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Contents

  1. 1 No. 132: INTERPRETING DANIEL AND THE REVELATION
  2. 2  The Lord’s Dreadful “Cup of Trembling:” Now in Islamic Hands
  3. 3 No. 291: Observations on the Gogian Invasion of Israel
  4. 4 No. 195: EARTHQUAKES IN DIVERS PLACES    (LUKE 21-11)
  5. 5 No. 177: 20  YEARS OF RESEARCH REVEALS: JERUSALEM BELONGS TO THE JEWS.
  6. 6 No. 288: U. S. and Russia to Seek Golan Return to Syria
  7. 7 No. 118: ON WHICH DAY WAS THE LORD JESUS CRUCIFIED?
  8. 8 No. 285: Report: Obama to use UN to divide Jerusalem
  9. 9 No.283: Syria and Iraq – Being Re-formed into Assyria?
  10. 10 No. 282: The False Prophet 
  11. 11 No. 281: Coming in September: a UN Resolution Establishing a “Palestinian” State
  12. 12 No. 280:Israel: As a Sparrow Alone on the Housetop
  13. 13 NO 279: “No Place Else To Go”
  14. 14 No. 513: The Final “Generation”
  15. 15 No. 512:  Here Am I: Send Me!
  16. 16 No. 511: Virulence of Sin
  17. 17 No. 510: The Trinity
  18. 18 No. 509: A CLOSER LOOK AT MICAH  5
  19. 19 No. 508: THE BIBLE AND THE LATTERDAYS
  20. 20 No. 507: A CRITICAL LOOK AT ISAIAH 16
  21. 21 No. 276: The Prickling Briers
  22. 22 No. 275: The  Briers and Thorns
  23. 23 No. 274: Watchman, What of the Night?
  24. 24  No. 273: Rosh Hashana and the Shemitah Year in Israel
  25. 25 No. 272: Psalm 83:  A Verse By Verse Consideration 
  26. 26 No. 271: “Unusual Events” of Israel’s Wars
  27. 27 No. 270: Events of the Blood Red Moons
  28. 28 No. 269: The Second Coming of Christ ... Under What Conditions?
  29. 29 No. 268: Are You Listening to God? Soon it Will be too Late!
  30. 30 No. 267: Events of the Blood Red Moons?
  31. 31 No. 191: THE STONES  CRY OUT
  32. 32 No. 179: ISRAEL’S PERMANENT PLACE IN THE HOLY LAND
  33. 33 No. 265: AWAKEN, HIS PEOPLE! THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

No. 132: INTERPRETING DANIEL AND THE REVELATION

Graham Bacon

    The books of Daniel and The Revelation provide a unique partnership of Bible Prophecies.  Together they encompass an astounding sweep of history of God’s two remnant communities- the Jews and the true Christians.

    It seems appropriate that the two thousand years of Israel’s history from Abraham to Jesus, should be matched with two thousand years of Christian history from the days of the Lord Jesus to today, particularly in view of the fact that they followed such a parallel decline.   That in itself, when the destinies are placed alongside each other, confirms the perfidy of human nature.  God would not pass up any opportunity to comment on that which, in The Revelation,  He does with gusto.

    In a sense, Daniel’s prophecy is not complete.  In Daniel 12-8, Daniel wanted to know more about the later ages and the revealing angel said, (V.9), “Go your way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end”.  John, writing The Revelation at the end of the Jewish Second Temple period, distressed that no one seemed to be able to keep the historical ball rolling, was told, “Do not weep. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals”.   Here are two more symbolic references to Jesus Christ, and He prevailed by His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, to open the seals and to continue the history in prophecy where Daniel  left off.  He was worthy to open the seals which Daniel had placed on the ‘partly’  written manuscript.  Daniel’s unanswered query in 12-8  was now to be answered in a continuation of the historic story in The Revelation

HOW DANIEL AND THE REVELATION WORK TOGETHER:

    The authors of both these Bible books, Daniel and John, were provided with visions and utterances which revealed certain aspects of the future to beyond  Jesus Christ.  To begin with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon wanted to know what would happen after his time. Daniel was instructed by God to write it all down for everyone to have access to that information,  together with Daniel’s explanations to King Nebuchadnezzar .The record is in Daniel  2.

    The vision provided to King Nebuchadnezzar  was of the figure of a man constructed of various metals.  It was ground to powder and blown away by  a stone made without human endeavour which grew to fill the whole earth.  The ‘metal man’s’  head was gold, the chest and arms were of silver, the stomach and thighs made of brass and the legs to the toe nails, of iron.  The feet had an additional feature in that they were part iron and part clay.

    Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon was the head of gold and that subsequently, three empires would succeed his, the whole four represented by four metals.  The purpose of the clay was to indicate that the strongest, IRON, the fourth empire, would eventually be weakened by the ‘lumps of clay’.  The stone was explained as the Kingdom of God replacing all other rule on the earth.   In chapters 7 and 8, four animal equivalents are introduced, a lion followed by a bear, the third a leopard and the fourth just called a ‘beast’.  Three identities  are given, Babylonians. Medes and Persians as a duo, and then the Greeks.  The fourth beast obviously, was the Romans.  The ‘metal man’ was mainly a sequencing representation.  The total time period from Babylon to the establishment of the Kingdom of God is at least 2600 years.  There are no gaps in the ‘man image’, so the legs are very long, representing the beginning of the  Roman Empire, ‘say’ BC100 to beyond the year 2000.

    When Daniel asked his informing angel, “What shall the end of these things be?”, he had already been told the end events-- the Kingdom of God filling all the earth.  He had already been given some time periods and was to be provided with more, indicating various eras of  time from 1260 to 2300 years.  His question could be more accurately expressed as, “What will be the events leading to the end?”  He was beginning to understand that the total ‘metal man’ encompassed a long time and the period of the fourth beast, in particular, was to be an unrecognisable and terrifying prospect.  He could not name any animal to match the fearsome details of the fourth beast.  The problem was that Daniel almost certainly did not know where Rome was and would have  no concept of the development  of such a complex and diverse empire.  He was told to close up and seal the words.  He had questions which could only be answered later by another, more informed person.

    There were four metals and four corresponding animals.  Three had interpretations provided directly from Scripture and the fourth symbols, metal and animal equivalent to the Romans,  are quite obvious.  Can we find anywhere in Scripture a similar equivalent for clay?  Of the thirty five occurrences of the word ‘clay’, only in Jeremiah 18 is clay a symbol of any nation.   There it is connected to Israel as clay in the hands of God, an entirely unrelated matter.   Hence, the only connection of clay with any nation is entirely unrelated to Daniel  2.  There, clay is clearly noted as an ‘influence’, an historical development, which weakened the Roman  Empire in its later manifestation.  That was the effects of the French Revolution, which crippled the ‘Holy’ Roman Empire in the early nineteenth century.   The events which led to this situation are symbolically described in The Revelation . This comprehensive appreciation of Daniel’s prophecy dovetails into a continuing history of the complex, fourth iron beast.  If this was not the case, the Bible exposition of the fourth beast is left in the air.   BUT that is NOT so; the fourth beast symbols of Daniel are exactly reproduced and augmented in The Revelation .  We are not left wondering.  The concrete connections are made.  The beast with ten horns of Daniel 7-7 reappears in Revelation 12-3,  13-1 and chapter 17.  The Revelation provides a further detail;   the beast also has seven heads, and, in  chapter 17 , is red in colour.   The Romans who started off as metallic iron, are equated by Daniel to a beast, and that beast is reproduced in The Revelation in more detail.  Nothing could be clearer than that the unfolding course of Roman history, in its beastly aspects, is further enlarged in The Revelation .

   THE QUESTION NATURALLY OCCURS……Why does the number of metals and animals equal FOUR?  Does it represent four world empires?  NO.  There has been no world empire.  Empires significant in world history? NO.  There have been a dozen or more in China, Japan, Cental America and Europe.   The number four cannot represent the empires which occupied the Holy Land.  That number is at least six, the four metal equivalents above, PLUS the Arab Saracens and the Turks. The number four represents the empires which subdued the Jewish people

    The first three empires which dominated the Israelites, are easily accounted for as Babylon, the Mede and Persian combination, and the Greeks.  The Roman Empire was the fourth, which not only ruled the Jews in Israel and then exiled them, but ALSO dominated the European continent where the key section of the Jewish diaspora was located,  for another seventeen hundred years.  Shortly after the ‘Holy’ Roman Empire was extinguished , the modern State of Israel was created and NO empire ruled the Jews any more.  That is why there are only four metals and four animals.  They represent the four empires which would subjugate the people.  There would only be four of them.   That is why we can be sure that NO nation in future, will suppress the Israeli people. There were only four metals in the ‘metal man’ till the coming of Jesus Christ.  Each of the four has had its day.  There are no more metals and, it seems, no more subjugation of the Israeli people.

    MORE EVIDENCE  for the Continuous Historical continuation of Daniel in The Revelation.

    Any serious Bible student eventually has to weigh the evidences for the various approaches to interpreting The Revelation .  Within the last book of the Bible is an enormous array of prophetic visions and utterances which bear on the future of its authorship. Some interpretations place the fulfilment of its prophetic visions in our present and our future with little, if any, application to the early Christian period.   To the present author, this view can only be held  as a secondary application because the continuous historical connection to the events and kingdoms of Daniel’s prophecy is so strong.  An overwhelming case exists for this continuous historical connection, rather than leaving a long period of history unattended by the Bible.  Why would God leave nearly 2,000 years of  history of the Jews and Christians blank when He had devoted nearly all the Old Testament to 2,000 years of the story of the Jews?  The last 1900 years of history has been full of hugely important events for God’s plan and people.   The ‘metal man’ had NO gap.   Neither does the continuous Biblical historical/prophetic account.

    The Revelation explains itself!  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants  things which must shortly come to pass”.  (Rev. 1-1).  The authorship was not later than 90 AD.  The history, to which The Revelation was going to refer, was to begin ‘shortly’.   The two Greek words rendered  ‘shortly’, are separately translated  ‘with quickness’—‘with speed’.   The idea re-occurs in 1 Timothy 3-14 where Paul says, “I hope to come to you shortly”  Hence the historical drama of The Revelation was to open ‘very soon’.   Since the historical sequence opens with the breaking of the first and second ‘seals’, in Rev. 6-1 & 3,  the progress of the white and red horses, interpreted as the spread of the Gospel into the corners of the Roman Empire and the subsequent persecution of the Christians, the action certainly WAS under way ‘VERY SOON’.   This is a perfect interpretation of the opening requirements of the prophecy with the historical happenings.  It connects with Daniel perfectly

    Chapter 2 and 3 of The Revelation describe conditions in the early Christian church.  Of the seven churches chosen as representative of the first century Christian community, ONLY TWO are commended and five of them have serious problems.  This snapshot is a necessary preliminary to the account of the growing corruption and evil in the Christian church which followed in the early centuries.  There is no need to wonder from whence the greed, the violence and the false doctrines of early Christianity came.   The Revelation tells us.  It was representatively present at Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatyra, Sardis and Laodicea.  They never completely got rid of those evils.  These two chapters are historical preludes to explain the genesis of the apostasy of  the Christian church that was going to be symbolically expounded in the bulk of the prophecy.  The seeds sown in the first century grew into huge ‘weeds’ in the church in later centuries.  Much of the rest of the prophecy would show how those ‘weeds’ were going to grow.  Smyrna and Philadelphia were commended in the first century.  They represent the faithful remnant of Christians whom God  preserved through the centuries to us in our own time.

    Lest John and his readers should be overwhelmed with hopelessness by the tragic events that The Revelation was going to record, chapters 4 and 5 provide a vision of the glorious conclusion.  Here the crux of the total message emerges.  The Revelation is the story about the ‘goodies and the baddies’ and the ‘goodies’ win.

    Having set the scene and fixed the conditions at the starting point, the ‘very soon’ historical event sequences begin to roll in chapter 6, with the breaking open of the ‘seven seals’.

    One of the highly appropriate features of The Revelation  in relation to a continuous historical interpretation, are the comments by, and messages from God, connected with the historical circumstances involved.  After describing the persecutions and trials suffered by the faithful believers in the second to the fourth centuries, the fifth ‘seal’ in Rev. 6-9 conveys their cries asking how long their miseries were to continue.  The reply is ‘ until the number  of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, would be completed’.  The torture, the inquisitions and the burnings would continue for another thousand years.  Early in The Revelation this warning occurred, that such injustices would continue, first by a falling empire and, later, by an evil church gone mad.  For true Christians around the fourth century, the message of Revelation 6 is spine chilling.

    God became increasingly angry at the slide of the Christian church into corruption, violence and dictatorship. His efforts to discipline the compliant population of Europe were in vain, as expressed in Re. 9-20,21. “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass and wood which can neither see nor hear nor walk;  and they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immortality or their thefts”.  The description of the evils of Middle Ages Europe is so real to history, and the reaction of God so appropriate, as to be unavoidable in its applicability to the account of the times.  In a section of Revelation chapter 16, V.9,  symbolising the shattering events of the French Revolution in symbol, another and  similar remark is made by God concerning that part of history. “They repented not  to give him glory”.  They blasphemed the God of heaven.  The whole history of the established church in Europe is an absolute disgrace.  It is inconceivable that God would let such a period go unchallenged and unremarked.  The Revelation account of God’s attempts to discipline his wayward Christian community, as an extension of the iron of the ‘metal man’ and the terrible beast of Daniel, is exactly as we would expect in a continuing story.

    In Revelation 6-12, the great river Euphrates is ‘dried up’, representing the evaporation of the Turkish Empire.  This was achieved by the end of World War 1, when European nations, particularly British Commonwealth forces, freed the Holy Land and, under the Balfour Declaration, made it available for a Jewish national home.  This was a fitting climax for a long procession of historical events referred to in The Revelation .  Whatever else may be happening to the actual waters of the Euphrates River today, The Revelation is primarily a book of symbol and the drying up of the Euphrates is a wonderful forecast of the demise of the Turkish Empire so that the Holy Land could become free.  It was achieved in W.W.1.   The land was free but without a nation.  W.W.2 drove the Jewish people back to their land.  The drying up of the Euphrates freed the land BUT, the European beast, who had been so wickedly evil, still endured.  The rest of The Revelation  describes the destruction of the unrepentant elements of Europe.

    YOU WILL NOTICE that, under this overall interpretation of The Revelation , the account has moved from the second through to the nineteenth century with occasional positively recorded comments from God on His reactions as European history unfolds. This is an enormously valuable tool in understanding that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men”,  as Daniel 4-17 declares.  That the foundation principle did not change in the Christian era. It is unthinkable that God would leave untold Christian generations in the dark about how He was ruling and acting in the last nineteen hundred years.

    Daniel’s fourth ROMAN  beast with ten horns reappears in The Revelation to reinforce the concept of a continuous history.  The beast appears in different stages of European history in different forms in The Revelation . It is variously described as the Beast of the Sea,  the Beast of the Earth, and the image of the Beast, and the picture of a woman sitting on the Beast.  This is a perfect way to illustrate symbolically, the changing forms of the pagan Roman Empire into the reformed Roman Empire, to the ‘Holy’ Roman Empire,  to the current Roman Catholic Church, and, in the future, the European Union.   The present Catholic church is weak and broken, like clay mixed in with iron, in comparison with its awesome power of several centuries ago,   It cannot torture and kill people now.  That fits perfectly with the weakened iron written of in Daniel.  The Roman iron has to continue until the ‘Christ-stone’  strikes the edifice and grinds it to powder.  We see today a changed established church, striving to regain its popularity, and, in this or similar form, the ‘iron-Rome’ will continue to exist in this weakened form as Daniel’s ‘metal-man’ demonstrates.

    It is essential to retain the ‘iron-equals-Rome’ identity to correctly understand the significance of this marvellous prophetic record.  There are only FOUR metals, FOUR animals, and FOUR empires and they span the time from Babylon to Christ returned.   They are all clearly identifiable by plain Scriptural  references.  The role of the clay is also clearly pinpointed as a weakening agency in Rome-influenced Europe of the past.   The clay has done its job. The story is straight forward.  The priority for the interpretation of Daniel and The Revelation  along the lines advocated here, CANNOT be avoided.   This application of The Revelation does not depend on any conjecture of what may happen in the future.  The parallels, the similitude, the correspondence, have already been achieved in history, as fulfilled and established facts.  Whatever basic interpretation, additional to that proposed here is favoured, it must necessarily take second place.

    We should not be fretful that the affairs of Israel are not referred to in The Revelation, except for one fleeting remark in chapter 1.   Ample information is provided in the Old Testament prophets about the complete destiny of the nation of Israel well into the Kingdom age.  Very often such information is repeated in the Old Testament and there is no need to refer to those details again in The Revelation .   That book concerns the destiny of spiritual Israel, the Christians.  As it is, there is a lot more information about the future of Israel in the Old Testament and the rest of the New, without any need to pursue again in The Revelation .

    On this basis, the book of Revelation contains what seems to be needful.   It presents many comments by God on His reactions to the events of the chaotic progress of Christianity.   It reveals the many attempts He made to warn Europe’s inhabitants of their devious behaviour and of the disciplinary actions he took at various stages.  Instead of being practically uninformed of any of these indications, we are provided with many details  about how God reacted and intervened in western world affairs over the nineteen hundred years from John.                                 G.S.B.

 The Lord’s Dreadful “Cup of Trembling:” Now in Islamic Hands

Several of the nations of the world are now aflame – and being consumed from within by internecine strife. Inevitably it is true of Islamic nations almost altogether. Muslims of the Shia persuasion are now adroitly and competently killing their fellow Muslims of the Sunni persuasion (and vice versa) by the hundreds of thousands each year. 250,000 have perished in Syria alone during the last five years’ strife.

It is a strange phenomenon, given that Islam’s only REAL enemy is tiny Israel, which sits in their midst with all the characteristics (as it appears to Islam) of a malignant cancer!

But their attention has been divinely diverted in other directions by the will of Almighty God!

We should not be surprised that the prophetic Word has much to say about this conflict.

It is a conflict which the present day prophecy student seems largely to have overlooked – or simply to have ignored – perhaps because of its familiarity: its long-standing term of sixty eight years (since 1948).

Curiously, and inexplicably, it seems that many of our fellow students are concentrating instead on the Gogian War of Ezekiel 38, 39, to the exclusion of the present palpable conflict.

But in our studied (scriptural) view, the present conflict must be resolved in Israel’s favour PRIOR to the expected Gogian invasion of God’s Land and People. Its resolution shall come resultant from the personal intervention of the LORD Jesus Christ at His Second Advent.

The present infighting of the Islamic peoples “round about” Israel figures deeply into this equation.

After many serial (and failed) frantic attempts by Islam to wipe Israel off the map and take their Land, these fierce enemies have lately been overtaken by internal disputes which effectively are routing their pressure away from Israel – greatly reducing their threats to God’s People who are now obediently regathering, faithful to His command, in their Promised Land at the eastern end of the Great Sea.

Can we discern the scriptural reason for this diversion?

We believe it to be true: Yes, we can.

There are only three references to the LORD’s “Cup of Trembling” in His word. They are clearly definitive of an orderly process which taken in their order, indicate a clear progression of the Almighty’s favour being transferred onto His People in preference to His former favour of His enemies.

In this action, we believe that the Cup of His Fury has been removed from His People forever.

If we honestly analyze this, we are forced to the conclusion that the marked reassignment of His Fury toward His (and Israel’s) enemies took place noticeably with the War of Independence of 1948-49.

It happened in the close wake of The Shoah (Holocaust) of 1933-1945 – the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (cf., Jeremiah 30:7 - Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the Time of Jacob's Trouble; but he shall be saved out of it).

That final episode of God’s wrath being poured out upon His People is acknowledged by scholars as the most intense, protracted, horrendous, and effective persecution of innocent people in historya time of trouble such as never was, and one which gave origin to the term “genocide.”

Now we transition forward a mere three years – a remarkable time in which the world’s nations soberly experienced a fleeting perception of the intensity and the horror of that persecution; it was a realization that resulted in the Jewish State of Israel becoming mandated by the UNO, under the laws of international jurisprudence.

It was at that moment, we believe, that the Cup of the Lord’s Fury was forever removed from the People of God. His favour toward them shifted patently during their War of Survival which followed their declaration of Statehood, and of Independence.

Proof of this allegation is that, when the dust of battle had settled, 660,000 Jews of the State of Israel, with no formalized army of its own, with almost no modern weapons, with only meager financial means, but with great faith and tenacity, had held off and had defeated soundly the armies of six Arab nations which lay furtively “round about” them.

As a result, Israel’s legal land holdings increased nearly 300% over the territory she had been awarded by the UNO Mandate! Israel has had numerous following victories – all contrary to expectations!

The Cup of His Fury had indeed been removed … and the prophet’s words (so absolutely certain of fulfillment that they are stated in the pluperfect form, or “past perfect” tense) promise that His People “hast (have) drunk at the hand of the LORD, the Cup of His Fury…”

         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.

At this particular moment in time (2016), the above is an established fact.

Jerusalem (put by metonymy for Israel and its people) HAS drunk deeply of the Cup.

The next reference shows clearly that the Cup should be removed from His People, and that they shall NO MORE be required to drink from it, nor to taste its bitter dregs.

This is confirmation of the first action. The Almighty has successfully “pled the cause” of His now obedient People, whose obedience to His commandment is clearly seen in their physical return to His Land with determination and tenacity! Cf., Micah 5:1-3.

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 hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again (the removal is patently permanent):

Now the scene shifts abruptly, as foretold in the words of Zechariah:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. Zech. 12:2

We ask simply: How can there be devised any descriptive phrase clearer than this one – the statement of the conditions of Jerusalem’s becoming ITSELF a Cup of Trembling to the nations “round about,” than this? It is THE condition that we observe today!

The tenacious enemies of God and His People have attempted to make successful war on God’s People in four hugely-mounted and extraordinary conflicts, and have failed abjectly and fatally – and notably – in the eyes of all the nations. Their evil intentions toward Israel have been blunted by their internecine animosity of Arab versus Arab – the struggle of one major sect (Shia) to dominate and wipe out their brethren of a different sect (Sunni)!

It is an aberration that is inexplicable … baffling … mystifying to the untutored mind!

However … not so to the diligent investigator of God’s Word.

The “small prophet” (author of a short work) testifies that it shall be so: For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen (nations): as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. Obadiah 1:15.

Likewise, the Prophet Joel, writing concerning these same nearby enemies: Behold, I will raise them (the Jews – captives of past ages) out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head: 8  And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it. Joel 3: 7, 8.

This is a rather romantic way of telling these vile enemies that they are now fated to drink deeply of the bitter Cup of the Lord’s Fury in a direct, divine payback for their treatment of His People in past and present ages. The Day of Vengeance of our God: Cf., Isaiah 34: 8.

The promise is repeated again in symbol much earlier in God’s word in the account of Samuel, the great prophet of God, in the prominent episode having to do with the punishment of Agag, King of the Amorites: 1 Samuel 15:33 - And Samuel said, As thy sword (Agag’s sword) hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

Although contrary to our humane sensibilities, the Godly destruction of Israel’s enemies of the present day shall be pervasive – even to the demise of ALL its young children and infants of days. The nests of vipers are destined to be destroyed completely – with no seed remaining – just as the Nazi hunters murdered the Jews of Europe in the Shoah. Every soul of man, woman and child was destroyed by these maniacal killers. Both Edom (the present day PLO, etc.) and “Babylon” are pictured as being so destroyed as graphically depicted by the psalmist:

Psalm 137:7 - Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones (even their infants!) against the stones.

                      <HEL MD/USA code 8P> A GPL Bulletin, Aug. 24, 2016

 

No. 291: Observations on the Gogian Invasion of Israel

Students of the word of God have long speculated upon the earth-shaking conflict foretold by Ezekiel 38 and 39 as being the singular (Gogian) event which brings about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. In every consideration of this conflict of which we are aware the opinion seems to be so.

But is it so? Really?

We are aware this view is the “received wisdom” of some earlier expositors. On the other hand, we believe the subject deserves another review, not that we haven’t reviewed it on prior occasions. We certainly have – and have done so in great depth. But we devote this Bulletin to that subject alone.

Our studied convictions may be summarized in a few words: It does not bring the visible Return; more verbiage will be required to explain our reasons for our opinions.

We are just amazed to continue to read endless journal articles which are exclusively devoted to the Gogian affair, touting it as “the next big thing” that is to be expected in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. We beg to differ on several grounds and for multiple reasons …

Firstly, The account in Ezekiel presupposes the presence of Christ the King in Israel PRIOR to its occurrence. Ezekiel 38, verses 8, 11 and 14 state clearly that Israel has returned to their Land in some indeterminable number, and are …

(a) dwelling “safely” (a divinely revealed fact: vs. 8);

(b) that Israel is “… at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (here, it is Gog’s opinion: “thou shalt say…” vs. 11); and

(c) again, the testimony of YHVH by Ezekiel’s pen – “In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?” It is reality, plain and simple!

The conditions in our opinion cannot be achieved apart from Christ’s personal appearance.

