Click on the title of the article you wish to read.
Click on the Back Arrow in your browser to return to Table of Contents.
H. E. Lafferty
The events of this first week of March, 2014, have intensified the rift between the U.S. and Israeli leaders. President Obama is pursuing conciliation with Iran; but Israel is convinced that it will bear no fruits, and that Iran will continue to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
The extreme tension between Israel and Iran, hinging completely upon Iran's repeated denunciation of Israel and its right to exist, is reaching the breaking point – or is it?
Our conviction is that the prophetic scriptures say nothing about an Israeli attack upon Iran prior to the Gogian affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
However, it is difficult to argue from a position of negative or absent comments.
An attack would seem imminent at this time, but one must diligently observe current events in order to come to some reasonable conclusion. Just because such an attack is not mentioned does not mean it will not occur.
The only surety one can insist upon is that the forces of Persia (Iran) are slated for total destruction in the Gogian affair of Ezekiel's prophecy.
Having said that, we note that Prime Minister Netanyahu has now re-stated Israel's purposely formed decision that, from the Israeli viewpoint, Iran shall not acquire nuclear weapons.
As late as yesterday, March 4th, the prime minister again asserted that to allow that to come about would subject the Jewish State to indescribable danger of nuclear assault from the east.
In a sense, this is a curious affair – this current enmity of Iran toward Israel. Iran and Israel do not share a common boundary. No Iranian has ever killed an Israeli in active combat that we know of – and no Israeli has killed an Iranian in active combat between the two nations, for there has been no such action.
Yet, Iran's Ayatollah Khameini (the "Supreme Leader" of Iraq – assuming authority even above the president) – continues to vilify and denigrate the Jewish people in Iranian media of all sorts. His hate speech toward God’s people is surely equivalent to that of Adolph Eichmann and Hermann Goering of Nazi Germany.
Some thinkers believe this has come about because Iran realizes that YHVH's true People ARE the Israelis – the Chosen People of God – and that the arrogant Iranian is driven to prove YHVH wrong, and inferior to "Allah," his manufactured "god." The terrorist’s universal cry of "Allahu Akbar" means that "G(g)od is greater."
Greater than whom?
Greater than YHVH.
But Iran has no inkling of the power of Him against Whom it is fighting!
YHVH has vowed that His re-settled People shall NEVER again be displaced once they return to their homeland the second time (cf. Isaiah 11:11; Amos 9:15).
Our opinion is that Israel probably would have attacked Iran before now – in order to retard her nuclear progress – but Israel's defensive missile shield is not quite mature at this time.
We read of its advanced testing of Arrow 3 – an anti-missile missile which will be able to destroy enemy missiles shortly after liftoff from their launch pads, and cause the explosive payload to fall upon the enemy itself.
Another esoteric Israeli weapon is Iron Beam – a laser weapon now just being completed by Israel - which can send a concentrated, intensely hot, laser beam to intercept a missile, a rocket, or even an artillery shell, and destroy it in mid-flight, and thus protect Israeli territory and forces. Whereas Arrow 3 costs in the millions for each anti-missile launched, Iron Beam uses only electrical energy, and therefore boasts an unlimited magazine! One can easily see the logic and economy behind this incredible weapon!
We wonder whether Israel is presently planning an air strike – or several of them – on Iran, but is waiting on the perfection and installation of these two key defensive weapons, both of which could intercept missiles incoming from Iran or elsewhere, and destroy them in mid-flight, which is the expected response to an attack on the Islamic Republic.
These anti-missile weapons will be extremely beneficial in case the incoming missile is an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP).
What is an EMP?
An EMP is a "dirty bomb" of the nuclear variety which is designed to explode in the stratosphere above its target. The bomb produces gamma radiation which showers down upon the earth impacting everything below its blast.
These rays do not kill people and animals, and cause no physical destruction of buildings or other structures.
But gamma rays are extremely destructive to all unshielded electromagnetic devices – a military systems, radars, all computers, telephones, industrial operating systems run by computers, water supplies, electricity grids, and all automobiles and busses – including military tanks, aircraft, and missile systems.
It is important that Isaiah 31 addresses the current state of affairs relative to Israel and its enemies ("Egypt" is the metaphor here). The prophet is inspired to advise against any dependence of His People on "Egypt" in the end time. That includes the foreign assistance of the U.S. and NATO allies, or any others; the Almighty is their defensive shield and will not give His glory to any other.
In that sense, one can expect the withdrawal of the commitment of the U.S. and any other powers to Israeli security as the end times come to a close.
The defense of Israel is a godly affair – not a geo-political one (i.e., not dependent upon international alliances, such as a defense treaty assured by the U.S.).
The prophet's narrative seems to address the current threat to Israel in this very day. Note his pin-pointed comments in this context...
Isaiah 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey (eg., Iran of today, and other Islamic neighbors,“roaring” upon Israel), when a multitude of shepherds (the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, even Iraq) is called forth against him (Israel), he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
We are not left to supposition as to His meaning – for the word is from the LORD. He utilizes the metaphor of a defensive bird setting itself against a predator's threat to its nest in these powerful promises...
Isa 31:5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
In these three highly positive pronouncements of defending, delivering and preserving them, the God of Israel PROMISES His returned people – now concentrated in the Land and able through His divine provision, to defend itself – that HE SHALL PROTECT AND DEFEND HIS PEOPLE.
It might seem that Israel is defending itself, protecting and preserving its heritage, but this passage assures us that it is the unseen hand of the Almighty that has provided these benefits!! (cf. Daniel 12:1)
His next words portend Israel's conversion to His way – which today is not yet a fact – and that they shall place their entire trust in HIM.
Isa 31:6 Turn ye unto him (God) from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.
Isa 31:7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
In our opinion, these “idols” are a metaphor for the military instruments in which Israel presently trusts – its mighty army, its formidable air force, its credible naval forces, and its ability to deploy overwhelming cyber aggression upon its enemies.
So, at that time a wondrous miracle occurs within Israel. Even the tangible means of their deliverance from their enemies of this present time shall be eradicated. Zechariah 9:10 - And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
All these named instruments of warfare are carnal, physical, and undependable. But they shall then possess a “weapon” that is completely reliable…
This radical departure from the “norm” comes about because the enormously powerful King of Israel, having then returned to His People and Land, possesses powers unknown to mortal man.
Carnal weapons are displaced by the righteous and irresistible WORD of God which He utters. The words, He shall speak peace unto the heathen, we suspect, is a couched reference to the powerful Sword of His Mouth, with which He challenges His enemies to relinquish their hatred for His people, repent, and accept His blessings. That acceptance could indeed bring peace to them.
But “peace” with these intransigent foes shall come only by conquest!
Of course, they shall refuse His offer of conciliation. In their arrogance – and supremely exquisite ignorance of His way – they shall refuse His commands, and be destroyed out of hand.
When can one expect this to come about?
Zechariah 9, q.v., tells of the preliminaries. Verse 9 - Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee:
It shall be accomplished immediately upon the descent of Messiah to Israel – the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – which will result in a dramatic shift in the status and standing of Israel among its neighbors.
Zechariah 8:23 illustrates the tidal shift in the world’s opinion of Israel as a people! We refer to the “ten men” who shall take hold of the garment of “him that is a Jew” and confess that God is with him, and voice their desperate plea to “go with you.”
Isaiah 31:8 Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean (average) man (but the sword of the LORD), shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. 9 And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign (Hebrew, Nec, a banner or flag, standing for a nation - in this case Israel), saith the LORD, whose fire (of judgment) is in Zion, and his furnace (of affliction) in Jerusalem.
The Prophet Amos indicates a similar destiny for God's People and their opponents.
Almost the entirety of Amos' writings are condemnatory of Israel's prior faithlessness, and its appointed punishments for this denial of God's sovereignty. Only in the last verses of his revelation does he indicate that Israel's distress is to be alleviated. He writes of a blessed, future day...
Amos 9:11 - In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name (Jacob is meant here), saith the LORD that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Of all men and women, His Covenanted sons and daughters are most fortunate to live in these forecasted times of verses 11-15, and to see these developments among His People, Israel, now being recalled in part, but distinctively progressively, to their core Inheritance, having already made it hyper-productive and comfortably wealthy, having become a net exporter of produce of all kinds to the rest of the world (whereas in time past it was wasted, destitute and unproductive), and potentially a supplier of energy resources (natural gas and crude oil) to much of Europe and the Middle East.
The prophet's effusive words concerning Israel's productivity after returning from "the captivity," indicates precisely the conditions that we see there today.
Not only is Israel abundantly fruitful of the agrarian produce of the land, its technological prowess is unmatched in the world. Its discoveries of oil and gas will make the nation extremely wealthy, much to the chagrin of its poverty-stricken neighboring peoples.
But unknown to them, their lands are also blessed with much wealth which has yet to be discovered, and abundant additonal wealth that shall soon accrue to the nation of Israel due to its conquest of its neighbors round about.
Meanwhile, God's people are planted upon their land, and shall no more be pulled up out of their land which (God) has given them .... Amos 9:15. So every Believer of God's word must readily admit that Israel is "here to stay," and that the Almighty One shall take all measures to defeat and utterly destroy their enemies of the end time. <HEL 3N> ~2,300 words.
Prophesied for the End Time
Harold E. Lafferty
We read in Isaiah 11 a prophecy of the End Time which mentions several nations which do not presently exist – nations of antiquity with which the Almighty has had conflict, and which have fought against His people Israel, in their earlier history.
The prophecy begins with the restoration of God’s people from several of these places.
The prophet stresses that this regathering is the SECOND recovery of His people – of the remnants which recently existed in these countries. In this process both branches of Israel – Judah and Israel – are referenced as returning to the Land, and that there shall be no enmity between the two as previously.
But the narrative indicates their recovery from certain named areas which do not exist today, namely Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, and from Shinar and from Hamath. And after the Israelites’ return to their Land, in verse 14, a victorious conflict is indicated as being specifically between His people and the Philistines, Moab, Ammon, and Edom ... four additional entities which have not survived until today, as named.
And still later, unity between Assyria, Egypt and Israel is concluded as a highway is built connecting the three now friendly, cooperative countries to be then dedicated to the LORD.
These verses are:
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations (the nations being Israel and Judah), and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isa 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. [This is to affirm that the Israelis are united in the end time, and without internecine rivalry.]
Isa 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
Isa 11:15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
Isa 11:16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
What do all these prophecies mean?
When we examine the records of scripture we discover that all these ancient enemies of Israel were condemned to being conquered, and removed from being designated or named countries – all except Egypt – and their lands vacated and ravaged throughout the following ages.
But their involvement with Israel does not end.
All these are said to be restored (their captivity returned) in the end time and become a thorn in the side of Israel, then to be destroyed by Israel.
We review the brief history of each to show that this is the case.
The first portion of Jeremiah 49 is the almighty’s curse on Ammon. Its utter end might seem certain from this narrative – as it was desolated for centuries – but the last verse proves that it shall be re-gathered to its place in the End Time. Jeremiah 9:6 - And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.
The name “Ammon” survives today as “Amman,” the capital city of Jordan. Ammon therefore is northern Jordan of today. That nation will suffer the judgment of the LORD and be utterly destroyed by the Christ of the Second Advent and those with Him.
That certainty is given in Zephaniah 2:9: Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people (Israel of today) shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
Isaiah 16:14 tells of the initial overthrow of Moab by Assyria. But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
Its continuing desolation is foretold in Jeremiah 48:4 Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard …. 9 Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Jeremiah 48:47 reveals, Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Those words indicate that there is significantly more in store for Moab; in the End Time Moab shall be restored … which is to say that her ravaged territory of ancient time would be re-populated and have a viable economy.
The historical territory of Moab is today the central portion of Jordan, and has a prosperous economy due to the potash mines in the area. A few of its settled areas contain thousands of citizens of Jordan.
Edom (Esau, or Mt. Seir) was a perpetual enemy of Israel throughout its early history. For her aggression, Jeremiah was instructed to prophesy Edom’s doom, which occurred when Assyria conquered Samaria. Her land sank into desolation, her people were taken away, and her land abandoned for centuries.
Jeremiah 49:17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
Ezekiel 25:12 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. 14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
When should they know His vengeance? Only in the end time, when people again inhabited the southern portion of both Jordan and Israel – the ancients lands of Edom, its capital at Bozrah. The words of Jeremiah 49:22: Behold, he (Israel) shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
This verse speaks to the fate of those restored peoples of Edom in the latter days; its availability for the conflict of Isaiah 63, specifically in the area indicated there as being violently conquered by the Messiah of Israel – at Bozrah.
Even though Egypt was never taken away from being a nation it was desolated for centuries, ruled by foreigners, and of little account. But Egypt was destined to become prominent again in the affairs of the Middle East. Ezekiel prophesied …
Ezekiel 29:14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
In the end, Egypt shall become converted to the way of the LORD, and worship Him acceptably, as foretold in Isaiah 19.
Isa 19:19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
The ultimate outcome for Egypt, along with Assyria (see next section) is a happy and righteous association with Israel after the Lord had delivered them: this is prophesied in the words of Isaiah 19:23: In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
ELAM (IRAQ) and SYRIA = ASSYRIA
Elam: Elam, the Elymais of the Greeks and Romans, was properly a province of the Persian empire, between Media and Susiana; but sometimes the name Elam is used in a larger sense, including Susiana and other provinces (see Daniel 8:2 - Shushan), all of which were subdued by Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards restored and raised to dignity by Cyrus.
Elam is therefore symbolic of Iraq, the present occupant of this territory.
(Jer 49:39) But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
Elam seems therefore, in its expanded role, to be a figure of both Iraq and Syria – the latter of which has continued to exist through the centuries – both together comprehending Assyria of other prophecies.
All these areas are sentenced to final extinction by the psalmist and prophet Asaph, in Psalm 83, where Ashur of verse 8 nominates Assyria as being among the nations listed here as conquered by the forces of the LORD.
ISRAEL AND JUDAH
The only other nations specifically said to have their “captivity” returned, are Judah and Israel. The references to this restoration are extensive. But the most direct and straightforward is that of Jeremiah, in 30: 3; For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
Even the restoration of the ancient Hebrew language seems clearly to be prophesied in Jeremiah 31:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.
Another overall statement as to their fortune is Jeremiah 33:7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
We must understand that the “captivity” spoken of here is their captivity of God’s people in all nations – not in Babylon – which returns only in the end time. And that it ultimately includes Judah and Israel, only the first of which was in the first restoration from Babylon.
There is confirmation of this time frame in the language of Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem … which is surely the End Time.
We can determine exactly what means the phrase, “will bring again the captivity” of (so and so) by this verse: Jeremiah 30:3: For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
The exactly similar phraseology therefore indicates a return of all the above nations to the territory of their original habitation.
Except for the people of Israel, however, they are merely people who now live in those designated areas. But the modern people are often descended from the ancient peoples, and are inclined to react to the restored nation of Israel in the same way as their ancient counterparts, and therefore, in the finality, shall suffer the deserved fate of the earlier peoples.
All this resistance of the “cousins” stems from the small valuation that Esau placed upon his rightful inheritance as the elder of the twins, Esau and Jacob, when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a paltry bowl of stew. Immediately Esau hated Jacob for his cunning. That animosity has never relented throughout the millennia which have since elapsed. The hatred has dwelt actively and voraciously with the descendants of Esau until this day.
But a more ominous reality – a far weightier matter – is that the Almighty “hates” Esau in favour of Jacob. Discussing God’s inherent principle of election (favor, preference), Paul states unequivocally in Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Our appreciation of these subtle operations of the God of Israel adds immensely to our faith in His prescience – His omniscience – as to future events, and the perfection of His Plan for the ages!
<HEL code 2N> ~2,300 words.
The winds of November reached gale force in the relationship between U.S. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The cause of the disturbance was the intensely bad, perhaps even disastrous, agreement of the U.S. with Iran over that nation’s nuclear activities.
Mr. Netanyahu is in a state of “shocked disbelief,” and feels completely “misled” by the Obama negotiators as reported by Israeli TV 10.
The U.S. was preparing to ink “a disastrously bad nuclear bargain” (words of Joel Rosenburg) with Iran which relieves the enormous economic pressure on that country without requiring it to dismantle and remove a single centrifuge. It was a decision which was stunning to the Israelis – not what they had been led to believe in any wise.
A leading Israeli commentator in Ha’aretz, phrased it this way: “If there were a synoptic map for diplomatic storms, the National Weather Service would be putting out a hurricane warning right now …. The winds are blowing cold, tensions are on the rise and tempers are beginning to flare in the Bermuda Triangle of relations between Israel, the US and the American Jewish community. And given that the turbulence is being caused by an issue long deemed to be critical to Israel’s very existence, we may actually be facing a rare Category 5 flare up, a ‘Superstorm’ of US-Israeli relations.”
The agreement was met with blunt words from Mr. Netanyahu: “Israel utterly rejects [the deal] and what I am saying is shared by many in the region, whether or not they express that publicly. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and the security of its people.”
Naftali Bennett, a prominent Israeli Cabinet officer, said “These critical days in November will be remembered for years to come …. The Free World stands before a fork in the road with a clear choice: Either stand strong and insist (that) Iran dismantles its nuclear-weapons program, or surrender, cave in and allow Iran to retain its 18,500 centrifuges. Years from now, when an Islamic terrorist blows up a suitcase in New York, or when Iran launches a nuclear missile at Rome or Tel Aviv, it will have happened only because a Bad Deal was made during these defining moments.
“Like in a boxing match, Iran’s regime is currently on the floor. The count is just seconds away from 10. Now is the time to step up the pressure and force Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Not to let it up. It would be dangerous to lift the sanctions and accept a deal which allows Iran to retain its entire uranium-production line. It would be dangerous because Iran would, a year or two or three from now, just turn everything back on and obtain a nuclear weapon before the world can do anything to stop it. It is not enough to shut off the centrifuges. They need to be completely dismantled. We call upon the West to avoid signing a Bad Deal. Israel’s responsibility is to ensure the security of its citizens and that is exactly what we will do. We will never outsource our security.”
But now, early in 2014, the agreement is a done deal, and a marked decline in U.S.-Israeli relations has occurred. Daniel Pipes, a well-respected Mideast expert, had predicted that should President Obama gain a second term, all re-election restraints will be removed from him and he will surely then freely impose his earlier anti-Zionist views … “That moment is now upon us,” he added.
A few days later, after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Mr. Netanyahu to discuss the deal, Mr. Netanyahu appeared alone after the meeting (not in a joint appearance with Kerry, as is customary) and forcefully denounced the U.S. plan, and pleaded with Kerry to “reconsider,” and not to “rush to sign” it – an urgent request because the agreement was not the one which had been described to him earlier by Kerry.
This request was to no avail.
Netanyahu’s remarks were clearly agitated and clouded with disappointment with Kerry. He stated that with this agreement, “Iran gets everything it wanted at this stage and pays nothing.”
Since this earliest sign of disagreement with the U.S., Israel has been generally quiet about the deal that was indeed signed with Iran.
Is this an indication that Israel is making its own final plans to address the Iranian threat? We cannot make any such determination, but would not deny such a development.
There is an additional, eerily mysterious factor. We cannot dismiss the crises which face Israel precisely in conjunction with the four “blood moons” which are about to begin (on April 15th), as harbinger of events expected to be immensely significant to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The previous three sets of Jewish Tetrads (four blood moons occurring on Passover and Tabernacles in two successive years) have been enormously significant to the Jews and Israel. We fervently hope for a similar outcome this time.
Since the Jewish people are God’s Chosen People, their current, end time history is greatly important to everyone, whether they acknowledge that fact or not.
The coming months promise a tsunami of change in world affairs, especially as concerning Israel and its people – God's people – now regathering to their ancient homeland in great numbers, and rapidly becoming the “very great army” of Ezekiel 37:10 – a designation which it shall obtain only after they are inspired by the “breath of God.”
In our thinking, Israel has not yet been so inspired. Yet we are certain that their miraculous survival has been enabled by the Almighty, and that His people are well on their way to their final destiny of repentance, acceptance of His way, His Messiah, and His forgiveness.
<HEL 2N> ~975 words.
Abstracted from Reports: Harold Lafferty
Debka Weekly of January 3, 2014 has confirmed that Israel and the US Missile Defense Authority have performed the second successful test on the Arrow 3 missile interceptor.
The anti-missile missile defends against incoming ordnance both within the atmosphere (up to about 60 miles altitude) and extra-atmospheric (in outer space). The system is designed to intercept a hostile missile near its point of origin. This stipulation means that the radioactive (or merely conventional explosive) debris should fall on enemy territory near the point of launch! It is scheduled to be operative in 2016.
This development may be supremely important if the plans of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) keep making headway in its resistance to the state governments of both Iraq and Syria.
On Friday evening two weeks ago, ISIS – an Al Qaeda organization – decreed Falluja, Iraq, the capital of a new independent CALIPHATE. This is the primary aim of this movement – to create and enlarge an Islamic Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The force continued to push against Iraqi troops striving to defend Ramadi, another Sunni Islamic town, from the ISIS forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki said Iraq would recover Falluja and other portions of Anbar Province which has been captured by Al Qaeda within the previous 48 hours. This threat comes as Al Qaeda's ISIS forces are widening their occupation in Ramadi and in the nearby oil city of Mosul. But when the dispatch was written, no Iraqi troops were present in the area.
