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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 rumor mills grinds on … and on. For about three years we have been hearing that Israel is poised to strike Iran’s nuclear plants in several lightning air strikes in order to slow or halt Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.
Joel Rosenberg’s Blog of today reveals a continuation of this thought.
We always try to read Rosenberg’s observations on events in the Middle East. He is about as near as one can come to being an “expert” on the geopolitics of the Middle East, with the serious reservation that he is also just another “Christian” who is observing them from the traditional, mainstream perspective of “The Rapture, The Tribulation, The Last Seven Years, The AntiChrist, The Devil,” and all such nonsensical (in our view) considerations.
Still, it is what the “competition” is saying. Those folk include Hal Lindsey, Perry Stone, “Pastor” John Hagee (San Antonio), Jack van Impe (Troy, Michigan), Tim LaHaye, and others who are considered by the Protestant establishment to be scholars in the field of Bible prophecy.
Their un-recognized (by themselves) difficulty is perhaps most pronounced in their deviant understanding of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9:24-27.
We say “deviant” because we feel that their understanding, being colored principally by their view of “The AntiChrist” and the Devil – and their incomplete understanding of the events of that vital prophecy (including only fuzzy dates as conjectured by them, and approximate fulfillments, in their view) – and due to their uniform (to a man) postponement of the “seventieth week” of that prophecy to our present time – it becomes impossible for them really to extract from that prophecy its true interpretation.
Those misconceptions are one of the basic keys to their inadequacy truly to interpret End Time events as foretold by the prophets of Israel.
In the interpretation of the Almighty’s prophets and their predictions, fuzzy and approximate will not yield accuracy NOR a correct understanding of them. And especially when mixed with the superstitions adhered to by the Christian world, of a fallen angel (Satan), the inherent immortality of the soul, and The Rapture of millions of “Christians.”
All these factors lead to an impossibly contorted muddle of the certain events which the prophecy really signifies. For a well-researched discussion of this prophecy you may consult articles devoted to it in the eTPL web site (address below the signature line at the end of this email)
What is Happening Now
On Sunday, September 15, 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the Knesset (Israel’s parliament). He later addressed his Cabinet on Tuesday following. On both occasions he gave new indications that Israel really is approaching a deadline in its dilemma with Iran’s nuclear progress.
In the interest of cooperation with the U.S. administration, Mr. Netanyahu and the top members of his security team will travel to Washington and meet with President Obama and his staff at the White House on September 30th. He is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly the next day in New York.
The liberal Israeli daily paper, Ha’aretz, has said that Netanyahu’s expressed mission is “To persuade the U.S. and Western powers to intensify – not ease up on – pressure on Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the fuel to build them.”
Given the importance of this issue, it is not our view that the Israeli prime minister is coming to the West to “get permission” from the U.S. to carry out an Israeli strike. It is more likely that he is coming to issue a heads-up that the world had better prepare itself for conflict on perhaps a grand scale.
We don’t believe Israel is intimidated by Iran’s threats of a violent response.
We also don’t believe the Jewish state feels it can wait much longer for sanctions and diplomacy to take effect.
All the news out of Iran is stressing the thousands of centrifuges being installed in order to move its nuclear progress forward at a greater rate. The Iranian Republic now has many thousands of these machines employed in the enrichment of the elements that are necessary for nuclear weapons development and production.
It is moving along parallel paths in its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which it intends to employ in nuclear warfare. The missiles being developed are already capable of striking Israel and almost all of Europe and parts of Africa.
The rogue state’s leaders claim to be perfecting missiles which could reach North America in the very near future.
They also claim to be developing electromagnetic pulse bombs (EMP bombs) which, delivered by an high altitude rocket and exploded above any region will result in great damage to the electrical grids, cybernetic installations, computers, and every device operated with transistors such as automobiles, buses, rail systems, all TV and radio stations, water distribution systems, and governmental infrastructure.
Such an attack would instantly set a culture back by at least 200 years, creating havoc in all areas of human endeavor.
As already stated, there has been discussion of an impending Israeli attack upon Iran, and its results several times in recent years.
