Our Reason for Position Papers
It has been well said that one may avoid controversy or disagreement by being silent, by doing nothing, and by “going along” with the crowd.
That option has several drawbacks, the chief of which is that it obviates any personal, individual development or improvement whatever. In the end it may allow endless continuation of notions and conventions which would be better discussed and vetted as to veracity and substantiability by scripture.
These Position Papers are not addressed to salvational doctrines and are NOT intended to be representative of such, but treat of certain instructive applications of scripture; they are the results of individual studies in the named subjects which the author believes might be helpful to others’ formulation of their own rational approach to – and a more effective understanding of – God’s word.
He certainly believes them to be accurate, and proven by the essays devoted to each. Further assessment of these is invited from anyone who wishes to discuss them further. These are not regarded as basic doctrinal issues. The author is not intractable in his convictions and admits that his conclusions could be faulty, possibly in not being fully investigated. But the conclusions expressed are the best he could produce when published. <HEL MD/USA>
A Frank and Earnest Discussion
An eTPL Position Paper #12
H E Lafferty
Frank and Earnest are at their county library checking on new book releases on the subject of geopolitics as well as new classical music offerings. They are sitting together in a study nook where their conversation will not disturb others. As is their usual practice, they refer to their pocket editions of the scriptures.
Earnest: I've been thinking of our two previous discussions, Frank, and believe I see the King of the North and the Latter Day Assyrian as you have discussed. It's an assured fact that the Gogian affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is yet future, and are clearly different from either of these earlier two conflicts because the countries involved are different from each other.
Frank: I agree. The Gogian conflict lies perhaps some years into the future from today, but we have no means of determining just how long. Everything comes to pass in our Father's own good time, we can be sure. Contrary to earlier views, Ezekiel 38 and 39 are perhaps the only prophetic narrative which tells us of the Gogian invasion of Israel. Other references which have been attributed to that battle have proven not to "fit" and to be invalid by the outworking of history.
Earnest: I've read extensive accounts of the Gogian host which claim that before Gog is destroyed it will drive the present Israelis into Egypt and take control of the Land of Israel. These projections put the argument that Christ and the Saints who are coming from the place of Judgment just prior to this event, enter Egypt and rescue God's people, bringing them back up into Israel as Messiah and the Saints combat and destroy Gog and its confederacy.
But I do have one comment on the improbability of that happening: the past expositors did not foresee the wonderful fulfillment of the return of the Jews to their Land in the manner that we have seen and as a sovereign, wholly-constituted Jewish state as we have witnessed. Jeremiah 24; 6 and 7 seem to tell us that the Jews' return to their Land shall be permanent and irreversible in the Endtime: For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. How does this prophecy bear on the Gogian host uprooting the entire population and driving them "into Egypt" again?
Frank: Well, you have hit upon a very significant fact in this prophecy of Jeremiah. Yes ... that scenario of Gog driving Israel from its Land has been accepted among many students for many years, Earnest, but is it correct? Does it fit with the primary account of Gog as revealed by God through Ezekiel? Do chapters 38 and 39 indicate ANY victory of Gog in Israel at all? Does that primary revelation about Gog fit the historical outworking that you just outlined? Does this written prophecy given an inkling of any victory over Israel or its people?
Remember, whatever we think about Gog MUST be strictly governed by the content of those two chapters of prophecy. Is it even slightly possible that Gog will uproot and displace the present Israelis from their Land? Where is there in Ezekiel 38 and 39 ANY hint of ANY victory by the Gogian host? There is absolutely NO such reference.
For example ... just look at these verses in Ezekiel 38.
Verse 2 sets the entire tone of the prophecy: set thy face against Gog.
Vs. 3: I am against thee, O Gog.
Vs. 4: I will turn thee back ...
Vs. 8: ... in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel ...
Vs. 16: ... I will bring thee against My land, that the heathen (nations) may know Me, when I shall be sanctified IN THEE, O Gog, before their eyes.
Vs. 18: ... when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD ... My fury shall come up in My face.
Vs. 19: ... there shall be a great shaking in the Land of Israel.
Vs. 21: I will call for a sword against him ... every man's sword shall be against his brother.
Vs. 22: I will plead against him with pestilence and blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Vs. 23: Thus will I MAGNIFY MYSELF, and SANCTIFY MYSELF; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Earnest: I never actually realized that these clear judgments on Gog are so pervasive and so final!
Frank: Well, the next chapter is just as firm in its condemnation of Gog: and it is as firmly confirmatory of NO victory of Gog whatever.
Vs. 1 reaffirms, I am against thee, O Gog. If the Almighty is AGAINST any power, can it have any good prospects? The narrative of the remaining prophecy confirms this position ...
Vs. 2: I will turn thee back. This intention of the Almighty is made known in the first words. And here, the reference to "the sixth part" of Gog escaping is an inaccurate translation. Every other version of the O. T. in my library at home affirms that NONE of the Gogian host shall survive. ALL are destined to destruction, consistent with the phraseology of these verses.
Vs. 3: I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand ... will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
Vs. 4: Thou shalt FALL upon the mountains of Israel ... I will give thee unto the ravenous birds.
Vs. 5: Thou shalt fall upon the open field.
Vs. 6: I will send a fire upon Magog. Even the home territories of the Gogian host shall be punished in some severe way as the Almighty takes the battle all the way back to the source!
Vs. 9: They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth and set on fire and burn the weapons ... seven years. This seems almost a passive event - a calm, orderly cleansing of God's land of the dead carcasses and the tools of war.
Vs. 10: And they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them. The "spoil" here is the spoiling of Gog and her confederacy of ALL its ability to wage war against the Lamb of God and His Saints and People Israel. No possible threat can come from these quarters in the near future, although a final insurrection of this same type seems destined for the days near the end of the Millennial Reign of Messiah (Revelation 20: 8), but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.
Vs. 11: I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel ... there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude. Gog comes expecting a "spoil and a prey" but inherits graves, instead!
Vs. 13: ...all the people of the Land (Israel) shall bury them. Their funeral directors are the citizens of Israel, who are still in place in their country, unharmed in any way, and confident in their already accepted Redeemer and Messiah.
Vs. 17: Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field ... gather yourselves to the ... great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Even the natural species of the Land are enlisted to help dispose of the mounds of dead corpses. The vultures, cormorants, eagles and raptors of the air, and the beasts of the field, help dispose of the rotting corpses. What an ignominious end for these mighty men of war!
Vs. 20: Thus shall ye be filled AT MY TABLE with horses and chariots, with mighty MEN, and with all men of war...
Vs. 21: ... all the heathen (nations) shall see my judgments that I have executed ... This mighty victory will command the attention of those who view it as no other could! The world itself shall by this have been placed on notice that a Significant Power is in charge in Israel, and that It is One Who will not be resisted.
Vs. 22: So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God. In this phrase is indicated confirmation to any doubters remaining in Israel that their acceptance of Messiah in an earlier day was not a mistake - that He is powerful and compassionate toward them with immense Grace and Mercy, to protect them from all comers, even the greatest of which they have ever faced ... the Gogian confederacy.
Vs. 23: ... and the heathen shall know ... From other accounts, they shall "know" in a sense of beholding ... but not really yet understanding the full implications of what they have witnessed.
Vs. 29: Neither will I hide My face any more from them: for I have poured out My Spirit upon the house of Israel. In this verse, the Almighty speaks of the future in past tense: I have poured ... in the mode defined in Isaiah 41:22; 42:9. The House of Israel shall already have received a pouring out of His Spirit upon them as recorded in Joel 2: 28. 29.
Earnest: I can see that all these facts absolutely prevent any third dispersion of Israelis to anywhere else. So, please summarize the conclusive evidence in the context of time, place, accomplishment, and purpose, as we have reviewed for the other two entities.
Frank: Okay, we can firmly set these facts forth in that context. Just as already concluded, we stated the conditions as we have established them to be: that these ...
• Are three distinctly different entities. The King of the North (K of N) was the Ottoman Empire; the Assyrian is a future Iraq and Syria in association with the nearby nations who are foes to the Israeli state; the Gogian confederacy also lies in the future and is defined by the words of the prophet as Gog of the Land of Magog, Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal, as well as the nations enumerated in Ezekiel 38:5, 6 - Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. All these are distinctive groups and entirely different from each other as well as all past enemies.
• Arising at three different times. The K of N ended in 1917. The Assyrian demise is destined to come in the near future, and the Gogian confederacy in the more distant future. As the Gogian confederacy lists NONE of the "Palestinian" enemies, nor Moab, Ammon, Edom, these have obviously already been dealt with at the manifestation of Christ and the Saints to Israel. These territories shall have already been overturned and shall have become part of Greater Israel.
• Having three different objectives. The Ottoman (K of N) occupation of "Palestine" was actually by default and almost passive, as that future territory of Israel lay in their path to Egypt; but it contained no known wealth and was an international backwater of poverty and desolation. The "Palestinian" and Assyrian aggression intends to take and occupy for itself the now developed nation of Israel and its great riches and strategic location. They desire these lands and Jerusalem for their own use and covet them highly. After these are destroyed and their lands taken into Israel proper, the Gogian confederacy decides to ally with many Islamic states more distal to Israel, to "take a spoil and a prey," so they descend with one intent upon God's people and Messiah, and are destroyed out of hand upon the mountains of Israel, and are buried in the Valley of Gog, which according to Young, is the Yarmouk River Valley (now the international boundary between Jordan and Syria but then "in Israel" by dint of recent conquest.
• Achieving three different accomplishments in fulfilling prophecy. The K of N simply occupied Palestine (Israel's future lands) more or less passively, preventing any significant Jewish influx into the Land until she who was to bring forth Israel (Zionism) brought her to birth in 1948. The way for that to happen was prepared by the liberation of Palestine from the Ottomans in 1917, and the divine placement of Palestine in the hands of Mandatory Britain for thirty years, until the Zionists became strong enough to liberate itself from Britain. Subsequently, Israel developed into one of the foremost nations of the earth, though small in population, and became with its technological prowess and its recent discoveries of vast quantities of natural gas and oil, a great "prey" in its own right, but which at that future time of the Gogian invasion, will also encompass all the land and natural riches of oil and gas from the Nile to the Euphrates and eastward to the Persian Gulf (and Indian Ocean?). It is this "first dominion" of Christ's kingdom that the Gogian host and its Islamic cohort covet and attempt to conquer, for their own consumption. The K of N accomplished his intentions, holding Palestine as a corridor connecting its hegemony to Egypt and Libya, but with little interest in the Land itself. The "Palestinians" and Assyria will clearly not be able to achieve their goals and will be destroyed by Christ and the Saints along with the assistance of the astonished Israelis of that future day. The Gogians will have no significant accomplishments in Israel aside from penetrating the Promised Land far enough to make their intentions entirely clear to the whole world, after which they are totally destroyed for expressing the audacity and arrogance of actually aggressing Christ and His nascent kingdom (whose true identity is to be unknown to Gog until after the conflict is ended).
• That their aggressive reasons are all different, as already outlined: The K of N merely occupied the Land. The "Palestinians" and Assyria want to possess it with its riches and prestige. The Gogians also want it for a spoil of war.
• And that they suffer three separate and distinct ends. As we have discussed, the K of N, after its defeat at Megiddo, faded back into Anatolia and "came to his end with none to help." The "Palestinians" and Assyria are destined to total obliteration by Christ and the Saints. Gog and her cohort are also destined for total destruction at the hand of the Father Himself by several seemingly "natural" phenomena, including every man's sword against his brother.
• And that their conquest comes in three different geographic places. The K of N, after its decisive defeat, faded back into Anatolia and disappeared as a polity. The "Palestinians" and Assyria are to be defeated throughout the territories they now occupy, and their territories are to be ANNEXED to Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates as one Kingdom of Christ. The Gogian host desires to conquer all Israel's land, so to that end sends an expeditionary force upon the mountains of Gilead and Bashan where it is destroyed out of hand. But the land of Magog is also harmed in some significant way by the God of Israel according to Ezekiel 39: 6, as well as all the other lands of its confederate aggressors. By this means, these lands shall be informed of the nature and character of their Conqueror. This final battle of the three is the most widespread, therefore, and the most pervasive of the three - and of a vast extent often not considered nor realized by Believers.
Earnest: I can readily see that in studying the details of these three encounters, the differences are glaringly apparent - quite distinctly three unique and non-similar conflicts. It is really important actually to study carefully these details and their sequences, comparing each to the others, so that their historic out-working becomes clear. I was particularly struck by the orderly manner in which Christ's Second Advent and His work is structured. Firstly, bringing about the Great War for the purpose of clearing the land of the occupying power, the Ottomans, giving the indigent peoples an opportunity to form their own states in the vacated lands - a natural expression of the fig tree and "all the trees" of the area shooting forth, the other "trees" being the Islamic states which were established in the wake of the Ottoman occupation. Then, secondly, after Israel has developed to a credible State, and becomes endangered by her neighbors, Christ comes and delivers them and ALL The Land of these vile INTERNAL enemies from the Nile to the Euphrates, clearing it for His returning people from all the earth, both the Two Tribes and the Ten Tribes. Thirdly, after the Land is secure, His function as its eternal protection is then demonstrated to the world as He utterly destroys the enormous forces and equipment of the Gogian Host - an EXTERNAL aggressor who comes for a "spoil and a prey" but only receives a vast funeral plot "in Israel" of that future day.