Another dispatch confirmed that Iraq Al Qaeda – an affiliate of ISIS – is making real advances on Baghdad, and claimed to have carried out successful and deadly bombing attacks on January 2.
All these Al Qaeda advances are clearly making headway in a drive to seize footholds across “a wide swathe of Middle East territory, running between three Arab capitals - Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut - and wielding a Sunni knife for slicing through the Shiite axis of Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah, according to Debka. Of course, you recognize that Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut are all portions of ancient Assyria.
We report this information because we feel that this initiative by Al Qaeda and ISIS represents a push toward the re-creation of “Assyria,” whether it gets named that or not.
As such, if it gains the ascendancy in Iraq and Syria/Lebanon, it has avowed to attack Israel next. Could this force be the “latter day Assyrian” of Micah 5? If so, the end of days is surely near! <HEL code 1N> ~
As yet another Gentile year begins, we express the fervent hope that this is the terminal year for which we yearn – the day (time) of vengeance of our Lord … the year of His Redeemed (Isaiah 63:4) … that this be … the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion (Isaiah 34:8).
In our understanding, the exhaustive achievement of this goal by the Lord of all the earth shall be the obsessing governor of everything that He shall accomplish – and that right early.
Procure, Protect, and Expand
If there is one certain principle that we may depend upon from our Lord Jesus – when, in future He shall have returned to the earth to put all things under His feet, and to rule the earth in righteousness – that principle is order – discipline – priority.
It shall be rational, orderly, and relentless progression toward His goal of subjugating the hostile powers and peoples with which He shall be confronted – pacifying them by conquest (for their wilfullness will not allow conciliation) – and bringing salvation to His people of Israel, both spiritual and carnal.
Long ago we have reached this understanding, or realization, of orderly development perfectly coalescing as we have studied closely the detailed prophecies of the End Time.
It may seem simplistic to some minds, but in fairly recent time we have begun to realize that the events that He will accomplish are purely and simply, an orderly and rapid progression of steady achievement toward the universal perfection that He requires. Each achievement shall build upon the one before it in His perfect advance toward the perfection which He shall achieve.
Without such a framework of understanding, the multiple and convoluted facets of the End Time conflicts of Israel, and of Christ’s developing kingdom could become chaotic in our minds.
We can be sure it is not so in HIS mind or purpose.
It is the orderly approach which should be employed by every engineer or designer of such a project, as well as every liberator of a realm – much as in empire building.
Any such redemption – for such it surely is – necessitates a well-defined, disciplined, orderly progression of all intended accomplishments leading toward the final goal.
Our recognition of this, and our realization of the necessity for it, helps us to organize our own understanding of the overall process of His achievement of the world’s redemption.
The entire process may be stated in three direct words:
Procure, Protect, and Expand
A brief preliminary outline is in order …
Procurement involves acquisition, or taking possession of a designated territory from which to exercise the latter two initiatives.
It is without controversy that the first action that the returned Jesus Christ sets Himself to accomplish, is that of clearing from His intended first dominion of the kingdom (Micah 4:8), all intruders and interlopers who shall not have a part in it. We think readily of such summary pronouncements as: There shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau (Obadiah 18), for example!
Protection must then be extended to the procured territory. Hast thou come to take a spoil? are words that come to our minds. By His initial acquisition, His having taken control of the entire Land of Promise, the King shall have made fierce enemies, and created much animosity in His neighborhood of nations.
This animosity shall bring aggression from without, against the consolidated nucleus of His kingdom. Other powers shall gather in a vigorous attempt to overthrow Him, and to take His kingdom.
So He must then protect it from such outside aggression. He does so adroitly, and with swift dispatch: I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea … and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog (Ezekiel 39:11).
Expansion then becomes the order of the day, after He shall have successfully defended it from outside enemies. The character of His kingdom is destined to be universal (world-wide), and not simply local in nature.
This element of expansion shall be vast and comprehensive, because it progressively involves the entire planet. It presents the necessity for infinite expansion – i.e., to the ends of the earth. This action is surely epitomized by the words of the Apostle John:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people (Revelation 14:6).
This Gospel spells doom for the head-strong nations resisting Him – those which stubbornly insist on their old, failed philosophies – an initiative involving ALL nations of the earth.
Such a progression, we believe, illustrates precisely the divine plan for the ages – that which shall faithfully be followed by the returned Messiah of Israel.
Considering the Details
Our present age surely constitutes the End Time in Bible prophecy. We have realized this truth nearly all our lives (for that End Time is an extended time period), especially since our baptism into the name of Jesus Christ in June, 1946.
That early realization has continued and intensified during the succeeding years as our insight into the exquisite details of the Word of God has markedly intensified.
The result is that we view End Time events almost as clearly revealed as printed headlines in a newspaper. The entire narrative is flawlessly exposed, comprehensively divulged to eager, faithful, inquisitive students, and makes perfect sense in the overall context of present history as we have witnessed it.
We perceive no contradictions in our view of it – and no invalidation of the prospect as we see it.
The comprehensive picture is a faith-generator of the first order.
It gives us an appreciative, continuing, unshakable confidence in the omniscience of our Father in His having revealed His future Plan to His people of the End Time, in order to strengthen them in the faith, and give them infinite reason to rely on every tenet of the Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20) – the gospel-based expectations of the Apostle Paul.
That hope is the compass of our entire aspiration.
It has been our intention in this modest initiative , to attempt to set forth this orderly protocol as we are privileged to see it.
We invite others’ criticism (evaluation, and review) of everything we propose, and do intend always to respond with a friendly, “let us come and reason together” attitude, in response to every opinion.
If we fail in this intention, it is just that – human failure. We beg your forgiveness.
We certainly do not make the claim of perfect understanding in these vital issues, recognizing our personal, ongoing frailty, and our need for deeper understanding; we sincerely invite comments and opinions that reach conclusions different from our own.
We do insist, however, on basic, doctrinal agreement with our commonly-shared understanding of God’s salvational plan. Otherwise, spurious (errant) opinions are worth little consideration.
So it is in this conciliatory spirit that we and our contributors strive to present every proposal – every reasoned interpretation of God’s word – that bears upon the outworking of End Time affairs.
At times we may be dogmatic as to some conclusions – but we intend that such is always in response to our Father’s clearly expressed dogmatic truth, as all of His Truth is, and as most of it is revealed to us in His word (though sometimes difficult to decipher). We place our efforts where all our common efforts should be placed. We do so with the common equipment of men and women of good faith and a sound mind – and of hearty expectation of the fullness of our Father’s infinite blessing.
Our profound thanksgiving ascends daily to our heavenly Father that He has granted us uncommon longevity and vigor, a reasonably sound mind, a hearty and resolute spirit, and godly jealousy for His truth – that His name exclusively be hallowed and lifted up and glorified as the Day approaches.
That is our only hope – our only desire. Our most fervent wish is for the establishment of the future glorious conditions foretold by the Prophet Micah:
Micah 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. <HEL MD/USA code 1N> .
An eTPL Editorial
Another monthly issue of numerous publications dealing with current events came in the mail yesterday (December 26th). It contained nearly seven pages (of its 32 pages) of intense, excited, detailed commentary on Russia’s moves into the Middle East, two pages of which were devoted to maps of the Eastern Mediterranean, illustrating current Russian proposals to build naval facilities in Egyptian ports.
The same nearly breathless excitement was stirred during the Cold War years when Russian involvement in Egypt was rampant, including building the great dam at Aswan, and arming the Egyptian army with all the latest Russian equipment. But, after three catastrophic defeats of Egypt in war with Israel, it all ended in about a week of earth-shaking decisions by Anwar Sadat to expel the Russians and their influence from Egypt.
Over twenty thousand Russian technicians, advisers, construction crews and military people were expelled from Egypt almost overnight – and that era ended for a time.
One of the two maps in the aforementioned article illustrates the outdated and now (proven to be) erroneous conclusion that Russia is the King of the North, that Britain is the King of the South, and that the twain shall meet in the middle, at “Armageddon” in Israel!
The article emphasizes the latest enticing offer by Russia to sell arms and armament to Egypt, subverting the cooled and muted U.S. – Egypt relationship surrounding the recent removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power in that country.
Little or NO Information about Israel – Our Chief Concern
But there was not one observation as to the importance of Israel’s extremely critical relationships with its Arabic/Islamic neighbors, or of Israel’s plight of being eminently exposed to terrorism and atrocities on every side … which is astounding!
Israel’s destiny and course of existence is – or should be – our most important interest.
So why is it so patently ignored?
It seems to us that the latter consideration (Israel’s seemingly dramatic plight) is the more important aspect of current Mid-East events to be discussed.
This persistent (and tiresome, and frankly pedantic) emphasis on Russia’s interest in the Middle East follows closely along with the absolutely consuming interest of the preachers of Christendom on this same subject, who also obsess themselves with “the King of the North” as being the next big threat to Israel.
Both have little or NO realization that this is not the most important next “big” thing.
And both sets of observers label that conflict, “Armageddon.”
We humbly suggest that these emphases are perhaps lethally misplaced – and to the true believer of God’s word, nearly irrelevant (more on this latter remark further down).
In the first place, Armageddon is mentioned in the scriptures only one time: Revelation 16:16, and relates to the virulent interaction between the forces of the Lion of Judah (not Britain, the “old lion”) and the forces of the Harlot, Beast and False Prophet – in Europe and in the domains of the Roman Church, initially, and not in Israel at all, because the issue shall have been settled there well before this time arrives.
The Revelation as a whole is not a forecast of what will happen in Israel or the Middle East; it is wholly a treatise on what believers could expect from the contentious interface between “the Church” and the Ecclesia of Christ, leading to His Second Coming. To force other principles upon it are unwise.
It reveals great details of precisely how the Church would subvert the gospel of Christ and intrude itself upon the world, venturing into the fleshly affairs of the cosmos with impunity (spiritual fornication), lording it over the populous in matters of acceptable faith and devotion to God, changing times and seasons, setting Church law in place over the word of God, its leader ruling as if in the “house of God” (which “St. Peter’s Church is NOT).
It details the intricate development of the Harlot of Rome’s subversive, deliberate attempt to replace herself in the “religious” world in the rightful place of the Virgin Daughter of Zion, the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife of Revelation 21:9.
Our Main Source of Information on End Time Israel and its Outlook
Consequently, one must depend upon the prophecies of the major Hebrew prophets of the Old Testament for almost all his information on God’s people, including their tribulations of the End Time return to Him (viz., returning to His Land, initially), for their final redemption there.
All these seem to be far more important to discuss than yet another Russian effort to build trade and influence in the Middle East. That picture is easy to decipher.
Much harder challenges include such as these …
· How is Israel dealing with its current aggression (so far, only verbal) from Iran, and its effort and threat of developing a nuclear arsenal? (Diplomacy? Sanction enforcement? Military attack?)
· Are there subversive moves being taken by Israel, and perhaps the U.S., to prevent or slow the Iranian progress? (Sabotage? Cyber interference? Scientific infiltration?)
· Is the Iranian threat real? We are prophetically informed of tangible Iranian involvement with Israel as part of the Gogian host (a later affair), but can find no information about earlier portions of any conflict with modern Israel; so how might Iran be hobbled, and retarded for a time, in its nuclear development without being attacked militarily by Israel? (Earthquakes? Aggression from other enemies? A revolution among its own people? A change of heart?)
· Is there any hope for Israel to be able to combat their enemies of the Sinai Peninsula; and will the new border fence stop terrorist incursions? (Electronic countermeasures? Increased military patrols? Infiltration?)
· How can Israel improve relations with the PLO, given the unwillingness of the Chairman (Mahomoud Abbas) even to sit down to negotiations? (More concessions? Possible annexation of the entire “West Bank?” Execution of the prophecy of Obadiah?)
· How can Israel assure a safe eastern border – that with Jordan, being the Jordan River Valley – without a continued military presence there? (Yet another border fence? An enhanced agreement with Jordan itself, which is rife with “Palestinians” who want to destroy Israel?)
· Will Israel be dragged into a “two state solution” to the “Palestinian” dilemma? (What do the prophets say about this? Is such in the offing?)
· To what extent will Israel cede land (if any) to the “Palestinians” in the “two state solution?
· Why is the third chapter of Joel important in this consideration?
· How does Psalm 83 relate to it – or Obadiah – or Ezekiel 35?
· What moves are afoot from Syria to try to recover the Golan Heights from Israeli control?
· In case of the present regime’s collapse, does Israel face other, more intransigent enemies there? And if so, have they already made proclamation of their intentions?
· What other threats does Israel have from the north, over and above that of Syria? (What about Iraq? What about Turkey? What about “Assyria” – a presently unrealized factor?)
· How shall Lebanon play a part in this conflict?
· How will Iraq’s aggressive historical stance against Israel manifest itself today? (Involves current information about the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) – an entirely new development which may have extensive prophetic significance. Is that entity a revival of “Assyria?”)
· How can Israel hope to combat the terrorists of Hezbollah, who now occupy South Lebanon and have thousands of missiles trained upon Israeli cities and citizens?
· Has the lack of cooperation of the Lebanese government with Hezbollah had any effect on the levels of animosity against Israel?
· Why has Hezbollah been so quiescent for so many months?
· What is the subversive plan of Hamas in the Gaza Strip?
· What of the present disassociation of Egypt with Hamas?
· What of the present rejection of the Moslem Brotherhood by Egypt’s ruling party?
· What is the real reason behind Israel’s economic boom which has occurred in a turbulent storm of Islamic economic failures all around them – with only the petroleum producer-states being able to accumulate adequate foreign reserves?
· What is Israel doing to improve the wellbeing of the poor folk of Israel?
· How might the oil and gas bonanza in Israel improve such conditions?
· What challenges may the newly discovered riches of oil and gas create for Israel?
· How will Israel handle the vast income which it can expect from its oil and gas ventures?
· How can Israel protect its mineral wealth in the Mediterranean? (Recent purchases of fast attack boats, submarines, and destroyers, by Israel?)
· What is the first order of business of the returned Messiah when He appears in Israel to save His people?
· What will the reaction of His people in Israel be?
· How can one expect the world in general to react to His Second Coming?
· Will the increased level of anti-Semitism in Europe result in completing the Jews’ abandonment of Europe, as it seems to be doing in France at this moment?
· Will most of them migrate to Israel (make Aliyah), or will they opt to go elsewhere? (What is the present trend?)
· What might force American Jews (both U.S. and Canadian) to migrate to Israel, as we are informed that ALL Jews and other Hebrews shall, under Christ’s Administration?
These Are the Burning Issues
To our thinking, all the above are burning issues of real time and great immediacy.
But our most widely published current events observers are writing almost nothing about the people of God, their hazardous exposure to Islamic fundamentalism, to worldwide anti-Semitism, and to denigration by many of the nations of the earth (including one of the worst, Great Britain – the darling of the earlier theorists, who formulated the notion that Britain would actually be the means by which the Jews would return to their land in the End Time). For surely, reasoned they, the weak-kneed, downtrodden and oppressed people of Judah would not be able to accomplish this on their own initiative).
Well, the Jews did just that, even in the face of the most powerful wall of resistance that Britain could mount against the re-nascent State of Israel in the early days leading up to the War of Independence in 1948. Effectively, Britain’s ONLY significant assistance was seen in two events: the driving of the Ottomans from Palestine, and the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, favoring (at first) the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine of the time. Even at the time of that Declaration, the winds of resistance to a Jewish state were blowing strongly against such in the turbulent seas of diplomacy in the British Foreign Office.
That fiercely adverse storm increased to gale-force winds during the Mandatory Period, when Britain did everything in its (even then diminishing) power to keep Jews away from the Land they had said they favored for the Jewish national home!
This writer, therefore, believes many modern observers are pursuing the earlier, primitive trains of thought rather than using their godly minds to see things as they really are today.
The King of the North as “Irrelevant” to Today’s Believers
So, why would we opine that the “news” about the “King of the North” and about Britain as Resistor to that king as being nearly irrelevant to current believers?
Several reasons come to our mental awareness immediately:
One: in the studious and considered view of numerous expositors of Bible prophecy, the affairs of the kings of the North and the South have been entirely fulfilled, ending with the expulsion of the last King of the North, the Ottomans, from Palestine in 1917, by General Lord Allenby, who liberated Jerusalem on December 9, 1917, without firing a shot. Beyond that immensely significant date, no king of the north or king of the south is indicated; the series of these terminates at this date. There is no future king of the south OR north, according to God’s word.
The first article of which we are aware that recognized this immensely vital achievement was written by a man named Fry, and published in The Testimony, c.1918!
Since that time several other scholars, including the present writer, have come to the same conclusion by following carefully the final several verses of Daniel 11, where the event is prophesied.
Therefore, the first reason for this opinion is that it is historical – already fulfilled, and no longer a subject of anxious speculation for the future.The second reason why the Gogian affair is (nearly) irrelevant to current Believers is that, by the time that event occurs, they shall have been gathered from their homes, and harvested from the memorial graves of the ages, and gathered to the Judgment Seat of Christ. By that time they shall have received their rewards, of whatever quality, and the righteous shall have taken on immortality in His service! Indeed, our studied conclusion is, that they shall be on hand personally and be witness to the incursion of Gog’s force toward God’s Land in the words of Ezekiel.
The third consideration involves the current status of Great Britain and its current ability (or will) to resist the Gogian confederacy. Does anyone seriously believe that Britain would take up a position against any invader such as Russia, to defend Israel and some minor Peninsular Islamic States?
In the first place, Britain has no real power to fulfill the task. Additionally, it appears Britain’s general consensus would probably conclude it more convenient to allow the Jewish state to be overpowered by such a force and put entirely out of commission.
Such a result would greatly simplify “things” in the Middle East (in the Western view).
There is a valid fourth consideration, in addition to these.
The scriptural record of the supposed voice of fierce opposition of the merchants of the earth (thought by earlier students to be Britain), Sheba and Dedan, as in Ezekiel 38:13 (the whimper, Art thou come to take a spoil?) is an interrogatory, not a statement of resistance, but of dread on their parts.
Note carefully, as we study this occurrence, there is NO voice of concern from Ammon, Moab, Edom, Assyria, the PLO or any of the Proximal Islamic states.
Why is this true? We believe it is because they no longer exist when Gog approaches!
These Gulf peoples are voicing their fear that Gog’s intent is also to acquire their lands for a spoil. There is no hint in Ezekiel’s prophecy of any armed resistance by these or others to Gog at all, prior to Gog’s utter consumption “on the mountains of Israel” long before his forces can cause any threat to the Jewish State, which at that time, in our opinion, is securely under the personal control of the returned Lord Jesus and His Saints from Zion.
Indeed, the Prophet Obadiah states clearly that at that earlier conflict, Saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (verse 21).
He is here in the earth – in Israel – when that assault takes place!
Likewise, there is also no hint of Gog’s overrunning the Land of Israel, driving the Jews southward “into Egypt” literally, as was believed by earlier students (in the mid-19th century).
Seriously – would the Egyptians of today allow six million Jews from the north to take refuge in their land from any enemy? Of course not! The minute any Jew crossed the Suez Canal he would be slaughtered in today’s Egypt, given the climate of Jew-hatred now pervasive there!
The conjecture of Jewish refuge, yet again being admitted by Egypt, in today’s climate is ludicrous!
The Prophecies Are Clear!
We feel strongly that brethren should actively, prayerfully, diligently, and personally search the scriptures for themselves in this End Time – and attempt to place their emphasis where the Father places His, and His prophets placed theirs: upon the plight of the Jewish people in the End Time, their hazardous geopolitical exposure to their hostile and murderous neighboring Islamic enemies … and how these complex issues shall affect Israel, as our Father’s Earnest of the kingdom age, and bring peace, confidence and real safety to it.
In our opinion, these events are necessary, and preparatory to the Gogian affair.
Not one of these proximate Islamic States or entities is mentioned in the Gogian account, so each one is necessarily removed from the scene PRIOR to that event. In short, they no longer exist at that time!
Their obliteration by Christ and the Saints (Obadiah v. 21) paves the way for the real, genuine, bona fide “peace and safety” of God’s people just prior to the Gogian invasion.
The prophesied events of Isaiah 11 set the stage for the Return of the Jews from all nations – with emphasis on the Islamic nations, as verse 12 illustrates – and from the “islands of the sea” – all the other places to which they were dispersed. The return from Islamic states is almost complete at this moment; only a paltry number of Jews remain in Iraq, Iran and Syria at this time.
The prophet Obadiah tells succinctly of God’s revenge upon Esau – the perpetual enemy of Jacob – and of his last end. By outlining the conquests of Israel over Esau (Edom) Obadiah gives us a definitive picture of just who the latter-day Edom IS, and it is identifiable as Hezbollah in Lebaon, Hamas in Gaza, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its savage enemies of Israel today in Israel’s Judea and Samaria, (see Obadiah, vv. 18, 19).
The narrative of Isaiah 63: 1-6 is perhaps the first word picture of the returned Messiah of Israel, there seen utterly destroying the inhabitants of ancient Bozrah (capital of Edom). This action is part of the prophecy of Obadiah, and follows the detailed revelations about Esau’s fate in Ezekiel 35.
