Key Precept: The end begins with judgment on God’s people.
Stepping stone on the path to eternal life: Get a good lawyer.
The end of the world is called “The Day of the LORD” because this is when YHVH / Creator and his sanctified ones seize control back from the Adversary and his followers.
The God of the Bible is not a wuss. His war banner reads “Vengeance is mine, I will repay!“
“Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand!
- I have commanded my sanctified ones,
- I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness…
the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle…
As detailed in the post In Earth As In Heaven, the LORD’s sanctified and mighty ones are both angelic and human sons of God.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it…I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isaiah 13)
As detailed in the post The Hebrew Nation, sanctified humans, AKA saints, are people from all nations who accept YHVH / Creator as their Father / national identity and authority, giving power, and glory, and honor, and blessing to him.
The alternative is to elevate a created being in his place – gods / aliens, scientists, philosophers, religious leaders, or self, as the ultimate authority.
This is blasphemy.
“the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:18-22)
As detailed in the post The Law of Moses, the saints of God are not confined to the nation of Israel in either the Old or New Testaments. Enoch and Noah before the flood, and Abraham and Isaac after the flood are just four people proving that the saints of God identifies individuals from Adam onward who assembled themselves under God’s human Melchizedek. Shem provided continuity from the pre-flood to the post-flood world in the assembly of saints. At the time of the dispersion of all people into nations at Babel, Shem is identified as the father of all the children of Eber, i.e. the Hebrews. This is the entire body of believers who put their faith in YHVH’s Promised Savior.
“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ…to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ / YHVH’s Promised Savior, and called…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. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 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…And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all. (Jude 1)
As detailed in the post The Promised Land, as the nations grew in numbers and power and the Hebrews were dispersed throughout the world, God established the nation of Israel as his governing body with his capitol as Jerusalem. That delegation didn’t wipe out the Hebrew believers who were still acknowledged by God be his sons. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to Bible believers who take “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) at face value.
“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine…
I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things?
- let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified:
- or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
YE are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD / I AM Self-Existent Eternal One; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day / time was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?…This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” (Isaiah 43)
It is commonly assumed that this passage applies only to Israel and that “the seed of Israel” is the same as “the sons of God”. Yet we know that YHVH’s Savior “came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:11-12)
And the next chapters in Isaiah validates that people from any ethnicity can be both the sons of God and the seed of Israel. How? As detailed in Father Abraham, through adoption.
“Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun / Upright One, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
- One shall say, I am the LORD‘s; and
- another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and
- another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:1-8)
Some day, the conflict over truth and lies, eternal life over eternal death, will come to a climax.
“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great” (Revelation 11:16-18)
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle…THEN shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem…and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee…And the LORD shall be king over all the earth.” (Zechariah 14:1-10)
“Jerusalem is the city which I have chosen me to put my name there” (I Kings 11:36).
As detailed in the post The Promised Land, the name Jeru-salem is a signpost for peace and how to make it. Yet Jerusalem as been fought over more than any other place, even before there was the nation of Israel. According to multiple prophecies, not to mention logical conclusions from history and current events, before there can be peace the LORD is going to have to fight to gain control of Jerusalem.
“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him…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. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD / YHVH / Creator, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 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…Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!…But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isaiah 45)
Note carefully how the nation of Israel witnesses of the LORD, YHVH Self-Existent Eternal One “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:” (I Timothy 6:16).
Mortal four-dimensional humans cannot survive an encounter with hyperdimensional God. This is based on physics, not an arbitrary mandate, and is witnessed throughout world religions. The movie The Man Who Would Be King nails the fatal hubris of the main character with this concept. The imposter god’s mortality is revealed by the woman who, in terror for her life when he tried to embrace her, lashes out, drawing blood.
Mortals need mortal witnesses of God’s past occasions of salvation in order to put their trust in him for their current and future deliverance from certain destruction.
“And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said…I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay. Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee…God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not…That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man…He [man] is chastened…If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.” (Job 33)
But nobody does it better than Israel.
“I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it…the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them…ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:6-8)
“Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that…pray unto a god that cannot save….who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour…Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else…surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory..” (Isaiah 45)
In Isaiah 46:10 he writes about God: “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all My pleasure will I do.’”
You have a small tribe around 3000 years ago. They are going to go on to:
1. Give the world the most best selling book ever.
2. Survive not just those ancient times up until modern times, outliving literally thousands of other groups, tribes and nations that will die out over the ages. They will do this under some of the most horrendous circumstances imaginable…
3. The teachings in their holy book will revolutionize much of the world’s understanding and practice of morality.
4. Major world religions that will include a majority of the globe’s population will develop out of Judaism.
5. These people in their exile will end up establishing communities across the entire world among all the nations in a way that no other people on earth has accomplished.
6. This people will not only survive as a people, but will also maintain their cultural and religious identity, again in very hostile environments that would grant them many benefits if they would only convert.
7. While this people is exiled from their land, the land will remain largely empty and desolate, with only a handful of cities maintaining any significant population. The land will become a barren wasteland. This is predicted by the Torah in a number of places. This fact is rather strange given the importance of Israel as a land bridge between Asia Africa and Europe, as well as its importance to Christianity and Islam. The fact remains that there were only three times Israel was a sovereign nation. Israel before the Babylonians, Israel after the Babylonians, and Israel in 1948.
