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December 2010: Who Shall Assist Israel? Shall the USA, Britain/Tarshish, Sheba, or Dedan?

Harold Lafferty  MD/USA

“Who shall assist Israel in its final conflict with the nations?”

The clear and decisive answer to this question is NOBODY, and NO NATION ON EARTH. This claim is in direct contradiction of the opinion expressed in a magazine article some time ago which claims that Israel will have a protector – Tarshish – defined in the article as the English-speaking peoples. It boldly claims that the statement that “Israel is to be deserted does not conform to the Scriptures.” We were only recently reminded of this article.

We are fully aware that this (erroneous) notion was long held by prophecy scholars. But it has always been the wrong conclusion. The reasons why it was first put forth were numerous but all these, too, were false interpretations. We emphasize “interpretations” because there is no concrete testimony of any kind supporting these claims.

This declaration has no basis whatever in prophetic models. The supposition that Israel is to be protected by any worldly, secular power is contrary to several distinct passages in scripture, only a few of which we shall examine. But let’s initially consider some details of the article.

A.    Citation of Numbers 23:9 and Micah 7:14 come under the article’s attempt to support the thesis of support for Israel. It states that these are the only two passages the author is aware of that might seem to support Israel’s having no support in her final conflicts. Let’s examine these.

Numbers 23:9 – “For, from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”

This prophesy of Balaam has nothing primarily to do with Israel standing alone in combat against the nations in the Endtime Wars. It indicates, and certainly even dictates, primarily that instead of being mixed (assimilated) with all the other populations, the people of Israel would FOREVER remain a peculiar, segregated people that is not assimilable into the populations of the nations into which they would be scattered. Secondarily it reveals a nation opposed by all the other nations when the showdown comes.

As an extension of this characteristic, the Jews would remain a discrete people who could, when the time comes, be drawn again from the Gentiles as a distinctive body, and be re-gathered to their own Land as foretold in numerous passages, including Isaiah 11:11. [Of course, even if the Jewish people had become completely assimilated among the Gentiles, He could still reassemble them to their Land, but the impact of His action would be lost on the nations to whom that particular re-gathering is a testimony of his sovereignty and omnipotence … that He had re-gathered specifically Israel back to the Land, and had not simply re-populated it with “people” from all over the earth.]

Furthermore: Numbers 23:9 clearly indicates that the God of Israel was never going to allow His people – His witnesses – to become assimilated and dissolved among the nations, and that Israel, even as now re-constituted, would be considered by all the other states as a pariah among them; Israel and its people do not fit into their society nor concepts of normalcy. The State of today is officially rejected as being a fulfilled prophecy – this uniquely unprecedented restoration of Israel to its Land in the last days. It is a supreme embarrassment to the RC Church that Israel has been regathered and reestablished in the Land, for Rome has always contended that God has cast Israel aside and has no further use for her – not knowing His word, of course! That is why Rome has resisted Israel’s rights and circumstances all these years since 1948. Yes, Israel wants to be a nation equal among the nations; but God will even now NOT PERMIT IT! Their destiny is far more important than that – and far beyond the acquiescence of the secular or religious powers of the earth today!

The second passage is likewise irrelevant:

Micah 7: 14 – “Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.”   

This passage has nothing whatever to do with Israel standing alone against the nations. It refers to the incontrovertible fact that Israel ALONE (solitarily, purely) shall, in the kingdom age, inhabit the wood of Carmel, the fields and mountains of Galilee, Gilead and Bashan (their Land of promise), “as in the days of old.” – that is, when Israel autonomously occupied those areas with no (or few) foreigners living in their midst. It refers to their future sole possession of the Land, when there shall be no Canaanite in the Land. 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.”

The named passage has no relationship to Israel standing alone or not alone against the nations in battle!

B.    The article’s second argument nominates Ezekiel 38 to prove that “British/U.S., Sheba and Dedan … would resist Gogian aggression.”

A simple, objective reading of Ezekiel 38 indicates no response from Sheba and Dedan except their obviously tremulous interrogatory, “Art thou come to take a spoil and a prey?” There is no internal implication whatever here of any British/U.S. forces resisting Gog or being in military league with Israel!

This is only a question about Gog’s geopolitical INTENT. I am firmly and scripturally convinced that only (1) the Proximal (or nearby) Arab/Islamic enemies and (2) the Gogian host come physically against Israel with armies and with intention to destroy the state and its people. These are instead destroyed outrightly by the intervention of Christ by His supernatural powers of destruction; and neither of them will be permitted to approach anywhere near Jerusalem itself.

One exception to this claim is that the PA/PLO are resident not only in Jerusalem but throughout all Israel. If they remain so distributed among the Israelis, it must be understood that they will be dealt with by both the IDF and Christ’s wrath on a divinely selected, one-on-one basis – each one destroyed the moment he strives to resist either the IDF or the Man from Bethlehem! They are already inside the camp, and must be destroyed there. There is no indication that the invading armies of nearby Islam or Gog are even allowed to approach Jerusalem itself!

Now, having said that, I think it already quite clear that the nations of the world will abandon Israel. [Haven’t they actually done so already?] The core issue of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, its eternal capital, is now becoming ultra-heated; the “Palestinians” are absolutely demanding Jerusalem as capital of their proposed State. The issue of Jerusalem will soon be THE PRINCIPAL CAUSE of strife which will break out in warfare – doubtless the final war of the Arab-Israeli crisis of the past 60+ years. Zechariah 12:1-3.

It’s no big consideration, however. Why should Christ or Israel care a fig about the USA, Britain, and even Europe’s opinions or acceptance? These nations are even now doing their best to de-legitimize Israel, cut it off both economically and politically from any first-class association with themselves.

Anti-Semitism is on a steep rise in Europe. But, as I have written extensively in Twilight of the Prophets, I don’t believe that the European Beast nations will have the will or the time to attack Israel before Christ’s Everlasting Gospel goes forth to them, which seems sure to occur soon after the destruction of Gog.

 This conveyed “Gospel” will challenge them to accept the Christ’s sovereignty and to serve Him only. It is The Gospel of Christ, but it is not the gospel that they have heard throughout their existence, during all their affiliation with (subjugation to) the Roman Catholic System as well as that of her Protestant daughters. His Gospel is not recognized by them. They will not submit to it by any means. They will resist it with all their force.

But that does not necessarily mean that they will actively send armies against Jerusalem (although of that we may not have sufficient information and surely cannot be certain!). One fact is certain: the entities styled the Beast and the Harlot cannot be destroyed in Israel or in the Middle East primarily. They must be destroyed in Europe, primarily, but also in all the recesses of the world into which the power and influence of the Harlot extends.

The destruction will be worldwide when the Stone Power rises up from Zion and insinuates Itself into their domains in order to place them under subjection to His will! Rome cannot be thrown into the sea in Israel – that has to take place in Rome. It takes place as Christ “speaks peace to the heathen.” His authority and eminence is challenged by them; but He shall succumb to no challenges. They cry, “Let us cast His bands from us,” but He commands, “Submit to My Gospel.”

It must be noted that “Armageddon” is only mentioned in Revelation 16, and I believe has solely, at least primarily, to do with the overthrow of the Beast and the False Prophet. The earlier conflicts are part of the judgment of the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the Valley of Decision), of Joel 3. There is certainly some valid question as to the extent and character of Armageddon as well as the combatants, but this is my belief.

 The Church, during the Phase Three Conflict, believing its power to be supreme on earth, rejects this “Messiah” of Israel, and prepares to resist Him in their ignorance. When they do, He will come to them, and destroy the now revived Image by which their regime and doctrine is symbolized, grinding it (them) to powder!

 C.    The article’s third argument refers to Daniel 11: 44 – a passage which has nothing whatever to do with the Gogian host! That conviction comes from the mistaken notion that Gog is also identifiable as the King of the North of Daniel 11.

I have done a complete electronic search of Elpis Israel and Eureka, and find that in those works John Thomas never acknowledged – and possibly never even recognized – that The Ottoman Empire constituted the King of the North of his day, or that Egypt’s dynasty that was driven from the Land in 1517 by the Ottomans, had been King of the South – indeed, the LAST King of the South. (He even believed Britain would become a King of the South, but there is great textual difficulty, even denial, of this: no further King of the South is mentioned after Daniel 11:40 – only the King of the North, who comes to his end with none to help!)

Having long ago recognized that the Ottomans were the last King of the North (the last of a long line) we concluded (in retrospect) that the resurrection of Israel from the nations is the next consideration of the beginning of Daniel 12 (it being a type of the physical resurrection of His called and chosen and faithful Ones from the dead) under the direction of Michael, the Archangel, who is NOT Christ and the Saints, but clearly as named: Michael the Archangel! It is he who is charged with Israel’s care; it is HE who has supervised the resurrected polity of Israel in these End-times, and regathered its people.

He conceivably was also in charge of the Holocaust, the mechanism instituted to IMPEL the Jews back to their Land to settle it and develop it, there to await their final redemption! It is surely Michael who was responsible for the spectacular victories of Israel against its enemies to date – in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, the War of Attrition, the Intifadas #1 and #2.

That interpretation of Gog as King of the North is so inane as to be ludicrous! These entities – Gog and the King of the North – are entirely and obviously separate from each other.

1.      They occupy entirely different times in history,

2.     arise from entirely different premises,

3.     have entirely different identities (named participants),

4.     have entirely different goals and aspirations,

5.     end completely differently,

6.     and must not be confused with each other.

I refer readers of this present article to the work, The Twilight of the Prophets by the present author, self-published in 2000, in which this matter is discussed in depth and scripturally. If that resort is not satisfactory he invites personal correspondence on the subject, email address available at  http://www.gpl.org.au  (this web site). 

Since the time in the 19th century when this claim of Britain’s assistance to the work of the Christ may have seemed more likely, a multitude of prophetic fulfillment has occurred which now obviates it entirely!  Times and circumstances have moved unmistakably ahead of those early speculations; future events have become markedly clearer and more meaningful to scholars.

The notion is null and void. It is indefensible. It is erroneous!

D.    The article attempts to show that recent events indicate improved links between Israel and her protectors, implying  more solid relations between them.

To those blinded by this concept, that may have seemed to be true in 2002, when this article was published; but it is clearly NOT true today. Anti-Semitism in Europe and in the USA is growing rapidly. Britain is becoming even more adamantly opposed to Israel, and even the historically loyal USA is now distancing itself from Israel. Pressure from the Obama administration is increasing to force Israel to extend its construction freeze, and to concede “land for peace” to the Palestinian Authority, which wishes to erase Israel and take their entire land.

E.     The article ended with the assertion that “Israel is to be deserted does NOT conform to the Scriptures.” (p.103)

 That global statement will now be challenged.

 The pervasive issue of Jerusalem’s sovereignty under Israel is under intense assault at this moment in history – even more than at earlier times. Zechariah 12: 1-3 indicates that Jerusalem is the “burdensome stone” with which the Almighty will grind the nations to powder! It is integral to the “controversy of Zion” (indeed, it IS Zion!) which shall precipitate the final showdown with the Islamic entities opposing Israeli existence.

 And there will be “none to help” in Messiah’s combat with the house of Edom in Bozrah – as specifically stated in Isaiah 63:3:

 

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there

was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and

trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled

upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4  For the

 day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my

 redeemed is come. 5  And I looked, and there was none to help;

 and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine

 own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld

 me.”

 There shall be no assistance or palpable sympathy from the USA, Britain, Tarshish, Sheba, or Dedan – none! That passage, as well as others, show clearly that Messiah is in the earth, waging war on Israel’s behalf, and that He is alone in that initiative; although accompanied, in this writer’s opinion, by the immortalized Saints; He is therefore constituted the One Man, or the Multitudinous Christ of the Second Advent.

 Other sets of passages apply here, among them: 

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Isa 54:17

 

This verse is a summary of the entire previous text of this wonderfully enlightening chapter in Isaiah.

 

Isaiah 54:4 – “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither

 be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for

 thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not

 remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. 5  For thy

 Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy

Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth

shall he be called. 6  For the LORD hath called thee as a woman

forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou

wast refused, saith thy God. 7  For a small moment have I

forsaken thee; but with  great mercies will I gather thee. 8  In a

little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with

everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD

thy Redeemer.”


The factor of the Almighty’s “forsaking” of His people is prominent here – and quite important to our overall understanding of His Plan. Micah also indicates the importance of the Father’s  abandonment (giving them up) in this telling revelation in Micah 5:2 – which then forecasts the end of His abandonment at a certain time:

     “ But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He (Jesus) come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3 – Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”

 

It must be noted carefully here that his “giving them up” (other

translations say “abandon them”) UNTIL a certain time

Israel’s rebirth in 1948 – when they again become the

abundant recipients of His favor and strength, because they are

then involved in the active process of “returning to Me” as

admonished by the Father in Malachi 3:7; Jeremiah 24:7; and

Isaiah 44:22.

 At that time, He ceased to abandon them and began to assist them mightily … “with great mercies will I gather thee:” please note that He indicates NO OTHERS who shall be involved in their regathering and survival in the Land!

Note that in none of the verses quoted above is there mention of gratuitous assistance of any mortals beside the Almighty. The LORD is their Redeemer. He is their Deliverer and Saviour. All other nations have abandoned her to the evil aggressors who strive to devour and tear her apart, take her capitol and lands, disperse her people yet again. This is blessed assurance that these curses shall NOT be exercised upon Israel, the People of God!

 Isaiah 49 treats of the Endtime redemption of Israel in detail – and the time of their deliverance from the nations. Its narrative reflects that day in which we are extremely privileged to live. Isaiah 49:8 – “Thus saith the LORD, ‘In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages …’”

Note well, please, that NO OTHER assistance by anyone is indicated here. “I have heard thee … I have helped thee … I will preserve thee …” If there were to be outside aid would we not see it recorded in passages such as these?

Besides that, WHAT help does the Almighty need to perform His work? His glorious Savior and His immortalized Saints are easily up to the task!

Isaiah again addresses the solitude of Christ in His work for His people: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (resist Him). And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the lord.” (Isaiah 59: 19-20)

 This Endtime response is the direct result of His previous instruction that “… the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness, it sustained Him.” (verses 15, 16) In other words, His people are delivered  not with the deference of Britain or Tarshish or Sheba/Dedan [there was NO intercessor! Would not these be definable as “intercesssors” if they were to so intervene?].

 Think about it! The preservation of Israel to these ends is contrary to the ambition of every other national power in the world. None of them want Israel to have the pre-eminence for which it is absolutely destined under the rule of Christ! NONE!

 So why should they assist Him in His work of exonerating Israel?

 Isaiah 2 is a similar commentary upon Israel’s Endtime circumstances: Isaiah 2: 11 et seq.,

 

11  The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. [If other nations were to assist Israel, should they not be “exalted” as well?]

12  For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: [Is there a nation upon earth that is not “proud and lofty?” Their destiny is to be “brought low” by Him.]

13  And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,

14  And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

15  And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, [Note that all these elements – cedars, oaks, mountains, hills, towers, walls – are symbols of MAN’S might, which is decidedly inferior and in opposition to God’s might in Christ. They are not appointed to assist, but to resist and denigrate, if anything.]

16  And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. [We easily observe here that the ships of Tarshish are specifically not allowed to assist in preserving Israel but are condemned with the blanket condemnation of all the other nations, for theirs is not to ASSIST but to RESIST His plan. Psalm 48:7 likewise is unmistakable in this matter! In reality, ONLY THESE REFERENCES are needed unequivocally to disprove the quoted author’s claim that “Israel is to be deserted does NOT conform to the Scriptures.” The entirely opposite position of the nations is scripturally verified: ISRAEL IS TO BE DESERTED by them – ALL of them!

17  And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.  [Any secular power that might assist Christ would be constituted “lofty, and haughty.” But these shall be brought low. “The Lord ALONE shall be exalted in that day.”]

 So, in addition to there being NO indication of any cooperation with Israel’s redemption by any of the contemporary worldly powers, there are myriads of statements on record which refute this erroneous notion of any national assistance for Israel in her final breakout from the oppression of the Gentiles!

 

Our Father has clearly proclaimed that “My glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8); this includes NOT allowing or soliciting ‘outside help’ in executing His holy plan for His people! It is not (and shall not be) in Britain’s mind, heart, or destiny to assist Israel in that day. Why on earth should they do so when, except for the unique character of the Balfour Declaration, that nation has ALWAYS VIGOROUSLY resisted God’s people’s return and nationalization but instead have aided and abetted the Arab enemies of Israel wholeheartedly???

 The popular hymn proclaims this truth long believed among us: “Zion’s King shall reign victorious; All the world shall own His sway; He shall make His kingdom glorious; He shall rule through endless day. What, though all the world resist Him, God shall realize His plan!”

So, I believe it mandatory that we hasten to accept God’s word in this matter as in all others; submit to His will, not our own notions; attribute NOT His glory to any other. Accept the transparent will of God in this matter, leaving it to him to bring about in His prearranged plan, and to give HIM the glory for having done so.

 No man or nation has the power or ability to do otherwise!

<HEL>  December 2, 2010


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November 2010: Thoughts on Daniel 12: 1-3

 

An inquiry from a friend recently triggered the following investigation, which is vital to our understanding of Endtime prophecy. My intention is, as exhaustively as possible in the space allotted, to study and comment upon the first three verses in this present essay. The verses are …

     Daniel 12: 1: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.

     2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

     3. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”       [KJV]

Michael  the Archangel

The setting is 1917 AD, the year of the termination of the last King of the North, the Ottoman Empire, which was driven forever from the Province of Palestine by the armed forces of Great Britain in December of that year, as prophesied in Daniel 11: 41 – 45.

The prophet states,“at that time (1917) shall Michael stand up,” and defines Michael as the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.”  [Some earlier scholars have surmised that “Michael” is a term designating the Lord Jesus Christ, Who in their view would be returning after what they believed would be the defeat of the Gogian invader which they believed to be indicated in the previous chapter. Such was clearly not the case. Daniel has already mentioned Michael twice in his revelation and it is inconsistent to claim that the angel’s identity is different here.]  References to these verses and yet earlier ones will be helpful to our understanding of his identity and mission.

We need to note that the statement that it is AT THAT TIME (that Michael “stands up”) is precisely the time at which Michael’s skills and power as an archangel are needed to bring the Jews back to their Land and sustain them in it after their long dispersion! It seems that while they are in exile, Michael has little to do in helping Israel because of a statement made in the next reference. But now his power and godly assistance shall be needed by his people again. 

Further critical understanding and correlation of the angel’s identity and mission may be abetted by reference to the Angelic Being described (but not named) in the early history of Israel as it emerged a nation from the Land of EgyptThat this Michael is the same angel is almost certain – the same as the unnamed one of Exodus 23:20 – the angel of the Cloud and of the Pillar of Fire: “Behold, I send My Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and bring thee unto the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For Mine angel shall go before thee …” (that is, to lead them into the Land which He had promised them).

Before we leave this reference there are four crucial factors about this angel of which we need to be aware.

1.      It was this angel’s divine assignment “to keep Israel in the way” (the way of God’s direction);

2.    ”To bring them unto the place” (Canaan) which God had prepared for them;

3.    “My name is in him” is clearly conveyed to Israel; this special angel will be their protector and guide to the Promised Land and as residents in it. But there seems another shade of meaning which we must note. Michael (H4317) is defined by Strong as “who is like God.” So El’s name (God) is part of Michael’s name; it is literally true that he bears God’s name, in addition to the commission that he has been given;[1]

4.    And if Israel follows his directions, then God promised to be “an enemy to their enemies, and an adversary to thine adversaries.” We need to keep this in mind whenever referencing Michael and his duties toward God’s people – especially in the Endtime.

Now to Daniel 10: 11-13: “Then said he unto me, ‘O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. ‘ And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, ‘Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for (because of) thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”

This is the first time the angel Michael is named in the scriptures. The second time is Daniel 10: 21,where Gabriel identifies his counterpart Michael as “holding with me in these (revealed) things.”

The clear information in this passage is that the speaker is an angel whose identity has not yet been made known to Daniel. That angelic being is actually Gabriel, the only other angel mentioned by the book of Daniel, or even named in the entire Bible. Gabriel is assigned an important duty in Daniel 8: 16where the voice of “a (mighty) man” is heard by Daniel between the banks of the River Ulai in Babylon.

The voice commands Gabriel to make Daniel understand a vision which he had just seen – the Vision of the Sanctuary Cycle being our current name for it – a significant revelation leading all the way to the Endtime (“at the time of the end shall be the vision” – Verse 17).

The vision had just been seen by Daniel and involved several events leading to the confrontation of a Ram with two horns standing by a river, and engaging in combat with an He-goat with one notable horn between its eyes. Daniel 8: 5.

Without going into the intricate details of exegesis at this time,[2] the Ram with two horns represented an eminent political power (the Medes and the Persians) which would be overcome and soundly defeated by a future rival power represented by an He-goat with a notable horn; that He-goat represented Alexander the Great of Greece – the power which overthrew the Medo-Persian overlord of God’s land in future years.  The Medo-Persian kingdom would succeed Babylon which, almost untilDaniel’s death, still had control of God’s Land. When this vision was received by Daniel the date is specified as the third year of Belshazzar (Daniel 8: 1) – nearly at the end of Babylon’s ascendancy, and just prior to the decree of Cyrus the Persian that they return to their homeland in Judaea. 

The Vision of the Sanctuary Cycle which now followed [also called the Vision of the 2,300 Evening-Mornings] concerned the “cleansing of the Sanctuary,” which we understand means the Temple M0unt – the Mount of the Sanctuary, or Temple – in Jerusalem Briefly, the timing of this vision began when Alexander defeated Medo-Persia in their first encounter at the River Granicus in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) in the spring [early June] of the year BC 334. 

Lapsing the years forward (Daniel 8: 13, 14) as history progressed, the 2,300 “evening-mornings” (days = solar years) terminated in 1967 AD. The span of time given by angelic revelation is exactly 2,300 solar years from the starting date. It is a superb example of God’s perfect foreknowledge of events of such long term. And it terminated very nearly or precisely at the terminus of the forecasted time span, on June 7th of that distant year.

You will remember that it was on this date that the Israel Defense Forces assaulted and overcame the Arab Legion of Jordan, which had held East Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank since the War of Independence in 1948 (a span of 19 years).

We have introduced all these previous facts, which may seem extraneous, to show clearly that Michael is the arch-angel charged with the supervision of Israel when either it is IN its Land (these Endtimes) or is ABOUT TO ENTER IT (as from ravaged Europe in 1945, or anciently from Egypt into Canaan).

From this precise verse, Daniel 12:1, we discern that Michael again “stood up” to assist and guide Israel BACK TO ITS INHERITANCE in these Endtimes JUST AS HE HAD BEEN CHARGED AS THEY EMERGED FROM EGYPT. This is an important fact to recognize here for reasons that will become clearer as we progress.

So far, Daniel has been told that Michael shall “at that time” stand up for Israel, and that Michael specifically, is that “great prince which standeth FOR the children of thy people.”

The Time of Trouble Such as Never Was

Now time leaps forward as the next phrase unfolds: “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time: and at that time thy people (Israel) shall be delivered…”

By studying events that followed the Great War of 1917-18 (World War I), we can easily see that its failures and injustices laid the sure framework for World War II. In less than 15 years from its conclusion, a despotic political aspirant named Adolph Schicklegruber (later called Hitler) rose to the foreground to wreak revenge on the Great Powers for their shoddy treatment (in his mind) of Germany. His evil ranting against the Jews of Europe and the world were voiced clearly in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) written while he was in prison. His rise to power in Germany was uncommonly meteoric.

The result of Hitler’s coming to power was this “time of trouble” for God’s and Daniel’s people “such as never was.” In Hebrew this Trouble is known as The Shoah; in English, as The Holocaust. It shall not be our purpose here to review the horrible and horrifying events of that era in which over six million Jews were imprisoned, enslaved, tortured, incinerated, and slaughtered by The Third Reich.

It is reputed to be the most horrible, most concentrated, most intractable, most grindingly terrifying event in human history levied against any single group of people. Actually the Jews were only about halfof all the enemies of Germany which were murdered, but their identities and loyalties were not unified as were those of the Jews; also, God had no specific purpose with them as He did with His People.

In 1945, near the conclusion of the war, Russian and Allied forces began to discover the horrors of the Death Camps – of hundreds of murder factories which bore evil-sounding names such as Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Majdenek (Maidenek), Dachau, and Sobibor. Of the original Jewish population of about nine million in the war’s arena, six million now lay in graves and ash-pits.

Only three million had survived in various degrees of destitution – but mostly starved and weakened.[3]Soon the world body, the United Nations Organization, took pity on the Jews and voted to partition Palestine, which had already been awarded to Britain as a Mandatory home for the Jewish people of the world by the Balfour Declaration. The Jews of almost the whole world were solidly behind the formation of a State, which was established in May, 1948. The greatest proportion of Jews left in Europe, all of whom had been “displaced” from their homes, migrated to the new State and its freedom. So, a limited number (those found “written in the book”) migrated to their ancient homeland, and were “delivered” out of the lands of Holocaust. 

“Every One that Shall be Found Written in the Book”

The exact (and ultimate) meaning of this phrase, that these “shall be delivered,” is at this time somewhat obscure to this writer.

     It may mean “all those who were appointed by God to escape death.” But that is a subjective definition.

     It might mean “all those who are slated to enter the kingdom which Messiah will soon establish,” except that almost all the personal survivors of the Holocaust are now deceased, and the kingdom has not come.

     It may mean “all those who are specially designated physically to build the newly formed State of Israel” would be delivered.

     Or it might be most of all a reference to their deliverance into immortality in their time of judgment.

So far, the phrase is an enigma to this writer. It certainly shall be understood in future, but what does it mean to us today? Although this writer is unable to offer a fully rational explanation of his own (perhaps he is viewing this as a more difficult problem than it really is), he has consulted a peer who seems to have only negligible problems with the phraseology.

Please allow him to elaborate in his own words (emphasis mine):

“This statement is referring to “thy people” (Daniel’s people, the Jews) in the land. Daniel was a prophet to the Jews, of course.” To our commentator friend, “it states quite positively that certain people in Israel, not the world, whose names are written in a book, shall be delivered. (Delivered) from what? From eternal oblivion! From eternal death! (Mark 16: 16)

“Revelation 20:12 tells us that, ‘THE BOOKS WERE OPENED; and another book was opened, which is The Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written IN THE BOOKS according to their works (Verse15). Whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.’

“You will notice in the above, ‘THE BOOKS (PLURAL) WERE OPENED AND ANOTHER BOOK, THE BOOK OF LIFE.’ Perhaps the first BOOKS were those personal ‘notes’ about the people spoken of in (another) book. The Psalmist says, ’In Thy book all my members were written.' How can we escape the thought that this refers to the DNA of the person, ensuring that those who sleep in the Lord can be re-created exactly as they were!?

“It seems to me that the verse speaks only of the Jews, many of whom (similar to many of the Gentiles) will not find salvation because their Names are not written in the Book of life.

“In Malachi 3:16 we read, ‘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’

“Daniel 12: 4 says: ‘Shut up the words and seal the book even to the time of the end.’  Does this mean that the recording of those in Israel who were in the books ceased at the time Daniel is speaking of; or is he referring to the time of the end of the Hebrew ages and times – and the end of the first Hebrew kingdom age? I don't know; but you might have some ideas” [or perhaps readers may have some thoughts – Ed.].

“The Psalmist speaks of such people (in this way): ‘Let them be blotted out of the book of the living and not be written with the righteous.’ (Psalm 69:28)

“After asking ‘WHO IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE BOOK?’ (Revelation 5:2), the answer is given in verse 5‘THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH HATH PREVAILED TO OPEN THE BOOK AND TO LOOSE THE SEALS.’  Surely (this is) the Judgment day!

“Can this book be the same (book) that Daniel spoke of in 12:1? Can there be two books?  Hardly!   Paul speaks of ‘those whose names are in the book of life.’ Surely it must be the same 'book.' Are there TWO divisions – JEWISH AND GENTILE?”

That is the end of our consultant’s comments. In addition, this researcher believes there is a veiled reference also to the recovery (resurrection) of the Jews from the nations of their dispersion – a very real “resurrection” of their nation which precedes the resurrection of the saints of God, Jew OR Gentile. As these verses are a vast, overall consideration of a long period of time, which omits many of the details, it may have still other ramifications we have not considered here!

Many of Them That Sleep in the Dust of the Earth Shall Awake

 Verse two leaps forward to an easily discernable goal: but even that understanding could have two rational explanations. As just inferred, the Jews of Diaspora can be said to be “sleeping” in the “dust of the earth,” for they are not yet gathered completely into their own nation – or not yet “resurrected” from that Diaspora. This is a spiritual application which I believe to be valid, though certainly not exclusive.

2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

3. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

But the more sure interpretation is that of a literal resurrection from death. When the Messiah of Israel appears, myriads of covenanted Jews shall be raised from the dead, and shall be judged. Their worthy lives under the Law of Moses shall have been validated by the sacrifice of Christ, and they shall be raised to stand before Him in judgment, along with enormous numbers of believing Gentiles.

These shall “awake” to (1) “everlasting life,” or (2) “to shame, and everlasting contempt.” This is a clear, unmistakable picture of the Judgment Seat of Christ – the time when one of these two courses is set in stone for every participant in the Judgment proceedings. The Inspirer gives no further consideration to those who are turned aside into outer darkness (Matthew 22: 13).

On the other hand, he describes the future of those who are considered worthy of life: “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they who turn [have turned] many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

It is an extremely happy outcome for these faithful ones! Their victory shall be clearly visible by all God’s creation forevermore.

Michael Stands Up

 Now, returning to the first phrases, we have read that “at that time (1917) shall Michael stand up, that great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” That phraseology is completely compatible with the first facts revealed by the Almighty in reference to “Mine angel” of the Exodus, which was to “go before” Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land – to shepherd them into the Land and maintain them in it as long as they obeyed God.

So Michael “stood up” in 1917, to resume his earlier duties, which were again to lead his people back to their Promised Land and to be “an enemy to their enemies, and to be an adversary to their adversaries”as in Exodus 23. He has in our time executed his duties extremely well; we may rest assured that Israel shall remain under Michael’s protection until Messiah appears to them.

We can clearly see the undeniable effects of Michael’s assistance to Israel in these Endtimes. He has aided and assisted them immeasurably in their highly successful Return (Aliyah) to the Land; in the liberation of the Land from the Ottomans AND from Britain (!); in Israel’s four wartime victories over the Proximal Arabs; in their War of Attrition; in their assaults by Intifada; and even in their “peace negotiations” which are going utterly NOWHERE. 

We believe these farcical “peace” activities will never bear the fruits desired by the “Palestinians” (which is to root Israel out of the land and take it for their own) OR by the shepherds of Israel who seem willing to concede land (and portions of their capital city) and to conclude “peace” with the Arabs among them and surrounding them. We believe both to be impossible and not at all in the offing for either party. Their only resolution of their differences upon Jerusalem – the “burdensome Stone” of Zechariah 14 – shall be the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ from the heavens to “save them from their enemies”(Psalm 44: 7).

So our parting thoughts must be: Hold fast, O Israel, to that which thou hast; stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!

 

H E Lafferty  MD/USA for the eTPL, November, 2010



[1] It was partially for this reason that earlier scholars mistook this reference to the angel as being to the Lord.

[2] The author intends to bring a documented, clear exposition of this enlightening prophecy of “The 2,300 Evening-Mornings” to these pages in future issues, God willing, as well as other land-mark events which have been fulfilled.

[3] These folk comprised yet another “remnant” of God’s people who had survived persecution, famine and Pogroms upon them through the ages. The “remnants” began with the negligible return of Jews from Babylon.



