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December:The Number 2520 in Scripture


Compiled and Arranged by Harold E. Lafferty 

From Numerous Sources and Studies 

The overt number 2520 as such appears nowhere, as such, in all scripture. But it appears many times in other terms – such as “seven times.” In addition, utilizing the standard human measurements which would come to be utilized in natural sciences – which the Almighty foreknew as human standards to be developed in future time – we see remarkable coincidence of these, resulting in the factor of 2520 being extremely prominent in many measurements of nature; we are referring to such standards as the human-established degrees, minutes and seconds of the earth’s circumference (360 degrees), and other measurements such as the statute mile – all to be considered in this ongoing discussion.

Since the advent of natural science, essentially since the Renaissance, researchers have investigated this number exhaustively and found an abundance of references which mathematically result in this value or multiples of it. These studies reflect my early fascination with the number, an obsession which even led to my requesting that number for the state license plate for my 1949 Studebaker Commander – a photo which I shall include later if I can locate it in my archives.



Human Calculation Necessary for Profound Answers 

In the book of Revelation, the Elect are admonished to count the number of his name – the “name” of the Beast of Revelation 13: Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. For many years – until the emergence of a personage whose name equaled the gematrial (numerical) value of 666 – this prophecy would have been an enigma, which it was meant to be, until its time of valid recognition.

We believe the same principle is applicable for many other functions and identities of the number 2520. We intend to discuss it in greater detail, God willing. We intend to astound you with the number of times the number 2520 leaps out of God’s word, “cropping up” in scripture as related to all sorts of time periods, measurements, statistics, distances and other factors.

The Seven “Times” 

One of the most obvious conclusions of a term of 2520 years is that it is the length of “the times of the Gentiles.” Students of prophecy have long been aware of this period of time being equivalent to the “seven times of the Gentiles” of Jesus’ remark in Luke 21:24, the only employment of that term in scripture.

Just so all readers have a common understanding base in the matter of the Times of the Gentiles, we shall spend a short time establishing that period as being 2520 years in future articles on this theme. For now, we simply ask your concession of this statement as true – that the “times of the Gentiles” represents a period of 2520 years. There is more than one article on our eTPL website (see the web address below our signature line of any email you receive from us) that prove beyond any doubt that this is the case. But we intend to restate the skeletal facts for current readers in the near future, God willing.



Beginning This Consideration: King Belshazzar 

It is difficult to determine just where to begin this consideration of the vast, overriding importance of the number 2520 in scripture – which as we shall see, is a pervasive, all-encompassing concept 0f holy writ.

Perhaps a good place to start is at one of the most widely known incidents in God’s word – an incident whose significance has passed into our contemporary secular community, most of whom know nothing of its origin. We are thinking of the supernatural incident recorded in Daniel 5, in which King Belshazzar of Babylon was given his death sentence as “handwriting on the wall.” It is a term which indicates the inevitability of some judgment or penalty or result in one’s life.

The pagan king had brought all his high officials and princes together for a great feast. He brought out for use in the banquet the holy vessels of God’s temple which had been carried away to Babylon, and as a slap in the face of Israel’s God, was actually utilizing them in his pagan banquet. This was the final straw in Belshazzar’s affronts to the Almighty. At the height of the banquet, an hand appeared out of thin air, and wrote upon a plaster wall of the palace, some condemnatory words for the king and his kingdom.

The scripture records …

Dan 5:25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

The “surface” meaning of the words is highly significant as condemnatory of Belshazzar.

But there is another significance of these words which is not readily apparent to readers.

Beside the entirely relevant “surface” message of these words, there is a numerical significance embedded in them as well. Each word represents a numerical value (the total, summary value of each character in each word), which we shall see was based upon the most widely used unit of measure (the gerah) in the Middle East of that day – a value which totals 2,520.

The prophecy literally told the wicked, idolatrous Belshazzar that “his number was up.”

How did it do this?

The first astounding fact of this narrative is this: Researchers tell us that it had been exactly 2520 weeks to the day since his grandfather King Nebuchadnezzar, had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. (As a disclaimer, we have no readily available means of checking this statement as factual.)

But, measuring by God’s calendar, the Babylonian Kingdom was coming to its end that very night.

How so?

MENE comes from the word ‘mina’ and is equal to 50 shekels, so MENE, MENE is 100 shekels. TEKEL is another word for shekel, and therefore equals one shekel. UPHARSIN comes from the word ‘to divide,” and is therefore half a MENE, which totals 25 shekels. The numerical value of these words therefore equals 126 shekels.

But the gerah is the basic unit of measure. Ezekiel 45:12 defines the shekel as being worth 20 gerahs. The 126 shekels of MENE, MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN thus becomes 2520 gerahs, the most common expression of currency of the day.

Therefore, the student can easily determine that the Almighty’s own finger wrote “2520” on that wall that night. This same ‘fingerprint’ is visible throughout His Word, and His Creation, both in time and space.

The Past: the 2520 Year Periods 

In Ezekiel, God told the prophet to enact a parable by physically lying on his left side for 390 days, and on his right side for 40 days, for a total of 430 days. This seemingly strange object lesson – this enacted parable – has a prophetic dimension as we should suspect from its unusual nature.

What did it mean?

It related to the time representing Judah’s (then called Israel – subsequent to the Ten Tribes’ scattering) combined years of rebellion and their penalty for such transgression.

Their captivity in Babylon terminated in 70 years. Subtract these from 430 and we observe a remainder of 360 years of punishment.

But as the scriptures clearly reveal, Israel never truly repented, but consistently continued its rebellion. Only a tiny minority returned from Babylon under the leadership of Ezra and others.

In Leviticus 26, we see that the Almighty had already anticipated this failure to repent. In this chapter, God warned Israel far in advance, that if they didn’t repent and turn from their wicked ways, and return after the captivity that was in store for them, that His seven-fold wrath should fall upon them. 360 years x 7 fold = 2520 remaining years of judgment from YHVH.

Now, note that 2,520 years x 360 days (number of days in the Hebrew calendar year) = 907,200 days. What significance does this figure have?

Look at it in terms of the Gentile calendar and the significance becomes readily apparent.

907,200 x 365.25 days (the number of days in a Gentile calendar year) = 2483.78 years.

What significance does this have?

Consider these facts: these years represent their remaining time to be subject to Gentile overlord-ship as stated in Gentile years; the calculation is as follows:

605 BC – Israel loses her sovereignty by Babylonian conquest and hegemony over its Land.

Subtract 70 years of captivity in Babylon. 605 BC – 70 years = 535 BC, the initial end of the Babylonian captivity, which actually had three discernible “endings.”

The result is 2483 years remaining in the “sentence” of the Almighty as already considered.

We arrive at the solution by doing the math, remembering that 2483 years = 907,200 days of Gentile years (2520 Gentile years).

Divide 907,200 by 365.25 (Gentile years) and the result is EXACTLY 2483.78 years (correlating to the DAY with the figure previously arrived at above!).

Now, lapse that number of years forward from 535 BC (end of the Babylonian captivity), and one arrives precisely at 1947-48 – the exact end of Israel’s captivity and the beginning of its return from the nations – the establishment of an homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine of the day!

Such precision is only seen in the outworking of our Father’s perfect plan.

Its concise termination, as measured from the overthrow of Babylon (the cutting down of the “tree” and the binding of its Medo-Persian stump (Daniel 4:23) with bands of iron and brass, to the establishment of the Jewish state precisely points to the establishment of Israel as a State among the Nations.

Daniel 4:23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

But, let’s go back to the beginning …

The beginning of this initial “seven times” period is, as already seen, is 605 BC – the ascendancy of Babylon. Subtract the 70 years’ captivity in Babylon, and one is left at 535 BC. Now lapse this time by the 2483 years and we arrive at the Hebrew year comprehended by the Gentile years of 1947-48, the exact time of Israel’s restoration and the end of those years of Gentile domination over God’s people.

This consideration of the “seven times” of the Gentiles convinces us that there is far more here than can be attributed to “coincidence.” It is silent, and even hidden, proof of the absolute prescience and divinity of our beloved heavenly Father to bring about fulfillment of prophecy on such a scale and precision that we are astounded by it.

But there is more.

Jerusalem was desolated in 587 BC, its walls razed, the city burned, and its Temple taken apart stone by stone. This began a different period of 70 years captivity of Israel, and ended in 517 BC. Now lapse 2483 years from THAT date and one arrives precisely at 1966-67 AD – the precise date when Israel captured the Old City in the Six Day War on June 7th of that year.

And astonishingly, there is yet a third related time period – one which may have more meaning than we can appreciate on the date of this writing, September 13, 2015. It is this:

The Old City was captured and consolidated into modern Israel on June 7, 1967. That date, we must mention is passing, was the exact date prophesied for the fulfillment of the 2300 Days or the Cleansing of the Sanctuary of Daniel 8:14.

That fact in itself is extremely convincing of the accuracy of the Father’s omniscience.

But consider this calculation in reference to that momentous event: it has been calculated that the time period from June 7, 1967 – adding 2520 WEEKS – terminates on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, which is a scant TEN DAYS from today (the date of this writing).

Does this date have some special connotation?

We would be remiss to dismiss it out of hand as an unimportant anniversary, given the significance of 2520 in Bible prophecy.

With this question we leave readers for the time being.

If time and energy permit, we shall have far more information on the importance of the number 2520 in prophecy. It shall be seen to be astonishingly important as we bring forth more of this treasure trove of information for your consideration.

Is this information important? We should not deny that it IS important. That it is absolutely vital for our mature, thoughtful evaluation. Merely the foregoing facts and figures are astonishing in themselves. But there is far more to come in the near future, God willing.

<HEL 9O> ~2100 words. An eTPL exposition, first published September 13, 2015.


The Number 2520 in Scripture (2)


Compiled and Arranged by Harold E. Lafferty 

Continuing our fascinating consideration of the number 2520 in the Bible, we have discovered that it is a divinely appointed value which defines some of the most basic prophetic utterances.

Having considered the full term of “seven times” indicating 2520 years, there are several instances of scriptural use of the term “time, times and the dividing (half) of time,” as in Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Without going into an extended dissertation on the precise, detailed meaning of this prophecy, it is an indication of the supremacy of the ancient Roman Church over the people of its earth for half the time span of 2520 years, viz., 1260 years – one “time” being 360 years; “times” being two such periods of 720 years, and “half a time” being 180 years; added together they represent 1260 years.

Other presentations available on this web site explain this prophecy in detail so we will not discuss it again here.

Daniel 12:7 mentions the same period of years in another term: “for a time, times and an half.” It is a prophecy of a different nature than that above. But the time span indicated is the same, i.e., 1260 years.

Daniel 12:11 speaks of a period of “a thousand two hundred and ninety days,” by which we understand 1290 years from such a time to such a time.

Daniel 12:12 adds 45 years and speaks of “the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” by which we know he is indicating 1,335 years, on the same day for a year principle.

The principle of “a day for a year” in prophecy is clearly elucidated in Leviticus 26, beginning at verse 8 (the basis) and from verse 18 onward, where the meaning is amplified. This “day for a year” of prophetic time is established and validated here in this important chapter; its strict application is seen in the already discussed 2520 year term of the captivity of Israel, which ended in 1917, after its 2520 year term.

The Number 2520 in Scripture (3)


When we ended the first installment of this new series of articles, we noted that it has been calculated that the time period from June 7, 1967 – adding 2520 WEEKS – terminates on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, which is a scant TEN DAYS from today. That day is Yom Kippur – the Festival of Lights – an important date in the Hebrew year.Remember that the years we are recognizing here are the 360 day-year of the Hebrew calendar – not the 365.25 day-year of the Gentile calendar.

Some scholars believe that the 70th Jubilee Year began with Rosh Hoshana – September 13th , 2015.

If so, this would make the year 1966-67 a Jubilee year; (2015-16 minus 49 years = 1966-67). This calculation would mean that the Sanctuary (Temple Mount) was returned to Israel on the 69th Jubilee – which is a significant advancement of God’s Plan.

And if that is valid, this would make the year 1917-18 the 68th Jubilee year; (1966-67 minus 49 years = 1917-18). This calculation would give high validity to the fact that the People received legal permission of the world powers (the Balfour Declaration) in mandating that Great Britain begin to exercise its power to accomplish just this goal – a blunted goal which ended, in spite of Britain’s reneging on its promise to the Jews and to the world, in the establishment of Israel in 1948. The freeing of Palestine from the Ottoman Turkish oppressor (in 1917) was also a significant landmark in the advancement of God’s Plan.

In a previous article, we have considered that the Jubilees fell in years different from these, based on research done by W. H. Carter, published in his excellent work, Times and Seasons. One fact seems certain at this point: the year just ended on 29 Elul, the day preceding Rosh Hoshana, was a Shemitah Year, or the Seventh Year of Release, and was so recognized by the rabbis of Israel. In order for the prophecy to render a perceivable message, it would have to be set within the parameters of recognized periods of today.

The Conquest of Jericho 

When Israel crossed the Jordan River after their Exodus from Egypt, their first goal was to conquer Jericho. We remember that the Ark of the Covenant war carried around the city seven days in a row, entirely circling its 360 degree circumference. 7 x 360 = 2520 collective degrees of circling. At the completion of the seventh circuit, the Shofar was blown and the walls of the city collapsed, allowing the Hebrews to enter the city and take its wealth and plunder, saving only Rahab and her family from death, as promised by the two spies who had been sent into the city earlier to spy it out.

The Seventieth Week of Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24 

In this prophetic account, much is made by popular “theologians”of the seventieth week, in which Messiah is the chief character. The week is 2520 calendar weeks in length. Messiah is cut off in the midst of the week – at the 1260 week mark. His ministry continues to the brethren for the remaining 1260 weeks until the time He ascends into heaven and afterward, through His Spirit, until the conversion of Cornelius the Centurion of Caesarea Maritima by the Apostle Peter, and his baptism directly into the name of Christ without having to become a Jewish proselyte prior to that baptism.

At that point, the Plan of Salvation was completely revealed and placed into effect; the mystery of the salvation of the Gentiles was revealed and put into practice.

Since that time the Plan has received no alterations or revision.

There is one instance in scripture when the term "seven times" is equivalent literally to seven calendar years. The instance is in Daniel 4:23, where the reader learns that Nebuchadnezzar was to be driven out among the beasts of the field for "seven times" - until he acknowledged the supremacy and omniscience of the God of the Israelites. Here the term means literally 2,520 days of exile from his throne, and well symbolizes, again, the greater "seven times" of the LORD Jesus' words as recorded in Luke - the entire exile of Israel from its land and from being its own nation and polity there.

The Permutations of the Number 2520 in the Scriptures

Consider these remarkable calculations some of which are closely related to the 2520:

2,520 days = 7 years

A Jubilee Cycle of 49 years = 2,520 weeks

490 (7 x 70) years = 25, 200 weeks

2,520 years = 360 years x 7 years

7,000 years = 2,520,000 days


First, We must logically ask, Why is 2,520 so special to the Almighty?

The number 2520 is arrived at by multiplying the number 7 (days of creation) by the number of degrees around the earth (360). But there are other important aspects to the number as well.

Second, One of God’s names recorded in scripture is Eli Shaba, meaning God of the Oath. Shaba literally means “seven.” The integral importance of the numeral 7 is here recorded, as it is so often combined with 360 to result in 2520.

The strongest oath (promise) in the Bible was to “seven” oneself. In the 15th of Genesis, God established His oath with Abram; then, in Exodus 6:3-8, He expands upon that covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, extending it to Moses and the Children of Israel, in which He “sevens” Himself by extending to them precisely seven “I wills.”

Exodus 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD,

1. and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,

2. and I will rid you out of their bondage,

3. and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7

4. And I will take you to me for a people,

5. and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

6. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob;

7. and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.


Thus was completed the detailed, initial components of the progressively revealed and accomplished plan of God to bless His people and provide for them both temporal and spiritual salvation if they would receive it.

Third, the scholar E. W. Bullinger called the number 2520, “Chronological Perfection” for the reason that it is the product of the four obvious numbers in scripture which indicate perfection. These are said to be:

Three speaks of divine perfection.

Seven speaks of spiritual perfection.

Ten speaks of ordinal perfection, and

Twelve speaks of governmental perfection.

Multiplication of these four numbers – 3 x 7 x 10 x 12 = 2,520.


Fourth, the number 2,520 is the smallest number which can be divided by every single digit (1-10) leaving no remainder. It is therefore the lowest “perfect” number. Another number bringing to mind completion is 360; but it cannot be evenly divided by all numerals 1-10, because it is not evenly divisible by the numeral 7, a curious and notable exception.

<HEL 9O> An eTPL exposition.


The Number 2520 in Scripture (4)


Compiled and Arranged by Harold E. Lafferty 

Cyclical Perfection in Prophecy 

Bible prophecy seems often to occur in mirror images of earlier events, following these previous patterns in reverse, as in the following examples …

Fact: in 605 BC, the National Sovereignty of Israel was lost to Babylon, recovered 1948 AD

Note that: 19 years after that loss of National Sovereignty, Jerusalem was destroyed, in 586 BC. At the recovery of National Sovereignty it required the same period of 19 years to re-consolidate and restore Jerusalem, a period stretching 1948 to 1967AD, ending with the recovery of the Old City and West Bank.

Note also that: 48 years after Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC, the Altar was rebuilt and the Temple sacrifices re-instituted. Recall the full recovery and restitution of Jerusalem (the Old City) in 1967 above, and consider this fact: This year, in 2015, a Temple restoration group in Jerusalem constructed and dedicated a new Altar for the Temple that they expect to build. This date is exactly 48 years from that date.

Is this fact important and relevant? We cannot say that it certainly is – but it surely seems to be so in that it is an unplanned but exact mirror of the past event. We shall have to bide our time to see what is its importance; we shall not have long to wait! But to realize its outworking we have all the months left until Rosh Hashana, 2016.

We believe that, by that date, we shall see an entirely overt, palpable, and significant move forward in The Plan of the Ages.

There are other eerily exact measurements which are also mirror images of each other. One we think of offhand is that Abram’s “call” out of Ur of Chaldea, which is calculated as having occurred in 1948 BC. The reestablishment of Israel as a nation occurred in 1948 AD – the “calling” of Israel out of the nations of the earth, beginning the visible fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham – perfectly mirrored in time! And it marked the beginning of the end of Jewish oppression by the overpowering Gentiles.


The Number 2520 in Space 

The great scientist Albert Einstein discovered that there is a relationship between space and time. That relationship can be demonstrated by certain considerations of the dimensions of and the physical correlations between the earth and the moon. We warn you that some of these calculations can be mind-bending; but we believe them relevant to the glory of our Father.

The time component of the number 2520 is the universal measurement of the length of the week expressed in degrees rotation of the earth.

In the following citations, notice the prominence of the number 2520 in each.

A solar day consists of one 360 degree rotation of the earth. A week, therefore, consists of 2520 degrees’ rotation of the earth (7 x 360).

The earth’s diameter is stated as being 7916.833 statute miles – a measurement determined by multiplying 360 degrees x 7 = 2520 x Pi (3.1416) = 7916.833.

The distance of the moon at its apogee (furthest point away from the earth in its elliptical orbit) from the earth is calculated to be 252,088 statute miles (almost exactly 252,000 miles).

The correlation between the dimensions of the earth and the moon can be demonstrated by the following exercise: note carefully the near perfection of the figures.

Pi (3.1416) x 360 = 1130.9733. 1130.9733 x 6785.8401 (the circumference of the moon) = 7916.8144 – the diameter of the earth! Both are expressed in statute miles and are exact to within a few hundred feet distance as calculated by the two methods (0.833 miles as compared to 0.8144 miles).

These amazing calculations are heretofore mute testimony to the scriptural saying: The heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth showeth forth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3.

There are without doubt further permutations of these key numerical values in the scriptures, awaiting yet future determination/discovery. Let us continue our due diligence in these important, faith-generating investigations, bringing further buckets or cold, clear, refreshing spiritual “water” from the deep, secure wells of salvation.

Nearly this entire consideration has been concerned with the perfect number 2520, and its application to the word of the Almighty. Its use points inevitably and directly to the RETURN of His People in the latter days, and the consummation of His plan which that Return shall signal.

We therefore feel compelled to close this discussion with the conclusive and entirely certain words of the Father’s solemn promise: Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them. Jeremiah 33:25.

<HEL 12O> ~4800 words. An eTPL Prophecy Exposition. Final publication date: December 7, 2015.


November: Something Deceptive This Way Comes


Harold E. Lafferty 

A reader has sent a brief excerpt from yet another article concerning the re-gathering of the Jews to God’s Holy Land, claiming that the resurgence and reestablishment of Israel has nothing to do with the prophecy of Ezekiel 37, i.e., the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.

This renewed assertion that Israel’s present-day development has nothing to do with Ezekiel 37 is a complete repudiation of the universal recognition by older brethren who immediately saw the modern Restoration, begun in May, 1948, as sure fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Their belief was entrenched with the passing years and the amazing success of the modern-day Restoration of God’s people.

It is completely out of character for the Almighty to allow an event as weighty and as improbable as the formation of modern Israel to occur – and to continue for nearly seventy years (as it now has) – to be a “false start” of the fulfilment of valid prophetic utterance.

If the modern foundation of Israel is not important – has absolutely no relevance to God’s eternal plan – why has our Father allowed such a subterfuge?

Now ... let’s be honestly but brutally frank.

The reason that this theory has emerged is because some so-called students of the Word (but actually better described as students of the writings of an earlier expositor) have noted that it has not followed the pattern laid out by that earlier expositor. During his times, ending in the late 1860s, this otherwise excellent scholar was obviously unable to form a clear picture of the end-time re-gathering.

As hard to admit as it is – He misunderstood the prophecy.

He put forth the notion (as we understand it, because we are not students of that expositor) that a small colony of Jews would be brought back to the Land under the auspices of Great Britain just prior to the Gogian invasion of Ezekiel 37 and 38; and that those Jews would be driven down into Egypt by the Gogian host where they would later be further concentrated and assembled by the returned Jesus Christ, and then brought back to the Land while the Gogian cohort is destroyed by Him.

Let us ask: does this appear to be a valid outlook for modern Israel?

Further, is it a scriptural view? Is this scenario what is reflected in God’s word?

As many of you know, we have recently written a lengthy rebuttal to the new theory, and that the series of eleven articles is available for one’s perusal on this eTPL web site. Readers may access these articles by consulting this “The Permanence of Israel Today” listed in the sidebar. We commend it to your attention in case you have doubts as to the truth of the matter.

 

Our correspondent wrote:

Hi Bro. Harold,

The below was recently sent out on the Ecclesial Visitor email list. Thought I would send it to you and see what thoughts you may have on it.

 Some of my thoughts/questions would be: Why would we be given so much information on something that was to happen after Christ returns? (Yes, Revelation gives us details on those things but maybe for a different purpose)  We will know it and be a part of it then, but what effect does it have on us now if we thought it all future after his return?  Why would such a substantial event as the people being gathered back to their land be left out if Ezekiel 37 doesn't have reference to it?  Thinking Ezekiel 37 to have some present time fulfillment has given hope and substance to the prophecy for all those that see the establishment of Israel as the dry bones coming together. Yes, we can see some still yet unfulfilled future  aspects of Ezekiel 37, but I have always looked at it as a process that began some time ago and will continue till completed in the Kingdom age.  Time is created by God and what may cover a lifetime for us is nothing for him.

 I know you have written on this and studied it, but just wanted to see what you thought on the comments below.

 Thanks!

 Bro. _________

 

The comments that were transmitted by the text that followed the above message were more or less the same (unscriptural) argument put forth by the article to which our remarks are directed elsewhere on the eTPL web site, so these will not be repeated here.

We have strong feelings on this false construct for one reason: it is patently unscriptural.

Its proponents put forth “proofs” of extremely dubious quality in trying to substantiate the proposal that the more than six million citizens of modern Israel will be driven by a Russian confederation (the Gogian host) down into Egypt.

In the first place, every one of the Jews who should enter the land of Egypt would have his throat slit by the general Egyptian populace, because anti-Israel feeling runs so high in Egypt today.

In the second place, Egypt could not accept over six million foreigners entering the country within the short time frame that would be required by such an exodus from a neighboring country. Nearly bankrupt already, there is no possible way that such a refugee population could be absorbed by Egypt.