Beginning in chapter 25, Ezekiel’s account is clearly a continuous historical fulfillment of end time prophecies beginning with terrible punishment of the Proximal Islamic “nations round about” Israel – enumerated specifically one after the other through chapter 32. Chapter 33 elaborates the responsibility of the Watchman; emphasis is placed upon sounding the alarm of war when the enemy draws near. Chapter 34 warns the “shepherds of Israel” as to their conduct in the end time; their responsibilities to the people. Chapters 35 and 36 detail the judgments on Mt. Seir (Edom), clearly parallel with the second recovery (Isaiah 11:11) of Israel from the nations – concurrent with the Valley of Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37, which ends in the happy condition of “David My Servant” becoming their King, ruling over them in person, during which time Israel shall have become “an exceeding great army” ... reminiscent of today!

Notice the strict continuity in these chapters – and continuing onward to the Millennium of the last chapters. They give earlier details that are entirely parallel to the same narratives found in Isaiah 15 through 42 in which the same series of judgments may be perceived, ending with “… My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” It is a depiction of the return of that Servant, the LORD Jesus Christ, to rule over Israel personally and eternally! Both series involve NONE of the nations listed as being confederate with Gog, but describe conflicts which are absolutely necessary in order to set the stage for the Gogian conflict!

Secondly, Israel is said to be the object of Gog’s aggression because it then possesses “a spoil and a prey” (38:12): Gog intends … To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”

This verse highlights two of the additional, notable features of Israel of that day, but not of the present day: (a) it then holds a great cache of wealth. A closer translation of the first phrase above is … “to spoil the despoilers,” which indicates that (b) the “spoil” that Israel possesses has been taken from another power or powers – a fact that is verified by the later phrase, that Israel have gotten cattle and goods” (representative of great wealth) … and have acquired it IN WARFARE. This almost chance remark absolutely confirms that this great spoil which interests the Gogian host is “the wealth of the Gentiles” which is referenced by Zechariah 14: 4 – “… the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” In our view, Christ’s nascent Kingdom at that time possesses all this great wealth.

Readers/scholars should note carefully these fine details, for they give firm certification of an otherwise hidden sequence of events – an order of fulfillment which was evidently not important to earlier expositors, or of which they did not become aware!

We suspect that their awareness was lacking because they also lacked many of the “keys” to the end-time prophecies which are now readily available. We could enumerate at least ten or twelve of these, but intend to confine our remarks here to less than that number. ALL these prophecies are not presented in concentrated or distilled form, but are dispersed throughout the writings of both “major” and “minor” prophets of Israel. They therefore require more effort and closer scrutiny to collate and present to readers; we must suggest that the label of being “minor” is a terrible disservice to Hosea through Zechariah. Their revelations are fully as important (and flesh out earlier prophecies) as those of Isaiah through Ezekiel (“majors”) – just shorter.

We draw the readers’ attention to several of these important, vital prophecies which, when considered in context, prove that the return of Christ occurs at the beginning of this first phase of the end time conflicts of Israel with its nearby (proximal) enemies, and that He shall be in the Land and reigning from Mount Zion when the Gogian host forms up to come down against this nascent Kingdom of God then in place and prospering under Jesus the Christ of the Second Advent. Some observers believe that in this context, the Gogian affair may be some six to twelve years in future from today.

On the other hand, the first appearance – the invisible appearance – of the Lord to gather those who have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice (Psalm 50:5) shall be much sooner as shall be the events that follow the Judgment of the Saints … for these reasons:

These accounts are presented not necessarily in their order of importance or sequential appearance...

1.            Psalm 83. The destruction of these ten entities (not to be confused with the later-appearing toes of the Image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel 2) ends with a reference to the two houses of Israel: “That men (Israel) may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” That fact is realized only after He has come to them in power and great glory. See Zechariah 12 and 13.

2.            Obadiah 1: 18-20: The detailed destruction of the Palestinian Authority and all its tentacles (Esau) Hamas in Gaza (… plain of the Philistines) and Hezbollah in Lebanon (… even unto Zarephath) – five pinpointed areas occupied by “the Palestinians” of today. This conflict brings the distinct result that “… Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.” (verse 21)

3.            Ezekiel 34: 23-31: The destruction of Esau, ending with the condition that “… they (Israel) shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD,” only attainable after He appears to them! “… My Servant David (the returned Christ) a prince among them in verses 23, 24.

4.    Ezekiel 35: 11: The entire chapter concerns the same destruction of Esau/Edom, and foretells that “I will make myself known among them (Israel), when I have judged thee (Esau/PA).”

5.            Isaiah 63: 1-6: Emphasis on Edom, again – “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” (vs. 4; valid only after He has appeared to His People.)

6.          Joel 3: 14-17: Is against all the enemies of Israel: “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel … So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her anymore.” His presence among Israel necessary!

7.           Micah 5: Outlines an invasion by “Assyria,” which is now Iraq and Syria, probably disguised as IS, the Islamic State, whose stated objective is precisely that stated by Micah. The fate of IS, is stated as, “Thine hand (Israel’s hand – occurs with assistance of Messiah) – shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”  (verse 9)

8.          Ezekiel 28: 22-26: Concerns Zidon (Lebanon/including Hezbollah, today) – “Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.”

9.        Isaiah 32:18: “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Indicates the precise preparation for later invasion of Gog!

10.     Isaiah 24: 23: Speaks of the LORD reigning in Mount Zion; this condition follows upon punishments upon Tyre (Lebanon, today) in 23: 17 – among the “nations round about” which are to be subdued violently by Israel, Christ, and the Saints, in order to pacify and subdue the Land, creating the conditions of peace and security (Hebrew, betach) in the Land between the Rivers.

Additional aspects of these final conflicts are that many believe that Christ comes after the Gogian host has arrived in order to defeat Gog and deliver His covenanted Land. Conversely, the text of Ezekiel 38: 18 reveals to the student that “… My fury shall come up in My face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken.” These words literally tell us that it is solely by the power of the Almighty Himself that the Gogian host shall be utterly destroyed by His command; seven deadly elements of destruction are named in this chapter as the means of Gog’s demise. It is quite apparent that the already present King Jesus and His forces shall not be required for this great slaughter.

For the reasons above, it must be apparent to the astute Bible student that Jesus must be in Israel long before the Gogian adventure, and that the First Dominion of the Kingdom now under His rule has become extremely wealthy.

 He shall have taken down the bars and gates and destroyed Israel's weapons, which are no longer necessary (Zechariah 9:10), as He is the Father's power and “they” (Israelis) dwell safely in their Land without these human appurtenances of warfare. Gog’s destruction is detailed beginning in 38: 19 with a great “shaking” (earthquake), and proceeding with all the remaining terrifying and deadly elements enumerated in verses 21 and 22.

It should be evident to every Bible student that Russia would not dream of attacking Israel at the present time, as there could be little benefit; but after the Islamic nations round about are destroyed, we understand from Scripture that the outer ring of Islamic nations with their immense wealth will place the 'hooks in the jaws' which propel the Russian Gog into a fatal miscalculation. To the Gogian and Islamic minds of the Gogian demise, Israel is helpless and ripe for destruction; and that their new “king” is naïve and pitifully inept at governance of His people.

We cannot imagine the terror that His divine weapons shall bring to their addled minds. The pity may be that they will never fully realize just what has hit them! <H E  Lafferty,  MD/USA, code 8P>    Aug. 1, 2016    

 


No. 195: EARTHQUAKES IN DIVERS PLACES    (LUKE 21-11)

THE FIRST PART OF THIS ARTICLE IS COPIED FROM THE MELBOURNE AGE NEWSPAPER.  IT WAS WRITTEN BY ROBERT MATTHEWS AND FIRST APPEARED IN THE LONDON TELEGRAPH…..

MILLIONS OF LIVES AT RISK IF SNOOZING GIANT ERUPTS

"Few cities can boast so spectacular a backdrop as Naples.                                 To the south of the city, rearing up more than 1200 metres, is Mount Vesuvius, probably the most famous volcano on earth.                             All the tourist guides repeat the standard history of how Vesuvius killed thousands in the Roman towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii in AD79, and how the volcano has been sleeping since 1944.

What they don't say is that many experts think Vesuvius is preparing for a colossal eruption capable of killing tens of thousands in minutes!

Beneath (the picturesque peak, a vast clamber is thought to have been quietly filling with molten rock, for over 50 years. No one would worry too much about this were it not for a disturbing discovery recently made by vulcanologists. They found a huge rock plug in the 30-metre wide "conduit" of the volcano, like a stopper in a champagne bottle. When this cork goes POP, the effect is likely to be cataclysmic for the two million people living near or around the mountain. Many vulcanologists believe it will release a searing cloud of super-hcated ash and poisonous gas known as a pyroclastic flow.

                                                                           

Pvroclastic flows have been identified as the real killers in volcanic explosions such as that which devastated Pompeii.      Pliny the Younger gave the first eyewitness account from Vesuvius 1900 years ago. "A dark and horrible cloud was coming up behind us as we were fleeing, spreading over the earth like a flood. " Not until 1980 and the explosion of the Mount St Helens in Washington State in the United States, did scientists recognise the accuracy of  this  account.

Computer simulations of Mount Vesuvius present a TERRIFYING PICTURE. Once the rock plug gives way, a cloud of molten rock, ash and gas will be blasted nearly two kilometres into the sky.   There, held aloft by the heat of the volcano, the cloud may hang for hours.   BUT, once the heat from the initial blast subsides, the cloud will swoop down and flow along the ground at an enormous speed.    At that speed IT WOULD REACH THE OUTSKIRTS OF NAPLES IN ABOUT FIVE MINUTES.   Faced with this appalling prospect, the Italian Government set up a commission which, in 1995, unveiled its "emergency plan". It centres on evacuating the 700,000 people living in the high risk areas, in about 7 days.

However, many experts are skeptical about whether the emergency services can meet such a deadline---and whether Vesuvius will be so kind as to give them a week's warning.   The proposed evacuation has been embroiled in controversy since its publication. with one member of the five-strong commission, Professor Giuseppe Luongo, of the University of Naples, condemning it as `hopelessly optimistic'.   The plan's most vehement critic is Dr Flavio Dobran, a former professor of vulcanology at the Universities of Rome and Pisa, who claims that the next eruption of Mount Vesuvius could, WITHIN MINUTES DESTROY EVERYTHING IN A 101 KLM. RADIUS of the volcano, a region of A MILLION PEOPLE.

He believes that the evacuation of so large an area would develop into a deadly problem... "An evacuation alarm would probably, be given too late, in order to avoid a false alarm and expenditure of large national resources." Whatever the reliability of Dr. Dobran's estimates, history suggests that even the evacuation of the 700.000 could prove impossible.

The letters of Pliny the Younger reveal that the AD79 catastrophe unfolded over a very short time-scale.   It began around 1PM on August 24, when Mount Vesuvius blasted a column of super-heated ash and gas into the air.   Over the next seven hours. huge quantities of white pumice were dumped on the surrounding areas. At 8 PM the pumice turned a sinister gray colour .

Finally, around 1AM on August 25, 12 hours after the eruption began, the column of ash and gas collapsed on to Herculaneum , killing thousands.  Pompeii suffered a similar fate some hours later

.

The architects of the official evacuation plan insist that the huge monitoring effort now under way on Mount Vesuvius should give plenty of warning of impending disaster.   Current monitoring suggests that, for the time being, at least, it is `business as usual' inside the volcano. BUT.... 16 kilometres west of Vesuvius, the coastline has been rising for over 30 years.   Quite what significance this activity, miles from Vesuvius, holds for the volcano itself - and the hundreds of thousands living in its shadow- is far from clear!"

AN ARTICLE IN A MAGAZINE IN 1995, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"It is reported that the volcanoes immediately to the north and south of Rome, long dormant, are waking up and those to the south-east are 'rising like a sponge cake'.   They have risen 18 inches  (45 cm) in this century, with 12 of those inches (300 cm) occurring in the last 15 years.   The Italian geophysicists are concerned that the 1980-1995 period has coincided with the most intense seismic activity ever recorded in the area.   It is estimated that 3 miles underground and extending to 600,000 cubic metres, there is a mass of molten rock which is pushing and creating great pressure.     Revelation 18:7/8 says of the `great Harlot', which some think is symbolic of  a major religious organization,..     “She saith in her heart I sit a queen, and am no widow and shall never see sorrow.     Therefore shall her plagues come in ONE DAY…..DEATH , MOURNING AND FAMINE AND SHE SHALL BE UTTERLY BURNED WITH FIRE, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her."

COMMENTS:  Many Bible students look with dismay on the   ecclesiastical 'scene', realising that over the centuries the simple truths taught by the Lord Jesus and the disciples, have been dramatically altered by some organizations .    One  in particular seems to be identified in Revelation 17, sitting on SEVEN HILLS and described by the Lord Jesus as..."having a golden cup in her hand full  of  abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was  a name  written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.... And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. ....Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.... For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God both remembered her iniquities"

Thus is described an organisation of immense power, which is to be destroyed very suddenly and that destruction is associated with fire", which, the Scripture tells us, is a judgment brought  on ‘the Harlot’  by God 

C.F.  GPL    4-1998

No. 177: 20  YEARS OF RESEARCH REVEALS: JERUSALEM BELONGS TO THE JEWS.

                                            by Hillel Fendel

Jacques Gauthier, a non-Jewish Canadian lawyer who spent 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem, has concluded: "Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law."

Gauthier has written a doctoral dissertation on the topic of Jerusalem and its legal history, based on international treaties and resolutions of the past 90 years.  The dissertation runs some 1,300 pages, with 3,000 footnotes.  Gauthier had to present his thesis to a world-famous Jewish historian and two leading international lawyers - the Jewish one of whom has represented the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions.

Gauthier's main point, as summarized by Israpundit editor Ted Belman, is that a non-broken series of treaties and resolutions, as laid out by the San Remo Resolution, the League of Nations and the United Nations, gives the Jewish People title to the city of Jerusalem.  The process began at San Remo, Italy, when the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I - Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan - agreed to create a Jewish national home in what is now the Land of Israel. 

San Remo
The relevant resolution reads as follows: "The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust... the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory [which] will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration... in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

Gauthier notes that the San Remo treaty specifically notes that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" - but says nothing about "political" rights of the Arabs living there.

The San Remo Resolution also bases itself on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which declares that it is a "a sacred trust of civilization" to provide for the well-being and development of colonies and territories whose inhabitants are "not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world."

League of Nations
The League of Nations' resolution creating the Palestine Mandate, included the following significant clause: “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." No such recognition of Arab rights in Palestine was granted. 

In 1945, the United Nations took over from the failed League of Nations - and assumed the latter's obligations.  Article 80 of the UN Charter states: "Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed, in or of itself, to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties."

UN Partition Plan
However, in 1947, the General Assembly of the UN passed Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan.  It violated the League of the Nations' Mandate for Palestine in that it granted political rights to the Arabs in western Palestine - yet, ironically, the Jews applauded the plan's passages while the Arabs worked to thwart it. 

Resolution 181 also provided for a Special regime for Jerusalem, with borders delineated in all four directions: The then-extant municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns up to Abu Dis in the east, Bethlehem in the south, Ein Karem and Motza in the west, and Shuafat in the north.

Referendum Scheduled for Jerusalem
The UN resolved that the City of Jerusalem shall be established as a separate entity under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.  The regime was to come into effect by October 1948, and was to remain in force for a period of ten years, unless the UN's Trusteeship Council decided otherwise.  After the ten years, the residents of Jerusalem "shall be then free to express by means of a referendum their wishes as to possible modifications of regime of the City."

The resolution never took effect, because Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem after the 1948 War of Independence and did not follow its provisions. 

After 1967
After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel regained Jerusalem and other land west of Jordan.  Gauthier notes that the UN Security Council then passed Resolution 242 authorizing Israel to remain in possession of all the land until it had “secure and recognized boundaries.”  The resolution was notably silent on Jerusalem, and also referred to the "necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem,” with no distinction made between Jewish and Arab refugees.

Today
Given Jerusalem's strong Jewish majority, Gauthier concludes, Israel should be demanding that the long-delayed city referendum on the city's future be held as soon as possible.  Not only should Israel be demanding that the referendum be held now, Jerusalem should be the first order of business. "Olmert is sloughing us off by saying [as he did before the Annapolis Conference two months ago], 'Jerusalem is not on the table yet,'" Gauthier concludes. "He should demand that the referendum take place before the balance of the land is negotiated. If the Arabs won’t agree to the referendum, there is nothing to talk about."

No. 288: U. S. and Russia to Seek Golan Return to Syria

A Special Report from DebkaFile

As this file is being written, the Israeli Cabinet is holding its weekly meeting in the Golan Heights. This is being done to show Israel’s definitive decision to retain possession of the fertile area which it captured from Syria during the Six Day War (1967).

The map below illustrates the key location of the Heights in relation to northern Israel. Before being captured by Israel, its farmers cultivating their fertile Jordan valley lands below the scarp of the Golan, were regularly fired upon by Golani Syrian forces from Kiryat Shmona to the Sea of Galilee.

This  continuous barrage of artillery shells was entirely halted by Israel’s conquest of the area.

The rock scarp of the Western Golan extends north to south from just northeast of the Sea of Galilee to the Syrian border just east of Kiryat Shmona; that former border is not apparent from the map. The territory captured by Israel is mostly inhabited by Druze, but is home to dozens of Israeli kibbutzim, whose farmers cultivate some of the most productive volcanic soil in the entire Middle East. It is referred to as “the bread basket of Israel” today. Its elevation is approximately 2,000 feet above the Jordan valley.

 The compiler of this report has been privileged personally to have made several visits over the years to the site of an Israeli observation outpost at Ein Zevan, where a prominent hill shelters underground Israeli operations, its slopes festooned with radio antennae, directional radio dishes for the collection of audible noises including conversations in Damascus, and numerous radar sweepers.

The apartment towers of Damascus itself are eerily visible in the distance. The site affords a spectacular whole-view of Mount Hermon’s snow-capped heights to the north.

The site overlooks the former provincial capital city of al-Quneitra, less than a mile to the east, inside the Demilitarized Zone, where one observes the ubiquitous white vehicles marked with the large black letters “UN,” belonging to The United Nations Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP), which was formed to mediate Jewish-British conflicts, as well as Arab aggression against the Jews, on May 15, 1947.

 The headquarters of UNSCOP is at the former British Military Headquarters building located on The Hill of Evil Counsel (appropriate name?) just south of Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Moscow on April 21, to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Debka reports, “… to launch the most important battle of his political career, and one of Israel’s most decisive contests of the last 10 years: the battle over the future of the Golan Heights.”

This arrangement has taken on new importance after Israel’s main political leaders and military people were paralyzed last weekend to learn that US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to support the return of the Golan to Syria. The top diplomats of the two countries, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have been given instructions to include such a clause in a joint proposal being drafted at the Geneva Conference on ending the Syrian war. This is the content of a DebkaFile exclusive report, which in our experience is quite a reliable source of information.

Under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel passed a law in 1981 defining the Golan as a “territory under Israeli sovereignty.” It did not claim Israeli ownership of the area.

This sudden complication comes in the midst of preparations by Israel for a diplomatic battle over the future of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – an heavy burden for the concerned nations (cf., Zechariah 12).

The prophetic details of this present conflict are not apparent from the writings of the prophets; but the end of the matter certainly is, witness two familiar verses from Zechariah’s prophecy: Zechariah 12:2 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 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.”

It is apparent that the so-called “great powers” will never accept that their artificially imposed borders, pacts, and other agreements in the Middle East never work out well, for they are again approaching such arrangements at speed. Russia and the U.S. are attempting to use their clout to force military and diplomatic cooperation over Syria as they strive to impose agreements upon neighboring countries such as Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

As an example, Washington and Moscow are attempting to set up a legal agreement regarding the granting of independence to Syrian Kurds despite Ankara’s steadfast opposition.

The two presidents are also pressuring Riyadh and Amman to accept the continuation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, at least for the immediate future.

They doubtless see this entire process as taking several years before the Golan is returned to Syria; but their imposed decision is firm – that Israel will have to withdraw from the Golan at the end of the process.

It is significant that President Obama has not asked PM Netanyahu to travel to Washington to discuss the Golan issue; in Obama’s mind, there is no alternative. On the other hand, diplomatic shuttles by all the above to Moscow in the recent past indicate the wind direction in the Middle East at this moment. Israel has absolutely no lobby in Moscow to defend its interests.

It does, however, have an Almighty God in heaven Who has already written the significant history of this evil appropriation of authority over His people by the “great powers;” it shall soon become apparent that these are not really “great” and that they have no “powers” at all before the Almighty.

It is reported that Netanyahu’s enthusiasm over the Russian intervention in Syria has no basis in fact. All the partisan calls to Jerusalem for caution in dealing with Putin have been ignored by the IDF and the Israeli leadership.

In the meantime, there are three regional players who are quite pleased by this forced action of Israel’s abandonment of the Golan. They are President Assad of Syria, the Iranian leadership in Tehran, and the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah. 

Once again, Israel is placing its reliance upon “Egypt” for help, instead of placing it upon their ineffable God.  <H E  Lafferty code 4P>    April 20, 2016

 


No. 118: ON WHICH DAY WAS THE LORD JESUS CRUCIFIED?

whilst having a knowledge of the correct day on which the Lord Jesus was crucified is hardly a requisite for salvation, what IS necessary is to read, understand and believe the Lord Jesus’ own prophecies on this important subject of His own death, burial and resurrection. We must accept the simple truth of the Scriptures and reject the imaginings of some who rearrange events to suit their own theory.. If it was not important, then the Lord Jesus would hardly have gone to the trouble of revealing the details, firstly, before they came to pass, to reveal the divine source of His knowledge, and , secondly to generations not born to strengthen their faith.

Before we consider the actual events of those days of the Crucifixion, we must firstly understand that the slaying of the paschal Lamb in AD 29, had as its prophetical background, the dramatic events which occurred when the angel of the Lord ‘passed over’ those homes in Egypt which were protected by the blood of the slain lamb, thus preserving the inhabitants from death. The Children of Israel left Egypt on the morning after the night when the angel of death ‘passed-over’ the homes protected by the ‘blood of the lamb’ that morning being known to future generations as the Feast Day of Unleavened Bread, a High Holy day, a Sabbath separate to the weekly seventh day Sabbath. (See Leviticus 33:6,7)

Three days later those same Children of Israel emerged from the waters of the Red Sea and the apostle Paul describes the events, “ …all our fathers….passed through the sea: And were all BAPTISED UNTO MOSES into the cloud and in the sea” In baptismal language, they died to sin, were buried and they then came forth from the sea cleansed from the idolatry of Egypt, a people prepared to meet with their God at Sinai, where they were sanctified by the power of the spirit. They came forth as do all baptised people, to a newness of life.

The events of the Passover of AD 29 were to follow a similar pattern, but with one important difference. The slain lamb of Egypt was to become the “Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.”.(Revelation 13-8). Such then is part of the background to the events of the Passover when the Lamb of God was crucified. The ‘second’ is a mirror of the first and the ‘second’ must follow the first meticulously. The slain lamb came forth from the grave on the third day and ‘ascended’ to the Father….(John 20-17)

THE SEVEN PROPHECIES OF THE LORD JESUS, OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION ARE:

1 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. (Matthew 12-40)

2 “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas”. (Matthew 16-4).

3 “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise(stand up) again”. (Mark 8-31)

4 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body”. John 2- 19/21

5 “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man. what they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee, and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not saying, and were afraid to ask him”.Matthew 9-9; 10;30;32

6 “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes and they shall condemn him to death. And shall deliver him to the gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again” Matthew 20- 17/19

7 “And Jesus said unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee”. Mark 14-27/28—(cp.Zechariah. 13-7)

The Lord Jesus was crucified on the ‘day of preparation’ of the Passover, : “and the sabbath drew on”. (Luke 23-54). He was crucified on the Passover day, and “about the sixth hour (the middle of the day and the ‘middle of the week’), there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour (3 PM). “The veil of the temple was rent in the midst” (Luke 23-45) and the Lord Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost (spirit) (Luke 23-46).

This was at 3 PM on the 14 th day of the month, the ‘day of preparation’ ( of the Passover) and a mere three hours before the Sabbath of the day of Unleavened Bread, a High Holy day. (Exodus 12-16). During those three hours, Joseph of Arimathaea, who had ‘not consented to the counsel, and the deed of them’, (Lule 23-51), “went unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus…took it down..…wrapped it in linen…..laid it in a sepulchre….. and that day was the preparation ( 14 th day), and the sabbath (the day of Unleavened Bread) drew on”. (Luke 23-51/54).

Within the space of three hours, Joseph of Arimathaea had to seek an audience with Pilate, gather his friends together to take the body of the Lord Jesus from the cross, transport it to the sepulchre, participate in the wrapping of the Lord’s body and finally seal the tomb. We can only assume that because Luke 23-54 says, “the sabbath drew on”, the Lord Jesus was sealed in the tomb probably within minutes of the end of the day of preparation. His role in the salvation of mankind, like the slain lamb in Egypt, was finally set in motion at the end of that 14 th day of the first month. The following morning, well into the day of Unleavened Bread, “ the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day”. Matthew 27-62/66 “They went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch”. Thus these men who had been instrumental in the death of their own Messiah, now confirmed one of the most remarkable prophecies of the Lord Jesus…..that after three days he would rise and to make sure, in their own minds, that He would not rise, they set a guard for the 15 th….16 th and 17th, days of the first month.

