Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you greetings from Jerusalem. The city in which the Jewish People’s hopes and prayers for peace for all of humanity have echoed throughout the ages.
Thirty-one years ago, as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, I stood at this podium for the first time. I spoke that day against a resolution sponsored by Iran to expel Israel from the United Nations. Then as now, the UN was obsessively hostile towards Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. Then as now, some sought to deny the one and only Jewish state a place among the nations.
I ended that first speech by saying: Gentlemen, check your fanaticism at the door.
More than three decades later, as the Prime Minister of Israel, I am again privileged to speak from this podium. And for me, that privilege has always come with a moral responsibility to speak the truth.
So after three days of listening to world leaders praise the nuclear deal with Iran, I begin my speech today by saying: Ladies and Gentlemen, check your enthusiasm at the door.
You see, this deal doesn’t make peace more likely. By fueling Iran’s aggressions with billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it makes war more likely. Just look at what Iran has done in the last six months alone, since the framework agreement was announced in Lausanne. Iran boosted its supply of devastating weapons to Syria. Iran sent more soldiers of its Revolutionary Guard into Syria. Iran sent thousands of Afghani and Pakistani Shi’ite fighters to Syria. Iran did all this to prop up Assad’s brutal regime. Iran also shipped tons of weapons and ammunitions to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, including another shipment just two days ago.
Iran threatened to topple Jordan. Iran’s proxy Hezbollah smuggled into Lebanon SA-22 missiles to down our planes, and Yakhont cruise missiles to sink our ships. Iran supplied Hezbollah with precision-guided surface-to-surface missiles and attack drones so it can accurately hit any target in Israel. Iran aided Hamas and Islamic Jihad in building armed drones in Gaza.
Iran also made clear its plans to open two new terror fronts against Israel, promising to arm Palestinians in the West Bank and sending its Revolutionary Guard generals to the Golan Heights, from which its operatives recently fired rockets on northern Israel.
Israel will continue to respond forcefully to any attacks against it from Syria. Israel will continue to act to prevent the transfer of strategic weapons to Hezbollah from and through Syrian territory.
Every few weeks, Iran and Hezbollah set up new terror cells in cities throughout the world. Three such cells were recently uncovered in Kuwait, Jordan and Cyprus.
In May, security forces in Cyprus raided a Hezbollah agent’s apartment in the city of Larnaca. There they found five tons of ammonium nitrate, that’s roughly the same amount of ammonium nitrate that was used to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City. And that’s just in one apartment, in one city, in one country.
But Iran is setting up dozens of terror cells like this around the world, ladies and gentlemen, they’re setting up those terror cells in this hemisphere too. I repeat: Iran’s been doing all of this, everything that I’ve just described, just in the last six months, when it was trying to convince the world to remove the sanctions.
Now just imagine what Iran will do after those sanctions are lifted. Unleashed and un-muzzled, Iran will go on the prowl, devouring more and more prey. In the wake of the nuclear deal, Iran is spending billions of dollars on weapons and satellites.
You think Iran is doing that to advance peace? You think hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and fat contracts will turn this rapacious tiger into a kitten? If you do, you should think again.
In 2013 president Rouhani began his so-called charm offensive here at the UN. Two years later, Iran is executing more political prisoners, escalating its regional aggression, and rapidly expanding its global terror network.
You know they say, actions speak louder than words. But in Iran’s case, the words speak as loud as the actions. Just listen to the Deputy Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force. Here’s what he said in February:
“The Islamic revolution is not limited by geographic borders….” He boasted that Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Yemen are among the countries being “conquered by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
And for those of you who believe that the deal in Vienna will bring a change in Iran’s policy, just listen to what Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said five days after the nuclear deal was reached: “Our policies towards the arrogant government of the United States will not change.” The United States, he vowed, will continue to be Iran’s enemy.
While giving the mullahs more money is likely to fuel more repression inside Iran, it will definitely fuel more aggression outside Iran. As the leader of a country defending itself every day against Iran’s growing aggression, I wish I could take comfort in the claim that this deal blocks Iran’s path to nuclear weapons. But I can’t, because it doesn’t.
This deal does place several constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. And rightly so, because the international community recognizes that Iran is so dangerous. But you see here’s the catch:
Under this deal, if Iran doesn’t change its behavior, in fact, if it becomes even more dangerous in the years to come, the most important constraints will still be automatically lifted by year 10 and by year 15. That would place a militant Islamic terror regime weeks away from having the fissile material for an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs. That just doesn’t make any sense.
I’ve said that if Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country. But this deal, this deal will treat Iran like a normal country even if it remains a dark theocracy that conquers its neighbors, sponsors terrorism worldwide and chants “Death to Israel”, “Death to America.”
Does anyone seriously believe that flooding a radical theocracy with weapons and cash will curb its appetite for aggression? Do any of you really believe that a theocratic Iran with sharper claws and sharper fangs will be more likely to change its stripes?
So here’s a general rule that I’ve learned and you must have learned in your life time – When bad behavior is rewarded, it only gets worse.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have long said that the greatest danger facing our world is the coupling of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. And I’m gravely concerned that the nuclear deal with Iran will prove to be the marriage certificate of that unholy union.
I know that some well-intentioned people sincerely believe that this deal is the best way to block Iran’s path to the bomb. But one of history’s most important yet least learned lessons is this: The best intentions don’t prevent the worst outcomes.
The vast majority of Israelis believe that this nuclear deal with Iran is a very bad deal. And what makes matters even worse is that we see a world celebrating this bad deal, rushing to embrace and do business with a regime openly committed to our destruction.
Last week, Major General Salehi, the commander of Iran’s army, proclaimed this: “We will annihilate Israel for sure.”
“We are glad that we are in the forefront of executing the Supreme Leader’s order to destroy Israel.”
And as for the Supreme Leader himself, a few days after the nuclear deal was announced, he released his latest book. Here it is. It’s a 400-page screed detailing his plan to destroy the State of Israel.
Last month, Khamenei once again made his genocidal intentions clear before Iran’s top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts. He spoke about Israel, home to over six million Jews. He pledged, “there will be no Israel in 25 years.”
Seventy years after the murder of six million Jews, Iran’s rulers promise to destroy my country. Murder my people. And the response from this body, the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here has been absolutely nothing!
(At this point, Netanyahu paused for 44 seconds.)
Perhaps you can now understand why Israel is not joining you in celebrating this deal. If Iran’s rulers were working to destroy your countries, perhaps you’d be less enthusiastic about the deal. If Iran’s terror proxies were firing thousands of rockets at your cities, perhaps you’d be more measured in your praise. And if this deal were unleashing a nuclear arms race in your neighborhood, perhaps you’d be more reluctant to celebrate.
But don’t think that Iran is only a danger to Israel. Besides Iran’s aggression in the Middle East and its terror around the world, Iran is also building intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Now remember this: Iran already has missiles that can reach Israel. So those intercontinental ballistic missiles that Iran is building – they’re not meant for us – They’re meant for you. For Europe. For America. For raining down mass destruction – anytime, anywhere.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s not easy to oppose something that is embraced by the greatest powers in the world. Believe me, it would be far easier to remain silent.
But throughout our history, the Jewish people have learned the heavy price of silence. And as the Prime Minister of the Jewish State, as someone who knows that history, I refuse to be silent. I’ll say it again: The days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies – those days are over.
Not being passive means speaking up about those dangers. We have. We are. We will.
Not being passive also means defending ourselves against those dangers. We have. We are. And we will.
Israel will not allow Iran to break-in, to sneak-in or to walk-in to the nuclear weapons club. I know that preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons remains the official policy of the international community. But no one should question Israel’s determination to defend itself against those who seek our destruction.
For in every generation, there were those who rose up to destroy our people. In antiquity, we faced destruction from the ancient empires of Babylon and Rome. In the Middle Ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion. And In modern times, we faced pogroms and the Holocaust.
Yet the Jewish people persevered.
And now another regime has arisen, swearing to destroy Israel.
That regime would be wise to consider this: I stand here today representing Israel, a country 67 years young, but the nation-state of a people nearly 4,000 years old. Yet the empires of Babylon and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations. Neither is the Thousand Year Reich. Those seemingly invincible empires are long gone. But Israel lives. The people of Israel live.
עם ישראל חי.
The re-birth of Israel is a testament to the indomitable spirit of my people.
For a hundred generations, the Jewish people dreamed of returning to the Land of Israel. Even in our darkest hours, and we had so many, even in our darkest hours we never gave up hope of rebuilding our eternal capital Jerusalem. The establishment of Israel made realizing that dream possible. It has enabled us to live as a free people in our ancestral homeland. It’s enabled us to embrace Jews who’ve come from the four corners of the earth to find refuge from persecution. They came from war-torn Europe, from Yemen, Iraq, Morocco, from Ethiopia and the Soviet Union, from a hundred other lands. And today, as a rising tide of anti-Semitism once again sweeps across Europe and elsewhere, many Jews come to Israel to join us in building the Jewish future.
So here’s my message to the rulers of Iran: Your plan to destroy Israel will fail. Israel will not permit any force on earth to threaten its future.
And here’s my message to all the countries represented here: Whatever resolutions you may adopt in this building, whatever decisions you may take in your capitals, Israel will do whatever it must do to defend our state and to defend our people.
As this deal with Iran moves ahead, I hope you’ll enforce it…how can I put this? With a little more rigor than you showed with the six Security Council resolutions that Iran has systematically violated and which now have been effectively discarded.
Make sure that the inspectors actually inspect. Make sure that the snapback sanctions actually snap back. And make sure that Iran’s violations aren’t swept under the Persian rug.
Well, of one thing I can assure you: Israel will be watching… closely.
What the international community now needs to do is clear: First, make Iran comply with all its nuclear obligations. Keep Iran’s feet to the fire. Second, check Iran’s regional aggression. Support and strengthen those fighting Iran’s aggression, beginning with Israel. Third, use sanctions and all the tools available to you to tear down Iran’s global terror network.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Israel is working closely with our Arab peace partners to address our common security challenges from Iran and also the security challenges from ISIS and from others. We are also working with other states in the Middle East as well as countries in Africa, in Asia and beyond. Many in our region know that both Iran and ISIS are our common enemies. And when your enemies fight each other, don’t strengthen either one – weaken both.
Common dangers are clearly bringing Israel and its Arab neighbors closer. And as we work together to thwart those dangers, I hope we’ll build lasting partnerships – lasting partnerships for security, for prosperity and for peace.
But in Israel, we never forget one thing. We never forget that the most important partner that Israel has has always been, and will always be, the United States of America. The alliance between Israel and the United States is unshakeable. President Obama and I agree on the need to keep arms out of the hands of Iran’s terror proxies. We agree on the need to stop Iran from destabilizing countries throughout the Middle East. Israel deeply appreciates President Obama’s willingness to bolster our security, help Israel maintain its qualitative military edge and help Israel confront the enormous challenges we face. Israel is grateful that this sentiment is widely shared by the American people and its representatives in Congress, by both those who supported the deal and by those who opposed it.
President Obama and I have both said that our differences over the nuclear deal are a disagreement within the family. But we have no disagreement about the need to work together to secure our common future. And what a great future it could be.
Israel is uniquely poised to seize the promise of the 21st century. Israel is a world leader in science and technology, in cyber, software, water, agriculture, medicine, biotechnology and so many other fields that are being revolutionized by Israeli ingenuity and Israeli innovation. Israel is the innovation nation.
Israeli knowhow is everywhere. It’s in your computers’ microprocessors and flash drives. It’s in your smartphones, when you send instant messages and navigate your cars. It’s on your farms, when you drip irrigate your crops and keep your grains and produce fresh. It’s in your universities, when you study Nobel Prize winning discoveries in chemistry and economics. It’s in your medicine cabinets, when you use drugs to treat Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. It’s even on your plate, when you eat the delicious cherry tomato. That too was perfected in Israel, in case you didn’t know.
We are so proud in Israel of the long strides our country has made in a short time. We’re so proud that our small country is making such a huge contribution to the entire world. Yet the dreams of our people, enshrined for eternity by the great prophets of the Bible, those dreams will be fully realized only when there is peace.
As the Middle East descends into chaos, Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are two cornerstones of stability. Israel remains committed to achieving peace with the Palestinians as well. Israelis know the price of war. I know the price of war. I was nearly killed in battle. I lost many friends. I lost my beloved brother Yoni.
Those who know the price of war can best appreciate what the blessings of peace would mean – for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren. I am prepared to immediately, immediately, resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever. Unfortunately, President Abbas said yesterday that he is not prepared to do this. Well, I hope he changes his mind. Because I remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state.
You know, the peace process began over two decades ago. Yet despite the best efforts of six Israeli prime ministers – Rabin, Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert and myself – the Palestinians have consistently refused to end the conflict and make a final peace with Israel. And unfortunately, you heard that rejectionism again only yesterday from President Abbas. How can Israel make peace with a Palestinian partner who refuses to even sit at the negotiating table? Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to abide by its commitments. The Palestinians should not walk away from peace.
President Abbas, I know it’s not easy. I know it’s hard. But we owe it to our peoples to try, to continue to try, because together, if we actually negotiate and stop negotiating about the negotiation, if we actually sit down and try to resolve this conflict between us, recognize each other, not use a Palestinian state as a stepping stone for another Islamist dictatorship in the Middle East, but something that will live at peace next to the Jewish state, if we actually do that, we can do remarkable things for our peoples.
The UN can help advance peace by supporting direct, unconditional negotiations between the parties. The UN won’t help peace, certainly won’t help advance peace by trying to impose solutions or by encouraging Palestinian rejectionism. And the UN, distinguished delegates, should do one more thing. The UN should finally rid itself of the obsessive bashing of Israel.
Here’s just one absurd example of this obsession: In four years of horrific violence in Syria, more than a quarter of a million people have lost their lives. That’s more than ten times, more than ten times, the number of Israelis and Palestinians combined who have lost their lives in a century of conflict between us. Yet last year, this Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel and just one resolution about the savage slaughter in Syria. Talk about injustice. Talk about disproportionality. Twenty. Count them. One against Syria.
Well, frankly I am not surprised. To borrow a line from Yogi Berra, the late, great baseball player and part time philosopher: When it comes to the annual bashing of Israel at the UN, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Thirty one years after I stood here for the first time, I’m still asking: When will the UN finally check its anti-Israel fanaticism at the door? When will the UN finally stop slandering Israel as a threat to peace and actually start helping Israel advance peace? And the same question should be posed to Palestinian leaders. When will you start working with Israel to advance peace and reconciliation and stop libeling Israel, stop inciting hatred and violence?
President Abbas, here’s a good place to begin: Stop spreading lies about Israel’s alleged intentions on the Temple Mount. Israel is fully committed to maintaining the status quo there. What President Abbas should be speaking out against are the actions of militant Islamists who are smuggling explosives into the al-Aqsa mosque and who are trying to prevent Jews and Christians from visiting the holy sites. That’s the real threat to these sacred sites.
A thousand years before the birth of Christianity, more than 1,500 years before the birth of Islam, King David made Jerusalem our capital, and King Solomon built the Temple on that mount. Yet Israel, Israel will always respect the sacred shrines of all. In a region plagued by violence and by unimaginable intolerance, in which Islamic fanatics are destroying the ancient treasures of civilization, Israel stands out as a towering beacon of enlightenment and tolerance. Far from endangering the holy sites, it is Israel that ensures their safety. Because unlike the powers who have ruled Jerusalem in the past, Israel respects the holy sites and freedom of worship of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everyone.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, will never change. Because Israel will always stay true to its values. These values are on display each and every day: When Israel’s feisty parliament vigorously debates every issue under the sun. When Israel’s Chief Justice sits in her chair at our fiercely independent Supreme Court. When our Christian community continues to grow and thrive from year to year, as Christian communities are decimated elsewhere in the Middle East. When a brilliant young Israeli Muslim student gives her valedictorian address at one of our finest universities. And when Israeli doctors and nurses – doctors and nurses from the Israeli military – treat thousands of wounded from the killing fields of Syria and thousands more in the wake of natural disasters from Haiti to Nepal.
This is the true face of Israel. These are the values of Israel.
And In the Middle East, these values are under savage assault by militant Islamists who are forcing millions of terrified people to flee to distant shores. Ten miles from ISIS, a few hundred yards from Iran’s murderous proxies, Israel stands in the breach – proudly and courageously, defending freedom and progress. Israel is civilization’s front line in the battle against barbarism.
So here’s a novel idea for the United Nations: Instead of continuing the shameful routine of bashing Israel, stand with Israel. Stand with Israel as we check the fanaticism at our door. Stand with Israel as we prevent that fanaticism from reaching your door.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Stand with Israel because Israel is not just defending itself. More than ever, Israel is defending you.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I come before you today from Palestine, compelled to sound the alarm about the grave dangers of what is happening in Jerusalem, where extremist Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque, aimed at imposing a new reality and dividing Al-Haram Al-Sharif temporally, allowing extremists, under the protection of Israeli occupying forces and accompanying ministers and Knesset members, to enter the Mosque at certain times, while preventing Muslim worshipers from accessing and entering the Mosque at those times and freely exercising their religious rights.
This is the scheme that the Israeli government is pursuing, in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter. By doing so, the occupying power is committing a grave mistake, because we will not accept this, and the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of this illegal scheme, which is aggravating the sensitivities of Palestinians and Muslims everywhere.
I call on the Israeli government, before it is too late, to cease its use of brutal force to impose its plans to undermine the Islamic and Christian sanctuaries in Jerusalem, particularly its actions at Al-Aqsa Mosque, for such actions will convert the conflict from a political to religious one, creating an explosive in Jerusalem and in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.
It is my honor to come before you to speak on behalf of the state of Palestine before your esteemed General Assembly in this session, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, which has made the promotion and protection of international peace and security and the preservation of human rights its most central goals.
The question of Palestine was one of the first just issues brought before the United Nations from the time of its inception, and yet it remains unresolved until this moment, as the organization and its members continue to be unable to end this injustice inflicted upon our people and to assist our people to exercise their right to self-determination and freedom in their independent and sovereign state.
I ask you to consider the history of the question of Palestine and the relevant United Nations resolutions to realize the obvious truth: that a historic injustice has been inflicted upon a people and a homeland, a people that had lived peacefully in their land and made genuine intellectual, cultural and humanitarian contributions to mankind. This people do not deserve to be deprived of their homeland, to die in exile or be swallowed by the sea, or to spend their lives fleeing from one refugee camp to another. Yet regrettably, their just cause remains at a standstill after the passage of all these years.
Our people have placed their hopes on the countries of this organization to help them to gain their freedom, independence and sovereignty, so that their wish and right to their own state, like all other peoples of the Earth, can be achieved, along with a just solution for the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 and the Arab peace initiative.
We are calling for rightness, justice and peace. While Palestine was partitioned into two states – according to which Israel was established 67 years ago- the second part of that resolution still awaits implementation. Palestine, which is an observer state in the United Nations, deserves full recognition and full membership. It is unreasonable and painful – in light of all the enormous sacrifices we have made, our patience over all of these years of exile and suffering, and our acceptance to make peace according to the two-state solution based on international law, the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab peace initiative, and the Quartet roadmap – that the question of Palestine unjustly remains unresolved.
Continuation of the status quo is completely unacceptable because it means surrender to the logic of the brute force being inflicted by the Israeli government, as it continues its illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, and continues its blockade of the Gaza Strip, deepening the immense suffering of our people there, in defiance of United Nations resolutions and the agreements signed between the two sides under international auspices. We recall here the words of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1976, when he stated that Israel will become an apartheid state if it continues its occupation of the Palestinian territory and described the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as “cancer”.
The persistence of this matter prompts us to ask: do the votes by democratic countries against Palestine-related resolutions and the legitimate rights of our people serve peace and those who believe in the two-state solution? Or do they serve and encourage extremists and increase their hatred and racism, making them believe that they are above the law, to the point where they commit the burning of a Palestinian family in the town of Duma in the West Bank, claiming the lives of an infant, Ali Dawabsheh, and his father and mother? What is left of this family is an orphan child, Ahmed, four-year old, who lies between life and death in the hospital as a result of his burns, while the killers remain free and have not yet been arrested.
This is not the first crime. Before, they burned alive and killed the Palestinian child, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, in Jerusalem, and the child Mohammed Al-Dura in Gaza, and before them thousands have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank. And, we still remember the Deir Yassin massacre and all of the crimes against our people that have passed without punishment. For how long will Israel remain above international law and without accountability?
Due to the time constraints, I shall not be able to discuss in detail how many Israeli violations are being committed against our people and how many repressive laws have been issued by successive Israeli governments, the latest of which is the formal legislation of instructions to fire live ammunition at and arrest and repress peaceful Palestinian demonstrators, as it continues to impose this illegal occupation.
We do not respond to the Israeli occupation’s hatred and brutality with the same. Instead, we are working on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence between our people and in our region, and we are anxious to realize it and to witness the day when all of the people in our region will enjoy peace, security, stability and prosperity. This cannot be achieved with the continuation of the occupation, settlement colonization, the wall, the burning of people, places of worship and homes, the killing youth, children and infants, the burning of crops, and the arrest and detention of people without charge or trial.
How can a state claiming to be an oasis of democracy and claiming that its courts and security apparatus function according to the law accept the existence of a so-called “price tag” gangs and other terrorist organizations that terrorize our people, their property and holy sites, all under the sight of the Israeli army and police, which do not deter or punish, but rather provide them with protection.
Is it not time to end this injustice? Is it not time to stop this suffering? Is it not time for the racist annexation wall to be dismantled? Is it not time for the humiliating and degrading checkpoints and barriers set up by the Israeli occupying forces in our land to be removed, for the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip to be lifted, and for our people to move in freedom and dignity in their own homeland and outside? Is it not time to end the racist, terrorist, colonial settlement of our land, which is destroying the two-state solution? Is it not the time for the six thousand Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails to see the light of freedom and to live among their families and communities? Is it not the time for the longest occupation in history suffocating our people to come to an end?
Despite all the obstacles imposed by the occupation, we, since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, and until this moment, have worked incessantly to build the foundations of our state, its infrastructure and sovereign national institutions. We have made real progress on the ground, as affirmed by several international bodies, especially the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. We will continue our efforts and work, with the support of our brothers and friends, to strengthen our state, committed to international standards, the rule of law and transparency as a democratic and modern state.
In this context, we highly value the efforts of the AHLC, under Norway’s chairmanship, and urge donor countries to continue to support a better life for our people and our efforts to develop our state institutions. In this context, our accession to membership of international organizations and treaties and conventions, is not directed against any one, but rather aimed at safeguarding our rights, protecting our people, harmonizing the laws and regulations of our country with international standards, and strengthening its international legal status and identity.
As for the internal Palestinian situation, we are determined to preserve the unity of our land and our people. We will not accept temporary solutions or a fragmented state. We seek to form a national unity government that functions according to the program of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and we seek to hold presidential and legislative elections.
Palestine is a country of holiness and peace. It is the birthplace of Christ, the messenger of love and peace, and the /Isra’/ and /Mi’raj/ (ascension to heaven and night journey) of Mohammed, peace be upon him, who was sent as a mercy unto the world. This is Palestine that is still looking for peace, and its people want to live in their homeland in safety, security, harmony, stability and good neighborliness with all peoples and countries of the region. This is attested to by their cultural, humanitarian and spiritual contributions to humanity from the start.
Recently, on 17 May 2015, two nuns from Palestine, Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Baouardy, were canonized as saints by His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican in the presence of tens of thousands of the faithful from around the globe. The flag of Palestine was raised at the Vatican, which recognized the state of Palestine, as documented in the agreement signed between the Holy See and the state of Palestine.
We aspire to see the independent state of Palestine taking its rightful place among the community of nations, and we are confident that it will actively contribute to the achievement of economic, cultural, and humanitarian progress of civilization, with positive effects on our people, the region and the world.
It is from Palestine, and with Palestine, that peace will be achieved.
Here, I wish to express, on behalf of our people, deepest gratitude to the countries that voted in favor of the resolution enabling us today to raise the flag of the state of Palestine at United Nations Headquarters. The day is not far when we will raise the flag of Palestine in East Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Palestine.
I wish also to pay tribute to the recent decisions by the European parliaments that have clearly condemned Israel’s settlement activities and its products and affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and independence in their State alongside the State of Israel, and that also established a Committee on the relations with Palestine.
Several European countries and parliaments also affirmed their recognition of the State of Palestine, reaffirming our natural fight to independence. In this regard, we thank the Kingdom of Sweden for its courage and recognition of the state of Palestine. Indeed, the countries that say they support the two-state solution must recognize the two states, not just one.
Today, I appeal to those countries that have not yet recognized the state of Palestine yet, to do so. We are confident that they will do so, based on conviction in the justice deserved by our people and their cause.
From this rostrum at the United Nations and in this period of religious holidays, I also extend a sincere call to the people of Israel for peace based on justice, security and stability for all. I must also call again on the Security Council and the General Assembly to uphold their responsibilities before it is too late and the chances for peace are lost.
You are all aware that Israel undermined the efforts made by the administration of President Barack Obama in past years, most recently the efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at reaching a peace agreement through negotiations. The policies and practices of the Israeli Government and the positions of its Prime Minister and cabinet members lead to a clear conclusion: it is working extremely hard to destroy the two-state solution that we are seeking on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy.
We welcome the international and European efforts, including the French initiative calling for the formation of an international support group for the achievement of peace. In their recent summit, the Arab States confirmed their support for a resolution by the Security Council that reaffirms the clear parameters for a peaceful solution in accordance with the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders and that sets a timeframe for ending the occupation. It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations; what is required is to mobilize international efforts to oversee an end to the occupation in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy. Until then, I call upon the United Nations to provide international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law.
We have tried to oblige Israel to implement the signed agreements and to negotiate in conformity with the two state solution through direct contacts with the Israeli government, as well as through the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union, and the United Nations (the Quartet members) and other parties. However, the Israeli government insists on continuing its destruction of the two-state solution and on entrenchment of two regimes on the ground: an apartheid regime that is currently imposed on the territory of the state of Palestine and against the Palestinian people on the one hand, and another regime of privileges and protection to the Israeli settlers on the other hand.
The transitional Oslo Agreement and its annexes, and the subsequent agreements signed with Israel, stipulated that the agreements would be implemented within five years, ending in 1999 with full independence for the state of Palestine and the termination of the Israeli occupation. But Israel stopped the completion of the process of withdrawing its forces from areas classified as “B” and “C”, which represent more than 60% of the territory of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Instead, it intensified its settlement activities everywhere. Since the speech of President Obama in Cairo in 2009, in which he called for the cessation of settlement activities, the Israeli government increased settlement activities by at least 20%, violating its obligation not to undertake any action illegally and unilaterally that would prejudge the final solution. Moreover, the occupying power has repeatedly infringed upon the areas classified “A”, which are supposed to be under full Palestinian security jurisdiction and in which we have developed the institutions of the Palestinian State.
At the same time, as Israel refuses to review the economic agreements that control the ability of the Palestinian economy to develop and be independent, it is determined to impose dominance on our economy, similar to its military and security dominance, and rejects the right of the Palestinian people to development and to their natural resources. As such, Israel has destroyed the foundations upon which the political and security agreements are based, which have also been undermined by the measures taken by successive Israeli governments that have negated the transitional phase aimed at realizing the independence of our State, and has perpetrated gross violations, which have made the situation unsustainable.
Thus, we declare that as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them.
We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power, because the status quo cannot continue and the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council last March are specific and binding.
The state of Palestine, based on the 4th of June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, is a state under occupation, as was the case for many countries during World War II. Our state is recognized by 137 countries around the world and the right of our people to self determination, freedom and independence is recognized globally as being inalienable and unquestionable.
I further recall General Assembly resolution 67/19 of 2012, which accorded to Palestine observer state status, reaffirmed that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization would be the interim government of the state of Palestine and that the Palestinian National Council is the Palestinian parliament of the state of Palestine.
I must reiterate: the current situation is unsustainable. Our people need genuine hope and need to see credible efforts for ending this conflict, ending their misery and achieving their rights. We will start the implementation of this declaration by all peaceful and legal means.
Either the Palestinian National Authority will be the conduit of the Palestinian people from occupation to independence, or Israel, the occupying power, must bear all of its responsibilities.
At the same time, and based on our commitment to the principles of international law, the state of Palestine will continue in its efforts to accede to international conventions and organizations, and it will move forward in the defense of its people under occupation through all available legal and peaceful means, including as a High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Those who fear international law and international courts must cease committing all crimes.
My hands remain outstretched for the just peace that will guarantee my people’s fights, freedom and human dignity. I say to our neighbors, the Israeli people that peace is in your interest, in our interest, and in the interest of our future generations. Narrow vision is destructive. I hope that you will consider the dangerous reality on the ground and look to the future and accept for the Palestinian people what you accept for yourselves. Then, you will find that the achievement of peace will be possible, and you will enjoy security, safety, peace and stability. These are the aspirations that we also seek to realize for the Palestinian people.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
Harold E. Lafferty
This consideration refers to a study presented in TPL of August, 2003, under the title as stated: it will be noted that visible advances in The Plan as charted in this article may not have patently become apparent during the twelve year interval to 2015 since 2003.
But that does not mean that it has not actually advanced.
How has it done so?
Let us count some of the ways it has advanced:
Today we view a world which is fractured and splintered beyond any degree which we earlier expected.
We see rogue states advancing toward nuclear weapons capability (Iran, for example), and others who will follow if Iran achieves that status = such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who have so avowed themselves.
We are experiencing an American administration which disdains Israel and its leadership, and which threatens to withhold its veto from any UN Security Council decision to partition present-day Israel into a Jewish and an Arab state, awarding Jerusalem to the Arabs of the PLO as the capital of its new state (another division of Jerusalem, post-1948, when Jordan retained possession of the Old City during the War of Independence of Israel, and held it for nineteen years).
We see palpable fulfillment of the de facto disappearance of Iran and Syria into the new, powerful entity Islamic State (a.k.a., ISIS) which has vowed to absorb these two polities and replace them as a replication of Assyria of old and as an Islamic caliphate, thus clearly fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5 and 7, which foretells that destiny (as well as its utter failure).
We behold the fragmentation of Libya as it moves closer to its destiny as a confederate with the Gogian host of Ezekiel 37 and 38, as ISIS makes a strong move to take over that fractured society and draw it into the Outer Ring of enemies of Israel – a position that Libya did not hold under the administration of Mummar Ghadaffi, the former dictator of that country.
We see the Islamicization of “Ethiopia,” the Kuwsh (Cush) of Ezekiel 37 and 38, a region now comprehended by portions of Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea, which is destined to contribute men and materiel to the Gogian effort to wipe out Israel.
We realize that nearly 200 nations over the interim, have given their advance approval to the establishment of a “Palestinan” state within Israel, should that decision be made by the powers that be.
We expect intense discussion within the next two weeks (IN September 2015) of just such a proposal in the UN Security Council in New York, as the fall session of the UNO convenes.
We expect the American administration of Barack Obama to withhold its veto of any such measure to establish a “Palestinian” state, contrary to its former position of opposition to that eventuality.
We perceive, doubtless as a direct result of Obama’s decision to reject Israel and its security in favor of Iranian hegemony and supremacy, the abrupt downturn in American relevance upon the world stage and a remarkable decline in its regard among the nations. The one nation of the entire world which has consistently supported Israel and its fight for survival in these end-times has predictably turned its back on God’s people, thus invoking, in our opinion, the “curse” of the LORD as expressed in the covenant made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, q.v.
As further evidence of the decline of American status in the world resulting from its tacit decision to withhold its favor toward being Israel’s ally and friend, we have sensed a drastic reduction in that country’s influence with the other “powers that be,” such as Russia and China (and even North Korea), having been reduced to a cartoonish identity in many of their important decisions of state. In so noting, we are not claiming any “major position of the United States in Bible prophecy,” for it seems to have little or no stated scriptural importance. Instead, this seems to be a clear reflection of Israel’s descendance into its final status of apparent vulnerability to attack as a sparrow upon an house top (Psalm 102:7) – its end-time exposure to every sort of mundane danger from the nations round about, the position we have long expected Israel to attain just prior to the Second Coming of the LORD to “save My people” (Isaiah 11: 11-16; Amos 9: 14, 15) and to raise Israel to its premier position among the nations of the earth. Indeed, in so doing, we maintain that Israel shall have its present status wholly reversed by Him, and in the finality become the premier nation upon the earth as well as the only survivor of the named nations of the earth.
The swiftly approaching end of the seventy years of “this generation” of Luke 21:32, which, as promised by the Master … shall not pass away till all be fulfilled. This time period began in our opinion in 1948 at that landmark date of the budding of the Fig Tree (Israel) and “all the trees” of Luke 21: 29 (the Islamic nations which. Along with the Jewish people, replenished the valley of the Euphrates which was “dried up” by the defeat of Ottoman Turkey – the last King of the North). This long-prophesied event began to be brought about in 1917-18 by the British forces under General Edmund Allenby and T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). But the overt “budding” happened in May, 1948, when Israel became a nation among the nations of the earth. Seventy years from that date will terminate in April/May, 2017 – well under two years from our present time. Our assessment has been that this seventy year period is the last remaining stated period of a “generation” that remains as reasonable for those who were alive in 1947-48 (cf, Psalm 90:10, which specifies “threescore and ten years” to be a normal lifetime). In so recognizing this span of time, we take literally the word of our Master when He promised that THIS generation should not pass away – a position which we believe incumbent upon all persons of faith. His People have not much time to await the outcome – that is, whether this assessment is correct or not so. Our sincere desire is that those still alive on that anniversary in May 2017 shall have seen “all these things fulfilled” as promised by Him. In so assessing events to come, we humbly submit that these do not simply compass the Second Coming of Christ – the event for which we primarily look – but also many subsequent actions by our LORD and His immortalized Saints who accompany Him in His introduction to the world and to Israel, all of which have been discussed in recent articles posted on the eTPL web site.
And finally, we believe we can now adequately comprehend the saying that men’s hearts shall “fail them for fear” of the things coming upon the earth – the Master’s statement of conditions just prior to His Second Coming in Luke 21 26. For several years we have thought our understanding of this saying could be comprehended; but now we have witnessed the incomprehensible magnitude of failure of human institutions to maintain order that has never been seen before. We therefore confess that we are doubtless IN THE TIME of this fulfillment of the Word of God to His people. We are thankful to be among the privileged few of all previous ages who actually have witnessed these impressive setbacks of human accomplishment, and now are able to set our hearts solely upon the “consolation of Israel” so faithfully expected and sought by the Prophet Simeon in Luke 2:25 – a principle which is well defined by the words of the prophet in Isaiah 25:9 – And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God (a legitimate Name of the returned Jesus as the Representative of His Father, YHVH, and inheritor of that Name); we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
It is therefore with this necessary preamble that we present to readers again this graphic, comprehensive chart of these mostly extremely long-term prophetic fulfillments of the last century of history: a dramatic illustration of the omniscience and omnipotence of our heavenly Father, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who personally shall bring about the prophesied end result of all these wonderful events, the orderly fulfillment of which is adequately illustrated here in graphic form.
As was our suggestion on the occasion of its first publication, readers may wish to make a photocopy of this detailed chart and its footnotes and place them in your Bible for immediate reference as a certified list of fulfilled ancient prophecies which cannot be denied by any rational person. The evidence of fulfilled prophecy is one of the most powerful initiators of Bible discussions, and one of the most compelling levers toward convincing unbelievers of the verity of the Biblical record. Often such evidence has led to unbelievers becoming serious Believers of the Word, and their subsequent putting on “the name of Christ” in baptism.
Here is our earlier presentation, from the year 2003.
CHART of MAJOR FULFILLMENTS OF PROPHECY, THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS
… and a few reasonable expectations for the future…
>----- | 1918
>----- |------------------3------| 1947-
>----- |------------------4------| 1948
>----- |---------------------------- |--------------5--------|
1897 – Date of First World Zionist Congress, Basle, Switzerland. (not a prophecy, but this is Israel’s 68th Jubilee year, According to chronology of W. H. Carter, Times and Seasons.)
1917 - 1918
1 “Times of the Gentiles” ends; (began 604 BC)
2 “Time, times and an half” (Daniel 12: 7); counted from middle of the 2,520 years [657 A. D.].
3 The “1260 days” (years! – Daniel 12:7); same period as (2)
4 Euphrates dries up; end of Ottoman Empire, last King of the North; this year was 1335 on the Muslim calendar!
1946 – 1947
5 Partition of Palestine (Nov 29/47) and Israel becomes a State (May 14, /48); same Heb. year
6 The Fig Tree blossoms as Israel becomes a certified State (Jesus prophesied Luke 21:29, 30)
7 The “1290 days” (years! – Daniel 12: 11); 30 years added to the 1,260 in (2) above
8 69th Jubilee year of Israel (Carter, Ibid.)
9 “This generation” begins; words of Jesus in relation to blossoming of the Fig Tree
1967 June 7th
10 The Sanctuary Cycle of Daniel 8:14 ends– the “2300 evening-mornings,” which began spring, 334 BC.
1987 – 1988
11 Second period of “seven times” of Daniel 4:23-25 ends (stump of tree banded w/ brass, iron), 70 years after the first period ended. The First Intifada begins in Israel (the people now attacked from within!)
