Key Precept: As in any good book, the Bible stays true to its theme from its introduction, clarification through the middle, to the climax at the end:
He died doing the right thing.
Beginning: Genesis 3: “of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it…lest ye die…And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods. And…she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat…And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said…Hast thou eaten of the tree…? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree [which she had eaten and I couldn’t abandon her]…Adam was not…in the transgression…Marriage is honourable…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear.” (Genesis 3:3-12, I Timothy 2:14, Hebrews 13:4-6)
If this perspective of the first Adam’s choice to die is startlingly at odds with what you were always taught, see the post Lust Kills, Love Dies for additional biblical proof that Adam was a hero.
Middle: Habakkuk 1-3: “O LORD, how long shall I…cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!…spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention…the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth…
End: Daniel 7:21-22: “the fourth kingdom upon earth…shall…wear out the saints of the most High…unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion…under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High.”
Two thousand years ago the Messiah’s / Christ’s disciples thought the end was nigh.
“the disciples came unto him privately, saying…what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)
The disciples had good reason to believe that this world system was coming to an end. Daniel’s prophecies of the fourth kingdom and the actions by YHVH’s Chosen Savior had been fulfilled.
“the man Gabriel…being caused to fly swiftly…informed me…O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people…to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:21-24)
Another big clue was what they had just heard him proclaim to the Jewish leadership.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?…O Jerusalem, Jerusalem [seat of government], thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house [dynasty as well as government building] is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:27-39)
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner…Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof…And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” (Matthew 21:42-45)
And the disciples’ expectation was strengthened when, after delivering his scathing denouncement to the religious leaders, Yeshua immediately turns his attention to them and informs them that they would have front row seats to the climax of Daniel’s prophecy.
Daniel: “…them that forsake the holy covenant…shall pollute the sanctuary of strength…shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. (Daniel 11:30-31)
Jesus: YE…shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15)
- “that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah / God’s Anointed the Prince / Zerubbabel governor of Judah shall be seven weeks, [49 years]
- the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times [during the first eventful period of 49 years]
- and threescore and two weeks: [434 years] during which nothing is predicted
- And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah
There are various interpretations on how the 70 x 7 / 490 years plays out, especially the 70th week. I like the following chart because it shows the entirety of Daniel’s 70th week fulfilled in ~30-37 AD when Messiah confirms the new covenant with many. Jesus’ additional prophetic utterance on that generation is also shown in this chart, with the destruction of the temple 40 years after the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
Daniel’s four predictions are unquestionably fulfilled by Israel’s Messiah.
- He was cut off / severed from relationship with the nation of, ergo the God of, Israel, but not for his sins – for the sins of others.
- He confirmed the new covenant with many, accepted by masses of Jews as the Messiah and rightful king of Israel in the 3 1/2 years of his earthly ministry until
- He ended “the” sacrifice for sin, with 3 /12 years left in the 70th week.
- By the words of his mouth, by simply stating it would be so, he caused the desolation of the temple due to “the abominations” committed.
The first half of the 70th week is immediately followed by the second half of the 7-year period when even more Jews than previously accepted Yeshua / YHVH’s Savior as the promised savior from sin and death, fulfilling the prophecy that Messiah will confirm the covenant with many “for one week”.
Even many Jewish rulers accepted Yeshua during this time, demonstrated by Stephen’s vision of Yeshua’s readiness to return.
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake…And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
Don’t miss how Stephen follows his Savior in word and deed, confronting the rulers of the Jews with the same message knowing the consequences of inflaming their wrath would be his death.
Jesus speaking: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers…upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:29-3)
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
This completely wraps up the timeline of Daniel’s prophecy as the 490 years is completed. The rulers could have also completed – fulfilled – the prophecy by calling out “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD / YHVH!”. The Roman overlords would have certainly immediately swept in and crushed this rebellion against their authority, bringing about the final element of Daniel’s and Jesus’ predictions of this happening to that generation.
But that didn’t happen.
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him.” (Acts 6-7)
Fortunately for the rebels, Yeshua has authority over time. So when, just like 3 1/2 years before, a critical mass number of rulers, or the right ones, failed to respond to Stephen’s announcement with “Baruch Ata Adonai! / Hail to the chief!, he extended the time of judgment on this generation – 40 more years to 70 AD, when the temple was destroyed.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees…All these things shall come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:29-36)
The disciples had even faithfully fulfilled Jesus’ assignment that “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14) According to Paul, this had been accomplished by ~ 66 AD: “the truth of the gospel…is come unto…all the world…” (Colossians 1:5-6). Historians find that Christianity reached India in the first century, as well as China.
But when “this generation” failed to welcome him as their Melchisedekian Royal High Priest, the day of his return was delayed even further, until the last possible opportunity for repentance.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:” (Matthew 24:21-22)
This great tribulation is often presented as a ruthless punishment on Israel for not accepting Christianity. However, if we stick with scriptural, instead of human, resources, we recognize it for what it is – God’s longsuffering love for his people.
“Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury…upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days…At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people…The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel…The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee…thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.” Jeremiah 30:23-31:7)
“What if [in the sense of “what’s it to you?“] God…endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction…that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory…Esaias also crieth concerning Israel…a remnant shall be saved…I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I [Paul] also am an Israelite.” (Romans 9:21-27, 11:1-2)
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ…Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief…This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (I Timothy 1:1, 13-16)
“once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved.” (I Peter 3:20)
“there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, [certainly “love your enemy” doesn’t include] looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?…[On the contrary] account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you. (II Peter 3:3-15)
In contrast to the hermeneutical approach I’ve taken to confirm who does what, many prophecy teachers separate Daniel’s prophecies from Jesus’, wresting / torqueing scripture to do so.
Daniel 9:26-27 goes on to tell us that after Jesus’ death – sometime in the future – the “prince who is to come” will make a peace treaty with Israel for one week, which is seven years (Prophecy of The Future). But in the middle of this week he will break the agreement and declare that he is God. This seven year period is divided into two parts. Each part is three and one half years. The first 3.5 years are peaceful, and the last 3.5 years Jesus called the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21).
This imaginative play on scripture relies on Dispensational systematic theology, that “the Gentile Church Age” was interposed at the last minute “when the Jews rejected Christ.” An extremely popular teaching embraced by “Bible-believing” Christians is that the end times tribulation and judgment involve Israel only, and that Christians are raptured out before it all starts.
we the Church the Body of Christ have no relation whatsoever to Christ’s Second Coming. It is very dangerous to confuse the nation Israel with the Church the Body of Christ. We are to, “Study to shew ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If we are to understand the Bible, we must separate the dispensations from each other…
At the rapture (which could happen at any moment), and before the seven-year Tribulation begins, God will secretly and instantly will remove from earth all people who have trusted exclusively in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour…
At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will be coming for Israel: we have no relation to that event. Jesus Christ’s Second Coming is to rescue Israel from the Antichrist and her other enemies. When we understand dispensational Bible study, we see that we have nothing to do with God’s dealings with Israel.
This explains prophecy teachers’ obsession with monitoring wars and disasters. According to them, Christians can feel a great sense of relief when things really get bad, because they’re expecting an airlift out.
Pardon me, but what a sorry bunch of cowards and deserters.
Anyone who had to take the dread course Statistics in college understands that the only way to understand the complex code at the end of the course is to begin at the beginning, learn each of the simple segments of the equation, and fit them in the right order.
And the only way to get the right answer is to get every single element of the code correct. That’s why this blog book began at the beginning and ground its way through the entire Bible before tackling the end.
We can’t move the players around to fit our script. Just like
- Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years came to pass then was expanded to Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks of years,
- so too Daniel’s 70 weeks, although fulfilled in part by Messiah, had to be expanded by Messiah
to ensure the cooperation of the other signatories to the covenant. And we have to maintain the players and the order of events as Jesus gave them to us in the final version of the script.
And doesn’t it make sense that Jesus focuses his war council on his disciples’ battle plan rather than the enemy’s? His followers are not only the target of his teaching, but most importantly, his followers are also the target of the conflict that began and ends time.
The disciples had clear understanding from scripture and Jesus’ own personal revelations to them of the reason why Jesus wasn’t able to establish his kingdom in their time as well.
Until the kingdom leadership anointed by God falls in line behind him, he can’t return to reclaim the kingdom of heaven and earth.
“if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (II Timothy 2:12-13)
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering / obedience / submission / bowing of the people be.” (Genesis 49:8-12)
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel…Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” (Numbers 25:10-13)
So when Jesus wraps up his tirade on the rebel religious leaders with “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,“ we should recognize the stress driving his anger. We shouldn’t visualize him shouting a curse like a political radical, but weeping in heartache, as he is escorted off the premises by security.
The Lord Jesus Christ was not only warning them of disaster, but directing their attention to their own well-known, legally witnessed plan of rescue from what would be disaster after disaster of their own making.
“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God…
- The Lord liveth;
- and blessed be my rock;
- and let the God of my salvation be exalted / lifted up….
- yeah, thou liftest ME up …
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” (Psalm 18)
Did you catch that? The purpose of leadership in the kingdom of heaven and earth is to witness of God’s love for the whole world. The whole point of taking on mortal flesh was for the Savior to redeem all mankind and restore dominion to humanity!
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let THEM have dominion…And God blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
But we see Jesus…bringing many sons unto glory…For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto / share you power with my brethren…And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me…Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house…But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 2:5-3:6)
YHVH’s Savior Empowers Humans To Reclaim Their Own Dominion Through Battle
As he has done throughout history, YHVH’s Savior shares the kingdom, the power, and the glory with his brothers, the sons of God who stand in battle with him against the Adversary.
“Abel…Enoch…Noah…Abraham…Isaac…Jacob…Joseph…Moses…the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens…and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented…wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise…that they without US should not be made perfect…“(Hebrews 11)
And “us” are the people previously known as Gentiles.
“remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Mashiach Yeshua ye are… fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household / chosen servants of God;” (Ephesian 2:9-19)
We lose our identity as Gentiles / Not the People of God when we identify with Yeshua haMeshiach King of Israel.
There is a chasm between Christianity and Judaism created by Christianity’s narrow focus on Jesus Christ as the only Christ / Messiah / anointed one versus biblical Judaism’s faithfulness to the written word of many messiahs.
- The word “Messiah” is an English rendering of the Hebrew word “Mashiach”, whose translation is “Anointed”. It usually refers to a person initiated into G-d’s service by being anointed with oil. (Having oil poured on his head. Cf. Exodus 29:7, I Kings 1:39, II Kings 9:3).
- There are many Messiahs in the Bible. Since every King and High Priest was anointed with oil, each may be referred to as “an anointed one” (a Mashiach or a Messiah). For example: “G-d forbid that I [David] should stretch out my hand against the L-rd’s Messiah [Saul]…” I Samuel 26:11. Cf. II Samuel 23:1, Isaiah 45:1, Psalms 20:6…
- in Jewish thought, the Messianic idea is not the most crucial. However, in Christian thought, the Messiah is paramount.
I put it to you that Christianity’s hyper focus on Jesus is a cheap escape from personal responsibility. Severing Christianity from Judaism allows – not just Dispensationalists, not just Catholics, but also Protestants with Martin Luther’s doctrine of grace – to toss out the clear scriptural demands to identify with haMashiach by becoming hamashiach – a holy, righteous servant of God.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth,” (Isaiah 42:1-10)
This came to pass with Cyrus the Great, king of kings of the Persians.
“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him…I will…open before him the two leaved gates [of Babylon]…that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel…That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil…Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!” (Isaiah 45)
It is utterly inconsistent with the clear statement of scripture to deny that Cyrus is an Anointed One for the purpose of witnessing of the LORD, or to believe “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) and also believe that Abraham was the only anointed prophet during the scattering of nations from the tower at Babel. We are specifically told that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and we know he lived for 350 years after the flood, You can’t possible assume that Noah only had one disciple who went west and no-one else else who went east. History belies that bigotry. We should expect corruption over time, exactly as happened with Judaism and Christianity, but historical evidence demonstrates the same foundational biblical truths are found in Zoroastrianism as in the first books of the Bible, confirming that God’s word was spread throughout all the Gentile world before Christianity came into play.
Zoroastrianism is an ancient Persian religion that may have originated as early as 4,000 years ago. Arguably the world’s first monotheistic faith, it’s one of the oldest religions still in existence…
The prophet Zoroaster (Zarathrustra in ancient Persian) is regarded as the founder…thought to have been born in what is now northeastern Iran or southwestern Afghanistan. He may have lived in a tribe that followed an ancient religion with many gods…similar to early forms of Hinduism.