8. This tiny ancient tribe will become one of the most persecuted groups on earth. Their very name “Jew!” will become a bad word. They will face more attempted genocides than arguably almost any other group on earth. The hatred of them will unite neo-Nazis and radical Islamists. Every generation someone will try to destroy them. And even up until modern times this theme will continue.
9. This small group will continue revolutionizing the world with their accomplishments. They will achieve more per capita than any other group on earth. Though they are a mere .2% of the world’s population they will receive 22% of Nobel Prizes, 51% of Pulitzer Prizes. They will be the fathers of all Hollywood studios. 3 of the 4 greatest thinkers of the 20th century it will turn out are Jews – Freud, Marx, and Einstein. Jews will be in the leadership of almost every major “ism” to arise in the 20th century. The Communists, Anarchists, Feminists, Hippie movement, civil rights movements, and Jews were also in all socialist movements, whether revolutionary or reformist, universalist or nationalist, etc. Jewish accomplishments, inventions, innovations, are simply off the chart for this tiny people. Light to the nations much? The world will be blessed by your descendants? Sure sounds like it. (IMO This fact alone should make the entire world pause and try to figure out what the heck is going on here.)
10. The Jews will face an unforeseeable mass slaughter at the hands of the Nazis and aided by many of their European neighbors. Many of these populations and their leadership who seem to hail from the heights of European civility, will commit an act of barbarism that is almost unmatched in history given its brutality and scope. At the same time, this mass murder of the Jews will end up arguably saving the entire world from Nazi domination. Had the Nazis forcibly enlisted the great Jewish minds they had at their disposal, they very possibly could have won the entire war. Once again, the Jews end up being the ones at the center of this world war, and end up saving the world again.
11. The Jewish people will also find a small opportunity in which to return to their rather desolate land and try to make it into a state. This will be done largely by secular Jews who do not believe that the prophecies of the bible are from God, nor do they believe there is any divine connection between the Jews and the land of Israel. This entire founding of the state will require the confluence of so many unlikely factors, each of which will have to happen or the entire enterprise could collapse and lead to total slaughter:
a) It just so happens that the land is open for large scale immigration, and the Jews have the ability to leave their lands.
b) their numbers are small and they are facing a hostile Arab population some of whose influential leaders are plotting the eventual genocide of the Jews, such as the mufti of Jerusalem.
c) at just this time, the antisemitism of the Nazis rears its head followed by the holocaust which will lead to the necessary emigration of large numbers of people who would otherwise had stayed in Europe. These numbers will be an indispensable factor in winning the 1948 war.
d) The Jews will win the 1948 war with minimal forces and weapons. The Jews had just lost 1/3 of their numbers and now they have a state. Losing this war would likely have ended in a second holocaust.
e) There is a very very brief window in which the US, Soviet Union, and other nations supported the founding of the state. Within just a couple of years the Soviets had completely changed their mind. Abba Eban has pointed out that without the arms given to Israel by the Soviets, and without the Soviet vote in favor of partition (along with the votes of four satellite nations) “we couldn’t have made it, either diplomatically or militarily.””
f) The Arabs forcibly evict around 1 million Jews, most of whom move to Israel. These numbers are once again indisputable to the country and to the future engagement in 1967. In an almost miraculous fashion, factors in a very short span of time lead to hundreds of thousands of Jews being practically forced to move to Israel from so many from European and Moslem lands.
g) The 1967 saw predictions of total destruction of Israel by Russian intelligence estimates, as well as predictions of very high casualties from US estimates. This could have been it. Yet Israel achieved one of the most stunning victories they could have imagined. How do the Jews in Israel get lucky every single time?
h) The 1973 war also could have easily lead to destruction. After the counter attack of June 8th failed, reports say Moshe Dayan was depressed and truly feared this would be the first and last war that Israel would lose. The major battle fought in Valley of Tears is about as close to a miracle as you can get.
i) if you want a rundown of the many extremely lucky victories that Israel achieved, many of which like the above were necessary for Israel’s survival, see here – goo.gl/sERTeY
12) Regarding the revival of the Hebrew language in the modern state of Israel, “there are no other examples of a natural language without any native speakers subsequently acquiring several million such native speakers, and no other examples of a sacred language becoming a national language with millions of “first language” speakers.” Hebrew is known as lashon hakodesh and has a holy, religious aspect to it, so this revival, which was initiated and brought to fruition primarily by secular Israeli settlers, is worthy of note.
13) The Torah predicts very clearly that once the Jewish people return to their land, the nations of the world will join together and try to destroy the state of Israel. It is interesting that in today’s world, there is no other country on earth whose very existence is called into question by groups and nations from across the globe. People may hate North Korea’s leadership or the Iranian ayatollahs, but they don’t want to destroy these nations and/or exile their people. Israel is the one country on earth that receives this distinction. Israel is arguably one of the most hated countries on earth, and polls have shown that.