The Prophecy Letter

October, 2010: Balaam the Prophet, Conclusion

Please read Part I of this series prior to this Conclusion

Balaam’s spirit flies!
As such a suitable purveyor of God’s revelation, he seems not to care at all for the rewards of silver and gold of which he shall surely be deprived! He seems really now to care only about the will of the Almighty, Who inspires him. He is reckless, submerged in the intonations of the great blessings which God freely showers upon His unique and blessed people Israel! He records in Numbers 24 …

“5. How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob,
And thy tabernacles, O Israel!
6. As the valleys are they spread forth,
As gardens by the river’s side.
As the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted,
And as cedar trees beside the waters.

His description of God’s chosen ones probes far deeper than all that is perceptible to the eyes of mortals. Their very tents reflect the favour of their God. The vastness of their encampment of about two millions of souls is wonderfully spread forth as the great clefts between mountains. Festooned with greenery, reminding Balaam of exotic tropical aloes and fragrant woods beside abundant streams of water!

“7. He shall pour the water out of his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters,
And his kings shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.”

Although this location is semi-arid, Israel’s destiny is that he shall in future time possess such an abundance of life-giving water that he could with impunity waste it upon the ground – a forecast of  the Latter Days, and of Millennial blessings of the Tabernacle in Zion from which living waters shall flow continually day and night toward the east sea and toward the hinder sea, healing the waters of the Dead Sea, supporting the “wood of life” which is pictured growing on either side of that river in Revelation 22:2, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, whose sustenance is without money or price to all who would  partake of it.

Likewise, His “seed” (Israel’s progeny) – the individuals imbued with the blessings, doctrines, and foundations of the Father – shall spread abroad, transported by this life-giving “water,” to the nations and peoples of the earth, all of whom joyfully come up to Jerusalem once a year to worship the Lord of Hosts!

A KING also shall be there – “higher than Agag” shall he be!

It is a magnificent understatement of God’s Spirit! There is really no valid comparison of these two kings! Although this is the first Biblical occurrence of this name – Agag – we recognize that, in principle it refers to one actually named Agag, a much later king of the Amalekites, whom Saul spared in I Samuel 15, and whom righteous Samuel hewed to pieces before all the people. Indeed, it is a specific prophecy that a future king of the Amalekites would bear that name.

Only four decades prior to this, during the Exodus, the people of Amalek dwelt in the top of the Negev desert southwest of the Salt Sea. They presented the first national barrier to Israel’s entry into their Promised Land as they challenged the passage of God’s people, and fought with the Israelites at Rephidim.

Joshua led the Israelites against Amalek in Exodus 17, and was victorious when Moses held high the rod of God, but began to lose the battle when Moses became tired and let down the rod. So Aaron and his brother Hur sat Moses on a stone so they could support his hands throughout the day, “And Joshua overwhelmed the people of Amalek with the sword.” (vs. 13, Tanakh)

Then came the ominous sentence upon Amalek from God: “Inscribe this in a document as a reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: ‘I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven!’ And Moses built an altar and named it Adonai-nissi. He said it means, “Hand upon the throne of the Lord! … The Lord will be at war with Amalek through the ages!” (Verses 14 – 16)

Bullinger points out that an ellipsis here causes some difficulty, but should be understood as “Surely the hand [lifted up] upon the banner of Jah [is to swear]; for the war of Jehovah [Yahweh] against Amalek is to be from generation to generation.”

And “so it was,” he says, “It was carried on by Ehud (Judges 3), Barak (Judges 5), Gideon (Judges 6), Saul (I Samuel 15), David (I Samuel 27), the Simeonites (II Chronicles 4), Mordecai (Esther 3 and 9). Some have proposed that the name Agag is equivalent to GOG, and that the final victory over Agag comes when the Gogian host prepares to attack Israel as in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and meets its doom, but there seems little reason to suspect anything more than a phonetic similarity as the circumstances are not parallel.

Indeed! His king – that exalted One then named Yahweh Tz’vaoth– the Lord of hosts – shall be higher than Agag, and His kingdom shall be exalted,” NOT cursed, utterly defeated, and destroyed.

Balaam continues his message in verse 8 –

“8. God brought him (Israel) forth out of Egypt:
He (Israel) hath as it were the strength of an unicorn:
He (Israel) shall eat up the nations his enemies,
And (Israel) shall break their bones,
And pierce them through with his arrows.”

Balaam’s absolute confession is that it was GOD Who had miraculously brought forth Israel out of Egypt, giving to Israel the strength of an unicorn. The word “unicorn” is from the Septuagint, but the Hebrew is reem, and is supposed to mean the rhinoceros, buffalo, or antelope, but is often rendered “unicorn” in the AV, indicative of mythic, supernatural strength – the strength of God Himself.

So, in light of such strength, Israel AS A NATION should ‘eat up the nations who are his enemies, and break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows!’

That was their short term destiny as they soon began to destroy the seven nations which inhabited Canaan, their Land. And it is their long-term, Latter-Day destiny as well, as they wither the hand and crush the heads of the nations round about who persecute them daily, terrorize them hourly, and consistently hate the Israel of God and His plan for their imminent redemption!

“9. He crouched, he lay down as a lion,
And as a great lion, who shall stir him up?
Blessed is he who blesseth thee,
And cursed is he who curseth thee.”

Balaam again refers to labiy (the great lion; earlier he had referred also to the young lion - ariy), perhaps the fiercest beast known to those people at that time –“the king of beasts,” who has his own way with every other species. Who, indeed, shall “stir him up?” – That is who dares “rouse him?” Such an act could bring sudden death to the rouser. The lion is a metonym for Israel’s invincible character under God’s will; a relentless hunter and fighter who is unconquerable. It is for this reason that Messiah is called “the lion of the tribe of Judah.” He also is invincible and irrepressible.

Balaam finishes this parable with a repetition of Abraham’s early blessing from the Almighty in Genesis 12: 3, when He had told Abraham, “I will bless them who bless thee, and curse him who curseth thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing,“and of Isaac’s inspired, repetition of the same promise to Jacob (who was posing as his brother Esau) in Genesis 27:29, giving the promise, “ … cursed be everyone who curseth thee, and blessed be he who blesseth thee.” That is a promise to Israel which is un-revoked even today!”

Jacob – blessed yet again! And by this trusted, paid, supposedly trustworthy cohort of Balak!

Balak is livid with rage! He strikes his hands together in fury, shouting that he has hired Balaam to curse his enemies but Balaam has blessed them! In Balak’s mind, these spoken blessings add weight to the value of the real blessings; by Balaam having spoken the blessings they will now surely become true!  People today often say, “Don’t talk about it – it might come to pass.”

Balaam’s defense to Balak is utterly consistent; he can say ONLY what God tells him to say about the People!

So Balak dismisses him in his rage: “Therefore now flee thou to thy place!” Balak commands. (Verse 11)

But Balaam will have the last word – indeed the last “parable.”

Balaam’s next words continue to rub defeat into every pore of Balak’s ruddy skin. As he turns to leave, he spits out these words for Balak’s admonition, saying, in effect – Okay; I’m leaving; but before I go, come … and I will advertise thee [or tell thee] what THIS people shall do to THY people in the latter days.”

Now we are approaching the final conclusion of the matter! WE personally live “in the latter days,” and are intensely interested in how the present attempt at an Arab-Israeli “peace process” will work out – and why it won’t – which are Balaam’s conclusions in this prophecy!

Before we read his final words to Balak, let us remember clearly the truth that God had told Moses to write in Exodus 17: 16: that “The Lord will be at war with Amalek throughout the ages!” The combat and animosity between Israel and his Arab neighbors will drone on and on, seemingly forever – in nearly endless strife!

But at the END of the age of strife, there comes the final conclusion: a body-bag of sorts would be drawn over the people of Balak, and others of his kith and kin as they are utterly destroyed out of hand!

In a repetition of the trance-state in which Balaam saw and heard the instruction of God’s Spirit (in verses 15 and 16 of his previous vision), Balaam recites still greater revelations from God about Israel.

Now, please note that Balaam starts to bring even HIMSELF into the future equation, beginning in Numbers 24: 17 –

“17. I shall see Him, but not now;
I shall behold Him, but not nigh.”

Now the facts begin to come home on a personal level for Balaam! He declares the word of God given to him by inspiration: “I shall see Him, but not now” – speaking of the Almighty One Whose words Balaam had to have heard in the preamble, and Whose vision he had seen. “I shall behold Him, but not nigh!” – Not near, in terms of time. In other words, he expressed faith that Balaam would himself SEE the Almighty – not sooner, but MUCH LATER.

 Unfortunately, that event is not to conclude well for Balaam, as we shall see.

He continues describing WHO it is that he now, in his own mind, believes that he shall see…

“18. There shall come a Star out of Jacob,
And a Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And shall smite the corners of Moab,
And destroy all the children of Sheth.”

The Hebrew word for Star is kokab (Strong H3556), “star, as round, or as shining; figuratively, a prince; translated also as star, stargazer.”

It indicates none other than the Messiah of Israel, Who had been revealed to Balaam of Pethor, son of Beor! – Jesus of Nazareth, Who refers directly to Himself in Revelation 22: 16 in this tenor: “I, Jesus, have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the Ecclesias. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star!”

[Other relevant references are Luke 1:78; Revelation 2:28; and Matthew 2:2.]

Balaam’s revelation again expands, in the next line, with absolute accuracy that this Star is to be regent over Israel, for that is the significant implication of His also being named a Scepter: “a Scepter shall rise out of Israel!” The angel who announced His coming birth to Mary in Matthew 1:32 revealed that “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

A Scepter indeed! – A Throne and a Scepter!A kingdom AND a throne AND a Scepter are His certain and blessed destiny! And at this time Balaam himself seems destined to behold it all in that future day, along with all the faithful and called and chosen of God! How fortunate, that, to this point, he has exhibited the faith to follow the word of God and to BLESS Israel, and not CURSE Israel for the mammon offered by Balak! However, these faithful acts failed to seal Balaam’s fate with relation to the future, as we shall see!

Now, for further expansion of this intriguing story – What shall that Scepter DO? No benign or timid Scepter is this, but a ruler-ship of positive, conclusive action against the enemies of Israel and of God!

“He shall smite the corners (or quarters) of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth” – or Seth – which means ALL these men, for all men on the earth are now sons of Noah, son of Seth!

His connotation, of course, is that these sons of Seth are worldly, fleshly and rebellious; they are the ones who will be destroyed. But not all mankind. Those who become the “Seed of Abraham” escape such an end, and are brought through the great destruction to life forevermore! In the end, ALL inhabitants of the kingdom –  the remainder of all mankind – shall be of the “seed of Abraham!”

The untoward destiny of Moab and his neighbors is here absolutely sealed! It will be a long time in coming, but come it shall!

“18. And Edom shall be a possession” he continues. The people of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, dwell in Edom. Edom is also called Idumea and Mt. Seir. A double curse is placed upon Esau by reference both to Edom and Mt. Seir.

“Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.”

The outlook is not at all good for Israel’s enemies – specifically those nearby, and “round about” Israel, who even to this very time in history – TODAY – are continually sniping, terrorizing, cursing, and vilifying Israel and its God, striving to possess God’s Land, and to destroy His People.

Balaam’s revelation continues, with concentration on Him who shall be the victor over Moab, Edom and Seir:

“19. Out of Jacob shall come He Who shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth in the city.”  Tanakh has “ir” for “the city.” It is mentioned once in I Chronicles 7: 12 where the man Ir bore two sons, Shuppim and Huppim; their tribe is Benjamin. The “city” of vs. 19, however, is a city of the enemy – its whole camp – which is wiped out by Christ at His second coming in power and great glory. The Christ, of course, has His origin in Jacob – specifically in Judah, son of Jacob.

“20. And when he looked on Amalek,
He took up this parable, and said,
“Amalek was the first of the nations:
But his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.”

Amalek, you remember, was the first enemy that attacked Israel during the Exodus, thus becoming the prototype – or first – of ALL Israel’s enemies. But it was merely the first nation that warred against the People after they left Egypt, not first in preeminence or in importance among the nations. Amalek’s destiny is here sealed forever by God’s inspired word: “His latter end shall be that he perish for ever.”

Now Balaam turns his attention to another enemy – Midian:

21. He looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said,

“Strong is thy dwelling place,
And thou puttest thy nest in a rock
22. Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted,
Until Assur shall carry thee away captive.”

 

Note that Balaam LOOKED ON the Kenites (apparently one of the chief tribes of the Midianites), and addressed them with a particular curse. A Kenite is Hebrew Qiyniy (kee-nee) [Strong H7017 = a Kenite or a member of the tribe of Kajin: - Kenite.] Those who hired Balaam to curse Israel were now cursed by Balaam in Numbers 21: 22! Asshur was to carry them away captive; this was done by Assyria [which is Asshur] in later years. The area known as Midian today is in Saudi Arabia; it is desolate and barren with only a small population of Bedouin.

Verse 23 of Numbers 24 is problematical. Balaam, addressing both Assyria and the Hebrews – Asshur and Eber – saying:

“23. And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim.
And shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber,
And he also shall perish forever.”

What can Chittim have to do with this prophecy?

Chittim was probably Cyprus, including the north coastline of the Mediterranean (southern Turkey today). The word is spelled “Kittim” in Genesis 10:4 and in I Chronicles 1:7

Chittim (with a “C”) is mentioned six times: Numbers 24: 24 is the present reference; Isaiah 23: 1 and 12 refer to Chittim as one of the trading nations having commerce with Tyre, against whom the prophet is writing in this chapter. Jeremiah 2: 10 mentions Chittim as a synonym for the trading, sea-faring nations of the world; the word has been extended to include the people of the coastlands of the Mediterranean opposite Cyprus.  Daniel 11:30 is a reference which relates to the Ottomans being attacked by “the ships of Chittim,” and his being grieved and returning, and having indignation against the holy covenant.

Unfortunately, none of these seems to assist us to understand this verse.

“Chittim” comes from Strong H3794, kittiyiy, partially from an unused name denoting Cyprus (only in the plural); a kittite or Cypriote; hence an ISLANDER in general, i.e., the Greeks or Romans on the shores opposite Palestine; Translated Chittim and Kittim.

At this point in the narrative, Balaam rose up, went out and returned to his place, and Balak went his way (vs. 25).

It might seem that the matter of Balaam had ended here on an extremely good note. But such is not the case.

The matter which occurred immediately after this at Peor shows how Israel was corrupted by its near neighbors and the cult-worship of Baal in Numbers 25. Peor is Baal-Peor, and is the promontory from which Balaam viewed Israel the third time – when he was able to see the entire encampment – and the enormity of Israel’s destiny was revealed to him. Baal was a Moabite god and Peor was the chief mountain upon which the idol was worshipped. His worship involved cult prostitutes who enticed the men of Israel to sin before God. The plague that resulted from God destroyed 24,000 of His people.

Soon after this, Moses is commanded to fight against the Midianites (Numbers 31) and does so with 12,000 men (a thousand from each tribe). During this war Balaam is killed. Their list of slain enemies includes Balaam the son of Beor, slain with the sword. Numbers 31: 8.

In Numbers 31: 16 we read that this ungodly happening – their sin with the cult prostitutes – was a direct result of the counsel or doctrine (margin) of Balaam. Because of this incident, Balaam became a symbol for evil and trespass. II Peter 2: 15 speaks of believers who have forsaken the right way; and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness …”

Jude 11 pronounces a woe upon the followers of Balaam, grouping his trespass with that of Cain and Core (Korah, in the matter of Korah, Dathan and Abiram) all of whom grossly disobeyed the law of God and went their own ways to their everlasting shame.

Revelation 2: 14 lists one of Jesus’ dissatisfactions with the Ecclesia of Pergamos; He says “I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  There is the thing in which Balaam went wrong!

Here, in the final book of the Bible, the matter becomes completely clear. The transgressions at Baal-Peor were a direct result of the “doctrine” or teaching of Balaam. We surely may conclude that Balaam, in departing from Balak, took Balak aside and counseled him to forget about “cursing” Israel or even of overcoming the People militarily; but that it would be easy for him to overcome Israel with his Baal-cult prostitutes! That would destroy Israel from the inside by the lust of the flesh, which is in every man.

Thus we might not be surprised to find, when final judgment is given by the Master, that Balaam finally took a bribe from Balak for this advice. In this entirely subtle way, Balaam might have “earned” his commissions for destroying Israel in an entirely different way. It surely does seem that Balaam will be in that number who DO behold Him, and who stand in judgment before the Lord of all the earth, fulfilling his earlier inspired words, “I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall arise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab.” (Numbers 24: 17)

But for Balaam, though we can make no judgment of him, the gift of eternal life seems improbable. What a shame! Balaam spoke to angelic beings. He received good counsel from the Almighty. He spoke approving words of the Children of Jacob. He obeyed God, if reluctantly, almost until the end! But he apparently did not finish the course, keeping the faith.

Finally, he was overcome by his greed for reward, and counseled Balak to entice Israel with the abominable rituals of their stone “god” Baal! That transgression is inexcusable in the words of Peter, who tells us that Balaam not only went astray, but took many of the faithful with him – all to their eternal doom, for “he loved the wages of unrighteousness.”

This is the end of this two part article.  Harold Lafferty MD/USA.   Originally compiled, November, 1998. For eTPL, October, 2010

 

The Prophecy Letter

September, 2010: 

Balaam the Prophet, Part I

In Numbers 22, the curious episode of Balaam and Balak begins. Balak, King of Moab, becomes aware of the host of Israel as it marched north along the east side of the Dead Sea, bound for Canaan. Balak was intimidated by Israel; so he determined to bring help to deal with them. He solicited assistance of Balaam.

It seems that Balaam was a “prophet” of renown, for Balak, King of Moab, sent emissaries to summon Balaam from his far northern home at Pethor (Peor), a city on the Euphrates near Haran. The trek would take many days. The emissaries were laden with the “rewards of divination” (v. 7) – a tempting treasure for Balaam’s assistance.

But a surprising turn of events comes when, upon hearing the request of Balak, Balaam turns from the men telling them that he must consult the Lord, and get His permission.

That night, God comes to Balaam and asks, “What men are these with thee?” Balaam tells the Lord that Balak of Moab has sent the men to get Balaam’s assistance against “… a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth” and that Balak has asked him to “come now, curse them for me, peradventure I should be able to overcome them and drive them out” (v. 11).

Now, we really know nothing about Balaam at this point. Was he a renegade priest/prophet from Abraham’s earlier habitation of that far northern area? Was he a separately appointed prophet of God in that area? (We can give little credence to that thought.) We just don’t know how he came to occupy this office. But we must realize that he had a direct connection to the Lord!

The representatives of Balak were surprised when, the next morning, Balaam refused to go with the men saying the Lord had denied him permission; the emissaries immediately returned to Moab.

But Balak refused to accept Balaam’s answer and quickly sent more honorable lords with even greater gifts to entice Balaam. Again the Lord appeared to Balaam and discussed this with him, telling Balaam that he now may go with the men: “Rise up, and go with them, but yet the word which I say unto thee, thou shalt do it.”

The journey did not go well for Balaam. For the Lord was angry that Balaam had asked again to go to Moab after His telling Balaam he must not. We know the story of the talking donkey and the episode of the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword in the way, unseen by Balaam but clearly visible to the donkey. Finally, her way being blocked by the angel, in despair the donkey falls to the ground and Balaam threatens her life.

But presently Balaam is allowed to see the angel of the Lord, and repents of his bad behavior. The angel uses this encounter to reinforce his instruction to Balaam: “Go with the men, but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that shalt thou speak!” (v. 35)

Now the stage is set for some of the earliest long-term prophecies concerning Israel and her future history. The revelations of Balaam, given him by the Lord, are mainly four “parables.”

Balaam is met by Balak at the River Arnon – his northern border. They commiserate, then enjoy a feast of roast ox and ram in a town called Kirjuth-huzoth, which means “a city of streets,” a town somewhere in Moab. On the morrow they journeyed to an high-place of Baal from where Balaam will be able to see a large part of the Israelite encampment.

They offer an ox and a ram on each of seven altars as burnt offerings – to put Balak in “good stead” with any “gods” that might be observing this series of events, and Balaam with the Almighty One he nominally serves.

 Now Balaam advises Balak to stay with the offerings, and goes alone to the high place, advising Balak that “peradventure the LORD will come to meet me; and whatsoever He showeth me, I will tell thee.” The word translated “meet me” here is spoken in a neutral or passive sense. Balaam clearly expects a friendly, amicable conversation with Elohim [God] when they meet.

“And Balaam met Elohim:” here the word used indicates an hostile, NOT a passive, sense – and he (Balaam) said unto Him (Elohim) “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram.”

The angel absolutely ignores this solicitous information and curtly informs Balaam, “Return unto Balak, and thus shalt thou speak.”

We learn the message only when Balaam gives it to Balak, whom he finds still standing obediently by the burnt sacrifices with all the princes of Moab.

Imagine the anger – the disappointment and fury – of Balak when he hears what Balaam has been instructed to say – and his embarrassment before all his chief princes – when Balaam pronounces this extensive blessing upon Israel! Numbers 23:7-10.

“7. Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram,

Out of the mountains of the east, saying,

‘Come and curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.’

8. How shall I curse, whom GOD hath not cursed?

Or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?

9. For from the top of the rocks I see him,

And from the hills I behold him:

Lo, the People shall dwell alone.

And shall not be reckoned among the nations.       

10. Who can count the dust of Jacob,

And the number of the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the righteous,

And let my last end be like his!”

 

Here, in its apparent simplicity, is Balaam’s impression from seeing presumably only the southern encampment of the mighty people of Israel spread in the plains below him – phrased so elegantly in the words of the angel of the Lord who had instructed him in his speech!

The language is full of significance of God’s predetermined future destiny of Israel! And not only that, it was testimony as to Israel’s hidden but true character.

Oh! And notice the clarity with which he now identifies this multitude, which was so strange to Balak that he did not know its name – only “this great multitude (which has) come out of Egypt!” Originally, Balaam also did not know its name or its identity – only that it was a “people blessed,” as the angel had told him in Pethor his home, before this adventure had even begun.

Now he reveals clearly to us that Balak has asked him to come from the mountains so far away “to curse me JACOB, and to defy ISRAEL.”  

He seems to speak the words in an awesome, admiring, enlightened, and hallowed voice! His next words are pure admiration for this strange people: paraphrasing…

From the top of the rocks of Baal I see Israel,

And from the hills I behold a part of Israel,

LO! The people shall dwell alone,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations!

 

The injection of the word “LO” is a figure of speech called Asterismos, which means “indicating” and employs some word (in this case Lo!) which directs special attention to some particular point or subject. It was used earlier in verse 6, when “Lo! Balak stood by his burnt sacrifice.”

It here indicates an incontrovertible fact, which is that “the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” The meaning is that, even from this early beginning, the multitude was a special, sanctified (set apart) people before the God of heaven, first identified as Jacob (Ya’akob) which means “a heel catcher, or a supplanter;” but secondarily, Israel (Yishra’el) which means “he shall rule as God.” It was never to be a typical, “normal” nation such as all others.

How IS it that Israel shall not be reckoned among the nations? Because he is God’s chosen Son and People, covenanted to Him through his father Abraham, to whom Abraham’s obedience was imputed as faith [Romans 4: 3: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.”  Cf. Hebrews 11: 8], thus setting Israel apart from the other nations – indeed, making them “holy” in God’s eyes. In that special, blessed people, would God’s mighty plan be fulfilled! From them would come Messiah, their Saviour, as we learn a bit later in another of Balaam’s prophecies!

These are profound and adverse pronouncements to Balak regarding this mysterious multitude; and these are certainly not praises Balak wants to hear!

Balaam continues:

 

“10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,

And the number of the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the righteous,

And let my last end be like his!”

 

His conclusion was that this People COULD NOT BE CURSED, and thus obliterated! Indeed, its number would, in one figure, be “like the dust of the earth.” Balaam couldn’t even begin to count the “fourth part” which he apparently could view from the Baal-place where he had stood.

Balaam would surely not understand the last couplet, but he had been instructed to tell Balak – and us, through his writings – of the blessed destiny of this great People. So now Balaam expresses the sincere wish that HE might “die the death of the righteous,” which was a much fairer end than he could see for himself in other terms; so he expresses the unique prayer: “Let my LAST end be like Israel’s!” The expression means “latter end,” and indicates issue or reward, or in this case both! (Cf. Bullinger f.n. on verse)

It is interesting here, that when Balaam prays “Let me die,” the phrase literally means “Let my soul die…” (The Hebrew is nephesh), so “Let my LIFE die the death of the righteous.” It would be a “sleep” of indeterminable length, which would end in the latter days. In so praying, even Balaam refutes the queer notion held by many even today – that men who die haven’t really died! That only their body has deceased, but their real “essence” lives on with God in heaven.

He therefore prays for that SPECIAL “death of the righteous” (upright) ones of God, whose destiny alone – among ALL the dead – is to be brought back from the grave and restored to life again in the latter day – doubtless the reason he includes the same concept in the last line of the couplet: “Let my LAST (or latter) END be like his!” For the righteous, or upright, there is expected restitution of his “soul” or his “life” – his nephesh – at the end, when comes that “Star out of Jacob” of which he later speaks in his unique prophecies!

But Balak is furious with rage! “What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to CURSE mine enemies, and behold, thou hast blessed them altogether!” (23: 11)

But Balaam’s rebuttal is steadfast: only that which the LORD speaks to me may I speak to you!

So Balak leads Balaam to another promontory which he can view the multitude of Israel from a different angle – but his view is still limited to only a portion of them. They offer the animals on seven altars as before, and Balaam goes forth to meet the Lord.

Again, the Lord does meet Balaam; again in an hostile context. The Lord tells him what to say to Balak. We hear it only when he tells Balak, verse 15:

“18. Rise up, Balak, and hear;

Hearken unto Me, thou son of Zippor;

19. God is not a man, that He should lie;

Neither the son of man, that He should repent:

Hath He not said, and shell He not do it?

Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?

20. Behold, I have received commandment to bless:

And He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

21. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,

Neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel;

The Lord his God is with him,

And the shout of a king is among them.

22. God brought them out of Egypt;

He hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

23. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,

Neither is there any divination against Israel:

According to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel,

‘WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?’

24. Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion,

And lift himself up as a young lion:

He shall not lie down until he eat of the prey,

And drink the blood of the slain.” 

 

 In the words of verses 18-19, Balaam enlightens Balak that he is dealing with a completely unknown entity never before seen in Moab – the Almighty God of Israel, Protector of the Children of Israel, Whose message was being sent directly to Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab! Not a member of the race of men, is God, but One Whose word is steadfast, whose promise is SURE! He has made a pronouncement and He shall perform it!

There is no alternative to God’s holy will – and no overcoming it by divinations, as he tells Balak in verse 20: “I cannot reverse it.”

Indeed, as he intimates in verse 21, there is no earthly NEED for God to reverse His decision, for God has beheld “no iniquity” or evil in Jacob, nor any perverseness in Israel! Even in the wake of their utterly unfaithful conduct during the last 40 years in the wilderness, God’s very presence is with Israel, and the shout of a king is among them! They are His people, and he “deems” them righteous!

This commentary could be applied to Israel today, re-gathering into its land. They cannot – and shall not – be effectively “cursed” by their enemies, for God is redeeming His people, and holding them guiltless for their perverse attitudes! His final pronouncement of that fact shall come at His confrontation with them as told in Zechariah 13: 6, when “one shall say unto Him, “What are these wounds in thine hands?” Then shall He answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends!”

Verses 22, 23 repeat the stubborn blessing that God has placed upon His people. And an indication that men shall eventually say about Israel, “What hath God wrought?!” Not “What hath Israel DONE?” – showing that men such as Balak the Moabite, son of Zippor, shall recognize that GOD has done these great deeds for Israel, preserving them, and causing their great prosperity and success!

Verse 24 puts the capstone on this second utterance of God’s Spirit exercised through Balaam: “Behold! (Asterismos again!), the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion; he shall not lie down (rest) until he eat the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.”

The enemy, or prey, of Israel, was then – and are nowthe avowed enemies of God’s purpose with Israel in the earth!  You see, man’s plans or concepts mean absolutely nothing to the Almighty! His plan takes hold of His people and promotes them in the face of ALL adversity! No puny little despot such as Balak, Sihon, or Og – or Nasser, Hussein, Assad, Ibn Saud, or Arafat –could obliterate Israel from its inheritance, nor deflect it from its intended course and Godly destiny!

What a shattering message Balak had been delivered! It is so against his grain that he fairly shouts at Balaam, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!” – which in our parlance means, “If you can’t CURSE them, then don’t BLESS them!”

Balak, still undaunted, leads Balaam to a third location – to the peak of Mt. Peor, which overlooks the wilderness. The mountain is northeast of Mt. Nebo, probably of about equal height, from which Balaam could not behold “ISRAEL abiding in his tents, according to their tribes.”

The idea is that now he could see the entire encampment and thus hopefully curse them all together.

The impact of its size hit Balaam hard. He did not seek the angel of the Lord on this occasion, for he truly now understood that “it pleased the Lord to bless Israel.” (24: 1)

Instead, God’s Spirit descended upon Balaam as he turned his face toward the Israelites. The third message he delivered to Balak begins in Numbers 24. Verses 3 – 9 –

“3. And he took up this parable, and said,

Balaam the son of Beor hath said,

And the man whose eyes are open hath said,

4.He hath said, who heard the words of GOD,

Who saw the vision of the ALMIGHTY,

Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

5.’ How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob,

And thy tabernacles, O Israel’’2

6. As the valleys are they spread forth,

As gardens by the river’s side.

As the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted,

And as cedar trees beside the waters.

7. He shall pour the water out of his buckets,

And his seed shall be in many waters,

And his king shall be higher than Agag,

And his kingdom shall be exalted.

8. God brought him forth out of Egypt;

He hath as it were the strength of an unicorn:

He shall eat up the nations his enemies,

And shall break their bones,

9. He crouched, he lay down as a lion,

And as a great lion, who shall stir him up?

Blessed is he who blesseth thee,

And cursed is be who curseth thee.”

 

Balaam’s description of himself in this parable is almost mystical, as he delivers to Balak the words and intentions of the Almighty. He is “the man whose eyes are open.” The Hebrew word for “open” is shatham, and means to unclose. It indicates one who is in an ecstasy – eyes closed, yet seeing. He is imbued – absolutely saturated – with the power from on high as he continues: ‘He hath said, who heard the words of God, who saw the visions of the ALMIGHTY, falling to the ground, but having his eyes open.’

This is the end of Part I of this article; God willing, it will be completed in next month’s issue of eTPL.  Harold Lafferty  MD/USA. Compiled November, 1998. For eTPL, September, 2010

 


The e-Prophecy Letter

August 2010: The Gogian Conflict of Ezekiel 38 and 39 Compared to that of the Proximal Islamic Nations

(Click on the chart to enlarge it.)
Everyone who has an interest in Bible prophecy surely should be curious about the thoughts of other people who are also interested in such happenings. This curiosity surely should include listening occasionally to the ideas and theories of the radio and TV “evangelists” who regularly comment on prophecy. I am thinking of Jack Van Impe (Troy MI), Hal Lindsey (Dallas TX), John Hagee (San Antonio  TX), and Perry Stone (Cleveland  TN) and others. These men broadcast at various times throughout the country but all of them maintain web sites where their teachings are published.

I occasionally watch the broadcasts of these four men as I feel it is needful to find out what they are thinking and saying. Sometimes, one of them makes an adjustment in his thinking which is startling. For example, Jack Van Impe recently came out with the notion that the kingdom of God is destined to be ON THE EARTH, FOREVER! He stated that his years of study had finally made that fact clear to him and that he felt driven to let all his listeners know that he had been wrong for years in this matter. Heaven, he says now, is not the abode of the righteous! Mr. Van Impe is renowned for claiming to have memorized thousands of scriptural passages. I am not claiming that he has not done so as it appears feasible from the way in which he quotes chapters and verses to back up his ideas even if often wrongly applied.

But he and all the others are obsessed with something they specify as “the seven years tribulation” which is a reflection of their misunderstanding of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9: 24 - 27. They are also obsessed with the invasion of Israel by Gog of the Land of Magog, the Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal. But, like many others, the “proof texts” that they use include Daniel 11, Micah 5, Ezekiel 35, Obadiah, Psalm 83, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 63 and numerous others which do not apply to that prophecy.