Frank: Well, you're right, Earnest! After the time of the end of Gog and her confederates, no other enemy is expected to "fall upon" the Stone (Christ) as King of Israel. This is fulfillment of Jesus' words in Matthew 21:44 - Whosoever shall FALL ON this Stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it SHALL FALL it will grind him to powder (repeated word for word in Luke 20:18). We can easily visualize that the Assyrian and the "Palestinians" fall on the Stone because they attack it in its place. The same process is fulfilled when the Gogian host "falls on" this Stone. Both these are broken, or destroyed out of hand, never to revive or restructure.
Earnest: Yes, I can see that. But what enemy is the Stone destined to FALL UPON? Are there prophetic expectations which fulfill that part of Jesus' prophecy?
Frank: Yes, Earnest, there are other enemies - all of which fall into one gigantic opposition: in summary it is the nations of the earth. But one of these opponents is singular in nature, and is called out in many other prophetic writings, which, God willing, we will need to address in the next week or so. That enemy is called anti-Christ (Antichrist) and is quite clearly defined in God's word. Unlike the earlier enemies, it is not said to "fall UPON" the Stone; conversely, from the words of the prophecy, the Stone is destined to FALL UPON IT in its distant realms where its Seat lies. The description of this future conflict is well outlined, and its chief antagonist well defined by God's word. I'm sure you are aware that I am speaking of the Beast, the Harlot, and the False Prophet of the Revelation - yes?
Earnest: Yes, I thought that narrative might be in our future discussions. I'll be looking forward to discussing that with you soon.
Frank: Great! I will attempt to examine this next set of enemies in much greater detail as well as give consideration to several detailed aspects of Antichrist, which makes its identity, in my opinion, absolutely sure!
<HEL MD/USA, PP#12, December, 2012>
A Frank and Earnest Discussion
An eTPL Position Paper #11
Our friends Frank and Earnest are meeting at a local coffee house on Saturday morning for a brief visit and Bible discussion.
Earnest: I was glad to get your invitation for coffee this morning so we can discuss "the Latter Day Assyrian" - the second party of the trilogy of aggressors against God's people of the latter days.
Frank: I was glad you had some free time this morning, Earnest. Yes, I did want to bring some facts to your attention regarding the Assyrian, who is mentioned in several places such as Micah 5. Indeed, in that chapter, not only is this Assyrian is mentioned twice as the aggressor of God's people in this prophecy, but Israel's Savior is clearly indicated, too. Micah 5:5 - And this man will be the peace (will enforce peace), when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. 6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he ("this man") deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
Now, note that the emphasis of these verses is on the defeat of the Assyrian (Assyria of v. 6) WHEN he comes into our land ... and treadeth within our borders. The Agent Who gains this decisive victory (which is detailed in the last verses of the chapter) is the Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting - that Entity of verse two - a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ without any doubt whatever, that Son of God who was to be born in Bethlehem Ephratah, a village in Judah, the city of David, His forefather.
Earnest: Yes, I see that is true. For this to be played out in real time, that Ruler must be IN THE EARTH - a factor which places that event in the future from our time today, right?
Frank: Yes, you're right. If He personally fights this conflict and brings peace to the Land, He must be personally present. So this is one fact which tells us the Assyrian is different from the King of the North as already discussed.
Earnest: That's correct, and is a vital point. It shows conclusively in just this one point of divergence that the two are entirely separate, contrary to the claims of many. But there are other factors to consider. Let's at this point review the same set of parameters that we set forth for the King of the North. Remember, we decided that ...
Every student should be aware that these are not the same enemy but that they ...
• Are three distinctly different entities,
• Arising at three different times,
• Having three different objectives,
• Achieving three different accomplishments in fulfilling prophecy,
• That their aggressive reasons are all different,
• And that they suffer three separate and distinct ends.
• And that their conquest comes in three different geographic places.
First, the phrase "latter day Assyrian" is not a scriptural phrase but a concocted one to indicate that power nominated in Micah 5 and other passages - a reasonable alternative, because today there is no such country as "Assyria." However, if we examine ancient maps we find that the ancient territory of Assyria is today occupied principally by Syria and Iraq. Following discrete methods of scriptural exegesis, we therefore know that the prophet was indicating in this prophecy the modern territories of Syria and Iraq.
These were two of the entities which arose IN PLACE of the power which had exercised hegemony over the Euphrates Valley prior to their establishment - the Ottoman Empire. We know that although the Ottoman Empire has passed from the present scene and is historical, these two entities are very much alive today and have been the recent venues of terrifying wars and commotions. They therefore exist at a later time, and not at the SAME time as the King of the North, having succeeded that polity. They also exist in a different location than the king of the north.
The objective of the Assyrian of Micah 5 is specifically to come into our Land ... to tread within our borders. We see from these words that God's Land is the Assyrian's OBJECTIVE, not a casual drive-through on the way to Cairo or anywhere else as in the Ottoman case; Israel is its specific desire for acquisition. Now, today we do not yet conceive that Israel is the desire of Iraq, although it has furnished troops to fight against Israel in the past; so this is its historical position, now cooling on the back burners. But this desire will be inflamed in the near future, when, we believe, in cooperation with whatever people control Syria of that future day, will go aggressively against Israel in order to take its land and destroy its people.
Instead, it will be met by that Man of Bethlehem, the newly arrived Son of God, Who comes back to His People specifically for the salvation of His people, and to clear their Abrahamic Land Grant (cf., Genesis 12, et seq) of all its remaining aggressive enemies and secure peace for His people from the Nile River to the Euphrates.
Earnest: Hmmm ... these are facts I hadn't thought of; and from the narrative of the early verses of Micah 5, it appears that "that Man" is to have already been in His Land before these events develop. Do you think He will have been there for very long at that time?
Frank: Yes, I do believe He shall have been in the Land for some indeterminate while before this conflict occurs because He has some other previous work to accomplish which has been prophesied to be done at least some time before the Assyrian affair if not concurrent with it. It is a series of conflicts which is now already in progress - and has been so for over sixty years. It is the "Palestinian" aggression against the people of Israel and their attempts to take Jerusalem and all the Land of Israel for their own "Palestinian" state. This conflict is not our present concern. That series of conflicts is foretold by the small prophet Obadiah, as well as others such as Isaiah 11, Psalm 83, and others, and tells one in great detail how that series of battles will end.
Another view, which may be valid, is that all these nations are conquered at the same time and in the same great conflagration. We cannot be absolutely sure that these wars are separate from each other. That particular view has shown that Assyria is listed AMONG those ten aggressor areas of Psalm 83, and that these are all possibly involved in one massive, final push to obliterate Israel. But we cannot be absolutely sure of the sequence of events at this time.
But let's get back to Assyria of this day - Iraq and Syria - as they come from their place out of the north - just as did the King of the North - and try to take the Land of Israel. To regard all these nations as being one conglomerated enemy seems to be an unique historical "fit" of the present situation; for all these nations - and ONLY these nations - have fought face to face, and shall fight face to face, with Israel in the events which bring the return of Christ to the earth. The others we shall consider are in a later time frame.
Just to make an important correlation here: it is significant that NONE of the nations of Psalm 83 as specific, named enemies of God's people, are members of that later coalition known as the Gogian Host - the account related in Ezekiel 38 and 39. And none of the Gogian host nations are listed here in Psalm 83. So this seems positive evidence that the conflicts are not the same.
In addition, the descriptions of them are vastly different, and their armies meet different fates - all of which are important factors in deciding if they are the same events or not. One other specific fact about this conflict is that if these nations were at that future time still in existence, at least some of them should be named as members of the Gogian host - but they are not! It is as if these nearby Islamic powers no longer exist, which, I believe is the case. They shall have been wiped from the earth by the strength and glory of Israel's Messiah in His crusade of vengeance against these ancient, pervasive, evil oppressors of His people.
I believe there is an overriding concern or consideration to be realized here, which gives strength and logic to our interpretation:
First, the King of the North occupied the lands of the Promises to Abraham - virtually ALL of them. So the King of the North had to have his hegemony ended to make a clear path for the inevitable return of God's people to their Land - their second ingathering from the nations of the earth as Isaiah 11: 11 foretold.
Second, the Proximal Islamic entities which sprang up to REPLACE to Ottomans came to occupy most of the Land of the Abrahamic Promise, indeed all of it except that portion which was liberated from Islamic control by the returning Israeli people, or Israel today. These interlopers are appointed NO inheritance in this land and shall be eradicated from the Land. That is an inital function of the Christ of the Second Advent Who returns to defeat those enemies and clear the Land of the Inheritance of all its unclean peoples from Sea (the Mediterranean) to Sea (the Persian Gulf - or the Indian Ocean?), and from the Nile to the Euphrates, thus dedicating it to the nascent Kingdom which He shall then be establishing in the earth, the germinal seed of which is Israel of today! In doing so, He takes complete control of ALL these lands and establishes the Land Grant of Abraham concretely in the Land; and we easily understand that all the INTERNAL enemies are now eradicated from His Land.
Third, now that He shall have secured control of ALL the lands of the Abrahamic Promise, and shall have annexed them to Greater Israel, He begins the work of restoration of the Kingdom of God in the earth beginning at that place and among His beloved People. But the next threat to its existence is a-building. At the same time an "evil thought" (cf., Ezekiel 38:10) enters the mind of Gog, who as a result assembles to himself the specific nations listed in the 38th chapter, and plans aggression against the new Ruler of Israel's expanded land, which unknown to Gog, is their invincible Messiah. It is important to realize that this coming threat is an EXTERNAL one, whereas the earlier ones were internal as to character. Having conquered His internal enemies He must now defend His People against an overwhelming external one.
However, Earnest, I'm getting ahead of myself in this discussion! We are now considering the second portion of aggression against the Land ... so let's now consider details of that conflict.
Micah 5: 4 speaks of “He” (the same ‘He’ Who shall come forth unto Me That is to be Ruler in Israel (of verse 2, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) – that Man of Bethlehem Ephrata; He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God: and THEY SHALL ABIDE (that is, his people shall NOT be removed from the Land!): for now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth (this speaks to their future destiny, although not attained immediately). And this Man shall be the peace (shall bring peace by CONQUEST), when the Assyrian (again, Iraq/Syria) shall come into the Land; and when he shall tread in our palaces, THEN shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men (princes of men). And they shall WASTE the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod (not the land of Lenin and Stalin and Czar Alexander – not yet!) in the entrances thereof!
The utter defeat of the Assyrian is here indicated in nearly every word of that prophecy, for He shall deliver us from the Assyrian as foretold in verse 6. How anyone can claim this to be a victory of Assyria over Israel is certainly beyond my reasoning. So, that’s entity number two: ‘Assyria’ is modern day peoples who live on the territory of ancient Assyria (Syria/Iraq) who do God’s bidding in the Endtime. It is IN NO WAY Gog of the Land of Magog, chief prince of Meschech and Tubal! Assyria, just to reiterate, is also an entity entirely different from the king of the north, occupies a different time in history, has a different function in prophecy, and suffers a different end. How can there be any confusion in this??
So, Earnest, let's review the data as we have studied it: remember, our parameters are, that these:
• Are three distinctly different entities. This second one consists of Iraq and Syria in some future association probably either at the same time or shortly after the nearest enemies of Israel, the "Palestinians" living round about attack as a group and are obliterated.
• Arising at three different times. We have seen that Assyria arose AFTER the demise of the King of the North, the Ottoman Empire, in lands out of which the Turks had been forced by war. These nations are represented by "all the trees" of Luke 21: 29, in addition to the fig tree (Israel) which were destined to arise following the liberation of those lands from the Ottomans.
• Having three different objectives. The objective of the Assyrian is to take the lands and riches of Israel for themselves, and to drive out the Jews. This was not the objective of the King of the North, who merely passed through the land on his way to Egypt. Even today is entirely clear that the Assyrians and the "Palestinians" have one aim: to eradicate Israel and drive its people into the sea, destroying them, and taking the Land for themselves.
• Achieving three different accomplishments in fulfilling prophecy. The destruction of the Assyrian and the nearby Arabs clears all the Abrahamic Land Grant of interlopers from the Nile to the Euphrates, and extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf (and probably the Indian Ocean), giving Israel room for expansion for its returning people of the Ten Tribes and the remaining Two Tribes, as well as the abundant number of children that they shall have in future. However, being a long time (an hundred years?) before the actual conquest of the Kingdom Lands, the former Ottoman lands are divided up among many Islamic rulers and tribes. These form the internal opposition to Israel as she fights for a legitimate existence and is finally delivered of her internal enemies whose lands and wealth are acquired by Messiah Himself.
• That their aggressive reasons are all different. As already stated, Assyria and the Proximal Arabs hope to overrun and annex Israel's Land and its riches and take them for themselves, whereas the King of the North was almost disinterested in Palestine for its own uses because it was worth nothing at the time.
• And that they suffer three separate and distinct ends. Whereas the King of the North (the Ottomans) were driven back into Anatolia and dissolved into a westernized nation, the Assyrians are to be destroyed in the lands of their habitation in great numbers in a contest of "no quarter" for those who resist. That represents the righteous Judge's sentence upon them recorded in numerous prophecies in His word. They will be compelled to convert to His way or die. By this means the Land is cleared of the "Canaanite" and made suitable for habitation by His holy people as the first dominion of the kingdom.
• And that their conquest comes in three different geographic places. You see, the Ottomans were conquered and driven out of the Land into their own home territories where they withered and died. The Assyrian and the other aggressors who were left in occupancy of those Lands are to be slain in their own home territories from the Nile to the Euphrates, and cleared from the Land forever. Messiah and His People, the Jews, shall annex all those lands between the rivers, and occupy them as the "first dominion" of His kingdom!
