ZION MINISTRY - BIBLE PROPHECY
THE KINGDOM OF GOD - WHAT IS IT?
And just as importantly, when will it be established? The Bible clearly states the answers, why has no-one believed it?By Neville V. Stevens
New International Version used throughout unless otherwise stated.
Christ spoke many times about the Kingdom of God. So did John the Baptist and all the Apostles. What does it mean?
When Christ was asked, He gave a very definitive answer. This is what was said: Luke 17:20 "Once, having been asked by the PHARISEES when the KINGDOM OF GOD would come, Jesus replied, "The KINGDOM OF GOD does not come VISIBLY, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the KINGDOM OF GOD is AMONG [margin] you."
The Pharisees must have wondered about this answer! Most of the questions they asked Christ were rehearsed beforehand. Mostly the object of the questions was to try to trip Him up. What Christ plainly said was NOT to look for a visible manifestation of a descending Kingdom, because the KINGDOM OF GOD was AMONG them.
Some today have pointed out that Christ is the coming King, and therefore, since He was among them, this is the intended meaning. And indeed, this is the explanation - IN PART! But Christ was NOT the KINGDOM OF GOD at that time. He certainly is the King, in fact He's the King of kings. And when He returns He will have many crowns. But at that time, He was not the KING.
In answer to a question by Pilate, Christ said this: John 18:36 "Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not of this world [era]. IF it were, MY SERVANTS WOULD FIGHT to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My Kingdom if from another place." "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are RIGHT in saying I am a KING. In fact, FOR THIS REASON I WAS BORN, and for THIS I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth HEARS MY VOICE.""
Well, was Christ the king or not?
Yes! Christ was a King; He was the King of Salem, and will be forever. Just to make it very clear that Jesus Christ is Melchisedek, King of Salem, we need to study the evidence from Christ's own mouth. This is found in Matt 22:41 "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied. He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."
So in relation to the Christ, Jesus quoted a scripture that even the Pharisees recognized was a reference to the Messiah. They were so shocked by the reply they couldn't respond. This is what it says in V45 "No-one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no-one dared to ask Him any more questions." The Pharisees had an expectation of the arrival of a man; a COMMANDER OF ARMIES, just like Judas Macabee. And this concept is reflected in the verse that Christ quoted from the psalms. They saw everything in terms of human concepts. It hadn't dawned on them to expect a Divine Being. These Pharisees, who lived in the Greek age, were well accustomed to the seeking of wisdom. They saw plenty of this in the presence of Christ, and additionally, they saw mighty miracles. They discounted it all because their minds were focused only on the expected military might that would free them from the servitude of their captors. It's true they searched the scriptures and were well aquainted with them, but they didn't understand them. They thought they did! But they always missed the important part. The spiritual intent! This is the part of the scriptures that has to do with the WILL OF GOD. They were liberal in their interpretations of the scriptures, but only insofar as it offered them physical benefits, and the hope of physical prestige. Actual unfeigned service to God was not high on their agenda.
This is no different to Christians today. They have an expectation that God will woo them with honour, power, influence and prestige. They believe the onus is on God to offer them physical inducements for acknowledging His existence. In return, and provided it makes them feel good, they are willing to offer lip-service.
As the final days of Satan's six thousand year rule draws to a close, it will culminate in a final battle between the forces of good and evil. And it was this battle that Christ referred to when He said, that if His Kingdom were of that age, HIS SERVANTS WOULD FIGHT to prevent His capture (John 18:36). David also spoke of this day, and this was reflected in Christ's question to the Pharisees.
And where did David say this? It's in Ps 110:1 "THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." The LORD will EXTEND YOUR SCEPTRE from ZION; you will RULE in the MIDST of your ENEMIES. YOUR TROOPS will be WILLING on YOUR DAY OF BATTLE. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth [more accurately the margin says: 'your young men will come to you like the dew']. The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind: "You are a PRIEST for ever, in the ORDER OF MELCHISEDEK."
So this COMMANDER OF ARMIES is also the Priestly King of the Order of MELCHISEDEK. This is the Being that met Abraham on his return from the battle of the kings, and received a tithe of all the plunder (Heb 7:1). Melchisedek means 'King of Righteousness', and 'King of Salem' means 'King of Peace' (V2).
The Pharisees recognized the intent of these verses where it spoke of a great battle, and they also recognized that MEN would be involved, and these MEN would be empowered with YOUTHFUL MIGHT. What they failed to recognize was the COMMANDER of this ARMY is the ONE whom David called LORD. And they totally discounted that this expected COMMANDER was the PRIEST OF THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEK! But they had expectations of their understanding of the very next verse: Ps 110:5 "The LORD is at your right hand; He will CRUSH KINGS on the DAY OF HIS WRATH. He will JUDGE NATIONS, HEAPING UP THE DEAD and CRUSHING the RULERS of the WHOLE EARTH. The One who GRANTS SUCCESSION will set Him in authority [margin], therefore He will lift up His head."
This is what they had in mind! Miracles, like healing the sick and turning water into wine were OK in their place, but their expectations were far more grandiose. Action! Real action! This is what they wanted! Even the disciples, in the period immediately after Christ's death and resurrection, believed that Christ had come to free Israel from their captors (Luke 24:21).
At the other end of the pendalum, we have mainstream Christianity today. They don't want action - they want miracles! They also want a peaceful transition into the Kingdom of God. They happily pray 'Your kingdom come..' but they ignore the next part: 'Your WILL be done..' Since the Body of Christ is nestled in the great land that God gave to Ephraim with peace and prosperity, they feel no need or desire to fight to establish God's Kingdom. They feel no obligation to God in such matters. They speak of a misguided concept of 'love' and platitudes. They express an outward show of humility and pay lip-service to God, but they neglect every reference to the establishment of the KINGDOM OF GOD where VIOLENCE will be the order of the day. BODIES WILL BE HEAPED UP, and KINGS AND NATIONS WILL BE CRUSHED, when God intervenes to ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM.
If this is too rich for your blood, consider the words of Christ: Matt 11:12 "From the DAYS of JOHN THE BAPTIST until NOW, the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN has been FORCEFULLY ADVANCING, and FORCEFUL MEN lay hold of it." What does it all mean? Surely the KINGDOM was not in place at the time of JOHN THE BAPTIST! Yet this is exactly what Christ said! Some Bible versions transcribe the word 'forceful' as 'violent'. Both are equally correct. But to whom does it apply? Before we answer this, notice what else Christ had to say in the next verse: V13 "For all the PROPHETS and the LAW PROPHESIED until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear." It was no secret that Elijah was expected. When Christ was speaking to the crowd He referred to Elijah like this: V10 "This is the one about whom it was WRITTEN: 'I will send My MESSENGER ahead of you, who will PREPARE YOUR WAY before You.'" This of course is WRITTEN in Mal 3:1. Malachi further spoke of this Elijah: Mal 4:5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah BEFORE that GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD COMES." It's clear that Malachi was speaking of another day - A GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY!
And just to complicate matters further, notice another statement by Christ. This is what He said immediately after telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God doesn't come visibly. Luke 17:22 "Then He said to His DISCIPLES, "The TIME IS COMING when you will long to see ONE of the DAYS of the Son of Man, but YOU WILL NOT SEE IT. Men will tell you, 'There He is!' or 'Here He is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in His DAY will be like lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But FIRST He must SUFFER many things and be REJECTED by this GENERATION." Christ plainly said that those disciples would NOT see ONE of the DAYS of the Son of Man. Which DAY? Surely not the DAY when Christ returns, because EVERY eye shall see Him (Rev 1:7). And neither do those who are alive in Christ at His return precede those who have died in Christ. Paul stated it this way: 1Thess 4:15 "According to the LORD'S OWN WORD, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will certainly NOT PRECEDE those who have fallen asleep." If the time-frame mentioned here was merely a few minutes, then it would scarcely bear mentioning. Many will probably say 'Aha, you are wrong! The very next verse proves it!' Well, does it really? This is what it says: V16 "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST. AFTER THAT, we who are still alive AND ARE LEFT will be caught up WITH THEM in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." The correct translation should read: 'AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST WILL HAVE ARISEN BEFORE.' But we don't need to strain over this particular verse; there are plenty of other verses that prove this is so. But more importantly, other verses prove WHY it is so! And all these things will soon become clear!
In Matt 11:12, Christ was speaking of the time when the KINGDOM OF GOD would suffer VIOLENCE. He describes this time as the DAYS of JOHN THE BAPTIST - whom He confirmed was the Elijah to come. We know that the ministry of John the Baptist preceded Christ. This much is certain! But Christ implied that John presided over the KINGDOM OF GOD from the start of his appearance in Jerusalem to the time when Christ also appeared in Jerusalem.
Can we really believe this? Can there be a KINGDOM without a KING? We know that John the Baptist suffered violence. He was killed by the beast that then was - just like his later counter-part will (Rev 11:7). But John the Baptist was never crowned as a king, so he never presided as a KING over any KINGDOM. So what did Christ mean when He said the KINGDOM OF GOD would suffer forceful violence 'from the time of John the Baptist until now'? But we also face another dilemma: John the Baptist denied he was the Elijah to come: John 1:21 "They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you THAT prophet?" He answered "No."" Yet Christ said he was (Matt 11:14). This is a serious contradiction unless there is a proper explanation for it. And there is! On the authority of Christ, John the Baptist was the ELIJAH who PREPARED THE WAY for His FIRST coming. But John confirmed he was not THAT prophet who would prepare the way for the GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD - the SECOND coming of Christ.
John the Baptist was widely accepted as a prophet by all! The priests and Levites who had been sent to question him, were a little agitated by his reply. So they continued to question him: V22 "Finally, they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" John replied in the words of ISAIAH THE PROPHET, 'I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'" These people were very familiar with the words of ISAIAH THE PROPHET. John had quoted Isa 40:3. These priests and Levites knew that V1 spoke of the time when God would forgive them, that is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for their sins. In fact, the whole chapter of Isa 40 speaks of the establishment of the KINGDOM - and the priests and Levites KNEW it! They were beginning to tire of John's answers. On the one hand he was quoting all the right verses, but yet denying that he was the Elijah. There were also some Pharisees who had been sent, and they began to question him: V25 "Why then do you BAPTISE if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" "I BAPTISE IN WATER," John replied, "but AMONG you stands One YOU DO NOT KNOW. He is the ONE who comes AFTER me, the thongs of His sandals I am not worthy to untie." John was clearly identifying the Christ.
However abrasive John may have been, or regardless of how often he insulted those who came to see him (Luke 3:7), he didn't resort to lies, but spoke frankly and honestly and with Godly humility. Whatever he said, he meant! Even to the Jewish leaders of his time, he appeared eerily-like the original Elijah. And even to these leaders, who appeared in costly robes and super-sanctimonious resplendor, John was a prophet! Herod also liked to listen to him and actually liked the man: Mark 6:20 "Herod FEARED John and PROTECTED him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; YET HE LIKED TO LISTEN TO HIM." But almost every encounter with him resulted in grave insults. Finally, when the insults exceeded his tolerance, he locked John up in prison. This is how Luke recorded it: Luke 3:19 "But when John REBUKED Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the OTHER EVIL THINGS he had done, Herod ADDED THIS TO THEM ALL. He locked John up in prison."
Perhaps John's disciples, who loved him dearly, sometimes wished that he was less forthright in his criticisms - particularly to a madman like Herod Antipas! But John never shrunk back! He heaped it on! But John levelled NO criticism towards Caesar, NOR towards Pilate! It was HEROD ANTIPAS that John constantly provoked with his attacks. ANTIPAS is an abbreviation of ANTIPATER which means 'anti-father'. Christ also referred to him as that 'fox' (Luke 13:32) - the intent being a jackal! (Gr: alopex. Means wild dog, wolf or jackal).
The Herodian dynasty continued for many years. Herod the Great built the Temple which Christ described as His 'Father's House' (John 2:16). Herod the Great also established the religious order of the Herodians; these were also called the Sadducees. Through these, he sought to channel messianic ambitions towards himself. These Sadducees had a policy of supporting the Royal House and the establishment of a Hellenized (Greek) society. This group teamed up with the Pharisees against the 'common enemy' which was Christ (Mark 3:6, 12:13). Now this unified 'antipater' group became the 'anti-Christ' group. Together, they succeeded in killing the One who was the object of their hatred. And they furthered their objectives by hunting down and killing Christ's followers. As the Apostle John later said, the antichrist was already in Jerusalem. The spirit of the antichrist had existed long before Christ was born. Herod the Great was an Edomite, from the 'land of the north', the Idumean Kingdom - the provinces of BABYLON! King Agrippa II, the king that Paul appeared before (Acts 25), was the last of the Herodian line. He fled to the garrison city of Caesaria at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This is confirmed in the writings of Josephus (Wars: 2:14:2, see footnote). Agrippa II died in the third year of Trajan (100 AD), just a few years after the Apostle John penned the Book of Revelation.
But what of the KINGDOM OF GOD? Was this established at that time? No, it wasn't! The reason is found in the words of Christ: Luke 17:22 "Then He said to His DISCIPLES, "The TIME IS COMING when you will long to see ONE of the DAYS of the Son of Man, but YOU WILL NOT SEE IT. Men will tell you, 'There He is!' or 'Here He is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in His DAY will be like lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But FIRST HE MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS AND BE REJECTED BY THIS GENERATION." Christ FIRST had to suffer and be rejected by 'THIS GENERATION.' In this verse He spoke of THE DAY; this is the DAY of His return. But what of the OTHER DAYS He mentions here? He told His disciples at that time that they would NOT see ONE of these DAYS - the DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN. So what did He mean?
Those who refuse to BELIEVE God had better stop reading right now! What the Bible has to say on these matters is completely different to all you have been taught, and all you have imagined. Some of you supercilious and sanctimonious know-it-alls will probably choke on the truth! Your arrogant and elevated opinions of yourselves prevent you from hearing the truth. For this reason, and in regard to these matters, Christ said, "He that has ears let him hear" (Matt 11:15). You have two options. You can hear it the easy way, or you can hear it the hard way. BUT YOU WILL HEAR IT! The hard way is described in Deut 28:47-48.
If you are still reading this, be aware that what follows are some very complex issues. If your Bible is not beside you, then go and away and get it - or else go away all together!