Unfortunately many expositors closer to home – with whom we are personally familiar – make the same mistakes, and have done so for 150 years or more! They seem to be on the edge of their seats expecting the Gogian host to assemble at any time and swoop down on the mountains of Israel to great harm to the Jewish State. But that is NOT in the offing at all (the doing harm part) and the invasion doesn’t seem likely to happen for a few years yet. Other events are far more imminent and more important!

Since the numerous related scriptural revelations dealing with the great body of most important events which are slated to occur PRIOR to the Gogian affair have previously been reviewed exhaustively, I will not review these again at this time. I will refer to many of them however in making a circumstantial comparison of these two separate conflicts in the remainder of this article. By now we are without excuse for not knowing they exist and that they depict conflicts that quite obviously MUST occur prior to the Gogian affair. If I seem to stress these affairs at an undue level it is because their understanding is VITAL to a comprehensive, sensible understanding of Endtime affairs.

There are many points of conflict between the two bodies of prophecy. I shall list and discuss several of them here:

1. The named countries taking part in the two con flicts are entirely different from each other. A great number of scattered prophecies of the coming destruction of the nations “round about’ Israel exist which, when carefully studied, indicate that they describe the wars of Phase One of the Endtime wars of Israel. You should search all these to satisfy your mind that the named city-states, nations and areas are NOT part of the Gogian coalition. They exclusively reveal the destruction of the present “hot” enemies of Israel – those who have been actively fighting against God’s people for 62 years – since the founding of the Jewish State in May, 1948.

A convenient list is found all in one chapter in the Psalms – in Asaph’s inspired prayer which is designated Psalm 83. If you check closely there are ten listed entities who are named as rabid and determined enemies of Israel in the last days: they are enemies of God (verses 1, 2) and of “Israel” – a nation which has only existed since 1948! [And they have nothing whatever to do with the toes of Daniel’s Image!]

Compare this list with that of the Gogian confederacy of Ezekiel 38. You will not find one of them named alongside Magog, Meshech, and Tubal of verse 2, or “Persia, Ethiopia (Cush) and Libya” of verse 5, or “Gomer and Togarmah” of verse 6.

This fact alone should be a warning flag, but many ignore it. If these nations “round about” Israel were then still in existence, the armies of Gog would be required to pass through at least two or three of them in order to meet the site of their ultimate defeat. But none of them are even mentioned. It is as if they no longer exist! May I state positively that it appears to be a provable assessment: they DO NO LONGER exist!

There are several reasons for that conclusion. I will point out only one at this juncture, and that is Ezekiel 39: 11: “I will give unto Gog a place there of graves IN ISRAEL, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea … and there shall they bury Gog and his entire multitude, and they shall call it the Valley of Hamon-Gog.” This designated place of graves “IN ISRAEL,” according to Young, is east of the Sea of Galilee in Gilead-Bashan – specifically it is the valley of the Yarmuk River – where the dead are partially devoured by “the fatlings of Bashan," the beasts of that region.

But today, the Yarmuk, and Gilead and Bashan are in Jordan – not in Israel. This presents an obvious dilemma: how does this specifically named area get to be the possession of Israel? Why does Jordan at that future time no longer possess it? I believe it is because Israel shall have fought against Moab, Ammon and Edom (modern Jordan) and defeated her and taken her lands. There is no other answer – IS THERE?? They and ALL the others have been destroyed in Phase One. The Gogian portion we designate as Phase Two.

In Phase Two, as already noted, an entirely different set of antagonists are specifically listed. These are the DISTAL Islamic enemies of Israel (the Outer Ring), together with their mentor, financier, guard, and leader, Gog.

2. Then Christ has destroyed the enemies of Phase One, as we shall note, the Master disarms His people. Zechariah 9: 10: “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen…” From that moment forward His people dwell in peace and in confidence (Heb. betach = safely or confidently).

It is not a figment of Israel’s imagination. That condition of total safety is described only AFTER the end of Phase One. That is not their condition at the beginning of that phase, but is as we see it today: one of the best citizen armies in the world; a superb air force; a blended, competent navy; nuclear weapons (though not acknowledged); and some of the most highly engineered equipment of any force on earth. The military is in full view at all times. The newly constructed concrete WALL rises to as many as 30 feet in height. It is a land of bars and gates, walled villages (watch towers), and vigilant police forces and secret intelligence services.

However, Ezekiel points out more than once that Israel, when Gog attacks her, IS DWELLING SAFELY (38: 8, 11, 14). And this safety of Israel is NOT a fanciful imagination or the object of her hopes at that time; she REALLY IS dwelling in safety and confidently. The first two verses voice Gog’s opinion that Israel at least thinks it is dwelling safely and peacefully; but the third reference is concrete proof by the Almighty’s word that Israel is, indeed, dwelling safely – for is now under the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Given the present circumstances of Israel, and of any foreseeable future circumstances, Israel shall have neither peace nor security short of the Second Advent of Christ. She certainly shall receive neither of these as a gratuitous benefit from the “Palestinians,” the PA, or the PLO – for their “peace process” is not a real peace process at all, but an intentional “phased conquest” of Israel by whatever means they can devise. They tried to defeat Israel for 45 years by military means and could not even remotely perform that desire.

Their approach now, admittedly (even by them) is to squeeze Israel for every concession they can think of IN THE NAME OF PEACE, then renew the “jihad” (“holy war”[1]) in order completely to remove Israel from the land and take it for themselves. (Precisely their deadly, deceptive plan, as outlined in Psalm 83!) Their delaying tactics have recently taken on the mien of discrediting – of delegitimizing – Israel by means of the Goldstone Report, UNO sanctions, and constant complaints and whining. They now claim that Israel’s newly found gas and oil field in the Mediterranean is actually the property of Lebanon!!

3.  The place of the defeat of these two groups is decidedly different from each other. The Proximal Islamic nations are defeated mostly IN THEIR OWN TERRITORIES, which are almost altogether OUTSIDE the perimeters of Israel as it is now constituted, that is, except for the enemy ALREADY within (i.e., the PA/ PLO) and the prizes of Obadiah adjacent to their borders.

The Gogian host, in contrast, is destroyed east of the Sea of Galilee in newly conquered territory belonging to Israel. Ezekiel details Gog’s destruction in almost half of chapter 39. Gog comes to conquer Israel and inherits graves in Israel instead – probably in a time-span of one day!

4.  In addition to their humiliating defeat, the Proximal enemies will have their lands confiscated, along with their wealth and other properties, their oil and minerals, as indicated in those several passages which state, for example, that “...the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance...” (Zechariah 14:14). That means their lands and other properties are confiscated by Him as well and become part of Greater Israel!

In contrast to Proximal Islam, Gog and his Distal Islamic forces are defeated WITHIN ISRAEL of that day. Their lands are not indicated as being taken by Christ as part of His immediate kingdom.

5. Whereas no details seem to be given as to the burial of the Proximal enemies of Phase One, great detail is given about the burial of Gog. And note, please, that in neither conflict Israelis shall NOT have been displaced and removed from the Land and ravaged as some think they will be, for WHO BURIES GOG? From Ezekiel’s account in 39:9, it is quite a calm if somber affair, and executed entirely by the Israeli populace! “And they who dwell (the population has not been displaced by Gog!) in the cities of Israel (the cities have not been destroyed by Gog!) shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers...with fire for SEVEN YEARS....and SEVEN MONTHS shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND shall bury them (there is quite evidently no destruction of Israeli lives NOR any “CAPTIVITY” of them indicated here!); and it shall be TO THEM a renown THE DAY that I shall be glorified.”  In other words, it will be an impressive affair – to remember all the remainder of their lives – and perhaps throughout eternity!

6. Note, also, that in many, many of these references, the NAMED Proximal Islamic states are referred to as “ALL the heathen (or nations) ROUND ABOUT;” that is, all who LIVE round about Israel, not all of a body of enemies who have gathered round about for their attack, as some have argued. But the Gogian host is not described in words remotely similar to all these, for that host of military personnel are SPECIFICALLY NAMED as being from the far-flung countries listed in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and certainly are not describable as the “nations round about” Israel. The grouping of enemies is entirely different for the two conflicts.

7. “ALL the nations!” I believe that Zechariah 14:2 is speaking of those same Proximal Arab nations when He said that “I will gather ALL nations against Jerusalem for battle, and the city shall be taken...the houses rifled...the women ravished, and HALF of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people (Israelis!) shall NOT be cut off from the city.” So “all” is limited to the defined group, and does not mean “every one” – every one of the nations that have fought against Jerusalem at that point in time, as in Zechariah 14: 12; their destruction shall be unusually horrible. Paul uses similar language when he instructs that “we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ…” but not “everyone in the world.”

This division of the city, by the way, is a most unusual result of a battle, and another marked difference in the two sets of accounts. So unusual that, for it to be repeated in history (for it HAS already happened!) would be for our Father to confuse our clear insight into at least some prophetic matters.

It occurred in 1948, when Jordan’s Arab Legion was able to overcome the Jewish civilians (and a few soldiers) in the Old City and forced the surrender of these Jews, and of the Old City, about two days before a truce was arrived at in August, 1948.

The City was divided precisely into two halves for 19 years (until 1967). But the residue of the people (the Jews) in Western Jerusalem were “not cut off” from their half of the City. Indeed, they felt so secure that they established the capital of Israel there, built the governmental infrastructure there, and operated almost as if they already owned the entire city -- which, of course, they did annex after Moshe Dayan and the IDF finally took the Old City during the Six Day War! For the first time since the seventh century BC, Israel was an internationally recognized State, and was in legal control and possession of their eternal capital!

Whereas the Proximal Islamic enemy (namely, Jordan, in this case) DID take half of Jerusalem, and did hold it for some years, such an event is NOT described as a feature of the Gogian invasion!

The reason for this is quite simple: the Gogian host is defeated LONG BEFORE it can reach Jerusalem, or even penetrate very far into the Land as it is today bordered. The Gogian host is defeated, evidently in ONE DAY (Ezekiel 38: 12), ENTIRELY WITHIN Israel (Ezekiel 39:11), but IN OR NEAR ONE PLACE (the Valley of Hamon-gog), for, as a fellow Bible student has pointed out, one doesn’t bury a huge host (millions!) of dead military personnel someplace other than were they were killed, especially if the number is so great as to require seven months to cleanse the land of their carcasses! (Ezekiel 39:12)

Contemporary examples of this local burial practice of the military dead are the huge American military cemeteries at Chateau Thierry (second Battle of the Marne), Omaha Beach and Utah Beach (the D-Day invasion of Fortress Europe), etc., in France, where huge numbers of Americans were slain in WW I and II, and the locations where they were also buried. Only a few bodies were transported to the USA for burial; they were not largely moved anywhere else, but they were buried where they fell.

The Gogian host evidently falls (and is certainly buried!) “East of the Sea” (Ezekiel 39:11) indicated to be in Bashan (c.f., 39:18), so east of the Sea of Galilee[2] where the birds of the air and the beasts of the field shall feed on their carcasses. No such burial is indicated for the Proximal foes; indeed, no burial at all is described in scores of references.

This location is absolutely CENTRAL to the great migratory pathway of teeming millions birds which, twice a year, overfly Israel, specifically, on their way north in the spring from their winter habitats in East Africa and Madagascar, and on their way south in the fall from their nesting and hatching grounds in East Europe, West Asia and the Steppes. It is estimated that 500 million birds overfly Israel each spring and fall; of this immense number, about 15% are said to be raptors, which are flesh-eating birds! These voracious raptors are thus scheduled for an incredible feast just after Gog sallies forth in its finest battle dress to meet its unexpected fate at Hamon-gog!

8. Whereas the tenor and text of the above references about the Proximal Islamic enemies shows that their hatred, their attacks, their vituperation, their slander and blasphemy against God and against Israel is continually on-going – and whereas they have attacked Israel overtly in national warfare at least FOUR times during the Phase One conflicts -- Ezekiel 38 and 39 depict only ONE attack upon Israel by the Gogian host and his Distal Islamic cohorts. Up until the day of this writing, NONE of the Distal Islamic enemies of Israel have actually sent forces to attack her physically. That destiny and fate awaits them!

Why do you think that NONE of the Distal Islamic enemies have physically attacked Israel during the 62 years of Phase One so far? Well, partially because they are a separate attack force, and it is not their “TIME” TO DO SO. Their rationale for attacking Israel has not yet even appeared, or “developed;” their cohesive factors have not yet come about. They do not yet know that they are to be an organized confederacy against God’s people! And all this is superficially true because they have not yet perceived the need to do so; they have not been sufficiently provoked to do so, and shall NOT be until the Proximal Islamic states and armies have been destroyed, and until Gog is brought to think seriously about Israel’s newly acquired spoil.

I believe this “evil thought” (Ezekiel 38:10) comes to Gog largely at the suggestion of the newly-independent, northern (Magogian) republics whose populations are almost entirely Islamic. It also comes, certainly, at the behest of Iran and Libya with their enormous coffers of oil revenues with which to pay the Gogian host for being mercenaries in their disagreement with Israel. I further believe that the promise to Russia of great wealth by the Arabs of the Distal Ring is probably the “hook” that God places in the jaws of Gog to compel him to make this audacious move upon His people!

On the other hand, the Proximal Islamic states have been, in the fullest sense, a “pricking brier unto the house of Israel,” a “grieving thorn of all that are round about them, which despised them...” (Ezekiel 28:24). These surrounding neighbors attack Israel and Israelis at EVERY opportunity. They prick, stick, and nick Israel in many ways DAILY. Their hatred is deep, constant, and bloody. Their propaganda against God’s people is endless, and extremely well accepted by the prejudicial anti-Semites of the world!

9. Why does Yahweh’s fury”come up in My face?” (Ezekiel 38:18) only when Gog attacks Israel, when this has not happened at the numerous times the Proximal Arabs have attacked the state in its earlier history? I feel that the Almighty IS presently incensed, and greatly moved by the incessant attacks of the Proximal Arabs upon His people, but is willing to allow Israel to bear these attacks in preparation for their redemption. After all, when He stops these attacks completely, can you imagine how grateful Israel shall be for JUST THAT benefit??

But why is He not raised to action NOW, and why shall He be THEN? I believe it is because Christ and the Saints are there when Gog comes against His re-gathered people. This is a fact which also means that the STATUS of the NATURAL JEWS OF ISRAEL shall have CHANGED DRAMATICALLY AND ETERNALLY between these two great battles.

Remember that Jesus shall have come to them in the interim; He shall have literally saved them and their nation from destruction; He shall have made Himself known to Israel; and they shall have accepted Him with loving, grateful and repentant hearts. When Gog attacks, therefore, the Christ is there, protecting His precious People, now redeemed in a certain real sense, for Israel shall then again overtly be “the apple of His eye.” Please just keep in your mind, that at this time, Christ and the Saints – And Israel, His people -- need no “protection” from anyone! Indeed, the “Lord God” in this verse surely refers to Jesus their Saviour (Christ), Who is decidedly present when the Gogian affair begins, but had not yet arrived there when the final Proximal Islamic attack was launched, Israel shall not need to lift a hand against Gog, nor be alarmed, for their Father shall destroy Gog with the seven “weapons” enumerated in Ezekiel 38: 18 et seq., which are specifically an earthquake, the sword of every enemy against another, pestilence, blood, hailstones, fire and brimstone! Thus shall Gog’s destruction be violent, immutable, and utterly final; not one soul shall be left alive according to most other texts except the A. V.

At the time of the final conflict of Phase One, Jesus shall have come personally to save His natural brethren . Jesus who has already inherited and has borne for over 1,900 years, the title of Lord of Hosts, or Yahweh Tz’vaoth, also one of the names of His Father. Still, in this account, the Almighty indicates that it is HE, WHO with a spoken word, with the breath (command) of His lips, destroys this and any other offending party (Isaiah 11:4). In the second attack – that of Gog – His fury shall flare brightly and with immense hostility and the Phase Two enemies immediately become a notable casualty of history!

10. No response whatever by Israelis – that is, the Jews of Israel – is mentioned by Ezekiel as a result of the battle with Gog.

But there is a significant response by them to the forces of Proximal Islam! And it clearly is that Israelis are, at that time, mobilized to stand against those enemies, and later to recognize the Returned Christ as their true Messiah. Christ’s defeat of the Proximal Arabs on their behalf specifically brings their highly emotional recognition of Him as their Messiah, and depict their deeply felt and expressed REPENTANCE when they recognize Him, as recorded in Zechariah 12:10 to 14 and Zechariah 13:6. Even over and above those enemies’ terrible defeat, this is the most remarkable result of the final conflicts of Phase One. For when HE appears, they shall be brought to recognize Him by the unprecedented deeds that He performs in saving His people from destruction, an identity that is clinched by the remaining scars from His crucifixion nearly 2,000 years ago.

Only a hint of such an after-effect to the invasion and defeat of the Gogians of the Phase Two affair is given. The main effect of the Gogian conflict, besides that host’s destruction and threat-removal, is the recognition of Christ by the people of the nations who attacked Israel. (Ezekiel 39:7).

I qualify this statement as follows: after having specified that recognition of Him comes from “the nations who attacked Israel” in the Gogian Phase, it becomes evident that even THAT recognition is NOT UNIVERSAL, and excludes all the other nations who were not included in the Gogian conspiracy.

He STILL is not “known” among all the remaining nations. If so, why would the nations of the West continue to resist Him, as we know the Man of Sin (the False Prophet) of Revelation 17-18 does, as well as the Beast of Europe? It is clear that THAT portion of “the nations” does NOT recognize Him, but sincerely regard Him as “the Anti-Christ” of their mythology.

eTPL for August, 2010   H E Lafferty    MD/USA

                                                                                                                                                                      


[1] Please see Joel 3:9, where the word “prepare,” as in “Prepare war! Wake up the mighty men...” is Hebrew QADASH (Strong H6942) which means “to make, pronounce, or observe as clean (ceremonially, or morally): appoint, consecrate, dedicate, hallow, keep holy, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify...” It is precisely this attitude of the Arabs and Islam toward getting their own way about literally anything, that makes this word so remarkable.  Their term for aggression of any kind related to their “religion” is JIHAD, which means literally “HOLY WAR.” They literally CONSECRATE war, terrorism, insurrection, sabotage, overthrow of institutions for their own purposes!

[2] The Jerusalem Bible contains a footnote on this verse identifying “Hamon-gog” as being in the Abiram valley -- the valley of the Arnon River which drains eastern Moab into the Dead Sea, a presumption omitting references to “the fatlings of Bashan.”

 

The Prophecy Letter 

July 2010

When Shall Israel Know That “I am the LORD?”

This commentary is based upon the statement to this effect in Ezekiel 38: 22. As far as we can determine, there is no actual description of Messiah’s actual second coming in the Old Testament prophets. But there are several passages which, in their narrative, indicate that He has come and that He is among their enemies, defeating them, ending their terror and their despicable treatment of His people Israel.

I intend in this article to show that these actions are entirely necessary in the clearly prophesied context of the Endtime, and introduce the precise conditions for the coming of the Gogian host. It is important that the brethren of Christ understand this sequence as, though quite clear now, it is not the “accepted” view.

Some have claimed that here in Ezekiel 38 where the prophet makes this statement about their knowing the Lord’s identity “from that day forward” indicates that this is proof positive that Christ does not appear until He destroys the Gogian Host, thus proving to Israel that He is Messiah.

But what says the Word of God?

There are many other recorded statements of this fact connected with events which must occur before the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39. We now carefully examine several of these references…

Psalm 83 is a prime case in point. In this prayer of Asaph, the final conflict of Israel with ten various entities is given in much detail, and indicates total oblivion of these enemies in a summary account. Note, please the specific names of the enemies of God and Israel in this prophecy, a limited number of designated city-states and designated places which are clearly enumerated in verses 6 – 8. (View map here) The psalm concludes with, “Let them (the Proximal Arabs – those specifically named in verses 6 - 8) be confounded and troubled forever, yea, let them be put to shame and perish: that men (the ‘men’ – or people – of Israel, for NO OTHERS shall recognize His identity at this early stage) – may KNOW THAT THOU, WHOSE NAME ALONE IS JEHOVAH, ART THE MOST HIGH OVER ALL THE EARTH.” Our conclusion has to be that the actions spoken of here will be the concrete proof needed by the people of Israel to convince them of His true identity.

The doomed enemies of Psalm 83 are not Gogian enemies, but are an entirely different spectrum of aggressors named in that psalm. All this occurs prior to the Gogian affair.If their destruction were prophesied to be at the same time as the Gogian attack then at least one of these nations should be named in Ezekiel 38 and 39; but they are not – suggesting that these no longer exist when the Gogian  attack is mounted. If they were still in existence, Gog would need to pass through at least three of them and would certainly have their cooperation We may note several other differences in the two episodes as well. Psalm 83 is the only reference where this unique group is completely listed; and the present time is the only time in history when they have ALL been enemies of Israel at the same time. In addition to this, it can only be a prophecy of the Endtime because “Israel” has been “Israel” only since 1948! But many other passages list one or more of these entities, which in context indicate their destruction as being part of the Endtime wars of Israel against their enemies. That is to say, when ‘Edom’ or ‘Moab’ are recorded in two different references as being destroyed, the two accounts must necessarily refer to the same event as no enemy can be destroyed twice. Examples follow…

Obadiah, vv. 19, 20 enumerate FIVE areas of Edomites which shall be wiped out by Israel and taken for its own territory, and the immediate result is (vs. 21), “Saviors (Christ and the Saints) shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” This presence in Zion shall occur as the Edomites (obviously the “Palestinians,” for the specific regions named are today nearly 100% inhabited by members of the PLO and associated groups) are all defeated by Christ and the Saints, and assisted by Israel’s army. Whether the defeat of Edom is accomplished by Israel alone (as some scholars feel it seems to be here in Obadiah) prior to the wider conflicts with the remainder of the group is not clear. I have the conviction because of verse 21, that Christ and the Saints shall be there and lead the conflict – perhaps the only O. T. reference to Messiah’s appearance (?). In either case it is quite discernable that it is under these specific conditions that Israel shall “know the Lord,” prior to the Gogian conflict, and that He shall be sitting as their King at the later arrival of the Gogian coalition. We need to think of the vast changes which He shall make during the interim time period – before the arrival of Gog. Otherwise there must be some other explanation for this account…?

Ezekiel 35: 11. Speaking of Israel, God says, “I will make Myself known among them (Israel, consistent with ‘them’ mentioned earlier) when I have judged thee (Mount Seir, or Edom – vs. 2). 

Note the precise time (verse 5): “…when their (Israel’s) iniquity had an end,” or when they behold the severe judgment and total destruction of their enemies. This judgment upon Edom is the same scenario as that recorded in Obadiah. At that time, Israel will realize Who their Savior really is – the Returned Christ! Again, this is obviously prior to Gog’s attack.

 

Isaiah 34: 1 – 9. Here is another definitive record of this landmark event, when the world in general (verse 1) shall behold the slaughter of Edom (verse 5 – the same scenario as Obadiah). “The indignation of the Lord is upon all nations…He hath utterly destroyed them.” This is not indicative of all the nations of the earth; he is speaking ONLY of the proximal foes, including Edom/Bozrah/ Idumea. Verse 5: “My sword is bathed in heaven” = the Idumean ‘heaven’ or hierarchy. It is inane to claim that these, called “all nations,” are all the nations of the earth; the term has a limited application.

It is the same battle as that of Isaiah 63 – “Who is This that comes from Edom…” – and is the personal presence of the Christ defeating these enemies…not a part of the Gogian conflict. Indeed, it is “the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.” We’ve beheld the preliminary struggle for 62 years to date.

 Isaiah 63 quite clearly and graphically depicts the personal, and final settlement by Christ of His score with Edom, and is a vividly detailed picture. “The year of My redeemed (Israel) is come” – vs. 4. It is in this episode that He “brings down their (Edom’s) strength to the earth” – vs. 6. This is the unmistakable, conclusive defeat of Israel’s “Palestinian” enemies, again, and Israel shall know the Lord as a result of this conflict, when “the King of Glory shall come in” to them with visible power and strength, and with salvation from their enemies. Indeed, this victory, along with the total defeat of Proximal Islam, is what triggers their inquiry as to the Lord’s identity in Zechariah 12, and their acceptance and repentance in Zechariah 13 (references further down)!

 Joel 3: 16, 17. Here the Lord “shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem…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…” The closing verses expose a time of tranquility and peace, when Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation (vs. 20). This entire third chapter occurs specifically “…when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.” THEN, note verse 2: “I will also gather ALL NATIONS, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them (will judge them – footnote) there for My people Israel.”

May I suggest that ALL these are the SAME nations which first gathered against Jerusalem in 1948, when half the city was taken by Jordan? Since then the Islamic enemies, defeated at that time, have persistently aggressed Israel, and have tried again and again to conquer Israel but have failed.

After their attempted military conquest, Israel was practically forced to offer to them a series of “peace treaties” but they would not accept the generous benefits that Israel (senselessly) offered.

So NOW these enemies are fiercely involved in their third approach: involved in the DE-LEGITIMIZATION of Israel before the nations. They are seemingly having more success than with earlier methods – witness the recent “Goldstone Report” in which a United Nations commission accused Israel of war crimes in its invasion of Gaza (Operation Cast Lead). This will doubtless bring the confrontation forward to the time in which Israel stands alone as Christ describes them in Isaiah 63, proclaiming that, of the people there was none with Me, and I have trodden the winepress alone.

 Ezekiel 28: 22 – 26. Here is a definitive picture of Christ’s defeat of Zidon, here representative of the “thorns and briars” (vs. 24) which have pricked at Israel interminably, of “all that are round about them, that despised them, and they shall know that I am the Lord God…. Then shall they dwell in their land, that I have given to my servant Jacob, and they SHALL DWELL SAFELY THEREIN…shall dwell WITH CONFIDENCE when I have executed judgment upon all those who despised them round about them, and they SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THEIR GOD” (vs. 26).

Note that the result for Israel here is that “they shall dwell safely therein” – a condition completely unlike the situation today! This action obviously sets the stage for the later Gogian conflict, when Gog observes what they mistake to be ‘easy pickings’ in an Israel that they believe is utterly naïve and foolish, dwelling without bars and gates, dwelling confidently in their land under a new “king” whom the Gogians do not recognize.

 Ezekiel 34: 23 – 30. This records that God shall “set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David, a prince among them…and He shall be their Shepherd” (v. 23). “They shall be safe in their land (setting up conditions for the Gogian invasion, so this prophecy is clearly BEFORE that event), AND SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD, when I have broken the bands of their (enemies’) yoke, and DELIVERED THEM OUT OF THE HANDS of those (the “Palestinians”) that served themselves of them.” Note that they shall not recognize the Lord’s identity BEFORE that time. Surely, these oppressors are the wild beasts (Arab aggressors) who make Israel “a prey” by suicide bombs, rockets, shells, propaganda, hatred, and despicable acts against God and His people, as is happening today, and has been happening for scores of years.

These things may seem unimportant to your way of thinking – and that the Arabs are no REAL threat to Israel. Sadly, some readers of the Word outrightly deny these facts and hold to their entrenched conviction that the Gogian invasion brings the return of Christ – but this is not God’s revelation of the sequence of events! He has decreed that the Arab aggressors “round about” must pay for their wicked aggression upon His people, for their blasphemy of His name and His people. He shall therefore send Christ and the Saints to settle the score with these brute beasts. That Christ is present with them is proven by the quotations above, and here by verse 29: “I will raise up for them a PLANT OF RENOWN, and they shall no more…bear the shame of the heathen (the nations) any more.” Verse 30 says it all: “THUS SHALL THEY KNOW THAT I THE LORD THEIR GOD am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord God.”

This passage unmistakably informs us that Christ shall come and save Israel because they are in imminent danger. But there are several other major reasons for Christ’s coming to them – His saving them – at this time:

(1) They are in imminent peril;

(2) It is “time” to do so as Psalm 102;

(3) He wishes to rid His land and people of these evil beasts and blasphemers, and

(4) The fullness of the Gentiles shall have come in.

Now, allow me to add this important factor: His forgiveness of Israel shall ONLY be given when they have recognized Messiah, and have accepted Him wholeheartedly, as in Zechariah 12: 10 and Zechariah 13: 6.

But their deliverance from these nations does not in any wise require their prior acceptance of Him (before they are delivered). His deliverance of them shall be a gratuitous act of mercy on His part (Ezekiel 36: 22 being one clear reference to this), and it is IN THAT ACTION that they behold Him “coming in the name of the Lord,” as He told them would be necessary in Matthew 23: 39: “Ye SHALL NOT SEE ME (behold Me, margin) HENCEFORTH, TIL YE SHALL SAY, ‘Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord.”

It is specifically a result of His actions in delivering them that they are compelled to take that view! He is recognized by them obviously as an all powerful Being. When He makes Himself known to them (i.e., they perceive His identity), their immediate response shall be, “Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord!” No other entity (except a supernatural one) can possibly be conceived by them – One Who could come forth apparently from nowhere and sweep their enemies away with such force and power! It will prove to them beyond any doubt that He is, indeed, their Messiah, once they have seen the visible scars of His wounds in his hands…and looked upon Him whom they have pierced (at the crucifixion). At the same time they are chagrined, embarrassed and terrified to discover that He is indeed, also, Jesus of Nazareth, the subject of their refusal nearly 2,000 years ago.

As I have previously noted, their situation at that time shall be precisely that of Joseph’s brethren who, appearing before the ruler of Egypt to beg grain, are finally apprised of the astounding fact that the benevolent ruler is actually their brother Joseph, whom they had intended to kill in earlier years. They are terrified that Joseph might now kill them for their treachery, but they are very pleasantly surprised. Joseph is quick to reassure his brethren that he intends them no retribution or harm. He reasons with them that all their actions leading up to this point were ‘of the Lord’ in order that he should now be in the position to save them and all the others of his family by providing sustenance and shelter for them in Egypt.

We see indication of precisely the same level of compassion and understanding by the returned Lord Jesus at the moment when His people are led to recognize Him. The result is their mourning is deep and sincere, as it was for their ancient brethren in Hadadrimmon when they mourned the death of their good king Josiah (Zechariah 12: 11).

The immediate result for Israel, following the destruction of their rabid enemies and His personal identity being revealed to them, is that their de facto inheritance of the Land Grant of Abraham shall be established and take immediate effect, along with all the component parts of it, such as Christ proclaiming Himself King over Israel, raising up the throne of David, and dismantling their armour and military power, their walls and barriers, creating an environment of peace and security for them for the first time since the reign of some of the kings of Israel.

His kingdom has no need of these features. He establishes an everlasting covenant with them (Ezekiel 37: 24). He begins to build the Temple of Ezekiel 40 – 48. He divides the 12 Tribes of Israel into their allotted territories and establishes one of the 12 Apostles on a throne over each, as Jesus Himself promised in Matthew 19: 28 and Luke 22: 30.

All these events bring a predictable response from the Christian nations, for His Gospel is not their gospel. So they consider him to be “the anti-Christ” of their theology, which evokes an entirely predictable response from them, resulting in the next round of ‘troubles’ for the nations. But these troubles are solely because they changed and corrupted the Word of God to suit their own ends and desires. They perverted His Word. They made infidels of themselves by their own machinations and perversions.

Their “gospel” is not His Gospel – and this fact is readily apparent to them, and is the reason for their rejection of Him! It is the precise reason why they cannot recognize Him in his role as the Christ of the Second Advent. They hope for “rapture,” while His kingdom is destined to be earthly, beginning with Israel as a “mustard seed” and clearly spreading in an orderly and godly fashion to all the nations by coercion and conquest.

Thus we easily see that there is ample proof that Israel is decisively delivered from their proximal enemies prior to Gog’s arrival and attempt to overrun the State. The immediate result is hinted at above. When the Proximal Islamic peoples have been silenced there is evidently follows an indefinable time of peace in the Land.