Zoroastrianism shaped one of the ancient world’s largest empires—the mighty Persia Empire. It was the state religion of three major Persian dynasties.
Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, was a devout Zoroastrian…He ruled by the Zoroastrian law of asha (truth and righteousness)…The beliefs of Zoroastrianism were spread across Asia via the Silk Road, a network of trading routes that spread from China to the Middle East and into Europe.
Zoroastrian concepts, including the idea of a single god, heaven, hell and a day of judgment, may have been first introduced to the [that generation of paganized] Jewish community of Babylonia, where people from the Kingdom of Judea had been living in captivity for decades.
When Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 B.C., he liberated the Babylonian Jews. Many returned home to Jerusalem, where their descendants helped to create the Hebrew Bible…
The Faravahar is an ancient symbol of the Zoroastrian faith. It depicts a bearded man with one hand reaching forward. He stands above a pair of wings that are outstretched from a circle representing eternity.
Fire is another important symbol of Zoroastrianism, as it represents light, warmth and has purifying powers. Some Zoroastrians also recognize the evergreen cypress tree as a symbol of eternal life…
Fire—along with water—are seen as symbols of purity in Zoroastrian religion.
Zoroastrian places of worship are sometimes called fire temples. Each fire temple contains an altar with an eternal flame that burns continuously and is never extinguished.
The basic tenet of Zoroastrianism is that there is a major battle between good and evil…the god of wisdom and light, Ahura Mazda, and the evil being, Angra Mainyu…
Our role in living is to do good deeds and fight for what is righteous. In order to do that, we must follow three basic commandments.
– good actions (spreading love and kindness, healing the sick, sharing Zoroastrianism to others)
– good speech (speaking what is true, not lying)
– good thoughts (not judging people, desiring to do good, not plotting bad events against others)
The observance of the Laws of the Vendidad is an important pillar of the Zarathushtri religion. This includes the concept of menstrual seclusion (the woman is in a state of impurity during menstruation and must stay away from all religious objects including the household fire, and also stay away from her husband during those days) and the dreaded impure state of NASU the corpse is in after death, only touchable by the Nassesalars (corpse-bearers) who may then be purified by ritual means. The Vendidad also carries strong moral injuctions against the acts of homosexuality and prostitution, prohibiting these immoral acts.
Faith, and Hope in the coming of the Saoshyant (Saviour) has sustained our religion through the centuries. We firmly hope, and pray, that Ahura Mazda sends the Saoshyant to the earth to defeat evil and further righteousness (Ashoi). The Zarathushtri religion was the first to proclaim that Ahura Mazda will send the Saoshyant, born of a virgin, and many other religions took on this belief.
We firmly believe that when the Saoshyant comes, the final spiritual battle between the forces of good and evil will commence, resulting in the utter destruction of evil. Ristakhiz, the ressurection of the dead will take place – the dead will rise, by the Will of Ahura Mazda…The Final Judgement of all souls will commence, at the hands of Ahura Mazda the Judge (Davar), and all sinners punished, then forgiven, and humanity made immortal and free from hunger, thirst, poverty, old age, disease and death. The World will be made perfect once again, as it was before the onslaught of the evil one. Such is the Frashogad (Frasho-kereti), the Renovation, brought on by the Will of Ahura Mazda, the Frashogar.
Faith and Hope in in the coming of the Savior is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
“Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him…That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” (Matthew 12:14-21)
But it also applies to those who are chosen to take on his name / attributes / power.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you...Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake / namesake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin…But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; And ye also shall bear witness…he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 15:16-27, 16:8)
“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said…lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” (Act 13:46-17)
I spent 60 years defining myself as a Christian while, as a biblically literate individual, struggling with the inconsistencies between the Bible and Christianity – even the brands that claim to be rock solid Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ. See the previous post Everything New is Old Again for details.
The new covenant doesn’t do away with the tiresome commandments of the old, it empowers God’s people, the saints of the Most High, to fulfill the commandments! And this is what sets God’s people apart from all the other nations!
“Peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14)
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people [in a theocratic kingdom].” (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
“I shall eat the passover with my disciples…And he took…the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you…And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is…chief, as he that doth serve…Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint / make a covenant unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:11-30)
Christianity has degraded the whole purpose of the new covenant with the false gospel that Jesus’s death took away the punishment for sin so we can go about our merry way secure in the knowledge that, since we ‘asked Jesus to come into our heart’, no matter what we do, we don’t face judgment. This is a dreadful lie.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized / immersed / merged into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?…our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him [now!] alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body…but yield…your members as instruments of righteousness unto God…Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But now being made free from sin…become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH – BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT!!! …For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH – BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT!!!…For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ / Mashiach, he is none of his [mashiachs].” (Romans 6, 8:1-9)
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright…afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears….For ye are…come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling…
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire….
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines…Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.“ (Hebrews 11-13)
In another biblical contradiction to what is commonly taught in “Bible believing churches” to justify the segregation of biblical prophecy from Christianity, “thy [Daniel’s] people” can’t be limited to the Jews or Israel.
As a eunuch, Daniel was disqualified from leadership in the Israelite theocracy.
“He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 23:1)
“And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death…cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.” (II Chronicles 26:21)
If Daniel’s condition is an unknown factoid readily dismissed for its disturbing sexual content, check out Daniel chapter one where his status is stated no less than seven times.
Castration was an overwhelmingly common practice in ancient times. It’s primary purpose in warfare was to eliminate potential revolutionary leaders from the conquered nation’s royal household, while preserving valuable ministers as slaves to the conquerors. Of course, the practice in general slavery also provided sex slaves for not only homosexual but the common bisexual men.
Early visual images, dating from the fourth millennium BC, from Uruk and associated with Inanna (Ishtar), display three types of human figures: men, women, and what anthropologist Susan Pollock has called “genderless figures,” because they lack hair and genitals. A text dating from the reign of Hammurabi of Babylon (1792–1750 BC ) says explicitly that the goddess of Uruk makes eunuchs…suggests that eunuchs were already by then a widespread phenomena and castration an ancient custom…
In Assyria, eunuchs with such titles as rab sha reshi (“chief eunuch”), rab shaqe (“chief cupbearer”), or sukkallu (“second highest official in the empire”) held the highest recognized authority after the king; and they were often referred to as “the great ones”…from the beginning of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, eunuchs came to dominate civil service. Eunuchs were appointed as governors of major provinces…served as the king’s personal attendants…The royal bodyguard which accompanied the king on his travels and campaigns was made up primarily of eunuchs. Many eunuchs served as army officers, the “chief eunuch” sometimes even replacing the king as supreme military commander on long and dangerous campaigns. Eunuchs were also sent as foreign envoys…Only one official, the castrated superintendent of the palace, had permanent direct access to the Assyrian king…even the crown prince could not come into his presence unless the astrological signs were favorable…
the tradition of using eunuchs as highly-trained and important officers in royal service certainly was passed on from the Assyrians to the Babylonians and then to the Persians…also the Bible relates how, when Nebuchadnezzar first captured Jerusalem in 605, Ashpenaz his rab-saris (REB: “chief eunuch”) had charge of selecting well-bred, handsome youths among the Israelite captives to be taken to Babylon to be made into court servants; and then he oversaw their care, renaming, supervision and training (Dan 1). When Nebuchadnezzar returned again (587) and Jerusalem was totally destroyed the following year, the Babylonian king was again accompanied by his “Rab-saris,” or chief eunuch (Jer 39:3, 13, NRSV)…
in a long passage that the Greek historian Xenophon (c. 435–c. 354) wrote about Cyrus (II) the Great (559–530)…since eunuchs are deemed disreputable by other human beings, they therefore need a master as a protector…if he is trustworthy to a master, there is nothing to prevent even a eunuch from having the first position…It is especially on the ruin of their masters that they have given evidence of their being faithful, for none have shown more faithful deeds amidst the misfortunes of their masters than have eunuchs.
During the reign of Darius I (521–486), after the Persian navy captured the islands of Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos (along the western coast of Asia Minor), the sailors rounded up all of the best-looking boys and then made the “most-favored” into eunuchs, to bring as presents to the king, along with beautiful girls as well for his harem (Herodotus, Persian Wars 6.31–32). The provinces of Babylonia and Assyria sent as tribute to Darius a thousand talents of silver, along with five hundred boys to be made into eunuchs (Herodotus, Persian Wars 3.92).
“the effeminate eunuch embodied shame, impotence, and social deviance” in the ancient world, and was often viewed as “a threatening liminal figure [neither male nor female],” as “something . . . monstrous [and] alien” (Herodotus, Historiae 8.106). Then Jews, made eunuchs by circumstances beyond their control, were forced to leave their families and religious communities behind, and they had to make for themselves a new home in a new land. As Ringrose notes, “All historical eunuchs were ambiguous figures.” Their services were valued, and yet they were often despised.
Daniel’s People Are The International House of God
Daniel served in the Babylonian and Persian governments, so “his people”, while including his nation of origin, also included all the Gentiles in their four empires, AKA “times.”
“And the LORD gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand…And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans…among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names [adopted into the Chaldean nation]: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar.” (Daniel 1:2-7)
“Then the king Nebuchadnezzar…made Daniel…ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon…It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom…three presidents; of whom Daniel was first:” (Daniel 2:46-48; 6:1-2)
“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” (Isaiah 45:1-5)
Henry Kissinger would be a good example of the equivalent role in our time. His nation of origin was Jew, he was forced by war to emigrate from his country of birth, he became a naturalized citizen of another country, but his circle of influence grew to include the whole world.
Henry A. Kissinger, in full Henry Alfred Kissinger, (born May 27, 1923, Fürth, Germany), American political scientist, who, as adviser for national security affairs and secretary of state, was a major influence in the shaping of U.S. foreign policy from 1969 to 1976 under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. In 1973 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam for their efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam War.
Kissinger’s family immigrated to the United States in 1938 to escape the Nazi persecution of Jews. He became a naturalized citizen in 1943. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and in the postwar U.S. military government of Germany. After leaving the service, he entered Harvard University, where he received a B.A. (1950) and a Ph.D. (1954). In 1954 he joined the faculty as an instructor, becoming professor of government in 1962 and director of the Defense Studies Program from 1959 to 1969. He also served as a consultant on security matters to various U.S. agencies from 1955 to 1968, spanning the administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Kissinger’s Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957) established him as an authority on U.S. strategic policy. He opposed Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s policy of planning nuclear “massive retaliation” to Soviet attack, advocating instead a “flexible response” combining the use of tactical nuclear weapons and conventional forces, as well as the development of weapons technology in accordance with strategic requirements…
Kissinger’s reputation as a political scientist led to his role as…assistant for national security affairs. He eventually came to serve as head of the National Security Council (1969–75) and as secretary of state (September 1973–January 20, 1977).
Daniel’s spiritual position in the Gentile kingdoms should be instantly recognized as being the same role as Joseph in the Egyptian Empire – a Melchizedekian priest-king for all people from all nations. See the post The Order of Melchizedek for details.
“Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt…and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt…And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands…And Joseph said…God…hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:41-44, 57; 45:8)
Like Joseph, Daniel’s people are the Hebrews. That includes us Gentile believers, folks. See the posts Father Abraham and Everything New is Old Again for details.
“neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off [what a pun!].
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD [instead of the political ruler], to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, [instead of trusting in the political ruler for status, safety, prosperity like the eunuchs in ancient courts] every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The LORD God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others.” (Isaiah 56:4-8)
Isaiah’s promise to give eunuchs an “everlasting name” is not about fame. It’s about granting the power of everlasting life. This reflects ancient pagan practices of making sacrifices to the gods to extend the length, and improve the quality, of their ancestors’ afterlife. Details on this practice in the post Mark of the Beast. Biblically, this reflects YHVH’s promise that the Adam’s Seed would sacrifice himself to restore all humanity to life.
So if a man died without having a son, that meant not only the end of his family line, but also an end to his human essence in some mysterious and undefined way…It was believed that having a son was the only way a man could ensure his existence after passing away.