And in the third place, such a view is completely absurd to the rational mind because the return of the Jews to their Land is not pictured in the remaining, related prophecies as a sudden “placement” of hordes of Jews into the Land in the end-time; instead, it is – in complete agreement with the picture given in Ezekiel 37 – a picture of gradual immigration back to the Land by a few Jews early on, their numbers increasing steadily as the productivity of the Land is increased by those early pioneers, as they, by sheer labor of their hands, methodically increased the fertility and productivity of the Land to make way for later settlers.

Indeed, close examination of the 36th chapter of Ezekiel details the mood and intentions of the Almighty in the days leading up to the confrontation with the Proximal (nearby) Islamic States – an event which quite clearly precedes the Gogian invasion. It reflects exactly what every living witness has seen as Israeli history to date; numerous details of that conflict are covered by the previous chapter in Ezekiel (35).

Some of the prophet’s words of Ezekiel 36, are:

Ezekiel 36:6  Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: 7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you (the Proximal Islamic adherents), they shall bear their shame. 8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: 11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.

A consideration of just the underlined portions of this text indicates a progressive, ongoing, intentional blessing of the LORD in returning the Jews to their homeland over a period of time, and bringing numerous benefits to the Land which it had hitherto not received at the hand of the heathen who came into and dwelt there after Israel was dispersed in the early AD years.

This process is predicated upon conditions indicated by the phrase relating to the Land itself,  because ye have borne the shame of the heathen.

The treatment of the Land by the usurpers and squatters of Islam brought about its near-terminal desecration. Its forests were destroyed. Its arable land eroded and washed away. Its climate declined to that of desert countries. Its crops failed. Its lakes became mosquito-infested swamps bringing the scourge of malaria to many of its inhabitants. Its beauty faded completely away because of its long-term tenants’ lack of loving tenancy.

The reader of Ezekiel 36 is left in no doubt as to the identity of these desecrators – it has been the heathen that are about you.

The phrases that follow are extremely important – that in contrast to the tenancy that the Land had experienced during the exile of the Jews – that NOW ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come,

This statement alone shows the progressive and increasing Jewish influx into the Land. It is consistent with the facts of history, in which a few courageous Jews moved to Palestine and purchased the worthless lands that the Arab landowners were happy to sell to them – the malarial swamps of Hula in Galilee, the rocky slopes of Carmel and Tabor, the gullies and washes of Jezreel, the sand dunes of the Mediterranean shore – all entirely worthless in the eyes of their earlier owners.

But upon these lands the Jews began diligently to cultivate orchards and vineyards, forests and agricultural products in great abundance and variety.

They drained the swampy bogs of Huleh and found its loamy soil some of the richest and most productive farmland in the entire world. Located in the Great African Rift valley, it volacanic soil is supplied by abundant fresh water from the snows of Mount Hermon – source of the River Jordan.

Just as had Esau, their forefather, the indolent former owners had sold their birthright to the lowly Jew!

The Jews put to cultivation the slopes of Carmel and Tabor, creating terraces to capture the topsoil and to level it for vineyards and orchards. This formerly worthless soil brought forth in great abundance. Israel now contains one of the most refined wine producing areas in the entire Middle East today. Its former owners, in their ignorance and greed, lost the productivity of this land forever.

And finally, after proven soil management practices were applied to the Jezreel Valley and the sand dunes of the Mediterranean Sea (and even the salty soil of the Plain of the Dead Sea), this great swatch of level farmland has proven to be productive beyond all earlier assessments, and is home to numerous agricultural kibbutzim which have created great wealth for its present owners, the Jews of the Plain of Megiddo and the Sharon.

Once again, the advantage of being an early Jewish Settler paid off handsomely to the chagrin of the former owners of the beautiful valleys and plains.

All these projects required much time and energy, and financial input from wealthy Jews from Europe, primarily, who supported the early immigrants to Palestine as it was formerly known, and assisted their efforts to cultivate and to improve the wonderful Land of Promise, gradually and progressively bringing forth its hidden treasures by diligent work and their intelligent practice of husbandry.

Thus the Almighty “placed” His people back in the Land, and awarded it to their custody through the intricate process – the fits and starts which we viewed as almost unending in the years preceding Jewish Independence and the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Thus He brought it under their loving supervision and authority, bringing to pass what Ezekiel had forecasted: ye (i.e., the Land) shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come – a condition which itself identifies the progressive (not sudden) placement of Jews in the Land.

The remainder of the passage quoted continues to reflect this ongoing settlement of the Promised Land:

·        9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto youwords indicating His returning favor to His people, and His divine assistance for them, resulting in …

·        and ye shall be tilled and sown: exactly as we have observed.

·        10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it. This statement will be denied by critics of the continuous settlement of the Land, but it is true that in Israel today, there are descendants of every Tribe of the nation of Israel. It is true that there is a predominance of those of Judah and Benjamin (and Levi, the priestly Tribe), but all tribal representatives are present there as precursor to those who remain abroad. However, the end-time settlement of the Land is still in progress. The great Aliyah of the Ten Tribes awaits the return of Messiah, Who knows not only who His people are but where they are located in the earth; He will bring these home, flooding the expanded territory of Greater Israel with His people from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean (?). And ALL of them shall dwell there in peace and safety.

·         and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: This is the condition in which we see Israel today – cultivated nearly fully, forested nearly wholly, watered abundantly, civilized and tamed in contrast to its former condition of being unpopulated and wild; loved and cared for in distinction to being neglected and refused loving care as in the former case. At the present time, Israel contains three very large cities (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa), and its wasteland has been almost fully reclaimed in the limited area of its habitation. This prophecy has been fulfilled; it cannot be fulfilled a second time – can it? We don’t believe this a reasonable assumption.

·        11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: This stipulation has come to pass also to an incredible extent. From a population of about 660,000 at the date of independence, the Land now contains over six million Hebrew citizens of all kinds and of every profession. Israel’s “fruit” is so abundant that the nation is a net exporter of agricultural produce, and one of the foremost suppliers of flowers to the world markets for such.

·        and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. These stipulations are in process of being settled and done. Why should anyone believe that the great Establishment of Israel shall be undone once again? For that to occur there would of necessity be a THIRD re-gathering of God’s people – a condition which is unscriptural. Isaiah 11:11 speaks of the Second Time of the Father’s regathering of His people in the context of its being the FINAL restoration. There is no third restoration mentioned or even intimated by the prophets.

 

An intelligent, thoughtful, prayerful perusal of the remaining verses of Ezekiel 36 illustrates a continuing, progressive settlement of the Land by Jews coming into it over a period of years from all the other nations of the earth and cultivating it, of steadily increasing its productivity, of respecting the Land. which is directly addressed in the poetic language of the first four verses of this chapter (“Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD”).

The progressive settlement by the Jews of their Land pictured here – directly leading to the summary events of Ezekiel 37 (summarizing the entire process of their Return) obviates the sudden influx of millions of refugees from Egypt or elsewhere in a precipitous re-settlement of the Land as supposedly described by Ezekiel 37 – which is instead, a classical review of their overall circumstance as they recover from the Valley of Dry Bones and are re-constructed (bone to his bone, etc.) in their own Land for the second time.

Ezekiel 37 must be understood in the context of Ezekiel 36 – that it is, again, an overall summary of the Jews’ long-standing circumstance and their recovery from that squalid state at the time of the end to prosperity and eventual security in their own Land.

We don’t intend to discuss again all the myriad details that we have included in the above referenced eleven articles. Readers may access them at their leisure on this eTPL web site. The Editor believes them to be not only scripturally presented, but accurate in every detail – and thus are reflective of the character of the Restoration of Modern Israel as presented in the Word of God. Perhaps as importantly, the events as presented there are consistent with what we have observed for nearly 100 years – well after the closure of the pre-Restoration days of the expositor John Thomas, and before the events that would unfold could possibly have been understood accurately.

We refuse to stick with past forecasts which have utterly failed – a practice which breeds misunderstanding and confusion – which fails to generate the insight and faith so sorely needed by the heritors of the end-time as we surely and fortunately are.

We hope these brief remarks have addressed our correspondent’s remarks, which we believe well stated: Why would we be given so much information on something that was to happen after Christ returns? (Yes, Revelation gives us details on those things but maybe for a different purpose)  We will know it and be a part of it then, but what effect does it have on us now if we thought it all future after his return? 

We agree with this rhetorical question; to reveal such details about a time AFTER the return of Christ is redundant and unnecessary.

The present fulfilment must in our opinion be seen as a valid one, and that it leads to the exquisite details of the future days of the end-time when Christ comes to His people in power and great glory – to be welcomed by their appreciative hearts in the words, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD,” as the Master Himself forecasted that they should.

Our correspondent continues:

Why would such a substantial event as the people being gathered back to their land be left out if Ezekiel 37 doesn't have reference to it?  Thinking Ezekiel 37 to have some present time fulfillment has given hope and substance to the prophecy for all those that see the establishment of Israel as the dry bones coming together. Yes, we can see some still yet unfulfilled future  aspects of Ezekiel 37, but I have always looked at it as a process that began some time ago and will continue till completed in the Kingdom age.  Time is created by God and what may cover a lifetime for us is nothing for him.

We agree wholeheartedly with this scriptural reasoning.

The details of such extensive scriptural passages as Ezekiel 35 – 37 have given infinite hope and surety to Believers for decades, reassuring them that the Plan of God is moving forward in an orderly and methodical fashion – on schedule and on point.

Their brethren of 1865 and prior would have accepted them with profuse appreciation and thankfulness had they seen such fulfilment of scripture – so plainly inscribed for our benefit and encouragement, showing us clearly that our understanding of the overall prophetic picture given us by our Father is accurate and moving forward apace.

And our specially elected (in our opinion) Expositor of that era – Doctor John Thomas – should immediately have recognized the erroneous prognostications which he had earlier ascribed to the prophetic message. Such was the pliable nature of our beloved associate, who himself declared that he was engaged in prophetic exploration of which any man or woman is capable who understands the basic salvational truths of God’s word, and who applies his good mind to the Word.

We recommend this humble attitude to those who steadfastly deny that Ezekiel 37 applies to the development of the modern State of Israel. We recommend their diligent re-thinking of their position. We urge that they publicly retract their patently false claims and publish their revised conclusions so that those who rely on their view of the prophecies may benefit from their adjusted outlook.  <HEL 11O>  ~3500 words.  The eTPL entry for November, 2015.


October: “Palestinians:” Deport Them All...?

(A Determination Consequent to the Blood Moons of the Jewish Tetrad?)

Harold E. Lafferty

Rabbi Meir Kahane advised it at least 25 years ago – deport them all ... or just kill them all. The statement relates to the killers and saboteurs of the PLO within Israel and the surrounding Israeli territory. It includes those in Gaza (Hamas, Israeli territory) and South Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Yesterday, the popular blogger Sultan Knish (the N.Y. writer David Greenfield) proposed the identical solution to the re-developing internal atrocities of the PLO within Israel and its capital, Jerusalem.

Yesterday, David Greenfield wrote: “Deport the Fatah members who have used billions in foreign aid to build themselves a corrupt terrorist empire with fake jobs and foreign aid. Deport the government Imams who screech on its television shows for war with the Jewish “descendants of apes and pigs.” Deport the Palestinian Authority’s terrorist media corps that celebrates every brutal act of Muslim terror and casually calls for genocide. Deport them all.”

For several days the Muslim population of Israel, and of the Palestinian Authority, has taken on a renewed mission to rid “its land” of the Jews, by stabbing innocent persons walking peacefully along any urban street.

A knife is easy to secrete on one’s person – and easily put into action when an opportune time comes, such as approaching an Israeli mother pushing a baby carriage. These murderers have no compunction about killing such innocents; indeed, they prefer such targets because they are unlikely to resist or have the means (a weapon) to retaliate.

Such is the mien of cowards and bullies, whose mission is in no way harmless or merely provocative: their intent is only cold-blooded murder.

We believe this new tactic of the PLO – which just began to be executed about 10 days ago – is a palpable result of Abu Mazen’s renunciation of the Oslo Accords. He has officially renounced it, that is; for the PLO had long ago shown itself not to be a faithful partner in the Accord by continuing its atrocities and terrorism against Israel in every conceivable way.

Is this one of the important implications of the recent Jewish Tetrad of Blood Moons; is this one of the changes that they were intended to herald? Our belief is that is a probability.

The PLO wants only one thing: Israel.

All of Israel.

And it has vowed not to stop its efforts until that goal is achieved.

Imagine yourself walking among the crowds of The Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

The colorful crowd of people that is always present there, presenting a friendly face to all. Its numerous merchants offering the handmade mercantile of the Middle East such as native dresses, the habits of sheiks and camel-drivers, the headdresses of chieftains and fedayeen.

Copper and brass wares, knives and utensils of domestic service are abundantly displayed.

Trinkets and ornaments to fit any passing whim; offerings include candles, ornaments, brick-a-brack, and cheap tinsel items, picture postcards – anything to separate the passerby from his shekels.

The savory odors of native foods from live charcoal grills fill the air. Half-carcasses of recently slain sheep and goats festoon the front entryway of butcher’s shops, inviting shopping housewives inside for further selections. Here, “fast food” can include a lamb chop or a sheep’s leg with humus, instantly available from the grill – or a falafel – both of which are never so delicious as in Jerusalem.

Spice displays are lavish, emitting a pungent odor into the sultry atmosphere, featuring some thirty odd varieties from Aleppo Pepper to Za’atar.

 Ready-made dresses hang from lines strung ten or fifteen feet above the street, retrievable only by means of long, slender poles with hooks with which to bring the items down to the street for closer customer inspection, try-on and purchase.

Goats and sheep scamper unattended through the streets; a two-wheeled delivery cart drawn by a solitary, morose diminutive donkey plods over the cobblestones, its hoofs clomping evenly on the slippery stones, the cart wheels creaking and rattling a monotonous but broken rhythm.

Youths hustle giant delivery boxes, fitted with wheels, over the stepped pavement, matching their tires to the small, bevelled ramps which lead from one step-level to the next, affording employment to the more enterprising youths of the city.

Children by the dozens play happily in the crowded street, scampering gaily from one doorway to the next, caring for nothing about them, suspecting no danger whatever.

It can be so with the pedestrian as well. Casually strolling through such an environment, he or she has little awareness of the danger that he may be facing. Out of the swirling crowd a lone individual steps abruptly aside, thrusting a long, sharp blade forward and upward into the belly of a young Jewish mother carrying an infant in arms – an heinous, vicious wound which causes the most pain and suffering of any, and a prolonged period of recovery, if such be the case.

If the victim perishes, the terrorist has done his work well.

If the perpetrator is killed by persons nearby or by the police, he instantly becomes a “martyr” for Islam, recognized and honoured by Abu Mazen and his crowd for his “bravery.”

But really, he is a cold-blooded murderer.

And another Jewish family has been deprived of its mother, its father of his wife. And no real retribution is possible, for the murderer is most likely himself killed. Or has vanished into the teeming crowds of people, most of whom look exactly like he does, and whose probable determination is to protect him and allow his escape.

Such is the renewed climate of existence in Jerusalem – the capital city of Israel. This urbane, cosmopolitan city occupying the spine of the mountains of Judea, seat of the government of Israel, and home to numerous museums, colleges, universities, synagogues, churches (yes, and mosques) – a thriving, beautiful city on an hill, shining before God and the world, destined for a much better future time, but having to suffer the birth pangs leading to that happier day.

We cannot be sure that this sudden change of tactic determinedly and purposefully followed the renunciation by Abu Mazen (“President” of nothing, but only the villain, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the PLO) – his abandonment, that is, of the Oslo Accords.

That renunciation was only in word, for the deed was accomplished years ago – only days after the famous signatures of Yasser Arafat and Yitzak Rabin had been affixed to the printed copy of The Oslo Accord on the South Lawn of the White House, September, 1993.

This writer was present that fateful day – that day when the objective was achieved which “won” both principles the Nobel Prize for Peace – a subterfuge which the Nobel Committed swallowed like the juiciest fish bait that could be offered.

The air was festive for the most part. Arabs huddled in knots about the streets of the District, handing out sweets, congratulating one another on their “victory” over Israel, screaming vile words and openly making obscene gestures at Jews who were huddled in separate groups mourning for the State of Israel, seeing through the thin veil of hypocrisy presented by the PLO on this occasion, and by its leader, Yasser Arafat, who passed by our vantage point in his speeding motorcade both going to the ceremony and returning from it later in the afternoon.

The Jewish groups were distinctively dressed, the men wearing their prayer shawls over their jackets in full display, yarmulkes firmly pinned in place, and incessantly blowing their rams’ horns (Shofars) in distress – the Shofars of Assembly and of Resistance – all to no avail as determined by the “powers that be” of the day – President Bill Clinton and his staff which had “brought together” the two enemies and had “made peace” between them.

What a travesty!

That travesty now (and long since) has exhibited the significant and openly concluded mark of utter failure.

And a renewed Intifada (uprising) among the Arabs has begun in a previously undisplayed manner – at least never widely practiced before this date – the individual stabbing of innocent Jewish citizens on the streets of Jerusalem.

And can any reader guess who is being blamed?

Ahah! – you guessed correctly: it is Israel which is being blamed for the stabhings of Israelis in their own capital city.

But the leader of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, is really to blame. Now eighty years old, he inhabits a sumptuous thirteen million dollar palace in Ramallah, and has deposited $100 million of the nations’ “aid” to the PLO in his own personal accounts in Swiss banks – all the while pleading poverty to the world powers, who willingly have coughed up billions of dollars to the “Palestinians” of the “West Bank” and the tens of thousands of people on its payroll who have never even bothered to show up for work since 2007.

To the objective observer, the placement of blame is extremely obvious. Abu Mazen and the PLO are the culprits – the initiators of this renewed Intifada. Israel is simply striving to defend itself against these insidious enemies; but even the US president, Barack Obama, and his “objective” liberal media do not recognize the real culprits, and consistently blame Israel.

So David Greenfield (Sultan Knish) has decided that deportation is the answer to Israel’s current crisis of existence.

But is that the solution which has been determined by the God of Israel?

In the end, it is only His judgment that we respect, and which we seek.

Our judgment cannot be relied upon in such matters, and might seem irrelevant to the result which He has already purposed, and shall achieve.

So ... is the solution in the mere deportation of the “Palestinians,” or is there an alternative to this suggestion? Remember, our own spiritual sensibilities may not be as objective or as thorough as are our Father’s judgments – and certainly not as insightful or prescient.

Our viewpoint is by many magnitudes more limited than His.

 

... Or Just Kill Them?

Further, His oversight may not match our own fleshly sensibilities precisely.

He perhaps has already determined a destiny for His enemies which should be unthinkable to us in the context of our comprehension of His mercy and grace.

Our approach to them might be incessant negotiations and/or concessions such as those of the U.S. president, and of the nations of today.

But His judgment upon these vile enemies has already been written into future history.

The execution of His judgment merely awaits the time of its coming to pass.

The prophets of Israel were given to understand – and to record for His servants to read and understand – that the enemies of Israel are, first of all, His enemies; and second of all, that their just retribution is awaiting His execution in the most literal of terms, namely, physical execution of all of them. Obadiah expresses this fact as, There shall be none remaining of the house of Esau ... Obadiah 1: 18.

Deportation is not in the offing, as Jewish observers such as David Greenfield have suggested. Instead, we have the sure word of prophecy upon which to rely:

Mt. Seir (the people who are Esau’s descendants) is only a portion of, but is typical of those enemies, and today is comprehended by the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, the citizens of Jordan, and the Bedouin of the Sinai Peninsula (cf., the 21 verses of 1 Obadiah).

Of this special group of enemies, Ezekiel was given these extensive words of condemnation, including the Father’s righteous reasoning...

Eze 35:2  Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir (Esau), and prophesy against it,

Eze 35:3  And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.

To be “most desolate” is not to exist at all – to be obliterated and entirely destroyed.

Eze 35:4  I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.

At the time appointed for the fulfillment of this prophecy, the entity of “Mt. Seir” (Esau) and the precise reason for Esau’s destruction will be utterly and objectively apparent to the whole world, but more pointedly to his People of the Book – the enlightened and informed followers of the LORD Jesus Christ …

Eze 35:5  Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:

Eze 35:6  Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood (i.e., bloodshed) shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.

The Islamic solution to its problem with the Jewish state is to murder all the Jewsbut their own solution shall be turned forcibly upon them, and away from Israel. Three distinct verses tell the progressive removal of that Cup of the LORD’s Fury from His People Israel, and the giving of it to their enemies. These are …

Firstly, His people have drunk of the cup of His fury for ages:

Isaiah 51:17 - Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.

 

Secondly, He, at some sure time in the future, should remove that Cup from Israel, and they should drink of it NO MORE:

Isaiah 51:22 - Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:

 

Thirdly, He shall then give the Cup of Fury to Israel’s enemies for consumption:

Jeremiah 25:15 - For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.

 

Contemporary Witnesses to This Process

The people of God today have been privileged to witness this precise sequence of events during a span of the last 100 years – from the insidious beginning of the accusation and the swiftly following vendetta against the Jews summarily purposed in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, to the present internecine conflicts of Islam in which the Sunnis are intent on killing all the Shi’ites, and vice versa – and the miraculous, surely divine preservation of the Jewish State in the midst of all this turmoil. Hitler’s assault upon Jewry was, in our opinion, the last and deepest partaking by Israel of the Cup of the LORD’s Fury at His hand – an heinous era which resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel as a safe-haven for all Jews of the world.

The Cup of the LORD’s fury has now quite obviously been taken from His people, and has clearly been given to His enemies, who are currently beginning to carry out His intention for them – destruction often by the pitting of every man’s sword against his brother (Judges 7:22; Ezekiel 38:21) in the most conclusive manner that one could conceive.

The end result shall be that all His enemies (and Israel’s enemies) shall be utterly destroyed.

But the more conclusive fulfillment of this decision awaits the physical return of Israel’s Messiah to His earthly realm and throne – a venue from which He shall subdue all His enemies in similar fashion, and where He shall establish the throne of His glory in Mount Zion.

Eze 35:7  Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.

Eze 35:8  And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword.

Eze 35:9  I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Herein is forecasted the divine solution to the problem of Islam with Israel.

Perpetual desolation means obliteration.

ALL its people are destined for utter destruction. The result of this huge calamity for Esau’s descendants is a great boon for His people Israel – for in that day shall they come to realize that YHVH is their Father – unmistakably certain in every way – and that He is their Deliverer, in their national recognition of His Emissary, namely His beloved Son, the LORD Jesus Christ.

Eze 35:10  Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries (meaning, in the context of Ezekiel’s day, Israel and Judah) shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:

This verse has great importance to our understanding of current events. We see daily…

1) The blatant boast of the Islamicists claiming the Land of Israel for its own, and its high places for its inheritance – demanding both as a condition for the resolution of hostilities against Israel. And …

2) By this verse we understand that the LORD is there among Israel today, divinely protecting His people from any great harm (cf., Daniel 12; 1,2), and assuring its continuation of existence until its Savior comes in the person of Jesus Christ at His Second Advent (cf., Amos 9: 11-15).

Eze 35:11  Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them (i.e., among Israel – notice the concurrence of Esau’s eradication with Israel’s recognition of its Maker and His sovereignty – at a given, certain time … ), when I have judged thee.

Eze 35:12  And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.

Eze 35:13  Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them.

Eze 35:14  Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.

Eze 35:15  As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they (all Israel) shall know that I am the LORD.

Once again, this verse validates our expectation that three humanly un-foreseen events are destined to be achieved very soon in Israel, and will bring these advances in His Plan:

1.   The Proximal Arabs (personified here as Mt. Seir) are to be obliterated at ...

2.   The Personal Return of the LORD Jesus Christ, resulting in ...

3.   The national recognition of Christ as Messiah by His People Israel, now returning to their covenanted Land in great numbers (Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6).

At that point in time, His everlasting Kingdom shall be considered as being underway, destined to be spread over the whole earth as the waters cover the sea as revealed in Habakkuk 2:14 – a well-known Memory Verse from years ago.

 

And Then. Comes the Gogian Horde

And after these momentous events, comes the Gogian aggressor-nations to take a spoil and a prey much larger than is presently available in Israel –a treasure trove of commodities such as never assembled in one nation – a trove which even today is equivalent to more than half of the known reserves of oil and gas in the entire world, but which includes the present liquid wealth of all those countries between the Nile and the Euphrates, constituting Israel the richest country both in mineral reserves, in hard gold and silver metals, and in cash and credit holdings of all those enemies of Israel which shall have been conquered and destroyed by the Christ of the Second Advent, as outlined above.