It's no secret that John the Baptist baptised in water. What is NOT so clearly understood is, that no-one could UNDERSTAND the TESTIMONY OF JESUS UNLESS they were BAPTISED BY JOHN: Luke 7:29 "All the people, even the tax collector's, when they heard Jesus' words ACKNOWLEDGED that God's way was right, BECAUSE THEY HAD BEEN BAPTISED BY JOHN. But the Pharisees and experts in the law REJECTED God's purpose for themselves, BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT BEEN BAPTISED BY JOHN." This is a very clear statement! It's also true! Now since John the Baptist is dead, that rules us all out, UNLESS another ELIJAH is spoken of. And of course, another ELIJAH is spoken of; he's the one who comes before the GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD (Mal 4:5).
If you BELIEVE God, then you will know that you CANNOT possibly understand Christ's testimony, that is, the WAY OF GOD, unless you are baptised by ELIJAH! Going back a couple of verses we read: V24 "What did you go out to see? A reed shaken in the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A PROPHET? Yes, I tell you, and MORE THAN A PROPHET. This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.' Among those who are BORN OF WOMEN there is no-one greater than John; yet the one who is LEAST in the KINGDOM OF GOD is GREATER than he." Don't even imagine that if you make it into God's Kingdom you will be GREATER than John the Baptist when he is RESURRECTED. Christ was speaking of those who are 'BORN OF WOMEN', that is human beings, who are in the KINGDOM OF GOD. All of these will be infinitely greater than John the Baptist was when he was a human being. John the Baptist did no miracles. These people will! And they will be human! God plans to establish His KINGDOM long before Christ returns in all His glory. And Christ will RULE that KINGDOM! A man will be appointed king by the ONE WHO GRANTS ASCENSION (Ps 110:5 - see margin), that is God the Father! Zechariah describes this in Zech 6:11-13. The KINGDOM OF GOD is established at the moment when Satan is cast down to the earth. This is what God says: Rev 12:9 "The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the WHOLE WORLD ASTRAY. He was hurled to earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "NOW HAVE COME the SALVATION and the POWER and the KINGDOM OF OUR GOD, and the AUTHORITY OF HIS CHRIST." And for the disbelievers, notice what happens AFTER this: V12 "Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the DEVIL HAS GONE DOWN TO YOU! He is filled with fury, because HE KNOWS THAT HIS TIME IS SHORT." What happens next is self-evident from the verses that follow this scripture. But be aware, that all these events PRECEDE BY MANY YEARS the LAST TRUMPET AND THE GLORIOUS RETURN OF CHRIST!
So if the KINGDOM OF GOD is to be established BEFORE the return of Christ at the last trumpet, how and where will it be done?
In Luke 17:22, Christ said His disciples would not see ONE of the DAYS of the Son of Man, because He first had to suffer and be rejected by that generation. After Christ's death and resurrection, a great transformation occurred. Two men became particularly prominent. These were Peter and John Peter and John became close companions, but the MINISTRY was PETER'S. Together Peter and John did great miracles (Acts 3:1-10), and even Peter's shadow passing over the sick and the demented, resulted in their healing (Acts 5:15-16). When Peter and John were arrested and locked up in prison, the doors were miraculously opened and they walked free. The angel who had freed them said this: Acts 5:20 "Go, stand in the Temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the FULL MESSAGE of this NEW LIFE." There was certainly a NEW LIFE in Jerusalem among the followers of God. This NEW LIFE is described in Acts 4:32-37. It was wholly different to the life among those to whom the Apostle Paul ministered. In PETER'S MINISTRY, he held the power of life and death. The lying tricksters among those who professed the faith were put to death (Acts 5:1-10). Now this seems to be an extraordinary account. Ananias and his wife Sapphira had the option of being truthful, but instead they decided to lie. They lied to Peter! Notice though, what Peter said: V3 "Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that YOU HAVE LIED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? YOU HAVE NOT LIED TO MEN BUT TO GOD."
For those who think that Peter was a little harsh in what he did, BE AWARE THAT IT WAS GOD WHO PUT THEM TO DEATH! All Peter did was to pass sentence; it was God who carried it out. The question is: WHY? Why would God put to death two disciples of the NEW LIFE, yet allow to live the high priestly order of the Sanhedrin who had Peter and John flogged (Acts 5:40)? And this after Gamaliel had just warned them that they would find themselves FIGHTING GOD (V39). Gamaliel was no dunce! He was perhaps one of the wisest men of that time. He was an expert in the LAW OF GOD. He was the grandson of Hillel, the founder of the college for the Pharisees, which antedated Christ's appearance. Did Gamaliel ever doubt that which his famous student Paul later confirmed - that they were entrusted with the very words of God (Rom 3:1-2)? No, he didn't! Yet he recognized that the mighty wonders and miracles that were being done, were done BY THE HAND OF GOD. And nothing that Christ or the Apostles ever said or did contradicted the importance of the Temple and Temple worship. Christ referred to the Temple as the 'Father's House.' He regularly taught in the Temple. He emphasised the importance of the Temple, and even wept over Jerusalem.
The Temple administration continued for 40 years after the resurrection of Christ. Yet from the earliest days of this NEW LIFE, Gamaliel recognised a parallel of separate ministries. Many of his followers became converts of this NEW LIFE, including many priests of the Hillel/Pharisaical order (Acts 6:7).
We find a surprising account of the assembly of these special people in Acts 5:12 "The Apostles performed many MIRACULOUS SIGNS AND WONDERS among the people. And all the BELIEVERS used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No-one else DARED JOIN THEM, even though they were highly regarded by the people." And little wonder! Stephen, one of the seven, also did great and MIRACULOUS SIGNS AND WONDERS (Acts 6:8). We learn that some of the 'intellectuals' tried to argue with Stephen: Acts 6:9 "These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could NOT stand up AGAINST HIS WISDOM or the SPIRIT BY WHICH HE SPOKE."
On the one hand, we find many people joined them, including some of the priesthood (Acts 6:7). Yet all the others DARED NOT JOIN THEM! These were the smart-mouthed, arrogant, know-it-alls whom God REJECTED from PETER'S MINISTRY. Like those who opposed Stephen, these rejects were constantly arguing their own doctrines and refused to accept the WISDOM OF THE SPIRIT. It's interesting that many of these called themselves members of the 'SYNOGOGUE OF THE FREEDMEN' (Acts 6:9). Some versions call them the Libertines. They saw themselves as free-thinking experts of God's way. In fact, they were perverts, who perverted everything to conform to their own ideas. These were the ones who liberalised the Word of God to force God to conform to their way of thinking. There are plenty of Libertines today, and they are easily recognised. These radicals like to argue points of doctrine based on their former teachings. They even believe they can teach the SPIRIT OF GOD a few tricks. They recognise the WISDOM OF GOD, but refuse to accept it.
Honest questions and the desire to learn are honourable in the eyes of God, but these radicals are specialists in deception. They make guarded offers of sending tithe money or offerings if this writer can offer arguments against the teachings of their favourite 'intellectual' mentor. Like Ananias and Sapphira, these people only think in terms of material things. Their greedy, calculating avarice is the same spirit that brought death to Ananias and Sapphira. Somehow, they think they can buy their way into God's endtime ministry. What they have bought is a death sentence. Some of them seemed stunned when they get the contemptuous reply they deserve!
God loves a cheerful giver. He doesn't depend on receiving contributions from the radical elements of the religious community. God knows who faithfully BELIEVE His Word, and He certainly knows on whom He bestows His Spirit. Even the Levite Barnabas laid his contributions at the FEET of the two witnesses, the two pillars, that is, Peter and John (Acts 4:36). Interesting point this! They laid their contributions at the FEET (V37) THAT CHRIST WASHED (John 13:7-10). PETER'S MINISTRY ended, probably around 67AD, when he was martyred in the same manner as Christ (John 21:19) and in the same place - JERUSALEM! But John lived on, just as Christ said he would (V22-23). He had to survive until Christ came. Christ came to him while he was on the Isle of Patmos (Rev 1:9). A whole new era dawned.
Paul's ministry established Christianity all over the world. Paul spent most of his life fighting the brushfires of apostacy. While Paul did many mighty miracles and performed many wonders, they were absent in the lives of the Church members. The same SPIRIT that empowered all the TRUE BELIEVERS in JERUSALEM was not evident in the scattered Churches.
But the Apostle John wrote of another MINISTRY; one that was independent of the scattered Churches, just as the MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST was independent of CHRIST'S MINISTRY. JOHN'S MINISTRY ended when CHRIST'S MINISTRY came to prominence. One era ended as another began. Yet Christ spoke in glowing terms of the ministry of John the Baptist and emphasized the importance of it when He Himself was baptized by John.
Around 95AD, the Apostle John wrote of another ministry involving two men; a MINISTRY that would come to GREAT PROMINENCE in JERUSALEM. This MINISTRY would be characterized by GREAT MIRACLES AND WONDERS. It would be a PROPHETIC MINISTRY - just like that of JOHN THE BAPTIST! This MINISTRY would proclaim the same things, but with a difference. Christ spoke of the ELIJAH being MORE than a PROPHET. When Christ appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos, John recorded all that he saw and heard.
Christ spoke of seven Churches that still existed in the realm of Satan the devil. There were no great requirements demanded of these groups. There was little said to commend their conduct. With the brief message to these seven Churches, the dialog with them ended. John recorded this: Rev 4:1 "AFTER THIS I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had FIRST HEARD speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place AFTER THIS." This voice, which is further identified as Christ, said this: Rev 1:11 "...Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven Churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." So it was AFTER THIS, and after the message to the seven Churches, that the voice said, "I will show you what must take place AFTER THIS."
What follows AFTER THIS is the crushing and horrific events of the endtime - which will culminate with the return of Christ. From the beginning of the fourth chapter of Revelation, the seven Churches are singularly absent from the detail of the scriptures. Just as the seven Churches were far removed from PETER'S MINISTRY (in fact they were taught by Paul), so are they absent from the endtime ministry that the Apostle John goes on to describe. This is the MINISTRY of the TWO ENDTIME PROPHETS. Everything concerning this MINISTRY is focused on JERUSALEM. ALL ENDTIME PROPHECIES are focused on this CITY OF GOD.
After the Apostle John details all these endtime prophecies, the Churches are again mentioned. This is what Christ says: Rev 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this TESTIMONY for the Churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and THE BRIGHT MORNING STAR." Christ is the BRIGHT MORNING STAR, that is, the STAR that brings light in the MORNING - our SUN. The Book of Malachi further describes this statement by Christ: Mal 4:1 "Surely the DAY IS COMING; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left of them. But for you that revere My name, the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will RISE with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked, they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty."
All these things happen when the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS RISES. Our LIGHTBRINGER arises in power and glory AFTER Satan and his demons are cast down (Rev 12:10). This is the time when Christ says: "I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the BRIGHT MORNING STAR." This is also the time when Christ says: "I, Jesus, have sent MY ANGEL to give you this TESTIMONY for the Churches." How many angels was that? Was it the seven that Christ sent to the Churches? No! This verse speaks of only ONE ANGEL.
This is the ANGEL that is given great prominence in the final endtime ministry the Apostle John speaks of. This is the ANGEL before whom Joshua stands (Zech 3:1), who is also described as the ANGEL OF THE LORD. This is the angel that delivers the little scroll to John (Rev 10:1). John is told NOT to write down the words that were spoken (V4). But he is told to eat the scroll: V9 "So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey. I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, "You must PROPHESY AGAIN about MANY PEOPLES, NATIONS, LANGUAGES AND KINGS."
A similar description of these things is found in the Book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was an unusual prophet in that he is described as the 'son of man' over ninety times. He is the only prophet who is described by this title, with the exception of one man whom David spoke of in Ps 80:17. The title of 'Son of Man' is the one that Christ used in reference to Himself.
What is so interesting about Ezekiel is he was a prophet in exile, but his job was to prophesy about JERUSALEM, AND the WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL in exile. Almost everything that Ezekiel wrote was in parable form - just like Christ! And everything was written either in vision or as directed by the Spirit of God. He never returned to Jerusalem from captivity. Again and again, God required him to act out the parables he was given. It was to Ezekiel that God entrusted the PLANS FOR THE FINAL TEMPLE, AND the ALLOTMENT OF LANDS to the returning 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL. The Temple described in Eze 40-48 has never been built! This is evident from the description of the 'TREE OF LIFE' and the 'RIVER OF LIFE' described in Eze 47 (see also Rev 22). His prophecies extend from the time the KINGDOM OF GOD is established, to the RE-BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE and the resettlement of ALL TWELVE TRIBES IN THE PROMISED LAND. Future articles will cover in great detail all the prophecies of the Book of Ezekiel and the detailed events - all of which are for our time!!
Reverting again to the description the mighty angel who handed the Apostle John the little scroll, we find a similar description in Ezekiel: Eze 2:9 "Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll which unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of LAMENT AND MOURNING AND WOE." Eze 3:1 "And he said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, EAT THIS SCROLL; then go and speak to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL." So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as SWEET AS HONEY IN MY MOUTH." It's not surprising that the House of Israel is NOT WILLING to hear a message of LAMENT AND MOURNING AND WOE. God foresaw this, and warned Ezekiel of it: V7 "But the HOUSE OF ISRAEL is NOT willing to listen to you, because they are NOT willing to listen to Me, for the WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL is HARDENED and OBSTINATE. But I WILL MAKE YOU as UNYIELDING and HARDENED as they are. I WILL MAKE YOUR FOREHEAD LIKE THE HARDEST STONE, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a REBELLIOUS HOUSE."
These verses describe the WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL - that is, ALL 12 TRIBES! The northern ten tribes had already been driven out of the land some 130 years before, so Ezekiel never actually got to speak to them at all. But Ezekiel lived out the parable of receiving the little scroll; a preemptive act that would foreshadow the description given by John. And the man who receives this scroll will be given - BY GOD - A FOREHEAD AS HARD AS FLINT! This man is NOT your average, syrupy, preacher of feel-good sermons. God describes this man as UNYIELDING AND HARDENED! GOD HAS MADE HIM THIS WAY! The vast majority of people will not listen to him! But a small minority will!
The SEVEN EYES OF CHRIST (Rev 5:6) are constantly watching and reporting on THOSE PEOPLE who LISTEN TO GOD'S MESSAGE and BELIEVE GOD. These are the ones who are not beguiled by the nonsense that is being taught today. These people realize that all that the Apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelation, and all that the former prophets spoke of, will come to pass EXACTLY AS WRITTEN! These are the people who recognize that God is speaking of events that will bring LAMENT, MOURNING AND WOE. While many of them don't fully understand God's reasons - YET! - they fully comprehend that God has a very great purpose in mind.