Psalm 83 is also pivotal to this phase of Bible prophecy. There is found a concise list of the End Time enemies of the nation of Israel (verses 6-8) and is the only list of Israel’s current enemies as being specifically these polities.
It has not been fulfilled – and could not be so until the time when “Israel” as a named nation was again in existence (since 1948).
In addition, at least fifty other, scattered scriptural references indicate the necessarily EARLIER conquest of all the enemies of Israel (and enemies of God, cf. Micah 5:1,2) between the Rivers Nile and Euphrates, PRIOR to the Gogian affair.
In our opinion, such conquest is the first goal of the returned Savior, amounting to clearance of the Abrahamic Inheritance of all interlopers and intruders – Arabic, Druze, B’hai, Christian, PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, “Palestinian,” pagan, Animist, heathen, Samaritan, Copt, and ALL other Gentiles.
With His nascent kingdom thus secured, Messiah begins the operational conduct of His kingdom – His building of the Millennial Temple, His disarmament of Israel, His consummation of His covenant with them, and all other operations.
It is only then, after having secured His people, assuring their safety and confidence, do the powerful forces of Islam and Rosh congeal to attempt to displace the “new king” of Israel. It is a colossally fatal error on their parts, and is fatally wrought upon that coalition immediately it makes its move upon God’s newly pacified people, to be then openly apparent to all observers.
As we so often state: Gog and its confederates invade Israel with the intent to take a great spoil, but instead inherit graves “in Israel” at that future time, but at present, the Yarkon Gorge, the international boundary between Syria and Jordan, east of the Sea of Galilee (according to Young).
Regular readers will see this is as reiteration of many previous papers on the subject. Our reason for this persistent exposition is that the message has not yet reached many otherwise earnest and diligent lovers of God and His Word, who, if they just would put their godly minds to work on the issues, would see clearly that much change has taken place, and many things have evolved since 1865, and are no longer sensible in that earlier context of understanding.
The needed “keys” to unlock the scrolls of prophecy are NOW in existence. It is the End Time! Little remains to our imaginations (or interpretive expertise) to be accomplished.
The kingdom of God is imminent!
The Bridegroom cometh!
Sing and shout in joyous love and appreciation for His mercy, as shall His mountains and even the trees of the field for joy!
<HEL MD/USA 12M> ~3,450 words.
Obama's foreign policy has been consistent from its first day: Let us reason together.
By Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 23, 2013
Lamentations about what has become of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East miss the point. The remarkable thing about President Obama's diplomacy in the region is that it has come full circle—to the very beginning of his presidency. The promised "opening" to Iran, the pass given to Bashar Assad's tyranny in Syria, the abdication of the American gains in Iraq and a reflexive unease with Israel—these were hallmarks of the new president's approach to foreign policy.
Now we are simply witnessing the alarming consequences of such a misguided, naïve outlook.
Consider this bit of euphoria from a senior Obama administration official after the Oct. 16-17 negotiations in Geneva with the Iranians over their nuclear program: "I've been doing this now for about two years, and I have never had such intense, detailed, straightforward, candid conversations with the Iranian delegation before."
In Iran, especially, Mr. Obama believed that he would work his unique diplomatic magic. If Tehran was hostile to U.S. interests, if Iran had done its best to frustrate the war in Iraq, to proclaim a fierce ideological war against Israel's place in the region and its very legitimacy as a state, the fault lay, Mr. Obama seemed to believe, with the policies of his predecessors.
When anti-regime protests roiled Iran in Mr. Obama's first summer as president, he stood locked in the vacuum of his own ideas. He remained aloof as the Green Movement defied prohibitive odds to challenge the theocracy. The protesters had no friend in Mr. Obama. He was dismissive, vainly hoping that the cruel rulers would accept the olive branch he had extended to them.
No one asked the fledgling American president to dispatch U.S. forces into the streets of Tehran, but the indifference he displayed to the cause of Iranian freedom was a strategic and moral failure. Iran's theocrats gave nothing in return for that favor. They pushed on with their nuclear program, they kept up the proxy war against U.S. forces in Iraq, they pushed deeper into Arab affairs, positioning themselves, through their proxies, as a power of the Mediterranean. This should have been Mr. Obama's Persian tutorial. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had no interest in a thaw with the Great Satan.
Yet last month at the United Nations Mr. Obama hailed Khamenei for issuing a "fatwa" against his country's development of nuclear weapons. Even though there is no evidence that any such fatwa exists, the notion that the Iranian regime is governed by religious edict is naïve in the extreme. Muslims know—unlike the president, apparently—that fatwas can be issued and abandoned at the whim of those who pronounce them. In any event, Khamenei is not a religious scholar sitting atop Iran's theocracy. He is an apparatchik. As the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself put it in 1988, when his regime was reeling from a drawn-out war with Iraq: "Our government has priority over all other Islamic tenets, even over prayer, fasting and the pilgrimage to Mecca."
We must not underestimate the tenacity of this regime and its will to rule. We should see through the rosy Twitter messages of President Hasan Rouhani, and the PowerPoint presentations of his foreign minister, Mohammed Jawad Zarif. These men carry out the writ of the supreme leader and can only go as far as the limit drawn by the Revolutionary Guard.
In a lawyerly way, the Obama administration has isolated the nuclear issue from the broader context of Iran's behavior in the region. A new dawn in the history of the theocracy has been proclaimed, but we will ultimately discover that Iran's rulers are hellbent on pursuing a nuclear-weapons program while trying to rid themselves of economic sanctions.
True, the sanctions have had their own power, but they haven't stopped Iran from aiding the murderous Assad regime in Syria, or subsidizing Hezbollah in Beirut. And they will not dissuade this regime from its pursuit of nuclear weapons. In dictatorial regimes, the pain of sanctions is passed onto the underclass and the vulnerable.
Just as he has with Iran, President Obama now takes a lawyerly approach to Syria, isolating Assad's use of chemical weapons from his slaughter of his own people by more conventional means. The president's fecklessness regarding Syria—the weakness displayed when he disregarded his own "red line" on Assad's use of chemical weapons—was a gift to the Iranian regime. The mullahs now know that their nuclear program, a quarter-century in the making, will not have to be surrendered in any set of negotiations. No American demand will be backed by force or even by force of will.
The gullibility of Mr. Obama's pursuit of an opening with Iran has unsettled America's allies in the region. In Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there is a powerful feeling of abandonment. In Israel, there is the bitter realization that America's strongest ally in region is now made to look like the final holdout against a blissful era of compromise that will calm a turbulent region. A sound U.S. diplomatic course with Iran would never have run so far ahead of Israel's interests and of the region's moderate anti-Iranian Arab coalition.
In Washington, the threats represented by Tehran's theocrats are forgotten in this time of undue optimism, as is the Assad regime's continued barbarity. With the Russian-brokered "deal" on Syria's chemical weapons, Mr. Obama has merely draped American abdication in the garb of reason and prudence.
Those who run the Islamic Republic of Iran and its nuclear program, like most others in the region, have taken the full measure of this American president. They sense his desperate need for a victory—or anything that can be passed off as one.
Yes … it is certain! But in a most unlikely way.
Victor Davis Hanson, writing for the Associated Press, on Sunday, August 1st, wrote that “The Arab Spring has turned Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.”
Yet, he says, these fierce Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, “both strategically and politically – well beyond the erosion of conventional Arab military strength.”
The bizarre cases of anti-Israeli powers in a conflict to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists are happening before the eyes of the world; and all of them are doing much more damage to each other than Israel has ever done.
Israel has never gassed Arab innocents … or anyone else. There is no honor among these thieves as brother kills brother in combat, in executions, and even accidentally. Also by blowing up Arab houses and assassinations of leaders of all parties. It truly is a monstrous display of internecine dysfunction – and there is no end in sight on several fronts.
In an uncanny twist, the Arab terrorists have turned sharply on their Arab sponsors (dictators). And at the moment, no one is blaming either Israel or the U.S. for this debacle.
The wearying drum-beating of Secretary of State John Kerry has frazzled last century’s fantasy of “a comprehensive Middle East peace plan.” Does anyone even dare suggest that such a settlement between Israel and the “Palestinians” would bring a halt to the carnage? Was Israel involved even remotely in the alleged gas attack of Bashar al-Assad upon his own citizens? And who is killing all the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and burning their churches? (Hint: it isn’t Israel.)
Can anyone blame Israel for its concern, that the nearby enemies – Syria and/or Egypt – may at any time flood across their borders into the nearby Jewish heartland?
Both these losers are being rapidly whittled away from the inside. And there are other losers in addition to these. The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has abruptly adopted pathological anti-Semitism as his vehicle for trying to convert that once-secular Turkish democracy into another Ottoman Islamist authority of the old sultanate, driving relentlessly toward his dream of hegemony over the entire eastern Mediterranean.
But many of his Islamic colleagues consider Erdogan a joke – or worse than that, “an opportunistic conniver.” Hardly anyone trusts him these days. In his geopolitical shift away from Israel, he has gained a stronger friend in the U.S. – a deep enigma to our reasoning.
The small Arab emirates of the Gulf used to support terrorists in the West Bank. Nowadays they are supporting the secular military in Egypt! In Syria, they are striving to find some recipient for their funds other than the Assad (Alawite) regime and its enemies of al-Qaeda.
Suddenly, the Middle East foreign policy of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and most of the other oil based monarchies agrees fully with that of Israel!
Meanwhile, Israel is an island of prosperity and relative security! Israel had nothing to do either with the Arab Spring or its demise. Those polities destroyed themselves from within! Their in-fighting has resulted in their “falling on their own swords.”
Tourism to all the affected countries has completely ceased. Their exports have completely halted. And billions of dollars in infrastructure have been shattered through the incessant violence. In Syria and in Egypt hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed. And in both these countries, thousands of citizens have been slaughtered senselessly due to internecine violence.
And both their governments lack credibility even more than previously.
Several times in the past we have forecasted a severe, decisive decline in all the countries which have been involved in the “Arab Spring.” That decline has come about rapidly and consistently – accurately foreseen by us, not because we are some qualified center of geopolitical theory, but because we are aware of the prophets of Israel and the events they have forecasted for the Islamic world in the End Time.
Israel’s outlook continues in the midst of all this turmoil to improve markedly. Its oil and gas finds both on land and in the Mediterranean waters controlled (legally) by Israel, stand to boost Israel’s economy exponentially in the coming months and years. It could conceivably surpass Saudi Arabia in oil wealth (and therefore, exports). Add to that the fact that Israel has a strong, stable, constitutional government – which all the Islamic states lack. And in addition, Israel has produced a society which has another, independent, base of its own aside from oil and gas wealth, as its industrious people have developed products and services needed in the wider world and which are being purchased and used by many societies today – advances in weaponology, in pure science, in medicine, in water conservation, and in agriculture, to name a few.
Mr. Hanson’s article concluded with the statement that, “In short, the more violent and chaotic the Middle East becomes, the more secure and exceptional Israel appears.”
Our “take” on all these facts, is this: without these preliminary transactions between the enemies of Israel, the ultimate Plan of the Almighty shall not come about. They are part and parcel of its development and execution. These enemies must be neutralized and dismantled in order for the kingdom of peace and righteousness to be established in the earth.
That process has initiated, and now progresses in earnest and with resounding substantiation!
We look diligently beyond these somber affairs, longing for the idyllic and peaceful conditions forecasted by such prophecies as Isaiah 11: 1-5, which assures us of these conditions:
Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: 4 But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
This Entity is no less than the returned Jesus Christ, the (so far) unrecognized Messiah of Israel, and King of Israel, Who shall occupy the throne of His father, David, then re-constituted upon Mount Zion in the City of the Great King!
Our deepest desire is that the conclusive expectations of John the Apostle be near at hand:
Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
We freely offer any assistance that anyone desires – all within the limits of our ability to provide it – to assist any and all to take the water of life freely. <HEL code 10M> ~1250 words.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Thank you, Mr. President.
I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand here before you today representing the citizens of the state of Israel. We are an ancient people. We date back nearly 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have journeyed through time. We've overcome the greatest of adversities.
And we re-established our sovereign state in our ancestral homeland, the land of Israel.
Now, the Jewish people's odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.
Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know, that wasn't always the case. Some 2,500 years ago the great Persian king Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. That's a Persian decree. And thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.
But in 1979 a radical regime in Tehran tried to stamp out that friendship. As it was busy crushing the Iranian people's hope for democracy, it always led wild chants of "death of the Jews."
Now, since that time, presidents of Iran have come and gone. Some presidents were considered moderates, other hard-liners. But they've all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgiving regime, that creed that is espoused and enforced by the real power in Iran, the dictator known as the supreme leader, first Ayatollah Khomeini and now Ayatollah Khamenei.
President Rohani, like the presidents who came before him, is a loyal servant of the regime. He was one of only six candidates the regime permitted to run for office. See, nearly 700 other candidates were rejected.
So what made him acceptable? Well, Rohani headed Iran's Supreme National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time Iran's henchmen gunned down opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. They killed 19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
Are we to believe that Rohani, the national security adviser of Iran at the time, knew nothing about these attacks?
Of course he did, just as 30 years ago Iran's security chiefs knew about the bombings in Beirut that killed 241 American Marines and 58 French paratroopers.
Rohani was also Iran's chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005. He masterminded the -- the strategy which enabled Iran to advance itsnuclear weapons program behind a smoke screen of diplomatic engagement and very soothing rhetoric.
Now I know: Rohani doesn't sound like Ahmadinejad. But when it comes to Iran's nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing. Rohani is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the eyes -- the wool over the eyes of the international community.
Well, like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rohani's words, but we must focus on Iran's actions. And it's the brazen contrast, this extraordinary contradiction, between Rohani's words and Iran's actions that is so startling. Rohani stood at this very podium last week and praised Iranian democracy -- Iranian democracies. But the regime that he represents executes political dissidents by the hundreds and jails them by the thousands.
Rohani spoke of, quote, "the human tragedy in Syria." Yet, Iran directly participates in Assad's murder and massacre of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Syria. And that regime is propping up a Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.
Rohani condemned the, quote, "violent scourge of terrorism." Yet, in the last three years alone, Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 cities in five continents.
Rohani denounces, quote, "attempts to change the regional balance through proxies." Yet, Iran is actively destabilizing Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and many other Middle Eastern countries.
Rohani promises, quote, "constructive engagement with other countries." Yet, two years ago, Iranian agents tried to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington, D.C. And just three weeks ago, an Iranian agent was arrested trying to collect information for possible attacks against the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Some constructive engagement.
I wish I could be moved by Rohani's invitation to join his wave -- a world against violence and extremism. Yet, the only waves Iran has generated in the last 30 years are waves of violence and terrorism that it has unleashed in the region and across the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I could believe Rohani, but I don't because facts are stubborn things, and the facts are that Iran's savage record flatly contradicts Rohani's soothing rhetoric.
Last Friday Rohani assured us that in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran -- this is a quote -- Iran has never chosen deceit and secrecy, never chosen deceit and secrecy. Well, in 2002 Iran was caught red-handed secretly building an underground centrifuge facility in Natanz. And then in 2009 Iran was again caught red-handed secretly building a huge underground nuclear facility for uranium enrichment in a mountain near Qom.
Rohani tells us not to worry. He assures us that all of this is not intended for nuclear weapons. Any of you believe that? If you believe that, here's a few questions you might want to ask. Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy, why would such a country build hidden underground enrichment facilities?
Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest billions in developing nuclear energy? Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the tremendous cost of crippling sanctions on its economy?
And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads? You don't build ICBMs to carry TNT thousands of miles away; you build them for one purpose, to carry nuclear warheads. And Iran is building now ICBMs that the United States says could reach this city in three or four years.
Why would they do all this? The answer is simple. Iran is not building a peaceful nuclear program; Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Last year alone, Iran enriched three tons of uranium to 3 1/2 percent, doubled it stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium and added thousands of new centrifuges, including advanced centrifuges. It also continued work on the heavy water reactor in Iraq; that's in order to have another route to the bomb, a plutonium path. And since Rohani's election -- and I stress this -- this vast and feverish effort has continued unabated.
Ladies and gentlemen, underground nuclear facilities, heavy water reactors, advanced centrifuges, ICMBs. See, it's not that it's hard to find evidence that Iran has a nuclear program, a nuclear weapons program; it's hard to find evidence that Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program.
Last year when I spoke here at the UN I drew a red line. Now, Iran has been very careful not to cross that line but Iran is positioning itself to race across that line in the future at a time of its choosing. Iran wants to be in a position to rush forward to build nuclear bombs before the international community can detect it and much less prevent it.
Yet Iran faces one big problem, and that problem can be summed up in one word: sanctions. I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that policy today is bearing fruit. Thanks to the efforts of many countries, many represented here, and under the leadership of the United States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite off the Iranian economy.
Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard-pressed to transfer money. So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions relieved or removed.
That's why Rohani got elected in the first place. That's why he launched his charm offensive. He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted; I guarantee you that. But he doesn't want to give up Iranians' nuclear - Iran's nuclear weapons program in return.
Now here's a strategy to achieve this. First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure that Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time it chooses to do so.
You know why Rohani thinks he can get away with this? I mean, this is a ruse. It's a ploy. Why does Rohani think he - thinks he can get away with it? Because - because he's gotten away with it before, because his strategy of talking a lot and doing little has worked for him in the past.
He even brags about this. Here's what he said in his 2011 book about his time as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, and I quote: "While we were talking to the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in Isfahan."
Now, for those of you who don't know, the Isfahan facility is an indispensable part of Iran's nuclear weapons program. That's where uranium ore called yellowcake is converted into an enrichable form. Rohani boasted, and I quote, "By creating a calm environment - a calm environment - we were able to complete the work in Isfahan." He fooled the world once. Now he thinks he can fool it again.
You see, Rohani thinks he can have his yellowcake and eat it too. And he has another reason to believe that he can get away with this. And that reason is called North Korea. Like Iran, North Korea also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Like Iran, North Korea also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions relief.
In 2005 North Korea agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning people. Here's what the New York Times editorial had to say about it, quote: "For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare, a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program. Very few could envision a successful outcome, and yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty's safeguards and admit international inspectors."
And finally, "diplomacy, it seems, does work after all. Ladies and gentlemen, a year later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device."
Yet, as dangerous as a nuclear-armed North Korea is, it pales in comparison to the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. A nuclear-armed Iran would have a choke hold on the world's main energy supplies. It would trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, turning the most unstable part of the planet into a nuclear tinderbox. And for the first time in history, it would make the specter of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger. A nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East wouldn't be another North Korea. It would be another 50 North Koreas.
Now, I know that some in the international community think I'm exaggerating this threat. Sure, they know that Iran's regime leads these chants, "death to America, death to Israel," that it pledges to wipe Israel off the map. But they think that this wild rhetoric is just bluster for domestic consumption. Have these people learned nothing from history? The last century has taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power, sooner or later its appetite for aggression knows no bounds.
That's the central lesson of the 20th century. And we cannot forget it. The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people have not.
Iran's fanaticism is not bluster. It's real. The fanatic regime must never be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons. I know that the world is weary of war. We in Israel, we know all too well the cost of war. But history has taught us that to prevent war tomorrow, we must be firm today.
And this raises the question, can diplomacy stop this threat? Well, the only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran's nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future.
President Obama rightly said that Iran's conciliatory words must be matched by transparent, verifiable and meaningful action. And to be meaningful, a diplomatic solution would require Iran to do four things. First, cease all uranium enrichment. This is called for by several Security Council resolutions. Second, remove from Iran's territory the stockpiles of enriched uranium. Third, dismantle the infrastructure for nuclear breakout capability, including the underground facility at Qom and the advanced centrifuges in Natanz.
And, four, stop all work at the heavy water reactor in Iraq aimed at the production of plutonium. These steps would put an end to Iran's nuclear weapons program and eliminate its breakout capability.
There are those who would readily agreed to leave Iran with a residual capability to enrich uranium. I advise them to pay close attention to what Rohani said in his speech to Iran's supreme cultural revolution -- Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council. This was published in 2005. I quote. This is what he said:
"A county that could enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent. Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons." Precisely. This is why Iran's nuclear weapons program must be fully and verifiably dismantled. And this is why the pressure on Iran must continue.
So here is what the international community must do: First, keep up the sanctions. If Iran advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the sanctions.
Second, don't agree to a partial deal. A partial deal would lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to reverse.
Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons program. My friends, the international community has Iran on the ropes. If you want to knock out Iran's nuclear weapons program peacefully, don't let up the pressure. Keep it up.
We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance to succeed, but when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance. Three decades ago, President Ronald Reagan famously advised, "trust but verify." When it comes to Iran's nuclear weapons program, here's my advice: Distrust, dismantle and verify.
Ladies and gentlemen, Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself.
I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet, in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.
The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.
Israel welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common interests and common challenges will help us forge a morepeaceful future. And Israel's -- continues to seek an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all. We want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic reconciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began. Six Israeli prime ministers, myself included, have not succeeded at achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared to make painful concessions. So am I. But so far the Palestinian leaders haven't been prepared to offer the painful concessions they must make in order to end the conflict.
For peace to be achieved, the Palestinians must finally recognize the Jewish state, and Israel's security needs must be met.