What enemy of Israel – or what friend – c0uld have foreseen such an eventuality?

Well, there were a few students of God’s word who had long forecasted this outcome – a sequence of events foreign to the understanding of almost all scripture pundits and experts in all Christendom. Coincidentally, both Daniel and Hosea make pertinent comments along those lines, saying respectively, that those who understand are considered “wise” ...

Daniel 12:10  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Hosea 14:9  Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

The clear inference of these statements is that there will be a few who shall have understood the impending prophetic out-play well before the facts unfold. But the “transgressors” shall fail to profit from them due to disbelief, a statement which we believe does not necessarily mean that their hope of salvation will be lost, but merely un-anticipated in the ways which He expects us to perceive it.

Let us not be among those who fail to anticipate His Great Plan, and fail thusly to profit from that understanding.

      <HEL code 10O> ~ 3600 words.  Posted on the eTPL web site, October 18, 2015.

 

September: Highlights and Shadows

Harold E. Lafferty


Gen 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Gen 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Gen 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Gen 1:4  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

This mystical, cryptic account of the creation of heaven and the earth includes the divinely-spoken creation of light – and shows how it pervaded the darkness, erasing it completely, except in the deep shadows of earthly or celestial objects.

In our understanding, the creation of light and darkness could not have been accomplished in the reverse order. The Father’s laws of physics do not allow the creation of darkness, for lack of enlightenment is the natural condition of everything from the beginning.

Here are ways in which light and darkness are incompatible…

1.      Darkness cannot be projected, as can light.

2.     Darkness cannot be injected into a universe of light, and cause its dimming.

3.     The abolition of light can come only from removing the light source, as light will ALWAYS dispel darkness.

Even the dimmest light can be seen for great distances by the human eye. It is currently being advertised on TV that an human eye can detect the light of a single candle at a distance of ten miles on a clear night.

For this reason, the world’s navies always quench the “smoking lamp” at night for personnel on the open decks of ships, or at lookout posts; the glow of their cigarettes or cigars can be seen for miles in an otherwise pitch-black seascape, and would immediately alert enemy submarine crews that a ship was nearby, bringing further investigation, and perhaps a surprise attack.

We believe most human beings take light for granted. We have become accustomed to seeing the brilliant light of sunrise each morning precisely on schedule, and the extinguishment of the earth’s greater light at sunset each day, whether obscured by clouds or mist.

 

Some Facts About Light

Light is a mysterious entity in many ways, although we have been able to determine several of its physical properties. Some of these are …

1.      its speed of travel – 186,000 miles per second.

2.     its propensity to travel in a straight line;

3.     its ability to be bent and reflected;  

4.     also to be separated, or refracted by optical prisms into crisply visible bands of color, from ultra-violet to infra-red, beyond either wave-length of which its presence is not detectable by the human retina;

5.     or rotated, when passed through certain media, giving rise to the terms dextro- and levo-rotation (that is, clockwise and counter-clockwise) as measured by its beams exiting from the usually liquid substances.

6.     Light may be collimated – meaning it may be forced into an orderly column of brilliance to be concentrated upon a given target for best illumination. The beam of a laser is an example of such collimation.

7.      It may be focused into an extremely small, hot concentration, by lenses, and used to heat any substance, or to start fires. Every Boy Scout has started campfires using a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s rays upon tinder material such as dried leaves or wood fibers to start such fires.

8.     In addition, it may be diffused, to create a nearly shadowless environment as seen in indirect lighting;

9.     It may be “bounced” or reflected off bright surfaces to fill in the harsh shadows created by direct lighting – used mostly in photography.

10.  In addition, it may be filtered so as to allow certain wave lengths of the entire color spectrum to be blocked, and others to be permitted to reach the eye – or film – to create certain dramatic effects. We think of the Wratten “A” filter, for example, which when used with panchromatic film renders a blue sky as near darkness, giving a dramatic contrast to all white clouds present in it.

11.   It may also be polarized, or caused to vibrate in only one plane, as with a polarizing filter.

12.   It may be contained and transmitted through glass optical fibers at blazing speeds carrying billions of bits of information simultaneously.

 

The Mystery of Light

The basic nature of light is not known for certain.

Some researchers will attest that it is made up of discrete photons, or particles, which travel in straight lines at 186,000 miles per second.

Others believe it exhibits itself more in the fashion of a sine wave.

Yet others recognize that light is definable in both these contexts, neither of which fully explains some of its peculiar properties.

Light cannot be contained or stored, except as latent energy that may be called forth by switching on a light bulb, or igniting an open fire, as yet unlighted.

Allied to the identity of light as a sine wave is its property of frequency.

We recognize the visible light spectrum as only an extremely tiny fraction of that vast spread of waves of radiofrequency ranging from gamma rays to the extra-long waves of interstellar radio communication and even beyond. This radio-spectrum includes X Rays, cosmic rays, lasers, quasars, masers, all the Kelvin (color temperature) frequencies, and a myriad of other tune-able wavelengths in the entire radio-spectrum.

I have noted that the frequency of the voice-signaled, continuous weather reports of NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is designated as 162.475 mHz. This means that the carrier radio signal of this station is propagated, or sent out from the tower, at a frequency of 162,475,000 Hertz – another name for each oscillation, or cycle, of the wave from negative to positive – per second! It is a blindingly incomprehensible phenomenon, meaning that the wave reverses itself more than 162 million times each second! But, if my calculations are correct, each phase of each wave is still over 87 miles in length – or 174 miles in length for the complete wave. Yet that length of radio wave is considered to be extremely “short wave.”

In comparison, the more well-known AM radio waves are a mere 1,000 to 1800kHz per second, or 1,000,000 oscillations per second – occupying the “medium wave” sector.

 

But we digress. Our discussion shall concentrate upon visible light in this exhortation.

We personally encountered the physical wonders of light, and its mysterious shadows, in our early teen years as 0bserved in the principles of light photography – a Greek term meaning “light writing,” in its truest definition. Only recently (400 years ago) did Leeuvenhoek discover that glass lenses could be ground into contours that bend light in an orderly fashion and be made to project a magnified image upon the human eye, when certain optical principles were observed.

This finding gave rise to the optical telescope on the macro end of the spectrum, and to the optical microscope on the micro end of the same. Lenses were engineered to project any viewed scene upon a focal plane of a closed instrument called a “camera” only about 160 years ago, giving rise to the immensely popular profession of photography – or “light writing” on sensitive film.

 

At this point I want to demonstrate these principles using one of my dearest possessions, a Graphic-Graflex, 4 x 5 inch, Anniversary Model Speed Graphic press camera, built in 1946. I purchased this camera from Sears Roebuck in Little Rock, Arkansas, and paid approximately $275.00 for it including the carrying case, flash unit, several cut film holders and a sunshade.

It is equipped with a 127mm Wollensak lens (about five inches focal length) and a mechanical shutter with a shortest exposure interval of 1/400th second.

It is also equipped with a so-called “focal plane” shutter, which can expose photo films at intervals as short as 1/1,000th second – intended mostly for sports photography such as basketball, auto racing, soccer or football.

 

The 4x5 inch Anniversary Speed Graphic Camera

 

The designed flash unit for this camera utilized clear flashbulbs crammed with thin, delicate wire filaments which burned instantly when the photographer pressed a battery case button to shoot a flash-lighted picture. Its shutter was tripped in synchrony with the bulb’s illumination so as to take advantage of its full output of light at the shutter’s opening, and allow photographs to be made which seemed to be “frozen,” at up to 1,oooth of a second.

Later I adapted a stroboscopic flash unit to this camera allowing photos of sporting events and automobile racing at speeds of upwards of one 10,000ths of a second and even much shorter flashes.

The main point that I wish to establish in your understanding is that our Father’s invention of LIGHT led to an incredible ability for the conveyance of information by mankind, both verbal and graphic. It did this by having been founded upon inflexible physical laws of optics and chemistry. Our Father has given men and women in His creation the ability to improve their lives and their vocations by utilizing his established principles in all fields of science, of which this is only one of a great many ingenious areas of scientific interest.

 

Intellectual “Light”

The term “light” is used in physical contexts as well as philosophical ones.

The word “enlightenment” describes the illumination of a physical scene by shining light upon it.

But it also can define the entry of knowledge into one’s mind and comprehension, bringing about a greater understanding of something basic, and often taken for granted.

In the science of photography, there is a principle known as “reciprocity failure,” which explains precisely why film fails to absorb a latent image when exposed to very low-level lighting situations, such as nearly complete darkness.

Only at sufficient levels of illumination may photographic film absorb the highlights projected upon it by the lens of the camera.

This potential image impressed upon photographic film is termed a “latent image” because chemical development of the film can immediately make the latent image a reality.

But if the level of illumination that the camera “sees” is either not intense enough, or of long enough duration (as in outer space photography), no such latent image is captured by the film, and the result is a blank negative – the result of reciprocity failure.

The simplified reason for this is that the impact of the photons to which the film is exposed is not sufficient to bring about a change in the film to produce a latent image. In other words, the light does not “make an impression” upon the film so that it can be developed.

 

This principle is seen in human enlightenment as well. If a subject person is exposed to the Truth of God’s word, or any other genuine body of information, only in a superficial or brief manner, no response will be elicited in his mind or heart.

Or if a weak exposure to God’s Truth is not continued long enough, there will likewise be no response by the subject’s mind. In such a case, there will always be failure to reciprocate – or reciprocity failure.

This is the reason why our teaching of God’s word must be vigorous and forthright – brightly presented, and intelligently conveyed to our hearers. For only then can it make an effective entry into the sensibilities of others and be understood and internalized.

When one thusly discerns elements of God’s Truth, we describe him as becoming “enlightened” by that new information.

You see, like physical darkness, one’s darkness (i.e., ignorance) of mind is its native condition; it can only be dispelled by the light of God’s word.

Darkness of intellect is our native condition, just as physical darkness came before the creation of light.

Darkness cannot be introduced into a lighted environment to bring about physical darkness. The only way to attain darkness is to TAKE AWAY any light, and allow “natural” circumstances to take control. For intellectual “darkness,” as in the physical universe, is the native human condition. Enlightenment can come only by the Word of God entering into each receptive mind and heart.

When God created the heaven and the earth, the earth was without form – and darkness covered its deep, saline surface from which no land masses as yet protruded; no islands or continents yet having been formed. The watery planet was completely un-enlightened, because no light shone upon it whatever.

In exactly the same manner, a newly delivered infant is born out of darkness, and out of a dark, watery environment. The first rays of physical light striking its retinas must be extremely startling to him or her as he perceives the light of the sun, or of artificial hospital lights. He frowns and grimaces, striving to adjust to the new stimulus.

But soon he grows accustomed to light and darkness in the diurnal-nocturnal cycle of daylight and darkness. He adjusts quickly to these two opposite states, and learns to navigate them well – and even use them to his own advantage.

As he grows older, he begins to acquire knowledge of the world and his environment – to notice how things function, and how various phases of life are affected by light, working to his advantage in many instances, but having the ability to shut it out for the most restful sleep. Those normal facets of a child’s development are natural, and are necessary for him to live a normal life.

But there are greater dimensions which are open to him – more lofty levels of endeavor, which are open for his benefit and profit. These emanate from that vast well of information originating with the Almighty, and even extending to him the possibility of an infinite life of joyful, painless, superbly elevated life and happiness after this temporal life has expired.

 

Life and Immortality Brought to Light by the Gospel

In God’s great Plan for the earth, the Gospel is stated as being the origin of this light – or enlightenment, as Paul wrote to Timothy:

2Timothy 1:6  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11  Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Note carefully that only in our Savior Jesus Christ is there the advantage of His having abolished death, and … brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:  When one has received and understood these saving words of Truth, we speak of him or her as having become “enlightened” by them.

We may easily visualize this concept as a bright stream of information emanating from the mind and lips of the LORD, Jesus Christ, as he taught the folk of His time and age, the eternal truths which are the foundation of the Gospel – the God-spell which brings life and immortality to light for those who pay attention to His words!

 

Some would enquire, “What advantage, then, have those who hear Him?”

It should be obvious that Life and Immortality are qualities which are not native to the dark, hopeless destiny of the natural man.

On the other hand, these great advantages are readily and freely available to all men and women. These words of enlightenment are words of elevation, and of purification. They are words of inestimable value to those who receive them willingly, internalizing them, taking them to heart, and faithfully striving to be guided by them.

By such means one is said to be “converted” to the way of the LORD – a Way which is not native to men and women – a Way which must be instilled in them by His Word of Life.

As we so often discover, the Apostle Paul expressed this principle clearly in Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Only by the transformational entry of spiritual LIGHT may one’s native darkness be dispelled, and the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God be understood!

 

Spiritual enlightenment is therefore curative of the human condition of mortality.

Light is known to have many qualities which are physically beneficial to us as human beings. In the early treatment of tuberculosis it was discovered that light and fresh air were beneficial to its victims. The sanatoria at Lake Placid, N.Y., established by Dr. Edward L. Trudeau and Dr. Paul Lambert were an outcome of this discovery. In such a setting, before the advent of antibacterial agents which could kill the organisms (M. tuberculosis), this was the most effective curative approach.

Recently, research has determined that a flashing source of germ-killing ultraviolet light being introduced into the operating room environments of hospitals is extremely beneficial; its sole use is to sterilize the O.R. continuously. This is doubtless the component of light which affected the cures of TB in the mountainous environment of Saranac Lake.

Virtually the only treatment for the viral skin disease. pityriasis rosea is direct and concentrated exposure of the affected area to ultraviolet light for about 15 minutes a day for five or six days.

These are examples of the curative power of physical light waves.

 

As already noted, spiritual light is even more effective than natural light because it transmits an eternal prospect. Only it may exterminate the “germ” of death which dwells in mankind.

The light of God’s word heals more than disease; it heals the scourge of death itself, for its words bring the blessed light of salvation from death to our doomed race.

This great blessing is credited only to our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

It is a monumental achievement which He has accomplished.

Although readily and freely available to every man and woman, it is ignored, or even actively denied or refused by most.

Some men arrogantly vaunt themselves far above its teachings, supposing themselves to have a superior understanding to that of these deeply beneficial, humble principles of faith.

Others cannot bring themselves into subjection to His Truth, being addicted to their own lusts and practices.

But those whose demeanor compels them to pay attention to His words of Life are the great beneficiaries of His largess – His grace.

Such an one was the Apostle Paul, whose account of the entry of the Enlightenment of God is recounted in Acts 26: 13-18, as he presented it to King Agrippa at Jerusalem.

Appropriately, in this miraculous revelation of His great Plan, the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul as a bright light, passing the brightness of the sun for intensity. There was no “reciprocity failure’ here!

This unusual vision got the immediate, rapt attention of the future Apostle! We read …

Acts 26:15: And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan (sin, Satanas, the accuser) unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

This stupendous, improbable, but gracious invitation is open to every man and woman of sound mind today! Its message is freely and profusely offered, as the LORD Jesus informed us in the instructive words of Matthew 11:28 - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It has just occurred to us that there may be a subtle play on the words of this last phrase – that the “light” which our LORD freely gives both relieves a burden of sin, but conveys a burden of righteousness, which is to say it introduces to our beings a “burden” which is lightly to be borne in consideration of its immense benefits.

Yes … it is a burden which is oppressive to human flesh, for one to be required to conform to his restrictive laws of conduct, but is so deeply valuable as not to be comparable in any way to the blessings which obedience brings – a principle made clear by the Apostle Paul, in Romans 8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. That last phrase is as perfect a definition of FAITH as we have seen.

The Apostle John, in the opening words of his Gospel message, writes of the entry of Light into the world in the person of the LORD Jesus Christ, but as preceded or heralded by John Baptizer, in these words.

Speaking of that Savior, John said …

John 1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

The “darkness” into which this Light was projected was overshadowing Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth.

The manner in which He was projected to Judah of that day was by means of an herald who bore witness of His coming.

Joh 1:6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

This refers to John Baptizer, who came as Elijah to his people, to turn the ears of the fathers to the children – but they generally would not hear him.

Joh 1:7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Joh 1:8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Joh 1:9  That (One of Whom I speak) was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Joh 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

What world was “made” by Christ? The world of the future Kingdom of God – the new Creation, which like the earth, was born out of darkness, without form and void – not aware of the Light that should come to them in the manner in which He appeared.

Joh 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

That is to say, nearly all His own people received Him not.

But a few gratefully and faithfully received the Light, accepted Him, and were duly impressed by His power:

Joh 1:12  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

We see in the narrative that follows these words, the process by which Jesus selected His apostles one by one. All were men of faith in God’s law; one of them, named Philip, even referred to the Law as having led them to Himof being the means by which he could recognize Jesus: John 1:45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

By his intimate knowledge (enlightenment) by the Law of Moses, Philip was led in faith to accept the person of the LORD Jesus Christ as the Savior which was pointed to in the Law.

In this narrative, we note the fulfillment of the testimony of Paul, in his letter to Galatia: Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

In this manner, Jesus was recognized immediately after His baptism, as the Light of the World – a claim that He made to the Pharisees on the occasion of the woman taken in adultery. In those words, He was showing them that He was superior to their Law, and could override it with one choice phrase: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”

John 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The figure of Light persists in His teachings. His stress was that their response to the rays of light which He shed upon them, was properly that they “follow Me,” and thus not “walk in darkness … but have the light of Life.”

Only by such a response could they benefit from the eternally curative power of that Light, the entry of which into them dispelled the darkness, so that they no longer ‘walked” in darkness, but enjoyed the ‘light of life” which He conveyed to them.

In such there was NO reciprocity failure. The latent image produced by that Light was strong and faithful, and developed in them the REALITY of superb character and iron will – so much so that many of them endured horrifying torture as they adhered to the enlightenment which He had placed in them, and remained unyielding in their resolve to refuse the rewards of the flesh in preference to the sublime benefits conferred by that Light of Life which He conveyed.

We can perhaps conclude with more meaningful words than these from the Prophet Malachi: 

.Mal 4:1  For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

These words describe the world yet in darkness, most of which actively refused to allow His light into their midst. But the next phrases describe those who have responded to His light …

Malachi 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings 9 (beams, to be consistent with the Sun’s rays) ; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Mal 4:3  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mal 4:4  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Mal 4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

    <HEL  MD/USA 8O> ~4900 words.  An eTPL exhortation, given at Arlington VA  Aug.2, 2015. Posted as September Article on eTPL, 2015.

 

August: A Critical Review of Fulfilled Prophecies of Last Hundred Years

Harold E. Lafferty

This consideration refers to a study presented in TPL of August, 2003, under the title as stated: it will be noted that visible advances in The Plan as charted in this article may not have patently become apparent during the twelve year interval to 2015 since 2003.

But that does not mean that it has not actually advanced.

How has it done so?

Let us count some of the ways it has advanced:

·         Today we view a world which is fractured and splintered beyond any degree which we earlier expected.

·         We see rogue states advancing toward nuclear weapons capability (Iran, for example), and others who will follow if Iran achieves that status = such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who have so avowed themselves.

·         We are experiencing an American administration which disdains Israel and its leadership, and which threatens to withhold its veto from any UN Security Council decision to partition present-day Israel into a Jewish and an Arab state, awarding Jerusalem to the Arabs of the PLO as the capital of its new state (another division of Jerusalem, post-1948, when Jordan retained possession of the Old City during the War of Independence of Israel, and held it for nineteen years).

·         We see palpable fulfillment of the de facto disappearance of Iran and Syria into the new, powerful entity Islamic State (a.k.a., ISIS) which has vowed to absorb these two polities and replace them as a replication of Assyria of old and as an Islamic caliphate, thus clearly fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5 and 7, which foretells that destiny (as well as its utter failure).

·         We behold the fragmentation of Libya as it moves closer to its destiny as a confederate with the Gogian host of Ezekiel 37 and 38, as ISIS makes a strong move to take over that fractured society and draw it into the Outer Ring of enemies of Israel – a position that Libya did not hold under the administration of Mummar Ghadaffi, the former dictator of that country.

·         We see the Islamicization of “Ethiopia,” the Kuwsh (Cush) of Ezekiel 37 and 38, a region now comprehended by portions of Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea, which is destined to contribute men and materiel to the Gogian effort to wipe out Israel.

·         We realize that nearly 200 nations over the interim, have given their advance approval to the establishment of a “Palestinan” state within Israel, should that decision be made by the powers that be.

·         We expect intense discussion within the next two weeks of just such a proposal in the UN Security Council in New York, as the fall session of the UNO convenes.

·         We expect the American administration of Barack Obama to withhold its veto of any such measure to establish a “Palestinian” state, contrary to its former position of opposition to that eventuality.

·         We perceive, doubtless as a direct result of Obama’s decision to reject Israel and its security in favor of Iranian hegemony and supremacy, the abrupt downturn in American relevance upon the world stage and a remarkable decline in its regard among the nations. The one nation of the entire world which has consistently supported Israel and its fight for survival in these end-times has predictably turned its back on God’s people, thus invoking, in our opinion, the “curse” of the LORD as expressed in the covenant made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, q.v.

·         As further evidence of the decline of American status in the world resulting from its tacit decision to withhold its favor toward being Israel’s ally and friend, we have sensed a drastic reduction in that country’s influence with the other “powers that be,” such as Russia and China (and even North Korea), having been reduced to a cartoonish identity in many of their important decisions of state. In so noting, we are not claiming any “major position of the United States in Bible prophecy,” for it seems to have little or no stated scriptural importance. Instead, this seems to be a clear reflection of Israel’s descendance into its final status of apparent vulnerability to attack as a sparrow upon an house top (Psalm 102:7) – its end-time exposure to every sort of mundane danger from the nations round about, the position we have long expected Israel to attain just prior to the Second Coming of the LORD to “save My people” (Isaiah 11: 11-16; Amos 9: 14, 15) and to raise Israel to its premier position among the nations of the earth. Indeed, in so doing, we maintain that Israel shall have its present status wholly reversed by Him, and in the finality become the premier nation upon the earth as well as the only survivor of the named nations of the earth.

·         The swiftly approaching end of the seventy years of “this generation” of Luke 21:32, which, as promised by the Master … shall not pass away till all be fulfilled. This time period began in our opinion in 1948 at that landmark date of the budding of the Fig Tree (Israel) and “all the trees” of Luke 21: 29 (the Islamic nations which. Along with the Jewish people, replenished the valley of the Euphrates which was “dried up” by the defeat of Ottoman Turkey – the last King of the North). This long-prophesied event began to be brought about in 1917-18 by the British forces under General Edmund Allenby and T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). But the overt “budding” happened in May, 1948, when Israel became a nation among the nations of the earth. Seventy years from that date will terminate in April/May, 2017 – well under two years from our present time. Our assessment has been that this seventy year period is the last remaining stated period of a “generation” that remains as reasonable for those who were alive in 1947-48 (cf, Psalm 90:10, which specifies “threescore and ten years” to be a normal lifetime). In so recognizing this span of time, we take literally the word of our Master when He promised that THIS generation should not pass away – a position which we believe incumbent upon all persons of faith. His People have not much time to await the outcome – that is, whether this assessment is correct or not so. Our sincere desire is that those still alive on that anniversary in May 2017 shall have seen “all these things fulfilled” as promised by Him. In so assessing events to come, we humbly submit that these do not simply compass the Second Coming of Christ – the event for which we primarily look – but also many subsequent actions by our LORD and His immortalized Saints who accompany Him in His introduction to the world and to Israel, all of which have been discussed in recent articles posted on the eTPL web site.

·         And finally, we believe we can now adequately comprehend the saying that men’s hearts shall “fail them for fear” of the things coming upon the earth – the Master’s statement of conditions just prior to His Second Coming in Luke 21 26. For several years we have thought our understanding of this saying could be comprehended; but now we have witnessed the incomprehensible magnitude of failure of human institutions to maintain order that has never been seen before. We therefore confess that we are doubtless IN THE TIME of this fulfillment of the Word of God to His people. We are thankful to be among the privileged few of all previous ages who actually have witnessed these impressive setbacks of human accomplishment, and now are able to set our hearts solely upon the “consolation of Israel” so faithfully expected and sought by the Prophet Simeon in Luke 2:25 – a principle which is well defined by the words of  the prophet in Isaiah 25:9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God (a legitimate Name of the returned Jesus as the Representative of His Father, YHVH, and inheritor of that Name); we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

 

It is therefore with this necessary preamble that we present to readers again this graphic, comprehensive chart of these mostly extremely long-term prophetic fulfillments of the last century of history: a dramatic illustration of the omniscience and omnipotence of our heavenly Father, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who personally shall bring about the prophesied end result of all these wonderful events, the orderly fulfillment of which is adequately illustrated here in graphic form.