Christ is the ROCK! Peter was also a ROCK! From the earliest moment, when Christ first met Peter, He called him 'CEPHAS'. And it was to this ROCK that Christ entrusted HIS MINISTRY - in JERUSALEM! In fact, Christ said that on this ROCK He would build His Church. Many of those in Jerusalem wondered about Christ's identity, and this prompted Christ to ask His disciples a question. This is what He said: Matt 16:13 "...Who do people say the Son of man is? They replied, "Some say JOHN THE BAPTIST; others say ELIJAH; and still others, JEREMIAH or ONE OF THE PROPHETS." "But what about you?" He asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."" It's interesting that people assumed Christ to be one of the PROPHETS. Not a NEW prophet, but one of the FORMER prophets. Because Christ fulfilled so much that was written by the former prophets, the people assumed that He was a reincarnation of one of them. While their reasoning was faulty, they recognized that Christ's ministry embodied the characteristics of all the former prophets. Christ even likened Himself to the prophet Jonah (Matt 12:40).
Notice that it was Peter who was first to identify Christ. He boldly and emphatically stated: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." V17 "Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, BUT BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. And I tell you that YOU ARE PETER, and on this ROCK I will BUILD MY CHURCH, and the gates of hades will not overcome it. I will give YOU the KEYS of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; WHATEVER you BIND ON EARTH will be BOUND IN HEAVEN, and WHATEVER you LOOSE ON EARTH will be LOOSED IN HEAVEN."
You will notice that the whole context of this conversation was about identity! In answer to Christ's question, Peter correctly identified Him. Christ THEN identified PETER! He said 'you ARE Peter' - and the word 'peter' means ROCK! Some people have gone to great lengths to dissect this verse to prove that Christ was speaking of Himself in reference to the ROCK. But was Christ speaking of Himself when He said, 'I will give YOU the KEYS of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN'? HE WAS SPEAKING TO PETER! While many people may find it distasteful that the Catholic Church has hijacked the name of Peter, and claimed him as the first pope (which is utter nonsense!), Christ made it plain that His MINISTRY would be ENTRUSTED TO PETER!
It was also to Peter that Christ gave the command to feed His sheep. Christ even implied that Peter loved Him more than the others: John 21:15 "When they had finished eating, Jesus said to SIMON PETER, "Simon, son of John [Jonas], do you truly love Me MORE THAN THESE?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "FEED MY LAMBS." Three times in all, Christ told Peter basically the same thing. He said, "Take care of My sheep" and "feed My sheep." Peter became a little alarmed by Christ's repetition of this. But we learn the reason why in the following verses. Christ was entrusting Peter with His MINISTRY, but more than this, Christ required Peter to emulate Him in every way, including His death. This is what the Bible says in V18 "I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will STRETCH OUT YOUR HANDS, and someone else WILL DRESS YOU and lead you where YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO." Jesus said this to indicate the KIND OF DEATH by which PETER WOULD GLORIFY GOD. Then He said to him, "FOLLOW ME!" Just as Christ was dressed in a purple robe and led away to His death; and with outstretched arms He was nailed to the tree, so would Peter be killed in the same way. So Christ required Peter to be killed - to glorify God - in exactly the same way that He Himself died. One of the reasons that only Peter received this honour was because HE LOVED CHRIST MORE THAN THE OTHERS.
Of PETER'S MINISTRY, Christ said this: John 20:21 "Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME, I AM SENDING YOU." And with that He breathed on them and said, "RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. IF YOU FORGIVE ANYONE HIS SINS, they are FORGIVEN, but if YOU DO NOT FORGIVE THEM, they are NOT FORGIVEN." You can pontificate on this all you like, but be aware CHRIST MEANT WHAT HE SAID!! On this occasion, Christ was addressing all eleven disciples who were gathered in the room. Did Christ Himself forgive sins? You had better believe that He did! In fact, He made a point of ensuring that this was clearly understood. Notice what the Bible says: Luke 5:20 "When Jesus saw their faith, He said, "Friend, YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN." The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? BUT THAT YOU MAY KNOW THAT THE SON OF MAN HAS AUTHORITY ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS..." He said to the paralysed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God."
Two important points. Christ confirmed that He has the AUTHORITY on earth to FORGIVE SINS! HEALING A PERSON or the CASTING OUT DEMONS requires exactly the SAME COOPERATION FROM GOD as FORGIVING SINS. It is the POWER OF GOD! If God forgives someone his sins, then God is also prepared to heal them of their diseases. And God makes this very plain: Ps 103:2 "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS. HE FORGIVES ALL MY SINS and HEALS ALL MY DISEASES; He REDEEMS MY LIFE FROM THE PIT and crowns me with love and compassion. He satisfies my desires with good things, so that MY YOUTH IS RENEWED like the EAGLE'S."
While most people are happy enough to believe that God can FORGIVE THEIR SINS, they are NOT so happy to believe that God can HEAL ALL THEIR DISEASES. Nor do they believe that God can RENEW THEIR YOUTH. And the renewal of one's youth is exactly what God is saying in Ps 110:1 "THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." The LORD will EXTEND YOUR SCEPTRE from ZION; you will RULE in the MIDST of your ENEMIES. YOUR TROOPS will be WILLING on YOUR DAY OF BATTLE. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth [more accurately the margin says: 'YOUR YOUNG MEN WILL COME TO YOU LIKE THE DEW']. The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind: "You are a PRIEST for ever, in the ORDER OF MELCHISEDEK."
Those who are FAITHFUL to God and BELIEVE HIM will certainly have their sins forgiven, and they will be healed of all their diseases! You can be sure of this! God tells us this in emphatic terms: Isa 33:24 "No-one living in Zion will say, "I am ill"; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven." But God also speaks of the RENEWAL OF YOUTH: Zech 12:7 "The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah FIRST, so that the HONOUR of the HOUSE OF DAVID and of JERUSALEM'S INHABITANTS may NOT BE GREATER THAN JUDAH. On that day the LORD will SHIELD those who LIVE in JERUSALEM, so that the FEEBLEST AMONG THEM will be like DAVID, and the HOUSE OF DAVID will be LIKE GOD, like the ANGEL going BEFORE them. On that day I will set out to DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS that attack JERUSALEM."
These mighty people will be God's TREASURED POSSESSION. They will have their sins forgiven because of their deep repentance (Zech 12:10). And since Christ linked forgiveness to healing, these people will also trust in God for their healing. Increasingly today, people trust in the medical profession for their healing and believe this is sanctioned by God. For screwball reasons known only to them, these people think that God heals through the medical profession. After nearly 6,000 years, and right at the endtime, they think that God has suddenly empowered the medical profession to do His work. They hold 'medical science' in the highest regard, believing that 'miraculous cures' through them replace the need for God's divine healing.
What a laugh! The brainless morons in the medical profession are killing millions of people every year. Their dangerous preparations are destroying the immune system of everyone who trusts in them. Through the use of their 'wonder drugs' they have generated exotic diseases that were unknown just a generation or two ago. Typical of the mind of Satan, they have sought to blame smoking as the big bogey of these exotic diseases. Smoking has been around for hundreds of years since the days of Sir Walter Raleigh. It has no bearing at all on the hundreds of exotic diseases that are now claiming millions of lives. The medical profession is responsible for it all! And those who trust in them for their healing deserve what they get! But the most outrageous claims of all come from some of the 'christian' religions who openly promote the medical profession as the 'healing work' of God. They simply won't believe that God's healing is by miracle. They obviously don't believe that Christ's miracle healing was from God. Perhaps they believe that human beings have become so 'clever' that they don't need God any more!
God has warned His people, the House of Israel, of what they must shortly face. Among these are horrific diseases (Deut 28:59), and even when they are conquered and taken into captivity, they will be so worthless that no-one will buy them (Deut 28:68).
Let it be clearly understood! Forgiveness of sins is a personal matter between the person and God, EXCEPT where it involves a threat to the BODY OF CHRIST or the KINGDOM OF GOD. If anyone slips up and sins (and from time to time all do), then they should seek God's forgiveness. If a brother or sister has been wronged, then the guilty party should also seek their forgiveness. But if anyone takes action against the WORK OF GOD - EXPECT NO MERCY! You will not be forgiven in this life or in the life to come! If the judgment is made, it is final and irrevocable!
Those who have already read the other articles will know what a true Christian is. Whether you are a black African or an Eskimo, if you are a CHRISTIAN, then, like Christ, you are a JEW. If you are NOT of one of the 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL, then you are a Christian BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN GRAFTED INTO THE TREE (Rom 11:17). And to all Christians, a Jew is one who is a Jew INWARDLY (Rom 2:28). And if you are a Jew INWARDLY, then you are LIKE a Jew in every respect. If for instance, your heart-felt prayers are NOT for the fledgling NATION OF ISRAEL and the CITY OF JERUSALEM, then you are NOT a JEW - AND NEITHER ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN! This is by the authority of God!
Let it be stated very clearly! Of ALL the families of the earth, God has ONLY CHOSEN the 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL (Deut 7:6, Amos 3:2, 2Sam 7:23). They alone, are God's people. If your loyalties are in favour of any nation or race that opposes God's people, then YOU ARE THE ENEMY OF GOD! Increasingly today, we see Gentiles infiltrating the nations of the 12 Tribes of Israel. The Israelites are becoming second-class citizens in their own countries. As the doctrine of multi-culturalism gains momentum, fanned principally by the fake 'christian' religions, we see an ever-widening rift developing between God's people and Satan's people. The infiltration trickle is set to become a tidal wave. Germany (Simeon) and France (Reuben) are already becoming alarmed by the huge influx of Gentile degenerates. Britain (Manasseh) has been alarmed for years, but have sought refuge in the doctrine of multi-culturalism. The same with Australia (Manasseh). The United States (Ephraim), probably more than any other nation, has seen the devastating results of the conduct of the Gentiles among them. These degenerates have introduced the most disgusting practices imaginable to what was once a God-fearing nation.
On the political spectrum in Australia, there is only one lone voice crying out against the madness of multi-culturalism, and her name is Pauline Hanson. She heads a political party called 'One Nation.' It's hard to imagine the amount of hatred expressed for this woman by the lunatic-brigade of multicultural doctrine enthusiastists. The favourite catch-cry of her detractors is that she doesn't have all the answers. The truth is neither do any of the other political parties, but at least Pauline Hanson has correctly identified the problems - which no others have!
Those people who profess Christianity, but refuse to be guided by God's Word, are in for the shock of their lives. They can delude themselves all they like, and they can immerse their heads in the sand, but what is poised just over the horizon will reduce them to mindless lunatics (Deut 28:34). There is nothing in the Bible to suggest a peaceful transition into God's Kingdom. On the contrary, there is only horror and mayhem. God will establish His Kingdom, and the violent will take it by force. This small army of God's people will be pitted against the mightiest weapons on earth, and they will destroy them with slingstones. But then, most of you probably don't believe this! Speaking of a time AFTER Christ's first appearance (Zech 9:9), the Bible says this: V10 "I will take away the chariots of Ephraim, and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow will be broken." This is a prophecy AGAINST the Tribe of Ephraim (U.S) and against the Tribe of Judah (Israel). Continuing: "He will PROCLAIM PEACE to the NATIONS. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the BLOOD OF MY COVENANT with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, O PRISONERS of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. I will bend JUDAH as I bend My bow and fill it with EPHRAIM. I will rouse your sons, O ZION, against your sons, O GREECE, and make you [ZION] like a warrior's sword." This speaks of a time when God will proclaim peace to the nations - that is, His nations (Isa 40:1). This is the time when His rule is established to the ends of the earth. The 'BLOOD OF MY COVENANT' is on those who dwell in ZION. This is a reference to the COVENANT that Christ made through His BLOOD. This is the time when God will again restore the fortunes of Judah and Ephraim. They will fight, together with ZION, against the SONS OF GREECE.
Continuing: V14 "Then the LORD will appear over them; His arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD (not the angel) will sound the trumpet; He will march in the storms of the south, and the LORD Almighty will shield THEM [plural]. THEY [plural] will DESTROY and overcome with SLINGSTONES." This speaks of the YOUTHFUL ARMY that God has spoken of, whom He will use to DESTROY those who come against JERUSALEM.
Just as the Book of Malachi describes these people in Mal 3:17, so does Zechariah describe them in the same way: V16 "The LORD their God will save them on THAT DAY as the FLOCK OF HIS PEOPLE. They will sparkle in His LAND like JEWELS IN A CROWN. How attractive and beautiful they will be!"
When God takes away the might and power of EPHRAIM, that is, their chariots and the battle-bow, He will at that time install the FLOCK OF HIS PEOPLE, the JEWELS IN THE CROWN, His TREASURED POSSESSION, and they will become a formidable and indestructible force in JERUSALEM. And why does God do all these things? He explains: Zech 10:2 "The IDOLS SPEAK DECEIT, diviners see VISIONS that LIE; they tell dreams that are false, they give COMFORT IN VAIN. Therefore the people wander like sheep, oppressed for LACK OF A SHEPHERD. My anger burns AGAINST the SHEPHERDS, and I will PUNISH THE LEADERS; for the LORD Almighty will care for HIS FLOCK, the HOUSE OF JUDAH, and make them like a PROUD HORSE in BATTLE. From JUDAH will come the CORNERSTONE, from him the TENT-PEG, from him the BATTLE-BOW, from him EVERY RULER. Together they will be LIKE MIGHTY MEN TRAMPLING THE MUDDY STREETS IN BATTLE. Because the LORD is WITH THEM, and will FIGHT and OVERTHROW THE HORSEMEN." Which HORSEMEN is this? Zechariah has already told us! It's the SONS OF GREECE! This is a reference to the FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE. It's GREECE that will preside over these nations, JUST AS DANIEL SAID!
O dear! And all the time YOU thought the FOUR HORSEMEN were something to do with the Pope! No wonder GOD'S ANGER BURNS AGAINST THE SHEPHERDS. When it comes to lying in God's name, they are straight-A students. They don't believe God at all! Well God is about to destroy them all! Then you will know that GOD HAS NOT SPOKEN IN VAIN! At that time, God will care for "HIS FLOCK, the HOUSE OF JUDAH".