We shall see in our next session that the Gogian host suffers a still different fate "upon the mountains of Israel."
Earnest: Well, Frank, that seems to be a comprehensive summary of the Assyrian enemy which is prophesied to attack Israel and to fail completely. Let's get together again soon.
<HEL MD/USA, PP #11, December 3, 2012>
A Frank and Earnest Discussion
An eTPL Position Paper #10
H E Lafferty
Earnest: Hi Frank. I was reading an interesting article about the northern invader that almost everyone seems to expect coming against Israel in the near future. The writer claimed that the King of the North, the Latter Day Assyrian, the Gogian Host would bring the return of Christ to the earth to save Israel. How do you view this interpretation?
Frank: Good afternoon, Earnest. I have read those views, too. In fact, a correspondent of mine recently wrote in an article, "Will the nation of Israel, devastated by the Northern invader (the King of the North), the Latter Day Assyrian, the Gogian Host, be able to arise again in the fulfillment of the promises of God?"
In expressing his question in this way it was clear that he also believed all three of these enemies to be the same. That triune title is indeed a mantra for many observers of latter day prophecy. But is it a correct understanding?
Earnest: Yes, Frank; I think I see it that way - that they are interchangeable.
Frank: Well, Earnest, I believe we need to consult the scriptures about these identities and determine just who is meant by each. It appears that they may not all be the same enemy, indeed that they CANNOT be identical.
Earnest: Why, Frank, I'm surprised! Aren't they all from the north quarters as compared to Israel? Aren't they all fierce enemies whose aim is to defeat and scatter Israel? Don't they all attack Israel in the latter days? Why would you think they might be different enemies?
Frank: Well, let's look at them one at a time. I have done in-depth research on these enemies for several years, and now feel real embarrassment for those observers who equate these three enemies. Every real student should be aware that these are not the same enemy but that they ...
• Are three distinctly different entities,
• Arising at three different times,
• Having three different objectives,
• Achieving three different accomplishments in fulfilling prophecy,
• That their aggressive reasons are all different,
• And that they suffer three separate and distinct ends.
• And that their conquest comes in three different geographic places.
I think we have to consider all the facts about each one before we can claim that they are the same powers.
Earnest: Why would you say that, Frank? They all look the same to me.
Frank: Firstly, think about the King of the North. Daniel 11 is a serial prophetic history of the vicissitudes of the land of Israel when the Jews are about to be displaced from it, are no longer present in it, or are not in control of it if they have returned (as they did from the Babylonian captivity). The people of Israel were dispersed by the first one, Babylon, and their Land is in contention of these kings all the remaining time until Israel is again reestablished. The serial powers termed the "king of the north" and the "king of the south" are in contention for the Jews' land throughout this time in history ... but not before or since that time.
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the first King of the North; it was by his hand that the God of Israel brought dispersion on His people for the first time because of their idolatry. After that date (604BC), the Jews were never in real control of their land but were ruled by puppet rulers or usurpers for 2,520 years. Their return to their land took its first steps at the precise end of that 2,520 years in the year 1917, when (1) the Balfour Declaration was issued on November 2. clearly stating the British intention to create an homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people, and (2) the British forces liberated Jerusalem on December 9th and very soon after, the entire Land of Palestine from the Ottoman Turk.
This victory directly opened the way for the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948. That seems, in retrospect, to have been its chief objective and achievement in history.
If one realizes that Nebuchadnezzar was the first King of the North, he realizes that the entire line of northern and southern aggressor kings would come to their ends in 1917, which was "seven times" after the beginning of their aggression. This precise date saw the end of their aggressive actions and an abrupt change in the direction of the plan of God.
By that fact of perfect fulfillment alone we should realize that the Ottoman Empire was the LAST King of the North, and that its defeat perfectly fulfilled the final verses of Daniel 11.
Earnest: How can you be sure of this interpretation? Could this not have been a mere coincidence of history?
Frank: Yes, it could have, but let's look at the facts of history. There are several considerations, Earnest. Daniel 11 ends with the (last) king of the north coming to his end with none to help.
Then, look at the first verse of Daniel 12: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. This verse spans a considerable length of time, has two possible meanings (a primary and a secondary meaning) but clearly indicates that His people are to be "resurrected" from the nations at that time ... because that is what happened!
This Michael is the specific archangel named as "standing for the children of thy (Daniel's) people" the Jews. Some have supposed that "Michael" is a sort of code name for Jesus, and that this verse was an indication that He should return to the earth at that time.
That this is NOT the case is easily seen by the eye of faith and the facts of history, but that it is instead the initial background work of Michael as this caretaker of Israel, who begins his work of re-establishing the Jewish state, and of returning God's people to their own land under their own rulers; that work required only thirty years: December, 1917 to May, 1948 - these two dates being 30 years apart as May, 1948, are within the 30th JEWISH year from December, 1917.
Until that very time, the Father had said he would "give up" (or abandon) His people to the evil will of humanity - Micah 5: 3 - Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth. By this statement He is indicating that He is leaving His people to their own disobedient fates until a given time - the "bringing forth" of the State of Israel - the re-birthing the Jewish entity upon the mountains of Israel.
THEN, says He in that same prophecy of Micah, the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel (i.e., to His land) - because the way for them to do so would then be open to them freely to return.
But He also knew that they would not return except under heavy duress. He was well aware that the Diaspora (the scattered Jews of the world) were bent upon assimilation among the nations, and had no real desire to return en masse to the desolated land of Palestine.
So I believe we come to the second great importance of Daniel 12: 1 - that time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time ... which is a direct reference to the Shoah of Nazi Europe of 1933 to 1945.
Jeremiah 30, verse 7 calls it the time of Jacob's trouble, adding that he shall be saved out of it. No contemporary observer of the Holocaust can bring a single valid comparison of it to memory in all history. It was the singular most horrendous persecution of any people under the sun, and stands in history as the epitome of terror, persecution, murder and obliteration of a single people in a concentrated, short period of time.
So, Earnest, you can easily see that the King of the North's last end was prophesied to occur BEFORE the work of Michael the Archangel was to begin, and that his work would be to create circumstances which would DRIVE the Jewish people, against their former desire to become assimilated into European society, back to the desolate ranges of Palestine and re-create in it a national homeland for the Jewish people. The entire summary of the Endtime is thus prophesied by Daniel in these last two chapters of his work. It is detailed in the prophecy of Ezekiel 35 and 36.
Earnest: Well, Frank, that sounds like a logical interpretation, especially as it takes place in the order stated by Daniel. But that only solves one of the problems of the three being the same. We are still left with two of them, who, in light of this discussion, certainly seem that they could be the same enemy of Israel.
Frank: First, before we discuss the others, let's fit the Ottoman Empire into the slot of the Last King of the North according to our initial premise: that it one of three, different from each other.
• Three distinctly different entities,
• Arising at three different times,
• Having three different objectives,
• Achieving three different accomplishments in fulfilling prophecy,
• That their aggressive reasons are all different,
• And that they suffer three separate and distinct ends.
• And that their conquest comes in three different geographic places.
So allow me to summarize:
• The entity: We have tentatively determined that the Ottoman Empire was the last King of the North. That is his identity.
• The time: Although we did not so state this fact, the Ottoman Empire arose years earlier than 1517 AD, and took control of Palestine at that time, controlling it until 1917 AD. It therefore occupied God's Land for 400 years, until 1917.
• The objective: The Ottomans controlled Palestine practically by default as its real objective was the treasures and control of Egypt. But it maintained some administrative officers and a few military people in Palestine as it exercised its hegemony over the Afro-Eurasian land bridge into which Palestine fitted. Its loose- control kept Palestine uncultured, unpopulated, desolate and forlorn.
• The accomplishments: The Ottomans fulfilled the last four hundred years of Daniel's prophecy of the kings of the north and south. Their disinterest kept the Land threadbare and forlorn. Their career as such ended perfectly on time in 1917 AD. Their being driven out of the land left it free for Jewish immigration on a continuing and finally unlimited basis - a haven which had not been available to them for nearly two millennia. All these factors came precisely on time for the fulfillment of God's plan!!
• The aggressive reasons: As stated above, the Ottomans' goal was not to control Palestine but to control Egypt and Libya, and to collect the treasure of Egypt for 400 years. It controlled Palestine by default as it was the land connection to Africa; but it never aggressed the Land itself as a goal for national acquisition, for the Land was worthless and desolate. Palestine was acquired by default on the way to Cairo and the conquest of Egypt and its treasures.
• The distinct end: The Ottomans were largely not destroyed in Palestine, although they suffered great defeat. Their forces were driven northward out of the land by Britain and back into Anatolia where the empire died "with none to help." It was dissolved under Gemal Ataturk and became the Turkish Republic in 1922, now bereft of all its Euphratean and African territories. We know this complete withdrawal as the drying up of the Euphrates of Revelation 16: 12 - the dissipation of the political power which had been exercised there by the Ottomans for 400 years.
• Its geographic demise: This occurred not as a cessation of existence, but as a complete evacuation of God's Land of Palestine, and shrinkage back into its home peninsula, later to disappear as a distinct entity and be replaced by a modern society.
Earnest: Thank you, Frank, for this discussion. It seems you have proven your point by the scriptures - which is what I always require. I want to believe God's word only, and conform to the correct interpretation of His word.
Frank: Okay, Earnest. Let's get together soon and discuss the Latter Day Assyrian - the second of this trilogy of God's enemies of the Endtime. <HEL MD/USA, PP#10, November, 2012>
An eTPL Position Paper #9
H E Lafferty
After three decades of extensive research, no single critic has made a stronger legal case for Israel's claim to Judea and Samaria than Howard Grief. He was born in Montreal and took his law degree at McGill University. In 1982 he began investigating Israel's legal chain of title to the Land. In 2008 he published his findings as "The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law."
One of Greif's key points is extremely relevant: He says, "... politicians, diplomats and jurists have always set out a claim of sovereignty to the Land of Israel which is missing several key elements – and the recent Levy Report would be no exception." The main flaw, he contends, is that they have failed to grasp the full import of the San Remo (Italy) resolution of April 1920.
David Parsons reported in a recent issue of the Jerusalem Post:
Insisting he was the first to draw attention to the wider scope of the San Remo decision, Grief described its historic context. The Allied powers who won the First World War negotiated a treaty with Germany at the Paris conference in 1919 and then met with the Turks the following spring at the Italian resort of San Remo to divvy up the lands the Ottoman Empire had just lost in the Middle East.
“The Principal Allied Powers – Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan – did an unusual thing at San Remo,” Grief recounted. “Most victors annex territory conquered in war. But they decided to ‘subjugate’ the Ottoman lands and hold the sovereign title in trust for the benefit of the local inhabitants until they were ready to govern themselves. This is the origins of the mandate system.”
“In Palestine, the national beneficiaries were deemed to be the entire Jewish people worldwide,” he continued. “Palestine was a case of sui generis – one of a kind. This did not exist for all the other mandates. Few people remember that today” insisted Grief.
“The San Remo resolution specifically references the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the British commitment to establish a ‘national home’ for the Jews in Palestine,” added Grief. “That’s the reason why I submit that sovereignty was vested in the Jewish people at San Remo, and not in the League of Nations mandate two years later. The League’s mandate just obligated Britain to serve as a trustee until the Jews were ready to govern themselves.”
He further explains that all these decisions occurred as colonialism was dying and the Wilsonian concept of national self-determination was being birthed.
Greif credits the San Remo decision to Field Marshal Jan Smuts, a British statesman (later prime minister of South Africa). A year before the San Remo Conference, Smuts "had drafted a memorandum setting out the Mandate Concept which later became Article 22 of the League of Nations." Grief says the Smuts document specifically mentions Palestine as a mandated territory to be developed into a Jewish state in accordance with the Balfour Declaration.
Greif elaborates on other unique aspects of the Palestine Mandate which have been ignored:
• First, the mandate entrusted to Britain in 1922 specifically states in Article 5 that the land cannot be divided. “That means the UN Partition Plan of 1947 was an illegal act,” declared Grief. “Even the government of Israel cannot divide the land, so the Olso process was also unlawful. This is something that is really unbelievable! The state of Israel doesn’t assert its rights and doesn’t even know their rights,” Grief added. “I don't want to be too pompous to say that before my book was published, government leaders were not aware as to how strong the legal case of the Jewish people was to all of Palestine.”
• In addition, Grief found that the United States, both in a joint act of Congress in 1922 and in a treaty with Great Britain two years later, endorsed the Mandate in Palestine and pledged to be a guarantor of its provisions, which included the obligation to encourage “close settlement of Jews on the land. “This means the US is breaching its duty by opposing the settlements. By the doctrine of estoppel, the US is estopped [legally barred] from denying Jewish legal rights to the Land of Israel, in particular to Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem.”
What importance do these facts have to us as intrinsic believers in God's eternal Plan with Israel as the incipient first dominion of His kingdom on the earth (Micah 4:8)?
They validate and prove that the world powers have gone far afield from the original intention of the San Remo Conference, have illegally divided the Land of God, and have consistently denied the intrinsic right of Jews to inhabit their Land - ALL their lands - in this time of their Second Return - their FINAL return to their Homeland (Isaiah 11: 11).
The outworking of God's Plan is immutable. We are privileged to observe the incredibly intricate outworking of that Plan being played out in current history - contemporary history - and we have a mid-field seat! How exciting and faith-generating for us to be so situated, and fully aware of exactly what is happening as reported in the news media of the day!