Reports are that Netanyahu has been very close to ordering his forces to attack Iran more than once in the recent past, but, as early as 2010, he faced not only opposition from Mossad (Israel’s CIA) but also other top defense officials – so he postponed any such decision.
Most such actions have been a measured reaction to former Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s calls for the destruction of Israel. In late 2012, Israel was close to ordering an attack upon Iran but was deterred by President Obama. At that time, Netanyahu did have the support of his defense and intelligence services.
A former national security adviser to the Israeli government has recently revealed that Netanyahu was very close to striking Iran in September/October, 2012, but desisted when discouraged by Obama so as not to interfere with the presidential election, which was then in progress.
That decision also coincided with Mr. Netanyahu’s speech at the UNO in which he drew a chart with a “red line,” which he said he would not allow Iran to cross in its nuclear weapons progress.
Former Israeli General Giora Eiland is reported by The Times of Israel to have explained that, “A
Recent developments which have affected Israel’s position on these matters are …
· The election of a new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, in early August. That development seems to be lulling the Obama administration into a conviction that Tehran is moderating – becoming more willing to cooperate.
· The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria has also impacted Israeli considerations. Rosenberg’s observation on this is “ …
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet are certainly disconcerted by the vacillations that are taking place in Washington: the indecisive, shifting pronouncements by the Obama administration, the off-again, on-again approach to the Syrian gas attacks upon its own people.
This is doubtless the impetus behind Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to come to Washington this month.
The Times of Israel, again, had this to say on September 5th in National Review Online:
From readily available information, this facility is only one of multiple sites at which Iran is hard at work to develop nuclear capability. An Israeli attack would necessarily include the key installations among the entire group, and be aimed at retarding or removing Iran’s thrust toward nuclear weapons.
Iran is moving rapidly toward nuclear weapons.
It has avowed several times that it will eradicate Israel as soon as it is achievable.
The Iranian hierarchy is driven by an apocalyptical expectation of the appearance of the Twelfth Imam – the Iranian Messiah – to bring about the “end of the world” and establish Islamic ascendancy over the entire earth.
Israel has declared that it will not allow this to happen.
The U.S. administration is exhibiting weakness in its lurching, confused, chaotic approach to the Syrian nerve gas crisis, which gives pause to Israel that it will in any way take concrete action against Iran’s nuclear thrust.
So Israel feels strongly that it is “on its own” in this contest against Iran, and seems rapidly to be approaching its deadline for action.
Will Bibi Netanyahu now order a military strike or strikes upon Iran? It now seems more imminent than ever.
But the more important involvement of Iran (Persia) with Israel shall be that conflict prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39 – the war of Gog of the Land of Magog – in which Gog and all its confederates plan to invade Israel with the intention of taking “a spoil,” but instead, inherit a mass grave in Israel, at Hamon-gog, east of the Sea of Galilee (according to Young).
<HEL code 9M> ~1850 words.
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
Commentary by H. E. Lafferty
The release of 26 “Palestinian” criminals from Israeli jails last week is a travesty. It is the repeat of several such “gestures” previously made by Israel to the “Palestinians,” to no avail whatever.
In our opinion it is a senseless and obtuse decision by Israel.
Because their expectation of a good result from this release shall be a great disappointment.
Because the PLO cannot be trusted to keep its word or even to alter its tactics in any way.
These men are hardened criminals who have killed innocent Israelis in numerous, brutal ways. Yet in Ramallah each is greeted like a returning conquering hero by his extended family as well as Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.
One of them used a club to murder an elderly Israeli man sitting on a park bench in a public place. Another rolled a huge stone off a rooftop to kill an Israeli soldier on guard in the street below. Others have stabbed, shot, beaten, robbed and violated both Israeli men, women, and children simply because they were Jewish.
Yet those who are newly pursuing the “peace process” (in quotes, because it ISN’T a peace process), have decided to trust the “Palestinian” leadership – that it really intends, this time, after scores of failures, to reach some kind of peace accord with Israel. Yasser Arafat solemnly swore to do that in 1993 on the south lawn of the White House – signing the famed “Oslo Accords” – but returned to Ramallah to resume killing and raping and desecrating Israelis by the scores each year.