God has more to say about the SONS OF GREECE. In the days when God has restored the fortunes of JUDAH, He will deal with all the nations of the earth collectively to destroy them. Joel 3:1 "IN THOSE DAYS AND AT THAT TIME, when I RESTORE THE FORTUNES OF JUDAH AND JERUSALEM, I will gather ALL NATIONS and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into JUDGMENT against them concerning MY INHERITANCE, MY PEOPLE ISRAEL, for they scattered MY PEOPLE among the nations and DIVIDED UP MY LAND." V4 "Now what have you against me, O Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you REPAYING Me for something I HAVE DONE? If you are PAYING ME BACK, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done. For you took My silver and gold and carried off My finest treasures to your temples. You sold the PEOPLE OF JUDAH AND JERUSALEM to the GREEKS that you might send them far from their homeland." V11 "Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. BRING DOWN YOUR WARRIORS, O LORD! Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there will I sit to JUDGE ALL THE NATIONS ON EVERY SIDE."
This speaks of God's final judgment when He passes sentence on them all. The Palestinians (Philistines) think they can pay God back for what He has already done. And what God has already done is to drive them from His Holy City and cut them down. Who does God use to do this? Is it the Israeli army? NO! It's God's WARRIORS! And these are the WARRIORS God brings to the battle arena in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Before God crushes them like the vermin they are, the beast and the false prophet must be captured alive (Rev 19:20). And Joel further describes the Great Commander - the Lion of the Tribe of Judah - Christ! Joel 3:15 "The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars will no longer shine. The LORD will ROAR from ZION and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the PEOPLE OF ISRAEL." The Prophet John gave many more details of these events.
But what of EPHRAIM? Will God utterly destroy them and not redeem them? No! God has great plans for them. At the time when God strengthens JUDAH as a MIGHTY INVINCIBLE FORCE, He will also set out to save EPHRAIM. This is what He says: Zech 10:6 "I will STRENGTHEN the HOUSE OF JUDAH and SAVE the HOUSE OF JOSEPH. I will RESTORE them because I have compassion on them. They will be as though I had not REJECTED them, for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them. The EPHRAIMITES will BECOME like MIGHTY MEN, and their hearts will be as glad as with wine."
(The House of Joseph is often referred to as Ephraim or Manasseh who were the sons of Joseph) What the Bible is actually saying is: He will strengthen the House of Judah TO SAVE the House of Joseph! Yes, God's MIGHTY ARMY - those on whom the BLOOD OF THE COVENANT is, will be sent to redeem the HOUSE OF JOSEPH from all the lands where they will be scattered. BELIEVE GOD!
A further description is given of these events: V8 "I will SIGNAL for them and GATHER THEM IN. Surely I will REDEEM them; they will be as numerous as before. Though I SCATTER THEM among the peoples, yet in DISTANT LANDS will they REMEMBER Me." And just so there are no misunderstandings, God also describes this period as an EXODUS just like in the DAYS OF MOSES. The northern ten tribes - collectively EPHRAIM - were dispersed and driven from the Holy Land over 700 years before Christ. They never returned as a nation. But God has always intended them to return and to receive their allotted inheritance. The prophet Ezekiel was instructed to describe these future alloted portions of land in Eze 48. When they return, the TEMPLE described by Ezekiel will have already been built. Concerning this EXODUS God has this to say: V10 "I will BRING THEM BACK from EGYPT and GATHER them from ASSYRIA. I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon, and there will not be room enough for them. They will PASS THROUGH the SEA OF TROUBLE; the surging sea will be subdued and all the depths of the NILE will dry up. ASSYRIA'S pride will be brought down and EGYPT'S sceptre will pass away. I will STRENGTHEN them in the LORD and in HIS NAME they will walk," declares the LORD."
One worthless shepherd went to great lengths to 'prove' that ASSYRIA is Germany. Future articles will show just how stupid and ill-conceived this theory is! But let it be known to all: When God speaks of ASSYRIA (who had passed into history at the start of Daniel's prophecies) it is referring to IRAN (formerly PERSIA). This reference is found in the Book of Ezra. Speaking of the period of TEMPLE-BUILDING during the reign of DARIUS (Ezra 6:15), God records this: Ezra 6:22 "For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the KING OF ASSYRIA, so he assisted them in the work on the HOUSE OF GOD, the God of Israel."
The IRANIANS are the former enemies of EPHRAIM (U.S). Lately, there have been peace overtures offered to the Americans by the IRANIANS. Prophecy reveals that these will become EPHRAIM'S lovers. The IRANIANS are different from all the other Moslems. They are the SHIA Moslems all the rest of the world are the SUNNI. EPHRAIM will back them against the FIRST HORSEMAN - Saddam Hussein. They will conquer IRAQ (BABYLON) and Saddam Hussein will be killed!
But God has further to say on this matter! The events previously described, when God will destroy and enslave EPHRAIM, are also recorded in Hos 5:9 "EPHRAIM will be LAID WASTE on the DAY OF RECKONING. Among the TRIBES OF ISRAEL I PROCLAIM THAT WHICH IS CERTAIN." Yes, God DOES PROCLAIM that WHICH IS CERTAIN! And when it comes to pass, AND THIS IS CERTAIN, you will know that God has sent a prophet to you! The prophecy continues: V11 "EPHRAIM is oppressed, trampled in JUDGMENT, intent on pursuing idols. I am like a moth to EPHRAIM, like rot to the people of JUDAH. When EPHRAIM saw his sickness, and JUDAH his sores, then EPHRAIM TURNED TO ASSYRIA, and sent to the great king for help. But he is not able to CURE you, nor able to HEAL your sores." While Ephraim continues to wage war against Saddam Hussein, he will be allied with the King of Assyria - IRAN! Finally, when Ephraim is defeated, and his army slaughtered, all his 'lovers', including Iran, will turn away in disgust. And just to be sure that WHAT GOD PROCLAIMS IS CERTAIN, God inspired the prophet, who detailed all these things, to record this at the end of the book: Hos 14:9 "Who is WISE? He will REALIZE these things. Who is DISCERNING? He will UNDERSTAND them. The WAYS of the LORD are RIGHT; the RIGHTEOUS WALK IN THEM, but the REBELLIOUS STUMBLE IN THEM." Whatever God has said, will come to pass exactly as He has stated it!
Those who think they can build a prophetic scenario based on their own view of historical and political events are in for a devastating shock! When God says the WISE WILL UNDERSTAND, He is referring to those who are WISE ENOUGH to BELIEVE GOD! Most of those who actively prophesy today, do so based on their own conceited view of current events. None of what they say is based on what the Bible says! These false prophets make some of the most outrageous claims imaginable, based on their own viewpoint, rather than on the word of God. These sickos think they have authority from God to prophesy from their own imaginations.
One outrageous claim doing the rounds at the moment suggests that since the Statue of Liberty is the same height as the statue of Jupiter Olympus it must be the image of the beast. Presumably, the beast is going to set the Statue of Liberty on the Holy Mount in Jerusalem. What fanciful rubbish these people believe and teach!
Then there are others who seize on what God reveals to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7) and apppropriate it as their own revelation. They delude their followers into believing that God has revealed it through them! These people actually believe they can teach the same things as God's prophet and draw followers after them. But God has issued a warning to them. This warning is told in a story related by Jeremiah. It deals with those who think they can set up their own organizations in opposition to God's Work. This is what God says: Jer 26:20 "(Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who PROPHESIED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; he PROPHESIED THE SAME THINGS against this city AS JEREMIAH DID. When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt, along with some other men. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, WHO HAD HIM STRUCK DOWN WITH THE SWORD and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.) Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shapham SUPPORTED Jeremiah, and so he was NOT handed over to the people TO BE PUT TO DEATH."
Those who think they can teach the same things as God's prophets and who think they can get away with it are in for the shock of their lives! Only those who SUPPORT God's Work are immuned from the penalty of death that God has reserved for those who despise Him. And why? Because God has placed in the hands of His prophets the power of life and death - just as in the case of Peter. Lying to a true prophet of God carries the death penalty. Uriah son of Shemaiah thought he could teach the same things as Jeremiah and draw followers after him. God decided otherwise!
The self-appointed prophets are easily recognized. They 'mix and match' a whole flotilla of beliefs and forge them into a doctrine. What emerges is a doctrine that is transparently false, but this doesn't faze them at all. They have a secret weapon, it's called pseudo-sanctimony! They embellish their teachings with flowery scriptures that impart a totally wrong message, and even present them in the same medieval English that the translators used to compile the KJV. God has something to say about these people too: Jer 23:30 "Therefore," declares the LORD, "I am against the prophets who STEAL FROM ONE ANOTHER WORDS SUPPOSEDLY FROM ME. Yes," declares the LORD, I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, 'The LORD declares.' Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," declares the LORD. "They tell them and lead My people astray with their RECKLESS LIES, yet I DID NOT SEND THEM OR APPOINT THEM. They do not benefit these people in the least." declares the LORD."
The whole world abounds with those who have appointed themselves as prophets; and anyone who presumes to teach Bible prophecy is claiming that title! Yet what they teach are RECKLESS LIES that are NOT based on God's Word! What is more, they KNOW that God did NOT SEND THEM OR APPOINT THEM!
When EPHRAIM is taken out of the way, there will be no restraint in the world. Every nation will be vying for the spoils. War will continue to the end (Dan 9:26).
But what of the Kingdom of God? What is the significance of all that is spoken of this Kingdom? When and how will it be established?
Immediately after the Day of Pentecost began following Christ's resurrection some amazing events occurred. Many people had gathered in Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). They were from every tribe, nation, language and people. They heard a sound like the blowing of a mighty wind descend from heaven. They came together in bewilderment wondering what it was. This loud noise filled the house where the disciples were sitting. To their amazement, this great crowd of people heard the disciples speaking in their particular native language. Humanly speaking, this was not possible. In fact, it was miraculous.
Just 120 disciples were gathered together this day (Acts 1:15), yet after this mighty miracle, over 3,000 new disciples were added on that day (Acts 2:41). These were devout JEWS from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). These never returned to their former homelands, but formed the core of a thriving community in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42-47).
WHERE EAGLES DARE...
The Bible speaks of events where some people will be taken and others left. Many people have referred to this as a 'rapture' (for unexplained reasons of their own), and assumed that on both occasions, the Bible speaks of a single event. In fact, the evidence shows that two events are spoken of. Neither of them are a 'rapture' in accordance with the general meaning of the word. But they are both fearful and awesome events - and both are real!
You may have read the following verses hundreds of times before, however, READ THEM AGAIN - VERY CAREFULLY! Remember that Christ is describing circumstances similar to Sodom and Gomorrah. He says to remember LOT'S WIFE. After Christ had explained that certain people would be TAKEN, the disciples ask Him WHERE they would be TAKEN!
Luke 17:30"It will be like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day NO-ONE WHO IS ON THE ROOF OF HIS HOUSE, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, NO-ONE IN THE FIELD should go back for anything. Remember LOT'S WIFE! Whoever tries to KEEP HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, and whoever LOSES HIS LIFE WILL PRESERVE IT. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed, one will be taken and the other left. Two [men] will be grinding grain together; one will be taken the other left." "WHERE, Lord?" they asked. He replied, "WHERE THERE IS A DEAD BODY, THERE THE [EAGLES] WILL GATHER." The word 'eagles' is from the Greek 'aetos' and means 'eagle.' (Str: 105). Some versions indicate 'vultures'; but this is incorrect.
This is what God says:Rev 12:13 "When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman (the Tribe of Judah - Rev 12:5) who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the TWO WINGS of a GREAT EAGLE, so that she might FLY to the place PREPARED for her in the DESERT, where she would be TAKEN CARE OF for a time, times and half a time, out of the Serpent's reach."
God is going to GATHER His people and plant them in JERUSALEM. A similar description is given in the Book of Matthew, but this time it describes A DIFFERENT EVENT. Here we are given an exact timeframe. This is the time when the Beast stands in the Holy Place and proclaims himself to be God.Matt 24:15 "So when you see standing in the Holy Place 'the abomination that causes desolation', spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - then let THOSE WHO ARE IN JUDEA flee to the mountains. LET NO-ONE ON THE ROOF OF HIS HOUSE go down to take anything out of the house. Let NO-ONE IN THE FIELD go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath." V26 "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. WHEREVER THERE IS A CARCASE, THERE THE [EAGLES] WILL GATHER." At this later time, God calls HIS PEOPLE out of JERUSALEM AND JUDEA, and tells them to head for the MOUNTAINS. In the book of Acts, Luke mentions the disciples were gathered together on the MOUNT OF OLIVES, about a SABBATH DAY'S JOURNEY from JERUSALEM (Acts 1:12). It's clear that this Sabbath was the one immediately preceding the Day of Pentecost which began at sundown that day. They prayed until it had 'fully come.' Christ mentioned that we are to pray that the flight not be on the SABBATH. The reason is the destination of this flight is to the top of the MOUNT OF OLIVES. From there they will be taken to a special place PREPARED BY GOD. And Christ made it clear that this will occur after Jerusalem is surrounded by armies and the abomination of desolation is set up in the Holy Place (Matt 24:15-21). This is a later event, and the beginning of the great tribulation, during which two prophets will be in Jerusalem and wearing sackcloth. They will be in mourning for the terrible things that have been done in Jerusalem.
Continuing inMatt 24, we learn what happens next: V29 "IMMEDIATELY AFTER the DISTRESS of those DAYS 'the SUN WILL BE DARKENED, and the MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT; the STARS WILL FALL FROM THE SKY, and the HEAVENLY BODIES WILL BE SHAKEN.' At that time the SIGN of the SON OF MAN WILL APPEAR IN THE SKY, and ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN. They will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY, with POWER and GREAT GLORY. He will send HIS ANGELS with a LOUD TRUMPET CALL, and they will GATHER HIS ELECT from the FOUR WINDS, from ONE END OF THE HEAVENS TO THE OTHER."
So the SIGN of the SON OF MAN will be seen in the sky IMMEDIATELY AFTER the DISTRESS of THOSE DAYS, the STARS WILL FALL FROM THE SKY, and ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN. This timeframe is described as the sixth seal inRev 6:12 "I watched as he opened the SIXTH SEAL...." V13 "And THE STARS OF THE SKY FELL TO EARTH...." V14 "The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and EVERY MOUNTAIN AND ISLAND WAS REMOVED FROM ITS PLACE." V15 "Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the FACE OF HIM THAT SITS ON THE THRONE and from THE WRATH OF THE LAMB! For the GREAT DAY OF THEIR WRATH has come, and who can stand?"
In order to understand what it all means, perhaps we should apply creative, human reasoning and try to guess, or perhaps consult what other 'scholars' have written about these things.