1992 - 1993
12 The “1335 days” (years! – Daniel 12: 12) ends, after which Daniel to “stand in thy lot,” Kingdom imminent!
1995 – 1996
13 The 70th Jubilee of Israel, and the last! (Carter, Ibid.)
14 The beginning of the Seventh Millennium, according to Carter, Times and Seasons
15 The “time of the end” in progress; end unknown. Probably began in 657 AD, at midpoint of the 2520 year “Times of the Gentiles.” It was already in progress in Daniel 11:40 (1517 AD).
The only addition to this chart that seems reasonable at this time is this one:
16 The terminal year of the final “generation” of mortals who shall have witnessed the budding of the Fig Tree – the establishment of the State of Israel upon the territory of ancient Israel. This period represents SEVENTY years since that historical event, our present best estimate of the total number of years in “that generation.”
In the remaining months until that 70th anniversary – May 14, 2018 – there remain many seemingly necessary prophetic fulfillments until “all things be fulfilled,” as Jesus expressed it. It will, according to our expectations, be …
1. The establishment of The Kingdom of Israel under the rulership of the LORD Jesus Christ as King over Israel, sitting upon the restored Throne of David in Mount Zion, and the initialization of all the complex operations of the establishment of the infrastructure of His physical Kingdom upon the earth.
2. By that date we conjecture that His Kingdom shall have taken on the character of a permanent, divine, indestructible entity whose destiny is never to end, and one which is set to change the direction of the human race toward the overt recognition by the race of the God of heaven as Creator and ultimate King over mankind, and the creation of a realm of righteousness and peace which can never end.
3. By that time, the covenanted People of all ages shall have been raised from the dead (and the living covenanted ones shall have been gathered before Him) for the Judgment of saints and the immortalization of all those approved by Him.
4. These, in our view, shall have subsequently appeared upon the chaotic scene as Israel terminally confronts its age-old enemies in its proximate space of occupation, between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, the set-apart lands of Abraham’s primary inheritance – his Land of Promise – and the subject Lands of the inheritance of his Seed, including the immortalized Saints Who shall at that time be co-regents in the realms of mankind (kings and priests with Him – Revelation 1:6 and 5:10).
These remain our expectations for the near term – the beginning of an interminable period of time which shall redound solely to His honor and glory. Our earnest prayer is: May each dedicated servant of our LORD in this day and in past ages be privileged to take part in that glorious realm of peace and righteousness.
<HEL 9O> ~2400 words. An eTPL exposition, published in “Other Items, 2015” on September 7, 2015
(Which Are Not so Subtle)
Harold E. Lafferty
The gist of this chapter concerns the Cup of the Lord’s Fury which He should serve to both His own People and to the nations round about, which have oppressed and presently are aggressing His People. But it extends beyond these to ALL the enemies of God and His People. It explicitly illustrates the method by which God shall bring His sentence to bear upon all those who are disobedient, beginning with the House of Israel (Judah), and extending to all the nations of the earth.
We call your attention today to the words of Jeremiah 25, beginning at verse 8, where the premise for His action against Judah first, is stated: “Because you have not heard My words.”
Jerusalem is First to Drink of the Cup
In verse 15 the Almighty expresses His displeasure in the figure of a Cup of Fury which He should serve to the nations of the region, beginning with Jerusalem (verse 18).
The continuing narrative shows that ONLY Jerusalem and those closely allied or connected with her, would profit from drinking of this Cup; all the others’ response would be inadequate, and ineffectual to cause them to persevere and continue to exist.
The terribly final details of their condemnation are made clear through the remaining verses of this entire chapter.
Isaiah records that this dreaded Cup shall be first partaken of by His people, illustrated by the extended years of punishment and estrangement from Him as suffered by them: Isaiah 51:17 - Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.
Once that partaking of the Cup has been accomplished by His People, He turns the curse upon their enemies.
The Cup Being Removed from Israel, is Given to Their Enemies
Both Isaiah and Jeremiah address this action of passing the Cup of the Lord’s Fury to His enemies. First, Isaiah records the withdrawal of the Cup from God’s people, in Isaiah 51:22 - Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine (Israel’s) hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again …
Remarkably, then Jeremiah records the giving of the Cup to the Lord’s enemies: Jeremiah 25:15 - For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
The details of that process of His enemies’ “drinking” the Cup, then follows.
Vs. 19 - Egypt: Pharaoh and his people are the subject of this verse.
Vs. 20 – Next, the “mingled people” are named as the second recipients of this Cup of the LORD”S fury; the Hebrew word for “mingled people” is Ereb (Arabs). Reference to Jeremiah 30:37 proves that these are the “mixed” races of Arabs “that are in the midst of her ... who shall become as women (weak) ... they shall be robbed.”
This destiny is consistent with the provision that is made for the wealth of the Gentiles to be removed and given to the LORD, as clearly dictated in the words of Zechariah 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. This verse clearly nominates the members of the PLO, Al-Fatah, Hezbollah, Hamas, and all the other rabid, oppressive (to Israel) political makeup of the Palestinian Arabs who live among and round about Israel today. Their destiny is to drink deeply of this Cup of the LORD’S fury, and to swallow down, to perish, and to be no more a thorn and a brier to the House of Israel (Ezekiel 28:24); their destruction concludes in the great blessing for Israel, that as a result of their destruction, … they (Israel) shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
The people of Uz are included. This is the country of Job, near Edom in the southland. Today the region is populated by Arab Bedouin, all of whom are antagonistic to Israel.
Those of the Philistines and Ashkelon – today’s Gaza Strip, solely inhabited by Hamas.
Those of Azzah (Hebrew, ‘Azzah, or Gaza), and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod (the old site of Ashdod in the Gaza Strip, both the latter being ancient cities of the Philistines.
Vs. 21 – Then, Edom, Moab and Ammon are named. This is Jordan of today, a nation which is thought by pundits to be “moderate” toward Israel, but which has actively fought Israel three notable times in recent history (since the establishment of the State of Israel).
Vs. 22 – Next come Tyre and Zidon are specifically named as part of those “nations round about Israel” of today.
Vs. 23 – Then Dedan, Tema (Teman) and Buz. These are Edomite designations of place. Eliphaz, the “friend” of Job was a Temanite of Idumea (Edom); he is, like Job’s other two antagonists, Edomites. In Job’s account, they played to perfection their eternal role as antagonist to God’s people represented by the righteous Job.
Vs. 24 – The kings of Arabia and of the mingled people (Arabs) of the desert, are next.
Vs. 25 – Then Zimri (the etymology of this name is uncertain, but it is thought to relate to Zimram, a son of Abraham by Keturah, and therefore an Arabian), and Elam and the Medes.
Up to this point (the listing of Zimri), the named nations as recipients of the Cup of the LORD’S Fury have been strictly the “nations round about” Israel of today – those of Stage One in our considered opinion the first line of physical combatants against God’s People in the end-time. In naming these LATTER two peoples, the prophecy now extends to the peoples beyond “those round about” in the technical sense, and into the realms of those named as being with the Gogian hosta of Ezekiel 38 and 39. That concept continues in the next verse, lumping all those confederate with the great nation from the uttermost parts of the north, into one phrase …
Vs. 26 – The kings of the north, and the (associated) kingdoms of the world. This inclusion shows the infinite extension of the prophecy to Rosh (Russia) of the end-time wars’ Stage Two. But now another entity is thrown into the mix: “the king of Sheshach.”
Here, things become intensely germane to our subject, indicating the subtle merging into one, the infinite, common enemies of God’s people, ALL the nations of the earth. In this instance, Sheshach as the anti-typical Babylon is indicated, in our opinion – that is “Great Babylon” of the LORD Jesus’ revelation of end-time affairs wherein His kingdom shall overcome and absorb all the kingdoms of the earth, and make His name One in the entire earth.
In support of this concept, I refer to a private study note made in my journal years ago: the note reads – “Ref. 52 - See Jeremiah 25:26 and 51:41. Sheshach = Babylon, or anti-typical Babylon. Cf. extensive f. n. on Jeremiah 25:26, Companion Bible.”
We quote here that learned commentary of E. W. Bullinger, the scholarly and erudite creator of The Companion Bible and its extensive, helpful volumes of explanatory footnotes: it reads ...
“Sheshach: The Massorah explains that this word is “Babel,” being a cipher by which the last letter of the alphabet is put for the first, and the next to the last for the second, etc., by which Sh. Sh. K. becomes B. B. L. “Babel” (cp. Jer. 51:41, where both words are used). There is another example in 51:1. See note there. Four classes of nations are to drink of this Cup of Jehovah Elohim of Israel (vs. 15): 1. Jerusalem and Judah (vs. 18); 2. Egypt, etc., (vs. 19); 3. The mingled nations (verses 20-22), and 4. The more distant nations (verses 23-25). Daniel fills in these “times of the Gentiles” which are not within the scope of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. But the point here is that the final judgment of the nations is yet future: when “Great Babylon” comes into remembrance, it will “drink after them.” Cp. Jeremiah 49:12).”
In this quotation, we have omitted the final words of the footnote by Bullinger, which are these: “For this ‘Sheshach’ must be rebuilt and restored.”
This omission is because we greatly disagree with Dr. Bullinger’s belief that the words refer literally to Sheshach in Iraq of today – which is also a prominent opinion among the TV “evangelists” and radio “Bible preachers” of today who also believe it refers to the physical reconstruction of Babylon in the lower Euphrates valley, as was beginning to be accomplished under the rulership of Saddam Hussein; he aimed to reconstruct Babylon of old and make it into a worldwide theme park for all the world to visit and enjoy; that project has been completely abandoned at this time; additionally, we believe this effort to be totally irrelevant to the prophecy of Jeremiah here considered. You see, the problem is that the “churches” cannot bring themselves to recognize or admit the culpability of the Roman System in such passages because their own makeup is so closely allied to that entity.
The place “Sheshach” is offered here, we believe, as metaphor for another, far more important locus of attention of the LORD Jesus in the end-time, when He comes to reveal His justice and His judgment to the nations of the earth – to all those who hate the Jews, and bite and snap at Israel and God’s People, who consistently deny and refuse His Plan of Salvation – and to bring peace and tranquillity to the whole earth.
We refer to Bullinger’s reference above to “Great Babylon,” which in our studied opinion always means that metaphorical Babylon – that antitypical place which has copied so faithfully the ancient convictions, practices and “religion” of Babylon of Chaldea – viz, Vatican City, that Babylon on the Tiber, in Rome of the modern world. Likewise, this is the certain meaning of the instruction of the LORD Jesus in the Revelation, when He began to pronounce Rome’s and Catholicism’s fate in Revelation 16:19, amplified in 17:5; 18:2; 18:10; and 18:21, q.v.
For this reason, we lump the world of Antichrist and the Harlot of Babylon along with the Beast which bears her forlorn person about upon his back, into the reference to “Sheshach” as here noted. The progressive nature of the expansion of His kingdom in the earth follows this pattern faithfully. And besides that, the Sheshach of Iraq of today shall have been included in the much earlier end-time conflicts of Israel as outlined above as the Stage One conflicts.
The Terminal Offering of His Cup of Fury
The remainder of this vital prophecy of the LORD through Jeremiah continues through verse 38. The narrative details the serving of the Cup of Fury to all those nations listed by the prophet, and the result of their drinking it.
It is patently observable in this narrative that the Cup was first served to Judah (Israel) because of its transgression and iniquity.
But a day is soon coming when “all Israel shall be saved” in a literal sense. We already are beholding the serving of the Cup of His Fury to the nations – the oppressors and aggressors of Israel – the people of God in these latter days, a phenomenon of the post-Recovery period of Israel returning to its Land, of its “return to Me” as admonished by Malachi 3:7 – the first stages of which should be quite evidently their physical return to their Land. This is being rapidly accomplished, and is obviously the first order of that which is meant by the phrase, Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts, namely, their physical return being required prior to their spiritual return, for that is the way events have unfolded.
The reason for this requirement, we conjecture, is because the Second Coming of Christ to the earth will be greatly, even primarily, tasked immediately with saving His people from annihilation by their enemies round about. Their being gathered in large numbers in one place accomplishes two ends: 1) their enemies have one venue upon which to concentrate – the hated State of Israel and its people, and 2) His saving of them is facilitated by their being huddled in one mass of people in their Land as it is challenged by all their enemies (who are also His enemies – cf. Micah 5:1,2). In other words, his “saving” of them shall be more readily apparent not only to Israel as a people, but to the people of the world who shall think on these events in retrospect, once their instruction has gone forth, their armies also defeated by drinking of this Cup of His Fury, and they are beginning to be converted to His way.
Having thusly analyzed this wonderful prophecy of Jeremiah 25, we realize that there are well-meaning Bible students who will not agree with our observations, plain and simple as they are elaborated in the holy writ.
Their prophetic agenda was set in stone (for them) many years ago; their views will not likely be changed. Having accepted that much too-soon exposition of Bible prophecy as gospel, they shall miss (and have already missed) many of the wondrous subtleties and permutations of the end-time conflicts of Israel as set forth by the prophets as we can now perceive them. Some of them indeed have denied the existence of modern Israel as being in any great extent relevant to the outworkings of God’s Plan for His People both of Israel and the Gentiles.
These details, however, are said to have been recorded for our instruction and admonition. Hopefully, any operational misunderstanding of them will not in any wise constitute a fundamental flaw, and such honestly mistaken students will be safely and surely brought along with events as they are now clearly understood to be patterned. For, in the end, only “the wise shall understand,” even if it requires His conferring upon some an immortal intellect, perfect in all its components, and then capable of understanding all things.
Of such shall be composed the Citizenry of the First Dominion of the Kingdom of Christ headquartered in the holy hill of Zion, which shall occupy the highest elevation of the physical geography of Jerusalem, Israel. <HEL 9O>
Compiled and Arranged by Harold E. Lafferty
The overt number 2520 as such appears nowhere in all scripture. But it appears many times in other terms – such as “seven times.” In addition, utilizing the standard human measurements which would come to be utilized in natural sciences – which the Almighty foreknew as human standards to be developed in future time – we see remarkable coincidence of these resulting in the factor of 2520 being extremely prominent in many measurements of nature; we are referring to such standards as the human-established degrees, minutes and seconds of the earth’s circumference (360 degrees), and other measurements such as the statute mile – all to be considered in this ongoing discussion.
Since the advent of natural science, essentially since the Renaissance, researchers have investigated this number exhaustively and found an abundance of references which mathematically result in this value or multiples of it. These studies reflect my early fascination with the number, an obsession which even led to my requesting that number for the state license plate for my 1949 Studebaker Commander – a photo which I shall include later if I can locate it in my archives.
Human Calculation Necessary for Profound Answers
In the book of Revelation, the Elect are admonished to count the number of his name – the “name” of the Beast of Revelation 13t: Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. For many years – until the emergence of a personage whose name equaled the gematrial (numerical) value of 666 – this prophecy would have been an enigma, which it was meant to be, until its time of valid recognition.
We believe the same principle is valid for many other functions and conclusions of the number 2520. We intend to discuss it in greater detail, God willing. We intend to astound you with the number of times the number 2520 leaps out of God’s word, “cropping up” in scripture as related to all sorts of time periods, measurements, statistics, distances and other factors.
The Seven “Times”
One of the most obvious conclusions of a term of 2520 years is that it is the length of “the times of the Gentiles.” Students of prophecy have long been aware of this length of time period being equivalent to the “seven times the Gentiles” of Jesus’ remark in Luke 21:24, the only employment of that term in scripture.
Just so all readers have a common understanding base in the matter of the Times of the Gentiles, we shall spend a short time establishing that period as being 2520 years in future articles on this theme. For now, we simply ask your concession of this statement as true – that the “times of the Gentiles” represents a period of 2520 years. There is more than one article on our eTPL website (see the web address below our signature line, above) that prove beyond any doubt that this is the case. But we intend to restate the skeletal facts for current readers in the near future, God willing.
Beginning This Consideration: King Belshazzar
It is difficult to determine just where to begin this consideration of the vast, overriding importance of the number 2520 in scripture – which as we shall see, is a pervasive, all-encompassing concept 0f holy writ.
Perhaps a good place to start is at one of the most widely known incidents in God’s word – an incident whose significance has passed into our contemporary secular community, most of whom know nothing of its origin. We are thinking of the supernatural incident recorded in Daniel 5, in which King Belshazzar of Babylon was given his death sentence as “handwriting on the wall.” It is a term which indicates the inevitability of some judgment or penalty or result in one’s life.
The pagan king had brought all his high officials and princes together for a great feast. He brought out for use in the banquet the holy vessels of God’s temple which had been carried away to Babylon, and as a slap in the face of Israel’s God, was actually utilizing them in his pagan banquet. This was the final straw in Belshazzar’s affronts to the Almighty. At the height of the banquet, an hand appeared out of thin air, and wrote upon a plaster wall of the palace, some condemnatory words for the king and his kingdom.
The scripture records …
Dan 5:25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
The “surface” meaning of the words is highly significant as condemnatory of Belshazzar.
But there is another significance of these words which is not readily apparent to readers.
Besides the entirely relevant “surface” message of these words, there is a numerical significance embedded in them as well. Each word represents a numerical value (the total, summary value of each character in each word), which we shall see was based upon the most widely used unit of measure (the gerah) in the Middle East of that day – a value which totals 2,520.
The prophecy literally told the wicked, idolatrous Belshazzar that “his number was up.”
How did it do this?
The first astounding fact of this narrative is this: Researchers tell us that it had been exactly 2520 weeks to the day since his grandfather King Nebuchadnezzar, had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. (As a disclaimer, we have no readily available means of checking this statement as factual.)
But, measuring by God’s calendar, the Babylonian Kingdom was coming to its end that very night.
MENE comes from the word ‘mina’ and is equal to 50 shekels, so MENE, MENE is 100 shekels. TEKEL is another word for shekel, and therefore equals one shekel. UPHARSIN comes from the word ‘to divide,” and is therefore half a MENE, which totals 25 shekels. The numerical value of these words therefore equals 126 shekels.
But the gerah is the basic unit of measure. Ezekiel 45:12 defines the shekel as being worth 20 gerahs. The 126 shekels of MENE, MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN thus becomes 2520 gerahs, the most common expression of currency of the day.
Therefore, the student can easily determine that the Almighty’s own finger wrote “2520” on that wall that night. This same ‘fingerprint’ is visible throughout His Word, and His Creation, both in time and space.
The Past: the 2520 Year Periods
In Ezekiel, God told Ezekiel to enact a parable by lying on his left side for 390 days, and on his right side for 40 days, for a total of 430 days. This seemingly strange object lesson – this enacted parable – has a prophetic dimension as we should suspect from its unusual nature.
What did it mean?
It related to the time representing Judah’s (then called Israel – subsequent to the Ten Tribes’ scattering) combined years of rebellion and their penalty for such transgression.
Their captivity in Babylon terminated in 70 years. Subtract these from 430 and we observe a remainder of 360 years of punishment.
But as the scriptures clearly reveal, Israel never truly repented, but consistently continued its rebellion. Only a tiny minority returned from Babylon under the leadership of Ezra and others.
In Leviticus 26, we see that the Almighty had already anticipated this failure to repent. In this chapter, God warned Israel far in advance, that if they didn’t repent and turn from their wicked ways, and return after the captivity that was in store for them, that His seven-fold wrath should fall upon them. 360 years x 7 fold = 2520 remaining years of judgment from YHVH.
Now, note that 2,520 years x 360 days (number of days in the Hebrew calendar year) = 907,200 days. What significance does this figure have?
Look at it in terms of the Gentile calendar and the significance becomes readily apparent.
907,200 x 365.25 days (the number of days in a Gentile calendar year) = 2483.78 years.
What significance does this have?
Consider these facts: these years represent their remaining time to be subject to Gentile overlord-ship as stated in Gentile years; the calculation is as follows:
605 BC – Israel loses her sovereignty by Babylonian conquest and hegemony over its Land.
Subtract 70 years of captivity in Babylon. 605 BC – 70 years = 535 BC, the initial end of the Babylonian captivity, which actually had three discernible “endings.”
The result is 2483 years remaining in the “sentence” of the Almighty as already considered.
We arrive at the solution by doing the math, remembering that 2483 years = 907,200 days of Gentile years (2520 Gentile years).
Divide 907,200 by 365.25 (Gentile years) and the result is EXACTLY 2483.78 years (correlating to the DAY with the figure previously arrived at above!).
Now, lapse that number of years forward from 535 BC (end of the Babylonian captivity), and one arrives precisely at 1947-48 – the exact end of Israel’s captivity and the beginning of its return from the nations – the establishment of an homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine of the day!
Such precision is only seen in the outworking of our Father’s perfect plan.
Its concise termination, additionally, as measured from the overthrow of Babylon (the cutting down of the “tree” and the binding of its Medo-Persian stump (Daniel 4:23) with bands of iron and brass, to the establishment of the Jewish state precisely points to the establishment of Israel as a State among the Nations.
Daniel 4:23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;
But, let’s go back to the beginning …
The beginning of this initial “seven times” period is, as already seen, is 605 BC – the ascendancy of Babylon. Subtract the 70 years’ captivity in Babylon, and one is left at 535 BC. Now lapse this time by the 2483 years and we arrive at the Hebrew year comprehended by the Gentile years of 1947-48, the exact time of Israel’s restoration and the end of those years of Gentile domination over God’s people.
This consideration of the “seven times” of the Gentiles convinces us that there is far more here than can be attributed to “coincidence.” It is silent, and even hidden, proof of the absolute prescience and divinity of our beloved heavenly Father to bring about fulfillment of prophecy on such a scale and precision that we are astounded by it.
But there is more.
Jerusalem was desolated in 587 BC, its walls razed, the city burned, and its Temple taken apart stone by stone. This began a different period of 70 years captivity of Israel, and ended in 517 BC. Now lapse 2483 years from THAT date and one arrives precisely at 1966-67 AD – the precise date when Israel captured the Old City in the Six Day War on June 7th of that year.
And astonishingly, there is yet a third related time period – one which may have more meaning than we can appreciate on this date, September 13, 2015. It is this …
The Old City was captured and consolidated into modern Israel on June 7, 1967. That date, we must mention is passing, was the exact date prophesied for the fulfillment of the 2300 Days or the Cleansing of the Sanctuary of Daniel 8:14.
That fact in itself is extremely convincing of the accuracy of the Father’s omniscience.
But consider this calculation in reference to that momentous event: it has been calculated that the time period from June 7, 1967 – adding 2520 WEEKS – terminates on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, which is a scant TEN DAYS from today.
Does this date have some special connotation?
We would be remiss to dismiss it out of hand as an unimportant anniversary, given the significance of 2520 in Bible prophecy.
With this question we leave readers for the time being.
If time and energy permit, we shall have far more information on the importance of the number 2520 in prophecy. It shall be seen to be astonishingly important as we bring forth more of this treasure trove of information for your consideration.
Is this information important? We should not deny that it IS important. That it is absolutely vital for our mature, thoughtful evaluation. Merely the foregoing facts and figures are astonishing in themselves. But there is far more to come in the near future, God willing.
Analysis by Harold E. Lafferty
Information culled from DebkaFile reports.
August 18, 2015.
This report is issued in order to help readers make some sense of Iran’s newly mounted assault against Israel using proxy forces which it expertly manipulates. We felt that this detailed explanation would assist readers to make better sense of what is currently happening in the hostile territories surrounding the Jewish State.
In light of Iran’s discussions with Syrian Rebels, Israel’s Northern Forces have had to alter their plans for a possible renewal of fighting in the north of Israel. Five new fronts are being discussed among the combat engineers tasked with readiness in this section of the country.
These adjustments in preparedness have become necessary in the face of Iran’s drive to engineer border aggression against Israel across a wide spectrum of possibilities. Israel’s military planners have increased their efforts to get ready for Iran’s new push as “top dog” in the Middle East – a position to which the July 14th nuclear accord of the P5+1 powers with Iran has seemingly propelled the Islamic Republic.
It is significant, we believe, that all the planned aggression is intended to be accomplished by proxies of Iran – not by Iran at first hand. The actual terrorism is intended to be carried out by the factions of the nations “round about” Israel – the Proximal Islamic nations – one of which Iran is not.
Several factors impinge upon the urgency of Israel’s planning. Hezbollah in South Lebanon is already “in Iran’s pocket.” Building on that fact, secret Iranian emissaries have for the first time opened direct talks with Syrian rebels, and Palestinian groups, and are urging them to activate a new South Syrian front against Israel.
It was precisely this looming event that sent Israel’s top generals and ministers on several visits to the Golan and IDF Northern Command headquarters on this date. These officials included Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Gady Eisenkott, all of whom inspected the military forces of Israel which are dispersed along the Golan frontier and the always brittle border of Northern Israel with South Lebanon.
These and other officials were then thoroughly briefed on the IDF forces’ disposition against the perceived threats by OC Northern Command Major General Aviv Kochavi and his leaders of IDF divisions and brigades.
The prime minister, addressing the troops, said, “We are here for a close look at the forces and their disposition,” and are satisfied that “we are ready to face up to any scenario.” He added: “Anyone wishing to harm us, we will harm them.”
The defense minister said Iran was seeking to “inflame the region.”
It was the second time in three days that Israel’s security authorities had specifically mentioned the Jewish State’s military preparedness levels opposite the Syrian Golan and the Lebanese borders.
Six Alarming Events to Come
There are six alarming events which could evolve into new battle fronts, according to Debka’s analysis.
1. In contrast to earlier conduct, Iranian Al Qods Brigades officers serving in Syria are for the first time in dialogue with certain Syrian rebel leaders. This is in contrast to earlier conduct in which Iranian officers have had no contact at all with President Bashar Al-Assad’s enemies. Debka believes that as the Syrian Civil War enters its fifth year, the Iranians realize that the ability of Al-Assad’s army and Hezbollah to pull ahead and win the war is declining rapidly. Therefore in the last couple of weeks, Tehran has seemed to switch course, turning away from the military option to open up highly confidential talks with Syrian rebel groups in search of a political solution for ending the war on a more “honourable” basis. Their thinking is evidently, “Why not employ Syrian rebels to fight Israel?” – an action which would come in addition to making an accord with them.
2. After three long, tortuous years of frustrating efforts to defeat the Syrian rebels, in line with Tehran’s usual tactic of striving to achieve more than one goal at a time, Iran’s move to approach the rebels makes some sense. Iran now is thinking it might enlist these same enemies in order to accomplish two goals that will be useful to both parties. The wily Iranians planners apparently see no reason why the rebels can’t serve a second purpose, namely, the effective displacement of the US and Jordanian emplacements in Southern Syria which was won by Jordan by fostering select Syrian rebel groups’ friendship and cooperation. This goal slipped past Iran in actual combat on the battlefield when the Syrian army and Hezbollah were forced back as late as last year when they strove to (but failed to) push the rebels out of the Golan town of Quenitra and the southern Syrian town of Derna. This defeat frustrated Iran’s plan to establish a Hezbollah missile base on the Syrian frontier with the Golan to face down Israeli military positions opposite them. Now the Iranians want the Syrian rebels to cooperate with them after the long period of confrontation.
3. If the rebels can be won over, Israel and Jordan will be forced to confront a new Iranian-backed belligerent close upon their borders for the first time. Neither of these allies can really depend upon the United States to resist such a move by Iran because President Obama himself was responsible for giving to Iran its new status as “top dog” in the region. Some observers even feel that the Americans are more than likely to lend the Iranians a helping hand, congratulating Iran’s outreach to the Syrian rebels for a diplomatic resolution of the Syrian war, and playing down Tehran’s aggressive designs as a parallel issue.
4. This move would effectively create a newly dangerous Eastern Front, enhancing Iran’s goal of “effacing Israel,” as first revealed by DebkaFile earlier in the week. Intelligence reports reaching Israel in the last month reveal Iranian Al Qods Brigades and Hezbollah officers involved in the creation of a new terrorist network designed to mount mass-terror attacks inside Israel from a new base on the Syrian-Israeli Golan border. This initiative reveals Iran and Hezbollah doling out anit-tank missiles and anit-aircraft missiles to enable their new cadre of terrorists to grab small Israeli locations or even urban districts and hold out against an Israeli tank and/or air attack via helicopter gun-ships. The three radical terrorist movements are, (a) the hard=line rejectionist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command; (b) the Golan-based Syrian Druze group known as Liberators of the Golan, headed by Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze and former PLO member who was responsible for the 1979 Nahariya Outrage in which children were brutally slaughtered in the name of Islam, and (c) the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which is composed of radical Christian terrorists. These well established, extremely violent group, which is run by Syrian Intelligence, conducted the 1982-83 Hezbollah bombing massacres at the US Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut. Israeli intelligence indicates that these fighters have already arrived in the Quenitra vicinity in the Golan.
5. The fifth new factor in the mix is that “the West Bank Palestinian leader, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, appears to have approved the latest Iranian plans.” Reports have surfaced as to the secret presence in Tehran of Abbas’ personal emissary, Jmail Jajdalani, a member of the PLO executive. He dismissed his presence there as an attempt to “break the ice” between Iran and the PLO and discuss exchanging ambassadors between Tehran and Ramallah. In so doing, Abbas is shown to be willing to give Iran its first diplomatic presence on the West Bank as well as accepting a military role. We believe it will be to his undoing. Because arming Palestinians with missiles not only in the Gaza Strip, but on the West Bank, would endanger Israel’s most populous regions and its commercial centers. Thus is Iran feverishly pursuing a program for importing the most vile terrorist groups in history, the forerunners of ISIS, to the Syrian Golan on the very edge of North=eastern Israel. These would enhance the propensity of Hezbollah and Hamas (in Gaza) to “efface” Israel, as phrased by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
6. The sixth alarming event concerns Israel’s response to Iran’s greatly expanded, multi-faceted terrorist offensive against the Jewish State. It is is incomprehensible that Israel would simply wait to be overwhelmed from five diverse groups of forces of Iran’s surrogate forces along its borders – northern, north-eastern and south-western. Just after this communiqué was issued by DebkaFile, several rockets were fired from Syria into northern Israel – a front which has been quite for some time. The rockets ignited fires in kibbutz fields and orchards; a red alert sent Israelis to shelters to spend the night.
Debka concludes its report with the words, “The new terror front engineered by Tehran appears to have gone into action.”
Conclusion: Our view is that these developments are a certain outworking of the overall aggression of Israel by the Proximal Islamic States of Syria/Iraq (now being supplanted by ISIS), Lebanon (Tyre and Sidon of Amos 1:10), Jordan (Moab, Edom and Ammon of Ezekiel 35), Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Kuwait, and the lands of the South of Israel, including the Negev and Sinai Peninsula – from the River Nile to the River Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (and possibly the Indian Ocean (?).
They are a minute outworking leading to that end – the utter defeat of all these peoples who illegally inhabit God’s Land – the Holy Land of Israel, whose inheritance shall no longer be divided and torn asunder, but united under the LORD, Jesus Christ, when He comes to establish His everlasting kingdom upon the earth.
What does the Bible mean when it speaks about “glory”? The glory of God was revealed to Moses at Sinai- and what he heard was the declaration of God’s Name or character, that Yahweh is a God full of grace, mercy, truth, justice, judgment etc. (Ex. 33:19; 34:6,7). Jesus alludes to what happened at Sinai by saying that He has “glorified you… manifested your name” (Jn. 17:4,6). Whenever those characteristics of God are recognized, manifested or openly shown, God is glorified. In this sense, God is the “God of glory” (Ps. 29:3 etc.). He is totally associated with His Name and characteristics- it’s not that He just shows those particular attributes to men, but He Himself personally is someone quite different. He is His glory. And this is why Jn. 17:5 parallels His glory with God’s very own “self”.
That glory of God was of course always with God, right at the beginning of the world. He hasn’t changed His essential characteristics over time. The God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New Testament. As John begins his Gospel by saying, the essential “Word”, logos of God, His essential plans, intentions, personality, was in the beginning with Him. It was “made flesh” in the person of Jesus (Jn. 1:14), in that the Lord Jesus in His life and especially in His death on the cross revealed all those attributes and plans of God in a concrete, visible form - to perfection.
The request of Jesus to be glorified is therefore asking for the Name / attributes / characteristics / glory / word of God to be openly revealed in Him. Surely He had in mind His resurrection, and the glorifying of God which would take place as a result of this being preached and believed in world-wide.
But in what sense was this the glory which Jesus had with God before the world was? As we have said, the “glory” of God was revealed to Moses at Sinai in Ex. 34 as the declaration of His character. In this sense, the Lord Jesus could speak of having in His mortal life “that glory which was with [the Father]” when the [Jewish] world came into existence at Sinai (Jn. 17:5 Ethiopic and Western Text). It was that same glory which, like Moses, He reflected to men. But according to 2 Cor. 3:18, the very experience of gazing upon the glory of His character will change us into a reflection of it. There is something transforming about the very personality of Jesus. And perhaps this is why we have such a psychological barrier to thinking about Him deeply. We know that it has the power to transform and intrude into our innermost darkness.
There is essentially only one glory- the glory of the Son is a reflection or manifestation of the glory of the Father. They may be seen as different glories only in the sense that the same glory is reflected from the Lord Jesus in His unique way; as a son reflects or articulates his father’s personality, it’s not a mirror personality, but it’s the same essence. One star differs from another in glory, but they all reflect the same essential light of glory. The Lord Jesus sought only the glory of the Father (Jn. 7:18). He spoke of God’s glory as being the Son’s glory (Jn. 11:4). Thus Isaiah’s vision of God’s glory is interpreted by John as a prophecy of the Son’s glory (Jn. 12:41). The glory of God is His “own self”, His own personality and essence. This was with God of course from the ultimate beginning of all, and it was this glory which was manifested in both the death and glorification of the Lord Jesus (Jn. 17:5). The Old Testament title “God of glory” is applied to the Lord Jesus, “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8; James 2:1). It is God’s glory which radiates from the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory, because He is the express image of God’s personality (Heb. 1:3). He received glory from God’s glory (2 Pet. 1:17). God is the “Father of glory”, the prime source of the one true glory, that is reflected both in the Lord Jesus and in ourselves (Eph. 1:17). The intimate relation of the Father's glory with that of the Son is brought out in Jn. 13:31,32: " Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him; and God shall glorify him in himself, and straightway shall he glorify him" .
What all this exposition means in practice is this. There is only “one glory” of God. That glory refers to the essential “self”, the personality, characteristics, being etc. The Lord Jesus manifested that glory in His mortal life (Jn. 2:11). But He manifests it now that He has been “glorified”, and will manifest it in the future day of His glory. And the Lord was as in all things a pattern to us. We are bidden follow in His path to glory. We now in our personalities reflect and manifest the one glory of the Father, and our blessed Hope is glory in the future, to be glorified, to be persons who reflect and ‘are’ that glory in a more intimate and complete sense than we are now, marred as we are by our human dysfunction, sin, and weakness of will against temptation. We now reflect that glory as in a dirty bronze mirror (2 Cor. 3:18). The outline of God’s glory in the face of Jesus is only dimly reflected in us. But we are being changed, from glory to glory, the focus getting clearer all the time, until that great day when we meet Him and see Him face to face, with all that shall imply and result in. But my point in this context is that there is only one glory. That glory was with God from the beginning. Jesus was in the mind and plan of God from the beginning. It was God’s original plan to resurrect and glorify and justify His Son. And in Jn. 17:5, Jesus is asking that this will happen. The glory which Jesus had “before the world was” is connected with the way that He was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:20), the way God promised us eternal life (through His Son) before the world was (Tit. 1:2). 2 Tim. 1:9 speaks of us as being called to salvation in Christ “before the world began”, He “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). In the same way as we didn’t personally exist before the world began, neither did Christ. Indeed 1 Cor. 2:7 speaks of us having some form of glory with God “before the world began”. It’s the idea of this “one glory” again- God’s glory existed, and it was His plan to share it with His Son and with us; and He speaks of those things which are not as though they are, so certain are they of fulfilment (Rom. 4:17). In Jn. 17:5, the Lord Jesus is ‘pleading the promise’ of these things.
We need to remember that the Lord was speaking, and John was writing, against a Jewish background. The language of 'pre-existence' was common in Jewish thinking and writing. To be 'with God' didn't mean, in Jewish terms, to be up there in heaven with God literally. Mary had favour para God (Lk. 1:30) in the same way as Jesus had glory para God, but this doesn't mean she pre-existed or was in Heaven with God with her "favour". The Torah supposedly pre-existed, everything on earth was a pattern of the pre-existing ideas of those things which were held in the plan and mind of God in Heaven. John 17:5 has reference to these things: "And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed". The Talmud and Genesis Rabbah speak of the "Throne of Glory" pre-existing before the world existed. And the Lord Jesus seems to be alluding to that. The Jewish mind wouldn't have understood the Lord Jesus to be making any claim here to have bodily, physically existed before birth. Peter reflected Jewish thinking when he wrote (albeit under inspiration) that Jesus was "foreknown" before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20 ESV). Think through the implications of being "foreknown"- the Greek word used is the root of the English word 'prognosis'. If God 'foreknew' His Son, the Son was not literally existent next to Him at the time of being 'foreknown'. Otherwise the language of 'foreknowing' becomes meaningless.
Harold E. Lafferty
August 15, 2015. The vapid and humid dog days of summer are rapidly vanishing toward the refreshingly crisper, shorter, more colorful days of fall, being itself a perfect metaphor for our collective, dwindling time just prior to the Second Advent of the LORD from heaven – the certain end of these present “dog” days, and the beginning of a much more vigorous and more colorful, season of experience, defined by brighter, deeper colors, and by a crisper, more vigorous climate, trending decisively toward the polar opposite to today’s environment of man’s general lack of regard (and indeed,even repudiation) of the things of God.