We are told so positively in Mathew 28-1-6, that ‘in the end of the sabbath’ there was a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord rolled back the stone at the sepulchre and the keepers appointed by the chief priests and Pharisees ‘to keep the sepulchre sure’, did shake and became as dead men’. The third day had ended with the statement from an angel, He is not here: for he is risen, AS HE SAID”. V.6.

The ‘sabbath’ spoken of above, could NOT be the sabbath of Unleavened Bread, so it had to be the normal 7 th day sabbath, the 7 th day of the week in which the Lord was crucified, known to us as Saturday.. This was the last day of the ‘watch’ set by the chief priests and Pharisees, and the day before, known to us as Friday, was the second day of that ‘watch’ and the day before that, known by us as Thursday, was the first day of that ‘watch’, which had been ‘set’ on the first morning of THE DAY AFTER the ‘preparation’, the 14 th day, known to us as Wednesday, THE DAY ON WHICH THE LORD JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED.

How wonderfully was fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9- 26 / 27, “ After three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off……..in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”. Exactly in the middle of the last week of Daniel’s 70 week’s prophecy, 3 ½ years into that week of 7 ‘day/weeks, and exactly in the middle of a week, on Wednesday, the Lord Jesus became the final sacrifice for sin. By His own death, he caused the end of the sacrifices under the Law…they were fulfilled in His death and were no longer of any effect. Simple Biblical evidence of this nature makes nonsense of the claim that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday or on Thursday

The Lord’s own prophecy that He would be ‘three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’, (Matthew 12-40), sets the seal of truth on the fact that He was crucified on the 14 th day of the week on the day we know as Wednesday. He came out of the grave at the end of the Sabbath (Saturday) after being in the grave three days, Saturday, Friday and Thursday, plus three nights, Friday night, Thursday night and Wednesday night.

The claim by some that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Thursday and that the few minutes in the grave on that Thursday constituted a ‘whole day’ in Jewish reckoning, has two fatal objections mounted against it. The first is that, if He was crucified on Thursday, and the ‘watch set’ by the chief priests and Pharisees on the morning after , Friday morning, then the third day of that watch would end on Sunday at 6 PM, the first day of the week, whereas we know that the Lord Jesus ‘came forth’ at the end of the weekly 7 th day sabbath, on Saturday.

 The second objection is that, if, as claimed, the few minutes before the Lord Jesus was put in the tomb on the preparation day, constituted a whole day, then the first night of the ‘three nights’ was Thursday night and the third night was Saturday night, which meant that the Lord Jesus , under this theory, could not have come forth from the tomb until after sunrise . ‘say’ 6 AM on Sunday morning, 12 hours into the first day of the week, by which time we know the evidence shows the Lord had risen. Luke 23-56 informs us that “ the women which came with him from Galilee, followed after and beheld the sepulchre and saw how the body was laid. And they returned and prepared spices and ointments AND RESTED THE SABBATH DAY, according to the commandment”

These words specifically inform us that ‘the women’ saw into the sepulchre before the end of the 14 th day, the day of preparation (of the Passover and the day of Unleavened Bread), and went home to prepare spices etc with which to anoint the Lord’s body, BUT, they rested on that sabbath, which was the high holy day, of Unleavened Bread.

In Matthew 28-1 we are told that ‘the women’, in the END OF THE (7 th Day) SABBATH , NOT AFTER IT , as ‘it began to dawn toward (draw nigh to, or come near to) the first day of the week’ went to see the sepulchre. But there was a great earthquake and angel told them that the ‘Lord is risen’ and invited them to see the place where the Lord lay. The Lord had risen on the 17 th day of the month, Saturday as we know it, fulfilling the Lord’s own prophecies, “after (midst, accompaniment) three days rise again´ (Mark 8-31) ……”Raise it up in three days” (John 2-19)……..”after that he is killed , he shall rise the third day”, (Mark 9-31)…….:and the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20-19)

The day after the day of the crucifixion, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate to demand a ‘watch’ be kept at the tomb because, “that deceiver said…..After three days I will rise again”. That ‘watch’ was set on the 15 th day, the High Holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The second day of that ‘watch’ was the 16 th day of the month, and the third day was the 17 th day of the month, the day we know as Saturday, the day which reached from sunset Friday night, to sunset Saturday night. We know that the ‘watch was still there at the time the Lord came forth, for the men of that ‘watch’ went to the chief priests on the first day of the week to tell them what had happened . They were told by the chief priests to tell everyone that the Disciples of the Lord Jesus had stolen His body away “while we slept’. ( Matt. 28-13). The Lord Jesus had risen at the end of the Sabbath, as the 7 th day drew to a close.

In Egypt the ‘blood of the lamb’ had to be on the lintels of the doors before sunset on the 14 th day of the month and thus the blood of the Lamb, the Son of God, had to be shed before sunset on the 14 th day of the month. He was placed in the grave (the tomb) as the 14 th day came to a close, and thus would of necessity would have to come forth from the grave at the end of the THIRD day, which He did. He came forth at the end of the Sabbath, thus he went into the grave at the end of Wednesday, the 14 th day of the month.

Mark 12-40: (The Lord’s own words) “ For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. (tomb)

FRIDAY AFTERNOON CRUCIFIXION: For those who teach the ‘crucifixion on Friday’, this prophecy of the Lord Jesus presents insurmountable difficulties. The three days become Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and the three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which means that this theory demands really, that the Lord Jesus came forth from the grave on Monday at sunset, an unacceptable theory. To compress a ‘day and a night’ into a period of 12 hours, is also beyond belief or comprehension, yet this is done by some to enable them to say that the Lord Jesus came forth from the grave on Easter Sunday!

If this theory is true, then the Lord Jesus could be accused of giving SEVEN false prophecies.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON CRUCIFIXION: Why this theory is entertained is hard to comprehend, but those who espouse the theory are led to claim that the FIRST DAY of the three days and three nights, was comprehended in those few minutes between the actual crucifixion and the interment into the tomb. However, one failing with this theory is that whilst the ‘days’ ‘could fit’ the theory, (if we accept it!) the nights will not, for the FIRST night becomes Thursday sunset to Friday sunrise, the SECOND night becomes Friday sunset to Saturday sunrise, and the THIRD night becomes Saturday sunset to Sunday sunrise, inferring therefore that the Lord Jesus came forth from the tomb at sunrise on Sunday, which is totally unacceptable. To accept this ‘theory’ we have to reject the words of the Lord Jesus, when He said He would NOT ONLY be in the grave THREE WHOLE DAYS, but ALSO THREE WHOLE NIGHTS, which therefore under this theory, means that the Lord Jesus could not have come forth from the tomb until actual sunrise on Sunday. We know this not to be true, for the Scripture is adamant that He was risen long before. “He is risen; He is not here”. (Mark 16-6). If this theory is true, then the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate on Friday morning asking him to set a watch for three days…Friday…Saturday and Sunday, sunrise to sunset on each day, a useless project when we consider the Lord came forth towards the end of the Sabbath, late Saturday the 17 th day.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON CRUCIFIXION:

Knowing so positively that the Lord Jesus came forth from the tomb towards the end of the 7th day Sabbath, (Matthew 28-1), the simplicity of settling the argument is very apparent. All that’s needed to be done is to count back 3 days and three nights from the end of the Sabbath. The answer is WEDNESDAY, the 14 th day of the month, which commenced at sunset on Tuesday night and ended at sunset on Wednesday night, by which time the Lord Jesus was in Joseph’s tomb!

The chief priests and Pharisees knew the Lord’s prophecies and confirmed that He had claimed he would rise on the third day. They knew so well that He had been crucified on the preparation day, the 14 th day of the month, so they asked Pilate to set the watch until the THIRD day, THREE DAYS. the 15 th day, the 16 th day and the 17 th day, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, each day starting at sunset the night before and finishing at sunset on the named day. Pilate told them to attend to it themselves, which they did, (Matthew 27-65) and that watch was still there when the Lord Jesus rose, and on the first day of the week they went to the chief priests and told them what had happened

With all the evidence in the Scriptures, it is impossible not to believe that the Lord Jesus went into the tomb at sunset Wednesday, the 14 th day of the month, and came forth from it at sunset on Saturday, the 17 th day of the month.

NOTE: There were TWO High Holy days on the Crucifixion week One on the Thursday and the other , the weekly Sabbath, on Saturday

THE SEVEN PROPHECIES OF THE LORD HAD BEEN FULFILLED, AS HAD THE SIGN OF JONAH. 

C FRENCH 11-200

No. 285: Report: Obama to use UN to divide Jerusalem

March 8, 2016. In the waning days of his presidential term, Barack Obama is reportedly looking to the UN Security Council to force Israel to accept a Palestinian State and to divide Jerusalem. David Rosenberg, writing in Arutz Sheva, reports this entirely new development this morning with his source reference being the Wall Street Journal.

In so acting, the US president hopes to override all the previous failures of every administration since Jimmy Carter to bring about a “two state solution” to the Arab-Israel standoff.

Such an act we believe will spell out clearly the death-knell of the United States as a formidable world power, for the Prophet Joel has commented upon this specific eventuality: Joel 3:1  For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

Note carefully the last phrase, which indicates the possibility of someone dividing the lands of Israel in the end time (when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem). This new initiative indeed could accomplish that division, at least in theory.

The Journal reported that, with only about ten months left in office, the US president is considering unprecedented moves to implement a two-state solution.

Senior US officials have revealed that “the president is looking to initiate a final negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority using United Nations Security Council Resolutions, a step that would obligate not only Israel and the Palestinian Auth0ority, but effectively determine the direction of US policy for the president’s successor as well.” (emphasis ours)

This disturbing report comes just prior to Vice President Joseph Biden’s scheduled visit to Israel on Tuesday, where he has an appointment with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu along with senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.

If this move is successful, it will override even the most stubborn Palestinian leadership’s resolute refusal of such offers in the past, at both Camp David, Maryland, and in Shepardstown, West Virginia.

Yesterday, the prime minister’s office reported that Netanyahu’s annual trip to the US, planned for later in March, had been cancelled.

That cancellation was said to be partially due to President Obama’s refusal to schedule a meeting with the Prime Minister. The White House later stated publicly that there had been no such cancellation and claimed that the president had actually invited the Israeli leader to talks during his scheduled visit.

The report claims that senior US officials and the president are considering reviving the sleeping Middle East Quartet (that is the US, UN, EU, and Russia) to put great pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to resume active negotiations – a move that has been summarily refused by the PA in recent time.

But a more serious part of the president’s plan is that he is said to be considering use of a United Nations Security Council Resolution forcibly to extract concessions from both Israel and the PA.

This is a serious drift from past policy which has, to date, seen the US consistently to have vetoed such Resolutions, which in UN terms are obligatory, if passed. (UN General Assembly measures are NOT obligatory.)

The US president has, during his term in office, more than once threatened to allow such moves to pass. He now seems to be indicating his immediate willingness to allow them to pass unhindered. Such a move is not advised by the Prophet Joel, who is the personal emissary of the Lord of Hosts!

Such a Resolution, being permanent, would remain in force even after the president leaves office next year, and would effectively shape the future of American policy in the region for Obama’s successor, whomever he/she is.

The resolution would require Israel to cease all construction over the Green Line; and it would force Israel to recognize East Jerusalem as the Capital of Palestine. Both these moves would bring into motion the prohibitory penalties of Joel’s prophecy, and in our opinion would further compromise the standing of the US in world affairs.

If such a measure should pass, it would obligate the PA officially to recognize Israel as a Jewish State (slim chance of their doing that!); it would also be put under immense pressure to give up their long-standing demand for the right of return for “Palestinian refugees,” of which there are now millions. But this is one of the strongest demands of the PA at the present time; enactment of this provision would give the “Palestinians” a much more significant voice in Israeli politics and force demographic changes upon the Jewish State.

President Barack Obama is now desperate to leave some slight hint of his “legacy” as president; all attempts at such seem at this date to have failed abjectly. All the Republican presidential hopefuls have vowed to abolish the president’s Affordable Healthcare Plan if elected to replace him; and that set of provisions is his most promising body of legislation to date.

Beside that, we are fairly sure that He is not aware of the prohibition of anyone dividing Israel’s land; and neither is his Staff aware of it.

After all, what could such dusty, old, outmoded pronouncements mean in this modern day?? Their best choice is to ignore the prophet’s warning even if someone brings it to their attention – which is something that we intend to do with this Bulletin (it will be dispatched to the White House as well as to the Israeli Prime Minister and other world figures, as is our practice; but it will be ignored as always – perhaps not even read by anyone).

In this prospective move to force an Arab-Israeli settlement of their long-standing differences, we see an important move forward in the Plan for the end time. Our view of Isaiah 63:1-6, is that The One Man (the returned Christ and His Immortalized Saints) are “alone” in their assault upon the vehement enemies of Israel on every side.

Most of the nations of the earth will not be motivated to assist in the destruction of Israel’s enemies, a view which is already quite clear. Until recently, we might have thought that the US should have been willing to “pitch in” and assist in the destruction of those states and organizations against Israel, but increasingly we see a certain distancing of US support for the Jewish State in its diplomatic affairs. If this initiative indeed becomes reality, it completely divorces US support from Israel in its conclusive conflicts with Proximal Islam.

But the clear conclusion is that Israel shall need no secular allies in that series of affairs – the serial conflicts of the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the Valley of Decision of Joel 3); when one’s intercessory Power is exclusively Divine, wholly Just, and overwhelmingly Powerful, no assistance at all is required nor desired.

Some have conjectured the resistance of Sheba, Dedan and the Merchants of Tarshish as being exerted on behalf of Israel, but there are two huge flaws in that argument. First, that subject conflict is that of the Gogian host (not the nations round about), and Second, those nations’ “resistance” is limited to an interrogatory query, “Art thou come to take a spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13), a question to which there isn’t even a recorded answer. Their “resistance” is not only feckless but non-existent.

Although unspoken, their answer is concluded in the prophesied destiny of the Gogian host: 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. 22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.                           <HEL MD/USA, code 3P> A GPL Bulletin, March 9, 2016.


No.283: Syria and Iraq – Being Re-formed into Assyria?

We have been pondering the Syria/Iraq conundrum as Assyria is substantively being reborn in these end-times to take its prophesied place in the pattern of the prophets’ forecasts.

The USA and Britain wisely kept themselves virtually untangled from this affair, engaging in it only through the nearly exclusive exercise of air power (so far), as if they were directly led to avoid the conflict from on high. Consequently, it seems to be the Father’s will, that Assyria shall rise again – as the Prophet Micah has so succinctly foretold. If so, anyone who places themselves as an obstacle to that destiny is perhaps going to be badly burnt.

The latter statement may apply to Russia, for example, which is now moving troops and equipment into Syria to combat ISIS in league with Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria. As one writer noted, Russia’s “… foray into Chechnya cost it billion; its foray into Afghanistan cost it tens of billions. It dabbled its feet in Syria a few years back and found the going tough and very expensive, so it withdrew; but now it is venturing more billions to satisfy Putin’s lust for power and influence.” (CLF)

Russia’s present move into Syria especially, is going ahead with some moderate strength as the Russian engineers construct airfields and army barracks, and install artillery and armoured equipment in the northeastern sector of the country. Satellite photos have shown great changes in the physical topography of the country around Latakia within the past three weeks as the Bear installs airport runways, barracks, artillery revetments, equipment buildings, repair shops, and ammunition dumps on their selected properties.

But if Russia believes it can blunt the intention of the God of Israel it is because it knows nothing OF that God. The general, overall messages of the Biblical prophets say nothing, in our opinion, about this present movement by Ros (Rosh) into the arena; therefore, its occupation seems to be destined to be one of an extremely short-term tenure; but we shall have to wait to see how it “plays out.” We cannot agree that this present stance of Russia has any relationship to the Gogian affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39, although we know that some folk will express a completely different view.

Meanwhile, ISIS is being assessed by some qualified observers as being “like nothing else they have ever seen,” for efficiency and brutality. In this sense it is mimicking the vicious mien of ancient Assyria – despotic, overspreading, and brutal. Hundreds of fighters are coming to join ISIS each day, they report, and the movement is becoming rapidly stronger despite the (weak) resistance wrought upon it by the USA and its “coalition,” most of whom are committing no troops and no equipment to the effort to stop ISIS from further expansion, but rather “lip service.” In addition, the US airstrike initiative is weak in comparison to past conflicts, sometimes averaging only ten or twelve strikes a day.

ISIS is said to control areas of Iraq and Syria equivalent to the State of Texas – a rich area which contains natural resources which ISIS sells, thereby increasing its ability to hire fighters and purchase equipment. The Islamic State is already fairly well equipped with American equipment which it has captured primarily in Iraq, whose army has turned to run away when it sees ISIS approaching, This transparently cowardly stance comes after the US has spent billions of dollars over a span of more than a decade, in an effort to train the Iraqi army. Personal acquaintances of the author have told him that it is not in the Iraqis’ mentality to stand and fight its enemies alone; it wants to have American and other well-trained and – equipped forces at its side in every encounter. We have been amazed that moves have been made in the US Congress to appropriate even more millions of dollars to “retrain” the Iraqi army to stand its ground; but it seems a blatantly lost cause to us.

Meanwhile, in Syria to the south and west, hardly any US effort is being expended against ISIS or against Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, and his army. Indeed, the present drift among US planners seems to be that its best option may now be to preserve the Assad regime, as it looks better than anything else on the horizon. If so, this attitude pits the US and Russia BOTH on the side of Assad, and against the Syrian rebels as well as ISIS – two other “sides” of a uniquely triangular war for survival! In the confusion, the war’s bi-bilaterality has been seemingly lost, as reason has been abandoned in a helter-skelter, confused, contradictory fight for survival of some sort by many sets of combatants.

The conclusion, to which we seem forced, is that the re-emergence of “Assyria” of old in the guise of ISIS is inevitable, given the present state of affairs: especially in light of the sudden and abrupt emergence of that highly successful entity upon the required territories of Iraq and Syria. It has been inescapable that some sort of entity was destined to arise in the ancient territory of Assyria, and assume its intractable and committed character of inbred evil – and its obstinate hatred of the Jewish State – both of which shall bring it to smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek, as foretold in Micah 5:1 – an event (if we understand it correctly) which probably will have to wait to be executed until the Judge of Israel (Christ) has returned to the earth and is setting up His kingdom’s infrastructure. This is a tentative conclusion which we have reached only in the last few months – one which only seems workable within the language of the prophet. An exception to this understanding could be that the phrase “the Judge of Israel” actually means the current prime minister or head of state of the Jewish people. If so, the coming assault of “Assyria” on Israel might arrive sooner than we think at the moment, for its avowed purpose for now, is to consolidate its positions in the former Iraq and Syria, then move south into Jordan, then west into Israel. It is choosing what it considers the path of least resistance in order finally to reach its enigmatic goal of obliterating Israel – an irrational aim in our view, but one which obviously has instilled by the God of Israel in this rabid force.

In any case, whomever the aggressor is – and whomever he attacks – this action will bring the fierce and immediate return upon that entity, the fury of the Christ of the Second Advent, Who, in Micah 5:2, is defined as He Who is “…to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. For many years we have been aware of the necessity for some such force to arise in the former main lands of Assyria; now, in just the past two years, a strong, aggressive army has suddenly morphed out of the old, milder, less aggressive force of Al-Qaeda, naming itself the Islamic State, as if there is and shall be no other!

To many observers, all the above means little or nothing in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Our question is, How can anyone ignore such incredibly accurate direction of events which, if validly understood, shall fulfill a vital niche in our understanding of end-time events? Yet, the emphasis of many continues to be only on Russia and her involvement in territories far and wide. Such an emphasis studiously ignores the widely-recorded machinations of the nations “round about” Israel – ALL of which border upon Israel immediately. One may ask, “What about Iraq? There is no such common border.” To which we must reply: Yes, there WAS such a common border prior to 1922, until Winston Churchill arbitrarily formed the state of Trans-Jordan giving an estimated 78% of it to Abdulla of Mecca as another “kingdom” of Allah. So it is a fact that ALL the present enemies of Israel have (or have formerly had) a common border with God’s people. God has ordered them to “return unto Me” before He will return unto them. Malachi 3:7  Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. Cf., Isaiah 44:22; Jeremiah 4:1; 24:7.   <HEL MD/USA code 90> A GPL Bulletin, 

No. 282: The False Prophet 

Harold E. Lafferty

 

The question has arisen: “Is Mohammed the false prophet of the scriptures?” Some claim that it is self-evidently  true. But is it? We believe it not so.

A close examination of God’s word should make the answer clear to each of us.

The words “false prophet” (singular) occur only four times in the Authorized Version of the Bible. Those references are as follows:

1.      Acts 13:6  And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:

Acts 13: 6 - In this first instance, Barjesus (meaning, son of Jesus, son of Joshua), a Jew, is called a false prophet.  The account tells of the man, also known as Elymas (meaning, a sorcerer, or wizard) who tries to dissuade his master, a Roman Proconsul whose name was Sergius Paulus, from learning the gospel of salvation. Elymas possibly wished to discredit Paul and Barnabas from rendering teachings that were contrary to the Law of Moses (?).

As such, Elymas was going directly against the Word of God, and trying to prevent its being taught to his master.

We shall see that this one, verifiable, instance of a personal “false prophet” is consistent in intent with that of the larger, more pervasive, prophetically prominent “false prophet” of all the years since the birth of Christ – i.e., he who is nominated in the other three references below.

It is important to note the reference that the Apostle John made to the principle of every false prophet – the principle of “antichrist” that he made in this passage: 1John 4:3  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Note that the defining principle of those “prophets” is that Jesus Christ has NOT come into the world “in the flesh” of mankind.

The Roman Church claims that Jesus was immaculately conceived – thus directly claiming that He came NOT in the flesh of mankind; they claim this also of His mother, Mary – that she was also not of humankind, but also “immaculate.” That dogma marks the Church as the early bearer of this doctrine of the cleanness of the flesh of Jesus; it predates Mohammed by some 600 years.

What about Mohammed in this context?  How did he view Jesus, the Son of God according to God’s word?  No! His view is entirely of his own manufacture: Jesus, said Mohammed, was a great prophet, but not the Son of God, for “God (by which he means ‘Allah’) has NO SON.”He did give Jesus “credit” for being a great prophet; but Mohammed’s forecasts were completely at odds with the forecasts of Jesus Christ. Which one was wrong? I believe we all know the answer.

Other Passages Describing “the False Prophet”

The remaining three references define for the student of scripture just who is meant by the term “the false prophet,” a particularly prominent, dastardly and dishonorable character who has over the ages since the time of the Apostle John, betrayed the word of God, corrupted it, denied it, and changed its meaning in subtle and cunning ways. This first record addresses “unclean spirits” which were similar to frogs, which emanated from the mouth of a dragon, a beast and THE false prophet. The reference is …

2.     Revelation 16:13  And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

The book of Revelation as such, addresses the interface of the true Ecclesia of Christ with the apostate Church of Christendom – which has proven over and over to be the Roman Catholic Church. The endless, fatal conflict of these two entities continues today as strongly as ever, although today in a context somewhat dissimilar to that of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages when that entity of the false prophet flourished most strongly. In that age, the clergy were the only educated group of people in the Roman world, and their interpretations of the scriptures were taken by most people at face value – although with serious reservations among the most thoughtful and considerate of its adherents.

Is there any hint of Mohammed being identified with this “false prophet” of Christendom?

As far as we have been able to determine, he has not. Islam as a “religion” is recorded as becoming prominent under the Fifth Trumpet in Revelation 9. Its leader is called Apollyon (Greek) and Abaddon (Hebrew). Apollyon is defined as meaning “destroyer,” which is a term which certainly could be applied justly to Mohammed, the founder of the “religion” known as Islam. But he is not named nor otherwise indicated here. He is not termed “the false prophet,” although “the Prophet” as meaning Mohammed, has become prominent today.

We must comment here that the term “the false prophet” must mean one who prophesies falsely about a known body of information that has an understood, verifiable meaning. The “religion” preached by Mohammed was built upon no past institution, and certainly not on one whose imprimatur was that of the Almighty; it was not a repudiation of – or a revision of – the truth of God’s word. It was a reflection of the man’s warped intent of domination of all the masses of humanity, bringing them under control of his own ideas and notions.

In the 16th of Revelation, those triple entities of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet are the originators of the “unclean spirits” which are recognized by most as overturning the past norms of sovereignty, rulership, law and order which had preceded them. As such, liberty, equality and fraternity took the place of the earlier established norms.

In the case of the pope of Rome, his contribution was chiefly to change times and laws – to accomplish the requirements of the angel’s revelation to the prophet, in Daniel 7:25: And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The time period nominated here is 1260 years of time during which the Church ruled supreme in the affairs of nearly every man and woman, both exalted and humble, in Europe and the Middle East. It was the time of the maturity and establishment of the teachings of the Roman Church, the leaders of which corrupted the scriptural message of salvation, changing its meaning and substance, and generally exercised its own sway among the nations.