The great prophet Micah tells us of the magnificent future time:
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.
<HEL MD/USA PP#9: September, 2012>
An eTPL Position Paper: #8
hen Christ returns to the earth to save His people Israel from their enemies round about, what can we determine about the details of His appearance? Will He return all alone to do this work personally, as a single entity? Or shall He be accompanied by a great host of companions, the redeemed Saints? What saith His word?
Several passages of scripture bear on this great event, and reveal details of it that we may have overlooked, or not fully processed. One such record is the ninth of Zechariah. Note the highlighted terms …
Zechariah 9:1 The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.
Zec 9:2 And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.
Zec 9:3 And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets.
Zec 9:4 Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.
Zec 9:5 Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
Zec 9:6 And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
Zec 9:7 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.
Zec 9:8 And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.
Zec 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Zec 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.
Zec 9:11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
Zec 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;
Zec 9:13 When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.
Zec 9:14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.
Zec 9:15 The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.
Zec 9:16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.
That account certainly addresses His Second Advent and records details of the activities that ensue … the deliverance of Israel His people from their oppressors of the Endtime.
The 10th verse surely refers to the time of the kingdom’s establishment from sea to sea. And the Lord their God shall save them in that day describes not the personal action of the Father Himself among them, but the actions of His Son acting on His behalf. Yet it is the Father Who is here given credit for the execution of His will, as in several other instances such as Isaiah 63.
Verse 4 reveals that “the Lord” will cast out Tyre. Verse 6 reveals that “I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.” Verse 8 says “I will encamp about Mine house …” and bring its salvation. The author of this series of truths is God, the Father of Israel.
Do we believe that these actions are indeed carried out by Him personally?
We do not.
Verse 10 defines the active Principal in this conflict: he is termed thy (Israel’s) King – by which we surely believe He designates His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the agent of their salvation from their oppressors. It is He Who appears to His people at this time – not the Father Himself, as it might seem to a casual reader.
In this action He utilizes NOT the carnal weapons of Israel such as the horse, the battle bow and the chariot (vs. 10). Repudiating these conventional means, He utilizes the people themselves, bending Judah as a bow, filling the bow with Ephraim with power as with arrows … raising up Zion’s sons, making them as the sword of a mighty man.
How does HE do this? How can we understand His accomplishment of all this activity utilizing only His now repentant people, now completely receptive of His blessing and guidance? We cannot claim that we understand exactly how it is to be done. But the people seem to move against their enemies round about with great power, and subject to His blessing in the battle. And it is concluded that the Lord their God shall save them in that day (vs. 16).
Yet, it is the personal intervention of the Lord God’s personal Representative, the Lord Jesus Christ Who shall have done this. The text of the prophecy equates “thy King” with “the Lord their God” in clear terms. It is a valid “label” of the Son of God in these affairs.
Of course, the answer is that the King is the Personal Emissary of the Lord God. He is Yahweh Tzvaoth – the Lord of Hosts – which is the proper title for the returned Lord Jesus Christ, appearing with immense power and brilliant glory to accomplish His Father’s will among men.
But in what manifestation shall He appear? As a single man, the King of Israel as a solitary figure? Or shall He have a great company with Him?
He is called the Lord of HOSTS with good reason, as He is accompanied by a great multitude of beings, who I believe are none other than the Redeemed of all ages, His Immortal Saints.
Our understanding is that His Second Advent (His manifestation to the world powers) immediately follows The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, recorded in Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Only two verses later we read of the beginning careers of the multitude of perfected individuals who make up that Bride, being informed of her designated course of duty which follows: Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He himself.
Rev 19:13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. (An echo here of Isai
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
In this scene the armies of the heavenlies are the Immortalized Saints who now join with Him in his conquest of all His enemies of the earth. Those armies of this verse 14 are surely equated with His wife of verses 7 and 8; both entities are described as clothed in the same garments: fine linen, clean and white – the reward of faithful service, the designated righteousness of Saints.
Rev 19:15 And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Rev 19:16 And He hath on his vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
His weapon is thus defined: the “sword” of His mouth – that is, His Word, or spoken commands. The details of Revelation 17: 14 speak of mortal conflict, and of those accompanying Him in this affair: These (the Beast powers) 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. Note carefully the equation here of The Lamb and Those Who are with Him; that they are called Called, and Chosen and Faithful. Only The Redeemed can be so labeled as all mortal men are only limitedly so. So these are NOT mortal; their possibility of faithlessness is nil.
Such a statement cannot be made of angels, but must designate those upon whom Salvation has recently been bestowed – those who in their mortal lives have shown themselves to be called, and chosen, and faithful by their diligent and unwavering service and devotion to Him during their mortal probationary lives. Believers have invented a term to describe these great multitudes of the Redeemed, the multitudinous Christ; although not a scriptural term it is surely an expression which is inevitably and consistently supported by scripture.
In our thinking, these who are with him are those whose voices are heard in Revelation 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Who can these be but the newly immortalized Saints who now stand ready with immense, irresistable power, to do His bidding for all eternity? It is These Who move purposefully forward with His purpose and vigor … with His righteous intent in their hearts.
Adding credence to this thought is the significant testimony of Psalm 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.
Have you ever taken note of this terrible, most grisly prophecy of the doom of the Edomites who aided Babylon in its first conquest of Jerusalem in Psa 137:7 ? Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Happy are they in godly terms (not in human vengeance). These are the righteous, judgmental pronouncements of Yahweh Tz’vaoth (The Lord of Hosts) in His punishing crusade against these fierce foes: their “little ones” (all their progeny) are appropriately “dashed … against the stones” – stones being the habitat of Edom – the rocky tablelands east of the Dead Sea in Jordan.
And do we not recall another precise type of God’s judgment which Samuel enjoined upon Saul, king of Israel, when he told Saul: 1Samuel 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. Amalek is part of this same coalition of perpetual enemies of God.
In this instance the King of Israel (Saul) and his vast army of 200,000 footmen in addition to 10,000 men of Judah (parallel to Christ of the future and His innumerable host) was instructed to utterly destroy the Amalekites, slaying both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
But Saul heeded his own judgment instead of God’s commandment; Saul exercised pity upon the king of Amalek and brought him captive to the camp of Israel; it was left to the great Prophet Samuel to carry out the sentence upon the ruler of the evil kingdom. Samuel personally hewed Agag, the king, to pieces before the congregation!
Our weak, finite minds of today might even view this mission as far beyond any feelings that we should EVER have against any other human beings not to mention the “innocents” of their children and animals. And we should be correct as to OUR (personal, mortal) feelings; BUT THIS IS NOT our judgment or our feeling: IT IS THE JUDGMENT OF OUR FATHER in such matters – and shall be in future as to those who have similarly shown their animosity, their sneering contempt and fierce hatred and utter disobedience to His will and plan!
A verifiable expression of this specific, decisive activity against Edom of the future is clearly advanced in Obadiah vs. 21: And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. Who can these Saviours be but Those charged with the execution of vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people … to execute upon them the judgment (our FATHER’S judgment) written? Clearly, it is the honor of all His Saints to do this.
We therefore cannot visualize any clear-cut or final victory over the Edomites apart from participation by Christ and the Saints, just as Obadiah reveals – operating entirely in full and righteous indignation and fury against those who deny and repudiate God’s will.
David, in Psalm 68, lends credible verification to the above proposition. This psalm is a picture of the ultimate salvation and vindication of Israel by Messiah at His Second Coming. In its language it draws a distinct parallel between God bringing Israel out of Egypt and Christ bringing His Saints up from the place of Judgment to the Sanctuary, Zion. Note verse 6: God setteth the solitary (orphans, those refused by their fellows as the Saints have been) in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. In the LXX, this verse reads: God settles the solitary in a house; leading forth prisoners mightily; also them that act provokingly, even them that dwell in tombs. This verse clearly speaks of His deliverance of those who have been DEAD and dwelling in tombs, but who now live eternally in Him. These individuals, now free from the bonds of mortality as well as fallible human understanding, go forth with Him to do His bidding in righteous indignation.
Later, in verse 17 the prophet makes reference to this same group. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels. The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, (also) in the holy place (Zion). Here the word “angels” is from Strong H8136, shin’an, and means change. It is derived from H8132, shana, which means to change or to alter.
Therefore, the Chariots of God, equated with “angels,” are actually myriads of “changed ones,” or Saints, whose natures have been changed from mortal to immortal. Bullinger notes that the “primitive orthography” of this phrase is “Jehovah hath come from Sinai into the Sanctuary,” which surely indicates to our understanding a parallel journey to that of the Exodus, but accomplished in a nearly instantaneous period of time unlike that tortuous journey of hundreds of years in old time in order to join together this beginning (at Sinai) and ending (at Zion). Israel left Egypt and Sinai at about 1500 BC and did not conquer Zion until around 1000 BC – a time-span of some 500 years – but a distinct “type” of the later blitzkrieg of Christ and the Saints to come.
This prophesied lightning move is thus a reliable, informative shadow of the type recorded in Exodus 15: 17, equating the chariots of God (Israel had no such at the time of the Exodus, but the words refer to those saints of that time – the holy, (set-apart ones) - to the People who had been passed-over by the death angel, had been delivered from Pharaoh, who had passed through the Sea, who had been sustained in the wilderness, and who had been miraculously brought to Canaan in the distant future, finally to reach their (then hidden) goal of reaching Jerusalem of Zion and liberating it from the Canaanites – again a precise parallel to the future activities portended by this consideration!
As such, it surely indicates firmly that the Saints of God accompany Him as He moves northward out of the place of Judgment, embarking upon a series of decisive judgments now upon His rabid enemies of the ages, one of the first accounts being that of Isaiah 63 where the memorable question is voiced, Who is This Who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? Although only a single Person is indicated in the surface language, we understand that it is really the One Man – the Man Christ Jesus – with His accompanying army of liberation and vindication, the great multitude of those riding on white horses and clothed in white linen – like Him, wielding the swords of their mouths in this bloody personal conflict of righteous vengeance.
Our final observation of such parallels as these is the summary observations of John against Great Babylon in Revelation 18:18 (The merchants of the earth) … cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 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. 20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 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.
Thus with straightforward, righteous judgment ends every trace of the corrupt and unholy alliance of men who have perverted the will of God, and have diverted all His resources to their own comfort and pleasure … who have ruined the lives and dashed the eternal hopes of myriads of their followers for thousands of years in the name of false piety and pretended righteousness! And it is specifically heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets Who now are enjoined to rejoice over her utter demise, for their physical hands shall have taken up the weapons of Babylon’s destruction and personally wielded them on behalf of the Almighty Who has judged her.
These be but a few of the reasons why we believe that the redeemed Saints do indeed accompany the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns to conquer and to pacify the earth and its people, and to bring salvation and redemption to His people.
<HEL Jan 19, 2012 eTPL PP #8>
An eTPL Position Paper #7
Postulation: Saints are those who are sanctified or set apart to God’s service and purpose. An examination of the Word of God shows that the covenanted people of God are saints in this life regardless of whether their service to Him is faithful, as well as in the next if their service shall have been approved. Whether faithful or unfaithful servants, all these have at some time pledged their fealty to the Almighty and His Son, have taken upon themselves “the name” of Christ, and pledged to serve Him only. As such they were once sanctified to His service.
We have long used the convention of “saints” to indicate their mortal existence as dedicated soldiers of Christ, and “Saints” to indicate the future state of perfection which saints who are faithful shall attain with the bestowal upon them of immortality at the Judgment of Christ. That convention will not be found in scripture but is our own personal way of designating whether a sanctified one is deemed to be mortal or immortal.
We offer the following comments upon relevant scriptural passages:
Deuteronomy 33:2 Song of Moses in which the Lord came from Sinai and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints [qodesh H6944]; from His right hand went a fiery Law for them. Saints are subject to God’s law, so are fallible in this life. The original saints of reference were the children of Israel who had dedicated themselves to God in a formal declaration at Sinai.
Psalm 50:5 Gather My saints [chasiyd P623] together unto Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. Saints are a people covenanted to God and can only be granted immortality through that covenant.
Psalm 97: 10 …He preserveth the souls (lives) of His saints (chasiyd); He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. They can be persecuted and die in their mortal state.
Psalm 116: 15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (chasiyd). Mortal saints can die.
Psalm 149: 4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 5 Let the saints (chasiyd) be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints (chasiyd). Praise ye the LORD.
Saints in the finality are judges of the heathen, in which case they shall have been endowed with the mind of Christ and filled with righteous judgment. Such mortal combat is said to an “honour” that they have.
Zechariah 14:3 Then shall the LORD (yhovah – H 3068) go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God (Elohim, H430) shall come, and all the saints (qodesh) with thee.
The immortalized Saints accompany Christ in His conquest of the heathen nations. We perceive that the entire activity is the will of yhovah, but is carried out by His personal emissary, Messiah, and the qodesh – the redeemed Saints.
I Corinthian 6:2 agrees with this revelation: Do ye not know that the saints (hagios, G40) will judge the world … These are the immortalized Saints of God who shall then possess the wisdom and righteousness to carry out these judgments, and their responsibilities as rulers among the peoples of the earth.
Acts 26: 10 The Apostle Paul recounts how he persecuted many of the saints (hagios), which he shut up in prison, and who were slain. These were mortal followers of Christ who were persecuted by him. Paul then upon his conversion from Judaism to Christianity himself became a saint!