During this time the Lord of Hosts (Yahweh Tz’vaoth, one of Christ’s names during that time) shall proceed with setting up of His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem and Greater Israel, whose borders shall be far afield from their limited borders of today.

That kingdom shall have six major features that are common to all kingdoms of the earth…

The King shall be Himself, now sitting on David’s throne (Ezekiel 37: 26).

His territory shall be that anciently promised to Abraham as “all the land that thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever” in Genesis 13; 15. In another definition, it shall be “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the end of the earth” (Psalm 72: 8).

His helpers shall be the immortalized Saints who have been redeemed out of all tongues and peoples and languages of all past time (Revelation 5: 9).

His subjects shall be Israel after the flesh whom He shall immediately gather from the universal diaspora to their homeland and inheritance, who shall then serve Him in a disarmed, un-walled, un-gated, Land of peace and safety where they shall dwell in confidence because of His physical presence among them. This is the physical presentation of Israel the nation to the eyes of the Gogian host. Gog sees a nation without arms or an army, relying on the protection of a semmingly naïve king, newly arrived from out of Nowhere! (Ezekiel 38: 11, 12.)

His laws shall be the Law of the Lord which He shall institute as He makes His new covenant with them. See Ezekiel 36: verse 16 to the end of the chapter as an excellent summary of this time of peace and obedience. Micah 4: 7 specifically states that “…the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion, from henceforth even for ever.”

His capital city shall be Jerusalem, or MWount Zion, in which the seat of government is established. Micah 4: 1 – 4 is a word picture of this perfect era in which “the law of the Lord shall go forth of (from) Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

From that spectacular beginning of great victory over their enemies, Israel is destined to grow and mature from this initial beginning in Jerusalem, “even the first dominion, the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem” and expand progressively into all the earth, bringing light unto the nations, its people serving their returned King with newly received hearts of flesh, not stone as formerly. It shall be the palpable progress of the promise to Abraham and his Seed, Whom Paul, in Galatians defines as Jesus Christ our Savior.

When Ezekiel states in 38: 22, he is obviously reiterating the immutable conviction of Israel – based on their second openly miraculous deliverance, this time from the Gogian host – that the Leader and King is Messiah indeed, aka Jesus of Nazareth, Who is now, indeed, King of the Jews in the most elemental meaning of that term!

 

Now I would like to address another critical issue in this July issue of TPL.  

Basic Rules of Prophetic Interpretation

In the study of prophecy the basic rules of interpretation demand that several factors be considered. The following seem reasonable standards. You may be able to think of others; if so, please email me…?

First, do not spiritualize the meaning of the text and depart from its original meaning before you understand its objective message – its primary, factual relationship to those to whom it was spoken and or written.

Second, apply the words first of all to those to whom it is written. Those folk must be able to see its relevance to them and their then-current affairs; it must MEAN something to them that they can appreciate, although they may not understand all aspects of it early in the game or even during their lifetime.

Third, it must integrate and agree with all other scriptural references which may apply to the events prophesied. It cannot be ambiguous or bring any mystery to other prophecies of the same events.

Fourth, any interpretation must not violate any other basic, scriptural tenet or concept.

Fifth, apply the interpretation of the prophecy to the peoples who lived on the territories referred to at the time of the prophecy; that is, don’t apply the prophetic intent to the areas to which the original people later migrated.  To do so is tenuous, and inaccurate, and depends upon the veracity of subsequent historical records and their accuracy, and would often make identities absolutely impossible to determine. Beside this fact, the prophecy as originally given would not have relevance to the people directly addressed, or others referred to, at the time of the prophecy.  This practice introduces confusion.  So the crucial factor here is that the prophecy would mean entirely different things to people of various eras; as the named peoples migrated, the meaning of the prophecy would change. Confusion would reign.

Specifically, I refer to the popular claim that today’s Gomer is Germany! I respectfully submit that the Gomerians of the Gogian host who are nominated here in Ezekiel are the peoples who NOW live in the area of ancient Gomer, i. e., in Eastern Turkey. When Ezekiel was writing the words of the Almighty, he made reference to the powers of the Endtime by the names of the peoples who lived there in his time – not to areas to which they later should migrate. We have accurate records of their original habitation for the most part and thus can discern areas today which were populated by ancient peoples.

This is a principle stated as preferable by John Thomas. He wrote these significant observations:

”…the Lion-power  [he indicates Britain] will not only become the Sheba and Dedan, but also the Edom, Moab, and Ammon of the ‘latter days;’ for in speaking of the events of these days, the prophets refer not to races of men, but to powers on territories designated by the names of the people who anciently inhabited them. Hence, for instance, the Lion-power planted hereafter in the ancient territory of Moab becomes the Moab of the latter days (sic); so that when the countries before-named are possessed and settled by the British, they [the British!] will be men of Dedan in, men of Sheba in Aden and Mocha, and Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites in their several territories (sic). Thus, the prophecies concerning those countries in their latter-day developments have regard to the power to which they then belong…” Eureka, Vol. III. 

I believe this to be the only scriptural approach to the problems we have of identifying Endtime powers by whoever  presently occupies anciently designated lands. The undeniable fact that many later applications of prophecy were otherwise made does not negate the logic or accuracy of that approach, which leads to inaccuracy of the grossest sort. Gomer is whatever power occupies eastern Anatolia today – Turkey. Germany and other European powers mistakenly identified will have their accounts settled in the affair of Armageddon (Revelation 16: 16) – in my estimation a regional (European) conflict settling the matter of the Beast and the False Prophet…symbolized by the Image of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream in Daniel two, the revived Roman power of that future time. The settlement as revealed shall move into the universal spaces of other continents – wherever the exceedingly pervasive influence of the False Prophet has reached. 

H E Lafferty, July 2010  

 

 

 

The Location and Identity of Cush

Some students of the Bible have assumed that Cush has two locations in the scriptures. In fact, in the realm of our familiar texts, it seems possible that Cush has occupied two locations. But if so, not at the same time. If this is so, one location – in Mesopotamia – quite evidently was abandoned, and the population migrated elsewhere: to Africa’s Upper Nile region. That’s certainly where Cush was in Ezekiel’s time when he wrote of the coming Gogian invasion. (Ezekiel: “Ethiopia” = Kuwsh, or Cush)

 Or, there may be a more logical, and much more factual, explanation!

 In Genesis 2:13 we read that one of the rivers of Eden (the Gihon) encircled (“compassed”) “the whole land of Ethiopia” (referenced root Hebrew word, Cush). We might assume solely from this text that the people of Cush must originally have settled and developed an area northeast of the course of the Tigris River, between what is now Eastern Turkey and the present Persian Gulf.

 But is this a correct assumption?

 In Genesis 2: 13, the text of the Authorized Version similarly reads, “The name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it which compasseth (encircles) the whole land of Ethiopia.”    

But “Ethiopia” is nowhere near the supposed location of the Garden of Eden in Mesopotamia! And it never has been! As noted above, the Hebrew word translated “Ethiopia” is actually Cush (Hebrew, Kuwsh, H-3568 in Strong’s Concordance).

 Does this make Ethiopia equivalent to this “Cush?”

 Well, though illogical, it might. We need to investigate further.

 I have been intrigued by a footnote in Bullinger’s Companion Bible, in which he offers this information on the text: “Gihon = the river east of the Tigris. The modern Kerkhah, and ancient Khoaspes, rising in the mountains of the Kassi. Kas has been confused with the Hebrew Cush. It is not the African Cush, or Ethiopia, but the Accadian Kas.”

 Interesting!

 Just what is “the Accadian Kas?”

Akkadia (Akkad) and Kas are names not mentioned by Biblical authors. It was located adjacent to Sumer. The ancient language of Babylon was Akkadian. Shortly after Abram departed from Ur of Chaldea, which at the time had a Sumerian/Akkadian character, it was overrun and destroyed by Gungunum[1] (ruled c. 1932 BC to 1906 BC), an Amorite. Thus the population identity shifted to Akkadian/Amorite.

 This indicates the general location of the Akkadian Kas: the river Gihon encircled it lying to the northeast of the Tigris opposite Babylon on the Euphrates. It is logically the land of this people -- the Kas, or Kassites -- which was watered by the Gihon, and not Cush/Ethiopia at all. During their period of historical prominence, the Kas worried and probed and poked at Babylon to the south. In 1794 BC, the Babylonian ruler Samsuiluna mentions the Kassites for the first time. At around 1726 BC, he constructed a stronghold as a bulwark against the Kassites on the Diyals River[2] near its confluence with the Tigris (opposite Babylon to the south).

 Now, this account does not relate to the African Kuwsh. Cush was a son of Ham, who had black skin. None of the inhabitants of Kas, or of this entire vast subcontinent of present day Turkey, Iran, and Iraq are Black. In all fairness, however, we cannot be sure that ALL the descendants of Ham were Black, for his grandson was Nimrod of Babylon who is not so noted.

 First Occurrence of Cush

The first mention of Cush is in Genesis 10:6, where the nations of the earth are named. These four families of Cush inhabited (1) Canaan; (2) North Africa (Libya/Phut) and Egypt (Mizraim); (3) East Africa (Cush/Ethiopia); and (4) portions of Arabia (Sheba, Dedan, Havilah, Raamah, etc.).

 Cush inhabited and established itself in the upper Nile valley from the first cataract southward to the second cataract; eastward to the shore of the Red Sea; westward to the Libyan desert; and southward to near Khartoum,  now in the Sudan. The word Kuwsh[3] before and during Isaiah’s time was sometimes synonymous with Ethiopia, and sometimes with Cush. This was due to the fact that the area “was called Cush (Kush) even at this late date, under the 18th dynasty pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and called Ethiopia by the ancient Greeks.[4]

 The fact is then, that the name Cush never indicated to Moses, or to Isaiah,[5] an area to the northeast of Judah (in Mesopotamia), but the African locale of the people of Cush. At the same time, Cush never settled in that part of the world. Not only did Cush occupy the territory outlined above, but by the sixth century BC, had extended its hegemony northward in Egypt beyond Memphis, which it took as its capital. In Isaiah’s day (715 BC) its king began the 25th dynasty of Egypt, which is named “Cushite” in the king lists.[6]

 The modern equivalent of Cush is the Sudan/Ethiopia.

 While I am aware that John Thomas references a “Cushistan” in Mesopotamia, there is no historical validity to a Mesopotamian Cush. That is proven not to be a valid assumption on the basis of the above evidence, some of which was quite recently published: information based on meticulous research by archaeologists and historians as well as linguists who are continuing to study the heaps of cuneiform evidence gathered from those areas during the last hundred years. He sometimes referenced an entity known as Hindu Cush – which is a valid location in extreme northeast Afghanistan.

Now, I include here an excerpt from the Free Dictionary (electronic edition) giving important information about this area in Afghanistan called Hindu Kush. However, the word only coincidentally sounds the same as “Cush” but means slaughter. It has nothing in common with the Biblical Cush (Kuwsh) at all.

 

Hindu Kush means Hindu Slaughter

By Shrinandan Vyas

Hindu Kush and the Hindu Genocide

 “The Hindu Kush is a mountain system nearly 1000 miles long and 200 miles wide, running northeast to southwest, and dividing the Amu Darya River Valley and Indus River Valley. It stretches from the Pamir Plateau near Gilgit, to Iran. The Hindu Kush ranges mainly run thru Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has over two dozen summits of more than 23,000 ft in height. Below the snowy peaks the mountains of Hindu Kush appear bare, stony and poor in vegetation. Historically, the passes across the Hindu Kush have been of great military significance, providing access to the northern plains of India.

“The Khyber Pass constitutes an important strategic gateway and offers a comparatively easy route to the plains of Punjab. Most foreign invaders, starting from Alexander the Great in 327 BC, to Timur Lane in 1398 AD, and from Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1001 AD, to Nader Shah in 1739 AD attacked Hindustan via the Khyber Pass and other passes in the Hindu Kush (1,2,3). The Greek chroniclers of Alexander the Great called Hindu Kush…Parapamisos or Paropanisos (4). The Hindu name of the Hindu Kush Mountains was 'Paariyaatra Parvat.

“Now, Afghanistan is a Moslem country. Logically, this means either one or more of the following must have happened:

a)     The original residents of Hindu Kush converted to Islam, or

b)     They were slaughtered and the conquerors took over, or

c)     They were driven out.

“Encyclopedia Britannica informs us above about the resistance to conversion and frequent revolt against to the Moslem conquerors’ rule from 8th thru 11th century AD. The name 'Hindu Kush' itself tells us about the fate of the original residents of Gandhaar and Vaahic Pradesh during the later period of Moslem conquests, because HINDU KUSH in Persian MEANS HINDU SLAUGHTER (as per Koenraad Elst in his book Ayodhya and After). Let us look into what other standard references say about Hindu Kush.

“Persian-English Dictionary indicates that the word 'Kush' is derived from the verb Kushtar - to slaughter or (the noun) carnage. Kush is probably also related to the verb Koshtan meaning to kill. In Urdu, the word Khud-kushi means act of killing oneself (khud - self, Kushi- act of killing). Encyclopedia Americana comments on the Hindu Kush as follows: The name Hindu Kush means literally 'Kills the Hindu', a reminder of the days when (Hindu) SLAVES from the Indian subcontinent died in harsh Afghan mountains while being transported to Moslem courts of Central Asia. The National Geographic Article 'West of Khyber Pass' informs that 'Generations of raiders brought captive Hindus past these peaks of perpetual snow. Such bitter journeys gave the range its name Hindu Kush - "Killer of Hindus."' The World Book Encyclopedia informs that the name Kush...means Death.  While Encyclopedia Britannica says 'The name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveler, who said the name meant 'Hindu Killer', a meaning still given by Afgan mountain dwellers who are traditional enemies of Indian plainsmen (i.e. Hindus).

So, it is easily determined that, although the words sound similar, they are not related as to etymology or meaning.

Now, these conclusions bring up another important consideration in contemporary prophecy studies. When Habakkuk (3: 3 - 7) mentions “the tents of Cushan,” (Strong, H-3572, “Kuwshan“), this is also merely a phonetic similarity. He is not referring to Cush in any wise, but according to Strong, to an area in Arabia, near unto Midian, the location of Mount Sinai. The scenario pictured by Habakkuk is part of that great whirlwind with which the Christ of the Second Advent violently and abruptly sweeps away all the murderous Arabic/Islamic opponents of His people and their claim to His Land! The “Teman…and Mount Paran” of verse 3, includes the area south of Judah and the entire Sinai peninsula. These people are Egyptian and Palestinian Bedouin who are sympathetic with the PLO and Yasser Arafat.

 We are clearly instructed that the Lord Jesus shall wreak His destruction specifically upon “all the people that have fought against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14: 12), and that these are part of that group. All the others of that particular phase of warfare are listed in Psalm 83. Not one shall escape -- including “Assur,” which is Assyria/Iraq!

It has been attested by other students of the Word that such an Arabic/Islamic coalition has never stood against Israel at any time in the past. Therefore, it does so uniquely today! That psalm is Messianic in that its context is the Arabic threats to Israel now returned to the Land in the End-times -- and a prophecy of their destruction. And all the areas actively fighting Israel today are named there!

 The certainty of the destruction of Iraq at His second coming has much to do with the fulfillment of Isaiah 19:13 - 25, which promises that “In that day shall Israel be a third with Egypt and with Assyria (Iraq!), even a blessing in the midst of the land (earth),” for this Assyria is the small, peaceful, subdued, and repentant remnant of Syria/Iraq which is left after the likes of its sadistic rulers and haters of God and of Israel are utterly destroyed. But the population possibly includes thousands of Israelis, too, who shall have inherited, and who then inhabit, that rich, oil-infused valley and enjoy the spoils of those Gentiles which “shall be gathered together” for the Almighty’s glory (cf., Zechariah 14: 14).

 Although Arabia is certainly included in that list of enemies that He shall destroy, Sheba and Dedan are also inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, and are evidently saved from this destruction because they have not actively “fought against Jerusalem.” These areas include portions of the Yemens of today, and evidently are spared His wrath, later to ask the rhetorical question of Ezekiel 38:13 (“Art thou come to take a spoil?…”).

  So I submit that the diligent students of God’s word recognize His revelation as accurate and straightforward. When the prophetic word speaks of “Assyria,” we must not inject private interpretation into the text. Assyria means Assyria, or Syria/Iraq -- not Russia, or the Gogian host. There are several reasons for asserting this fact. One is that Assyria/Iraq is scheduled for Christ’s defeat prior to the coming of Gog -- an event which will be discussed in a future article, Lord willing.

 Another is that, because Iraq shall no longer exist in its present form at the time of Gog’s arrival, it will be impossible for Iraq to give its power to Gog, as some suppose. The Gogian coalition is carefully listed in Ezekiel 38:3, 5, 6). They are “Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal…. Persia, Ethiopia (Kuwsh), and Libya with them…Gomer…Togarmah of the north quarters…and many people with thee.” Assyria/Iraq is not mentioned. Neither is Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Tyre (Lebanon), Moab, Ammon (Jordan), Edom – those states round about Israel today who are fighting to conquer her. The only explanation is that these polities no longer exist at that time!

But at an earlier time, Assyria IS definitely involved…and prominently. Brethren have long overlooked or misapplied the importance of Micah’s prophecy relating to Assyria’s assault upon His people re-gathered[7] in the Land. Its core is Micah 5, where the utterance covers over 2,000 years from the smiting of the Shepherd of Israel (in verse 1) and the city of His birth (Bethlehem, verse 2), to the fact that the Almighty intended to ABANDON His errant people for many centuries, “UNTIL the time that she which travailed hath brought forth: THEN the remnant of His brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord…and they shall abide.” The time of Zion’s birth (travail) was 1948 – a nation “born in a day.” Since that time, the Jews have “returned” to God (i.e., to His land) in their millions!

 Then note the next verses (5-7), where the indication is that Assyria’s aggression toward His re-gathered people will be rewarded by utter and complete defeat -- of Assyria (Iraq). This, of course, is one of those places where some think that Assyria is not meant when the word of God says Assyria. They say that this power is really Russia to which Iraq shall have given her fealty prior to the Gogian invasion. But I submit to you that Iraq won’t even be in existence when Gog comes down because of the content of this very passage.[8] I believe that the invasion of Israel by a coalition of Arab Islamists led by Iraq will be the object of the Lord’s wrath here. “And they shall WASTE the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod (not the lands of the Czars or Commissars or the President of Russia!) in the entrances thereof: thus shall He deliver us from the Assyrian (the Iraqi coalition of Proximal Arabs)…”

[1] Encyclopedia Britannica, Electronic Edition 2000, under “Mesopotamia, History of”

[2] Ibid.

[3] Kuwsh is usually translated “Ethiopia” by the A. V. translators, but corresponds also to modern Sudan.

[4] Encyclopedia Britannica, Electronic Edition 2000, under “Sudan, history of the: The kingdom of Kush.”

[5] Isaiah 11:11, forecasting the return of the Jews from “Cush,” among other places. It is significant that of the places mentioned, all the Jews except a few have at this date returned. Only Elam (another name for Iraq) holds several thousands of Jews at this date. Practically all the Jews of those places have “returned” to Israel!

[6] Ibid.

[7] Please see Micah 4:6, 7, which covers a considerable period of time from the beginning of her regathering to Zion to the return of the King to her to reign over Israel in the Land.

[8] There are actually some 30 clear and unequivocal references to the destruction of the nations “round about” Israel prior to the appearance of the Gogian host!


H E Lafferty,  June, 2010

The Glory of God Departs the Temple, then Returns

Ezekiel 10: 4 and others references

The brilliant Light of Shekinah, God’s presence, dwelt (rested) upon the Mercy Seat which covered the Ark of the Covenant. From all indications, it was a brilliant point of light suspended in mid-air above the Mercy Seat between the solid gold Cherubim (plural) which faced each other, their wings touching, at each end of the Mercy Seat. It was the only light in the Most Holy Place, into which went the High Priest once a year with the blood of Atonement. It was destined to remain in that position for an indefinite period of time; Biblical records show that it was removed from the Temple because of Israel’s disobedience.

Its initial move is recorded in Ezekiel 10: 4, where we are informed that “…the Glory of the Lord (Shekinah) went up from (between) the Cherub(s) and stood over the threshold of the House (the Temple); and the House was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.” It is notable that throughout the first 12 chapters of Ezekiel, the word ‘glory’ is always translated from Hebrew kabod (Strong H-3519) meaning weight; in a figuratively good sense, splendor or copiousness, glorious, glory, honor. Although the Hebrew for Shekinah is not used here, the glory is just that.

This is the beginning of a process of the removal of the Shekinah (Glory) from the Temple – the first stage of its departure from the First Temple. The Shekinah was the visible, unmistakable presence of God within Israel, dwelling in midair between the cherubim above the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies.

The next stage is depicted later in the chapter: “…the Glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house and stood over the Cherubim” (Verse 19). From this point the prophet says, “And the Cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they WENT OUT the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the East Gate of the Lord’s House; and the Glory of the God of Israel was over them above.”

The Cherubim here referred to were those energized beings of the vision of chapters one and ten, which Ezekiel saw at the River Chebar in Babylon, not those which stood at either end of the Mercy Seat; these envisioned Cherubim were about to bear away Shekinah from the Temple of God, symbolizing God’s departure from His people for a season.  When Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem shortly thereafter and destroyed the First Temple, this prophecy was fulfilled perfectly. From that time, there was no Temple and no Shekinah.

Where did the Cherubim carry Shekinah?

Ezekiel 11:22 records essentially the same facts as recorded in 10: 19, to give us a continuous connection. Then, verse 23 tells us:

“And the Glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the City, and stood upon the mountain (Mt. Olivet) which is on the east side of the City.” Thus it was that the Glory moved eastward over the Mount of Olives and then seemingly disappeared!

It was from this place that the resurrected and immortalized Jesus (Who is Shekinah embodied) later ascended to Heaven. His Return to Israel is also specified to be to this place (Zechariah 14: 4), as the unmistakable manifestation of the Greater Glory of God, the Light of the World – the True Shekinah.

This return of the Glory is confirmed by vision to Ezekiel in 43: 1 - 7, as returning to the Temple by precisely the same route as when it departed. The prophet records that momentous time:

“Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east. And behold, the Glory of the God of Israel came FROM the way of the east: and HIS VOICE (Messiah’s Voice – note the personal pronoun!) was as the noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His (Messiah’s) glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the City (!); and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the Glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east (just as it had gone out). So the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE HOUSE!”

At this point we are given an additional, significant revelation concerning the eternal residence of the Almighty’s name: verse 7 – “And He said unto me, Son of man, (behold) the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever; and My holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredoms, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.” 

From this passage we perceive the glorious, highly visible, personal arrival of Messiah to the predetermined place of His central position of authority and regency in Israel – again, the Light of the World and the Glory of God in the Highest embodied in Him – now taking up His throne and position as foretold in the ancient words of Zechariah 8: 3. This permanent place as His permanent, eternal residence is likewise borne out in Revelation 19 and especially in verse 16 where “He (that same king) hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

This scene depicts the judgment of the Great Whore and other opponents headquartered in Europe, the future center of commerce and politics. There is no higher king than He, and the kings and rulers of the earth shall bow to His authority and power in that day!

Thus is filled in for us a magnificent scene depicting the Returned Lord Jesus taking unto Himself His throne and reigning from Jerusalem (Luke 1: 32; I Corinthians 15: 25).

Finally, an end-note: you will not easily find the word “light” as Shekinah in the Bible. It is derived from the Hebrew verb שכן. In Biblical Hebrew the word means literally to settle, inhabit, or dwell, and is used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. (See Exodus 40:35 - "Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested [shakhan] upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle." See also e.g. Genesis 9: 27, 14: 13, Psalms 37: 3, Jeremiah 33: 16, as well as the weekly Shabbat blessing recited in the Temple in Jerusalem ("May He who causes His name to dwell [shochan] in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship"). It apparently does not MEAN ‘light’ but is nearly always associated with light or brightness which remained (rested) above the Mercy Seat.

As the word is translated “rested” we can see that it is synonymous with the word “dwelling” as used in Revelation 21: 3 – “And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” The word dwell here is G-4637, skenoo, among its meanings being “to reside, as God in the tabernacle of old; a symbol for protection and communion; reside.”

For much further information, please see other sources, an excellent one being http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Shekinah     This free dictionary, by the way, is an excellent reference to add to your Bookmarks as it is a comprehensive and very deep resource for word and concept definitions, for etymology and forms of usage; it is readily available without passwords and pin numbers.

                                                                        H E Lafferty, MD  USA  June, 2010  

 



The Prophecy Letter
May 2010

The Challenge of ‘Prophecy’

In the study of Bible prophecy one is challenged by several primary considerations. One of the most important challenges is accurately to identify the various countries and powers that are referred to by the prophets, and accurately to identify the modern principals of any revelation so the current status of that prophecy may be determined. For example, has it been fulfilled? When was it fulfilled? If so, how did its fulfillment move forward the Plan of God, if that can be determined? What nations of today are involved? Does the prophecy remain to be fulfilled in the future? How did it relate to the ancient people to which it referred?

Other needs are to determine the time when the prophecy was given, to whom it was given, the impact of the prophecy on the then-current politico-ecclesiastical situation, the indicated possible time of its fulfillment, upon whom the prophecy would be operative, and other relevant factors.

I believe one of the areas of prophetic study that is most challenging is the accurate current identification of the participants – the nations nominated – in any prophecy. Especially is this principle important in prophecy which remains yet to be fulfilled either in the near or in the distant future. (Most often, after fulfillment of a prophecy, the chief characters may easily be decided from the record simply by inspection. Not so prior to fulfillment.)

For example, when ‘Persia’ is named in a prophecy we immediately know the prophet is speaking of present day Iran – the ultimate successor to Persia of old, which occupies roughly the same territory as did ancient Persia.

But other place-designations may not be as easy as ‘Persia.’ I immediately think of Togarmah, for example; or Sheba and Dedan; or Tarshish, Magog and Gomer; Moab, Edom and Ammon; Elam; Assur; Assyria; Babylon. These are decidedly not modern place-names, yet we must determine what countries or entities are indicated by these ancient names.

John Thomas wrote in detail about these entities as well as several others. In speaking of this aspect of prophetic study – the modern determinations of ancient peoples – he recorded a succinct observation which I want to bring to your attention. The quotation is found in Elpis Israel, (Birmingham, Charles Jones, 1924) Vol. III. The reference is not short, but I will quote much of it in order to set the context of his remarks:

“But the Lion-Power [by which he indicates Great Britain] has not yet attained [in the mid-1800s] the limit marked out for it by the finger of God. The conquest of Persia by the Autocrat [of Russia] will doubtless cause England to conquer Afghanistan and to seize upon Dedan [the southern Saudi Arabian peninsula!] that she may command the entrance to the Persian Gulf, and so prevent him [the Autocrat of Russia] from obtaining access to India either by land or sea. Possessing Persia and Mesopotamia, the apprehension of his pushing still further southward, and perhaps establishing himself on the northeastern coast of the Red Sea, and so taking them in the rear and gaining access to India by the straits of Babelmandeh, will also be a powerful motive for the Merchants of Tarshish and its Young Lions to take possession of all the coast from the Gulf of Persia to the Straits, and thence to Suez, by which the Lion-power [i.e., Britain] will not only become the Sheba and Dedan, but also the Edom, Moab, and Ammon of the ‘latter days;’ for in speaking of the events of these days, the prophets refer not to races of men, but to powers on territories designated by the names of the people who anciently inhabited them. Hence, for instance, the Lion-power planted hereafter in the ancient territory of Moab becomes the Moab of the latter days (sic); so that when the countries before-named are possessed and settled by the British, they will be men of Dedan in Muscat, men of Sheba in Aden and Mocha, and Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites in their several territories. Thus, the prophecies concerning those countries in their latter-day developments have regard to the power to which they then belong, and which, I have no doubt, will be British; which, together with the Autocrat’s, though henceforth always rival dominions, will endure until both powers are broken up by the Ancient of Days.”

I must conclude that this is a fundamental, utterly sensible, and legitimate statement about the current identities and definitions of nations and powers in prophecy: that is, whoever presently occupies the land of an anciently named place or people IS the working identity of that place or people today, and is the subject of any prophecies involving that place.

It is a principle which absolutely denies the opposite approach to the problem (the challenge of tracking nations and peoples in prophecy from where they lived in earlier times to the present day). For example, where today are the peoples or nations located who anciently occupied specific places but migrated away from them?

It is not, he states, the newly attained locations of these peoples which are nominated in prophecies, but the peoples who currently live in their original place of habitation – where they were established when the prophet or prophets wrote of them. The prophecy of yet-coming events refers to the nation NOW inhabiting that ancient people’s location.

Think about this: in order to verify and determine the places to which ancient peoples have since migrated is rather ‘iffy’ to say the least. Often we cannot know whether the subject nation or people still exist – or do so under another identity. To determine their locations accurately we would have to depend upon fallible historians throughout the ages and upon the accuracy of any commentary they should have made about the movements and migrations of peoples and nations from their ancient settlements to where they are thought to be located today – or in some historic interim time.

 That is always complex as well as extremely questionable. Take, for instance, the ancient Scythians. Their original location is known to be in southern Russia and the power was called Magog. Josephus gives their settlement as being Asian, located in the vicinity of the River Don (the Tanias, in the trans-Caucasus). Their area of settlement later broadly spread from their original habitat. But are those movements accurately traceable throughout all subsequent ages; and are they relevant?

The Magogites were a migrant people. According to John Thomas, historians ultimately trace the movement of these tribes of Japheth (of which Magog was one) southwest-ward through Europe to the Straits of Gibraltar and northward on the Continent.[1] Families remained mostly intact and named their inhabited places after themselves.

Magog founded the Magogae, whom the Greeks called Scythae. Gomer, by the way, another prominent son of Japheth, founded the Gomari, whom the Greeks called ‘Galatae.’ (Some of this tribe settled in central Asia Minor, where they were known as Galatians, to whom Paul later wrote an Epistle.)

Now, to stay with our original example, Magog: John Thomas traces the Scythae as follows: “It only therefore remains for us to ascertain, which were the nations that the Greeks, in the time of Josephus (now we have advanced to the era of Jesus Christ) called Scythae and which they then called Galatae; and to observe whether the geographical affinities of these nations are such an answer to those which are plainly required (sic) by the prophecy for Magogue and Gomer.”[2]

John Thomas continues: “Herodotus, the most ancient Greek writer accessible, acquaints us, ‘that the name Scythae was a name given by the Greeks to an ancient and widely extended people of Europe, who had spread themselves from the River Tanais, or Don, westward, along the banks of the Ister, or Danube. ‘The Greeks,’ observes Major Rennel, ‘appear to have first used the term Scythia, in its application to their neighbors, the Scythians of the Euxine (the region of the Black Sea), who were also called Getae, or Gothi; and were afterward those who subdued the Roman Empire…. And again, the Scythians of Herodotus appear to have extended themselves in length from Hungary, Transylvania and Wallachia, on the westward, to the River Don on the eastward.’” [Actually these people spread from East toward the West, and not the way stated above, for they proceeded from the first migratory stop of the Magogae which is now in the Trans-Caucasus of southern Russia - Ed.] Thus the testimony of Herodotus and Josephus is in perfect agreement concerning the progress of Magogue and Gomer.”

As you possibly already know, John Thomas as well as published historians additionally trace the Scythians and Goths further north in Europe. These Gothi were those who invaded Europe’s south, established themselves in what is now France, as Gauls. From there they fought their way to the British Isles and became the Celts of Ireland and Scotland.

But they were not finished with their peregrinations: Millions of these Celtic folk have migrated to South Africa, to the New World, to the United States, to Canada, to Australia and other remote parts of the earth. It is estimated that there are at least four times as many Irish Celts now in the U.S. as there are left in Ireland (of which I am one – a Celtic Israelite!). If there were a prophecy involving the Celtic peoples, which of those locations might we utilize to locate them in the latter days – any of them…or ALL of them? You can see the source of confusion in this approach! Such a prophetic interpretation could have little rational use to us as an aid to understanding such a prophecy.