In this instance “the false prophet,” falsified earlier teachings of the apostles and prophets, changing them into lies and spiritual corruption, redefining the eternal God as three entities in one, not one alone; instituting a personal devil as presiding over a burning hell; insisting on the principle that the “soul” of man is a separate, shadowy reflection of the man himself which survives death and goes to heaven; the institution of infant sprinkling (called “baptism”); selling of indulgencies, which were advance permits to commit sins for a certain length of time; and many other corrupt practices, all of which tore down and destroyed the Plan of Salvation which the Almighty had faithfully handed down in His inspired word.

From these facts, we behold a career of deliberate deception for personal (Church) profit – yes, in marks and franks, and in sovereigns and ducats.

Next, the final punishment of the false prophet and his cohort is noted, in Revelation 19.

3.     Revelation 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.

These words mark the termination of the false prophet of the ages. He is destined to have no future participation in the plan of God whatever – and to be obliterated from among men.

In the next reference, the subject is actually diabolos, or sin indwelling the flesh of the false prophet, being done away in the establishment of the eternal kingdom of God on the earth. The passage is …

4.    Revelation 20:10  And the devil (in Greek, diabolos) that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

In all these instances, “the false prophet” is presented in the light of a deceiver of believers of Truth toward his own false principles. As such, he is a corrupter of God’s Word and Plan, changing these into false hopes and dreamy expectations  inconsistent with the Plan of God.

The words of the Apostle Paul to the Ecclesia at Thessalonica are relevant here:

2Thessalonians 2:3 - Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (a falling away from Truth), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

This “falling away” indicates a complete departure from the Truth of God’s Word and Plan with mankind. This “son of perdition” is thus shown to be a son of damnation, or condemnation and of utter failure by the Almighty, because of his corruption of God’s word and plan.

Mohammed did not corrupt an existing, established plan; the popes and their minions HAVE done so. Mohammed did not “fall away” from God’s truth because he never understood it or believed it; therefore he cannot be the one indicated as having “fallen away” from the Truth; he clearly established his own “religion” from the corruption of his own mind.

On the other hand, the papacy DID fall away from God’s pure truth by corrupting it into the scheme of salvation said to be necessary to be understood and believed by Catholicism – a body of dogma which is unequivocally at odds with the pure truth of salvation as delivered to the saints of old by the sages and prophets of God, and by the Lord Jesus and His disciples.

For that reason, the pope of Rome we believe to be “the false prophet” of the ages, and the only entity worthy of being so-called. Mohammed was A prophet of falsehoods, but these were not corruptions of something that had existed for ages as being true and established. He was therefore not “the false prophet,” this particularly named entity. [The principle is somewhat the same as Russia of today being A king FROM the north, but not “the king of the north” per se.]

 Other False Prophets

We realize that it is tempting for many to label Mohammed as THE false prophet, because he is so often referred to as “the prophet” – an appellative which is nearly always used of that person. We believe Mohammed cannot truly be recognized as “the false prophet,” because he did not change the truth of God into a lie; he merely created his own set of predictions and spewed them forth to the ignorant masses of the East, consisting today of over a billion folk who knew nothing of the Creator of the earth and the universe, Whose word is eternal and immutable.

But this description fits perfectly the occupant of the’ Seat of Peter’ in the Vatican, and reflects the utterly false claims of this wolf in sheep’s clothing who rules over nearly an equal number of blinded followers.

Having stated our beliefs above, on THE false prophet, we recognize that several instances of the words “false prophets” (plural) are also recorded. These generally have to do with prominent individuals who have forecasted erroneous outcomes of contemporary events.

Mohammed certainly falls into this category, because the “prophecies” that he made are the products of his own fleshly thinking, directly comparable to the numerous false prophets of Israel, of Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s times. As such they do not reflect the goodness, the plans, the mercy or the compassion of the God of Israel.

And, like Barjesus of Paul’s day, he AND they shall have no benefit from their “prophecies” at all, but shall suffer the effects of the blindness of mankind apart from God. Most of these references are listed below …

Jeremiah_14:14  Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

Matthew 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew  24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mark 13:22  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Luke 6:26  Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

2Peter 2:1  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

1John 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

The above remarks are set forward to clarify the concept of THE false prophet who has deceived billions of innocent people as to the verifiable plan of God, dooming them to eternal condemnation in the dust of the earth. We hope these observations have been helpful in that regard.     <HEL 10O> ~

 

No. 281: Coming in September: a UN Resolution Establishing a “Palestinian” State

Michael Snyder, writing in an article entitled, “End of the American Dream,” on June 1, 2015, has commented that there has been a lot of talk “about things that are going to happen in September, but something that has been almost totally overlooked is the fact that the UN Security Council is likely to be voting on a UN resolution which will establish a Palestinian state at that time.”

He reports that at the present time, France is working on a proposed resolution which would give formal UN Security Council recognition to the Palestinians, would declare that a divided Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state, and would set the 1967 borders as the baseline for future negotiations which would establish the final borders between the two nations.

We have read in other dispatches that France is indeed working on the wording of such a resolution, and intends to submit it for a vote after the 70th session of the UN General Assembly starts on September 15.

The resolution, if not vetoed by the US, has an excellent (an almost sure) chance of passing, because over 135 countries have already voted to recognize a Palestinian state. The vote has had no chance of passing to date because the US has always blocked recognition by the Security Council due to its veto power.

The US veto probably will no longer be forthcoming, however, as Barack Hussein Obama now plans to back the French resolution in September. This is expected because of his intense hatred for Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel’s remark prior to the recent Israeli election, that “While I am prime minister there will never be a Palestinian state.”

Obama’s intention is visibly reinforced by his having sent administration officials to France to assist in drafting the resolution for such a creation. If the US does not veto this resolution, the result will be more than grave for Israel, plunging it further into the morass of Arab threats,  deception and self-aggrandizement.

Will Israel sit still and allow this to happen?

We cannot know what steps Israel might take to block the measure; chances are there are no effective steps to be taken. But, like the Arab states rejected the UN Partition Plan of 1947, Israel might simply reject this one and go to war against anyone who tries to implement it.

That would result in a down-and-dirty conflict of Israel with a population scattered among its own citizens, and introduce a threat which Israel has never faced in the past – widespread urban terrorism.

We might even visualize such a move as giving Israel the impetus to simply annex the West Bank, the Golan, Gaza, south Lebanon and even the Sinai Peninsula, as well as the nation of Jordan, whose population is nearly 70% “Palestinian” Arab, and all of whom would surely resist Israeli armed forces.

In light of the growing threat from ISIS’ encroachment upon northern Israel in the Golan Heights, and its stated intention of overrunning Jordan, this seemingly benign resolution being passed by the UN – normally a virtual non-event to Israel – such a move by the UN Security Council could trigger the final conflict in the present Israeli-Arab dispute of the last 70 years.

Additionally, in our view the span of 70 years seems to be a reasonable period of time consisting of the final generation which, as Christ’s Second Coming draws nearer and nearer, should see the fulfillment of “all these things” of which Christ spoke in Matthew 24:34.

What is the time-line of this proposed process?

France’s Foreign Minster Laurent Fabius has recently publicly stated that France will act decisively to put an end to the present status of the Israeli-Arab conflict by putting before the UN Security Council a resolution which will establish the parameters for a Palestinian state.

Minister Fabius is apparently unaware of the cautionary note of Joel 3, a portion of which reads as follows: I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. Joel 3:2. 

If the French bring this resolution before the world body and it passes, this will be the third such “parting” of God’s Land since the establishment of the PalestineMandate in 1922.

Winston Churchill was the first to lop off a portion of the Mandate and give it to Abdullah of Mecca as the State of Trans-Jordan, later changed to Jordan. That took away an estimated 78% of the British Mandatory which had been pledged by Lord Balfour and backed by the British government of his day in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

Next, the UN Partition Plan of 1947 proposed a further division of the Land, giving a large portion of it to the “Palestinian” Arabs. Fortunately these greedy people rejected the Plan and went to war in force against the (apparently) nearly defenseless Israelis who, for the first time in 2550 years, had recovered a significant portion (the heartland) of their homeland.

These interlopers knew and suspected nothing of the indomitable courage of the Israeli Jews, NOR anything about the Father’s angelic host which obviously protected and preserved His People who were now about to hold their ground, and greatly expand their holdings, as future wars were prosecuted against them.

The result of this conflict was the serial victories of Israel over their Proximal enemies, and the expansion of their Land to include the lands that we see it inhabiting today as well as the vast Sinai Peninsula, which it also won, but which it returned to Egypt in the peace treaty with Anwar Sadat in 1978.

This upcoming attempt by the UN, under France’s sponsorship – and presumably with tacit US approval – will be the third “official” attempt to divide His Land. “Unofficial” attempts include all the hot warfare which Israel has been forced to conduct against its neighboring states in the wars of 1958, 1967, 1973, and subsequent actions in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s survival has not been easy.

And today, as its enemies grow stronger and much more numerous, the ominous threat grows exponentially. A “settlement” of differences utilizing the 1967 borders would be entirely unacceptable to Israel, and unworkable. The issue of the “Palestinian refugees” which would return to such a State of Palestine would be a disastrous influx of additional enemies, converting any State of Palestine into a giant terrorist camp exceeding by far the aggressive stance and ability of the present Gaza Strip.

We can only hope that the trigger against all this oppression of God’s people can soon be tripped – perhaps by the precipitous occurrence of the final conflict which will render pale all Israel’s past conflicts with the Islamic world, giving the returned Christ Jesus a cataclysmic, earth-shattering victory over those vile oppressors of His people.

At that time a great many of the readers of this message shall have been called before the LORD Jesus’ Judgment Bema, and judged acceptable by Him to receive immortality. These shall come forth with Him in His great quest – the end of which is absolutely certain – to destroy all the enemies of Israel round about the People, and to occupy the re-established Throne of David in the Holy Hill of Zion, occupying all the Promised Land Grant of Abraham from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf (and the Indian Ocean?).

Author Snyder’s decided opinion is remarkably of the same tenor as ours: he writes …

“Global leaders probably hope that this plan will bring peace. But it won’t.  In fact, it will just greatly inflame tensions in the region. In the end, I believe that this “peace plan” will only lead to more war.”   <HEL MD/USA code 70> A GPL Bulletin, July 14, 2015.

No. 280:Israel: As a Sparrow Alone on the Housetop

June 24, 2015


An objective consideration of Israel today and its state of obvious vulnerability to its enemies brings directly to mind Psalm 102, which begins … A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.

Although it was written by David when he was palpably in the depths of personal despair, the entire substance of this psalm is relevant to the People of God in the time of the end – when the LORD shall build up Zion (verse 16). 

It quite accurately reflects their sense of isolation and loneliness as they face their terminal battles with the hostile world of their sphere of influence. It projects the abject vulnerability that the nation now faces – the reality of its position of extreme exposure to the aggressive, colossally unfriendly people round about them – a perception which even we lovers of Zion often dismiss because we are acutely aware of the LORD’s intention for His people (an intention which is not yet apparent to their enemies). Verses 17 to 24 accurately reflect Israel’s true position today; notice particularly the phrases which indicate the end-time significance of David’s psalm, and particularly that it is written for the generation to come – the people which SHALL BE created … who shall praise the LORD!

Psalm 102:17 - He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. 18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. 19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth (Eretz Israel); 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death (a vivid description of the “fatwa” which has long been in place for Israel – an Islamic death sentence); 21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; 22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms (Israel and Judah), to serve the LORD. 

These words accurately portray the desires of a great number of Israelis today who look forward to their redemption upon Mount Zion. They are appropriately preceded guided by the reassuring, certain promise of His safe-keeping of His People: When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.

When the LORD builds up His people they cannot be dismantled nor displaced. They cannot be conquered nor vanquished. Their place is assured – their destiny replete with the glorious promise of greatness and righteousness before Him ... forever and ever, when He shall appear IN HIS GLORY. 

"The Time to Favour Her, Yea, the Set Time, is Come"

Their destiny is written in the immutable words of Psalm 102:13 - Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. 14 For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. 15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

In these words are expressed two absolute certainties:

 

(1) That, in the time when His servants (His people, the Jews) take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof (conditions of today which cannot be denied), 

 

(2) The heathen (those nations round about her that continuously threaten her) shall FEAR the name of the LORD … and all the kin

 

If those heathen nations had been paying attention up to this moment in time, they should have observed a phenomenon in Israel which is remarkably unique in all history: two nations disbanded and dispersed from their homelands into all the nations of the earth – yet able to maintain their own separate identity and their own laws and language – then being regathered after two and an half millennia of Diaspora: brought back into their ancient homeland and re-constituted a viable, thriving, highly successful nation among the nations of the earth.

Yet, this miraculous People have re-gathered as a second-class nation in the eyes of the world community. It is vilified and denigrated in base language – constantly threatened with erasure from its land by armed aggressors. Its overwhelmingly vulgar enemies spew forth the hatred and animosity reserved for the basest of peoples. 

David was enabled in a type, to foresee the state of his people of the future re-gathering, and expresses their seemingly naked position before their enemies in these poignant words: Psalm 102:7 - I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.

These words call to mind the absolute vulnerability to attack and danger to which a lonely, isolated sparrow is exposed – alone upon an housetop. Here he is a prime target of the raptors of his own winged kind – the eagles, the goshawks, the harriers, the vultures and falcons and the ospreys, among others. All these predators are equipped with sharp talons and a long, curved beak designed for tearing the flesh of their prey; in this, they are similarly equipped as the Islamic enemies of Israel, whose armamentarium includes every weapon of mass destruction known to mankind. 

Like the winged raptors arrayed against the indefensible sparrow, their probability of success is devastatingly probable.

But that the LORD is cognizant even of the sparrow, we learn from Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:29 - Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father (being concerned with it). Luke 12: 6, 7 is also relevant to this principle. His People are His Sparrows; they are under His constant surveillance and care.

It is in this context of our Father’s protection of Israel that we bring to readers a synopsis of an article which states clearly the (apparent) vulnerability and exposure of Israel to its enemies round about, and in all the earth.. It was written by David Harris of the Huffington Post – in our estimation an astute, sympathetic, analytical reporter who brings to our attention some astonishing facts … 

“Ten Ways Israel Is Treated Differently”

It's appalling to see how Israel is treated by a totally different standard than other countries in the international system. Of course, Israel deserves scrutiny, as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment -- nothing more, nothing less.

First, Israel is the only UN member state whose very right to exist is under constant challenge.

Notwithstanding the fact that Israel embodies an age-old connection with the Jewish people as repeatedly cited in the most widely read book in the world, the Bible, that it was created based on the 1947 recommendation of the UN, and that it has been a member of the world body since 1949, there's a relentless chorus of nations, institutions, and individuals denying Israel's very political legitimacy.

No one would dare question the right to exist of many other countries whose basis for legitimacy is infinitely more questionable than Israel's, including those that were created by brute force, occupation, or distant mapmakers. Just look around at how many nations fit those categories, including, by the way, quite a few Arab countries. Why, then, is it open hunting season only on Israel? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that it's the only Jewish-majority country in the world?

Second, Israel is the only UN member state that's been targeted for annihilation by another UN member state.

Think about it. The leadership of Iran, together with Iran-funded proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, has repeatedly called for wiping Israel off the map. Is there any other country facing the threat of genocidal destruction?

Third, Israel is the only nation whose capital city, Jerusalem, is not recognized by other nations.

Imagine the absurdity of this. Foreign diplomats live in Tel Aviv while conducting virtually all their business in Jerusalem.

Though no Western nation questions Israel's presence in the city's western half, where the prime minister's office, Knesset (Parliament), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are located, there are no embassies there. In fact, look at listings of world cities, including places of birth in passports, and you'll see something striking -- Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; Pretoria, South Africa; Lima, Peru; and Jerusalem, sans country -- orphaned, if you will.

Fourth, the UN has two agencies dealing with refugees. 

One, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), focuses on all the world's refugee populations, save one. The other, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), handles only the Palestinians.

But the difference goes beyond two structures and two bureaucracies. In fact, they have two different mandates.

UNHCR seeks to resettle refugees; UNRWA does not. Moreover, the UNRWA and UNHCR definitions of a refugee differ markedly. Whereas the UNHCR targets only those who've actually fled their homelands, the UNRWA definition covers "the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948," without any generational limitations.

Fifth, Israel is the only country that has won all its major wars for survival and self-defense, yet is confronted by defeated adversaries who have insisted on dictating the terms of peace. In doing so, ironically, they've found support from many countries who, victorious in war themselves, demanded -- and, yes, got -- border adjustments.

Sixth, Israel is the only country in the world with a separate -- and permanent -- agenda item, #7, at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. Only the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East is treated in this blatantly biased manner because that's the way it works -- the bad guys circle the wagons to protect one another, and, at the same time, gang up on Israel, creating an automatic majority against it.

Seventh, Israel is the only country condemned by name this year at the World Health Organization annual assembly as a "violator" of health rights.

This canard takes place despite the fact that Israel provides world-class medical assistance to Syrians wounded in the country's civil war and Palestinians living in Hamas-ruled Gaza; has achieved one of the world's highest life expectancy rates for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike; is among the very first medical responders to humanitarian crises wherever they may occur, from Haiti to Nepal; and is daily advancing the frontiers of medicine for everyone, something that can't be said for too many other nations.

Eighth, Israel is the only country that's the daily target of three UN bodies established and staffed solely for the purpose of advancing the Palestinian cause and bashing Israel -- the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People; and the Division for Palestinian Rights in the UN's Department of Political Affairs.

Ninth, Israel is the only country annually targeted by up to 20 UN General Assembly resolutions and countless measures in other UN bodies, such as the Human Rights Council.... each year, Israel is on the receiving end of more such efforts than the other 192 UN member states combined. When close to two-thirds of the world's nations today belong to the Non-Aligned Movement, and when they elect a country like Iran as its chair, with Venezuela on deck, that just about says it all.

And Tenth, Israel is the only country targeted by the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement.

Turkey, as but one example, has brazenly and unjustifiably occupied one-third of the island nation of Cyprus for 41 years, (has) deployed an estimated 40,000 Turkish troops there, and (has) transferred countless settlers from Anatolia, yet there's not a peep against Ankara from those who purport to act in the name of "justice," and against "occupation."

The old advertisement proclaimed that ‘you don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's Jewish rye bread.’ Well, surely, you don't have to be a pro-Israel activist to be troubled by the grotesquely unjust treatment of Israel. All it takes is a capacity for moral outrage that things like this are happening today. - David Harris (Huffington Post) 

NO 279: “No Place Else To Go”


From a Correspondent According to a report by Arutz Sheva, Vice President Joe Biden made an incredible admission to the Jews of America at a Rosh Hoshana event at his home in Delaware last fall. The story was reported by Jeffrey Goldberg.

According to the news agency, Biden told the Jewish group that he remembered vividly how he first met former Prime Minister Golda Meir when he was a young Senator. "I’ll never forget talking to her in her office with her assistant – a guy named (Yitzhak) Rabin – about the Six-Day War,” he recalled. “[At] the end of the meeting, we get up and walk out, the doors are open, and the press is taking photos. She looked straight ahead and said, ‘Senator, don’t look so sad .... Don’t worry. We Jews have a secret weapon.'"

Biden stated that he asked Meir what the weapon was, noting “I thought she was going to tell me something about a nuclear program" – an ironic comment given the US's recent declassification  of documents revealing Israel's nuclear program in a breach of understandings with the Jewish state. But according to Biden, "she looked straight ahead and she said, ‘We have no place else to go.'" Addressing his guests at Rosh Hashanah, Biden paused for effect, and repeated, "We have no place else to go."

Then his demeanor turned extremely serious as he again repeated slowly Golda’s words:

"Folks, there is no place else to go, and you understand that in your bones," Biden said. "You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States ... there’s only one guarantee."

"There is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel," he stated.

Responding to the statement, Corey Robin of Salon wrote how disturbing the statement is, given that it consists of "a sitting vice president telling a portion of the American citizenry that they cannot count on the United States government as the ultimate guarantor of their freedom and safety."

"The occupant of the second-highest office in the land believes that American Jews should look to a foreign government as the foundation of their rights and security," she added. "A country that once offered itself as a haven to persecuted Jews across the world now tells its Jews that in the event of some terrible outbreak of anti-Semitism they should … what? Plan on boarding the next plane to Tel Aviv?"

We believe this story illustrates quite vividly the attitude of the present American administration toward its Jewish citizens as well as the State of Israel itself. It is unprepared to defend them against anti-Semitism; that their best and only recourse is to fly home to Israel. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote under inspiration these significant words for the end-time: Jeremiah

16:16 - Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

His implication is that these agents shall be required to finish the work of returning His people to their heritable lands – figuratively “hunting” them down to force them to return, and individually

“fishing” for them with enticements to return to their homeland, even in the face of their prior tacit

refusal to do so.

It is an end-time function, which could only be envisioned for the last of the latter days, when

in the day of their greatest affliction, they shall have no place else to go!

The result of that second Recovery of the Jews and their other Hebrew brethren of the Ten Tribes, and the great blessing which they shall receive at that time, will result in a sober realization by the Gentiles of the world, as reflected by Jeremiah’s next words, the essential blessings which are brought into play at that time: we hear the prophet’s thankful lament … O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Jeremiah 16:19

The Biden episode is another illustration that the hunters and fishers of Israelis are abroad in the world,

executing their work of regathering the Jewish people home to their native lands in preparation for the

rapidly approaching Kingdom of God on the earth – which as we are acutely aware, begins in Israel.

But Jeremiah’s words also reveal the fact which we brethren of Christ have long realized: the fact is

that the Gentile nations and their “religions” and their “churches” have inherited the wind – have received

and inherited from their exalted leaders, elements of the Gospel of Christ which are NOT the gospel of

Christ, a principle which is noted in these words from Galatians 1:6, 7 - I marvel that ye are so soon

removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another;

but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

That perversion has become so pervasive and complete as to nullify any effectual substance of the

doctrines and practices as taught by the established churches, and leaves the essential tenets of salvation

in the hands of the little ones of the world, called unto the true grace of Christ by His gracious word, to

sound as forcibly as possible to the largely non-responsive world, the blessed and true words of salvation,

to which those fortunate ones of the future shall awaken, and which they shall seek in earnest, heartfelt

yearning, and with great sobriety and appreciation.  <HEL 4O>


No. 513: The Final “Generation”

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.

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 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 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 has 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.

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 year and extends into the latter year.

The thought seems remarkably scriptural – and even supported by God’s word!

But need His servants wait that long for His Second Coming?

Perhaps not.

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 by the end of this generation. His return must take place before any of the subsequent requirements of the Kingdom’s establishment can take place.

So, to be 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 “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 will need some time to view and absorb His enormous power in overcoming their enemies,

·          ending with their fervent acceptance of His Messiah-ship;

·          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 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 over the twelve tribes;

·          beginning construction of the Millennial Temple;

·          disarming Israel completely (Zech. 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 mentioned above as being the date for “all” to be fulfilled – 2017-18. In addition, we have reason to believe that the Master will return specifically on the date of the Feast of Sukkot (Ingathering) because it is the next event of the religious calendar that has not been fulfilled in actual outworking. This is not 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 which we profoundly desire and 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.

 

No. 512:  Here Am I: Send Me!

A Short Dissertation, Prompted by Further Thought

upon Exhortation by Sam Swift (Cataumet).

These unique words written by Isaiah the prophet some 600 years BC are as relevant today as ever before, in our opinion. They represent one’s willingness and readiness to be involved in God’s rapidly moving plan of action for the earth and for His creation upon it. The text to which we refer is: Isaiah 6:8  … I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

It is significant for us to realize that Isaiah had just been subjected to a rite of purification to the LORD that equipped him for this task. He had recognized that he was an unworthy vessel of the LORD as recorded in the previous text. Therefore a lump of burning coals (cf. verses 6, 7) was placed upon his mouth to purify him for the task ahead.

But even these words have a required background for our understanding. Isaiah was to “go” in response to the voice of the LORD, but in what context?

It occurs during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah. Ahaz’s kingdom was being threatened by the Ten Tribes (under Pekah, son of Remaliah, as its king) to the north, in league with Rezin, the king of Syria. It was a confederacy which should not succeed.

Ahaz had been told to ask a “sign” from the LORD that this was so, but his response was an unfaithful, “No,” voiced in these words: Isaiah 7:10 - Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. Ahaz’s ready response had been: Isaiah 7:12 - But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

This response was not acceptable to the LORD. It was not only the language of refusal to obey the LORD, but stated clearly that Ahaz did not have either the interest or the faith to become involved in the affairs of the kingdom of which he was regent!

But someone must warn the people, and assure them that this aggression should bear no fruit against the kingdom of Judah.

The mission referred to here, unfortunately, is one of necessity, but also of futility – a result of the sure foreknowledge of the Almighty that His people would not listen, or be profited by His words of instruction; they would not be warned of the danger and the reason for it, nd that it would be ineffectual toward them.

In the subsequent text, we learn that Isaiah is to become the mouthpiece for the LORD to testify to Israel of its safety in the present situation even in spite of their errant ways, expressed as, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Verse 9.

Their Father knew that they should not correct their evil ways in the immediate future. Isaiah’s words were to be given them so that they should have no excuse for their iniquities which they should commit against Him – to make them “legally responsible” in a real sense.

Isaiah’s words, to be repeated over and over ad infinitum (as witnessed by the next several chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy) would have little effect upon the majority of His people. They should not change their practice of idolatry, even in the face of great threat and harm.