That rather stilted, ponderous sentence summarizes the thoughts we have recently been having regarding the critical events which we believe we can possibly (and prayerfully) expect before the end of this current year.
We have recently considered what precisely the LORD Jesus meant when He said, regarding the generation of those who beheld the budding of the Fig Tree (the founding of modern Israel on May 14, 1948) – that those who witnessed that shooting forth of the Fig tree – as well as “all the trees” of Luke 21:29, that they represented a generation which should not pass away until all things be fulfilled (verse 32).
The details of Luke 21 contain details of some of the last revelations of the Master to the crowds who came to hear him in the Temple at Jerusalem, immediately prior to His being nailed to the stake of death at Golgotha.
In verse 6 of that chapter, He had foretold the overthrow and destruction of the (so-called) Second Temple (the temple of Herod, which had replaced that of Nehemiah, and as such was actually the Third Temple.)
The ensuing mayhem and dispersion of Judah was then foretold which should initiate and occupy the seemingly interminable age which lay ahead, defined by the Master, in verse 24, as the times of the Gentiles – the utter desolation which came upon His People and His Land during that obdurate age.
Then, Verses 25-27 address the turmoil and uncertainty of the years following the end of “the times of the Gentiles.”
This is the precise period which we have personally experienced since May, 1948 – the clearly-cut, near-seventy year period subsequent to that date, following upon the abrupt end of those specific (Gentile) “times” of dominance over His Land and people.
We have personally concluded that by “this generation” of verse 32, He is indicating a period of 70 years. If this be a correct assumption, that period would come to its conclusion in 2017-2018AD.
Our minds are drawn specifically to His description of the “signs” which should mark those extremely significant “times,” namely these: Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring …
Some have rebuked those who see His reference to “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” as being literal (that is, as being celestial in nature), because earlier expositors stated that these unequivocally stood for “signs” among the nations and peoples of the earth – not to literal signs in the celestial realm. [One recent exhibition of such a refusal to accept these signs as celestial rather than political, appeared in a current journal two months ago – reprinted from a similar journal of 150 years earlier – spending approximately six pages repudiating any indications in the scriptures of signs as exhibited in the physical heavens, but relegating all such references to signs exhibited as metaphor among the nations and polities of the earth.]
We beg to differ, because of His insertion of the remark that in contrast to these heavenly signs, that in addition, “upon the earth” there should be distress of nations, with perplexity. This concise delineation as being “upon the earth” means that those heavenly “signs” ARE heavenly – celestial in nature – because they are compared and contrasted with conditions upon the earth.
We believe subtle clues such as this must be attended by His dear people in order for His servants more perfectly to understand and profit from His prophecies.
We imply here, among other such signs, the literal importance of the Jewish Tetrads of 1493, 1949, 1967 and the current Tetrad of 2014-2015. We intend to share more comments upon these events further down in this discussion.
Then, in Luke21:28, the Master gets down to the critical meaning of His previous words. He tells them in clear terms …
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
We have remarked on past occasions of the significance of Jesus’ phrase, which only Luke reports – where he references the fig tree, and ALL the trees.
If Israel is symbolized by the fig tree, what means the phrase “all the trees?”
The simplest and most direct deduction is that He is referring to other nations which should arise at approximately the same time as Israel – all of them symbolized as being “trees” of that woodland – as a result of the same action which brought forth the emergence of Fig Tree Israel, the modern nation.
An additional thought is, that the (other) subject trees besides the Fig Tree, would blossom and flourish in the precise territory that should become the future Garden of Eden Restored – the First Dominion of the Kingdom as it is called by the prophet’s words in Micah 4:8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
As alien, or foreign, residents and occupiers of the future core of Christ’s kingdom, these peoples must be characterized as interlopers – as intruders upon the Holy Place of His name.
Does this thinking fit with the facts of history?
Yes, it does – precisely. The times of the Gentiles were set to end precisely at the termination of the last King of the North, which in our studied opinion was the cessation of the Ottoman control over Palestine which was brought about by the British Army under Lord Sir General Edmund Allenby in 1917, with his sudden and remarkable defeat of the armies of the Porte in Palestine in December of that year, subsequently driving the Turk back into Anatolia where he (i.e., the empire, the Desolator) came to his end with none to help (Daniel 11: 45)..
Only after that time – the routing of the Ottomans from the entire Levant, including the Euphrates Valley and territories of the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, etc), Tyre and Sidon, Palestine, Trans Jordan and the Ottoman influence in Arabia and the emergent Gulf States up to that time – ONLY after that time was there opportunity for other “trees” to become established in these now vacant, undesignated, largely uninhabited, mostly desolated, and unassigned areas of habitation.
These “trees” can only be the Islamic countries which were similarly newly established like Israel, which were immediately and artificially established by France and Britain in the vacated territories of the Porte – the new nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, the Gulf Emirates, and others, including Saudi Arabia, Muscat, Oman, and Bahrain – all of which are comprehended in a similar term – the kings of the East, in the well-known designation uttered in Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
We rightly recognize these two events as being concurrent, and therefore as being significantly related to each other, thus furthering our understanding and appreciation of the accuracy and the verity of our understanding of them.
Having established the valid comparability of these “trees” and “kings” of that area, we are now confronted with the heavenly “signs” portending the end of human domination of the earth.
As we have extensively noted in past articles, the first three Jewish Tetrads – of a Blood Moon on Passover and Tabernacles of one year followed by the same the following year – which have happened in the years indicated above, have all been closely allied with something that was at first adverse for Israel, but which then turned about and resulted in a great benefit to God’s people.
We believe the same scenario will be further in store for the Jewish State of today.
The nations round about Israel have affirmed time and again their intention to overcome and obliterate Israel of today. If they indeed carry out that threat of invasion, it will at first appear, in human terms, to be a rather dire outlook for Israel, diminutive as Israel is in comparison to the population, wealth, and land areas of its opponents.
One typical statement of these enemies of YHVH is found in Psalm 83:3 They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against Thy hidden ones. 4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against Thee (i.e., against YHVH)… a statement which could have been clipped from Arab threats contemporarily reported on Al Jazerra TV, or printed in The Times of Jordan.
Our hope is that, as the first four festivals of Israel, having been fulfilled literally by active events on those specific dates, so also shall the fall festivals have their literal fulfillment.
Specifically, these spring festivals were …
Passover, fulfilled in the literal crucifixion of Christ on that date (Leviticus 23:5);
Unleavened Bread, fulfilled by His interment on that date (Leviticus 23:6);
Firstfruits, fulfilled by His resurrection on that date (Leviticus 23:10); and
Pentecost, as fulfilled by the limited outpouring of the Spirit gifts on the 50th day (Leviticus 23:16).
These literal fulfillments have long been recognized as significant to the orderly progression of the establishment of God’s Plan in the earth.
Why should the pattern of fulfillment not be further accomplished in the Fall Festivals?
These are …
The Feast of Trumpets (of Blowing of Trumpets – Leviticus 23:24), on 1 Tishri, heralding The Coming King. Another name for this festival is Rosh Hashanah – the head of the year.
The Feast of Yom Kippur (of Atonement – Leviticus 23:27)), on 10 Tishri, heralding The National Day of Atonement, and
The Feast of Tabernacles (of Indwelling – Leviticus 23:34), on 15 Tishri, as signifying God Dwelling with Men, and with Israel specifically, as he is enthroned upon the Throne of David in Mount Zion.
Like the spring festivals, why should not these likewise literally be fulfilled by unique events beginning with the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, resulting in the Resurrection of His covenanted People from the graves and the living societies of the earth – utilizing the Feast of Trumpets as their beginning?
We certainly must recall the direct reference to this Festival in the words of 1Corinthians 15:52 - In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
What means this saying, “the last trump?”
The phrase has a specific meaning to the Jewish people, but one which is altogether overlooked by non-Hebrew speakers.
In the observance of The Feast of Trumpets, a Shophar was sounded – not once, but many times. It was a joyful, exuberant sounding.
The instruction for this festival is found in Leviticus 23:23 - And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
Firstly, even if the first day of the seventh month should fall on a day other than the physical Sabbath (the seventh day of the week), it is always considered to be a Sabbath – and is observed as any other normal Sabbath day. It is possible in the Hebrew calendar to have as many as four “Sabbath days” in a two week period because of this special provision.
The words “ye shall have a Sabbath” indicate the necessity for the priests to designate these special days AS Sabbath days even though they were not, strictly speaking, the seventh day of the week.
Secondly, a memorial of blowing of trumpets was not merely the sounding of a trumpet once and done on that day. That observance involved a multiple blowing of the Shofar in a pre-set protocol which had been revealed to them as being necessary. Although not specifically spelled out in scripture, we understand that the practice of the blowing of trumpets on this day followed this protocol:
The procedure was as follows: The Shofar on this day is blown an hundred times in this sequence, as described by Mark Biltz in his book, Blood Moons [WND Books, distr. By Midpoint Trade books, New York, 2014] p. 67 … “On the Feast of Trumpets, the shofar, or trumpet, is blown one hundred times. Three sounds are made with the trumpet: Tekiah is one long, straight blast; Shevarim is three shorter blasts. Teruah is nine quick blasts in short succession. The one hundredth blast on the Feast of Trumpets is known as ‘the last trump.’”
Where in scripture do we encounter this exact phrase?
It is known by perhaps every reader, that it is in Paul’s words given in 1Corinthians 15:51 - … we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Therefore, the certain designation of this Festival is that of the Resurrection of the Dead in Christ from all past ages, and the assembly of the living saints from all societies of this day.
Following that operation, these are judged as to their individual fitness to enter and serve eternally in the Kingdom; multitudes of them are immortalized, soon visibly to appear with Him in the earth to clear His Land of all the intruders and oppressors of the nations round about Israel of today, thus cleansing the Land, freeing His people from oppression, and preparing them and their Land for their imminent progression into the Kingdom Age.
Although we shall not discuss the details of the last two festivals at this time, we can easily envision how that the national Atonement of Israel follows His visible appearance with the Saints as they physically clear from the Land the intruders, followed by Israel’s national acceptance of Him as Messiah and Saviour, and His consequent Dwelling with them in Zion.
We believe that if this sequence is indeed indicated, that this terminal event –the Feast of Trumpets will be triggered by the last and final, serious warlike threat of the nations that are round about Israel, necessitating the appearance of the Christ to save His people from an overpowering threat from them. Psalm 89:19-23; Isaiah 11:11-16; Zephaniah 3:19; Zechariah 9:16; Romans 11:25-27. Further, we expect this Second Advent to occur on some future day of The Feast of Trumpets – exactly which future one we cannot say (but our fervent hope is that it is the one upcoming in early September, 2015).
The end-point of this process will be the Tabernacling of God with men in the Kingdom Age, bringing into vivid reality that wonderful promise recorded in Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Our earnest expectation of these final, curtain-drawing events of the Age of Man, gives us a magnificent confidence in the sovereignty of our LORD, Who is coming to bring about these wondrous events of the ages. <HEL MD/USA, 8O> ~2800 words. An eTPL insertion: Other Items, August 15, 2015.
2 Samuel 17
We have often noticed the detailed account of David’s confrontation with Goliath, the giant of Gath of the land of Philistia – today’s Gaza Strip – and have taken account of many similarities to the modern confrontation of Israel with its enemies – the Gazan Philistines of today, otherwise identified as Edom (the Palestine Liberation Organization of today) by Obadiah, including the vicious group which calls itself Hamas in the Gaza Strip itself.
In this article, we attempt to plumb further the depths of the prophetic significance of this account, for we perceive it rich in symbolism and metaphor for the current times.
The entire episode is contained within 2 Samuel 17. There are recorded many interesting and vital details that we must consider: we shall consider the text in detail …
1Sa 17:1 - Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
The level Valley of Elah is a superb battlefield in Judah, east of Bethlehem.
The Philistine Champion: Goliath
1Sa 17:4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a sp
The Antagonist, Goliath:
Goliath’s size was immense. The following note is attached to this account in ESword:
six cubits: According to Bp. Cumberland's calculation, the height of Goliath was about eleven feet ten inches; but Parkhurst estimating the ordinary cubit at seventeen inches and a half, calculates that he was nine feet six inches high. Few instances can be produced of men who can be compared with him. Pliny says, "The tallest man that hath been seen in our days was one name Gabara, who, in the days of Claudius, the late Emperor, was brought out of Arabia. He was nine feet nine inches." Josephus mentions a Jew, named Eleazar, whom Vitellius sent to Rome, who was seven cubits, or ten feet two inches high. Becanus saw a man near ten feet, and a woman that was full ten feet. And, to mention no more, a man of the name of John Middleton, born at Hale, near Warrington, in Lancashire, in the reign of James the First, was more than nine feet high. Dr. Plott, in his history of Staffordshire, says, that "his hand, from the carpus to the end of the middle finger, was seventeen inches, his palms eight inches and a half broad, and his whole height was nine feet three inches; wanting but six inches of the height of Goliath of Gath." ESword footnote on II Samuel 17:4
1Sa 17:5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
The weight of Goliath's equipment suggests he was fit and strong and not a half-blind arthritic. (He has been thought to have been a victim of acromegaly, a disease of the thyroid gland, which renders one weak of body and vision, uncoordinated, arthritic, and slow). The New Bible Dictionary says, "The common shekel was often used to weigh metal objects" and shows a variation 11.08-12.25gm. Using the average weight of a common shekel makes Goliath's coat of mail 11.38 x 5000 = 56.9 kilos (A kilogram is 2.2 English pounds, so this weight would be 125 pounds). The weight of Goliath's iron spear-head was 11.38 x 600 = 6.83 kilos (or 15.03 pounds).
[Information obtained from: http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/BGoliath105.html]
Goliath’s Challenge of Pride
1Sa 17:8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
This is said to have been a common tactic of the Philistines – to offer one champion of their own to fight an enemy, the victor determining the winning side.
1Sa 17:10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
Saul and Israel – Fearful of Goliath
1Sa 17:11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
David, Son of Jesse
1Sa 17:12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. 13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul. 15 But David went and returned from Saul (from his position of service in Saul’s household) to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. 16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
David was a direct progenitor of Jesus Christ through His mother, Mary. The prophesied future of God’s people is to be governed by this special descendant of David as shown by these words from two chief references … 2Samuel 7:12 - And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom, and Ezekiel 34:23 - And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.
David is Sent to His Brethren at Elah
1Sa 17:17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; 18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. 19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. 22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
Appearance and Challenge of Goliath
1Sa 17:23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
The Rewards Offered a Victorious Israeli Soldier
1Sa 17:25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.
The affront of Goliath to the armies of Israel were odious to David, who always strove to exonerate the name and honour of God; but the reward for killing Goliath was also most attractive – a royal wife, unlimited freedom for his family, and great riches.
1Sa 17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
We believe that Romans 8:37 relates to II Samuel 17 and David's confidence to slay Goliath.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This was the level of David’s confidence in this affair. He had no doubts as to the righteousness of the initiative which he was to take, for his first impulse was to defend the honor and authority of the Almighty. He was only probably secondarily motivated by the value of the rewards of a princess-wife and great abundance of wealth.
Eliab’s Anger Toward David and Rebuttal
1Sa 17:28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
Eliab’s words were uncharitable to his brother, probably reflecting the cowardly light they placed upon Eliab himself for failing to confront Goliath personally. It was a typically petty family argument of sorts.
1Sa 17:29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? 30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
The rewards here rehearsed as benefiting any victor over Goliath are significant.
When the Son of God in a future day comes to the camp of Israel – now at war with its neighboring states “round about” – He likewise saves His people from the threats and military stance of their enemies.
He shall already have taken to Himself a similar reward as offered here: the Christ shall command all the wealth of the nations at that time; as well, the King (the Almighty One) has awarded His Son “David My Servant” a Bride as well; She is the collective body of the Saints of all ages and nations, and just prior to this appearance on the earth shall have gathered with Him in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. She is given Him as the result of the victory He has won over Sin, as during His mortality, He lived and died to save them from death.
The battle He comes to prosecute in that day is an operational result of this reward, rather than the source of it. But the mortal enemies of that day are again the Philistines of the Gaza Strip in part, along with many other of their allies between the Nile and the Euphrates. They, like Goliath, are a bizarre, unnatural, fierce, prideful threat to God’s people who boast against God in their own strength just as did Goliath of Gath.
King Saul Sends for David
1Sa 17:31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
David Rehearses His Qualifications to Fight Goliath
1Sa 17:34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
David’s qualifications as referenced here are remarkably relevant and parallel to the qualifications of Jesus Christ when He comes to His people.
David specifically foreshadows the two major victories of his greater Son in his account of having slain a lion and a bear which threatened his flock – symbolic of Israel, His people of today.
In this symbolic language, Israel of today is seen as threatened by a LION and a BEAR.
Just who are these enemies?
The Arabs of the Proximal Islamic States of today which have threatened Israel and her people for 68 years have often likened themselves to fierce lions. They adopt leonine names and stances in their threats toward God’s people by stealth and craftiness, in attempting to tear His people limb from limb and devour them as lions; their bloody campaign seems humanly unstoppable, just as no average human being has any hope of success against a lion’s great strength.
But those enemies’ words are far fiercer than the threat that they actually put forward.
The Greater Son of David is up to the task of defeating these fierce beasts in short order.
Is it significant that the youthful David slew the lion by grasping the lion’s “beard?”
This might be a graphic reference to the facial hair with which all the enemies of Israel that are “round about” are decorated – their beards.
When a lion’s beard is in the clutches of a potential victim, the mouth associated with it can do little harm, as it can easily be kept distant from the victim’s throat or limbs. Such a Defendant (David) has complete control over that enemy. Their utter defeat is clearly indicated and assured. That metaphor surely applies to the enemies of the First-Phase Lions of Israel’s end-time wars.
The Second-Phase enemy is a bear – the Russian Bear – a name by which the Northern King has been long recognized. The Gogian Bear has marshaled and equipped the second wave of enemies that the Lord Jesus will be required to confront – an enemy which attempts to “fall upon” (to invade from outside the Land) the Stone which the builders (the Jews of His day) rejected … cf. Luke 20:18 - Whosoever shall fall upon that Stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder.
He is well able to perform that task as well as He was to perform the initial one, for His life of obedience and perfect service to His Father with the Flock with which He has been entrusted, shall have fitted and equipped Him for this task as needed.
You see, when He comes to confront the first-line enemies of Zion, who already inhabit His Land and oppress His people, He, the Stone, “falls upon” them, and shall grind them to powder, as recorded by the physician disciple, Luke. But these latter enemies “fall upon” Him the Stone, and shall be broken and crushed without mercy, in a manner in which only the Stone can perform.
After He has ascended to the Throne of David in Mt. Zion, and assumed the Kingship of a repentant and remorseful, loyal and now obedient Israel, His nascent kingdom shall be confronted (attacked) by the Bear of Ezekiel 38 and 39 – the Distal Islamic nations arrayed with Rosh, or Russia, the vicious enemy from the uttermost parts of the north.
But these voracious enemies are destined to suffer annihilation in one day upon “the mountains of Israel,“ and inherit graves at Hamon-gog, East of Galilee’s Sea, in territory that is not presently in “Israel,” but then shall be such – Ezekiel 39:11.
The Armour of Saul is Spurious, Ineffective
1Sa 17:38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
Although the physical “armour of Saul”– symbolizing the naturally developed armamentarium of Israel today (its air force, army and navy) have been effectual to preserve the nation to date (that is, the Saulic phase of the nascent kingdom, which must have preceded the Davidic phase of it, now approaching) – we believe the meaning of this refusal of David to use the armour of Saul (Saul’s fleshly-provided means of offense and defense), indicates that the LORD Jesus will reject the armamentarium of natural Israel during the kingdom age.
His intention is to utilize only the Sword of the Spirit – the words of His mouth, to pacify and subdue His enemies – an effective weapon which is ironically symbolized by a Stone Who utilizes His now-fully tested, native abilities of spiritual warfare, which shall be only his verbal commandments.
Zechariah 9 specifies His complete disarmament of his people Israel in the beginning of His kingdom, substituting His ability to “speak peace” to them for those carnal weapons – that is, to conquer them by use of His Word: Zechariah 9:10 – And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
1Sa 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
Many have wondered why David chose five stones from the brook. Was he worried that his first shot with the sling would miss the mark?
In 2Samuel 21, we learn the details of four other “giants” who were “born to the giant of Gath” (Goliath?), all of whom were slain by David’s servants in subsequent time. Perhaps David was making advance plans to combat them as well as Goliath, for he probably expected them to take up Goliath’s cause after Goliath’s death.
Goliath’s Derision, and David’s Response
1Sa 17:42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
Is this not an accurate picture of the world’s rejection of the LORD Jesus Christ and His teachings today? They preach creation by blind evolution; they refuse to acknowledge “sin” as reality; they reject God at every turn, keeping any acknowledgement of Him from public display if at all possible; they abort His infants by the millions; they approve of “gay“ relationships and promote homosexual behavior in defiance of His expressed will; they repudiate Him in every possible manner, esteeming Him of little worth and diminutive, uncertain, wholly situational authority as if he were a youthful David, ruddy and of a fair (young, inexperienced) countenance.
When Christ comes to His people, they may also discount or disdain His authority, and His unfamiliarity with the battle they are fighting. But they will learn soon that He is victor!
1Sa 17:43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
These defiant curses of Goliath are the repulsive, standoffish retort of humanity today toward Israel’s people. They are vilified and denigrated by many, including the followers of false gods such as Islam’s “deity” Allah, which is as accursed in the Almighty’s eye as were Molech, Astarte and Ba’al.
In Ezekiel 35:12, the Father warns His enemies that He is hearing and recording their blasphemies against His people, for these are blasphemy against Him as well – Micah 4:1,2.
1Sa 17:44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
Like the intention of the later Gogian host (the coming Bear-phase) their aim shall be to destroy Israel and leave them for the beasts and birds to consume; instead, their own host shall be destroyed by Jesus Christ in one day, and given to those same beasts of the field and fowls of the air – in Bashan – Ezekiel 39: 18, (today’s northern Jordan, but then, “in Israel”).
1Sa 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This precise concept is named as concrete fact when, in the end-time reappearance of Jesus Christ, the Jews of His day will recognize Him in the words of Luke 13:35 - 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. With this solitary credential comes He, and their acknowledgment of Him as such is salvational to them and to their heritage.
1Sa 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
It is significant that Jesus’ victory over the Proximal Islamic States, future to our day, will mark the conveyance of this same crucial fact to some inhibiters of the earth (that there is a God in Israel), and to Israel itself, for their realization shall in that day be that NO human agency can have effected the complete and unlimited disposition of their enemies of today as He shall do – that their deliverance from their great horde of enemies shall have been miraculously guided and expressed by their Father personally.
Ezekiel 35:15 - As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.
The near-infinite scale of destruction of Israel’s enemies “round about” will be such that there can be no reasonable doubt that the LORD has done it – and that, therefore, there is no further denial of His sovereignty in Israel, or that His will shall continually be expressed upon the world that is immersed in sin and death until these adverse elements are purged from existence, “death and hell” being “cast into the lake of fire” and destroyed forever.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
The Contest Decided in an Instant
1Sa 17:49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
We wonder whether the student has thought about the near-impossibility of David’s hitting such a small target with a sling on his first attempt – the miraculous guidance of a smooth stone (thought to have been about the diameter of a golf ball), hurled at a speed of perhaps 300 miles per hour velocity – striking the small target presented by an heathen forehead nearly covered by a protective helmet of metal.
A baseball pitcher of today utilizing only the length of his arm, can often throw a standard baseball at speeds of near 100 miles per hour; adding the extended length of the cord of David’s sling to his arm, one arrives at a circle of twice the diameter (say 72 inches), and the velocity of the missile could be as much as fourfold, given the greatly-added speed of the length of the sling-lever over the arm-lever).
Yes, David had practiced hurling stones with his slings for perhaps thousands of hours during his lonely stints of shepherding the flock. Yet that level of accuracy with a sling is extremely hard to achieve, regardless of the distance separating Goliath from David.
Our considered opinion is that the stone was divinely directed, a goal recognized (expected) before the fact by David, and that he had selected only five stones in all, faithfully expecting all the others to be fully as accurate should they be required!
1Sa 17:50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
The irony of David’s final slaying of Goliath with Goliath’s own sword is reminiscent of the destruction which is foretold for God’s present-day enemies.
Here are but two examples – the first as applied to the enemies “round about” Israel, the account in Judges being an example of such in the case of Gideon and the host of Midian: Judges 7:22 - And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.
The second cited instance of this phenomenon is against Gog’s host of later time: Ezekiel 38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
1Sa 17:51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
The Israelite Army Defeats Philistia, Takes a Spoil
Following David’s courageous act of slaying Goliath, the armies of Israel now are encouraged to join the battle – presumably just as they shall do when Christ comes to them in future time. They are at that time (as now), threatened and perhaps intimidated by their enemies, but the entry of Christ into the mix (Isaiah 63) encourages them to join in with this unknown companion and defeat their enemies with a vengeance unheard of as yet in the annals of warfare.
1Sa 17:52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. 53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.
1Sa 17:55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. 56 And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. 57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.
Note that, as did David, Jesus shall soon come from His father’s house to the venue of battle; that he shall bring gifts unto men – His salvation from their physical enemies, and peace and further prosperity to their Land. The bread, the parched corn and cheeses that David presented to his brothers and to their captain symbolizes the good gifts of the Christ. His victory over Goliath typifies His conquest to the death of all His enemies of that day.
David put forth his efforts with fearlessness toward Goliath – words which Jesus appropriated (rightly) to Himself in the Synagogue at Nazareth.
Isaiah describes such His state as being … The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:1
Such a blessed state shall be that of Israel federally when they are brought into the kingdom age in reality and visibly to them. Their extended days of prosperity and peace shall be a boon of great worth to the formerly scattered and peeled ones of Jewry. Their appreciation shall be of an appropriate scale to the everlasting blessing that they shall obtain.
David seems compelled to kill Goliath for the primary reason that he is incensed and motivated to give praise and honor to God, and to defend His name, and honor it - to erase the dishonour that Goliath had brought upon it. This is our precise motivation too ... first to vindicate God's name, and second to receive His rewards, riches, a suitable eternal Mate, and His complete favour of freedom from death and decay.
In addition, David provides an additional, extremely useful model for our own behavior that is exemplary: Was he timid?
No! He absolutely ran toward the battle lines where he was certain to meet the enemy head-on. We must exhibit the same mindset – never shrinking from our Father’s business, never shirking our honorable service to Him, never skirting our obligations and privileges to glorify His most holy name. In so doing, we shall also hasten to the battle and willingly engage in it!
This exhortation was prompted by further study induced by a presentation by Matt Swift, at Cataumet Massachusetts, in his July 5, 2015 exhortation, to whom we tender our thanks.
<HELafferty MD/USA - 7O> ~5500 words. July Prophecy Insertion, 2015.
Making Sense of the Calamity of Syria and Iraq
Harold E. Lafferty
Amid refusals by the US administration to admit that the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS) is making significant gains, the major Mid-East news services this week summarized the last fifteen days’ activities in these words, “The fall of Damascus and Baghdad, or large slices thereof, into the rapacious hands of the Islamic State, is no longer a debatable subject of strategic forecasts. Today, the capital cities of Syria and Iraq are within the Islamists' grasp.”
Most responsible observers see this development as a failure of the “single-minded obsession” of the US administration with Tehran, and a nuclear accord with Iran, which goes nearly without saying, is an utterly failed approach to some sort of settlement of the crisis there evident.
How can the US administration fail to perceive this present danger? Its failure to do so seems almost a divine diversion of their sensibility to these present circumstances!
As intense, concentrated observers and students of God’s word as revealed through the prophets, we take the ISIS-crisis at its plain-faced value as the mid-course attempt by this rabid Islamist band to evolve itself into the ancient entity of Assyria, in bald-faced fulfillment of the prophecies of Micah 5 and 7.
To refuse to perceive this readily apparent effort is to ignore one of the foundational principles of end-time Bible prophecy, and to look the other way (toward the intrigue of Russia in Ukraine, for example) while the most important fulfillments of prophecy take place openly and obviously.
We are appalled that some of the students who should readily recognize the danger of ISIS – scholars/writers on current events within our community – are completely ignoring the “Arab challenge” to Israel, and wasting endless pages of journal commentary on the boring, mundane, and largely meaningless attempt of Russia to gain control of Ukraine and other East European territories that were formerly members of the Soviet bloc.
As Hillary Clinton once said about a completely different affair, “What difference does all that make now?”
Our humble opinion is that it makes NO difference, and adds little to our understanding of current events which are most eminent – fulfillment of major prophecies which are at our doors.
These ancillary, integral affairs might be mildly important for future times, but are not critical to our understanding of present day affairs – events which are leading up to the imminent physical return of the LORD Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the gathering of the living covenanted ones with them to the site of Judgment and Redemption.
To our mind, this ignorance of the eminent affairs of the Mid-East is cognate to one’s understanding of, and preparation for, that great day. To set these current affairs aside is to mis-construe God’s end-time plan and purpose – arrangements which lead inevitably to that condition accounted by Obadiah 1:21 - And Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
That is to say, The King of the Kingdom shall have arrived back on the earth, and assumed His Kingdom!
Scholars who are not even aware that Obadiah’s prophecy, and many others integral to it, will be fulfilled well BEFORE the attack on Christ’s kingdom by the Gogian/Russian/Islamic host of Ezekiel 38 and 39, are due for a surprising (to them) turn of events, the maturation of which we are seeing in today’s news reports.
Washington also has consistently played down and even dismissed ISIS as a formidable enemy, and has contended that the slightly more than meager, US-led “coalition” air campaign has destroyed much of ISIS’ operational capability.
This evaluation is evidently an illusion of the grossest proportions as one is consistently informed of alarming, rapid ISIS advances on many important fronts toward its goal of Iraq/Syrian dominance.
Most knowledgeable observers regard Barack Obama’s trust in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (and its terrorist arm, the Al Qods Brigades) to curb the Islamist momentum, to be an utter fallacy.
Iran itself is the epitome of Islamist momentum. But its resistance to ISIS, though expected by many, has been relatively minor.
Iran has engaged ISIS on only one apparent occasion; in March, a cluster of Iraqi Shiite militias (aligned with Iran, of course, and commanded by Al Qods chief General Soleimani) managed to sieze a portion of the Iraqi town of Tikrit from the Islamist group.
But Iran has engaged ISIS on no other occasion in Iraq as far as is known. After that move, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei showed his sectarian colors by pulling back from such moves. He had decided instead, as the news services reported, that “the battlefield was not Iran's forte, but rather subversion, clandestine warfare and limited support for local Shiite surrogates.”
Iran’s focus shifted to Yemen and greater support of the Houthi rebellion as its vehicle against the West, and Sunni Islam. Although a smaller arena, it (Yemen) is as strategically valuable to Iran as are Iraq and Syria, for it commands foreign access to the important Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb to world shipping traffic.
Another salient fact is that Khamenei realized that the US president has little appetite for fighting Islamic State, and that Tehran would be better advised to save the Iranian army and the Revolutionary Guards forces for defending its borders against potential future ISIS assaults from neighboring Iraq, rather than wearing them down in Iraq and Syria. He would not risk the fragile and entirely marginal Iranian air force in the face of the US’s weak effort to combat ISIS from the air.
America appears to have no clue as to how to approach the troublesome conflict – or how to stifle ISIS advances within Iraq and Syria. Thus it denies that the emperor has no clothes.
The effect seems to have been to have nudged Washington into a specious plan to arm Iraqis of both Sunni and Shi’ite persuasion who are said to be ready and willing to defend Baghdad – an action which seems certain to feed fuel to the sectarian fires of the area, or even to assist the advance of ISIS toward an offensive to seize Baghdad!
It appears that ISIS has held back until now from a positive offensive to capture Baghdad for several tactical reasons. One of the most important reasons is that a city as large as Baghdad is yet a bit too large for the Islamists to swallow, to hold and to administer. A better tactical choice seems to them to be to hold the city under siege – and under constant terrorist harassment.
All this comes in the face of the absence of any sensible explanation from the US Central Command as to its part in any of these conflicts. Some opine that its almost invisible profile in the fighting is due to its preoccupation “in preparing a grand campaign” for the recovery of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which recently came under ISIS” control and rulership.
To many, this plan appears to be a pipe dream, as ISIS has literally given rise to a Middle East earthquake of sorts, after capturing Ramadi in Iraq, and Palmyra in Syria in a matter of a few days, causing intense alarm not only in Amman, but in Jerusalem and Riyadh – additional capitals which are now forced to conclude “that their borders are in danger - not just from Iran, but also from ISIS, and (that) they will have to confront these perils on their own.”
Further adding to the dilemma of Western powers, ISIS forces (just last week) seized the last of the border crossing gateways between the former territories of Syria and Iraq which was being held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, as reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
This seizure of the last vital connection between the two official governments is a great advance for ISIS – a boon which allows it more effectively to transfer its resources and supplies between its forces in both countries; it also illustrates clearly that ISIS is continuing to solidify and deepen its hold on Syria’s Iranian-backed government.
The same Syrian agency (the Observatory) now estimates that ISIS controls "more than 95,000 sq km (36,679 sq miles)" in Syria, which constitutes no less than half of the country's entire territory.
But contrary to US admissions, in neighboring Iraq, ISIS forces have been aggressively conquering more new ground as well, as evidenced by the fall of Ramadi in Anbar Province on Sunday two weeks ago, after only a three-day assault.
Our Scriptural “Take” on these Observations
Because of the immediate threat to God’s people, the Jewish citizens of Israel, and as an important geophysical event of the end-time, we are forced seriously and maturely to consider these important events of modern history and their relationship to Bible prophecy.
Our impression of all the above is that the Islamic State is moving forward aggressively in a completely unrealized (unrealized by themselves) initiative at fulfilling the prophecies of Micah 5 and Micah 7:12, which manifestly tell of the latter-day assault of “Assyria” upon God’s people, and their deliverance by that Man patently prophesied in Micah 5:2 - 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 …. 5 And this Man shall be the peace (i. e., bring peace by conquest), when the Assyrian shall come into our land:
Having been recorded by the prophet some 500 years prior to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, this prophecy serves two important functions for us in the end-time:
a. It foretells precisely the place of Jesus’ birth – Bethlehem of Judah, and
b. It forecasts the key part that He will play at the time in the distant future when “Israel” is again re-constituted a nation, and is in danger from “Assyria,” a term which Micah was forced to utilize, because in his day there was no “Syria” and “Iraq,” both of which are modern terms for the principal territories of “Assyria” of Micah’s day.
c. In addition, it surely foretells the re-assertion of an immensely strong force from the ancient lands of Assyria by modern-day armies, forming themselves for the expressed purpose as that of Assyria of old – to overrun and conquer Israel, and to take its lands.
As such, the prophecy of Micah is remarkably reflective of the importance of ISIS of our day. The record of this prophecy helps the modern day believer make complete sense of the main feature of today’s marquis item on the world stage of conflict – and reveals to the faithful Believer just how remarkably accurate and prescient is the word of the LORD as revealed through His servants the prophets.
The prophetic record also reinforces just how graciously informative (and faith-generating) His words must impact us in this precise time in history – for they would make little sense to any believers previous to the last three years of history; how wonderful that we have been privileged to see with our own eyes the development of the Islamic State, and to have heard its claims to be a bona-fide Islamic Caliphate with its goal to consolidate itself in the territories of today’s Syria and Iraq (ancient Assyria) and specifically to be tasking itself to move southward into the Holy Land, to “liberate” it from Jewish rule, bulldozing Israel into the sea, and giving the land to the “Palestinians.”
It is a scenario which is impossible for them to achieve.
We know this to be true because the Word of the LORD is great and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, to perform His work and His will among men, much to the chagrin and disappointment of His enemies both near and far! For His dreadful and deadly intentions are clearly stated in the last verse of Micah 5: And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. Micah 5:15 <HEL
A Concept Misunderstood by Many
For many years the popular clergy has led people to misunderstand a key promise of Jesus voiced in these words recorded by the Apostle John.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions (rooms, or residences): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Most preachers will say directly that Jesus is saying He was going to heaven to prepare a place THERE in that locale for His brothers and sisters.
But how could this happen? That view is not scriptural, nor logical in any wise.
Our assurance is that the Father’s will is done perfectly in heaven where His throne is located; no preparation of any kind could possibly BE made to improve it.
So that understanding is surely an error of understanding His intent.
He is preparing a place not in heaven but somewhere else for His elect; listen carefully and think about what Jesus says next …
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
As he makes clear, His followers cannot follow Him into heaven – which is the reason that He reassures them that He will come again to them, that where I am, there ye may be also. He shall be then on earth again, to meet them and to be with them in that place forever.
Here, as He does on every other similar occasion, Jesus makes it clear that He does not intend any believer to ascend to heaven to be with Him there.
His kingdom, though “not of this world” (this order of things – John 18:36), shall be IN the earth; indeed, it shall cover the earth exhaustively: For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2: 14.
Most people of Christendom have been taught that Jesus ascended to His Father, and that believers who die, ascend directly into heaven to “be with Him.”
They are also taught that when He “comes again” to the earth, that all the faithful living who are gathered, and the dead who are resurrected, are destined to follow him back up into heaven. (Exactly where is this revealed; and where is its logic?)
That was patently NEVER the promise He made; it was precisely the opposite.
He would go into heaven where He would, while there, “prepare” a place for His followers, and then He would return to them on the earth, gather the living believers, resurrect those who in the memorial graves are His, and reward them on the earth by bringing his promised and “prepared” place with Him.