NO WE SHOULDN'T!! God's word is God's authority and God explains EVERYTHING! While people are prepared to believe anything written by Bible 'scholars', they are less inclined to BELIEVE God. Note the popularity of the 'prophecies' of Nostradamus. Nostradamus knew nothing about anything! Yet he only had to mention the word 'moon' and his 'modern-day disciples' build an amazing scenario. The word moon is, they claim, a reference to an astronaut landing on the moon. They then build great detail into their beliefs stopping just short of naming the brand of toothpaste astronauts use. Documentaries and books abound about Nostradamus, and people seem to believe every one of his 'prophecies.' It's not surprising really! Some people carry paraphenalia like a rabbit's foot around their necks - believing that the foot of a rabbit can bring them good luck or even protect them from harm. Others use religious amulets and ascribe to them the same mystical powers.
But the very WORD OF GOD? Well, in their minds, that's another story! THEY REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT!!
Satan doesn't understand prophecy! Nor does he understand the WORD OF GOD! Most of you have believed all your lives that he does! It's just not true! We only need to go to the account of Christ's testing in the desert at the hands of Satan to understand this. You will note that earlier, at the time of Jesus's birth, Satan prompted HIS KING - HEROD - to hunt down and kill the heir-apparent to the earth. Herod dutifully killed all the children under the age of two years. If Satan had known WHO the ROYAL PRINCE was, why bother to kill all the others? Why not just kill Joseph, Mary and the newborn? HE PLAINLY DIDN'T KNOW!
When Jesus travelled all the way from Galilee for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of being BAPTISED by JOHN THE BAPTIST in the Jordan River(Matt 3:13), only then was Jesus positively and publicly identified as the Christ. Satan's proxy, HEROD, the offspring of Satan's dynasty of Herod the Great, liked to listen to John the Baptist (Mark 6:20), and was obviously informed of this new development. Christ immediately went to the desert and began a FORTY DAY fast. And who arrived to question Him? None other than Satan the devil! It's what Satan said and did that identifies his lack of knowledge. His opening round was: Matt 4:3 "IF you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Satan knew that Christ was extremely HUNGRY, and he wanted to see if Christ would perform a miracle at his command. Notice the answer Christ gave: V4 "Jesus answered, "It is WRITTEN: 'Man does not live by BREAD ALONE, but on EVERY WORD that comes from THE MOUTH OF GOD." Jesus is that BREAD! Yet that BREAD is NOT ENOUGH! Christ says that we must live by EVERY WORD that comes from the MOUTH OF GOD!
"BLASPHEMY!" you say. "I just won't believe it! I don't want to know anything but Christ and Him crucified." Well prepare yourself for a shock, you doubters! What Christ SAID, He also said was WRITTEN! And where is it WRITTEN? Moses wrote it in the Book of Deuteronomy. And this is what is WRITTEN:Deut 8:1 "Be careful to FOLLOW EVERY COMMAND I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way IN THE DESERT these FORTY YEARS, to HUMBLE you and to TEST you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He HUMBLED you, causing you to HUNGER and then FEEDING YOU WITH MANNA, which NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR FATHERS HAD KNOWN, to teach you THAT MAN DOES NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during THESE FORTY YEARS. Know then in your heart that as a man DISCIPLINES HIS SON, so the LORD your God DISCIPLINES YOU."
Here we find some striking similarities. While the ancient Israelites were fed on MANNA, which is the HEAVENLY BREAD and which is also CHRIST(John 6:31-35), this continued for FORTY YEARS. Christ fasted for FORTY DAYS and afterwards was HUNGRY. The reference to this FORTY YEARS is also spoken of by Ezekiel. God told him to PREPARE TO BESIEGE JERUSALEM (Eze 4:3). It is not proposed at this time to go into all the reasons for what Ezekiel did, and WHOM he REALLY REPRESENTED! But now notice the relationship between the FORTY YEARS and the FORTY DAYS: Eze 4:6 "After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the HOUSE OF JUDAH. I have assigned you FORTY DAYS, a day for EACH YEAR."
This is the scripture that so many quote to 'prove' their 'principle' of 'a day for a year'. They understand nothing of Ezekiel's Book, but they are quick to make extravagant assumptions. These minions of human reasoning rabidly apply their 'principle' to the 2,300 days and claim it refers to 2,300 years. The 2,300 days, incidently, begin at the time of the four seals, and end with the RESURRECTION OF DANIEL(Dan 12:13). Some have claimed that these days ended in 1714, some 1844, others claim 1967, yet oddly enough, DANIEL IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN!
For all those who have asked this writer if he understands their principle of 'a day for a year', the answer is no! And neither is this writer interested in 'principles' that are developed by sickos and demented liars! These people apply their 'principle' to any time period convenient to them!
What else did Satan say to Christ at the end of the forty day fast? This was his next ploy:Matt 4:5 "Then the devil took Him to the HOLY CITY and had Him stand on the HIGHEST POINT of the TEMPLE. "IF you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is WRITTEN: 'He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Here was Satan speaking to the WISDOM OF GOD, that is, CHRIST(1Cor 1:24), and he presumed to tell Christ what was WRITTEN! And which scripture did he quote from? It is WRITTEN in Ps 91:11-12. Before dealing with the meaning of Ps 91, we should understand that Christ is our HIGH PRIEST if we are TRULY HIS! In fact, if Christ were on earth TODAY, He would NOT be a priest, because there are MEN who offer gifts at the altar as PRESCRIBED BY LAW (Heb 8:4). Similarly, if Christ were on earth TODAY, He would not be a king! And neither was Christ a king at His first appearance, although He said for this reason He was born (John 18:36-37). And the reason that Satan wanted to kill Him at birth was to prevent Him becoming a king! Satan was fully convinced this was the purpose of the first appearance. Even the disciples believed this (Luke 24:21).
The reason why Satan wanted to kill Him was because ofPsalm 91. Satan believed this psalm to be a reference to Christ. This psalm deals with the slaughter of SATAN'S OFFSPRING at the hands of a MAN! This is a special MAN appointed by God. Satan was convinced it was a reference to Christ and quoted from it. IF it referred to Christ, as Satan and his offspring believed, then it was easy enough to prove. If He was the MAN spoken of in Ps 91, then no harm would befall Him, but if not, then it would be just one more dead body - so they put Him to the test: Luke 4:28 "All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove Him out of town, and took Him to the brow of a hill on which the town was built, IN ORDER TO THROW HIM DOWN THE CLIFF. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way." This would have fulfilled the prophecy of Ps 91, but it never happened! And neither is Psalm 91 a direct reference to Christ at all! It's a reference to Christ's representative on earth! Neither Satan nor his offspring understood this! Let it be clearly understood that Christ had to fulfil EVERYTHING contained in the Holy Scriptures CONCERNING HIM at His FIRST appearance (Luke 24:44). He FULFILLED IT ALL right down to the most seemingly insignificant detail! If Psalm 91 concerned Him, then He failed to fulfil it! But this Psalm speaks of another!
And what was Christ's response to Satan's request to jump off the top of the Temple? Here it is:Matt 4:7 "Jesus answered him, "It is also WRITTEN: 'Do not put the Lord to the test.'"" What Christ said was well-stated! How true this is! But as Christ said 'it is WRITTEN', we need to check where it is WRITTEN. Lo and behold, Christ is quoting MOSES. This is what MOSES said: Deut 6:16 "Do not test the Lord your God - as you did at MASSAH." Well that's what Moses said all right, but Moses also mentioned MASSEH! The question is, what happened at MASSAH?
This is what Moses recorded in relation to this:Ex 17:4 "Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me." The LORD answered Moses, "Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the ROCK at HOREB (Sinai). Strike the ROCK, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place MASSAH...."
What is the significance of this? The Apostle Paul explains:1Cor 10:2 "They were all BAPTISED INTO MOSES in the CLOUD AND in the SEA. They all ate the same SPIRITUAL food and DRANK the same SPIRITUAL drink for they DRANK from the SPIRITUAL ROCK that ACCOMPANIED them, and that ROCK was CHRIST. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as EXAMPLES..." But the Apostle Paul made further mention of these examples: V11 "These things happened to them as EXAMPLES and WERE WRITTEN DOWN AS WARNINGS FOR US, on WHOM the FULFILMENT OF THE AGES HAS COME."
The ROCK that accompanied them was CHRIST, and this ROCK for the Tribes of Israel was MOUNT SINAI [Horeb] from where the LAW went forth. This same Christ - the ROCK - appointed His earthly successors before He departed from earth. They were to do His Work, and He appointed lesser vessels to complete this task. One of these He named Cephas - the ROCK. God inspired these words from Isaiah:Isa 48:20 "Leave BABYLON, flee from the BABYLONIANS! Announce this with SHOUTS OF JOY and PROCLAIM it. Send it to the ENDS OF THE EARTH; say, "The LORD has REDEEMED his servant Jacob." They did not thirst when I led them through the deserts; He made water flow for them from the ROCK; He split the ROCK and water gushed out. "THERE IS NO PEACE," says the LORD, "FOR THE WICKED."" In case you haven't noticed, Isaiah wrote this long before the Babylonians came to power. He wrote it in the days of Azariah-Hezekiah [716-740BC], see Isa 1:1. This speaks of a time when God will REDEEM Jacob, and it will be PROCLAIMED to the ENDS OF THE EARTH. At that time BABYLON will be in power. And this is the time when there will be 'NO PEACE FOR THE WICKED.' At that time, God will deal with those who have opposed Him. At that time, Babylon will be a burnt-out mountain. This is what God says: Jer 51:24 "Before your eyes I will repay BABYLON and ALL WHO LIVE IN BABYLONIA for all the wrongs they have DONE IN ZION," declares the LORD. "I will stretch out My hand and ROLL YOU OFF THE CLIFFS, and make you A BURNT-OUT MOUNTAIN. No ROCK will be taken from you for a CORNERSTONE, nor any stone for a foundation, for you will be desolate forever," declares the LORD."
God has a replacement in mind for this burnt-out mountain. This is what John recorded:Rev 21:9 "One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the BRIDE, the WIFE of the LAMB." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the HOLY CITY, JERUSALEM, coming down out of heaven from God." Other articles clearly show that the 144,000 are the BRIDE OF CHRIST which are represented by the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM.
Can we be sure? This is what Isaiah said:Isa 54:1 "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child (it was JUDAH who bore the child - Rev 12:5, 13); burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD." V3 "For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in desolate cities." V5 "For your MAKER is your HUSBAND - the LORD Almighty is His name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back AS IF you were a WIFE deserted and distressed in spirit - a WIFE who married young only to be rejected," says your God. "For a BRIEF MOMENT I ABANDONED YOU, but with deep compassion I will BRING YOU BACK. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with EVERLASTING kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer. To me this is LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH...." Notice the words 'LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH...'. Where have you heard that before?
And now God speaks of one of the promises made to Abraham that had to do with the birth of Christ and a spiritual nation:V11 "O afflicted city (present-day JERUSALEM), lashed by storms and NOT COMFORTED (...yet! See Isa 40:1), I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones." This verse clearly describes both the PRESENT-DAY JERUSALEM, and the NEW JERUSALEM that only God could build. And in the days 'LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH' God has this to say: V16 "It is I who created the BLACKSMITH who FANS THE COALS INTO FLAME (Jer 23:29, 20:9) and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who created the destroyer to work havoc; NO WEAPON FORGED AGAINST YOU WILL PREVAIL, and YOU WILL REFUTE EVERY TONGUE THAT ACCUSES YOU. This is the HERITAGE of the SERVANTS OF THE LORD, and this is THEIR VINDICATION from Me," says the LORD." For those who are interested, the name Maccabee (after Judas Maccabee) means a BLACKSMITH hammer.
And just to make the link with the WATER OF LIFE which Christ spoke of, Isaiah continues in the next verse:Isa 55:1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters.." V3 "GIVE EAR and come to Me; HEAR Me, that your soul may live. I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT WITH YOU, My faithful love promised to DAVID. See, I have made him a WITNESS to the peoples, a LEADER AND COMMANDER of the peoples." Yes, DAVID will indeed be a WITNESS to the peoples. A man will be the PRINCE OF JUDAH, the OFFSPRING OF DAVID, one of the ENDTIME WITNESSES or PROPHETS, and he, like his father David, will be a LEADER AND COMMANDER of the peoples. This is when the EVERLASTING COVENANT is established - THE ONE THAT CAN NEVER BE BROKEN!
No city on earth has suffered such adversity as the City of Jerusalem. It has been destroyed and re-built more than any other city on earth. Why is there so much interest in a city that has no strategic significance to the world? No city on earth is the focus of so much hostility and controversy than this city. Why this city? Because it's GOD'S CITY! God has never made a secret of this fact, and it is certainly no secret that all endtime events will centre on Jerusalem!
From the day when Abraham took his son to the peak of Mount Moriah - the ZION OF GOD - to sacrifice him, God has made it known to the RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALMS(Eph 3:10) that this City is the most important piece of real estate on earth. What the rulers of the heavenly realms have never understood, is why! And neither do the human population of this world - including Christianity! Those who profess Christianity are wholly disinterested and unconcerned about GOD'S HOLY CITY. This is the City that Christ cried over. He was deeply distressed for the City of God. Ezekiel told a parable of this city; this is what he said: Eze 9:3 "Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the THRESHOLD OF THE TEMPLE (from where the living water flows - Eze 47:1). Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, "Go throughout the CITY OF JERUSALEM and put a mark on the foreheads of those WHO GRIEVE AND LAMENT over all the detestable things that are done in it." As I listened, he said to the others, "Follow him through the City and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at My Sanctuary." At no time in history has anyone been spared slaughter because they have the MARK OF GOD - YET!! These people are to be slaughtered without pity, mercy or compassion - and it will be done UNDER INSTRUCTIONS FROM GOD! Don't think for one moment that you can treat God's Holy City with indifference and still be one of God's people! You cannot! If you don't GRIEVE AND LAMENT FOR JERUSALEM - as Christ did, then you are not His! If you think you are a Christian, then you had better start being like Christ! And the name you have appropriated for yourselves, that is, Christian, is the name of the One who led the tribes of Egypt out of Israel. He is the ROCK.
For nearly two thousand years, Christianity has been meandering along, totally unaware of their purpose. What is more, God planned it this way. The Church has slept for all this time, and in the process has become engulfed in the PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD. God not only allowed it to happen - He ensured that it did happen! The Church has become obsessed with their own well-being; they have neglected the things of God.
