December: Nostalgia, Remembrance, and Longing
An eTPL Editorial (3500 words)
Although men cannot erase the Gospel, or even alter its purpose or its benefits to all, the Body of Christ seems to us to be in a state of compromise from leaders in certain positions.
We are thinking of the heightened conservatism of some of our members who appear to have appropriated to themselves the unwarranted possession of undue, wide authority – of extreme exclusivity – which is seemingly not compatible with the principles which they claim to uphold.
These principles were outlined by them in an open letter earlier in 2014. We submit that the restrictions, stated as being based upon the content of the Unamended Statement of Faith, includes more widespread concerns, namely, the interpretation of Bible prophecy, although that concern is not overtly stated in the letter.
It seems to us that a more reasonable approach, which is recommended – and is scripturally supported – would be gentleness and longsuffering as the more equitable path.
We are speaking of the restrictions on attendance mandated by the managers of the Arkansas Bible School (ABS) – an uniquely outstanding Institution from whose generous and overarching teachings of the Gospel, entire generations have come to learn and become devoted to God’s Truth – the Pathway to Salvation – the Way of Life – which is illustrated by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
About sixty years ago, c. 1952, an investigative reporter at the Arkansas Democrat (or was it the Arkansas Gazette?) researched the history of specialized, academically non-accredited Bible Schools in general.
At that time in history, as now, anyone driving through any state could observe rustic campgrounds and assembly centers founded by various churches of each local area as special places dedicated to teaching their concept of God’s word. These institutions were and are not collegiate in nature, but a result of grass-roots efforts to bring in new members to their denominations and to teach their doctrines.
The summary article generated by the reporter stated that as far as she could determine, the Arkansas Christadelphian Bible School was the flagship institution in this movement – that the ABS was the first such institution of this kind in North America, which is today common throughout the world.
She proposed that whether realized or not, the ABS served as template for all the subsequent campgrounds and Bible Schools of the various denominations of Christendom.
In our minds, that is quite a significant mark of achievement.
Beginning early in the 20th century, the Arkansas Bible School led the way in intensive, dedicated Bible teaching. Staffed by unpaid but well-qualified instructors, the Bible School drew strong, enthusiastic, devoted crowds of seekers after Truth and Righteousness. Often more than 600 attendees would arrive in Martinville, located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, coming from perhaps half of the (then) 48 states, Canada, and even Australia and Britain.
Unabashed enthusiasm of the attendants at each August session was widely evident at every meeting, resulting in a visible fervor of thirst and hunger for God’s word which was gratifying to behold.
The writer remembers with great delight, the dynamic, even passionate, leadership of Bro. Oscar L. Dunaway, a retired public school superintendent in Faulkner County, City of Conway, who was the School’s superintendent. His teaching concepts involved Bible basics from the first hour of each session.
At the first (Saturday evening) assembly, he would stand well in front of the podium without a microphone, and begin his enthusiastic presentation of his programme for learning. The school did not yet possess a public address system for its spacious Tabernacle, as we called the main Assembly Hall.
Imagine, if you can, the assembly seated on wooden benches in three sections of seats separated by two wide aisles to accommodate the students’ easy seating. Bro. Oscar would immediately call for a group recitation of the Books of the Bible, pointing enthusiastically at one of the three seating sections – the members of which would shout in unison the names of the Books in order.
The exercise took on the aura of a rhythmic chant of sorts … from Genesis to Revelation.
Bro. Dunaway would vigorously, and without betraying his intent, abruptly point to … Center!
Genesis! would ring forth from a chorus of 200-odd voices.
Then to the Left tier: Exodus!
From the Right, Leviticus!
And so on, each sector enthusiastically and positively naming the next book in order: Joshua! Judges! Ruth! First and Second Samuel! First and Second Kings! First and Second Chronicles! Ezra! …
Broad smiles and visible joy pervaded the motivated audience as all sixty six books of the entire Bible were named in order, concluding with First and Second Peter! First, Second and Third John! Jude! … And Revelation!
It was an exciting, competitive way for young minds to internalize the wonderful structure of the Word of God, and to memorize the names and order of every book – a capability which facilitated each one quickly learning how to locate any chapter and verse referred to during the week’s classes.
A graphic painting of a bookcase containing the books of the various divisions of the Bible, such as History, Law, Poetry, Prophecy, Gospels, and Epistles, hung prominently on display at the rear of the slightly elevated stage of the Tabernacle.
At that time the floor of the Tabernacle was dirt, later made much cleaner by being concreted.
Three of the spacious side walls were lined with classrooms closed from the elements by screen wire and equipped with top-hinged outer shutters which could be closed against the elements; these rooms were separated by planked walls (not soundproof!).