This time will be no different.
Secretary of State Kerry is headed for a colossal failure unless we are grossly mistaken. It has been said that “Insanity is doing the same thing as previously, and expecting a different result.”
Therefore, this is verifiable insanity!
It would appear that if a prisoner release might bear any fruit whatever, it should be done in stages, not giving too much too early. We could suggest this process, which would remunerate any advances with a small reward – in small increments.
Step one: First, a small group of prisoners – lesser offenders that these men – should be selected and placed in secure holding pens outside the prison. These should not be released at all UNLESS the “Palestinians” agreed and DID INDEED recognize, before the entire world, the State of Israel as a Jewish State.
Step two: release half of these prisoners.
Step three: By negotiations, reach another milestone agreement between the two sides, and assure in some way that it also shall be carried out.
Step four: release the other half of the prisoners.
Step five: Select another small group of criminals from the prisons, and place them in the same holding pens outside the prison (again, pending a contingency release).
Step six: Reach another concrete achievement in the “peace process” before releasing half of group two.
Future steps: Repeat the above process as long as there is progress. Israel has enough prisoners to carry on in step-wise fashion for years, if necessary.
In other words, prisoner releases should be contingent ONLY upon reaching concrete goals within the entire process leading toward peace.
It’s All A Mere Fantasy
However, all the above is mere fantasy.
The entire thrust toward further division of God’s Land of Promise (promised to the Israelis – not to the “Palestinians”) is a complete farce.
The prophet, in Joel 3:2, reveals that some shall have parted My land – and holds those who have done so responsible for their actions. The entire chapter concerns this time in which we live. It foretells that many of God’s blatant enemies shall be drawn into the Valley of Jehoshaphat – which in two other verses is referred to as the Valley of Decision – and punished grossly for their actions.
This so-called “Peace Process” is a consummate sham; it is a not very well-disguised goal of the PLO, to take ALL the land of Israel and turn it into an Islamic Caliphate, thus desecrating the name and will of the Almighty, and, if successful, bringing shame upon Him.
That shall not happen!
President Mahmoud Abbas last week emerged from the presidential compound holding up the arms of two of the released prisoners. His words, in Arabic, were, "These men are only the beginning....We will not rest until all the others are among us."
Each of the released prisoners will be given about $2,000 per month for their “suffering” at the hands of the Israelis in a prison where their daily fare was far superior to their scarce rations when they were at home.
This arrogance – this persistent, in-your-face resistance to the known will of the God of all the earth – is repugnant and reprehensible to the Almighty.
Nine Months Longer
Herb Keinon and Michael Wilner reported in The Jerusalem Post, yesterday, that “Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon has said, ‘We set ourselves the goal of nine months in which we will try to reach something with the Palestinians. We've been trying for 20 years since Oslo, and for over 120 years of the conflict. The skepticism in the tone of my remarks is apparent, but we've decided to give it a chance.’"
Two portions of this statement are most important.
First, the goal for bringing forth “peace” is on the table for a limit of nine months – the period of human gestation. The process itself is entirely human and humanistic – not according to the will of the Almighty.
Its end shall be, in our opinion, a spontaneous abortion.
The infant “State of Palestine” shall be stillborn, never having taken a viable breath.
Second, other greatly significant consequences may be in the offing.
Nine months (the time allotment given for some agreement) from this date will end in the middle of May, 2014.
Why is that time span important?
In almost exactly nine months, the State of Israel will observe the Feast of Passover. On that specific day there begins a fourth cycle of lunar eclipses known as “blood red moons” in which the color of the eclipsed moon is seen as dark red.
In that year, another blood red lunar eclipse will occur on the Feast of Tabernacles!
In the following year, another blood red lunar eclipse will occur on the Feast of Passover.
And yet another shall occur on the Feast of Tabernacles of that year.
That is the description of a “Jewish Tetrad,” an entirely unique set of FOUR lunar eclipses occurring on THESE specific feast days for the fourth time since AD1492.