In the days of Abraham, God told him his descendants would be slaves(Gen 15:13). His descendants were required by God to serve the beast. Much later, God also sent His people to serve the beast in Babylon. They were told they must go there and build houses and raise families, and if they obeyed they would be considered the 'good seed' or 'good figs' as given in this account (Jer 24:5-7). Those who refused were considered to be 'bad figs', unfit for any purpose. Why did God do these things? What was His purpose? The answer is given in the Book of Job. Satan has utterly corrupted the world! His evil brood are the authors of every detestable evil imaginable. Satan believes that no-one would serve God unless there is an obvious advantage to doing so. This is his stated position - and he believes it! You only have to view the slavering black beasts in Africa, or the disgusting cruelty of the Orientals and their total disregard for human life - and even their own kind, to know the mind of Satan the devil. Only the rule of law established first by Britain, and then by the United States of America have kept this evil brood in check. No-one shakes their fist at the U.S, and when Ephraim speaks, men tremble (Hos 13:1). But it will not always be this way. God has appointed a time when their power will fail. And it will involve three stages of conflict with Babylon.
What Satan can never understand, and what God knows is absolute is that His faithful people will serve Him under all conditions and circumstances. In the absence of reason or understanding, like Job, every SERVANT OF GOD will steadfastly serve Him. A SERVANT OF GOD is one who serves Him - faithfully! Stricken with every kind of adversity, God's faithful people will obey Him. God knows this is true! Job set this example. Satan, however, doesn't believe it - and will never believe it! It all has to do with state of mind. If your mind is not attuned to God, then neither will you believe it!
Those who won't serve God now, will serve Him in great adversity and in want of all things. In abject slavery, you will seek the answers, but you won't find them. Your human reasoning will leave you barren of understanding. But in your humiliation and degradation you will receive the answers to your questions, and those answers will come from the very words of God - the words that you have now rejected.
If God enslaved His people anciently, what about the Body of Christ?
If you are truly of the Body of Christ, then you too, must serve God in slavery. And if you don't believe this, then you will see this with your own eyes when the DAY DAWNS. God has planned this from the very days of Christ. It's no secret! The whole Bible speaks of it. All the EXAMPLES of ancient Israel are for you on whom the ENDS OF THE AGE HAVE COME. It's amusing in one way, but tragic in another, that all these freaks who pretend to teach the Word of God speak endlessly of peace and safety - as long as you follow them! Follow them at your peril!
Down through the ages, perhaps millions of faithful Christians have been killed in martyrdom for their faith and trust in God. And God allowed it to happen! God doesn't consider any human being to be better than His own Son whom He also allowed to die in martyrdom. Why do you professing Christians believe you have some advantage over Christ? If He didn't spare His own Son, why do you think you will be spared? More importantly, why do you expect it?
Just a few thousand faithful and true servants will be selected by God for the task of defending the Holy City - and they will BUILD the TEMPLE OF GOD(Zech 6:15). Two prophets will oversee the whole project. This will be the ONLY Work of God on earth! And only through these two men will anyone get their spiritual sustenance (Zech 4:11-12). If you think differently then dream on! You will be awakened soon enough. Only one other man will be empowered to oversee the Work of God apart from the two endtime prophets, and he lives among the tribes of Israel in the land of Ephraim. And he will be appointed by the latter-day Elijah. And if this man believes he can continue to teach his doctrine and remain independent of God's true Work, then he too, will be awakened soon enough! And all those who have despised this man will soon learn of the error of their ways. They will know that he is an instrument in the hands of God. No longer will he be a 'Zacchaeus' but he will be a spiritual 'giant', and will be embued with considerable powers - but only at the appointed time. This is you, Elisha!
At the time when God takes his place in court(Isa 3:13), at the time of the opening of the seals (Dan 7:10), and at the time when Satan is cast to the earth for the final and last time (Isa 14:12, Rev 12:9), the Mighty Christ - our ROCK - is empowered to act. He whistles for those at the ends of the earth: Isa 5:26 "He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, He whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily! NOT ONE OF THEM GROWS TIRED or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal thong is broken. Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hoofs seem like flint, THEIR CHARIOT WHEELS LIKE A WHIRLWIND. Their roar is like that of a LION, they roar like YOUNG LIONS; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no-one to rescue. In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, he will see DARKNESS AND DISTRESS; even the LIGHT WILL BE DARKENED BY THE CLOUDS."
This speaks of a formidible army - like YOUNG LIONS. At that time, their Master will be the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH - that is, CHRIST(Rev 5:5). This is the time when the COURT sits (V11, Dan 7:10, Isa 3:13), and Christ is empowered (Rev 5:12) as He begins to open the first of the four seals (Rev 6:1).
We don't need to be troubled by the similarity of the description of the first of the four beasts described by Daniel. This is what he recorded:Dan 7:2 "Daniel said, "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. The first was LIKE a LION, and it had the WINGS OF AN EAGLE. I watched until its WINGS WERE TORN OFF and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the HEART OF A MAN WAS GIVEN TO IT."
So now we come to the adversarial roles of the two factions that exist on earth. On the one hand is the SEED OR OFFSPRING OF SATAN, and on the other, the SEED OR OFFSPRING OF CHRIST. When Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh, a battle of powers occurred. Pharaoh tried through sorcery to duplicate all that Moses did. But his powers were no match for Moses. And let it be clearly understood, God vested these powers in Moses, and instructed Moses to perform them. Pharaoh was clearly Moses' counterpart on the side of the Adversary.
Finally, Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt "ON EAGLE'S WINGS."Ex 19:3 "Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did in Egypt, and how I carried you on EAGLES' WINGS and brought you to myself. Now if you obey Me fully and keep MY COVENANT, then out of ALL NATIONS you will be MY TREASURED POSSESSION. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for Me a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS and a HOLY NATION.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
You will shortly understand who that EAGLE was!
The reader must now decide if Christ was truly the divine Son of God. And if so, did He truly come in the form of a man? The answer to both questions is yes! Christ set aside His divinity to become a man. He became wholly a man, and experienced all the temptations common to every other man - but He never sinned against the Father. Even at the moment of death, He remained faithful. In so doing, He qualified to inherit all the kingdoms on earth. These are facts! All of these things should be well understood by all Bible students.
But now we face a strange dilemma. Many 'teachers' of the Bible have claimed that Satan and his demons are spirit-beings and cannot die! They fully accept that GOD'S SON CAN DIE, but they TEACH THAT THE ARCH-ENEMY OF GOD CANNOT! What strange minds these people have!
When the final head of the beast is raised to prominence, he will do devastating destruction, and the final end of it all will be judgment - a VERDICT! And the judgment will be given in favour of the saints(Dan 7:22). In case you don't realize it, the saints are the true servants of God; those who serve Him faithfully. They are witnesses for the prosecution. And this is what the entire Bible is about. From start to finish, the Bible speaks in terms of courtroom procedure. Of courts, judgments and laws! God is the Great Judge of the Universe. We, who live in this endtime are a part of the great process of evidence-gathering. And the court is about to sit.
As a prelude to the final verdict, Satan will rally his offspring for the final all-out battle against God's people - the 12 tribes of Israel. And God will allow it to happen. But first, God will judge His people, and He will bring against them all the things He said He would - when they turned away from Him. All these judgments are found inDeut 28 and Lev 26. No longer will men tremble when Ephraim speaks, but they will swoop on the land and plunder it.
At that time, God will raise up His own Army to defend the Holy City. This is no secret, it is mentioned many times by the prophets. We need to understand when God's army will act - and why! God has recorded this for our understanding:Isa 8:13 "The LORD Almighty is the One you are to regard as HOLY, He is the One you are to FEAR, He is the One you are to DREAD, and He will be a SANCTUARY; but for BOTH HOUSES OF ISRAEL He will be a STONE that causes men to STUMBLE and a ROCK that makes them FALL. And for the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken; they will be snared and CAPTURED." God will be a STONE and a ROCK to BOTH Houses of Israel. God warns BOTH houses that they are to FEAR Him, but it seems that only those who are truly His will truly FEAR Him (Mal 3:16), all the rest who have a 'good ol' boy' approach to the Great God will soon find out that their lack of respect will result in devastating consequences. Those self-righteous morons who think they can claim privileges for past righteousnesses will be the first to curse God: Isa 8:20 "To the LAW (Mal 4:4) and the TESTIMONY! (Rev 19:10). If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no LIGHT OF DAWN (Rev 22:16, Mal 4:2). Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, WILL CURSE THEIR KING AND THEIR GOD. Then they will look towards the earth and see only DISTRESS and DARKNESS and FEARFUL GLOOM, and they will be thrust into UTTER DARKNESS."
Peter also spoke in the same vein as Isaiah:2Pet 1:19 "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and YOU WILL DO WELL TO PAY ATTENTION TO IT, as to a LIGHT SHINING in a DARK PLACE, UNTIL the DAY DAWNS and the MORNING STAR rises in your HEARTS. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, BUT MEN SPOKE FROM GOD as they were CARRIED ALONG BY THE HOLY SPIRIT." The MORNING STAR is a reference to the SUN which brings LIGHT at DAWN. We don't need to wonder about the meaning of this, the Bible makes it clear in Mal 4:2, Ps 84:11, Luke 1:78, Rev 1:16, Rev 22:16. Notice the words 'UNTIL the DAY DAWNS'. So Peter is speaking of a DAY that is YET TO DAWN. But he also says 'AND the MORNING STAR RISES in your HEARTS.' Is the morning star to arise in the sky? No! Peter says UNTIL IT RISES IN YOUR HEARTS. It should not go unnoticed that Peter was speaking to converted people. He says this in 2Pet 1:1 "...To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received A FAITH AS PRECIOUS AS OURS." So those to whom Peter wrote had received a faith as precious as his, but he spoke of a future DAY that would DAWN - when the MORNING STAR would RISE in their HEARTS. Clearly, this did not happen in those days! The MORNING STAR did not rise in their hearts! And to this very day it hasn't!!
Before any of you sent this writer a letter peppered with the word 'blasphemy', consider first what other PROPHETS had to say. Of JOHN THE BAPTIST, it is written:Luke 1:76 "And you, my child, will be called a PROPHET OF THE MOST HIGH; for you will go on before the Lord to PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIM, to give His people the KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the RISING SUN WILL COME TO US FROM HEAVEN to SHINE on those LIVING IN DARKNESS and in the SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our FEET into the PATH OF PEACE." Many years later, and long after the death of John the Baptist, Peter was still anticipating this DAY to DAWN. Peter wrote further about this DAY in 2Pet 3:10. So did other prophets! This is what is recorded in the Book of Malachi: Mal 4:1 "Surely the DAY is coming, it will BURN LIKE A FURNACE. All the ignorant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the DAY that is coming WILL SET THEM ON FIRE," says the LORD Almighty. Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But FOR YOU WHO REVERE MY NAME, the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will RISE with HEALING in its WINGS. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked, they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the DAY when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty."
Have any of you trampled the ashes of the wicked under your feet lately? And neither has the day mentioned here, dawned! Notice the next verse:V4 "REMEMBER the LAW OF MY SERVANT MOSES, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb (Sinai) FOR ALL ISRAEL. See, I will send you the prophet Elijah BEFORE that GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY of the LORD comes."
The DAY when the MORNING STAR or SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS arises in the HEARTS of those who REVERE GOD'S NAME is the DAY that the 12 Apostles WON'T SEE:Luke 17:22 "Then He said to his disciples, "The TIME IS COMING when you will long to see ONE of the DAYS of the Son of Man, BUT YOU WILL NOT SEE IT."
Speaking of the birth of John the Baptist, Luke recorded this:Luke 1:66 "Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is THIS CHILD going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him. His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and redeemed His people. He has raised up a HORN of salvation for us in the HOUSE OF HIS SERVANT DAVID (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago), SALVATION FROM OUR ENEMIES and from the HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US - to show mercy to our fathers and to REMEMBER HIS HOLY COVENANT, the oath He swore to our father Abraham: TO RESCUE US FROM THE HAND OF OUR ENEMIES, and to enable us to serve Him WITHOUT FEAR in holiness and righteousness before Him ALL OUR DAYS." Did John the Baptist fulfil this? No! He was NOT rescued from the 'HAND OF OUR ENEMIES', he was killed by the enemy! Did Christ fulfill it? No! He also was killed by the 'HAND OF OUR ENEMIES.'
The HORN OF SALVATION mentioned here is spoken of extensively in the Book of Zechariah. Just to set the theme of this Book, this is what God says:Zech 1:16 "Therefore, this is what the LORD says, 'I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there will MY HOUSE BE REBUILT. And the measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem,' declares the LORD. PROCLAIM further: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again COMFORT ZION and CHOOSE JERUSALEM.'" Quite clearly, God is speaking of the time, yet future, when HIS HOUSE will be RE-BUILT! And just so there is no mistaking which HOUSE, the prophet Ezekiel describes it in infinite detail (Eze 40-48). The RIVER OF LIFE will flow from under its threshhold (Eze 47:1). See also Rev 22:1. The present-day occupants of Jerusalem CANNOT and WILL NOT build THIS Temple. They can and will build a temple, but they will build it in the wrong place, and the cornerstone will not be THE Cornerstone! The REAL Cornerstone will be revealed by God Himself, and it will be done in the presence of the Prince of Judah (Zech 4:7). And that Cornerstone MUST BE in the HEART OF THE TEMPLE.
What if the Philistines (Palestinians) won't allow it to be built as one false prophet suggested? Those DOGS (to use the term favoured by Christ:Matt 15:24-27, Rev 22:15) will be cut down like vermin!
Continuing inZech 1:18 "Then I looked up - and there before me were FOUR HORNS! I asked the angel who was speaking to me, "What are these?" He answered me, "These are the HORNS that SCATTERED JUDAH, ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM." Then the LORD showed me FOUR CRAFTSMEN. I asked, "What are these coming to do?" He answered, "These are the HORNS THAT SCATTERED JUDAH so that no-one could raise his head, BUT THE CRAFTSMEN HAVE COME TO TERRIFY THEM and throw down these HORNS OF THE NATIONS who lifted up their HORNS against the LAND OF JUDAH to SCATTER ITS PEOPLE."
God has appointed FOUR MIGHTY BEINGS whom He calls 'CRAFTSMEN.' These are appointed to empower the HORN OF SALVATION against the enemy(Luke 1:69). This ONE HORN will fight all FOUR HORNS of the enemy. This is further described in Zech 12:6 "On that DAY I will make the LEADERS OF JUDAH like a FIRE-POT IN A WOODPILE, like a FLAMING TORCH AMONG SHEAVES. They will CONSUME right and left ALL THE SURROUNDING PEOPLES, but JERUSALEM WILL REMAIN INTACT IN HER PLACE."