A bookstore offered a wide variety of books and treatises devoted to God’s word at cost prices.
During the first years of this writer’s attendance (1929 being his first session), his parents paid about $3.00 (that’s three dollars!) tuition for each of the three members of his family to attend for the entire week – an assessment which amply paid for all the food that they consumed, and other expenses, such as the gasoline used during the nine day session to power the straight-8-cylinder Buick automobile engine which, installed in a special shed near the dining hall, powered the generator for the lights!
He remembers vividly that periodically the electricity would falter, the lighting would dim abruptly, and everyone would hear the Buick engine sputter and stop firing; perhaps someone had not replenished the petrol tank!
Early each morning the small cooking staff hired from a local college for the week, arose to prepare its first meal – breakfast – consisting of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham (sometimes), and grits (often). Each meal of the day was well prepared, appropriately nutritious, and extremely enjoyable, as members consumed each meal at long tables in the refectory.
The Boys’ bunk house was our central social venue after “lights out,” with pranks and traps being set for the unwary in the best of humor and the greatest lack of malice. Pillow “fights” broke out nearly every evening, sometimes resulting in a combatant’s pillow rupturing and spreading thousands of tiny, fluffy feathers throughout the house!
We are convinced that things were much more civilized in the Girls’ bunk house.
Why All This Nostalgia?
Well … simply because these memories are dear to this writer; they represent his fondly recalled, formal introduction (in addition to his family exposure) to The Truth of the Bible, and his relentless pursuit of it in heart, spirit, and mind.
At the 1946 Spring Gathering, on June 16th, at Martinville, he put on the name of Jesus Christ by total immersion in the cool, clean waters of nearby Cove Creek. To him, the Bible School is “holy ground” in every way.
But we have other concerns.
From all reports, the spirit of the Arkansas Bible School has virtually expired – the very spirit which unified, instructed and strengthened literally thousands of truth-seekers for nearly a century in these end times.
We have, by the referenced letter, been reliably informed of a newly adopted ascetic, repressive policy having been instituted by those who are now managing the School.
But our impression is that it is merely a re-statement of the original policy of the ABS from its beginning. The School has always been conducted exclusively on the basis of the BUSF; it has never allowed “open fellowship.”
But is has always allowed free and open discussion of Bible prophecy. We remember many years ago, during World War II, that a prominent brother who was then a member of the Committee published an article in one of our journals, proposing that Germany was probably going soon to be recognized as the “king of the north” of Daniel 11 – a view that in our present state of understanding was even then preposterous.
Yet he was not invited away from the School.
Why not? Because such a proposal was not a fundamental Bible doctrine which should lead brethren astray from the Truth.
The impression is widely held that the present regime is happy to have many earnest, inquisitive Bible students simply stay away – or go somewhere else, whether that is either convenient, desirable, or possible for them.
The friendly, welcoming spirit of the ABS seems to have ceased.
The current leaders view “their” Bible School in a much more restrictive light; only those who completely agree with their views on nearly any aspect of Truth are welcome. But all others are not.
The managers of the School, in addition to a rather small number of other Believers, adhere strictly to the interpretation of prophecy given by John Thomas, concerning events which would come to pass after his death, leading up to the kingdom of Christ in the earth. They will countenance no other interpretation of the prophecies even though many of them have now been fulfilled in ways different from Bro. Thomas’ projections.
In such an atmosphere, how can any person of a different religious OR prophetic persuasion ever be brought to consider any other frame of belief?
Our opinion is, it is grossly unwise to exclude everyone who does not share their exclusive and deeply entrenched notions of
· what the Bible School should teach or even discuss,
· how a Bible School should be conducted,
· of exactly who should attend,
· and the way in which non-essential points of Bible prophecy should be interpreted.
Such an exclusionary policy does damage to the vigorous and vital presentation of Truth to every potential attendant. It suppresses vigorous investigation of such matters, and the strengthening aspect of such “proving” the word of God.
Is this criticism, we are not advocating “open fellowship,” but merely a return to the policies which have stood the School in good stead through lean and not so lean times. We learned in late summer that the attendance at the 2014 Ozark School fell below 200 attendees. And only somewhat less than 100 attended the Fall Gathering.
The School is clearly off the agenda of many who until recently, attended, and greatly benefitted from the helpful, outgoing atmosphere of the managers in office at earlier times.
This contrasts drastically with the untroubled days when over 600 persons joyfully converged upon this great Institution (originally held in August, but now held in the month of June), anticipating an hearty welcome, and a useful, concentrated, stimulating time of study and meditation upon God’s word – and to the certainty of forming many new friendships with brothers and sisters and friends from many places.