14) The Torah and Midrashim ultimately predict that Iran will threaten to destroy the entire world and cause chaos around the globe leading to the war of Gog. Though it hasn’t happened as of yet, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons combined with the radical theology of the Twelver Shia sect that the Ayatollahs follow make this final prophecy a real possibility.
When one puts this all together, it becomes very clear that the unique, unlikely history of the Jewish people was spelled out in detail beforehand.
Despite the clear evidence of super-human involvement in her survival, Israel – like the vast majority of the rest of us so we can’t point fingers – ignores or rejects or outright rebels against God’s laws.
“What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water? Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God. Therefore hearken unto me ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust…For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.” (Job 34)
Unlike parents who cave in to temper tantrums of strong-willed children, God is not losing control. Prophecy after prophecy states that he is going to do whatever it takes to gain Israel’s cooperation as his chosen rulers.
But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel…thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities…Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.” (Isaiah 43)
“Manasseh…did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, [made political / religious / marriage alliances with his neighbors] after the abominations of the heathen…
- For he….worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them…And he set a graven image…in the house…
- Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another…” (II Kings 21)
“The word that came to Jeremiah…the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened…Therefore…I will send…Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant…And this whole land shall be a desolation and…ye shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25)
Punishing Israel by cutting them out of the land given to them by the LORD their God when they forsook him was established within the Mosaic code.
Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them…The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying…I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them… Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God…And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land…walking through this great wilderness: these forty years…until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host.” (Deuteronomy 1-2)
This first occasion of punishment on “a generation” sets the precedent for the length of the sentence. Forty years was the average remainder of the lifespan of the responsible parties, the mature adults, from age 30 and upwards, who live, on average, until seventy years of age. Punishing only one generation, like limiting a beating to 40 strokes, was established within the Mosaic code as a mercy.
“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)
The disciples certainly had judgment in mind when they asked for signs of Jesus return from heaven to end the existing world order. The disciples’ Q&A in Matthew 24 flows directly from the documented actions in chapters 22-23 of the multitudes’ joyous acceptance of Jesus as their rightful king and the religious leader’s rejection of him followed by Jesus’ curse on Jerusalem. In that context, there can be no doubt that the disciples expected the destruction of the temple at the hands of Jesus himself in the next few days.
After all, the disciples knew their history.
“the LORD appeared to Solomon…I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually…
But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house…which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss…Because they forsook the LORD their God…” (I Kings 9:2-9)
And Jesus was repeating history.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna / Save we pray! to the son of David / Our rightful King!”
Did they praise God and accept Jesus as the Messiah? No.
“they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? This is a revolt against Rome!” (Matthew 21:12)
Clearly Jesus supported the multitude’s public embrace of him as their true king. The current rulers, some of whom enjoyed Rome’s political backing, and some of whom chaffed at submission to the heathen overlords, were therefore forced into taking sides.
And sure enough, the next day it is crystal clear that Jesus has thrown down the gauntlet.
No-one who encounters the Christ gets to remain neutral. There is a war going on, and anyone found in no-man’s land gets caught in the crossfire.
“Take heed, and beware…for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth…Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment….your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves…a treasure in the heavens that faileth not…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching [not FOR his coming, but OVER his lord’s affairs]…
- Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?…
- But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day…and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
- And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
- But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled [by the importunate actions of his subordinates]?” (Luke 12)
Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.
“when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying,
- If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
- But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them [in outright rebellion to their authority] Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things…” (Matthew 21:23-27)
In the timeless strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a political alliance forms against this dire threat to their authority, composed of disparate groups who normally would be at odds with each other.
“Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders [respected authorities] of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.” (Matthew 26:3-4)
Like the prophets of old, Jesus did not immediately bring down judgment on Jerusalem as soon as her rulers corrupted themselves. He told the religious leaders that judgment would fall on “this generation”.
“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?…Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon THIS generation. ” (Matthew 23:29-36)
Jesus then reinforced this time frame for the disciples who hadn’t heard, or hadn’t immediately clued in to, what he had told the religious leaders.
“THIS generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)
And fulfilled it was, 40 years after the beginning of YHVH’s Savior’s ministry, with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
Knowing the backstory of Jesus’ statement, the disciples were surely filled with frustration. Another 40 years! Like the Jews in the exile, they would be asking when is this state of war going to end?!
“And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me.” (Ezekiel 20)
The exact date is given for a reason so let’s pull it into context. Years cycle around so let’s check out the month and day, like December 25th, or February 14th.
“in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. And brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away. But…left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.” (II Kings 25:8-12)
Aha! Naturally the Jews memorialized the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.
By referencing the “seventh year” rather than the “26th year of King Nebuchadnezzar”, the Jews are obviously maintaining Jewish time-keeping. This would be the seventh year from the destruction of Jerusalem. Why is this significant?
People who don’t read the Old Testament don’t realize that not only did sabbaths occur every seventh day, but also every seventh year and after every 7 x 7 years, i.e. every 50th year.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land…
The sabbath is far more significant than the day of the week used for worship services – Friday for Moslems, Saturday for Jews, and Sunday for Christians. By ceasing all work to focus on the LORD God, this is an act of faith in God’s promise to provide for all our needs, a public show of the value of relying on one’s relationship with the LORD God rather than one’s own works, and, like a date night, constant strengthening of one’s relationship not only with him but with his people.