Ephesians 4: 12 For the perfecting of the saints (hagios), for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Saints need “perfecting” and to engage in ministry and the edifying of the body (congregation) of Christ – the Ecclesia of Christ.
Ephesians 5:3 But all fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named among you as becometh saints (hagios). If saints need perfecting, this means that they are not perfect. It follows that those who stray from God’s way do not lose the designation of “saint” but are simply unfaithful saints. The possibility of repentance and turning from their sin is always open until the day of their death. So a worthy or unworthy life at any given time (in our opinion) has no bearing on the designation of one being a “saint.” It simply means that they have in the past sanctified themselves to God’s service – an election which they cannot simply put off as a garment or shed in any way. The designation stays with them until their time of Judgment. If they are deemed worthy of life, they are elevated in nature to immortality, and inherit Sainthood forever. In such a state they cannot go astray nor err from God’s way, but have become His dedicated, sanctified, eternal people for all future ages.
Colossians 1: 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, Who hath made us meet (suitable) to become partakers of the inheritance of the saints (hagios) in light. Here we realize that the saints of this age have “an inheritance” of which they shall partake in future light (immortality); so their saint-hood is obviously realized in two stages of existence – in mortality, then hopefully in immortality.
I Thessalonians 3: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (hagios. This verse tells us that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth and manifests Himself to the world, He shall be accompanied by “all His Saints.” Here, we exercise our personal convention of capitalizing the term because the saints who return to visible society with Christ shall certainly be Saints – that is, immortal associates who come with Him to help accomplish the work before Him.
Revelation 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great ….We see clearly in this verse that “the saints” of today are rewarded tomorrow, their permanent position as “sanctified ones” (as Saints) assured forever. The successful candidates are defined as those who “fear Thy name, small and great.”
Revelation 20: 9 …And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. At this time, the cycle of evil has come full circle. This final death-struggle of evil men here comes against the camp of the Saints (still hagios) who are then certainly immortal. These evil forces are destroyed and the kingdom becomes the Lord’s in full reality.
<HEL MD/USA PP#7, March, 2012>
An eTPL Position Paper #6
In the study of Bible prophecy the basic rules of interpretation demand that several factors be considered. There may be other logical additions to this roster.
1. First, do not spiritualize the text and depart from its original meaning before you understand its objective message – its primary, factual relationship to those to whom it was spoken/written. Any spiritualization of the prophecy then must agree with its original import.
2. Second, apply the words first of all to those to whom it is written. Those folks must be able to see its relevance to them and their then-current affairs; it must MEAN something to them that they can appreciate, although they may not understand all aspects of it early in the game.
3. Third, it must integrate and agree with all other scriptural references which may apply to the events prophesied.
4. Fourth, any interpretation must not violate any other basic, scriptural tenet.
5. Fifth, it must integrate sensibly with existing time lines of history.
6. Sixth, if secondary or tertiary meanings seem to be applicable to the prophecy, they must agree in principle with its original intent.
7. Seventh, apply the interpretation of the prophecy to the peoples who lived on the territories referred to at the time of the prophecy; that is, don’t apply the prophetic intent to the areas to which the original people later are supposed to have migrated as this is tenuous, inaccurate, depends upon the veracity of historical records and their accuracy, and would often be impossible to determine. Beside this fact, the prophecy would not have relevance to the people directly addressed, or others referred to, at the time of the prophecy. This practice introduces confusion . The inherent difficulty here is that the prophecy would have entirely different significance to people of various ages; as the named peoples migrated, the meaning of the prophecy would drift about and change. Confusion would reign.
Specifically, I refer to the popular claim that today’s Gomer is Germany! I respectfully submit that the Gomerians of the Gogian host who are nominated here are the peoples who NOW live in the area of ancient Gomer, i. e., in Eastern Turkey. When Ezekiel was writing the words of the Almighty, he made reference to the powers of the Endtime by the names of the peoples who lived there in his time. We have accurate records of their habitation for the most part and can discern areas today which were populated by ancient peoples.
This is a principle stated as preferable by John Thomas. He wrote, ”… the Lion-power [i.e., Britain] will not only become the Sheba and Dedan, but also the Edom, Moab, and Ammon of the ‘latter days(sic);’ for in speaking of the events of these days, the prophets refer not to races of men, but to powers on territories designated by the names of the people who anciently inhabited them. Hence, for instance, the Lion-power planted hereafter in the ancient territory of Moab becomes the Moab of the latter days (sic); so that when the countries before-named are possessed and settled by the British, they will be men of Dedan in Muscat, men of Sheba in Aden and Mocha, and Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites in their several territories. Thus, the prophecies concerning those countries in their latter-day developments have regard to the power to which they then belong …” Eureka, Vol. III.
<HEL MD/USA, PP#6 2009>
An eTPL Position Paper #5
Posted August, 2012
Armageddon has fascinated students of the scriptures for hundreds of years. Many students have written many opinions as to its identity and its time of fulfillment. The term has been adopted by the popular culture and applied to almost every impending event which is unprecedented or unthinkable, no matter of what nature. But most do not think of it or consider it in light of the Apocalypse – or in the proper context within the Revelation – as we hope here to illustrate. The word appears in only one instance in holy writ – Revelation 16: 16 – in the following context of John’s writings. Several previous verses are cited to furnish background to verse 16:
Euphrates Dried Up
Rev 16:12: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
We generally assign this action (the drying of Euphrates) to the terminal events of World War I, a conflict for which one of the most important underlying reasons was the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire, driving the Turkish forces out of the eastern precincts of its hegemony, clearing the Turk not only from Palestine – future home of Israel – but also from Jordan, Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Levant in general – symbolized by the river Euphrates – in order to give way to the regathering of God’s people to their Land AND the springing up of “all the trees” in addition to the Fig Tree (Israel) in those lands (Luke 21:29). That fulfillment occurred in December, 1917, so we believe marks this vial unmistakably as World War I.
In The Revelation, rivers are symbolic of national powers; in this instance the Euphrates symbolizes the Ottoman Empire. Its headwaters are within Anatolia and it flows through much of the territory the Ottomans had added to its empire.
It was driven out of these territories in that conflict, leaving them free to be occupied by resurgent native populations termed the kings of the east (Revelation 16:12). But the Apocalypse itself does not explore the particulars of this era in any detail – which is a function of the intimate history of Israel’s reestablishment – which is generally outside the purview of the Revelation.
John’s Revelation is given for an entirely different purpose, as stated above. This omission is not a deficiency of the Apocalypse, but simply emphasis on its own particular thrust of revelation to the saints of the most high. To mix events of an entirely separate stream of revelation would be to confuse the events rather than to clarify them.
In consequence, John is then told to write enlightening details of the generalized history of the progress of the Ecclesia of Christ and His kingdom which ensued.
Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Rev 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
We must deduct from this that the influences of the three unclean spirits likened to frogs comes into play immediately, leading to the culminating conflict of mankind – the battle of that great day of God Almighty. We note carefully that the adverse “spirits” (ideology, political intent) go forth unto “the kings of the earth and of the whole world.”
Who are these powers? Our considered opinion is that they are virtually all the remaining polities which remain at this time in resistance to the Christ. In realization that the LOCALIZED physical animosity and aggression formerly directed toward the people of Israel has been terminated in the previous two stages of conflict – and their power destroyed forever – the remaining powers are all the remaining nations of the earth; for the newly selected object of destruction and conversion is now the Established Church and her harlot daughters – all the remaining “religious” resistance to God’s kingdom on the earth.
As the “catholic” (or universal) “church,” her power and influence and general popular respect is spread to the four winds – to every country in the modern world – even to the far-flung islands and most remote countries of the earth; the longest established, most deeply entrenched APOSTATE “religion” is catholic (universal) in nature; its identity is apostate, its character spotted by its man-made, avowed doctrines which are contrary to Truth; its goals being conceited acquisition of great power in every place, and domination of the population of the earth. Its chief product of commerce is the lives (souls) of men (Revelation 18: 13).
Such is not consistent with the humility and service that the Almighty requires of true servants of God. It is completely inconsistent with the Almighty’s concrete intention for the future age of righteousness and peace. The Seat of this apostate entity is Vatican City – a 117 acre enclave within the city of Rome in which he sits who claims (in a different figure of speech) to be “no widow” (Revelation 18:7) and to be master of this movement toward dominance among men.
The Vatican is one of the wealthiest “countries” on earth, with holdings in every remote place, both charitable and income-producing enterprises of immense worth. It is rightly reported that no man knows or can tell the wealth of the established church – that its holdings are so diverse and well-hidden that their extent is virtually un-knowable. Her wealth – as was that of the earlier religious/political opponents of Christ and His kingdom – shall be turned to the real glory of God in the ensuing age, and her administration utterly ruined and obliterated forever.
After WWI, we see the spirit of super-nationalism that had generally prevailed becoming fractured. Empires were now broken up and fragmented into many small nations. The vacated lands of the defeated Ottomans were developed into the nations named above including several smaller ones consisting of Kuwait, the Gulf Emirates and others such as Yemen, Oman and Bahrain.
In similar fashion, the former colonial holdings of the European trading powers were lost and broken up into discrete countries with varying degrees of success. These new Islamic entities of the East are rightly termed “the kings of the east” in the above named passage; these polities sprung up in the vacated territories of the Ottoman Empire symbolized by the River Euphrates’ drying up. As Israel is analogous to the fig tree in Luke 21: 29, these are representative of all the trees of that verse – all the other nations which sprouted and developed during the era of Zion’s regathering and nationhood.
Then the Revelator inserts a parenthetical expression relating to the saints as the aspiring people of God – urging them to separate themselves from that prevailing force which subdues their quality of watchfulness, soils their garments, makes them naked, exposing them to eternal shame, shutting them away from the beneficent blessings of the Son of God.
The chief actor then on the world stage is the Christ of the Second Advent, Who in the omitted accounts and details of the sixth vial, has done truly great things, including returned to the earth and saved His people from not only their Proximal Islamic enemies but also from their Distal Islamic enemies including the Gogian leader who has marshaled them to his cause.
In accomplishing this remarkable and singular feat He has instituted the germinal stage of His kingdom in the Promised Land, with attendant progress in all stages of its foundation and development.
His efforts have established His identity among those of Israel who have witnessed His astounding victories as well as among the peoples which He has so far encountered and defeated. He has appeared suddenly to both the former groups as a thief – stealthily and unexpectedly – to those ungodly groups of antagonists to Israel and to the Almighty.
But other unsuspecting victims await Him.
Now He looks outward, toward the universal antagonists of His kingdom, none of whom He has yet encountered face to face.
Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
This is the only scriptural record of the term Armageddon.
Now the narrative begins to elaborate upon the details of Armageddon.
Rev 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
In our understanding, the events of the Revelation relate the symbolic unraveling of the history of the Ecclesia of Christ – in its treatment by and interface with Great Babylon – with parallel prophecies of the complex and antagonistic forces of ungodliness entirely opposed to the Father and His plan. It is not concerned primarily with the history or the events of the simultaneous development or regathering of Israel to its Land.
It is done! This victorious statement heralds the final colossal catastrophe of the infamous Church for its sorry and depraved treatment of the saints, and for its corruption of the eternal will of God. The beginning conflict is described in its symbolic clothing, depicting the cataclysmic, terminal affairs of the Harlot, the Beast and the False Prophet.
As such, it is a description of the devastation that is imminently to befall it. The details given to John continue extensively beyond these next phrases for more than two more chapters of the Apocalypse, describing the terminal events of the greatest confrontation to the Almighty’s sovereignty since the rejection of the Lamb of God at Golgotha and its deadly results for the Jews of the first century.
Rev 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
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.
Armageddon and Great Babylon
The Revelator focuses intensely upon Great Babylon! The mention of it takes our thoughts back to the nominal beginning of the ancient Apostasy generated by the rebellion of those early Mesopotamian peoples to the will of God. Every serious thinker of the last several hundred years has rightly concluded that Great Babylon is symbolic language for that culture’s analog – that glittering, historic, venerated but apostate city on the Tiber, venue of Vatican City, seat of the “throne of St. Peter,” perched conspicuously upon seven hills, the established habitat of the Harlot of Christendom, intrusive meddler in all the affairs of men, leader of many of the secular affairs of Europe and other far-flung places, and mother of many daughters who are also prominent in men’s institutions, the Protestant Establishment.
It is the central location of the protracted and vastly spreading commotion known as Armageddon – a war instead of a battle (that is, a longer conflict as opposed to one encounter, described as a “battle” in Revelation 16:14, but being translated from Greek polemos, which also can mean protracted warfare) – an extensive prolix of conflict centering in southern Europe (Rome) but extending to the nether regions, exhaustive in extent, pervasive in effect, conclusive as to result.
One personified picture of this institution is that of a drunken harlot riding upon a beast with seven heads and ten horns. The account is in Revelation 17, beginning in verse one:
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. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration (amazement).
The account is marvelously accurate – and utterly transparent to the minds of every real student of the scriptures and of history itself. The conflict between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Men in general is here depicted. This war is one of spreading the influence of Christ’s reign far beyond its established home territory (from the Nile to the Euphrates, Genesis 15: 18) to the remainder of the world.
Christ’s chief “religious” antagonist of that day is the awesome (awesome to men) presence of the Church of Rome. It is not even a mote in the eye of the King of Kings!