As was our suggestion on the occasion of its first publication, readers may wish to make a photocopy of this detailed chart and its footnotes and place them in your Bible for immediate reference as a certified list of fulfilled ancient prophecies which cannot be denied by any rational person. The evidence of fulfilled prophecy is one of the most powerful initiators of Bible discussions, and one of the most compelling levers toward convincing unbelievers of the verity of the Biblical record. Often such evidence has led to unbelievers becoming serious Believers of the Word, and their subsequent putting on “the name of Christ” in baptism.

Here is our earlier presentation, from the year 2003.

 

CHART of MAJOR FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY, THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS

… and a few reasonable expectations for the future…

     1897                              1917-                                                                                    

 >----- |                                1918                                                                                        

>-----  |------------------1------à|                                                                                   

>-----  |------------------2------à|                                            

>-----  |------------------3------à|                                1947-       

>-----  |------------------4------à|                                1948     

>-----  |---------------------------- |--------------5--------à|                                                                                  

>---------------------------------------------------6--------à|

>---------------------------------------------------7--------à|

>---------------------------------------------------8--------à|

 

                                                                                                            1988              2003

                                                                           |------------9--------------|……………|:::::??       

                                                                                                          1967

>------------------------------------------------------------------------10---à|

                                                                                                                          1987-

                                                                                                                          1988

>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------11---------à|

                                                                                                                                  1992-

                                                                                                                                  1993

>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------12-----------à|

                                                                                                                                           1995-

                                                                                                                                           1996

>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13---------------à|

>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14---------------à|

                                                                                                                                                 2003

>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15----à|:::::??                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

1897 – Date of First World Zionist Congress, Basle, Switzerland. (not a prophecy, but this is Israel’s 68th Jubilee year, According to chronology of  W. H. Carter, Times and Seasons.)                                               

1917 - 1918

1      “Times of the Gentiles” ends; (began 604 BC)

2      “Time, times and an half” (Daniel 12: 7); counted from middle of the 2,520 years [657 A. D.].

3      The “1260 days” (years! – Daniel 12:7); same period as (2)

4      Euphrates dries up; end of Ottoman Empire, last King of the North; this year was 1335 on the Muslim calendar!

1946 – 1947

5      Partition of Palestine (Nov 29/47) and Israel becomes a State (May 14, /48); same Heb. year

6      The Fig Tree blossoms as Israel becomes a certified State (Jesus prophesied Luke 21:29, 30)                                        

7      The “1290 days” (years! – Daniel 12: 11); 30 years added to the 1,260 in (2) above

8      69th Jubilee year of Israel (Carter, Ibid.)

9      “This generation” begins; words of Jesus in relation to blossoming of the Fig Tree

1967 June 7th

10   The Sanctuary Cycle of Daniel 8:14 ends– the “2300 evening-mornings,” which began spring, 334 BC. 

1987 – 1988

11   Second period of “seven times” of Daniel 4:23-25 ends (stump of tree banded w/ brass, iron), 70 years after the first period ended. The First Intifada begins in Israel (the people now attacked from within!)

1992 - 1993

12   The “1335 days” (years! – Daniel 12: 12) ends, after which Daniel to “stand in thy lot,” Kingdom imminent!

1995 – 1996

13   The 70th Jubilee of Israel, and the last! (Carter, Ibid.)

14   The beginning of the Seventh Millennium, according to Carter, Times and Seasons

2003

15   The “time of the end” in progress; end unknown. Probably began in 657 AD, at midpoint of the 2520 year “Times of the Gentiles.” It was already in progress in Daniel 11:40 (1517 AD).

 

The only addition to this chart that seems reasonable at this time is this one:

                                                                                                                                                    2017/18

>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16--------à|??

2017/18

16   The terminal year of the final “generation” of mortals who shall have witnessed the budding of the Fig Tree – the establishment of the State of Israel upon the territory of ancient Israel. This period represents SEVENTY years since that historical event, our present best estimate of the total number of years in “that generation.”

 

Conclusion:

In the remaining months until that 70th anniversary – May 14, 2018 – there remain many seemingly necessary prophetic fulfillments until “all things be fulfilled,” as Jesus expressed it. It will, according to our expectations, be …

1.       The establishment of The Kingdom of Israel under the rulership of the LORD Jesus Christ as King over Israel, sitting upon the restored Throne of David in Mount Zion, and the initialization of all the complex operations of the establishment of the infrastructure of His physical Kingdom upon the earth.

2.      By that date we conjecture that His Kingdom shall have taken on the character of a permanent, divine, indestructible entity whose destiny is never to end, and one which is set to change the direction of the human race toward the overt recognition by the race of the God of heaven as Creator and ultimate King over mankind, and the creation of a realm of righteousness and peace which can never end.

3.      By that time, the covenanted People of all ages shall have been raised from the dead (and the living covenanted ones shall have been gathered before Him) for the Judgment of saints and the immortalization of all those approved by Him.

4.      These, in our view, shall have subsequently appeared upon the chaotic scene as Israel terminally confronts its age-old enemies in its proximate space of occupation, between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, the set-apart lands of Abraham’s primary inheritance – his Land of Promise – and the subject Lands of the inheritance of his Seed, including the immortalized Saints Who shall at that time be co-regents in the realms of mankind (kings and priests with Him – Revelation 1:6 and 5:10).

These remain our expectations for the near term – the beginning of an interminable period of time which shall redound solely to His honor and glory. Our earnest prayer is: May each dedicated servant of our LORD in this day and in past ages be privileged to take part in that glorious realm of peace and righteousness.  

<HEL 9O> ~2400 words.  An eTPL exposition, published in Prophecy Section: "eTPL 2015” on September 7, 2015.

July: The Mystery of Sheba and Dedan

By Gary Stearman

This interesting, fact-based article is published with the disclaimer of some disagreement by the Editor of eTPL. These points of difference have little to do with the definition and discussion of Sheba, Dedan and the Merchants of Tarshish, but are merely ancillary remarks made by the author which seem to him relevant to his discussion. These points of difference of opinion have been noted in the body of the text following in bracketed comments headed by the words, Editor’s note:

With those disclaimers issued, we present the following discussion which we believe to be relevant to the subject being discussed … emphasis by bolding and italics is ours. Editor.

 

The Article

Over the years, we have often referred to the signal battle depicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39. In graphic detail, it depicts a latter-day invasion. Led by Gog, it sweeps down toward Israel from the north. It features a vast array of allies, ranging from Persia to Eastern Europe. The opening phase of the assault apparently meets only a moderate, diplomatic resistance. And here, the story is of great contemporary interest, because of the Middle-Eastern power bloc that raises its voice against Gog’s forces. We see this coalition of powers in Ezekiel 38:13, where it is shown in the act of questioning the leader of the invasion:

 "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?"

 The invader’s forces are aimed at Israel, but involve the entire Middle East. Sheba and Dedan, aligned with a group of "merchants," are seen here questioning the motives of the northern aggressor. Since the powers represented by these names, Sheba and Dedan, seem to figure rather strongly among the latter-day world powers, they may very well have a message for us, today.

But the question is, who are they, really?

As we examine their biblical history, we shall see that the Bible has much to say about their geographic locale, as well as their "personality" and "character." They are a tough and wily people, with a culture forged by the millennia of political and economic crosscurrents that have ranged across the ancient lands of the Bible. The invasion that brings them to biblical prominence is, of course, the renowned battle of Gog, the leader of the land of Magog. Sheba and Dedan have a specific reaction to the offensive from the north. We shall analyze it closely, noting that it contains clues to the disposition of world powers. As we do so, we shall see that they remind us of something that we are seeing at the present time.

 The Russians Are Coming

      It has been said that the only prophecy in the Bible that invokes a modern Gentile power by name is found in Ezekiel 38 and 39. There, we find Russia, called "Rosh" in the Hebrew of the Old Testament. In the King James translation, its name is somewhat obscured, seen in the word, "chief" in the following passage:

"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, "And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal" (Ezk. 38:1-3).

 Virtually every other Bible translation follows the Hebrew text of verse two, which actually reads, "prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal," [kc’u lan atr thab nasieh rosh, meshech v’tubal]. "Rosh" is a place name, rather than a positional title. Today, any standard Hebrew text (such as a newspaper) refers to Russia by using the proper noun, "Rosh." Many authorities add that Meshech and Tubal are the names of Scythian tribes, whose names have been standardized as modern place names.  Meshech is Russia’s capital, Moscow. Therefore, Magog is Russia. Its prince and leader is Gog.

 We know that throughout the twentieth century, Russia has dabbled with the extension of its power into the Middle East. This prophecy tells us that one day in the future, they will take their desire a step further, in an actual invasion. This being said, a question immediately comes to mind. Every student of the Bible has asked it more than once. Namely, when does all this occur? First, Ezekiel writes that it happens in the "latter years," when Israel has "… come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people" (Ezekiel 38:8).

   To further augment this idea, Israel is described as a "land of unwalled villages" (Ezekiel 38:11). This is the building style of today, not of the medieval or ancient eras, when even the smallest city was surrounded by a protective wall. The contemporary Israeli method of building does not include surrounding walls. Finally, the text plainly states the time and the result of the battle:

"And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes" (Ezekiel 38:16).

Taking all this evidence, the clearest picture that emerges is one of Israel, regathered from the torments of its long Diaspora. Ezekiel pictures the regathered Jews as dwelling in peace, but with a false sense of security.

[Editor’s note: We differ with Mr. Stearman’s opinion here, for Ezekiel 38:8 gives the factual condition of Israel dwelling in absolute safety in the words of the Almighty they shall dwell safely all of them … speaking of His people re-gathered from the nations. The people are in fact dwelling peacefully and securely – such is not a figment of their imagination. We cannot accept that YHVH’s words here mean that they are dwelling in a false sense of security. See also His second reference to this condition in verse 14: In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?

Therefore the people are dwelling in verifiable peace and safety – not in a false sense of that condition. This fact indicates a drastic change from the conditions of today in Israel, when the country is criss-crossed by high walls of defense against terrorists, the roadways are clogged with hundreds of checkpoints manned by Israeli Defense Forces, the country is protected by anti-ballistic missiles of several specialized kinds, the military is ready on a moment’s notice to defend the country, and embargoes are in place for such adjacent territories as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. All these are barriers – “walls” if you will – against aggressors of many kinds. Israel is not dwelling even in relative peace today. But is shall be so when the Gogian invader enters the Land from the north. But several major changes must come before that time, as we have elaborated in numerous other articles about the end-time in this newsletter. This is NOT a picture of today’s Israel, as the author states in the next line …]

In short, we are given a picture of today’s Israel, not the Israel of the past. The fact that they are living in relative peace also counters the possibility that the Russian invasion takes place during the Tribulation. (Please see note following – Editor) This seven-year period is invariably depicted as a time of instability, characterized by earthquake, famine, disease and war. Thus, the alignment of nations, the geophysical description of Israel, and their sense of relative peace all weigh in favor of a pre-Tribulational event. But to drive the point home, Ezekiel offers us another prophetic time marker of unusual clarity:

[Editor’s note: We strongly disagree with the author’s reference to the ancillary event of “the Tribulation” as defined by his prejudices – a seven-year supposed period consisting of the seventieth “week” of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24-27. Virtually ALL the modern “prophecy gurus” of this era have mis-interpreted this prophecy of Daniel – a subject which we have written about extensively in other articles in this newsletter. We intend not to repeat these here. The end-time events to which Ezekiel refers is simply that time when the Gogian forces attack Israel. But any “tribulation” that ensues is not Israeli trouble. Instead, it is manifestly great and fatal trouble for Israel’s enemies. Israel has now (at our present time in history) finished drinking of the cup of the LORD’s fury, a “cup” which has now been given its enemies to consume – see His direct revelation to Isaiah in these words: Isaiah 51:22 Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: 23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over. This great change in Israel’s destiny was slated to come at a particular time in history (which is our present time), when Israel was destined to return to its Land, as defined in Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. So any expectation of more “tribulation” for Israel is a reflection of ignorance of the Father’s Plan for Israel and its oppressor nations. Israel NOW has the ascendancy; their enemies are now the oppressed of the LORD.]

"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face."For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; "So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground" (Ezekiel 38:18-20).

There is little doubt that these verses describe the initiation of the Tribulation. (Please see note above – Editor) Take note of the phrase, "at the same time." It is quite unusual to find any prophetic event so directly linked to a specific physical event. We are clearly told that when the Russians invade the Middle East, then the Tribulation will commence.

Furthermore, this time marker links Gog’s invasion with the unveiling of the Lord’s "fury." Note that the result is geologic upheaval, described elsewhere in Scripture as typical of the "Day of the Lord." In the New Testament, we read about the same period. But most often another word is used. Instead of "fury," we find "wrath." "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:17).

   The concluding book of the Bible makes it plain that the Tribulation begins with a war, just as described in Ezekiel. The sixth chapter of Revelation features the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," they bring war, famine, economic collapse, and a deathly plague. Taken together, they are typical of a world war, in which there is a total breakdown of societal restraint, law, and infrastructure. It also tells us that victims will number in the millions, as in World Wars I & II. This war, however, will dwarf the conflicts of the twentieth century. And to make matters worse, after the smoke clears, the Antichrist will arise as peacemaker, promising to bring a better world.

[Editor’s note: This is another point of disagreement with Mr. Stearman’s interpretation of the Revelation. He is clearly a Futurist, believing that all the events of the Apocalypse are yet future. That is not our studied conclusion; the Revelation is a prophecy of events “which must shortly begin to come to pass,” as John was told by the Revelator, Jesus, in the first verse of the first chapter. In the last chapter of the Apocalypse, the LORD Jesus again makes this principle clear: Revelation 22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. Additionally, we believe that the giving of this prophecy in c.95AD was the beginning of “the time of the end,” and all references to this period of time in the Bible are referable to this era. This opinion has been arrived at through much research and correlation of revelations given the prophets of Israel.]

 

Sheba and Dedan at the Beginning

    Now, let’s return to the beginning of Ezekiel’s battle. Gog and his allies charge southward toward Israel. As we have already seen, Sheba and Dedan react to the offensive, not with reprisals, but with a question:

"… Art thou come to take a spoil?"

 In other words, they question Gog’s motives. Perhaps through diplomatic channels, they inquire as to his real intentions. They wish to know whether or not he desires to rob them of their riches. As we shall see, they are very rich. They are descended from Cush. We first see their names in Genesis, where they are mentioned as the sons of Cush, who were descended from Ham:

"And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan" (Genesis 10:7).

 Historical authorities tell us that this genealogy is not complete. It has gaps, but it does serve to link the two tribal heads, Sheba and Dedan, with their earlier progenitors. They were not always as wealthy as they are today. For centuries, people known as Sheba and Dedan were a wandering people, migrating back and forth through the desert wastes of Arabia. Their origins are ancient. The same two tribal names are directly linked to a much later time as offspring of Abraham, through Keturah:

"Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. "And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. "And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. "And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. "But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country" (Genesis 25:1-6).

This "east country" is Arabia. Technically, it lies east of ancient Ammon (modern Jordan) in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. First Chronicles features two genealogies that terminate with Sheba and Dedan. The first is a repeat of Genesis 10:7:

 "And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabta, and Raamah, and Sabtecha. And the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan" (1 Chronicles 1:9).

 The second genealogy repeats the Genesis 25 account of Abraham’s offspring through Keturah. Here, she is referred to as a concubine of Abraham:

 "Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.

"And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Henoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these are the sons of Keturah" (1 Chonicles 1:32,33).

 Many have called the Chronicles a spiritual biography. They place as much or more emphasis upon holiness, than they do upon mere genealogy. For this reason, Keturah is called Abraham’s concubine, because his real ketubah (marriage contract) applies to Sarah. Keturah’s sons founded the tribes of Arabia.

It was first said by the historian Ptolemy, that Zimran established the region of Zabram, just west of today’s Mecca. The descendants of Jokshan have been loosely associated with Arabian tribes on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. Medan and Midian are thought to have been neighbors, on the western side of the peninsula. Medan is the Hebrew word for "strife."

   The land of Midian, of course, offered safe haven for Moses, when he fled from the Egyptians. There, he encountered the hospitality of Jethro, and became a shepherd in the vicinity of Mount Horeb, the Mountain of God. Though he found refuge there for forty years, the territory was always hostile to Israel.

Of Ishbak and Shuah, little is known. Their territory is thought to have been close to the Midianites. The Arabian culture began with a long journey eastward. They ranged eastward to the Persian Gulf, northward to ancient Persia and Assyria and southwestward across the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. They became expert at surviving in the desert, as nomadic traders whose lives were built around a few village oases that were sprinkled across trackless wastes.  They lived by the sword, defending their trade routes and caravans from competing tribes. To this day, that is their mentality. They are shrewd traders who twist the truth, when necessary to complete a business deal.

 

Dedan, the Brother

 Brother to Sheba and grandson to Abraham, Dedan is an important patriarch of the Arab tribes. His sons are the Asshurim (unrelated to Asshur, son of Shem), the Letushim and the Leummim. Their territories are unknown, except by indirect reference. This is true of most Arab tribes, since until recent times, they were nomadic, traveling from one trading site to another, lodging in a widespread network of oases. For centuries, territory was less important to them than trade. In the following scripture, Isaiah depicts Dedan in this very setting:

"The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanim. "The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled."For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. "For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: "And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it" (Isa. 21:13-17).

 Like most Arab tribes, Dedan is not known as a power associated with any particular geographic area. But in this quotation from Isaiah, he is associated with Tema. It is probably the modern city of Tayma, located about two hundred miles north of Medina. Also mentioned in this prophecy against Arabia is the power known as "Kedar." As long ago as the seventh century, BC, the chronicles of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal mention a battle against Kedar. This would make central-to-northern Arabia the region most likely to be the homeland of this tribe. Thus, even though Arab literature is not known before the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD, Kedar is indirectly recognized as a power to be reckoned with a thousand years earlier.

   But there is another fact that makes Kedar most interesting. His authority and position are recognized by Islam, itself, whose biographers make careful note of his lineage. Kedar, they say, dates back to Abraham through Ishmael. In this way, they make themselves the inheritors of the Holy Land. However, in the Scripture below, there is a clear reference to the disposition of Ishmael. It should be recalled that when Hagar and Ishmael fled to the desert after leaving Abraham’s home, they came to the well Lahai-roi. There, the angel of the Lord told them that Ishmael’s descendants would become a multitude. Later, as illustrated by the following verses, it is Isaac who possesses this oasis, not Ishmael:

 

"And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi. "Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham: "And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, "And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, "Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: "These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. "And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. "And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren" (Genesis 25:11-18).

In the genealogy above, Ishmael is the father of Nebajoth and Kedar, said to be the "Nabatoei et Cedrei" mentioned by the Roman historian Pliny. They would correspond to the Nabateans of northern Arabia. Additionally, Dumah, Tema, Naphish and Kedemah have all lent their names to villages throughout Arabia. Their tribal strongholds reach from the Persian Gulf to Egypt ("from Havilah unto Shur). But it must be remembered that Kedar is given a special place in the Islamic claim to Abraham’s land grant. Because of this fact, he may be considered a metaphor for Islam, itself. This study will make it clear that this is indeed, the case. Today the Islamic movement is growing exponentially. Over a billion and a half strong, and it is increasingly wielding its force upon the world’s stage. It would be strange, therefore, if we didn’t find Islam in the biblical prophecies that speak of the latter days.

 Merchants of Tarshish

    On that note, we return to Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the reaction of Sheba and Dedan to Gog’s southward advance. As earlier noted, they question his motives, most likely inquiring through diplomatic channels whether or not he is coming to take their riches. But they do not act alone. They are affiliated with, "the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof" (Ezk. 38:13).

   Concerning this group, there is no mystery at all. Tarshish is the biblical term for the West. Some have positively identified it as the modern city of Tortosa, on the Spanish east coast. Others have placed it as far north as the ancient seaport of Roman Londinium, today’s London, England. However, it describes not a single location, but the world outside ancient Israel.

   The merchants of Tarshish began as the ancient Phoenician traders, whose ships circled the Mediterranean and exited it through the Strait of Gibraltar, before sailing northward toward ports in the territory we now call Europe. They also sailed southward around Africa’s west coast, then around its southern cape, before heading toward the ports of call in the east, where the silk and spice trade awaited them. Some sources say that they sailed as far west as the future territories of North and South America. These merchants were the early global traders. Tarshish is the generic term for their trade in the world at large.    

    Going west meant leaving the Holy Land and the will of God, as when Jonah refused a direct order from the Lord:

"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD" (Jonah 1:1-3).

 The prophet Jonah was told to go to Nineveh, a trip that would take him by land, via the trade routes that led northeast. But he knew that Nineveh was a cruel and godless place. He would have nothing to do with taking the Lord’s word there. So he headed to a place where he thought God would never find him. He fled to Tarshish. He probably wanted to live out the rest of his days there, in the blissful tropics of the western Mediterranean. Maybe he wanted to go even farther, to a place where, even if God found him, it would be too far to return. This is Tarshish, the Old Testament term for the far-flung continents of the Gentiles.

   The princes of ancient Tyre, whom we now call Phoenicians, established the precedents of international trade. Their methods of banking and credit, of sales and management would grow through the centuries to become today’s international banking complex, with its fleets of ships, planes and real-time global monetary system. The entire chapter of Ezekiel 27 is devoted to a lament over the fall of this great system. Indeed, this is one of the Bible’s dominant themes. In the third verse, the tone is set:

 "And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty" (Ezekiel 27:3).

 Ezekiel’s view of Tyre’s trade routes expands to take in virtually the entirety of the ancient civilized world:

 "Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. "Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market. "They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules. "The men of Dedan were thy merchants; many isles were the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony. "Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate. "Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm. "Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool. "Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market. "Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots. "Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants. "The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold. "Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Assur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants" (Ezekiel 27:12-23).

 The traders listed above ranged from the Ionians to the Scythians. (And remember, Meshech is in today’s western Russia.) Togarmah, today’s Armenia and Turkey, met with the ancient tribe of Dedan. Even then, they headed up large traveling caravans of goods, borne to the ancient seaports where trade could be established. Above, we discover Dedan specialized in the riding clothes of charioteers.

  Syria, Judah and Israel are prominently mentioned. It should also be recalled that Hiram, king of Tyre provided the bulk of the materials for the construction of Solomon’s Temple. The princes of Kedar represented Arabia. Raamah, a son of Cush, was father to Sheba and Dedan. Ptolemaic history places Raamah on the Persian Gulf in eastern Arabia. But again, it should be kept in mind that Arabic tribes, given to constant travel, are difficult to link to any particular geographic location.

   Finally, Ezekiel mentions the merchants of Mesopotamia, Assyria and Nineveh. The system of Tarshish brought them all together. Down through the years, the old and established trade routes expanded and strengthened. Many times, they changed hands, but have remained the same, right down to the present era.

   The wooden ships of the Dutch East India company followed the very sea lanes habituated by the Phoenicians. In the era of the worldwide British Empire, their ships reigned supreme along the same, identical routes. As sailing skills improved, traders and men of war took to the high seas. Wooden ships were replaced by iron steamers. Today, millions of shipping containers are taken from truck beds and placed aboard trains and diesel cargo vessels, where they cross the sea, to disembark onto identical truck beds in other countries.

 

Big Oil

 But there was one commodity that the ancient traders never thought of shipping: energy. Today, tankers take millions of barrels of oil and tons of liquefied natural gas to every port in the world. It’s no mystery to anyone that the production and distribution of oil are the number one political concern in the world today.

   The twentieth century witnessed the world’s first oil boom. It began in America’s eastern states. But it literally exploded in the central part of the country, in the state of Oklahoma, where a shallow supply of sweet crude blasted the world into an oil race that continues to this day. It has been rightly said that more gold came out of Oklahoma’s Glen Pool than from all the gold mines in California. But this was only the preparation phase of the oil rush that took place in the Middle East.

    Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, Britain and France cut up the Middle East like a pie. In 1922, Ibn Saud created the empire of Saudi Arabia. He was a British ally, who valued his new connection with the European powers. The Bedouin had become a king. At that point, oil was not a factor in global politics, even though it had been discovered in Persia in 1903. But thirty years later, in 1938, oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia. The British were already in place to take advantage of the situation.