Why? Because such observations are often unsubstantiated, unreliable, incomplete, or even absent, making their applications uncertain and even unknowable. Confusion follows. Such uncertainty makes understanding any such prophecy undependable, nonsensical and insoluble. The prophecy could remain forever meaningless, or inaccurately comprehended and uncertain at best!

In other words, it is not God’s orderly manner of revelation to us.In the reference quoted at first, I contend that John Thomas has well expressed the solution to the problem of the location of anciently-named peoples both scripturally and logically when he wrote,

“…in speaking of the events of these days, the prophets refer not to races of men [that is, to present races and where they now live], but to powers on territories designated by the names of the people who anciently inhabited them. The ancient territory of Moab, becomes the Moab of the latter days; so that when the countries before-named are possessed and settled by the British, they [the British! – Ed.] will be men of Dedan in Muscat, men of Sheba in Aden and Mocha, and Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites in their several territories.

“Thus, the prophecies concerning those countries in their latter-day developments have regard to the power to which they then belong…on territories designated by the names of the people who anciently inhabited them. Hence, for instance, the Lion-power planted hereafter in the ancient territory of Moab becomes the Moab of the latter days (sic); so that when the countries before-named are possessed and settled by the British, they will be men of Dedan in Muscat, men of Sheba in Aden and Mocha, and Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites in their several territories. Thus, the prophecies concerning those countries in their latter-day developments have regard to the power to which they then belong…”

Unfortunately, it is not the principle which he and many others often later employed to solve this problem! In the context of this actual quotation – within the range of a few pages of it, as we see above – we can observe how he generally tried to determine the locations of various nations named in prophecy by their movements through time and space to their current locations. My humble and respectful estimation is that the approach is incorrect, convoluted and unworkable.

To determine the outworking of prophecies relating to MAGOG, one needs to look at the original location of Magog – that is, to their early Trans-Caucasus location – and determine who controls this same area in the Endtime – in the Latter Days – to determine a scriptural understanding, in the time when the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39 about them is about to be fulfilled.

In John Thomas’ words, whoever owns and controls those lands today are the forces nominated by the prophecy, not the places to which those ancient peoples migrated!

On that simple basis, I believe the astute student of prophecy today will realize that when Magog is indicated, ANCIENT Magog is meant – and that means whichever power today owns and controls Magog’s ancient location at the time of the prophecy’s fulfillment is the subject of the prophecy…and no other!

As nearly as we can determine, Magog is now occupied by roughly five CIS republics: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. They are significantly 98% Moslem. They are rabidly anti-Semitic. The capital of Kazakhstan is Astana, a city until recently known as Alma-Ata. Any great leader of Russia emanating from these CIS republics is automatically Gog of the Land of Magog! – Whether he fulfills the role forecasted for this great despot or not.

At the present moment I don’t think this fact important (it might become important!), but it will illustrate the point: Vladimir Zhironovsky, the rabidly anti-Semitic Russian politician and member of the Duma, is a native-born Kazakhstani, from Alma-Ata, originally; he was born in the capital city of the land that was ancient Magog! If he should by some chance succeed President Putin or a later president as leader of Russia, he would instantly become ‘Gog of the Land of Magog’ whether or not he fulfilled the scriptural role prescribed for that entity. ‘Gog’ means despotic leader – Gog is the ‘big mogul’ of Magog, literally.

On the basis of John Thomas’ observations, it is quite apparent that Gomer and Magog have NO relationship to European nations as later suggested. Instead, a proper approach to their identity means that what we need do is determine the original location of those tribes in order to determine their identity today – and that identity is indicative of the national groups which live in or control those ancient areas today.

Otherwise the interpretation of the prophecy goes forward in all directions, much of which becomes uncertain and capricious matters of hearsay – and subject to the possibility of human error, and result in the prophecies becoming inconsistent and uncertain at best – and thus sounding notes of an indecisive trumpet, obscuring rather than revealing His master plan. That is the approach which I always use in trying to determine the subjects of any prophecy not already fulfilled.


HEL May, 2010

[1] P. 477

[2] ibid.


  

“The Glory of Jacob Shall be Made Thin”   Isaiah 17: 3, 4

Some have supposed this reference to be indicative of a coming wasting of “the glory of Jacob.” I believe this is indicated in their minds by their erroneous expectation of a Gogian victory over Israel of today, causing a supposed demise, or thinning, of “Jacob” (Israel). It was the position of John Thomas voiced as early as 1853, and cited in The Christadelphian of 1892 (Roberts and Walker, Ministry of the Prophets [Dawn, London, 1957] p. 321). The article was entitled “The Breaking of the Russo-Assyrian Clay, the Redemption of Zion and Her Sons.”

When John Thomas wrote that prediction, he was not aware of the vast scale of Israel’s future homecoming, or of the then-developing “mother” of modern Israel (Zionism), which was on the verge of becoming established in The Land within the next 90 years (1948) as a nation born in a day – in fulfillment of Isaiah 66: 8.

Isaiah 17 is a pivotal chapter in prophetic fulfillment, especially of ancient prophecies, as having some secondary relevance to expected fulfillment in these Endtimes. It deserves much deeper discussion than seen here, where its consideration shall necessarily be brief.

It is always pointed out that Damascus (verse 1), perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, has never been destroyed to a “ruinous heap;” so the prophecy ‘must be yet future.’ In a literal sense that actually is an event yet to be expected. Yet, this language is certainly applicable to the destruction brought on Damascus when it was overrun by Assyria’s King Tiglathpileser III in the expansion of his empire southward into Syria, Samaria (the Ten Tribes of Israel), and even Philistia, in 734 BC (Aharoni and Avi-Yonah, MacMillan Bible Atlas [N.Y., MacMillan, 1968] pp. 92 ff.).

Although Damascus was conquered and sacked at that time, it remained physically intact, and indeed much later regained its former status as capital of Syria; the sense in which it was left a “ruinous heap” was that its identity as the seat of government of Syria at that time was totally destroyed, as Syria itself ceased to be a nation under the iron hand of the Assyrians. Syria was rendered a mere province of Assyria’s might (designated Aram-Damascus) along with territories further south into Samaria and Gilead, the Sharon, and Philistia, even to the entry into Egypt!

It remained to Sargon of Assyria in 721 BC to bring final submission upon Israelite Samaria and deport much of its population to remote parts of his empire, including to the region of the River Habur, to Ninevah, and to the cities of Media, replacing them with peoples from Babylonia and Hamath, and later with Arabians. These newly installed peoples, all antagonistic to Judah in the south, brought with them their native customs and gods. These became integral with the daily life of the remaining Israelites. This conglomeration of pagan peoples developed into the Samaritans of the Second Temple Period.  (Ibid. p. 97)

It was in this era that “Jacob waxed lean” (verse 4). Israel’s king and kingdom were destroyed, its territory taken by its enemy, its population either killed or deported.

Although Sargon’s campaign was also directed against Judah and Jerusalem, these were spared at that time later to be conquered by Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar in 604 BC.

This is where the similarities of the earlier implications of the prophecy depart from the Endtime applications as determined by the context. Such a “leanness” of Israel is not indicated for the restored nation. Jeremiah has written of their restoration after this manner: Jeremiah 24: 6: “I will set Mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this Land: and I will BUILD them, and NOT pull them down; and I will PLANT them, and NOT pluck them up.” We are now well into the course of this final process!

Thus we may be concretely assured of the stability and ultimate security of Israel of today. And greater blessings are ahead for Israel, for that prophecy is only partially fulfilled today. For the rest of the story, read the next verse: “And I will give them an heart to know Me; that I am the Lord: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart!” This is the ultimate end of their process of redemption, as reflected in Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.

So, may we expect Damascus in our time to be “taken away” as a city, and to become a “ruinous heap?”

Yes…in two contexts.

Not only shall the splendid Damascus be conquered and physically destroyed, but its historic legacy – its political identity – shall also pass from the scene; it is evidently absorbed by Assyria in the kingdom age. Jeremiah 49 indicates in several phrases that it is an Endtime prophecy. It states that “Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail (labor)…. Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord of hosts. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.”

This, of course, actually occurred to a limited extent in ancient time at the hand of the Assyrian kings. But the regimes of the present dictators of Syria, the Assad family of today, are very truly a legacy of the pagan oppressor of Israel, Ben-Hadad, one of the most notable of pagan Damascene rulers. This present regime is likewise pagan, and is doomed to utter physical destruction. The unrelenting hatred and oppression of God’s people by the  modern Syrians cannot continue into the kingdom age, when Syria of today shall be put down by Israel and Christ to become part of Assyria of that day – the same Assyria that (a remnant of which) is destined to be totally converted by Christ, along with Egypt, and included with Israel as a united entity as forecasted in Isaiah 19: 24: “In that day shall Israel be the third, with Egypt and with Assyria, even a BLESSING in the midst of the Land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria, the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance!”    

 That outcome is inevitable; Syria is represented in Psalm 83 in the term Assur, which includes Syria and Iraq of today! So, whereas the ancient “fortress” (verse 3) ceased from Ephraim (Israel) and “Jacob (was indeed) made thin…(and) waxed lean” by being taken into captivity by Assyria, there is surely no such fate awaiting the indicated Israeli population of Samaria today. 

However, we must consider other sources of information which do firmly indicate the demise of the majority of the peoples (not the Jewish minority, of course!) of that region which are now in existence, namely Asaph’s “tabernacles of Edom” of Psalm 83: 6. These intruders, the Arab denizens of the Palestinian Authority, who inhabit the “West Bank” in six sharply defined, major areas as clearly designated in the small prophet Obadiah, verses 10 and 20 (q. v.), including also “Philistia, Gebal (Beirut), Ammon (Jordan – children of Lot), the Hagarenes (the Golan Heights) and the Amalekites and the Ishmaelites of the Negev (beginning at Bethlehem) and within Israel itself. 

At the present time, after the recent removal of all Jews from the Gaza Strip, we can see that it, along with several of the targeted regions are now completely inhabited (nearly solely inhabited) by the “Palestinian Arabs” of today. Gaza/Philistia is now, similar to other regions such as Tyre (Lebanon), Ammon, Moab, and Edom (today’s Jordan) of ancient time, entirely clear of Jews and ripe for wholesale destruction in the action depicted so clearly by Obadiah – a crucial key to our understanding of the outworking to be expected in the machinations of the “two state solution” prevalent for the last many years: there are ultimately not going to be “two states” in Israel, but one only! This cannot be over-stressed, in my opinion! “And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd.” Their Arab neighbors have NO PART in this blessed state!

The destruction designated in Obadiah takes care of all these peoples of today seemingly in one military action, or perhaps in more than one whose phases are not clearly discernible from these key prophecies of Obadiah, Psalm 83, and Isaiah 17.

In any event, when understood in this way, we can now easily perceive how the remaining passages of Isaiah 17 develop, bringing rapidly to full status the substance of verse 7: “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and have respect to the Holy One of Israel.”

The remainder of the chapter speaks of the forsaken high places, abandoned idol worship, ruination of the pagan altars, and the end of the work of their rebellious hands: the groves, the images, his strong cities formed in their supposed strength – in short, verse 10, the day when they had “forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the Rock of thy strength.”

But the blessed day of Israel’s exaltation is at hand! Verses 11 – 14 depict that time in poetic terms ending with the devastating truth that “The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters; but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing (cf., Psalm 83: 13 – 15) before the whirlwind. And behold, at eveningtide, trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.”   

So we can see conclusively that Israel is in no contemporary danger of being “made thin” or of “waxing lean” due to foreign aggression from the north. This account in Isaiah 17 is historical – already fulfilled in the day of God’s wrath upon the Ten Tribes in the sixth century BC.

HEL May, 2010



  • The Prophecy Letter

    The Valley of Jehoshaphat

    April 2010 

    The Valley of Jehoshaphat is mentioned in scripture only in Joel, chapter three.

    It is named twice as the place of God’s final judgment upon one group of His enemies. In the same chapter it is also twice called ‘The Valley of Decision.’  It is referred to as the place where final, eternal answers will be rendered to age-old questions of sovereignty, right of possession and authority over the Land of Israel; then the present strife will be brought to an absolute end! That is why it is important for us to strive to understand its meaning.

    But there is one difficulty: there is no place – no valley, no depression, nor plain – in Israel which has ever been so designated; therefore, its location – even its identity – is not revealed.

    In a strong sense, it seems perhaps not to be a physical place at all, but a metaphor for God’s Judgment. I will elaborate.

    Although many have supposed that it is the The King’s Dale (the watercourse of the tiny Brook Kidron; that is the most popular ‘guess’) – that narrow valley which lies between Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem – there is  no scriptural OR logical support at all for this being its location.

    In addition, there are serious difficulties with the location of that valley (its being IN the City of Jerusalem) and its extremely limited size (it will not accommodate even 10,000 fighters on BOTH SIDES), so it certainly cannot possibly fulfill the grand-scale, conclusive role of the Valley of Jehoshaphat pictured by Joel.

    Since the conflicts which appear to be fought in its ‘confines’ is wide-ranging in its scope, requiring several various battles with God’s enemies, I submit that it is a typical valley of judgment – a conceptual venue of the vengeance of the Father on His enemies and those of His people Israel. The conflicts I nominate are those described in Obadiah, in Micah 5, in Psalm 83, in Isaiah 63 and other references. These seem to be the initial conflicts of the Christ of the Second Advent in His confrontation with the nations round about Israel, and the “Palestinians.”

    In order possibly to determine its location, or importance, and therefore its meaning, I believe we need to resort to details of the history of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, whose very name means, “Yahweh Judges.” Let’s try to understand some of the background which may relate to this Valley.

    The account where it is mentioned is in Joel: it is a picture of the final JUDGMENT by God of His enemies – of at least a portion of them –and the enemies of His people Israel, in our day. It is certainly an Endtime prophecy, so it will surely be to our profit to examine it carefully and try to understand it!

    First, we read the account of it in Joel 3

    This chapter in Joel is a decisive one. It is set in the Endtime, “…when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” (vs. 1). That time can be only our day in history – for in our day only, the Almighty is returning His people to their rightful homeland! (Isaiah 11)

    The chapter depicts the decisive and resolute aggression of five specifically named groups of people against the re-gathered people of God – but calls them ‘all nations’ in verse 2 – so they perhaps represent more peoples than the named grouping. I have a strong feeling these five are representative of the ten entities listed in Psalm 83 – these four  and the six others making up the Proximal Islamic States, for the Almighty seems to limit this punishment – this Judgment of the Valley of Jehoshaphat – to certain enemies.

    Close examination of the chapter shows clearly that these references do not refer to all nations of the earth, although the first instance does use that language, just as does Zechariah 14: 2 – another reference to “all nations” but which references only those nations which have fought against Jerusalem (cf. verses 12 and 16). But now to Joel, chapter 3, and cite several key passages:

     “I will gather all nations…”  Vs.2

     “…what are YE to Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?...I (will) return your recompense upon your own head.” Vs. 4.   

    We note that the term Palestine comes from Strong’s H-6429, pelésheth, derived from a root which means to roll, or wallow, in dirt! The terms Palestine and Philistia are mentioned four times in three places in scripture. Once in Exodus 14, in the Song of Moses, and twice in Isaiah 14 – both of which refer directly to the Endtime when there is at present such a designated people – the “Palestinians” – who are fighting for just such a proposed entity! – “Palestine.”]  So far we have noted two named enemies:  Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon of the present time).

    “Haste ye, and come, all ye nations round about…” Vs. 11. These are nations proximal to Israel – not far removed.

    Egypt and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness…because they have shed innocent blood in their land.”  Vs. 19. Here are added two more entities: Egypt and Edom (modern Jordan and other areas which are defined in the porpheccy of Obadiah).

    So, to reiterate: those named enemies are “…Tyre, and Zidon and all the coasts of Palestine” in verse 4, and Egypt and Edom, in verse 19.

    I believe these are representative of ALL those nations which presently lie ‘round about’ Israel (verse 13) and which assault her daily in these Endtimes, by bombings, murders, assassinations, economic aggression, political intrigue, denunciation before world governing bodies such as the UNO, and innumerable tirades against the Jews via the press, both print, radio and TV – polemical unpleasantness at its most intense! It seems important that no distant nations are named at all.

    Also please note that in the last verse of Joel 3, the prophet employs a phrase which, along with others in the same chapter, can only mean that these events have brought the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth; that phrase is, The Lord dwelleth in Zion – in Hebrew, Yahweh ShammahThe Lord is There!  There are other indications which I shall cite later.

    It is the closing phrase employed by Ezekiel, as well, who speaking of the overarching feature of the future Temple of the Millennium, says “…the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is There!” – which is also, in Hebrew, Yahweh Shammah.

    I want to point out another corollary to Israel’s present battle with the Proximal Islamic states which is unmistakably linked to these enemies specifically. It is the phrase, “Prepare War!”

    The Hebrew word for “prepare” is (Strong H-6942), qadash), and means to make clean, to pronounce clean, to observe as clean – ceremonially or morally! To consecrate, to dedicate, to hallow, to be or keep holy, to prepare, to proclaim, to purify, to sanctify! It is applied here to WAR, or milchamah.[1]

    But does WAR as we know it in the West, have the character conveyed by those terms?

    No! It certainly doesn’t!

    Indeed, its character is the OPPOSITE of all those synonyms. War is bloody, unholy, morally unclean, and completely profane.  So the prophet Joel  is here speaking of a peculiar kind of war, which is hallowed, holy, sanctified, morally clean, and dedicated by at least some prominent, identifiable group.

    He is speaking of the ‘war’ that these enemies have originated and have become consummately expert in prosecuting: he is speaking of the Muslim concept of Jihad – of “holy war!”

    This kind of warfare is a common and oft-recurring concept in the Old Testament, being often in old time applied to God’s armies being sent against His enemies – in which case the Almighty’s armies assume the character of holiness, sanctity and moral cleanliness! They are sent forth at His command – to do HIS bidding!

    I hope you can perceive that all the internal content of Joel three applies to a particular group of nations which have for many decades done despicable things to the Children of Israel – or at least to the Children of Judah – at close-hand, and that these nations are typified by specifically five of the Proximal entities which are NOW wholly engaged and dedicated to Israel’s destruction!

    These facts also immutably bind Joel’s prophecy to the Endtime, when God shall “bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,” and when “Yahweh will be a refuge unto His people, and a stronghold to the Children of Israel; so shall ye KNOW that I am Yahweh, your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: THEN shall Jerusalem be holy, and…no strangers pass through her any more.” (Verses 16, 17)

    So it is the time of Israel’s salvation and redemption – of their repentance, and their recognition of their Messiah, the returned Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Their repentance, which pours forth upon their perception of His real identity, is described in Zechariah 12: 10-14. It is also the day in which “I shall…destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem,” as verse 9 clearly states. Please note that this is a second correlation of the previous statement! Those nations are limited, for now, to those with whom Israel has battled for over 60 years.

    Now…about this Valley of Jehoshaphat and its possible identity: we shall need to study at least some of the history of the king by that name to determine more about it, and possibly to make some sensible determination about it.

    Jehoshaphat was the fourth king in the line of David over the Two Tribes of Judah following Rehoboam, Abijah and Asa; indeed, he was the son of Asa, and generally a good ruler over Israel, as was Asa.

    As it is today with the nearby Arabs of Jordan, and the “Palestinians” within the Land, during his reign there was great enmity exerted toward Israel and Judah from God’s enemies to the East, [Moab, Ammon and Mt. Seir (or, Edom)].

    These enemies, which today consist largely of the State of Lebanon and the “kingdom” of Jordan, even then, were intractable, and historically attacked Judah when they saw opportunity, and tried to rout it from the Land, and destroy the people, just as they do today. Their intention was always to conquer Israel and Judah and take away their lands – or as Jehoshaphat now stated in his fervent prayer for deliverance from these enemies, who are “…come to cast us out of Thy possession.” (II Chronicles 20:11)

    You see, it’s exactly parallel to today: Israel of today is God’s miraculously restored people. Jehoshaphat recognized Judah as GOD’s possession! – and as God’s Kingdom on the earth at that time…

    The account is in II Chronicles 20. After Ahab, King of Israel, died, those eastern enemies were emboldened to rebel against Judah, presumably knowing that Judah would be weaker than she had been in a long time, and perhaps now weak enough for them to conquer.

    When Jehoshaphat learned of this ‘great multitude’ (vs. 2) which was coming against Jerusalem, he humbled himself greatly – he ‘feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.’ Men of Judah and Benjamin came from all their villages to Jerusalem, where Jehoshaphat stood in their midst in the court of the Temple.

    His prayer is recorded in vv. 6 – 12, where the king bares his feelings before the Almighty: we read this account to discover the king’s deep faith in this matter.

    All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children: they faithfully awaited God’s answer to the king’s prayer.  (vs.13)

    Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph. His name, Jahaziel, means ‘God sees.’ He delivered a faithful message to the admittedly defenseless Jehoshaphat. And he said…

     “Hearken ye all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou King Jehoshaphat: Thus saith the Lord unto you, ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow shall ye go down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook (the word for ‘brook’ is Strong’s H5168 – nachalah, meaning a valley!), before the wilderness of Jeruel.

    Ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you!” (vv. 15-17)

    If we consult a map, we find that these fierce enemies were advancing through the wilderness of Judea from En-Gedi – a lush oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea – northwestward toward Tekoa, a wilderness area not far from En-Gedi, and on a positive track toward Jerusalem. The enemy was quickly scaling the steep escarpment of the Wilderness of Judea, steep cliffs which face east toward the Dead Sea, and making their positive move upon Judah’s capital city!

    Now, remember, Jahaziel’s short-term prophecy indicated that the enemies would now be found located in the region of Ziz, encamped in the valley of an unnamed brook of Tekoa! And Israel held the high ground!

    As Israel advanced toward the enemy, which they were assured that they would NOT have to fight, Jehoshaphat…

    “stood and said, ‘Hear me O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper!’

    And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, ‘Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever!’ And when they had begun to sing, and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, which were come against Judah, and they were smitten!  (II Chronicles 20: 20-22)

    We wonder about the nature of these ‘ambushments’ of which we read. Who manned these positions? What picture did they present to the enemy when they made their presence known? And just why did these arch-enemies of God react the way they did? – for the children of Ammon and Moab attacked those of Mount Seir and utterly destroyed them. But then these turned on one another and destroyed each other just beyond the sight of King Jehoshaphat and his army!

    In the words of the Chronicle “…the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mt. Seir, utterly (that is, completely!) to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another! And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked upon the multitude (for the first time! – this enemy was defeated well beyond the sight of the soldiers of Jehoshaphat!!), and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, AND NONE ESCAPED!”

    Now we observe an extremely interesting outcome…one which shall be repeated at the climax of these Endtime conflicts: Beginning verse 25:

    “And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.

    “Thus the Lord made them to rejoice over their enemies; and the fear of God fell upon all the kingdoms of those countries – those round about – when they heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel! “So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet; for his God gave him rest round about.” (vs. 30)

    I believe that this account of the miraculous defeat of the enemies of Judah ‘round about’ during the reign of Jehoshaphat is typical of the final battle of the present day, toward which we look with great interest. I could logically be termed, “theValley of Jehoshaphat.”

    Those former enemies were allowed to enter Israel in their warlike posture, and to commit themselves to the destruction of Judah. Their forces had penetrated The Land to the point where anyone could perceive their intent to destroy the people of Judah! They clearly played their hand in this bid to destroy God’s people and take their lands just as the “Palestinians” have done, as Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have done repeatedly in our day!

    If we examine the fifth chapter of Micah we see a parallel battle being described. Micah gives more pivotal details than Chronicles, but the two accounts of completely different attacks upon God’s people are remarkably similar.

    In Micah 5, a conglomerated, fierce enemy of God’s people – actually the same enemy as those in Chronicles, all of whom came to defeat Jehoshaphat – are predicted to come from the same quarters, as a great multitude, to attack the Israel of our day.

    In that day, the ‘Man of Bethlehem Ephrata’ will COME FORTH UNTO ME (UNTO GOD) – THE ONE WHO IS TO BE RULER IN ISRAEL (we know him as Jesus Christ), WHOSE GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN FROM OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.’

    He is about to do great things!

    THIS MAN shall ‘be the peace,’ when Assyria shall come into our land; and when he shall tread in our palaces…’

    It’s interesting that almost every other version of this account modifies the description of the action of Assyria, the leader of the pack – which is modern day Iraq and Syria – and calls its move an ‘attempt’ to come into our land, and to tread in our palaces.

    It appears to be ‘an attempt’ similar to that of the Ammonites, the Moabites and Mt. Seir of Jehoshaphat’s day; those enemies ATTEMPTED to come into the inhabited portions of the land, and would certainly have trod in the Temple if they had succeeded.

    The prophecy that was given allowed the enemies to move from Ein Gedi, through the wilderness of Judea, toward Jerusalem, in a positive advance of aggression, so that no observer could have any doubt as to their intentions.

    Then the angels of the Lord moved decisively against them and destroyed them.

    When Micah says that the Lord Jesus ‘will be the peace,’ when this final invasion occurs, he means that it will be Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, whose goings forth have been chronicled from of old, from everlasting, and who is to be ruler in Israel, who shall accomplish the utter destruction of these Endtime enemies: ‘And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof; thus shall He deliver us from the Assyrian,’ when he attempts to come into our land, and to tread within our borders!! In this case, however, the outlying lands of the aggressors are the major battleground, which will evidently be a diffuse, widely scattered killing field, beginning at the leading edge of the invaders, and extending back to their homelands and peoples!

    We wonder if the forces of Israel and Christ will encounter the first ranks of those frenzied invaders in the same manner as they did in that obscure Valley of Jehoshaphat in the yet uninhabited and desolate wilderness of Tekoa? – and if in that way, the decisive beginning of God’s active, ultimate Judgment upon His enemies shall begin?

    Their heritage is to be destroyed – and their lands and wealth appropriated to the use of the Christ of the Second Advent and of the Saints of His kingdom who are with Him in this quest! They shall gather together the wealth of the nations who are in this coalition and take it to Jerusalem – and I believe it will require a good deal more time than three days, as was the case in Jehoshaphat’s day.

    The wealth of the Gentiles shall be turned to use in the kingdom as was that of Egypt after the Exodus: ‘…the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” Zechariah 14:14.

    Now…what about that Valley of Jehoshaphat?

    Could this unnamed and obscure valley near Ziz, in the wilderness of Tekoa, be that infamous, typical valley? Well, I suppose it could be, although its location is still uncertain, and its topography unclear.

    The important thing we know about it, is that it was a VALLEY in which God’s Judgment was unmistakably rendered upon His enemies during the reign of Jehoshaphat! Its inability to be recognized, located, or defined may in that fact indicate to us that the Valley of Jehoshaphat is indeed a TYPICAL place – a diffusely scattered model of God’s Judgments – which will stretch to the far boundaries of the aggressors, who shall lose their lands, their wealth, their lives, and their identities in this final showdown with the Protector of Israel!

    This valley, if that historical scene were re-enacted, is suitably far enough from Jerusalem as to be out of sight of its inhabitants when the leading edge of the invaders is utterly destroyed – yet far enough into the heartland that any observer may determine that their expressed intentions are indeed what they are determined to do – to wipe out God’s People Israel and take their Lands and houses and wealth.

    But the Valley of Jehoshaphat, I believe, will assume, more than anything else, the character of widespread and total JUDGMENT on God’s enemies, rather than being confined to a specific location; it shall signal the end of Intifada, and of Jihad, and of the maniacal, murderous oppression of the Almighty’s Little Ones of the Endtime.

    The result of the Endtime invasion is precisely the same as this typical one in the time of Jehoshaphat! For those reasons, I certainly feel that this invasion of Judah under Jehoshaphat is a prototype – or a “type” – of the final one which shall occur with deadly violence, and solve Israel’s pressing, immediate problem of the latest Islamic Intifada sometime quite soon!

    When that has occurred, the Land shall finally have peace – the ‘peace’ which the Man of Bethlehem shall establish – and the kingdom shall be formed forthwith, resulting in a full resolution of the conflict: ‘everyone that is left of all the nations WHICH CAME AGAINST JERUSALEM (no other nations are implicated as yet!) shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles… 

    “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto the Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 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!’  (Zechariah 14:16 – 21)

    So, we perceive that the Christ of the Second Advent has His work already fully planned, and laid out – and extensively REVEALED to those who seek.

    So…do we sit here today awaiting the onset of these clearly foretold events to make our final preparations to depart this present existence?

    Certainly not! In order for the immortalized Saints of Christ to be on hand with Him to partake in these Endtime wars, they must first have been called before the Tribunal of Christ called His Judgment Seat.

    The covenanted people of all ages, races and tongues must have been resurrected from the dead – and with the living ones of that day, be gathered together to that obscure place where He shall sit to judge them.

    Their gathering together must surely precede these landmark events of the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

    It seems likely that the day of our calling out of present society will be a day like today, when life is proceeding mostly as normal: calmly and serenely, without a great amount of tribulation in our lives.

    From a bed, one is called away and another is left behind. From a field, one is called away and another remains. From the shop floor or the office two or three evaporate from view while the others are left to wonder.

    Whether each of us living will be given preparatory time before our departure, we cannot determine. My feeling is that we should have our affairs in order at this time.

    No other obvious prophecy that I can determine needs to be fulfilled before the Covenanted Believers are called before Him. We need to be ready to go to Him – to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – at any time!

    We need to be prepared to go to meet Him at the appointed place – in great joy if yet with trepidation or even fear – and to anticipate the glorious event which occurs immediately after the Immortalization of the Saints: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God!

    We need to think of ourselves – to have this faith – each hour of our present lives, as being among those who shall receive Life and Immortality with Him.

    We need to have that level of faith – and to exhibit it in all our lives – that men, seeing our ‘good works’ may glorify our Father, Who dwells in heaven, and His Son, the Lord of Hosts, who comes quickly that we may be with Him where He is, and enjoy eternal fellowship with Him!  

    And a voice came out of the throne, saying ‘Praise our God all ye His servants, and ye who fear Him, both small and great.’

    And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.

    Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor unto Him: for the marriage of the Lamb hath come, and His wife hath made herself ready.   

    H E Lafferty  April, 2010

     

     

     

    The Prophecy Letter

    March, 2010


     Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - Part II

    The prophet Daniel, in his 9th chapter, was given the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (P70W) which he recorded as follows – included here as a review of the angel Gabriel’s words.

    “24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,

    TO finish the transgression,

    AND to make an end of sins,

    AND to make reconciliation for iniquity,

    AND to bring in everlasting righteousness,

    AND to seal up the vision and prophecy,

    AND to anoint the most Holy.

    25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

     26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

    27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolator.”

    In Part I of this article, we have established the time references of this prophecy on a scriptural basis. It began in BC 455, and ended 490 years later, in AD 36, with the baptism of the first Gentile convert to The Way: Cornelius the Roman Centurion who lived at Caesarea by the Sea, along with his entire household. In this act, the prophecy was complete as to its chronological considerations.

    But what about the six tenets of the prophecy that must be fulfilled?

    Instead of indicating the intervention of “antichrist’ in some future seven year period, Gabriel is promising that Messiah shall cause the sacrifices and the oblations of the Law of Moses to cease by His own sacrifice! This He surely did by dying on the stake of Golgotha! In so doing, he “nailed” the Law of Moses – the preceding sacrifices and oblations – to the Tree of Redemption, fulfilling it for all time, and instituting the “law” of Salvation through Grace.

    Even though His contemporaries, the Jews of Judea, did not perceive or accept this act as an end to the Law of Moses, He had already proclaimed to His disciples earlier in His ministry, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets; I am NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFIL (IT).” (Matthew 5:16)

    Therefore, the seventieth week of the prophecy is critical. It began, as we have seen, with the immersion of Jesus into John’s baptism at his 30th birthday. Everyone knows that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 ½ years and was terminated by His death on the stake. 