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every [indentured servant] man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you:” (Leviticus 25)
Oh wow. Talk about redistribution of wealth and environmentalism. This is about as leftist as they come. Had it happened? Maybe among some weird hippy types living out in some desolate rural area. Like the poor of the land left to bring back a desolate wilderness laid barren by years of war and poor farming practices before that.
But not the materialistic urban folk who only pay lip service to God’s word while exploiting their parishioners for their personal power and wealth.
“all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees…To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths [of years]: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” (II Chronicles 36)
So we can deduce that in this sabbath year the elders were asking for a jubilee with its forgiveness of debt and return of possessions to every man back in Jerusalem.
Now that we have the background to the elders inquiry, notice God’s reaction.
Are you KIDDING me!!
“Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God;
Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live…I will not be enquired of by you!
Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers…
I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness…I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them…Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that / be united with “I am” / the LORD your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me:
Wherefore say unto the house of Israel…Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the LORD God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod…And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me…and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD…and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed [repent]…
Then said I, Ah Lord God! they say of me, [What are you talking about?] Doth he not speak parables?” (Ezekiel 20)
The next generation of religious leaders who went into exile still didn’t get it. Even after Ezekiel’s many, many warnings had come true in the exile. Notice that the sentence has been extended from the original forty years of one generation in the wilderness under Moses to seventy years in exile under Ezekiel. The punishment fits the crime.
“The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house / dynasty of rulers. Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house…And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight…Say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them. Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity. And the prince that is among them…I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there. And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them. And they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 12)
Clearly the current generation of rulers was not repenting and turning to the LORD. Under the circumstances, the 70 years’ exile covered not only 70 missed sabbatical years, it also allows time for the next generation to come to maturity in the additional 30 years beyond the basic 40 years, for them to choose to serve the LORD God instead of their lusts.
Being highly placed in government, Daniel was certainly aware of the culture shift in the next generation. His worry over their lack of repentance comes through in his prayer on their behalf.
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the LORD God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…at this day…all Israel, that are near, and that are far off…have trespassed against thee…we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.“(Daniel 9:1-19)
But despite the Exile itself being ended as promised after 70 years, Daniel was dismayed to learn that this was not to be the end of chastening. Punishment of the people called by the name of God was being extended exponentially – 70 x 7, or 490 years.
“the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning…informed me…Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,” (Daniel 9:24)
Why? For the same reason as punishment had been extended from 40 years in the Exodus to 70 years in the Exile. The transgression, the sins, the iniquity had increased. This was not a news flash, people. Exponentially increased judgment was forewarned by Moses at the very beginning of YHVH’s covenant with his people. .
“if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments…that ye break my covenant…
- I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague…ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you
- And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
- And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
- And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things…I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
- And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me...I will chastise you seven times for your sins.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me…if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26)
Therefore, more time was needed:
- to finish the transgression,
- to make an end of sins,
- to make reconciliation for iniquity,
- to bring in everlasting righteousness,
- and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9)
As detailed in the posts Forgiveness of Sin and Redemption and Restoration, when anyone sins, i.e. does something un-right-eous, there is a disruption in the “right-ness” of that person’s relationship / connection not only to God, but to other people and the world system, which spreads and contaminates every dimension, not just moral.
The interconnectedness of the biosphere expands the consequences of humanity’s fallen nature to the earth itself.
“The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word…The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” (Isaiah 24:3-6, 19-20)
Can we not recognize how un-right behavior is destroying our world, and that to fix it we can’t just bemoan what others are doing but we must change our ways? If we dispose of trash in the oceans and it washes back up to our beaches and we clean it up only to dispose of it back in the ocean, what have we accomplished?
The equivalent situation occurs in relationships. Think of the effects of a married couple divorcing. There is exponential damage over time on not just on them but on their children and grandchildren and society as a whole due to the divorce limiting the parents’ ability to put time and attention and effort into not only child-rearing but positive activities in society as a whole like recycling and volunteerism. This spreads like a disease and takes exponential effort over the passing of time to restore to rightness.
Following the pattern provided by the LORD’s explanation to Ezekiel, what had come to pass by the end of the initial 70 years’ exile was that the children of the exiles, or at least a critical mass number of them, hadn’t repented and chosen to serve him. And as anyone who has experienced a broken relationship knows, a relationship can’t be restored single-handedly. Until both parties want the relationship, it won’t happen.
Not many Jews answered the call to return to the Promised Land when they were freed from the Exile, only about about 15% of the total number taken into captivity. This would have been a much smaller percentage of the total population explosion during the post-war captivity.