   British Petroleum became heir to an enormous supply of wealth. In rapid succession, oil was discovered in other states around the Persian Gulf. One after another, they sprang to wealth. Petroleum wealth gave the sheikhs and emirs untold riches.

As good as this seemed to them, they soon discovered that their riches locked them into a marriage of convenience with the West. In order to retain their hold on a growing fortune, they were forced to preserve their ties with the West’s production technology and distribution systems. Thus, they had to walk a tightrope between their Islamic past and their increasingly technological present.

   For their part, the British and later, the Americans, discovered that they were locked into a conflict between Arab nationalism and the march of Zionism. Following the Balfour Declaration and World Wars I & II, Israel became a nation. France departed the region after the Second World War, leaving British and American oil interests with a problem that they could not resolve. Nor could they free themselves from its clutches.

In the 1950s, the powers of Europe released direct control of the region. As the oil industry increased in global importance, the United States became the dominant energy entrepreneur. American oil developers brought immeasurable wealth to Islam. Growing religious zealotry was fueled by seemingly unlimited oil. Soon, the region was rocked by revolutions in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

    Today, the US and its allies of the West are defenders of both the wealthy monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and the State of Israel. This is indeed, a conundrum for all concerned. In a delicate balance of world oil pricing, Islamic zealotry and conflicting nationalism, the US is centrally poised in perhaps the most critical balancing act in history.

 The Mystery Solved

Thus, the merchants of Tarshish, the Bible’s symbol for the latter-day complex of trading nations, are inextricably linked with the emirs of Arabia. It is from this conflicted situation that Sheba and Dedan (in league with the global merchants) ask, "Are you, O Gog, coming to take our wealth?" Also present are the "young lions." These would be the latter-day partners in global trade, whose riches have catapulted them to world power.

   Earlier, we mentioned that one of the ancient Arab tribes, Kedar, was very likely a metaphor for Islam, itself. Kedar has become known for its amazingly successful strategy of playing both ends against the middle. Shrewd Arab traders who, in the last few centuries have become unified around Islam, have long valued the principle of "divide and conquer." They quietly inject themselves into a society. Then, when their numbers become sufficient, agitate for equality, and finally, supremacy. Their credo holds that if you are not with us, you’re against us. Now, they have learned to incorporate energy wealth and Western technology into their struggle for dominance. This has come to include what are called WMD’s, weapons of mass destruction. Chemical gasses, biological terror and nuclear power are all at their fingertips.

   And since the 1950s, the Russians have sent their "advisors" to assist in the process of bringing Islamic tribal nomads into the nuclear age. This goes on even to the present moment. In a very real sense, the Arabs have learned to play the antagonists of the old Cold War, playing Russia and the US against each other. A remarkable Psalm brings this fact into focus … from the Israeli point of view:

 "A Song of degrees.  "In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. "Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. "What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? "Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! "My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. "I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war" (Psalm 120:1-7).

 The seven verses of this Psalm are a succinct and heart-rending expression of the awful truth. The word "Mesech" has precisely the same Hebrew spelling as "Meshech" in Ezekiel 38. In other words, it is the spectre of Russia that is invoked here. This Psalm is Israel’s lament that Russia and Islam are wholly given over to war. They lie with impunity and bare their weapons for the purpose of forcing foreign policy. But in the end, Islam will turn against itself, as the Russian alliance charges south.

And so, the mystery is solved.

Sheba and Dedan seem best described by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and a few other Arabian partners. Because of their commitments to the US over the last seventy years, they will continue to side with the West, and the merchants of Tarshish, including the US and Western Europe. Right up until the time of the great invasion from the north, Arab determination to produce and sell oil will win out over their desire to be good Islamists.

    The present Saudi monarch, Abdullah Al-Saud holds exactly this position. To the contrary, other Islamic factions have already aligned themselves with Russia, making Islam a house divided. When Russia is finally dragged into the Middle East on a full-scale basis, the illusion of Islam as a united force will be shattered. Israel will emerge as the victor. Concerning Gog’s fate, Ezekiel writes:

"And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. "Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. "Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. "And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezekiel 39:3-6).

 A war is coming. Call it World War III or Armageddon (sic). It will begin in the Middle East, but will extend to "the isles." This is the biblical way of expressing the idea of other continents, dominated by Tarshish. One of them may well be North America. Currently, we are the head of the nations, situated in the Western Hemisphere, far from the center of the action. But our alliance with Sheba and Dedan (and Israel) makes us as much a target as if we were located in the Middle East.

[End of article by Gary Stearman.]

 

Editor’s note: We have presented this well-researched article in order to define more perfectly these three entities – Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, and in order to remove the limitations formerly placed upon these “merchants” as being restricted to Great Britain and its allies – although perhaps this was a logical conclusion when John Thomas wrote extensively of this understanding this phrase. This article pin-points the locations of Sheba and Dedan as being Eastern Saudi Arabia adjacent to the Persian Gulf, and the merchants of Tarshish as the merchants of the earth – the trading nations of the world which have trafficked in the goods and merchandise of human ambition and commerce, including the vast energy resources of the Middle East. Also, this dissertation clears any ambiguity as to the military response of Sheba, Dedan and the Merchants. They are not destined to reply to the invasion of Rosh militarily, but their response is merely a question as to the intent of Rosh: Are you coming to take OUR riches and substance too?    <HEL MD/USA 7O> ~6400 words. July 2015, eTPL entry.

 

June: Prophetic Significance of David Versus Goliath

II Samuel 17

We have often noticed the detailed account of David’s confrontation with Goliath, the giant of Gath of the land of Philistia – today’s Gaza Strip – and have taken account of many similarities to the modern confrontation of Israel with its enemies – the Gazan Philistines of today, otherwise identified as Edom (the Palestine Liberation Organization of today) by Obadiah, including the vicious group which calls itself Hamas in the Gaza Strip itself.

In this article, we attempt to plumb further the depths of the prophetic significance of this account, for we perceive it rich in symbolism and metaphor for the current times.

The entire episode is contained within 2 Samuel 17. There are recorded many interesting and vital details that we must consider: we shall consider the text in detail …

1Sa 17:1 - Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.3  And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

The level Valley of Elah is a superb battlefield in Judah, east of Bethlehem.

 The Philistine Champion: Goliath

1Sa 17:4  And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

The Antagonist, Goliath:

Goliath’s size was immense. The following note is attached to this account in ESword:

six cubits: According to Bp. Cumberland's calculation, the height of Goliath was about eleven feet ten inches; but Parkhurst estimating the ordinary cubit at seventeen inches and a half, calculates that he was nine feet six inches high. Few instances can be produced of men who can be compared with him. Pliny says, "The tallest man that hath been seen in our days was one name Gabara, who, in the days of Claudius, the late Emperor, was brought out of Arabia. He was nine feet nine inches." Josephus mentions a Jew, named Eleazar, whom Vitellius sent to Rome, who was seven cubits, or ten feet two inches high. Becanus saw a man near ten feet, and a woman that was full ten feet. And, to mention no more, a man of the name of John Middleton, born at Hale, near Warrington, in Lancashire, in the reign of James the First, was more than nine feet high. Dr. Plott, in his history of Staffordshire, says, that "his hand, from the carpus to the end of the middle finger, was seventeen inches, his palms eight inches and a half broad, and his whole height was nine feet three inches; wanting but six inches of the height of Goliath of Gath."  ESword footnote on II Samuel 17:4

 

1Sa 17:5  And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.

The weight of Goliath's equipment suggests he was fit and strong and not a half-blind arthritic. (He has been thought to have been a victim of acromegaly, a disease of the thyroid gland, which renders one weak of body and vision, uncoordinated, arthritic, and slow). The New Bible Dictionary says, "The common shekel was often used to weigh metal objects" and shows a variation 11.08-12.25gm. Using the average weight of a common shekel makes Goliath's coat of mail 11.38 x 5000 = 56.9 kilos (A kilogram is 2.2 English pounds, so this weight would be 125 pounds). The weight of Goliath's iron spear-head was 11.38 x 600 = 6.83 kilos (or 15.03 pounds).

[Information obtained from: http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/BGoliath105.html]

 

Goliath’s Challenge of Pride

1Sa 17:8  And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.

This is said to have been a common tactic of the Philistines – to offer one champion of their own to fight an enemy, the victor determining the winning side.

1Sa 17:10  And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.

 

Saul and Israel – Fearful of Goliath

1Sa 17:11  When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

 David, Son of Jesse

1Sa 17:12  Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. 13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul. 15 But David went and returned from Saul (from his position of service in Saul’s household) to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. 16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.

David was a direct progenitor of Jesus Christ through His mother, Mary. The prophesied future of God’s people is to be governed by this special descendant of David as shown by these words from two chief references … 2Samuel 7:12 - And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom, and Ezekiel 34:23 - And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.

 David is Sent to His Brethren at Elah

1Sa 17:17  And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; 18  And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. 19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. 22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.

 Appearance and Challenge of Goliath

1Sa 17:23  And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 24  And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.

 The Rewards Offered a Victorious Israeli Soldier

1Sa 17:25  And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.

The affront of Goliath to the armies of Israel was odious to David, who always strove to exonerate the name and honour of God; but the reward for killing Goliath was also most attractive – a royal wife, unlimited freedom for his family, and great riches.

1Sa 17:26  And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

We believe that Romans 8:37 relates to II Samuel 17 and David's confidence to slay Goliath.

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This was the level of David’s confidence in this affair. He had no doubts as to the righteousness of the initiative which he was to take, for his first impulse was to defend the honor and authority of the Almighty. He was only probably secondarily motivated by the value of the rewards of a princess-wife and great abundance of wealth.

 Eliab’s Anger Toward David and Rebuttal

1Sa 17:28  And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

Eliab’s words were uncharitable to his brother, probably reflecting the cowardly light they placed upon Eliab himself for failing to confront Goliath personally. It was a typically petty family argument of sorts.

1Sa 17:29  And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? 30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.

The rewards here rehearsed as benefiting any victor over Goliath are significant.

When the Son of God in a future day comes to the camp of Israel – now at war with its neighboring states “round about” – He likewise saves His people from the threats and military stance of their enemies.

He shall already have taken to Himself a similar reward as offered here: the Christ shall command all the wealth of the nations at that time; as well, the King (the Almighty One) has awarded His Son “David My Servant” a Bride as well; She is the collective body of the Saints of all ages and nations, and just prior to this appearance on the earth shall have gathered with Him in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. She is given Him as the result of the victory He has won over Sin, as during His mortality, He lived and died to save them from death.

The battle He comes to prosecute in that day is an operational result of this reward, rather than the source of it. But the mortal enemies of that day are again the Philistines of the Gaza Strip in part, along with many other of their allies between the Nile and the Euphrates. They, like Goliath, are a bizarre, unnatural, fierce, prideful threat to God’s people who boast against God in their own strength just as did Goliath of Gath.

 King Saul Sends for David

1Sa 17:31  And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. 32  nd David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

 David Rehearses His Qualifications to Fight Goliath

1Sa 17:34  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

David’s qualifications as referenced here are remarkably relevant and parallel to the qualifications of Jesus Christ when He comes to His people.

David specifically foreshadows the two major victories of his greater Son in his account of having slain a lion and a bear which threatened his flock – symbolic of Israel, His people of today.

In this symbolic language, Israel of today is seen as threatened by a LION and a BEAR.

Just who are these enemies?

The Arabs of the Proximal Islamic States of today which have threatened Israel and her people for 68 years have often likened themselves to fierce lions. They adopt leonine names and stances in their threats toward God’s people by stealth and craftiness, in attempting to tear His people limb from limb and devour them as lions; their bloody campaign seems humanly unstoppable, just as no average human being has any hope of success against a lion’s great strength.

But those enemies’ words are far fiercer than the threat that they actually put forward.

The Greater Son of David is up to the task of defeating these fierce beasts in short order.

Is it significant that the youthful David slew the lion by grasping the lion’s “beard?”

This might be a graphic reference to the facial hair with which all the enemies of Israel that are “round about” are decorated – their beards.

When a lion’s beard is in the clutches of a potential victim, the mouth associated with it can do little harm, as it can easily be kept distant from the victim’s throat or limbs. Such a Defendant (David) has complete control over that enemy. Their utter defeat is clearly indicated and assured. That metaphor surely applies to the enemies of the First-Phase Lions of Israel’s end-time wars.

The Second-Phase enemy is a bear – the Russian Bear – a name by which the Northern King has been long recognized. The Gogian Bear has marshaled and equipped the second wave of enemies that the Lord Jesus will be required to confront – an enemy which attempts to “fall upon” (to invade from outside the Land) the Stone which the builders (the Jews of His day) rejected … cf. Luke  20:18  - Whosoever shall fall upon that Stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder.

He is well able to perform that task as well as He was to perform the initial one, for His life of obedience and perfect service to His Father with the Flock with which He has been entrusted, shall have fitted and equipped Him for this task as needed.  

You see, when He comes to confront the first-line enemies of Zion, who already inhabit His Land and oppress His people, He, the Stone, “falls upon” them, and shall grind them to powder, as recorded by the physician disciple, Luke. But these latter enemies “fall upon” Him the Stone, and shall be broken and crushed without mercy, in a manner in which only the Stone can perform.

After He has ascended to the Throne of David in Mt. Zion, and assumed the Kingship of a repentant and remorseful, loyal and now obedient Israel, His nascent kingdom shall be confronted (attacked) by the Bear of Ezekiel 38 and 39 – the Distal Islamic nations arrayed with Rosh, or Russia, the vicious enemy from the uttermost parts of the north.

But these voracious enemies are destined to suffer annihilation in one day upon “the mountains of Israel,“ and inherit graves at Hamon-gog, East of Galilee’s Sea, in territory that is not presently in “Israel,” but then shall be suchEzekiel 39:11. 

 The Armour of Saul is Spurious, Ineffective

1Sa 17:38  And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

Although the physical “armour of Saul”– symbolizing the naturally developed armamentarium of Israel today (its air force, army and navy) has been effectual to preserve the nation to date (that is, the Saulic phase of the nascent kingdom, which must have preceded the Davidic phase of it, now approaching) – we believe the meaning of this refusal of David to use the armour of Saul (Saul’s fleshly-provided means of offense and defense), indicates that the LORD Jesus will reject the armamentarium of natural Israel during the kingdom age.

His intention is to utilize only the Sword of the Spirit – the words of His mouth, to pacify and subdue His enemies – an effective weapon which is ironically symbolized by a Stone Who utilizes His now-fully tested, native abilities of spiritual warfare, which shall be only his verbal commandments.

Zechariah 9 specifies His complete disarmament of his people Israel in the beginning of His kingdom, substituting His ability to “speak peace” to them in place of those carnal weapons – that is, to conquer them by use of His Word: Zechariah 9:10 – And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

 David’s Preparation

1Sa 17:40  And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.

Many have wondered why David chose five stones from the brook. Was he worried that his first shot with the sling would miss the mark? 

In 2Samuel 21, we learn the details of four other “giants” who were “born to the giant of Gath” (Goliath?), all of whom were slain by David’s servants in subsequent time. Perhaps David was making advance plans to combat them as well as Goliath, for he probably expected them to take up Goliath’s cause after Goliath’s death.

 Goliath’s Derision, and David’s Response

1Sa 17:42  And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

Is this not an accurate picture of the world’s rejection of the LORD Jesus Christ and His teachings today? They preach creation by blind evolution; they refuse to acknowledge “sin” as reality; they reject God at every turn, keeping any acknowledgement of Him from public display if at all possible; they abort His infants by the millions; they approve of “gay“ relationships and promote homosexual behavior in defiance of His expressed will; they repudiate Him in every possible manner, esteeming Him of little worth and diminutive, uncertain, wholly situational authority as if he were a youthful David, ruddy and of a fair (young, inexperienced) countenance.

When Christ comes to His people, they may also discount or disdain His authority, and His unfamiliarity with the battle they are fighting. But they will learn soon that He is victor!

1Sa 17:43  And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

These defiant curses of Goliath are the repulsive, standoffish retort of humanity today toward Israel’s people. They are vilified and denigrated by many, including the followers of false gods such as Islam’s “deity” Allah, which is as accursed in the Almighty’s eye as were Moloch, Astarte and Ba’al.

In Ezekiel 35:12, the Father warns His enemies that He is hearing and recording their blasphemies against His people, for these are blasphemy against Him as well Micah 4:1,2.

1Sa 17:44  And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Like the intention of the later Gogian host (the coming Bear-phase) their aim shall be to destroy Israel and leave them for the beasts and birds to consume; instead, their own host shall be destroyed by Jesus Christ in one day, and given to those same beasts of the field and fowls of the air – in Bashan – Ezekiel 39: 18, (today’s northern Jordan, but then, “in Israel”).

1Sa 17:45  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

This precise concept is named as concrete fact when, in the end-time reappearance of Jesus Christ, the Jews of His day will recognize Him in the words of Luke 13:35 - Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. With this solitary credential comes He, and their acknowledgment of Him as such is salvational to them and to their heritage.

1Sa 17:46  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

It is significant that Jesus’ victory over the Proximal Islamic States, future to our day, will mark the conveyance of this same crucial fact to some inhabiters of the earth (that there is a God in Israel), and to Israel itself, for their realization shall in that day be that NO human agency can have effected the complete and unlimited disposition of their enemies of today as He shall do – that their deliverance from their great horde of enemies shall have been miraculously guided and expressed by their Father personally.

Ezekiel 35:15  - As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

The near-infinite scale of destruction of Israel’s enemies “round about” will be such that there can be no reasonable doubt that the LORD has done it – and that, therefore, there is no further denial of His sovereignty in Israel, or that His will shall continually be expressed upon the world that is immersed in sin and death until these adverse elements are purged from existence, “death and hell” being “cast into the lake of fire” and destroyed forever.

48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

 The Contest Decided in an Instant

1Sa 17:49  And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

We wonder whether the student has thought about the near-impossibility of David’s hitting such a small target with a sling on his first attempt – the miraculous guidance of a smooth stone (thought to have been about the diameter of a golf ball), hurled at a speed of perhaps 300 miles per hour velocity – striking the small target presented by an heathen forehead nearly covered by a protective helmet of metal.

A baseball pitcher of today utilizing only the length of his arm, can often throw a standard baseball at speeds of near 100 miles per hour; adding the extended length of the cord of David’s sling to his arm, one arrives at a circle of twice the diameter (say 72 inches), and the velocity of the missile could be as much as fourfold, given the greatly-added speed of the length of the sling-lever over the arm-lever).

Yes, David had practiced hurling stones with his slings for perhaps thousands of hours during his lonely stints of shepherding the flock. Yet that level of accuracy with a sling is extremely hard to achieve, regardless of the distance separating Goliath from David.

Our considered opinion is that the stone was divinely directed, a goal recognized (expected) before the fact by David, and that he had selected only five stones in all, faithfully expecting all the others to be fully as accurate should they be required!

1Sa 17:50  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

The irony of David’s final slaying of Goliath with Goliath’s own sword is reminiscent of the destruction which is foretold for God’s present-day enemies.

Here are but two examples – the first as applied to the enemies “round about” Israel, the account in Judges being an example of such in the case of Gideon and the host of Midian: Judges 7:22 - And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.

The second cited instance of this phenomenon is against Gog’s host of later time: Ezekiel 38:21  And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.

 1Sa 17:51  Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

 The Israelite Army Defeats Philistia, Takes a Spoil

Following David’s courageous act of slaying Goliath, the armies of Israel now are encouraged to join the battle – presumably just as they shall do when Christ comes to them in future time. They are at that time (as now), threatened and perhaps intimidated by their enemies,  but the entry of Christ into the mix (Isaiah 63) encourages them to join in with this unknown companion and defeat their enemies with a vengeance unheard of as yet in the annals of warfare.

1Sa 17:52  And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. 53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

 Saul’s Inquiry

1Sa 17:55  And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. 56 And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. 57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.

 Conclusion:

   Note that, as did David, Jesus shall soon come from His father’s house to the venue of battle; that he shall bring gifts unto men – His salvation from their physical enemies, and peace and further prosperity to their Land. The bread, the parched corn and cheeses that David presented to his brothers and to their captain symbolizes the good gifts of the Christ. His victory over Goliath typifies His conquest to the death of all His enemies of that day.

David put forth his efforts with fearlessness toward Goliath – words which Jesus appropriated (rightly) to Himself in the Synagogue at Nazareth.

Isaiah describes such His state as being … The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:1

Such a blessed state shall be that of Israel federally when they are brought into the kingdom age in reality and visibly to them. Their extended days of prosperity and peace shall be a boon of great worth to the formerly scattered and peeled ones of Jewry. Their appreciation shall be of an appropriate scale to the everlasting blessing that they shall obtain.

David seems compelled to kill Goliath for the primary reason that he is incensed and motivated to give praise and honor to God, and to defend His name, and honor it - to erase the dishonour that Goliath had brought upon it. This is our precise motivation too ... first to vindicate God's name, and second to receive His rewards, riches, a suitable eternal Mate, and His complete favour of freedom from death and decay.

In addition, David provides an additional, extremely useful model for our own behavior that is exemplary: Was he timid?

No! He absolutely ran toward the battle lines where he was certain to meet the enemy head-on. We must exhibit the same mindset – never shrinking from our Father’s business, never shirking our honorable service to Him, never skirting our obligations and privileges to glorify His most holy name. In so doing, we shall also hasten to the battle and willingly engage in it!

This exhortation was prompted by further study induced by a presentation by Matt Swift, at  Cataumet Massachusetts, in his July 5, 2015 exhortation, to whom we tender our thanks.

<HELafferty MD/USA - 7O> ~5500 words. July Prophecy Insertion, 2015.


May: The Merchants of the Earth and Rome –

And the Kingdom Age Which Lies Beyond:

Some Considerations

H E Lafferty

The Revelation which Jesus Christ sent to John (Revelation 1:1) was “signified” (revealed in symbols) to him and written for our investigation and understanding. It is positively necessary to realize that the Revelation is NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD LITERALLY. Each utterance has a metaphorical application which the saints of God are tasked to unravel based upon scriptural principles and the record of history.

The revelation was specifically given to His servants, and consisted of events which were shortly to begin to come to pass, as in verse 1. From this we must understand that it is a work which will not be correctly understood or comprehended by any who are NOT “His servants.” The required basis for understanding it is the Plan of Salvation as revealed in the “things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,” (Acts 8:12) as taught in ancient time by Philip.

This infers that the studies and teachings of unbelievers must be ignored, for example those of the futurists (who believe that the Revelation is still yet to be fulfilled), and of the preterits (those who believe it has already been fulfilled prior to our day).

A valid understanding of the Plan of God is therefore necessary before one can even hope to understand the details which the Apocalypse reveals. Understanding it in any other context is impossible in our view.

The view of the continuous, progressive fulfillment of Jesus’ words is sustained by the phrase, “things that must shortly come to pass” in Revelation 1:1, implying a certain serial continuity and order.

 A better rendering of that phrase is reputed to be, "things that must shortly begin to come to pass," indicating an orderly continuity. Close examination of the events depicted has proven that to be the case, which we believe absolutely confirms that meaning.

This statement indicates that the entire prophecy would be fulfilled continuously and sensibly (or determinably, by His brethren) throughout future history, leading to the events of the last chapters.

So in our view, a continuous historical interpretation is necessary, giving way to the telescopic structure of the Apocalypse, bringing forward certain series of events, then dropping back and doing the same for others, leading to its conclusion which is examined here.

Our consideration here is primarily limited to the relationship of the Beast, the Harlot, and the False Prophet to the merchants of the earth – the commercial powers which consort with the Harlot in the spiritual figure of fornication (indicating the most intimate social and financial relationships) with her.

This term is the Almighty’s phraseology, not ours – and objectively shows Rome and its Church in its glaringly obscene light.

For context, most of the references to these entities from the latter chapters of the Revelation are included below, with interspersed comments by the Editor. [A.V. text as downloaded from E-Sword.]

Revelation 14 and 15

Rev 14:8 - And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Here is the first symbolic reference: Babylon indicates Rome (its empire, which morphed into its Church) in this context, as recognized by scores of expositors for hundreds of years, many of them Roman Catholic scholars.

Both pagan Rome and Church Rome, for centuries controlled nations and kings, forcing them to adhere to the principles and laws of the entity in power at the time whether Empire or Church.