I am prepared to make an historic compromise for genuine and enduring peace, but I will never compromise on the security of my people and of my country, the one and only Jewish state.
Ladies and gentlemen, one cold day in the late 19th century, my grandfather Nathan and his younger brother Judah were standing in a railway station in the heart of Europe. They were seen by a group of anti-Semitic hoodlums who ran towards them waving clubs, screaming "Death to the Jews."
My grandfather shouted to his younger brother to flee and save himself, and he then stood alone against the raging mob to slow it down. They beat him senseless, they left him for dead, and before he passed out, covered in his own blood, he said to himself "What a disgrace, what a disgrace. The descendants of the Macabees lie in the mud powerless to defend themselves."
He promised himself then that if he lived, he would take his family to the Jewish homeland and help build a future for the Jewish people. I stand here today as Israel's prime minister because my grandfather kept that promise.
And so many other Israelis have a similar story, a parent or a grandparent who fled every conceivable oppression and came to Israel to start a new life in our ancient homeland. Together we've transformed a bludgeoned Jewish people, left for dead, into a vibrant, thriving nation, a defending itself with the courage of modern Maccabees, developing limitless possibilities for the future.
In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized. As the prophet Amos said, they shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. They shall till gardens and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their soil never to be uprooted again.
[Repeats paragraph in Hebrew.]
Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.
H E Lafferty
The mere mention of a switchblade today conjures pictures of a sinister lurker wielding a lethal, pocket-sized weapon, which may be readied for deadly action at the touch of a button – a switch – which instantly extends a long, sharp, menacing metal blade, which can instantly do fatal damage to any enemy.
Such is a different, but similar kind of “Switchblade.”
AeroVironment Corp., of Simi Valley, California, has developed a small military drone aircraft which is diabolically lethal against any dismounted enemy, a moving vehicle, or an enemy position in almost any location. Whereas most killer drones are miniature aircraft, and fire missiles at a target, the Switchblade often is the missile. It may also be deployed for observation only, un-armed with explosives.
When troops are being fired upon by snipers or mortars, Switchblade may be deployed by any soldier in seconds. He withdraws a two-foot long tube from his rucksack, opens its cover, and fires Switchblade from the launch-tube into the air. When it emerges from its canister, its wings unfold, its battery- driven propeller starts to spin, and its video camera begins to operate. It is then remotely controlled by radio by its launch personnel.
It flies at about 100 meters altitude at about 100 miles per hour – silently, almost un-detectably, and loaded with a hand-grenade sized explosive charge. The controller – an individual soldier – watches its flight path transmitted from its on-board camera to a portable viewer, and guides it to its target, whether a moving vehicle, a sniper, or a mortar position. At 100 miles an hour it is almost undetectable, and strikes silently It saves lives, and it does that job quite efficiently. The enemy can run … but it cannot hide from Switchblade.
This unmanned drone is one of a family of small, pocket-sized drones, which have been developed recently. Aside from being a guided missile, Switchblade may also be deployed merely as an observation platform – designed to loiter over a site for up to 40 minutes, observing all activities, in real time, reporting them back to its base by video signals.
Although Switchblade is said not to be being used domestically, many of the others are suitable for domestic service such as border patrol duty, law enforcement at the city and state levels, pipeline inspection, power line inspection, forest fire surveillance, criminal searches in wilderness or urban environments, and fugitive searches of various other sorts. Nearly any of them could be used to kill criminals who might be secreted in a secure location (secure to their thinking) but vulnerable to the drone.
It may soon be a fact of life that unmanned drones will be watching every move made by the inhabitants of certain areas in which law-enforcement is either difficult or impossible.
So be careful about what you do and when you do it!! Which reminds us of a slightly different slant on this activity.
Another Eye in the Sky …
All this reminds us poignantly … that there is another “eye in the sky” which is observing what we do. But in addition, that Eye can determine our motivation for every action – the reasons why we may be tempted to do whatever it is that we do – and to punish those who transgress.
I Peter 3: 12 refers to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 34:14 - Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
This is a sobering realization; but extremely comforting to those whose motives are gentle and kind – and “above board.” Knowing that our Father is observing us, and is open to our cries for assistance and comfort, is great solace in these days which are increasingly like those of Noah and Lot. At those critical times, the societies which spawned them were utterly destroyed.
And so shall our present “world” be! (2 Peter 3: 7) Noah’s world was entirely destroyed by water; Lot’s cities by fire and brimstone. The destruction of this present, evil world is pre-determined, and due solely to its wickedness, having grown grotesquely vile and rapacious as to sexual license, dishonesty, fraud, deceit, violence (even by so-called “religions,”) governmental misadventure, official misconduct, and ministerial mis-direction of entire nations’ religious institutions, dogmas, and practices.
But there is a certain remedy for all this violence and evil. The Man Who goes forth riding the white horse of Revelation 19: 11 has a name, which is Faithful and True. It is said that … in righteousness He doth judge and make war.
This is a new thing under the sun! – making WAR, in TRUE righteousness and judgment upon the offending nations to which He comes. War shall never have been widely prosecuted in such a way!
He shall do so after proclaiming through the pervasive and ubiquitous voice of the Angel of Revelation 14:6 - And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
The Everlasting Gospel!
Its message is emphatic and direct! It is simply that course which we must now be pursuing in our individual lives and professions. No other course of action makes any sense whatever, or is justifiable. It is His will to which men must sincerely seek to conform, and not their own fleshly desires and goals. Fear God, and give glory to Him is our hourly watchword. For the hour of His judgment is certainly drawing near in the Valley of Decision.
We surely walk daily through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). But as we do so, we should fear no evil, knowing that He is with us – His rod and His staff comforting us.
If the Lord truly IS our Shepherd, we shall graze peacefully beside the still waters. And we shall know with surety that goodness and mercy shall follow (us) all the days of our lives … and that we shall dwell forever in the house of the LORD.
In such a case, there shall be no trepidation engendered by that “eye in the sky” which watches over us! <HEL MD/USA code 8M
H E Lafferty
One wonderful result of the Gogian conflict with Israel is that it establishes concrete testimony to the heathen (the nations) of that day, that God has punished His people for their transgressions; as Ezekiel 39:23 says - And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
Israel of Today?
Some have claimed that these verses in Ezekiel 39 refer to Israel of today, dwelling in their land, partially regathered from the nations, but grossly "trespassing" against God - and that the supposed "punishment" of the Gogian invasion is to be exacted upon them for not recognizing and returning to God by acknowledging Christ as their Messiah during their present residence there. That their opportunity to do so is being wasted during their present sojourn in the land of Israel. That Gog is sent to punish them and drive them forth from their land into exile in Egypt ... or somewhere.
We can think of hardly any supposition more far-fetched ... or more opposed to scripture! Such a claim betrays a serious misunderstanding of God's expressed will for His people.
In the first place, Israel is not dwelling "safely" in their land today - witness their incredible military strength and huge defense budget expended just to remain free of enemy invasion. In no sense are they dwelling safely today. Their citizens even today are subject to incoming missiles from Gaza and Lebanon, and subject to even greater threats from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and factions in Jordan.
In the second place, the People's modern history is progressing perfectly along prophetic lines - their present sojourn being the mere, but necessary, preliminary path to their awesome conversion to God's way forecasted in Zechariah 12 and 13, which gives poignant details of Israel's recognition and acceptance of the returned Christ at His second appearance to them in power and great glory. They shall at that time mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, abjectly repenting of their collective sins and wholeheartedly accepting His sovereignty and kingship over them ... but before that time, not so.
In the third place, Ezekiel's words in verse 23 indicate that they all fell by the sword. If that should happen to Israel today, it would bring shame and degradation to the very name of God, Who has absolutely PROMISED that Israel shall never again be scattered. He shall PLANT them in their Land, as he is doing, and shall not pluck them up. Jeremiah 24:6.
The subject passage, in revealing: they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid, is clearly a reference to the conditions stated in I Kings 4:25: And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. This was their peaceful, safe condition under the reign of Solomon, and was a reflection of the promises they were given in Leviticus 26: 5,6, the perfect peace which had been promised to OBEDIENT Israelites before they entered their inheritance. That state of their polity was perfect fulfillment of the entirety of this blessing under Solomon, whose reign of peace is a perfect forecast of that to be established by Christ in the Solomonic phase of His imminent kingdom in Israel:
Lev 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
Lev 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Lev 26:6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
Lev 26:7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
Lev 26:10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
Lev 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
Lev 26:12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
The entirety of this prophecy in Leviticus was fulfilled for a short time under Solomon, and is not possibly a description of the nation today ... although today's Jewish State admittedly fulfills most of those conditions except their dwelling in peace and accepting God's sovereignty as a nation, which they yet do not.
Everyone knows the sequel to the days of Solomon.
The kingdom of the Twelve Tribes was split into Two and Ten Tribes. The Ten abandoned Jerusalem as its center of the worship of God and turned to idols and other profane practices. Later, Judah (the Two) fell into the same abominable practice of idol worship. Both nations have long borne that "shame" of turning from YHVH to idols and of their non-acceptance of Jesus at His first coming.
Their subsequent, exhaustive punishment has been the result of the transgression of idolatry, first by the Ten and later by the Two Tribes. The largest proportion of the Ten have not yet returned to their land; a large portion of the Two have done so. The Jews in Israel today do not practice idolatry as did their forefathers. Indeed, the Two never did again after returning to their Land from Babylon; they had learned that portion of God's will quite adequately. Their second exile was triggered by their rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah at His first coming. <HEL PP#19, code 3M> ~1220 words.
H. E. Lafferty
Today, Israel is practically awash in oil and natural gas fields, contrary to its condition even in the late twentieth century. It will be interesting to locate these modern oil and gas fields in relation to the ancient tribal holdings when Israel initially came into the Land, and relate these findings with the prophecies about these Tribes.
In Deuteronomy 33: 24 there is a strange reference to “oil” among other blessings by Moses upon the children of Israel. The verse foretells of the Tribe of Asher, that: And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
Just where was located the territory of the Tribe of Asher? In the north of the country just south of Tyre.
There is another mysterious reference in Deuteronomy 33: 18, 19, that we must consider: And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. 19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.
So, where are these tribes of Issachar and Zebulun located in ancient Israel? Immediately to the south of Asher is Zebulun, and further south, the next tribal inheritance is Issachar. All three of these are coastal, and extend out into the Mediterranean Sea in what today is known as Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – that tract of land covered by the waters of the Mediterranean deemed by international authorities to be “owned” by Israel, which benefits from its underlying mineral wealth, it fishing industries, and ocean mineral wealth.
That Zone stretches westward toward Cyprus, and abuts the EEZ of Lebanon on the northern side, and of Egypt on the south.
That vast tract of undersea land has been discovered to contain trillions of cubic meters of natural gas and great quantities of liquid petroleum as well. For years oil explorers have sought oil in the land territories of Asher, Issachar and Zebulun to little avail, following the “leads” they perceived in the Bible; but they were looking in the wrong places! At least, to date that is the case. We cannot rule out great oil deposits in those areas which are yet undiscovered.
There is an anomaly in the above consideration. Moses’ blessing upon Judah, in verse 7 of this chapter, does not address any physical (mineral) blessings at all. This is especially interesting in that in the Tribal allotment of ancient Judah – specifically in the Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath) – a deposit of oil-bearing shale has been discovered that ranks Israel’s oil potential equal to that of Saudi Arabia!
The area is known as the Shefla Basin and lies southwest of Jerusalem. It is estimated to contain 260 billion barrels of oil compared to the estimates of Saudi Arabia’s reserves at 270 billion barrels (not known to be accurate).
All these findings of oil, excepting the Shefla Basin’s oil shales, were arguably predicted by the scriptures in the blessing of Moses upon Jacob’s sons. Men who follow the Bible in areas of interest other than (and lesser than) morals and ethics also find it profitable!
Another Set of Blessings
Another of Israel’s elders blessed his sons: Jacob – in Genesis 49.
Here we read of the great blessing of Shiloh descending from Judah – a blessing far greater than the oil shales of the Valley of Elah – but no tangible blessings such as oil.
None of the other tribes were said to inherit physical assets except for Joseph, father of Ephraim and Manasseh, in verse 22.
In verse 25 there is mention of blessings of the deep (sea) that lieth under. This, in our opinion is a direct reference to the EEZ findings in the territorial waters of Manasseh (just north of Benjamin’s allotment) and Ephraim (further south, encompassing Ashdod’s coastal waters). This area is also estimated to contain vast amounts of natural gas under its coastal waters and abuts upon the Egyptian Exclusive Economic Zone to the south and west!
In the future age, when “Israel” extends from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, all the riches of these coastal waters and land-deposits of oil shales, worth inestimable mountains of wealth, will accrue to the ownership of Christ as King of Israel, and head of its germinal “small stone” character which shall quickly grow to fill the whole earth!
Just what the value of these commodities shall be in the kingdom age we cannot know; that is, will things in the kingdom age progress onward from where we find ourselves now, depending upon the produce of the earth for its expansion? We feel it reasonable to believe that to be true.
If so, the Kingdom of Israel as the first dominion of the kingdom of God shall begin its career in immense physical wealth … yes … but shall expand its holdings to the ends of the earth – at the time when in the truest, most literal sense, “(ALL) the wealth of the Gentiles shall turn to the Lord.” <HEL MD/USA code 6M>
H E Lafferty
Wary that Jihadist terrorists from Syria will spill over into Israel, Israeli engineers are rushing to finish their latest “smart fence,” walling off yet another potentially active enemy force, and guarding against cross-border terrorist assaults. It is being constructed along the cease fire line abutting No Man’s Land on the Golan, site of Quneitra, former capital of the Quneitra Governorate – the southwestern-most Syrian province.
At times, Syrian rebels and Syrian troops are fighting one another only meters outside Israel in a conflict over the Quenitra Crossing between Israel and Syria. One of the project’s main thrusts is to prevent an influx of Syrian refugees into the Golan Heights adding still another burden to Israel which is beyond its control if not checked.
The Washington Post reported on June 9th, that Israelis know the fences they are building stop terrorists and other cross-border incidents; but they also are worried that the fences are causing a sense of greater isolation for Israelis.
The engineers are replacing an old fence which is said to be so low in places that a goat can leap over it with ease. The new fence will be of steel construction, and feature concertina and razor wire, touch sensors, infrared cameras and ground radar. Israeli intelligence will be aware of such small disturbances as a fox or a groundhog crossing over into its territory!
Surprisingly, the fence is about 45 miles long and will reach from the Lebanese border at Mount Hermon in the north to the northern tip of the Dead Sea in the south. The southern portion abuts Jordan, adding a safety factor against intrusion from that state.
Thus Israel continues to surround itself with barriers which are virtually impenetrable to terrorists and other threats. They are not able to combat the threats of ground to ground missiles, of course, but Israel has instituted other means of combating those weapons.
The project has resulted in an huge decrease in ground-crossing terrorists, reducing them to almost zero in areas where the Fence is complete. The Jewish State now must concern itself with the potential of nuclear missiles from Iran and possibly other areas.
The State of Israel has made quite a name for itself in Fence Technology, and has drawn interested observers from many parts of the world to view their work – the latest in barrier technology. They reflect the sad reality that peace with her neighbours is quickly evaporating, and that Israel must be ready against any intrusion, including gun smugglers, illegal migrants, unwanted refugees, and ground-borne insurgents.
Benyamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, on an official visit to China a few days ago, remarked, when viewing the Great Wall of China, that, “Just like the Chinese protected themselves and defended themselves with the Great Wall, so we will continue to defend ourselves on the southern border, the Golan Heights and on all fronts.”
Portions of the wall we have personally seen have been along the coastal border with the Arab areas of the West Bank from Tel Aviv to Nazareth, as well as at Jerusalem where it runs along the eastern border of the city turning west just north of the Tomb of Rachel and Bethlehem. Visitors to Bethlehem must pass through pedestrian gates into the West Bank to visit the site of the Nativity and the Shepherds Fields. On the Israeli side the wall is beautifully painted white, nicely landscaped, seeded, and drained. On the Palestinian side it is sadly defaced with anti-Zionist slogans, profanity, and graffiti of the most derogatory character. Trash and waste paper litter the site and no care seem to be given it – and certainly no respect.
The Israeli engineers are now preparing to construct the last major portion of the Wall on the Jordanian border along the west bank of the Jordan River, walling off Jordan from the Sea of Galilee southward to the Dead Sea and beyond to the Red Sea.
The barrier from the Mediterranean Sea, around Gaza to the Egyptian border with the Sinai peninsula, then southward to Eilat is also nearly finished. That barrier is effectively stopping much of the illegal migration of thousands of people formerly known to be crossing from the wasteland of the Sinai into Israel freely. It has also squelched the widespread smuggling of military equipment and jihadists into Israel.
The fence line is truly a high technology barrier with its attendant intelligence centers, watch towers, patrol roads, surveillance equipment of various kinds, and military forces. Its route is also a remarkable one from the smashing onshore waves of the Mediterranean in the north to the snowy heights of Mount Hermon, past the rocky highlands of the Golan down to the Sea of Galilee, along the Jordan River to the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea, then through the Arabah’s low, rocky lands south to the tropical waters of the Red Sea at Eilat.
Although needed at the present time – and certainly worth the money it has required – The Wall is destined for removal in the days ahead – for complete dismantlement by the administration of Jesus Christ along with the operations of Zechariah9:10, when the horse and ... the battle bow ... are cut off from Ephraim.
That is Israel’s utterly exposed position which the Gogian host surveys when it lays its ill-conceived plan to come down upon the mountains of Israel like a cloud ... Ezekiel 38:11 - And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey;
Zechariah 2:4 reveals the prophet’s vision for Jerusalem of the future in which an angel ... said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
In our estimation, there is no protection more sure than a wall of fire from the LORD round about her! And that conditions spelled out clearly in Isaiah 60:18 shall consist: Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
No more physical walls or barriers ... but Salvation ... and Praise to His most holy name!
<HEL MD/USA code 6M>
H E Lafferty
For nearly an hundred years the desolate sands of Arabia and the Middle East have poured forth black gold – petroleum deposits by the millions of tons – and created a trove of wealth previously unknown in human history.
All this is on the verge of change.
The liquid petroleum deposits of the Arab oil cartel are rapidly being depleted. The older wells are much less likely to retain their output. And their heavier, more viscous product is much more costly to refine.
But there is a new development now building – one which was not clearly foreseen even as late as last century. It is the principle of “fracking” petroleum deposits which are not liquid in their natural form. It is a technique in which rock formations containing oil are fractured in some manner so as to remove the oil deposits. The process began in some ways to be developed when the vast tar sands of Canada began to be explored, although the processes of extraction are different. At first the tar sands presented an insoluble problem for engineers – how efficiently to separate the sand from its adherent oil and water.
As time progressed, however, systems were designed which made the process simpler and more workable.
Meanwhile, vast petroleum resources of another kind were being closely considered. These are shale oil deposits. It is now realized that the world-wide deposits of shale oil are far greater than the liquid deposits of oil. But they are more difficult to extract; therefore more costly.
It has been often said that Moses turned the wrong direction when bringing the Israelites out of Egypt – that he should have gone east rather than west; for it was in the east that the vast oceans of petroleum were later discovered. For years oil explorers drilled in Israeli lands and found almost no oil ... or gas.
The advances in fracking, however, opened a new door to Israel’s fortunes. And new techniques of deep well-drilling have even led to discovery of liquid petroleum and natural gas in great abundance mostly in the coastal waters of Israel, but also to some extent on the country’s land mass as well.
But the most spectacular find to date has been the far-reaching deposits of oil shale in Israel. The largest of these known geologic structures is the Shfela Basin, southwest of Jerusalem. It surrounds the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath in a war with the Philistines (1Samuel 17:2, 19).
It alone is estimated to contain 250 billion barrels of oil, rivalling the entire estimated liquid oil resources of Saudi Arabia – about 260 billion barrels of crude oil! The difference is that Arabia’s wells are aging and their product deteriorating as to desirability and refinability.
brilliant scientist, Dr. Harold Vinegar, for many years chief of
physical science at Royal Dutch Shell Oil in Texas. Retiring a few years ago,
Dr. Vinegar and his family made aliyah to Israel – a long-held dream of
his family – and he began to work with Israeli scientists on a “fracking”
technique which he had developed during his research at Shell. It involved the
new technique of horizontal oil well-drilling and the insertion of heating rods
into the holes in order to heat the surrounding rocks to around 700 degrees, to
make them yield their absorbed oil. The resultant product is a high-quality
crude oil, easily refinable, and costing around $40 per barrel. This cost makes
oil from shale attractive as long as conventional crude prices hover above that
price – now around $100 a barrel, and likely to remain at that price or above
for a long time. This diagram shows how fracking is done ...
Time magazine featured an article in its April 30th issue (2013), “Tapping the Promised Land: Can Israel Be an Energy Giant?” Interviews with executives of Israel Energy Initiatives, Dr. Vinegar’s company, reveals some startling prospects. One opinion quoted in the article is this: “We think that within a decade we can get 50,000 to 100,000 barrels a day,” says Relik Shafir, IEI chief executive officer.
He is referring to “kerogen,” the name given to the crude oil extracted from rocks of any type. This is an effort to differentiate it from “shale oil,” which is entirely different. “Shale oil” is contained in rocks as well but in tiny amounts which must be loosened before being harvested; it is also known as “tight oil.”
