to, and fellowship with the world’s Savior, Messiah Jesus.
(Accurately Depicts An Unfinished Tower of Babel; With, However, the Reversal of Babel’s Curse to be Complete With a Pure Language on Earth)
The fact that God not only spoke the world and all living things into existence through what obviously would have been one language and also communicated with mankind through a single (that same) language, leads to the convincing conclusion that when all things return full circle to a Garden of Eden-like existence, there will once again be only one language.
Powerful Previews of the Coming Universal Language
There are two options: (1) An already existing language; (2) A brand new language given directly by God to the human race.
Personally, I choose option number one. For two reasons: (A) There’s no basis for the Lord to create a whole new language because; (B) A pure language has existed from the beginning. Several of the translations use the term “return” or “restore” to this pure language, with a logically clear inference that the language had already existed.
That language is: HEBREW.
God spoke to Moses in Hebrew; before that to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And after Moses, to all of the prophets. It is the language of God’s chosen people who were called to be a holy nation, a people through whom mankind’s Redeemer would come. It is the language in which the Old Testament was written. It was the language spoken by the mediator of the New Covenant, Messiah Jesus (also Aramaic, a companion language to Hebrew).
Not until Jesus, the Living Word of God, came into this world, did the Lord use the prevalent international language spoken at the time (Greek) to inspire the writers of the New Testament.
Read with me the opening words of Hebrews, which is the only book in either Testament that bears the name of God’s chosen people and their language.
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
(Above Passage is Daniel 7:13-14; Please See Eye of Prophecy Article, Messiah’s Ascension & Coronation … Seen Long Before It Happened! Posted 5-27-17).
Jesus came to the earth at God’s appointed time in history when the confluence of Roman roads and the Greek language enabled the gospel to be spread far and wide and rapidly (considering the transportation of the time).
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:4-5).
When Jesus was born, the nation of Israel was under Roman domination, a shadow of its former glory. Nearly all Jewish descendants from the ten northern tribes and some from the two southern tribes were in still in exile or had intermarried and were speaking the language of their host nation. The Hebrew language was in decline and hundreds of years later would be nearly extinct.
Jesus came into the world to establish the New Covenant of Grace, a whole new way to and relationship with God—based exclusively on faith in Messiah’s once for all substitutionary sacrifice. A New Covenant was necessary because the Hebrews wouldn’t and couldn’t keep the Law of Moses (See Jeremiah 31:31-34). This New Covenant would be written and spread throughout Israel, the Roman Empire, and the whole world via a language that was considered the universal language—much like English is the most common language, by far, spoken in today’s world. Many Jews and Romans spoke Greek in New Testament times.
In the first century, the Lord gave us a fascinating preview of the fulfillment of Zephaniah’s prophecy. Do you remember what it was and when it happened?
“On the day of Pentecost all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly … what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Acts 2:1-4).
“They were completely amazed. ‘How can this be?’ they exclaimed. ‘These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!’” (Acts 2:7-8).
*Note: Is it mere coincidence that the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire? In effect, as a result, and for all practical purposes, the Gospel was heard in their own tongue—as though each language was the only language spoken on earth.
The Unprecedented Restoration of Israel and the Hebrew Language
Never in human history had a nation utterly destroyed and an entire people driven from their homeland ever been restored as that same people in that same land. Some, including me, believe that Israel’s rebirth was more than unprecedented; it was a flat-out miracle from God.
But that wasn’t all. The nearly extinct language of Hebrew was also resurrected and is now spoken by nearly all Jews in Israel. That, too, has never been done before by any peoples on this planet.
Incidentally, did you know that Hebrew contains absolutely no words of profanity? There are gestures peculiar to the Jews (as with all races and ethnic groups), but not what we call “four-letter” words.
Why else would the Lord sovereignly bring back the ancient language of his people (along with contemporary Hebrew words to match modern technology and the like)? Unless, he planned to “…restore to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one accord” (Zephaniah 3:9, King James 2000 Bible).
There’s another astounding end-times prophecy that dovetails with the restoration of Hebrew as the universal language during the Millennium and throughout eternity: “In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew…” (Isaiah 19:18). Please see Eye of Prophecy article, A Most Unlikely Ally of Israel! Published 6-11-16.
Notice that the verse says, “will even begin to speak Hebrew…”
Which, I believe provides an answer to another question: Will the Lord instantaneously give everyone the ability to speak Hebrew after Messiah Jesus begins his millennial reign from Jerusalem?
Answer: possibly, but unlikely.
Just as many birth pain events signaling Christ’s imminent return are unfolding in our (what I’ve called) Omega Generation, such as restoration of Israel and Hebrew as Israel’s national language; just like the five cities in Egypt that will begin to speak Hebrew; so it will be a gradual global process for all survivors of the Great Tribulation to learn Hebrew. It could take one, maybe two generations for this to happen—or longer for those who at first refuse to learn Hebrew.
Please understand: Although there will be a Global Government on the earth with a perfect balance between Messiah’s loving leadership and his stringent supervision, there will still be nations, as such, during the Millennium. And it’s likely that some people, even entire nations, will resist making Hebrew their language.
For example: “In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. Any nation in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will have no rain… Egypt and the other nations will all be punished if they don’t go to celebrate the Festival of Shelters” (Zechariah 14:16-19).