We have previously published papers on the “Jewish Tetrads.” They are available on demand in “Other Items” on the electronic Prophecy Letter (eTPL) website, at this web address: https://sites.google.com/site/prophecyletters2013/home/other-items
Those two articles, 3 More Heavenly Signs, and 5 Signs in the Sun and the Moon, will give you vital details on the significance of these signs in the heavens, and the importance of the KEY dates on which they have occurred ONLY three times in the past 500 years – and the sure determination of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) that the fourth occurrence is imminently to begin to occur in only nine months from today.
Why Nine Months?
Why was the process given only NINE months to get something accomplished?
The human term of gestation being nine months, it gives this entirely humanistic, flesh-generated process to fail miserably. But there may be greater importance lying before mankind at that time, signaled appropriately by great and wonderful “signs in the sun and the moon,” visible to the entire world.
So, another question is, What does this approaching singular occurrence portend?
Joel 3:15 foretells that the sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining – two phrases which are there indicated to be significant of the end of the present aion as we know it, and the initiation of the Kingdom of God on the earth, an absolutely CERTAIN coming polity, foretold scores of times in His Word.
We believe this fourth (and final, for the next 500 years!) set of Jewish Tetrads may be extremely significant to Believers.
We urge diligence and concentration in godly affairs.
We urge care in matters of conduct and diligence in seeking the LORD.
We urge the servants of the God of heaven to enter into their prayer closets frequently, asking guidance and strength for the days which lie ahead.
We urge all who hope for salvation to concentrate upon the next NINE MONTHS, preparing themselves diligently for perhaps the event of the ages – the return to the earth of the Lord Jesus Christ, to begin His judgment and His kingdom.
We are not proposing an exact “date” in this suggestion, as no man knows the day nor the hour of His coming, but every watchful and diligent servant must recognize that this is the TIME and the SEASON in which He shall return … and realize that our generation is the terminal generation of mankind as we know it.
<HEL MD/USA code 8M>
Opinions and speculations as to Israel’s readiness to act militarily against Iran have floated in the public media for the last several years. But now, the showdown seems imminent. Some people think that Israel, inundated with local challenges such as the war in Syria, the presence of Hezbollah and Hamas on it doorstep, and the animosity from Turkey, has taken its eyes off Iran.Not so, claims Mr. Netanyahu; during the interview he stressed the extreme seriousness of the Iranian face-off, making clear that is uppermost in his mind:
The Israeli PM appeared on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday to discuss the Iran threat.
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.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the 2013 Israeli Presidential Conference on Thursday:
- From Morocco to Pakistan there is an earthquake. There's a struggle in this vast region between medievalism and modernity. I'm convinced that the forces of modernity, freedom, information, education will ultimately win out. But ultimately is not good enough for the Jewish people. Ultimately the forces of light overcame the forces of darkness in the last century, but our people paid a terrible price. That will not happen again.
- The greatest threat that we face is that the most dangerous weapons in the world fall into the hands of the most dangerous regimes in the world. We cannot allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons. The Iranian regime has to abide by the international demands, stop all enrichment at all levels, remove the nuclear material that's already been enriched, and shut down the illicit nuclear facilities.
- In addition to security, in addition to prosperity, we want to achieve peace. The only way to achieve peace is to begin the negotiations for peace. We're ready to begin negotiations with the Palestinians now, without preconditions. There's no reason on earth we shouldn't negotiate. And we give Secretary Kerry all the support for his important effort.
- But the reason there is no peace has to be addressed. Why have successive governments, six prime ministers since Oslo - and before Oslo - not been able to achieve peace with the Palestinians? Why has this conflict rage from 1920, when the first Palestinian Arab attacks on the Jewish immigration office in Jaffa began? It was the fervent opposition to a Jewish state in any boundary.
- If we're going to have peace, we're going to have Palestinian leadership that says: "We are willing to make peace with the Jewish state. We will accept the right of the Jewish people to have a nation state." That was and remains the underlying problem that makes peace elusive.