Thus “kerogen” is a better term for Israel’s oil – the organic matter embedded in any sort of rock near the earth’s surface. The location is important, for were it buried much deeper the pressure would express the oil into pools as liquid petroleum.
Oil shales are usually shallow deposits, thus easily recovered by the method of horizontal drilling. In this process a well is sunk vertically to the depth of the oil-bearing shale, then the bit is turned horizontally, allowing drilling of hundreds of channels within even shallow strata, for hundreds of meters in any direction! Thusly, the above ground “footprint” of the operation may be contained in a small area of land.
When these holes are drilled, stainless steel cables are inserted into them, then heated to around 700 degrees. This process heats all the rock surrounding the shafts and the oil content begins to seep out and become pumpable. When brought to the surface the oil is “sweet (low sulphur), very light, super-high quality,” according to Vinegar.
And, incidentally, the product of this process yields other commodities as well; they are two other quite valuable resources: water ... and natural gas!
All This, and Why Now?
We wonder why this development has come about at this particular time. For years other companies have exerted their most diligent efforts to find oil in Israel. Up until 1986, 440 wells had been drilled in Israel, each one essentially a dry hole.
One feature of the Time article is that this dearth of oil reserves drove the Jewish State in other directions – impelling Israelis “to develop alternatives – from miraculous desert agriculture to the armaments industry that spawned the ‘start-up nation,’ including an electric-car enterprise, Better Place, marketed in part as a comeuppance to Arab oil.”
Israeli officials are absolutely ecstatic as they prepare to test the theories and techniques of fracking in the Shfela Basin.
The beginning of the brighter prospects for Israel came in the wake of the discovery of natural gas about 50 miles off Haifa in the Mediterranean Sea in 2009. Named the Tamar Gas Field, it came online in March of this year, causing great acclaim throughout Israel. This gas alone will raise Israel’s Gross Domestic Product by a full percentage point, according to the Bank of Israel. Add to Tamar a second gas find about 80 miles west from Haifa, called Leviathan, Israel can easily convert into an energy exporter without taking anything away from the kerogen discovery! This is a marvellously fortuitous find, says Harold Vinegar, because this newly discovered natural gas will provide the power to heat the subterranean kerogen fields ... until the gas that is released as a by-product of the kerogen harvest is re-purposed for the same task! Then the process will become self-sustaining! Talk about timing! (all Divine, of course!).
There are other significant implications in this discovery. Although environmental concerns are foremost in most minds, Israel’s high court has been informed that, although the Mountain Aquifer, which lies under the kerogen, and supplies most of Israel’s potable water, is protected by some 200 meters (nearly 500 feet) of impermeable rock above the aquifer. And a similar layer lies above the kerogen, most surely protecting the surface environment from any noxious emissions – which is the remaining concern! Therefore, the oil shale is locked in a tightly contained chamber up until it is harvested, and during the process of recovery.
And there is more good news! As the Time article relates, “The kerogen formation that geologist Bartov first confirmed in 2009 extends beyond Israel. It runs across the few miles east to the Palestinian West Bank – Vinegar flourished a sample from there, darker than the chalky Israeli sample – and into Jordan, where the known kerogen formation is as large as all of Israel itself. Shell is working with King Abdullah II to develop it, in a country that has almost no mineral resources. Egypt has potential as well.”
What is the implication for Israel in the prophetic vista of things?
It is this: the vast deposits of kerogen in Jordan and the “West Bank” are both destined to become the property of Israel in the near future. It will occur when the Messiah appears to clear the interlopers from His Land, and take their possessions for His kingdom! It is inconceivable and beyond visualization the riches that are to accrue to the Kingdom of Messiah! Truly shall the riches of the Gentiles flow unto the Lord in superabundance (Isaiah 60:16; 61: 6; Zechariah 14: 14).
One More Important Facet
One other important facet of all this is the sure establishment of the chief impetus of the Gogian host to try to conquer Israel, as depicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39. They are specifically tasked to gain “a spoil and a prey” in God’s land (Ezekiel 38: 12).
Up until 2009, Israel’s prosperity had achieved remarkable proportions. But its accomplishments were mostly military and intellectual – scientific methods of agriculture, new medical breakthroughs, economic progress. Now, in light of these new petroleum discoveries, there are hard assets which would be a prize for any conquering nation or people. Russia’s natural resources hold over Europe is being progressively broken by these new developments in Israel and the Levant. It is reasonable that her desire for this “spoil” would become heightened if she were approached by Persia (Iran) and the other, distal Islamic states (all those named in Ezekiel 38 are such except Gog himself) to fight alongside them against the (unrealized) Messiah of Israel – and especially if sanctioned by the nations of the earth (embodied in the United Nations Organization), as Gog doubtless shall be in that day!
<HEL MD/USA 5M> 1700 words.
The Bible has a lot to say about Assyria – a country which does not exist today. Its ancient territory is now occupied largely by Iraq and Syria – peoples of two entirely different Islamic identities. We have been acutely aware for decades that in some manner Iraq and Syria would come under the same umbrella of influence – that of Radical Islam – and develop into the final identity of the latter-day Assyrian. We have been willing to wait faithfully and patiently while this confederation looked to be almost impossible in human terms; however, we are not considering mere human eventualities!
When the Western Coalition led by the U. S. military forces invaded Iraq in 2002, its stated goal was to overthrow Saddam Hussein and convert Iraq into a Democratic system of government for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Nearly any astute observer of Islamic behavior and ideology could have predicted the failure of this aim. Islam has no perception of democracy. It is a tribal-oriented, male-dominated autocracy, bent toward Sha’aria (Islamic) Law, and slave to “Allah” and the “prophet” Mohammed of old. It exhibits no character of democracy in its treatment of women, for example, advocating that wives be summarily beaten by their husbands at will. It supports and practices slavery on a wide scale in many countries. Its judgments for perceived crimes are meted out hastily and harshly toward accused criminals resulting in amputated hands and feet, gouged-out eyes, body parts excised, and victims being stoned to death or beheaded. Not much democracy in that!
In Syria, by contrast, the government was under the control of the family dynasty of the Assads, who are Alawite in identity – a loose form of Islam derived from the Shiites. Its repressive minority government has been riding for a fall for decades, but has stayed on top by its cruel dictate over its citizens. Any resistance was met with harsh measures, such as the slaughter of thousands of Syrians in the northern city of Hama by the present ruler’s father, the razing of their homes to the ground, and the construction over them of a giant parking lot. Many of these rebels were slain by poison gas, including women and children, as toxic gas is no respecter of persons.
The configurations of both Iraq and Syria have changed drastically during the last several years – a trend which we believe militates toward the consolidation of these two states. Perhaps they will not be legally constituted one country, but their citizens will have the same overlords colored with the stripes of militant Islam – haters and oppressors of both their own people and of the Israeli “cancer” to their south.
It’s Happening Now
Even as we write, there is a movement of a common thread which is resident in these two countries, which appears poised to bring about this union of these two peoples under their oppressive power. Just last Tuesday, the Syrian extremist militia Jabhat al-Nusra admitted to being a branch force of al-Qaeda’s coalition in Iraq – and has been all along! This was acknowledged by the Islamic State (not the Democratic State) of Iraq early in April. No less a personage than the Emir of the Iraqi coalition group, Abu Bakr al-Hussayni al-Qurayshi al-Baghdadi, issued an audio message avowing this heretofore hidden fact: “It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and world that Jabhat al-Nusrah is but an extension of the Islamic State of Iraq and part of it.”
The story was broken by Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times of April 9th in his article, “Al-Nusra Was Front all Along.” The implication of this newly-admitted fact is huge.
It reveals a great leap forward to the expected Iraqi-Syrian coalition which is prophesied to go against Israel specifically in the End Time. The account is in Micah 5, beginning in verse 2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Mic 5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
Mic 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Mic 5:5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
Mic 5:6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
This highly specific prophecy is integral to the anti-Israeli war which shall bring the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven! The text makes this self-evident even to a casual reader!
Just who or what is al-Nusra? It is swiftly emerging as the leading insurgency group among the rebel fighters of Syria against the Assad regime. Like all the other rebels, its goal is the overthrow of the Assad government and its replacement by Islamic rulers exactly like itself. As such it will become a far more dangerous opposer of Israel that Syria has ever been, and inheritor of the leadership of what is left of the Syrian nation! As a now-revealed companion of the Islamic State of Iraq, its principles are shown to be identical to that of Iraq, which although established by the elective process has never been truly “democratic.” In this sense it is quite similar to Egypt’s present oppressor, the Moslem Brotherhood.
A spokesman at the New America Foundation, Peter Bergen, said “This is major news.” Aaron Zelin, editor of Jihadology (an Internet blog) said: “It means al-Qaeda is confident enough about its position in Syria to go public …. Their perception is correct because their position is strong” in the ranks of Syria’s fractious and ill-disciplined rebels, he added. What is the specific importance of this development?
It reveals the underlying identity of the Syrian rebels as actually being the forces of al-Qaeda. And the admission relates its close affiliation with the rulers of Iraq of today, who are also admitting that they identify with al-Qaeda! It has a one to one relationship of common identity and purpose! The newly-merged organization will be named The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (the Levant). There seems no effective barrier to this coalition going forward according to observers.
On a militant website, photos show militants in a border region on the Iraqi side of the Syria-Iraq border called al-Jazeera. Last month, Islamic militants inside Iraq massacred 48 wounded Syrian government troops who had sought refuge from the war within Iraq. The militants’ ambush is now viewed by regional officials as growing evidence of a strong cross-border alliance between two powerful Sunni jihadi groups, namely al-Qaede in Iraq and the Nusra Front in Syria, now admittedly an al-Qaeda “front.”
Two Iraqi intelligence officers told reporters that the jihadi groups are “sharing three military training compounds, logistics, intelligence, and weapons as they grow in strength around the Syria-Iraq border, particularly in (the) sprawling region called al-Jazeera, which they are trying to turn into a border sanctuary (which) they both can exploit.”
Press reports revealed that, “In the audio statement, al-Baghdadi said the original members of Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, were dispatched from Iraq by his group, the Islamic State of Iraq, a coalition of al Qaeda and other extremist groups and militias that came together during their bloody insurgency against the U.S. occupation. “We laid for them plans, and drew up for them the policy of work, and gave them what financial support we could every month, and supplied them with men who had known the battlefields of jihad, from the emigrants and the natives,” al-Baghdadi said.
Whereas Jabhat al-Nusra has up to now been mostly concerned with combating the Syrian forces, it has also involved itself in distributing food and water to the oppressed Syrian people. Observers have said that the group’s new admission of being actually al-Qaeda, probably means they will begin to conduct themselves more like al-Qaeda.
While resident within Iraq, the U. S. and Iraqi forces had mostly put down al-Qaeda’s presence in Iraq. But when American troops withdrew in late 2011, observers noted that Iraqi intelligence officials were soon warning that al-Qaeda was regrouping, taking advantage of regional instability and government security failures to regain its strength. By September, 2012, al-Qaeda’s fighters were crossing into Syria to battle the Assad regime. Since that time, those forces have strengthened the al-Jazeera area “into what they hope will be a haven to battle their foes …. For these guys,” said the regional security analyst, “the border between Iraq and Syria is not even a real thing.”
If this trend continues and grows, it can easily become the sinister entity known as “Assyria” of the End Time, bringing an equivalent identity to both Iraq and Syria – and giving rise to the group that boldly attempts to invade Israel, and to “tread within our (Israel’s) palaces.” We may be utterly assured of Assyria’s destruction by the forces of Messiah – the “seven shepherds and eight principal (princes of) men” of Micah’s prophecy. <HEL MD/USA April, 2013
H E Lafferty
The comprehensive body of information in these latter chapters of Exodus served to instruct the people of Israel in the ways He intended that they should fulfill the purpose of the Almighty when He should establish their nation in their own land - in Canaan.
The details begin earlier than the portion recorded below, but we wish in this essay to consider the entry of the People into their Land, their intended conduct in His service, and the extent of their intended inheritance ... all helpful considerations for us and them today.
That earlier attempt at colonization failed catastrophically when the People did not obey these commandments of Moses (dictated to him by the Father).
We review them in some detail below, and closely consider some aspects of Moses' instructions concerning their first conquest as being closely relevant to their second attempt at colonization of the Land in our day, which shall be unequivocally successful.
They were at that earlier time entering the Land of Canaan, then inhabited by numerous clans of pagan peoples who did not recognize the God of Israel. Today they have entered a land sparsely inhabited by their cousins, the Arabs of Edom, Moab, and Ammon - still a pagan people who do not recognize the God of Israel.
Exodus 23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
There are six ungodly nations named here - the nations whose lands He was giving to Israel as an homeland, and eventually as an inheritance. He promised to destroy them (cut them off) contingent upon Israel's obedience to his wishes.
Notice carefully that God specifically tells His people that mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in ...
Their own efforts would be required, certainly, but their successful conquest of the Land and their establishment within it would not depend upon their own military prowess or their own resources. They were to be preceded by His Angel of certain conquest and deliverance.
One key question we may have is ... does this Angel have a name? What is his identity?
Curiously, his name is never recorded in these earlier references (as also in their deliverance from Egypt).
However, we believe a clue resides in a revelation given to Daniel in Daniel 12:1, in which it is surely revealed that Michael the Archangel is the angelic entity who is charged with the special care of God's people of the Endtime referred to in these writings.
If he is to stand up in our day for Israel, and it is he that standeth for the children of thy (Daniel's) people, is it not almost certain that he has done so on important prior occasions?
It would hardly be possible to think of a more important prior occasion than this first entry into and conquest of Canaan from the heathen elements who dwelt there.
Exo 23:24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Exo 23:25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
Exo 23:26 There shall nothing cast their young (miscarry), nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
These detailed blessings of basket and store, of flock and herd, and by implication, of family and kin, are comprehensively protective. But only if the people obeyed God's laws and did not fall prey to the "gods" and evil practices of the Canaanites whose lands they were being given.
Exo 23:27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
Exo 23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
God's promise was that He should send His fear among the heathen before His people, and cause them to flee ("turn their backs unto thee" - or run away). They would thus be destroyed from before Israel!
His Angel should be a force as powerful as swarming hornets among them, against which there is no defense or protection! Their conquest of the land was thus certified to them as a sure promise - but only if they would obey God and keep His commandments.
They did not.
Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
Exo 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
Vital details are here given to His beloved people: we see the progressive establishment of Israel as a People in these lands - that they are brought under Israeli governance by a gradual conquest, His people were intended to replace the native populations in a steadily expanding fashion and in a balanced advance so that even the natural equilibrium of flora and fauna was to be maintained as Israel established itself in wider and wider circles in their new Land. Their advance upon the Land and their establishment within it would be little by little ... until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
We easily perceive that this has also been the case in their second entry into their Land as a People ... that their expansion within it has been gradual, and not all at one time. Their victories have been fitful from the start ... little by little. From the first, their colonization has been steadily progressive; God has clearly given them victories at every turn, even in their present state of unbelief - unbelief which was not a surprise to Him at all, but a gracious gift to them as an earnest (a deposit) against their future enlightenment which is imminent.
Exo 23:31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
Their victory was assured by His word; and the boundaries of their inheritance are here stated in concrete terms - from the Red Sea even unto the Sea of the Philistines (the Mediterranean Sea), and from the desert unto the river (from the Sinai to the Euphrates, we believe).
This specification leaves the southeastern border obscure to us - completely undefined in this passage.
Exo 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
Here is one of the most important injunctions upon His people: that they make NO COVENANT with them, nor with their gods.
Either agreement would violate His will for them, and would lead to serious compromise of their position before Him.
In their first possession of the Land, we readily understand that this specific failure was the cause of their downfall, and of their expulsion from their Land into Assyria (the Ten Tribes) and into Babylon (the Two Tribes). The Two Tribes were given a second chance at the end of 70 years, but failed again to observe the laws they had been given, and even slew their Messiah in complete denial of His mission and purpose because it did not fit their prejudicial concepts of His first coming.
Never again was Israel a commonwealth in its own right until its re-establishment in May, 1948.
They are thus NOW being given a second opportunity to glorify the Almighty, and to acknowledge His great blessing to them.
However, Israel has not yet learned to obey God in the fullness of His commandments.
They have offered - and still do offer - accommodation with the heathen peoples scattered among them instead of driving them out of their Land. Instead of cleansing their divinely given Land of heathen practices and heathen gods, and suppressing their active aggression against the God of Israel and the People of God they are reticent. They have repeatedly offered "land for peace" with those opposers, in direct contravention of God's earlier commandments.
Joel 3 clearly condemns this approach; it denies this "solution."
They do not yet believe God. They are wary of world opinion and of Arab wrath should they express their rights within their own land!
They do not yet have the faith required to follow His injunctions.
But they shall soon acquire it!
Numerous prophetic forecasts outline in quite fine detail Israel's Endtime future within its own Land, the Abrahamic Land Grant of Genesis 12 et seq, in which the Almighty's will is made crystal clear.
Their sure destiny is a perfect completion of their conquest of Canaan and its present pagan population of Islamic Arabs from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (and the Indian Ocean? - these southwestern borders are not yet clear to us).
As to the heathen (the nations of Canaan today), like those of old, the ideal condition is that they shall not dwell in thy land. They have no inheritance within it at all, and shall possess no possessions there in perpetuity. It is abundantly clear that ... the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together (to the Lord, and to His people), gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance (Zechariah 14:14).
These fabulous riches include their oil and gas, their minerals and ores, and all the spoils of conquest which generally accrue to the conquerors of nations.
In what general context do we see these accomplishments?
How does this come about for Israel of today?
It comes about by direct intervention of Him on high, Who shall send His Son to intrude upon the nations on their behalf, enabling Him without hesitation to advance furiously, in bloody physical conflict, upon His enemies and those of His people. His abrupt, unexpected intervention illustrating clearly to them His invincibility, gaining their respect and trust in His unspeakable deliverance from their opposers, libelers and slanderers - those whose goals are above all and primarily to ... cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel be no more in remembrance (Psalm 83: 4).
The immediate result of this exquisitely clear intervention on their behalf shall bring their sincere, heartfelt acceptance of His leadership ... and their spontaneous, conclusive and unanimous cry, Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord!
How can we be sure of this outcome? We can be absolutely certain of it because of the Master's words to Jerusalem of His own day, in which He declared, Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Luk 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (neglected by Him for a long time to come): and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Their "seeing Him" in this case consists of their UNDERSTANDING Him as well as physically beholding Him - of their beholding with astonishment and admiration His vast power which He shall exert on their behalf even without their specific request, and the devastating result it shall have on their enemies round about.
Their recognition and its process is related in Zechariah 12 and 13.
Israelis today have come (of necessity) to respect might and power as much as any force. But His stupendous display of overwhelming power against their innumerable foes shall far exceed their understanding or comprehension - and illustrate to them precisely Who He is and what is His purpose with them!
Their unanimous cry to the Almighty is therefore precisely as prescribed: Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord! ... expressing their ready willingness to accept Him and His authority over them in every way.
Only then can their true redemption begin! Only then can His People fulfill their eternal destiny of being a glory to their God and a light unto the nations ... for salvation, for peace, and for eternal security before Him.
<HEL MD/USA December, 2012>
H E Lafferty
There has for many years existed among sincere believers the strong conclusion that every nation on earth in some form or another would be gathered literally and physically against Jerusalem to battle, and that this is the “battle of Armageddon.” We have adequately addressed the subject of Armageddon in other papers, so that consideration is not part of this present essay.
Is this a valid conclusion – that all the nations of the whole earth shall gather physically against Jerusalem – and by implication – against Israel?
What do the scriptures have to say about it?
We need to consider the facts as well as we can determine them. And we can do that!
Chief among biblical commentaries on the subject is the 12th chapter of Zechariah. It comprehensively addresses the historical time in which we live today. We quote it below and comment on its message. (This A. V. text is as downloaded from E Sword.)
Zec 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
Zec 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling (Strong H7478, ra’al, a reeling (from intoxication, trembling) unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
This “cup” relates directly to intoxication with the subject of Jerusalem and its possession. If you have ever observed a drunken person closely – one severely affected by ethyl alcohol – you will have noted his intense difficulty with walking, his incoherent reasoning, his disturbed balance, his misplaced logic, his slurred speech.
It is a pitiful state of incompetence and failure of character.
A rudimentary test of intoxication by police officers is to have the subject try to walk a straight line – which he cannot do; he reels side to side, and falls forward or backward, uncoordinated, and often quivering or convulsing. He cannot with certainty even touch his nose with an outstretched finger – a simple task easily accomplished when in full charge of his faculties.
The Islamic idealism of possession of Jerusalem is extremely similar. They are intoxicated with the notion that Jerusalem is theirs to possess to the utter exclusion of the Jews whose capital city it is. They are obsessed with Jerusalem as surely as an alcoholic is addicted to drink; they are unable to withdraw from their intention to possess it at all costs (cf., Psalm 83: 12).