    At His baptism, then, He was manifested to Israel; at that time He initiated the 70th week of the prophecy. Remember, again, the six provisions of the prophecy ‘upon thy people and upon thy holy city,’ which should be fulfilled by the end of these 70 ‘weeks.’ Note, please, that all these relate intimately to the Christ and His shedding of blood – the means by which all these provisions were accomplished.

    Daniel 9: 24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,

    TO finish the transgression,

    AND to make an end of sins,

    AND to make reconciliation for iniquity,

    AND to bring in everlasting righteousness,

    AND to seal up the vision and prophecy,

    AND to anoint the most Holy.

     There are six formidable tasks here specified!  Remember, we must relate all these six provisions to “thy People and…thy Holy City.”

    First…to finish the transgression

    If this is difficult to understand in the AV, we must look to the Hebrew word translated ‘finish.’ It is (Strong H 3607) ‘kala – a primitive root, to restrict, by act (hold back or hold in), (or) by word (i.e., prohibit).’ The RV uses “restrain” here, and omits the article, thus meaning “to restrain transgressions.” The text seems to refer to transgressions in general, i.e., sin. The first objective, then, is to restrain transgressions.

    It is obvious that when Christ comes the second time He will forcibly suppress sin in all its aspects, ruling the nations with a rod of iron. He will give to Israel a ‘new heart’ at that time, and work a work of moral reform upon His people. That restraint will pass over into the general world population.

    But how was this accomplished at Christ’s first coming? Messiah had first to come to His people – the primary ‘business’ of the P70W – and to be ‘cut off.’ In so doing he ‘confirmed the promises made unto the fathers’ by the shedding of ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant.’ The preparation of the people (both Jews and Gentiles) who would assist Messiah in His great future work would be required to develop the ‘new heart’ and the ‘new spirit’ which pertains to this new covenant.

    By this process of godly living, therefore, sin would quite effectively be ‘restrained,’ and their characters would be developed after the requirement and pattern of the Lord. When He came the first time that was his avowed mission – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

    Christ’s spiritual cultivation of this great body of believers thus prefigures the work to be done upon His people, upon Jerusalem, and ultimately upon the people of the world at His Second Advent.

    We are told that the Law was a ‘yoke of bondage’ to the people; as such it was impressed upon them as a restraint upon their desire to serve the flesh and their own purposes.  It was intended to make His chosen ones markedly different from other peoples. The second part of this goal was to make salvation available to the Gentiles as well as the Jews – a goal which was attained during this 70th week as we shall see.

    The requirements of the provision, then, is seen fulfilled in limited aspect at His first coming, but perceived to be of greatest effect – of conclusive effect – upon His people at His return.

    Second…to make an end of sins

    As it stands, we know that this provision was not universally and literally fulfilled at His first coming. Men and women continued to sin in their daily lives; although sin was repressed by their attempts at obedience, sin was not ended. There is one exception to this general fact: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was certainly the primordial victory over sin and death – and over ‘sins,’ for He committed none.

    However, it is notable that the word in Hebrew for ‘sins’ and ‘sin offerings’ is the same; note that in the 27th verse of Daniel 9, His making an ‘end of sin offerings’ is referenced in the ‘cutting off’ of Messiah in the clause, “in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” The ‘sacrifice and the oblation’ were the sin-offerings under Moses’ Law! 

    In sacrificing Himself, Jesus Himself “was made sin for us” (II Corinthians 5: 21); “He died for our sins according to the scriptures.” He offered the one perfect sacrifice which was the ‘one offering’ which God required at that time. In doing that, He effected the ‘end of sin offerings’ whether anyone recognized the fact or not.

    And we are aware that, in the minds of the Jews of that day, Jesus’ sacrifice did not impinge upon the Law of Moses at all, and did not end their ritual use of sin offerings which they continued to offer until 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed. They did not accept His sacrificial death in the least, and shall never do so until they ‘look upon Him whom they have pierced’ (Zechariah 12:9). At that time they shall be introduced to the ‘bonds of the New Covenant’ and with that will come their immediate recognition of ‘the end of sin offerings.’ Having said that, Jesus’ sacrifice did put an effective end to the ‘sin-offerings’ of the Law although not recognized at the time by the Jews. In light of His sacrifice, no matter how many sin offerings they offered after that time, they were no longer functional as they had been under the Law.

    Thus, the greater fulfillment belongs to that future day, and like the first provision, points to a greater fulfillment of this great prophecy in the coming kingdom age.

    Third…to make reconciliation for iniquity

    The Hebrew word for making reconciliation is kaphar, which means to cover; figuratively it means to expiate, condone, placate, or cancel. In the O. T. it is translated make atonement, cleanse, forgive, pardon, purge away, and others.

    To review, we see that the proclivity for sin in the Jews of His day was not done away with the coming of Jesus. But we see in His work that He clearly introduced age-lasting righteousness to those who perceived His work and mission. At first a few Jews believed – then multitudes did; then the Gospel was introduced to the Gentiles, and thousands believed on Him. The Gospel is the means by which sin is expiated or cleansed or pardoned – and thus is the vehicle of age-lasting righteousness.  

    The important factor here is that Jesus Christ came to His people, obeying His Father in every respect even though an earth-born man with all the propensities of the flesh dwelling within Him. Hebrews 2:17 informs us that Jesus was made exactly like us so He could “make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”  By putting this perfect life to death on the stake he indeed made reconciliation for sin – he expiated it in himself, making perfect atonement by obedience and faith. Thus the result was established in One Who was a prototype for all who would come after Him in faith. In the most literal way, He “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.” (Titus 2: 14)

    The future effect of this component of the six objectives is defined in the national cleansing described in Ezekiel 36: 24, 25: “I will gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean (forgiven): from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.”

    Fourth… to bring in everlasting righteousness

    At His first appearance, Jesus brought ‘the way of life’ and established it and amply illustrated it in His own life. He made it known widely at that time. But Israel – His people and the Holy City – did not widely adopt His teachings. That achievement awaits future fulfillment, in the day of Israel’s salvation; it is only then that Zion’s “righteousness of Ages” shall “go forth as brightness.” (Isaiah 62: 1; 46: 13)

    The future fulfillment is indicated in such passages as Jeremiah 23: 5, 6: “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. In HIS days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” It is remarkable that the same prophet in chapter 33: 15, 16 pens these precise words the second time!

    At the same time, His blessing is personal to each of his people: “Unto you first, God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3: 26)

    When those events occur the Lord’s name shall rest immutably upon Israel, and the People shall BE ‘righteous!’ Only when she thus possesses His righteousness can the nation’s righteousness ‘shine forth as brightness,’ for before that time Israel has none. At that time, it is the righteousness of Israel’s Savior which goes forth from that place – the Lord our righteousness – which will fulfill Isaiah 1: 26: “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.” It is only then that the promise of Isaiah 60: 21 can be fulfilled: “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, THAT I MAY BE GLORIFIED.”

    Fifth…to seal the Vision and the Prophecy

    In the A. V. the word ‘prophecy’ is marginally defined alternatively as ‘prophet:’ “to seal the vision and the prophet.” The Hebrew word translated ‘seal’ in this passage is used 24 times in the O. T., in 21 of which it is rendered “Seal, sealed, sealest, or sealeth.” In I Kings 21: 8 and in Esther 8: 8 it refers to affixation of the Royal Seal to a document to confirm or establish its bona-fides, and also the authority of the person whose duty it was to issue the same (W. H. Carter, Times and Seasons, pp 49-50).

    This same idea is found in Isaiah 44: 26 where God reveals Himself as the One who ‘confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers.’ In this case the divine ‘seal’ of the prophets’ words is the confirming performance by God Himself of the things spoken or written in His Name and by His Inspiration. So performance by the Lord (His prophet) of His intention is here the Seal of Truth.

    If we apply this significance to the words of our immediate passage, Daniel 9: 24, it should be realized that in a prophecy bridging hundreds of years of time before the designated ‘consummation’ of God’s purposes with Israel, such confirmation by performance – though continually manifested in all the stages of its development – can only find complete ‘sealing’ when ALL the foretold events have come to pass.

    W. H. Carter adds, “So far as the Christ’s first appearing is concerned, the ‘vision’ was ‘sealed’ by all that happened ‘according to the scriptures’ (in I Corinthians 15:  1;  I Peter 1: 10,  11). There was thus a partial ‘sealing of the vision’ in the events of those first century days: but the day is still an expectation in which all the words of Daniel 9: 24 - 27, and indeed, the words of all the Lord’s prophets who have spoken of ‘the end’ shall find their complete ‘sealing’ in the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the Day of Zion’s Salvation and Glory.”

    “To this point in our consideration, Daniel 9: 24 has referred more to the ‘sealing’ of the ‘prophecy’ rather than to the ‘prophet.’ But both are obviously involved: for that which puts the Seal of Truth upon their message must also ‘seal’ them as being true Prophets of God.

    “The coming Kingdom of God will not only set the final Seal of Truth upon their message, but also upon themselves as the faithful servants of the Lord. Hence, the time of the Kingdom is also ‘the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that God shouldest give rewards unto His servants the prophets’ (Revelation 11: 18); and that they should now become sharers in the glory and incorruptibility of which they testified.”

    I would suggest that in the sealing of the ‘prophecy’ there is inherent the sealing of the ‘prophet’ as well – for the Lord Jesus attained the full measure of His required work at that time and in doing so established credentials for Himself which assured that he was indeed ‘the prophet,’ whether he had yet fulfilled all His future duties or not. In having come this far, his future course was engraved in stone and could not fail! He was assuredly ‘the prophet’ upon whom salvation depended and had, by His resurrection from the dead, been ‘sealed’ to that end.

    One more point here: it appears that we should acknowledge in the term ‘vision and the prophecy’ that there is a close connection of this principle to Daniel 8: 16, where there is a vision which is interpreted for Daniel by Gabriel. In the current consideration there is a prophecy but no ‘vision’ per se. In Daniel 9: 21 the prophet relates the vision of his 8th chapter to the one under consideration; the angel is the same – Gabriel – in both cases. Both events are substantial equivalents which indicate that both would be ‘sealed’ by ‘performance’ at the same time period in history. Both point immutably forward to ‘the consummation.’

    Sixth… To anoint the Most Holy

    Scholars – and specifically W. H. Carter – tell us that the Hebrew here does not indicate whether the “Most Holy” refers to Messiah, the People, the Holy City or the Temple. As Daniel’s prayer in 9: 16 - 19 indicates the Holy City is “the place of the Sanctuary,” it seems fitting that the prophecy given as God’s answer to him should nominate that Sanctuary.

    Also, in the 8th of Daniel this prophecy is connected as to subject, and it is “the Sanctuary and the Host” which are “trodden under foot,” or desecrated.  Desecration is a state of things which ends with the “cleansing” of the Sanctuary. Jesus’ prophecy that “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” seems to be a direct reference to this 8th chapter. That specific prophecy predicts the “cleansing of the Sanctuary” or the Sanctuary Cycle of 2300 evening-mornings. (By our best estimates the sanctuary was “cleansed” on June 7, 1967, when Israeli forces captured the City and soon after proclaimed it the eternal capital of the nation of Israel.)

    In the interim the Temple Mount has been desecrated by many enemies from the Romans to the present desecrators, the Muslims, whose Dome of the Rock stands precisely upon the Most Holy place of Solomon’s Temple. This history is in accord with the words of Daniel 9: 26, 27 – “…the people of the prince that shall come (that was Rome) shall destroy the City and the Sanctuary (70 AD)…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even unto the consummation.” Byzantine Rome was succeeded in the Holy Land by Islam in the 7th century, who consistently extended the abominations, as did later oppressors.

    The prophet was thus informed that the “day of Glory” lay far, far ahead in time! Ezekiel predicted (43: 4 – 7) that the Shekinah of God should re-enter the Temple in the future age of His re-established Throne in Jerusalem: “Son of man, the place of My Throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, and My holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile.” Jesus Christ in His role as Priest and King IS that Shekinah – that glory of God – that Light of the world!

    And so the City shall be sanctified and consecrated to the glory of God forever. He has sworn that it shall be, when He “…shall perform the truth to Jacob and the mercy to Abraham, which He has sworn unto the fathers from the days of old.” It is only then that the City’s people shall truly be called “the holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord.”

    So how may we understand the fulfillment of this last tenet of the prophecy? – “To anoint the Most Holy?” It appears that, like the other specific elements, it was not fully accomplished at Christ’s first coming, but the foundation for that action was firmly and immutably laid in place, never to be moved.

    In accord with the earlier elements, the machinery of its completion was set in motion in His personal anointment – His own rectification with His Father as being typical of the great universal rectification which has been foretold. The Instrument of Anointment (Christ) was set firmly in place with the loving obedience and sacrifice of Himself, of Christ Jesus, our Lord.  As Jesus has transcended the flesh (Hebrews 10: 20) and now dwells at the Father’s right hand, He dwells in the Most Holy place in heaven itself, having torn away the curtain (opened its fleshly barrier) in his sacrifice. The certainty of the future sanctity of the Most Holy became sure upon His sacrificial death, certified by His resurrection on the third day.

    So it appears to us that although none of the six tenets of the prophecy were completely fulfilled at Jesus’ first coming, but that they were adequately addressed and fulfilled in full prospect. The absolute mechanism of their fulfillment was solidly and immutably established before all the world – before Jew and Gentile alike – before any and all who would concern themselves with these vital components of eternal salvation. The final fulfillment awaits the Second Advent of Christ, at which time He shall place in motion the complete fulfillment of these.

    A Wider Application of the Seventy Weeks’ Prophecy

    Although there is not space for this full consideration, I would like to leave you with a broader proposal of the yet future times in which all these six elements shall be fulfilled to perfection.

    We noted early in this paper, that the form of this divine revelation of the P70W is not-so-subtly set in the format of the Jubilees of Israel – and eventually shall be perfectly fulfilled in that context.

    Remember that the first section of P70W was specified as “seven weeks.” We have defined this phrase as seven Sabbaths of years, or 49 years. The period is equivalent to one Jubilee Cycle. The entire Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks is TEN Jubilee Cycles. From the Decree of Artixerxes Longimanus in 455 BC to 36 AD was ten Jubilee Cycles – the twentieth Jubilee to the thirtieth Jubilee in the series which began with the year 2569 AM, or BC 1435. It was the year specified in Leviticus 25: 8 - 11 as the beginning year of the Law of the Jubilee Years.

    In conformance to the septiform (seven part) arrangement of our Father’s timetables, there appear to be Seventy Jubilees appointed as the framework of Hebrew (and therefore world) history. It is extremely interesting that from the beginning of the Jubilee law, seventy periods of 49 years each (each a Jubilee Cycle) brings us down to the year 5999 AM. That year by the common reckoning was 1996-97. And by the same reckoning human history has now progressed some thirteen years into the seventh millennium from creation!

    As with almost all of the important events brought about by our Father for the furtherance of His purpose, there is a “soft beginning” which leads to “harder,” more concrete results in the near-term.

    In 1917, for example, the Balfour Declaration by Britain and Lord Allenby’s liberation of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turk was a “soft” beginning” to the establishment of Israel as a State in 1948. Was the Gentile year 1948 of importance in the Jubilee Cycle? Yes, it was. The 69th Jubilee year was the Hebrew year spanning 1946-47. Although the establishment of Israel is designated as calendar 1948, it occurred during the latter half of the Hebrew year beginning in 1947. It was an appropriate and weighty beginning to the final “week of weeks” of the Jubilees.

    The victory won by Israel in the War of Independence of 1948 was a “soft beginning” to liberation of the Temple Mount some 19 years later during the Six Day War, which itself was a “soft beginning” to the final Cleansing of the Sanctuary in the kingdom age!

    The Exile to Babylon in 604 BC was a “soft beginning” to the full exile which occurred in two additional stages after that date.

    The return of some of the exiles in 537 BC was in the same sense a “soft beginning” to the full return of all the exiles who wished to go back to their Land, which occurred in two additional stages after that date.

    The Seventh Millennium has had its “soft beginning” in the year 1996-97. That initial milestone was a clear indication of the near approach of all the other concrete milestones which will be passed on the road to Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

    And finally, that Millennial Kingdom itself shall be a “soft beginning” to the Eternal Kingdom of God which He will establish upon the earth. 

    Our redeemer comes – and with Him, our final redemption.

    Our final redemption had its own “soft beginning” with our learning and acceptance of Christ’s offer of salvation, and baptism into His name. The harder, final, concrete, irreversible redemption shall come at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where we shall all appear before Him to give answer for the things we have done in our bodies, whether good or evil, and either to “stand” or to “fall” before Him in that day.

    End, Part II                                   Harold E. Lafferty, March, 2010

     

     

    The Prophecy Letter

    February, 2010     

     Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - Part I

    This month we shall begin the consideration of a prophecy which is generally misunderstood by many who have applied themselves to it. We need to understand the message of this important prophecy so that we don’t allow misconceptions to cloud our understanding of this vital prophecy which wondrously proves the veracity of scripture and the Omniscience of our Father – His intimate foreknowledge of events future to our time.

     

    In Daniel nine, beginning at verse 24, the archangel Gabriel was sent to speak to Daniel. Now, as you will remember, Daniel was among the captives of Judah who had been taken to Babylon during the Exile and had been elevated to be one of the chief rulers in Babylon. In verse 2, we learn that Daniel had recently “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.” (See Jeremiah 25:11, 12)

     

    In other words, the time of Judah’s captivity was almost at an end: it was nearly time for them to return to their beloved Land and rebuild Jerusalem and its desecrated temple, which they subsequently did under Ezra, Zerubbabel and Nehemiah.

     

    Daniel asks in prayer for understanding of what is about to happen. The man Gabriel comes upon the scene in verse 21. But instead of informing Daniel of immediate events, he gives the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks: it is an important long term prophecy which would begin within the next 80 years from Daniel’s day. The prophecy obviously benefits us later believers far more than it could have benefited Daniel!

     

    “24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,

    TO finish the transgression,

    AND to make an end of sins,

    AND to make reconciliation for iniquity,

    AND to bring in everlasting righteousness,

    AND to seal up the vision and prophecy,

    AND to anoint the most Holy.

     

    25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven  weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

     

     26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

     

    27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolator.”

     

    Now, first, let’s ask some thoughtful questions about this great prophecy so that we may understand it more easily…

     

    1.      What did the prophet mean by the term “weeks?”

    2.    Whose commandment went forth “to restore and build Jerusalem?”

    3.    When did that commandment go forth?

    4.    Why the peculiar structure of the prophecy, viz., 7 weeks + 62 weeks + “after (vs. 24) – “after” the 62 weeks – which is the 70th week?

    5.     In which week would He “confirm the covenant with many” and was it integral to the other weeks – that is, was it continuous with the 69th week?

     

    Consider these facts:

    A.   The historical lapse of literal weeks in Daniel’s life proved that weeks of SEVEN literal days each were NOT meant by Gabriel. The next year and a half brought no fulfillment of the prophecy that was sensible.

    B.    “Weeks” here is the Hebrew word SHEBUAH, which Strong confirms in his Hebrew Lexicon as meaning, literally “SEVENED” – just “sevened” – which, he says, means a seven of years, or seven years, or a “Sabbath” of years” as it is expressed in Leviticus 25: 8.

    C.    So, in vs. 25, the prophecy reads, literally, “seven sevened and threescore and two sevened.” Taking Strong’s definition of SEVEN YEARS, the text now reads, “seven seven-years and threescore and two (62) seven-years,” or 7 x 7 years plus 62 x 7 years.

    D.   So, calculating these,     7 x 7 years =   49 literal years, and

                                                          62 x 7 years = 434 literal years.

                   Both of which add to 69 x 7 years = 483 literal years.

    E. This covers nearly the entire course of the prophecy and indicates that 483 years would elapse from the time of the decree until the appearance of Messiah the Prince, as verse 25 states. It’s a straightforward revelation to this point, is it not?

    F.  We must ask, would those years be precise – or just approximate? We shall see that they are as precise as precise can ever be!

    G. We still have not accounted for the last seven years of the prophecy, or the seventieth “week.” When that is added as another “week” of seven years, the total becomes SEVENTY weeks. The entire period of the prophecy is therefore 70 “sevens,” or a total of 490 literal calendar years when all the six requirements of the prophecy were to be completed – at least in some conditional, preliminary, or provisional manner.

    H.  Now, we must ask, WHOSE commandment went forth “to restore and rebuild Jerusalem,” and

    I.  WHEN did it go forth? This date commences the prophetic “weeks” and helps us understand it fully!

     

    So Daniel’s immediate problem was just what decree is meant, and who gave it? How could he accurately determine the starting point of this prophecy?

     

    That is also our problem!

     

    But it is easy to solve “after the fact” because it is historically verifiable that three similar decrees were issued during that era. Our job is made somewhat easier by knowing that one of them will be 483 years prior to “Messiah the Prince,” whatever the meaning of that phrase is. That period would occupy the first two sections of the prophecy, i. e., the seven weeks and the threescore and two weeks (62 weeks), or 69 weeks…

     

    There were three similar decrees issued by kings in that era. They were:

              Cyrus the Persian                                                        533 BC

              Artaxerxes Longimanus to Ezra the Scribe              455 BC

              Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah                       442 BC

     

    One of these three dates will doubtless be the beginning of the Seventy Weeks!

     

    As we are aware, the Hebrew year, by decree of the Almighty, spun itself out in seven year cycles. Just as every seventh day was a Sabbath DAY, so every seventh year was a Sabbath YEAR; the coming of the seventh of seven Sabbath Years (7 x 7 = 49 years) is designated a Year of Jubilee. This was known as the Jubilee Cycle. The Day of Atonement occurring in this 49th year was extremely consequential and beneficial for Israel, had they observed it properly.

     

    Just in passing, we note that the Jubilee Cycles had a definite and known beginning date, as one would expect from the perfect, ordered Father of Israel. That beginning date was 1435 BC, which will come into consideration later in this discourse.

     

    Another question we might have is why the peculiar structure of the prophecy? Why speak of seven weeks and threescore and two weeks, then of a final week which was divided in halves?

     

    I believe that Gabriel was giving to Daniel (and to us!) a subtle hint that this prophecy has ultimately to do with the Jubilee Cycle in a greater sense, and with the ultimate execution of the six goals of the prophecy in an obviously extended sense. As you may have noticed, this prophecy on the surface covers a time period equal to exactly TEN Jubilee Cycles of 49 years each – a factor which we will also bring into play later in this discussion.

     

    We ask, additionally, in which week would he “confirm the covenant with many?” and would it follow immediately upon the completion of the 69th week? The reason I mention this is that contemporary “Christian scholars” believe the 70th week was separated from the previous 69 and shall be brought forward to our time when they expect “the Antichrist” to step in for the final seven years to try to foil the plan of God! It isn’t a valid consideration, and I am about to explain why it isn’t!

     

    To this point, we have noted that 69 weeks were set to elapse “until Messiah the Prince,” which we must conclude to be the time when Messiah was revealed to Israel. If our assumption is correct, it will be the exact time at which Jesus of Nazareth stepped forth from the crowd at Aenon on the Jordan and requested that John’s baptism be administered to Him.

     

    It was the first time in His adult life that the voice of God thundered forth crying, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3: 17) The Spirit of God descended upon Him, publicly anointing Him with power from on high – and so He became “Messiah,” or “Anointed,” or the anointed Savior.

     

    If that very special event occurred at the end of the 69th week of the prophecy, or the beginning of the 70th week, it shall be the key to our accurate understanding of the entire prophecy.

     

    Going back to the known dates of the three decrees to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, we ask, does ONE of these dates satisfy the prophecy?

     

    Yes! One of them fits precisely! We determine that in this way:

     

    483 years (69 weeks) minus the decree of 455 BC occupies, obviously 455 years Before Christ (BC) plus the remainder of the years which lapsed after the BC/AD changeover until His revelation to Israel. Subtracting 455 years from 483 years leaves 28 years to be fulfilled after the BC/AD event. Since there is no year designated ZERO BC or ZERO AD, we subtract one year from the chronological sequence and come to the year 29 AD, which I believe is the correct year for Jesus’ baptism at age 30.

     

    This date is precisely 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus commissioning Ezra to return to Jerusalem and build the city in 455 BC!

     

    Now the Seventieth Week begins: AD 29. Jesus’ three and one half year ministry begins concurrent with this date. W. H. Carter in his book Times and Seasons has some wonderful observations on this special time (pp 248-249):

     

    “Our sixth reason (for the time of Jesus’ birth) is one of great importance, and rests on Daniel’s prophecy (9: 25) which specifies sixty-nine “weeks” (of years) “unto Messiah the Prince” (Messiah = Christ = Anointed); thus indicating His “anointing” at the close of that sixty-ninth “week” (See Matthew 3: 16, Acts 10: 38): and as these “weeks” are associated with the Sabbatical years which commence on the first of Tisri, the seventieth “week” would also open on that date. On that day Jesus “was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power:” moreover, it was His birthday, for “He began to be about thirty years of age.” (Luke 2: 23). But it was also the anniversary of that first day when God said “Let there be light;” but “the Great Light” (Matthew 4: 16) which now “appeared” was to be a “light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of God’s People Israel.”

     

    His next paragraph in the book is astonishing, for he continues…

     

    “Daniel’s prophecy also required that “Messiah” should be “cut off” “in the midst” of the seventieth “week;” and as He was also to be the antitypical Passover Lamb, that “cutting off” took place on the fourteenth day of Abib three and a half years later. Only by being “anointed” at the beginning of Tisri could He, by dying in the month Abib, fulfill this prophecy, for Tisri and Abib are separated by six months.”[In this case, three years and six months; we have always been aware that Jesus’ ministry lasted three and one half years – Ed.]

     

    I believe it is now fairly clear to you that we have the correct solution to the primary, on-the-surface meaning of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel nine!

     

    If this baptism – or this revealing, or this anointing – of Jesus occurred at the end of the first 69 weeks, the seventieth week would now begin. It would be the most unusual seven years in all history, and would bring universal change (no – actually, fulfillment!) to many aspects of God’s relationship to mankind – and most importantly, would reveal the ultimate Savior among men.

     

    In the same time span the six specifications of the P70W would be fulfilled and immutably established in the most elemental sense!

     

    Notice, first, that Gabriel had said that Messiah would be “cut off” after the 69th week. In verse 27 Gabriel reveals that “He (i.e., Messiah) should “confirm the covenant with many for ONE WEEK.” He repeats the fact that “in the MIDST of the (70th!) week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

     

    Here Gabriel is not indicating that some “Antichrist” is going to appear to Israel of today and, after several years of leadership in that nation, then interrupt their worship services in the new Temple which they say the Antichrist shall build.  He is promising that Messiah shall cause the sacrifices and the oblations of the Law of Moses to cease! This He did by dying on the stake of Golgotha! In so dying, he “nailed” the Law to the tree of redemption, fulfilling it for all time, and instituting the “law” of salvation through Grace.

     

    Even though His contemporaries, the Jews of Judea, did not perceive or accept this act as an end to the Law of Moses, He had already proclaimed to His disciples earlier in His ministry, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets; I am NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFIL (IT).” (Matthew 5: 16)

     

    But what about the other half of the final “week?” Gabriel told Daniel in 9: 27 that “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” But He was crucified at the precise middle of that week. But did He cease to “confirm the covenant with many for one week?” 

     

    Did not the Lord Jesus tell His faithful eleven on the mountain in Galilee, “Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world” [Matthew 28: 16 - 20]? Yes, He did promise His continuing presence with them! In fulfillment of that promise, we ask, Did not His ministry then continue through the words he had spoken to them and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit from the Day of Pentecost and onward… through those same apostles? If we examine the events of the next three and a half years after His sacrifice, what conditions do we find? Well, for one thing, persecution of the apostles and disciples become greater. But their personal teaching of Christ’s truth intensifies, for theirs is now the entire load to bear.

     

    But the Christ was the driving Force, the prime Mover, the effective Teacher. It was HIS teachings being passed on by the Holy Spirit to His brethren the Jews, through the apostles for much longer than the 42 months (3 ½ years) after His ascension to the Most Holy. It was in reality His ministry continuing through them. But all the progress in store for the Plan would be completed in 3 ½ years!

     

    We are concerned in this dissertation with the fulfillment of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks – of the accomplishment of the six tenets of the prophecy – so we must consider events which transpired through the end of the 70th ‘week.’

     

    Remember that up until this time no Gentile was directly taught the Gospel. All recipients of it were either Jews or Proselytes – outsiders who had legitimately converted to Judaism.

     

    As the months after the crucifixion passed the Jerusalem Ecclesia strengthened and solidified. The apostles were actively teaching the Gospel. They were traveling to many towns and cities to do this work.

     

    Now it is 36 AD – the end of the 70th week. Peter, in Acts 10, is visiting Simon the Tanner at Joppa. Before the evening meal Peter goes up to the roof of the house for prayer alone. Here he is shown a forceful vision which is designed to teach Peter that the time has arrived when the Gentiles are to be introduced to the Gospel DIRECTLY – first hand.

     

    The targeted Gentile will be a man of Caesarea-by-the Sea “called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian Band. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house…” (Acts 10:1, 2) You know the story well. His “confirmation of the covenant with many” is nearing the end of the 70th week of the prophecy. W. H. Carter’s chronology pegs the year as 4039 AM (36 AD).

     

    The man of Caesarea beholds an angel in a vision at about “the ninth hour” (3 pm), who tells Cornelius to send men to Joppa to the house of Simon, a tanner, where they will find “Simon, whose surname is Peter.” (vs. 5)

     

    Keep in mind, please, that Peter is here continuing in the name of Christ what God had ordained through Gabriel: to “confirm the covenant with many for one week” after Christ’s baptism of John in the River Jordan in 29 AD. The statement “for one week” does not imply the end of that “confirmation” but indicates a certain sense of culmination or completion of all its aspects. The ensuing events, we believe, were that culmination.

     

    In brief summary, Peter accompanies the men to Caesarea (about 25 miles north of Joppa) where they arrive the next day. Cornelius is ready to receive Peter’s “confirmation of the covenant” directly to himself, a Gentile, when Peter arrives. In a short time God’s Spirit comes upon the centurion and his household, proving to Peter and those with him that “the Gentiles had also received the word of God,” as we learn from Acts 11: 1.

     

    The event is extraordinary. It is verified and authenticated by the recipients’ Spirit gift of speaking in tongues. After much debate the elders at Jerusalem are constrained to admit that “God hath also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11: 18).

     

    The active and effectual continuation of Christ’s ministry after His ascension is confirmed in the words of the last two verses of Mark, who records that “So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat upon the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

     

    This overt involvement of Christ is clearly seen in the episode of Peter and Cornelius of Caesarea, in which the centurion and his entire household manifested the gifts of the Spirit prior to their being baptized into Christ. The Seventy Weeks had come to its end. The Plan of Salvation was now completely manifested and accepted by the apostles and disciples of the Master. The ‘mystery’ was now fully revealed. It would not evolve further from this basic form until about 2,000 years later, when comes the Consolation of Israel – the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven, and His accession to the throne of David in Jerusalem.

     

    Now, in Part II of this article, we shall elaborate how the six parameters of the prophecy were brought to pass in the inexorable march toward the rise of that Sun of Righteousness with healing in His beams, as Malachi foretold. Upon the fulfillment of these specified goals rests the whole plan of God for the earth.

          End Part I                    

                          Harold E Lafferty, February, 2010


    The Prophecy Letter

    December 2009

     The Seven Thunders of Revelation Ten - Part 1

     Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalyim! (I hope I’ve got that correct!) The godly commandment of Psalm 122: 6 to “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” has never been more imperative than today.

     The Iranian nuclear threat to Israel is grinding closer to reality as each day passes. President Obama and many other national leaders still want to continue to apply “sanctions” (and to increase those sanctions) upon Iran to try to retard their development of nuclear weapons. I don’t believe this tack will be successful. And there seems to be little urgency on their parts.

     So, let’s talk.

     It seems likely that something ‘has to give.’ Otherwise events which are scheduled to occur much later might ‘happen too soon.’ Of course that will not come about because the Almighty has perfect foreknowledge and control.