Take heart all you sanctimonious wimps out there! God will not require you to fight for Him! He has something else in mind for you! ONLY HIS TRUE SERVANTS WILL FIGHT(John 18:36). And neither will you be alive to fight beside Christ Himself - if you are not careful! The Commander of Armies, the Mighty Christ, will fight!! This is the great show-down. The nations who snipe at Jerusalem and Zion, who try to prevent the building of the Temple will suffer devastating violence and destruction. But when CHRIST'S FEET TOUCH DOWN on the MOUNT OF OLIVES, He will gather ALL NATIONS against it! At this time, ALL NATIONS will know they are fighting God! In order to defeat Jerusalem for one last time immediately prior to Christ's return when His feet touch down on the Mount of Olives, God gathers all the nations of the earth against Jerusalem. The city is captured. This is how Zechariah describes it: Zech 14:2 "I will gather ALL THE NATIONS to JERUSALEM to FIGHT AGAINST IT; the CITY WILL BE CAPTURED, the HOUSES RANSACKED, and the WOMEN RAPED. HALF the CITY will go into EXILE, but the REST OF THE PEOPLE will NOT BE TAKEN FROM THE CITY."
Well the women will be raped, but the good news is, there is no mention of a slaughter. Half will be taken into exile, and the others will not be taken from the city. From the appearance of this description, it seems that no one puts up much of a fight. Let's hope the women put up a respectable show of fighting! But where are all the mighty men? Where are all the defenders of the City? Zechariah explains:Zech 14:5 "....Then the LORD will come, and all the holy ones with Him." The holy ones meet the Lord in the air before His feet touch down on the Mount of Olives (See 1Thess 4:15, 17). So there is an obvious dearth of fighting men when Jerusalem is captured for the last time. This is because the fighting men (and women) are the saints - and these are gathered in the air with Christ. So who are those who are still in Jerusalem - those who are raped and taken captive?
Daniel explains. At the time the beast seizes control of Jerusalem, God's people will firmly resist him(Dan 11:32). V33 "Those WHO ARE WISE WILL INSTRUCT MANY, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, AND MANY WHO ARE NOT SINCERE WILL JOIN THEM." And these insincere people who cling to those who are WISE will face the very thing they dreaded - rape and capture!
Continuing inIsa 8:16 "Bind up the TESTIMONY and seal the up the LAW AMONG MY DISCIPLES. I will wait for the LORD, who is HIDING HIS FACE from the HOUSE OF JACOB. I will put my trust in Him. Here I am, and the CHILDREN the LORD HAS GIVEN ME. WE are SIGNS AND SYMBOLS IN ISRAEL from the LORD ALMIGHTY, WHO DWELLS ON MOUNT ZION."
It's a long time since the LORD Almighty dwelt on Mount Zion. How will we know when He actually dwells there? Isaiah explains:Isa 4:2 "IN THAT DAY the BRANCH of the LORD will be BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and the glory of the SURVIVORS in Israel. Those who are LEFT in ZION, who REMAIN in JERUSALEM, will be called HOLY, all who are RECORDED (Mal 3:16) among the living in JERUSALEM. The LORD will wash away the filth of the women of Zion, He will cleanse the BLOODSTAINS FROM JERUSALEM by a SPIRIT OF JUDGMENT and a SPIRIT OF FIRE. Then the LORD will CREATE over ALL OF MOUNT ZION and over THOSE WHO ASSEMBLE THERE a CLOUD OF SMOKE by day and a GLOW OF FLAMING FIRE by night; over ALL THE GLORY WILL BE A CANOPY. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding-place from the storm and the rain." When this happens, there will be no doubt that the Great God dwells in Zion. The whole world will see it!
But the story doesn't end there! Stepping back a few years, there will be a massive betrayal, and Ephraim (U.S.) and Manasseh (Britain) will turn against Judah(Isa 9:21). A man - the evil BEAST - will arrive in Jerusalem and proclaim himself to be god, and will desecrate the Temple. And this brings us back to Christ's comments in Matt 24:15.
You will recall in the references toLuke 17:30 and Matt 24:15 it was stated that these refer to two different events. Both speak of EAGLES GATHERING. Other prophets also spoke of these events. This is what Isaiah said: Isa 40:29 "He gives STRENGTH TO THE WEARY and INCREASES the POWER OF THE WEAK. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but THOSE WHO HOPE IN THE LORD WILL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH. They will SOAR ON WINGS OF EAGLES; they WILL RUN AND NOT GROW WEARY, they will WALK AND NOT BE FAINT." This is the chapter from where JOHN THE BAPTIST began to preach (Isa 40:3). Those 'WHO HOPE IN THE LORD', that is, those that actually BELIEVE God will be endowed with super-powers. Even the strongest of young men today grow weary, but THOSE WHOM GOD EMPOWERS WILL NOT! Old men AND women will become youthful - and they will still be human beings! And they will have a commander, a general of armies who will be called from the far-off land down under - the Israelite nation to the EAST OF JERUSALEM: Isa 46:10 "I make KNOWN the END from the BEGINNING, from ancient times, what IS STILL TO COME. I say: MY PURPOSE WILL STAND, and I will do all that I please. From the EAST I SUMMON A BIRD OF PREY; from a FAR-OFF LAND, a MAN to FULFIL MY PURPOSE. What I have SAID, that will I bring about; what I have PLANNED, that will I do. Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing MY RIGHTEOUSNESS NEAR, it is not far away; and MY SALVATION WILL NOT BE DELAYED. I will GRANT SALVATION to ZION, My splendor to ISRAEL."
This man - the BIRD OF PREY - will be brought to ZION from where SALVATION will be GRANTED. And this is also spoken of by Zechariah:Zech 12:8 "On that DAY the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the FEEBLEST among them will be LIKE DAVID, and the HOUSE OF DAVID will be LIKE GOD, like the ANGEL OF THE LORD going before them. On that DAY I will set out to DESTROY ALL NATIONS THAT ATTACK JERUSALEM." Zechariah also records this: Zech 13:1 "On that DAY a FOUNTAIN will be opened to the HOUSE OF DAVID, and the inhabitants of JERUSALEM, to cleanse them from sin and iniquity."
David was a man after God's own heart(Acts 13:22). He was also a mighty warrior! In the Book of Psalms are many pointers and markers. It's an important Book of prophecy for the endtime. Speaking of the Great God, this is recorded: Ps 89:14 "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your Throne; love and faithfulness go before You. Blessed are THOSE who have LEARNED TO ACCLAIM YOU, who walk in the LIGHT of Your presence, O LORD. They REJOICE IN YOUR NAME ALL DAY LONG; they exult in YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. For you are their GLORY and STRENGTH, and by YOUR FAVOUR you exalt our HORN. Indeed, our SHIELD belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel." Notice the word 'shield' which the Apostle Paul also mentioned: Eph 6:16 "In addition to all this, take up the SHIELD of FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." And notice also the word 'HORN.' The basic meaning of this word refers to the HORNS OF A BULL that charges his adversary. Much more will be said of this at a later time.
Continuing inPs 89:19 "Once you spoke in a VISION, to your FAITHFUL PEOPLE you said: "I have bestowed strength on a WARRIOR; I have exalted a young man from among the people. I have found David My servant; with My SACRED OIL I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely My arm will STRENGTHEN him. No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him. I will CRUSH HIS FOES before him and STRIKE DOWN HIS ADVERSARIES. My faithful love will be with him, and through MY NAME his HORN will be exalted. I will set his hand over the SEA, his right hand over the rivers. He will call out to me, 'You are my FATHER, my GOD, the ROCK my SAVIOUR.'
This psalm continues with some very illuminating instructions. InV29, God says He will establish DAVID'S LINE forever. Of DAVID'S LINE, that is his SONS, He says this: V30 "If his SONS forsake My law and do not follow My statutes, if they violate My decrees and fail to keep My commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will NEVER TAKE MY LOVE FROM HIM, nor will I ever betray My faithfulness. I will not violate MY COVENANT or ALTER WHAT MY LIPS HAVE UTTERED. Once for all, I have sworn by My holiness - and I will not lie to David - that his line will continue for ever and HIS THRONE ENDURE BEFORE ME like the SUN; it will be ESTABLISHED FOR EVER like the MOON, the faithful WITNESS in the sky." So the throne of David is to be ESTABLISHED like the MOON - the lesser light, and this THRONE will ENDURE LIKE THE SUN. The THRONE OF DAVID will be a FAITHFUL WITNESS.
Then inV38 we find a complete departure from all of this! It's the same theme, but it seems to describe a great reversal of what God has stated! This is what it says: V38 "But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with YOUR ANOINTED ONE. You have renounced the COVENANT with YOUR SERVANT and have defiled HIS CROWN in the dust. You have broken through all HIS WALLS and reduced HIS STRONGHOLDS to ruins. All who pass by have plundered him; he has become the scorn of his neighbours." To whom does this refer? It certainly wasn't fulfilled by David. And nor was it fulfilled by Christ! Christ didn't wear a crown. And this CROWN is to be DEFILED IN THE DUST! Yet this is the CROWN of the THRONE THAT IS TO ENDURE BEFORE GOD LIKE THE SUN. The ANOINTED ONE spoken of here will have HIS WALLS broken through, and HIS STRONGHOLDS reduced to ruins. This must be talking about a real bad guy! Someone whom God has rejected! On the one hand God says the throne will endure forever, yet it is totally defiled and even the crown is cast in the dust. But on the other hand, the man is preserved but greatly humiliated as the next verses show. Here we see plainly that the THRONE is the MAN. But this man is also GOD'S SERVANT; notice the words 'You have RENOUNCED YOUR COVENANT with YOUR SERVANT'.
Why would God do this? Well, the truth is, God also did this with His own Son, when He turned His back on Him as He went to His death! And in support of the prophecy, Christ said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" Christ was forsaken when He took on Himself ALL sin for the WORLD. But the other man spoken of here must take upon himself, all sin against JERUSALEM - the Holy City of God. And this man is the'FAITHFUL WITNESS.'
Would God turn His FAITHFUL SERVANT over to the enemy? God does whatever He chooses - and everything He does is for a very great purpose! The prophet Job was a SERVANT OF GOD(Job 1:8, 2:3), yet God turned him over to Satan to do as he would with him. The only proviso being to 'spare his life.' Through all this, did Job sin against God? No, God says he didn't! (Job 1:22). Job's companion Elihu said this: Job 34:12 "It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert JUSTICE." Job was a man who drank scorn like water (V7), he couldn't care less what people thought of him, as long as what he did was right - IN THE EYES OF GOD! This has been the hallmark of ALL of GOD'S TRUE SERVANTS. Anything less is an offense to God. While human beings might rationalize that some things that God does are not a good idea, GOD'S TRUE SERVANTS know they MUST BE DONE!
The man spoken of inPs 89 must WITNESS the desecration of the Temple and see HIS WALLS broken through, and HIS STRONGHOLDS reduced to ruins. And at this time the MIGHT OF HIS SWORD will be taken away, and he will wear a MANTLE OF SHAME. Poor Job was reduced to wearing a mantle of shame, he put on sackcloth and sat in the dust. So will this man put on a MANTLE OF SHAME (sackcloth) and be thoroughly humiliated. Notice Ps 89:42 "You have exalted the right hand of his FOES; you have made all his ENEMIES REJOICE. You have turned back the EDGE OF HIS SWORD and have NOT SUPPORTED HIM IN BATTLE. You have put an END to his SPLENDOR and CAST HIS THRONE to the ground. You have cut short the DAYS OF HIS YOUTH; you have covered him with a MANTLE OF SHAME."
God speaks of TWO WITNESSES that will be in JERUSALEM and they will be wearing SACKCLOTH(Rev 11:3). One of these will be dressed in SPLENDOR PRIOR to this (Zech 3:3), and this is the man who will wear THE CROWN (Zech 6:11). This is the man who stands before the angel of the LORD, and Satan is standing there also to accuse him - just as Satan accused Job. This is what Zechariah recorded: Zech 3:1 "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest STANDING BEFORE THE ANGEL of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to ACCUSE HIM. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has CHOSEN JERUSALEM rebuke you! Is not this MAN a burning stick snatched from the fire?" It should be noted that in the days of Job, the LORD never rebuked Satan, but spoke cordially to him. Now he gets a sharp rebuke when he stands in the presence of the ANGEL OF THE LORD and JOSHUA. At this time, God dresses Joshua in rich clothes, the clothes of a High Priest, and he is clothed with majesty (Zech 6:13) and sits as a KING and a PRIEST on the THRONE. Immediately after this, the CROWN is set aside for safe keeping (V14). So all this SPLENDOR is largely symbolic in order to fulfill all prophecy! And at any rate, this man is not a show-pony, but in reality, a WARRIOR at heart! Not your average mealy-mouthed sycophant! And he despises those who parade themselves in costly robes and present themselves as angels of light. This man would fight the whole world, if necessary, with just the jawbone of an ass - just like Samson! (These are prophetic words!)
What else doesPs 89 have to say about this man? Ps 89:46 "HOW LONG, LORD? Will you hide Yourself forever? How long will YOUR WRATH BURN LIKE A FIRE?" Another prophet asked the same question: 'HOW LONG, LORD?' This was Isaiah. He described events that were also spoken of by Ezekiel. Isa 6:1 "...I saw the LORD seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the Temple..." V3 "...the whole earth is full of His glory." V6 "Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am. Send me!" He said, "GO AND TELL THIS PEOPLE: 'Be ever hearing, but NEVER UNDERSTANDING; be ever seeing, but NEVER PERCEIVING.' Make the HEART OF THIS PEOPLE CALLOUSED; make their EARS DULL and CLOSE THEIR EYES. OTHERWISE they might SEE with their eyes, HEAR with their ears, UNDERSTAND with their hearts, and TURN AND BE HEALED." Remember it is God who spoke these words! V11 "Then I said, "FOR HOW LONG, O LORD?" And He answered, "Until the CITIES LIE RUINED and WITHOUT INHABITANT, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the LORD has sent EVERYONE FAR AWAY and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a TENTH remains in the land, it will AGAIN BE LAID WASTE. But as the terebinth and OAK leave STUMPS when they are cut down, so the HOLY SEED will be THE STUMP in the LAND."