Another comment of Zechariah adds enlightenment here as to the siege of the City: Zech 14: 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
Are we aware of a siege against Jerusalem and Judah (the Jewish State) having occurred in our lifetime? YES! It has been an ongoing struggle officially since May, 1948, when Israel proclaimed itself a state; it was already occurring against the Jews who had made Aliyah before that date. They were being killed and ravaged in disturbing numbers leading up to the proclamation of the state. Our day occupies the space just after the semicolon in the 14th verse; Israel has not yet gathered together the wealth of all the nations (heathen) round about her. That certainty lies in her future!
Meanwhile, she is in the midst of a siege – a protracted WAR. But it is a war prosecuted ONLY by the “people round about,” and no others; not all nations of the earth.
The War of Independence was forced upon Judah and Jerusalem by seven hostile powers at its birth in one day – May 14, 1948. The infant State survived – but lost the Old City of Jerusalem to the hostiles while maintaining possession of half the City (Zechariah 14:2).
But the next conflict within the Land (19 years later) was the Six Day War. Israel warned Jordan (which then occupied Old Jerusalem and the eastern portion of the ancient kingdom of Israel down to the River Jordan) to remain neutral. King Hussein did not heed their warning and instantly lost all the territory he had occupied in 1948 to the lightning strike issued by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The siege was actual and in real time as foretold by Zechariah! It was televised almost as it happened.
However, this was but one of the early stages of a protracted series of conflicts which shall yet end as Zechariah 14: 14 predicts – with “the wealth of all the heathen round about” (those we refer to as the Proximal Islamic States) being taken by God’s people.
We have not seen this outcome as yet, but the day draws nearer for it to occur.
Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
What of this terminology “all the people of the earth” – does that mean literally all the nations of the earth? In an international context it might; for example the UN member states almost unanimously, but only rhetorically, fret and fume over the “problem” of Jerusalem daily. Two thirds of all the legal decisions of the UN Security Council have been concerned with Israel, specifically – a people which forms about 1/1000 of the entire population of the earth. In a real sense, ALL the people of the earth ARE NOW gathered against Jerusalem (as representative of the entire Israeli people and nation).
But who is actively engaged in the struggle? Only the nations round about are “gathered together against it” as a physical reality, and are intimately concerned with taking Jerusalem as the capital of a “Palestinian” state, and of ridding the land of all the Jews. Regardless of our personal convictions, this fact is extremely important to a basic understanding of this “problem.” These specific enemies are those who are designated “all the people of the earth” for the earth is the “earth” of God’s land; all these powers inhabit God’s land at the present time – which land is that designated by the Promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15 et seq; and to his descendant David and his Son in II Samuel 7.
We feel that an understanding of this fact is fundamental to the understanding of this vital prophecy! Alien peoples are inhabiting God’s Land of Promise (to Abraham and his Seed) and they must be ousted!
The Hebrew for “earth” here is Strong’s H776, eretz, from an unused root, probably meaning to be firm, the earth (at large, or partivively, a land) which in this case is God’s Designated Land of Israel – for they are all the remaining “other” inhabiters at this time, later to be expelled and their wealth appropriated to the Lord’s kingdom and people.
Therefore it is the inhabitants of THAT specific “earth” that are gathered together against it in a most unified attack, as we see daily being constructed and mounted against God’s people.
We believe such details are supremely important to our deeper, more sensitive, more accurate understanding of God’s intent; it is in the intense study of the fine details of the prophets’ utterances that the finer points of transition and fulfillment are discerned. These CANNOT be overlooked or ignored because in them is the essence of His revelation to us! In this way the picture comes alive for our studied consideration and profit.
Zec 12:4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every (enemy) horse with astonishment, and his (enemy) rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the (enemy) people with blindness.
Zec 12:5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
Zec 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
That phraseology indicates a safe, SURE habitation of her rightful place – ALL parts of the City (East and West, North and South) as eternal Capital of the entire Inheritance … purely and simply … and straightforwardly!
Have we not seen this described strength of Israel already manifested? What about the lightning manner in which Israel took the Old City in the Six Day War? – a conflict which lives in the military exploits of the world as not only one of the most rapid but also one of the most decisive victories ever won by a military force in all history! As a result, Jerusalem was “inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.” And note specifically that it was the forces of JUDAH which did this – the identity of Israel as constituted at present. The dispute rages on with the defeated enemies whining and complaining of their oppression at Israel’s hand!
But so far we have seen only the leading edge of Israel’s strength, enhanced without any doubt by the power of God being expressed through the Archangel Michael, the angel who “stands for the children of (Daniel’s) people” (the Jews) – Daniel 12: 1-2. We believe the nations of Israel’s enemies have not seen anything yet! Its divine strength shall be seen clearly when Israel shall DEVOUR all the people round about!
Zec 12:7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
Here Judah is being led by “the Lord” Who is defending them, their being God’s battle axe and weapon of war …. But in a different case than the text in which similar phraseology is found: Jeremiah 51:20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; here the text referred specifically to Babylon as target of his people. This entire chapter is concerned with the fate of Babylon at the hand of the Medes and Persians; but its meaning extends also to the nations as punished terminally by ISRAEL in the day of ITS strength and favour – actions which are graphically depicted in this 8th verse of Zechariah 12, the angel of the Lord being designated Michael, the Archangel of God for Israel.
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Herein lies one of the major reasons that we can be certain that not all the nations of the earth (from Iceland to Argentina to Mynamar) are destined to “come against Jerusalem” in any physical way.
Because our Father decidedly tells us that ALL THESE which DO come against Jerusalem shall be DESTROYED. If He thus destroys all the nations of the whole earth (instead of all the limited number of (designated) nations that come against Jerusalem) he would have no subjects for His future kingdom. There would be no nations left to convert to the way of life in that kingdom. He should have destroyed all future hope of the international conversion of peoples to the Gospel which He clearly intends.
Think about that!
It is critically important to the understanding of this prophecy! The ultimate solution to any prophecy and its ultimate meaning is determined by its fine detail.
One other critical consideration is this: The purpose of this war over Jerusalem is to rid THE LAND of the brute beasts which threaten Israel and its people – not to acquire all the nations of the earth and subject them to Christ in this early action. Christ’s kingdom is prophesied to expand and develop in a progressive, orderly, unrelenting fashion. His first goal is to clear the Land of Israel – its Abrahamic Inheritance for Israel – of all enemies and threats. This action shall achieve that end perfectly!
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
It is decisively AT THIS TIME that Messiah is to be revealed to the children of Judah – the house of David – as they look upon Jesus Whom they previously have denied, and recognize Him as their long-awaited Messiah. That recognition brings about the great mourning described in the next verses. It is equivalent to the mourning they observed when King Josiah was slain at Hadadrimmon.
After that time their blessing shall be greater by far than their oppression and punishment to date. He shall do better to them then than at their beginning (Ezekiel 36:11).
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
ANOTHER SERIOUS FACET TO ALL THESE ENDTIME AFFAIRS
There is another facet to the above discussion which is extremely relevant, and it is this:
Some readers of prophecy (I cannot use the term “students” – and certainly not “scholars”) stubbornly claim that Israel as we know it is destined for a great defeat at the hand of someone – some national power or coalition (Gogian, Islamic, or International?? – views differ) – And that there will be (another) 2/3 destruction of God’s people! That the remnant of these now in the Land shall be scattered to Egypt yet again, and be finally rescued by the returned Lord Jesus.
Yet, even a cursory overview of the above consideration absolutely denies that this can happen! [And besides, that scenario is not that which is prophesied to be expected; that scenario is a figment of someone’s imagination which has NO BASIS for credence!]
WHAT MAY WE REALLY EXPECT??
The Prophet is entirely clear:
· Zechariah 12: 3 concretely states that all Jerusalem’s enemies that burden themselves with it shall be CUT IN PIECES …
· Zechariah 12: 4 concretely states that every horse (instrument or war or terror) shall be smitten with BLINDNESS and his rider with MADNESS …
· Zechariah 12: 5 concretely states that the inhabitants (of Jerusalem) shall be my STRENGTH in the Lord …
· Zechariah 12: 6 concretely states that the governors of JUDAH shall be like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left … and further that Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
· Zechariah 12: 7 concretely states that The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah.
· Zechariah 12: 8 concretely states that In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem not allow them to be conquered and destroyed! – stating that even the weakest among them shall exhibit the mastery of David over his enemies, and the stronger ones (the house of David) shall be AS GOD – as THE ANGEL OF THE LORD BEFORE THEM.
· Zechariah 12:9 concretely states that in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
· Zechariah 12: 10 surely puts the lie to the people’s being conquered and scattered, in the comprehensive statements, that I (GOD) will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
The intense and pervasive mourning that is depicted through verse 14, as well as all these preceding words of God, put the ETERNAL LIE to any notion that His people are EVER to be conquered and dispersed and murdered in ANY future time after being regathered the second time (Isaiah 11: 11)!
Those who claim that this is true give as an excuse for their prejudice (I do hesitate to use the phrase anti-Semitism against the people of modern Israel … but IS IT SUCH???) will offer their feeble objection that Israel is proud and arrogant – and depends upon itself and not God – for its defense; that it does not yet recognize Jesus as Messiah and Christ, so how could it justly expect such divine protection??
The claim that Israel depends upon itself is certainly true! This is a fact, at least in part – though not wholly applicable to everyone in Israel! After all, how can Israel REALLY depend upon others? It has proven to be a futile cause in the past, and only fragile promises are in front of them for allies in the present crisis. So they MUST depend upon themselves – even without the assurance that WE have as believers that they shall always have Eternal support.
HOWEVER … THIS CLAIM OF ISRAEL’S SELF-SUFFICIENCY (ENFORCED AS IT IS) IS A SERIOUS MISREADING OF GOD’S WORD. SUCH WOULD-BE EXPOSITORS ARE NOT WORTHY OF ANY CREDENCE. THEY HAVE SERIOUSLY GONE AGAINST THE CLEAR WORDS OF GOD. THEY HAVE NO GROUNDS FOR DEFENSE.
Are these critics (for such they are) completely unaware of the prophecy of Zechariah 12 and 13, in which the process of Israel’s recognition of its gross error is to be realized and all Israel brought to the humble repentance they require?
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for Israel yet in (our) present time to know what they shall know and acknowledge in the near future – namely that Jesus of Nazareth IS their Messiah; that they DID erroneously crucify him (at least assented to that crime) in 29 AD; that all these things were CLEARLY foretold in the scriptures and that they IGNORED those words; that the Almighty has a plan for salvation for ALL the peoples of the earth; that Jesus of Nazareth IS THEIR Savior and on and on …
In short … it is unreasonable to claim that Israel was not destined to return to their land IN IGNORANCE of all these core principles! These critics have no excuse for their being unaware that the Jews of the world were commanded IN THEIR GROSS IGNORANCE to “return to the children of Israel” (i.e., to their Land) in the Endtime AFTER the Father’s period of having ABANDONED them for millennia came to its end – that is, more precisely that the Jews’ fortunes would drastically reverse WHEN SHE WHO WAS TO BRING FORTH BROUGHT FORTH – Micah chapter 5 is extremely relevant here – that is, when Israel was brought into existence (literally, birthed) by the Agency (the Jewish Agency of the World Zionist Organization) which actually “mothered” the State of Israel, bringing it forward to birth and delivering it 1948 under the DIRECT GUIDANCE AND HELP of the Archangel Michael – a factor which we are unmistakably taught by a faithful reading of Daniel 12: 1-2.
No critic of Israel can possibly have grounds for claiming that Israel cannot or could not return to its Land permanently without first accepting Christ as Messiah and all the implications involved in that realization – because that IS NOT what Zechariah was inspired to relate to faithful students of God’s word! It CANNOT have happened any other way – and especially not in the way implied in such severe critics’ minds when they make wild and unsubstantiated statements similar to those above.
Our understanding must be bent, shaped, and moulded to fit our Father’s stated intentions – not dictate to Him what must be done by His people at any given time!!
One final word: we do tend to become enthusiastic (exercised? dogmatic? – maybe – but at least, intelligently informed) when confronted with these insensitive and UNSUBSTANTIABLE claims of some unfeeling, hard-hearted, and false critics of Israel – but especially those who really have no excuse for not knowing otherwise – from among the Elect, the Chosen, the Redeemed.
We cannot resist defending God’s people Israel (for such they are!) in their present uninformed ignorance of God’s way, as yet unrealized by them.
Hath God cast away His people? inquired the Apostle (Romans 11: 1); God forbid!
They are to be commended greatly for resisting conversion and assimilation with blood and tear and treasure the centuries of apostasy and oppression of “Christian” opposition and the anti-Semitism which originated within Christendom and from its hired minions.
The Master’s final words to the Scribes and Pharisees of His day were those recorded in Luke 13: 34, 35 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
That specific “coming” is addressed in Zechariah 12 and 13, revealing exactly how Israel shall be brought forward not only to recognition (“seeing Him”) but also enthusiastic and sincere acceptance of Him by that somber recognition of His Strength and Benevolence on their behalf! Those elements of recognition and acceptance will lead to their national repentance and acceptance of Him as Messiah and King! They are “gonna be okay” folks!
<HEL MD/USA, PP#4, March 26, 2012>
An high profile commentator on scriptural prophecy (to be unnamed here) has written some thoughts on the “Peace and Safety” aspirations voiced in
I Thessalonians 5: 1 - But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
In this Position Paper, we are considering his comments as a question which requires discussion.
As part of our reply, we must admit that this saying, “Peace and Safety” has been the subject of much discussion in the past. We believe it is certainly a statement of the unbelievers who oppose Christ and His kingdom, for it is He Who shall bring such sudden destruction upon them – permanent destruction – not just victory in warfare but total dismantlement, dismemberment, and utter termination of their regimes. Paul specifically tells the Thessalonians that this destruction shall not fall upon them, or their later counterparts in The Faith.
“Peace” indicates a lack of caution by the world absorbed in the cares of this life – an entire population which shall have been lulled into a false sense of safety and security. Peace conveys the idea of lacking alarm or threat from any quarter – a laissez faire attitude of comfort and lassitude.
“Safety” conveys the idea of security from external threats from either God or other people – contentment, idleness, unguarded carelessness. The world shall have turned a deaf ear to warnings from such persons as ourselves and our God of coming Judgment, and as such will be vulnerable to the destruction of their ways and mores and institutions and dogmas – and their “religion.”
More comments along this line are at the end of the next section.
Here we now contribute the following small portion [of a 75-page exchange] with the above-indicated commentator some years back on this subject. His comments are in bold italics; our replies are in unbolded font. Here ‘tis …
When They Cry Peace and Safety
H E Lafferty
Your claim that Israel shall be again defeated in warfare is
without support. Modern Israel … defeated in war? The Scriptures attest
that it cannot happen! The overwhelming prophetic indication is
that Israel is never defeated after she begins to gather back
into her Land. God’s Purpose cannot be defeated. It has never been and
never shall be!
When Gog invades Israel, its vast force comes with the intent of covering the Land, but we can prove with certainty that she shall not do so.
Where is that force destroyed?
Surely it is where they are buried – east of the sea of Kinneret (Galilee) according to Young – in the valley of the passengers – in the Yarmuk River Gorge, at a place to be named Hamon-Gog. Armies are not transported many miles to be buried where they are not slain, witness the killing and burial fields of Chateau-Thierry, Flanders, and Normandy, those of Korea and South Vietnam where hundreds of thousands of men lie central to where they were slain.
Who is said to bury the Gogian host?
Ezekiel 39:9 answers that query directly: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: 10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.”This arrogant throng never even comes within sight of Jerusalem and causes no harm whatever to the State of Israel.
The sudden destruction spoken of in 1 Thessalonians after they shall SAY peace and safety is also worthy of note is this context. This passage does not lead us to expect a literal time of peace and safety. It doesn't say ‘when there IS peace and safety’ but ‘when they shall SAY peace and safety (security)’. Ariel Sharon has campaigned on this very slogan "Peace and security.” (Commentator’s words)
Yes … and so has every OTHER Israeli Prime Minister and every leader of every other country in this age when over twenty wars are in progress at any time throughout the earth! They are CRYING for peace and safety – but they are certainly not PROCLAIMING it at this time. However, it appears they shall do so at sometime in the future.
This prophecy is in an entirely different context and is not referring to Israel or to Israelis, but to the world at large (i.e., all Israel’s enemies).
There shall be no ‘sudden destruction’ wrought upon Israel at any time in the future, for the Almighty has plainly declared that His people are favored in an unparalleled way. Jeremiah 24:6 states it plainly, that in the Endtime “I will set Mine eyes upon them for GOOD, and I will bring them AGAIN to this Land; and I will BUILD them, and NOT PULL THEM DOWN; AND I WILL PLANT THEM, AND NOT PLUCK THEM UP.”
And there shall certainly be no sudden destruction on the saints of God of this age, who are diligently watching and waiting for the Advent.
We believe that clear statement of Israel’s security is an immutable promise of God and that it cannot be broken! What shame and embarrassment such a defeat would bring on the Almighty’s name and purpose! His Arab enemies would quickly claim that Allah was more powerful than Israel’s God as He was unable to maintain His re-gathered people in their land!
However, instead, He has purposed that His people permanently return to His land in preparation for His kingdom and His infinite blessing (however, not for their sakes, but for His holy name’s sake – Ezekiel 36:22-32; Isaiah 43:25; 48:9, 11).
There is then a real possibility that the time of peace and safety is over and war is imminent. War, not peace, could be the trigger that brings down the northern hordes into Israel. It may be sooner than we think! (Commentator’s words) We surely cannot agree that it is war which brings the Gogian host down upon Israel. Ezekiel’s specific statement is that they behold a “land of unwalled villages” dwelling in peace and safety! Gog is gulled into the belief that Israel is becoming a pushover for their massive forces because of its peaceful demeanor!
We must have observed that the cry FOR peace and safety is even now a permanent mantra of all the nations; we hear of no greater goal of the nations and leaders of the world today. We shall have to wait and see exactly how this develops, but it would seem most logical to us that there will come a certain time in the future when SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will come up with a plan for peace which seems workable – and we don’t mean a treaty with the “Palestinians” because they just are not capable of making such a treaty. They won’t even sit down with Israel to DISCUSS one.
Either a false SENSE of peace and safety, or a fervent cry FOR peace and safety seems in the offing (as in petitioning the Almighty for peace and safety).
It also could be that the Arabs in their burgeoning strength with scores of thousands of missiles and a greatly enhanced cadre of fighters, will just proclaim that they now CANNOT be defeated, and that the call is in their court for a change – that THEY control the peace and safety. (Indeed, they already have done so.)
It shall be at that height of confidence and pride that their hopes and dreams, their lives and families, their property and their territories, will be smashed and acquired by Christ and Israel!
The present geopolitical lay of the land almost perfectly fits that description already! Iran is constantly saying that Israel is but a gnat which they can swat to death at any time. Their boastfulness is incredibly obnoxious, teeming with pride and arrogance. However, Iran is likely instead to feel the hot wrath of Israel’s Air Force, Navy and Missile Defense Forces in a short time, if they persist in openly developing nuclear weapons – a goal which we cannot envision their giving up.
However, Israel’s decisive conflict with Iran probably will go little further than quenching for a time the ability of Iran to make nuclear weapons. We do not feel that it will bring significant hot conflict to Israel from Iran because it is seemingly much too early in the prophetic timetable for that to happen in our opinion.
Iran is Persia, and as such is an integral component of the GOGIAN host, not the forces of Proximal Islam, which Israel clearly is prophetically scheduled to destroy first. This great, overwhelming, decisive victory over the nearby Islamic States will enervate the Russians and their Islamic friends to begin preparing concrete plans to invade and conquer Israel – especially so after in His initial operations …
· Christ has manifested unheard of power against Israel’s enemies,
· Has quelled all their strength and silenced their incessant threats,
· Has conquered them all and appropriated all their lands and wealth,
· Has begun His kingdom’s administration,
· Has proclaimed Jerusalem Capital of His Kingdom Administration,
· Has established a firm theocracy,
· Has been accepted as King of the Jews by his people,
· Has restored the Throne of David and sits upon it,
· Is disarming Israel entirely,
· Is demolishing the Defense Walls being built on the borders,
· Is beginning to build the Temple of the Millennium,
· Has allocated the Tribal Cantons of Israel as outlined by Ezekiel, in their rightful order, from the northern River Euphrates to the south River Nile,
· Is moving and settling His people securely into their Tribal allotments,
· Has expelled ALL foreigners from His land, including all the Arabs and “Christians,”
· Is bringing the Ten Tribes and the remainder of Judah home to Israel,
· Has appropriated all the wealth of the nearby, conquered states to His treasury for the glory of the Lord as in the Exodus,
· Has officially claimed all their territories and annexed them to Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Med to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean (?),
· Has been proclaimed Messiah and King by His repentant and reconciled people, reversing the democratic constitution of the present,
· Has established and confirmed a new Covenant with Israel,
· And is accompanied by a vast throng of Assistants – the Redeemed Saints – Who manifest power far beyond any human ability.
This whole scenario will present to the alien forces a picture of great ambition and of apparent childlike confidence (as to disarmament, to dismantling of the Wall and other structures such as military strongholds, airfields, encampments and barriers).
This naïve young Jewish upstart is a fool in their eyes – far too confident!
They observe this newly disarmed land of unwalled villages which is at that time dwelling peacefully and entirely safely – without any immediate threats on their borders at all, dwelling in confidence – and they see a summer fruit which can almost be plucked from the ground.