Wait! Is the Master speaking of a LIMITED resurrection?
Of course He is.
The resurrection of SOME of the dead ones when He was crucified gives weight to the concept: Matthew 27:52:And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept (were dead) arose … and gathered to the Holy City where they appeared to many.
In the Greek, the graves is ho mnemeion, the remembered cenotaphs, or memorial graves) were opened; and many bodies (note: on this occasion, not even all the sanctified ones, or saints, arose; this was an unique and remarkable demonstration of the benefit of Jesus’ death – that it brought resurrection ONLY of those who were His.)
As this demonstration of the principle of a limited resurrection, the conception of which (resurrection) was denied by many of the Jewish leaders of His day, was not THE Resurrection, we must assume that these persons lived for a time and then died again to await the yet future blast of the trumpet of the great day of the LORD. 1Corinthians 15:52.
The Lord’s account of the final resurrection bears out this principle:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered (people selected from) all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Here again, is the principle of His having prepared a place for them in His kingdom.
There is no mystery as to His meaning. It is well illustrated in the answer given to James and John’s mother (the wife of Zebedee) who requested an higher reward for her sons in the coming Kingdom of God on the earth.
The question concerned Jesus’ authority when He shall sit upon the restored Throne of David (which as everyone knows, was located in Jerusalem), and reign over Zion from that place. Micah 4:1-8, q.v.
Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
Mat 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
When was such preparation to be done? During their lives of service to Him;, during the days of their flesh. It is significant that James is believed to have died a terrifying death, whereas John apparently died peacefully after being given and recording, as an aged prophet, the Revelation.
Other references to this intention of each individual’s “preparation” for his or her Kingdom service or position prove this stated premise beyond any doubt.
The result of His sentence awarding eternal life to the faithful proves His meaning perfectly in two previous verses in this same chapter, relating to the rewards of the faithful: in this the personal Judgment of His adherents by Christ is foreshown:
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
The identical reward is conveyed in the words of Matthew 25:23, q.v.
Contrary to orthodox Christian interpretation, these were not being invited to ascend into heaven, immediately to enjoy their reward, but in the resurrection to take possession of the earth. They are the “meek” (the faithful, and disciplined ones) who indeed shall “inherit the earth.” Psalm 37:11.
Even the Prophet Isaiah was informed of this order of things. Isaiah 40:10: Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
That is, He shall COME BACK TO HIS PEOPLE, bringing His reward of life and happiness to them to enjoy in the earth, which shall receive an abundance of His determined cleansing, renovation, guidance and direction to restore and to improve it to perfect order.
Also, consider Isaiah’s later re-statement of the same principleIsa 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
Preparation is a Wonderful thing
In Greek, the word “prepared” according to Strong’s G2090, is Hetomaizo (het-oy-mad- zo), to prepare, provide, make ready. It is common to make something ready in one place and then transport it to another place for use. Today, even sumptuous homes are planned, drafted, and prefabricated in factories and then delivered to their final places of erection.
It is in this sense that we are compelled to understand Jesus’ overall concept of His going into the heavens to “prepare” the many dwelling places (“mansions”) of His promise. His “raw materials” are the earthborns who receive and adopt His ways in their days and lives, and are baptized into his name, thereby professing their love for Him.
The same principle is set forth by Paul in 1Corinthians 2:9: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Likewise, the writer to the Hebrews speaks of the devout, spiritual aspirations of the People of God: Hebrews 11:16: But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly (in the sense of perfect): wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.
We are reminded of their later metaphorical identity AS the Holy City New Jerusalem, a closely related statement as in this highly symbolic scene: note carefully that the City is a “prepared” entity and consists of a highly specialized community of people likened to a Bride.
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (the Bridegroom).
Even the word “Bridegroom” lends credence to this concept. Think of this principle: A “groom” is one who “grooms” or prepares something for a more fitting appearance and function. Caretakers of fine horseflesh are fittingly called “grooms.”
Our own personal daily grooming consists of combing our hair and brushing our teeth: both, in league with other details of hygiene, leads to an higher level of health and efficiency.
The Bride in this metaphor is the multitude of the Redeemed of all ages both male and female, Who at this point has so been designated the Bride of Christ; all her multitudes have been made immortal. Revelation 21: 10 links them inseparably, and defines the character of the “City” of God – they are the entire collective of the immortalized Saints out of all ages.
As immortals, they occupy the highest (most elevated, or heavenly) position of all. The picture is one of the Bride coming forth from Her bridal chamber (the sequestered place of Her plural Judgment by Him, where She shall have been made immortal, thus becoming the eternal Bride of Christ), and now being exhibited to the world.
This Bride is the result of His preparatory work with each of Her component members during their lives in the world since He ascended to the right hand of His Father, and the result of the preparation of those previous to Jesus’ appearance, by their cooperation and response to God’s word – each an entire span of lives of faithfulness which should become, and was, ratified by the then future death of Jesus on the stake of Calvary/Golgotha – His inevitable shedding of the blood of the everlasting covenant through which the Almighty brought Him again from the dead, as pointedly stated by the author of the Book of Hebrews, in which he praises this operation in this lofty language: Hebrews 13:20: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
The collective, pleural Bride, also comprises the Redeemed of a myriad of folk who lived under Moses’ Law, long before Jesus’ Sacrifice, the worth of whom His sacrificial death validated and gave efficacy.
In each age He has called out and “prepared” numerous members of this multitude of those whom He selected from among both the Jews and the Gentiles, and redeemed from among men.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
By then being in their midst, He is said to “tabernacle” (dwell) among them!
In this manner, the Redeemed of Christ, and Christ Jesus Himself, along with His dear Father become united in nature and in purpose for all future time.
Jesus and they are likened to a Bride and Groom because in human experience that is the expressed state among mankind that is most reflective of the closeness and permanence of their union; at that time they are “one” in Him and in the Father, as Jesus fervently prayed they would become in John 17:
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them (His brothers – and sisters) through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Joh 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
This exquisite principle or ‘oneness” and of eternal unity is reinforced by the Apostle Paul in his letter to Ephesus where he elaborates on this characterization, informing the brethren of the sanctity and oneness of marriage of a bride and her groom, and the care that each should take for one another: they are now one flesh …
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church (the Ecclesia, or congregation):
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
The sublime Plan of the Ages now comes to full fruition – that the earth and its remaining peoples shall finally know perfect peace and tranquility, infinite prolixis of life, safety of existence, elevation to the highest level of intelligence, full peace of mind, and unlimited strength of body. And all men everywhere shall finally know that the LORD is the Master of the Universe, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
And so shall the godless concept of the “organic evolution” of the animal and plant world come to an abrupt halt, and every man, woman and child shall surely know that “it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” Psalm 100: 3.
We conclude with Isaiah’s magnificent description of that age of the very near future, which he describes in exalted, reverent, sublime language of great poetic impact:
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Thus is described in exalted poetic detail the Preparation which our LORD is making while physically separated from men for yet a season, and the sure Delivery of a perfect Place and Station for all the Saints – those who wait upon Him, and devote their lives to His service and glorification..
Harold E. Lafferty
Our thoughts at this time relate to the key prophecy given by Jesus in Luke 21:29 - And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree (symbol of the nascent State of Israel at its formation in 1947-48), and all the trees (the remaining other states – all Islamic – which developed within the same time as Israel: the post-Ottoman period); 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
For many years there has been much discussion among the brethren of Christ about Jesus’ use of the words “this generation,” mostly concerning the length of a “generation.”
When Israel was successfully founded in 1947-48, most Bible students voiced the hope that Jesus’ statement could not possibly have more than 40 years to run before the kingdom would be established; that period of time was considered by most as that of a generation.
But when the kingdom did not come in 1987-88, we were dismayed.
Some students, in their eager hopefulness, made adjustments to their calculation, reasoning that Israel’s wandering in the wilderness (“that generation”) was clearly forty years in length, but their conquest and apportionment of the Land required another seven years each. So we added 14 years to 1988, arriving at 2001-02.
But again, sadly, the Second Advent did not occur.
We saw eminent signs of the Advent, and even felt strongly that there were no more decisive events called for in known prophecies of the end-time that still required fulfillment before Jesus came. But He did not return to the earth.
As usual, we were obviously too eager for the Plan to come to fruition.
So we have been forced to look for other solutions to the clear statement of Jesus relating to the fulfillment of all things that should be seen by those of “this generation,” meaning the generation which beheld the budding of the Fig Tree.
Recent studies have borne what we believe – what we hope – is significant fruit.
Casting about in the Word for a valid scriptural definition of a generation we thought of two significant statements relating to that designation.
One of these is found in Psalm 90. There, two significant time periods are mentioned.
In verse four we read … a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. This time period is certainly not related to an human life span – a generation – although it has renowned meaning in other contexts.
But in Psalm 90:9 we read these succinct words which DO relate to an human generation: For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. 10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
This statement seems interpretable as being that of a generation: seventy years may generally be expected as a life-span by God’s people; and that could reasonably be defined as a generation.
A Concordance search turned up one other reference which we believe extremely relevant: it is Daniel 9:2 – In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Seventy years was to be accomplished in the desolation of Jerusalem.
Since we are seeing in our own day the restoration of Jerusalem – the reversal of its drawn-out “desolation” of Israel as a nation symbolized by its capital city, we were struck by the significance of this time period from the days of the major prophets of Israel as being representative of and specific to the restoration of that same Jerusalem.
The restoration of Israel is being conducted for the second time in our day.
In our understanding, Israel’s first Restoration happened after that specific seventy years’ exile in Babylon. Although the return of only a relative few Israelites of Judah, Benjamin and Levi took place in that restoration, it nevertheless was considered as Israel restored. And it followed seventy years of exile in Babylon.
Is this significant?
Let us consider this further …
The term “this generation” cannot be nebulous or inconsequential as noted in this context as expressed by Jesus. It expresses a definitive term of years, and it is concretely promised not to end before the completion of all the necessary events of the Second Advent.
1947-48 is the unmistakable beginning of this period of the end-time. That was when the Fig Tree budded. Is the end of the generation which witnessed this magnificent event to be SEVENTY years afterward – that is, 2017-18?
How does that seem to relate to events as we now view them in 2015?
Is it a logical, seemingly reasonable, scriptural suggestion?
We are, without any doubt, now experiencing the events of the Second Exodus – that of Israel’s people returning from all nations of the earth.
It is far greater than the magnitude of the first Restoration, and will be far more meaningful.
It will be remembered longer and have far greater weight, as we are told in Jeremiah 23:7 – Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
The Prophet Jeremiah attests to the same result: Jeremiah 31:8 - Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
Therefore, we strongly suggest that the completion of the restoration of Jerusalem will logically require SEVENTY years, matching the time of her desolation, before “all things” are fulfilled.
Israel is now essentially reversing that “desolation” which was not effectually reversed after their first removal from the Land.
So, could our default consideration lead us to consider that perhaps by a “generation” the Lord meant seventy years?
That end-date lies still in future, and certainly could bring the events for which faithful servants wait.
As already stated, if we add 70 years to 1947-48 we arrive at 2017-18 (the Hebrew year spans the latter portion of the earlier Gentile year, and extends into the latter Gentile year.
The thought seems remarkably scriptural – and even supported by God’s word!
But need His servants wait that long for His Second Coming?
Consider these thoughts …
We must also determine what He means when He says that this generation shall not pass away “till all be fulfilled.”
As we have recently concluded, this accomplishment surely includes more than simply His return to the earth, for many other tasks must be accomplished by Him in the early stages of the kingdom age, as we learn from the extensive words of the prophets – all of which could reasonably be considered events which must be fulfilled (or at least initiated) by the end of this generation.
Christ’s return must take place before any of the subsequent requirements of the Kingdom’s establishment can take place, because His presence is required for them to come to pass.
So, to be somewhat redundant, consider this: If the LORD required 70 years for His careful and thorough desolating of Jerusalem, might He not also require 70 years for its end-time restoration?
In allowing for this principle, we take into account the additional features which logically must be accomplished before Jerusalem is considered to have been fully restored.
According to the detailed writings of multiple prophets, the completion of the required developments IN THE LAND in order to place the kingdom on its valid path, would involve His conquest of all the city-states listed in Psalm 83, which we believe to be a reliable, single-source list of all of them.
Such a series of campaigns by Christ and the Saints, along with the Israel Defense Forces, would bring into the boundaries of Israel all the Promised Land from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf (and Indian Ocean?). It would root out and displace all the hostile forces within the Land which have no rightful place there.
And it would consolidate the intended territory of Greater Israel for the beginning events of the Kingdom Age which is about to begin!
We ask your consideration of this proposal: in conjunction with all the other work which must be accomplished as He prepares the Land and its People, putting the entire nation on a sure footing of sure and verifiable “peace and safety,” which is necessary PRIOR to the Gogian invasion. See Ezekiel 38: 8, 11, 14 for absolute proof of this requirement.
Some of these necessary actions are …
· The people of Israel will need some time to view and absorb His enormous power in overcoming their enemies,
· ending with their fervent acceptance of His Messiah-ship (Zechariah 12 and 13);
· His ascension to the Throne of David in Mount Zion;
· some time will also be needed for His administrative expertise in rectifying all the concrete physical factors upon which the kingdom is to be based – such as apportionment of the Land to each Tribe of Israel;
· re-settlement of the People in their cantons;
· placing rulers (the twelve Apostles) over the twelve tribes;
· beginning construction of the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 40-48);
· disarming Israel completely (Zechariah 10); as well as other factors;
· and making an everlasting Covenant with His people.
The present date of May, 2015, is remarkably near to the time period posited above as being the date for “all” to be fulfilled – 2017-18.
In addition to this expectation (hope), we have reason to believe that the Master will return specifically on the date of the Feast of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) because it is the next event of the religious calendar that has not been fulfilled in actual outworking.
This is not, please, to be viewed as an exercise in date-setting, although that Festival is a known date; we cannot project exactly WHICH celebration of Sukkot will see the Advent if indeed that turns out to be a valid expectation.
But we can hope fervently. And there is no commandment against hope …
Therefore, our firm hope is that the forthcoming Blood Moon of Sukkot of September, 2015 (the approaching Feast of Tabernacles) may bring the immediate benefit for which we profoundly yearn – His Second Advent. We can visualize no more appropriate date, in light of all that has to be done by Him for “all” to be fulfilled, than the Sukkot now approaching to be the time of His Second Advent.
If it does not occur then, we shall wait patiently … for it will not tarry: it SHALL come to pass as the Spirit assured the prophet in Habakkuk 2:3, q.v. See also Hebrews 10:37 - For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
<HEL5O> ~2000 words. Excerpted and expanded from Present Day Events No. 496, May, 2015. Sent to List as an eTPL Circular Letter, May 25, 2015
H E Lafferty
The Revelation which Jesus Christ sent to John (Revelation 1:1) was “signified” (revealed in symbols) to him and written for our investigation and understanding. It is positively necessary to realize that the Revelation is NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD LITERALLY. Each utterance has a metaphorical application which the saints of God are tasked to unravel based upon scriptural principles and the record of history.
The revelation was specifically given to His servants, and consisted of events which were shortly to begin to come to pass, as in verse 1. From this we must understand that it is a work which will not be correctly understood or comprehended by any who are NOT “His servants.” The required basis for understanding it is the Plan of Salvation as revealed in the “things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,” (Acts 8:12) as taught in ancient time by Philip.
This infers that the studies and teachings of unbelievers must be ignored, for example those of the futurists (who believe that the Revelation is still yet to be fulfilled), and of the preterits (those who believe it has already been fulfilled prior to our day).
A valid understanding of the Plan of God is therefore necessary before one can even hope to understand the details which the Apocalypse reveals. Understanding it in any other context is impossible in our view.
The view of the continuous, progressive fulfillment of Jesus’ words is sustained by the phrase, “things that must shortly come to pass” in Revelation 1:1, implying a certain serial continuity and order.
A better rendering of that phrase is reputed to be, "things that must shortly begin to come to pass," indicating an orderly continuity. Close examination of the events depicted has proven that to be the case, which we believe absolutely confirms that meaning.
This statement indicates that the entire prophecy would be fulfilled continuously and sensibly (or determinably, by His brethren) throughout future history, leading to the events of the last chapters.
So in our view, a continuous historical interpretation is necessary, giving way to the telescopic structure of the Apocalypse, bringing forward certain series of events, then dropping back and doing the same for others, leading to its conclusion which is examined here.
Our consideration here is primarily limited to the relationship of the Beast, the Harlot, and the False Prophet to the merchants of the earth – the commercial powers which consort with the Harlot in the spiritual figure of fornication (indicating the most intimate social and financial relationships) with her.
This term is the Almighty’s phraseology, not ours – and objectively shows Rome and its Church in its glaringly obscene light.
For context, most of the references to these entities from the latter chapters of the Revelation are included below, with interspersed comments by the Editor. [A.V. text as downloaded from E-Sword.]
Revelation 14 and 15
Rev 14:8 - And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Here is the first symbolic reference: Babylon indicates Rome (its empire, which morphed into its Church) in this context, as recognized by scores of expositors for hundreds of years, many of them Roman Catholic scholars.
Both pagan Rome and Church Rome, for centuries controlled nations and kings, forcing them to adhere to the principles and laws of the entity in power at the time whether Empire or Church.
The Beast is Pagan Rome; his Image (also called the Image of the Beast, and sometimes the Beast) is Catholic Rome, which was exhibited to history initially as the Holy Roman Empire, originally consisting of ten specific kingdoms. These were literally an image, or copy, of the earlier polities of pagan Rome.
The Beast of our time has resulted from its metamorphosis from pagan Rome, founded upon the same principles, utilizing parallel terminology, employing the same language (Latin), appropriating similar dress, and having a philosophy matching its panoply of pagan gods as manifesting in the “saints” of the mysterious Church. Its ancient-day Queen of Heaven equates to Mary, the “mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven” of Catholic dogma. As such it is an exact replica of Babylon of old in every way.
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship (meaning adhere to) the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God …
Here is one of the key identifiers; it is a system of worship – of “religion,” so-called.
The Beast (Catholic Rome) establishes an identifying “mark” which is not difficult to understand. It is embodied in the number 666, and represents several titles of the pope in the gematria of Latin as well as in Greek. Its visible sign is that of the “cross:” pursed fingers of the right hand, inscribing over the chest right to left, then vertically upward to downward, to “draw” a cross upon the participants’ body, thus marking it with the “mark of the beast” in our understanding.
The organization’s fate is sealed in these words … Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
We do not understand this figure of fire- and brimstone-destruction to be literal; like the bulk of the Revelation’s imagery, it is unmistakably a symbol. Here that symbol is one of eternal destruction – symbolically indicative of a final end, the terminal point of its existence among men.
In no case would the Lamb and his Sheep of that day create, stoke and maintain a literal, everlasting, fire-based destructive furnace maintained for the transgressors who are turned away from Him.
The stark realization of being turned away from the eternal favor of the Judge of all the earth shall be the paramount disappointment of the age for the multitudes which are pictured here as being rejected by Him.
In this sense, their stinging eternal defeat is the victory of death and the grave over them: merely physical death and dissolution in the grave – the expression of which in scriptural language is defined as, the wages of sin is death. It indicates the absolute cessation of existence – of having perished – not of living eternally somewhere else, whether that place be “heaven” or in “hellfire.”
But, mercifully, their only actual suffering from it is their anticipation of it – their solemn realization of their own impending obliteration – which they shall realize upon their sentence to condemnation: depart from me … parallel to the sentence to be spoken by Jesus Himself to His unfaithful brethren at the Judgment Seat of Christ: Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Their departure from Him indicates eternal alienation from His presence or favor … and brings weeping and gnashing of teeth as they rue their failure to adhere to His commandments.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
In what sense does their torment ascend up for ever and ever? In the sense that once accomplished, it is forever and irreversibly in effect upon its recipients. There is no portal of escape from this sentence of death upon those worshippers of the beast and his image; oblivion impends upon them, and they become as though they had not been brought into the world, as prophesied by Jesus Himself, referring to Judas Iscariot (certainly one of the transgressors) in Mark 14:21- The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
The result for Judas is that he is already barred eternally from his Master by His personal testimony. He has been prematurely sentenced to the second death, to be imposed at his resurrectional appearance before the Judge of all the earth. His entire rational, corporeal being shall be relegated to the second death – to temporal irrelevance – to perpetual darkness and dissolution in Sheol, the grave.
And now, in the text of Revelation 15, great Babylon’s judgment has been carried out. The result is:
Rev 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
This glad scene of tranquility in the earth comes after the Lamb of God’s triumph over the Harlot and the Beast. The glassy sea is a symbol of stillness and peace on the earth; it is mingled with fire in one sense as an element of the decisive presence of God’s Spirit (His fiery sword) crucially exhibited among those standing upon the sea; but in another way, it is in the sense that the remaining elements of the “sea” – i.e., humanity – shall have been purged of the Beast’s influence by His judgmental fire, and is now pacified.
This condition is that which is accomplished by the signal defeat of the Lamb over the Beast and the Harlot, resulting in the then passive, obedient demeanor of the constituents of the earth’s now disciplined and transformed citizens.
Christ and the Saints now control everything and everyone; the nations of the earth are quickly coming under His allegiance. All nations are thus abolished, giving up their identities, their power and their glory to the Kingdom of God, having been removed by the indignation which He shall have showered upon them.
No nation shall survive as a nation under Christ.
Revelation 16 is a prophecy of the vials of wrath poured upon the early Church. It adds vital information for our deeper understanding of the heinous nature of the Beast and the Harlot’s consort within it.
Rev 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
The first vial shows unequivocally that the corrupt “religion” was in existence from a very early date, even as Paul had attested in Ephesians 2:2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience … He also states at that early time, in 2Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hinders) will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Note carefully: the target audience for this noisome and grievous sore is only the men which had the mark of the best … and worshipped his image.
The meaning here is that those men and women are judged because they followed the dictates of their own flesh – of diabolos as manifested in the propensity of the Adamic race for sin, stated as being (in high symbology) the prince of the power of the air, in Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:2, as quoted above.
The same principle is clearly stated in Ephesians 6:12 as wrestling not against flesh and blood (that is, not as in physical combat with other human beings of flesh and blood) but against spiritual error which takes its most aggressive forms as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
These evils lie ONLY within our own personal domain, and are the evils which are always complicit in drawing away people to serve the flesh and not God.
This phraseology never means an external being such as a “prince,” in the sense of a “fallen angel” who has rejected God’s laws and rebelled – a complete impossibility for such a divinely created being; this is part of the mythology of Babylon and is sheer pagan superstition.
Every such seeming reference in the scriptures arises from the translators’ devotion to the deception of Rome and Babylon, and has a verifiable explanation as being a metaphor for various forms of evil, for mental illness in some cases, and the failure of human agents (“angels,” or messengers, or representatives) of God such as Korah, Dathan and Abiram as noted in the book of Jude – those “angels” (Strong’s G32 – Aggelos, pronounced Angelos = to bring tidings, or a message; messengers, pastors, and “angels” – in certain contexts) who left their first calling and estate, striving to usurp greater authority and influence among the people of God.
This definition illustrates the ludicrous nature of applying this word to the immortal angels of heaven as many do in reference to Jude 1:5, 6, where this prophet is speaking of the people of Israel’s experiences with these three leaders of Israel (thus messengers, or pastors in a sense – shepherds) who “left their first estate,” meaning, who abandoned their rightful places among the congregation of Israel and aspired to the authority of Moses, their leader, as established by the Almighty.
Jude 1:16 - 19 further describes those fleshly men and women as murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts … having men’s persons in admiration because of (their) advantage (or status of leadership and authority). These are clearly mortal men and women who were respecters of persons –persons who, in their own estimation, seem to hold some desired status above their brethren – a practice which is summarily condemned in James 2:9 - But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
These adherents of the beast are further described and accused in the words of the verses following.
Rev 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy (i.e., worthy of this judgment, and condemnation).
The unceasing persecution of “heretics” and people who sincerely disagreed with the Roman clergy throughout the ages is here indicated. We think of faithful, diligent men such as Miles Coverdale, John Calvin, William Tyndale, John Huss and others who died violent deaths because they repudiated the Church and its doctrines and practices on the basis of their understanding of God’s word.
Rev 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
The judgment of the great Whore is eminent. It is detailed in the next chapter …
Rev 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
This woman of ill-fame is labeled precisely by deity; the Almighty is One Who withholds no concepts and minces no words: she is an infamous whore! It is a word that we should hesitate to employ, but not so with her Judge.
The kings of the earth and the merchants of the earth make up the two opulent factions of secular society in general; their consort with the great whore has generated great wealth and prosperity for both.
A stark reflection of this can be seen in nearly every poverty-stricken village of France or Quebec: there seems always to be a splendid cathedral set on a high place around which is huddled an humble village of peasants whose resources are largely dedicated and appropriated by the Church to its own purposes.
This is one reason that the Roman Church is reputed to be among the wealthiest corporations on earth, surpassing the total wealth of most of the nations of the world!
Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
There follows a summary description of the War of Armageddon (Revelation 16: 16) wherein the Lamb of God confronts and utterly defeats the forces of Mammon, as embodied in the Merchants of the Earth and the Church of Rome.
Their carnal warfare – their stringent resistance against the King of Israel which ensues – is a vivid consequence and continuation of their spiritual transgressions of the prior ages, in which the Gospel of Christ has been corrupted and changed into a form (a lie – Romans 1:25, again) which is only rejected by Him, and His followers who know His Truth – those who have come out of her, My people (Revelation 18:4).
The ensuing conflict is bloody, is judgmental upon the Beast and Harlot, and is “up close and personal” in the truest sense. The one-on-one confrontation is tersely but vividly described in the next verse …
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The symbolism of Revelation 14: 1-5 describes these events and the glorious appearance of Christ and His immortal Saints of that future day. He is the Lamb upon Mount Zion … and the 144,000 who are with Him are a symbol of the Redeemed. It is these who make war upon the whore – the woman who sits upon many waters – or many peoples, as described in the next verse …
Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are (meaning, represent) peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
The meaning is that these are people controlled by the Church, and are those who are responsive to its wishes. What “church” could be described as being anywhere nearly equivalent to such except the mighty Roman deception?
Rev 17:16 And the ten horns (the constituent kings) which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
Rev 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Rev 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
It is singularly ironic that the whore’s flesh is eaten, and burned with fire, as countless victims of the Inquisition had been treated – eaten of wild beasts, and burned at the stake! This fate is remarkably similar to her earlier counterpart in Israel – Jezebel, who was equivalent in evil, and was eaten by dogs.
The merchants of the earth finally “get it,” and repudiate their former consort with a vengeance!
This revealing, graphic terminology illustrates the principality of that great city – the Roman Church – in the affairs of kings, and their final reaction to her influence.
Popes have crowned kings in the past – and deposed some with whom they were enemies.
Some of the main political parties of the European nations today are church-affiliated and supported, – often called Christian Democrats, for example.
The Church’s entanglement with the affairs of nations has been extraordinary.
But their final judgment sours against her when they perceive her age-lasting deception upon them: that they have been fatally duped by her sorceries and “mysteries.”
After those events the earth receives the Almighty’s great blessing and enlightenment …
Rev 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
Rev 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
The earth is finally emancipated from the whore’s dominance and fleshly attraction.
Her obituary follows … Rev 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Are these the “merchants of the earth?”
Yes! The Vatican has “papal nuncios” (ambassadors) assigned to the capitals of over an hundred countries worldwide, and as its official representatives, these are familiar with the intimate details of governments everywhere, as well as their leading industries and commercial initiatives, where their interests lie, and their most vulnerable vicissitudes.
The Church is in this wise, an unique institution, being not only a nation (the Vatican) but also a Church (the Roman Catholic Church), both of which are ruled over by one man – the pope. He, in a certain sense therefore may be deemed ONE OF the kings of the earth as addressed in the next verse…
Rev 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
Rev 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
The goods in which she traffics are both vital and abundant – they are often the delicacies to which men are addicted, but include the necessities of life as well, such as nutrients and apparel – and the mediums of exchange such as gold and silver and precious stones.
Note carefully this specific list of her chief commodities of trade …
Rev 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
Rev 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
This last commodity is most important to her, as it was to Sodom before her (cf., Genesis 14:21) – for such (the souls of men) has become in the eyes of the Church, viz., numbers of people, warm bodies, tithe contributors, regardless of their background or beliefs, being “baptized” into the Church. These are the vast legions of human bondsmen – the virtual slaves of Rome – supporting the pervasive infrastructure and immense wealth of the Church. Her unspoken medium of exchange – her doctrines, superstitions and dogmas – is the mechanism by which she has recruited this vast, ignorant multitude.
Each new member becomes at least a minimal source of revenues for the clergy. St. Peter’s basilica is said to have been built by the monies received from the sale of Indulgencies, which were Church licenses in advance to commit sin of the grossest sorts!
But these transactions and concepts are to be obliterated – done away summarily … forever.
Rev 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Rev 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
For centuries, the greatest amount of commerce was generated by the Church. Statuary and icons, rosaries, vestments, cheeses, wines and oils, fine fabrics, furs and estates were produced for her by her pitiful minions, and by the merchants of the earth. Her consumption of gold and silver, of lands and estates, of all sorts of physical property, often obtained by thievery from its adherents, is notable, and abhorrent. The merchants of the earth have often been culpable in these transactions, having implemented them and made them possible.
It is no wonder that their grief for her demise is so pronounced!
Their anguish is graphically pictured in the following words …Rev 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Rev 18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Rev 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
Rev 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Here is the stark admission by the merchants of the earth that they were compliant in the activities of the Mother Harlot.
But the sufferance of her fate is different for the saints of God, whose view of her demise is unlike that of the merchants of the earth. They bewail her not, but rejoice that she has been subdued!
Their vengeance upon her has not been personally wrought by them, but has been righteously rained down upon her by the God of heaven in godly vengeance in retribution FOR their suffering and oppression.
Rev 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
Her fate is vividly depicted in the poetic justice which is determined for her. She is likened to a great millstone (which is a heavy, oppressive symbol of grinding and dividing into small edible portions – an accurate, fitting symbol of the Church’s oppression of the ages) which is violently thrown into the sea, never to be seen again! Her brutal end is presented in these graphically symbolic words …
Rev 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
We read recently an article in which the pope readily admitted that some 20 million people have been killed by Church persecution, the Inquisition included, of course.
We believe that number is vastly understated. It is probable that the Church has slain more people in its history than all those murdered by Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin combined. Many of these unfortunate victims have been intense and dedicated Bible scholars who have arrived at the real Truth of God’s word, and foresworn the falsehoods of Church doctrines, thus repudiating the Church’s authority and oversight of their affairs. Many, such as those already mentioned (Coverdale, Tyndale, and others), were murdered for the crime of translating the word of God into common languages so they could be understood by common men – an “heretical” act which was forbidden by the Church.
The Protestant Reformation became the harbinger of Catholicism's eventual cessation, the death-knell of the Church, in a limited sense, drawing millions away from under her influence and control.
Its effect was to relax to a great extent the hold of Mother Church on its millions, and to allow the unchecked loosing of the unclean spirits of paganism freely to re-enter world society on a “respectable” basis. We see the 20th chapter of Revelation as a vivid, summary description of that present time and its future process, ending in the conflict of Christ with Gog and Magog, parallel with Ezekiel 38 and 39.
The Reformers were extremely useful in blunting her influence. But unfortunately, many of those brave pioneers’ teachings that were contrary to the Church were lost on the masses, and they remained under the yoke of Rome.
In these texts the merchants of the earth are identified and described. Their commerce with Babylon’s ill-famed woman is shown to have been avid and intense, and to have brought them much wealth and power. Their relationship has been essentially a romance of sorts – a consort of multiple kings and merchants with an harlot – the carnal definition of which is fornication.
At past times in history the RCC decreed restrictions on buying and selling, and required the literal approval of the Church for all such transactions. The mark of the Beast would identify cooperative candidates, allowing them to continue their mundane lives (as long as their coins filled the coffers of the priests).
Those who would not comply with Rome’s diktat were isolated, shunned, and starved to death for want of life’s necessities.
But there is a greater implication. The sign of the cross is made over their infants at “Confirmation,” and again at “Baptism” – the Catholic rite of pouring “holy water” over the head of the victim – er … subject.
Without this approving stamp, it is impossible even today to “buy and sell” her long list of available merchandise, both spiritual and carnal – that is, to trade in her fairs, and to worship at her altars.
Without Church sanction, there is no forgiveness of sin by the parish priest (who presumes to forgive sin in place of Christ)!
Without it there is no Confessional, no intercessory prayers, no partaking of the wafer of “communion,” which is supposed to be trans-substantiated into Christ’s actual flesh as they swallow it – all of which mean, in turn, that the subject does not go “directly to heaven” at death, and may not go there at all (considering the teachings of God’s word, we favor the latter probability!).
These supposed benefits are also among her articles of “commerce” within the kingdom of men.
The End of the Matter
The merchants of the earth are vitally complicit in the Church’s continued existence, and in its prosperity. Kings and popes consult on state policy and other matters of interest to both. The Church has famously relaxed some of its doctrines in the past, in favor of state friendship and accommodation, such as Paul II on one occasion positing that Christ “may not be the ONLY path to paradise,” in order to blend in more perfectly with the Muslims and the Animists of Africa!
This is spiritual fornication of the most sordid kind, even falsely pursued from its unsustainable basis of mythology and the traditions of men – a relinquishment of what was formerly held as a tenet of faith in exchange for the vapid ties of friendship and accommodation with evil even greater than its own!
The coming demise of the Church will open the eyes of some of its surviving followers.
A few – perhaps a great number – will hear and heed the words of the everlasting gospel which they have never believed, and of which they have never been made aware; we are specifically assured that “all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest”- a feature of the kingdom which we have assured in the words of Hebrews 8:11 - And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord:’ for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
Others will be forced against their wills to comply with the new Administration of the upstart King of the Jews in Jerusalem – a vastly different and refined form of enforced international compliance with a foreign power which exerts supremacy over all nations … whether they like His peaceful benefits or not – and whether or not they favor His gracious, enforced establishment of peace and righteousness.
But where does this arrangement leave the merchants of the earth? There is no indication of their demise, unlike that of the religious opposition to Christ.
Instead, there is clear evidence of enlightenment and of greatly increased spiritual insight by the captains of industry.
We may be certain that certain sectors will cease to exist or function – for example, that of the greatly developed military industrial complex of today. Its end is certain, for “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” – a stipulation which utterly terminates the arms production industry of the entire earth. But as to the remainder, are they to continue on into the kingdom age, functioning much as they now do? Or shall they be dispossessed of their factories, possessions, and income properties; shall commerce come to an abrupt halt?
This is a consideration into which we have often entered with other interested brethren – considerations which tax our ability to comprehend those things which our Father has in store for the righteous who shall inherit the earth. Our imagination cannot yet fathom the wonders and delights which He has planned for the redeemed of the earth. We can hardly visualize the immense progress which shall take place, or the pathway that it shall take.
So the answer is not clear. The seemingly summary scriptural dictum for that future time of blessing is that “every man shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree” (Zechariah 3:10), which condition is specified to exist when the mountain of the LORD is established in the top of the mountains, as we are taught by Micah 4:4 - But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
That typical condition once existed under the kingship of Solomon – a prototype of the pacific kingdom of Christ after His conquest of the nations. It is so described in 1Kings 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.
Does this statement indicate that the commerce of the earth shall cease in favor of a completely localized, agrarian society – devoid of industry or commerce?
A typical description of the kingdom age is given us by Zechariah, revealing details of that future age which we believe give us certain clues as to its character: consider these words:
Zechariah 3:6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
Joshua in this passage is a prototype (a “type”) of Christ Jesus in His kingdom role as king and priest. The conclusion of these words is that “ye shall call every man his neighbor …” under the conditions being considered in this article.
It speaks not of the continuation of commerce and industry; but neither does it obviate such.
Some of the details of the future age have been revealed, one of which is that all people of the earth are destined to come up to Jerusalem at least once per year to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, as we are informed by Zechariah, in these words: Zechariah 14:16 - And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Should one expect that each individual shall be expected to make this journey on foot? – or mounted upon donkeys or horses, or riding in animal-powered wagons of transport? If so, this requirement of up to 10,000 miles each way for some adherents, would erase weeks of productive life from each individual on earth in its execution – and impose great hardship upon every citizen in fulfilling this duty. And it is obvious that donkeys and wagons cannot traverse the vast expanse of oceans which lie in the path of many of these potential worshippers!
This being an absolute feature of the future millennial kingdom, we must logically expect that viable means of transport will be available to the peoples of the earth, to be utilized in their annual trek to Jerusalem.
In order to accomplish this requirement, the use of commercial transportation such as planes, trains and automobiles seems inevitable.
The implication of this is that the means of production of such vehicles will continue to be necessary – a requirement which seems logically to project a continuation of the vast intricacies of commercial manufacture which we see today being utilized.
It would therefore seem to us to require the advance of civilization much as we see it today, with oil, steel, plastics, basic services, design and production of mechanical devices, and the entire service infrastructure for all these industries to continue intact as we view them today.
We are left to consider yet again just what shall be the nature and substance of the kingdom of God on earth. One of its chief retardants has always been the philosophy of Rome, which at this future time shall have been eradicated – as proven in the text above. This leaves it free of that superstition and its requirements.
How then shall it go forth unfettered toward that inevitable goal of perfection, and the complete eradication of all adverse facets of society, the subjection of sin on every level, the elimination of evil of all kinds, and the inculcation of honest, convicted devotion of every citizen to the things of the Spirit, and to Christ Jesus, the King of all the earth?