     So, several possibilities exist as mechanisms to slow down the process.

     ·        Europe and Russia could reverse their objections and suddenly agree to much more stringent embargoes on Iran which could possibly force her compliance with the West’s demands for her to stop her nuclear aggression for a while. (It probably won’t happen.)

    ·        Russia and China could suddenly add their concrete assent to the Western initiative to demand Iran’s production of isotopes stop, in which case Iran might comply. (This isn’t at all likely.)

    ·        Naval and air forces from the West could aggressively attack Iranian facilities with ease, but do they have the impetus to do so? (Definitely not! This move requires leadership which the West does not have.)

    ·        Iran’s leaders could abruptly reverse their stance and announce cessation of their programs, even allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA - the worldwide nuclear ‘watchdog’) to inspect and verify the peacefulness of Iran’s initiative. (Do you really feel this is even a small probability? Uh-uh.)

    ·        Israeli forces could make a sudden, aggressive move against
    Iran. The IDF (Israel Defense Force) we understand, is preparing contingency plans which must be begun soon in order to be effective. These include internal (Iranian fifth-column) sabotage of key Iranian plants, commando raids into Iran by elite Israeli strike forces, Israeli air strikes upon several Iranian nuclear centers in the manner of the attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor back in the Eighties, Cruise missile attacks from Israeli surface vessels in the Mediterranean or the Persian Gulf, Israeli submarine (Cruise missile) attacks from nearly any venue, even ICBM nuclear attacks from their scattered land-based arsenal, or simply sit tight and do nothing – an option which I don’t believe Israel feels it can risk in light of the very obvious threat to her existence. This group of possibilities seems the best alternative at the moment.

     There certainly is enough intrigue in this one, isn’t there?!!

     Will Israel strike at the Iranian facilities to set back the Persian progress – or might sanctions really work? It is proposed that a gasoline embargo (refined petroleum products in general) should work as Iran has almost no refining capacity and depends almost totally on imports of gasoline and other light oils such as jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel and fuel (bunker) oil.

     The Strait of Hormuz could probably be blockaded by joint naval forces and curtail almost all imports of these products, without which the country would be appreciably compromised. Iran has threatened missile attacks on all vessels attempting this move – a naval blockade of Iran.

     Accurate estimates of just how much overland supply of refined oils (from the Russians, for example), is available to them is unknown at this time; but in any case, estimates are that the overland route is inadequate for Iran’s daily needs. The country really is dependent upon maritime supply.

     Meanwhile, Israel has a dilemma on its hands. These are key considerations in this conundrum that obviously bears on the drama which, I believe, should be obvious to any serious student of the prophetic writings.

     What are those considerations?

     It seems to me quite obvious in order for the predicted events to unfold as they surely appear to be presented in God’s word, Iran’s actual aggression of Israel in the near future must be impeded – held at bay by some means unknown to us at this moment.

    Why is that a valid assessment? Because Iran is PERSIA, and is named and specified as a prominent player in the Gogian affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39 – an event which we consider has the probability of happening at some time in the medium-term future (not right away).

     Now, I realize that this view flies in the face of some others’ thinking; folk who expect the Gogian invasion as the “next big thing” to befall Israel will probably be in derision at this suggestion.

     But do not be so fast or so rash as to draw that conclusion!

    There are serious, valid, and undeniable reasons for this view of Israel’s prospects. Reasons which demand our dedicated, intense consideration as discussed in last November’s article posted on the GPL website (please see lower down on this site) entitled “When Shall Israel Dwell Safely?”

    The more immediate ‘bottom line’ is, that the threat from Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, Al Fatah and other “Palestinian” terror groups is more critical at this time, and prophetically demand to be resolved in the near term. These intractable enemies are not going to relent in their efforts to “drive Israel into the sea,” which is their steadfast goal.

     As illustrated in the article referred to above, only when these enemies are subdued (destroyed, really) shall Israel dwell in their Land with confidence – a condition which I believe we have adequately proven to be in effect only after the Lord Jesus descends from heaven and comes forcibly to His people.

     With these thoughts in mind, I would like now to present some thoughts on a related subject which I have been considering for some time (and perhaps do not yet fully comprehend). These thoughts are not ‘set in stone’ (final) for no PROspective interpretation can confidently be ‘final.’ The prophecy may turn out much differently than we may have supposed prior to its being fulfilled! I have entitled this article “The Seven Thunders.”

     The Seven Thunders

     The Seven Thunders of The Fiery Rainbowed Angel are narrated in Revelation 10.

    “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his right hand a little book open; and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, and cried with a loud voice as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me. ‘Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.’ And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven. And sware unto Him Who liveth for ever and ever, Who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.”  Revelation 10: 1 – 7.

     Some students of the Revelation, given the prophetic TIME and PLACE in which these were revealed, and the sensitive nature of them, have claimed that the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10 refer to the troubles – to the distinct conflicts and wars – that Israel is now having with the Arabs round about – those beginning active judgments of God on the national and internal, renegade, ethnic aggressors within and “round about” her. When all is considered, these events have dominated the Mideast Theater of Operations since the Sixth Vial was poured out. So they seem to fill this period of time.

     Those students feel that the un-recorded utterances of the Seven Thunders represent details of the Endtime conflicts of the re-gathering people of Israel,[1] and that each one may represent a distinct conflict with their enemies round about – the aggressors of the Proximal Islamic States. The thunders therefore bridge the very significant and critical time between the Sixth Trumpet and the Seventh Trumpet – between also the second and third “woes,” – and occupy the time frame corresponding to the one leading up to the Seventh Vial.

     The Seventh Trumpet – and thus, the third “woe” – brings the kingdom of God upon the earth. This preceding period, of course, is the precise day in which we find ourselves at this moment!

     John Thomas, writing about these Thunders of Revelation 10, says essentially the same thing, but offers an alternative choice; he says this:

    “Apocalyptic thunder is significant of War. Seven thunders are either so many distinct wars; or, they are war of complete and intense severity; or the wars are styled seven thunders, because they are the thunderings of the Seven Spirits of the Deity sent forth from before the throne into all the earth (Apocalypse 4: 5 and 5: 6). This, I believe [he says] is the correct definition. If the spirits of the Deity had been eight instead of seven, it would have changed the arrangement of the whole prophecy. There would then have been eight apocalyptic epistles to eight Ecclesias, eight seals, eight trumpets, eight vials, and eight thunders. But seven is the Divine Number of the Spirit; and, therefore, all these are numbered sevenfold; and the Spirit is symbolized by “seven horns and seven eyes,” as significative of omnipotence and omniscience. The Rainbowed Angel is the Seven Spirits incorporate in Jesus and his Brethren going forth in their wars into all the earth.”

     But there is another possible explanation of the Seven Thunders of Revelation ten which we may discern only by having lived IN that time frame and actually observed the ‘events on the ground.’

     Instead of being the warlike actions of Christ and the Saints ‘going forth in their wars into all the earth,’ it is indeed quite possible that these Thunders are representative of the present conflicts of His re-gathering People of Israel with their Arab oppressors, and that these events are those specifically leading to the revelation of the Christ and His Saints as they bring His salvation and His presence to the earth, as executed in the conflicts which are already well outlined for that future time. 

     The time of this vision of the Seven Thunders is close after the conclusion of the Sixth Trumpet. John Thomas felt that just prior to the Seventh Vial, that the Rainbowed Angel is incubating “in his chambers, with his doors shut about him; and hidden as it were for a little moment” (Isaiah 26:20) under that vial; and before the gathering of the kings of the earth, and of the whole habitable into the place called in the Hebrew tongue, ‘Armageddon.’”[2]

     However, if the Seven Thunders DO represent the present conflicts of Israel with her enemies, and the saints of God have not yet been resurrected (or gathered alive to the place of His judgment), but are still present in their mortal bodies among the nations, then the Seven Thunders do NOT represent the conflicts of Christ and the Saints with their enemies, but more likely the conflicts of Natural Israel in her victorious conflicts with the Proximal Islamic States round about her.

     In any event, those Thunders represent events which fill the space between the last two Trumpets, and the Second and Third Woe. So, what may they be? With some amazement, I have recently realized that John Thomas considered the Seven Thunders to GROW OUT OF THE SEVENTH VIAL. But if one catalogues the events of the Trumpets, Thunders, Woes, and Vials he discovers that this is NOT the case. It is a serious miscue to place the Thunders in that position, as erroneously illustrated by the long-standing Chart of these events with which we are so often presented. The Thunders emanate from the time between the Second and Third Woes, each of which is originated by the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets! Revelation chapter ten.

     And just a short side remark here: even after the Seventh Vial, “Armageddon” is yet to come!  In the revealed scheme of things I believe Armageddon – which I respectfully submit is not Middle Eastern, but originates in Europe and in the domains of the Roman Catholic System – lies some distance in time beyond these events of today and tomorrow.

     

    I therefore believe that we are possibly well into the period of the events represented by the unrecorded Seven Thunders (indeed, perilously close to the end of these!), acutely aware, as we are, that The Christ has not returned.

     I wonder if the Seventh of those Thunders will bring the return of the Master, the Seventh Trumpet, which we now await. It would be completely in character (and surely within the structure of the previous visions) for the Seventh Thunder to introduce the Seventh Trumpet, to which it is a sure and designated precursor. But before the event actually happens, it is impossible to discern whether it shall immediately do so.

     If this view is accurate, the Thunders have proceeded apace, hard upon the heels of the events of the Sixth Vial, a prominent feature of which was ‘the drying up of the Euphrates,’ or the end of the last King of the North (the Ottoman Empire) in 1916 - 1922.

     And ‘Armageddon’ shall come, certainly, but not yet. Other important work precedes this final violent conflict of The Christ with the peoples of the earth, primarily, I believe, with those of Europe – the Beast and the False Prophet.

     It seems to be AT THE END OF the events contained in the Thunders that Christ reveals Himself. From a place of obscurity – from the Place of Judgment – He roars forth, bursting in full fury upon the nations of the earth and the sea. He shall perform the work of the Seventh Trumpet – which is the work ahead of Him, as He foretold through Isaiah 40: 10: “…His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.”

     If this view is correct, we find ourselves here today, experiencing the very real events of the Endtime, and vitally present amidst the unfolding prophecy of the Seven Thunders. But can even we, who may be experiencing them, really discern their meaning, delineate them – understand and explain them – and apply them to our times?

     In so striving, we need to consider other cognitive scriptures...

     There is, for example, Psalm 29, where David records the inspired words of God concerning ‘the VOICE of the Lord,’ the God of glory, which ‘thundereth!’ In that psalm there are carefully enumerated Seven Voices – or Thunders! The number of them is not stated…but you may count them for yourself.

     Each ‘VOICE’ is given an enigmatic description, admittedly hard to be discerned. From verse one the text reads…

     “Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

    1.      The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth:[3] the LORD is upon many waters.

    2.    The voice of the LORD is powerful;

    3.     the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

    4.    The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. 6He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

    5.     The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

    6.    The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

    7.      The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. 

    The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.”

     

    Seven voices – or thunders! Please come back to this site soon because the second installment of this article is planned for publication in about three weeks – before the end of January. I believe you will find it absorbing.



    [1] I have been intrigued by this principle for several years. Others are Joseph Arabia, who forty years ago discussed this possibility with Ben Ribaudo, Sr., who, Joe believes, first proposed this solution .

    [2] John Thomas, Eureka, vol. 3

    [3] The word ‘thundereth’ is from Strong’s H-7481, transliterated as ‘ra’am,’ a primitive root: to tumble, i.e., be violently agitated; specifically, to crash [of thunder]; figuratively, to irritate [with anger]: -make to fret, roar, thunder, trouble.

    <HEL>   December 2009
     
     

     

     

     

    The Prophecy Letter

    January 2010

     

     The Seven Thunders of Revelation Ten - Part 2

    (Continued from December)

     

    Lightning – and Thunder!

                                                     “Marriage was made in heaven;

    so were thunder and lightning!” – auld Celtic saying.

     

    For a moment allow me to discuss the atmospheric phenomenon of thunder. This will be a rudimentary discussion as the subject is far more complex than generally realized, and many aspects of it are not understood.

     

    Usually within a violent weather outbreak, static electricity is generated in the atmosphere. This results in objects which are exposed to the weather becoming enriched with negatively charged hydrogen ions. These, technically, are hydrogen atoms which have lost their only electron (a positively charged Beta particle) leaving a net charge which is considered negative. The remaining trillions of atoms from which those ions have been extracted are thus left as negatively charged ions; there is an electronic balance which has been severed in this process. The missing electrons (with a positive charge) have collected somewhere else in space.

     

    Thus, a ‘condenser’ effect is set up in which some objects either on the ground (such as a tree or a person) or in the air (such as a cloud) becomes enriched by the ‘traveling’ Beta particles (positive) which now brings an imbalance to them on the negative side.

     

    Since unlike charges attract one another, the originally depleted (now negatively charged) object will readily attract and receive any excess Beta particles that are available nearby – or even miles away!

     

    This electrical opposition – this imbalance of two reasonably proximate objects – results in a natural tendency for the electrical imbalance to ‘cure’ itself and return both objects to a neutral state by instantly combining in a blinding flash.

     

    Lightning occurs between objects [cloud (air)-to-ground or cloud-to-cloud] when that abrupt re-balancing occurs. Enormous amounts of energy are instantaneous transferred.[1] The effect is seen as a lightning flash.

     

    Now, as we know, lightning precedes thunder, and in fact CREATES thunder. How does lightning create thunder? As the electrical activity builds during the severe thunderstorm, as already stated, the difference in electrical potential builds between an object on the ground (a tree, an antenna, or even a person, for example) and one in the air (a cloud), (or between two clouds), and the ‘need’ to equalize the charge becomes greater and greater; we express that by saying that the ‘potential’ increases between the two objects until that potential is overcome, and instantaneous equalization occurs.

     

    As soon as the cloud passes within ‘striking’ distance of the ground object

    (or another cloud) the ‘potential’ instantaneously restores its balance by passing the Beta particles (which are electrons) from the object with excess ions to the depleted object – all depending upon the amount of the electrical excess in the one and the electrical deficit in the other. At the critical moment, the electronic exchange occurs entirely passively – according to the laws of electrical conduction – and we see a lightning flash. It is a stroboscopic discharge lasting perhaps as briefly as one fifty-thousandth of a second. Most often the tree or person or animal on the ground is destroyed or severely damaged by the enormous electrical exchange (the cloud isn’t harmed).

     

    But we are interested in what immediately follows – thunder! As the electrons pass through the atmosphere at very high temperature, the air is heated to about 20,000 degrees F, in very large quantities along the jagged pathway of the lightning bolt, which expands that particular pathway of air. When the discharge has finished, the result is a severe vacuum in the atmosphere following the path of the lightning bolt.

     

    Now, vacuums in nature MUST be filled. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Nature abhors a vacuum.’ Air surrounding the vacuum (and at a much higher pressure) rushes into the enormous vacant, jagged, tubular space (sometimes several miles long!), and fills it, although much more slowly than the time required for the lightning strike. Air of course has weight as well as fluidity.

     

    As the displaced and superheated atmosphere restores to its pressure balance we hear the result very distinctly if we are nearby. The result can be a sudden crash of thunder, or what we call ‘rolling’ thunder which may have a few seconds duration. As the air pressure within the vacuum is restored a very loud thunderclap results. It gets your attention if the lightning strike did not! For an extremely interesting discussion of this and many other effects of lightning, please see “Lightning” in Wikipedia.

     

    Thus, thunder ‘speaks’ to the world after each spectacular discharge!

     

    Consider Psalm 29

    In Psalm 29, thunder is tantamount to the voice – and therefore, the expressed WILL of God, or the specific actions, or troubling – of God. It is one of the meanings of the Hebrew word translated ‘voice.’  In these, I believe, God is ‘troubling’ the nations ‘round about’ Israel, whose avowed purpose is to destroy the People and their State. His godly actions against them are His roaring upon those enemies through the military might of His people Israel (which He has given them), defeating them, making them fretful and agitated, punishing them, and showing them harbingers of things to come.

     

    The tension between Israel and its Muslim enemies is exactly similar to the imbalance in the atmosphere which results in lightning and its consequent thunder! From the IDF to the Muslim ‘aerial’ round about come the fearsome flashes of aggression, often killing both “Palestinians” and Israelis and disrupting their life and being. But the damage, though sometimes severe, is pinpointed and limited, just as with lightning.

     

    And it resounds loudly on the world stage!

     

    To this time, the Remnant of Israel Returned has not suffered even one significant defeat in its contemporary national history. It is a remarkable (and humanly impossible) phenomenon given the clear odds. It seems quite obvious that the Archangel Michael has been assisting them, unseen to all except those who have the faith and insight to perceive that he is operating on Israel’s behalf. After all, Michael – whose name means One like God – as we are told in Daniel 12: 1, 2 – is “the great prince who standeth for the children of thy (Daniel’s) people.”  There is no sensible reason to assign some other identity to ‘Michael’ rather than his divinely assigned identity: the archangel of God!

     

    The message of Daniel 12:1 is “at that time” – that is, at the time of the drying up of the Euphrates, which we determine to have been the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1917-1918, the last King of the North – that Michael the Archangel began again to function on behalf of his people Israel – starting to return them to their Land – to “resurrect” His people, to bring them home to the mountains of Israel in that great, final, second Aliyah which will mesh perfectly into the first dominion of the kingdom of God on the earth (Micah 4: 8; Isaiah 11: 11)!

     

    The certain meaning of this message is that, prior to the year 1917, which is the signal and FINAL year of the King of the North (the Ottoman Empire), Michael WAS NOT ‘standing’ (up) for the children of Israel,[2] who were at that time in Diaspora – i.e., scattered to the ends of the earth, largely in the two great civilizations of Europe and North America – the West.

     

    The inescapable implication is, then, that the time of the People’s RETURN to the LAND had come – an incontrovertible fact, which we have personally witnessed. In that precise era, the Fig Tree (Israel) budded, along with ‘all the trees’ (Luke 21: 29) of the newly dried-up Euphrates Basin (the twenty-odd nascent Muslim entities which developed there since the Great War).

     

    So now, does the Psalmist characterize this obtrusive Voice of God with certain prophetic undertones or semi-hidden meanings?

     

    We intend to examine the seven separate statements about the Voice – the Thunder – of God, to try to determine whether these characteristics relate to the Endtime as do the Thunders John was not permitted to record – the Thunders preceding the Seventh Trumpet – and to see whether we might make some sense of the narrative.

     

    So, Psalm 29: 3 begins to enumerate and describe the Thunders one by one.

     

    First Thunder:  3The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth:[3] the LORD is upon many waters.” 

     

    The psalmist is saying that the Almighty is speaking to, causing grief to, and agitating, a great multitude of people, which are symbolized by ‘waters.’ This is the meaning of ‘waters’ here.

     

    We are reminded that when Jesus emerged from the waters of His baptism, a booming voice from heaven proclaimed, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17) The Thunderous Voice here, too, was addressing the ‘waters’ of that vicinity – the multitudes of folk who had gathered to be baptized and to witness John’s baptizing.

     

     The figure is employed again in John 12: 26 - 28, as He prepared for His sacrifice: ‘If any man serve Me, let him follow Me: and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor. Now is My soul troubled: and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour (?): but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The people (elsewhere symbolized as ‘waters’) who stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, ‘An angel spake to Him.’ Thus, even in the common understanding, thunder speaks of the very voice of God! That voice is shouting to the universal (human) waters, and whether they understand or do not, Israel and its very public status is always on prominent display before the world – in every newspaper virtually every day, and on TV and radio many times a day.

     

    Is this a reference to Israel’s War of Independence, and Israel’s eventual victory over a great volume of antagonistic ‘waters’ of humanity? – about an hundred million!

     

    Second Thunder: “4The voice of the LORD is powerful.

     

    In being powerful, it can accomplish everything it promises. It can do all these tasks tirelessly and without flagging. It has no restraints in carrying out its promises. Just as we have seen from Genesis to the Apocalypse, the Almighty is just that – all-powerful, or Omnipotent! The word is from an Hebrew root meaning to be firm, and is translated power, able, means, capacity, might, strength, substance, wealth. As such a Being, the LORD is without restraint in performing His will. Consequently, the Israelis have never lost a war with their enemies!

     

    Could this Thunder be a possible reference to Israel’s Suez War of 1957? – its second conflict with Islam – which it easily won along with France and Britain?

     

    Third Thunder: “the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.[4]

     

    There is no greater majesty than is exhibited in the Lord of hosts. He is the great, uncreated Creator. All honor and glory is due His name. In the Apocalypse that majesty – that entirely self-directed magnificence – is evident at every turn. The word illustrates the ornamentation of the Almighty; His comeliness, His majesty, His beauty, His excellence and His glory…and His brilliant countenance. It is also powerfully manifested in the prowess which He has granted to His people Israel against their enemies – never being intimidated nor conquered by them.

     

    Could this Thunder be a reference to Israel’s third conflict – the Six Day War of 1967 – in which the People won their greatest victory over their enemies round about?

     

    Fourth Thunder: “5The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. 6He maketh them (the cedars) also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”

     

    Cedars in scripture are the epitome of strength and endurance. We think of the cedars of Lebanon. Their very makeup gives longevity to their being; they repel injurious insects; they resist rot and deterioration; their root structure is deep and firm; their odor is pleasant; their characteristic color is deep and rich; they succumb to hardly any foe except fire! The finest structures are built from cedar wood – yet the LORD breaks them and subdues them if He wills it. Their natural characteristics are easily overthrown by the strength – the Voice – of the Lord!

     

    An illustration of this is found in the reference here to His breaking the cedars of Lebanon, and is echoed by Zechariah 11, where the prophet is pronouncing a sentence of punishment upon the people of Lebanon for their oppression of Israel: “Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. Howl, fir tree: for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.”

     

    And if cedars here indicate Lebanon in any subliminal way, we see plainly the overwhelming force of God’s people as directed against the Lebanese, both their army and the renegade forces of Hezbollah entrenched there as proxies of Syria and Iran; they are no match for Israel. Could this fourth Thunder possibly represent the War of Attrition with Egypt and Lebanese insurgents, and the Lebanese Conflict of the late Sixties?

     

    Fifth Thunder: “7The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.”

     

    Flames of fire are closely identified with God’s Holy Spirit; witness the cloven tongues of fire at Pentecost, the fire which descended upon Mount Sinai, the fire which smote the mount before Elijah as he took shelter in a cave on Horeb. It is the visibly operative power of God in the earth. As such, we have a wonderfully clear view of its effective force in the present day.

     

    One of the most visible operations we behold is the prowess of His army of Israelis against their intractable enemies. His Spirit has accomplished the re-gathering of His People to their Land in these Endtimes – an unique feat in the annals of humankind. He promised Israel through Isaiah 11: 11, et seq., that the People would be so re-gathered to their Land.

     

    Could this fifth Thunder indicate the effective resistance mounted by Israel against the Arab armies which attacked on Yom Kippur, 1973, and came within a hair’s breadth of defeating the IDF, but were later summarily beaten  in what became the last pitched war between the two adversaries? This conflict consolidated Israel’s hold on their Land causing their enemies to decide on “The Road to Peace.”

     

    Sixth Thunder: “8The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.”

     

    This place – Kadesh – is near Lebanon, in the ancient territory of Naphtali – Kadesh-Naphtali; it is located toward the Mediterranean from Dan in northern Israel, and is today largely inhabited by Arabs. The Israelis have had little trouble controlling this area since the War of Independence. But it is still a potential hotbed of antagonism between the Jews and its Arab population – almost totally sympathizers with their kinsmen in the north.

     

    Could this sixth Thunder be significant of Israel’s additional conflict with the nettlesome forces of the PLO in Lebanon in which they have consistently beaten their opposition – Operation Peace in Galilee?[5]

    Since this significant action in Lebanon, the involvement of Israel with its neighbors in hot warfare has been negligent for purposes of this classification. 

     

    Seventh Thunder: “9The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.”

     

    This may be a reference to the most horrendous battle – or Voice – of the Seven. Causing hinds (deer) to calve in this context seems to be a result of the extremest FRIGHT and TERROR from the Lord upon His enemies. It brings about a completely unnatural process of premature birth – perhaps in a way related  to the ‘nation born in a day’ for it perhaps indicates the day of the Advent of the Lord from heaven to establish a new thing in the earth – the Kingdom of God, under Christ’s personal control and guidance! This is the epitome of an unnatural result.

     

    To ‘discover the forests’ means to lay them bare, to denude them, to strip them of growth – as conceivably by violently taking away the ‘trees’ which budded in the same era as the FIG TREE of Israel (see Luke 21: 29), and removing those Muslim nations from existence, which we are assured is the destiny of those entities (cf. Isaiah 11: 14; Zechariah 12: 6 - 9). Also, Obadiah foretells that, of Edom, there shall not be one remaining!  Obadiah, verse 18, reveals the startling fact that the house of Esau shall be “stubble” – that is BURNED – and that “there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, for the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”

     

    That fate awaits five closely defined areas round about Israel as being inhabited by Edom – which tells us the prophet is indicating ‘Palestinian’ Arabs; ALL of them are destined to be destroyed together according to Obadiah. Other conflicts may also conceivably be wrapped in the same bundle as this one, e.g., Isaiah 63 and others. Can this action perhaps represent the final THUNDER of the Lord which brings the return of His Son from the heavens! If so, it would smoothly give us the transition to the pouring out of the Seventh Vial!

     

    As already mentioned, other students have commented on these affairs in the past. H. P. Mansfield, in Key to Understanding the Scriptures, opines that “Christ’s conquest of the nations will be in two stages: first, the overthrow of Gentile political power in the destruction of the confederated forces of Europe and Asia (sic) under Russia in the land of Israel (Ezek. 38); and second, by the successful invasion by Christ’s forces into the European area by which ecclesiastical tyranny will be overthrown (Rev 17:5- 14).[6]

     

    This scenario, of course, faithfully follows that proposed by John Thomas, formed by him in the mid-nineteenth century, long before the rise of Zionism (the mother of modern Israel), long before the First World War with its Balfour Declaration and Allenby’s defeat of the last King of the North, even longer before the Second World War with its Holocaust, even later followed by the UNO and its Partition of the Land, the establishment of the State of Israel IN Israel under its own initiative and with its own funds (not under Britain’s supervision or as a British Colony), and the extreme violence of the peoples round about which has since ensued against the Holy People. It is blatantly obvious that all these factors have borne heavily upon the forward motion of God’s plan for Israel, His people.

     

    This Mansfield/Thomas scenario, however, gives little place or  merely cursory consideration of the very serious confrontation of Israel by the Proximal Islamic states which for nearly a century have been actively combating Israel in the Land, and have been a nettlesome briar and a thorn (cf. Ezekiel 28: 24 – 26) to the people: these states are Egypt, which now has a peace treaty with Israel, and Jordan (which also has an interim pact with Israel), Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States.

     

    It also seriously confuses the European national roles of the Beast in the Endtime, along with the False Prophet, mixing them with the Islamic phases of conflict in and around the Land.

     

    I submit that Christ’s conquest of the nations will come in three stages at least, perhaps even divisible into FOUR stages, before the establishment of His Righteousness among all the nations of the world.

     

    The stage that is being ignored by the late H. P. Mansfield – and entirely unexpected and discounted by John Thomas – is that which has been in progress for almost a century – the life and death-struggle of the restored People of God versus the Philistine warrior, Goliath, personated by the hostile peoples both within and round about Israel.

     

    John Thomas held the Arabs of the region with little more than disdain, calling them at one point, “freebooters of the desert.” They were in his eyes as no significant opposition to the return of God’s people or the forward movement of the Almighty’s plan in the Endtime. And at the time, truth to tell, they actually were of no consequence.

     

    But early assessments have not proved to be the final case! Time brought drastic changes. These mingled peoples, the meaning of the word Arabs, have shown themselves formidable opponents to the return of God’s people – but have not deterred millions of hearty and brave sons of Jacob from making Aliyah, from returning to their great heritage. Indeed, the news headlines of the modern era have been entirely and overwhelmingly dominated by the Arab-Israel conflict, yet the people continue to come.

     

    The United Nations Organization (UNO) has been virtually smothered by its deliberations about this affair. The major arms deals of the twentieth century centered upon Israel and the nations round about them. Workers in the resolution of this conflict have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as well as other of the highest prizes in human affairs for ‘progress’ in these affairs of state.

     

    Yet this may now be seen clearly as the first stage of the development of Christ’s kingdom on the earth, building, as it does upon the sure foundation of the State of Israel’s formation in 1948.

     

    Now, the above thesis is that these Seven Thunders of Revelation ten are (possibly) to be equated to the series of seven conflicts or events concerning The Beloved People (not events of the world in general, although these are also important in their own right as mileposts of fulfilled prophecy) in the time since Michael began again in 1917 (or 1897?) to exercise his powers on behalf of Israel, his assigned Protectorate. We do realize that they refer to the most important affairs of The People of the Endtime – those affairs of Israel and its survival as a state.

     

    One possible reason that these were not allowed to be written by John in Revelation may be due to the fact that they are extremely important to Endtime believers, but are not defined there because the Apocalypse is concerned with the development and progress of the Roman Empire and its successors in relation to the faith of Christ – and not with Israel and its wars of the Endtime. Perhaps, in a sense, the Revelator (Christ) was depending upon our investigative ability, our godly curiosity, our scriptural scholarship, to determine the meaning of the Seven Thunders!

     

    I’m not sure whether we may reasonably compare these on the surface to these historical events, but let’s list them for review:

     

    1.      The Israeli War for Independence – 1948

    2.    The Suez Affair of Britain, France and Israel against Egypt – 1956

    3.     The Six Day War – 1967

    4.    The War of Attrition with Egypt and Lebanon,[7] 1967 – 1973

    5.     The Yom Kippur War – 1973

    6.    The Lebanese action: Operation Peace for Galilee,[8] 1983

    7.     The serial Intifadas waged continuously since then, the end conflict of which shall bring the Savior (??), date of Advent unknown…

     

    Whether that is a reasonably accurate tally of Israel’s wars you must decide for yourself. That proposed division of the conflicts brings us to the present time in history. We are still enduring the Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada in “Palestinian” terminology.

     

    If this study has veracity, we may be witnessing – or about to witness – the 7th of the extremely prolonged Seven Thunders at this time. Following that stormy era it follows that Christ will come and bring down the Seventh Trumpet upon the peoples, for the Seventh Trumpet appears to occur at the completion of the last Thunder.

     

    These ideas are sincerely and cautiously put forth for your consideration; the author is not dogmatic about them. If they fit, then there is profit in the consideration. If not, we let it go!

     

    But if these propositions are valid, there is one very sobering consequence for all believers. We are surely very near the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven! We should be prepared at any moment to be taken up with the resurrected dead in Christ to the place of Judgment before our King.

     

    May His mercy be abundantly shed upon each of us – none of whom are really ‘worthy’ of His eternal blessing aside from his immeasurably infinite GRACE and MERCY!

     

    Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalyim!

     

                                          <HEL> January 2010



    [1] In the Thirties a lightning bolt which hit the Empire State building was measured at several hundred thousand kilowatts – an instantaneous energy surge which it is said more than equaled the entire momentary power output of the United States’ electric generating system!

     

    [2] Indeed, he tells us in Micah 5, that He would ‘give up’ His people – or ABANDON them – until ‘she who is to give birth, gives birth.’ Those birth pangs began in earnest in 1917, when the Land was freed and Jews could again go home with little hindrance…at least for a short time.

    [3] The word ‘thundereth’ is from Strong’s H-7481, translated from ra’am, a primitive root: to tumble, i.e., be violently agitated; specifically, to crash [of thunder]; figuratively, to irritate [with anger]: -make to fret, roar, thunder, trouble.

    [4] H1926 – hadar, from H1921 – hadar,  meaning to swell up.

    [5] So noted by General Chaim Herzog in The Arab-Israeli War [New York, Random House, 1983] per Joseph Arabia in private correspondence.