Taking no chances, they form a vast amalgam of forces and equipment, and approach the Land with great confidence. Problem is, they haven’t read Ezekiel 38 and 39, in which NOTHING but destruction is concretely determined for them!
They plan to invade Christ’s Kingdom with great confidence and bravado; instead, their exit from the Land is via DEATH and BURIAL at Hamon-Gog in the Valley of the Yarmuk River – then said to be “in Israel” but at this moment the international border between Syria and Jordan east of the Sea of Galilee (Young).
Of course both these countries are intruders – interlopers – within God’s covenanted Land, and as such will be driven out or exterminated (more the latter than the former), along with the Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the citizens of the Gulf Emirates, and even The Yemens and Oman (?) – some of these being not well delineated as to their fates – as well as all the “Palestinians” now inside Israel, in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Gaza, the Negev, the Sinai and in Samaria (the Edomites of Obadiah).
The monetary wealth of some of these nations is almost nil (such as Lebanon and Jordan) but their land masses are great; but just think of the oil resources of Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and Saudi Arabia along with their enormous land masses – the future territory of the Kingdom of God’s First Dominion!
When the Christ of the Second Advent allows the dust to settle from this Proximal conflict, He will be Master of over half the known reserves of oil in the entire world (for what that’s worth in the kingdom age!). But it will have ENORMOUS impact upon the Distal Islamic nations – those confederating with Gog – and shock them into drastic action at any cost. That COST will be great – and fatal to all those people who will not convert and accept Christ. The trouble is, will they be given enough time to learn much of Him before they are destroyed for their animosity and hatred of God’s people?
We don’t believe any other process than the above makes sense in totality, but is still only a general outline of what seems to be quite clear from the writings of the prophets, and is not contradicted by any other portion of scripture which we can locate.
It is the safety of the world powers that is at hazard, but in no sense the peace and safety of Israel under the Christ.
The older theory of John Thomas and several other expositors, that Israel is to be driven from its Land yet again, displaced from its Land by the Gogian host and driven into Egypt completely omits any consideration of the scores of passages which tell of Christ and the Saints (and Israel’s) conquest of the nations round about and the REAL establishment of PEACE and SAFETY PRIOR to the Gogian invasion, thus setting up the conditions for Gog’s evil thoughts as well as its certain destruction.
That theory also completely ignores the destructive language directed against Gog in those two chapters of Ezekiel, in which our Father makes certain to convey to us the abject failure of Gog's efforts and the destruction of ALL his forces. This is our Lord’s final and conclusive decision to dispel the forces of DARKNESS forever!
The opposite consideration comes into play with Christ’s faithful brethren, in the continuation of Paul’s words to Thessalonica:
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1Th 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do
MARK 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved (From eternal death)
<HEL MD/USA May 27, 2012>
H. E. Lafferty
In the fourth chapter of Ezekiel there is a remarkable revelation for Jerusalem’s – and God’s People’s – future. The portion we shall first consider is verses 4 – 6. The word “also” indicates that important information came before the actions commanded by this verse, but we shall consider that preamble later.
This prophecy is both profound and beautiful in mathematical accuracy! We have personally been intrigued by it for decades, with only lately some better understanding deduced from several sources of information. This paper discusses this prophecy in some detail.
The Almighty commanded Ezekiel to lie on his left side for a long period of time, then on his right side for a much longer period of time.
There were reasons given for this somewhat odd arrangement – odd, and certainly unusual enough that they should have caused Israel to examine itself and consider its ways; it did not.
One needs to concentrate upon these actions … and upon
The times required for their performance … and upon
God’s given reasons for their performance. His words are …
Ezekiel 4:4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
Eze 4:5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
Eze 4:6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.
Please note carefully that each day of Ezekiel’s reclining would be equivalent to one “year” of Israel’s suffering for its iniquities.
Now we summarize what the prophet was told:
1. The Action: First he was to lie on his LEFT side. God said that this designated the iniquity of the house of Israel (the Ten Tribes)
2. The Time Required: According to the number of the days (360 DAYS),
3. The Reason for the Action: Thou shalt bear (and illustrate to the witnessing people) the INIQUITY of the House of Israel.
These are the three parameters of his lying on his left side.
Now to the summary of his second task:
1. The Action: Now he was to lie on his RIGHT side. God again said that this designated the iniquity of the house of Israel (Judah – the Two Tribes).
2. The Time Required: According to the number of the days (40 DAYS)
3. The Reason for the Action: Thou shalt bear (and illustrate to the witnessing people) THE INIQUITY of the House of Judah.
These are the three parameters of his lying on his right side.
What does all this mean? Students have sought to understand the exact meaning of this prophecy for many years. We can determine internally (from the provisions of the acted parable) it has to do with the YEARS of Israel’s punishment for iniquity – each day indicating a “year” – a well-defined and accepted interpretive principle of certain Bible prophecies as proven many times.
In the final analysis it could not be understood until a certain TIME in Israel’s history. That time is the year of the ESTABLISHMENT of Israel as a re-established State among the nations! It could have been proposed; but not proven, as it now is.
As previously observed, the prophecy is both sophisticated and mathematically perfect, as we should by now expect from the utterances of the Almighty. Our task is to discover exactly HOW sophisticated and accurate it is!
We may summarize the prophecy so far, as
390 days: Punishment against the Ten Tribes of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
+ 40 days: Punishment against the Two Tribes of Judah (Southern Kingdom)
= 430 days (years): Punishment against the whole House of Israel
Now the punishment for Israel’s iniquities begins to play out in an incredibly powerful, precise course of events.
In 606 BC, Babylon came against Judah’s Commonwealth and placed it under servitude to Babylon. Judah was no longer master of its own destiny. The slavery to the kingdoms of men has begun for them.
Their captivity in Babylon lasted exactly 70 years.
These years thus diminish the entire term of punishment remaining, thusly:
430 = total years of judgment determined against the nation of Israel
- 70 = the years fulfilled during the captivity in Babylon
= 360 years now remaining in judgment against the nation of Israel.
The date lapse is the seventy years from 606 BC to 536 BC – the end of Judah’s captivity and restoration (temporarily) to its land BUT NOT AS A COMMONWEALTH – not with its own independence.
Now one encounters a stone wall! In the remaining history of the Jews there is no discernible fulfillment of the remaining days (years) of the prophecy as previously experienced by them. From 536 BC a lapse of a further 360 literal years brings one to the date of 176 BC – an era in which no end of Israel’s iniquity can be said to have occurred. Indeed, this date is within the “dark” period of God’s word about which we know (scripturally) nothing. So this method of determination cannot be utilized.
So how may we understand the MYSTERY of these 360 “days” (years, or “times”) of the prophecy? The conclusion that we must reach is the mystery is so deep and so highly unlikely that nobody could likely have solved this mystery until it was fulfilled! However, in viewing the prophecy from its possible (most likely) date of fulfillment, we can determine the sheer accuracy of it without any doubt whatever.
The Solution Determined
Here is the solution in our opinion: the answer lies in another reference in which the punishments of Israel are clearly stated. That reference is in Leviticus 26.
Lev 26:18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. There is more:
Lev 26:21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. There is more:
Lev 26:24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. There is more:
Lev 26:27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And there is yet more – further defining their punishment:
Lev 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen (nations), and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Note please that the final sentence is that they be scattered among THE NATIONS; this is not the earlier case of their being removed specifically to Babylon – one nation. It is that later scattering – in 70 AD.
This series of sentences has been called by some the Seven Times Factor, or the “Seven-X Factor.” Its definition and recognition is the key to the understanding of this prophecy. As we consistently observe in our studies of Bible prophecy our Father is an utterly truthful, straightforward, observant Revelator in these matters: He says exactly what He means to say – and He means exactly what He says! We do not have to syllogise, ponder, or theorize as to His intentions! We are not required to seek “types” and “shadows” as many do. And we are NOT PERMITTED to do so, either. We need to keep it as simple as He does in order to understand His faithful words.
The Prophecy is Fulfilled!
We “experimentally” apply the Seven-X Factor to the remaining 360 days (years) of the prophecy to determine just where it leads.
Now, let's apply the 7X factor to the remaining 360 years of judgment against nation Israel in this remarkable mathematical prophecy . . .
Remember, there were 360 years remaining for Israel’s judgments
x 7 which is the 7X factor of Leviticus 26
= 2,520 years of judgment which remained against the nation
of Israel – the Jews.
It is a familiar time span to us as students of prophecy, but in a slightly different application than that familiar to us, the beauty of which lends even greater weight and credibility to its fulfillment!
The Jewish calendar is the most sophisticated calendar on the planet, suiting perfectly its religious and civil obligations. It is both lunar and solar in character. It utilizes a 360 day Lunar year (the Prophetic year), but because this arrangement does not match the Solar year, mandates the addition of five months in each 19 year cycle in order to adjust for the seasons. These are “leap months” and are always designated Adar II (Adar Beit) as Adar is the last month of the Jewish calendar, and as such is simply repeated in those years. Well … not simply, but certainly repeated.
So we may understand this prophecy – and see its exquisite fulfillment – by first converting these times into Hebrew DAYS. We may do that in this way:
We start with 2,520 years, and multiply by Jewish days per year
x 360 days (of the basic Jewish calendar), which yields
907,200 which is the number of days of remaining judgment against Israel
after the Babylonian Captivity of 70 years.
Now … in the calendar which we must use to understand this time period (our Julian calendar of 365.25 days per year, including the adjustment (0.25) for Leap Years), we reach this figure in this way:
907,200 days times 365.25 days = 2,483.78 years of judgment which remained. These are now Julian years adjusted for Leap Years – in our current calendar years – and are easy to calculate as to their termination, as follows:
With this calculation done, we may ask how does it (or even DOES it) apply to the prophecy?
The entire integrated calculation looks like this:
606 BC – Judah (Israel) taken into Babylonian Captivity
- 70 years’ Captivity
= 536 BC – termination of first 70 years of judgment
+ 2,483 years of added (remaining) judgment according to the Julian calendar:
+ 1 year to adjust for the lack of a “O” year BC or AD
= 1,948 AD !!!!
This should mark the end of “Judgment” against Israel – and IT DID!
As surely everyone is aware, Israel was re-established in the year 1948 AD, exactly on God’s precise timetable according to this view of this prophecy!
In Summary of this entire prophecy we understand these corroborative facts of secular history – our means of cross-checking God’s perfect fulfillment …
The beginning of all this was the disaster known as the Babylonian Captivity of Judah (Israel) in 606 BC. Seventy years later, as Jeremiah had prophesied in Jeremiah 29: 10, the Jews returned to their land, but not as a sovereign people. At this point they entered upon the second phase of their judgments – the 907, 200 days of their remaining punishments!
The Persians permitted them, under Cyrus’ decree, to return to their land.
The Persians were overthrown by the Greeks, who retained hegemony over all the Persians’ territories including Judea with its Jews – still not a sovereign nation.
The Greeks were in turn overthrown by the Romans; the land remained
under the control of Rome. Judaea was merely a province of Rome – still
not a sovereign nation.
The Jews, however, were restive and rebellious. In 70 AD and again in 135 AD (the Bar Kochba Rebellion) they were expelled from the Land and forbidden to reenter it under penalty of death. Their Land was renamed Palestina (which is derived from Philistia – their antagonists of long standing) as a final insult to God’s people. Their long exile continued, having never actually ended since their exile to Babylon, for the Commonwealth was never again established.
The grinding history of the People inched slowly forward including many periods in which the awful punishments of Leviticus 26 were laid heavily upon their weary frames – the sky seeming to be brass and the earth iron under their feet – their oppression unequaled in the annals of humankind until the final insult came at the hands of Adolph Hitler in 1933 to 1945 – twelve years of the most inhuman persecution any nation had ever experienced; one year for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
But in the convoluted events that followed, within three short years, the Commonwealth of Israel was created. This fulfilled not only the subject prophecy on May 14, 1948, but also satisfactorily ended the “abandonment” (the “giving up”) of God’s people predicted so poignantly by Micah 5:3 Therefore will he give them up (abandon them in many other versions), until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth (or given birth: their “mother” being the divinely established and guided World Zionist Organization and its Jewish Agency, which birthed the State of Israel): then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel (or to the Land of the Children of Israel, from which they were officially expelled for the entire term of this incredible prophecy given to Ezekiel).
Note the two almost casually inserted words “until” and “then” in the prophecy but realize in retrospect that these are finite and concrete TIME MARKERS of this prophecy, giving perfect substantiation to the prophecy of Ezekiel Four as well as scores of others!
Slowly but inexorably, the people of God suffered the follies of their iniquity. On May 14, 1948 that horrible term of persecution ended forever with the formation of their newly birthed state – a nation brought forth in one day as Isaiah 66:8 foretold in graphic terms. Since that day their return to the Land has been unstoppable!
Ezekiel, in a later vision, saw the essential endpoint of Israel’s destiny, revealing it in these succinct and comforting words:
Ezekiel 37:21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen (nations), whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
Ezekiel, under the perfect will of the Almighty, then gave the vision in turn to us, for strength and confirmation of His purpose in the Endtime. It has only been in the ENDTIME that we could decipher and understand this remarkable and singular revelation. Before that time its meaning was essentially hidden from the eyes of all inquirers!
And now it comes to the forefront as one of the most complex, but mathematically perfect, long-term fulfillments that we could ever imagine – and as reconfirmation of God’s perfectly devised and executed Plan of the Ages, leading inerrantly to the re-establishment of all His people in the re-constituted Eden, the Garden of God, in the location where it originally existed but was made obsolescent by the lusts of Adam.
A Final Assessment
The establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 became THE signal event of the Endtime. The Lord Jesus told us that WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, THEN LOOK UP, FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH!
We cannot and MUST NOT relax our vigilant alertness. The singular events of 1948 and following that date are the unmistakable furthering of His Plan with Israel and with the earth – the non-bendable progression of His will and purpose.
Our Father has a COVENANT with Israel which He is faithfully executing on their behalf, because of His love for them, in spite of their yet continuing state of denial of His Son, and not for any righteousness of their own manufacture – but solely for His holy name’s sake as Ezekiel again confirms: Ezekiel 36:32 - Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Only a few sentences prior to this, the prophet had explained to them: Ezekiel 36:21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
The reason He intends to redeem them is clarified: God is jealous for His holy name and shall uphold it in the finality. He intends to redeem them in spite of their great faults; but He will do so only after these same people recognize Him and confess Him as “Blessed” – as in the phrase Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord (Luke 13: 35).
That grateful admission is REDEMPTIVE for them, and is indicated as coming as a result of His visible appearance and His active, aggressive military offensive against their neighbors round about as in Obadiah, Isaiah 63, and many other references. It shall be the beginning of his NEW covenant with them – the fulfillment of His eternal promises – including those promises wrapped within the blessed redemptive work of Jesus of Nazareth for Gentile believers as well.
Further credence for this explanation is adduced from consideration to the preamble to this revelation. The words are Ezekiel 4:1 - Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: 2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. 3 Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
This acted parable illustrated vividly that the prophecy is directly aimed at Jerusalem as capital and representative ensign of its people, Israel. This activity is integral to the People’s extensive, prolonged punishments – those exhaustive challenges with which we and they arefar too intimately acquainted. <HEL MD/USA May 8, 2012>
See www.jewfaq.org for further assistance and understanding of the Jewish calendar – a formidable challenge for most!
In the New Testament there are many references to demons, wrongly said by the A.V. to be devils, thereby prejudicing the mind towards believing they are a powerful army of evil spirits subject to a supernatural devil.
Some expositors state this to be the case. However in examining Greek lexicons we need to exercise caution. It is wise to distinguish between basic meanings established by ancient Greek literature, and theological applications of the terms used.
The three main
terms translated in association with demons in the New Testament are daimonion,
on and daimonizomai.
Definitions from Lexicons
The Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament defines daimonion as (a) the Divine power, deity (b) an inferior divinity deity or demon (as in magical p., Deiss., BS, 281; MM, Exp., x)
The rest of his space is devoted to the Old Testament (LXX) and New Testament usage.
But these usages are not definitions, rather the result of theological thinking, which may be correct, or may not be.
Thayer’s Lexicon supports these two meanings - 1. The divine Power, deity, divinity; 2. A spirit, a being inferior to God, superior to men…..in both a good sense and a bad;
The same definitions are used against the term daim
Green’s pocket lexicon, and also Davidson’s analytic Greek Lexicon both concur with the original meaning of the terms but like the other two, they also digress into theology when defining its N.T. usage.
The two meanings, (a) and (b) from Abbott-Smith and Thayer are the only real definitions given of the terms. Greek literature itself should supply the basic or source meanings of any word used in the New Testament. Other comments found in all four lexicons are in reality the theological applications of the terms in either the Old or New Testaments, and are therefore not basic meanings.
We therefore consider those theological applications to evil angels alleged to have rebelled against God, to be an assumed meaning. Any Greek term used in the New Testament should be considered in the light of its original usage first, and then its New Testament application should be thoroughly examined in relation to that usage.
This we propose to do.
In Greek literature the daim
on is the principal god
generally based on legendary events in the story of their race and deified
after death. The daimonion was seen to be the habitation of that alleged daim on
or departed human spirit, whether within an image representation, or within a
person. A daimonion therefore was an idol, the derangement itself, or the
person so deranged.
Any digression to evil angels is purely a theological application, which in our view is not sustained in Scripture. In fact there are no such things as evil angels, for God says that they are all ministering spirits, and that they do His, that is God’s bidding. (Hebrews 1:14 Psalm 103:20) In the Bible such intermediaries are only good, doing the will of God even if they fulfil His will in inflicting evil upon mankind.
This is very important for there is no God without Yahweh being the source of that power. In Isaiah 44:6 God says, “Beside me there is no god.” (KJV) The actual Hebrew expression is, “umibbal`aray e’yn elohim” This literally means “and without (or separate from) me there is no god.” In other words there must be a union with the super power of the universe in order to be called Gods. (elohim) In fact there are Gods (elohim) that exist by Him and work for Him. Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7 are clear that they are the angelic beings that do His will.
If then these good angels have acquired the rank of Gods, because they exist and work by the power of the supreme God, Yahweh; then it follows that there cannot be any alleged evil or good angels that exist outside of the power of the Almighty. Demonology is consequently a myth.
So the good angels are, with the exception now of Jesus, the only superhuman intermediaries between God and man. But Jesus is more than merely an intermediary like the angels. He is also our mediator and advocate.
New Testament Usage of daimonion
In reverting to the lexicon definitions, we do find the confirmation of this Greek usage in Acts 17:18 where Luke clearly uses the meaning of an inferior divinity in reporting Paul’s experience on Mars Hill in Athens, where he is suspected of setting forth strange gods. (daimonias pl of daimonion) It is evident from Paul’s usage here, the Athenians thought that he was preaching one who was a deified being between man and God. This accords exactly with definition (b) of the Abbott-Smith’s Manual Greek Lexicon.
The Greeks often applied the term daimonion to intermediary gods between the highest deity and mankind. To the Greek mind they could be either good or bad. Socrates for example credited his powers of examination to the good demon residing within him. However we know from Biblical examination that his demon did not exist apart from in his imagination, and that there are no bad demons either.
This is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul discusses the no-gods of Greek superstition in Corinth, and warns against practising idolatry and simultaneously partaking of the Lord’s supper, thereby adulterating their worship with demon (or no god) worship. (1Cor 10:14-21).
The context introducing this theme refers to twenty three thousand who escaped the destroyer in Egypt, (Exodus 12:23) and who were later destroyed in the wilderness because they prostituted to strange gods and murmured against God. (1Cor 10:8-10, Numbers 25:1-9)
Paul is here warning the Corinthian believers not to do likewise, and mix the purity of Christianity with the idolatry of gentilism. Consequently he says, “an idol is nothing in the world.” (1Cor 8:4) This is supported by Jeremiah 10:5,15 and Isaiah 65:3 where in the latter, the LXX says clearly, “This is the people that provokes me continually in my presence; they offer sacrifices in gardens, and burn incense on bricks to demons,(daimoniois) which exist not.”
Considering the LXX was translated in the second century B.C. the use of daimonion here is not surprising, being a Greek term used when Hellenism was rapidly rising in Israel.
Both the Isaiah
and Jeremiah passages are obviously the origin of Paul’s argument. The
worthlessness of the idol is also the impotence of the daim
on within it
to do either good or evil, because the daim on alleged to be in the idol
does not exist. Consequently neither the idol nor the daim on represented
is anything to be feared. “They cannot do
evil neither also is it in them to
do good.” (Jer 10:5) They are vanity,
the work of errors. (v15)
The image they worshipped was not seen by the ancients to have been devoid of power, for the god itself was said to have inhabited it. But the image (tselem or pesel) was purely a piece of inanimate material, which was unable to hear see or speak. (Leviticus 26:1, Isaiah 44:15-18) So when Jeremiah says that it was not in them to do either good or evil, (Jeremiah 10:5) he was renouncing the alleged inhabitant as non existent, and was seeing the engraved object for what it was in reality - just a work of mens’ hands.
In Greek mythology, the alleged power of the deified intermediaries, or any lesser beings between the greater deities and man, was not regarded as confined within the contours of the image. The image merely represented them in visual form, and the image was termed a daimonion as it allegedly housed the spirit of the deity within it.