As regards the number of Jews deported by Nebuchadnezzar...12,000 men, or in all 36,000 to 48,000 souls…about one-fourth of the population…was led captive into Babylonia…The actual return of the exiles was consummated by Ezra, who assembled at the river Ahava all those desirous of returning. These consisted of about 1,800 men, or 5,500 to 6,000 souls…Ezra and Nehemiah succeeded, after great difficulties, in establishing the post-exilic Jewish community…
The generation of Israelites born during the Exile can be understood in comparison to America’s Baby Boomer Generation, They would have far out-numbered their wartime parent generation. In the midst of peace and plenty they had even less motivation to feel a need for repentance. We can deduce from the extended length of chastening that there was exponential rebellion against the righteous lifestyle demanded by YHVH, not just from increased numbers but also from increased exposure to the influences of the heathen culture in the Exile. By the end of the original 70 year judgment there was more damage that needed reparations and more voluntary bondage that needed redemption from their chosen masters.
And even for the people who returned to re-establish YHVH’s temple and worship, once they got back home, they didn’t change their cross-cultural ways.
“the princes came to me [Ezra], saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass…I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments… behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” (Ezra 10)
When the Babylonians expelled the Jews from Judea, they destroyed the Temple completely. Jewish law stipulated that certain important aspects of Jewish religious life — most notably animal sacrifice — could only be performed at the Temple in Jerusalem…
This new focus gave rise to a new class of professional clergy within Judaism, the rabbi…a spiritual leader tasked with explaining God’s expectations to the common people. Early rabbis compiled the Talmud, a series of writings that further explain the Torah…
During the period of captivity, Jews continued to…develop their religious traditions, many of which became distinct from their origins, due to the influences of the local culture…
the deportees…personal fortunes were undoubtedly better than those who remained behind…
Many of the exiles, finding themselves in comfortable circumstances, assimilated into Babylonian society in ways that concerned the pious among them. Ezekiel denounced such men as “a rebellious house,” and parts of the Book of Isaiah written during exilic times likewise expressed concern over the adoption of Babylonian traditions.
“I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom…ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain…” (Isaiah 65)
So it would have been a grave disappointment to the disciples, but not a shock, to learn that the extension of 70 years punishment to 70 x 7 years punishment was extended yet again.
And not just to 70 AD. Jesus simply noted that THIS rebellious generation would experience that awful event, not that everything would be wrapped up in 70 AD. The retaking of Jerusalem by the Christ was delayed indefinitely.
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 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 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 23:37-39)
This is foretold in the Bible to occur – no surprise here – during a battle for control of Jerusalem.
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them…And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. [Can I get a witness!] And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven….
And that’s exactly what the Christ is poised waiting to happen!
And…there were great voices in heaven…The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ!!!…” (Revelation 11)
Honestly, the best demonstration in our world of great voices shouting acclaim for their savior are the Nazis.
In a biblical context, “remnant” always refers to “the last little bit remaining.” It indicates quantity, not quality. When applied to humans, it indicates the survivors of a terrible destruction. When applied to the prophecy in Revelation, we should understand that the remnant who give glory to God are the very few remaining individuals of a larger group that has been killed, either by the earthquake or by the Gentiles who control the city at this time.
- And the remnant that remaineth of the  curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth [1/20th of the total]… (Exodus 26:1,12)
- Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things…The LORD shall bring a nation against thee…which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep…thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters…the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children…So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat. (Deuteronomy 28:47-55)
- I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be ALL gone. (I Kings 14:10)
- The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem….Ah sinful nation…Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence…Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant [of land], we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah [uninhabitable]. (Isaiah 1)
- Josiah…did that which was right in the sight of the LORD…while he was yet young, he began…to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images…And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali [in the land of Israel]…the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered…of all the remnant of Israel [~100 years after most of Israel had been taken into captivity], and of all Judah and Benjamin. (II Chronicles 34:1-9)
- the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab / Jordan…For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land. (Isaiah 15:8-9, 16:14)
- Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap…also shall cease…the remnant of Syria: (Isaiah 17:1-3)
- out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent…and he shall slay thy remnant…thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: (Isaiah 14:29-30)
- Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes. (Ezekiel 25:15-17)
- Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city [after years of war and deprivation and 2 years of seige], and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. (Jeremiah 40)
- Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah…Then took Johanan…all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael after that he had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam… And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)…O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day…But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven [as refugees during the war years], to dwell in the land of Judah...none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall…return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there…Jeremiah 41-42)
There are also much more positive prophecies of the remnant, when tribulation drives them to turn for deliverance to the mighty God.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.” (Isaiah 10:20-22)
“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11)
There are plenty of biblical prophecies known to be fulfilled in history of Israel suffering great tribulation. The Christ himself prophesied that armies would come against Jerusalem and scatter the Jews yet again.
“when ye [his disciples] shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…these be the days of [God’s] vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled….there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled…And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:20-24)
Well, Jerusalem was compassed with armies and trodden down of the Gentiles in 130 AD, but since no-one has seen the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory yet, we must understand that there is yet a fulfillment of this prophecy. And, yes, that is given in John’s Revelation as quoted above.
So the tribulation prophesied by the Christ is certainly chastisement of Israel. No argument there.
‘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:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 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: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)
However, Christians of the Dispensational and Supersessional persuasion stretch the point to claim that Christians therefore avoid this great tribulation altogether, through the mechanism of a Rapture. See the post Seventy Weeks And Counting for details.