But they should have been warned by this appointed Watchman of Zion, Isaiah, whose name means, Jah has saved. It is the righteous protocol of our Father to issue fair warning to His people of any impending affair of which He wishes them to be aware – warnings that were to be salvational in essence, and which should have brought about voluntary servitude of those servants to their Master, the God of Israel.

 

It is so in our time as well.

The scriptural testimony of our Father is readily available to the world, but the world ignores it as if it had no validity.

Such is to be expected from the ignorant masses of humanity, for such have always ignored the word of God’s instruction – His advice for their own survival – and have suffered greatly from that deficit in their interest in their own salvation.

That is not the point of discussion here.

The point of this discussion is, What about the covenanted people of God today?

Are they (meaning, “we”) willing to listen closely to God’s word which relates to them (“us”) the grave significance of the “signs of the times,” and the impending end of all things worldly? – Even to the joyous words of our own imminent redemption and salvation?

Are there many among the Covenanted People of today willing to adopt the aggressive stance taken by Isaiah at this moment in Judah’s history?

The people of Judah were a Covenanted People as well as are the Believers of today. But they still needed to hear a vital message – the message of the Almighty relating to their welfare.

But not one of them besides Isaiah (Yah has saved!) was willing to take upon himself the role of God’s messenger.

If Judah had heeded the words that Isaiah repeatedly spoke to them, they should have avoided the mockery that befell them.

 

Is it possible that the same condition exists among believers today?

The believers of Isaiah’s day had adopted for their foundational beliefs, the idolatry of the nations of Canaan, which they had been commanded to destroy to the last man and beast as in Exodus 23:31-33, Deuteronomy 20: 15-17.

It was a commandment which they did not faithfully fulfill, the result of which became that they were retarded in their enjoyment of the Land which God had given them, and were later deprived of it for an extremely long term of years, wandering the nations of the earth in persecution, and in danger of imprisonment and death.

The brethren of today are more fortunate for the most part. The danger of persecution is at present hardy a concern above the nominal dislike of those of one “religion” for those of another, different “religion.”

But we are struck by the description of the harvesting of the Covenanted People by the angels of the Judgment – that the conditions from which the Believers of the current day are to be retrieved are seemingly not conditions of extreme threat or persecution.

Instead, they are nominal day-to-day transactions of life’s mundane existence: eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, carrying on the normal affairs of life; the implication is that there was no layer of seriousness in those being gathered for the event of the ages, ABOVE those mundane things of daily lifethat there was not any apparent special deference given to the overlying commandments and blessings of the Almighty in their lives.

The words of Jesus Himself refer directly to these latter days (“this generation”) in these words: Matthew 24:34 - Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Although danger may be abroad in a land, or in the broader world, the affairs of life seem to be depicted as the main concerns of those awaiting the resurrection, the gathering of the living saints, and the judgment of each before Jesus’ Judgment Seat.

Another reference to this time by the Master is found in the book of Luke:

Luke 17:34 - I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

His previous words tell us of the setting of this series of events: Luke 17:30 - Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In clearer words, Even thus shall it be in the day when the dead are to be raised, and the living are to be gathered to the day of Judgment, where the Son of Man is to be revealed to them.

The sure implication of these words is that His people cannot wait for a time of great persecution, or imminent threat to their existence, to be alert to the coming of the Master. Their sails need always to be in trim to the winds of their days – sensitive to the general times and seasons of the events which are harbinger to His Second Coming.

Facebook and Twitter must take second (or tenth!) place in our lives as being subservient to the things of the Spirit. Exciting and important as they may seem at the time, these temporally entertaining features of life as we know it today, are passing entirely away.

The consolation of the ages is upon us who await with great expectation the arrival of the Son of Man upon the earth!

The men and women of the Bible have notably stepped forward with the urgent request of their Father, “Here am I: send me!” We benefit immensely from their verve and vitality in the things of the Spirit!

Their modern-day counterparts are described scripturally in Romans 8:1, as those who ... are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Their lives are alone a vivid testimony of the Way, the Truth and the Life of Christ Jesus.

 But even they are encouraged to make their lives a further testimony to His Way of Life.

That entire discourse by the Apostle Paul clarifies and strengthens the picture of the elect of every era: it is profitable to peruse again, in the deeper considerations of the Spirit of faith and truth: our desire is to see each and every present day Believer be as eager to serve God and to make His Way clear to the people of our day as was Isaiah in his day.

Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (here, meaning Moses’ Law). 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The apostle here affirms what we can learn from details of the Law, now further commented upon by the mind of the Spirit …

Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

The former case is never to be recommended for those who seek the blessings of the Spirit of God; minding the things of the flesh is what they do who have not adopted the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Father.

He further defines the drawbacks of such a mindset in these words:

Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

The contrast of those that are “in the flesh” (those who live their lives in a fleshly mindset) is extremely great with those who are “in the Spirit.” 

He now comments upon this condition …

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  That condition (being “in the flesh”) sets up a barrier of exclusion for those who are not dwelling in the Spirit of God – not accounting His ways higher than their ways, and His thoughts not higher than their thoughts. The effect is drastic: Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Rom 8:10  And if Christ be in you, the body is (meaning, WAS) dead because of sin; but the Spirit is (meaning, NOW IS immersed in) life because of righteousness.

Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

This statement is chief among the scriptures which define the basis of our resurrection – that it is brought about by the Covenant of the Spirit which dwells in those who are baptized into His name, and whose lives are the habitation and dwelling place of His Spirit.

Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Rom 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Rom 8:19  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We believe that it is in these carefully crafted words of the Apostle Paul, that we perceive the chief message of those who have in the past stepped forward and volunteered to bring the message of salvation to any willing hearers of God’s word – “Here am I: send me!”

It is in this identical spirit that we often circulate the holy word of God to our many readers, exhorting their renewed vigour and energy as devoted to the precious things of the Father and His Son, thus repudiating the mundane (worldly) ways which are readily seen as the default position of the man or woman of God whose interest has waned ... whose flame is perhaps faltering ...  the wick of whose light is sputtering and needs to be trimmed and replenished.

We sincerely and lovingly exhort that he awaken and be renewed in the Spirit of God; that he stir up his interest in the great Prospect of the Event of the Ages, when the Lord Jesus shall come quickly down, and make all righteous hearts His own.

Only in such a context may we show forth His righteousness – only in such a way may we effectively offer to others the precious things of life eternal as commanded by Him. Only in such a way may every follower of the LORD Jesus step forward and say, “Here am I: send me!”

     <HEL>

 

No. 511: Virulence of Sin

It should come as no surprise that sin may be related directly to human disease processes. In medical science        there is a set of well-known and proven principals relating to the prognosis of infectious disease.

  They are these: that the gravity of any infection depends upon three main factors:

  The virulence of the infecting organism,

  The number of organisms infecting the host,

  The state of resistance of the host to that infection

  This set of considerations gives the physician guidelines as to how to treat any infection. For example: if an            infection of Staphylococcus aureus is relatively mild, he knows that the number of organisms which have infected his patient is relatively small and that his patient probably has an high level of immunity to this organism, because the S. aureus infection is unusually virulent – that is, its ability to do damage to the patient is severe in more substantial numbers.

So, if the observed Staph infection is only moderate, he can be sure that the number of organisms causing the infection was relatively small. He also knows that the resistivity of the patient is adequate, because he has fended off any major offense of this ordinarily vicious pathogen.

Having recognized that, even the smallest invasion of S. aureus is harmful to the patient in some degree, and should be treated.

But in this case the infection may be treated conservatively with confident expectation of a beneficial result in line with the best-practice-approach of using the least amount of medication possible to effect a cure …  a judgment which can be made by a competent physician.

 

Sin as an Infection

When one thinks about it, assaults (“infections”) of sin are similar to those of pathogenic organisms. The susceptibility of the sinner is important – his relative resistance to sin. But so is the nature (the character) of the sin and its strength (virulence) as exerted upon the sinner – assuming that he/she has been “infected” by it.

The estimation of the initial effect of SIN upon the subject is often subjective to an outside observer, just as are the initial effects of a disease organism to the physician – until intensively investigated. But the sooner an investigation of the sin and its effects is undertaken, the better an estimate of the curative or corrective process can be.

The techniques of counseling, confession, and prayer are the first, self-applied “medications” that should be administered in any instance of sin – a moral affliction rather than a physical one.

The process has other similarities to disease: the scriptures define these adequately …

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4, 29).

Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death (James 1: 15).

These are measures of the fatal aspect of sin.

Unbridled, it always results in death.

Unredeemed, the sinner perishes.

But the victim may joyfully take heart. Medication is readily available – and it has no cost; indeed it is     freely available; there is no “price” set for it in monetary terms, yet its value is priceless!

That proven medication is prescribed by the Word of God: Jesus said, as recorded in Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; (from eternal death)   but he that believeth not (and therefore is not baptized) shall be damned.

Salvation is freely available for everyone. Its rewards come without money and without price of any kind, given that the patient will receive (ingest, or assimilate) the “medicine” which can heal the fault.

And that is often where the rub comes.

Even given that the way of release from sin is plainly laid out before them, many will never avail themselves of the “cure,” the everlasting abrogation of their guilt before God and complete forgiveness of their sin through the blood of Christ in baptism. (Here, we are speaking of inherent, or in-born “sin,” the affliction of every man and woman.)

Perhaps many of them simply cannot bring themselves to submit to any Force greater than themselves, and therefore will not recognize their sinful condition, learn of Him and be baptized into His name.

Others perhaps believe there is no efficacy (strength) in the medication (the remedy) they must apply or ingest – that its reputation is mythic and not valid. We think here of the attitude of Naaman the Syrian Leper who refused initially to go and bathe in Jordan seven times to heal his leprosy.

Yet others have no confidence in their own personal ability to meet the challenge of ongoing righteousness, although Jesus tells us, My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. (Matthew 11: 30).

That statement is in comparison to the alternative, eternal death, which results from no action to prevent it.

Almost any “yoke” for bearing away sin would seem to be light in view of the invariably fatal effects of sin unmitigated. Yet many neglect to grasp it, even though it is offered freely to all, through submission to Christ and His teachings; it will bring salvation into their lives – and perhaps into the lives of others in their families as well.

The other sector of sin is that of actively practiced transgression of the Almighty’s concepts and teachings, quite separate from the inherent sinfulness of all humankind.    

The Apostle James comments on this entire, latter process as follows: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14)

It is the death-spiral of unrepentant and unforgiven men and women of every age and race.

Notice the progression toward death from even the slightest temptation, if not interrupted. At the early stages, the process may be derailed effectively, and sin’s penalty (death) easily averted. The really wonderful feature of this process is, as well defined above – is that there is no external tempter, no thing of any genre forcing one to transgress (such as “the devil”). Men and women are tempted to sin when they are enticed and drawn away by “their own lust …“

The probability of sin’s failure to harm its victim is completely under one’s own control if he resists it intelligently and prudently – if he accepts the required remedy. But it requires faith – and willpower – and prayerful determination on our parts to resist this fatal disease of sin and its resultant penalty, death. Romans 6:23.

It can only be resisted through faith – and therefore with the ready assistance of the Saviour of every man, Who has said, according to the writer of the Book of Hebrews, Let your conversation (life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper … (Hebrews 13:5)   

The above discussion makes no discernment between inherent sin (that in which every man is born) and volitional sin – or transgression.

The former is not under our personal control; the latter is.

The erasure of inherent sin comes only from learning of the Father and His plan for redemption (the things of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, in short summary – Acts 8:12) and visible, open reception of the “remedy,” which is baptism into that name of Christ, and consistently following His instruction to the best of one’s ability.

The prevention or erasure of personal sins (transgressions) come through realization of the sinful nature of some past action, repentance of its enticement, and sincere petition for forgiveness of it through the blood of Christ, which of course, may affect one only who has partaken of that blood sacrifice through the rite of baptism – a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind (all who shall have availed themselves of His offer of salvation).

The first approach is necessary before the second approach will result in any good effect; one must work from a basis of validity of bearing the Name of Christ before he or she may avail himself or herself of its efficacy to remove transgression. 

An honest, open, sincere approach to each method in order is entirely necessary; at the same time, we believe such to be ill-inclusive in its effect – the conference of immorality upon all who so practice godliness, that being the final reward for such faithfulness.

<HELafferty     5-15>

 

 

No. 510: The Trinity

 

Heard those stories of Christians being fed to the lions and persecuted to death by the Romans in the first century? But in just a couple of centuries, Christianity became the religion of the Roman empire. The pagans became fully paid up ‘Christians’. But… what exactly happened?

Constantine cleverly mixed in elements of paganism with Christianity, so that there could be one religion for his empire. By doing so, of course, he took ‘Christianity’ away from its true Biblical roots. The idea of a 'trinity' of gods was widespread in paganism. The Egyptians had three main gods, Osiris, Isis and Horus. Horus was in turn divided into 3 parts or persons. Many ‘tripilisms’ have been discovered in Western Europe- whereby gods were worshipped in threes. For example, the Deae Matres or the Matronae- the three mother goddesses-  together formed a unity representing strength, power and fertility.  So when Theophilus, bishop of Antioch introduced the word 'trias' to Christian literature for the first time in AD170, and the word 'trinitas' was first used by Tertullian in AD200, they were importing pagan concepts which were familiar and had been for millenia.

But Deut. 6:4 had for all time made it clear that there is only one God. The God of the New Testament is the same God- 1 Tim. 2:5: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. Think it through:

“God is not a man” (Num. 23:19; Hos. 11:9); yet Christ was clearly “the man Christ Jesus”. “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21). Yet He was also “the Son of the Highest” (Lk. 1:32). God being “The Highest” indicates that only He has ultimate highness; Jesus being “the Son of the Highest” shows that he cannot have been God Himself in person. 

In line with this, there are a number of obvious differences between God and Jesus, which clearly show that Jesus was not God himself.

God

Jesus

“God cannot be tempted” (James 1:13).

Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15).

God cannot die - He is immortal by nature (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 6:16).

Christ died and was in the grave for three days (Mt. 12:40; 16:21). He was once under the “dominion” of death (Rom. 6:9).

God cannot be seen by men (1 Tim. 6:16; Ex. 33:20).

Men saw Jesus and handled him (1 Jn. 1:1 emphasises this).

 

When we are tempted, we are forced to choose between sin and obedience to God. Often we choose to disobey God; Christ had the same choices, but always chose to be obedient. He therefore had the possibility of sinning, although he never actually did. It is unthinkable that God has any possibility of sinning. It was vital that Christ was tempted like us, so that through his perfect overcoming of temptation he could gain forgiveness for us. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like us” (Heb. 4:15) .

Heb. 2:14-18 is very clear: “As the children (us) are partakers of flesh and blood (human nature), he (Christ) also himself likewise partook of the same (nature); that through death he might destroy... the devil... For truly he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the (nature of the) seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it was appropriate that he be made like unto his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest... to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help them that are tempted”. This passage places extraordinary emphasis upon the fact that Jesus had human nature: “He also himself likewise” partook of it (Heb. 2:14). This phrase uses three words all with the same meaning, just to drive the point home. He partook “of the same” nature; the record could have said ‘he partook of IT too’, but it stresses, “he partook of the same”. Heb. 2:16 similarly labours the point that Christ did not have angels’ nature, seeing that he was the seed of Abraham, who had come to bring salvation for the multitude of believers who would become Abraham’s seed. Because of this, it was necessary for Christ to have human nature. In every way he had “to be made like unto his brothers” (Heb. 2:17) so that God could grant us forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice.  

He “prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup (of suffering and death) pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as you will” (Mt. 26:39). This indicates that at times Christ’s fleshly desires were different from those of God.  However, during his whole life Christ always submitted his own will to that of God in preparation for this final trial of the cross. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me” (Jn. 5:30). This difference between Christ’s will and that of God is proof enough that Jesus was not God.

Throughout our lives we are expected to grow in our knowledge of God, learning from the trials which we experience in life. In this, Jesus was our great example. He did not have complete knowledge of God poured into him any more than we have. From childhood “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature (i.e. spiritual maturity, cp. Eph. 4:13), and in favour with God and man” (Lk. 2:52). “The child grew, and became strong in spirit” (Lk. 2:40). These two verses portray Christ’s physical growth as parallel to his spiritual development; the growth process occurred in him both naturally and spiritually. If “The Son is God”, as the Athanasian Creed states concerning the ‘Trinity’, this would not have been possible. Even at the end of his life, Christ admitted that he did not know the exact time of his second coming, although the Father did (Mk. 13:32). He asked questions of the teachers of the Law at age 12, eager to learn; and often He spoke of what He had learnt and been taught by His Father.

People today- young people especially- are so often asking the ultimate questions, but looking for the answers in the wrong places. In God and in His Son Jesus, as the Bible reveals them, stripped of all the theology of men, the accretions of nominal Christian culture… we find just what we need and were unconsciously looking for, even longing for, all our lives. The Bible predicates the life eternal upon ‘knowing Christ’. Therefore understanding Him assumes a vital place in human life, both now and eternally. For as Paul succinctly put it: “To live is Christ”. Give yourself no rest until you are confident that you have come to know Him in spirit and in truth.

SUMMARY INSERT:

The Trinity: UnBiblical Teaching

-  Constantine mixed paganism’s concept of three gods into Christianity

-  There is only one God (Dt. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5) who is the Father (1 Cor. 8:6). Therefore nobody else, including the Son, can be God- if the only one God is the Father

-  “God is not a man” (Num. 23:19; Hos. 11:9); yet Christ was clearly “the man Christ Jesus”. “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21).

-  “God cannot be tempted” (James 1:13). Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15).

-  God cannot die - He is immortal by nature (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 6:16). Christ died and was in the grave for three days (Mt. 12:40; 16:21). He was once under the “dominion” of death (Rom. 6:9).

-  God cannot be seen by men (1 Tim. 6:16; Ex. 33:20). Men saw Jesus and handled him (1 Jn. 1:1).

-  Jesus had our human nature (Heb. 2:14-18; 4:15).

 

No. 509: A CLOSER LOOK AT MICAH  5

 

Graham Bacon

We have written about Micah 5:1-6 a number of times in different contexts. These verses, to us, describe an attempted invasion of Israel by Iraq, as the latter day Assyrian, at an interval after the return of Jesus Christ. At the time of this writing, the coalition forces led by the USA are planning a phased withdrawal from Iraq, leaving that country in the hands of highly unstable, volatile, aggressive Arabs, capable of anything, and particularly of an attack on Israel. The potential invasion of Israel, as depicted in Micah 5 is absolutely believable.

 

The prophet discloses that the invasion establishes a foothold in Israel, “…when the Assyrian comes into our land and when he treads in our palaces…” v.5 and in v.6, “…when he treads within our borders.” But this achievement is short-lived because “…we shall raise against him seven shepherds and eight princely men [warriors] and they shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria and the land of Nimrod [north Iraq] at its entrances.” Thus the invasion is turned on its head with the future Iraq subjected to the reign of Jesus from Jerusalem.

 

The rest of the chapter, with which we have not previously dealt in detail, provides brief glimpses of the benefits that the world will enjoy by the continued existence of the Jews – benefits of which the world would have been deprived if the Iraqi invasion of Israel would have had succeeded. In addition it describes the dire consequences upon nations that challenge Jesus and the Jews in the Holy Land.

 

Verse 7 hints at these benefits after the suppression of Iraq’s attack. “Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass.” Furthermore, the subsequent safety of the Jews is guaranteed in vv.8-9, “…the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many peoples like a lion among the beasts of the forest…your hand shall be lifted against your adversaries and all your enemies shall be cut off.”

 

To this point, Micah 5 has outlined several important pieces of information. It provides us with a clue to the destiny of Iraq forward from our time – its future belligerence and its subsequent submission to the appointed agents of Jesus Christ. We need not wonder about the future of Iraq.   Isaiah 19 details their conversion to Christ.   Micah 5 then confirms the key role that the Jews, also converted to Christ as described in Zechariah 12:10, will play in the kingdom age.

 

A further example is Zechariah 8:23, “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ”   These are kingdom prophecies. They are relevant to believers only in the age to come. In that time, the non-Jewish believers will find themselves in the kingdom beside these Jewish believers.

 

But there is a somber note attached to this account.   Be aware of the phrase in v.7 “the remnant of Jacob” and repeated in v.8. Clearly this is a detail not to be ignored. There is no explanation attached, so what does it imply?

 

The concept of “remnant” is common in the Bible. Of about 90 references, almost half occur in Isaiah and Jeremiah. These major prophets were concerned with both their own situation and with the last day destiny of the Jews. There were remnant Jewish populations in Old Testament times as well as forecasts of coming calamities to our own times that would leave a remnant group of Jews. The Holocaust, foreshadowed in Jeremiah 16:15-16, is an example.

 

Worldwide Jewry would number hundreds of millions if there had not been repeated historical massacres of Jews. But Jewish history is one of being reduced to “remnants” by God several times because of their disobedience and faithlessness.   Here is another example, “But I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord”.  Jeremiah 23:3-4.    Even in the kingdom age, as Micah 5 denotes, the Jews will be known as the “remnant” that will be a blessing in the land, like “dew” and like “showers on the grass.”

 

At the present time, most people would not regard the Jews like that. Most people look on the Jews as a problem that the world could do without.  The general view is that the Jews are stubborn, obstacles to peace, cranky, money grubbers, manipulators. They certainly are their own worst enemy, sometimes  reacting  violently to provocation. But Bible believers understand that there are reasons for Jewish antisocial and undiplomatic attitudes that are connected with survival over thousands of years in the face of discrimination and persecution.

 

God gave them determination, endurance and an indomitable spirit because he has always had a final kingdom destiny for ethnic Jews even if it was to be enjoyed by a remnant.   Hence Micah 5:7-9, ever so briefly, refers to that final blessing, just one of dozens of places where it is to be found in Scripture.

 

From verse 10 to the end of the chapter is a divine diatribe against “those nations that have not heard” v.15. It immediately follows the Lord’s promise to the Jews that “all your enemies shall be cut off” v.9. This chapter has already described the overthrow of an Arab army that had attempted to take over Israel, even though Jesus Christ had proclaimed his authority from Jerusalem with believing Jews and Christians sharing the Holy Land.

 

Here is an example of belligerents not recognising the danger of challenging the kingdom administration. Only through total ignorance would antagonists confront an all powerful ruler with absolute authority. [Another example is in Revelation 17:14].   The “latter day Assyrian”, clearly the north eastern Arabs on the borders of the Holy Land, attempt to invade that land because of its Jewish connections, if present day indications are indicative. The last six verses of Micah 5 declare the fate of those who try.    Says God, “I will destroy your cities and I will execute vengeance in anger and fury on the nations that have not heard”.

 

Some of the ‘value’  for us in Micah 5 is knowing about the future foolishness of Iraq [and its final redemption in Isaiah 19], as well as the continued endurance of the Jewish people, along with the believing Christians, into the kingdom age, and the deadly dangers of not recognising Jesus in his future kingdom authority.   

 

It adds to the confirmation of the certain progress already discernable towards the kingdom age that is also available in numerous references throughout the Bible.  God does not leave his faithful believers in the dark about the future. The prophecies provide hope and a measure of certainty with continuing evidence of a grand plan in progress.

 

 

No. 508: THE BIBLE AND THE LATTERDAYS

The first part of this article was written in 1952 and great and mighty Biblical signs have been shown to mankind..  One of the greatest of the ‘final signs’ spoken of in the Bible, was to occur when Mt Seir (now in the territory of Jordan) was pre-ordained to ‘take’ the old City of Jerusalem and the ancient holy places in Judea and Samaria.    Mt Seir  (Idumea-House of Esau), is in Jordan and it was Jordan which took advantage of the confusion resulting from the proclamation of the State of Israel in thee old City and the two heartland sections of Israel, Judea and Samaria.

 

The Bible was accurate as always in predicting these happenings. “….thou (Mt Seir/Idumea/Esau) hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it, whereas the Lord was there”.     (Ezekiel  35-10).    AGAIN…    “The enemy (Mt Seir/Idumea/Esau) hath said against you (Israel), Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession (Ezekiel 36-2).    How sure is the word of the Lord, for Jordan took East Jerusalem, the Old City, all of Judea and Samaria, including Shiloh, Hebron, Jericho, and of course controlled the most sacred site of them all…the Temple Mount.

 

The Bible is always ahead of the news and the fulfilment of its predictions prove its truth and answer the question WHY WE CAN BELIEVE THE BIBLE.  For instance, the Lord Jesus told the people of His day, “Ye shall not see me henceforth til ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”. (Matthew 23-39).    Because the Bible explicitly proclaims that the Lord Jesus at His second coming, will return to Jerusalem (Zechariah 14-4), then it follows that Jews will be in Jerusalem at the time of His coming.   At the time of the writing of this part of our article, the year 2000, the Jews ARE in Jerusalem and thus ready to greet their Messiah.  We can believe the Bible because its truths and prophecies are accurate.

 

But, before they accept Him they “shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12-10),  and ask “What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends”   (Zechariah 13-6). So many of the Bible’s prophecies have come to pass, that we can rely on this also to come to pass as Israel realises that the one their forefathers rejected and crucified was indeed their promised Messiah.