- Ultimately it is the willingness of the Palestinians to accept a Jewish state, to accept the right of the Jews to live in their ancient homeland as a sovereign people, that will determine the success of our efforts. The heart of the matter is the willingness of our neighbors to accept us as we accept them.
It is obvious that the Palestinians cannot reach a peace agreement with Israel, for such is not the policy of Islam. Islam demands that the Jews be banished from what they call Islamic lands and Islam as a whole is prepared to kill every Jew to attain their aims.
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
By Chuck Devore, Investor's Business Daily, April 13, 2011
Israel, a New Jersey-sized nation of 7.5 million people (1.7 million of whom are Arab) filed 7,082 international patents in the five years ending in 2007. By contrast, 28 majority-Muslim nations with almost 1.2 billion people — 155 times the population of Israel — were granted 2,071 patents in the same period.
Narrowing the comparison to the 17 Muslim nations of the Middle East from Morocco to Iran and down the Arabian Peninsula, the 409 million people in that region generated 680 patents in five years.
This means that the Arab and Iranian world produced about one patent per year for every 3 million people, compared with Israel's output of one annual patent for every 5,295 people, an Israeli rate some 568 times that of Israel's neighbors and sometime enemies.
The awarding of Nobel Prizes in the quantitative areas of chemistry, economics and physics shows a similar disparity, with five Israeli winners compared with one French Algerian (a Jew who earned the prize for work done in France) and an Egyptian-American (for work done at Caltech in California).
This phenomenon is manifested in other nations as well, where bad government begets poverty. Free South Korea, with 48.8 million people, filed 24,200 international patents from 2003 to 2007. The 24.5 million people in the North Korean slave state managed to produce 14 patents in the same period.
But wealth isn't the sole explanation for this disparity in intellectual innovation. Saudi Arabia enjoyed a per capita income of $24,200 in 2010. Yet the Kingdom averages an anemic 37 patents per year compared with Israel's 1,416 per year — and there are 3 1/2 times more Saudis than Israelis, meaning that Israel's per capita output of intellectual property is 132 times greater than Saudi Arabia's.
My on-the-ground education in the Middle East began in 1984, when I attended school at American University in Cairo, Egypt. At the time, Israel was a socialist state, still very much mired in a planned economy focused on heavy industry and agriculture, replete with government subsidies and heavy regulation.
Israel's per capita output stood at $6,749 (in current U.S. dollars), 41% of America's — slightly less than the Soviet Union's per capita output at the time.
Egypt also featured a planned economy in the 1980s, with smoke-belching heavy industries making Cairo among the world's most polluted cities. Egypt's per capita production was $881, about 5% of U.S. per capita output. Israel produced about 7.7 times more goods and services per person than did Egypt.
In 2010, before unrest disrupted its economy, Egypt produced $2,759 per capita, a little less than 6% of U.S. per capita production. Israel, meanwhile, had improved its per capita wealth generation to $26,843, or 56% of America's per capita GDP.
Remarkably, the populations of Egypt and Israel grew at almost the same rate, Egypt's being driven by internal growth, Israel's largely by more than a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union. By 2010, Israel had improved its ratio of productivity over Egypt, producing about 9.7 times more goods and services per person than its neighbor to the south.
Why this growing disparity in wealth creation between Israel and Egypt?
The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 saw the overthrow of monarchy with the military running the nation's economy. This invariably led to stagnation and a growing external debt.
Egypt has launched two waves of economic liberalization since 1984, one under the auspices of an International Monetary Fund standby agreement in 1991 and another in 2004, when former President Mubarak appointed an economic-reform-minded Cabinet. The 1991 effort focused on the privatization of state-owned enterprises.
The 2004 program reduced import tariffs, cut taxes and allowed the Egyptian pound to float. The reforms of the 1990s took some time to take hold, with the Egyptian economy seeing year-over-year growth in per capita income (purchasing power parity) rising an impressive 5.7% per year from 1997 to 2000. Mubarak's 2004 free-market reforms bore even more fruit, with per capita growth averaging 6.9% from 2005 to 2008.