It is impossible in this brief study to prove the context of every passage presented or to connect all the dots in regard to the sequence of events. It is suggested that the reader remember these limitations when formulating his or her own doctrine – not rejecting what is presented, but holding it in abeyance until he or she gathers more information. For this purpose, I cannot recommend better sources than The Seventy Weeks of Daniel by Dr. David Cooper and The Footsteps of the Messiah by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, both of which are noted in the Recommended Reading section at the end of the study.
Whoa! Hit pause. The author is clearly leading you in circles. The original source document is the only resource from which it is possible to prove the context of every passage and connect all the dots.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (II Peter 1:19)
The entire passage has to do with Daniel’s people, the Jews… [As a leader in the world government Daniel’s people were obviously all the nations in the government, see the post the Order of Melchizedek where additional scriptural dots are connected.]
Tribulation will begin right after the Rapture…
The Rapture [note, a human authored book, not the Bible] made it abundantly clear that no church saint will miss the Rapture and endure the Great Tribulation…
but whom does Scripture say the Great Tribulation is for?…
Whom the Lord Loves He Disciplines
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him;
for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.~ Hebrews 12:5-6 ~
The passage originally appeared in Proverbs 3:11-12, where it is addressed to the sons of human fathers, and was quoted in Hebrews for the benefit of the sons of God by the new birth. [Emphasis added.] However, it has an application for all who will endure the Great Tribulation, for all people are sons of God in another sense, by virtue of the fact that He created our first parents. It was to an audience of non-believers that Paul made this statement on Mars Hill:
Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent. ~ Acts 17:29-30 ~
Whom does the Lord scourge? He scourges every son whom He receives. Whom does the Lord discipline? Whom the Lord loves He disciplines. Whom does the Lord love? For God so loved the world (John 3:16).
Though God will severely chastise all on Earth during the Great Tribulation, it will be because He loves them that He might turn them to the Truth…
Many will…receive salvation: the 144,000 themselves, those who received their evangelistic appeal, namely, the great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (Revelation 7:9), and a full third of the nation of Israel. Based on today’s figures, that’s almost four and a half million Jews. Perhaps this great harvest is the most significant of God’s goals for the Great Tribulation.
Talk about flip flop.
- First he says we become sons of God by the new birth then all humans are by virtue of descent from the Adams.
- First he says the Tribulation is to punish Israel then he says it’s to turn many to salvation.
- First he says no church saint will endure the Great Tribulation then he says many from all nations will receive salvation.
And how is that to happen? What is the role of the body of Christ if not to lead all nations – including unbelieving Israel – to salvation?
“whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
- How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
- and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
- and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14)
Where is the Holy Spirit, and how does he operate, if all Spirit-filled believers are off earth?
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them…Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:19-22)
“John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:5-8)
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized [with the Holy Ghost] shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius….Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God…call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter…Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him….And we are witnesses…chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Can any man forbid water [a far inferior medium than the Holy Ghost], that these should not be baptized [into identification with Jews], which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Jewish Lord YHVH’s Savior.” (Acts 10)
The key word in this false teaching is “endure.” The popular teaching that Christians don’t endure suffering spread this doctrine like wildfire.
Using the Bible, we can prove that the body of Christ is only faithful to her appointed role as Christ’s partner in salvation by enduring tribulation, suffering and death.
“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness…the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak…his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak…
- I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth 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…
- These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation…
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 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. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 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;
- And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: “(John 12:46-50, 15:19-20, 16:33, )
In case you missed the context of the passage in which sons of God are glorified as Jesus is glorified, it is through experiencing the same suffering and death in the battle against evil as he did.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; 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.” (Romans 8:16-18)
“be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (Philippians 2:15-17)
“the end of all things is at hand…think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you…For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:7-18)
Wow. That verse definitely shakes up the Dispensationalist paradigm.
Judgment begins at the house of God.
Let’s make sure we understand the context for “house of God.” Peter gives it right in the accompanying sentences:
- us – that would be the Apostle Peter and the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.
- them that obey the gospel of God,
- the righteous.
That’s not rebellious Israel.
“remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now…he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace…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; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit…Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” (Ephesians 2:11-22)
“These things write I unto thee…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (I Timothy 3:14-16)
Can anyone really make an argument against the house of God being the assembly of saints from all time who put their trust in YHVH / Creator and his Promised Deliver?
Crucial to this era’s understanding of the end times, the house of God is defined as a Jewish assembly / church into which Gentiles were added. Paul himself, the Apostle to the Gentiles, defines this without question when he refers to the church prior to the inclusion of Gentiles as “the church of God.”
“I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (I Corinthians 15:9)
“ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion…I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:” (Galatians 1:13)
“ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:” (I Thessalonians 2:13-15)
So what’s this judgment that starts with the Church?
As detailed in multiple posts immediately preceding this one, Moses is the primary source for all things biblical. His take on judgment is where we should start.
“And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up…Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them…
He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.
And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 19:20, 21:1-25)
And so on. We can recognize that judgment is exactly as we understand it in “Law and Order.”