These we believe are profitable to consider within the context of the factors of which we are apprised in the word of God. But we must leave the details of it up to the Master of all things, Who shall establish it upon a godly, equable, levelheaded footing – all of which shall militate toward His glory and honor, and the provision of a peaceful, workable, godly society which consistently develops to become the sin-free, sorrow-free, pain-free, joyous, secure and peaceful pursuit of the godly way of life for all.
<HEL 2N, 5O>
Commentary by Harold E. Lafferty
As students of Bible prophecy, the Middle East is our chief area of interest. The morass of troubles there at this moment is intensely interesting, and bears heavily upon the fulfilment of prophecy as we see it. The reason for our concern is that ALL the nations round about Israel are antagonistic to God's people and their "intrusion" into "their" lands. That assertion is a mis-conception as we know, but not so in the Islamic minds of those striving to displace and destroy Israel.
The entire process is so complex it is difficult to comprehend for the casual reader; so we should try to make some sense of where things are going.
We are assured by God's word that the aggression of Islam against Israel shall not be successful.
The reckless chaos that we behold in all the Middle East attests to that, as well as the sure word of prophecy.
But a current review is in order. It has been prompted by an article in PJ Media by Jonathan Spyer, dated April 15, 2015, entitled "Post 'Arab Spring,' the Middle East in Chaos."
Mr. Spyer's initial statement got our attention: that the Middle East "is about to be devoured by the mullahs of Iran." Further, he says, "In a process of profound importance, five Arab states in the Middle East have effectively ceased to exist over the last decade. The five states in question are Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya. It is possible that more will follow."
We do agree with that last sentence. We should firmly state that ALL shall follow these five into oblivion; but not in the manner in which secular commentators believe. The scriptures of YHVH are clear as to their final ends as well as to the manner of their demise.
It is not a pretty picture.
But to continue this current review, the author analyzes the milieu quite accurately.
He writes that the causes of their disappearance are not all the same. "In two cases (Iraq, Libya) it was western military intervention which began the process of collapse. In another case (Lebanon) it is intervention from a Middle Eastern state (Iran) which is at the root of the definitive hollowing out of the state. "But in all these cases, the result has been remarkably similar — it is the ceding of power from strong central authorities to a variety of political-military organizations, usually but not always organized around a shared sectarian or ethnic origin. The Middle East today is overshadowed by this process. We are living in the time of the militias.
Militias are localized armed groups who usually exhibit their own agenda of
self-importance. We now review these as best we can.
Syria, the clearest-cut case, is now actually separated into various ethnic and sectarian enclaves. These are a limited (Shi'ite) area ruled by Bashar al-Assad in the south and west, around Damascus; another is dominated by the Sunni jihadi Islamic State in the east; there are three non-contiguous Kurdish enclaves across the north of Syria; and an area under the control of al-Qaeda and its allies in the northwest; there is also a small area in the southwest of Syria held jointly by al-Qaeda and a variety of other Sunni Arab militias supported by the west. These latter forces are weak and ineffective - and their loyalties are scattered.
Mr. Spyer's article points out that, "The important point to note here is that the area controlled by Assad (around 40% of the total area of Syria) does not essentially differ in its militia-nature from the other areas."
In other words, the Syrian president has survived because he is tightly aligned with THE FORCE best designed successfully to exploit the breakup of Arab states and the emergence of militias seeking to impose their authority on the ruins of (every) state. That force, he says, is Iran - and more specifically the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with its Qods Force.
So just what is the Qods Force?
It is a shadowy group which is said to exist for the singular purpose of building proxy paramilitary organizations (militias) to serve the IRANIAN regional interests of every area where it operates. It gives Assad an enormous advantage and great staying power, if successful.
But in the process it removes Assad from being "president" of Syria and reduces him to the identity of a warlord/militia chieftain in his limited enclave. Although Assad identifies with the Shia branch of Islam, his army is Sunni; that army became largely useless to him about four years ago. That happened when the IRGC intruded into Syrian affairs and created for Assad one of its own preferred force types. This resultant militia, the National Defense Force, along with with other Iranian-created or-sponsored militia forces from neighboring Iraq and Lebanon are the "props" which support Assad in his current role.
Moving now to Iraq - this country is today separated into three areas, a Kurdish north, an area in the center controlled by Sunni jihadis (ISIS, or Islamic State) and a Shia area in the south. Again, the Shia south, which is still seen in the west as the "legitimate" government of Iraq, is in fact an area in which Shia militias are the key element, operating freely and acting according to their own will. Often, this will is the product of the desires of the Qods Force, and its commander General Qassem Suleimani.
In Lebanon, in a notably different process, an Iran-created militia, Hezbollah, acquired the dominant role in the area once ruled by the state, because the state was a hollow construct long competed over by rival sectarian militias; and came about because Iranian and Syrian support enabled Hezbollah to acquire a level of strength which no other home-grown political-military force could match. It may well be that this is now changing, as al-Qaeda associated Sunni militias enter the arena.
In Yemen, where the state and central government was also weak, the Iranian supported militia. Ansar Allah (the "Houthis") seized the capital in January, 2015. Sunni elements in the south, including one of the strongest franchises of al-Qaeda (again, this is ISIS), are fighting against them. A mobilization of Arab air and sea power is underway to prevent Iran's proxies from seizing the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. Control of this vital waterway, between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, would tilt the regional balance yet further in Iran's favor.
The Iranians, because of their matchless IRGC, are best equipped to make gains from this chaos.
Finally, in Libya, the western destruction of the Gadaffi regime has led to the splitting of the country between two rival governments — one supported by the Egyptians in Tobruk, another backed by Islamist militias in Tripoli, here lately identified as cohorts of ISIS.
These five Arab states are effectively no longer in existence. In all, militia power has replaced ordered government.
Here is Mr. Spyer’s summary statement about all these conflicts: he asks ...
“What does all this mean for the region?
“It means that a huge chunk of the long mis-governed Middle East has exchanged an age of despotic torpor for an age of chaos. The Iranians, because of their matchless IRGC, are best equipped to make gains from this.
“But nowhere (with the partial exception of tiny Lebanon) have the Iranians yet succeeded in keeping a country united under the control of their local proxy. This is not a story of an unstoppable Iranian advance, like a juggernaut, across the region. Their successes are notable, but partial in each area of operation. Sunni and Kurdish forces prevent their complete victory and are likely to continue to do so.
“Where will all this end — what will the landscape look like when the storm
passes? Impossible to say. But it may be said with certainty that the shadow of
the gunmen is today hanging over the Middle East, all the way from the
Iraq–Iran border to the Mediterranean coast and from the Gulf of Aden to Libya.”
These facts bring our understanding quite up-to-date on the current flux of the Middle East. The chaos that has come especially to those five areas of Islam, excluding Iran and Libya, is immediately to be considered as critical; but both these latter powers are grouped with the Gogian host of Ezekiel 38 and 39 – a conflict which is not difficult to comprehend – but which will concern the world of tomorrow intensively.
The drastic changes seen in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are of more critical concern. Their development toward the identity of “Assyria” is striking, and surely will bring the prophesied conclusion as predicted in Micah 5 and 7, which are so closely allied to the prophecies of Obadiah, Isaiah 11, Ezekiel 35, Psalm 83, and other specific, targeted writings which bear so directly upon the Second Coming of Christ and the overthrow of all the enemies of Israel between the Nile and the Euphrates, and the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Students will wish to keep a close watch upon all these affairs of state, following with wonder the precision with which the word of God comes to fulfilment. Such a process surely generates an increment of faith equal to few other efforts (cf. Mark 13: 29; Luke 21: 28, 31; but especially John 13:19 - Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.)
We realize that the complex issues of the Middle East are daunting to some – and is the reason that we strive often to comment upon them, striving to make sense of their significance to the lover of God’s word.
Excerpt of article, Bridges for Peace, March 23, 2015
By Brian Schrauger
We present this short article which is solid proof that Israel’s clout is increasing throughout the world whether the U.S., Europe and Iran think so or not. The proof is here presented. This analysis concerns Israel’s acceptance as a technological influence; it does not indicate any military support for her in any way. <Emphasis in article below is ours, HEL>
Analysis: Israel’s Growing Clout throughout the World
Analyst Lawrence Solomon notes that Western media "likes to describe Israel as increasingly isolated in the world." But in fact, he writes, just the opposite is true: "Israel has never been less isolated, never been more embraced."
Writing in last week's issue of the Financial Post, Solomon said that Western aversion to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is causing it to falsely portray Israel as increasingly isolated in the global community of nations.
As a result of Netanyahu's economic policies, 2014 set a record for "Israeli high-tech and biotech startups—52 Israeli startups sold to the tune of some $15-billion plus 18 IPOs (initial stock offerings) worth another $10 billion."
Solomon notes that Israel's economic and technological boom under Netanyahu's tutelage has dramatically increased Israel's standing in the Middle East and among non-Western nations on the continents of Africa and Asia.
"In its immediate neighborhood, Israel for the first time has de facto allies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the leaders of the Arab Sunni world,"
Solomon reports. As for Africa, "Israel now is tight with countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda. In Asia, Israel is becoming tight with India, the world’s largest democracy, and with China, the world’s second largest economy, both of which are establishing free trade deals with Israel.”
What's more, "Israel has been expanding trade with Japan, the world’s third largest economy. And Israel has close relations with countries of the former East Bloc, including Russia, once a Cold War adversary, now a partner in countering Islamic terrorism."
According to Solomon, "the watchful Arab press knows exactly why Israel has become so welcome around the world, even if the blinkered Western press doesn't. As explained earlier this year in Al-Araby al-Jadid, a London-based Qatari daily, 'Israel’s advanced technology developments have become its most prominent soft power tool for boosting diplomatic ties and improving its position in the world, enhancing its own security in the process.'
Solomon claims that "Israel’s technological prowess, and thus the welcome mat it now enjoys in ever-growing regions of the world, comes as a by-product of Netanyahu’s dismantling of the welfare state. That dismantling may now accelerate because in this week’s election another dismantler shone—Moshe Kahlon, the Kulanu [political] party leader [in Israel] who ran on an unabashedly pro-business, pro-competition 'economic freedom' platform predicated on downsizing government while breaking up Israel’s remaining public monopolies and private oligopolies.
The Western press may be surprised to learn that Kahlon, who is widely expected to become Netanyahu’s next finance minister, is considered centrist in Israeli politics.”
With an entirely different take on Israel's standing in the world, Solomon says that Israel "is fast becoming the darling of all but Socialist-leaning Europe, Iran and the ISIS wannabe set. Australia is stalwartly in Israel’s corner; Canada’s commitment to Israel is at an all-time high; America’s remains as strong as ever, President Obama and the American left notwithstanding.
"Two years from now," says Solomon, "Obama will be gone, to be remembered as the worst American president in memory. Prime Minister Netanyahu will remain in power and on the world stage, to be seen as one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers and one of the world’s few true statesmen." Source: (Excerpt of article, Bridges for Peace, March 23, 2015) ##
Editor’s Note: Several points of interest stand out in this commentary.
1. Israel’s rapid advances into economic prominence are credited to the financial expertise of Benyamin Netanyahu, who holds a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from MIT, we believe.
2. Israel, though seeming to be isolated (from our North American viewpoint), is hardly so when considered as to its standing in the wider world. If a nation builds great products and produces the best solutions to economic problems, it will move ahead as Israel uniquely had done.
3. Israel is now allied with Saudi Arabia and Egypt due to the common challenges of ISIS and of Iran. This condition will change in the near future, we believe, as will several other factors of the political realities of the Levant. One way is that the dominance of Iran in Iraq and Syria/Lebanon will diminish, as Iran’s role is chiefly to be as an integral part of the Gogian invasive forces in the mid-term future.
4. It is interesting that Mr. Solomon’s opinion (expressed in the prestigious Financial Post), is that the advances won by Israel have been a direct result of Netanyahu’s de-construction of the welfare state-ism that was long ago put in place by the opposition Labor party, when Israel was young and tottering along. Although he does not point it out, that direction toward welfare state-ism is the direction in which America is now nudging under Barack Obama – steadily adopting the socialist mores of Europe, which are largely failing.
5. His “take” on the overall leadership qualities of Mr. Netanyahu is completely the opposite of his impression of the U.S. president: he says, “Netanyahu will remain in power and on the world stage, to be seen as one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers and one of the world’s few true statesmen."
We watch and wait for the outworking of this stupendously disproportionate evaluation of Israel by the U.S. administration, and what shall develop for both Israel and the U.S. in the coming months.
Our thanks to a faithful correspondent who forwarded this article for our attention.
Search the Scriptures as we may, we cannot find any instruction to keep holy a day or a period called Easter. The English word 'EASTER" is used once only in the Scriptures and, as in all other 28 usages of the original Greek word "Pascha", it should have been translated as "Passover".
The word 'pascha', in it's reference to a period in time, relates to the 'paschal festival', the feast of Passover, extending from the 14 th to the 20 th day of the FIRST MONTH (Nisan), of the Jewish year. (See Strong's No 3957)
WHAT WAS THE PASSOVER FESTIVAL FOR?
It was a Jewish festival memorialising the occasion on which their ancient fathers, preparing to leave Egypt, the country of their slavedom, were bidden by the Father to sacrifice a lamb without spot or blemish and paint the sacrificial blood on the lintels of the doorposts of their houses in order to ensure the "passing over" of the 'angel of death'. Any house that was not protected by that sacrificial blood, suffered at the hand of the angel....the eldest child, the firstborn, died.
Whilst the slaying of the paschal lamb was to Israel a type of something that was to come, in the form of the sacrifice of their Messiah, they failed to recognise that type when it occurred and they therefore were not covered by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb . The results were disastrous, for more than a million Jews lost their lives and thousands more were led away into slavery in the years AD70-135.
HOW LONG WAS THE PASSOVER FESTIVAL?
In Leviticus 23 you can read of the instruction of the Father to Israel concerning Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover was to be kept on the 14 th day of the first month, (Abib/Nisan) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was to commence on the 15 th day and for 7 days all Israel was to eat unleavened bread. The first day of the feast of 'unleavened bread' was to be a 'holy day', a day of holy convocation, on which no Israelite was to labour in any way. The 7 th day was likewise. These days were in addition to the normal 7 th day Sabbath Holy Day.
WHY THE EASTER FESTIVAL?
The simple answer is to be found in the 'take-over' of Christianity by Rome in AD 325, when Constantine declared Christianity to be the 'religion' of the Roman Empire. The Empire included many religions and all of them had their own 'gods' which they continued worshipping under the guise of Christianity. The 'sun god' of Babylon was Tammuz and the 'moon god' Ishtar, was known as Ashtoreth to many people, including the Jews. You can read in Jer 7-17/18 that at one time they incurred the Father's wrath by making the round cakes with 't' on them for use in the festival of worship to Ashtoreth, the 'moon god', and for this idolatry we well know that the Father severely punished Israel.
The 'Christianity' the Roman Empire now embraced was thus a mixture of the beliefs of the original Church at Rome and the beliefs and practises of the pagans who were welcomed into the Church. The festival in honour of Ishtar became a Christian celebration, complete with the original pagan idea of 40 days of fasting before the celebration of their worship to Ishtar. That 40 days became the 40 days of 'Lent'
EGGS, BUNNIES AND SUNRISE CELEBRATIONS:
Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod, and this beautiful woman, the Queen of Assyria was worshipped as the goddess of love and fertility. She convinced her people that Nimrod had become the 'sun god' and she was the 'moon god', worshipped under the Babylonian name of Ishtah, or, Ashtoreth to the Jews and many others, Venus to the Romans and Astarte to the Phoenicians. To many of these people, the EGG was a symbol of fertility and this pagan idea was carried over into Christianity. In later generations, because the humble BUNNY RABBIT multiplied so speedily, it also became a symbol of fertility and thus the two became associated with this pagan festival of Easter. Because the Easter/ Ishtar celebration had its roots in worship to the 'sun god' and the 'moon god' as the king and QUEEN OF HEAVEN, so the Easter celebrations commenced as the sun came up and it's light obliterated the moon. The celebration of Easter in it's present form is completely pagan in origin and cannot be acceptable to the Father. One world-wide religion worships Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, (who, they claim is in fact 'god the Son'), as the QUEEN OF HEAVEN.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
The simple truth is that the Jews of AD325 were still celebrating the Passover, unaware that what it really meant had already come to pass in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Just as Daniel the Prophet foretold that their Messiah would be cut off in the 'middle of the week' (Dan 9-27) so the Lord Jesus was actually crucified, as the 'paschal Lamb, on a Wednesday, not the (good) Friday of present religious observance.
He went into the grave at the end of that day and, as the Scriptures insist that He had to be in the grave for THREE DAY AND THREE NIGHTS (Matt.12-40) it is not difficult to work out that He stayed in the grave Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday. Friday night and all day Saturday, coming forth from the grave at the end of the Sabbath, Saturday. Thus when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matt 28-1) came to the tomb as the first day of the week dawned, they were told by an angel that Christ was risen.
Many Christians are confused by the fact that the day AFTER the Passover day, was to be a HOLY DAY, (a Sabbath) and thus they are easily convinced that the actual crucifixion of the Lord Jesus as the final sacrifice under the Mosaic system occurred on a Friday and was followed by the normal Sabbath. This is not so. The HOLY DAY on the day after the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, was the first day of Unleavened Bread and was a Holy Day , a day of convocation.
DOES IT ALL MATTER?
Ask yourself...do you think the Father would be pleased with you if you keep a pagan festival? Surely the answer is NO. It is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that is our HOPE, not a pagan festival which honours the 'gods' of the sun and the moon.
Harold Edward Lafferty
In the southwestern State of Arkansas there was a tiny community called Shiloh (Shy’-lo). I have been aware of it for my entire life due to the experiences my Dad related to me – those which he had when he lived in that community during his childhood. I believe the entire village was inundated by the waters of Greers Ferry Lake, when it was created in the mid-20th century.
Shiloh! What a mystical name – and beautiful at the same time. What does it mean?
The word is Hebrew in origin. Shee-ló is its proper Hebrew pronunciation, with the emphasis on the second syllable.
It means tranquil, or peaceful, and in its first occurrence in scripture it is used as an epithet for Messiah, as noted in Genesis 49:8 – the only personal appellation of 31 separate references to the word in scripture; all the others are the name of a small town in Canaan where the tabernacle in the wilderness was erected after the Hebrews came into the Land.
Genesis 49 stands as one of the most informative and comprehensive utterances in the scriptures – one in which Jacob blesses his sons. Its background is this …
In Genesis 49, Jacob gathers his sons before him so that he may tell them those things which should befall them in the last days. The “last days” is a reference to the time of the end, generally, but here indicates their general future fortunes, some of which does concern the end of the days of the dispensation of Adam and the coming of their ultimate Savior.
Our thoughts now center on Judah, beginning in verse 8, where the patriarch writes a singularly profound and meaningful series of five verses – a message which sets the stage for our discussion of Shiloh as a Personage, the Means of their ultimate re-gathering into the Land, and of their ultimate redemption under their Messiah, here revealed and made known as Shiloh.
The text of this chapter contains other salient overtones as well, but we intend in this article to examine primarily five verses:
Genesis 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Our best approach is to consider these revelatory phrases in the order in which they are given.
Judah to be Praised
In verse 8, Jacob gives a special appointment to Judah, telling him that he shall be given the praise of his brethren – a position of honor to which none of the others shall attain.
The Hebrew Yehuda (Judah) means praised, or celebrated.
As so many Hebrew children have been, Judah was appropriately named.
His dominant position among his brethren is expressed in the phrase, Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. There will be several occasions upon which this shall be true, including the praise later given their ultimate, temporal ruler, King David.
This blessing should take several forms …
A telling and extremely meaningful characteristic of Judah’s Offspring is now revealed: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies. This statement foretells the literal choke-hold which should characterize the might of Judah, as expressed in his famous son, King David, who as regent over the twelve tribes, dominated all his enemies handily, and ruled over Israel as a united and dedicated economy under the Almighty for forty years.
During his reign, the kingdom reached the greatest extent of its occupancy of the Land which God had given the people. Although David fulfilled one facet of this prophecy, his kingdom was not peaceful, nor tranquil; so he may not be termed Shiloh.
That term is reserved for a greater Son of David, Who shall indeed rule over Israel in peace, extending His regency to the entire world.
So surely, the more superior application of this phrase (victory over enemies) is indicative of the ready dominance which the LORD Jesus Christ shall initially express upon His and His People’s enemy, typified by “Assyria,” in the day spoken of by the Prophet Micah, in his chapter 5, q.v., and over “Edom,” as foretold by Obadiah in such exquisite detail, as well as numerous other prophetic references to these end-time conflicts of Israel with the nations “round about.”
THAT time of the absolute ascendancy of the dominance of Jesus over His enemies is far superior to the reign of David over Israel, although an antitype of that time. And the best part is that the warlike Davidic phase of Christ’s kingdom shall immediately give way to the entirely pacific, Solomonic phase of the Kingdom – an era which, unlike that of Solomon, shall have no end!
Judah to be Honored
The next phrase is, thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
What does this mean?
We might immediately think of the obeisance that was given Joseph in his dream which caused so much consternation of his brethren – but, No … wrong brother!
This phrase evidently refers ultimately and chiefly to the devotion which all the tribes are destined to give to their returned Messiah – indeed, to Shiloh, the Lamb of Judah – in that day when He has revealed Himself to them in violent retribution upon, and by the complete conquest of, their enemies of the present and coming days in his presentation as Lion of Judah.
Those future days are foreshadowed by the loyalty of the Twelve Tribes to David in his temporal kingdom.
Whereas the obeisance to David was temporal and limited, that given the LORD Jesus Christ shall be eternal and infinite.
This indicated “bowing down” to Judah’s Son by all his brethren shall adequately demonstrate the humble recognition of all the reunited sons of Jacob to Him as that greater Son of David. Cf., Ezekiel 37.
Judah as a Lion’s Whelp
The blessing evokes the respect that animals of the veldt show to the king of beasts, as Jacob delivers the next phrases directly relating to Judah’s heritage, utilizing that graphic figure of a lion, victorious over His prey, firstly as a young lion. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up:
Only the victor in such mortal combat as a lion against his prey can “go up” or go away, from his prey; the prey cannot do so, having been completely vanquished. This phrase indicates Messiah’s destiny as the ultimate victor over all His enemies.
But the figure has far wider meaning.
As a lion’s whelp (young offspring of a lion) Jesus Christ fought His most exhausting wars during the days of His flesh – against a prey which was mighty to the pulling down of strong holds – His inherently carnal flesh.
But in this constant warfare, He was victorious in every way, and at the end “went up,” or departed from every aspect of that potential carnage.
His ascension – or “going up” from it – was at least sixfold in character:
He always eschewed evil, and chose the good – overcoming all things, rising well above His inherent desires of the flesh.
He was faithful unto death, not choosing defeat by artificial rescue by legions of angels.
He was resurrected from the dead.
He was raised to immortality from mortality.
He was secluded from further contact with the grosser elements of mankind by being seen subsequently ONLY by His brethren before He ascended to heaven.
He ascended bodily out of this world to that of His Father, to sit upon His right hand until His enemies be made His footstool.
Thus He has now attained the status of the Ancient of Days, as in Daniel 7: 9, 13, 22 - three clear iterations of His future destiny and designated future status.
Judah as an Old Lion
It seems that it is in the sense of His becoming an Old Lion, that we may better understand the next description of Judah’s greater Son – he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion (as the Ancient of Days); who shall rouse him up?
We believe this phrase is an harbinger of the wise demeanor and learned, authoritative administration of righteousness which His wisdom and experience shall bring to this exhausted planet upon which His will is now seldom done.
Judah’s Offspring, Shiloh – Lawgiver
Continuing in the sequential fulfillment of His destiny; after his initial conquest of the flesh at His first coming, and his physical conquest of Israel’s enemies at His second appearance, He then shall ascend personally and victoriously to occupy the re-established Throne of David in Mt. Zion.
The regnal scepter shall not depart from (i.e., there shall no true and lasting King be produced by) Judah, nor a lawgiver (issue) from between his feet, until Shiloh come; It shall be in this guise that He becomes the Lawgiver – wielder of a dominant Sceptre, as Regal Officer, as King of the Jews and of Israel – and shortly to be realized, as King of the entire earth.
But until that time, even including the time of the appearance of His predecessor, the antitypical David, King of Israel, a true and lasting bearer of the Scepter had not appeared. That is, not until He was born of the virgin and assumed His duties as High Priest of Israel at age 30 years.
After the days of Jacob, another seer visualized such a personalized Sceptre. Balaam, son of Beor, a mysterious prophet out of Assyria received this vision directly from the LORD, as he looked over the teeming, overspreading people of Israel as they were poised to enter into the Promised Land: speaking of that multitude’s ultimate King, Balaam said … Numbers 24:17 - I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh (He is not near, in reference to time): there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.
As such a Kingly Star and Sceptre, shall the LORD Jesus Christ appear without herald, and rudely interrupt the affairs of the violent nations round about His people of today, wrecking the vile intentions of Moab, Edom and Ammon, of Palestina and of Assyria, along with other nations enumerated with them.
The brilliant aspect of the morning Star is again indexed by Peter, in his remarks of 2Peter 1:19 - We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in your heart.
He stresses that the prophets wrote and spoke of this immutable Effect, and that our attention must be upon their words in these dark days, so soon to be lightened by the dawn of that Day of our LORD’s vengeance and vindication!
But to such Kingship He has not yet ascended – for He shall fill both positions in the finality. Having successfully served His Father, and then confirmed His service in His final submission to His Father by His sacrifice on the tree, the LORD Jesus arose to the spiritual level of His final destiny – but still not to His final position of King.
Ascending to the heavens, and continuing in His attained office of High Priest, He has been occupied in preparing a place for the faithful followers of the Almighty (John 14:2), and will soon come again to the earth and bring that reward with him – a principle underwritten by the sure words of Isaiah 62:1 - Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
In Romans 9:23, the Apostle references those whom He hath so “prepared” unto glory: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory … those mortal men and women whose devotion to His testimonies hath brought mercy upon them from His mind and hand – vessels, indeed, who willingly and humbly contain and exhibit the riches of His glory in their lives.
When, we ask, where were these “prepared?”
Was it not within the finite span of their mortal existence, and during the brief period of their probationary service to Him? They were during that span prepared fitly to inherit His Nature on the earth, only during their lifetimes, from His position at His Father’s right hand in the heavens.
In that particular sense, He has gone “to prepare a place for them” and to return again, that where He is, there they may be also – obviating their right or possibility of going as He did to the Father’s right hand and of sitting in the heavenly sphere with Him.
In this glorious future phase of His work, one of His chief duties shall be physically to bring about the complete re-gathering of His natural people to their Land. It is to the Shiloh that the gathering of the people shall be brought about as expressed in the direct phrase that … and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.
They cannot go to Him where He now is – at His Father’s right hand – but He shall return to them, bringing the elements and charter of His kingdom with Him to Jerusalem.
These words indicate the great In-gathering,[i] or harvest, of the remnant of His People from the four corners of the earth – a faithful, dedicated continuation of the process which He had already directed to be begun, we believe, by the archangel Michael, that great prince which standeth for the children of thy people, as Daniel 12:1.
In our own lifetimes, informed Believers have beheld with great awe the stubborn, persistent, irreversible in-gathering of the Jewish People to their Land (the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin, and many others) from all nations.
At this time in history (2015), slightly over half the known Jewish people of the earth live in their own Land of Israel, their prospects being never to be removed again, or be displaced, or plucked up, as promised by the beautiful words of Amos 9:15 - And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Validating Testimony as to His Identity
Almost as if to address Jacob’s much later hearers of these blessings, the Spirit of God uttered additional substantiating facts as a concrete indication of the Personage of Whom He was speaking. The text recalls key substantiating events in the life of Jesus which indicated the sure path upon which He had embarked in His brief ministry. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Israel is the Vine of God in metaphor, just as it is also the Good Olive Tree. The former is illustrated by these words from Isaiah 5: 1-7, at verse 7: For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant …
In devoting His entire life to the ministry of salvation directly to His own race, the LORD Jesus is linked inseparable with His people, Israel – to this Vine of God.
In these words there is a not-so-subtle indication of His majestic destiny, in that the foal of an ass was the ROYAL mode of transportation of the kings of Israel. Prince Absalom, the rebellious son of David, you remember, was riding on such a beast when his hair became ensnared in the branches of a great oak, and the mule that was nnder him went away!
And when Jesus chose to make his triumphal, prophetical entry into Jerusalem just prior to His crucifixion, he did so riding upon a colt, the foal of an ass, the graphic account of which is recorded in Matthew 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
This symbolism was an hint that was hardly subtle to the masses which cheered Him that day. He was indeed the Son of God Who had come to them to bring redemption. Their hearty cries to Him in that remarkable day were Hosanna! (Save now! Redeem us!) in the Highest.
It was to this Vine (this race) that he devoted (bound) all His energy and spirit; the metaphor becomes even more meaningful when we realize that the blood of grapes in which He and His garments were finally immersed, points toward the blood which He necessarily shed for Redemption, an element which is noted in the very emblems of His memory, of which we are commanded to partake.
This deeply meaningful imagery inseparably links the LORD Jesus with His people Israel, the sole object of His entire ministry – for it was to HIS PEOPLE, specifically, that He came – to the People whose allegiance was blunted by their self-serving leaders, and who finally rejected Him completely.
That rejection brought about many wonderful results, including the insuperably magnificent opportunity for Gentiles also to partake of the promises made to Abraham, and to his Seed, Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:16, q.v.
In this regard, please note carefully the words of Romans 11:25, where the Apostle Paul spells out the superb advantage of this benefit, at which all should indeed wonder! - For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Our grateful reaction is recommended to be humble acceptance of this great, almost incidental benefit, which accrued to the unwashed of the Gentile races, all because of the rejection of Jesus by His people – the People to whom He came and to whom He ministered.
Characteristics of Wine and Milk
The last words of this parabolic prophecy of Jacob are in Verse 12: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Wine and milk, along with honey, are nominated as being the choicest of nourishment by the Almighty. Recall that the Land of Canaan was summarily described as a land of milk and honey, as being indicative of its great blessing, bounty, worth, and potential.
Milk is the most rudimentary of foods, and contains all the nutrients needed by babies for several years of their early lives. In Bible times, children were often not weaned from their mother’s milk for upwards of four years.
So the goodness – the inherent virtue – of milk is indisputable, and a food to be coveted and cherished. Jesus was well nourished by the milk of God’s word up until the time that He became the Man Who was capable of the great sacrifice that was required of Him.
Wine is the product of the grape, with which flora the Land of Judea was literally and profusely covered at that time. The abundance of grapes, both wild and cultivated, was so great that the people had no care about their ability to produce wine (Yayin). Subsequent to an infant’s need for milk, the figure takes into consideration that wine is its adult component of nourishment and joy.
Wine, when taken in moderation, was a blessing which was desired and enjoyed by all the People. Both wine and milk therefore are indicative of the great blessings by the Almighty of the provision of the acceptable Sacrifice to all men.
Judah as Leader of Israel’s Invasion of Canaan
Later, Moses blessed Judah with these words: Deuteronomy 33:7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.
These words are a prophecy of the tribe of Judah as the first conqueror sent forth into Canaan after Joshua led the People into the Land and conquered Jericho. The record of Judah’s commission to go forth and conquer is recorded in Judges 1:1: Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? 2 And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
Even in this early instance of the People’s conquest of the heathen nations, Judah was chosen as leader. Judah immediately chose Simeon to assist him, and they went forth to defeat their enemies. Their success was so great that Simeon was given a portion of Judah’s inheritance as it was too large for Judah. This may be the reason that Simeon is not mentioned in Moses’ blessing of the sons of Jacob in Deuteronomy 33.
Judah as Chief Ruler
We learn another unique fact about Judah here: 1Chronicles 5:1: Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the (two) sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. 2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:) …
The chief ruler here means the king of Israel, but ultimately refers to that Personage earlier named as Shiloh. The footnote in ESword on this verse relates – “the chief ruler: or, the prince. By the chief ruler is meant first David, and after him the Messiah, agreeably to the celebrated prophecy of Jacob (Gen 49:10). The Syriac calls him "Christ the king," and the Arabic, "Messiah the king." 1Sa_16:1, 10, 12; 2Sa_8:15; Psa_78:68-71; Jer_23:5-6; Mic_5:2; Mat_2:6; Heb_7:14”
By these words we learn that this account (Genesis 49) written by Moses, is among the first of many writings which give intimate details of the Author of Salvation in all His glory – His background, His family history, His character, and His destiny; they initiate the sensible revelation of the Savior of mankind.
Every one of these footnoted references is pertinent to our understanding of the subsequent history of Judah, of his son David, and of Messiah Jesus! We leave them to your discretion as to their study. They tell a serial tale of progressive development of the Plan for the kingdom and of the development of its substance.
But in the interest of brevity for now, we leave this consideration of Jesus Christ as full recipient of the title Shiloh, and of Shiloh as indicator of the mighty work which He shall do.
<HEL MD/USA 3O> ~4000 words. An eTPL Exposition.
[i] We cannot but think of this Ingathering in relationship with the Festival of Ingathering (Sukkot) of Israel – a fall festival which celebrated the harvest of the crop which had been cultivated and was ready for reaping. It is hopefully the most appropriate season for the literal return of the LORD to His people. An important facet of this subject is the upcoming Blood Moon which shall occur on Sukkot in September, 2015 – an event toward which we look with much anticipation, as it will be the last of several Jewish Tetrads, with no more to be experienced for over 500 years.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who this past week claimed Palestinian lineage to the Canaanites, is not the first Palestinian to reinvent history • A study of history shows that the roots of present-day Palestinians lie far from here.
The noted scholar of nationalist movements, Anthony Smith, once made a differentiation between two kinds of methods in constructing nationalist identity. The first method is determining a national grouping on the basis of a shared culture and history. The second method is used by nations who do not have such a common history and thus need to invent it all from scratch.
In his book "From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back," Professor Yitzhak Reiter notes that history is not always exact. In the most extreme instances, it is a fabrication. The case of Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, appears to be one of these instances.
Erekat, who this past week lectured to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni that he and his Canaanite forefathers lived in Jericho 3,000 years ago before the arrival of Joshua and his Sons of Israel, is not the first Palestinian who has reinvented himself by drawing a direct line connecting the Canaanites from biblical days to the Palestinians of today. Many Palestinians preceded him. Some of them viewed themselves as the descendants of the Jebusites. Others cast themselves as the descendants of the ancient Philistines.
The core of Arab propaganda has for years been based on the claim that the Palestinian people have been settling in present-day Israel for thousands of years, well before the Jews arrived as "occupiers." As the argument goes, the Palestinians, by virtue of their being descendants of the Canaanites, or the Philistines, or the Jebusites, are the real indigenous nation that sprung organically from this land. Then, as now, so the argument goes, they are being occupied by the Jews.
Not only do the Palestinians deny, erase, and distort Jewish history -- sometimes going to absurd lengths -- but they also invent thousands of years of a new history of their own. All of a sudden, the biblical Canaanites are Arabs, Jesus is a Palestinian who preached the virtues of Islam and not Christianity, and Moses? Well, Moses was a Muslim, after all.
A short, brief perusal of historical documents, expert testimonials, and new and old publications as well as quotes found on the Internet from Israeli Arab and Palestinian sources is all one needs to know that the roots of present-day Palestinian families lie far from here and that the Palestinian narrative, the cause of which Erekat has taken up, is an imaginary one.
Take, for example, the case of Salma Fayumi, a resident of Kafr Qasim who demonstrated her cooking prowess on the hit show "Master Chef." Fayumi certainly did not intend to stick her head into the tumultuous debate of where Palestinians originated, but she may have unwittingly done so by proudly showing off her Kushari dish that she prepared, "Egyptian cuisine made of rice and lentil."
"My family came from Egypt, from Faiyum, and I am Salma Fayumi from Faiyum," the cook from Kafr Qasim said.
Fathi Hamad, the interior minister in the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, who cried out for Egyptian assistance during the IDF's operations in the area in March 2012, is another one who certainly had no intention of spoiling Erekat's theories of Canaanite-based land claims. Yet, there can be no misinterpreting his recent statements.
"When we ask for your help, it is so that we can continue the jihad," he said. "Praise God, we all have Arab roots and every Palestinian in Gaza and all over Palestine can prove their Arab roots, whether they be in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, or anywhere else. We have blood ties."
"Speaking personally, half of my family is Egyptian," he said. "Where is your mercy? There are over 30 families in the Gaza Strip with the surname Al-Masri, 'Egyptian.' Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptian, and the other half are Saudi. Who are the Palestinians? We have many families called Al-Masri whose roots are Egyptian! They come from Alexandria, Cairo, and Aswan. We are Egyptians. We are Arabs. We are Muslims."
The one who most urgently sought to drive a nail into the coffin of the debate over the Palestinians' Canaanite origins is the former MK Azmi Bishara, the Israeli Arab Christian founder of the Balad party. He fled Israel after he was suspected of spying and assisting Hezbollah. In the preface to Benedict Anderson's famous work Imagined Communities, Bishara writes: "Modern Arab nationalism makes it seem like the fact that it was created in the 19th century, like other national movements, subtracts from its worth or its justness."
"It feels obligated to nationalize the history of Arab-speaking peoples and to make it into a national history that goes back to before the time of Islam all the way to contemporary times..." he wrote.