The restricted approach of the latest management is disappointing to many. Although distinctly übercritical, or harsh, one opinion from a former attendant stated it this way: “It looks like amateur hour in the Ozarks.”
Such extremes don’t work – or don’t work very long.
In a vacuum, one might agree with their actions; but we are not living in a void of temperance, without regard for others, or a lack of the spirit of freely-offered, joyous instruction in the ways of God.
In our opinion, the present managers of the ABS are stifling the wonderful potential of the Institution at the hour of greatest need – the criticality and urgency of which we have never seen, for the Advent grows nigh – our Lord is coming soon!
We believe that the present managers of ABS are (perhaps unwittingly) betraying the most basic intent of the originators of their unique, pioneering concept of teaching Bible Truth, not only to the untutored masses but also to “babes in Christ.” ICorinthians 3:1.
In our thinking, this climate of restricted access to the School will bring about the pivot point of a sharp downtrend – a descent into impairment for the respected Institution – unless restraint, and indeed reversal, is applied.
It has already done so.
Now, having given these objective, and hopefully constructive criticisms, we believe it expedient to recognize at least one of the causes of this new trend among these specific managers.
This writer well understands the past spiritual trauma of some of the present managers’ having had to deal at close range with previously experienced, serious deviations from the fundamentals of Truth as we understand it.
Frankly speaking, we recognize their having been required to stand firmly against some who would water down the standards of God’s word, and accept and teach doctrines which are in our conviction, a dangerous departure from the Gospel of salvation.
These are adulterations of the Truth – such as the “clean flesh” convictions held by some folk of other divisions of our body. This belief elevates Jesus to the nature of a Being other than Adamic, and has clearly concluded that Jesus “came not in the flesh” of mankind (1 John 4: 2,3, q.v.), which automatically classifies the upholders of such belief as being “anti-Christ.”
That overriding, traumatic insistence of tolerance (or even agreement) by some of their brethren in the Western U.S. led to the relocation of an entire Ecclesia to other areas of the country decades ago.
This is an extremely serious matter, dear brethren. It is a concept which every Believer must resist to the death, because it changes the Truth of God into a lie: Romans 1: 25.
This writer consistently pushes against it as do all the other well-founded Believers of God’s Truth.
Indeed, the Arkansas Bible School has always firmly resisted this belief, and others attendant to it. Its policy of fellowship has always been based upon the “Birmingham Unamended Statement of Faith,” its founding document.
Adherence to that set of beliefs has always been plainly stated prior to each Service of Memory held each Sunday morning of every meeting.
But to this writer’s knowledge, it has always been left to the conscience of everyone who was attendant at each Memorial Service to abide by that standard. We know of numerous brethren (?) who have attended and respectfully abstained from partaking of the emblems of Christ’s sacrifice because their fundamental beliefs were different from ours.
To that subject, the Bible School has sometimes been the vehicle of conversion of a few of these to the fuller Truth of God, causing them to abjure their former beliefs – a desirable outcome certainly.
However, things may appear to them much different in the present climate of militant brethren, some of whom wish to obtrude themselves upon this Service regardless of our beliefs about the nature and sacrifice of Christ – a troublesome matter indeed.
But there is a way of handling such confrontations outside of making the policy of the Bible School globally so tightly exclusive as to cause some not to attend – or to feel that they had best not do so.
Our counsel is that brethren who are relatively unknown (or “suspect,” for lack of a better term) be gently approached by the Managers or a committee of concerned brethren appointed by them, and speak with them personally about their position, determining what their individual beliefs are beforehand, and requesting that they not participate if their beliefs are not those maintained by the School. At the same time, their attendance should be vigorously welcomed.
Such a careful and caring approach, utilizing counseling, can do wonders to calm fears and assure a continuing, loving relationship – and a proper one as regards fellowship.
This approach is more in line with the instructions for similar infractions recorded in Matthew 18: 14 et seq – Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. 15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
We are deeply concerned about “offences” inadvertently given by untoward and precipitous actions, which includes excluding even brethren in good standing who may not agree with the management on every jot and tittle of every matter, whether fundamentally-essential doctrine or not so.
For example, as already stated, the present management uniformly adheres to older views of Bible prophecy, which in our personal view have been shown to have been in error, and to have been fulfilled in ways other than earlier expected, and will not countenance any other views – understanding that is not in any wise fundamental to basic prophetic fulfillment as we generally understand it.
That is – their outmoded (in our opinion) view of prophetic paths to the kingdom do not do damage to their fundamental, heartfelt understanding of Bible Truth.