Having clarified that the Hebrews are God’s people, that doesn’t eliminate Israel as the lead ethnic group in the united states of Hebrews. The fact of a new covenant with Israel doesn’t completely do away with the other many everlasting covenants made with Israel. These remain in force after only part of the “If…Then” Covenant at Mount Sinai was fulfilled by Yeshua.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people…Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 8:8-10, 9:12-15)
“remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ…who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us...For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:11-19)
Once we understand that Daniel’s people are the Hebrews – all the spiritual sons of Abraham from all nations – we get a whole new perspective on his prophecies.
“And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house [blood dynasty] of Jacob, and tell [another entity] the [adopted] children of Israel…IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people…And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:3-6)
“they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of [the Hebrew] Abraham, are they all children…That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed…Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles...they be called the children of the living God.” (Romans 9:6-8, 24-26)
“Peter, an [Messianic Jewish] apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers [newbies, previously Gentiles]…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time…ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy…Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (I Peter 1:1-5, 2:9-12)
In contrast to many current religious leaders who demonstrate just enough biblical literacy to be dangerous, Yeshua’s disciples were solidly grounded in the entirety of Old Testament prophecy so had a depth and breadth of context in which to fit Jesus’ terse reply to their question of timing. Just like Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years’ incarceration was extended to 70 x 7 years of parole, so Yeshua broke the bad news that, despite the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70 weeks, “the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)
Just think where the Gentile would be, or more accurately, wouldn’t be, if Jesus had returned when Stephen saw him poised to do so, and passed judgment on the rulers, including the Pharisee Saul / Paul. Are we beginning to understand the multiple reasons why Jesus delays his return?
“and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit…And Saul was consenting unto his death.” (Acts 7:58-8:1)
Even when opposing the Christ, like all the other world rulers YHVH used to chasten and conform his people into his image throughout the preceding 490 years, Saul / Paul accomplished YHVH’s will as recorded, though not understood, by Daniel.
“How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
- And I [Daniel] heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be…
- when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:7-9)
“Jesus came and spake unto them, saying,
- All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:17-20)
“As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
“And I [John] saw another mighty angel come down from heaven…And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth…lifted up his hand to heaven. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever…
- that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
- And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book…Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Revelation 10)
We have more than the two requisite witnesses to a truth: Daniel, Luke documenting Paul’s memories, John, and an angel from heaven.
The End Doesn’t Happen Until The Holy Power Is Scattered Throughout the World
Saul / Paul exemplifies for all who claim to witness of the Christ by bearing his name / identity that this entails suffering, and a self-sacrificing love for people whatever ethnicity they may be, however much they may have harmed us.
“he is a chosen vessel / messianic one unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel…great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites…Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:1-5)
Nobody can deny the persecution that all the apostles did in fact experience, including suffering and martyrdom, and that their Christ-likeness is what spread the Gospel through the known world.
They were killed because they claimed to be eyewitnesses of Christ’s death and resurrection. They all died because of an unwavering, unrelenting claim that Christ rose from the grave…This article doesn’t cover all the evidence so you might want to check out 14 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus and 14 References.
The gruesome death of the apostles…is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to the Church. It contributes much to Christian apologetics by answering the question “How can you be sure of the resurrection of Christ?”
“Then shall they deliver you [Christ’s followers] up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another…And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:9-14)
What we find when we don’t just hop and skip over Bible passages like a Chinese menu, choosing only the ones we like, is that ALL followers of YHVH’s Savior are called to witness of the resurrection of Christ through our faith that we too will be resurrected. And the greatest evidence of our faith in resurrection to a higher quality of life is our willingness to give up the lesser, though admittedly valued, benefits of this life, even to die if called to follow in that path.
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And…became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him…to become the sons of God…we are the children of God:…if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Hebrews 5:7-8, John 1 :12, Romans 8:16-18)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ…unto the church of God which is at Corinth…Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;” (II Corinthians 1:1-10)
“I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach [talk about, debate] Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” (Philippians 1:12-30)
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (I Peter 5:8-10)
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an [even just one] ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the [Gentile] churches. (Revelation 2:9-11)
I plagiarized the theme of the Bible from the Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher. Beyond the basic escapism of well written mystery stories, the author vividly portrays hyper dimensional beings which helps me better conceptualize that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness in high places,” to understand what the early pagan converts understood.
Most of all, I like how the protagonist, Harry Dresden, portrays the essential right-eous character of self-sacrifice and perseverance against insurmountable odds in the face of death. You just don’t find heroes like him in contemporary Christian writing, fiction or otherwise. Unfortunately, the main focus in Christian writing is on what sins a character doesn’t commit rather than what acts of faith they commit to. Unlike the imperfect leaders in the Bible like Adam, Moses, David and Paul.
And we just don’t find spiritual heroes in real life either. And so, although YHVH’s Savior could have wrapped up the history of the world, thanks to a self-centered, self-serving, and self-indulgent bunch of religious leaders, humanity has been forced to endure 2000+ years of Middle Earth Times and still counting.
It can’t be that difficult to grasp that there are so few truly qualified leaders in the spiritual domain prepared to assume positions in God’s government.
The End comes when God’s ministers are prepared for the transition of power.
Surely we understand this on the lesser level of human government. When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, his existing staff made it possible for him to immediately take over the government. Concurrently with writing this post, President Trump has been refusing to cooperate with a peaceful transition of power. This raises serious concerns for the ability of the incoming leaders to maintain the stability of the American government.
Democrats are growing increasingly alarmed as Mr. Trump repeatedly…suggests that he might not accept the results if he loses…
“He’s clearly accelerating his effort to set up a challenge to an outcome that is unfavorable to him…”
“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Mr. Romney wrote. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Surely we understand that on the far more powerful spiritual plane we mere mortals need to develop our spiritual abilities. Read a few of the Dresden Files books if you are drawing a blank here.
In God’s kingdom, we are meant to transform into the likeness of our Savior by following the same process he underwent – submitting our will to the will of the Father. And it’s not any more comfortable than a drug addict trying to kick a heroin or methamphetamine habit!
It is no different from any child developing social skills and self-control through mastering self-will through ever higher levels of practice, practice, practice. As one of my son’s high school teachers explained, “You decide if you want to work at a fast food restaurant or in a profession by how you apply yourself now.” You have to give up the comforts of sleeping in, staying up late to watch captivating television programs or play video games, and partying with friends. You have to withdraw into your own wilderness to study and acceptance rejection of family and friends who resent your changes. And frankly, only a small percentage of humanity does develop increased levels of ability and knowledge we call professionalism.
I had to quit going to prayer meetings, and every time someone asks me to pray for someone’s affliction, I have to bite back my response. “Please pray for God to….” How about you personally put yourself out like take a meal, spend time comforting and exhorting the afflicted, provide some financial support? God is not a vending machine! Christianity has devolved into a Name it and Claim it magical process even by the most devout.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God…
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office…according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness…Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” (Romans 12:1-14)
So, we are stuck on a hamster wheel until spiritual leadership muscles up.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them…all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet…(Matthew 24:6)
All These Things Must Come To Pass
“Comes to pass” describes a circular wheel passing over and over again. Or a printing press. The past informs our knowledge of the future. The Savior didn’t come up with new prophecy in Matthew 24. This list of catastrophes is the standard MO of biblical chastening of God’s people, whether the geopolitical state of Israel or the international body of believers.
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement…then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:4-8)
Ideally, these disasters drive humans from every walk of life, not just the Jewish religious leaders, to call out to the Most High God for salvation who they learned about from those who have merged their identity with YHVH’s savior.
“Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth…I will publish the name / ways of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he…
For the LORD shall judge his people…See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me / my name / family.” (Deuteronomy 32)
We can collate Daniel’s words in chapter 11 with Jesus’ updates in Matthew 24 to sequence the signs of the times, while realizing that once a ball gets rolling, the momentum keeps it going, until they all merge like a hurricane into one totally chaotic maelstrom.
- Many shall come in my YHVH’s name and shall deceive many leading to
- Wars with associated famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places leading to blame and
- World-wide tribulation on YHVH’s people who shall fall by the sword, by flame, by captivity, and by spoil…to try them and to purge and to make them white, leads to
- Religious leaders taking offense, betraying and hating YHVH’s people leads to
- Rise of false prophets leads to
- Forsaking the holy covenant, which in Jesus’ update of Daniel’s prophecy certainly means the New Covenant in his blood so these prophets are within what we call Christianity.
- Israel places the abomination that maketh desolate in the holy place.
- The vile king shall exalt himself and shall plant the tabernacles / tents / bivouac of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.
- Then shall be great tribulation not just on YHVH’s people but all humanity, since except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved:
- Immediately after the tribulation of those days on all humanity shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
1st Sign: Many Messianic Claimants
“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word rendered “Messiah”, so Yeshua, speaking Aramaic or Hebrew to his disciples, would have said, “Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Messiah”. And this clarifies what to expect. Ethnocentricity can veil understanding for Christians as much as Jews. The “anti-christ” in Christian parlance is quite different from what “the messiah” means in different ethnicities.
Remember, a name is an attribute, specifically of power, like “Spiderman” or “Ironman.” The one thing all messiahs offer is victory against oppression. The one distinctive claim of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua of Nazareth in ~30 A.D. is victory over death, proven by witnesses to his resurrection.
Messianism is the belief in the advent of a messiah who acts as the savior or liberator of a group of people. Messianism originated as an Abrahamic religious belief, but other religions have messianism-related concepts…
Belief in false messiahs has caused untold Jewish suffering over the past 2,000 years, and threatens us today. The medieval sage Maimonides, considered a heretic in his day, but now venerated by today’s Orthodox, declared that all Jews must affirm, “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the messiah and even if he tarries, nevertheless, I will await him every day.” For the Orthodox, perfect faith means “blind faith” and provides a perfect storm for disaster. History confirms Einstein’s observation that “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.”
The word “dis-aster” literally means a bad star, and one of the greatest disasters in Jewish history was brought about by the so-called, “son of a star,” or in Aramaic Bar Kochba, the false messiah, who was heralded by Orthodox legend Rabbi Akiva, as the long awaited Jewish king, who would deliver the Jews from Roman occupation. This irrational claim led to an ill-advised Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 CE, which resulted in the loss of our homeland and nearly 2,000 years of bitter exile and tragedy for the Jews.
On Dec. 25, we recall an even more famous false Jewish messiah with dire consequences, when Christians celebrate the alleged birth of Jesus, who was also claimed to be born under a star. Absurdly believing that a crucified failed leader of a Jewish revolt against Rome was the messiah, these misguided Jews, spread a crazed messianic fervor to even less informed non-Jews that produced a pagan off-shoot of Judaism that subjected millions of Jews to centuries of ghettos, inquisitions, crusades, pogroms and the Holocaust, because of our refusal to accept idolatrous, mythological beliefs about Jesus.
Given the pagan off-shoot of Judaism that became Christianity, and the horrific history of persecution of the Jews by Christianity, this rabbi’s rejection of the leader(s) of that corrupted belief system is on target. Christianity replaced the lowly Jewish Yeshua hamashiach with the socially acceptable Sol Invictus. Unfortunately this rabbi overshoots as he tracks back in time to pinpoint the false messiahs, but he is on target in current events.
Today, this blind messianic fervor takes an innocuous form in some Orthodox Jews who declare the late Rebbe Menachem Schneerson as the messiah, but is far more sinister when it comes to the abject, craven genuflection of many right wing Jews to Donald Trump. Like Sabbatai Zevi, Trump approved and shared by twitter the blasphemous claim by one of his “nitwitter” followers, that he is “the King of Israel and the second coming of God.” Trump also denounced most American Jews as disloyal, (an old anti-Semitic canard), if they do not support him. Rather than defending fellow Jews and the Jewish religion from sacrilege, most right wing Jews place their blind faith in Trump over their Jewish faith.
You do realize that this does applies equally to right-wing Christians who place their blind faith in Trump over biblical faith.