"Acting out of a need to compete with Zionism, the Palestinian national movement has anchored its origins with those of the Canaanites," Bishara wrote. "In doing so, it achieves its own, unique start-off point in the past that precedes that of the Hebrew tribes, which Zionism claims as its natural ancestors."
More blunt statements were made by Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim and Fatah activist who converted to Christianity and became an ardent and vocal supporter and advocate for Israel and Christianity. Shoebat, who immigrated to the United States from Jordan, claims that everyone he met in Palestine "knew to trace the roots of their families to the country from which their great-grandfathers came."
"We knew full well that our origin was not Canaanite, despite what they tried to teach us," he said. "My grandfather would often remind us that our village, Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, was empty when his father arrived there with six other families. Today, there are over 30,000 residents in the village."
Look it up in the Quran
Professor Rafi Israeli, a Middle Eastern scholar and an expert on Islam from the Hebrew University, has written over 20 books on Arabs and Islam. The link that the Palestinians have tried to create with the ancient Canaanites is "absurd" in his mind.
"The early origins of the Arabs who came to this country are in the Arabian peninsula," he said. "The first ones came from there. Now they are standing on their heads. Instead of saying that they are Arabs who immigrated to Canaan and turned it into a Muslim country, they have rendered themselves indigenous Canaanites."
"Even their Arab surnames give clear clues that they immigrated here," the professor said. "In Umm al-Fahm, there are four large clans who originated in Egypt. In the Old City of Jerusalem, one can find the Moroccan Quarter, which was home to Muslims who came from North Africa, the Maghreb, and settled in the Land of Israel."
"Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire transferred populations from place to place in order to tighten its control over those areas," he said. "Take, for example, the Circassians, Muslims from the Caucasus who were brought here and have settled here since."
"The Palestinians don't really have roots here," the professor said. "They know this very well, so they are trying to invent origins for themselves. Whenever you offer historic or archaeological criticism of this nonsense, learned scholars the world over immediately insist that you 'respect the narrative.' It doesn't matter one bit to them whether there is historical truth there. If we do not debunk this, it will be accepted as fact. If you repeat a lie thousands of times, it eventually becomes accepted as true, so we mustn't keep quiet."
The title of Professor Nissim Dana's ninth book, which was released this week and is devoted to our competing religious narratives with the Palestinians, can be translated into English as "To Whom Does This Land Belong -- A Reexamination of the Quran." For years, Dana served as the head of the non-Jewish department of the Religious Affairs Ministry. Today, he is the head of the Multidisciplinary Department for Social and Humanities Studies at Ariel University.
For those who are unfamiliar with the holiest book of Islam, Dana's conclusions might come as a surprise.
"In the Quran, which according to Islam is the word of God whose holiness cannot be minimized or exceeded, there are 10 passages which state that Allah bequeathed the land to the Jewish people," Dana said. "In all of these instances, it is written that there is not only the right but the obligation placed on the Sons of Israel to inherit the land. On the other hand, there is no mention in the Quran of bequeathing the land to Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, or any other nation not called the Jewish people."
"Moreover, the current claim going around, which states that the nations from which the land was conquered by the Jewish people -- the Canaanites, the Jebusites, the Anakites -- were 'Arab' doesn't square with the fact that according to Islam itself, the Israelites were commanded by Allah to conquer the land from those nations after they had defiled him by worshiping idols."
In his book, Dana cites the original Arabic text and includes his own translation and the interpretation of the text. He also gives a synopsis of dozens of scholarly works devoted to understanding the Quran. According to the professor, most of these works support the conclusion which bolsters the Jewish people's claim of a historic link to the Land of Israel.
"Even Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, who is recognized by Jews as the Rashi of the Muslims and one of history's most distinguished exegetes of the Quran, takes this approach and even delineates the borders of the Land of Israel 'which stretched from the Euphrates River to the east bank of the Nile'."
"As for Jerusalem, from Chapter 2, Verse 142 onward in the Quran, the city was mentioned in the context of which direction one needs to turn in order to pray," Dana said. "But that was to entice the Jews to convert to Islam, since the proper direction for Muslims to pray toward is the Kaba in Mecca. With regards to the famous story about the Prophet Muhammad's ascendance to heaven, after his overnight journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on the back of a wild animal known as 'al Burak,' the Quran has something to say about this."
"The Quran mentions the testimony of Aisha, the prophet's beloved wife, who said that she and her husband stayed together throughout the night he supposedly went up to heaven," Dana said. "So, according to Aisha, the whole episode was nothing more than a dream that was dreamt at night. It wasn't really an ascendance to the heavens."
"Ibn Taymiyyah, the Islamic scholar, philosopher, and theologian who died in 1328, denounced as a lie the deceitful claim made today that Muhammad left evidence of his visit to the Temple Mount," Dana said. "Solomon's Stables, which the Muslims of our generation have turned into a mosque, are specifically cited by one of Islam's grandest scholars, Ibn Khaldun, as part of the Temple."
Dana's re-examination of the Quran leads him back to the same conclusion. "There is no basis for the Palestinian claim which identifies themselves as descendants of the Canaanites," he said. "The Muslims who live here in contemporary times and whose forebears became Muslims in 622 originated in the Arabian peninsula. The claim that they are the descendants of the Canaanites is akin to an 'own goal' in soccer, since the Quran says that the Canaanites were ordered expelled from the holy land by Allah after they had defiled the land."
The Palestinian narrative as defined by Erekat -- the one which lays claim to a continuous Palestinian presence here since the Canaanite period -- doesn't stand the test of historical evidence and testimonies. Dr. Shaul Bartal, a Middle Eastern scholar who teaches at Bar-Ilan University, says that in many Palestinian history books, heavy emphasis is placed on "the Arab conquest of Palestine" in 638, "a conquest that for 1,300 years made Palestine into Islamic territory."
Bartal said that the waves of immigration from the Arabian Peninsula and the subsequent arrivals of Arabs from Transjordan and Syria are what led to the continued settlement of Arabs in this country. "Even in Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority, the origins of Arab families are traced back to those who came here from Jordan in the late 15th century," he said.
A research study which Bartal co-authored with Dr. Rivka Shpak Lissak shows that the four main clans that make up the population of Umm el-Fahm -- Makhagna, Jabrin, Mahamid, and Aghbariya -- trace their roots back to families who immigrated to Palestine in the 17th century onward from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Syria. It was only afterward during the 19th century when many families from Egypt and Transjordan joined them.
A number of historical sources indicate that in previous centuries, wide swaths of the Land of Israel were abandoned and left desolate. Bartal and others poured over these studies. Charles William Eliot, the president of Harvard University, visited the country in 1867. During his trip, he described the Galilee as a place of emptiness and misery.
In his famous book "Innocents Abroad," Mark Twain recalls not seeing a living soul throughout his journey. In 1874, the Reverend Samuel Manning wrote: "But where were the inhabitants?" In 1857, James Finn, who served as British consul in Jerusalem, noted that to large extent the country was empty of inhabitants. Even a German encyclopedia that was published in 1827 describes the country as "a deserted land in which bands of Arab robbers roam around in every part."
"The Palestinians," Bartal declares, "are not the 'farmers who have lived in Palestine for generations,' but rather immigrants who only arrived recently. It was only toward the latter stages of the 19th century that the country began to blossom thanks to the emergence of a new presence -- Zionism -- and the amazing results. In 1878, the population of the country numbered 141,000 Muslims who lived here permanently, with at least 25 percent of them considered to be newly arrived immigrants who came mostly from Egypt."
"Various studies done over a span of years by Moshe Brawer, Gideon Kressel, and other scholars clearly show that most Arab families who settled in the villages along the coastal plain and the area that would later become the State of Israel originated from Sudan, Libya, Egypt, and Jordan," said Bartal. "Other studies show that the waves of immigrants came here in droves from Arab countries during the period of the British Mandate."
Perhaps the most famous book on the subject, "From Time Immemorial," which was written by Joan Peters, found that "there wasn't a situation whereby an Arab nation that has been around 'from time immemorial' was pushed aside and driven away, but rather a completely contrary state of affairs: a nation -- the Jewish people -- whose presence attracted Arabs to the country, and the Jews' land, which was meant to serve as a home for them, was taken away from them with the arrival of Arab immigrants."
The Arab immigrants were drawn to the land because Jewish settlement there brought on development of economic opportunities as well as improvement in sanitation and medicine. In 1948, the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine numbered 1.3 million people, while the Jewish community numbered just 600,000 people, this despite the huge waves of aliyah.
In 1939, then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that the immigration of Arabs to Palestine since 1921 was outpacing the immigration of Jews during that same period. Winston Churchill, who would later become prime minister of Britain, commented on the massive waves of Arab immigration into the country during that time. "Despite the fact that they were never persecuted, masses of Arabs poured into the country and multiplied until the Arab population grew more than what all of world Jewry could add to the Jewish population," Churchill observed.
In "From Time Immemorial," Peters cites extensive research which she did in order to show that among those who claimed to be Palestinian Arabs were Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Latins, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afghans, Circassians, Bosnians, Sudanese, Samaritans, Algerians, Motawile, and Tartars.
An education of lies
None of these facts register with the Palestinians. The imaginary link between the Canaanites and the Palestinians as supposed proof of a stronger, more legitimate Palestinian claim to the land has been inculcated in classrooms by way of PA-issued textbooks. Ido Mizrahi, a government official in the Strategic Affairs Ministry who has investigated Palestinian incitement, found that children from second grade until high school in the West Bank and Gaza are taught that the Canaanites were Arabs.
"The Canaanite Arabs were the first to live in Palestine," reads a second-grade textbook in the Palestinian school system. The goal of the lesson is clearly stated. "It is for the student to create a linkage between the land of Palestine and the Canaanite people that lived there."
In an educational textbook used by seventh grade students, children are taught that "the Canaanite Palestinians are those who invented the ancient alphabet."
According to Mizrahi, while the Canaanite identity doesn't take up a major part of the learning material given to children, these short, oft-repeated messages lead to one conclusion: this country has been settled by Arabs long before the Jews arrived.
Perhaps an examination of the colors of the Palestinian national flag will tell the real story. Bartal notes that "the flag is missing its own uniqueness."
"The white symbolizes the Umayyad caliphate (650-750 A.D.), the black represents the Abbasid dynasty, and the green represents Islam as well as the Shiite Fatimid caliphate, while the red is the color of the Hashemites, the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad," Bartal said.
"Many Arab countries have identical or nearly identical flags," he said. "Jordan, Iraq up to 1958, the countries of western Sahara, Kuwait, and Sudan [all had the same or almost the same designs]. The similarity stems from the fact that this flag represents Arab nationalism, and there is nothing there that links the Palestinians with the biblical Canaanites."
Speaker of the House John Boehner,
President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch,
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,
And House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy,
I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it's good to see you back on your feet. I guess it's true what they say, you can't keep a good man down.
My friends, I'm deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress. I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.
I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade. I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel. The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics. Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of America's people and of America's presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel. Now, some of that is widely known. Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.
Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well-known. I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid. In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment. Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists. In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.
And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.
And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome. Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.
Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you've done for Israel.
My friends, I've come here today because, as Prime Minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.
We're an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we'll read the Book of Esther. We'll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.
Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated -- he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn't exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.
For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran's chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.
But Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime. The people of Iran are very talented people. They're heirs to one of the world's great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots -- religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.
That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran's borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to "export the revolution throughout the world."
I'm standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.
Iran's goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Backed by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Backed by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world's oil supply. Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That's just last week, while they're having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran's attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.
Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.
In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran's aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.
So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror.
Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation! Rouhani's government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.
Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I'd like to see someone ask him a question about that.
Iran's regime is as radical as ever, its cries of "Death to America," that same America that it calls the "Great Satan," as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn't be surprising, because the ideology of Iran's revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that's why this regime will always be an enemy of America.
Don't be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn't turn Iran into a friend of America. Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.
In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember -- I'll say it one more time -- the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen.
But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.
Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don't need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it. Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.
The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short breakout time to the bomb. Breakout time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.
According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.
Because Iran's nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran's breakout time would be very short -- about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel's.
And if Iran's work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that breakout time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.
True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran's nuclear program and Iran's adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here's the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don't stop them.
Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn't stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.
Now, we're warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.
Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It's done that on at least three separate occasions -- 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras. Now, I know this is not going to come as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught -- caught twice, not once, twice -- operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn't even know existed.
Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don't know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, "If there's no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn't have one." Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that's why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.
But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade. Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it's the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It's a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran's nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could produce many, many nuclear bombs.
Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount -- 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.
My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.
Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.
And by the way, if Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reaching corners of the Earth, including to every part of the United States. So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb.
So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?
Well, I disagree. I don't believe that Iran's radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would only whet Iran's appetite for more.
Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it's under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?
Why should Iran's radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?
This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel's neighbors, Iran's neighbors, know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it's been given a clear path to the bomb. And many of these neighbors say they'll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won't change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that's supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.
This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.
If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we'll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.
Ladies and gentlemen, I've come here today to tell you we don't have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don't have to gamble with our future and with our children's future.
We can insist that restrictions on Iran's nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world. Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.
If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn't change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.
My friends, what about the argument that there's no alternative to this deal, that Iran's nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?
Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn't get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can't drive. A pilot without a plane can't fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can't make nuclear weapons.
Iran's nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.
Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table -- and this often happens in a Persian bazaar -- call their bluff. They'll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.
And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. My friends, for over a year, we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it.
Now we're being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That's just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal: a better deal that doesn't leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short breakout time; a better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in place until Iran's aggression ends; a better deal that won't give Iran an easy path to the bomb; a better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country has a greater stake -- no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.
Ladies and gentlemen,
History has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war. The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.
You don't have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace we all desire.
My friends, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, "Never Again." And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.
But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over. We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.
This is why as Prime Minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel. You stand with Israel because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history's horrors.
Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the Land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them."
My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.
May God bless the State of Israel and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you. You're wonderful. Thank you, America.
Harold E. Lafferty
Earlier this week four rabbis were savagely attacked and killed in a synagogue in Jerusalem. Three of these were American, and one was British. The meat cleaver-wielding attackers were two Arab residents of the city; they were killed by Israeli police shortly after the attack began. Their exact motives were not immediately available, of course, but they are certain to have been encouraged by Arab leaders of Hamas to mount individual, random attacks upon Israelis in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is becoming a dangerous place to visit. Within the past several weeks we have heard reports of homicides by Arab sympathizers driving cars into crowds, and other means of carrying out their death-missions against Jews.
One of the victims was a three-month-old American child at the central train station in the city.
Since the beginning of the Lunar Tetrad earlier this year, there has been a sea-change in the danger level in Israel. Its conflict with the Gaza Hamas terrorists, beginning just after Passover this year, was remarkable.
This new and higher threat level represents a distinct change from conditions at the beginning of the year. It seems to be strong enough to bring Israel’s hammer down upon Hamas and the PLO in Gaza and the “West Bank.”
But is this the signal implication of the Blood Moons?
Will this new, higher level of aggression by Israel’s enemies trigger a stronger response than ever to their evil deeds, possibly bringing about the terminal destruction of the Proximal Arab Forces now marshaled against Israel? We see clear evidence of this end point of this conflict as specified by such prophecies as Obadiah, Micah 5, Isaiah 11, Ezekiel 35, Psalm 83 and others – all of which spell out Israel’s and Messiah’s complete victory over those specific enemies.
And those events are intertwined with the event of the ages in our opinion: the Second Coming of the Lord from heaven, the resurrection and immortalization of His people the saints, and the beginning of His righteous reign upon the earth.
We cannot forecast this outcome, to be sure (but we can hope!).
We continue to watch closely the mundane affairs of men, seeking clues to the great occurrence of the ages – the coming of the Lion of Judah to judge the nations.
Is this current upswing of violence toward the peaceful citizens of Jerusalem to be considered as one of the Tetrad’s major implications? At this stage of the increasing conflict, we hardly think so; as such events are not out of the ordinary, although occurring much more intensely than before.
Was the violent confrontation with Hamas in Gaza earlier in the year particularly marked by the Blood Moons? We do believe it was even though the conflict ended prematurely, and without solution – or at least not the solution foretold by the prophets of Israel as to their “final solution,” which shall be extinction. Isaiah 11:11.
Is the peripheral threat of ISIS the Tetrad’s implication? We believe it likely – but perhaps not their sole significance. ISIS’s threat will likely become far more significant as the year wears on and The Islamic State expands, and comes into closer physical proximity to Israel, which it has already vowed to destroy (their projection, not ours!).
Israelis aren’t really terrified by this vile threat, yet realize that it is not to be completely ignored. ISIS says its goal is to consolidate its hold upon Syria and Iraq (thus becoming in our thinking, the “Assyria” of Micah 5 and other references) prior to overrunning Jordan to the south. Such a move would allow ISIS forces to attack Israel along the broad (about 100 mile wide) front of the Jordan River valley to its east.
Such a move by ISIS would innervate all the allied forces of Hezbollah in Lebanon, along with the fighters of Hamas in Gaza, to solidify with the Israel-haters already living dispersed in the midst of the Jewish homeland – the PLO and al-Fatah – and the armed “police” of the West Bank.
Such a response might bring the conclusive, irresistible application of force from Israel against all the nations round about her, for we believe that such a level of conflict would attract all comers.
But will things go that far before a more significant precipitating event?
Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed this morning to resist this new wave of aggression among the citizens of Israel with a strong hand. We don’t know what that means as yet, of course. He has already decreed that the two synagogue terrorists’ homes be bulldozed immediately.
This means that their family members will suffer greatly for allowing their sons to plot and carry out such heinous attacks. In a real sense, this action brings the terrorists’ families into culpability, vividly recognizing the families’ guilt as well, bringing their responsibility to the attention of their fellows.
Such a decision allows that the entire two family units are deemed to have plotted and carried out the attack in the Jews in their synagogue. So all shall suffer the terrible retribution of having their homes destroyed along with their contents; we have heard rumors of the possible expulsion of these two families from Israel, but don’t yet know that decision to be final.
Our hearts go out to the Israeli victims of these heinous acts. But these dear folk should be encouraged in one aspect of these outrages; their termination is far closer than it has been in the past.
The world will be shocked (an accomplishment that is relatively hard to bring about these days) at the swiftness of the Spirit’s sword against these enemies in the heartland and on the periphery of Israel – these thorns and briers constantly prickling at God’s people and drawing their precious blood, because of their hatred for God and His people (Micah 5:1-4, q.v.).
They often scream, as they commit their slaughters, Allahu Akbar! (Allah is greater); this invocation of the “greater-ness” of Allah in the face of that god’s absolute “nothingness,” is appalling. It is a bald-faced affront to the Father of Lights, the God of Israel.
His patience with these enemies must surely be near its end. Let us pray fervently for “the fullness of the Gentiles to come in,” as Paul proposes in Romans 11.
That entire chapter is devoted to an authoritative Pauline discussion of the mystery of the final enlightenment of the Jews as being dependent upon the ultimate number of Gentiles learning and adopting the plan of salvation, and the salvation of Gentiles which has been brought about by the fall of Israel; it is a deep philosophical discussion as well as being highly spiritual.
The ignorance of Israel as to the identity of Messiah seems to be hidden from nearly all Israel until that landmark development, of the complete number of Gentiles being taught and accepting the Truth of God’s word.
There is a peculiar similarity of this saying in the clear statement of the LORD, that Israel could not come out of Egyptian captivity, and go into Canaan and conquer it, before a similar condition existed: the “iniquity of the Amorites” which was said to be “not full,” in Genesis 15: 16.Their iniquity seemed to have needed a few more years to reach its level of criticality before God brought destruction upon them by the hand of His people Israel.
The Almighty has for all important events a precise timetable of which mere men are often only sparsely informed. Even the Lord Jesus confessed that He did not personally know the future date of His Second Advent, but … of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Matthew 24:36.
These matters should console and comfort us as we anticipate the early return of the Lord Jesus to the earth (Acts 1: 11) – that long-awaited time when He shall intervene on Israel’s behalf with the Terrible, Swift Sword of the Almighty One issuing from His mouth, executing the judgments of JHVH in the earth, visibly and forcibly, bringing all men and women of ill will either into obedience to Him or to utter destruction.
No more Mr. Nice Guy.
No more passes due to ignorance.
No more patience with these foes.
His patience with these evil hostiles surely must be thinner than a layer of paint even now. They have no inkling of the fragility of the sheet of ice upon which they are ignorantly skating. The cold, dark grave of eternal destruction (Sheol, the pit of death) awaits all such who are not willing to hear and repent – factors which they have ignored and freely libeled for centuries … even millennia. Sith (they) have not hated blood, but have rejoiced in shedding it among the people of God (and themselves as well), their complete demise is eminent, as the LORD informed the prophet:
Ezekiel 35:6: Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood (bloodshed), and blood shall pursue thee: sith (since, or whereas) thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 7 Thus will I make mount Seir (here typical of all His enemies) most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries (Israel and Judah) shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there: 11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee.
This colossal, continuing rejection of Him by these fiends, and this complete destruction of ALL these enemies on an exhaustive scale, shall result as being one element by which the LORD becomes known to Israel – and accepts His compassion and mercy with great joy, thankfulness, and humility, and with great relief of mind and spirit, we must be sure. Cf., Zechariah 12 and 13.
They shall at that moment see Him as having done what they could not do for whatever perceived reason, whether it be their own moral concern, or worldly sanction; it is for this reason that the prophet clearly is told that … in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. Jeremiah 2:27.
It is our conviction that the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven will be accompanied by the introduction to the world of the Saints of God – all the Redeemed from all ages, then revealed to the world as having been brought again from the dead, and immortalized – made agents and ministers, the Kings and Priests of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He goes forth to subdue the earth to His will and way.
hope sincerely that this result shall come from the immutable signal of the
Blood Moons of 2014 and 2015!
<HEL 11N> ~ 2000 words.
Harold E. Lafferty,
29 Elul, 5775.
There has been much discussion of Israel’s upcoming Shemitah year, which begins today, September 24th (1 Tishri on the Jewish calendar) at evening, but what is such a year? It is another name for the year of release – the seventh year of a cycle when no agriculture is done and the land rests.
That date is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year every year, and the beginning of Shemitah every seventh year.
The moon was “dark” last night, September 23rd – that is, it was positioned almost directly between the earth and the sun – so that it reflects no light to the earth. But this evening a small sliver of the earth’s satellite will be apparent – an event which marks the “new moon” and in this case, a New Year on God’s calendar. The year thus begun, ends on the evening of 29 Elul, or September 13, 2015, which at its expiration, will become 1 Tishrei, or Rosh Hashanah.
Because the Israelites of Nebuchadnezzar’s day had not observed Shemitah for many years, in disregard of God’s commandment, the Almighty caused them to be exiled FROM their land that it might observe those missed Sabbath years. Actually, they had intended to observe the practice and had put it into operation, freeing their servants from bondage, releasing their debt, but then reneged on their decision – and brought upon themselves the final wrath of the LORD.
Here is the relevant instruction of God to Moses regarding this important year of release:
Leviticus 25:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
Lev 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
Lev 25:3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
Lev 25:4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
Lev 25:5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
The Hebrew name for this seventh year of rest is Shemitah, or Release (Strong’s H 8059, meaning remission of debt or suspension of labor; release); see Deuteronomy 15:1.
Seven Shemitahs must elapse during a Jubilee cycle of seven periods of seven years each (49 years): during the last year of each “seven,” the land rests, including the last year of the seventh cycle.
Then, our present understanding is that the next year, the fiftieth year, is the Year of Jubilee; it is also the first year of the next cycle, so that each cycle is seven periods of seven years. In the Year of Jubilee, there are many other laws which must be obeyed, such as the return of any property purchased in the previous cycles since the last Jubilee.
There are other provisions as well, all explained in the remaining verses of Leviticus 25.
It follows that the Jubilee years are also 49 years apart, but are the fiftieth year of the previous cycle. Confusing, in a way, isn’t it?
This was not our earlier interpretation of these cycles, but this outline now seems to us to fulfill all its requirements.
The Shemitah Years
However, our attention today is upon the Shemitah years and their significance.
Our Father’s plan moves forward according to a divine schedule which He has established based on His calendar. As Gentiles, we often miss some of the deeper implications of God’s word because we use the wrong calendar.
Our family has a dual calendar which indexes the Hebrew days and months, as well as Feast days, new moons, and other features of the Jewish calendar to the Gentile days. It contains notations of the Blood Moons which the world is now experiencing, but of which the world takes little account, not realizing that they are occurring on both Passover and Tabernacles in 2014 and 2015, or the implications of those facts.
The Gentile calendar is based upon the sun’s position in relation to the earth. The Muslim calendar is based upon the moon’s cycles. But the Hebrew calendar takes both into account in a perfect display of the passage of weeks, Feasts, new moons and years. Genesis 1:14 relates the purposes of the sun, moon and stars: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs (Hebrew, Oth – an apparent signal, flag, beacon, omen), and for seasons (Hebrew, Moed – an appointment, a solemn assembly, an appointed time) and for days, and years …
By these words we perceive that these bodies are extremely important for the guidance of His people in their observances of their festival days and of their months of each year. Note that the periods known to us as the four seasons is not the meaning of Moed, but that these mark the festival days of God’s calendar.
When examined critically, we must come to realize that the Shemitah years are a sort of mystery; that they relate to nearly every major event of our lives, sometimes to the hour and minute.
And these events are not limited to the Jewish people; they apply widely as we shall see, as we try to elaborate on this point.
Shemitah means both restoration (as in the land being restored in Israel), but also to a fall, a collapse, or to a shaking. Therefore, in Shemitah years we may see either or both phenomena.
Every seven years, or nearly so, there seems to be a wipeout and a new beginning associated with the Shemitah years. Jerusalem was wiped out on Shemita in 604 BC because of the Jews’ nonobservance of Shemitah.
Historically, Shemitah has marked several catastrophes.
In 1917, World War I ended on 29 Elul. The world was shaken as four major empires collapsed – were defeated – in that one year: Germany, Austro-Hungary, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. That year also marks the beginning of the rise of the US to the status of a world power; it entered WWI.
In 1929-31 the stock market crashed in the US, causing a worldwide depression.
It happened again in 1938 on the next Shemitah anniversary.
In that same year, the Nazis conducted Kristallnacht, in which great mobs of Germans pillaged and destroyed Jewish businesses by the hundreds – obviously beginning their extreme persecution of the Jews.
In 1945, the next Shemitah year, the Holocaust was coming to light for the first time. Nazi Germany and Italy were summarily defeated, as was Japan. And in August of that same year, near the end of the Shemitah year, great turmoil was developing; and on August 9, 1945, the city of Hiroshima was destroyed by an entirely new weapon of mass destruction; it was a day of nullification of things.
Then a crescendo of events began. The war ends in the last week of Shemitah, and the victory parade was held in Berlin on the last day of Shemitah, September 7, 1945.
In that same Shemitah year, plans were conceived for the World Trade Center towers.
Towers indicate the ambition of nations toward greatness and pride. The tallest buildings in the world were constructed in the US in the early 1870s, signaling America’s rise to greatness. But the fall of towers indicate their fall from greatness.
And bear in mind that the rule is seemingly universal in its implications.
Four Shemitahs after the victory parade in Berlin, on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the US approved the law allowing legal abortion – the identical sin which had caused the earlier demise of Israel as they sacrificed their infants to Molech and Baal!
On August 15, 1973 America lost its first war in history – the Vietnamese Conflict – on the SAME DAY that America had won World War I – August 15th, 1945 – on Shemitah!
This puts the US in a downward spiral both economically and morally.
In the fall of that same year, 1973, the World Trade Center was completed as a symbol of America’s self-perceived greatness and great pride; but its countdown to destruction had also begun. It had been conceived in the Shemitah year of 1945. Its construction was finished in the Shemitah year of 1973, shining forth in lower Manhattan as the pride of America!
Observers have noted that during the last forty years there are five turning points marking the seven year periods beginning with 1973, as noted above – a Shemitah year, and the year of Israel’s Yom Kippur War. It was the last of four major conflicts of Israel, and decimated the Arab attackers, giving Israel some breathing room.
Nineteen eighty was a Shemitah year when nothing notable seemed to happen; 1987 and 1994 elapsed with no seemingly important events.
However, in 2001, two enormously important events occurred. Near the end of Shemitah, the twin towers were brought down by terrorist-flown aircraft at the end of the fourth Shemitah, on September 11, 2001. This event was building toward another great fall, and resulted in the massive collapse of the stock markets the next day on the anniversary of Shemitah in 2001, 29 Elul.
Then, in 2008, a greater stock market crash occurred – again on 29 Elul – at the exact date and hour of the one that had occurred seven years earlier! How remarkable is that?
The people of the United States are now in a panic, having lost trillions of dollars in wealth; the US downward spiral increases in intensity; is it heading for the ultimate disaster?
As noted above, the next Shemitah year begins today, September 24, at sunset in Jerusalem. It ends on September 13, 2015, the date when significant things usually happen. Will this third Shemitah bring an even more serious disaster?
What will occur on the next date, 29 Elul?
This Shemitah year also coincides with two of the four blood moons of the current cycle, the next two of which fall within the Shemitah year. What significance does this have?
In scripture, one of the signs of judgment is the darkening (eclipse) of the sun, but not every one is significant, of course!
There will be a total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015, which is 29 Adar – precisely in the middle of the four Blood Moons of this current cycle! It marks clearly that day of nullification at the end of Shemitah!
It could be important – it certainly is a remarkable “coincidence” – that on the very day that the huge television mast was added to the top of the new World Trade Center skyscraper to make it the tallest building in the US, there was a SOLAR eclipse. The last time a solar eclipse happened on 29 Elul, the stock market crashed on Black Monday, 1987.
Many observers are speculating openly that the US is closing in on a “great shaking” in these coming days, saying that it almost certainly will affect the economy, the financial realms, and the agricultural production, causing a failure of infrastructure and services, and perhaps a famine of some proportion.
On another point which may be very important: as shown above, the seventh Shemitah of a cycle ends at the beginning of the Jubilee year. That time is concerned with restoring, getting back to the land, and the erasure of debt.
It is important to realize that the beginning of the end-time Restoration of Israel occurred just after the end of the Shemitah year of 1917 – on November 2nd – in the beginning days of that Jubilee year: restoration begins seriously in that year!
Seven Shemitas later, in 1967, the next Jubilee is marked by Israel’s return to Jerusalem on June 7th – just months after the end of the Shemita year.
Perhaps the most important feature of this essay is that the end of the current seven Shemita cycles begins with sunset today in Jerusalem – which is noon in Washington DC!
We believe the “mystery of Shemitah” is relevant to virtually every significant thing that is coming upon the world, or has come upon it, as verified by all the incidents given in the text of this article. Everyone has to make up his own mind as to the veracity of this proposal, but if anything is proven by fulfillment of key “seasons” it surely looks likely! One thing is certain: the notion is not a wild-eyed fantasy cooked up by some crazy futurist or other prognosticator. It has abundant substantiation for its veracity. <HEL 9N> 2200 words.
Editor’s Note: Although the information in this article is believed to be from a reliable source, and accurate as to dates, due to the time factor not every date has been verified at the time of writing. HEL.
A Short Exhortation
The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles is at hand. In nine days – on 14 Tishri – the second of a Tetrad of Blood Moons will occur on the night beginning Sukkot (the seven-day-long Jewish Feast of Tabernacles).
The Gentile calendar lists the date as Wednesday, October 8, 2014. It begins at sunset in Jerusalem.
Sukkot is the plural of Sukkah – the singular name of the booth which the Jewish people were commanded to construct, in which to dwell during this seven day Feast, or Moed – the Hebrew word translated “season.”
Its meaning therefore does not refer to what we call the Four Seasons of each year, but to the appointed FESTIVALS of the Israeli people.
A modern might think it an absurd practice.
But he should note its significance: perpetual remembrance.
When the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt in the Exodus, of necessity they were required to dwell in booths, or temporary shelters, for they were essentially homeless for forty years during that journey.
Their entire trust, more than ever before, was to be in the LORD, for ALL their sustenance. The booths signified a temporary sojourn in that wilderness which was the Sinai Desert – and near the end, the Arabian Desert (today’s South Jordan) of the time – as they approached their Promised Land of Canaan.
Sukkot – the Festival – reminds them poignantly of that time of brittle insecurity in the wilderness, the time of the necessity of their utter trust in the protection and sustenance of the LORD.
Additionally, in considering the present (Jewish) Tetrad of Blood Moons, we designate the two occurring this year on Passover – it happened on April 15th – and on Tabernacles (October 8) approaching. The third and fourth Blood Moons of this final Tetrad will take place on Passover and Tabernacles of next year – 2015.
This notable display of precision tells yet again of the Foreknowledge and Purpose of the Almighty – that He should devise such a statistically rare display to confirm His word to His people; for the world at large will see little significance to four Blood Moons within a two year span, except perhaps to note that the occurrence of such is rare. They will have no sensibility of the terribly awesome importance of this remarkable display, because they are observing the calendar of man’s device – not God’s.
In this particular year of the two years of the Blood Moon Tetrad, that principle of their sojourning – of temporary or uncertain occupancy – still applies to the Jewish people in reality, though they have been restored to their Promised Land in part.
But as yet they have not reached their promised state of Security and their Certainty of Inheritance in full as expressed in Ezekiel 38: 8, q.v.
That is, they have no King, and therefore no visible assurance of their safety, tenure, or peace in their land. Indeed, they are challenged daily, even hourly, as to their security; they must prove over and over to their neighbors that they have a godly right to be in that place, and to occupy it by divine diktat.
In a sense, the entire nation, although no longer in the wilderness, is yet dwelling in “a booth” – a temporary shelter – until their surety can be confirmed. That shelter seems always to be at hazard of being taken away, although their Father has promised that it shall not be.
Such was the case during the reign of David, Israel’s most successful king, when he declared near the end of his reign, 1Chronicles 29:15 - For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
David’s confession is intelligent recognition that the blessings which the Almighty had promised David in 2 Samuel 7 had not eventuated – and should not do so for many ages into the future.
The same conditions prevail in Israel today: they likewise are strangers and sojourners before God … for they have not yet received the Promises.
As such, theirs is entirely parallel to the “sojourn” of the saints of God in the present day, for those ancients are vividly compared to the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews … Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off (by FAITH), and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
That blessed time (of completely SAFE occupancy – safe by all appearances to them – and sure inheritance of the Promises to Abraham) will come to Israel and to the saints called out of the Gentiles, only when their King appears to re-establish the Throne of David in Jerusalem, and authoritatively to proclaim His kingdom on the earth.
But they are assured of longevity (and of certain possession) in the Land even prior to that time, by such definitive words as found in Amos 9:15, which inform that they (the returnees of Israel) shall no more be pulled up (routed) from their land which I have given them.
How may we be assured that this is the day of that particular fulfillment?
Because the word of the LORD through Amos, only a few sentences prior to this one, proclaims: Amos 9:11 – In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old …
No person acquainted with the word of God can rationally claim that the steps necessary (the preliminary activity) has not been accomplished. The miraculous, singularly unique return to the Land by His people necessarily precedes the “raising up” of that tabernacle (house) of David that fell long ago – a process which we unmistakable witness today in the Land.
It is interesting that the entire writings of Amos are occupied with the faithlessness of ancient Israel, until the last words of his prophecy, where the entire Redemptive Process is brought to its sure closure.
The concluding inspired words of Amos and others tell of the certain future destiny and redemption of His people in their Land: And I will bring again the captivity (the dispersed) of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Amos 9:14.
Has this state of affairs happened? If one believes it has NOT been fulfilled, he should pay even a brief visit to Israel today, where he will see nothing but abundant and prosperous orchards, fruit-laden vineyards and lush fields, in which are grown some of the premium produce of the entire world.
Jaffa (Joppa) Oranges are adjudged to be the most perfect oranges of all the earth. Israeli wines seriously challenge those of France and California as being of the finest quality. Israeli agriculture is deemed to be the most advanced on earth, taking advantage of Israeli initiatives in water conservation, land development, and husbandry.
The Time of the End
By such fulfillments we are assured that we are today in “the time of the end.”
But, the end of what? The “end of the world?”
No, in no wise!
The phrase, time of the end, is found only five times in the scriptures. Here is the entire list: all of them are in the prophecy of Daniel.
1. Daniel 8:17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
That is, the time in which the vision shall be understood will also be “the time of the end.”. The vision that here was shrouded in mystery was the vision of the evenings and the mornings (Daniel 8:26), which we often refer to by either of its other two names as stated in Daniel 8:14: And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
These “days” are therefore also called, “the 2300 days,” or “the Cleansing of the Sanctuary.”
As we have definitively proven in prior studies, this time period with three designations was perfectly fulfilled on June 7, 1967, when the nation of Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem with its Temple Mount – the place of God’s past and future Sanctuaries – liberating it from the Arab nation of Jordan, which had held it for 19 years, since the termination of Israel’s War of Independence (1948-1949).
It had not been held securely by Israel as a sovereign nation for exactly 2,300 years!
Now, we readily admit that the “cleansing” was a preliminary but necessary step to its FULL sanctification. But we believe that the passing of Temple Mount into the possession and sovereignty of God’s people was sufficient to interpret the vision – especially as it fulfilled on the EXACT DAY of its scheduled termination!
2. Dan 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
“Time appointed” here is the Hebrew word, Moed – a time appointed, a festival, a signal, a solemnity. In Genesis 11: 4 it is translated “seasons.” The Festival of Tabernacles is such.