Its leader, the pope of Rome, has no real inkling of the events of the return of Christ to the earth. His realm of reward for his followers is wrongly taught to be in heaven – a muddle-headed, apostate misconstruction of a few references to the heavenly (perfect) quality and identity of our hope, and complete ignorance (ignore-ance) of the most fundamental, basic teachings of scripture from Genesis to Revelation of the earth-bound, infinite Promises to Abraham as the real hope of the people of God.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat Judgments
Some students of the scriptures I believe wrongly attribute all the final conflicts of Israel with the nations as being Armageddon. My thinking is that the earlier phases – Israel’s (and Christ’s) conflicts with (1) the Proximal Islamic powers of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, etc., as well as (2) that of the Gogian conflict of Ezekiel 38/39 – are more aptly described as the Valley of Jehoshaphat judgments (they are so named in Joel 3: 2, 12) as well as the Valley of Decision (threshing) judgments of Joel 3: 14. We easily perceive in Joel’s prophecy many details of these particular terminal conflicts – but nothing whatever of Armageddon in our view.
That these specifically designated judgments fall upon Israel’s enemies AT THE TIME OF ISRAEL’S FINAL REGATHERING is made entirely clear by the territorial references contained within that third chapter of Joel, as well as the definitive statement of Joel 3:1,2: For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
In our understanding the judgments of the Harlot, the Beast and the False Prophet follow closely upon these earlier judgments as detailed here. The designation Armageddon falls squarely upon this conflict, which is entirely different in character to the earlier conquests. Those are conflicts with pagan powers of Islam and godless Russia. This final one is a contest with The Man of Sin of 2Thessalonians 2:3 – that Son of Perdition – the Apostate harlot whose influence is of old and culminates in antichrist of these Endtimes.
In consideration of the words of Joel quoted immediately above, there can be no legitimate objection that our time (today) is the time of this fulfillment! And that the “nations” Joel referred to are those ONLY which have made active war against Israel in their contest of wills for dozens of years – but not all the nations of the earth (for these initial enemies are described as being destroyed outrightly; such is not the fate of all the nations of the earth, for in such a case who should become the subjects of Christ’s Millennial kingdom; who should be taught His Truth and converted to become His people for the future Age?). The argument is inconsistent that claims so.
However, these earlier events are not within the scope of this short essay but are thoroughly elaborated to the best of our understanding in other current writings by this author, for which please see this web site for The electronic Prophecy Letters (eTPL) at this web address http://sites.google.com/site/theprophecyletters/home. <HEL MD/USA PP #5,March, 2012>
An eTPL Position Paper #4
H E Lafferty [June, 2012]
There has for many years existed among sincere believers the strong conclusion that every nation on earth in some form or another would be gathered literally and physically against Jerusalem to battle, and that this is the “battle of Armageddon.” We have adequately addressed the subject of Armageddon in other papers, so that consideration is not part of this present essay.
Is this a valid conclusion – that all the nations of the whole earth shall gather physically against Jerusalem – and by implication – against Israel?
What do the scriptures have to say about it?
We need to consider the facts as well as we can determine them. And we can do that!
Chief among biblical commentaries on the subject is the 12th chapter of Zechariah. It comprehensively addresses the historical time in which we live today. We quote it below and comment on its message. (This A. V. text is as downloaded from E Sword.)
Zec 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
Zec 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling (Strong H7478, ra’al, a reeling (from intoxication, trembling) unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
This “cup” relates directly to intoxication with the subject of Jerusalem and its possession. If you have ever observed a drunken person closely – one severely affected by ethyl alcohol – you will have noted his intense difficulty with walking, his incoherent reasoning, his disturbed balance, his misplaced logic, his slurred speech.
It is a pitiful state of incompetence and failure of character.
A rudimentary test of intoxication by police officers is to have the subject try to walk a straight line – which he cannot do; he reels side to side, and falls forward or backward, uncoordinated, and often quivering or convulsing. He cannot with certainty even touch his nose with an outstretched finger – a simple task easily accomplished when in full charge of his faculties.
The Islamic idealism of possession of Jerusalem is extremely similar. They are intoxicated with the notion that Jerusalem is theirs to possess to the utter exclusion of the Jews whose capital city it is. They are obsessed with Jerusalem as surely as an alcoholic is addicted to drink; they are unable to withdraw from their intention to possess it at all costs (cf., Psalm 83: 12).
Another comment of Zechariah adds enlightenment here as to the siege of the City: Zech 14: 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
Are we aware of a siege against Jerusalem and Judah (the Jewish State) having occurred in our lifetime? YES! It has been an ongoing struggle officially since May, 1948, when Israel proclaimed itself a state; it was already occurring against the Jews who had made Aliyah before that date. They were being killed and ravaged in disturbing numbers leading up to the proclamation of the state. Our day occupies the space just after the semicolon in the 14th verse; Israel has not yet gathered together the wealth of all the nations (heathen) round about her. That certainty lies in her future!
Meanwhile, she is in the midst of a siege – a protracted WAR. But it is a war prosecuted ONLY by the “people round about,” and no others; not all nations of the earth.
The War of Independence was forced upon Judah and Jerusalem by seven hostile powers at its birth in one day – May 14, 1948. The infant State survived – but lost the Old City of Jerusalem to the hostiles while maintaining possession of half the City (Zechariah 14:2).
But the next conflict within the Land (19 years later) was the Six Day War. Israel warned Jordan (which then occupied Old Jerusalem and the eastern portion of the ancient kingdom of Israel down to the River Jordan) to remain neutral. King Hussein did not heed their warning and instantly lost all the territory he had occupied in 1948 to the lightning strike issued by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The siege was actual and in real time as foretold by Zechariah! It was televised almost as it happened.
However, this was but one of the early stages of a protracted series of conflicts which shall yet end as Zechariah 14: 14 predicts – with “the wealth of all the heathen round about” (those we refer to as the Proximal Islamic States) being taken by God’s people.
We have not seen this outcome as yet, but the day draws nearer for it to occur.
Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
What of this terminology “all the people of the earth” – does that mean literally all the nations of the earth? In an international context it might; for example the UN member states almost unanimously, but only rhetorically, fret and fume over the “problem” of Jerusalem daily. Two thirds of all the legal decisions of the UN Security Council have been concerned with Israel, specifically – a people which forms about 1/1000 of the entire population of the earth. In a real sense, ALL the people of the earth ARE NOW gathered against Jerusalem (as representative of the entire Israeli people and nation).
But who is actively engaged in the struggle? Only the nations round about are “gathered together against it” as a physical reality, and are intimately concerned with taking Jerusalem as the capital of a “Palestinian” state, and of ridding the land of all the Jews. Regardless of our personal convictions, this fact is extremely important to a basic understanding of this “problem.” These specific enemies are those who are designated “all the people of the earth” for the earth is the “earth” of God’s land; all these powers inhabit God’s land at the present time – which land is that designated by the Promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15 et seq; and to his descendant David and his Son in II Samuel 7.
We feel that an understanding of this fact is fundamental to the understanding of this vital prophecy! Alien peoples are inhabiting God’s Land of Promise (to Abraham and his Seed) and they must be ousted!
The Hebrew for “earth” here is Strong’s H776, eretz, from an unused root, probably meaning to be firm, the earth (at large, or partivively, a land) which in this case is God’s Designated Land of Israel – for they are all the remaining “other” inhabiters at this time, later to be expelled and their wealth appropriated to the Lord’s kingdom and people.
Therefore it is the inhabitants of THAT specific “earth” that are gathered together against it in a most unified attack, as we see daily being constructed and mounted against God’s people.
We believe such details are supremely important to our deeper, more sensitive, more accurate understanding of God’s intent; it is in the intense study of the fine details of the prophets’ utterances that the finer points of transition and fulfillment are discerned. These CANNOT be overlooked or ignored because in them is the essence of His revelation to us! In this way the picture comes alive for our studied consideration and profit.
Zec 12:4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every (enemy) horse with astonishment, and his (enemy) rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the (enemy) people with blindness.
Zec 12:5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
Zec 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
That phraseology indicates a safe, SURE habitation of her rightful place – ALL parts of the City (East and West, North and South) as eternal Capital of the entire Inheritance … purely and simply … and straightforwardly!
Have we not seen this described strength of Israel already manifested? What about the lightning manner in which Israel took the Old City in the Six Day War? – a conflict which lives in the military exploits of the world as not only one of the most rapid but also one of the most decisive victories ever won by a military force in all history! As a result, Jerusalem was “inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.” And note specifically that it was the forces of JUDAH which did this – the identity of Israel as constituted at present. The dispute rages on with the defeated enemies whining and complaining of their oppression at Israel’s hand!
But so far we have seen only the leading edge of Israel’s strength, enhanced without any doubt by the power of God being expressed through the Archangel Michael, the angel who “stands for the children of (Daniel’s) people” (the Jews) – Daniel 12: 1-2. We believe the nations of Israel’s enemies have not seen anything yet! Its divine strength shall be seen clearly when Israel shall DEVOUR all the people round about!
Zec 12:7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
Here Judah is being led by “the Lord” Who is defending them, their being God’s battle axe and weapon of war …. But in a different case than the text in which similar phraseology is found: Jeremiah 51:20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; here the text referred specifically to Babylon as target of his people. This entire chapter is concerned with the fate of Babylon at the hand of the Medes and Persians; but its meaning extends also to the nations as punished terminally by ISRAEL in the day of ITS strength and favour – actions which are graphically depicted in this 8th verse of Zechariah 12, the angel of the Lord being designated Michael, the Archangel of God for Israel.
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Herein lies one of the major reasons that we can be certain that not all the nations of the earth (from Iceland to Argentina to Mynamar) are destined to “come against Jerusalem” in any physical way.
Because our Father decidedly tells us that ALL THESE which DO come against Jerusalem shall be DESTROYED. If He thus destroys all the nations of the whole earth (instead of all the limited number of (designated) nations that come against Jerusalem) he would have no subjects for His future kingdom. There would be no nations left to convert to the way of life in that kingdom. He should have destroyed all future hope of the international conversion of peoples to the Gospel which He clearly intends.
Think about that!
It is critically important to the understanding of this prophecy! The ultimate solution to any prophecy and its ultimate meaning is determined by its fine detail.
One other critical consideration is this: The purpose of this war over Jerusalem is to rid THE LAND of the brute beasts which threaten Israel and its people – not to acquire all the nations of the earth and subject them to Christ in this early action. Christ’s kingdom is prophesied to expand and develop in a progressive, orderly, unrelenting fashion. His first goal is to clear the Land of Israel – its Abrahamic Inheritance for Israel – of all enemies and threats. This action shall achieve that end perfectly!
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
It is decisively AT THIS TIME that Messiah is to be revealed to the children of Judah – the house of David – as they look upon Jesus Whom they previously have denied, and recognize Him as their long-awaited Messiah. That recognition brings about the great mourning described in the next verses. It is equivalent to the mourning they observed when King Josiah was slain at Hadadrimmon.
After that time their blessing shall be greater by far than their oppression and punishment to date. He shall do better to them then than at their beginning (Ezekiel 36:11).
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
ANOTHER SERIOUS FACET TO ALL THESE ENDTIME AFFAIRS
There is another facet to the above discussion which is extremely relevant, and it is this:
Some readers of prophecy (I cannot use the term “students” – and certainly not “scholars”) stubbornly claim that Israel as we know it is destined for a great defeat at the hand of someone – some national power or coalition (Gogian, Islamic, or International?? – views differ) – And that there will be (another) 2/3 destruction of God’s people! That the remnant of these now in the Land shall be scattered to Egypt yet again, and be finally rescued by the returned Lord Jesus.
Yet, even a cursory overview of the above consideration absolutely denies that this can happen! [And besides, that scenario is not that which is prophesied to be expected; that scenario is a figment of someone’s imagination which has NO BASIS for credence!]
WHAT MAY WE REALLY EXPECT??
The Prophet is entirely clear:
• Zechariah 12: 3 concretely states that all Jerusalem’s enemies that burden themselves with it shall be CUT IN PIECES …
• Zechariah 12: 4 concretely states that every horse (instrument or war or terror) shall be smitten with BLINDNESS and his rider with MADNESS …
• Zechariah 12: 5 concretely states that the inhabitants (of Jerusalem) shall be my STRENGTH in the Lord …
• Zechariah 12: 6 concretely states that the governors of JUDAH shall be like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left … and further that Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
• Zechariah 12: 7 concretely states that The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah.
• Zechariah 12: 8 concretely states that In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem not allow them to be conquered and destroyed! – stating that even the weakest among them shall exhibit the mastery of David over his enemies, and the stronger ones (the house of David) shall be AS GOD – as THE ANGEL OF THE LORD BEFORE THEM.
• Zechariah 12:9 concretely states that in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
• Zechariah 12: 10 surely puts the lie to the people’s being conquered and scattered, in the comprehensive statements, that I (GOD) will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
The intense and pervasive mourning that is depicted through verse 14, as well as all these preceding words of God, put the ETERNAL LIE to any notion that His people are EVER to be conquered and dispersed and murdered in ANY future time after being regathered the second time (Isaiah 11: 11)!
Those who claim that this is true give as an excuse for their prejudice (I do hesitate to use the phrase anti-Semitism against the people of modern Israel … but IS IT SUCH???) will offer their feeble objection that Israel is proud and arrogant – and depends upon itself and not God – for its defense; that it does not yet recognize Jesus as Messiah and Christ, so how could it justly expect such divine protection??
The claim that Israel depends upon itself is certainly true! This is a fact, at least in part – though not wholly applicable to everyone in Israel! After all, how can Israel REALLY depend upon others? It has proven to be a futile cause in the past, and only fragile promises are in front of them for allies in the present crisis. So they MUST depend upon themselves – even without the assurance that WE have as believers that they shall always have Eternal support.