The Beast is Pagan Rome; his Image (also called the Image of the Beast, and sometimes the Beast) is Catholic Rome, which was exhibited to history initially as the Holy Roman Empire, originally consisting of ten specific kingdoms. These were literally an image, or copy, of the earlier polities of pagan Rome.

The Beast of our time has resulted from its metamorphosis from pagan Rome, founded upon the same principles, utilizing parallel terminology, employing the same language (Latin), appropriating similar dress, and having a philosophy matching its panoply of pagan gods as manifesting in the “saints” of the mysterious Church. Its ancient-day Queen of Heaven equates to Mary, the “mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven” of Catholic dogma. As such it is an exact replica of Babylon of old in every way.

Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship (meaning adhere to) the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God …

Here is one of the key identifiers; it is a system of worship – of “religion,” so-called.

The Beast (Catholic Rome) establishes an identifying “mark” which is not difficult to understand. It is embodied in the number 666, and represents several titles of the pope in the gematria of Latin as well as in Greek. Its visible sign is that of the “cross:” pursed fingers of the right hand, inscribing over the chest right to left, then vertically upward to downward, to “draw” a cross upon the participants’ body, thus marking it with the “mark of the beast” in our understanding.

The organization’s  fate is sealed in these words … Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

We do not understand this figure of fire- and brimstone-destruction to be literal; like the bulk of the Revelation’s imagery, it is unmistakably a symbol. Here that symbol is one of eternal destructionsymbolically indicative of a final end, the terminal point of its existence among men.

In no case would the Lamb and his Sheep of that day create, stoke and maintain a literal, everlasting, fire-based destructive furnace maintained for the transgressors who are turned away from Him.

The stark realization of being turned away from the eternal favor of the Judge of all the earth shall be the paramount disappointment of the age for the multitudes which are pictured here as being rejected by Him.

In this sense, their stinging eternal defeat is the victory of death and the grave over them: merely physical death and dissolution in the grave – the expression of which in scriptural language is defined as, the wages of sin is death. It indicates the absolute cessation of existence – of having perishednot of living eternally somewhere else, whether that place be “heaven” or in “hellfire.”

But, mercifully, their only actual suffering from it is their anticipation of it – their solemn realization of their own impending obliteration – which they shall realize upon their sentence to condemnation: depart from me … parallel to the sentence to be spoken by Jesus Himself to His unfaithful brethren at the Judgment Seat of Christ: Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

Their departure from Him indicates eternal alienation from His presence or favor … and brings weeping and gnashing of teeth as they rue their failure to adhere to His commandments.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

In what sense does their torment ascend up for ever and ever? In the sense that once accomplished, it is forever and irreversibly in effect upon its recipients. There is no portal of escape from this sentence of death upon those worshippers of the beast and his image; oblivion impends upon them, and they become as though they had not been brought into the world, as prophesied by Jesus Himself, referring to Judas Iscariot (certainly one of the transgressors) in Mark 14:21- The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

The result for Judas is that he is already barred eternally from his Master by His personal testimony. He has been prematurely sentenced to the second death, to be imposed at his resurrectional appearance before the Judge of all the earth. His entire rational, corporeal being shall be relegated to the second death – to temporal irrelevance – to perpetual darkness and dissolution in Sheol, the grave.

And now, in the text of Revelation 15, great Babylon’s judgment has been carried out. The result is:

Rev 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

This glad scene of tranquility in the earth comes after the Lamb of God’s triumph over the Harlot and the Beast. The glassy sea is a symbol of stillness and peace on the earth; it is mingled with fire in one sense as an element of the decisive presence of God’s Spirit (His fiery sword) crucially exhibited among those standing upon the sea; but in another way, it is in the sense that the remaining elements of the “sea” – i.e., humanity – shall have been purged of the Beast’s influence by His judgmental fire, and is now pacified.

This condition is that which is accomplished by the signal defeat of the Lamb over the Beast and the Harlot, resulting in the then passive, obedient demeanor of the constituents of the earth’s now disciplined and transformed citizens.

Christ and the Saints now control everything and everyone; the nations of the earth are quickly coming under His allegiance. All nations are thus abolished, giving up their identities, their power and their glory to the Kingdom of God, having been removed by the indignation which He shall have showered upon them.

No nation shall survive as a nation under Christ.    

Revelation 16

Revelation 16 is a prophecy of the vials of wrath poured upon the early Church. It adds vital information for our deeper understanding of the heinous nature of the Beast and the Harlot’s consort within it.

Rev 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

The first vial shows unequivocally that the corrupt “religion” was in existence from a very early date, even as Paul had attested in Ephesians 2:2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience … He also states at that early time, in 2Thessalonians 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hinders) will let, until he be taken out of the way.

Note carefully: the target audience for this noisome and grievous sore is only the men which had the mark of the best … and worshipped his image.

The meaning here is that those men and women are judged because they followed the dictates of their own flesh – of diabolos as manifested in the propensity of the Adamic race for sin, stated as being (in high symbology) the prince of the power of the air, in Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:2, as quoted above.

The same principle is clearly stated  in Ephesians 6:12 as wrestling not against flesh and blood (that is, not as in physical combat with other human beings of flesh and blood) but against spiritual error which takes its most aggressive forms as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.

These evils lie ONLY within our own personal domain, and are the evils which are always complicit in drawing away people to serve the flesh and not God.

This phraseology never means an external being such as a “prince,” in the sense of a “fallen angel” who has rejected God’s laws and rebelled – a complete impossibility for such a divinely created being; this is part of the mythology of Babylon and is sheer pagan superstition.

Every such seeming reference in the scriptures arises from the translators’ devotion to the deception of Rome and Babylon, and has a verifiable explanation as being a metaphor for various forms of evil, for mental illness in some cases, and the failure of human agents (“angels,” or messengers, or representatives) of God such as Korah, Dathan and Abiram as noted in the book of Jude – those “angels” (Strong’s G32 – Aggelos, pronounced Angelos = to bring tidings, or a message; messengers, pastors, and “angels” – in certain contexts) who left their first calling and estate, striving to usurp greater authority and influence among the people of God.

This definition illustrates the ludicrous nature of applying this word to the immortal angels of heaven as many do in reference to Jude 1:5, 6, where this prophet is speaking of the people of Israel’s experiences with these three leaders of Israel (thus messengers, or pastors in a sense – shepherds) who “left their first estate,” meaning, who abandoned their rightful places among the congregation of Israel and aspired to the authority of Moses, their leader, as established by the Almighty.

Jude 1:16 - 19 further describes those fleshly men and women as murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts … having men’s persons in admiration because of (their) advantage (or status of leadership and authority). These are clearly mortal men and women who were respecters of persons –persons who, in their own estimation, seem to hold some desired status above their brethren – a practice which is summarily condemned in James 2:9 - But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

These adherents of the beast are further described and accused in the words of the verses following.

Rev 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy (i.e., worthy of this judgment, and condemnation).

The unceasing persecution of “heretics” and people who sincerely disagreed with the Roman clergy throughout the ages is here indicated. We think of faithful, diligent men such as Miles Coverdale, John Calvin, William Tyndale, John Huss and others who died violent deaths because they repudiated the Church and its doctrines and practices on the basis of their understanding of God’s word.

Rev 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

The judgment of the great Whore is eminent. It is detailed in the next chapter …

Revelation 17

Rev 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

This woman of ill-fame is labeled precisely by deity; the Almighty is One Who withholds no concepts and minces no words: she is an infamous whore! It is a word that we should hesitate to employ, but not so with her Judge.

 The kings of the earth and the merchants of the earth make up the two opulent factions of secular society in general; their consort with the great whore has generated great wealth and prosperity for both.

A stark reflection of this can be seen in nearly every poverty-stricken village of France or Quebec: there seems always to be a splendid cathedral set on a high place around which is huddled an humble village of peasants whose resources are largely dedicated and appropriated by the Church to its own purposes.

 This is one reason that the Roman Church is reputed to be among the wealthiest corporations on earth, surpassing the total wealth of most of the nations of the world!

Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

There follows a summary description of the War of Armageddon (Revelation 16: 16) wherein the Lamb of God confronts and utterly defeats the forces of Mammon, as embodied in the Merchants of the Earth and the Church of Rome.

Their carnal warfare – their stringent resistance against the King of Israel which ensues – is a vivid consequence and continuation of their spiritual transgressions of the prior ages, in which the Gospel of Christ has been corrupted and changed into a form (a lieRomans 1:25, again) which is only rejected by Him, and His followers who know His Truth – those who have come out of her, My people (Revelation 18:4).

The ensuing conflict is bloody, is judgmental upon the Beast and Harlot, and is “up close and personal” in the truest sense. The one-on-one confrontation is tersely but vividly described in the next verse …

Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

The symbolism of Revelation 14: 1-5 describes these events and the glorious appearance of Christ and His immortal Saints of that future day. He is the Lamb upon Mount Zion … and the 144,000 who are with Him are a symbol of the Redeemed. It is these who make war upon the whore – the woman who sits upon many waters – or many peoples, as described in the next verse …

Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are (meaning, represent) peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

The meaning is that these are people controlled by the Church, and are those who are responsive to its wishes. What “church” could be described as being anywhere nearly equivalent to such except the mighty Roman deception?

Rev 17:16 And the ten horns (the constituent kings) which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Rev 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

Rev 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

It is singularly ironic that the whore’s flesh is eaten, and burned with fire, as countless victims of the Inquisition had been treated – eaten of wild beasts, and burned at the stake! This fate is remarkably similar to her earlier counterpart in Israel – Jezebel, who was equivalent in evil, and was eaten by dogs.

The merchants of the earth finally “get it,” and repudiate their former consort with a vengeance!

This revealing, graphic terminology illustrates the principality of that great city – the Roman Church – in the affairs of kings, and their final reaction to her influence.

Popes have crowned kings in the past – and deposed some with whom they were enemies.

Some of the main political parties of the European nations today are church-affiliated and supported, – often called Christian Democrats, for example.

The Church’s entanglement with the affairs of nations has been extraordinary.

But their final judgment sours against her when they perceive her age-lasting deception upon them: that they have been fatally duped by her sorceries and “mysteries.”

After those events the earth receives the Almighty’s great blessing and enlightenment …

Revelation 18

Rev 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

Rev 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

The earth is finally emancipated from the whore’s dominance and fleshly attraction.

Her obituary follows … Rev 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

“All nations?”

Are these the “merchants of the earth?”

Yes! The Vatican has “papal nuncios” (ambassadors) assigned to the capitals of over an hundred countries worldwide, and as its official representatives, these are familiar with the intimate details of governments everywhere, as well as their leading industries and commercial initiatives, where their interests lie, and their most vulnerable vicissitudes.

The Church is in this wise, an unique institution, being not only a nation (the Vatican) but also a Church (the Roman Catholic Church), both of which are ruled over by one man – the pope. He, in a certain sense therefore may be deemed ONE OF the kings of the earth as addressed in the next verse…

Rev 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

Rev 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

The goods in which she traffics are both vital and abundant – they are often the delicacies to which men are addicted, but include the necessities of life as well, such as nutrients and apparel – and the mediums of exchange such as gold and silver and precious stones.

Note carefully this specific list of her chief commodities of trade …

Rev 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

Rev 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

This last commodity is most important to her, as it was to Sodom before her (cf., Genesis 14:21) – for such (the souls of men) has become in the eyes of the Church, viz., numbers of people, warm bodies, tithe contributors, regardless of their background or beliefs, being “baptized” into the Church. These are the vast legions of human bondsmen – the virtual slaves of Rome – supporting the pervasive infrastructure and immense wealth of the Church. Her unspoken medium of exchange – her doctrines, superstitions and dogmas – is the mechanism by which she has recruited this vast, ignorant multitude.

Each new member becomes at least a minimal source of revenues for the clergy. St. Peter’s basilica is said to have been built by the monies received from the sale of Indulgencies, which were Church licenses in advance to commit sin of the grossest sorts!

But these transactions and concepts are to be obliterated – done away summarily … forever.

Rev 18:14  And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

Rev 18:15  The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

For centuries, the greatest amount of commerce was generated by the Church. Statuary and icons, rosaries, vestments, cheeses, wines and oils, fine fabrics, furs and estates were produced for her by her pitiful minions, and by the merchants of the earth. Her consumption of gold and silver, of lands and estates, of all sorts of physical property, often obtained by thievery from its adherents, is notable, and abhorrent. The merchants of the earth have often been culpable in these transactions, having implemented them and made them possible.

It is no wonder that their grief for her demise is so pronounced!

Their anguish is graphically pictured in the following words …Rev 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

Rev 18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

Rev 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

Rev 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Here is the stark admission by the merchants of the earth that they were compliant in the activities of the Mother Harlot.

But the sufferance of her fate is different for the saints of God, whose view of her demise is unlike that of the merchants of the earth. They bewail her not, but rejoice that she has been subdued!

Their vengeance upon her has not been personally wrought by them, but has been righteously rained down upon her by the God of heaven in godly vengeance in retribution FOR their suffering and oppression.

Rev 18:20  Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

Her fate is vividly depicted in the poetic justice which is determined for her. She is likened to a great millstone (which is a heavy, oppressive symbol of grinding and dividing into small edible portions – an accurate, fitting symbol of the Church’s oppression of the ages) which is violently thrown into the sea, never to be seen again! Her brutal end is presented in these graphically symbolic words …

Rev 18:21  And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22  And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23  And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24  And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

We read recently an article in which the pope readily admitted that some 20 million people have been killed by Church persecution, the Inquisition included, of course.

We believe that number is vastly understated. It is probable that the Church has slain more people in its history than all those murdered by Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin combined. Many of these unfortunate victims have been intense and dedicated Bible scholars who have arrived at the real Truth of God’s word, and foresworn the falsehoods of Church doctrines, thus repudiating the Church’s authority and oversight of their affairs. Many, such as those already mentioned (Coverdale, Tyndale, and others), were murdered for the crime of translating the word of God into common languages so they could be understood by common men – an “heretical” act which was forbidden by the Church.

The Protestant Reformation became the harbinger of Catholicism's eventual cessation, the death-knell of the Church, in a limited sense, drawing millions away from under her influence and control.

Its effect was to relax to a great extent the hold of Mother Church on its millions, and to allow the unchecked loosing of the unclean spirits of paganism freely to re-enter world society on a “respectable” basis. We see the 20th chapter of Revelation as a vivid, summary description of that present time and its future process, ending in the conflict of Christ with Gog and Magog, parallel with Ezekiel 38 and 39.

The Reformers were extremely useful in blunting her influence. But unfortunately, many of those brave pioneers’ teachings that were contrary to the Church were lost on the masses, and they remained under the yoke of Rome.

In these texts the merchants of the earth are identified and described. Their commerce with Babylon’s ill-famed woman is shown to have been avid and intense, and to have brought them much wealth and power. Their relationship has been essentially a romance of sorts – a consort of multiple kings and merchants with an harlot – the carnal definition of which is fornication.

At past times in history the RCC decreed restrictions on buying and selling, and required the literal approval of the Church for all such transactions. The mark of the Beast would identify cooperative candidates, allowing them to continue their mundane lives (as long as their coins filled the coffers of the priests).

Those who would not comply with Rome’s diktat were isolated, shunned, and starved to death for want of life’s necessities. 

But there is a greater implication. The sign of the cross is made over their infants at “Confirmation,” and again at “Baptism” – the Catholic rite of pouring “holy water” over the head of the victim – er … subject.

Without this approving stamp, it is impossible even today to “buy and sell” her long list of available merchandise, both spiritual and carnal – that is, to trade in her fairs, and to worship at her altars.

Without Church sanction, there is no forgiveness of sin by the parish priest (who presumes to forgive sin in place of Christ)!

Without it there is no Confessional, no intercessory prayers, no partaking of the wafer of “communion,” which is supposed to be trans-substantiated into Christ’s actual flesh as they swallow it – all of which mean, in turn, that the subject does not go “directly to heaven” at death, and may not go there at all (considering the teachings of God’s word, we favor the latter probability!).

These supposed benefits are also among her articles of “commerce” within the kingdom of men.

The End of the Matter

The merchants of the earth are vitally complicit in the Church’s continued existence, and in its prosperity. Kings and popes consult on state policy and other matters of interest to both. The Church has famously relaxed some of its doctrines in the past, in favor of state friendship and accommodation, such as Paul II on one occasion positing that Christ “may not be the ONLY path to paradise,” in order to blend in more perfectly with the Muslims and the Animists of Africa!

This is spiritual fornication of the most sordid kind, even falsely pursued from its unsustainable basis of mythology and the traditions of men – a relinquishment of what was formerly held as a tenet of faith in exchange for the vapid ties of friendship and accommodation with evil even greater than its own!

The coming demise of the Church will open the eyes of some of its surviving followers.

A few – perhaps a great number – will hear and heed the words of the everlasting gospel which they have never believed, and of which they have never been made aware; we are specifically assured that “all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest”- a feature of the kingdom which we have assured in the words of Hebrews 8:11 - And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord:’ for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.  

Others will be forced against their wills to comply with the new Administration of the upstart King of the Jews in Jerusalem – a vastly different and refined form of enforced international compliance with a foreign power which exerts supremacy over all nations … whether they like His peaceful benefits or not – and whether or not they favor His gracious, enforced establishment of peace and righteousness.

But where does this arrangement leave the merchants of the earth? There is no indication of their demise, unlike that of the religious opposition to Christ.

Instead, there is clear evidence of enlightenment and of greatly increased spiritual insight by the captains of industry.

We may be certain that certain sectors will cease to exist or function – for example, that of the greatly developed military industrial complex of today. Its end is certain, for “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” – a stipulation which utterly terminates the arms production industry of the entire earth. But as to the remainder, are they to continue on into the kingdom age, functioning much as they now do? Or shall they be dispossessed of their factories, possessions, and income properties; shall commerce come to an abrupt halt?

This is a consideration into which we have often entered with other interested brethren – considerations which tax our ability to comprehend those things which our Father has in store for the righteous who shall inherit the earth. Our imagination cannot yet fathom the wonders and delights which He has planned for the redeemed of the earth. We can hardly visualize the immense progress which shall take place, or the pathway that it shall take.

So the answer is not clear. The seemingly summary scriptural dictum for that future time of blessing is that “every man shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree” (Zechariah 3:10), which condition is specified to exist when the mountain of the LORD is established in the top of the mountains, as we are taught by Micah 4:4 - But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

That typical condition once existed under the kingship of Solomon – a prototype of the pacific kingdom of Christ after His conquest of the nations. It is so described in 1Kings 4:25 - And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

Does this statement indicate that the commerce of the earth shall cease in favor of a completely localized, agrarian society – devoid of industry or commerce?

A typical description of the kingdom age is given us by Zechariah, revealing details of that future age which we believe give us certain clues as to its character: consider these words:

Zechariah 3:6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.

Joshua in this passage is a prototype (a “type”) of Christ Jesus in His kingdom role as king and priest. The conclusion of these words is that “ye shall call every man his neighbor …” under the conditions being considered in this article.

It speaks not of the continuation of commerce and industry; but neither does it obviate such.

Some of the details of the future age have been revealed, one of which is that all people of the earth are destined to come up to Jerusalem at least once per year to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, as we are informed by Zechariah, in these words: Zechariah 14:16 - And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Should one expect that each individual shall be expected to make this journey on foot? – or mounted upon donkeys or horses, or riding in animal-powered wagons of transport? If so, this requirement of up to 10,000 miles each way for some adherents, would erase weeks of productive life from each individual on earth in its execution – and impose great hardship upon every citizen in fulfilling this duty. And it is obvious that donkeys and wagons cannot traverse the vast expanse of oceans which lie in the path of many of these potential worshippers!

This being an absolute feature of the future millennial kingdom, we must logically expect that viable means of transport will be available to the peoples of the earth, to be utilized in their annual trek to Jerusalem.

In order to accomplish this requirement, the use of commercial transportation such as planes, trains and automobiles seems inevitable.

The implication of this is that the means of production of such vehicles will continue to be necessary – a requirement which seems logically to project a continuation of the vast intricacies of commercial manufacture which we see today being utilized.

It would therefore seem to us to require the advance of civilization much as we see it today, with oil, steel, plastics, basic services, design and production of mechanical devices, and the entire service infrastructure for all these industries to continue intact as we view them today.

We are left to consider yet again just what shall be the nature and substance of the kingdom of God on earth. One of its chief retardants has always been the philosophy of Rome, which at this future time shall have been eradicated – as proven in the text above. This leaves it free of that superstition and its requirements.

How then shall it go forth unfettered toward that inevitable goal of perfection, and the complete eradication of all adverse facets of society, the subjection of sin on every level, the elimination of evil of all kinds, and the inculcation of honest, convicted devotion of every citizen to the things of the Spirit, and to Christ Jesus, the King of all the earth?

These we believe are profitable to consider within the context of the factors of which we are apprised in the word of God. But we must leave the details of it up to the Master of all things, Who shall establish it upon a godly, equable, levelheaded footing – all of which shall militate toward His glory and honor, and the provision of a peaceful, workable, godly society which consistently develops to become the sin-free, sorrow-free, pain-free, joyous, secure and peaceful pursuit of the godly way of life for all. 

    <HEL  2N, 5O>  ~ 6,700 words. An eTPL Exposition, May 17, 2015.

                                                              

April: Shiloh – A Study

Harold Edward Lafferty

 In the southwestern State of Arkansas there was a tiny community called Shiloh (Shy’-lo). I have been aware of it for my entire life due to the experiences my Dad related to me – those which he had when he lived in that community during his childhood. I believe the entire village was inundated by the waters of Greers Ferry Lake, when it was created in the mid-20th century.

Shiloh! What a mystical name – and beautiful at the same time. What does it mean?

The word is Hebrew in origin. Shee-ló is its proper Hebrew pronunciation, with the emphasis on the second syllable.

It means tranquil, or peaceful, and in its first occurrence in scripture it is used as an epithet for Messiah, as noted in Genesis 49:8 – the only personal appellation of 31 separate references to the word in scripture; all the others are the name of a small town in Canaan where the tabernacle in the wilderness was erected after the Hebrews came into the Land.

Genesis 49 stands as one of the most informative and comprehensive utterances in the scriptures – one in which Jacob blesses his sons. Its background is this …

In Genesis 49, Jacob gathers his sons before him so that he may tell them those things which should befall them in the last days. The “last days” is a reference to the time of the end, generally, but here indicates their general future fortunes, some of which does concern the end of the days of the dispensation of Adam and the coming of their ultimate Savior.

Our thoughts now center on Judah, beginning in verse 8, where the patriarch writes a singularly profound and meaningful series of five verses – a message which sets the stage for our discussion of Shiloh as a Personage, the Means of their ultimate re-gathering into the Land, and of their ultimate redemption under their Messiah, here revealed and made known as Shiloh.

 The text of this chapter contains other salient overtones as well, but we intend in this article to examine primarily five verses:

Genesis 49:8  Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 9  Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11  Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12  His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Our best approach is to consider these revelatory phrases in the order in which they are given.

 Judah to be Praised

In verse 8, Jacob gives a special appointment to Judah, telling him that he shall be given the praise of his brethren – a position of honor to which none of the others shall attain.

The Hebrew Yehuda (Judah) means praised, or celebrated.

As so many Hebrew children have been, Judah was appropriately named.

His dominant position among his brethren is expressed in the phrase, Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. There will be several occasions upon which this shall be true, including the praise later given their ultimate, temporal ruler, King David.

This blessing should take several forms …

A telling and extremely meaningful characteristic of Judah’s Offspring is now revealed: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies. This statement foretells the literal choke-hold which should characterize the might of Judah, as expressed in his famous son, King David, who as regent over the twelve tribes, dominated all his enemies handily, and ruled over Israel as a united and dedicated economy under the Almighty for forty years.

During his reign, the kingdom reached the greatest extent of its occupancy of the Land which God had given the people. Although David fulfilled one facet of this prophecy, his kingdom was not peaceful, nor tranquil; so he may not be termed Shiloh.

That term is reserved for a greater Son of David, Who shall indeed rule over Israel in peace, extending His regency to the entire world.

So surely, the more superior application of this phrase (victory over enemies) is indicative of the ready dominance which the LORD Jesus Christ shall initially express upon His and His People’s enemy, typified by “Assyria,” in the day spoken of by the Prophet Micah, in his chapter 5, q.v., and over “Edom,” as foretold by Obadiah in such exquisite detail, as well as numerous other prophetic references to these end-time conflicts of Israel with the nations “round about.”