In Islam, Isa Ibn Mariam, al-Masih (“Jesus son of Mary, the Messiah”) is believed to have been anointed from birth by Allah with the specific task of being a prophet and a king. In Islam, the Mahdi is believed to hold the task of establishing the truth and fighting against divisions of Islam, uniting all sects before the return of Jesus who will kill the false messiah Al-Masih ad-Dajjal(similar to the Antichrist in Christianity)…Mahdi’s final task will be to become a just king and to re-establish justice. After the death of Mahdi, Jesus’ reign of the messianic King will begin bringing eternal peace and monotheism in the world ending all religions besides Islam…
He whom God shall make manifest (Arabic: من يظهر الله, Persian: مظهر کلّیه الهی) is a messianic figure in the religion of Bábism…described…as the origin of all divine attributes, and stated that his command was equivalent to God’s command…The prediction is widely recognized as being fulfilled by Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí Faith…
Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Śākyamuni Buddha, founder of Buddhism. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya…is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an actual event that will take place in the distant future…Although…Buddhists in different historical contexts have conceived of Maitreya Buddha in different ways…
In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि; also rendered by some as Kalkin and Kalaki) is the tenth and final Maha Avatara (great incarnation) of Vishnu who will come to end the present age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. The…Sanskrit word “kalka“…refers to dirt…and hence denotes the “destroyer of foulness…”
There has been significant literature on the potential religious aspects of Nazism…In his book on the connection between Lanz von Liebenfelsand Hitler, Daim published a reprint of an alleged document of a session on “the unconditional abolishment of all religious commitments (Religionsbekenntnisse) after the final victory (Endsieg) … with a simultaneous proclamation of Adolf Hitler as the new messiah…”
Romantic Slavic messianism held that the Slavs, especially the Russians, suffer in order that other European nations, and eventually all of humanity, may be redeemed. This theme had a profound impact in the development of Pan-Slavism and Russian and Soviet imperialism; it also appears in…the “Books of the Genesis of the Ukrainian People” (Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius Manifesto), in which…Ukraine will expand universal freedom and faith in all Slavic countries…
Aradia...a Messiah who was sent to Earth in order to teach the oppressed peasants how to perform witchcraft to use against the Roman Catholic Church and the upper classes…Aradia has become “arguably one of the central figures of the modern pagan witchcraft revival…” in various forms of Neopaganism, including Wicca and Stregheria, as an actual deity…
2nd Sign: Wars and Rumors of Wars
World War is the inevitable result of multiple ethnic messiahs seeking to liberate only their own people, in contrast to the one Mashiach who came to free the whole world.
The prophet Zechariah’s vivid description of a team of four horses furiously racing to change history would have been in his and his listener’s minds’ eyes, and should be in ours. John’s description of a future recurrence of this repeating pattern in history matches up.
“And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
- In the first chariot were red horses [war]…
- and in the second chariot black horses…go forth into the north country [famine]
- And in the third chariot white horses…and the white go forth after them [promising deliverance]
- and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses….the grisled go forth toward the south country…and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth – [death from war starting in the south spreads throughout the world]
These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.”
The Fertile Crescent, AKA the Middle East, is always at the center of biblical prophecy, so we can place “the south” as Egypt and “the north” as the vicinity of the ever-warring territories of Asia Minor / Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran.
This does pan out with world-changing battlegrounds.
- nation [ethnic group] shall rise against nation, and kingdom [geopolitical organization] against kingdom:
- “Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against [in the sense of supporting his back] the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates” (II Kings 23:29) in one of the great turning point battles of history that resulted in Nebuchadnezzar rising to power and establishing an empire stretching from Egypt to Persia, through Palestine and Syria, from Lydia (Asia Minor) to the Persian Gulf.
- “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant; then he turned and rebelled against him. And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.” (II Kings 24:1-2)
- “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans [Iraqis], that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land…They are terrible and dreadful…they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence…And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it….imputing this his power unto his god. (Habakukk 1:6-11)
- famines as both weapons and consequences of war
- Jehoiachin…reigned in Jerusalem three months…At that time the servants [allied nations, see paragraph above] of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged…and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
- “the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
- and pestilences
- This would naturally occur from unsanitary conditions during the siege as well as lowered immunity from malnutrition, but biological warfare is also a factor. The earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is possibly recorded in Hittite texts of 1500–1200 BCE…in about 590 BCE, Athens…poisoned the water supply of the besieged town…with the toxic plant hellebore. According to Herodotus, during the 4th century BC Scythian archers dipped their arrow tips into decomposing cadavers of humans and snakes or in blood mixed with manure, supposedly making them contaminated with dangerous bacterial agents like Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium tetani, and snake venom.
- “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD…in wrath remember mercy. Before him went the pestilence, he…drove asunder the nations…his ways are everlasting.” (Habakkuk 3:1-5)
The COVID-19 pandemic…presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating…
Millions of enterprises face an existential threat. Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods…Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families…
The pandemic has been…disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets…the food security and nutrition of millions of women and men are under threat…
Now is the time for global solidarity and support…Only together can we overcome the intertwined health and social and economic impacts of the pandemic and prevent its escalation into a…catastrophe…
Only then can we…ensure that our ‘new normal’ is a better one.
And when in the history of mankind has the powerful generously shared their excess of resources with the helpless?
The same people who urge humans to be generous and kind believe that the principle of survival of the fitness evolved mankind into what we are today. Two concepts completely at odds with each other.
And so, as humanity scrambles to survive without the guidance of the Creator and Sustainer, things will only get worse.
- and earthquakes, in divers places, among nature’s most destructive forces.
- The panic caused by Amos’ earthquake must have been legend in Jerusalem, because 230 years later Zechariah associated his prophecy of doom with that terrifying event.
- Behold, the day of the Lord cometh…I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken…Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations…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. And ye shall flee…like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah:
3rd Sign: Persecution of The Followers of the Jewish Savior
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”
In our ethnocentricity we automatically assume that “my name” is “Christian”. But if we stay consistent with our study, at the time that this was being spoken, the name that was raising such ire was a Jewish name – “Yeshua”, YHVH’s Savior.
Remember from previous posts that name = way. The noun derives from the verb, and is only true when action backs up the claim. The name is a message of salvation from, no, not other people’s oppression, but from ones’ own…sin?! How insulting! Of course they were hated everywhere they declared this distasteful “good news / gospel”.
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?…Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me…
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said [Will you follow me all the way to the end?]…Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master…Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized…the Son of man came…to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:17-45)
“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives….And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matthew 26)
Jesus / YHVH’s Savior’s last lecture to his disciples – those attending in person and those of us distance learners – expands on the outline given in Matthew 24. John, to whom was also given another, even more expanded revelation of the end times, is the amanuensis for Jesus’ last instructions before his crucifixion. I encourage the reader to pore over John chapters 13-18 to understand the critical instructions Jesus gave his disciples to carry on his work. I can only give a brief summary within the confines of this post.
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end….If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him…the Holy Ghost…And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe…
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you…If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake [YHVH’s Savior], because they know not him that sent me [YHVH].
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended…yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee…I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world…Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me…” (John 13-18)
We need to take a long and careful look at that activity of “glorify” Jesus, which is how he glorifies the father, and how Jesus’ disciples also glorify the father.
Uh, no. It’s not emotionally frenzied singing.
Within the time frame referenced as “the hour is come” that Jesus is glorified he was betrayed, arrested, abandoned by his closest friends, falsely accused, viciously beaten, and hideously tortured to death.
Surely that’s not glorified!
Oh yes that is exactly what he meant.
He saith unto…Peter…Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him…When thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.“ (John 21:17-19)
The objective of the war that was started by the Seed of the Serpent has always been the destruction of the Seed of the Woman. Humans who ally with YHVH’s Promised Savior, and especially those who become one with Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ have no reason to expect anything other than to find themselves on the front lines of battle with him, in spirit or in the flesh, suffering with him, and following him even to death.
Searing, heartbreaking, so intense it turns your body into a single tube of clenched muscle, this is simply the greatest war movie ever made…And it redefines the way we look at war…
In the first seconds you understand you are in a different place than you’ve ever been before, unless you survived the Normandy invasion. You’re in a Higgins boat in the gray dawn of June 6, 1944, wet and cold and already exhausted, scudding through the sloppy surf, and all around you men are puking. The noise is astonishing. Your hands tremble; your breath comes in dry, hurtful spurts.
Then the landing gate falls and in the very first instant, zeroed German machine gun fire spits through the boat. At this moment you’ll wish you were elsewhere, as did surely every man in the real thing. In Spielberg’s terrifying version, the bullets seem somehow angry – they pierce the air, trailing a whine or a streak of neon illumination, and when they strike sand or steel, they kick up big, vicious geysers; and there are so many of them, and they come so fastfastfast. But when they strike flesh, they strike it with a thudding finality that reduces a man to maimed meat in a sixth of a second, and takes it all away from him, so that he falls forward obedient only to gravity. He dies like a sack of potatoes falling off a shelf.
Spielberg’s ability to capture the palpable madness of all this borders on the incredible. The first 25 minutes of the film – a re-creation of Omaha Beach from the point of view of an all-too-human Ranger captain, who’s been here and done this, but not at this level of violence – is surely one of the great tours de force of world cinema. From the spillage of viscera, the shearing of limbs, the gushing of blood and the psychotic whimsy of the bullets, to a final kind of fog of panic and soul-deep fear, he makes you glad it was your daddy’s job, and not yours…
the film approaches its true subject, which isn’t heroism, but duty, which is to say, repression. It’s about men who make a conscious decision that the self does not matter; the “personality” is irrelevant; feelings are dangerous…
It’s flat-out terrifying, and the emotion it finally produces in you is more than any other film has gotten, but about one-thousandth of what the infantrymen of 1944 must have felt after one day on the line: utter exhaustion. You feel bled out, and at least emotionally, you have been.
So in the end, this one is for the boys of Pointe-du-Hoc [At the end of the two-day action, the initial Ranger landing force of 225+ was reduced to about 90 fighting men], and also the boys of Utah and Omaha, Salerno, [4,870 American casualties in the beachhead fighting], Monte Cassino [50,000 Allied casualties over five months] , Iwo [more than twice as many Marines than had been killed in all of World War One, more than 800 Americans gave their lives for every square mile], the boys who took the long walk ashore at Tarawa through the Japanese fire [where in 76 hours U.S. Marines suffered almost as many killed-in-action casualties as U.S. troops suffered in the six-month campaign at Guadalcanal], the boys whose last moments were spent in a flaming Fortress over Schweinfurt [59 Flying Fortresses were shot down and 100 heavily damaged, over 500 airmen killed / every 5th crew member], or whatever, wherever, between the years 1941 and 1945. Take a bow…
And to us, their inheritors, it says: Hey, look what your daddies did, what they went through, what they survived or didn’t survive – and be proud. And it also asks us the hardest of all questions: Are we worthy of them?
“Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them…Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus / Yeshua of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it…This Jesus / Yeshua hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses…Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus / Yeshua, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ…” (Acts 2)
You can’t seriously accept the claim that “Gentile Christianity” began at this time. See the post Everything New is Old again for details refuting that false gospel.
“And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner…when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves…that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.” (Acts 4)
“And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women…Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison…Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things…When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5)
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s / Mashiach’s sufferings that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ / Mashiach, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. BUT! let none of you suffer as a [political revolutionary] murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. YET! (so some are!) if any man suffer as a Christian [label for political agitators seeking to overthrow the current government], let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf [when he is arrested for sedition and brought before the court]. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator / YHVH.” (I Peter 4:12-19)
4th Sign: Religious Leaders Taking Offence, Betraying & Hating the Gospel
Faith in the eternal word of God trumps (yes, that’s a pun) an appeal to morality which is often exploited to cement unholy alliances. as well as denominational differences which turns to infighting.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 1:1-11)
“Paul…sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church…said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons…Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.…I take you to record this day…Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:16-31)
And when the Church fell away from the faith once delivered to the saints, it was torn apart by wolves.
The Council of Nice in 325 determined that Church and Synagogue should have nothing in common, and that whatever smacked of the unity of God and of the freedom of man, or offered a Jewish aspect of worship, must be eliminated from Catholic Christendom.
Can we see the pattern through history that the essential heresy in The Church is the elimination of Judaic holiness from the body of Messiah? This is contrary to everything Paul, the chief apostle to the Gentiles, taught and demonstrated as a practicing Jew. Do we fail to recognize how sabotage of true salvation from sin and death continues to our own day? See the previous posts Everything New is Old Again and Pick a Side.
“But there were false prophets also among the people [obvious reference to Israel in contrast to], even as there shall be false teachers among you [converts from paganism], who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying Yeshua haMashiach the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government…count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage…it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (II Peter 2)
In all honesty, we don’t really need to battle the adversary as much as our own human nature.
“in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith…But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (II Timothy 3)
This gospel of righteousness which naturally leads to life is, naturally, viciously opposed in the spirit dimension by the adversary seeking humanity’s destruction.