Are these critics (for such they are) completely unaware of the prophecy of Zechariah 12 and 13, in which the process of Israel’s recognition of its gross error is to be realized and all Israel brought to the humble repentance they require?
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for Israel yet in (our) present time to know what they shall know and acknowledge in the near future – namely that Jesus of Nazareth IS their Messiah; that they DID erroneously crucify him (at least assented to that crime) in 29 AD; that all these things were CLEARLY foretold in the scriptures and that they IGNORED those words; that the Almighty has a plan for salvation for ALL the peoples of the earth; that Jesus of Nazareth IS THEIR Savior and on and on …
In short … it is unreasonable to claim that Israel was not destined to return to their land IN IGNORANCE of all these core principles! These critics have no excuse for their being unaware that the Jews of the world were commanded IN THEIR GROSS IGNORANCE to “return to the children of Israel” (i.e., to their Land) in the Endtime AFTER the Father’s period of having ABANDONED them for millennia came to its end – that is, more precisely that the Jews’ fortunes would drastically reverse WHEN SHE WHO WAS TO BRING FORTH BROUGHT FORTH – Micah chapter 5 is extremely relevant here – that is, when Israel was brought into existence (literally, birthed) by the Agency (the Jewish Agency of the World Zionist Organization) which actually “mothered” the State of Israel, bringing it forward to birth and delivering it 1948 under the DIRECT GUIDANCE AND HELP of the Archangel Michael – a factor which we are unmistakably taught by a faithful reading of Daniel 12: 1-2.
No critic of Israel can possibly have grounds for claiming that Israel cannot or could not return to its Land permanently without first accepting Christ as Messiah and all the implications involved in that realization – because that IS NOT what Zechariah was inspired to relate to faithful students of God’s word! It CANNOT have happened any other way – and especially not in the way implied in such severe critics’ minds when they make wild and unsubstantiated statements similar to those above.
Our understanding must be bent, shaped, and moulded to fit our Father’s stated intentions – not dictate to Him what must be done by His people at any given time!!
One final word: we do tend to become enthusiastic (exercised? dogmatic? – maybe – but at least, intelligently informed) when confronted with these insensitive and UNSUBSTANTIABLE claims of some unfeeling, hard-hearted, and false critics of Israel – but especially those who really have no excuse for not knowing otherwise – from among the Elect, the Chosen, the Redeemed.
We cannot resist defending God’s people Israel (for such they are!) in their present uninformed ignorance of God’s way, as yet unrealized by them.
Hath God cast away His people? inquired the Apostle (Romans 11: 1); God forbid!
They are to be commended greatly for resisting conversion and assimilation with blood and tear and treasure the centuries of apostasy and oppression of “Christian” opposition and the anti-Semitism which originated within Christendom and from its hired minions.
The Master’s final words to the Scribes and Pharisees of His day were those recorded in Luke 13: 34, 35 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
That specific “coming” is addressed in Zechariah 12 and 13, revealing exactly how Israel shall be brought forward not only to recognition (“seeing Him”) but also enthusiastic and sincere acceptance of Him by that somber recognition of His Strength and Benevolence on their behalf! Those elements of recognition and acceptance will lead to their national repentance and acceptance of Him as Messiah and King! They are “gonna be okay” folks!
<HEL MD/USA, PP#4, March 26, 2012> :: 3800 words.
And a Concept Completely Misapplied
An eTPL Position
The correct meaning of Isaiah 16: 4 is exactly opposite to that inferred by the AV! This verse reads in that version: Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.
That passage has been applied by many to a plea by Israel’s God to Moab (a vile enemy of Israel) to protect the refugees of Israel as they supposedly flee from the Gogian invaders of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
But is this correct? Is this the actual meaning of this verse – or the verifiable text of it?
A quick investigation of many other translations shows this NOT to be its meaning!
What is its real message? What does it really say?
A preliminary reference to Isaiah 15: 5 in the A.V. reveals its true thrust: My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar … setting the stage for the protracted narrative following.
Scanning the entire 15th chapter, one finds that it is basis for and reflective of the true meaning of 16: 4. In reality, it is God’s concern for the refugees of MOAB which are addressed in this verse; it has nothing whatever to do with any Jewish refugees fleeing eastward.
Furthermore, its time of fulfillment is the Assyrian assault upon the entire area in the 7th Century BC! – and is not Endtime in fulfillment.
Compare the translations of Tanakh, LXX, and others. The translation given for this verse in Tanakh is, Like fugitive birds, like nestlings driven away, MOAB’S villagers linger by the fords of Arnon. Give advice (Israel). Offer counsel. At high noon make your (Israel’s - or the river’s?) shadow like night. Conceal the outcasts (of Moab). Betray not the fugitives. Let Moab’s outcasts find asylum in you; be a shelter for them against the despoiler (Assyria).
The entire chapter is about the oncoming conquest of Moab at early times (c700 BC?) in history – not Israel! It has nothing to do with fleeing Israeli refugees to Moab for shelter from Gog’s host.
Indeed, Israel’s population quite evidently is not to be displaced IN ANY WAY by the Gogian incursion, for Gog is to be destroyed completely (no sixth part left, per ALL other dependable translations!) before it can do ANY harm whatever to the people of Israel, who are at that time “dwelling safely … without bars or gates” under Christ and with the Saints of the kingdom. It is at this time that “My fury” comes up “in My face” (Ezekiel 38: 18) and divine retribution is rained upon Gog in seven terrible plagues (38: 21, 22) beginning with every man’s sword against his (Gogian) brother!
Finally, Gog is buried there “in Israel” (in Israel then, but not yet today) in the valley of the Yarkon River, “east of the Sea of Galilee” (Young) at Hamon-gog. And by whom is Gog buried? That great, menacing host shall be interred by the people of the villages and towns of ISRAEL, who shall have stood still at that critical time, and beheld the salvation of the Lord!
To put some other fantastic construction on the Gogian adventure is to deny the clear words of Ezekiel’s prophecy.
We are well aware that certain ones who slavishly follow certain earlier respected – revered – expositors will be more than upset by this denial of their mentor’s opinion, but we cannot desist. We suspect that this gem of ”textual proof” for Jews fleeing from Gog is just too juicy for them to repudiate. This clearly mis-translated verse is the only tangible evidence of ANY Israeli need to flee eastward for refuge from any oppressor. But this thread is rotten, and has decayed away from the “patch” to which it is applied. As we remove this”patch” the rent becomes blatantly obvious. That garment to which it was applied is now outworn, useless, old and discredited.
Truthful and verifiable exposition is far more important than tradition, and is profitable for spiritual guidance far more than fanciful, wishful thinking (which has NO place at all).
This information serves to change (to correct) the entire “received” wisdom concerning this pivotal event in the outworking of Bible prophecy.
Those earlier scholars who were proficient in Hebrew and in Greek have no excuse for having missed this important translation, having applied it in gross error to Israel’s supposed refugees whom they doubtless sincerely (but wrongly) believed would be fleeing the Gogian invasion.
Upon this one verse hinges an huge body of extensive expository information which is entirely misapplied. It has no reference AT ALL to “refugees” from Israel supposedly fleeing Gog’s wrath! Not one Israeli is ever indicated by Ezekiel’s prophecy as being a “refugee” from Gog’s incursions. Instead, many of them shall be Gog’s funeral directors! Dwelling at THAT TIME SECURELY with their acknowledged and perceived Christ, Who is clearly already occupying His throne over Israel of that day (read the previous three chapters of Ezekiel!), why would any citizen of Israel flee, or even become nervous?
I am Harold Lafferty and I am solely responsible for this message. <HEL MD/USA PP#3, April 2012>
This photograph illustrates the extreme topography of the Arnon Valley,
and the concept of darkness until noon deep within it! These sheer walls
are reminiscent of the cliffs of Petra, and the declivities of the Yarkon also
located east of the River Jordan, the Dead Sea and the Araveh.
An eTPL Position Paper #1
A few years ago my family and I were electronically acquainted with two friends whose names were Frank and Earnest. They conducted a popular radio dialog in the heyday of that medium. Their program was followed avidly by people who enjoyed and profited from their interchanges of questions and answers – or, at least attempts to answer.
I noted immediately that they always discussed the Bible. Earnest would always seem to come forth with an earnest question about the Bible and its teachings; Frank would supply the frank answers given in the Bible, or again, attempt to do so.
Their dialog was convivial and thought provoking. Their exchanges were based on the prevailing notions of “Christianity” of the day (and of this day!).
The friendly and profitable style of their discussions – for that’s what they were (discussions) – seem now to have passed from the scene. It often seems today when “religion” (or “prophecy”) is discussed it is in more rancorous terms, with more deeply entrenched differences and a tendency toward less profitable discussion. Many good people quite senselessly say they just don’t discuss religion or politics.
It is frankly an ignorant notion! At least one of those topics is the most vital in the universe! There should be no reason for bad feelings in such exchanges.
As a result, there seems far less tendency for the parties to resort to scriptural evidence and far too great a reliance upon man-made books and commentaries about those subjects. Reading and adopting someone else’s interpretation is far easier; original research in the scriptures can become laborious and tiring – much like work.
Discussion of scriptural subjects needs to stay concentrated upon the scriptures, which is not to denigrate commentaries by students but to repudiate absolute reliance upon them without “proving” their theories in the spirit of those at Berea who were famously engaged in determining FROM THE SCRIPTURES whether the things they heard were so (Acts 17: 10, 11). They didn’t rely even on the writings of the Apostle Paul, but tested them BY SCRIPTURE!
I think all too often the two approaches (of books versus scripture) are melded into one thought process, and even largely mistaken for each other by one or both parties. These are in NO WAY substitutionary one for the other!
Such is not the prescribed scriptural way in which God’s people are instructed. Anciently, this same sad declension of attitude and spirit was noted in Israel; it brought drastic consequences upon them.
Isaiah saw a vision in which the LORD spoke to him, instructing him in remedial measures for the people which should have been apparent to them. He writes: Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Reasoning together results – or should result – in common ground of understanding and agreement – not exclusion, not scoffing, and not refusal to discuss or consider others’ earnest convictions.
The deviance of that day was perhaps more serious than, with certain exceptions, that seen today among the people of God. But the principle of reasoning together is fully as important. Intelligent discussion of God’s word is therein enjoined upon all God’s people – which includes matters of the future (of future prophecy – and of past fulfillment of prophecy as well!).
For myself, having been long trained in the quite valid concepts of The Scientific Method of decision-making, it is obtusely unacceptable to refuse to discuss any interpretation or conviction, bringing PROOF to bear upon the argument – not in “proving” it with expression of prejudice, or a fuzzy, unstudied, unsubstantiated conclusion.
EARNEST-LY we must become more inquisitive and open to prophetic discussions. FRANK-LY we need to be objective in our conclusions about these matters. We must not resort to denial of facts or the clearly evident prophetic writings in order to “prove” that our mentors have been entirely correct all along, or their interpretations sure, when historical progression has shown clearly that they were NOT so!
Earnest: I really don’t see much evidence for the claim by many that the re-gathering of the Jews to their Land is a prophecy of the Endtime, and that they are never going to be scattered again. How about you, Frank?
Frank: Well, Earnest, that’s a good question; we really need to consult the word of God in this matter. The prophet Isaiah in his eleventh chapter, verses 1-10 speaks of a Branch of Jesse, the father of David. That Branch is Christ, who shall bring about the wonderful state of things described in these verses.
Then Isaiah tells us: Isaiah 11:11 - And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
When we consider the return of the Jews to their land which we have seen in our lifetimes (in that day – as he phrases it), we see the near-complete fulfillment of this very prophecy. It is the second recovery of His people that is being described by the Almighty in that He is recovering them from all the nations to which they were dispersed by the Romans in 70 AD and 135 AD. The first time He recovered them was from the Babylonian captivity of the 6th century BC when, at the end of 70 years, He brought His captive people back from Babylon to the land to begin anew.
Now consider that list of countries from which He would now recover them: Assyria (Syria and Iraq today), Egypt, Pathros (upper Egypt), Cush (Ethiopia and Sudan today), Elam (Iran today), Shinar (Iraq) and from Hamath (Syria of today).
By the year 1953 almost every Jew in those particular areas had been recovered, each remaining Jewish person in those countries being able to leave those countries usually with one suitcase and the clothing they were wearing, leaving behind all their wealth and property, now persona non grata in those Islamic countries – forming the great host of Jewish Refugees about whom we hear nothing!
The only significant numbers of Jews today remain dispersed in “the isles of the sea,” which is the designation for all the OTHER locations of His people yet to be recovered; that recovery is slowly progressing, but shall accelerate in future time.
So, consider this thought, Earnest: those who deny that THE LORD has brought about this second recovery of God’s people are effectively denying these divinely inspired words of Isaiah!
Not a good plan!
So you see, Earnest, the Bible DOES foretell the recovery of the Jews in this narrative as well as many others. The latter portion of the 11th chapter of Isaiah gives details of their return (their Aliyah) and the successful course of their nation gathered under the ancient ensign (symbol, flag) of David – the Star of David (Magen David) – which is displayed prominently upon the flag of Israel!
We may expect to see this recovered people continue to prosper in the manner already seen moving steadily (but unsuspectingly) toward the eternal kingdom of God on the earth.