Such views are merely a different understanding of the pathway to the kingdom as they see it. But their views do not negate these basics:
The Lord Jesus will come again.
He will gather His saints together for judgment, both living and dead.
He will come to restore Israel to good favor with the Father.
He will set up the throne of David in Zion again, and occupy it.
He will rule over Israel with the immortalized Saints at His side.
He will send them forth into all the earth to teach the multitudes His Truth.
The kingdom will last for 1,000 years, at the end of which He shall turn it over to the Father.
The present writer sincerely believes all these tenets, and has held to them firmly from his youth; he continues to promote these views with all his might to any who wish to hear.
Yet one of the principle members of the Ozark group who lives on the East Coast, years ago informed the writer that he had “disfellowshipped” this writer long ago.
We have inquired of him as to what issue is bothering him.
He has never made that known, and will not do so.
He “doesn’t want to discuss it.”
Is that a godly response to the principles of Matthew 18?
Every one of us believers is a “babe” in Christ compared to what he or she shall become. All of us are constantly growing in Christ. All of us have representation (advocacy) with our Father – perhaps more so than is generally realized.
The LORD himself issued this caution as part of the same discussion previously quoted: Matthew 18: 10 - Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Some may say this editorial is an harsh assessment; but how else may one view the present predicament of the beloved School? It has quite evidently passed under the direction of brethren who either
(1) don’t really remember or regard its legacy of loving, intense, profuse instruction of multitudes of eager students of God’s word, or
(2) are inexperienced and a bit inept at their mandate, which may destroy and restrict its potential rather than building and cultivating it.
Both realities are unwise, and unacceptable in our opinion.
Some will loudly cry that our rebuttal is unwarranted – indeed is intrusive where intrusion is not wanted.
That opinion might be exaggerated, but could be true, except for one fact: every publicly stated policy of any such elected governing body is open to others’ opinions and evaluation – hopefully as applied for the good of all.
This editorial is offered in that spirit of conciliation.
Our concern is for reason and moderation in this particular initiative as well as in all our lives of service to our Father.
This writer is a native Arkansan; he has been involved with, has attended, and has served at times as an officer (Secretary) of the ABS during many years since that un-remembered first year of attendance (at age 14 months) in 1929.
We believe that the restrictive mandate of the present management of the Arkansas Bible School will not result in substantial or continuing spirituality, or any significant return to the principles envisioned by the early Founders of the School as headed by Bre. Jim Scroggins, O. L. Dunaway, J. D Martin, and others.
Their vision was to establish a freely offered, appropriately supervised, meaningful, balanced, and comprehensive program of instruction in the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ as taught by Philip, and recorded in Acts 8: 12.
Their intention was the glorification of the Name of the Almighty, in heartily welcoming every man, woman and child – every family – whose annual trek to this Fountain of Life in the Ozarks, is threatened, or now even unwanted.
To summarize: our expressed views here are not meant to embarrass or infuriate (an unwarranted response, by the way) any of those who are the present governors of the Arkansas Bible School – brethren known to us for most of their lives and respected by us even in the light of the constructive criticism which is expressed in this editorial.
We wish only the best outcome for those whose methods are here discussed.
This objective is surely in accord with that of the Revelator, Who in Revelation 3:19, declared: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
This loving, objective, and mature attitude is identical to that counseled by the Apostle Paul when writing to young Timothy, in 2Timothy 4:1 – I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Our overriding concern is for the survival and continuing utilization of the venerable Bible School as an instrument for the broad, substantive instruction of all who come to that place expecting a generous welcome and a balanced, comprehensive program of training in God’s Word, and for its continued, intensive glorification of our Father’s holy Name.
How can anyone argue against such a benevolent, Spirit-based proposition?
<HEL 11N> ~3900 words. An eTPL Editorial. December, 2014.
November: Concerning Egypt, Gog, and the King of the North
The following article is an excellent commentary upon several issues of which the Brethren of Christ should be cognizant today. This basic exegesis of prophecy was written by A. Winter-Moore in 1955, and shows understanding of Bible prophecy which will go far toward clarifying the confusing picture we now see unfolding in the Middle East.
It well illustrates that we of today have little excuse for misunderstanding some of the basic prophetic interpretation which we are given, but which have been grossly misunderstood for over a century merely because the historic events had not advanced far enough for qualified interpreters to perceive the entire picture.
We commend it for your detailed consideration, and for Bible marking at the appropriate places. [Bold fonts and italics are my emphasis, Ed.]