The pointers and markers here are too extensive to be covered in this article. A future article on the prophecies of Ezekiel will cover it thoroughly. Basically what is said here is, the prophet God sends is told to convey to His people that He has blinded their minds - until all the CITIES LIE IN RUINS and EVERYONE IS TAKEN FAR AWAY. At that time the HOLY SEED will be a stump in the LAND - of JUDAH! And the LAND OF JUDAH IS AGAIN LAID WASTE. This violation is when the BEAST sits in the TEMPLE OF GOD and claims to be God. This is when the TWO WITNESSES (the PROPHETS OF GOD) will be wearing SACKCLOTH in the streets of JERUSALEM(Rev 11:3).
Continuing inPs 89 we find these words: Ps 89:47 "Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all men! What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?" We've spoken a lot about the prophet Job, and what do we find here? These are the very words of Job! In fact, the whole Book of Job is peppered with such comments. But notice this: Job 14:7 "At least there is hope for a TREE: If it is cut down, it will SPROUT again, and its new shoots WILL NOT FAIL. Its ROOTS MAY GROW OLD in the ground and its STUMP die in the soil, yet at the scent of WATER it will BUD AND PUT FORTH SHOOTS like a plant. But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more." V12 "So man lies down and does not rise; TILL THE HEAVENS ARE NO MORE, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep. If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me until your anger has passed." V14 "IF A MAN DIES, WILL HE LIVE AGAIN? All the days of MY HARD SERVICE I will wait for MY RENEWAL TO COME."
The Book of Job is an important prophetic Book for our time. Just how important will become evident in future articles. The prophetic style is a little different from some of the other prophets just as the Apostle Paul says inHeb 1:1 "In the past God spoke to our forefathers THROUGH THE PROPHETS at many times and IN VARIOUS WAYS." It is also written: "Except God builds the house, they toil in vain who build it." Many people have sought to build a house for God - in their own minds! AND ALL OF THEM TOIL IN VAIN! God has BLINDED THEIR MINDS so they CANNOT SEE! But when their CITIES ARE DESTROYED and they are CARRIED FAR AWAY, then their minds will be opened. And then they will despise themselves for their madness and blindness! SO SAYS ALMIGHTY GOD!
And finally, inPs 89:50 "O LORD, where is your FORMER great love, which in your faithfulness YOU SWORE TO DAVID? Remember, LORD, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the TAUNTS of ALL the NATIONS, the TAUNTS with which YOUR ENEMIES have mocked, O LORD, with which they have mocked every step of YOUR ANOINTED ONE."
No one would suggest that either Christ or David suffered taunts of ALL THE NATIONS. It has not happened - yet! But the Bible speaks of a time when it will happen! Many people think they can snipe at the Work of God from a long way off and be immuned to any sort of retribution. They think the POWER OF GOD is limited geographically, and they are out of range. Many will be stunned when they realize they are fighting God. God plans to put in the hands of His two endtime prophets devastating POWER of life and death:Rev 11:4 "These are the TWO OLIVE TREES and the TWO LAMPSTANDS that STAND BEFORE the LORD OF THE EARTH. If anyone TRIES to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and DEVOURS THEIR ENEMIES. This is how anyone who WANTS to harm them MUST DIE. These men have the POWER to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have POWER to turn the waters into blood and TO STRIKE THE [WHOLE] EARTH with every kind of plague AS OFTEN AS THEY WANT."
These two men will be universally hated. And when they have finished their TESTIMONY they will be killed, and the whole world will rejoice:V10 "The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these TWO PROPHETS had TORMENTED THOSE WHO LIVE ON EARTH." Most Christians have read these things many times - and have never believed it! They are too interested in self-righteous platitudes, and psalm-singing hypocrisy to ever BELIEVE the Word of God. To them, all these things seem to be out of whack to what Christ spoke at the 'sermon on the mount.'
But is it? For nearly two thousand years, Christianity has been required to live in peace and to be blameless and pure in heart. This was their great commission. They were appointed to go anywhere and do anything that God required of them. Christ made this very plain inMatt 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, PERSECUTE you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in THE SAME WAY they PERSECUTED THE PROPHETS who were BEFORE you." The persecution spoken of here is death (Luke 11:47-49). In this same chapter of the 'sermon on the mount', Christ said this: V17 "Do NOT think that I have come to abolish the LAW OR THE PROPHETS; I have NOT come to abolish them, but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH DISAPPEAR, not the SMALLEST LETTER, not the LEAST STROKE OF A PEN, will by any means disappear from the LAW until EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED." And the rest of this chapter then goes on to greatly magnify the LAW. A Christian is required to go beyond what is required of him. Christ Himself said, when you have done all that is required of you, you are unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10). He also said, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of God (Matt 5:20). So all God's people are required to do all that God requires, and what God requires is contained in the LAW and the PROPHETS.
Paul made it plain that not all are called to the same noble purpose. It is not for any man to impose his own standards on God. God does what He chooses to do; our job is to do whatever He requires of us - and without question! God says He raised Pharaoh for the express purpose of destroying him:Rom 9:10 "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden." Notice what Paul then says to THOSE he is ADDRESSING: V19 "One of you will say to me: "Then why does God blame us? For who resists His will?" But who are you, O man, TO TALK BACK TO GOD? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this? Does not the potter have the right to make out of the SAME LUMP OF CLAY some pottery for NOBLE PURPOSES and some for COMMON USE?"
From the SAME LUMP OF CLAY God makes some for NOBLE PURPOSES and some for COMMON USE. It's obvious from the rest of Paul's comments just who are those called for a noble purpose. These are both Jews and Gentiles (that is those who have been CALLED for a noble purpose)V24. And to ensure that this is understood, he refers to the Prophet Hosea who wrote of only the TRIBE OF JUDAH and the TRIBE OF EPHRAIM (who is described as all the tribes of Israel - Hos 13:15, Jer 7:15). Rom 9:25 "As he says in Hosea: " I will call them 'my people' who are not My people; and I will call her 'My loved one' who is not My loved one. And it will happen that IN THE VERY PLACE where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' they will be called 'sons of the Living God.'" Quite clearly, Paul is speaking of the TRIBES OF ISRAEL, for this is who Hosea spoke of. And to make doubly sure, Paul recorded this: V27 "Isaiah cries out concerning ISRAEL: "Though the number of the ISRAELITES be like the sand of the sea, only the REMNANT will be SAVED. For the Lord will carry out His SENTENCE on earth with speed and finality."
So Paul says here that only THE REMNANT WILL BE SAVED, and that at a time when God brings down His JUDGMENT, and passes SENTENCE ON THE EARTH. Yet notice that Paul says ALL ISRAEL will be SAVED inRom 11:26. How can this be? This is what he said: Rom 11:26 "And so ALL ISRAEL will be saved, as it is written: 'The DELIVERER will come from ZION; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is MY COVENANT with THEM when I take away their SINS." So the DELIVERANCE will come from ZION and this is the COVENANT WITH THEM when God takes away THEIR SINS. And note well that this is when God TAKES AWAY THEIR SINS - ONLY! They will come trembling to ZION. ALL WHO ARE LEFT ALIVE will return to the Holy City and will obey GOD'S COVENANT!
Paul makes one final point inRom 9:29 "It is JUST AS ISAIAH said previously: 'Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been like Gomorrah." (See Isa 1:9). Isaiah was speaking of Judah and Jerusalem (Isa 1:1), but Paul said it will be JUST AS ISAIAH described it when the REMNANT OF ISRAEL is saved. And Isaiah also confirmed that God would offer to spare this REMNANT: Isa 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your SINS ARE LIKE SCARLET, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are WILLING AND OBEDIENT, you will EAT THE BEST FROM THE LAND; but if you RESIST AND REBEL, you will be DEVOURED BY THE SWORD." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken it." This speaks of the time when God will pass SENTENCE ON THE EARTH, and the REMNANT ARE SAVED. This is the time when they REPENT OF THEIR SINS! Those who RESIST AND REBEL will die!
What Paul describes is also described by Isaiah. And this is what he says:Isa 1:7 "You COUNTRY IS DESOLATE, your CITIES BURNED WITH FIRE; your fields are being stripped by FOREIGNERS right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by STRANGERS." And this, of course, describes Paul's comment in Rom 11:25 "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the FULL NUMBER OF GENTILES has come in. And so all Israel will be saved...."
Since Paul quoted extensively from the Book of Hosea in regard to these things, we need to examine what Hosea had to say:Hos 8:1 "Put the trumpet to your lips! An EAGLE is over the HOUSE OF THE LORD because the people have BROKEN MY COVENANT and rebelled against MY LAW. Israel cries out to Me, 'O our God, we acknowledge You!' But Israel has REJECTED what is good; AN ENEMY WILL PURSUE HIM." How typical of all Israel! They claim to acknowledge God, yet they practice every evil imaginable. And since Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned frequently in regard to the endtime, take note that while the House of Israel claims to acknowledge God, they are hell-bent on legalising homosexuality and making it honourable.
And what of the Churches of God? They are held to be doubly accountable! They know where the source of all knowledge lies, yet they have rejected it all in favour of their own fabricated doctrines! They strain over a gnat and swallow a camel. Some of the picky little issues that they strain over, God would overlook anyway - IF they showed some sign of BELIEVING HIM! There are now hundreds of differing doctrines, and none of them are based on knowledge - the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!
There are no similarities about what the Bible states and what they believe, regarding the endtime. They teach a whole lot of fluffy nonsense which reflects nothing of what God says! Is God pleased with them? You had better believe that He is not! God is not about to choose the best of a bad lot! They know full well, and most have always known, that God's endtime ministry will be conducted by His two endtime prophets - His witnesses - and all power will be entrusted to them. This is when the EAGLE will be in control of the HOUSE OF THE LORD. This EAGLE is further described in2Kings 2:11-12. Those who believe God will understand!
And finally, just one other thing concerning Satan's challenge to Christ, as previously mentioned in reference toMatt 4. This is what it says in Matt 4:8 "Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD and their splendour. "ALL THIS I WILL GIVE YOU," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." And neither did Christ deny that these were Satan's to give. Yes, all the KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD are the REALM of Satan the devil. And all the inhabitants of this world are Satan's seed - except those whom God has called as His own - THE 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL (Amos 3:2, Deut 7:6, 2Sam 7:23). Christ spurned his offer and said this: "Away from me, Satan! For it is WRITTEN: 'WORSHIP the LORD your God, and serve Him only." This is what was WRITTEN by Moses: Deut 6:13 "FEAR the LORD your God, serve Him only and take oaths in His NAME." It has not gone unnoticed that Christ used the word 'WORSHIP' while Moses used the word 'FEAR.' Satan wanted Christ to worship him, but Christ immediately resisted him and drove him away - and the devil left! The Apostle James said this: James 4:7 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." It's no secret that Satan fears those who will ultimately judge him. Those who worship other gods rather than the one true God, do so because they fear for some superstitious inherent power. And in many ways, these gods do have power over them, and they hold them captive to their own superstitions. But Satan and all his realm have no power over those who submit to God and fear Him. Both Christ and James demonstrate this point. Likewise, those who truly worship God, do so because they FEAR HIM! EVEN THE MIGHTY BEINGS WHO SURROUND HIS THRONE GREATLY FEAR HIM: Ps 89:7 "In the council of the holy ones God is GREATLY FEARED; He is more AWESOME than all who SURROUND HIM."
Those who don't fear God will soon face a choice! Our fear of God should be greater than the fear of anything else on earth. When the fearful events of the near future confront us, ONLY THE FEAR OF GOD will strengthen us to make the right choice - even if that choice is death. The Apostle Paul said this:Rom 8:35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake WE FACE DEATH ALL DAY LONG; we are considered AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." No, in all things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
We have just seen where the Apostle Paul is addressing Church members, yet in virtually every case he refers to the prophets who spoke of the 12 tribes of Israel. He speaks of a remnant of Israel being saved. But he is telling all this to Gentiles. This is what he says:Rom 11:13 "I am talking to you Gentiles. Insomuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in a hope that I may somehow arouse MY OWN PEOPLE TO ENVY and SAVE SOME OF THEM." Then in V17-24 he explains that these Gentiles have been grafted into the tree - and this for a specific purpose: to arouse 'MY OWN PEOPLE' to envy. He further makes the point in Rom 10:20 "And Isaiah boldly says: "I was found by those who did NOT seek Me; I revealed Myself to those who did NOT ask for Me." But concerning Israel He says: "All day long I have held out My hands to a DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE." Paul is quoting from Isa 65:1-5. This is an illuminating study all by itself. For nearly two thousand years, who has had virtual control of 'christianity'? The Gentiles! And it's the teachings of these Gentile 'christians' that has led many to seek answers that make sense. So indeed, a few of Paul's own people - the 12 tribes of Israel - have sought answers from God; and in truth, out of envy!
And just as all that Paul said to the Church was intrinsically woven into the prophecies concerning Israel, so the Church's role in endtime events will be emersed in the fate of all Israel. They must accompany the House of Israel into captivity, and there they must be a light to those who have lived in ignorance all their lives. If they faithfully fulfil this role, then they will stand before the Son of Man in glory. Some will be required to die, and others will be required to go into captivity:Rev 13:10 "If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for PATIENT ENDURANCE and FAITHFULNESS on the part of THE SAINTS."
And these saints will go into captivity (or be killed) with the full knowledge that God is conducting a mighty Work in Zion. And its from Jerusalem that the Word of God will go out into all the world. And in captivity they will know that all that God has said will happen exactly as He has said! And this is what the Prophet John said concerning these people:Rev 12:17 "Then the dragon was enraged at the WOMAN and went off to make war against the REST OF HER OFFSPRING - those who obey GOD'S COMMANDMENTS and hold to the TESTIMONY OF JESUS." The TESTIMONY OF JESUS is, of course, the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (Rev 19:10). The WOMAN is the TRIBE OF JUDAH which gave birth to the male child [Christ] (Rev 12:5, 13). When they (the offspring) finally have the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY and are able to UNDERSTAND TRUE PROPHECY they will be considered the OFFSPRING OF THE WOMAN.
Let it be stated so all can understand: NONE OF THE CHURCHES OF GOD HAVE THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY!! The appalling rubbish that they dredge up from their own minds is NOT prophecy! Surely some of you in the Body of Christ can see that they prove nothing from the Bible. Surely you can recognize that nothing they say is provable from the Bible. You have surely seen that most of them quote as their authorities, NOT the Bible, but some other writer or scholar or author of some other book. Yet you still believe them! Are you so blind? Why won't you BELIEVE God?
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