The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30: 7) has now passed. Today, Israel is a paragon of exemplary national development in the world, progressing rapidly in every category of human endeavor. It is becoming a light unto the nations in medicine, agriculture, water conservation, military weapons, cyber warfare, economics, scientific research and development – and many other temporal matters.
We can faithfully look forward to its PERMANENCE in the land, moving forward steadily toward the time when it shall be enabled to conquer its enemies (the Philistines in verse 14 are the “Palestinians” of Gaza and other areas; Edom, Moab and Ammon are the remainder of these descendants of Esau and Lot, located mostly in Jordan and the Sinai).
Israel’s permanence is assured concretely by Jeremiah 24:6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
To deny this destiny is to deny the very words of God!
So from just these two simple, clear accounts of scripture we can readily see that the Jews’ final and permanent return to their land was not only foretold but foreordained; and that their future is secure in contrast to the claims of some that Israel is again to be conquered and scattered to the nations … to “Egypt.”
THAT eventuality is definitively NOT a possibility, nor even admissible by the Almighty according to the words of His prophets!
And those who claim so are denying God’s words through His prophets both here and in many other revelations (one may receive an extensive list of these upon application to the author). Some critics of Israel today (the writings of Paul to the Romans is extremely relevant to this adverse attitude toward Israel) have even proffered the opinion that Israel shall yet AGAIN be overrun by the Gogian confederacy and dispersed back into Egypt and other lands later to be rescued by the returned Christ – and have even penned long, rangy, seemingly “learned” dissertations on this subject.
But such is a thick vapor of obscure, contrary vision which does great damage to the understanding of our colleagues who blindly accept that theory; these folk are not being truthfully warned of the critical times in which we live today. But further, it does no damage to the scriptural support of the permanence of the regathered people now residing in the Jewish state! They have been re-gathered for eternity – to the glory of the Almighty and the inheritance of His Son!
Earnest: Thank you Frank! I believe you have clearly shown that God’s people were indeed prophesied to return to their own Land permanently, never to be scattered again, in the end-time.
<HEL, MD/ USA PP1: April 10, 2012>
An eTPL Position Paper #2
In our culture many expect the appearance of Elijah the prophet before the second coming of the Lord to His people. We consider in this paper almost all of the clear scriptural references to John Baptizer. That list follows …
Matthew 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
This is a DIRECT reference to Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 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.
Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Mark 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit. 9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Important scriptural phrases relating to John Baptizer (not exhaustive)
References in Matthew and Mark are omitted being similar to those below …
Luke 1: 13 John was conceived as a result of prayer
He was named John by the angel Gabriel’s announcement
Luke 1: 14 Zacharias and Elizabeth to have joy and gladness
Many shall rejoice at his birth
Luke 1: 15 He shall be great in the sight of the Lord
… shall drink neither wine nor strong drink
… shall be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth
Luke 1: 16 Many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord
Luke 1: 17 He shall go before God in the spirit and power of Elijah
… shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children
… shall turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just
… shall make ready a people prepared for the Lord
Luke 1: 41 The yet unborn John “leaped” in his mother’s womb at the sound of the
greeting of Mary to Elizabeth at her home in Ein Karem
Luke 1 58 Elizabeth’s neighbors and cousins now heard how the Lord had shown
great mercy upon her and they rejoiced with her
Luke 1: 60 Elizabeth insisted, upon his birth, that his name was John, over
Luke 1: 63 Zacharias concurred that his name was John, and then recovered his
Luke 1: 66 What manner of child shall this be?
The hand of the Lord was upon him.
Luke 1: 76 John was to be prophet of the highest
To go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways
Luke 1: 77 He was to give knowledge of salvation to God’s
people by His remission of their sins
Luke 1: 79 He shall give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the
shadow of death
He shall guide our feet into the way of peace
Luke 1: 80 John grew and waxed strong in the Spirit
He dwelt in the desert until his shewing to Israel: Matthew 3:1
John 1: 6 John was a man sent from God
John 1: 7 He came for a witness – to bear witness to the Light
As such, he was an instrument to cause men to believe
John 1: 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness to it
John 1: 15 John bare witness of Him and cried, saying, This is He of
whom I spake: He that cometh after me is preferred
before me for He WAS before me.
John 1: 20 John confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not
John 1: 21 They asked him … Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not.
Art thou THAT PROPHET? And he answered, No.
John 1: 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but
there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
John 1: 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me,
whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
John 1: 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith,
Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the
John 1:30 This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which
is preferred before me; for He was before me.
John 1: 31 And I knew Him not: but (only) that He should be made
manifest to Israel; therefore am I come baptizing with water.
John 1: 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending
from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him.
John 1: 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with \
water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the
Spirit descending, and remaining on him, THE SAME is He
which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.
John 1: 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
John 1: 36 He witnessed of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord
In addition, relating back to one of the first references above: There are several references to the great and the terrible day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5), or similar language; the unmistakable indication is that there are several such periods.
Revelation 6: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
This describes the tribulations of the Endtime.
Joel 2: 11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
This is His description of Babylon’s assault on Jerusalem in 587 BC.
Joel 2: 30-31 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
This describes the action of Babylon’s assault in 587 BC, (possibly) including the armies of Rome in 70 AD.
Malachi 4:5, 6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 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.
This addresses the days just prior to the rejection and crucifixion of the Lord in 29 AD. The identification in Acts 2: 17, et seq, of this same day as that spoken by the prophet Joel seems to indicate the first Advent of the Lord as the time of this fulfillment – the great and dreadful day of His rejection by His people. See extended discussion below.
Acts 2: 16-20 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
This passage obviously also addresses that same period of His First Advent, designating this particular event as the direct meaning and fulfillment of the word of the Prophet Joel. When else did many of the sons and daughters of Israel prophesy just prior to a great event of this magnitude?
We do not comprehend that Israel today shall so demonstrate such an expectation of Him. Indeed, just when was there another event OF THIS MAGNITUDE? These at Pentecost did so after a period of remarkable silence from the prophets for four hundred years; thus it was an outstanding departure from the norm. They also did prophesy. He showed wonders in the earth and the air (great earthquakes; an “eclipse” (a marked darkening) when a solar eclipse would have been impossible; the resurrection of numerous dead believers; the miraculous healing of diseases). These occurred during the days of the ministration of the remarkable John Baptizer, the ultimate fulfillment of the ministry of Elijah!
Mat 11:10 instructs: For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. John Baptizer FULFILLED this prophecy! We ask earnestly, how can this activity be said of Elijah in this day – in the Endtime?? We are told that the precursor of Jesus to His people – both living and dead – shall be the angels of the Shofar (the Trumpet) of resurrection. THESE shall escort the living and dead who are responsible to the judgment of Christ to that venue of judgment. They do not become apparent at all to the people of Israel.
Shall Elijah Precede the Appearance of Christ in the Earth?
But when He emerges from that place of judgment, we know of no such predictive activities by any man – no advance notice to ANYONE whatever of His eminent appearance. He comes upon Israel and the Israelis – and certainly upon the nations – as a thief … silently … unannounced … unexpected by them. And when His kingdom is expanded and pacified, it is HE personally who sends forth manyemissaries to gather in the remnants of Israel remaining in Diaspora – surely these shall be the Saints (including Elijah, of course) as well as certain ones of the newly converted People of Israel who are then committed to His service and kingdom, and to the reassembly of their brethren from the four winds.
Isaiah 1: 25 – 28 addresses this blessed time as does Isaiah 62: 1-4,both indicative of Israel’s newly acquired status of Hephzibah (My delight is in her) and Beulah (Married (to the Lord)) in the most consummate degree, and enabled to go forth unto the nations – as well as to their brethren abroad – bearing the salvation of their God!
Jeremiah prophesies about this time in these words: Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors (teachers) according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
The poignant words of these teachers are indicted in Isaiah 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Yet other instructive words are to be found in Isaiah 51:4, 5; Isaiah 42: 6 and 49: 6 regarding this event, all coming to pass well after He reigns from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Where does Elijah fit into THIS narrative? He actually fits as one among a multitude of redeemed ones. Partially for this reason, our view is that the reference in Malachi has reference only to the first “great and terrible day of the Lord” of 29 AD (His Ministry and its bitter, terrible end) and to none other.
To place Elijah in the earth prior to Christ’s Second Coming violates His revealed plan – that the living shall not prevent (precede) the dead; we see from his detailed revelation that the dead and the living in Christ of I Thessalonians 4: 16, 17, are to be raised and gathered together and taken to meet the Lord. Our problem is that Elijah shall be among those raised from the dead and taken to the judgment seat of Christ with all his brethren.
Are we to understand that he is perhaps to be judged before all others, then immortalized and immediately sent to the children of Israel to prepare them for that great and terrible day of the Lord?
After considered deliberation, this does not “fit” with other revelations about Israel’s preparation for the Lord’s coming – namely that they shall have NO preparation! No advance announcement that their Messiah is about to appear. The prophetic narratives of Isaiah 63, of Isaiah 11, of Micah 5, and of Psalm 83 indicate nothing of this sort! It is quite apparent, instead, that in Isaiah 63, NONE of Israel (including a supposed Elijah then present with them just prior to His appearing in this conflict) can identify this One Who comes from Edom, with blood-stained (dyed) garments; He replies to their question, that He has trodden the winepress alone, and that none of the people are with Me. If Elijah is active among his people prior to this Return, informing Israel of The Plan and of Messiah’s eminent appearance, why do they ask this question as to His identity?
Only after this conflict does their meeting with Jesus occur – and their ultimate enlightenment – which is described in Zechariah 12 and 13 – that occasion in which they inquire sincerely, “Just Who ARE You??” and He answers them by showing them the nail-scars in His hands, and telling them that He received these wounds “in the house of My friends.”
He therefore obviously has no messenger preceding his Second Advent.
It shall be realized in great pathos by Israelis at that point in time, thatIsrael is the ONLY “house of His friends,” and no others. So how may we fit in the supposed advance publicity of His Second Advent by Elijah into this scenario?
Elijah’s spirit and power was embodied in John Baptizer, just as Peter proclaimed. It was HE (John) who was harbinger of the Lord in THAT great and terrible day of the Lord. He bore witness to the “coming” of the Savior – His first appearance among them. John, by baptizing Him with water, announced by default their Messiah, not even knowing in advance that He was such, with the immediate result that the Spirit of God came down in the form of a dove and rested upon Him, and the thundering voice of God announced: “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”
An even more powerful statement to this effect is that of Jesus Himself recognizing the identity of Elijah in John Baptizer in Matthew 11:10 Forthis is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. In this usage, the words (in English) “is he,” Jesus was using the third person present indicative of the verb “is,” and means that this IS the identity of John,and not John as representative of someone else. Most importantly here, is that this usage of the verb is exactly that form utilized by the voice of God Himself in Matthew 17:5 in which He proclaimed, “This IS My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” THIS IS My Son – not some other one to come; hear ye HIM personally, not some later spectral, figurative shadow of Him.
But in our simple understanding the most powerful and definitive statement in all the scriptures is that of Jesus to the disciples as they descended the mount of transfiguration. The account is in Matthew 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things (according to the prophets). 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
How could any commentary be more comprehensive – or more understandable? Jesus Himself is clarifying the thinking of the disciples who are questioning what event the scribes can be referring to when they say, rightly, that Elias (Elijah) must first come. How can they understand this? Will Elijah appear among them at some FUTURE time to “restore all things” (in the full meaning of that phrase)? Should they watch for his appearance?
Jesus replied that the scriptures indeed tell us Elias truly shall first come as precursor to Jesus’ being made manifest to the people who would accept Him. And then He tells them quite plainly, Elias is (has) come already, and they knew him not, BUT HAVE DONE UNTO HIM WHATSOEVER THEY LISTED (wished). Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. Here is the entire pluperfect (accomplished) process of “Elias’” work in brief summary – definitive, unmistakable, incontrovertible, and conclusive!
He is clearly and simply defining and clarifying for them the scriptural teaching about John Baptizer as the fulfillment of those prophecies: that Elias/John would come before the great and terrible day of the Lord (i.e., His first coming), revealing Jesus as Messiah to those who would accept it, and that John would then suffer for his good work – which at that point in history he had already suffered.
Further … that Son of Man, Who his (John’s) simple act of baptizing Jesus, clearly revealed (quite aside from any capability of John himself –but governed and accomplished by the Father) by the descending Spirit as a dove, and the thundering voice of God – that He then would be treated in the same manner as had that great servant John Baptizer – who was the fulfillment of “Elias” coming first (i.e., before Him).
Our studied position is, therefore, that John came in the spirit and powerof Elijah (but not as Elijah personally!) just as prophesied – and announced the appearance and the IDENTITY of Messiah; and that that particular announcement fulfilled Malachi 11: 10 JUST AS PETER RELATED IN HIS INSPIRED UNDERSTANDING OF THOSE WORDS OF JOEL (as previously explained to him by Jesus personally!) TO THOSE AT PENTECOST, saying, THIS is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel …
That construction is plain and simple; let us not deny these clear words of the Master AND his Apostle! We must deny ourselves the same blind mistake made by the scribes, still stubbornly insisting that Elijah will appear in order to martial the Jews to Jesus in some widespread movement before He appears to the nation. He has done so already … and almost all of them did NOT respond.
In this last case, they shall have no warning of His coming.
We realize that there are views of the Elijah manifestation that are different from these, and that some will disagree with our conclusions. Our view expressed here is based solely upon God’s word, not human conjecture. We rest our case.
<HEL MD/USA PP#2: April 9, 2012>