A. Winter Moore
Of all the many nations mentioned in the Bible, the kingdom of Egypt was the oldest and continued the longest, for it was a well-established kingdom when Abraham visited that country and it existed when Joseph and Mary fled before the persecution of Herod and took the Babe Christ Jesus there.
Egypt has had by far the longest history of any country in the Western Hemisphere, for it has continued throughout the ages, more or less unchanged, excepting that it has become a base kingdom, down to the present day.
As a result of her usually dependable water supply, the Nile, Egypt was often called upon in ancient times to provide food for her less fortunate neighbours when their countries suffered from drought. That was the reason why Abraham, and later the brethren of Joseph, went to Egypt (Ezek. 29:6); also it was the main reason why Jacob and his sons finally settled there, which ultimately developed into the four hundred or so years sojourn of the children of Israel in Egypt. It is remarkable that the most famous river of antiquity, the Nile, is never referred to by name in the Scriptures, at least not in the Authorised Version.
The deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt was one of the outstanding events of their history, therefore there is hardly a writer in the Bible who does not dwell on it.
We are apt to imagine that the children of Israel were dreadfully ill-treated by the Egyptians during their bondage, but that they were not is proved by the fact that they wished to return to Egypt when they found the wilderness journey too onerous. The treatment the Jews received at the hands of the Egyptians was never as harsh as that they received from the Assyrians or Babylonians, therefore God did not impose any special punishment on Egypt; indeed the Egyptians were given preferential treatment, for they were admitted to the congregation of the Lord in the third generation (cf., Deuteronomy 23: 7,8) which is something not recorded of any other Gentile nation; it will be remembered that the Ammonites and Moabites were excluded from the congregation of the Lord for all time.
The punishment that was to come upon Egypt, as predicted by the prophets, was not therefore due to any sin of commission against Israel—though Ezekiel refers to a sin of omission in that they failed Israel in time of need—but was rather for their general pride and aloofness; furthermore the minor prophets, who are usually so graphic in their denunciation of the enemies of Israel, are silent concerning Egypt.
All these items point to the fact that Egypt was not particularly opposed to the Jews and therefore did not merit any drastic punishment at the hands of God.
After the children of Israel fled from Egypt and had established themselves in the Promised Land, there was naturally a long period during which there was no intercourse between the two countries. That period covered the time of the Judges and the two first kings of Israel, but with the advent of Solomon the connection with Egypt was renewed, for that monarch was wedded to an Egyptian princess, and there are several statements in the Scriptures which prove that a close commercial bond existed between the two countries.
By the time of King Hezekiah the Jews had come to rely on Egypt for help against their northern enemies, the Assyrians1 and Babylonians, much to the concern of God through Isaiah, who was loud in his condemnation of that association. When the Babylonians finally overran Judah in the days of Jeremiah, many Jews sought refuge in Egypt and Jeremiah himself was carried there, though much against his will.
All the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel concerning Egypt referred to the attack of Nebuchadnezzar on that country and therefore had their fulfilment almost immediately, but Daniel, who was a contemporary of theirs, took a longer view of the destinies of nations in his Divinely inspired prophecies and he alone of the three, deals with Egypt's later history.
That phase of Egyptian history is dealt with in Daniel, chapter 11, which has provided much material for discussion by Bible students. Most are agreed regarding its interpretation up to about verse 30, but from that verse to the end of the chapter there has been much variance of opinion.
The correct interpretation of those latter verses has been rendered difficult by our confusing Daniel's " King of the North " with Ezekiel's " Gog: " that these two were not one and the same was proved in a pamphlet entitled "King of the North," written by H. Fry and published in 1919, where it was shown that " the King of the North " was the Ottoman Turkish power and that the prophecies concerning him have therefore already been fulfilled.
We do not propose to repeat the arguments in that pamphlet, though it might be noted that, since it was published, events have amply proved the correctness of Mr. Fry's interpretations; also modern translations of the Scriptures, such as the Standard Revised Edition (1952), have clarified some of the passages, the meaning of which was obscure and have thereby supported the view that " the King of the North " and " Gog " are not one.
For example, how clearly Imperial Rome can now be identified as the King referred to in Daniel 11:36-39 by the translation given in the above-mentioned version, verses 37-39 of which read: '' He shall give no heed to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women; he shall not give heed to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. He shall honour the god of fortresses instead of these; a god whom his fathers did not know he shall honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god; those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with honour. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price."