 

Of our days, the Father wrote through Zechariah  (12-2), “I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling` unto all the people round about when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and Jerusalem,  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”. We have seen the commencement of this wonderful Bible `prophecy, for the people of the latter day Mt Seir/ Edom/ Esau Palestinian Arabs , have suffered enormously from their fanatical desire to acquire Jerusalem as the capital of their Palestinian state.  The Bible assures the reader that they will suffer more yet, for the prophet Obadiah proclaims,”there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, FOR THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT”. (Obadiah v. 18)

 

 

No. 507: A CRITICAL LOOK AT ISAIAH 16

For over a century some Bible Prophecy commentators  have quoted Isaiah 16 as showing that in the latter days Moab (under the power of Britain) would be a place of refuge for fleeing Israelites as Russia attacks  Israel.

 

And it seems at a casual glance, that the King James Version of Isaiah confirms this, BUT that is not so….. As well, when studying other versions of the Bible, it seems apparent that the  casual reading of  the KJV version can lead the reader into a false premise.   The King James Version reads as follows

ISAIAH  16:1  Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.

2  For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.

 

3  Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; (the daughters of Moab)…. betray not him that wandereth.

4  Let mine outcasts (the daughters of Moab), dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the    face of the spoiler: (Sennacherib) for the extortioner  is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.

 

The following are quotations from various translations of  v.4 of Chapter 16

 

N.I.V Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you (Arnon)

R.S.V Let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you (Arnon)

TANAKH Let Moab’s outcasts find asylum with thee (Arnon)

JERUSALEM BIBLE Let my outcasts, the outcast of Mo’av dwell with thee (Arnon)

SEPTUAGINT The fugitives of Moab shall sojourn  with thee (Arnon)

AMPLIFIED BIBLE Let our outcasts of Moab dwell amongst you  (Arnon

    (Note that the Septuagint was translated from Hebrew to Greek 1900 years before the KJV appeared.)

 

Quite unjustly, the ‘outcasts’ have been designated as the outcasts of Zion, latter day Israelites fleeing from a Russian invasion, whereas in fact, the ‘mine outcasts’ are the Moabites (the daughters of Moab) sheltering in the gloom of the River Arnon at midday, and NOT the Israelites.

 

Before trying to identify the scenario of Isaiah 16-1/4, the reader must take note that chapter 13 is a prophecy against Babylon,  chapter 14 contains  prophecies against Babylon and the Philistines,  and chapter 15 and 16, prophecies against Moab.   Many Bibles have those headings over the top of the chapters and reading the content of each chapter shows this to be so.  

 

None of these chapters  (13 to 16) contain prophecies against or concerning Israel, but as “the daughter of Zion” is mentioned in V. 1 of Chapter 16, then the assumption is made that the ‘outcasts’ are people from Zion, or Israel,  an assumption that is proven false when the Scripture is examined.

 

One of the first things of which to take note, after reading the many translations of this chapter, is that it is to the RIVER ARNON that  ‘poetic’ requests are made [to that River] to  ‘make thy shade as the night in the midst of the noonday…..hide the outcasts…..betray not the fugitive…..Let mine outcasts (the daughters of Moab,) dwell with thee (Arnon)….….as for Moab, be thou (Arnon) a covert to him (Moab) from the face of the destroyer (Sennacherib).

 

Parts of the River Arnon are very narrow with steep sides, so that the bed of the river is in shade until ‘noonday’, so what Isaiah is poetically saying to the Arnon, ‘at noonday make your shade like the darkness of night’, the idea being that the outcasts of Moab could be hidden in that darkness even at noon  when they should really be in  the full sight of the marauders!.

 

Many expositors, writing of the future when Gog comes against Israel  claim that Israel will either be taken captive into Moab or flee there, AND THEY  must be confounded by the above. 

 

As well, Ezekiel 39-4 to 9, shows that rather than the latter day Israelites being in Moab in the days of Gog’s destruction, they come out of the cities of Israel to bury Gog  (Ez. 39-9) when he and his hosts are destroyed EAST OF THE SEA  (of Galilee)   (See Youngs Concordance  under VALLEY OF THE PASSENGERS…EAST OF CHINNERETH)

C  FRENCH  GPL 8-2006

 

Featured below is a picture of part of the Arnon River, which is obscured from the sun  until midday

 

 

ARNON   RIVER


No. 276: The Prickling Briers

The 28th of Ezekiel stands in the midst of several chapters of the Almighty's scalding, detailed condemnation of the nations round about Israel ... all those are nations which have done damage to Israel and held grudges against her from old time; it includes their atrocities and aggression of the End Time, as we shall see.

One of these prophecies - this one against Zidon of Phoenicia - is especially important in that it clearly outlines the situation of Israel in the End Time - Israel's people recalled from the nations and their mode of life in their Second Restoration.

Ezekiel 28:21 “ Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, 22 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they (meaning, Israel) shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her (Zidon), and shall be sanctified in her. 23 For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they (Israel) shall know that I am the LORD (but Israel, so far, does not know this). 24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 25 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell (the clear implication is that they shall SAFELY dwell) in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. 26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.”

Verse 23 speaks to the untutored state of the restored People, noting carefully that even as they are regathered in ignorance of His Great Plan, that the LORD is paying much attention to them; they do not recognize Him nationally AS the LORD, and therefore do not serve him acceptably at this earlier time.

Note particularly that verse 24 describes Zidon (south Lebanon of today, inhabited and armed by Hezbollah, against Israel) as a pricking brier unto the house of Israel ... a grieving thorn of all them that are round about them (Israel), that despised them ...

Thorns and briers are sharp, and hurtful; they tear and rip at one's clothing and skin as one traverses their stands.

Their damage is hardly ever fatal, but nettlesome, and of some concern. Small infections made by these tears in one's skin can easily become grossly infected and go on to fatality if not cared for properly.

Such random occurrences are co-relatable to the random killings and murders of God's people today, by suicide bombers and incoming missiles, as the People are constantly attacked by these determined enemies.

This language especially links this Bulletin with the last one devoted to this subject [Number 275] - and expands upon it in many details. This passage gives us great particulars about the Second Restoration of Israel, describing in some detail, their gathering from the people among whom they are scattered, assuring their future destiny: that then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob (vs. 25).

They are not dwelling safely as of this date (late 2014) in history. The conflict of Israel against the Gazan interlopers - Hamas - earlier this year, reminds us that there are people on every side of Israel who constantly strive to do them harm. These are the prickling briers and the thorns that grieve the regathered People of God, and challenge daily their right of return and possession of t in this End Time, indeed coveting it for the enemies themselves.

The people of Israel today are taken with optimism, for the most part, and certainly expect to be able to defend themselves from these enemies. They are not cognizant of the invisible assistance that they are being given by angelic agency. But in reading the accounts of their wars and skirmishes, one is struck by the many instances in which the outnumbered forces of Israel have wrought devastating victories against these enemies in very short time periods. It is widely known that the Six Day War of 1967, has gone into history as one of the most unusually efficient, rapid and complete defeats of attacking armies in history. Its details and strategies as employed by Israel are studied in war colleges around the world as the detailed account of how less than two millions of Israelis defeated over 100 millions of aggressive Arabs who had attacked them from all sides.

Israel had been warned of these aggressive tendencies even before they had entered the Land of Canaan and attempted to expel its seven evil nations at the time of the Exodus from Egypt. 


The Lord had warned them: Numbers 33:55  But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

Prickling briers ... and grieving thorns, indeed!

After Israel's failure to do as commanded, and were preparing to take over their inheritances in the Land, an angel of the LORD came to them at their assembly at Bochim, and told them this dire news: Judges 2:3 - Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

They had not performed His wishes, and now the angel of the LORD would not do it for them.

As such, briers and thorns are essentially useless; briers and thorns are destructive and hurtful, above all else; they cannot be converted to positive functions, but are merely for  burning. Their essential character is well described by Isaiah 10:17 - And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; Isaiah 27:4 - Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.

The basic truth is that the briers and thorns that have now been set against Israel are FIRSTLY, and actually set against YHVH in battle. There is clear moral equivalence between the two! One is equivalent to the other. Any aggression against His people is also aggression against GOD Himself, as attested by the details of Psalm 83 - a prophetic prayer of Asaph which could not be fulfilled until the Second Restoration came about, which it has now done in our day, beginning officially in May, 1948. During these seventy odd years, the words of Psalm 83 have vividly come to life as prescient of historical outworking: Psalm 83:1 - A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. 2  For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. 3  They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. (The Hebrew word translated "hidden ones" is Tsaphan, Strong's H6845, meaning those who are reserved, or covered, esteemed, and kept - Israel of today.) 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: 6  The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; 7  Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8  Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

Selah ... stop and consider these words; the ten nation-states next listed is the literal roster of those who are the briers and thorns in the sides of Israel this very day! This prophetic scenario could not have taken place at any time before May 1948, when the name of Israel began to be utilized for the restored nation of Judah upon Israel's spiny mountains.

Dear readers and fellow students of God's word: we are so greatly privileged to live in these End Times, and to see with our own eyes the vividly enacted outworking of God's eternal Plan. To the untutored of the world, things are seemingly hopeless - the problems facing humankind are insoluble. Men's hearts are now failing them for fear of those things ...

Sober minded individual have recognized this truth for a long time. The writer remembers some years ago driving through the night hours in central Pennsylvania, and hearing dozens of quotations of world leaders, ranging from John F. Kennedy to Benjamin Disraeli to other Movers and Shakers of the 20th century, in a lecture being aired by Herbert W. Armstrong, then head of the Worldwide Church of God, who agreed at the time with many of our own convictions.

The summary of all those quoted remarks was this: That the problems of mankind have reached a scale and a depth of reality which can be righted by only one power, the God of Heaven; that a DIVINE solution is the only effective remedy. We agreed at the time, and still do agree. That is the basis of our multiple prayers each day for the coming of the Son of Man, Who in His time shall exalt the name of His Father in the earth and among His people Israel. Recall the words quote above; And they (Israel) shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God. Only this momentous accomplishment can bring about that condition described in Ezekiel 38: 8, 11, 14 - all of which attest to a peaceful, safe, confident Israel, then completely free of the briers and thorns of their earlier existence, at that future time, dwelling in the Land, awaiting the Gogian. invader!

 

No. 275: The  Briers and Thorns

The Prophet Isaiah refers to briers and thorns eight times in reference to blight and adversity upon the land of Israel; but he also utilizes the figure to represent atrocities and attacks upon God's people the Jews. The news of the day regularly depicts such acts of violence and terror against God's regathered people in Israel today.

The week of November 16th (2014) saw one of the worst of these when two Jerusalem Arabs entered a synagogue in Jerusalem and killed four rabbis with meat cleavers and knives. This heinous attack was the worst in Jerusalem in perhaps 15 years.

An untutored observer might rightly ask, "Why do such things happen between Arabs and Jews?"

That has a rather close connection to a rivalry that took place about 4100 years ago in Canaan.

Abram had been called of God while living in Ur of Chaldea - a well-settled area of the Mesopotamian delta south of Baghdad, now in Iraq. Abram (later renamed Abraham) had been given a great promise by the God of heaven: 

Genesis 12:1: 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. 

As time passed, and Abram obeyed the commandments of the LORD, his blessings grew accordingly. But he became concerned that his wife, Sarai (later renamed Sarah), was barren; just how would God make of Abram a great nation if he had no offspring?

The LORD addressed this solution in stages. He should have a son as heir, but he must exhibit patience - a quality  which Abram then had little.

Gen 15:3  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

As the years rolled forward and Abram grew older, Sarai took it upon herself to give her handmaiden, Hagar, an Egyptian woman, to Abram to wife as was the local custom at that time. Perhaps Hagar could bear a son to Abram, thus fulfilling the promise the LORD had made. That issue could solve the problem of Abram having no true heir.

The son that was born of that union of Abram and Hagar was named Ishmael. Several years passed and Ishmael grew toward manhood. But strife had developed between Sarai and Hagar. Abram sent Hagar away with her son; but an angel of the LORD came to her and blessed her, and gave her promises to be realized through her son Ishmael.

She must return to Abram's encampment and submit to Sarai.

Not long afterward, the LORD, perhaps seeing Abram's distress in his life, appeared to Abram and promised that he would have a son by Sarai. Genesis 17:16:And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

At the time Abraham was almost 90 years old, and Sarah was about eighty ... far past their normal childbearing years.

But about a year later, as He promised, Isaac was born of Sarah - Abraham's rightful heir. The details of the promise made to Abraham through Isaac is found in detail in Genesis 17: 15-21. It is fulfilled in Genesis 21:4-12, q.v.

Now God had already told Abraham of the divergent destinies of his two sons. He promise to Abraham is ...

Genesis 17:20  And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.Now Abraham has a rightful heir through whom the promises shall be fulfilled.

Thus we behold the dichotomy of the LORD's favour - His choice of Isaac as the legal "seed" of Abraham, through whom the great promises to Abraham would be executed. The tension that resulted between Ishmael and Isaac was natural, and would be the basis, along with other nearly identical occurrences (we refer to Jacob and Esau - an identical situation in which the second son was chosen over the first as heir to the father's properties and name).

The descendants of Ishmael and Esau became the Arabic tribes to today, thus prolonging the animosity and jealousy between the families of these heirs of Abraham.

Of Ishmael, the LORD had said to Hagar, Genesis 17:20: And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

Now Isaac grew to manhood and married. His wife Rebecca became pregnant with twins - Esau, the firstborn, and Jacob. By custom, the firstborn of twins was considered the firstborn of the father. But in this case Jacob took advantage of the weakness of Esau, and bought Esau's birthright (his right of succession to his father) for a bowl of pottage. By a complex trick, Isaac and Rebecca caused Isaac to bless Jacob rather than Esau.

Nearly everyone knows this history, we presume.

The result was a severe hatred of Esau for Isaac, such that he intended to kill his brother. Genesis 27:41: And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

That extreme animosity lives on and persists to this day.

One of these men's descendants hated the Jews and Israel so much that he established a rival, and in his mind, superior "religion" to that of the Hebrews.

His name was Mohammed of Mecca, who founded Islam in the seventh century.

He substituted "Allah" (a small stone "god" found among the 360 pagan Arabic gods at Mecca) for YHVH.

He claimed that Ishmael instead of Isaac was the son Abraham was commanded to slay on Mount Moriah.

He relegated Jesus to a position of an ordinary prophet, writing confidently in the Koran that "God has no son."

He refuted the divine testimony of God's word, changing the truth of God

He established a "religion" in which redemption is not even a factor, and the rewards of which only fulfill the fleshly lusts of common men, such as each adherent of Islam receiving in heaven after death the complete submission of 72 virgins. We have often wondered what reward Islamic women receive (?).

He commanded that his followers kill all the Jews as they are "the sons of pigs and monkeys."

He claimed the dominance of Islam over all other "religions" in all the earth.

So we can easily perceive the reasons behind the hatred of Arab for Jew today - and the terrible, irrational ways in which Arab jealousy tries to assert itself. This pervasive state of perpetual animosity is likened to the nettlesome harm caused by briers and thorns in the wilderness brush - the persistent contest of the Arabs with the Jews of the world, and especially of the State of Israel today.

But the ascendancy of Jacob is attested in God's word with complete certainty, in such words as these from Isaiah 10:17: And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day ... That "light of Israel" in Isaiah 60:19 is revealed as that Son which God "never had."(Says Islam)

The LORD gave comforting words to the Prophet Ezekiel, relating to him these symbolic words regarding this age-old state of animosity. The twist here is that the rebellious people of Israel are likened to thorns and briers to Ezekiel: And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. Ezekiel 2:6.

These rebellious Israelites who resisted Ezekiel in his day had become victims of these same people and their (even then) false "religion" of idolatry because they had failed to obey the commandment of God to eradicate them from the Land. Note the warning given in Numbers 33:55  But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land (the Canaanites) from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Their laxity in obeying God's commandments led to their downfall in that day, and their being frightfully led astray by those thorns and thistles of paganism.

<HEL 11N>

No. 274: Watchman, What of the Night?

Isaiah 21: 11

Each evening, as the sun sets in the western sky, the safety and oversight of the villages of the Lord’s people are placed in the sole trust of the Watchmen. It has been so from ancient time.

While the inhabitants take their rest, sleeping securely in their beds in order to gain the strength to pursue their coming work day, they are continuously protected, and potentially informed of any significant danger, by a small number of their companions who remain awake and alert to any threat to the villagers.

The Watchers exchange their duties regularly, so that none grow weary or faint in their hours of service. Although their duties extend through the daytime hours also, it is the night of oppression which is addressed here in Isaiah 21.

More than one Watchman serves the village during each watch, regularly communicating with one another as to the conditions in all quarters.

Their plan for the alert defense of the village is well rehearsed by all; it is followed faithfully by each Watcher. Each is equipped with appropriate weapons of defense. Each is clothed in gear which protects him or her from the assaults of rain or cold – or enemies.

And each is supplied with nourishment which sustains him as he maintains vigilance.

Many of the mature members of the village will serve in this rotation, each taking his turn of service in guarding the village and its people from marauders, intruders, invaders, fire or storm – each one ready at every instant to sound the Shofar of alarm if danger approaches from the dark mountains round about.

In the hands of the Watchers lies the security and protection of each member of the village, from the smallest infant to the hoary heads of advanced age.

It is the responsibility of every villager to respond to the watchman’s observations.

 

The Burden of Edom

The cry, “Watchman, What of the night?” comes from Edom – not Israel.

Isaiah 21: 11 et seq, is the sixth Burden of the seven given by the LORD through Isaiah.

Edom was among the nations which Babylon had taken captive. Their inquiry is of the prophets of Judah as to how long their captivity should last.  The Edomites as well as the Jews were subdued by the Babylonians.

Edom is also called Mt. Seir, the designated home (Joshua 24:4) of Esau; it is called by the Greeks Idumea, of which “Dumah” is a short form. Verse 11 illustrates their equivalency.

Isa 21:11  The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

Their inquiry of the prophet was, How long should their subjection to Babylon last? The prophet intimates that the Jews should be delivered from their captivity; not so the Edomites.

Dumah indicates silence – prophetic of its end.

This inquiry of Edom is, “Watchman, how far gone is the night?” – as if their distress is so great that they are praying for morning light. These words reflect their oppression by Sargon and his forces as well as Babylon only shortly thereafter.

Isa 21:12  The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.

Isaiah has no answer for Edom, but indicates that they may ask again.

 

Watchmen in Ezekiel’s Prophecy

The prophet Ezekiel also was given extremely relevant instruction by the word of the LORD in this matter of Watchmen. He makes entirely apparent to Ezekiel, the essential definition of the duties and responsibilities of the Watchmen. The basic requirements of his assignment are laid out clearly:

Ezekiel 33:2  Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:

Eze 33:3  If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

Eze 33:4  Then whosoever (among the villagers) heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

Eze 33:5  He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

 If on the other hand, the Watchman fails to warn the people, he is responsible for their fate. And the Watchman is adjudged a failure.

Eze 33:6  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

 

This is therefore a most serious commission with which each Watchman is charged. It is essentially a life for a life if he be derelict in his duty.

 

Ezekiel Was Just Such a Watchman

Ezekiel was directly charged with the duties of a Watchman – one appointed as responsible for the welfare and instruction of His people.

Ezekiel was fortunate to have had direct contact with the Almighty in these matters of vital consequence.  

Today, we also have such a benefit: the written word of the Father which He caused to be recorded for our instruction.

Eze 33:7  So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

Eze 33:8  When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Eze 33:9  Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

The two operative conditions are here specified:

1.       If the Watchman does not warn the people, he is responsible.

2.      If the Watchman does warn the people, he is not responsible.

It is therefore incumbent upon the Watchman to watch carefully, to warn thoroughly, and to persevere at his post.

The matters addressed in the narrative following concerns matters of conduct.

The children of Israel were at that time steeped in sins and transgressions. Ezekiel consistently warned them away from that course of action, but they persisted.

Eze 33:10  Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

Eze 33:11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Today the brethren of Christ are subjected to great temptation – a hazard which each Sunday exhortation touches upon in some manner, exhorting to good works and exemplary conduct of each brother and sister of Christ.

Each first day, many exhortations also address matters of Bible prophecy, warning of the dangers that are coming upon the world – and the manner in which they are coming.

 The Apostle Peter speaks of the danger of the end-time; he reminds his readers of the coming catastrophe in 2Peter 2:5 And (God) spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.

It is worthy of note that Peter, in this commentary, follows this illustration of the destruction of the world that then was, by water, with an example of the Almighty’s destruction of a similar “world” by fire, a fate equivalent to that which is now approaching the world –  2Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7  And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.

These identical events in this precise sequence were emphasized by the Lord Himself as recorded in  Luke 21 – first the destruction by water, and then by fire.

Luke 17:26  And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

Luk 17:27  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Luk 17:28  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

Luk 17:29  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Luk 17:30  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

The pointed warning cannot be missed. The antitypical  rapidly approaching destruction of the world – it mores and customs, its transgressions and ungodly behavior – is now nigh upon that “world.” 

All Must be Watchmen

Watchmen must diligently keep to their watches. In a strong, practical sense, all the servants of the LORD must be actively engaged in such duties, each being Watchmen for all the others.

The Prophet Malachi wrote these inspired words of God in his short work:

Mal 3:16  Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

It becomes the duty of each brother and sister to assume the role of the Watchman, diligently observing and discussing the impending events of this very dark “night,” praying diligently for the dawn of the Sun (Son) of Righteousness, Who shall arise with healing in His beams. Malachi 4:2.

Their conversation must surely include intelligent and compelling observations of the prophesied signs of the times, the approaching end of days, their own nearing redemption, and the punishments which are coming upon the world – exhorting each of his counterparts to an high level of watchfulness, diligence, and faith.     

<HEL 10N> ~

 No. 273: Rosh Hashana and the Shemitah Year in Israel

Harold E. Lafferty,

29 Elul, 5775.  There has been much discussion of Israel’s upcoming Shemitah year, which begins today, September 24th (2014) (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.

 


 

No. 272: Psalm 83:  A Verse By Verse Consideration 

Harold E. Lafferty

Psalm 83 is receiving a great deal of attention currently, largely because of the turmoil in all the nations surrounding Israel, but most importantly in Syria and Iraq, both now being slowly devoured by Islamic State; by the activities of Hezbollah in South Lebanon; by the activities of Hamas in the Gaza Strip; the animosity and hatred of the larger fraction of Jordan’s population (who are “Palestinians”); and the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in central Israel’s Judea and Samaria.

A verse by verse commentary will be useful to illustrate the psalm’s close connection to all these regions and states of the present day.

This consideration is extremely relevant to today’s history because the Jewish people – of all the peoples of the earth – are God’s witness as to the certainty and veracity of His Plan in the earth. All history is judged and evaluated against the backdrop of the exigencies of His People. The Prophet Isaiah was inspired to reveal the intention of YHVH, the God of Israel, in these three key passages:

 Isaiah 43:10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isa_43:12  I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

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. 

 

Asaph was a priest  of Israel; as such, he composed songs or psalms.

This 83rd Psalm is the last of a series written by Asaph beginning in Psalm 73.

Its remarkably relevant to today, being surely meant to forecast the events which are about to be fulfilled.

Not only do all the nations round about Israel despise the Jewish State, they regularly issue fearsome threats upon the Jewish people and their state as well as physical assaults upon the Jewish people. Since Israel’s reestablishment, the nations and regions listed in this psalm have waged war against God’s People – to no avail, except to lose every contest, as well as much of their lands.

The conflicts now raging in the regions adjacent to Israel – and often even within Israel – appear to every decent man so heinous as to require the supernaturall judgments of the Almighty. But He has thus far only wrought judgment upon those  enemies by the hand of Israel – divinely assisting His people to win each of its wars exceptionally swiftly (except the War of Israeli Independence of 1948, which ended in a truce some 14 months after it began).

These Islamic states and other political subdivisions clearly are Israel’s enemies; but they are God’s enemies first, as attested by the underlined portions of the first two verses:

Psa 83:1  A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. 2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

Asaph’s previous psalm had ended with the fervent prayer, Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

It was a plea for the Father’s intervention on behalf of His People Israel, at a particular time in history which would come some 3,000 years into the future!

For nearly two millennia, there was no nation of Israel; its state was abolished, and its people were scattered to the four winds of the earth.

Their re-congregation into their own land has triggered great animosity and aggression from their neighbors on every side. The people of God once again comprise an entity known as “Israel.”

Psa 83:3  They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

Who are the “hidden ones?” The Hebrew word so translated is Strong’s H6845, Tsaphan, meaning “to hoard, to preserve, to protect” among other similar definitions. This seems to be a sure indication of the Almighty’s FAVOR for Israel – His bias toward preserving them in this sea of chaos and persecution.

These words refer directly to the endless discussions and threats of the PLO, the Arab League, the Moslem Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and many other Islamic groups in the general area of the Levant. We have published The Hamas Covenant on past occasions;  it is the official founding document of this offshoot of the Moslem Brotherhood of Egypt – which calls for the destruction of Israel in nearly every one of its provisions.

The identical desires are recorded in the founding document of the PLO as well – and those of Hezbollah. It is the very serious continuation of the animosity between Esau and Jacob, which originated nearly 4,000 years ago. Cf., Genesis 25.

The next verse of the psalm records this modern phenomenon. These threats could not have had meaning prior to 1948, for that was the beginning date for the modern Jewish State. Their loathing is rendered more forceful in revealing that their base desire is to cut them (Israel) off from being a nation.