“no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” (I Thessalonians 3:3-5)
The previous post Everything New is Old Again describes the psychological coping mechanism of splitting which explains how nominal Christians can separate the YHVH of the Old Testament from YHVH’s Savior in the New Testament. The same method for dealing with anxiety also explains how Christians can blacklist non-believers while simultaneously white-washing Christian leaders who engage in sin, despite the overwhelming evidence of self- and other-harming behaviors wreaking havoc and destruction to a Christian witness.
- Peter Ruckman, Sr., one of the strongest advocates of KJV Only, was divorced twice under a cloud of spousal abuse, married three times. His son and namesake, also divorced, murdered his 12 year old and 14 year old sons then committed suicide. Does not Ruckman Sr’s inability to manage his own house say anything about his qualifications as a religious leader? And yet he has such devoted followers that they call themselves Ruckmanites.
- Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard ranted against the evils of premarital sex, adultery, and gay marriage. That is, until he was caught in a gay sex scandal in 2006…Haggard had been a client for years.
- Jim Bakker…perhaps the most popular televangelist in the 1980s…was brought down by…secretary publicly accused the televangelist of raping and drugging her. After Bakker resigned from his ministry, he was charged with accounting fraud and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
- Bakker was replaced by Jerry Falwell, who called his predecessor, “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.” Jerry Falwell Sr., a Southern Baptist pastor…would become one of the leading televangelists in the country. He parlayed that national fame into political influence by founding the Moral Majority, a political group that mobilized conservative evangelical Christians…to support the Republican Party…Falwell Sr. also founded…Liberty University…
- Jerry Jr. succeeded his father as head of Liberty University in 2007… By 2012, the once-ailing Liberty University had more than $1 billion in net assets…GOP presidential candidates sought to win his favor.
In March 2012, the Falwells…met Giancarlo Granda, a 21-year-old pool attendant. Granda told Politico that during this first encounter, Becki Falwell asked him to come back to her room and have sex with her while Jerry watched. The Falwells began flying Granda around in their private jet…also put up $1.8 million to buy and renovate a Miami Beach hostel that would be owned by Granda and Falwell’s son Trey…Enter Michael Cohen…famous as Trump’s lawyer and “fixer”… One of Cohen’s most important duties for Trump had long been to make embarrassing or potentially damaging problems go away. Sometimes that involved making threats to reporters, sometimes that involved arranging payments to women in exchange for their silence. (Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law in arranging hush payments for two women in 2016.) The Falwells now faced such a problem: Someone…had obtained sexually compromising photos. So they asked Cohen for help.
By January 2016, the leading candidates in the Republican presidential race were Donald Trump and Ted Cruz…Falwell lavishly praised Trump during…Liberty appearance (“Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others, as Jesus taught”)…He told one of his own associates, meanwhile, that he was coming “under heavy pressure” (in the Times’s words) to endorse Trump.
Rostom later reported that Cohen “helped arrange” the endorsement…Other evangelical leaders condemned Falwell, with one saying his father “would be rolling over in his grave” if he knew Jerry Jr. had endorsed “the most immoral and ungodly man to ever run for President of the United States.”…Cohen knew about “secrets that can destroy Falwell’s whole world.” Even if the topic never explicitly came up in relation to the endorsement, that’s something Falwell couldn’t possibly have forgotten when he was making up his mind…Over the next two years, one damaging story after another came out about the Falwells…and made broader claims of corruption and mismanagement of the university on Falwell’s part.
Ambrosino reported on how Falwell frequently awarded Liberty loans and contracts to his friends and son, and quoted a source complaining he was running the university like a “dictatorship.”
Roston and Joshua Schneyer revealed that Falwell had given another young man, his and his wife’s personal trainer, ownership of Liberty University’s sports facility.
- Jimmy Swaggart, a Pentecostal televangelist, got his start on television in 1975. In the 1980s, he teamed up with Reverend Jerry Falwell, Reverend James Robison, and Reverend Pat Robertson to use the Christian Right to shape the Republican party…Swaggart’s fall from grace happened in 1988 when it became public that he was cheating on his wife with a New Orleans prostitute…was an avid consumer of porn and experimented with BDSM / bondage, discipline, sadomasochism all while condemning such “immoral” acts.
- Bill Gothard is famous for his homeschooling ministry, known as the Gothard Institute of Basic Life Principles. He promoted extreme submission of women…In 2014, more than 30 women accused Gothard of molestation and assault, including underage girls…Gothard was forced to resign from his ministry, though he resurfaced on the Internet with a blog in 2016.
- Tony Alamo rocketed to fame in the 1970s for preaching a fundamentalist interpretation of Christianity….In 2009, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison. The charges included sexual abuse, transporting underage girls across state lines for sexual purposes, pedophilia, marrying an eight-year-old girl, and child rape.
- Bob Coy was the most famous evangelical pastor in Florida. His Fort Lauderdale megachurch had 25,000 members, and George W. Bush even visited Coy. But it all came crashing down in 2014 when he admitted to multiple affairs and a pornography addiction. He resigned in disgrace.
- Dave Reynolds was a pastor at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church in Sherwood, Arkansas…40 years old when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found evidence that [he was]….visiting child pornography websites… In 2016, Reynolds was charged with 70 counts of possessing or viewing child pornography, a felony charge.
- Doug Phillips was president of an extreme Christian-right group called Visit Forum Ministries. He was…an advocate of the Tea Party conservative political movement. Phillips argued that women must be completely submissive to their husbands and fathers. Daughters should not even have a say in who they marry…In 2013, Phillips was forced to resign after being publicly accused of sexual abuse and assault against a woman by masturbating on the woman multiple times while she cried and asked him to stop.
- Robert Tilton was a televangelist based in Dallas and Fort Lauderdale. It came out in 1991 that he was running a scam where he asked viewers to send him prayer requests, promising to pray over each plea. An investigative report found thousands of requests dumped in a garbage bin––but not until the televangelist kept checks, money orders, and cash for himself.
What happens when those who are supposed to guide us away from sin become sinners themselves? Check out these pastors behaving badly to find out.
- Kenneth Copeland, a Texas evangelist, came under fire for a viral “Inside Edition” video in which he defended his three private jets…He owns an airport close to his Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth.
- Louisiana minister Jesse Duplantis, who himself was implicated in Copeland’s jet scandal, has been in hot water for his own jet-setting lifestyle. He claims God told him he needs a private jet – specifically, a Falcon 7X, capable of carrying 12 to 16 passengers at speeds up to 700 mph. “Now, some people believe that preachers shouldn’t have jets,” Duplantis said in a video posted in 2018…In the same video, he showed off a photo of the three planes owned by his ministry.
- As host of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson is one of the more visible televangelists to emerge on the national stage…In recent years, Robertson, 89, defended Trump before the 2016 election after a videotape emerged of Trump making vulgar comments about women. Brushing it off as “macho” talk, Robertson compared Trump to a phoenix. “They think he’s dead, he’s come back. And he came back strong,” he said on his show.
- In the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, preacher Joel Osteen – who helms one of the largest churches in America with 50,000 members and a 600,000-square-foot stadium – was criticized for not welcoming hurricane evacuees into his Lakewood megachurch. A social media post from the megachurch claimed the building was inaccessible because of “severe flooding.” But locals…posting photos around the church showing streets that were easy to get to…brought negative publicity to the church and Osteen, who has a reported net worth of more than $50 million.
- South Carolina megachurch pastor John Gray gave his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV for their eighth anniversary in 2018…“God helped me to make my wife’s dream come true,” he wrote in an Instagram post showing off the luxury automobile.
- Pastor Robert Jeffress has elicited much controversy for his sentiments toward the LGBT community, Mormons and Muslims…He was appointed one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers and gained national attention when he claimed that “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un,” invoking the Bible’s book of Romans to do so.
Are you sickened yet? Or are you defensive? Making excuses, rejecting demonstrable evidence, accepting claims that they are suffering persecution from the enemy?
“because they received not the love of the truth…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Downfall will happen, not just to leadership – but to their like-minded supporters who are willing to gloss over sin because then they aren’t accountable either. This utter self-centeredness is the essence of evil. This is why rich people will hardly enter into the kingdom of God while those of us who have been oppressed and broken by evil sing praises to the God who rescued us by cutting short and cutting off evil – most of all within our own self-destructive selves.
5th Sign: Many False Prophets Deceive Many
The biggest problem in American Christianity is not society taking prayer and creationism out of the schools, it is professing Christian leaders failing to lead because they have taken the Word of God out of their churches. As we read about Jesus’ interaction with the false religious leaders during his first coming to earth, we can recognize these same groups in our day.
Three high priests were appointed and quickly removed by the Roman governor Valerius Gratus before Caiaphas, suggesting that he was a shrewd collaborator with the Romans [secular government].
As a member of the Sadducees, Caiaphas did not believe in the resurrection…Since Caiaphas was in charge of the temple, he was aware of the money changers and animal sellers who were driven out by Jesus (John 2:14-16). Caiaphas may have received a fee or bribe from these vendors…
His trial of Jesus violated Jewish law and was rigged to produce a guilty verdict. Perhaps he saw Jesus as a menace to Roman order, but he also may have seen this new message as a threat to his family’s rich way of life.
This group is equivalent to the wealthy, politically connected, highly respected and financially supported religious leaders of our day as examined in the post Everything New is Old Again. Money is their god.
the Sadducees collaborated with the Hellenization, or Greek influence, on Israel…They tended to be wealthy aristocrats, out of touch and unconcerned with the suffering of the peasants…Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead as well as an afterlife, saying the soul ceased to exist after death. They did not believe in angels or demons.
This group is equivalent to elite classes who attend church for social reasons but don’t believe a word of it. Praise of men is their god.
when the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, the soferim, or Scribes, were organized by Ezra into a distinct body. These Scribes became the interpreters and copyists of God’s law…
In order to preserve the law of God, it needed to be studied carefully, and all of its precepts needed to be given application according to the ever-changing way of public and private life in Israel. By developing a system of rules for people to follow, they forgot the heart and spirit of the law. Their prescriptions did not allow anyone the freedom to truly seek the LORD.
These Scribes would read the Torah in the synagogues, give commentary, and lecture their disciples. They were…the preservers of the commentaries and additions to the law. This oral tradition accumulated over the course of time into a great mass, and was regarded by most to be equal or even greater than the law itself.
It was to these oral traditions that Jesus so often attacked (see Mark 7:5-13). Even Paul the apostle spoke of himself as having been at one time “exceedingly zealous of the traditions” of his fathers (Gal 1:14).
The Scribes also developed forced interpretations of the law, attempting to find a hidden meaning in every word, syllable, and letter. Jesus charged them saying “Woe unto you, lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge, you entered not in yourselves, and those that were entering in you hindered.” (Luke 11:52).
During the time of Jesus Christ the Jewish people were very dependent upon the Scribes. The language of the Jews was passing into the Aramaic dialect, and most of the people were unable to understand their own Torah, and gladly excepted the interpretation which was given by the Scribes.
This group is equivalent to the leaders of the masses who don’t study for themselves but depend for their beliefs on what they are told in commentaries, like dispensationalists on the Scofield Reference Bible or Clarence Larkins’ The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in the World.
For the masses who blindly follow them without checking out the biblical accuracy of their claims, sloth, the opposite of study, is their god. Ironically, the verse that tells believers to study is a foundational text for Dispensationalism because of the catchphrase “rightly dividing” which purportedly endorses dispensations.
The self-righteous Pharisees came into being during the Babylonian captivity.
During the Captivity or Exile, detailed commentaries on the law appeared in the form of innumerable and highly specific restrictions that were designed to “build a hedge” around the written Torah…according to some Jewish authorities [recognize that tactic of rushing into a power vacuum?]…new legislation had to be produced from that which already existed…it was these “traditions” that Jesus condemned…
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat…they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingersBut all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren / equals.” (Matthew 23:1-8)
The Pharisees formed the largest and most influential religious-political party in New Testament times. They are consistently depicted in the Gospels as antagonists or opponents of Jesus Christ and the early Christians.
The name “Pharisee” means “separated one.” The Pharisees separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people because they considered them religiously unclean.
Middle-class businessmen and trades workers, the Pharisees started and controlled the synagogues, those Jewish meeting places that served for both local worship and education. They also put great importance on oral tradition, making it equal to the laws written in the Old Testament.
The Pharisees were extremely accurate and detail-oriented in all matters pertaining to the law of Moses. While they were sound in their professions and creeds, their system of religion was more about outward form than genuine faith…
Because they taught that the way to God was by obeying the law, the Pharisees gradually changed Judaism from a religion of sacrifice to one of keeping the commandments (legalism).