What! That’s completely against Christian doctrine! Jesus paid the price of my sin!
Death for death, yes. But Christians are not immune from obeying human laws against murder, drunk driving, theft, etc. are they? What makes you think that there are no consequences for breaking God’s laws? And in fact, scripture explicitly states that there are.
“Wherefore we / believers labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:9-10)
The logic that Paul uses to explain that salvation by grace is different from payment for works can only be true if the reverse is also true – we get paid for our work.
“if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself.” (I Corinthians 3:13-18)
“Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” (I Corinthians 15:34)
“I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
Can we not understand that salvation is not a “get out of jail free card?” Deliverance from the law of sin and death is achieved through being merged with the source of life.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk / live daily life not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law / authority, control of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death…That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:1-6)
It is a privilege to be identified with Creator God. He doesn’t take it lightly when that privilege is abused.
“if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)
Do you really think you can get away with accepting the Son of God’s tortuous death on your behalf just to keep on sinning against God with impunity?
This perspective of salvation from sin is completely at odds with the pervasive belief that saying a prayer absolves one of all sins, including unrepented sins in which one plans to continue engaging. Do you think its OK for a pedophile’s case to be dismissed at court on his witness that “I’m a Christian, I don’t have to account for my sins anymore.”? Do you really think state court standards are higher than God’s?
I don’t think so. I’ve heard of too many cases where harden criminals took the law into their own hands when a pedophile was incarcerated with them. They didn’t think a prison sentence was punishment enough.
Sinners saved by grace still need a good lawyer.
If you’ve ever had occasion to solicit the services of an attorney at law, you understand that the primary service they give is advice. What to do, what not to do, and what to stop doing.
As our advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous doesn’t sweet talk the Father into letting us off the hook. He recounts our change of heart as demonstrated by our change of behavior.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for…the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know / are united with him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (I John 2:1-6)
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Remember why God created humans in the first place?
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion” (Genesis 1:26)
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?…set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet…But now we see not yet all things put under him.” (Hebrews 2:6-8)
Make the connection! The end of time / death is when the humans made in God’s likeness win back the dominion he granted to us! This is a massive responsibility.
Surely you’ve gone through the process of being vetted for a job. The more responsibility the job entails, the more qualifications are demanded. As a prescribing nurse practitioner, for me it takes at least three months between accepted for a job and being qualified for the position through review of 1) the primary sources of my university transcripts, 2) current national accreditation, 3) active state licensure, 4) active national prescriptive authority, 5) legal clearance from malpractice lawsuits, substance use or convictions for any offense, and last but not least, 6) recommendations from recent colleagues of competence and collegiality.
Surely we recognize that taking dominion over creation is far more serious than treating medical disorders.
Not everyone qualifies.
“there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him…Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then 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. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples…Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you
- ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
- And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Mark 10:17-30)
The content presumes an understanding of of the connection between
- sitting upon a throne and
- inheriting everlasting life.
This is where works comes into play.
Yes, individuals obtain eternal life for themselves as a free gift of God, but that’s just the basic package.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Additional benefits are offered to those willing to pay the price to qualify for a position of responsibility in the kingdom, i.e. the government.
For we are…created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Yeah. That goes back to the beginning as well.
“And God…said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time…without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now… fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel..I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry…followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 2:11-5)
As always, our understanding must be grounded in preceding scripture. Father Abraham is a prime example of the precept that “being a son” is a different ball game from “inheriting.” We can validate the Lord’s promise of future benefits to us by his past performance to Abraham.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, [Abram forsakes houses and lands] unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing...and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed [inheritance]…And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth [followed the LORD’s instructions] to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came…And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land” (Genesis 12:1-7)
At this point in time, Lot is Abram’s seed / heir. The proof of this is that Abram splits his land inheritance with him.
“And Abram was very rich in cattle…And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together…And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle...And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left…Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Genesis 13)
But the LORD disinherits Lot when Lot separates from Abraham. Lot’s choices led to inevitable results. He was saved, but he is the certainly the poster child for “but so as by fire.” He lost any godly inheritance.
“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For ALL the land which thou seest, to THEE will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. AND I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13)
“God…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (II Peter 2:4-8)
“And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt…And Lot went up…and dwelt in the mountain…in a cave, he and his two daughters…And they made their father drink wine…and lie with him…Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.” (Genesis 19)
Likewise, although Abraham loved Ishmael his firstborn son and wanted him to be his heir, the LORD didn’t allow it. Nonetheless, Ishmael was blessed and his descendants count Abraham as their ancestor.
“Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac.” (Genesis 17:18-21)
Out of Jacob’s twelve sons, only Judah inherited the privilege of bearing rule over all the tribes, and out of the tribe of Judah only the house of David held the top positions in government.
Being a ruler in the kingdom of God demands much more effort than being a simple citizen.
“if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity…Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless…they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree…Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (I Timothy 3:1-13, 4:1-2)
It makes complete sense that the Lord is going to hold the leadership responsible for doing their jobs before he attacks the underlings who were neglected, exploited, lied to, and abused.
“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the LORD God of hosts.” (Isaiah 3:12-15)
Paul is a good example of an exemplary leader.