(A Modern-Day Sukkah–Temporary Shelter–Erected to Celebrate Sukkot)
Messiah Jesus will rule with fairness, but also firmness. It will be as is said, “Tough love.”
Because it fits with today’s article, I’d like to share an excerpt from the final chapter of my first book, a novel: O Israel, published in 2007. It is about a year after the Rapture and the scene is a dialogue between two of the main characters, IDF Major Barak Goetz and the love of his life, Netanya Bernis—both of whom became Messianic Jews. They are standing on the Mount of Olives looking across the Kidron Valley at the rebuilt Jewish Temple.
They watched the people on the Temple Mount, who looked the size of ants from this vantage point. Arabs walked out of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Islam’s sacred day of the week was about to end. Jewish worshippers entered the temple. Shabbat was about to begin. Two Levite priests plodded along the side of the temple; one led a lamb by a rope.
“What are you thinking?” Netanya asked.
“What you and I talked about at the hospital. About the Garden of Eden, coming full circle, restoration.”
“The circle is almost closed,” Barak said. “We were made in God’s image, which means that he made us perfect. How could a perfect God create something imperfect? Through the image he gave us, he offered us the choice to live forever. But we did the only thing he told us not to do; we used the free will he gave us to choose another image. We wanted an image that made us equal to him, one that no longer needed the holiness of the perfect image, one that made him in our image. And when we disobeyed a simple command, it distorted our true image. We killed the spirit inside us, and the outside died with it. The image became twisted, unholy, ungodly.
“But God would not leave it that way. He would restore the original created image. There was only one way to do that; a great debt had to be paid to remove the awful presence of sin that had changed and condemned the image. Who could pay such a debt? It had to be someone whose image had not changed, someone who was a prefect and visible image of God. And it had to be a man, because the purchase must be with blood. Life is in the blood. So the Son of God became the Son of Man, and he was both at the same time.
“When we believe the Son for who he is and what he did, the original image is restored. Those who were taken that day have total restoration of the body. That is full circle.”
“That was beautiful,” Netanya said. “It came from the Holy Spirit?”
“Must have. I seriously doubt that I could repeat it on my own.”
“Forever begins again, but in a new way. As good as it was in the beginning, I think it will be even better at the end of the age.”
“I’d go with that,” Barak said.
The horizon hid the sun. Netanya shivered when a strong gust chilled the air. He put his arm around her.
She looked lovingly into his eyes, “As it once was, so shall it be again.” (Pages 338-339).
*As we eagerly wait for Messiah to return to make all things right and new, may God have mercy on America. Please pray for and help if you can the plight of our flood-stricken, fellow-Americans in Texas.
Things to Ponder
More than any other language, Hebrew alphabet characters and the words formed provide illustrative images and pictorial projection to both the tangible and intangible things of life. This is especially true for the meaning of Jewish names. It is a language that condenses and expresses thoughts succinctly and significantly.
For example: Translated to English, we say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Eleven words … too many connecting words).
In Hebrew, we read: Baruch haba beshem Adonai (Four words! No connecting words, but the meaning is the same, even better).
Jewish rabbis and scholars—most of whom speak at least one other language besides Hebrew—are students of the Hebrew language and the Old Testament. They are virtually unanimous in their belief that the Hebrew language reveals the thoughts and character of God like no other language.
Did you know that all believers (both Jew and Gentile) will be given a white stone sometime after we are taken in the Rapture? Do you know what will be written on the stone?
“…and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it” (Revelation 2:17). Might this be a brand new Hebrew name? A name the Lord will use when he talks to us privately?! Or, if public, a name whose meaning is private between each person and the Lord.
One of my two sisters and I traveled to Israel in March, 2006. The entire trip was fabulous including our ascension of Mount Megiddo. But we both agreed there were two highlights. One was visiting the empty Garden Tomb of Jesus. We saw the signs pictured below.
(Outside the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem … Entrance to the Tomb Is Pictured in Upper Right of Photograph)
(From Inside the Garden Tomb … He Has Risen Indeed!)
The other was attending a Messianic Jewish Shabbat service at the Grace & Truth Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, south of Tel Aviv. One of my dear friends, David Zadok (a former IDF Major, now a Messianic Jew) later became the pastor of that church … still is today.
Everyone in attendance spoke at least one of three languages: Hebrew, English, and Russian. The pastor delivered his message in Hebrew to those seated in the middle section who spoke Hebrew. His message was translated by one interpreter into English (our group to the left of the pastor … as the pastor faced the audience) and by another interpreter into Russian, to those on the right.
It was a poignant and wonderful experience; though the sanctuary was small and we were packed in, sometimes literally touching the person seated next to you. Yet the idea of fellowshipping with Israeli believers in Yeshua—those recently from Russia and Jews from other countries who had learned Hebrew (and English for some)—moved me to the point of tears. (In 2014, the Congregation moved to a larger facility near Gedera, Israel. The Dutch language was added to the translations).
On the other hand, it was also a bit awkward for two interpreters to be talking at the same time as the pastor, who had to pause frequently for the translators.
This is but one tiny example of how much better one common language (God’s language … Hebrew) will enable people shoulder to shoulder but also those in distant lands to “worship the Lord together.”
To, in person or through the media, watch and listen to Messiah Jesus, the King of kings, as he speaks from Jerusalem, with no interpreter or sub-titles needed. To praise him in unison with one voice (literally). To serve him with one accord and to hear him speak in our own language.
Because everyone’s language will be the same!