This is any smug legalistic church group convinced their behavior proves their superior spirituality because their women don’t wear makeup or pants, they homeschool and otherwise isolate their children to keep them pure from society’s corrupt influence. Their morality is demonstrated by fiery judgmental preaching against sin instead of developing the fruit of the Spirit. They don’t convert many sinners because they have no compassion or love, and they don’t see their own sin that drives people away from them. Self-righteousness is their god.
Who better to promote and raise to power the false christ than those who claim to know the true Christ? They rally around him to preserve their self-appointed privileges in this world and fiercely oppose anyone who preaches the true gospel of social equality and charity within the body of believers whose hope for a better life is not materialism and pride of place in the now but spirituality in the hereafter.
the old ruling class and new business class…became increasingly frustrated with the… continuing economic and political instability, their lack of real power and the rise of communism. They believed that a return to authoritarian rule was the only stable future…which would protect their power and money…The conservative elite and the Nazi Party had a common enemy – the political left.
If you think I sound harsh, you should hear Jesus.
“Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him…Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the LORD’s doing…Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder…the chief priests and Pharisees…perceived that he spake of them…(Matthew 21:31-46)
6th Sign: Forsaking the Holy Covenant
the Sinners prayer is what could be termed a modern method in evangelism. No occurrence of a suggested prayer, and certainly not the Sinners Prayer, appears in evangelistic tracts published by the American Tract Society before the 1950s…the oldest still in existence…established in 1825…in all of the tracts predating the 1950s, prayer of any sort is rare…
The most popular tracts containing the Sinners prayer are Billy Graham’s Steps to Peace with God and Bill Bright’s The Four Spiritual Laws…both of these men for years have made regular use of the Sinners prayer in their writing and speaking…
In the summer of 1958, during a training session at the ministry’s new headquarters…[Bright] explains[:] “[O]ne of our speakers for staff training that summer was a Christian layman who was an outstanding sales consultant, a man who had taught thousands of salesmen how to sell. . . . One of the main points of his addresses was that to be a successful salesman a man must have a pitch. . . . He compared the witnessing Christian to the secular salesman. To be effective . . . we must have, in his words, ‘a spiritual pitch.’”…
[T]he Sinners prayer indicates…an entire shift of focus has taken place. The question was once phrased, “Will you accept me?” Now the statement is made, “I will accept You.” . . . God’s sovereignty was once in the forefront of decision counseling and prayer…
the use of the Sinners prayer in evangelistic invitations…does not represent biblical evangelism…of repentance…When it comes to a matter as important as one’s salvation, a proper understanding of what it means to embrace the gospel…should be explicitly stated…turning from sin to Christ…The point being made here is that most versions of the prayer that some have come to put their trust in do not even express the biblical requirements for salvation. . . .
[O]ftentimes [the] prayer becomes the object of faith. . . .[P]ersons who have prayed the prayer associate their salvation more with the act of repeating the words than with the work of Christ made manifest in their life. . . . [T]he idea of a person inviting Christ into his/her life is not biblical. . . .is not always an easy thing to do. For children, who have not yet develope[d] abstract thinking skills and struggle to understand symbolism, the idea can be most confusing. . . . Even for adults the notion may seem obscure, even unintelligible. . . . [A]ltar call respondents who have prayed the Sinners prayer are then introduced as being “in Christ” . . . to ensure persons of their salvation based upon this criterion is a grave error . . . we seal people in deception. . . .
becoming a Christian cannot be biblically defined as simply making a decision…this method is faulty at its root…it does not seem to go far enough in establishing an individual’s spiritual condition, nor does it teach adequately the doctrines of the nature of God, sin and salvation, particularly in the case of those unfamiliar with biblical concepts. . . . Can a person be a Christian who professes Christ as Savior but does not follow Him as Lord? Or, to apply this question to the current discussion, is the person saved who has “prayed the prayer” but not lived as a Christian? The magnitude of this question for contemporary Evangelicalism is difficult to overstate because it applies to countless thousands of souls. . . . It would be impossible to estimate the number of persons who are convinced that simply because they have prayed the Sinners prayer they are Christians and, therefore, bound for heaven. While there is no evidence of genuine conversion in their lives, they rest on the “assurance” of their accurate recitation of the words of the Sinners prayer. Many ministers of the gospel will have to accept blame for promoting this notion. . . .
As the salesman’s success is judged by his/her ability to “close” the deal, so evangelistic efforts are often deemed successful to the degree that they produce “decisions” for Christ. In our day, a decision is indicated by the willingness of a lost individual to repeat the Sinners prayer. . . . God is looking for more than professions of faith…A genuine conversion is the ultimate goal…A new disciple…
The Sinners prayer represents an unmistakable and dramatic shift in the theology of evangelism. . . . Most versions are weak in the area of repentance, fail to distinguish between intellectual belief and personal trust, and use symbolic language that may lead to confusion. Further, the prayer represents an approach . . . bordering at times on sacramentalism. . . . The method itself may . . . come to be thought of as having saving power. . . . [W]e may . . . bring people to belief in the efficacy of a prayer and not the efficacy of Christ’s work . . . when we do so, the prayer become a stumbling block to that person’s salvation, the chief stumbling block indeed. On the other hand, we may communicate to people who have not prayed the prayer that they are lost and without praying the prayer they cannot be saved. . . . Therefore, the Sinners prayer must not be understood as the means by which a person is saved. . . . The evangelist must clarify the need for genuine faith, as opposed to the need for words. . . . Given these findings, the Sinners prayer as it is often used has possibly become a more valuable tool in service to the Enemy than it is in service to Christ. . . .
Objections raised to the manner in which the Sinners prayer is utilized as a tool in evangelism are more than theological and methodological in nature; they entail ethical considerations. . . .we simply have an ethical obligation to present the full truth of the gospel and make certain that it is understood and embraced in its entirety[.] . . . Paul’s ethic of evangelism ensures that the gospel, not the method of presenting the gospel, is the stumbling block for those who refuse to believe.
And then there’s putting faith in social change rather than spiritual conversion.
The year 2016 will go into the history books as the year the Religious Right destroyed itself. Instead of trusting in the Lord, the Religious Right, fearful of the future and unwilling to accept an honorable defeat, bowed down in worship not so much to a golden calf as to a copper-toned ass…
Donald Trump has repeatedly displayed xenophobic demagoguery, authoritarian caprice, moral vacuity, and an astonishing lack of prudential judgment…Yet even today many Catholic and Evangelical leaders and pundits continue to support Trump’s candidacy, even to the extent of excusing his most vile behavior, and willfully blinding themselves to the damage such support does to their credibility as moral leaders.
The decline of many evangelical denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, seems to give new credibility to the argument that the Religious Right was, overall, a detriment to Christianity in the United States. Such a claim, however, is difficult to demonstrate empirically.
In the most influential article on this subject, Michael Hout and Claude Fischer made this case in 2002. They argued that, as the Religious Right became increasingly visible and militant, it became associated with Christianity itself. And…many people—especially political moderates and liberals—decided to simply stop identifying as Christians altogether…
American Grace, by Robert Putnam and David Campbell…A subsequent study by Hout and Fischer… “Reconsidering the Role of Politics in Leaving Religion,” the authors provide new evidence that disagreement with the Religious Right was a catalyst for some people’s withdrawal from Christianity…
In the realm of politics, the Religious Right was an abysmal failure. It was an effective fundraising tool for Republican politicians, but its lasting victories in terms of social policies are difficult to name…
Despite the hundreds of thousands of Americans that formally joined institutions associated with the Religious Right, and the untold millions spent on lobbying and activism, the movement’s long-term impact on public policy seems negligible. It is hardly surprising that the Religious Right is no longer even perceived as a relevant force in U.S. politics. Far from a kingmaker in the political arena, the Christian Right is now mostly ignored…
if the research on religious decline and the Religious Right is correct, and the movement played even a small role in expediting the decline of Americans’ religiosity, it deserves to be judged as one of the most dramatic failures in American political history.
7th Sign: Israel Places The Abomination That Makes Desolate In the Holy Place
The abomination that causes desolation is so well defined in scripture that there should be no misunderstanding of what Jesus was referencing. As detailed in the post Seed of the Serpent, an abomination is any collaboration between hyper dimensional evil spirit and human that allows the evil spirit to accomplish destruction in the four-dimensional human environment. The abomination that causes desolation of the center of God’s worship is not simply an idol in the temple or an unclean animal being sacrificed. It is the unrighteous behavior of his chosen people.
Moses, prophesying at the installation of the nation of Israel:
“Ye shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
Do you get that? The ordinances are not arbitrary principles of good behavior. Like seat belt laws preventing death of motorists, YHVH’s ordinances specifically prevent committing abominations, i.e. opening channels to evil spirit control. We should be able to recognize how the loss of self control, as much in sexual ecstasy as in drug intoxication or mantric worship practices, allows indwelling spirits to express themselves through humans. Sexual perversions are particularly dangerous because the unity capable of being achieved in sexual intercourse allows evil spirits to expand their control from one victim to others. Can we understand that the “souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people” is as much a protection for the innocent as incarcerating pedophiles and serial killers?
- sexual relations between close relatives by genetics or marriage
- Why does Israeli law indirectly support adultery? Today’s broader public morally disqualifies extramarital sexual relations as adultery as long as there is mutual consent…why adultery out of all the commandments relevant to our time?
- killing infants
- Cave drawings…Paintings and carvings of human-animal sexual acts in ancient religious temples also indicate the preoccupation of ancient men with bestiality...during the Spring Fertility Rites of Babylon, dogs and other animals were used for constant orgy for seven days and seven nights…Similarly, Ancient Greeks engaged in bestiality during religious celebrations and festivals…several Egyptian kings and queens had a reputation for engaging in bestiality…the Ancient Romans also incorporated bestiality themes into their mythology…Bestiality flourished as a public spectacle in ancient Rome, where the rape of women (and sometimes men) by animals were used to amuse the audience at the Colosseum and Circus Maximus. Similar to Ancient Egyptian leaders, many Roman emperors and their wives were known to engage in bestiality or to enjoy watching others engage in bestiality, including Emperor Tiberius and his wife Julia, Claudius, Nero, Constantine the Great, Theodora, and Empress Irene.
- There are no current laws against bestiality in Israel today.
- homosexuality (Leviticus 18)
- Gaycities.com named Tel Aviv as the gay capital of the Middle East. It has an exotic Mediterranean laid-back attitude. Tel Aviv beat New York as the best gay city in the world in their reader poll a couple of years ago.
- Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image,
- Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary…
- Many Israelis keep the Sabbath very strictly; and equally many don’t keep it at all. There are many who keep several aspects of the traditional religious and family values but don’t keep the other aspects of the Sabbath.
2. Isaiah, prophesying prior to the Babylonian exile:
“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, To turn aside the needy from judgment to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! [And when these rulers go through hypocritical motions of worship] He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 10, 66)
3. Ezekiel, prophesying during the first phase of Babylonian rule, prior to the destruction of the temple:
“Ye eat with the blood, lift up your eyes toward your idols, shed blood, stand [like a crutch, depend] upon your sword, ye work abomination, ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife, and shall ye possess the land?” (Ezekiel 33)
4. Jeremiah, prophesying when
“the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem:…the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, have only done evil before me from their youth…they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it, And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom…cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech…this abomination…(Jeremiah 32)
Desolation is also documented as occurring throughout history. It is the guaranteed consequence of abomination. It is war. Yes, the instrument is temporal power, but the one who wields the sword is Almighty God.
“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant…I will bring the land into desolation.” (Leviticus 26)
“I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them…The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.” (Deuteronomy 32:23-25)
“And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.” (Isaiah 10, 66)
I will lay the land most desolate…the mountains of Israel shall be desolate…I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” (Ezekiel 33)
“therefore thus saith the LORD…this city…shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence…this land…It is desolate.” (Jeremiah 32)
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts / armies, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah...they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein, Because of their wickedness…to serve other gods Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth…the cities of Judah and Jerusalem…are wasted and desolate…because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation” (Jeremiah 44)
The Babylonian Exile was not simply a punishment to balance the scales of justice. It was doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. And when it wasn’t adequate, God extended the time frame for achieving it.