“being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:” (I Thessalonians 2:8-10)
Justice against wicked rulers is just one aspect of judgment, however. Discipline and training is essential to part of following Christ Jesus.
“[At] the time of the end Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” (Daniel 12:9-10)
“if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (I Corinthians 11:31-32)
“Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice…Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away…And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple…went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple…and brought in Peter.
and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man.
And immediately the cock crew…And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” (John 13:36-38; 18:15-27, Matthew 26:69-75, Luke 22:61-62)
When Christ Jesus became the judge instead of the judged, Peter and the other disciple most certainly received the things done in their bodies.
“the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead…Jesus saith to Simon Peter…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 [to crucifixion]. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following…saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?…Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die…This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.” (John 21:14-24)
There is a clear connection between Pete betraying the Lord out of fear of being crucified with him, and his death by crucifixion, just as clear as the connection between John risking being crucified with Christ by identifying himself as a disciple of Jesus during Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin and being the only apostle who did not experience a horrible martyr’s death.
And Peter’s form of death was not a punishment.
It was probation.
Can we not recognize that the Lord gave Peter a second chance to live up to his boast that he would follow him to the death of the cross? The Lord is truly longsuffering. All the disciples except John failed to follow Jesus to the end, and except John who had already qualified, all were given another chance to qualify for leadership.
If we put ourselves in a militaristic mindset we will understand how essential qualified leadership is in a battle. Perhaps we can catch a glimpse from Winston Churchill’s inspiring words as, in 1940, he convinced England to face the overwhelming might of Germany and its Axis, alone.
the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.” [Emphases added.]
Wow. How does one develop that inspired leadership, convincing an entire nation to follow him into a war with such high odds of failure but still to risk everything dear to them – their fathers, sons and daughters to face death or permanent disability, loss of their homes and all their belongings in the Blitz, impoverishment of the entire nation to pay for weapons of war?
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. ” (John 12:21-33)
By dying? Yes. Winston Churchill convinced the British to be glorified through willingness to die.
Overlay that thought with Jesus’ words.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:23-27)
Most people know Winston Churchill by…the way he led the United Kingdom with the Allies to victory in World War II. He is one of the most quotable people of all time and books continue to be written about him [like Jesus.]
What most people do not know is that Winston Churchill was considered an incredible failure by the age of 40.
It’s easy to canonize Winston Churchill because of his successes. But, pay closer attention to his failures that made him who we know him today.
During the First World War, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and the chief proponent of the invasion of Turkey now known as the Gallipoli campaign. His strategy was to create a southern link to Russia, their ally. The Turks were a skillful and determined enemy, repelled the allies, and the campaign costed the lives of many young Australians and New Zealanders (ANZAC troops). Perhaps not solely responsible for the tactical defeat on the ground, the campaign was never the less Churchill’s idea and it crippled him politically for years…
Churchill entered the political wilderness, dug in his heels, and marched back to eventually become Prime Minister during World War II.
So what do we learn from Churchill’s first half of life?
Churchill said it best,
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
We may not live life with the type of drama that Churchill lived but we do share the ups and downs of life. Which honest person hasn’t had setbacks in life? We all have taken a punch or two to the face and even have fallen. It hurts admitting it but it is part of life.
“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
Churchill’s life has taught us that failure is part of our journey and we become better because of it.
For that, we can keep getting back up and moving forward because victory in life is found in how we respond to the punches.
The big difference between Judas’ and Peter’s betrayals of Jesus is that Judas gave up but Peter courageously faced up to his failure, with his companion John as well as with the Lord Jesus.
“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.” (John 20:1-3)
More than once.
“when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Galatians 2:11)
But no-one exemplifies the call to suffering for those who identify with the Christ and his chosen people Israel than the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul.
“what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge [unity] of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Philippians 3:7-10)
“whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more;
- in labours more abundant,
- in stripes above measure,
- in prisons more frequent,
- in deaths oft.
- Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
- Thrice was I beaten with rods,
- once was I stoned,
- thrice I suffered shipwreck,
- a night and a day I have been in the deep;
- In journeyings often,
- in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
- In weariness and painfulness,
- in watchings often,
- in hunger and thirst,
- in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
- Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
If I must needs glory...The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. ” (II Corinthians 11:21-30)
It should be apparent that Dispensationalists separate the Church of Christ from the people of the God of Israel in order to avoid suffering, not only during a set period of tribulation but throughout this life, by avoiding the commandments of God to repent and grow up and tackle responsibility.
“come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ… henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:13-24)
But it is just inexplicable how someone who calls himself a Christ-One can eliminate his word from their self-identity.
“What if God…endured with much longsuffering…that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:” (Romans 9:22-27)
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also AM an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying…I am left alone, and they seek my life But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace…
“remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…without Christ, being 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….Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” (Ephesians 2:11-19)
I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles…If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?…I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11)
The cowardice and indolence of the majority of so-called Bible believing Gentile Christians accounts for the lack of qualified workers in the Lord’s administration including ministry of defense and no doubt will account for the shock of nominal Christians when they are judged “NOT the people of God”.