Psa 83:4  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:

There has hardly been in history, a record of disunity as severe as that of the mingled peoples called Arabs. But one point of unity between practically ALL of the tribes and clans of Islam is their common hatred of Israel.

Now Asaph enumerated the precise populations about which he is speaking; not one of these is recognizable today, for they have all passed away in the dust of history.

However, the ancient locations of all these peoples are known quite accurately. By the logic of prophetic revelation, readers today must simply identify those ancient peoples, so a determination may be made as to their modern counterparts.

Whoever occupies those ancient tribal places today are the people indicated by the prophecies as they come to fruition in the end-time.

Psa 83:6  The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

The list begins with the tabernacles (tents) of Edom. Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Esau’s sale of his birthright to his brother effectively deprived Esau of his legal inheritance as first son (which he was, being the firstborn of twins).

Thus, Esau hated Jacob, and desired to kill him for his treachery. But the actions of Jacob were guided by YHVH through Jacob’s mother, and Jacob was affirmed to be the son of promise. That hatred has never subsided.

The location of the Edomites today within and near Israel is readily found in Obadiah’s prophecy, verses 19 and 20. Specific areas of their habitation are listed there as being readily overrun and taken by Israel in the end-time.

The phrase “tents of Edom” is also most appropriate because a great number of them literally inhabit tents in their exile. Their first dwelling places in the lands of their exile were hastily erected tent-encampments in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Syria and in other adjacent areas.

Next are listed the Ishmaelites – the offspring of Ishmael, son of Abraham with his concubine, Hagar, an Egyptian servant woman. Today they inhabit north Arabia, but also are linked to the Golan Heights.

An angel of the LORD had told Ishmael’s mother, in Genesis 16:11 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. 12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

Although somewhat less intense than the hatred of Jacob by Esau, the descendants of Ishmael are in league with Esau against the sons of Jacob even today.

The Moabites are mentioned next. Moab was one of the two sons of Lot, Ammon being the other. Today the descendants of Moab are the inhabitants of central Jordan. The area’s population is nearly 75% “Palestinian,” and they frequently have voiced their desire to wipe out Israel.

The Hagarenes are descendants of Hagar also. They were located in northern Arabia as well as in the Negev (the Bedouin of south Israel).

Psa 83:7  Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

Gebal is located in central Lebanon, and is home to many of the party of Hezbollah – extreme enemies of Israel.

Ammon, the brother of Moab, was located in north Jordan – the area represented by these peoples today. The capital of Jordan preserves the name as “Amman.”

Amalek was a fierce tribe located in the northern Negev (the desert of the south of Israel), and is distinguished as the first military enemy of Israel during its Exodus trek. This people’s obituary is found in Exodus 17:14 - And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

The Philistines inhabited the Gaza Strip of their day. Today they are Hamas.

Inhabitants of Tyre lived at Tyre, in south Lebanon, now the home of the Hezbollah of that region.

Psa 83:8 - Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

Assur is another name for Assyria of the prophet’s day. They were fierce, intractable enemies of Israel at the time of the first dispersion, treating hostages extremely violently and mercilessly. Their territory was roughly that of Iraq and Syria of today.

The “Children of Lot,” again, nominates Moab and Ammon, q.v., above.

All these groups of Arabs, now adherents of Islam, are beyond being due for punishment for their treatment of God’s people in every age. Just scan the prophet Obadiah’s only chapter for a detailed list of atrocities of Esau against Israel both in good times and in bad.

The psalmist prays for their destruction following certain patterns – all divinely inspired. He compares their punishments to several notable enemies of Israel in the past …

 

At this point, we must point out the close correlation of this prophecy of Psalm 83 with other parallel prophecies which tell of the demise of the same peoples.

These are in part, Obadiah; Isaiah 11; Ezekiel 35; Joel 3; Zechariah 10-14; Amos 9: 11-15; Isaiah 15 to 19; and many other scattered references. When studied carefully and diligently, all these will be seen to pertain to the same group of Israel’s malevolent foes, and tell the same destiny as does Psalm 83.

Their resistance and nettlesome qualities are to be terminated by the Christ of the Second Advent, and their territories confiscated for the glory of God and His Son – from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. And no Canaanite shall dwell in the house of the LORD, for the words of the prophet Zechariah testify that: Zechariah 14:21  Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be ‘holiness unto the LORD of hosts:’ and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Their destinies are set in stone as to finality, and their end-time destinies solidified, as now stated by Asaph ...

Psa 83:9  Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

Psa 83:10  Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.

This group of enemies typifies the greater portion of God’s enemies. The Midianites despised the people of Israel and their God, and oppressed them mercilessly.

Psa 83:11  Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

 We recall the man Gideon, who selected 300 men and equipped them with earthen jars, torches and shophars; these surrounded the Midianite camp, burst their pitchers (jars) hiding the torches. These blazed forth brightly as each man blasted their notes on their shophars. The ensuing panic caused all the host of Midian to slay each other in the melee!

But some escaped, and retreated toward the Jordan. Gideon, Israel’s commander, captured two Midianite kings, Oreb and Zeeb, whom they slew. The remainder of the Midianites fled helter-skelter toward and beyond Jordan to safety. Judges 7 and 8 recount this history.

Two princes of Midian remained, and were pursued by Gideon and his troops beyond Jordan; these were Zebah and Zalmunna. Gideon captured these kings and brought them back to Samaria, questioned them, then slew them with his sword.

The people of Israel requested that Gideon be their ruler; but Gideon refused, telling them that God was their ruler. But he did spoil the Midianites, collecting 1700 shekels of gold which had been removed from their corpses, besides the valuables of Zebah and Zalmunna.

God’s victory over the Midianites was consummate, and a sure forecast of what is in store for those peoples today.

The reference to Sisera is recounted earlier in Judges chapter 4. Sisera served Jabin, king of Canaan in Hazor. Aided by the prophetess Deborah, Barak led the Israelites against the iron chariots of Sisera, whose forces discomfited the Canaanites, causing every one of them to fall upon his own sword (Judges 4:16).

This phenomenon seemed to occur regularly to Israel’s enemies – falling upon their own swords – and is indicative of a spirit of terror from the LORD having fallen upon them for their aggression against His people!

Sisera fled to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, who enticed him into her tent to rest and for refuge, then slew him in his sleep by piercing his temple with a tent peg. It was an ignominious death for a mighty general of an army! The slaying of Sisera and his army was the defeat of Jabin as well.

Asaph prophetically prays that the end-time enemies be treated likewise, for they too, have declared that they will take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

Psa 83:12  Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. (See verse 4 above, for a forecast of that mantra!)

Asaph prophetically prays as to the means of punishment of the end-time host:

Psa 83:13  O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 

The Hebrew word for wheel is Galgal, meaning a whirling dust storm, or a rolling thing. Many readers have been in the desert and seen the wind blowing the chaparral , broken off at its base, leafless, shaped like a ball, it rolls freely before the desert winds – aimlessly roaming, destined for nowhere, desolate, desiccated, and dead.

Psa 83:14  As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

Likewise we are familiar with the total devastation of wildfires. They destroy everything in their paths … houses, animals, grasslands, forests; and they severely blight the land. Asaph prays for this desolation to be laid upon Israel’s enemies …

Psa 83:15  So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

We recall tempests of the Lord, such as that which beset Jonah’s ship, and the vessel in which the Apostle Paul was being transported to Rome. These are inescapable, and do to their victims as such storms do – indiscriminate in their fury, unrelenting in their force.

Psa 83:16  Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

Today, these enemies’ faces are visages of PRIDE and ARROGANCE – of resistance to God’s people and His will for them. But they shall be “ashamed” for their iniquity, and the remnant of them shall indeed seek Thy Name, O LORD.

Psa 83:17  Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

Their confounding and troubling shall indeed be forever, as their wicked lives come to an end forever, and they descend back to the dust from which they came, as is said of the ungodly in Isaiah 26:14: They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

These actions of godly wrath upon these enemies of God have a beneficial effect as fierce testimony to the majesty and authority of the God of Israel – of YHVH – of the Almighty One. Thus His authority shall cover the earth and the seas, bringing blessings abundantly to all the survivors – to those who confess His name and honor Him. Cf., Micah 4: 1-4, his repetition of Isaiah 2:2-4.

These summary events shall exert a most favorable outcome upon all men and women who are compelled thereby to seek the Lord and to understand and adopt His ways ...

Psa 83:18  That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.    <HEL 9N

No. 271: “Unusual Events” of Israel’s Wars

Harold E. Lafferty

In all the wars Israel has fought since its inception, there have been recorded “miracles” which have helped the Jewish State. [“Miracles” is enclosed in quotation marks because some deny this quality and scoff it.]   Our longtime conviction has been that Israeli forces consistently receive divine assistance in their conflicts with their enemies round about – for these enemies are first and foremost the ENEMIES OF GOD, and secondarily the enemies of Israel. Micah 5:1-3.      We read positive evidence of the willingness of the LORD to provide angelic assistance to His people in words such as this psalm of David:

Psalm 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. 9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him              How does Israel today “fear” (respect, acknowledge) the LORD? Perhaps most do not so consciously, but the entire nation has conferred its trust in the LORD by returning to their Land. The Almighty had told them, “return unto Me, and I will return unto you.” Malachi 3:7.

Beside such testimony, we remember the assurance of Daniel 12: 1 – that brief but wonderful summary of the prophesied work of Michael the Archangel, who “standeth for the children”  of Daniel’s people, the nation of Israel.  We cannot view such concrete promises as wispy theory or dreamy desires which may or may not apply at certain times or seasons. We MUST admit and accept the concrete reality of such direct blessings, giving all the glory to the Almighty.

 Israel has consistently been divinely assisted not only in the national birthing process (i.e., Zion bringing forth her Son – Micah 5: 3) but also in the utterly miraculous endurance of the hardships of their Return, including their singular expansion of their State in their struggle for survival amid conflict with a sea of rabid enemies who seek their death!     Numerous testimonies of both Israelis and their enemies surface after each conflict, attesting to the reality of these blessings directly from the LORD.

We have previously reported a personal interview with Gershon Salomon, a retired Israeli army officer who was saved from execution by Syrian soldiers who dropped their weapons and fled because they “observed thousands of fighters streaming down upon them from nearby hills,” and feared being killed or taken captive.

Gershon later interviewed one of the then-captive Syrian soldiers who had held a rifle to his head only hours earlier, and who related that desperate conviction to Captain Salomon.     But, in actuality, Gershon was completely alone among the enemies; there were no thousands of Israelis streaming out of the nearby hills.    That perception evidently was given the entire group of Syrian soldiers directly from the LORD – a collective misperception which was beneficial to a solitary, endangered Israeli soldier!

 In so providing this perception in the Syrian minds, the LORD preserved the life of an Israeli patriot who has consistently extolled the LORD and his salvation since that day. Gershon Salomon is the organizer and head of Land of Israel and Temple Mount Faithful in Jerusalem, and spearheads the current Israeli plan to rebuild the Millennial Temple on Temple Mount.

Similarly, an extremely interesting report has surfaced from a journalist who lives in Gaza. She interviewed a Hamas rocketeer who reported to her that the ineffectiveness of the Hamas rockets was not that the Hamas rocketeers were aiming badly, but that “their God changes the course of the missiles,” leading them away from the Israeli targets!    This unusual admission by a Hamas fighter supports the omnipotence of Israel’s God.

But that ability was not only recognized by Hamas fighters. An Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile operator near Tel Aviv attested that he had witnessed the same phenomenon.

He said that his battery had determined that a missile incoming from Gaza during the recent conflict had been determined by the battery’s computers to be destined for important structures in Tel Aviv, and that he had fired an anti-missile round at it from his battery.             The missile missed the incoming rocket.     He then fired a second Iron Dome missile to intercept the Hamas missile and it also missed the rapidly moving target – itself a most unusual occurrence because Iron Dome is about 90% effective (this one had been ZERO%, twice!).

But in the last five seconds of the Hamas missile’s flight, the operator observed the missile being blown off its course by a strong east wind and it landed in the Mediterranean Sea, causing no damage at all.

We don’t strive to force this opinion on anyone, of course, but it is our firm conviction that this witness from two independent sources was one of the divine miracles with which Israel’s God is actively protecting His returned People of the end time.

Such protection proves beyond all doubt that His approval is upon the nation and its people – even in the state of unbelief which is upon many of them at this time – and that it is through His angelic protection that our Father is projecting upon His People the blessings which He has solemnly promised. Amos 9:11-15, q.v.

But “the state of unbelief” is not universal in Israel by any means. We have reported on past occasions having personally interviewed many Israelis as to the reason for their return to their Land in these end times – and most of them mention their hope of REDEMPTION there in the Land, and some have cited the coming of MESSIAH as their grounds of hope!

We cannot reasonably expect a greater exhibition of faith from any man!

We recently read of many Israeli soldiers – usually reservists who were recalled to active duty for the Gaza conflict – who, before leaving for the battle front, visited the Western Wall to re-commit themselves to the LORD’s service, and to acknowledge His ability to protect and guide them in their course of military service.

This action is not a mere pretense on their parts; they really are sincerely convinced that their G-d (as they say) will protect and defend them in battle – and prosper their cause and intentions to preserve not only their own lives, but that of the Israeli State.

Are we privileged to deny them this level of belief – really, of faith in God?

Of course not!    God forbid that we should do so.     This wonderful attitude toward the God of Israel shall grow more and more prevalent, we believe, as their redemption draws nigh!

We similarly recommend that the few Believers who are prone to do so, please, NOT TO CRITICISE ISRAEL for its successes, and for its acknowledgement of the LORD in its affairs, and that they ALSO acknowledge in solemn thankfulness,  Israel’s obvious guidance and protection under the Almighty’s protective hand.

This is not a statement of patronizing adoration of Israel, but sober and objective acknowledgment of the direct intervention of our Father in the affairs of His people – and in their preservation, even their overarching prosperity, as they advance ever closer to the Event of the Ages – the Second Advent of the LORD from heaven, which shall eminently bring their enlightenment, their grateful acknowledgment of His Lordship, and their redemption in the New Age of Christ’s Kingdom on earth!       

<HEL 9N> ~

 

No. 270: Events of the Blood Red Moons

Events of the Blood Moons

This Bulletin will concern itself with the possible implications of the Jewish Tetrad of Blood Moons which the earth is now experiencing. We have been extremely interested in these events and what they may mean. The first of the current series (diagrammed below) was seen on April 15, 2014, on+ the Jewish Feast of Passover. The remaining three will occur on the Feast of Tabernacles 2014, the Feast of Passover 2015, and Tabernacles 2015.

By way of a short review, the Tetrad will consist of four successive Blood Moons on particular Jewish Feast Days, viz., both Passover and Tabernacles (Sukkot) of October 8, 2014, and those of 2015. Since 1000AD there have been three such occurrences as readers may remember. The current set is the fourth occurrence, and is the last ones for at least the next 500 years.

We believe this last of the end-time eclipses is to be notable, as have been the previous three.

The first set of these Tetrads occurred in close association with the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. At that time Spain contained more Jewish citizens than any European country. They were decreed to “convert” to Catholicism or leave Spain. But the same year – almost the same day of that year – Christopher Columbus departed to discover the West Indies and the New World, a soon-to-be place of refuge for Jews and other persecuted minorities of the world.

The second set of these occurred nearly 500 years later bracketing the events of the creation of the State of Israel in 1947 (Partition of Palestine) and 1948 (Statehood attained). This accomplished a legal, bona fide haven of safety for Jews of the world, who would come to it from every nation. It was the official beginning of the Second Restoration of God’s people (Isaiah 11:11). But not all the Land was reclaimed at that date.

The third set of Blood Moons occurred 19 years later, during the events of the 1967 Six Day War of Israel – the year when Israel was again attacked by surrounding Arab armies and succeeded in capturing their remaining territories of the Golan Heights, the Judean and Samaritan heartland west of the Jordan River including the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip along with the Sinai Peninsula. That date marked the end of the Sanctuary Cycle of Daniel 8:14 – a period specified as 2300 “days” (years).

The NASA website notes four earlier occurrences of these total solar eclipses on these feast days, having occurred at dates beginning 162-163AD; and continuing in 795-96AD; 842-43AD; and 860-61AD. No known Jewish significance seems attached to these; but then the indicators change abruptly with the next four. All the next three (as above) indicated momentous occasions relating to the people of God.

So our thought is that this present Jewish Tetrad will most likely indicate an important step forward for the people of God, following on the last three, and occurring, as it does, in the last of the end times by our reckoning.. Our hope is that the Tetrad will signal the Second Advent.

The first chapter of Genesis records details of the first days of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. We concentrate upon the events of the fourth day where we read His reasons for these signs, considering only the first verse:

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, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

We should expect an orderly Creator to design His universe to perform His bidding. Only the magnificent YHVH could possibly devise these miraculous occurrences of total lunar eclipses as He has. The mathematics and physics involved are His creation, too, so are we surprised?

In the passage above, He designates the “lights” in the firmament – especially the sun and the moon in our present consideration – as “for SIGNS ... for SEASONS ... for DAYS ... and YEARS.”

The last two terms are easily understandable. But the first two words have more esoteric meaning that is couched in the Hebrew words translated as signs and seasons.

The term “signs” comes from Hebrew (Strong H226), Owth, meaning “a signal, beacon, omen, evidence, mark, sign or token.” A sign therefore is a transmitter of information similar to a light-house maintained as a reliable signal warning ships of nearby reefs. It is often a warning of an impending event of great importance – a landmark event which is about to occur – witness the events of the 15th and 19th centuries noted above..

The term “seasons” might seem straightforward enough, but the Hebrew (Strong H4150) is Moed, meaning “an appointment, a fixed time or season, a festival, an assembly as convened for a definite purpose, a set feast, a time appointed.” It therefore refers to the festivals or celebrations of God’s special days or events during the year.

These definitions bring out indications by the heavenly bodies not perceived by English readers. By Owth, He warns His servants of impending significant events. By Moed, He signals the specific dates on His calendar for various feasts (festivals, not sumptuous dinners) such as Passover, Trumpets and Tabernacles. These are all determined by the specific day of the month of their appointment, and are to be determined by His people according to His calendar. In such a role, the Hebrew calendar is a remarkably concise calendar – far superior to those of the Romans, the Muslims, the Mayans, and others. But that is a separate, complex discussion not appropriate here.

We believe that the quite abrupt appearance of two remarkably disruptive events may hold a partial answer to the significance of the present phenemonon.

First there is the Israel-Gaza conflict, which erupted into hot war just after the first Blood Moon on Passover. The stage for that conflict was set some years ago by Ariel Sharon, then prime minister of Israel, who brought all the Jews out of the Gaza Strip, leaving it entirely to the Arabs. Two brief forays by Israel into this territory has been necessary since that time; but this time the fighting is far more prolonged, more deadly, much more destructive, and more productive for Israeli forces.

This present battle is surely a precursor to the clear prophecy of Isaiah 11:14, in which the prophet foretells that the People of God (Israel) shall “fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west” in a final conquest of the terrorists of Hamas, and pacification of that region of Christ’s kingdom to be. We note in the same place that they (Israel) shall also “spoil them of the east together, Edom ... Moab ... and Ammon” (Jordan of today). And this we believe will be integrated with the action against “Edom” described by the Prophet Obadiah.

We wonder whether the conflict on this occasion will go that far without further alteration of the Jordanian government, so we wait and watch carefully. Will Jordan be conquered by Islamic State as is its stated goal, prior to this battle, making it necessary for Israel to fight that entity IN Jordan as well as in Iraq and Syria?

The second notable uprising has been that of The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – a vicious group of the Sunni persuasion who declare their intention to form a Caliphate (indeed have already done so) by taking over as much territory in Syria and Iraq as they are able.

In our thinking, such an entity would comprise “the Assyrian” of Micah 5, which would come against Israel in force at some future time.

The Islamic State has brought much bitterness upon itself by the recent beheading of an American journalist who was captured two years ago, and placing his grisly murder on YouTube for all the world to see. Whether the U.S. has the grit to respond to this terrible act seems doubtful, even in the climate among its citizens for outright war against Islamic State.

Since these affairs are always so complex – that is, the Muslims against the rest of the world – we cannot possibly know how this affair will be pursued. One seeming certainty is, when the great and final battle of Israel against its nearby enemies, the Islamic states on her borders, that this event will bring the Second Advent of the LORD from heaven on His mission of the total conquest of Israel’s present enemies and the establishment of His kingdom in Zion.

This conviction is based upon several statements of the prophets such as that of Obadiah, who describes specific conquests of the forces of Edom (the Palestinians of today) and ends his prophecy with the statement of 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.”

“Saviors” here is Hebrew Yasha, meaning “those bringing salvation, avengers, deliverers, defenders.” In our thinking, these are the Immortal Saints of Christ along with their Master, all of them coming forth to battle as described in the later War of Armageddon of Revelation 19, faithfully following the King of kings of verse 16, there bent upon the destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet.

Our objective must be to observe the Owth and Moed of the Blood Moons for clues to His will among the faithful ones of Christ – those who shall wear robes of whiteness, ride upon horses of white, and wield the sword of the Spirit in His righteous service among the heathen who have always and consistently repudiated the God of Israel. <HELafferty MD/USA code 8N>

No. 269: The Second Coming of Christ ... Under What Conditions?

This Bulletin will concern itself with the Second Coming of Christ, and explore the conditions in effect when that happens ... if such events are discernible from the prophets' writings. It is an event for which all faithful brethren should look not only with careful preparation, but also with great joy and godly anticipation.

The brethren of yesteryear looked to Russia's move southward toward Israel as harbinger of the coming of Christ to the earth. A popular pamphlet was titled, "Russia, Israel, Christ and You." That view would have been in anticipation of the Gogian war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 - at which time they believed that Christ and the Saints would come up from Teman and Bozrah to meet and vanquish Gog.

But we now realize quite certainly that the Second Advent will come well before that conflict, and that He will be in Israel, reigning over His People, and beginning to develop the infrastructure of His eternal kingdom, having caused His people to dwell in safely ... without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, as the Almighty revealed to Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 38:11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages ... to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates ...

Another Matter Which Precedes this Action

As prophecy, since the 19th century has rolled over into history by fulfillment, we believe we can now discern more perfectly the order of events. Accordingly, there are revealed events which shall surely precede the visible and universally-witnessed defense of Israel by Christ. The first event is the return of Christ to the earth as a thief in the night (unexpected by the benighted people) to gather the living and dead in Christ to take them away to the Judgment, as revealed in Revelation 16:15: Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

This may not mean He will come unknown to many, as some feel the whole world will know that something important and mysterious has occurred, for the record says this: 1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is a depiction of the Bridegroom returning from a far country, coming for His Bride, and may happen at any time. To the world He appears without their understanding; this affair is not of their concern in any way.

We understand this as the proper order of events; the saints of every age are thereby gathered together and stand before His judgment bema for their assize. Those who are deemed worthy of everlasting Life by Him are given that reward and are made immortal, after which they celebrate the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as depicted in the Apocalypse (Revelation 19:9).

Whatever the geopolitical posture of Israel is at that time, we know not; but at that time He shall appear to them openly for their salvation, both carnal and spiritual, for their "iniquity" has ended and He is ready to preserve and empower His people: Jeremiah 23:5: Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Some have conjectured that Israel shall at that time be in dire straits - a condition necessitating the return of Christ to save them in the manner related in 2Samuel 3: 18, where the Almighty stated that He would save His people out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.

Their primary enemies today are the nations which surround them - the nearby Islamic states which have been fighting to take their land and treasure since 1948. This series of conflicts shall fulfill the events prophesied by Obadiah against Edom; also, those of Isaiah 11:11; and of Psalm 83; of Isaiah 25: 12-14; of Isaiah 34:1-17; of Isaiah 63:1-6; of Jeremiah 49:7-22; of Ezekiel 35; of Amos 1:11, 12; of Amos 9:11-15.

All these scorching condemnations of the nations round about Israel are entirely separate from the later Gogian affair, and are determined upon the heathen (Gentile nations) which now occupy the land between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers - the Abrahamic Land Grant of Genesis 12; et seq.

In our understanding, this task must be completed in order to establish the King upon the Throne of David, and to usher in the beginning events of His kingdom age. Micah 4 refers to this Land as the first dominion of the (world-wide) kingdom in verse 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.

The kingdom cannot come to the daughter of Jerusalem except the King appear to claim it as such.

As the Master begins the operational phase of His kingdom He shall accomplish many tasks, among which are disarming Israel of all fleshly weapons as in Zechariah 9:10, where He declares that He shall cut off from His people the chariot, the horse, and the battle bow ... after which He shall speak peace unto the nations.

By this phrase He declares that the nations shall henceforth obey the WORD of His mouth; that He shall enforce pacification of the nations by His instruction of His ways (or, failing their compliance, by the lethal breath of His lips). That word is depicted as a sharp sword in the account of Revelation 19:15. It is the only weapon that He and His Saints shall require in their subjection of the peoples of the earth in that day.

And God's people Israel and all the outside world shall know that Israel's armaments and armies are not the agents of victory over them, but that is the WORD of the LORD.

Many have expressed the opinion that Israel shall be in dire straits just before the coming of the LORD from heaven. Our opinion is that Israel may feel extremely threatened at that time. Indeed, they sharply feel the turmoil and agitation on every side of their polity today, but from all accounts, they are not terrified.