“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings…
- Thou, O king Nebuchadnezzar, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. Babylonian
- And after thee shall arise another kingdom Persian
- and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. Greek
- And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: Roman
in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom…it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:36-44)
I’m afraid we miss the the long range focus of the prophecy. “In the days of these kings”- all the kings beginning with Nebuchadnezzar through the entire duration of Gentile rule – God is setting up his righteous kingdom. And his kingdom is more powerful than the fiercesome Roman dominion and consumes all the kingdoms – the whole world, not just Israel. Like Washington, his geographical base of operations is clearly stated to be Jerusalem, but his field of operations has always been control over the whole world.
The extended period of chastening included domination of Israel by the Persian, Greek and Roman cruel taskmasters under God’s control for his purposes until, like the Hebrews in Egypt, his people voluntarily cried out for salvation.
“Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations? For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day…As I live, saith the LORD God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out
- I will rule over you…
- I will cause you to pass under the rod
- I will bring you into the bond of the covenant
- I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me…” (Ezekiel 20)
With this in mind, it should make sense that the specific abomination described in Daniel’s prophecy of the future, while within the general category of human collaboration with evil spirit empowerment, is a specific type of collaboration.
It is the political alliance of the Jewish leadership with any military power which begins with the Jews voluntarily collaborating with a warmongering nation in the delusion that this nation will protect them from their enemies.
“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared…if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries…Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods… it will surely be a snare unto thee.” (Exodus 23)
“We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates [to the refugees from approaching armies], that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:” (Isaiah 26:1-4)
“Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against…Jerusalem…on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?…Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you…make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us…Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?…And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts / armies, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims / elite guards, thou art the God, even thou alone… thou hast made heaven and earth. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries…O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying…This is the word which the Lord hath spoken concerning…the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it…For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed.” (Isaiah 37)
But despite this amazing, supernatural, divine intervention, Hezekiah makes a covenant with a wicked nation.
“king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah [offer of alliance]. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them…all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not [as part of the terms of the alliance]. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said…Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 39)
Bear in mind that Hezekiah was the most exemplary king in all of ancient Israel, apparently even more so than king David!
“He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.” (II Kings 18:5-6)
So why such harsh judgment on the alliance with Babylon?
Who says it is judgment? There is a difference between punishment and consequences. Look back at the original commandment against making a covenant with idolatrous nations in Exodus 23 where the LORD says not to do it because “it will surely be a snare unto thee.” The bottom line is simply that two cannot walk together except they be agreed.
- “An unjust man is an abomination to the just:
- and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.” (Proverbs 29:27)
Hezekiah’s interaction with Babylon is documented for our learning. Any time God’s people trust in an ungodly political alliance for their economic and military safety, we are inevitably doomed due to the perfidy of the enemy. In case you miss that, that means the Moral Majority and the Religious Right.
Daniel’s, and Jesus’, prophecies of future abomination that causes desolation must be interpreted within the historic template.
“[The vile king] shall…
- have indignation against the holy covenant…
- and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant..
- such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries
and THEM that forsake the holy covenant
- shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and
- shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they
- shall place the abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:30-31)
The group of corrupt Jews who forsake the holy covenant to ally themselves with the vile king contrast sharply with “the people that do know their God” who resist the vile king and therefore “fall by the sword, by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.”
The following writer provides a hermeneutical analysis of what are obtuse prophetic statements for those who don’t have their own background of scripture to understand Daniel.
These four verses are not only prophecy, but they are also poetry. A poet can take a bit of license, especially with form. Hebrew poets (and angelic ones) are no different, and one of their favorite devices was contrast. They would take subject A and contrast it with subject B, as in Proverbs 15:18: “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”
Gabriel does the same with this prophecy. It is composed of two similar contrasts that we will label A1/B1/A2/B2…The verses below are formatted this way to help in understanding the prophecy. This is very important because if it is not heeded, one will credit Antichrist with things that should be credited to the true Messiah…
A1: seven weeks and sixty-two weeks…And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
B1: and the people of “the prince who is to come” shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
A2: He / Messiah shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
B2: And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
Christ makes the covenant, not Antichrist!
There is historic biblical precedence for a covenant made between Jewish rulers who forsake YHVH’s covenant to make alliance with the rulers of Daniel’s four prophetic kingdoms. They do not, however, fit into the schedule of a 7 year tribulation period.
“ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the LORD God…your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. For the LORD shall rise up…he shall be wroth…and bring to pass his act, his strange act.” (Isaiah 28:14-21)
In conformity with the Mosaic code, the precedent set with Manassas, the thundering denouncements made by multiple prophets, and history providing unquestionable validation, the abomination that causes desolation is defined as an unholy alliance with foreign powers.
Daniel’s prophecy first came to pass in the second century BC under the Greek Seleucids and gives us a solid basis for understanding its future recurrence. Don’t overlook the fact that Daniel described a single abomination, while Yeshua reports “overspreading” of multiple “abominations”.
The Seleucids gained supremacy in Palestine through the victories of Antiochus III in the Fifth Syrian [northern] War at the beginning of the second century B.C. The king entrenched his success by showing favor to the Jews for their assistance against his Ptolemaic [southern Egyptian] rivals….[Emphases added here and below.] Those benefactions set the tone for three decades of cordial collaboration between the Seleucid regime and the Jewish nation. Greek poleis [cities] flourished in Palestine, and Jewish intellectuals felt the influence of Hellenic culture. Appointment of the high priest, it appears, was subject to the approval of the Seleucid monarch…
Trouble began…from individual ambitions and family rivalries within the Jewish state...
Jason seized the occasion to aim for the High Priesthood [held by Onias]…[had intelligence] shrewdly offered…a promise to increase revenues through higher taxes…
The Jewish leader, who had already changed his given name from Jesus [with its Jewish cultural implications] to Jason [with its Greek cultural implications]…offered…to register the “Antiochenes” in Jerusalem…as the installation of a Greek politeuma of Hellenized Jews within the city of Jerusalem…
The installation of a Greek politeuma, i.e. a government for the administration of civil affairs applicable to the Antiochenes living in Jerusalem, has major implications which is well worth taking our time to understand.
Antioch was founded near the end of the fourth century BCby Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great‘s generals…eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East…the capital of the Seleucid Empire…63 BC, when the Romans took control, making it the seat of the governor of the province of Syria…
It was also the main center of Hellenistic Judaism – ‘”The main religious issue dividing Hellenized Jews from traditional Jews was the application of biblical laws.”
What Jason was offering was to transfer the civic duties, such as paying taxes in the form of both money and sacrifices, of the Hellenized Jews from the theocratic Commonwealth of Israel to the Greek ruler. This was a slippery slope indeed, as will be seen as we return to our episode in Jewish history.
Menelaus, the envoy sent by Jason with revenues for the king, lusted after supreme power himself. He took a leaf from Jason’s book, promised Antiochus more money than his superior had provided, and won the king’s consent for his own appointment as High Priest. The new appointee was…a sharp break with Jewish tradition…
Menelaus’ tenure as High Priest intensified turmoil and civil upheaval. The new High Priest, we are told, acted in an arbitrary and tyrannical fashion, even expropriating gold plate from the Temple treasury…arranging for Onias’ [rightful high priest overthrown by Jason] assassination…through the connivance of…one of the king’s chief ministers…
[Backed by Menelaus] Antiochus did not scruple to march troops into the holy city, enter the Temple, and cart off priceless treasures to Syria…
A report reached Palestine that Antiochus had been slain in battle, thus inspiring dissidents to grasp at opportunity. Jason returned from exile, crossing the Jordan with a thousand men, and attacked Jerusalem…wreaked vengeance for his setbacks by conducting murderous purges of his fellow citizens…
Antiochus…returned to Jerusalem in a fury, ordering his soldiers to conduct a massacre in the city, the outcome of which, according to II Maccabees, was the death of 40,000 Jews and a like number sold into slavery. His authority was to be established unambiguously and ruthlessly…Some time in 167 he dispatched…a force of 22,000 men, to terrorize the populace of Jerusalem. His orders, according to II Maccabees, were to massacre all adult males and sell women and children into slavery…launched an attack on the Sabbath when unsuspecting crowds had gathered on his invitation to review a military parade. Numerous innocent citizens were slain, the city ransacked, and parts of it set on fire…succeeded by a more permanent presence. Seleucid forces occupied a citadel, the Akra and installed there a military colony, an “abode of aliens” according to I Maccabees, a place for “a sinful race and lawless men.” In all likelihood, the garrison expanded with the addition of renegade Jews, the “Antiochenes” enrolled by Jason as citizens of the polis or politeuma a few years earlier; and foreign settlers, the “people of a foreign god” as designated by the author of Daniel. The Akra would serve as a rampart of Seleucid strength in Jerusalem for the next quarter of a century. Dissident Jews took the only recourse remaining to them: flight, escape to the desert and mountains, and preparations for guerilla resistance.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes now readied his most extreme measures…direct interference in the spiritual realm. All previous policy by his predecessors was cast to the winds. To the shock and consternation of the Jews, Antiochus seemed determined to stamp out their religion itself. The king implemented this extraordinary scheme through a series of drastic decrees in the latter part of 167…a general call for allegiance in the Seleucid kingdom. In any case, Antiochus directed subsequent measures quite specifically at Jewish practices, in damaging and disastrous fashion. He forbade burnt offerings, sacrifices, and libations in the Temple; he ordered the erection of altars, shrines, and images, the sacrifice of pigs and other impure animals, the elimination of circumcision, the burning of the Torah, and a range of activities that would require violation of Jewish practices and profanation of religious life. The dictates applied not just to Jerusalem but to the towns of Judaea generally, and evidently also to Samaria. Disobedience brought the death penalty…
His agents entered the Temple, defiled it with illicit intercourse, piled unclean offerings upon the altar, and compelled Jews to eat pagan sacrificial victims and to parade with wreaths of ivy at Dionysiac festivals. The Temple itself was now rededicated to Zeus Olympios and the sanctuary at Mount Gerizim to Zeus Xenios….the introduction of a pagan altar into the Temple at Jerusalem…the first sacrifice of a pig on that altar, an act of unspeakable desecration for the people of Judaea. There was valiant resistance among many of the citizenry. But the soldiers of Antiochus ruthlessly punished dissent, torturing and executing those who preferred martyrdom to capitulation. The measures of the king were devastating and calamitous.
8th Sign: The vile king shall exalt himself and shall plant the tabernacles / tents / bivouac of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.
The historic events were well known when Jesus referenced them to his disciples.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (Matthew 24:15)
“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:” (Mark 13:14)
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.” (Luke 21:20-21)
The following excerpt is from an excellent hermeneutical deduction of “the abomination of desolation” as being the army, i.e. “the people of the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26).
Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:20-21 record Jesus’ words during the Olivet discourse very similarly. The biggest difference between these two gospels is that instead of saying, “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong” . . . .” Luke says, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies . . . .” Luke appears to be defining the abomination that causes desolation…
Graven images and foreign gods are an abomination according to the Law of Moses. The spiritual presence of the deity in the idol was expected to ensure martial victory to its devotees. Through faith in their idols of Zeus, two pagan armies caused the desolation of Israel. The Greeks were the first to do so in the second century B.C. during the Maccabean Wars. Then in the first century A.D., the Romans caused even greater havoc during the Jewish War. The abomination that causes desolation is the Greek and Roman armies with their pagan idols of Zeus and Jupiter on their ensigns that literally caused the desolation of the Holy Land…
The Romans did almost exactly the same thing in A.D. 70! Upon seizing the Temple, the Romans set up their ensigns on the eastern gate and offered sacrifices to them (Wars 6.6.1). The main ensign was Aquila, the eagle that carries ZEUS’ lightning bolt. Here we see a veritable idol of Zeus like that erected 200 years earlier by the Greek army in the Jewish Temple during the Maccabean Wars.
In Iyyar A.D. 66, Gessius Florus entered Jerusalem with the Roman army and killed almost four thousand people in the city. Later that year Cestius surrounded Jerusalem with the 12th Legion. The third time the Roman army encompassed Jerusalem was in A.D. 70 under the command of Caesar Titus.