    [6] Mansfield, H. P., Key to the Understanding of Scriptures, (Beverly, South Australia: Eureka Press Pty. Ltd., 1999).

    [7] Suggested by Joseph Arabia in an unpublished manuscript, December 2009; a conflict based on Chaim Herzog’s classification in his documentary, The Arab-Israeli Wars. already referenced.

    [8] Ibid.

     

     

     


     
     
    THE PROPHECY LETTER NOVEMBER 2009

     Israel: A Route to Survival?

    Comments on a Freeman Center article by Ross C. Leiber,

    a Canadian engineer and author of “Checkmate: How Israel Can Survive.”

     

    It has been reported that many Israelis are beginning to see their state as a transitory entity - as one that probably won’t be in existence in say, twenty years. It is strictly a humanist notion. Of course, for Bible students that future is not even remotely likely. Israel is now back in their Land forever; but having said that, the expression of that belief depends upon understanding what the prophets have foretold for Israel.

     

    The startling article referred to is far too long (18 single-spaced typed pages!) to quote in its entirety here, but can be found in the Internet archives of The Freeman Center for August 31, 2004. You will be extremely interested in the well-thought-out notions of this apparently knowledgeable commentator on Israel’s current predicament.

     

    For the first 13 pages he sets the stage for the climax of his commentary, documenting the daily existential threats to Israel’s people and state. The gist of the earlier sections of the article is that Israel has an unique position in the Middle East at the present time - not only does it maintain at least conventional weapons parity with all her neighbors round about, but weapons superiority - established by the near certainty that Israel possesses nuclear weapons in her well-rounded arsenal of defense.

     

    He references the late Rabbi Meyer Kahane, who proposed, among other solutions, the rapid and peaceful transfer of all “Palestinians” out of Israel to neighboring Arab states for permanent resettlement. This would prevent the vastly greater Arab birthrate from overtaking the Jewish population of voters and the conversion of Israel to an Arab state. His ideas were so radical in the eyes of the Jewish powers that be in Israel that his Kach Party was outlawed and its members expelled from the Knesset. You doubtless remember Rabbi Kahane was assassinated in New York several years ago.

     

    Mr. Leiber argues that time is not on Israel’s side as the Arab population grows much faster than the Jewish one. He suggests that transfers of “Palestinians” begin immediately. That would bring about effective separation of the population in Israel and perhaps entirely obviate the savage attacks upon Israeli citizens.

     

    He realizes that the Arab world would not welcome this unilateral decision by Israel and probably would retaliate as the process got under way - retaliate with troops and tanks and millions of volunteer Jihadists streaming across the border of Israel from every side.

     

    He realizes also that the world community would come together as it never has done to punish Israel severely, perhaps officially calling for her termination as a State. Among many resolutions which would be passed would be that of reinstating that “Zionism is racism,” and vote for expelling Israel from the UNO. The US, he feels, would “approve most of the anti-Israel resolutions and place a military and economic embargo against her.” Terror attacks would come thick and fast against US interests and troops abroad and at home. Attacks against Jews in Europe would increase manifold, and cause panic and death. The world body might try to enforce Israel’s relinquishing any Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which she possesses.

     

    It would be chaos. So Mr. Lieber offers this extreme solution under the heading.....

     

    The rest of this article may be displayed at a later date

     







    THE PROPHECY LETTER NOVEMBER 2009

     When Shall Israel Dwell SAFELY?

    Israel to “dwell safely” at time of Gogian invasion

    But Do Not Do So Today! What must Change?

    Refer to Ezekiel 28: 25, 26; Ezekiel 34: 23 – 38; Ezekiel 38: 8, 11, 14, 26;

    Jeremiah 23: 6 and 33: 16; Deuteronomy 33: 27-29

    Several pointed references are made by the prophets to Israel dwelling ‘safely’ or
    ‘confidently’ in their land when the Gogian host assembles against her. The Hebrew word translated as both meanings is betach. It conveys in Ezekiel 38 the sense of total and utter safety – the reality of confidence – that no enemy can or might successfully attack the people.

    Ezekiel 28: 25, 26 are key passages in understanding exactly how Israel comes to dwell safely and confidently instead of, as today, cluttered with walls and fortifications. This Endtime prophecy is specifically against Tyre (verses 1, 12) and Zidon (verse 21), both of which are in Lebanon today. These ancient city-states are typical of all the active combatants against Israel today. The TIME of its fulfillment is made clear: it is today; it is “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 (nations about them). Then shall they dwell in their Land that I have given to My servant Jacob. And they shall dwell SAFELY therein…with CONFIDENCE, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them (their Islamic enemies), and they (Israel) shall know that I am the Lord their God.”

    This remarkable passage gives a TIME/EVENT marker after which they shall dwell safely, defining plainly the fact that before that time they do not do so. And it marks the time of Israel’s national salvation, enlightenment (as to Messiah’s identity), profound repentance and forgiveness for their transgressions and apostasy. This is their time of national face-to-face exposure to the things of God and His kingdom – their time of repentance and conversion. It happens only ONCE, and it is at this time.

    Are they so dwelling today – confidently?      No! Clearly they are not!

    Throughout the country there are walls and barriers against their aggressive enemies round about. Traveling from one region of Israel to another is often interrupted by roadblocks and checkpoints on the roadways. One cannot circulate even in Jerusalem without having his/her camera bag or purse scrutinized by security personnel at tourist sites. In today’s Israel there exists an increasingly popular feeling that the Jewish state may indeed be only a passing phenomenon! We cannot deem such a feeling to be one of confidence.

    So, because of the seemingly insoluble political and territorial problems facing the nation, among some citizens there is little hope of the temporal fulfillment of the Zionist dream of the utopia they envisioned in the halcyon years of the State. The “Palestinians’” pressure on Israel to cede land for peace, to allow Jerusalem as capital of a proposed Islamic state within Israel, and to make an entirely one-sided peace with the Palestinians – all these stifle the hope of some longevity for the State of Israel.

    These rabid enemies, of course, are one unique group of peoples. Not only the representative Tyre and Zidon (Lebanon) but all the Islamic nations round about Israel in the era 1948 and forward, including the “Palestinians” within Israel. [See previous chapters in Ezekiel, beginning at 25:3 and going to the end of chapter 35, for one series of examples of their detailed destruction by name and location,  defined and assured.] Only then shall Israel dwell in safety, build secure) houses, plant vineyards (with the expectation of enjoying their fruits) and dwell confidently.That judgment is outlined by scores of additional references to the destruction of their neighbors by the Christ of the Second Advent. [1]

    This view is firmly supported by Ezekiel 38: 8 - 11 in which Gog clearly expresses the belief that Israel is confident that it is dwelling safely, and verse 14 in which the Almighty Himself absolutely confirms that they are dwelling confidently. The trouble is, Gog’s belief is that it is merely a conviction of Israel and not actual fact, so she marshals her forces and marches down to her own destruction!

    Deuteronomy 33: 27 - 29 confirms the same prerequisite action which brings safety and confidence to Israel. Moses writes to his people: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (a metonym for the strength that comes from His arms): and He shall thrust out the enemy [all local enemies!] from before thee, and shall say, ‘Destroy them!’ Israel THEN shall dwell in safety alone” – the precise condition which sets the stage for the coming of Gog and his confederacy. And does this not necessitate the Second Coming of the Lord? I believe it does, for Christ Himself is their Deliverer – see Isaiah 11: 10 and chapter 63, for examples.

    This correlates perfectly with still another scenario – that of Ezekiel 34: 23-28: “I will set up one Shepherd over them and He shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them and He shall be their Shepherd. And I the Lord will be thy God, and My servant David a prince among them. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts (aggressive enemies) to CEASE out of the land; and they shall DWELL SAFELY…” This is surely a clear indication of Christ on His throne in Jerusalem as King of Israel, having obliterated all His (and their) enemies. All these events are clearly prior to the Gogian invasion.

    What changes from the present day shall have brought about this condition of “safety?”  Answer: “And (they) shall know that I am the Lord, WHEN I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them” (and ‘those’ are not the Gogian host!).  This can ONLY be when their immediate hazards (from their proximal neighbors, who even now threaten their existence) have been removed. This action obviously brings the return of Christ to the earth (My servant David) and the beginning of the kingdom.

    Verses 28 and 29: “...and they shall be SAFE in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord when I HAVE BROKEN THE BANDS  of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hands of those that served themselves  of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen (nations round about), neither shall the beasts of the land (their enemies) devour them; but they shall dwell SAFELY and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a PLANT of RENOWN” (a clear reference to Messiah!). It will be the end of the first stage of their redemption and Messiah’s eminent establishment of peace  on earth and good will among men. That stage has been long and drawn out – so far, over sixty years since the State of Israel was formed. It is clearly Messiah’s presence which gives them the confidence and security needed to fulfill the requirements of Ezekiel 38 and 39.

    When, again, does this occur?  It has clearly begun in our own day, in which we see first-hand the work-in-progress of verse 24: “I will take you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land…” As of 2009 His people have returned from well over 100 nations to the Land. And there are millions more to come!

    So it is important to note that Israel is promised “safety” and “confidence” ONLY after her enemies have been “thrust out…from before” her.

    Note again the same formula’s prevalence in Moses’ elegant dissertation/foreshadowing of Israel’s final salvation in Deuteronomy 33: 26 - 28, where the prophet testifies that…

    “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, Who rideth upon the heavens in thy help, and in His eternal excellency upon the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms, AND HE SHALL THRUST OUT THE ENEMY FROM BEFORE THEE; and shalt say “Destroy them!” ISRAEL SHALL THEN DWELL IN SAFETY ALONE; the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine (great physical blessing throughout the Land); and his heavens shall drop down dew.”

    So, again, it is only AFTER their enemies round about are expelled that they dwell safely. When these enemies have been dispatched we now see the conditions foretold for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38: 8, 11, where Gog expresses the opinion or belief that Israel is at that time dwelling confidently – a fact which is confirmed by the Father Himself in verse 14, that they are indeed at that time dwelling confidently.

    Since the destruction of the enemies round about them brings (necessitates) the physical return of Christ to the earth permanently and unequivocally to destroy these enemies, He is quite obviously occupying the throne of David when the Gogian host attacks as a result of His earlier actions against the Proximal Islamic powers.      

    It is important to note that recognition by others of the reality of the Almighty and His ultimate authority and sovereignty comes about only through a similar “sanctification” – for example: Ezekiel 38:16, where God reveals that “And thou (Gog) shalt come up against My people of Israel as a cloud to cover the land (their intent); it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against My land, THAT the heathen may know Me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their face”  (the reality)!

    This fact correlates with 39:7, in which the Father makes a further comment:”So will I make My holy name known in the midst of My people, Israel [“in” the midst, not “to” the midst of Israel; making it known to the enemies (nations) by means of the great, unexpected miracle of salvation which He is about to perform for them in the eyes of the unenlightened enemy]; and I will not let them pollute My land any more: and the heathen (nations) shall know that I am the Lord, the holy one in Israel.”

    They shall know this assuredly because of the immensely unexpected victory of Israel’s King over Gog as detailed in Ezekiel 39:1, beginning with “prophesy AGAINST Gog…I am against thee, O Gog!” The remainder of the chapter is nothing but extremely bad news for the invading hordes as they are suddenly and completely destroyed at their encampments east of the Sea of Galilee (Ezekiel 39: 11 ff). Their intended invasion goes nowhere, has no positive result for them, and glorifies the name of God to the invader.                                        

     

    PROPHECY LETTER   NOVEMBER 2009


     Isaiah 13: 17    “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them”




    “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it.”

     

    Commentators (one of the chief of which is  Andy Walton in his weekly WWW Power Point presentations over the Internet) have on numerous occasions cited this verse as relating to the current attitude of aggression by Iran toward Israel and the USA.       I suggest that every student critically examine this 13th of Isaiah and try to determine its historical context and its precise meaning.

    Verse one states clearly that it is a ‘burden’ against Babylon.    As to pure basics, we can make nothing more of it. Its utterance must have been rather startling to the Israelites who heard Isaiah, because Chaldea/Babylon was not prominent at this time (700 BC?) in history.    It would gain rapid prominence about 100 years later under Nabolpolasser and his son Nebuchadnezzar, the latter of whom grew to great power in the region, expanding his kingdom in nearly every direction, especially southward.

     

    Historically, Babylon is the first polity designated by God as an empire affecting the land and fortunes of His people Israel (Judah).     Babylon conquered Israel as well as the neighboring lands, in 604 BC and was in power for 70 years, UNTIL OVERTHROWN BY MEDO-PERSIA – the Medes and the Persians .      Verse 3 makes a direct reference to the Medes and the Persians as “My sanctified ones” (those set apart for a purpose) and “My mighty men,” who proudly exalted themselves and their great power before the world.

    So Babylon existed only for a short time, ending with the Medo-Persian conquest of about 534 BC. Verse 5 emphasizes that the Medes were incited by and came “from the Lord,” with the “weapons of His indignation” – that is, under the Almighty’s counsel and guidance, direction, and authority and to perform His work.

    Verses 5 and 9 emphasize that “the whole land shall be destroyed” and “made desolate.”      But it is not Israel or the USA which are nominated here.      The Almighty in this passage is advancing the clear prophecy through Isaiah that the might of the Medes and the Persians will be the vehicle by which He shall debase Babylon, which was thought by everyone to be impregnable.        It is called “the day of the Lord” which was coming upon the land of the Chaldeans (Babylon).      It was to be a great day of judgment which was coming from the Lord God!

    It is in this context that verse 17 comes into consideration, revealing clearly that it is not an Endtime prophecy at all, but a short-term prophecy relating to God’s short term plan…the proximate exercise of Medo-Persia’s might against Babylon.      That it has absolutely nothing to do with Endtime prophecy – and certainly not with Iran’s potential threat/aggression against Israel and the USA. Instead, Iran (Persia) shall have an integral and prominent part in the GOGIAN affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39.       I understand that the reason it is applied to today’s events is actually in that context: in the expectation of an eminent attack by the Gogian host upon Israel.

     

    But such an expectation ignores a large body of prophetic forecasts which belie that order of events, which are considered further down.

    Verses 18 and 19 are understatements of the savagery of the Medes and the Persians of that time.      They have no compassion for young men, newborns, or children; “And Babylon, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.”      The immediate result is outlined in the next three verses, ending with the sobering forecast of Babylon’s desolation – a condition into which it historically fell for millennia, only really partially to emerge at the beginning of the 2oth century as the nation of Iraq, sumptuously rich in oil, gas, and mineral deposits through which it gained some geopolitical importance in these Endtimes.

     

    But the END of Babylon under the progeny of the mighty Nebuchadnezzar was “near to come,” and her days were “not prolonged” due to the fierce aggression of the Medes and the Persians, divinely enabled by the judgmental fervor of the Almighty God of heaven.

     

    Having discovered all those facts we must now admit that the “Medes” do have a part in Endtime affairs, and that they are the power identified today as Iran/Persia.     But in the Endtime context, that power is never referred to as “Media,” but as “Persia.”       The scriptural indications are that Persia is integrated with the forces of the Gogian host which are clearly outlined in Ezekiel 38 and 39, events which in this student’s opinion lie in unknown time ahead of us – just how far ahead being unknown at this time.

     

    What we can determine, I believe, is a rational and scriptural order of events of the Endtime.      We behold Israel today, backed by the USA, in opposition to Iran/Persia (a portion of which was ancient Media, of course). But ‘Media’s’ time as “Persia” is not yet near, for the prophets indicate other colossal conflicts which precede that notable war of Gog and Magog. That is the subject of a separate, in-depth study.

     

    Israel is at this present time in history endlessly being besieged by people who call themselves “Palestinians.”      These enemies of God (Micah 5: 1, 2) are actually made up of several factions of Edomites – descendants of Esau and Ishmael (see Obadiah) – and have been warring against God’s returning people since well before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, witness the massacre of Jewish families in Hebron (1929), the Joseph Trumpledor slaughter of 1928 (?) in the tribal portion of Dan, near Mount Hermon, and numerous other aggressive assaults upon God’s people such as their insistent demand for Jerusalem as an Islamic capital of an Islamic state in place of Israel (and therefore necessitating the overthrow of Israel), the return of millions of “Palestinians” (claiming refugee status) to that land without proof of former residence, of the institution of Sharia Law in God’s land under Islamic authority, and many others.

     

    Some prophecy scholars (students) seem to be in complete denial – or even any awareness – of any great Islamic challenge in these claims and demands and indeed these objectives of terror tactics having been leveled against God’s people for nearly 100 years!    But this is no minor affair!     On the whole, it is more difficult to substantiate, elaborate and discern, or perceive, because the numerous references to it are scattered among most of the prophetic writings of the Old Testament; but they are there, clearly visible if we take pains to study them closely and objectively and try to understand how they fit these End-Times.         These numerous references, however, do not appear prominently in two neatly concise chapters as does the Gogian affair.     Well, on further consideration, they DO sometimes so appear, witness the prophecy of Obadiah, concerning ‘Edom,” Psalm 83, Isaiah 63, and several others concerning the precise coalition of Islamic entities now as a group fully aligned against Israel, the nation, for the first time in history.      But they don’t draw the attention of many students except as under the erroneous assumption that they are additional events in the Gogian affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39.

    The Difficulties of that Earlier Time

    The verity has now been perceived that their conclusions about the Endtime resulted from their presumed understanding of the Endtime solidified before enough history had passed for scholars to understand how those events perfectly fitted into the prophetic picture.      These early studies were superficial studies at best, not by design but by default. The ‘pioneers’ were unduly impressed of the ‘fullness of times’ by their firmly held view of history as it existed in the mid-1800s and by their circumstances.      As a result, they misunderstood the times in which they lived. Their perception was hampered by several factors…

    1.           It was a time when the Arab aggressors of Israel had not yet developed to any great extent. The local Arab populations had no real power or oil revenues at all and thus were inconsequential, not thought to be very important, and certainly not a credible threat to God’s people.

    2.         There were almost no people – either Arab or Jew – in the Land itself at the time.

    3.         There was as yet no State of Israel.

    4.         The Euphrates had not yet been ‘dried up’ as forecasted in the Apocalypse (16:12).

    5.          There were to be more than 20 Islamic entities that were soon to arise in that ‘dried up’ area and related territories (the ‘kings of the east,” as in the same verse), each of which would be a mortal enemy of Israel when established – a huge demographic and geopolitical development referred to as “the budding of the fig tree (Israel) and ALL the trees” in Luke 21:29, which turned out to be the newly created opposing Islamic nations including Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates and many other smaller entities).

    6.         Oil reserves, in stupendous quantities, had not been discovered anywhere on earth; including not in adjacent Islamic lands which turned out to be so well endowed; the present universal need for oil was not yet apparent.

    7.          Home heating was done with wood or coal.

    8.         Lighting was carried out with kerosene, olive oil, or whale oil.

    9.         Railroads were powered by coal and steam.

    10.            There was no need for automotive propulsion as that only came about in the late 19th century.

    11.       The new science of electricity generation was carried out by the combustion of coal, which was in abundant supply.

    12.     Gasoline was unknown as the processes of oil refining (‘catalytic cracking’) had not been invented.

    13.     The internal combustion engine had not been conceived.

    14.     It was actually a primitive society which had not yet developed some (most) of the important conditions and needs necessary to perceive the meaning of many of the End-Time prophecies of the Almighty.

    15.     Other factors were not apparent – or had not yet occurred – prophecies beyond their time which were vital to set the stage for Endtime events. These would be ‘keys’ to the elaboration of later prophecies but were not yet available.

    16.     The rise of Zionism – the human institution which birthed the State of Israel – had not advanced, but only arose finally in 1948, well after those times (being adequately defined c. 1897).

    17.     The ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ was foreseen as an affair which would occur after the People were re-gathered into their land – and no inkling of the Holocaust (the Shoah – the actual Time of Jacob’s Trouble) was apparent to them.

    18.     The unique events of World War I – opening the Land to Jewish immigration, at least on paper and ‘legally,’ (The Balfour Declaration) – and the liberation of Palestine from the last King of the North (the Ottoman Empire) were not foreseen by them.

    19.     The pathetic and horrendous events of World War II – extreme persecution of God’s people, the destruction of two thirds of them in the war theaters by the Shoah, and the fact that that assault literally drove hundreds of thousands of the remnant of God’s people homeward – drove them to God’s Holy Land for their redemptive process, which was then beginning to proceed in earnest.

    20.           Great Britain, which was supposed by nearly everyone to endure in its worldly strength into the final days of the End-Time, suddenly (at the end of World War II) virtually disappeared down the rabbit hole of history, descending rapidly to a third-rate power with little residual or effective influence in world affairs.

    21.     That Zionism – in the strength and determination of Jewish men and women worldwide – would ‘birth’ the State of Israel; at first, yes, under the aegis of Britain, but later over her myriads of objections because of Arabic resistance and blatant Anti-Semitism in her government and in her Mandatory Authority.

    22.           So the King of the North was equated to Russia, whose future leader (Gog) was even then recognized as one who would be a supreme leader of Russia, would be Gog of the Land of Magog, and was universally (?) thought to be ‘the Assyrian’ of Micah 5 and other references.

    23.           The King of the North was also thought to be identical to the Assyrian power (called ‘the latter-day Assyrian by those early interpreters – found in Micah 5 and elsewhere.  The King of the North was apparently not once recognized by the earlier students as being Ottoman Turkey, which maintained that status from 1517 until 1917.

    24.         It was not perceived that these three principal End-Time enemies of Israel (the Assyrian, the King of the North and Gog) were three entirely separate and distinct powers, each having its own reason for being, its own agenda, its own composition, its own leaders, its own destiny, its own period in history, its own impelling influence upon God’s People (the Jews), and its own reason for resisting their return and development and survival…and that each existed in its own time and had little or no relationship (close interaction) to each other in the outworking of His plan – a set of parameters which we could only arrive at after the last King of the North was uprooted and brought to his end.  

    Unfortunately, these conceptual designations have persisted until today as if nothing at all has happened to fulfill prophecy from 1860 until the present day!      It’s disappointing that current scholars – honest, diligent Bible Scholars– are so fearful of error that they are not able (or is their reticence due to simple unwillingness?) to apply their minds to the Word, as we are commanded, and drastically update their understanding of the prophetic writings.       The result for those earlier scholars for the most part was that their forecasts of the finer details of future events in the 19th century went drastically off the rails before the 20th century came.      The ‘pioneer’ scholars should long ago have altered their expectations – perhaps more than once had they lived until today – after seeing the clearly erroneous paths that they had (innocently) forecasted for world events – and especially for those in relation to Israel.

    Christadelphian  writer John Thomas, though often seeming to be brusque and uncommonly certain of his interpretations, revealed an extremely humble and deferential attitude toward us later scholars when later in his life he summed up his final realization and wishes in a paragraph which he published in  Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, December, 1851, pp. 280-281…

    “All we undertake to do is to show what God has revealed in the scriptures “shall come to pass hereafter” in setting forth the glad tidings of His kingdom. If we are inspired we do not know it. We wish we were: for then we could speak and write by inspiration, which would save us much labor and anxiety. We know the truth, which is indeed an inspiration to any man who understands it. But beyond this we make no pretensions, and have no sympathy or fellowship with any that do…. “Our ‘wisdom’ is derived from a source which is accessible to every man who will renounce sectarianism and its traditions, and with child-like docility study the scriptures in the light of grammar, history, and unsophisticated reason, which is unadulterated common sense.” 

    <H E Lafferty – November, 2009>

     

     

     

    The Prophecy Letter

     Charter of the Web-based Prophecy Letter

    "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace
    and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest."

    Isaiah 62:1


     The Prophecy Letter was published by this author  in paper form for nearly sixteen years, beginning in 1990. Its purpose was to explore Endtime prophecy based strictly upon Bible exegesis, relying almost completely on original research rather than on contemporary or past commentators on Bible prophecy, many of whom have proven to be erroneous in both minor and major points of fulfillment.

     Since about one third of the entire Bible is concerned with prophetic matters (i.e., with matters which at the time the prophecy was written were yet future) it is imperative that we come to grips with this important subject and understand as much of it as we possibly can. When we dig deeply into its treasury of disclosure, we will find that even the fine points are revealed to our inquisitive minds.  Its understanding can mean the difference between life and death in the eternal context.

     For example, it foretells in numerous places that Christ shall return to the earth a second time - i.e., in the Second Advent.

     Just what does this mean? Who is this Christ, and why is He coming? What will His arrival have to do with the affairs of this world and our own personal lives? Why do we need to understand more about this pending event? If this is His second advent, when was His first? (Believe it or not there are many who don't know the answer to that question!)  The answers to these questions bear on some of the most important principles of God's word, and define for us Salvation itself.

     In the course of my own personal affairs a year or so ago it became impossible for me to continue the considerable task of researching, writing, publishing, addressing, stuffing and mailing TPL to all subscribers. Just maintaining the mail list was a grueling job near the end! So I have opted for a slightly easier preference - electronic publishing - which will be freely available to all the folks who have computers connected to the World Wide Web (www). I am aware that it can't reach everyone whom it formerly reached but I'm doing the next best thing for my own health's sake. I believe now is the time for our most intense devotion to God's word and its revelations; the Second Advent is surely near; we must be ready - with our lamps well oiled and burning brightly - not with lamps void of oil and their wicks untrimmed. This latter group will find much to their chagrin that the eternal inheritance has passed them by because of their sloth and laziness, their indifference and their slackness.  (Matthew 25: 1 - 13)

     Our hope is to promote individual private research in matters of Bible prophecy - to help each student who reaches these pages to become familiar with what to expect to occur on the world stage of history. History is merely prophecy fulfilled, isn't it? Prophecy 'rolls over' into history in its fulfillment. The implication is that prophecy contains our sure hope of salvation; God only knows what the future holds in store for His servants. In many cases He has foretold these key events for our learning and admonition. He expects us to exert effort to uncover these marvelous things and take them to our hearts - in order to generate greater faith in each one of us.

     This is the end to which we shall continue to strive - the result that we continually hope to achieve - greater faith, and therefore greater adherence to His word by each student of it.

     Therefore I invite you to peruse these pages with your Bible beside your computer screen so that you may verify the suggestions made and the proposals set forth. We intend for each proposal to be consistent with all remaining scripture, for if it is not so it will be worthless in our pursuit of eternal life! I intend to make contributions of both new and old material to these pages as the coming weeks pass. May our journey be one of great profit, of enlightenment in the eternal Plan of our Heavenly Father. When you have suggestions or comments, I hope you will make them known to me as editor and publisher of The Prophecy Letter. I will try to act upon your suggestions and questions with alacrity and promptness all within the bounds of my limited powers to do so.   Helafferty@gmail.com

    THE DEMISE OF YASSER ARAFAT
    Which seemed long overdue! - The Wicked Witch is Dead!

    [It is not our practice to rejoice in the death of anyone; our seeming rejoicing in this article are but a reflection of God's judgment upon one who hated God and his Purpose with all his heart, and hoped instead to found his own dynasty of Offense against God and His Everlasting People,Israel.]

    The farcical drama of the week of November 7-13, 2006, is rarely surpassed in the burlesque theater of international affairs. It was a fittingly bizarre end to the despicable man waging a despicable career in leading a despicable gang of thugs in a despicable cause against God's blessed people - of assassinating them, of maiming and murdering them, of stoning and bombing them, of creating adversity of every kind for them in all the world...and especially in their homeland of Israel.

         Yasser Arafat is widely 'credited' with the invention of the modern terrorist tactic of suicide bombing of innocent people engaging in innocuous activities, the victims never suspectinganything until someone in their midst suddenly explodes into a thousand pieces, a process which over time killed and maimed literally thousands of Israelis, "Palestinians," and foreigners over several decades of terror.

         The "Christian" world at large has distorted his image in venerating his memory. In their concept of "Christianity," what do they think Arafat's destiny will be? An afterlife in heaven? Hardly! In hell fire? - Their everlasting, burning one - probably. Yeah, that's probably their thought even though most of them would be too 'politically correct' to voice it widely. But at the surface of their comments, Arafat was a Nobel Peace Laureate, a patriot, a peacemaker, a diplomat, and a great leader.

         Bosh! He was only ONE of those things, and that was due to a horrible, secular-humanist misconception by the Nobel Committee. Instead...well, you know him as well as I don't you? I never personally saw Arafat more than twice; both these times were separated by only an  hour or so, and occurred on that beautiful September day in Washington several years ago when he participated as a co-signer of the Oslo Accord at the White House, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton.

         How did I happen to see him? Well, I'll tell you frankly, it was unintentional and unplanned; so it was by default. I traveled to the District that day to behold the proceedings at first hand, although unable to attend the actual ceremony, of course. I wanted to absorb the ambience, as they say - the distinctive atmosphere of the day which the majority of men saw as a day of destiny...and of the formal beginning of peace between two warring peoples.

         I was observing the goings-on with many thousands of other persons who were as curious as I was. I was standing street side just south of the east entrance to the White House when the first commotion occurred: a string of SUVs moving northward toward the presidential mansion with sirens blaring and lights flashing. As these vehicles zoomed by I concentrated on the middle vehicle in the convoy, and caught a blurred glimpse of the trademark black and white kaffiyeh and unshaven countenance of Yasser Arafat.

         I noted at the time that the leading and following vehicles contained armed men, who were actually poking machine guns out of the windows. The weapons looked like the Israeli weapon of the day - the Uzi machine pistol! - wielded by Arab gunmen to protect The Old Rascal himself. Well, he needed all the protection he could get.

         So there he was in all his glory...being kowtowed to by the major leaders of the world in the most powerful setting imaginable for him. He was to be the great hero of the day, venerated and extolled by everyone, having 'given up so much and made so many concessions for the achievement of peace.'

         Bosh again!

         This gathering and its fundamental purpose was a lie from the beginning, and his genuine commitment to the peace to which others aspired was absolutely absent. He promised in his speech that this accord 'meant the end of bloodshed' or something to that effect (I was outside the fence and didn't personally hear him say this). It didn't have any bearing on bloodshed, except increasing it!

         The second time I saw him was about 90 minutes later, when he went tearing by my outpost in the opposite direction after the ceremony ended and he was dismissed. He was going back to his hotel before he attended further ceremonies at the White House that evening. The next year he received the Nobel Prize for Peace, along with his Israeli co-signers of that Oslo document - whose abject failure had not yet become apparent to the world's leaders and the Nobel Committee.

         So, what about the 'remains' of Arafat, the arch-terrorist. Where is he now? Well, he's certainly not in heaven! Fortunately for Arafat, he is peacefully resting, asleep forever in the hell of the Bible. Fortunately, that is, because this 'hell' is not a place of eternal, unquenchable flames, but of the dank, cold darkness of death - eternal death - as prescribed by the merciful God of Heaven, to Whom Arafat has effectively answered! His judgment is irreversible, eternal, and finally silent. The Inspired Ones have declared that 'the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything' (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

         Arafat's death state - his process of dissolution - has already begun to reduce him - ALL of him - to the inanimate elements from which he was fashioned: the calcium and phosphorus, the carbon, the hydrogen, and all the elements of the benzene ring and its infinite variations of organic being - the elements of life when wondrously crafted together as only the God of heaven could and did! May his memory be forgotten forever...and his legacies come to shame!

         For he was not only the enemy of the People of God; he was the sworn enemy of Yahweh Himself (Psalm 83:1 - 5). He boisterously incited his fanatical followers with the following boastful words...and has suffered the consequences: "Let us take unto ourselves the houses of God in possession" (Psalm 83: 12).

         Instead God has quietly and without much real ceremony done unto Arafat "as He did unto the Midianites, as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison, Who perished at Endor. They became as dung for the earth" (Psalm 83:9, 10). Their end is carved in the stone-like certainty of God's word: "Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea all their princes as Zebah and as Zalmunna, who [also] said 'let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.' Oh my God, make them like a wheel, as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; so persecute them with Thy tempest, and make them afraid with Thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek Thy name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and; that them may know that Thou, Whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth." (Psalm 83: 11-18)

    HEL