So when Paul makes reference to the idol, he includes the whole imaginary concept of the god or goddess inhabiting the image, and these - according to Paul are nothing.
these no-gods of the nations, termed “xen
on daimoni on” in Acts
17:18 were alleged to be either good or bad, and most were said to be
intermediate between the chief god such as Zeus and mankind: but nevertheless
more powerful than men. One of them described as a spirit of divination (Greek
Python spirit) pestered Paul in his preaching, until he ordered the spirit to
come of her. (Acts 16:16) Did Paul or Luke believe in the snake of Delphi because that term was used?
Rather, he was rebuking the state of the damsel’s mind, addressing it just as Jesus rebuked the fever in Peter’s mother in law!
Old Testament reference to alleged demons.
The devils wrongly translated as such in Deuteronomy 32:17 were actually the shedim or false gods (no gods) of the local inhabitants to which Israel sacrificed. The notion of demon here is not defined by the term used in the Hebrew text. This term “shedim” is clumsily translated into the plural form of daimonion in the LXX. Professor Kaufmann says, "When the gods of the nations are called sh¢d£m it is not meant that they are evil spirits, but that they are insubstantial shades, 'no-gods,' with neither divine nor demonic functions." (The Religion of Israel by Y Kaufmann, University of Chicago (p. 65, fn. 1)
The question has now to be asked, “why then is the Old Testament silent regarding the existence of demons?
As we have already seen, in the O.T. only angels are God’s supernatural intermediaries, and perform His will. (Psalm 103:20) Anything else were non existent. The angels of God (good angels) brought both good and evil upon Israel.
Exodus 23:20-23 indicates that the angel of the LORD would both lead Israel and punish them when necessary in default of obedience. The destroying angels bereaved Egypt of all its firstborn, and are called angels of evil in Psalm 78:49: not evil angels as in the A.V. (Mal`akey is the plural construct of mal`ak meaning angel, and therefore evil is a substantive and not an adjective) They bring evil or punishment to other nations as well as to Israel in fulfilment of the will of God.
Therefore we can rightly conclude that God also used His angels to punish Israel in New Testament times, who had deflected to the misuse of Greek mythology in post-captivity Israel. These angels of evil are the only real intermediaries between God and man, and every intermediary daimonion of Greek thought is purely mythological. Worship or fear of these no-gods in Israel would always evoke the displeasure of God.
So when it is alleged that these demons are real, one is bowing to Greek superstition that is absolutely rejected by Paul as he educated the Christian community that the idol demon is nothing in the world.
The number of times that daimonion is used in the Book of Tobit for example, clearly reveals their post captivity deflection to Hellenistic mythology, in the worship of daimons. Yet demonology is entirely absent from the inspired writings of the Tanakh, and according to the dating of scholars, the book of Tobit originated well after the influence of Greek mythology began in Israel, and not in its alleged historical setting.
Subsequently, this strange culture of demonology grew widely in Israel until in N.T. times it was either still accepted, or had simply become a mode of expression to explain mysterious or unusual disorders.
Does their use then imply madness or mental derangement?
In many cases, the answer is yes. For example, John 10:20, “He hath a demon (daimonion) and is mad.”
The use of daimonion here corresponds to the alleged derangement of the mind, which we know to be far from the truth. They were the ones with the problem - not Jesus
John 8:52 also carries with it an insinuation of a deranged mind.
incident of the Gadarene demoniac/s of Matthew 8, Mark 5, and Luke 8 clearly
reveals the link of demons with mental derangement. In Matthew 8 daim
are said to be the possessors of these two men. Both Mark and Luke indicate
that the demonised wretch was clothed and in his right mind upon the exit of
the daimonia. There is here therefore a clear link with madness.
this case daim
ones used by Matthew was a colloquial name given to the
cause of the derangement, without committing himself to Greek mythology. The
term “daimonion” therefore refers to the possession itself – either to the mind
so possessed, or to the person so possessed by that terrible derangement.
Luke 11:14 also has clear overtones of a mental derangement. “He was casting out a demon and it (Gk neuter gender) was dumb. And it came to pass, when the demon was gone out the dumb spake.” Was this the demon or the man? It obviously was the man who was dumb, and who now spoke. The malady was in reality a possession of dumbness. So the Greek term “daimonion” used here refers both to the mental impediment and to the man himself.
Just as Jesus rebuked the fever in Peter’s mother in law, resulting in the fever leaving her, so the “dumb demon” was expelled. (Luke 4:39)
"DEMONS” EXPELLED EQUATED WITH ILLNESSES CURED
Matt. 4:23-24 reveals Jesus in Galilee healing all manner of diseases and sicknesses among the people. The report went into all Syria and they brought to him all those who held themselves in evil case, sorely pressed (with) differing diseases and torments; also those possessed of demons, epileptics, (seleneazomenous) and paralytics; and he healed them all.
No one there would have imagined that those tormented had been rubbed against the Lydian stone, or that the epileptics had been struck by the moon as its phase changed. But the original terms used literally mean just that. So why should it be insisted upon that those demonised were actually possessed by other beings inhabiting their bodies?
Blind and dumb – Matt 12:22 describes a demonised person being healed: yet there is no mention of casting out the demon. If our Lord healed the man then the man himself was the problem. There was obviously a psychological impediment to sight and dumbness, leaving us with the conclusion that like the previous case, being demonized was a colloquial expression for an unknown problem.
My Internet Provider sent me a message from Mailer – daemon@gizmo etc, because there was an unknown cause for not finding the addressee. There must have been gremlins in the line. Of course there are many viruses there as well. This language is understood by all those who participate in electronic mail, and yet no one gets tangled up in mystifications.
Demons are sometimes identified as sicknesses.
Isaiah 53:4 compared with Matt 8:16 - 17 suggests casting out the spirits of those demonized could be simply expressed as healing their sicknesses. The next verse indicates that what was involved in the cure was taking their infirmities and sicknesses upon himself, and that this operation became a heavy burden for him in their cure. Here the term daimonizomai is used, meaning to be demonized.
Here, being demonized is equated with the spirits that our Lord subsequently cast out. The use of the term spirits suggests mental pain or stress that is also inherent in the Hebrew source term “mak`obh. It is used to express this in Psalm 32:10, and Jeremiah 51:8. In all its uses in the Old Testament there is not the slightest hint of demon possesson, but mental distress, sometimes allied with physical pain. Accordingly a word from the Master was all that was necessary to relieve their distressed state of mind and restore them to health.
So Matthew summarised the healings with, “himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.” Infirmities indicated the totality of their mental pain and distress that often affects one physically, while sicknesses covered all their diseases. (Gk nosos Heb Choliy)
So why use the term demonized at all unless it were common to describe most forms of mental distress by the use of that term? The use of it did not implicate our Lord in the belief of demonology: rather was it the recorder who here used the vernacular, leaving others to draw their own conclusions.
An epileptic boy – deaf & dumb – Matt 17:14-18, MK 9:14-19, Luke 9:38-43.
This cure is one of the three healings recorded in the three synoptic gospels. Each contributes something the others do not.
For example Matthew, in introducing the case to Jesus, records that the father used the word lunatic – literally meaning moonstruck. In Mark he attributes the problem to a dumb spirit, whilst Luke is more dramatic indicating that a spirit was taking hold of him. From the symptoms that follow the boy is actually an epileptic with the illness attributed to a spirit.
Spirit is a very elastic word. It is used in several places for the spirit of our minds, for doctrine, and any power that moves or inspires one into taking action. So it is appropriate to attribute an undefined or mysterious cause to a spirit, albeit an unclean one.
Both Mark and Luke are more descriptive of the throes the afflicted boy experienced. The spirit threw him to the ground, rent him; he foamed as a result, ground his teeth and became parched, and at times was thrown into either fire or water; so the father fears it will kill him. When it finally leaves him the boy lies shaking and trembling.
Why then should Matthew attribute this fit of epilipsy to a demon, (daimonion) unless daimonion is merely a common term like spirit used to name an unknown cause?
The simple answer is that the part of the mind so disturbed was relieved of the power holding it in its possession. With the pressure relieved, the possession disappeared and the boy was normal.
The healing procedure - Matthew says Jesus rebuked him, (the boy) and the demon (daimonion or possession) went out from him, and the boy was cured from that hour. The text does not say he rebuked the devil (demon) as in the A.V. Young’s Literal translation is correct that Jesus rebuked him (the epileptic).
However both Mark and Luke say that Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit. So in putting it all together, identification between the unclean spirit and the boy himself is being made. Mark concludes with the action of the Lord raising him after convulsing and appearing as dead: but Luke simply says that he healed the boy. So casting out the daimonion is really healing the boy of his epilepsy, and that the epilepsy was the possession.
From the rebukes directed both to the boy and the spirit, we understand that the unclean spirit and the boy himself, were integrated as one in the mind of our Lord, so that in rebuking the boy he was rebuking the spirit that departed never to return. This was not therefore a separate entity but the state of the boy’s mind which the Lord cured. (Gk iaomai)
This term simply applies to healing. Iason is the cognate of iaomai, and means healer. The Greek legend of Iason or as we would say, Jason – presents him as a pedler of healing therapies. According to Greek legend he brought back the golden-fleece prior to his being deified. Such is the nature of the term used to describe the healing of the epileptic boy. It merely signified to heal, and does not imply the casting out of demons.
John Baptist query and answers Luke 7:19-23
When John the Baptist sent his disciples to question whether or not Jesus was the Messiah or were they to look for another, the answer of Jesus is very instructive.
Luke 7:21-22 shows Jesus curing many of their infirmities and plagues and of evil spirits, and giving sight to the blind. Then he said to them go and tell John what you have seen and heard, for the blind see, the lepers are cleansed, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and to the poor the gospel is preached.
The use of the term daimonion and spirit has already been discussed in conjunction with the blind and the deaf to be a mental impediment to sight and hearing. Yet here there is not a word about casting out demons or spirits, but simply preaching, healing people and raising the dead. So in reality, the fact of curing people of evil spirits is restoring people to their right mind as a part of the healing process. The uncleanness of their mind (spirit) has been thereby exorcised.
The healing of many people
Matthew 8:16-17, Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-41
Matthew simply states that they brought many demonised and he cast out the spirits with a word, and he healed all those evil afflicted. Summarising this, he says, “So that it may be fulfilled what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ’himself took our weaknesses and bore the diseases’.” In that case being demonized with spirits is said by our Gospel writer, Matthew to be equated with human weakness and diseases.
This is the divine inspired explanation of the phenomenon.
So when it says in Mark that he cast out many demons (daimonia) and did not suffer the demons (daimonia) to speak, he was silencing the demoniacs in the process of healing them. Their uncomplicated simplistic mind was ready to receive the fact of Christ’s true sonship as the power of the healing.
We have already shown that the term “daimonion” can refer either to the man’s mind so possessed, or to the possessed person himself. So Luke’s record of the incident can also be understood as our Lord silencing the afflicted persons.
The healing of the Demoniac
Luke describes him as a man with (Gk “en” basically meaning “in”) an unclean spirit. So he was overwhelmed by an unclean spirit. We note the singular - an unclean spirit – not many unclean spirits. There is nothing supernatural about this statement. Scripture speaks of the spirit of our minds being renewed. (Ephesians 4:23 2Timothy 1:7) This man had a great need for his to be renewed from the superstition of darkness. “A man with an unclean spirit” is the divine description of the man’s real state of mind prior to his healing.
It was this man himself who introduced the alleged phenomenon of being possessed with many demons, and that his name was Legion. “Because we,” he said, “are many,” thus identifying himself with the legion. Consistently, we have seen that the dumb demon was identifiable with the dumb man himself in Luke 11:14. So the term “Legion” also describes a confused tormented person. Rid this mind of its multiple confused identity and the man would be restored to sanity.
Jesus not only did this, but left him with a witness of the reality of his healing. Just as the Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore, so the drowned pigs along the shore of the lake testified to Legion’s cured state of mind.
Being victim of his own thinking, he even identified himself with the demons he had been convinced were his problem. Correspondingly, the cures would need to have been addressed in such a way to convince him of their removal. No wonder James says, “even the demons (daimonia) believe and tremble.” (James 2:19) The Gadarene wretch had not merely confused himself with one, but with many. This would have left such an indelible impress on the mind of the disciples that James identified the daimonia as the poor wretches confessing Jesus, believing and trembling before him.
closer look at the meaning of daim
on and daimonion shows that there is a
subtle difference in meaning between the two words. This difference is often
confused in the contextual renderings of the narratives. The difference lies in
the significance of the endings of the two words. This difference is measured
by examining words with similar endings to those of daim on and
Demos the people - demosios that which belongs to the people.
Eidolon an idol - eidolion an idol’s temple
Daktulos a finger - daktulios a ring around the finger
Emporos a merchant - emporios a market place
on a demon - daimonion the abode of a demon
Consistency in Greek grammatical structures suggests that “daimonion” in cases of demon possession may often refer to the man possessed. We have already demonstrated that it is usually the mind that is said to be possessed. Jesus then, in casting out the daimonias was ridding the man of the possession by simply curing the person of his mental illness.
The daimon, the alleged deity regarded as the possessor, was in reality non-existent, so the mind so possessed was actually under the power of an undefined spirit or mental disorder.
James says that the daimonias believe and tremble, referring to the individuals possessed. With respect to the Gadarene miracle, the one/ones possessed actually believed and trembled in fear of the consequences of Christ’s visit.
The lexicon meanings have unfortunately omitted the real
significance of the difference between daim
and daimonion. Greek gods were all
based on legends of people who lusted and fought one with the other. The daim on was supposedly the
"departed human spirit" of a deified person. The daimonion was supposed to be possessed by the daim on, whether that possession was represented by a mere
graven image of the deified person, or was a real living person so possessed.
In either case the image or the person was identified as a daimonion, that is a
possession. The mind of the person so possessed was also the alleged residence of
the daim on.
Consistent with this, the Syriac translation of the New Testament, the Peschitta, has shown a remarkable absence of reference to demon possession. Because of Lamson’s familiarity with the local traditions and language, he saw the daimonia as the deranged persons themselves, and translated from the Aramaic to English accordingly.
Are Demons Reality or Phantasy
Matthew 4:24 groups those afflicted with demons (daimonizomenous) with those who were considered to be moonstruck. (seleniazomenous) Are we to take the one literally and not the other!
The Bible uses the vernacular of the period, its terminology still being understood by contemporary readers, without committing the writers themselves to the belief in these foreign no gods, or even to the demons of modern theology.
Thus far we have shown that the Scriptural record does not commit itself to the promotion or acceptance on the part of the inspired writers to subscribe to the doctrine of demonology though its terms have been used. However we cannot say the same for the Pharisees and other leaders of the Jews at the time of Christ.
In Matthew 12:24 the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting demons (daimonia) out by Beelzebub the Philistine god of the flies. (2Kings 1:2) Jesus replies in the terms of their own accusation without acknowledging the existence of this no god deity. So his use of the term demon is also no acknowledgement of his acceptance of their existence. To him they were also no god deities.
This practice was obviously widespread and accepted by the elders, for our Lord asked them, “if I by Beelzebub cast out demons by whom do your children cast out?” (Matthew 12:27)
Accordingly, God had given Israel’s leaders over to be victims of their own perversions. Then if some of the maladies attributed to demon possession were induced by dwelling on their own superstition, it was consistent to represent those psychologically induced afflictions in the very language they themselves used. It would also follow that the exorcism of so called demons by the sons of the Pharisees would also have been a psychological process. The non-committal question of Jesus in Luke 11:19, “by whom do your sons cast out,” did more than merely suggest that they were successful in that practice.
In being true to the Greek text, note the absence of the word “them” in this verse indicating our Lord did not subscribe to their vain imaginations.
The nation was evidently in the grip of demonic fever borrowed from Greek mythology, only to reap the rewards of their own foolishness.
This would not be the first time God had given them over to their own waywardness and imaginations. He gave them over to the vermilion coated conquerors with whom they were so mesmerised, and to the “Queen of Heaven” to whom they had lustily paid homage. (Ezekiel 23:14-17 Jeremiah 7:18) An evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul – a lying spirit from the LORD was sent to Ahab – (1 Samuel 16:14-16, 1Kings 22:23)
“Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6) “which the Lord has not wrought?” (LXX) “If the LORD has not caused it.” (TANAKH)
But alas, Greek mythology overtook the nation. It soon became immersed in Hellenised thought. So transition back to the Old Testament principle of God’s superintendence was required. Simultaneously his message and his work needed to be understood by the simple uneducated folk. So the common vernacular needed to be used without committal to its vulgarity. For the Lord to have spent time in rebutting theories of demon possession would have been time wasted on his audience. His mission was to preach the Kingdom of God: not to debate the causes of disease and distress, but to heal them. (Isaiah 61:1-2 Matthew 8:1)
So the prevalent word used was daimonion, and that in the sense of possession, without committal to deified departed human spirits of mysticism, or any other ism that controverted the Scriptures.
Unclean Spirits in the Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles reveals an absence of any reference to daimonia apart from one application that rightly applies it to gods. Unclean spirits were referred to four times only, with one reference to the spirit of Python. Unclean spirits, as we have seen describe an unclean state of mind that became vocal in their distress. It is also interesting to note that Acts 19:12 indicates that their illnesses departed from them and the evil spirits went out of them. Where did the illnesses go? The answer must be where the evil spirits went. The people with the physical and mental illnesses were simply healed. Their afflictions were gone.
Also Acts 8:7 when translated verbally reads, “for many of those having unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out; and many who had been paralytic and lame were healed.” The subject of the verb translated “came out” is “many.” “Those having unclean spirits” identify which “many” is being referred to. It was the many who had unclean spirits who cried out. (middle voice) Their agitated state of mind with reduced control over their emotions, would have impelled them to cry out for help. So that eratic state of mind called an unclean spirit was at the root of their appeal.
If the sentence refers to the spirits crying out in being exorcised, why was the middle voice used? The middle voice in Greek requires the subject to act upon itself: yet the spirits would not have come out of their own accord if they were exorcised. Neither would they have come out because of any personal concern for their unwilling hosts, an alternative requirement of the middle voice. So there is a real problem with that approach.
is understandable though, that those afflicted with mental problems would want
to come out into the open places to be healed once they heard news that Philip
was there healing people, and that they would excitedly cry for help. Bo
the participial form of Boa o translated here as crying out, especially
denotes a cry for help. (Thayer)
Daimonion in the Epistles and The Revelation
There are two references in the Epistles, 1Timothy 4:1 and James 2:19.
The first refers to those who depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits (seductive doctrines) and doctrines of demons. The demons here being the plural of daimonion. That is, teachings about no god intermediaries. This has been fully identified in the Roman doctrine of canonised saints, who supposedly intercede between its seduced followers and Mary their alleged Queen of Heaven, who also intercedes on their behalf.
We have already applied the other in James 2:19 to the Gadarene demoniacs who recognised the Lord for who he was, and in meeting him expected that he would torment and shackle them like all others had done. They graphically demonstrate the anxiety with which those so afflicted manifest when coming to grips with the reality of the name of Jesus.
Why should one think that it refers to supernatural intermediaries when the only ones existing in the universe of God are His angels that do His will, and who rejoice at the name of Jesus?
Again, why should we think otherwise when it has been demonstrated that the term daimonia used here can merely apply to the person possessed, by being the victim of an aberration?
YLT Revelation 9:20 and the rest of men, who were not killed in these plagues, neither did reform from the works of their hands, that they may not bow before the demons, and idols, those of gold, and those of silver, and those of brass, and those of stone, and those of wood, that are neither able to see, nor to hear, nor to walk.
This is self explanatory, as these demons are the work of their hands.
The historical setting of this verse is the overthrow of the idolaters in the Eastern third of the Roman Empire by the conquering Islamic hordes.
The daimonia are identifiable as the no-god intermediaries that the Eastern third of the Roman Empire worshipped – namely idols – images of Mary the mother of God, and a host of canonised patron saints etc – all the work of their hands with no counterpart in reality.
The final overthrow of the papal power is noted in Revelation 18:2 when Babylon the Great (Rome) will fall. It already had been the home of pagan demon worship for many centuries, but then they will be entrapped in the prison house never again to be released for the worship of the masses. For upon her fall she became “a habitation of demons, even a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.” The pagan idolatry of Rome will never find a place in worship again. There will be no phoenix to rise from the ashes in the destiny of Rome.
When the unclean spirits like frogs go forth to all the earth they will be the co-product of Rome with the other nations of Europe, hence the apocalyptic symbology of the spirits of demons going forth to the kings of the earth to bring them together to the battle of the great of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:14) God has no rivals in the spirit world for He says in Joel 3:2 and in Zechariah 14:2 that I (Yahweh) will gather all nations.
It is God who rules in the Kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:25) and not the imagined spirit world of gentile mysticism. One is therefore obliged to understand the passages in a light that will be at perfect harmony with the rest of Scripture.
God uses men to fulfil His purpose, and He ensures that those with malicious thinking (daimonion) are in the portals of power at the right time. The doctrines of demons are predominant in the arraigning of the kings of the earth against the LORD and against His anointed. (Revelation 16:14 Psalm 2:1-3)