Some of the items in that prophecy could not possibly apply to the Roman Catholic Church and there is not one that could not be applied to the Imperial Roman power. It is well known that the Romans disregarded the gods of their fathers and adopted those of the Greeks, and that Jupiter, the " Zeus " of the Greeks, and therefore "a god that his father did not know" was specially honoured with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts; and that the Roman Emperors "magnified themselves above all '' by declaring that they themselves were gods. Apparently that obsession was aped by the lesser rulers for we read of the toadies of Herod shouting in acclamation, " It is the voice of a god and not of a man." (Acts 12:22. 3)
Cupid, the god of love, and therefore " the god beloved by women " did not find much place amongst the gods of Rome, but Mithras, " a foreign god," for his cult was imported from Persia, became one of their principal deities and was specially popular with the Roman army. Rudyard Kipling well expresses this in his poem A Song to Mithras which he describes as " The Hymn of the Thirtieth Legion " [i.e., the Roman army of occupation in Britain] the first verse of which reads: —
"Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!'
Now' as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!"
Mithras came into the news recently when a temple dedicated to him was discovered in the heart of London. No doubt Daniel, an exile in Persia, was thoroughly familiar with the cult, for, as a god who gave victories, the Persian counterpart of Mithras would be very prominent in his day.
The Romans did indeed "deal with the strongest fortress by means of a foreign god " and this item of prophecy alone clearly indicates Imperial Rome as the King (neither of the North nor the South for he occupied all Palestine and adjacent countries) mentioned in Daniel 11:36.
Mr. Fry's interpretation clears up some of the points wherein students in the past have not seen eye to eye with the interpretation of Dr. Thomas, which resulted in footnotes being added to Elpis Israel. Every piece of the intricate jig-saw contained in chapter 11 of Daniel now falls into place and makes a complete picture of the various powers that have occupied the Land of Palestine down to our own time, and accords perfectly with the picture of the Near East which we now see before us.
To support his view that that monarch represented the Roman Catholic Church only and did not include Imperial Rome, Dr. Thomas gave the following translations of Daniel 11:39: "Thus shall he do in Bazaars of Guardians with an Accursed Dissembler;" also he made much of the so-called 'Mahuzzim Bazaars' in that connection, but one feels that the resultant interpretation was very strained indeed whereas, if we accept the translation of this passage as given in the Revised Standard Edition of the Scriptures, "He shall deal with the strongest fortress by means of a foreign god" the interpretation is perfectly clear and simple.
If we agree that Daniel's " King of the North " and Ezekiel's " Gog " are not the same, there remains no Biblical support for the idea that Britain will again take charge of Egypt and, since there is no political reason why she should do so, we must regard her work in Egypt as finished, just as the mandatory period probably covered most of Britain's service for the Jews in Palestine.
Dr. Thomas held that the sole reason for Britain occupying Egypt was to facilitate the restoration of the Jews to Palestine; therefore now that that object has been achieved by the establishment of the State of Israel, no useful purpose would be served by Britain remaining in Egypt.
There is little doubt that Britain's occupation of Egypt in 1882 facilitated her conquest of Palestine in 1917 and thereby helped the Jews to return there, though the apparent and official reason for the occupation was Britain's interest in the Suez Canal of which in 1882 she was the principal user; but since those days circumstances have fundamentally changed and she is no longer its principal user, for the loss of India considerably reduced the number of British ships using the Canal—and even before that, the opening of the Panama Canal diverted much of the Australasian traffic to that route.
But undoubtedly the main reason why Britain does not take the same interest in the Suez Canal that she took previously is one that has arisen quite recently and quite suddenly, namely, the introduction of nuclear bombs, which means that the Canal can now easily be rendered useless in war-time; for it was purely with a view to keeping it open in time of trouble that Britain stationed her troops there.
It may come as a surprise to learn that statistics show that whereas in 1879 Britain owned more than three-quarters of the tonnage that passed through the Suez Canal, she now owns somewhat less than one-third; so why should Britain continue to protect a thoroughfare which is mainly used by others? For she well knows that they will ensure that it remains open in peace-time and that in time of war it could be closed indefinitely by modern bombs and could therefore not be used by anyone.
Some tell us that Britain intends to base her Near East defences in Edom, Moab and Ammon, now [that] she has decided to leave the Canal Zone; and tradition dies so hard that this idea persists, despite the fact that it has been officially and emphatically denied. Britain actually has only about 1,000 troops there [c. 1955 - since evacuated; Ed.] , mostly at Akaba and they are an aftermath of the fighting between the Jews and the Arabs, for they were rushed to Akaba by Britain early in 1949 to help the Arabs by counteracting the Jewish occupation of nearby Elath, when the Jews were chasing the defeated Egyptian army south; and they have camped out there ever since.
A British sentry in the camp at Akaba still occupies an elevated lookout from which he sees, across the intervening barbed-wire barrier, a Jewish sentry so situated in Elath, half a mile away. There is absolutely no intercourse between the two camps.