We must inquire whether the coming Blood Moons concurrent with these festival days shall be uniquely significant. We cannot be absolutely certain, but surely have confidence based upon the previous three Tetrads, that the events which occur shall relate to the terminal features of the “time of the end” as we observe it!
That measure of faith is dependent upon each saint’s ability to utilize his God-given intelligence to observe and accept the valid fulfillment of the prophecies as recorded. The words of Daniel 11:39 illustrate that the times indicated to the prophet had not yet reached the “time of the end,” but were involved with the machinations of the False Prophet and the time of his despotic reign over the “world” of that time – that is, the Papal ascendancy of that day, which partially terminated in 1870 with the removal of the pope from his position as regent of the Vatican (since restored, to a smaller extent).
3. Dan 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
At this juncture, time had progressed more closely toward its “end.”
If our understanding that the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire (the last King of the North) is correctly interpreted here, then this prophecy tells us literally that the “time of the end” had been reached at the year 1917 – the year when the “end” of the Islamic dominance of the Land of Israel was reached, and the way opened for the unfettered return of His people preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom Age.
Indeed, we believe the time of the end to have been reached somewhat earlier than that date. We mortals tend to think of such terms as immediate, and as short in duration; and such they are – not to US, but to our Father, with Whom a thousand years is as but a short time – a reality understood intimately by the psalmist: Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy (the Almighty’s) sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
How may we know that the “time of the end” had been reached? Because at that time, the prophetic picture had essentially become clear to the Watchers. The event portrayed had become intelligible, transparent, and assured, quite a while prior to this time, but certainly were evident AT that anniversary in 1917.
Only months after that date, a succinct article by H. Fry appeared in The Testimony (a British journal) concluding that the last King of the North had been the Ottomans, because the Land was now freed from either a King of the North OR a King of the South. Their expectancy of His grace was confirmed in their intelligent observations of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Almighty through His servants.
Thereby we realize the “key” to understanding had become available and had been utilized.
4. Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This precise revelation to Daniel clearly tells his readers that they would be in darkness as to the meaning of these prophecies until a certain time in the future – the “time of the end.”
It additionally describes conditions on the earth that have never consisted prior to this time. The time of the running to and fro of “many” and the exponential increase of all knowledge has now become apparent as essentially having occurred during the past two hundred years, thus designating the beginning of the period known as “the time of the end.”
Although that understanding fits well, there is more …
We discovered a comment some time ago which added to our appreciation of the phrase “to and fro,” from the Hebrew, Shut.
The Heb. Shut = to rove, turn about, despise. Hence to ”do despite” (Ezekiel16:57; 28:24,26). But if we spell SUT with Shin (=S) instead of with Shen (=Sh), the meaning is to swerve, turn aside, to apostatize, "those who turn aside," or revolters (Psalm 101:3, Hosea5:2); as in Psalm 40:4 (S), "such as turn aside to lies..." Swede's ed., LXX, Vol.III, P. 572, reads HEOS AN APOMANOSIN = "till many shall have gone raving mad." (Bullinger, Companion Bible, f.n. on this verse.)
If any phrase more perfectly describes conditions we have seen since the beginning of World War I (1917) we don’t know what it may be.
The other matter is the phrase “knowledge shall be increased."
"Knowledge": here, with an article. Ginsburg reads, HA-RAªOTH (calamities, or wickedness) for HADDA’ATH. The Septuagint reads, AKIKIAS, "wickedness" (Swete's ed., Vol.III, p. 572). The Vatican (Theodotion's translation) reads "knowledge" (GNOSIS): Ginsberg's hypothesis for this reading arises from the two letters, Resh (=R) for Daled (=D), being not infrequently mistaken (or mixed up). Companion Bible, f.n.
This definition is again apropos to our time, describing it perfectly as “wickedness,” a word which certainly applies. Can anyone doubt that we are now in the “time of the end?”
5. Dan 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
The process of the “end” of the present dispensation is the occurrence that is designated in this phrase. That process of coming to its end, if validly understood, in our finite estimation takes a long time; but in reality it is but the blink of an eye in historical time. At that time, it brings the unsealing of the prophecies to the Watchers in a flood of understanding of the implications for the end-time.
The saints of God, as implied, are now reading an “open” book of prophecy, relatively speaking. We no longer have any excuse for ignorance of the bundled message of the prophets of Israel as to coming events.
The current display of the Jewish Tetrad of Blood Moons excites our expectancy as to whether we are experiencing the full term of this “time of the end” in which we are privileged to dwell!
It does so particularly when considered alongside the grossly wicked constitution of the world in general – the wars and rumors of wars; the fanaticism of “religion” among the heathen races and peoples; the vulgar state of the general population of many countries; the financial uncertainties faced by the whole world; the increase in severe earthquakes; the increased activity of volcanoes; the social and governmental upheavals in process in more countries today than ever in past history; the fear and unpleasantness of men and women looking at the entire milieu, their hearts literally failing them for fear of those things coming upon the races of men, as foretold by the Master Himself in Luke 21:26, q.v.
His words immediately following were: Luke 21:27 – And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
It is the event of the ages!
By definition, this is the “time” of the end of Adamic civilization as we have known it – a time uncivilized at best and revolting at worst – in which mankind has learned or understood practically nothing of spiritual value or profit.
But it is not, as some preach, “the end of the world,” but is instead the end of the times of restoration described by Paul, who speaking of Jesus Christ, in Acts 3:21, said that it is He … Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
We behold therein the extreme value of studying and understanding the prophecies of the Almighty displayed in the pages of the scriptures – and the blessing inherent in those who search out the promises made in them, and rightly interpret them as the final throes of His execution of His Plan for the ages.
Some might object that, No! Our understanding of fundamental doctrines is more important. But we submit that if one understands one, he understands the other – they are direct complements of each other, both leading to deep and abiding FAITH.
So, such is not “the end of the world” except in the sense that the flood waters ended the “world” of Noah – wiping civilization from the face of the earth, denying the men-pleasers any further ascendancy or authority – replacing the society with a righteous family – an household of faith – which had been saved from perishing by water.
We read the inspired testimony of the apostle: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. 2Peter3:6.
The Apostle Peter, again, points to the vast importance of the element of hydrogen dioxide (H2O) in that process, writing of BAPTISM by complete immersion in water as … The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1Peter 3:21. <HELafferty, MD/USA: 9N>
Harold E. Lafferty
Our watchful eyes are trained on October 8th, 2014 – the next Blood Red Moon of this current series of Jewish Tetrads. That date is the Jewish Feast of Sukkot, or Tabernacles – or, 15 Tishrei on the Jewish calendar.
Because of their rarity – and the precedents set by the previous three Tetrads, we believe the current series of Blood Moons to be indicative of some greatly significant event having to do with Israel – either natural Israel or “spiritual” Israel, or BOTH.
We cannot know in advance the plan of the Almighty. But we can express a fervent desire, for that occasion to be that of the gathering together of the saints of God both living and dead, and their assembly at the place of their Judgment before the then-returned Lord, Jesus Christ, into Whose hand is committed all judgment. John 5:22; 2Corinthians 5:10, q.v.
Typically (in past years) the most important event marked by the Blood Moons (total lunar eclipses) came between the first and second moons of the series. We cannot know whether this will be the procedure on this occasion. We shall be better able to determine the event AFTER it has occurred, of course.
We can only admonish a careful, intelligent preparation for any eventuality … a state of readiness like none we shall have experienced.
The condition of the world has markedly deteriorated just during this 21st century. It has significantly worsened toward the violence and lawlessness which are prophesied to typify the end of this era, leading to the Second Coming of the Lord from heaven.
We visualize the nocturnal visit of the energized, lust-filled men of Sodom who stormed the home of Lot, demanding that he bring out the visiting angels (who appeared to be mere men) “that we may know them.”
Their interest in these “men” was not just to become better acquainted or to have a friendly chat.
Observing the current attitude in much of the world today – mostly in the liberal West – the same sort of loose, amoral mien (acceptance of homosexual behavior as the “norm”) of the general population, we can easily perceive that such conduct may be in store for the near future even in “Christian” countries.
Jesus warned of conditions deteriorating to the levels of those of the days of Noah and Lot.
In Noah’s time, we read that the earth was filled with violence. Genesis 6:11, 13; Luke 17:26-30.
Is the earth today filled with violence?
We believe that is a valid assessment.
Even in so-called civilized centers such as South Chicago, we hear of the outright murder of scores of individuals each week.
In Mexico the drug cartels murder others by the score, with impunity.
The Moslem world is aflame with internecine violence and mayhem. One of the most vicious is that of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria – gangs who kill others indiscriminately, kidnap young girls for ransom or their own nefarious desires, and wreak havoc among the civilian population.
In Denmark it has become inadvisable for Jews to appear in public wearing any sort of definitive religious garb, such as prayer shawls, yarmulkes, a Star of David, or side curls.
There are not many examples of “law” being more violent than the Muslims’ Sha’aria Law; in Britain we understand that a campaign is underway to institute it in that country.
Sha’aria has already been instituted in the Islamic State, in Syria/Iraq.
Muslim immigrants to Western countries often bring a desire with them to create the same “culture” in their new homes as existed in their old countries – an anachronistic notion of astonishing folly.
Authorities and knowledgeable pundits of many stripes are warning that, should the U.S. currency collapse, or should any one of several other civil disruptions occur – that the nation could be facing anarchy of the worst sort: lawlessness, pillaging, rioting, rape, murder, robbery, senseless execution, and other rapacious behavior – every man doing what is “right” in his own sight, without any regard for law or order.
We saw it vividly and widely acted out after the murder of M.L. King, the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, and the recent slaying of a young man in Ferguson Missouri.
It is illustrative of the raw, ungodly nature of men and women who know not the LORD, and care not for His ways.
That these iniquities shall have an end we know certainly. The King of kings will not tolerate such anarchy and fiendish violence in His administration or in any of his protective realms. Instead He shall insist forcibly upon peace and tranquility – righteousness among men of that age.
We hope fervently that the Blood Moons may signal His return to the earth for the orderly establishment of that Perfect Order which He shall bring to us.
But even if this is not the case, our determination is to remain steadfastly in the Way of Life, to keep our feet planted firmly in that Way which is strait and narrow – which leads to Life. <HEL 9N> ~850 words.
Harold E. Lafferty
We believe we have come finally to the terminal years of our probation. It is a time that we should be thankful to abandon and leave behind. For redemption at the earliest time is far preferable to our sojourn in this present circumstance of evil, turmoil and licentiousness.
The succession of the final set of Jewish Tetrads of Blood Moons is now in progress. The first one occurred on …
April 15, 2014 Total lunar eclipse Feast of Passover
The remaining ones will occur on …
October 8, 2014 Total lunar eclipse Feast of Sukkot
April 4, 2015 Total lunar eclipse Feast of Passover
Sept. 28, 2015 Total lunar eclipse Feast of Sukkot
By way of review, a so-called Blood Moon appears only when a total lunar eclipse occurs.
In such a case, the moon moves into the shadow (umbra) of the earth cast by the sun into space from the opposite side of the earth.
A full lunar eclipse is much rarer than a partial one.
A total lunar eclipse on Passover is even rarer still.
Total lunar eclipses occurs on the following Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), followed by another the next Passover, and still another the next Sukkot, is extremely rare.
This is a Jewish Tetrad.
But when a solar eclipse occurs between the two pairs of the Tetrad it is even less likely. It is notable that a total solar eclipse will occur two weeks before the Blood Moon of April 4, 2015 – on Passover.
Solar eclipses are deemed more important to the Gentiles; but Blood Moon eclipses are deemed more important for Jews.
But, for the final Blood Moon eclipse to be seen from Jerusalem is even rarer than this.
For the eclipse to be that of a “Supermoon” and seen from Jerusalem on Tabernacles is astronomically rare.
A Supermoon, you remember, occurs when the moon is nearest to the earth in its elliptical orbit – a condition in which it appears to be about 20% larger than usual. It becomes very, very impressive! And for that fourth member of the Tetrad, the eclipsed Blood Supermoon to be viewed in Jerusalem is the rarest of all.
The reason for that final note is that the last Blood Moon of this series on September 28th, 2015, WILL FULFILL ALL THOSE CONDITIONS. And it will occur when all the observant Jews of Israel are outside, inhabiting their booths, and hopefully intently watching the night sky!
The entire sequence of all these events is surely controlled by the Father of Lights, for the probability of those events happening by design is astronomically high, statistically.
In pharmaceutical testing protocols, if a particular compound being tested gives the desired result eight times greater (i.e., more often) than a placebo, the results are considered superb.
By contrast, this last series of Blood Moons is millions to one against mere chance – a sure sign of its provision by the Almighty for His servants’ observation and sober consideration!!
Now we must ask: What extremely significant event does it portend, or forecast?
The answer is: We cannot know in advance what it will indicate, for certain.
But we must consider that, since no significant events remain to be fulfilled as far as we are aware, before the Lord’s appearance on the earth, it could be the terminal event of this age for believers!
There are NO MORE Jewish Tetrads occurring for more than 500 years from the one in September next year, as established by NASA’s orbital experts!
How improbable is that?
As already stated, it is millions to one AGAINST it being by chance!
The people of God have been reassured that, Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (Romans 15: 4).
One of the foundational “writings” is that concerning the FOURTH day of creation, of which this is noted by Moses, in Genesis 1:14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs (Hebrew, Oth), and for seasons (Hebrew, Moad), and for days, and years: 15 And let
them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
The noted word signs, or Oth, means “a signal appearing – as a flag, banner, beacon, monument, omen, warning, evidence, sign or token.” (Strong’s H226) An example of this is a lunar or a solar eclipse which is perceived as a “sign” of something to come.
The word seasons, or Moad, means “an appointed time, a fixed time, a festival, an assembly, a place of solemn assembly.” (Strong’s H4150) An example of this is the new moon, which was the signal for the beginning of each month in the Hebrew calendar.
The Almighty expects His sons and daughters to scrutinize all these easily-observable, celestial “signs,” and to ponder the significance which each might have.
After the fact, the events may be discerned much more certainly than before they occur.
But the patterns and events which have already been seen are a reliable guide to the nature of those still to come! The most recent three Jewish Tetrads have forecast a time of uncertainty for Jacob which ended in a great blessing!
We expect the coming events also to have this characteristic.
We have thought of these possible scenarios:
1. The Shofar of resurrection sounds, and the LORD comes to the earth with a mighty shout to gather together His elect from the graves and the four corners of the earth, snatching them away to the place of Judgment.
2. Israel is plunged into a fierce war with the nearby Islamic enemies who are fighting against them today. Things may appear dark at first, but the conditions rapidly evolve into a great victory accomplished by the Israel Defense Force acting alone.
3. Israel is plunged into a fierce war with the nearby Islamic enemies who are fighting against them today. Things may appear dark at first, but the conditions rapidly evolve into a great victory accomplished by the Israel Defense Force, accompanied by a mighty host of people who are led by a courageous Leader, and are impervious to any injury or harm, and whose words accomplish miraculous things against Israel’s enormous cloud of enemies.
4. Israel is plunged into a fierce war with the nearby Islamic enemies who are fighting against them today. Things may appear dark at first, but the conditions rapidly evolve into a great victory accomplished by not only the Israel Defense Force but by a solitary, mysterious Leader who materializes from nowhere, and leads them to a great victory over all their enemies.
For the sole benefit of the servants of God, He shall have furnished singular signs in the eternally silent, majestic night sky warning them to be especially alert; these are intended for our guidance, and can be subtly significant to the faithful Watchers, especially in light of such wordage as that of …
Joel 2:31: The sun shall be turned into darkness (a total solar eclipse), and the moon into blood (indicating Blood Moon eclipses), before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Joe 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
These final phrases are significantly directed at the Believers of the end time … the time when these signs are appearing for their admonition. It is only in the near future that in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance!
Accordingly, we strongly suggest that the coming three additional members of the Jewish Tetrad we are now experiencing are, in our opinion, much more than likely be harbinger of the Day of Redemption for the saints of God (i.e., condition number 1, above).
We believe that the Servants of God will see great and highly significant events within the calendar confines of last April 15 of this year to September 28, 2015 – seventeen and a half months of end time history, which may be the most important time we shall ever witness!
We conclude this because the only such heavenly signs (the previous Tetrads) since 1,000AD have occurred on dates that have been extremely significant in Israel’s history.
Indubitably, Israel is His Witness, as in Isaiah 43:10, 12, and Isaiah 44:8.
Believers are urged to live in an air of expectancy – of immediacy – which shall compel in each of us a deeper, more arduous commitment to Him, spurring us on to greater energy in our service to Him – encouraging us to give even more fervent compliance with His will and denial of our own fleshly wills, to the glory of His great name.
In Revelation 19, an exalted description is given in which the Lamb of God receives His Bride and eats with Her the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Ancillary elements of the conquests of this great time by the combative, victorious Bride, are included for emphasis and understanding.
We know the text intimately …
Rev 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven (we understand this to be an elevated position of collective authority and great power, but not in the literal heaven), saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
Rev 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Rev 19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
Rev 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
Rev 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
Rev 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife (the Saints) hath made herself ready.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Rev 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy or in Greek, marturia Iesous hay pneuma prophetia.
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven (no longer represented as His Bride, but as His immortal Saints in their exalted positions of rulership and judgment upon the earth) followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he (this we understand to be the pleuralistic, collective One Man) should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he (including the immortalized Saints) treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Rev 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
Rev 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
Rev 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (i.e., destroyed eternally).
Rev 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
The glorious scene is that of the execution of the Master’s vengeance upon the nations, and punishments upon the people, as the psalmist has sung: only by this means may this honour have all His Saints – Praise ye the Lord! <HEL 9N> ~2400 words.
A group of Israeli rabbis has issued an open letter warning that the United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s reckless peace efforts, if they should come to fruition, “will result in divine retribution” against those involved. Kerry’s “incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of the Holy Land and hand them over to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian terrorist gang amounts to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe,” according to the rabbis’ statement.
The rabbis further stated that if Kerry continues on the path that he is on risks going down in history like Nebuchadnezzar and the Roman Emperor Titus, who “by heavenly punishment brought eventual destruction upon themselves for implementing destructive policies against Israel and the Jews.”
We, as Christians, believe that our God is ultimately in charge of the history of all the nations of the world. However, He lets the rulers of the nations plot their own courses for the most part, good or bad. God has on numerous times in history decided that the actions and deeds of a nation have gone beyond appropriate bounds, and He has definitely intervened with severe judgment.
It is true that several of these times God’s judgment has responded to nations that have mistreated Israel and/or the Jewish people. Look toward Egypt. They used to be the bright light of the Arab Middle East, but now they are no better than a struggling third world country. What has happened to the Canaanites, the Philistines, and the other tiny nations that used to occupy the land that God gave to the Jewish people? Obviously they have all disappeared.
What happened to that proud and powerful Adolph Hitler? He never made it to a normal death. However, we have often wondered how and why the nation and people of Germany seemed to escape retribution for their cruel annihilation of six million Jews. Perhaps it is still ahead of them, perhaps not. It is in God’s hands and in His plan. What happened to the great British Empire? It has fallen far from its lofty position as the greatest empire on the planet. Certainly God had His hand in all of these judgments.
What about the Arab-Muslim neighbor nations of Israel today, and the so-called Palestinians? How have they managed to lose five wars against an undersized, under equipped, and underdog military of Israel? There is no explanation apart from the mighty hand of God intervening in these battles on behalf of the Jewish people and Israel. The Palestinians are nothing more than a corrupt, terrorist infested, inept excuse for a “nation”.
The rabbis have added to their statements about judgments by calling for repentance and a return to God among the Israeli people. “Only God can guarantee Israel’s security, not the Americans,” said one rabbi. “The nation of Israel cannot rely on anyone but God.”
Of course, this is an opinion definitely different from the viewpoint of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. At the recent security conference in Munich, Kerry actually seemed to threaten Israel in urging a finalization of a peace agreement to establish a Palestine…, or else. Or else what? Retribution against Israel’s security from the United States? Kerry warned Israel that its current prosperity and stable security situation will not last. “Today’s status quo, I promise you 100 per cent, cannot be maintained,” he declared. “It is not sustainable. It is an illusion.”
Kerry has obviously ignored the fact that Israel has now existed as a restored nation for 65 years against seemingly insurmountable odds. Not only has Israel won those five wars against those militant Arab neighbors, who were bent on defeating and destroying the Israeli nation, but the Israeli nation has also developed and prospered beyond anyone’s expectations in such a short time. Do not discount the hand of God in all of this, in the surprising military victories, as well as in the incredible development and prosperity.
There is no doubt that Israel’s security depends on Israel’s relationship with God. America is not the final authority in securing peace for Israel. Peace is not based on any American or UN conditions or Palestinian promises. God Almighty determines Israel’s destiny and His Word says that no weapon formed against Israel will prosper. In fact, God’s Word also says that He will preserve and protect Israel as He destroys her enemies. My prayer as an American Christian is that America will continue to stand strong in support of Israel. If we do not, we will surely suffer the wrath of the Almighty who promises to protect Israel just as a mother hen protects her chicks.
H. E. Lafferty
The unusual series of Blood Moons is beginning as a lunar "Tetrad" on the night of April 15th. It will be viewable in most parts of the United States beginning at around 3 a.m., and last for over an hour, according to NASA's web site devoted to Lunar Eclipses. Of course, our seeing it depends upon a clear sky.
That site where this is described may be found easily by anyone reading this message - for that means you have a computer and it's connected to the Internet.
I suggest that you paste this address ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gzgSuJM5O8 into your search engine and click on the site to watch a video about this Tetrad, which explains in clear terms just what you will be watching if you elect, along with me, to be awake and watching at 3 a.m.!
We believe this series of Blood Moons is extremely relevant to us as Believers, because April 15th, in addition to being the deadline for filing U.S. income tax returns, is also the Jewish Feast of Passover.
When we moderns think of a "feast," we are reminded of tables laden with a huge variety of foods and drinks, set in celebration of some notable event in someone's life - such as a birthday or an anniversary.
But in Hebrew, a feast is a different kind of celebration, and does not center upon food at all. These mark important anniversaries of the Jewish year, and the Memorials that are marked by those particular days.
Numerous references in the Bible point to "signs" in the sun, moon and stars as signals for divine events. Genesis 1:14 is one occurrence: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
We are intimately familiar with these as signals for days and years, but not as much so as indicating signs and seasons - especially not in the Hebrew sense of those words.
The word translated "sign" in Hebrew is Strong's H226, Oth, meaning "a signal, literally or figuratively; as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.; - mark, miracle, (en)sign, token."
And the word translated "seasons" in Hebrew is Strong's H4150, Mo'ade, "properly, an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically, a festival; conventionally, a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically, the congregation, by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand); - appointed (sign, time); (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed)."
The "season" will be Passover.
The Blood Moon that will occur that evening is a "sign" in our thinking, telling the people of the earth - and especially to Israelis - to Pay attention! Something extremely unusual and important is about to happen to My People!
Most of the world's people will not be aware of this remarkable phenomenon.
But to the Believer, it is extremely relevant to the times in which we live.
Because it is the beginning "signs" of Blood Moons on FOUR Jewish Festivals this year and next.
The next Blood Moon will occur on the Feast of Tabernacles, in October, 2014.
Another will occur on Passover, 2015.
And another on Tabernacles, 2015! A Tetrad, yes ... but a Jewish Tetrad, also!
As we have remarked in earlier articles, only three of such Jewish Tetrads have occurred for over a thousand years.
One occurred in 1493-1494, at the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
The second occurred in 1948-1949, at the War of Independence, when Israel proclaimed itself a State.
The third occurred in 1967-1968, when the Jewish State won its spectacular victory over the Arab enemies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and others.
As anyone can see, ALL these Tetrads were connected with a significant factor in Jewish life. This is signally important, because the Jewish people are God's Witnesses in the earth. Really, they are His most important witnesses - whatever anyone may think of the Jews and their State.
The prophets bear record that this is so. Read, for example ...
Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Isa 44:7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
Isa 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Whatever happens to the Jewish People moves forward the Plan of God for the earth - moves it closer and more surely toward His kingdom on the earth, with Jerusalem as its Capitol.
The three previous Blood Moons have decisively proven this principle.
We believe the next one shall be as important, both to the Jews of Israel, and to the Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ - His brethren, who are watching the unfolding of His end time plans on a perfect trajectory!
There is one cautionary remark that we feel compelled to make. Although the visible, powerful, and incisive Second Coming of our Lord from heaven is greatly desired among our community, the next Blood Moon must not be assumed to indicate that event.
However, every one of us is aware that the saints, both living and those resurrected from the dead, will be called forth at some time BEFORE His visible appearing to the world, and be taken to His Judgment Bema for their assize before Him.
Could this Jewish Tetrad herald this event?
We do not know.
But it is implicit in His will for us that we be constantly ready for the sobering reality - that is, to be snatched away from our natural lives of visible observation to that secret place where the covenanted of all ages shall meet in convocation before Him - in joy, if yet with fear - to receive the things done in our bodies, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Our sometime distress is greatly alleviated by the wise admonition of the Apostle John, who wrote these reassuring phrases: 1John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Harold E. Lafferty …
Obadiah is the fifth shortest book in the Bible, with one chapter, 21 verses, and 670 words in English. He is believed to have been a contemporary of Jeremiah, in part. The prophet presumes his readers’ familiarity with the history of Israel in his revelation to us. It is intended primarily to be fully understood by believers in the end time.
And of course he utilizes the ancient names of nations and peoples in his inspired work.
As do all the other prophets, he knows that in the end time (when much of his prophecy takes place) we will be able to decipher the geopolitical areas of today to which he is referring.
His work is far more extensive than it might at first appear, covering as it does, Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, their Babylonian captivity, their 70 AD dispersion to all nations, their troublesome years of dispersion to the ends of the earth, their re-gathering to their Land, and their end time conflicts. All this in 670 words!
Our detailed study will reveal these connections.
Along with Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 35, Obadiah becomes one of the key records left to Believers who live in the end time, and who are seeking information about the final tribulations – assaults – upon God’s people, Israel, and their ultimate triumph.
Without its benefit every scholar would know less about Psalm 83, one of the most informative prophecies of the end time, than he otherwise would know. He also would lack important details relating to Isaiah 63 and others.
We see in all these accounts the prosecution of the curse-for-curse clause of the foreign policy that was revealed by the Almighty to Abram long before his people became a nation.
That text is found in Genesis 12:
Genesis 12:1-3 – Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Unfortunately for Esau, there is no blessing-for-blessing benefit in Obadiah’s account, for Esau never blesses his brother Jacob! When Jacob returned to Canaan with his wives and family, Esau did treat Jacob civilly. But beyond that instance there was only animosity.
We see that the promise also has another infinite aspect: in thee (Abram) shall ALL families of the earth be blessed … a long term prophecy which Abraham should realize only after his resurrection from the dead.
This ancient law concerning the blessing and cursing of Israel still stands; it is of much longer standing than Israel itself, for it impends upon Abram’s seed from that early time in Ur. It has never been vacated or revoked.
So let us examine the prophecy of Obadiah …
Obadiah 1:1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her (Israel) in battle.
Several points of discussion arise:
The “we” of this verse who have heard “a rumour from the LORD” are Obadiah and Jeremiah, as evidenced below.
But who are “the nations (heathen)?” They are specifically Edom itself, for one (verse 2). But additionally these are referred to as “all the men of thy confederacy” in Obadiah 1:7.
So, several other nations are to be involved with Edom in a compact against Israel. Their identity is affirmed by other inspired prophecies.
Those who rise up against her (Israel) in battle indicate all the heathen (or nations) which shall confederate against Israel in this narrative. These are limited in number in this initial conflict, but are clearly identified, as we shall see with further investigation.
All these are to be summarily destroyed!
Testimony of the Prophet Jeremiah
This dire initial message is repeated by Obadiah’s contemporary Jeremiah, projecting even broader implications: he employs some of the same terminology ...
Jeremiah 49:14 I have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather ye together (form a confederation), and come against her (Israel), and rise up to the battle. 15 For, lo, I will make thee (Edom) small among the heathen, and despised among men. 16 Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD. 17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
This destruction is decreed by Jeremiah to come by the hand of one Power – Israel.
Further, it is decreed to fall upon all the nations of the conspiracy against Israel.
Obadiah 1: 10-14 pinpoints Israel as the nation which Edom and its confederates confront.
Just as the Prophet Amos states in Amos 3:7 – Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but (except) he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
By these words of Obadiah and Jeremiah, He has served adequate notice upon Edom and his confederates. They are now without excuse.
It is not the responsibility of the Almighty to warn them further, although the likelihood of their heeding His warning is non-existent – for their “holy book,” the Koran – does not contain this warning!
But who ARE these confederates?
We can easily determine their specific identities by reference to the companion text – Psalm 83, which names them explicitly as Egypt, Assyria (Syria/Iraq), Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the South of Israel (Bedouin) including the Sinai Peninsula (Salafists). Psalm 83: 6-8.
Even though all these are long-standing enemies of the LORD, these specific areas have never coalesced to become united enemies of Israel in all history; but they are primed to do so this day – for they DO confirm their disastrously ill-fated intent to cut them (Israel) off from being a nation that the name of Israel be no more in remembrance. (Psalm 83:4; cf. also Obadiah 1:18)
Obadiah now repeats the sentence of the Almighty upon Edom:
Oba 1:2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.
Two points are evident in these words: Esau is to be greatly diminished in importance among the coalition, and he is to become greatly despised.
We believe that both these conditions are in effect today.
The “Palestinians” have been greatly diminished by having killed each and by having been killed in internecine warfare and/or terrorist attacks upon Israel.
They have also become greatly despised by their neighboring Arab (host) countries as clearly expressed by their having been detained in squalid, overcrowded refugee camps after either being expelled from Israel or fleeing from the warfare that was impending, especially in 1948 and 1967.
This was a time when their “leaders” in the surrounding countries advised them to leave their homes for a little time until the mighty Arab armies vanquished the pitiful Jews. They were mistakenly promised that after the (expected) great Arab victory they would be permitted to return to their homes and claim the property of the slain Israelis as well.
That never came about. Those who fled to nearby countries are mostly still housed there more than seventy five years later as squalid tenants of vast encampments of tents in the “West Bank,” in Jordan, in Lebanon and in Syria.
These currently inhabit the literal “curtains” (or tents) of Habakkuk 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains (tents) of the land of Midian did tremble.
They are thus despised and rejected by their hosts – and utilized as pawns by their more numerous Arab kinsmen – the cause d’être of the continuing conflict. And they largely camp near the border of Israel as if they were a continuing threat, as in Obadiah 1:7.
Author Bill Salus, in Psalm 83: The Missing Prophecy Revealed [La Quinta (CA), Prophecy Depot Publ. Co., 2013], p. 187, well summarizes the Edomites’ diminution: “They [the Edomites] gave what help they could to Nebuchadnezzar, and exulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, stirring the bitterest indignation in the hearts of the Jews (Lamentations 4:21; Ezekiel 25:12; 35:3ff; Obadiah 1:10ff).
The Edomites pressed into the then evacuated lands in the South of Judah. In 300 BC, Mt. Seir with its capital Petra, fell into the hands of the Nabateans. West of the Arabah the country they occupied came to be known by the Greek name of Idumaea, and the people as Idumeans. Hebron, their chief city, was taken by Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC (I Maccabees 4:29, 61; 5:65). In 126 BC, the country was subdued by John Hyrcanus, who compelled the people to become Jews and to submit to circumcision. Antipas, governor of Idumaea, was made procurator of Judea, Samaria and Galilee by Julius Caesar. He paved the way to the throne for his son Herod the Great. With the fall of Judah under the Romans, Idumaea disappears from history.”
A few of these peoples had migrated further northward into Judea and Samaria, and remain there today as “Palestinians.” There is a distinct remnant of Edom within this group.
Oba 1:3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
Oba 1:4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.
The designation of “pride” here is superbly appropriate. They are possessed with the firm Islamic conviction that they are greatly superior to the Jews, and unconquerable by them in the long run.
They spuriously claim long-prior habitation of the Land of Promise, some claiming to have been residents since 5,000 BC! Their actual decline is seen indicated in verse 2, where they are diminished, and in verse 4, where they are to be brought down by the LORD Himself!
A sure mark of their “pride” is their fanatic slogan of “Allahu Akbar,” which is shouted loudly whenever any of them sets off a suicide bomb vest to kill Israelis. The phrase means, “Allah is greater” – meaning greater than the God of the Jews or any other god.
Pride, of course, begets hatred. The residual hatred of Israel can be seen readily in the press releases and verbal boasts of the “Palestinians” every day. Their latest proclamation matches their claim, since 1967, that they will never recognize the Jewish State. This determination festers and infects their idealism to the point of tiresomeness; soon their hatred will have an end in these irrevocable words of Obadiah!
Oba 1:5 If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes?
Oba 1:6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
Esau is about to disappear from history altogether! These words illustrate the thoroughness with which Edom shall be destroyed. He is “searched out … sought up” to the last man, as verse 18 will declare: … there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. Obadiah 1:18.
Oba 1:7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee (you “Palestinians”) even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee (your confederates) have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.
The men of their confederacy in our opinion include themselves as a constituent of the ten entities so neatly designated in Psalm 83: 6 The tabernacles of Edom (South Jordan), and the Ishmaelites (Saudi Arabia); of Moab (Jordan), and the Hagarenes (Saudi Arabia); 7 Gebal (Lebanon), and Ammon (Jordan), and Amalek (the Negev); the Philistines (Gaza) with the inhabitants of Tyre (Lebanon); 8 Assur (Assyria, or Syria/Iraq) also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot (Jordan).
The list is startlingly current, and replete with the names of every enemy which is now in hot conflict (or potentially so) with Israel; and this particular alignment has never occurred in prior history! The correlation with Obadiah is undisputable. And this is especially so when one considers the narrative of Isaiah 63: 1-6, which gives intimate details of their final conquest – of Edom’s bloody destruction by Messiah, Who treads them down as grapes in a winepress.
The deceit and prevalence of Edom’s confederates is obvious today. The “Palestinians” are being used by their “friends” of the Islamic world. People without a state – contrived as they may be – are vulnerable to nearly any assault upon them. That is one reason that they are pushing for the world to award them a state of their own – and for Israel to make impossible concessions to them in that pursuit.
Oba 1:8 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding (their mistaken convictions) out of the mount of Esau? 9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
The words in that day indicate the final existence of Edom – the end times.
Surely the words wise men … of Edom are said in irony, for the remainder of the record proves that that there are NONE wise in Edom.
Their “wisdom” is the “understanding” of Islam – an entirely spurious, pagan view of things of the world of Idumea as to its pride, its superiority, its invincibility – all of which are false!
Yes, their leaders DO think of themselves as “mighty men,” but that, too, is ironic. They are the “weak” who, in the 3rd chapter of Joel, the prophet, relating his words to this same era, says of their preparation for war, Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
Note the specific reason given for Esau’s being cut off; it is for thy violence against thy brother Jacob (that) shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
The sentence is one of obliteration – of Esau’s complete destruction due to the loss of the patience and mercy of the Almighty. It is a direct result of Edom’s having divested himself of the gracious offer of His salvation as it is freely given to all men.
Therefore, Esau’s violence against his brother Jacob will be repaid in kind – by violence being done to Esau. Those who curse you (Israel) I will curse. A curse for a curse, indeed!
The next portion of Obadiah’s prophetic narrative names the specific transgressions marking Esau’s historic violence against his brother Jacob:
Oba 1:11 In the day that
· thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the
· strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12 But thou shouldest not have
· looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger;
· neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction;
· neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have
· entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea,
· thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity,
· nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have
· stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have
· delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
This scathing list of “thou shouldest nots” is comprehensive, and extremely condemnatory of Esau! In so refusing to assist Judah’s children, they were “as one of them” by militant association.
· Esau stood back when the invading strangers (Babylon) carried away captives of Judah … and did not try to help Israel resist Babylon’s army or its people to escape captivity. It was considered by the Almighty to be a dire transgression even though those armies came down upon Judah at the Father’s behest. Esau stepped over the acceptable line in “standing back” and not assisting Judah.
· And those same strangers appropriated the substance of Jerusalem to themselves … entering the vacated City and helping themselves to the abandoned loot.
· And approved of Judah’s captivity, and their being made a stranger to her land … for their approval of Judah’s captivity was proven by Esau’s failure to assist his brother.
· And blatantly rejoiced over the misfortune of Judah in the day of her destruction … their glee reflecting their delight with the oppression of Judah – not sorrowing , as they should have done.
· And spoke proudly, rejoicing, vaunting themselves over Judah in the day of her destruction … a response which illustrated their joy at Judah’s great calamity – always a forbidden attitude.
· Esau should not have occupied the vacated, ruined City within Jerusalem’s gates … as the conquered City and the Jews’ properties which were left behind were not open to scavengers and looters as the people of Esau proved themselves.
· Should not have looked favorably on Judah’s affliction in the day of their calamity … in the doing of which Esau agreed with the aggressors, Babylon, that Judah was getting its just dues. But they were not suitable judges of Judah’s just dues.
· Nor have laid claim to Judah’s substance as spoil in the day of their calamity … rapaciously looting the vacated Jewish properties, taking everything that was valuable as if they were the conquerors and exactors of justice for Judah – and as justly due the spoils of war; they were not.
· Nor have stood capturing those who fled away, striving to escape … actively and willingly assisting the Babylonian forces to capture and imprison and enslave the children of Judah.
· And should not have delivered captives to the invaders in Judah’s day of distress … even actively intercepting the fleeing children of Judah, and delivering them up to the Babylonians, likely for a monetary reward.