And there shall certainly be trouble at that time.

But the trouble is not actually that of ISRAEL. The Time of JACOB'S Trouble has passed, in our opinion - for what trial could possibly surpass that of The Shoah (the Holocaust) of Nazi Europe of 1933-1945?

The impending "trouble" shall be that of their enemies.

That truth is conveyed by such words as these from Isaiah, which address this time of their return and their redemption: Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Their enemies round about shall continue to revile them (Isaiah 51:7) - a despicable practice which we now see in their mouths every day. The ascendancy of the Gentiles has seen the Jewish people partake of the cup of the LORD'S bitterness, as 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.

Israel's time of being made to drink of that cup of trembling has at this time come to its welcome end.

Now His decree is precisely the opposite. Whereas He had given Israel that Cup to drink for so many centuries, He has removed it from their hand, and given it into the hands of their oppressors, who shall drink deeply of its bitter draught, and be fatally overcome with drunkenness because of their intractable and relentless oppression of Israel - their terrorism, rockets, economic aggression, vile threats, and their murders of the Jews. Isaiah 51: 21-23, q.v.

We have beheld the beginning of this miraculous process since the People set themselves to Return to Zion, and to seek their redemption there! <HEL 8N> ~1500 words.

No. 268: Are You Listening to God? Soon it Will be too Late!

We may be sure that the "world" in general is not listening to the Almighty - a thesis proven simply by observation and audition. But the more enlightened population should be - must be! It is our Profession and our Calling. Our Election.

As a correspondent recently wrote, "We are no longer speaking about the work of the Lamb of God, but rather (that of) the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Who will come in the name of the Father with real power and authority!"

For at least 150 years, Believers have been discussing and striving to interpret with insight and maturity the "signs of the times." These discussions were not intended to decrease consideration of the work of the Lamb of God - and we do not do so now. Our Father is still calling out from among the Gentiles some who continue to profess His name, and to avail themselves of the Plan of Salvation which He has so graciously and compassionately furnished.

In heeding that Plan, all adherents glorify and honor the name of our Father, ascribing to Him the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory ... forever. Their faithful reward shall be to stand before the Lamb and gratefully sing, along with the four and twenty Elders, and the four Beasts, and along with the elevated, sublime, immortal Multitude, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Revelation 19: 6.

Such shall be only those who now "listen" to God. Not to His audible voice, but to the immutable, inspired records of the prophets and righteous men of old who have listened to Him and set His words to parchment, and have given their lives to the perpetuation of His will and way among men. Some of these were extremely maltreated - persecuted, and killed - by the Establishment, especially by the Established Church. For to all such our LORD has called, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues!

It is an exclamatory invitation of the greatest worth and gravity.

The Way of Salvation claims two prominent facets: 1) that one avoid the ways of the unrighteous, and 2) that he adopt the ways of God for his life. Only the sum of both can bring salvation-knowledge, repentance, genuine love of God, baptism into His name, and ultimate Redemption. It is a process set in stone by the Creator aions ago, and never altered or abjured.

Having access to this entirely free gift of life, it is regrettable that almost all mankind simply ignores it - preferring rather slothfully to listen to hirelings and charlatans whose main interest is in collecting an enormous tithe, an huge congregation, and building huge edifices for "worship." But their ways are the ways of humanism, of fleshly philosophies, of hedonism, of intemperance and profligacy. Not in every case, mind you; but theirs of the exceptive category is a lesser (?) deviation - that of ignor(e)-ance. They could not be less interested in serving a generous Being far greater than themselves - a Being Whose ways are perfect and eternal, and Who owns the title to immortality in His eternal service - Who created them at the first!

So ... Are you paying attention? Are you listening to God?

Soon it may be too late to access His salvation! The dawn of His righteous kingdom is nearer than it has ever been, dear friends, and His nail-scarred hand beckons to you to allow Him to come in - really deeply to enter your life and guide your ways toward that kingdom. To bless you with deeper faith and unshakable confidence - qualities which we perceive to be vital not only now but possibly more especially in the immediate future "trouble."

Our thinking is that once Christ has departed from the right hand of His Father to return to the earth, there is temporarily no intercessor beside the Throne of God for men and women. Other, more pressing phases of His work shall demand His attention. He then has a kingdom to establish upon the earth, the purpose and destiny of which is to house and shelter eternally, all those who are His at His coming. He shall thus "tabernacle" among them. That promise is recorded in Revelation21:3: 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.

So ... Are you paying attention? Are you listening to God?

The Lamb of God once came unto men, was rejected, and was nailed to a stake on a lonely hillside. The Lion of Judah comes in power and great glory - having salvation, truth, security, and righteousness to mete out to all who will take upon themselves the Yoke which He offers, a Yoke which He describes as "easy" and "light." (Matthew 11:30)

Shall suffering be necessary for His servants to endure in this harness (yoke) of God? Yes, indubitably.

But the Believer is assured by the Apostle to the Gentiles, in his letter to the Romans: 1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

This comparison of easy and light, of course, is made in consideration of the enormity of the reward which it conveys. The Apostle wrote to the Romans, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

Easy ... in comparison? Certainly.

Easy to accomplish? Not necessarily.

However, one should not even really expect to do so - for it cannot be done among our race. Only Christ the Son of God could do it; He accomplished it by the perfect assistance of the Spirit of God, which He appropriated to Himself in an almost superhuman way - never setting aside His principles; never compromising His goals; never sacrificing His avowed Purpose to serve ONLY His Father. We owe our lives and futures to Him alone!

So, What then? If no man can serve Him perfectly, how may salvation be achieved?

It may only be achieved by FIRST beginning the journey, in faith that the goal may be attained ... for it IS attainable! Then by living one's life guided by the loving instruction and example of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

But HOW shall it be attained in the absence of perfection? By constant, urgent, faithful, fervent prayer in His name.

Only by the unquestionably infinite mercy of our Father, through the sacrifice of His Son on Golgotha's tree.

That unspeakable sacrifice of Jesus' temporal life purchased salvation for anyone who would partake of it.

His invitation to Come unto Me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you Rest, is genuine. To be heavy laden is to be dragged down by the cares of this life, its anxieties and pitfalls. In the end, these are not at all important.

Yes ... one would prefer to avoid them, and to live in relative comfort, ease, and safety.

But myriads of believers have not found that possible. The Revelation refers to our predecessors of old time, who were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. (Revelation 6:9)

The author of the book of Hebrews offers an horrible catalog of commentary about the heinous trials of many faithful brethren of long ago, beginning at Hebrews 11:32: And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faithreceived not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

To our thinking, that is the Grand Offering of our Father. These faithful ones received not the promise (as yet), but shall do so! That "promise" can be freely given you, as well.

So ... Are you paying attention? Are you listening to God? <HELafferty 7N> ~1,600 words

No. 267: Events of the Blood Red Moons?

Because we do not know what events shall be initiated by the Jewish Tetrad which the world is now experiencing, our thinking about current events must be guarded and cautious.

But we seriously wonder if the enormous changes which have happened since Passover (April 15th) have anything to do with these celestial events. As we remarked in an earlier post, lunar eclipses are deemed by the sages of Israel to be evocative of Jewish events of importance, while solar eclipses are Gentile in import.

Almost immediately after Passover, the Gazans began to rocket Israel with a vengeance.

Israel was patient, responding only sporadically and mostly ineffectively. Their concern was that about 1.5 million Arabs live in Gaza - an extremely dense population - and Israel wanted to avoid injuring innocent men, women and children.

But then an heinous crime was perpetrated. Three Israeli boys were hitching a ride near Hebron when they were kidnapped and disappeared. Days later, their bodies were found in shallow graves near the point of abduction. They had been shot to death.

That brought outrage from the people of Israel - outrage which was manifested by the kidnapping of an Arab youth who was burned alive in reprisal for the first crime. Suspects were arrested in both cases by Israeli police, and cases are being prepared against them at this time.

But that latter kidnapping brought rage from the Hamas fighters in Gaza, who started to rocket Israeli towns on a more frequent basis - lobbing old, inaccurate missiles into towns and villages, schools and shops and homes in such cities as Ashdod and Beersheva.

Iron Dome was employed by Israel to destroy those which the system determined were destined for populated areas. All others were allowed to explode in vacant spaces where little damage was done.

As the days passed, the bellicosity of Hamas grew strident, expressing the vilest hatred for Israel, and vowing its complete destruction. The missile barrage increased to hundreds a day.

Israel retaliated with artillery, but moreso with fighter bombers dropping precision ordnance on the missile sites in Gaza wherever possible. These attacks were preceded by leaflet drops warning of impending visits by the Israel Air Force; Israel telephoned specific households where missile batteries were installed, warning the families that an attack would soon come and that they should leave. Helicopters with loudspeakers warned the local population of Gaza when strikes were eminent so civilians could escape.

But Hamas restrained its people from leaving. As Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel said a few days ago, "We protect our people with our military; Hamas protects its military with its people" by using them as "human shields."

Is this Fierce Conflict a Component of the Blood Red Moon Sign?

Of course, that is beyond our knowledge. But the sudden onset of these hostilities, which may have far-reaching consequences (see below) certainly fits with the previous three Jewish Tetrads - blood moon eclipses which occurred on Passover and Tabernacles of two successive years in 1492, in 1948 and in 1968 - all of which were momentous years which began with huge insults to the Jewish people, but which ended well for them as they approached their final Restoration as foretold by Isaiah 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.

Their first Recovery was from Babylon c.534BC. Their second began "officially" in May, 1948, with the establishment of their State on the land of ancient Israel, Only a remnant could be recovered because an huge number of Jews were viciously murdered in The Shoah (Holocaust) of 1933-1945 in Nazi Germany.

It is significant that within four to six years, virtually ALL the people from all those above-named countries had migrated to Israel, except from "the islands of the sea," a phrase which indicates all the OTHER places in which they are dispersed in the earth!

Further, the scriptures give us every reason to expect the return of ALL the members of the Two Tribes, as well as the Ten Tribes, in full accord with the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37 - a work in progress at the present time!

Being gathered out of all nations, their Governor shall be one termed the Almighty's "Servant David," as Ezekiel foretells: And David my Servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one Shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. Ezekiel 37:24. 

No force on earth shall be able to halt the current, progressive development of Israel; nobody shall wreak any significant damage upon her in this end time; no enemy shall prosper against her; and no power shall throw her down any more. Cf., Amos 9:11-14. Yet, their exposure may become more hazardous, for when their Master appears in the Second Advent, the prophets testify that "He shall save His people," in the fashion of His providence in 2Samuel 3 :18; Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.

The people of Gaza live in the area which comprised ancient Philistia, and are the modern Philistines of the end time application of that prophecy - and of others such as Isaiah 11: 14 where it is prophesied that they shall "fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines," a conflict of which we continue witnessing the first stages at this moment.

However, note please the latter portion of that same verse: their victory is said to be won over ... the Philistines toward the west; (AND) 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.

These conflicts are depicted as occurring at the same time.

In addition, we recognize the same military exploits to be foretold in Obadiah's short prophecy, verses 19, 20, where their conquests include "(those) of the plain, the Philistines." And the reader should not overlook the last verse of that one-chapter work: And Saviours (Christ, with the Redeemed Saints) shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. The obvious meaning of this statement is that IT INVOLVES THE RETURN OF CHRIST to the earth for the second time.

A close study of these clearly specified military actions by Israel brings together several other emphatic actions which are closely bundled together to effect Messiah's clearing of all the lands between the Nile River and the Euphrates River, and between the Seas (the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf) to make room for the Great Aliyah of His people from the nations - a major feature of His work after His Advent.

The beginning of the military intervention of Messiah seems initially indicated in Isaiah 63:1-6, where He is plainly narrated as destroying (staining his garment with the blood of) the sons of Edom (Esau) at Bozrah in the south country.

Ezekiel 35 relates details of the same conflict. Amos 1:11, 12 q.v., are likewise pertinent; Psalm 83 is well known to be relevant to the end time; see also Jeremiah 9: 25, 26; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Obadiah `1:1, 10-14.

All these wonderful prophecies reveal a complex series of events which our current generation began to witness first-hand at the end of the 19th century. The First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland, (1897) was a significant beginning of that movement which eventually (in about 50 years) resulted in a viable State of Israel among the nations of the Middle East, where it has survived many threats, hot conflicts, and much denigration from its neighbors "round about" - the Proximal Islamic States.

As has been determined in references above, the return of Christ to His people shall result in His clearing His Land of all the interlopers, squatters, and desolators who now inhabit it - men who are in no sense heirs to the Land and who really care not much for it, except to insist on the ousting of all the Jews from it! Their husbandry has never lent much improvement to the Land during past ages. When Samuel F. Clements (Mark Twain) wrote Innocents Abroad - an account of his visit to Palestine c. 1860 - he was appalled at the destitute condition of Palestine - its desiccated, vacant, doleful, filthy, rocky, unproductive soil which hardly even supported the olive tree or the fig, both of which are friends of dry and desolate places.   

The occupancy by Israel of its Land has wrought magnificent and unexpected change. Its lands are well forested, its fields productive, its people contented even in the face of great hostility, and its military might in a state of readiness at all times. The vastly wider expanse of the lands promised to Abram are also destined for such favor in the soon-coming Kingdom of God on the earth.    <HELafferty G N

 

No. 191: THE STONES  CRY OUT

AN ARTICLE BY DAVID BURGES, FROM GLAD TIDINGS  MAGAZINE   1436

“I tell you, that if these (disciples) should hold their peace ,the stones would immediately cry out”. (Luke 19-40)

The Bible is constantly under attack from critics, strangely many of them Bible scholars, who claim that its message is unreliable or even fictional.   They simply brush aside the Bible’s own claim to be the inspired word of God,  which occurs in many passages……..for example :-

MOSES:  “I [the Lord] will be with your mouth and teach you what you  shall  say" [Exodus  4-12]

DAVID:   “ The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and his word was in my  tongue” [2 Samuel  23-2)]

JEREMIAH: “The Lord said to me: Behold I have put my words in your  mouth”   [Jeremiah 1-9]

JESUS: “As my Father taught me, I speak these things”  [John 8-28]

PAUL: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”   [2 Timothy  3-16]

PETER:  “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy  Spirit”  [2 Peter 1-21]

 It is important to realise that the Bible, among many other things, is a historical document—its records are not “once upon a time stories”  but are set in specific historical times;   see examples below:-

 MOSES led the Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt….KING DAVID defeated the  people known as the Philistines …..  KING HEZEKIAH’S  faith delivered the nation from an invasion by  the Assyrians….JESUS  conducted His ministry in a province of the Roman Empire.

 Many of these accounts have been dismissed as “myths and legends”, yet for over 200 years archaeology in the lands of the Bible has been steadily filling in the historical and political background and confirming the overall accuracy of God’s book, and the reliability of its text.  And the process continues today.

 AN  ANCIENT TEXT:

In the early 1980’s, a group of rock-hewn burial caves from the 7 th century BC, [ the time of the Old Testament Kings] was being excavated in the car-park of the Scottish Presbyterian Church in Jerusalem.  The site was located on a hill called Ketef   Hinnom, [The shoulder of Hinnom], overlooking the Hinnom valley and just outside the walls of  the ancient city.

 All of the tombs appeared to be empty, but as the dig was nearing completion, a hoard of burial goods—including pottery, jewellery and a rare coin--- was discovered, preserved under a collapsed cave roof.    Amongst the hoard were two tiny inscribed silver rolls, known as “amulets”, originally worn as lucky charms.

 It took specialists three years to open the rolls and decipher the ancient Hebrew inscriptions.  They turned out to be verses from the Old Testament book of Numbers, the blessing which the High Priests of Israel were instructed to pronounce over the nation.

 “ The LORD  bless thee and keep thee;  The LORD make his face shine upon thee , and be gracious unto thee. The LORD  lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”   (Numbers  6-24/26)

 Here was the oldest recorded Biblical text ever discovered, far older than the earliest manuscripts, and about 400 years older than the earliest of the Dead  Sea Scrolls.  Yet the words are virtually identical with those that are in our Bible today.

 Some critics who had claimed that the Books of Moses, including Numbers, were actually written much later in Israel’s history, were shown to be quite wrong. And confidence in the reliability of the words of Scripture was once again confirmed.  Truly, in the providence of God, “the stones  are still  “:crying out”

DAVID BURGES

 

No. 179: ISRAEL’S PERMANENT PLACE IN THE HOLY LAND

Graham Bacon

God’s dealings with Israel are spread over great periods of time. The Roman exile lasted 1878 years from AD70 to 1948. Their continuous restoration is taking another long period - 66 years so far, by comparison with their exile period a tiny amount. This restoration period will extend well into the time after the return of Jesus. For example, see Isaiah 63:1-6 where the returned Jesus takes steps to save Israel from her enemies, “I looked but there was no one to help; and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore my own arm brought salvation”. A future Israel will not have any major American help or any other support and would be overcome except that Jesus saves them and that will have been quite a long time from 1948.

 It is inconceivable that God would displace them from the land in 20 [or even 200] years’ time, as some would have it, in view of their long time in exile. Many enemies will have a go at displacing the Israelis but none will succeed because, as Isaiah 63 discloses, Jesus saves them from displacement or extinction.

 In ancient times God “hid his face” from Israel as Jeremiah 33:5 and Ezekiel 39:23 testify. Jeremiah was referring to events leading to the Assyrian/Babylonian captivity of Israel around 750-530BC. Ezekiel’s prophecy was about the Roman exile of Jews in AD70. On both occasions God “hid his face” from Israel. But no more.

The sequence of latter day events is clearly laid out in Ezek.39:28-29, “Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations [in AD70], but also brought them back to their land [in 1948], and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide my face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel.” It could be said that God “hid his face” from the Jews right up until the end of the Holocaust in 1945. But “I will not hide my face from them anymore”. 1878 years of God’s hidden face is enough.

But there is more. “I will pour out my spirit on the house of Israel", a circumstance that will occur in the future in God's good time. Zechariah 12 confirms this view where vv.1-9 describe Israel's fiery victories against the Arab armies in the last 60 years, in which God says NINE times that he, God, is the power behind Israel's successes. It is the exact opposite of "hiding his face".

Israel’s successes in their major battles since 1948 do not mean that God shields Israel from every setback or every failing to believe in his care for them. Over sixty years there have been many leaders in Israel with a profound Old Testament belief in God's care for Israel. The great failing of many of Israel's leaders has not been lack of faith in God but lack of acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah. On their own, they will never come to this realisation. God spontaneously does it for them as Zechariah 12:10 discloses. It is also true that some leaders, like the ex Prime Minister Olmert in seeking a way to a Palestinian state, have little idea of God's purpose with the nation.  It is similar in many ways to the OT situation with King Saul. God allowed then, and now allows, the nation to choose an unsuitable leader with disastrous results but this, in no way, implies that God has "hidden his face". He allows confusion, rockets, Hamas, as the price they must pay for bad choices but he will not reverse his restoration work and permit the nation to be displaced or overcome.

The whole Arab/Israeli situation for 4000 years from Abraham to beyond our day was deliberately orchestrated by God right at the outset. At first Abraham was upset by the suggestion that his firstborn by Hagar, Ishmael, should be set aside as heir. But God interposed on Abraham’s consciousness, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed” Genesis 21:12-13. The non-Israelite line of Ishmael was given compensation for not being God’s choice by being granted a strong and numerous progeny, still operative today in Arab oil riches.

The same kind of divine intervention happened in the next generation when God told Rebecca, Isaac’s wife, “Two nations are in your womb; two peoples shall be separated from your body. One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” Genesis 25:23. By God’s decree, Esau, normally counted as the senior, firstborn twin, was not going to have seniority over his brother.

Usually, in both cases, the reverse would have been observed. But God’s preference for the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob-Israelite-Jewish-Israeli line of inheritance of the promises of land and blessings has not faltered in 4000 years. Israel is the “apple of his eye” Zechariah 2:8, and nobody touches it without serious consequences.

Today, because Israel can demonstrate that it is stronger, it is generally regarded as an international bully. But God told Rebecca that Israel would be stronger because God chose it to be so. Neither does the international community even care about the other provisions of God about land, blessings and cursings. Secure oil supplies override all other concerns, even if those other concerns have divine authority. Not even sixty years of evidence of Israel’s miraculous existence in a hostile Middle East can convince the world’s leaders that 4000 year old promises still apply. The Lord God Almighty has decreed that they still apply and no one can alter that.

No. 265: AWAKEN, HIS PEOPLE! THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Ezekiel 28 contains one of several of the Almighty's condemnations of Tyre and Zidon specifically, of the nations round about Israel of today. The prophet here predicts several aspects of these two city-states (now representative of Lebanon)that exist today. That coastal area of Lebanon, along with the central Beka'a Valley, contains the bulk of the forces of the terrorist organization Hizbollah, a client of Iran (Persia). Hizbollah is a bona-fide enemy of Israel, and is said to have over 100,000 missiles in place, all aimed at Israel to the south. Its armed fighters number into the tens of thousands, all well armed with appropriate small arms as well as mortars and tanks. Their vilification and threats upon Israel are endless. Ezekiel likens these enemies to harmful (but not fatal, by any means) vegetation of a particularly nettlesome kind: here is his word on Zidon - Ezekiel 28:20 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Eze 28:21 Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy agains it, Eze 28:22 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they (Israel) shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.

 Eze 28:23 For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know (Israel shall know, by His miraculous contention with, and devastation of Lebanon) that I am the LORD. 

Eze 28:24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

 Eze 28:25 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.

 Eze 28:26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.

 Note the highlighted terms in verse 24: pricking brier (and) grieving thorn. These are

hurtful elements to any traveler making his way through the wilderness, which is surely the figure which the prophet is evoking - the journey through this wilderness of end time history that Israel is now negotiating.

 Verse 25 leaves the reader in no doubt as to WHEN this violent retribution shall take place! It shall be When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered. In other words, it shall be when there IS an "Israel" in the land.

 This time is specifically today, when the number of re-gathered Jews now resident in Israel has reached over six million souls! The violent enemies in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Syria and Iraq, in Jordan and in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula are ominously rattling their sabers in a rising crescendo of condemnation of Israel, expending their venom in every direction attempting to incite all the Moslems of the area - and especially those scattered within the Israeli homeland, to destroy the Jews and Israel - to fulfill their original (1948) proclaimed intention, to "drive the Jews into the sea."

 There is grave irony in this conflict, however! The Islamic elements opposed to Israel are completely un-aware that they are hastening their own demise in their brazen mission toward God's people. They have no inkling that their actions shall result in their complete eradication from the Land of Israel, by which we indicate what has been referred to as Greater Israel: the Abrahamic Inheritance - from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf as expressed multiple times by the Almighty to Abram beginning in Genesis 12. Let us not think their enemies' threats are not real, nor that they would have only slight consequences if indeed carried out against Israel. One commentator recently stated that just one rocket fired into the oil refinery in Haifa would kill thousands of Israelis. The Jewish reaction to such an event - or some other insult we haven't thought of - could bring about the final, terminal aggression of Israel upon these vile enemies as expressed in the words of Isaiah 11:14 - But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines (indicating the Gaza Strip of today) 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 (indicating Jordan and the Israeli Negev of today). Although we cannot be sure of the exact nature of such a triggering event, it is quite likely that a singular, great Arabic/Islamic act of aggression will provoke the Jewish wrath. If such a reaction from Israel should be triggered, we can easily visualize the wildly pitched tumult that should result. Obadiah indicates that when the descendants of Edom are destroyed, Israel is no longer standing alone against her enemies - a condition which now seems conclusive since the U.S. has withdrawn its active support of Israel against Iran AND is now insisting that Israel simply unilaterally cede much of its territory to the "Palestinians" in exchange for "peace" - a patent impossibility. Obadiah points to six specific areas in which the forces of Esau are to be obliterated:

Oba 1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau (south Jordan); and they of the plain the Philistines (Gaza): and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria(now called the "West Bank"): and Benjamin shall possess Gilead (north Jordan). 

Oba 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath (a point north of the Litani River, in Lebanon); and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south (the Negev Bedouin and the militants of the Sinai).

 But the "clincher" as to the appearance of Messiah among His people is the next verse: Oba 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, the kingdom of Messiah shall at that time be evident to Israel and to all the world, although the world at large shall not recognize it as such. Why is this so? Because that fulfillment is not in agreement with their vain philosophies. Thus their overwhelming conviction shall be that this new King in Israel is actually their version of "the Antichrist!" Meanwhile, the pricking briers and the grieving thorns of Israel's blessed land shall have been put to the torch of destruction.  Obadiah, v. 18 ... and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

We can be absolutely certain that these adversaries - the briers and thorns - shall be silenced, defeated, and completely neutralized either just prior to Jesus' Second Coming, or upon that event's occurrence! We must point out Ezekiel 35:3,which seems to indicate that Mt. Seir (Esau, or Edom) shall be destroyed by the direct hand of the Christof the Second Advent, probably in league with Israel's armed forces, for at this time He assures Israel that He will use them for His battle axe and weapon of war (Jeremiah 31:20).

 Also, note the indelible words of Zechariah 10:5 And they (Israel's army) shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. 6 And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them. (HEL)