There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Britain will ever occupy Edom, Moab and Ammon as we pointed out in a previous article (The Testimony, Jan. 1955, p. 21). One has only to study the map to realise how totally unsuited those territories would be as a military base, for it would only be approachable by sea up the narrow Gulf of Akaba, one shore of which is now owned by Egypt and the other by Saudi Arabia: unless Britain owned both shores her position in Edom, Moab, and Ammon would be strategically untenable, for if the shores of the gulf were held by an enemy, no ship could pass unmolested. It is so narrow that at no point is one out of clear sight of both shores, and at its entrance the passage is only a few hundred yards wide. When the present writer passed, some five years ago, on the way to Akaba, the Egyptians had placed a battery there, the guns of which were ready, at point-blank range, to blow our ship out of the water in case it proved to be Jewish.
" The King of the North " and " Gog " not being identical has a marked effect on the interpretation of Ezekiel, chapter 38.
It is obvious that if verse 13 constitutes a challenge from Britain to Russia, the battle that follows would be one of the most momentous in history. Why, then, is Ezekiel silent concerning it? For nowhere does he even hint that it takes place).
In the past it has been assumed that the story was taken up in Daniel and that the attack of " the King of the North " upon " the King of the South " was the battle in question, but that cannot be so if " Gog " is not " the King of the North."
And now that it has been shown that it was due to a mistranslation that the idea arose that Isaiah 16:4 referred to fugitives fleeing from that battle—that this passage should read " Let Moab's outcasts dwell with thee " — we are left " high and dry " concerning the whole matter, and there is nothing whatsoever in the Bible to prove that any battle between Britain and Gog will ever take place; for even if we interpret Ezek. 38:13 as constituting a challenge by Britain, it does not of necessity mean that an engagement follows.
Gog will certainly meet his end as a result of Divine intervention, as the Bible tells us, but what proof have we that Britain, or any nation other than Israel will be involved in any battle with him? Are we to assume that Britain merely warns Russia and that the matter ends there? That Britain never actually fights Russia? If she does, why is the battle not mentioned in the Bible?
Whether we agree that " Gog " is not " the King of the North " or whether we disagree, it must be admitted that the omission of Ezekiel to mention this battle is most extraordinary. Even the identity of the power issuing the alleged challenge is not so certain when we find that according to the Standard Revised Version of the Bible, " young lions " should have been translated " villages" thus making it agree with the oldest translation of the Bible—the one probably used by Christ and the Apostles—the Septuagint Version.
There has been no single passage of Scripture upon which so much has been construed as has been built on the " young lions " of Ezek. 38:13. Is that gigantic structure entirely without Biblical foundation or substance? Is it merely a myth? If so, it is a classic example of the danger of basing a theory upon one passage of Scripture only. Is it by a constant repetition of such phrases as " the young lions of Britain " or " The Lion Power of Britain " that we have come to believe that these terms have a Scriptural basis?
Some hold that the Jews will finally return to Palestine via Egypt, for Dr. Thomas said in Elpis Israel: " The period of Israel's probation drawing to close, they will have advanced as far as Egypt on their return to Canaan, as it is written, ' They shall return to Egypt.' This is necessary, for it is written also, in more senses than one, ' Out of Egypt have I called My son.' As they are to be gathered from the west, north and east they will have gone through the countries by a circuitous route to Egypt . . . But that they are to be assembled there is certain: for it is written, ' I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt." (Elpis Israel, 13th Ed., p. 452)
But if we take the whole of this passage, is not the prophet's meaning perfectly clear? For it reads: " I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt and gather them from Assyria; and will bring them to the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them." (Zechariah 10:10)
Are not the two countries mentioned (Egypt and Assyria), merely "typical of the " many countries referred to in the previous verse, from which the Jews are to return to Palestine? If we base an argument on this passage regarding the direction of their return, is there not as much reason to believe that they will return via Assyria as via Egypt? If we read the whole of each passage in which the words " They shall return to Egypt " occur, it is difficult from them to justify the view that the Jews will be assembled there on their way back to Palestine. Was not the phrase " return to Egypt " a figurative description of the punishment God inflicted on Israel for their neglect of Him?
These words occur three times, all in Hosea. Chapter 8:13 reads " They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of Mine offerings, and eat it; but the Lord accepteth them not; now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins; they shall return to Egypt." Chapter 9:3 reads "They shall not dwell in the Lord's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria."
The third time the phrase occurs is obviously a mistranslation in the Authorised Version for, speaking again of Ephraim, the prophet says, " He shall not return to Egypt."