The presence of the Roman army outside of Jerusalem…was Jesus’ sign to His people to quickly flee the city in fulfillment of Luke 21:20-21. The massacre that ensued in Iyyar of A.D. 66 in the Upper Marketplace immediately after the Roman army entered the city explains why Jesus told his people to drop everything and leave after seeing Jerusalem surrounded by armies in Luke 21:20-21. Similarly Cestius’ arrival to and abrupt departure from Jerusalem in Tishri of A.D. 66 preceded a violent civil war in the city. In both occasions those who failed to quickly leave Jerusalem after seeing these armies put their lives in great risk…
How could Jesus instruct his people to drop everything and flee when they see an army surrounding a city presumably so as to lay siege to it in one verse and then issue the same warning when this army is already inside the Temple? An invading army is not likely to enter a city quickly, usually a protracted siege like the one in A.D. 70 is required before an invading force is able to enter a fortified building inside the city like the Temple of Jerusalem…
Thus in both Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:20-21 Jesus tells His people to flee to the mountains when they first see the Romans.
And this is exactly what they did. They understood what Jesus had warned them would happen because it was a repeat of what Daniel had prophesied that had come true in the not-too-distant past.
As Roman armies gathered to besiege Jerusalem, Believers were able to flee the city, heeding Yeshua’s words in Matt 24…
Let’s update this picture. On what army does Israel currently trust for military security? Based on history and prophecy, this is the army that will turn on Israel in the last days.
Since President Harry Truman decided to recognize Israel eleven minutes after its declaration of independence, the United States and Israel have had a special relationship, which has evolved over time into a web of military, economic, academic, bureaucratic and personal connections at the local, state and federal levels.
Up until the mid-1960s, State Department and Pentagon officials argued that Israel did not need American arms because it was strong enough to defend itself (as evidenced by the Suez campaign) and had access to arms elsewhere…Israel and the United States signed a secret memorandum of understanding in 1965 that marked the beginning of the strategic alliance with the United States…in 1968…the sale of Phantom jets to Israel…established the United States as Israel’s principal arms supplier. It also marked the beginning of the U.S. policy to give Israel a qualitative military edge (QME) over its neighbors.
The Israelis wisely played up their capability to deter the Soviet Union…They began to reap the benefits of this approach on November 31, 1981, when the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) termed “strategic cooperation…”or the first time, Israel was formally recognized as a strategic ally…
The strategic cooperation agreements…shifted at least part of the focus of relations with Israel from Congress to the Executive Branch.
In 1989, the United States accepted an Israeli invitation to establish munitions stockpiles in Israel for use by the United States…missiles, armored vehicles, and artillery ammunition…
By the end of Reagan’s term, the U.S. had prepositioned equipment in Israel, regularly held joint training exercises, began co-development of the Arrow Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile and was engaged in a host of other cooperative military endeavors.
Today, these strategic ties are stronger than ever…
In September 2016, the two governments signed a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY2019 to FY2028…the MOU provides Israel with a record $38 billion in military aid …grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations…pledges to request $500 million in annual combined funding for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs…
in May 2017…the Trump administration announced it was adding an additional $75 million to the MOU signed in September 2016 for Israel’s missile defense programs…
U.S. General Joseph Votel, the head of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), made an official visit to Israel for meetings with defense officials in late April 2018. This was the first time that a head of CENTCOM had ever visited Israel on official business…
Congress passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act in December 2020…includes $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel, and $500 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation…New in this year’s bill is the…permitting of the president to exceed the current limitation of $200 million on the transfer of PGMs in non-emergency situations.
In first, US establishes permanent military base in Israel
For the first time in history, the United States on Monday established an official, permanent military base in Israel…
Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the IAF’s Aerial Defense Command, announced the establishment of the installation on Monday evening.
“It’s nothing short of historic,” he said…US military forces are routinely based in Israel, both for joint exercises and for routine cooperation with the IDF, but Haimovitch described the new base as a meaningful change.
“We established an American base in the State of Israel, in the Israel Defense Forces, for the first time, with an American flag,” he said.
“when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors…” (Matthew 24:32-36)
9th Sign: Then shall be great tribulation on all humanity, except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved:
This describes the World War III.
most of the military operations launched since World War II have been launched by the U.S.
And American military spending dwarfs the rest of the world put together.
The oligarchs are the only ones who benefit.
“THEN if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is messiah / savior, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” (Matthew 24:23)
Where did the Word tell of this before? In his written word of course.
“Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
That would be Israel’s Knesset.
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us…
That would be Israel’s reliance on the American military-industrial complex to save them.
Therefore thus saith the LORD God, Behold, I lay in Zion – NOT WASHINGTON – for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation – SECURITY – : he that believeth shall not make haste.
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report…Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong:
for I have heard from the LORD God of hosts a consumption /utterly consumed, devastation, even determined upon the whole earth. ” (Isaiah 28:14-22)
That would be World War III – desolation, destruction, devastation of the whole earth.
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert;
go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers;
believe it not…
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” (Matthew 24:28)
The disciples certainly understood Yeshua haMashiach’s characterization of eagles gathering on a carcase as Roman peacekeepers swooping in on the spoils of war. The eagle was THE emblem of Rome.
And it hasn’t changed. The fourth world empire stands until it is defeated at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
In our industrial age, oil is among the biggest spoils of war.
Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.
“Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”
For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world’s largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq’s economy or society.
Earlier on Monday, the US army deployed fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the vicinity of the base for security.
The new base will be the fourth in the governorate, and the ninth in eastern Syria.
Having achieved total supremacy, the man in the white hat / riding the white horse, the Leader of the Free World is revealed as the Evil Emperor.
We all know what the Allied forces did in Germany after the fall of Nazi Germany. They raped virtually every woman civilian they could find. Historian Antony Beever himself says that the Allied forces “raped every German female from eight to 80.” He also describes this diabolical activity as “greatest phenomenon of mass rape in history.” This was so great that at least 2 million women were raped, and many of them were raped “as many as 60 to 70 times…”
The Allied forces aspired to morally and psychologically destroy Germany, and one of the best ways they used to humiliate the Germans was rape…
Harry S. Truman hated the Japanese and wanted to treat them like beasts. He said: “The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast…
Sure enough, the Japanese were treated like beasts. One marine colonel told his men: “You will take no prisoners, you will kill every yellow son-of-a-bitch, and that’s it.” There is more. Thomas Goodrich writes:
“Understandably, Japanese soldiers had no more desire to surrender and be tortured than did US soldiers fighting the Indians on the Plains of America a century earlier. Each fought to the finish, but each also saved the ‘last bullet’ for them self. If a Japanese soldier found himself surrounded with no way to escape or kill himself, he committed ‘suicide’ by walking calmly back and forth along the enemy lines until a bullet found its mark. Sometimes ten, even twenty, Japanese would thus kill themselves simultaneously…Not only were there virtually no survivors among the 30,000 men of the Japanese garrison on Saipan, but two out of every three civilians—some 22,000 in all—were either murdered or committed suicide. ‘We just blew it all up,’ admitted one marine. ‘We don’t know if there were women and children or whatever, we just blew them up…’”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Leahy knew that the Japs were treated inhumanely. He said: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were almost defeated and ready to surrender. . . . [I]n being the first to use it, we . . . adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.”
Then there was the rape problem…The following is from historian Thomas Goodrich: Because the great bulk of fighting in the war against Japan was fought on the water, in the air or across islands either uninhabited or sparsely populated, rape is a word seldom mentioned in American war diaries or official reports during the years 1941-1944. When US forces invaded the Japanese island of Okinawa, however, this changed. Almost immediately, and in spite of the bloody fighting, US soldiers began the sexual assault on the females of the island. In one prefecture alone, during a ten-day period, over one thousand women reported being raped. Since most victims would never come forward and voluntarily suffer such shame in a society where modesty and chastity were prized above all else, the number of rapes was undoubtedly much greater than reported…
So pervasive was the crime, and so frightened were the people, that hundreds of Okinawa women committed suicide by swallowing poison or by leaping from the steep cliffs of the island. With their nation’s surrender in August, 1945, Japanese officials were so concerned about the mass rape of their wives and daughters by the victors that they rounded up tens of thousands of girls from poorer families throughout the nation and all but forced them into prostitution at various brothels, or “comfort stations…”
Despite hundreds of thousands of American and Australian occupation soldiers using the rape stations, thousands more preferred taking their sex violently. In the days, weeks and months after the surrender, numerous atrocities were committed as the victors laid claim to the “spoils of war.”
In the spring of 1946, American GI’s cut the phone lines in Nagoya and raped every women they could get their hands on, including children as young as ten. At another city, US soldiers broke into a hospital and spent their time raping over 70 women, including one who had just given birth. The mother’s infant was flung to the floor and killed.
Had Allied occupation commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, spent even half the time on stemming rape as he spent censoring news from Japan or running down real or imagined Japanese war criminals, the attacks would have been curtailed. But, like his opposite in Europe, Gen. Eisenhower, he did not.
It wasn’t until 1996 that “U.N. Court, for First Time, Defines Rape as War Crime.”
Failure of any savior other than God’s anointed is inevitable and unalterable because Satan’s promises of empowerment are truly and simply unreal. The difference between holy and evil spirit empowerment is the difference between love and lust.
Love stays committed through good times and bad to support each other. Get it? That means we humans stay committed to Jesus Christ as well as depending on him to stay committed to us.
“Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end…Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” (Hebrews 2:12-14)
Lust stays utterly self absorbed in an unending series of impersonal encounters for a rush of feeling anything to overcome the isolation of disconnectedness they impose on themselves by refusing to give of themselves.
“wars and fightings…come…of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain…Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” (James 4:1-5)
At least 37 million people, and possibly up to 59 million, have been displaced by America’s “global war on terror” since it was launched by former President George W. Bush’s administration nearly 20 years ago, according to a new report from Brown University’s Cost of War project…
“The US post-9/11 wars have forcibly displaced at least 37 million people in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria. This exceeds those displaced by every war since 1900, except World War II,” the report states.
Millions of others have been displaced in smaller conflicts involving US forces in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, according to the report.
10th Sign: Behold, he cometh with clouds (Revelation 1:7)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” (Matthew 24:28)
During what has become a global thermonuclear war, the worst case scenario happens with clouds of fire and ash darkening the sun and moon, and stars – objects in space, like satellites and ICBMs – falling from heaven. Current nuclear bombs are 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Do we really believe that a megalomaniac world leader could resist using nuclear weapons?
In such a war, we can understand from simple common sense that “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)
Yeshua’s arrival to save the day has always included clouds. Perhaps in our day and age we can grasp that these, like nuclear weapons, are a hyper dimensional counter-weapon? Perhaps something like matter against anti-matter?
“And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire...And the LORD came down…and Moses went up.” (Exodus 19:16-20)
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:1-14)
“Jesus…being assembled together with them…while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.‘ (Acts 1:1-11)
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-32)
“Behold, I shew you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In…the twinkling of an eye…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (I Corinthians 15:51-53)
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen / this is the truth.” (Revelation 1:7)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve a got a good life on this earth and I’m happy and at peace. I am loved by my family, I have more friends than I can keep up with, I make a very comfortable living and have a fulfilling career. I’m in no rush to have it end. Unlike untold millions of other people throughout history, I am not calling out for Jesus to save me from persecution or death.
I have to admit that redemption – of God’s People, of all Creation – is delayed by the lack of his people’s interest in it.
What will it take?
Absolutely not the prosperity gospel.
The right response to tribulation. God forgive us, we are not finding it in church.
I’ve heard it on Audible.
Voices filled my ears. Thousands of whispering voices whispering secret, obscene things, vicious poisonous lies, horrible truths…I felt the pressure of those voices coursing into my head like ice picks…and there was nothing, nothing I could do to stop them. I felt a scream building…
And then a strong hand slammed down on the crown of my head, and a deep voice thundered [Clean what is unclean!”]
I opened my eyes to find Michael kneeling over me…His eyes were closed and his lips were moving…he murmured, “Lord of hosts, be with this good man and give him the strength to carry on.’
I didn’t feel anything mystic, there was no surge of power, or magic…just Michael’s quiet, steady strength, and the sincerity of the faith in his voice…I clenched my jaw…and pushed away the memory of those tiny, horrible words…the stinging tears…
“All of you, hear me,” he said quietly. He stood between them – fallen angels, monsters, and mortal fiends – and me. “You think your power is what shapes the world you walk in. But that is an illusion. Your choices shape your world. You think your power will protect you from the consequences of those choices. But you are wrong. You create your own rewards. There is a judge. There is justice in this world, and one day you will receive what you have earned. Choose carefully.”
He was in that moment a messenger, and no-one who heard him speak could doubt it.” (From Skin Game, The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher.)