THAT time of the absolute ascendancy of the dominance of Jesus over His enemies is far superior to the reign of David over Israel, although an antitype of that time. And the best part is that the warlike Davidic phase of Christ’s kingdom shall immediately give way to the entirely pacific, Solomonic phase of the Kingdom – an era which, unlike that of Solomon, shall have no end!

 Judah to be Honored

The next phrase is, thy father's children shall bow down before thee.

What does this mean?

We might immediately think of the obeisance that was given Joseph in his dream which caused so much consternation of his brethren – but, No … wrong brother!

This phrase evidently refers ultimately and chiefly to the devotion which all the tribes are destined to give to their returned Messiah – indeed, to Shiloh, the Lamb of Judah – in that day when He has revealed Himself to them in violent retribution upon, and by the complete conquest of, their enemies of the present and coming days in his presentation as Lion of Judah.

Those future days are foreshadowed by the loyalty of the Twelve Tribes to David in his temporal kingdom.

Whereas the obeisance to David was temporal and limited, that given the LORD Jesus Christ shall be eternal and infinite.

This indicated “bowing down” to Judah’s Son by all his brethren shall adequately demonstrate the humble recognition of all the reunited sons of Jacob to Him as that greater Son of David. Cf., Ezekiel 37.

 Judah as a Lion’s Whelp

The blessing evokes the respect that animals of the veldt show to the king of beasts, as Jacob delivers the next phrases directly relating to Judah’s heritage, utilizing that graphic figure of a lion, victorious over His prey, firstly as a young lion. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up:

Only the victor in such mortal combat as a lion against his prey can “go up” or go away, from his prey; the prey cannot do so, having been completely vanquished. This phrase indicates Messiah’s destiny as the ultimate victor over all His enemies.

But the figure has far wider meaning.

As a lion’s whelp (young offspring of a lion) Jesus Christ fought His most exhausting wars during the days of His flesh – against a prey which was mighty to the pulling down of strong holds – His inherently carnal flesh.

But in this constant warfare, He was victorious in every way, and at the end “went up,” or departed from every aspect of that potential carnage.

His ascension – or “going up” from it – was at least sixfold in character:

·                  He always eschewed evil, and chose the good – overcoming all things, rising well above His inherent desires of the flesh.

·                  He was faithful unto death, not choosing defeat by artificial rescue by legions of angels.

·                  He was resurrected from the dead.

·                  He was raised to immortality from mortality.

·                  He was secluded from further contact with the grosser elements of mankind by being seen subsequently ONLY by His brethren before He ascended to heaven.

·                  He ascended bodily out of this world to that of His Father, to sit upon His right hand until His enemies be made His footstool.

              ·                   Thus He has now attained the status of the Ancient of Days, as in Daniel 7: 9, 13, 22 - three clear iterations of His future destiny and designated future status.

 Judah as an Old Lion

It seems that it is in the sense of His becoming an Old Lion, that we may better understand the next description of Judah’s greater Sonhe stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion (as the Ancient of Days); who shall rouse him up?

We believe this phrase is an harbinger of the wise demeanor and learned, authoritative administration of righteousness which His wisdom and experience shall bring to this exhausted planet upon which His will is now seldom done.

 Judah’s Offspring, Shiloh – Lawgiver

Continuing in the sequential fulfillment of His destiny; after his initial conquest of the flesh at His first coming, and his physical conquest of Israel’s enemies at His second appearance, He then shall ascend personally and victoriously to occupy the re-established Throne of David in Mt. Zion.

The regnal scepter shall not depart from (i.e., there shall no true and lasting King be produced by) Judah, nor a lawgiver (issue) from between his feet, until Shiloh come; It shall be in this guise that He becomes the Lawgiver – wielder of a dominant Sceptre, as Regal Officer, as King of the Jews and of Israel – and shortly to be realized, as King of the entire earth.

But until that time, even including the time of the appearance of His predecessor, the antitypical David, King of Israel, a true and lasting bearer of the Scepter had not appeared. That is, not until He was born of the virgin and assumed His duties as High Priest of Israel at age 30 years.

After the days of Jacob, another seer visualized such a personalized Sceptre. Balaam, son of Beor, a mysterious prophet out of Assyria received this vision directly from the LORD, as he looked over the teeming, overspreading people of Israel as they were poised to enter into the Promised Land: speaking of that multitude’s ultimate King, Balaam said … Numbers 24:17 - I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh (He is not near, in reference to time): there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.

As such a Kingly Star and Sceptre, shall the LORD Jesus Christ appear without herald, and rudely interrupt the affairs of the violent nations round about His people of today, wrecking the vile intentions of Moab, Edom and Ammon, of Palestina and of Assyria, along with other nations enumerated with them.

The brilliant aspect of the morning Star is again indexed by Peter, in his remarks of 2Peter 1:19 - We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in your heart.

He stresses that the prophets wrote and spoke of this immutable Effect, and that our attention must be upon their words in these dark days, so soon to be lightened by the dawn of that Day of our LORD’s vengeance and vindication!

 But to such Kingship He has not yet ascended – for He shall fill both positions in the finality. Having successfully served His Father, and then confirmed His service in His final submission to His Father by His sacrifice on the tree, the LORD Jesus arose to the spiritual level of His final destiny – but still not to His final position of King.

Ascending to the heavens, and continuing in His attained office of High Priest, He has been occupied in preparing a place for the faithful followers of the Almighty (John 14:2), and will soon come again to the earth and bring that reward with him – a principle underwritten by the sure words of Isaiah 62:1 - Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

In Romans 9:23, the Apostle references those whom He hath so “prepared” unto glory:  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glorythose mortal men and women whose devotion to His testimonies hath brought mercy upon them from His mind and hand – vessels, indeed, who willingly and humbly contain and exhibit the riches of His glory in their lives.

When, we ask, where were these “prepared?”

Was it not within the finite span of their mortal existence, and during the brief period of their probationary service to Him? They were during that span prepared fitly to inherit His Nature on the earth, only during their lifetimes, from His position at His Father’s right hand in the heavens.

In that particular sense, He has gone “to prepare a place for them” and to return again, that where He is, there they may be also – obviating their right or possibility of going as He did to the Father’s right hand and of sitting in the heavenly sphere with Him.

In this glorious future phase of His work, one of His chief duties shall be physically to bring about the complete re-gathering of His natural people to their Land. It is to the Shiloh that the gathering of the people shall be brought about as expressed in the direct phrase that … and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

They cannot go to Him where He now is – at His Father’s right hand – but He shall return to them, bringing the elements and charter of His kingdom with Him to Jerusalem.

These words indicate the great In-gathering,[i] or harvest, of the remnant of His People from the four corners of the earth – a faithful, dedicated continuation of the process which He had already directed to be begun, we believe, by the archangel Michael, that great prince which standeth for the children of thy people, as Daniel 12:1.

In our own lifetimes, informed Believers have beheld with great awe the stubborn, persistent, irreversible in-gathering of the Jewish People to their Land (the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin, and many others) from all nations.

At this time in history (2015), slightly over half the known Jewish people of the earth live in their own Land of Israel, their prospects being never to be removed again, or be displaced, or plucked up, as promised by the beautiful words of Amos 9:15 - And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

 Validating Testimony as to His Identity

Almost as if to address Jacob’s much later hearers of these blessings, the Spirit of God uttered additional substantiating facts as a concrete indication of the Personage of Whom He was speaking. The text recalls key substantiating events in the life of Jesus which indicated the sure path upon which He had embarked in His brief ministry. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12  His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Israel is the Vine of God in metaphor, just as it is also the Good Olive Tree. The former is illustrated by these words from Isaiah 5: 1-7, at verse 7: For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant …

In devoting His entire life to the ministry of salvation directly to His own race, the LORD Jesus is linked inseparable with His people, Israel – to this Vine of God.

In these words there is a not-so-subtle indication of His majestic destiny, in that the foal of an ass was the ROYAL mode of transportation of the kings of Israel. Prince Absalom, the rebellious son of David, you remember, was riding on such a beast when his hair became ensnared in the branches of a great oak, and the mule that was nnder him went away!

And when Jesus chose to make his triumphal, prophetical entry into Jerusalem just prior to His crucifixion, he did so riding upon a colt, the foal of an ass, the graphic account of which is recorded in Matthew 21:5  Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

This symbolism was an hint that was hardly subtle to the masses which cheered Him that day. He was indeed the Son of God Who had come to them to bring redemption. Their hearty cries to Him in that remarkable day were Hosanna! (Save now! Redeem us!) in the Highest.

It was to this Vine (this race) that he devoted (bound) all His energy and spirit; the metaphor becomes even more meaningful when we realize that the blood of grapes in which He and His garments were finally immersed, points toward the blood which He necessarily shed for Redemption, an element which is noted in the very emblems of His memory, of which we are commanded to partake.

This deeply meaningful imagery inseparably links the LORD Jesus with His people Israel, the sole object of His entire ministry – for it was to HIS PEOPLE, specifically, that He came – to the People whose allegiance was blunted by their self-serving leaders, and who finally rejected Him completely.

That rejection brought about many wonderful results, including the insuperably magnificent opportunity for Gentiles also to partake of the promises made to Abraham, and to his Seed, Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:16, q.v.

In this regard, please note carefully the words of Romans 11:25, where the Apostle Paul spells out the superb advantage of this benefit, at which all should indeed wonder! - For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Our grateful reaction is recommended to be humble acceptance of this great, almost incidental benefit, which accrued to the unwashed of the Gentile races, all because of the rejection of Jesus by His people – the People to whom He came and to whom He ministered.

 Characteristics of Wine and Milk

The last words of this parabolic prophecy of Jacob are in Verse 12:  His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Wine and milk, along with honey, are nominated as being the choicest of nourishment by the Almighty. Recall that the Land of Canaan was summarily described as a land of milk and honey, as being indicative of its great blessing, bounty, worth, and potential.

Milk is the most rudimentary of foods, and contains all the nutrients needed by babies for several years of their early lives. In Bible times, children were often not weaned from their mother’s milk for upwards of four years.

So the goodness – the inherent virtue – of milk is indisputable, and a food to be coveted and cherished. Jesus was well nourished by the milk of God’s word up until the time that He became the Man Who was capable of the great sacrifice that was required of Him.

Wine is the product of the grape, with which flora the Land of Judea was literally and profusely covered at that time. The abundance of grapes, both wild and cultivated, was so great that the people had no care about their ability to produce wine (Yayin). Subsequent to an infant’s need for milk, the figure takes into consideration that wine is its adult component of nourishment and joy.

Wine, when taken in moderation, was a blessing which was desired and enjoyed by all the People. Both wine and milk therefore are indicative of the great blessings by the Almighty of the provision of the acceptable Sacrifice to all men.

 Judah as Leader of Israel’s Invasion of Canaan

Later, Moses blessed Judah with these words: Deuteronomy 33:7  And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.

These words are a prophecy of the tribe of Judah as the first conqueror sent forth into Canaan after Joshua led the People into the Land and conquered Jericho. The record of Judah’s commission to go forth and conquer is recorded in Judges 1:1: Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? 2 And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.

Even in this early instance of the People’s conquest of the heathen nations, Judah was chosen as leader. Judah immediately chose Simeon to assist him, and they went forth to defeat their enemies. Their success was so great that Simeon was given a portion of Judah’s inheritance as it was too large for Judah. This may be the reason that Simeon is not mentioned in Moses’ blessing of the sons of Jacob in Deuteronomy 33.

 Judah as Chief Ruler

We learn another unique fact about Judah here: 1Chronicles 5:1: Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the (two) sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. 2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:) …

The chief ruler here means the king of Israel, but ultimately refers to that Personage earlier named as Shiloh. The footnote in ESword on this verse relatesthe chief ruler: or, the prince. By the chief ruler is meant first David, and after him the Messiah, agreeably to the celebrated prophecy of Jacob (Gen 49:10). The Syriac calls him "Christ the king," and the Arabic, "Messiah the king." 1Sa_16:1, 10, 12; 2Sa_8:15; Psa_78:68-71; Jer_23:5-6; Mic_5:2; Mat_2:6; Heb_7:14

By these words we learn that this account (Genesis 49) written by Moses, is among the first of many writings which give intimate details of the Author of Salvation in all His glory – His background, His family history, His character, and His destiny; they initiate the sensible revelation of the Savior of mankind.

Every one of these footnoted references is pertinent to our understanding of the subsequent history of Judah, of his son David, and of Messiah Jesus! We leave them to your discretion as to their study. They tell a serial tale of progressive development of the Plan for the kingdom and of the development of its substance.

But in the interest of brevity for now, we leave this consideration of Jesus Christ as full recipient of the title Shiloh, and of Shiloh as indicator of the mighty work which He shall do.

    <HEL MD/USA  3O>  ~4000 words. An eTPL Exposition.


[i] We cannot but think of this Ingathering in relationship with the Festival of Ingathering (Sukkot) of Israel – a fall festival which celebrated the harvest of the crop which had been cultivated and was ready for reaping. It is hopefully the most appropriate season for the literal return of the LORD to His people. An important facet of this subject is the upcoming Blood Moon which shall occur on Sukkot in September, 2015 – an event toward which we look with much anticipation, as it will be the last of several Jewish Tetrads, with no more to be experienced for over 500 years.

 

March: Arise, and Be Not Afraid

Harold Edward Lafferty

We refer first to one account of the Transfiguration of Jesus = that of the Apostle Matthew. The setting is that Jesus and the apostles are in Caesarea Philippi – a small settlement northeast of the Sea of Galilee near the Banias source of the Jordan River, and in the shadow of the region we now know as the Golan Heights, which lies in the southern proximity of Mount Hermon.

These facts are given for later reference to the “high mountain apart”[i] into which Jesus later led them. Matthew records …

Matthew 17:1  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

 The Transfiguration

This brief summary of the Transfiguration of Jesus, as it is known among us, occupies only a few lines of the scroll upon which it was recorded. It is one of three separate accounts in the Gospels.

Yet, it is one of the uniquely succinct miracles recorded in the entire scriptures.

It illustrates the projected, godly prospects of the end-point of the entirely fulfilled Plan of God for man, in that it reveals the Christ in His future role as the shining, immortal SON, glorious in His apparel and person, associated with Moses the Lawgiver, and Elijah as representative of the prophets, with Jesus being Provider of the hope of salvation to all His people, in the parabolic, visual presence of His earlier, personal harbingers (of the Law and the prophets).

It is evident that Peter, James and John did not expect such an experience as this.

Several days prior (exactly SIX days prior), the LORD had said to His disciples, these words, from the last verse of the previous chapter: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

It is logical to see this following manifestation as fulfillment of this solemn promise – that the “some” to whom He referred were the Apostles Peter, James and John – and that in this experience they SAW “the Son of man coming in His kingdom” in an unique and foreboding way.

But their reception of the vision was nearly without sensible perception; it is clear that the disciples were flustered and befuddled by the vision.

They did not understand its meaning in any sense.

Here we must note that in Luke’s account of this incident, one key additional feature is recorded: Luke 9:30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

It was destined to be “His decease” at Jerusalem which would move forward decisively the Plan of redemption.

At the same time, it was the most difficult concept for the apostles to receive and accept, even after several warnings.

His decease would necessitate His resurrection, in order for Him to fulfill the Plan which He offered.

Here He is manifested in His resurrectional glory and brightness.

The entire redemptive process, we believe, was mirrored by Jesus’ now bright and shining appearance in the ethereal light unto which He should later attain, in order to accomplish His overall destiny; it foreshadowed the certainty and the reality of the end-point of the whole process.

The disciples awoke from a deep sleep – a detail also included in Luke’s account: Luke 9:32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

Recall two key facts here:

(1) The vision is noted to have been specifically SIX days[ii] after it was foretold by Jesus. Is this a subtle reference to the 6,000 year (six “day”) history of mankind which should elapse before the Plan would take effect? We believe it to be a valid suggestion.

(2) The disciples were “heavy with sleep” – then they “awoke.” Is this another quite patent indication that the things that they now saw were representative of those events of the seventh millennium – long after they had fallen asleep in death, and in the silence of Sheol, had awaited these very events? We believe this also to be a valid suggestion.

In this manner, the disciples were beholding not only the momentous events that their Master had told them would occur at the time of His kingdom, but the bright nature of three of the principles of that time – both unmistakable foreshadows of the certainty of their coming to pass.

In such a case, the three disciple SAW (in the sense of perceiving, understanding) the certainty of the end of the matter!

 Peter Responds

In such a case, the appearance of this vision seemed to demand some kind of response from the disciples.

Peter’s impetuous nature brought forth the first (and only) response: his devout mind reacted in the context of the Law.

Remembering that this incident is believed to have happened at the time of the fall festival of Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles, by all accounts – that is probably the reason for Peter’s suggestion: that the disciples make booths (or Sukkot) for the three principles, Moses, Elijah and Jesus.

The festival had been initiated to remind the Hebrews of God’s provision for them as they lived in temporary shelters (Sukkot) and as they journeyed through the wilderness of Sinai on their pathway to Canaan from Egypt – to the Land of Promise and Freedom, out of the Land of Bondage and Slavery.

 

The Voice of Authority

But Peter’s words were cut short by their involvement in a bright cloud which passed over and enclosed them.

Immediately, they distinctly heard the hallowed words: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

“Hearing” Jesus was an habitual, consistent practice of His devout disciples, so those ringing words were not necessarily primarily directed at them.

The message which boomed forth from the heavens would have a far wider, and decisively more eternal application, and should be those related directly to the future, returned Christ as He speaks authoritatively to the nations.

An explanatory passage relating to this future day is recorded by the Apostle John in the vision of the Lamb on Mount Zion making His presence and authority known to the entire world, just prior to the destruction of Babylon the Great …

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

This edict comes in the wake of another landmark occurrence – that of His sending forth the “everlasting gospel” which is sent out for all the world at His Second Advent. Revelation 14:6 - And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

From this precise day forward, human history shall be altered forever.

It shall from this time be conducted in strict accordance with the principles elucidated in His everlasting Gospel; in that, the nations are commanded to Fear God, and give glory to Him, for they shall now be subject to the “hour of His judgment” – the final opportunity for the world at large to bow down to His rule of law and standard of equity for all men – the time in which He demands cessation from evil and war and bloodshed, and their hearty acceptance of His reign of righteousness and peace among men.

Jesus’ Admonition to Them

The narrative now takes on a reassuring quality – a calming perspective, underwritten by the authority of the Master; for when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

Being “sorely afraid” is not a shameful circumstance.

It is on one hand, reflective of respectful regard for the authority of our Father, and godly reverence for His being and person.

But it can also reflect sheer terror of circumstance.

The disciples acutely realized that they were being directly addressed by the voice of God; heightened unease was not to be denied them in such a case.

Jesus’ reassuring, comforting words to the disciples were, Arise, and be not afraid.

He was advising a calmness which only can come from His loving, caring hands and voice as their Mediator with the Father. They had no cause for real fear, because He stood with them as their Advocate and Redeemer. They must take great comfort in this reality.

But He was also advising a deeper level of faith in each of them – reinforcing them in their basic conviction that Jesus WAS the promised Savior; for the time was soon coming when their resolve should be severely tested by the likes of Herod, of Caesar, of Pilate and others in authority.

It is reckoned that every one of the Twelve suffered a violent death in Christ’s service except the Apostle John, who is said to have expired from a natural death probably on the Isle of Patmos after being given the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

But even these fates are realized as being terrible but for a moment.

Their anticipation, we suspect, would be the most horrifying aspect of each such end. This is true because most means of executing persons leads to rapid anoxia and asphysxia - both of which result in unconsciousness in a brief time.Perhaps the most dreadful fate would be the consumption of any of them by wild beasts, such as the lions of the Roman Coliseum or of the Athenian Arena – of being ripped apart by the powerful jaws of hungry beasts of prey.

In such cases, the suffering would still be brief, and would in no way be comparable to the nearly interminable hours of Jesus’ being beaten with the flail, pierced by thorns, jolted by the blows of open-handed slaps, the brutal kicking and punching of Jesus’ tormentors, blows of the crucifixion hammer and nails, and prods by the spear that He suffered on his pathway to “his decease,” to which He must look forward later at Jerusalem.

The tender reflections and fervent prayers of Jesus, forecasted by Psalm 22, where His realistic view of His coming torture and death is shown in the words, Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

His great, almost supernatural faith in His Father’s ultimate help is readily seen in the poignant, dreadful words of Psalm 22:19 - But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

In the eternal Plan of the Father, there would be no deliverance from the process of His dying. And no relief from “the sword,” or “the power of the dog” or “the lion’s mouth.” But His reassuring belief was Thou HAST heard Me …

We know well the truth of this conviction, for His resurrection attests to the fact. His bright and shining garments of immortality and His unlimited power over the forces of the flesh and sin depicted in this vision attest to that destiny, and should have been an undergirding conviction of every disciple of every era of His service.

Today – and especially as we enter the closing hours of this humanistic era of depravity and sin, we also must Arise, and be not afraid!

Our privilege is to stand in the face of all hazards without any real trepidation or fear; for His is, in the finality, the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever.

No earthly power may separate His people from those wonderful elements of blessing and reward.   

<HEL 3O>  ~2300 words. eTPL article for March, 2015



[i] Our conviction is that this “high mountain apart” means Mount Hermon. Some suppose it to have been Mount Tabor, southwest of the Sea of Galilee, for it is an outstanding elevation arising from the western plains of Jezreel. But recall that this episode begins at Caesarea Philippi, northwest of Kinneret, at the Banias source of Jordan. This landscape is itself the lower elevation of the south slope of Mount Hermon, whose height exceeds 9,000 feet if we remember correctly (thus is indeed “high”) and is a mountain which is generally “apart” from Israel as we conceive it – being on the north edge of the border of Israel even today, as it was then.

[ii] Luke indicates it was after eight days, but the explanation is that his account excludes the day when the prophecy was given about “some” standing here … and the day of its execution. Six days had elapsed in the interim.


February: Visible Correlation of End-time Developments

H E Lafferty  MD/USA

Although the prophets of Israel have clearly forecasted the conflicts of Israel in the end time to take on a multiphase character, separated by some indeterminate length of time between them, we can clearly discern the development of all three expected streams of aggression (although some of them are not even yet concretely intended in the minds of the perpetrators, but shall certainly, we believe,  continue to develop in strict accordance with the long-standing revelations of the sages of Israel recorded in the scriptures).

The Almighty One is not sitting still in His preparations for these coming conflicts but is bringing the development of each forward in each one’s own unique pathway.

In this short, edited and re-published article we wish to summarize the coming conflicts of Israel as depicted by the prophets of Israel. These shall be orderly, consecutive, and shall end well for Israel and for Christ as Messiah and King over Israel, as we should expect.

 War with the Proximal Islamic States

The “Palestinian Question” will be the first to have a definitive settlement – total, abject defeat for those Proximal enemies! These are the forces of the first decisive wave of aggression against Israel. We are. to some extent, minimizing the details of these in this commentary as they have been explored in great detail on former occasions.

The current series of conflicts of Israel with the nations could not have initiated until 1948, when the State was re-established by authority of the United Nations Organization’s Partition Plan of 1947. This action created a Jewish homeland in the center of the most hostile environment imaginable to Jews –the Proximal (nearby) Islamic States of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iraq, principally.

Those who were living at the time of Israeli independence were extremely heartened to see the People of God miraculously survive the violent, resolute aggression of all these nations “round about,” a phrase that is utilized in God’s word several dozen times, indicating these specific enemies and their proximate location to Israel while at the same time, ruling out any involvement by the members of the later Gogian coalition.

That “code” word, the nations “round about” always addresses the present conflicts of Israel; the references to such are wide-spread and extremely dispersed in the prophetic literature, and begs our recognition of these accounts as being those of the present conflict.

The reason we stress that fact is that numerous would-be students of prophecy entirely discount the present conflict, insisting that the first important encounter of Israel with other nations will be that of the Gogian conflict. It is unbelievable that these have entirely discounted the present conflict!

For nearly 70 years we have watched with breath-taking awe, the ingenuity and prowess of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) as leveled against their enemies round about, with the consistent, ultimate outcome of total victory, often in a matter of days.

We attribute this success not strictly to the armies of Israel, but to their invisible, extremely powerful friend and protector, Michael the Archangel (cf., Daniel 12: 1,2).

This attribution is not a belief in some mystical power which has contributed to Israel’s well-being, but is godly recognition of the divine principle that David acknowledged in this passage from Psalm 53:4 - Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. 5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.