This all-inclusive indictment clearly illustrates the perpetual animosity and hatred of Esau for Jacob. It is no wonder that it is recalled that, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, as pronounced by the Almighty in the words of Paul in Romans 9:13. The just basis for this judgment is that Esau despised his birthright so thoroughly that he sold it to Jacob for a bowl of stew.
Verse 11 most likely refers to the request of the Children of Israel asking permission to pass through the land of Edom with great discipline and high demeanour as they made their way toward Canaan during the Exodus from Egypt, but were refused by Esau from doing so.
The account is in Numbers 20: 14-21, and illustrates the heartless treatment of the Israelites by Esau on that occasion, when they “stood on the other side” of their boundary and refused to allow Israel to pass through their land.
Num 20:20 And he (the king of Edom) said, Thou (Israel) shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.
That was one of Esau’s most notable affronts to the people of God, for it made their journey more arduous as they were then required to circle around Edom to enter the Land further north.
Verse 12 of this series contains an hidden recognition of the three waves of destruction suffered by Judah as noted by commentator Bill Salus (ibid., p. 193).
1. “The day of his captivity:” memorializes the first Babylonian attack in 606 BC. At this time Daniel and some intellectuals, as well as Judah’s king and many courtiers were deported to Babylon at this time. Judah was taken captive to Babylon.
2. “The day of his destruction:” speaks to the second wave of the captivity of more Jews, and the catastrophic destruction of the Temple of Solomon on Tisha b’Av of 586 BC, and the complete sack of the City.
3. “The day of distress:” was the third and last deportation in 582 BC. In this time a large Jewish population was shifted to Babylon, and many of them did not elect to return to Judea at the edict of return 70 years later, under Cyrus. These Jews were finally recovered from Iraq primarily between August, 1949, and the end of 1952 – at a time when the Iraqi government allowed its Jews to leave the country, and nearly every Iraqi Jew made Aliyah to Israel! (cf., Isaiah 11: 11 – “Elam and Shinar” being the operative loci of the Iraqi Diaspora.
It is notable that the researcher E. W. Bullinger (Companion Bible) points out that each of these three waves of deportation and associated exile lasted 70 years, and that at the end of each period a contingency of Jews returned to the land of Israel on a perfect schedule, each contingent having been exiled for 70 years in a staggered fashion beginning and ending at the exact various appropriate times!
Could these be the three specific occasions when the doomed kingdom of Judah was to be overturned, overturned, overturned … with the effects of those three upheavals which ended the kingdom of God on the earth lasting until He come Whose right it is to reclaim the throne of David?
We believe this understanding is feasible and applicable, for the kingdom never has existed since that time so as to be available once, and again, and yet again for overturning.
All told, three final kings were placed on the throne of Judah by Babylon during these phases, and all three proved unacceptable and were overthrown by the Babylonian overlords and taken into captivity.
In the finality, this era was the final, serial destruction of the kingdom of Judah; it would not be restored until the end time when David My Servant should restore the throne of His father David, and resume the Kingship of Israel; cf., Isaiah 37:35; Ezekiel 34:23, 24; 37:25.
The passage relating the details of this threefold upheaval is found in Ezekiel 21:25 - And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel (Zedekiah), whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, 26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it (the throne and kingdom): and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
Verse 13 is also interesting. How did this occasion arise?
Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;
The account probably refers to the terrible time of calamity during the Roman occupation of Judea just prior to the birth of Christ until the destruction of 70 AD. The Edomites “entered the gate of My people” by having one of their number placed upon the throne over Israel, first in the person of Antipater in 47 BC – a mandatory and unilateral action by Caesar.
He was followed by Herod the Great – an Edomite/Nabatean. Herod re-worked the Temple of Nehemiah which had fallen into disrepair to please the restive Jews. His rapacious life is best epitomized by the slaughter of all male children in Bethlehem up to the age of two years in his desperate attempt to slay the infant Jesus. His successors likewise were mixtures of Edomite and Nabatean blood who had been given control over Judah, much to their delight and satisfaction.
But what of “laying hands on their (the Jews’) substance?” The ham-fisted taxation system of the Romans did indeed “lay hands on” the Jews’ riches, often reducing them to poverty and even committing them to prison. The Publicans were tax-farmers of the first water, and were hated throughout the country.
Such an one was Matthew before his calling!
For all these atrocities, Esau earned the condemnation of YHVH, the God of Israel.
That sentence has not been applied as yet … but it shall be soon. Ezekiel details their punishment:
Ezekiel 25:12 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. 14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they (Edom) shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
So, again, here is evidence that Israel shall be the instrument by which Esau is again deprived of his “birthright” in its final iteration, being erased from being a people by the people of God.
Here is laid before us the stark contrast between Mount Esau, and Mount Zion of the following narrative. The curse-for-a-curse principle here turns full circle upon Esau and his confederates.
Oba 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.
The prophet Isaiah had delivered a dire message related to the cup that the nations have forced upon the people “upon My holy mountain,” in the words below.
He is here addressing His people of Zion, and the cup of His fury from which they have been forced to drink for millennia. However, his message is one of hope and compassion; the cup of His fury shall be taken away from His people and passed to their oppressors– those who had forced the cup of His fury upon Israel since time immemorial.
The curse-for-a-curse principle is operative!
At that time, His people are relieved of that cup and its deadly poisonous contents; it is given to their enemies where its contents are fatal. Isaiah foretells:
Isaiah 51:22 I have taken out of thine hand (Israel’s hand) the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: 23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.
The depraved treatment that they have meted out upon Israel shall now be served upon themselves in a deadly landslide of destructive circumstances and dire punishments, as fatal to them as Socrates’ hemlock. And there is no antidote …
The catastrophic end is that, for those enemies, they shall be as though they had not been.
There can be no fuller expression of either certainty or extent of execution!
Like Judas Iscariot, it would have been better for the descendants of Esau if they had not been born. We see in this scenario the extreme challenge – the fatal consequences – of the inbred philosophy of Radical Islam, which even mothers inculcate into their youngest children – urging them to grow up to be jihadists … to give up their lives as suicide bombers.
This culture of death shall give them their just deserts – which is everlasting death in Sheol. It is a fitting end for the despicable people who hate God and His righteousness, and who despise His people.
The scourge of Islam in the entire world in our day is such that only a Divine solution is possible. Their culture of death and destruction is impossible for human forces to combat successfully, reinforced as it is by millions of fanatical Jihadists bent upon the utter destruction of all things which are not “Islamic.”
The contrast with the children of God is marked, their deliverance standing out in stark relief against the backdrop of the oblivion of Esau.
The next words of Obadiah foretell the end of the matter.
Oba 1:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions (i.e., the former possessions of Esau and his confederates).
Oba 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they (Israel) shall kindle in them, and devour them (Esau); and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
Deliverance from evil, and oppression – and godlessness. In contrast, the forces of deliverance from the oppression of those round about, and instruction in holiness shall emanate from Zion.
The wealth of these Gentiles shall accrue to God’s people and kingdom, just as the spoils of Esau, Edom and Moab did during the time of King Jehoshaphat as accounted in 2Chronicles 20, where all these enemies destroyed each other in the desolate wastes of the Judean wilderness, each by his brothers’ sword well before the army of Israel came upon the scene.
And Israel spent three entire days collecting the wealth and booty from the dead.
The forces of the Almighty shall be as a consuming flame of fire; Esau’s fate is to become mere stubble before them, as the mighty army of Israel devours them to the last man! Stubble burns nearly completely, leaving almost no residue (ash); such shall their destruction be.
For this is decreed by the LORD of hosts, and by His zeal He shall perform it!
The end result is solemnly related in the next two verses, outlining the physical consequences of the animus evoked by God’s Spirit, as the Israel Defense Force applies its most expert offensive against the ungodly heathen both among their countrymen and round about them.
We refer to the stated (and literal) landmarks indicated in these verses as the “borders of Obadiah,” but in reality this adventure is only a small but significant portion of the end time wars of Israel, in which the Promised Inheritance of Abraham and His Seed (Christ) is destined to be cleared of the squatters and interlopers who have illicitly moved into and laid claim to the Blessed Land from every point of the compass.
These have no part in the “first dominion of the kingdom” which Christ the Messiah shall establish there. His primary borders are predetermined to be “from the River Nile to the great River Euphrates – and from sea (the Mediterranean) to sea (the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean?) – a vast land which at present is largely windswept, intensely hot and dry, forlorn and barren desert, but which in His day, shall blossom as the rose, and be productive as the Garden of Eden.
Oba 1:19 And they of the south (of Israel) shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
Oba 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.
These areas of conquest are today approximately 90% occupied by the “Palestinians” and their ilk. After this conquest, the area shall know rest which it has not known for over a century in these end times.
But even that shall be a partial “rest” –a period of respite prior to the time when “the rest of the story” resumes. Their confederates are likewise fated to conquest by the new Power from the South, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s, as it is then depicted in these certain words:
Oba 1:21 And saviours (the Redeemed Saints of God and their Master, Jesus Christ) shall come up on mount Zion (in Jerusalem) to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
The Prophet Ezekiel addresses this timely event in his 25th chapter. It is notable that the inspired word here utilizes the term “My people Israel,” indicating that their status has changed in God’s eyes – from that of “not My people” to “My people Israel,” as explained and discussed by five key references: Hosea 1:9, 10; Hosea 2:23; Romans 9:23, 26. These words of Hosea and Paul illustrate the metamorphosis of Israel back to their earlier status of loving approval of their Father.
Eze 25:14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
The divine seal of approval upon Israel is evident as His people spread forth, inspired by the strength and motivation of the LORD, as the prophet Ezekiel foretells in 37:10: So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath (Hebrew, Ruach) came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Israel today has re-gathered into its Land from the dreary valley of dry bones; its muscles and sinews are now stretched upon its skeleton. But it is not yet energized by the Spirit (the Ruach, or breath) of God, as it surely shall be soon.
Its exceeding great army will execute His vengeance speedily upon Esau and his collaborators in devastating combat – swiftly bringing their utter end.
It shall not be the result which had been confidently expected by Esau and his confederacy, the “Palestinians,” Hamas, Hezbollah, and others such as Islamic Jihad, who never once suspected the enormous might and power of the Entity against which they were struggling.
Their entire holdings – their considerable wealth – are thus turned unto the Christ of the Second Advent, including His Saints and His people, whose sovereignty shall then extend far beyond the paltry occupancy formerly held by Esau and his kind.
Valuable lands which include Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Kuwait, the aggregate of whom already contain nearly half the known oil reserves of the earth in this day. Over and above that, Jordan’s deposits of oil shales is thought to exceed the value of those in Israel – a resource which can now be safely and profitable exploited … and almost certainly shall be during the initial phases of His kingdom.
For what it’s worth, the wealth of Greater Israel shall be enormous when fully acquired from these vile enemies.
With this development, the Kingdom of God upon the earth shall have begun
Just as were Ba’al and Chemosh of old, the vaporous idol named “Allah” was never any match for YHVH – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the people of the Living God!
<HEL 2N> ~ 6,100 words. An Exhortation – Arlington, 3.23N
Prophesied for the End Time
Harold E. Lafferty
We read in Isaiah 11 a prophecy of the End Time which mentions several nations which do not presently exist – nations of antiquity with which the Almighty has had conflict, and which have fought against His people Israel, in their earlier history.
The prophecy begins with the restoration of God’s people from several of these places.
The prophet stresses that this regathering is the SECOND recovery of His people – of the remnants which recently existed in these countries. In this process both branches of Israel – Judah and Israel – are referenced as returning to the Land, and that there shall be no enmity between the two as previously.
But the narrative indicates their recovery from certain named areas which do not exist today, namely Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, and from Shinar and from Hamath. And after the Israelites’ return to their Land, in verse 14, a victorious conflict is indicated as being specifically between His people and the Philistines, Moab, Ammon, and Edom ... four additional entities which have not survived until today, as named.
And still later, unity between Assyria, Egypt and Israel is concluded as a highway is built connecting the three now friendly, cooperative countries to be then dedicated to the LORD.
These verses are:
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations (the nations being Israel and Judah), and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isa 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. [This is to affirm that the Israelis are united in the end time, and without internecine rivalry.]
Isa 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
Isa 11:15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
Isa 11:16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
What do all these prophecies mean?
When we examine the records of scripture we discover that all these ancient enemies of Israel were condemned to being conquered, and removed from being designated or named countries – all except Egypt – and their lands vacated and ravaged throughout the following ages.
But their involvement with Israel does not end.
All these are said to be restored (their captivity returned) in the end time and become a thorn in the side of Israel, then to be destroyed by Israel.
We review the brief history of each to show that this is the case.
The first portion of Jeremiah 49 is the almighty’s curse on Ammon. Its utter end might seem certain from this narrative – as it was desolated for centuries – but the last verse proves that it shall be re-gathered to its place in the End Time. Jeremiah 9:6 - And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.
The name “Ammon” survives today as “Amman,” the capital city of Jordan. Ammon therefore is northern Jordan of today. That nation will suffer the judgment of the LORD and be utterly destroyed by the Christ of the Second Advent and those with Him.
That certainty is given in Zephaniah 2:9: Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people (Israel of today) shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
Isaiah 16:14 tells of the initial overthrow of Moab by Assyria. But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
Its continuing desolation is foretold in Jeremiah 48:4 Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard …. 9 Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Jeremiah 48:47 reveals, Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Those words indicate that there is significantly more in store for Moab; in the End Time Moab shall be restored … which is to say that her ravaged territory of ancient time would be re-populated and have a viable economy.
The historical territory of Moab is today the central portion of Jordan, and has a prosperous economy due to the potash mines in the area. A few of its settled areas contain thousands of citizens of Jordan.
Edom (Esau, or Mt. Seir) was a perpetual enemy of Israel throughout its early history. For her aggression, Jeremiah was instructed to prophesy Edom’s doom, which occurred when Assyria conquered Samaria. Her land sank into desolation, her people were taken away, and her land abandoned for centuries.
Jeremiah 49:17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
Ezekiel 25:12 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. 14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
When should they know His vengeance? Only in the end time, when people again inhabited the southern portion of both Jordan and Israel – the ancients lands of Edom, its capital at Bozrah. The words of Jeremiah 49:22: Behold, he (Israel) shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
This verse speaks to the fate of those restored peoples of Edom in the latter days; its availability for the conflict of Isaiah 63, specifically in the area indicated there as being violently conquered by the Messiah of Israel – at Bozrah.
Even though Egypt was never taken away from being a nation it was desolated for centuries, ruled by foreigners, and of little account. But Egypt was destined to become prominent again in the affairs of the Middle East. Ezekiel prophesied …
Ezekiel 29:14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
In the end, Egypt shall become converted to the way of the LORD, and worship Him acceptably, as foretold in Isaiah 19.
Isa 19:19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
The ultimate outcome for Egypt, along with Assyria (see next section) is a happy and righteous association with Israel after the Lord had delivered them: this is prophesied in the words of Isaiah 19:23: In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
ELAM (IRAQ) and SYRIA = ASSYRIA
Elam: Elam, the Elymais of the Greeks and Romans, was properly a province of the Persian empire, between Media and Susiana; but sometimes the name Elam is used in a larger sense, including Susiana and other provinces (see Daniel 8:2 - Shushan), all of which were subdued by Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards restored and raised to dignity by Cyrus.
Elam is therefore symbolic of Iraq, the present occupant of this territory.
(Jer 49:39) But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
Elam seems therefore, in its expanded role, to be a figure of both Iraq and Syria – the latter of which has continued to exist through the centuries – both together comprehending Assyria of other prophecies.
All these areas are sentenced to final extinction by the psalmist and prophet Asaph, in Psalm 83, where Ashur of verse 8 nominates Assyria as being among the nations listed here as conquered by the forces of the LORD.
ISRAEL AND JUDAH
The only other nations specifically said to have their “captivity” returned, are Judah and Israel. The references to this restoration are extensive. But the most direct and straightforward is that of Jeremiah, in 30: 3; For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
Even the restoration of the ancient Hebrew language seems clearly to be prophesied in Jeremiah 31:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.
Another overall statement as to their fortune is Jeremiah 33:7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
We must understand that the “captivity” spoken of here is their captivity of God’s people in all nations – not in Babylon – which returns only in the end time. And that it ultimately includes Judah and Israel, only the first of which was in the first restoration from Babylon.
There is confirmation of this time frame in the language of Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem … which is surely the End Time.
We can determine exactly what means the phrase, “will bring again the captivity” of (so and so) by this verse: Jeremiah 30:3: For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
The exactly similar phraseology therefore indicates a return of all the above nations to the territory of their original habitation.
Except for the people of Israel, however, they are merely people who now live in those designated areas. But the modern people are often descended from the ancient peoples, and are inclined to react to the restored nation of Israel in the same way as their ancient counterparts, and therefore, in the finality, shall suffer the deserved fate of the earlier peoples.
All this resistance of the “cousins” stems from the small valuation that Esau placed upon his rightful inheritance as the elder of the twins, Esau and Jacob, when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a paltry bowl of stew. Immediately Esau hated Jacob for his cunning. That animosity has never relented throughout the millennia which have since elapsed. The hatred has dwelt actively and voraciously with the descendants of Esau until this day.
But a more ominous reality – a far weightier matter – is that the Almighty “hates” Esau in favour of Jacob. Discussing God’s inherent principle of election (favor, preference), Paul states unequivocally in Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Our appreciation of these subtle operations of the God of Israel adds immensely to our faith in His prescience – His omniscience – as to future events, and the perfection of His Plan for the ages!
<HEL code 2N> ~2,300 words.
An eTPL Editorial
Another monthly issue of numerous publications dealing with current events came in the mail yesterday (December 26th). It contained nearly seven pages (of its 32 pages) of intense, excited, detailed commentary on Russia’s moves into the Middle East, two pages of which were devoted to maps of the Eastern Mediterranean, illustrating current Russian proposals to build naval facilities in Egyptian ports.
The same nearly breathless excitement was stirred during the Cold War years when Russian involvement in Egypt was rampant, including building the great dam at Aswan, and arming the Egyptian army with all the latest Russian equipment. But, after three catastrophic defeats of Egypt in war with Israel, it all ended in about a week of earth-shaking decisions by Anwar Sadat to expel the Russians and their influence from Egypt.
Over twenty thousand Russian technicians, advisers, construction crews and military people were expelled from Egypt almost overnight – and that era ended for a time.
One of the two maps in the aforementioned article illustrates the outdated and now (proven to be) erroneous conclusion that Russia is the King of the North, that Britain is the King of the South, and that the twain shall meet in the middle, at “Armageddon” in Israel!
The article emphasizes the latest enticing offer by Russia to sell arms and armament to Egypt, subverting the cooled and muted U.S. – Egypt relationship surrounding the recent removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power in that country.
Little or NO Information about Israel – Our Chief Concern
But there was not one observation as to the importance of Israel’s extremely critical relationships with its Arabic/Islamic neighbors, or of Israel’s plight of being eminently exposed to terrorism and atrocities on every side … which is astounding!
Israel’s destiny and course of existence is – or should be – our most important interest.
So why is it so patently ignored?
It seems to us that the latter consideration (Israel’s seemingly dramatic plight) is the more important aspect of current Mid-East events to be discussed.
This persistent (and tiresome, and frankly pedantic) emphasis on Russia’s interest in the Middle East follows closely along with the absolutely consuming interest of the preachers of Christendom on this same subject, who also obsess themselves with “the King of the North” as being the next big threat to Israel.
Both have little or NO realization that this is not the most important next “big” thing.
And both sets of observers label that conflict, “Armageddon.”
We humbly suggest that these emphases are perhaps lethally misplaced – and to the true believer of God’s word, nearly irrelevant (more on this latter remark further down).
In the first place, Armageddon is mentioned in the scriptures only one time: Revelation 16:16, and relates to the virulent interaction between the forces of the Lion of Judah (not Britain, the “old lion”) and the forces of the Harlot, Beast and False Prophet – in Europe and in the domains of the Roman Church, initially, and not in Israel at all, because the issue shall have been settled there well before this time arrives.
The Revelation as a whole is not a forecast of what will happen in Israel or the Middle East; it is wholly a treatise on what believers could expect from the contentious interface between “the Church” and the Ecclesia of Christ, leading to His Second Coming. To force other principles upon it are unwise.
It reveals great details of precisely how the Church would subvert the gospel of Christ and intrude itself upon the world, venturing into the fleshly affairs of the cosmos with impunity (spiritual fornication), lording it over the populous in matters of acceptable faith and devotion to God, changing times and seasons, setting Church law in place over the word of God, its leader ruling as if in the “house of God” (which “St. Peter’s Church is NOT).
It details the intricate development of the Harlot of Rome’s subversive, deliberate attempt to replace herself in the “religious” world in the rightful place of the Virgin Daughter of Zion, the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife of Revelation 21:9.
Our Main Source of Information on End Time Israel and its Outlook
Consequently, one must depend upon the prophecies of the major Hebrew prophets of the Old Testament for almost all his information on God’s people, including their tribulations of the End Time return to Him (viz., returning to His Land, initially), for their final redemption there.
All these seem to be far more important to discuss than yet another Russian effort to build trade and influence in the Middle East. That picture is easy to decipher.
Much harder challenges include such as these …
· How is Israel dealing with its current aggression (so far, only verbal) from Iran, and its effort and threat of developing a nuclear arsenal? (Diplomacy? Sanction enforcement? Military attack?)
· Are there subversive moves being taken by Israel, and perhaps the U.S., to prevent or slow the Iranian progress? (Sabotage? Cyber interference? Scientific infiltration?)
· Is the Iranian threat real? We are prophetically informed of tangible Iranian involvement with Israel as part of the Gogian host (a later affair), but can find no information about earlier portions of any conflict with modern Israel; so how might Iran be hobbled, and retarded for a time, in its nuclear development without being attacked militarily by Israel? (Earthquakes? Aggression from other enemies? A revolution among its own people? A change of heart?)
· Is there any hope for Israel to be able to combat their enemies of the Sinai Peninsula; and will the new border fence stop terrorist incursions? (Electronic countermeasures? Increased military patrols? Infiltration?)
· How can Israel improve relations with the PLO, given the unwillingness of the Chairman (Mahomoud Abbas) even to sit down to negotiations? (More concessions? Possible annexation of the entire “West Bank?” Execution of the prophecy of Obadiah?)
· How can Israel assure a safe eastern border – that with Jordan, being the Jordan River Valley – without a continued military presence there? (Yet another border fence? An enhanced agreement with Jordan itself, which is rife with “Palestinians” who want to destroy Israel?)
· Will Israel be dragged into a “two state solution” to the “Palestinian” dilemma? (What do the prophets say about this? Is such in the offing?)
· To what extent will Israel cede land (if any) to the “Palestinians” in the “two state solution?
· Why is the third chapter of Joel important in this consideration?
· How does Psalm 83 relate to it – or Obadiah – or Ezekiel 35?
· What moves are afoot from Syria to try to recover the Golan Heights from Israeli control?
· In case of the present regime’s collapse, does Israel face other, more intransigent enemies there? And if so, have they already made proclamation of their intentions?
· What other threats does Israel have from the north, over and above that of Syria? (What about Iraq? What about Turkey? What about “Assyria” – a presently unrealized factor?)
· How shall Lebanon play a part in this conflict?
· How will Iraq’s aggressive historical stance against Israel manifest itself today? (Involves current information about the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) – an entirely new development which may have extensive prophetic significance. Is that entity a revival of “Assyria?”)
· How can Israel hope to combat the terrorists of Hezbollah, who now occupy South Lebanon and have thousands of missiles trained upon Israeli cities and citizens?
· Has the lack of cooperation of the Lebanese government with Hezbollah had any effect on the levels of animosity against Israel?
· Why has Hezbollah been so quiescent for so many months?
· What is the subversive plan of Hamas in the Gaza Strip?
· What of the present disassociation of Egypt with Hamas?
· What of the present rejection of the Moslem Brotherhood by Egypt’s ruling party?
· What is the real reason behind Israel’s economic boom which has occurred in a turbulent storm of Islamic economic failures all around them – with only the petroleum producer-states being able to accumulate adequate foreign reserves?
· What is Israel doing to improve the wellbeing of the poor folk of Israel?
· How might the oil and gas bonanza in Israel improve such conditions?
· What challenges may the newly discovered riches of oil and gas create for Israel?
· How will Israel handle the vast income which it can expect from its oil and gas ventures?
· How can Israel protect its mineral wealth in the Mediterranean? (Recent purchases of fast attack boats, submarines, and destroyers, by Israel?)
· What is the first order of business of the returned Messiah when He appears in Israel to save His people?
· What will the reaction of His people in Israel be?
· How can one expect the world in general to react to His Second Coming?
· Will the increased level of anti-Semitism in Europe result in completing the Jews’ abandonment of Europe, as it seems to be doing in France at this moment?
· Will most of them migrate to Israel (make Aliyah), or will they opt to go elsewhere? (What is the present trend?)
· What might force American Jews (both U.S. and Canadian) to migrate to Israel, as we are informed that ALL Jews and other Hebrews shall, under Christ’s Administration?
These Are the Burning Issues
To our thinking, all the above are burning issues of real time and great immediacy.
But our most widely published current events observers are writing almost nothing about the people of God, their hazardous exposure to Islamic fundamentalism, to worldwide anti-Semitism, and to denigration by many of the nations of the earth (including one of the worst, Great Britain – the darling of the earlier theorists, who formulated the notion that Britain would actually be the means by which the Jews would return to their land in the End Time). For surely, reasoned they, the weak-kneed, downtrodden and oppressed people of Judah would not be able to accomplish this on their own initiative).
Well, the Jews did just that, even in the face of the most powerful wall of resistance that Britain could mount against the re-nascent State of Israel in the early days leading up to the War of Independence in 1948. Effectively, Britain’s ONLY significant assistance was seen in two events: the driving of the Ottomans from Palestine, and the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, favoring (at first) the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine of the time. Even at the time of that Declaration, the winds of resistance to a Jewish state were blowing strongly against such in the turbulent seas of diplomacy in the British Foreign Office.
That fiercely adverse storm increased to gale-force winds during the Mandatory Period, when Britain did everything in its (even then diminishing) power to keep Jews away from the Land they had said they favored for the Jewish national home!
This writer, therefore, believes many modern observers are pursuing the earlier, primitive trains of thought rather than using their godly minds to see things as they really are today.
The King of the North as “Irrelevant” to Today’s Believers
So, why would we opine that the “news” about the “King of the North” and about Britain as Resistor to that king as being nearly irrelevant to current believers?
Several reasons come to our mental awareness immediately:
One: in the studious and considered view of numerous expositors of Bible prophecy, the affairs of the kings of the North and the South have been entirely fulfilled, ending with the expulsion of the last King of the North, the Ottomans, from Palestine in 1917, by General Lord Allenby, who liberated Jerusalem on December 9, 1917, without firing a shot. Beyond that immensely significant date, no king of the north or king of the south is indicated; the series of these terminates at this date. There is no future king of the south OR north, according to God’s word.
The first article of which we are aware that recognized this immensely vital achievement was written by a man named Fry, and published in The Testimony, c.1918!
Since that time several other scholars, including the present writer, have come to the same conclusion by following carefully the final several verses of Daniel 11, where the event is prophesied.
Therefore, the first reason for this opinion is that it is historical – already fulfilled, and no longer a subject of anxious speculation for the future.The second reason why the Gogian affair is (nearly) irrelevant to current Believers is that, by the time that event occurs, they shall have been gathered from their homes, and harvested from the memorial graves of the ages, and gathered to the Judgment Seat of Christ. By that time they shall have received their rewards, of whatever quality, and the righteous shall have taken on immortality in His service! Indeed, our studied conclusion is, that they shall be on hand personally and be witness to the incursion of Gog’s force toward God’s Land in the words of Ezekiel.
The third consideration involves the current status of Great Britain and its current ability (or will) to resist the Gogian confederacy. Does anyone seriously believe that Britain would take up a position against any invader such as Russia, to defend Israel and some minor Peninsular Islamic States?
In the first place, Britain has no real power to fulfill the task. Additionally, it appears Britain’s general consensus would probably conclude it more convenient to allow the Jewish state to be overpowered by such a force and put entirely out of commission.
Such a result would greatly simplify “things” in the Middle East (in the Western view).
There is a valid fourth consideration, in addition to these.
The scriptural record of the supposed voice of fierce opposition of the merchants of the earth (thought by earlier students to be Britain), Sheba and Dedan, as in Ezekiel 38:13 (the whimper, Art thou come to take a spoil?) is an interrogatory, not a statement of resistance, but of dread on their parts.
Note carefully, as we study this occurrence, there is NO voice of concern from Ammon, Moab, Edom, Assyria, the PLO or any of the Proximal Islamic states.
Why is this true? We believe it is because they no longer exist when Gog approaches!
These Gulf peoples are voicing their fear that Gog’s intent is also to acquire their lands for a spoil. There is no hint in Ezekiel’s prophecy of any armed resistance by these or others to Gog at all, prior to Gog’s utter consumption “on the mountains of Israel” long before his forces can cause any threat to the Jewish State, which at that time, in our opinion, is securely under the personal control of the returned Lord Jesus and His Saints from Zion.
Indeed, the Prophet Obadiah states clearly that at that earlier conflict, Saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (verse 21).
He is here in the earth – in Israel – when that assault takes place!
Likewise, there is also no hint of Gog’s overrunning the Land of Israel, driving the Jews southward “into Egypt” literally, as was believed by earlier students (in the mid-19th century).
Seriously – would the Egyptians of today allow six million Jews from the north to take refuge in their land from any enemy? Of course not! The minute any Jew crossed the Suez Canal he would be slaughtered in today’s Egypt, given the climate of Jew-hatred now pervasive there!
The conjecture of Jewish refuge, yet again being admitted by Egypt, in today’s climate is ludicrous!
The Prophecies Are Clear!
We feel strongly that brethren should actively, prayerfully, diligently, and personally search the scriptures for themselves in this End Time – and attempt to place their emphasis where the Father places His, and His prophets placed theirs: upon the plight of the Jewish people in the End Time, their hazardous geopolitical exposure to their hostile and murderous neighboring Islamic enemies … and how these complex issues shall affect Israel, as our Father’s Earnest of the kingdom age, and bring peace, confidence and real safety to it.
In our opinion, these events are necessary, and preparatory to the Gogian affair.
Not one of these proximate Islamic States or entities is mentioned in the Gogian account, so each one is necessarily removed from the scene PRIOR to that event. In short, they no longer exist at that time!
Their obliteration by Christ and the Saints (Obadiah v. 21) paves the way for the real, genuine, bona fide “peace and safety” of God’s people just prior to the Gogian invasion.
The prophesied events of Isaiah 11 set the stage for the Return of the Jews from all nations – with emphasis on the Islamic nations, as verse 12 illustrates – and from the “islands of the sea” – all the other places to which they were dispersed. The return from Islamic states is almost complete at this moment; only a paltry number of Jews remain in Iraq, Iran and Syria at this time.
The prophet Obadiah tells succinctly of God’s revenge upon Esau – the perpetual enemy of Jacob – and of his last end. By outlining the conquests of Israel over Esau (Edom) Obadiah gives us a definitive picture of just who the latter-day Edom IS, and it is identifiable as Hezbollah in Lebaon, Hamas in Gaza, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its savage enemies of Israel today in Israel’s Judea and Samaria, (see Obadiah, vv. 18, 19).
The narrative of Isaiah 63: 1-6 is perhaps the first word picture of the returned Messiah of Israel, there seen utterly destroying the inhabitants of ancient Bozrah (capital of Edom). This action is part of the prophecy of Obadiah, and follows the detailed revelations about Esau’s fate in Ezekiel 35.
Psalm 83 is also pivotal to this phase of Bible prophecy. There is found a concise list of the End Time enemies of the nation of Israel (verses 6-8) and is the only list of Israel’s current enemies as being specifically these polities.
It has not been fulfilled – and could not be so until the time when “Israel” as a named nation was again in existence (since 1948).
In addition, at least fifty other, scattered scriptural references indicate the necessarily EARLIER conquest of all the enemies of Israel (and enemies of God, cf. Micah 5:1,2) between the Rivers Nile and Euphrates, PRIOR to the Gogian affair.
In our opinion, such conquest is the first goal of the returned Savior, amounting to clearance of the Abrahamic Inheritance of all interlopers and intruders – Arabic, Druze, B’hai, Christian, PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, “Palestinian,” pagan, Animist, heathen, Samaritan, Copt, and ALL other Gentiles.
With His nascent kingdom thus secured, Messiah begins the operational conduct of His kingdom – His building of the Millennial Temple, His disarmament of Israel, His consummation of His covenant with them, and all other operations.
It is only then, after having secured His people, assuring their safety and confidence, do the powerful forces of Islam and Rosh congeal to attempt to displace the “new king” of Israel. It is a colossally fatal error on their parts, and is fatally wrought upon that coalition immediately it makes its move upon God’s newly pacified people, to be then openly apparent to all observers.
As we so often state: Gog and its confederates invade Israel with the intent to take a great spoil, but instead inherit graves “in Israel” at that future time, but at present, the Yarkon Gorge, the international boundary between Syria and Jordan, east of the Sea of Galilee (according to Young).
Regular readers will see this is as reiteration of many previous papers on the subject. Our reason for this persistent exposition is that the message has not yet reached many otherwise earnest and diligent lovers of God and His Word, who, if they just would put their godly minds to work on the issues, would see clearly that much change has taken place, and many things have evolved since 1865, and are no longer sensible in that earlier context of understanding.
The needed “keys” to unlock the scrolls of prophecy are NOW in existence. It is the End Time! Little remains to our imaginations (or interpretive expertise) to be accomplished.
The kingdom of God is imminent!
The Bridegroom cometh!
Sing and shout in joyous love and appreciation for His mercy, as shall His mountains and even the trees of the field for joy!
<HEL MD/USA 12M> ~3,450 words.
H E Lafferty
One wonderful result of the Gogian conflict with Israel is that it establishes concrete testimony to the heathen (the nations) of that day, that God has punished His people for their transgressions; as Ezekiel 39:23 says - And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
Israel of Today?
Some have claimed that these verses in Ezekiel 39 refer to Israel of today, dwelling in their land, partially regathered from the nations, but grossly "trespassing" against God - and that the supposed "punishment" of the Gogian invasion is to be exacted upon them for not recognizing and returning to God by acknowledging Christ as their Messiah during their present residence there. That their opportunity to do so is being wasted during their present sojourn in the land of Israel. That Gog is sent to punish them and drive them forth from their land into exile in Egypt ... or somewhere.
We can think of hardly any supposition more far-fetched ... or more opposed to scripture! Such a claim betrays a serious misunderstanding of God's expressed will for His people.
In the first place, Israel is not dwelling "safely" in their land today - witness their incredible military strength and huge defense budget expended just to remain free of enemy invasion. In no sense are they dwelling safely today. Their citizens even today are subject to incoming missiles from Gaza and Lebanon, and subject to even greater threats from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and factions in Jordan.
In the second place, the People's modern history is progressing perfectly along prophetic lines - their present sojourn being the mere, but necessary, preliminary path to their awesome conversion to God's way forecasted in Zechariah 12 and 13, which gives poignant details of Israel's recognition and acceptance of the returned Christ at His second appearance to them in power and great glory. They shall at that time mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, abjectly repenting of their collective sins and wholeheartedly accepting His sovereignty and kingship over them ... but before that time, not so.
In the third place, Ezekiel's words in verse 23 indicate that they all fell by the sword. If that should happen to Israel today, it would bring shame and degradation to the very name of God, Who has absolutely PROMISED that Israel shall never again be scattered. He shall PLANT them in their Land, as he is doing, and shall not pluck them up. Jeremiah 24:6.
The subject passage, in revealing: they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid, is clearly a reference to the conditions stated in I Kings 4:25: And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. This was their peaceful, safe condition under the reign of Solomon, and was a reflection of the promises they were given in Leviticus 26: 5,6, the perfect peace which had been promised to OBEDIENT Israelites before they entered their inheritance. That state of their polity was perfect fulfillment of the entirety of this blessing under Solomon, whose reign of peace is a perfect forecast of that to be established by Christ in the Solomonic phase of His imminent kingdom in Israel:
Lev 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
Lev 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Lev 26:6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
Lev 26:7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
Lev 26:10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
Lev 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
Lev 26:12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
The entirety of this prophecy in Leviticus was fulfilled for a short time under Solomon, and is not possibly a description of the nation today ... although today's Jewish State admittedly fulfills most of those conditions except their dwelling in peace and accepting God's sovereignty as a nation, which they yet do not.
Everyone knows the sequel to the days of Solomon.
The kingdom of the Twelve Tribes was split into Two and Ten Tribes. The Ten abandoned Jerusalem as its center of the worship of God and turned to idols and other profane practices. Later, Judah (the Two) fell into the same abominable practice of idol worship. Both nations have long borne that "shame" of turning from YHVH to idols and of their non-acceptance of Jesus at His first coming.
Their subsequent, exhaustive punishment has been the result of the transgression of idolatry, first by the Ten and later by the Two Tribes. The largest proportion of the Ten have not yet returned to their land; a large portion of the Two have done so. The Jews in Israel today do not practice idolatry as did their forefathers. Indeed, the Two never did again after returning to their Land from Babylon; they had learned that portion of God's will quite adequately. Their second exile was triggered by their rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah at His first coming. <HEL PP#19, code 3M> ~1220 words.
H E Lafferty
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!