However, the demonstrators of Tahrir Square claim, with some justification, that the most recent round of reforms mostly benefited the nation's elite. This crony capitalism is said to have generated a massive amount of wealth for the two sons of the former Egyptian president. And, with that wealth concentrated at the top, resentment mounted in the masses who saw their cooking fuel subsidies cut while the cost of basic necessities soared.
Now the Egyptian economy has been hammered by unrest. Crime has tripled since Mubarak's ouster. A wave of child kidnapping has struck fear in wealthy and upper-class parents. Militant Islamists now operate in the open, brazenly attacking Egypt's large Christian minority and moderate Muslims alike. Tourism, accounting for 11.3% of the economy, has dried up. Unemployment is surging.
Adding to Egypt's travails, the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for "modesty police" — mirroring the actions taken by Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Gaza, after its 2006 electoral win and subsequent bloody purge of its more secular rival, Fatah.
These would-be mullahs of misery are also calling for the criminal prosecution of those who made money during the Mubarak era, coupling that call with a return to Egyptian socialism. This sure recipe for economic failure will inevitably cause Egypt's new leaders to blame Israel, the Jews and America for Egypt's problems. As the availability of bread declines, the index of hate will rise. This volatile equation is good for neither Egypt nor Israel.
After its founding in 1948, Israel was also burdened with a socialist economy. Israel's main right-wing party, Likud, won the 1977 elections, but that win was mainly a reaction to Israel's near-run victory in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Likud did little to change Israel's socialist policies.
Israel's commitment to socialism wasn't challenged until former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed Benjamin Netanyahu as finance minister in 2003. Many thought Sharon made this move to bury rival Netanyahu's career. Netanyahu sought to remake Israel's economy, instituting reforms such as liberalization of the banking system.
Critics scoffed at these reforms as "Thatcherite," worrying that Israel's social safety net was being dismantled. But Netanyahu's free-market reforms worked, causing Israel to see its longest sustained period of high economic growth, with per capita income (purchasing power parity) rising an average of 6% per year from 2004 to 2008. Israel is now considered a high-tech market economy.
The telltale signs of Israel's economic rise can be seen in the Tel Aviv skyline and the new office complexes around Jerusalem. International giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. was founded in 1901 by three pharmacists in Jerusalem. Today it employs 40,000 around the world.
Teva has a market cap of $44.2 billion — the most highly valued company based in Israel and the ninth-largest firm traded on the Nasdaq. Seventy percent of its revenue comes from generics, a niche it pioneered, while 30% comes from newly developed drugs. Teva's history and forward-looking strategy is for revenue to double every four years, with 65% of that coming from internal growth.
Teva's success in the generic market is predicated on rapidly developing high-quality formulations and quickly getting approval for them within 180 days after filing — a quick turnaround that competitors find difficult to match.
A few miles from Teva's gleaming office campus west of the Old City sits the former national mint building for the British Mandate. Built in 1937, this renovated building, along with the old Ottoman Empire railway warehouses next to it, houses the JVP Media Quarter and 300 entrepreneurs.
The complex hosts Israel's leading venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners, as well as 35 startups and a performing arts center for good measure. JVP, which has helped launch 70 companies since 1993, has more than $820 million under management with seven active venture capital funds.
The Media Quarter concept was created in 2002 when JVP founder Erel Margalit wanted to create a media-focused incubator that combined technology, culture, art and business. JVP has shepherded 18 initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, including some of the largest Israel-based companies: Qlik Technologies, Netro Corp., Chromatis Networks, Precise Software, Cogent Communications.
The government of Israel created 28 incubators between 1990 and 1993 under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Reminiscent of Japan's state-guided capitalism through the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Israel's incubators were designed to engage the scientific and engineering skills of the large influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
The government eventually viewed the effort as a burden, so it privatized its incubators. Today there are 24 incubators that can receive a government grant of $500,000 per company and up to $1.5 million in state seed capital.
Less than 300 miles separate the purposeful creative buzz in the JVP Media Quarter from the restive streets of Cairo, where the Muslim Brotherhood tells Egypt's unemployed that their plight is the fault of corrupt capitalists and Jews. It doesn't take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to figure out where these two economies are going.
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)