We have beheld these enemies in great fear at each conflict of these two peoples.

The “mighty” army of Saddam Hussein which invaded Kuwait left a trail of dead men and equipment several hundred miles long as they frantically tried to get back to Iraq – a case in which Israel was not the defeating army but that of the western coalition of states headed by the US. But their humiliation and shame was great nonetheless.

The same humiliation was wrought upon the forces of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt in the Six Day War of 1967, when we saw hundreds of photographs of dead soldiers, and of wrecked and burning enemy equipment scattered all over the Sinai desert, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Ditto in 1973’s Yom Kippur War.

Also in the Lebanon Action of the Eighties, when Israeli forces drove the PLO out of Lebanon by invading all the way to the docks of Beirut.

The same result was clearly seen in the Israeli assault upon Hezbollah of South Lebanon and upon Hamas of Gaza in more proximate years.

The forecast of Ezekiel, in his 37th chapter – that the People should rise up as “an exceedingly great army,” is not lost upon us as having been deeply valid for our time. It is estimated that the IDF is the third most deadly army in the world today, with one of the best air forces in operation, and electronic equipment second to none in the world.

All these great leaps forward must be attributed to the divine hand of YHVH, and only secondarily to Israel’s prowess and native initiative – although these must not be discounted, for it is He Who has given them this power – cf., Deuteronomy 8:18 - But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth (and by extension, all the deadly advances that are acquired through wealth), that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

These words speak poignantly to the clear fact that Israel of today is in full-throttle process of establishing itself in God’s covenant, which shall be laid upon them when comes the Christ of the Second Advent, and welcomes their humble contrition and acknowledgment of His sovereignty over them, as in Zechariah 12 and 13, q.v.

There are many in Israel today who do revere the LORD (“fear” Him) and who do steadfastly rely on the principle enunciated in Torah: Psalm 34:7 - The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

These conflicts will only end with the complete vanquishment of all the foreign interlopers between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, and the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, in accord with the Land promise made to Abram in Genesis.

The accomplished departure of all U. S. forces from Iraq left a giant vacuum which the forces of Iran have attempted to fill as soon as possible, bringing reinforcement to the Shi’ite government there. The “democratic” government of today is surely destined for failure, and to be absorbed, along with Syria, by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), or as it is currently known, The Islamic State. It is vitally opposed, being Sunni, to Iran’s (Shiite) small measure of success there.

The prophetic forecast seems certainly to be for Iraq and Syria as ISIS (together constituting Assyria) to join forces to invade Israel at some time in the near future as clearly foretold in Micah 5, while the Iranian aggression is left to develop separately, and at a later date, in cahoots with Gog of the land of Magog, Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal.

 Conflict with the Gogian Powers

This group of enemies comprise nations that are distal (far away from) Israel, and are destined to coalesce after the completion of the first phase which we are now experiencing.

Gog is its leader and coordinator; his destiny is to be short-lived and fatal, as is that of all his confederacy, including Persia – a formidable enemy today, but an intensified one tomorrow.

The identity of Persia (modern day Iran) is well certified in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as a main player in the Gogian invasion of Israel foretold in those chapters. In accord with that future role, Iran’s present relationships with Israel are well on their way to such a future posture. Her bellicose former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, frequently made inflammatory and condemnatory statements about Israel, gratuitously taking the side of the “Palestinians” unnecessarily and using their “plight” as a premise for his own conflict with Israel – or at least his hatred for the “Zionist entity.”  He and later principles of Iran, have taken their cause as their cause – which is a sure harbinger of things to come.

Iran is a major factor in that second wave: Iran is well known to be developing nuclear capabilities which it avows as being peaceful in nature. Yet the already-developed components of the project belie this posture. Equipment is being employed to refine uranium to much higher levels than those needful for peaceful generation of electricity, which is Iran’s sworn claim. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspects the Iranian facilities about every two months – those to which it is even admitted – and on a recent Tuesday  issued a disturbing report which most observers regard as a certain “game changer." For several years under its former head, Mohamed el-Baradei – an Egyptian Islamist – Iran was given a free pass (by IAEA) as to being involved in weapons development.

The report (which you may read in detail at www.guardian.co.uk  if you care to do so) concludes that Iran probably already has the materials for about four nuclear bombs. It is now rapidly developing rockets for the delivery of its warheads and may be now capable of showering up to four such weapons of mass destruction upon Israel in case of attack by any nation or nations. Iran knows that any nation which might attack it will be an ally of Israel, and that any threat of harm to Israel would likely be a deterrent to those nations.

Actually, we believe Iran underestimates Israel as possibly being the main potential aggressor – or among the main ones – in league with possibly Britain, along with the United States, in a multi-mode, multi-pronged assault on the war-making capability of Iran’s nuclear facilities, rocket factories, and her military forces of the present day.

This action is seemingly not mentioned by the prophets of Israel, and its weight cannot therefore be accurately assessed; our recognition of this dispute is taken as clear evidence of the forward movement of Persia/Iran toward its final stance as an arch-enemy of Israel during the Gogian conflict.

At the same time, the “liberators” of Libya, another Gogian player, having years ago destroyed Mummar Qadaffi’s person and power, continue to embark upon a haphazard attempt to form a rational, workable government in that country with fragmented leadership. It is not proceeding well. But Libya remains a recognizable country and available for its certain destiny in league with the Gogian host; in accord with that destiny, its tattered central government is being dominated by Iran.

Meshech and Tubal have been considered to be Moscow and Tobolski in Russia – and that may be a valid point – but Meshech and Tubal were originally residents of large portions of Turkey today. Magog’s habitat was probably originally there, too, as reflected in the title, Gog of the land of Magog, Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal – all of who were originally Anatolian but were elsewhere when Ezekiel wrote his prophecy.

The relatively recent view that the Gogian host (Russian) will initiate hostilities against Turkey and overrun it may be obviated by this fact – the original habitation of these descendants of Japheth (Genesis 10:2), Meshech and Tubal. They are already located in Turkey and will allow Turkey to become an ally of Gog without any conflict whatever because of their ideological connection with the Islamic Cause which the Gogian forces embody – every entity named by Ezekiel being overwhelmingly Islamic except Russia (which has a large proportional population of Muslim identity, but not a majority).

 The Third Antagonist: the Harlot and the Beast

In the above commentary we have not even considered the third antagonist to Israel – the Harlot/Beast power of Europe. Close attention to that arena however ALSO shows movement in the expected direction of consolidation toward a re-constituted Holy Roman Empire. The ten horns of the Beast are part of the power of the Beast – the European Community.

      We have previously noted, that in a recent development, the ten powers (“the Ten”) of the Western European Union which were originally charged with security and war-making for the EU, voluntarily ceded its power to the Great Beast in dissolving its own power. The official announcement on March 31, 2011, was worded: “ … on behalf of the High Contracting Parties to the Modified Brussels Treaty – Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and The United Kingdom.” The announcement was made by the President of the Permanent Council of the Western European Union (WEU).  

Now, as of March 31, 2011, all the 27 nations of the EU are equally saddled with the responsibility for war-making and security (instead of “the Ten”); in our minds this is a clear fulfillment of Revelation 17:12 – And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

      For years Biblical scholars have watched the establishment and developments of the products of The Treaties of Rome (1957), the founding date of the European Economic Community (EEC), and of Euratom (Europe’s AEC)..

      The overall purpose of these treaties was stated as “The Treaty establishing the EEC affirmed in its preamble that signatory States were ‘determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.’ In this way, the member States specifically affirmed the political objective of a progressive political integration.”

This, we believe, was the origin of the Beast of Revelation 17One surely must agree that the prophecy is quite transparent at this stage of its development – or, at least, so we are now convinced! Its destiny is to resist the Lord Jesus Christ when He appears among those nations. Their future is grimly forecasted by John in the next verse of the above text: 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

This development raises our antennae to great heights when we realize the connection between the two events, informing every student of the dire portent of the legal steps recently undertaken by these unsuspecting Ten Horns of the Beast – those horns (powers) which have until recently been charged with matters of security and defense of the EU overall, HAVE JUST GIVEN THEIR POWER AND STRENGTH OVER TO THE BEAST.

It seems to me that this is one of the surest, clearest conclusions (fulfillments) of prophetic forecasts; but it will be discounted and even missed by most scholars for some reason … such as ignoring any event which does not fit their preconceived notions.

For years men have speculated over the Toes of the Image of Nebuchadnezzar; they were full of anticipation when the EEC was formed and headed for a membership of ten nations. But it went to 27 nations to date and many were disillusioned.

Yet here, with “The Ten” could be the answer to the puzzle, for ten of the major members of the EEC (the WEU countries) being previously saddled with security and military matters for the EEC have come to the end of their charter and literally have turned their power over to the greater Beast!

To oue simple mind, this confirmatory relinquishment of power portends the next major event for those nations – to make war with the Lamb Who shall overcome them! Although the prospect for this conflict lies some distant time in the future, the wise scholar will keep these things in his mind and be strengthened by them. The fact remains that The Ten (horns/kings) were certain of only one goal – that of relinquishing their power to the Beast.

They have now accomplished that goal!

At the same time, European fortunes are being forged by an unprecedented financial crisis. Greece may be forced out of the EEC. Spain and Portugal as well as Ireland are having their financial troubles as well. Italy and France are not far behind these four. Germany seems to be the powerhouse of all Europe and is observed as being not only ready but able to purchase the distressed national properties of nations such as Greece. Germany is eagerly purchasing many of these valuable properties which will generate revenues from outside Germany for generations – assets such as railways, utilities, and financial institutions. Thus German influence and power is effectively projected to the far corners of the EEC.

But one wonders seriously whether there is an overlooked factor in this dilemma: that of the Vatican, which although among the smallest in land area, is actually one of the wealthiest “countries” in the world.

We really have not seen any media coverage about the Vatican’s readiness to purchase some of these fire-sale properties. But we must consider that if there is a fast, sure profit to be made, papal interests are surely present and active!

One of the chief traits of The Beast of Europe is its trading abilities and the wealth of its merchandise so meticulously catalogued in Revelation 18: 11 - And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12  The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13  And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

      The final item on this fantastic list of goods, please note, is human merchandise – the souls (lives) of men; it is the chief commodity of the Church, for from that commodity flows more money than all the others – multiple lifetimes of rich weekly contributions and grants from its slavish members.

The Merchants of the Earth mourn her demise and in the end, burn the Harlot’s flesh with fire for her long-standing deception and adultery. We cannot yet be precisely certain of what event will bring about that kind of hatred, but we highly suspect that it shall be TRUTH, which the Lord Jesus brings to them in the Everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14: 6), and proves to them beyond any doubt in His conquest of the Harlot.

      This represents the Almighty’s third giant step toward subjection of the earth to His will in fulfillment of Psalm 22: 27 – And all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

  Psalm 86:9 declares essentially the same universal truth: All nations which Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord, and shall glorify Thy name.       

<HELafferty  MD/USA  October, 2011; updated February, 2015 >  ~3200 words.

 


January: Grounds for Hope in 2015?

Harold E. Lafferty

[3800 words]

HOPE. It is a graphic, meaningful, informative concept, and a vital ingredient in the spiritual constitution of those who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

The apostle stresses its importance as he writes his first epistle to Corinth, urging their constancy of seeking the Better Way, emphasizing one’s faith, hope and charity of today as being the essential bridges to future blessing – bringing believers face to face with the eternal things of their future lives.

His encouraging words concern these three “great” things that resided in his brethren of Achaia. His words in the 13th chapter of First Corinthians are well known to all his brethren: they speak of our present status as compared to our future status – of our present weakness (of childhood) compared to our future strength (of adulthood), and even our present ignorance (seeing through a glass darkly) with our future wisdom (but then face to face).

First, Paul recognizes his and our weaknesses – our state of incomplete development, our lack of wholeness in Christ which can only reach maturity with His appearing, and addresses the tools which assist our growth toward maturity in Christ and our personal receipt of His eternal blessing.

Note carefully the details of his, and our, progress … comparing our fleshly development to our spiritual.

1Corinthians 13:9  For we know in part (now), and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child (indicating, of course, that we are now in the sometimes awkward, childhood phase of our development toward becoming the mature Saints of God of the future): but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

His explanatory process here is descriptive of a mortal saint’s progression toward becoming an immortal Saint – of “growing up” in the Spirit of Christ. And that the elements which sustain us in this process are faith, hope and love in the Greek, pistis, elpis and agape, the latter of which is unconditional love for others.

These are our characteristic shepherds and guides to that later status in which, of these three, only agape (love) will survive eternally. Why is this so? Because faith and hope shall have been realized at that time, and shall have faded out of our long list of now-present needs; with the actual appearance of the objects of faith and hope they are no longer an expected factor. Bur love remains forever.

Meanwhile, we must continue to hold fast and to progress. Hope is the expectancy, the reality, of things not seen.  It is the basis of faith, the primary quality of certain expectation, as recorded for our instruction in Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The brethren of Christ of many past years have hoped for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth – an event which would necessitate the Second Advent of God’s Son, His conquest of Israel’s arrogant enemies, and His initiation of His Kingdom’s establishment upon the territory of Israel.

As another year passed into history erlier this month, our attention is riveted again upon the “signs of the times” which we are now observing with our own eyes (indicating that our faith and hope are steadily materializing, and giving us even greater reason for both qualities).

We believe that several strong factors indicate great and imminent potential:

1.       The people of God are now strongly entrenched in their Land, though yet in unbelief (as stated clearly by the prophets, such as Zechariah, in 12 and 13).

2.      They are also under siege as they have not ever been since they became a nation again in 1948, yet are apparently not in deep fear of being overcome by enemies.

3.      Their shepherds are errant, humanly fallible, and largely ignorant of the Plan that the Almighty has stated in their own scriptures of Truth, and still struggle with the impossible goal of “land for peace” with the violent “Palestinians.” Yet the nation prospers more than nearly any other in the entire world.

4.      The secular strength of Israel, due directly to the angelic interventions which no man can define or observe directly (Daniel 12: 1,2) is seemingly greater than it has ever been; the nation fears no enemy, although is diligent to “set a watch” on every frontier, including space and sea.

5.      The nation of Israel has become extremely successfully economically, now producing some of the most advanced products of all mankind, and selling them to seemingly friendly powers worldwide.

6.      It has become an universal model for excellence in agriculture and animal husbandry. Its lands yield more tonnage per hectare, and its cows produce more milk than the international norm by far.

7.      Its water management expertise has steadily risen to the world-class level. The country is said now to be no longer dependent upon natural rainfall to maintain its population, its crops, its cattle, and its industry – a fact not true for its militant neighbors.

8.      Due to persistence in exploration, its petroleum industries both of crude oil, shale oil, and natural gas, have become productive of stupendous amounts of wealth heretofore unheard of in Israel – creating for itself riches which amount by themselves to “a great spoil,” and an object of extreme interest to a future invader – a factor which becomes paramount (as in Ezekiel 38 and 39) at some short time after the return of Messiah to the People.

9.      Due to these favorable factors, the nation bores forward relentlessly to a largely unsuspected goal – that of becoming the premier nation upon the earth, the First Dominion of the Kingdom of God, to be made possible not by its own strength, but by that of their returned Messiah.

10.  There is said to be an undercurrent of greatly increased interest in Torah in Israel today – the Hebrew word for Law, but indicating the entire Old Testament as we know it. Hopefully, this renewed interest will bring to their leaders and rabbis, accurate understanding of some of the end-time events as they relate to the People, and inculcate within them an increased love for their Creator and Protector. This benefit will necessarily prime the People for their heartfelt cry of “Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord (Luke 13:35),” when their Messiah does burst upon the scene. It surely appears that their exposure to the nations round about may become nearly untenable, and the People absolutely become dependent upon overtly divine deliverance from these intractable enemies round about them.

11.   Thusly, Israel’s secular HOPE grows exponentially. Their spiritual HOPE lags yet behind, but is prophesied to overtake their secular aims in the near future!

12.   Lastly, in the obvious display of “nature” there looms before all the earth the remaining Blood Moons of the current Tetrad, their implications yet undisclosed as far as we can determine, but the fulfillment of which in the fall of 2015, is expected by many to bring vast, eternal changes to Israel as we know it. Our daring and faithful expectation is that it certainly could be the Second Advent of the LORD from heaven, to perform His salvational acts of mercy upon his people – ALL His people – beginning with the reaping of the covenanted living and dead who are bound to Him by the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, without which no mortal can enter the domains of His kingdom. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of this, our common HOPE: Hebrews 13:20 - Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Hope, in the sense being discussed by the author of Hebrews, is not a mere, casual, ethereal wish for “something.” It has a concrete basis of certainty, of tangible materialization, to those who “hope” in the godly sense. 

Indeed, Hope is one of the fundamental particles of salvation, for Paul attests in Romans 8:24: For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen (or experienced by the senses) is not hope (it is then realized): for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for (it) (for that object of desire is already, at that time apparent, if “seen”)?

If hope were a physical element, its symbol would be Hp. If we were classifying it as a physical particle it should probably be one of the first three in the list (I Corinthians 13:12); it is that basic … that vital … that essential.

One of the most telegraphic (economical, succinct, and pregnant) statements of the Apostle Paul is recorded in Acts 28, when he wrote to fellow believers, that it was “For the Hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain ….” – those iron manacles of the Roman authorities, in which he was being conducted to Rome to stand trial for treason.

His fellow believers understood immediately the many permutations of this statement.

Hope’s indispensable possession is not natural to humankind, but is purposely cultivated in each Believer through each one’s application to his own life, the Truth of God’s word, his discipline, and his obedience to the Almighty.

This claim is scrupulously proven by the divinely inspired confession of David: Psalm 16:8 - I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore (for that reason) my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

There seems a wonderful play on words here; we must surmise that David, upon his death, did not expect to escape bodily corruption in Sheol (the grave); but the Spirit is surely indicating that the ultimate Holy One – His beloved and only begotten Son – should not remain in the grave long enough to “see corruption,” or dissolution.

The restful hope to his own being (his flesh) about which David speaks, is based upon David’s righteous demeanor – his response to the lovingkindness of YHVH, of El Shaddai.

The “Holy One” of which he speaks does refer to himself; but it references all other faithful adherents to the Way of Life. But chiefly, the quality resides in God’s Son, Whose appearance shall bring the consummation of all things to those who hope.

The word from which this title (“Holy One”) is translated is Strong’s H2623, Chasiyd, meaning “properly, kind, that is (religiously) pious, (a saint); godly, good, holy one, merciful ….”  Such a man was David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22); and such are all those who diligently serve Him in their lives.

All such have hope identical to that of David, who attested that his flesh should also “rest in hope” of some better end – namely that of being ultimately exhumed (resurrected) from the corruption which he expected his soul (his nephesh) to suffer by reason of death. 

He was assured by the Spirit that his flesh should be made to live again in the presence of God’s Son – that blessed Product of his own bowels, Who was faithfully promised him in II Samuel 7.

The reasoning for David’s hope is here made clear in language which is recorded for our learning and admonition: it re-states the steadfast Hope of Israel in these words:

2Samuel 7:12 - And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

In these scant five verses of holy writ the Hope of David is set forth as a unilateral covenant of the LORD with David – just as essentially the same covenant had already been established with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) before him. All these were in the direct ancestral line of that Son – whose identity was described as “thy Seed after thee, who shall proceed out of thy bowels.” It is in this descendant that the LORD will “establish His kingdom.” That personage shall occupy the re-established Throne of David in Zion!

David had made known his intention to “build an house” for the LORD – a stationary Temple which should house the Most Holy place, in which should be sheltered the Ark of the Covenant with its holy contents, and covered by the mystical, prophetical Mercy Seat.

Instead, the Almighty turns the tables on David in a surprising and pleasant way, assuring David that his Seed (later to be born, Jesus Christ) should instead build for Him (David) an house that should be eternal before God; and that this should be brought to pass in the Seed of David – elsewhere called David My Servant – cf., Ezekiel 37, where some of the promises of Whom are recorded.

A close reading of this text will be extremely rewarding and comforting, for in these words are set forth the HOPE of Israel of the future aion.

The prophecy begins with the recalling of His People from the far-flung lands of the earth – from among the “heathen” (or nations) of the earth – to their own Land:

Ezekiel 37:21  And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

Tribal re-unification is therefore specified as one of the LORD’s primary goals for His People – an healing of the disastrous breach that occurred under the rebellious Jeroboam, son of Nebat - 1Kings 12:20 - And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

Unification, in the future, however, turns back this adversity, and results in one King reigning over the again unified People – a righteous One whose character had been forged in the trials of life and faith that are common to all diligent men and women of God:

Eze 37:22  And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

What’s more, their character as a People shall undergo a complete reversal; whereas they brought upon themselves (by their constant disobedience) conquest by the heathen nations, and the massive erasure of the People of God then gone astray, their righteousness shall be restored – and they shall be saved.

Eze 37:23  Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

The very next words of the prophet now completely integrate and seal up the promises that had been made to their forefathers – that of David My Servant. as King over them; He is One Who shall lead them in the straight paths of His judgments, observing His statutes and laws, doing His will in all things. It shall be a righteous, everlasting, fulfilling, Theocratic Monarchy such as the world has never seen – a perfect annulment, a consummate reversal, of the worldly Romish counterpart which claims that identity today.

Eze 37:24  And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Eze 37:25  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

The everlasting quality of the Kingdom is unmistakable in this language of HOPE, and in this stated air of expectancy, of urgency, of certitude.  

Eze 37:26  Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

Eze 37:27  My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

We are impressed over and over by the subtle precision and thoroughly revelatory quality of the Hebrew language; and yet again in these last two verses. Our observation is upon the two words, “sanctuary” and “tabernacle.”

In verse 26, He promises to set My Sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. Here the Hebrew word for Sanctuary is Miqdash, Strong’s H3720, which means “a consecrated thing or place, especially a palace. A sanctuary, or asylum; an holy place.” There in no implication as to its inhabitants; it means simply a sumptuous physical structure of holiness to the LORD.

But in verse 27, he promises, My tabernacle also shall be with them; the word for Tabernacle is Strong’s H4908, Mishkan, meaning, “a residence (including a shepherd’s hut (David was a shepherd first of all, as was his greater Son – that Great Shepherd of the Sheep); also, the lair of animals; figuratively, the grave; also the Temple). Specifically it means the tabernacle – the habitation or dwelling place of God on the earth. Here the structure is specified to contain a resident occupant, the Seed of David (Christ Jesus) though Whom the Lord God dwells, or tabernacles, among men eternally.

This arrangement is divinely targeted to bring about one paramount result among the pagan (“heathen”) population of peoples of the earth – that they shall become enlightened in all things having to do with the ultimate Plan of the Father: that is He Who sanctifies (makes holy) Israel His People; and that this divine solution shall be brought about by the Occupant of the Sanctuary now standing physically and spiritually in their midst – in that place where He has been pleased to place His Name forever – the holy Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, Israel.

Eze 37:28  And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

Such is another magnificent view of the Hope of Israel. The People who lay scattered and desiccated for millennia in the hostile lands of their captivity – cut off entirely from their Beloved Land – cried out in despair, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Ezekiel 37:11. 

The divine assistance that was required was already on His schedule for fulfillment. For it is recorded that He (had) said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

This divine arrangement of the re-assembly of the Bones, is an integral, necessary part and parcel of the entire fulfillment of the Hope of Israel. This Second Restoration is entirely essential to the fruition of His Plan for the Ages, and includes first of all, the elevation and sanctification of His People in response to their urgent repentance and supplications recorded in the poignant accounts of Zechariah 12 and 13; but these are events lying yet in future time.

These indelible events lie in the near future to our time. The winds of December and the bitter winter of Israel’s oppression are well on their course of being replaced by the warm winds and bright sunshine of Zion’s glad morning – of summertime in God’s blessed Land and among His beloved People, whose ignorance is now to be short-lived, directly due to the sudden, unforeseen (by nearly everyone on earth) Second Advent of the LORD from heaven, and the exercise of His righteous will among the heathen nations, chiefly brought to bear upon His beloved People, whose salvation from further oppression and conflict is assured in the wonderful words of Micah:

Micah 4:1- But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

Mic 4:2  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Mic 4:3  And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Mic 4:4  But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

This “HOPE” is thusly set to become “hope that is seen,” which is no longer hope, but glorious reality!

        <HEL 12N> ~3800 words.  eTPL, January, 2015.

ċ
H. E. Lafferty,
Jan 17, 2015, 10:31 AM
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