The Revised Standard Version corrects this and reads: " They shall return to the land of Egypt and Assyria shall be their King because they have refused to return to Me." Again in these passages Assyria is as much involved as is Egypt. Well might Dr. Thomas say, " I have yet to discover in the Word the line of march they are to follow in arriving at Egypt." (Elpis Israel 13th Ed., p. 452)
Of all the prophets of Israel, Isaiah was most bitterly opposed to Egypt, and yet he gives us most information regarding their destiny. Egypt is to continue to the end, and after much tribulation, is finally to be reconciled to God. The word-picture that Isaiah paints of that consummation in the latter part of his chapter 19, augments the testimony of the Psalmist: "Because of Thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee . . .. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. Psalm 68:29-31.
It is also Isaiah alone who hints at a great geographical upheaval, which will perhaps link up with the cleaving of the Mount of Olives referred to by Zechariah, when " the tongue of the Egyptian Sea " [i.e., the Gulfs of Akaba and Suez] shall become dry land (Isaiah 11: 15) for " in that day shall there be a high-way out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ' Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.' Isaiah 19: 25.
<Excerpted from The Testimony, 1955, p. 237> ~3700 words.
October: Musing Upon The Time of the End
A Short Exhortation
The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles is at hand. In nine days – on 14 Tishri – the second of a Tetrad of Blood Moons will occur on the night beginning Sukkot (the seven-day-long Jewish Feast of Tabernacles).
The Gentile calendar lists the date as Wednesday, October 8, 2014. It begins at sunset in Jerusalem.
Sukkot is the plural of Sukkah – the singular name of the booth which the Jewish people were commanded to construct, in which to dwell during this seven day Feast, or Moed – the Hebrew word translated “season.”
Its meaning therefore does not refer to what we call the Four Seasons of each year, but to the appointed FESTIVALS of the Israeli people.
A modern might think it an absurd practice.
But he should note its significance: perpetual remembrance.
When the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt in the Exodus, of necessity they were required to dwell in booths, or temporary shelters, for they were essentially homeless for forty years during that journey.
Their entire trust, more than ever before, was to be in the LORD, for ALL their sustenance. The booths signified a temporary sojourn in that wilderness which was the Sinai Desert – and near the end, the Arabian Desert (today’s South Jordan) of the time – as they approached their Promised Land of Canaan.
Sukkot – the Festival – reminds them poignantly of that time of brittle insecurity in the wilderness, the time of the necessity of their utter trust in the protection and sustenance of the LORD.
Additionally, in considering the present (Jewish) Tetrad of Blood Moons, we designate the two occurring this year on Passover – it happened on April 15th – and on Tabernacles (October 8) approaching. The third and fourth Blood Moons of this final Tetrad will take place on Passover and Tabernacles of next year – 2015.
This notable display of precision tells yet again of the Foreknowledge and Purpose of the Almighty – that He should devise such a statistically rare display to confirm His word to His people; for the world at large will see little significance to four Blood Moons within a two year span, except perhaps to note that the occurrence of such is rare. They will have no sensibility of the terribly awesome importance of this remarkable display, because they are observing the calendar of man’s device – not God’s.
In this particular year of the two years of the Blood Moon Tetrad, that principle of their sojourning – of temporary or uncertain occupancy – still applies to the Jewish people in reality, though they have been restored to their Promised Land in part.
But as yet they have not reached their promised state of Security and their Certainty of Inheritance in full as expressed in Ezekiel 38: 8, q.v.
That is, they have no King, and therefore no visible assurance of their safety, tenure, or peace in their land. Indeed, they are challenged daily, even hourly, as to their security; they must prove over and over to their neighbors that they have a godly right to be in that place, and to occupy it by divine diktat.
In a sense, the entire nation, although no longer in the wilderness, is yet dwelling in “a booth” – a temporary shelter – until their surety can be confirmed. That shelter seems always to be at hazard of being taken away, although their Father has promised that it shall not be.
Such was the case during the reign of David, Israel’s most successful king, when he declared near the end of his reign, 1Chronicles 29:15 - For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
David’s confession is intelligent recognition that the blessings which the Almighty had promised David in 2 Samuel 7 had not eventuated – and should not do so for many ages into the future.
The same conditions prevail in Israel today: they likewise are strangers and sojourners before God … for they have not yet received the Promises.
As such, theirs is entirely parallel to the “sojourn” of the saints of God in the present day, for those ancients are vividly compared to the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews … Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off (by FAITH), and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
That blessed time (of completely SAFE occupancy – safe by all appearances to them – and sure inheritance of the Promises to Abraham) will come to Israel and to the saints called out of the Gentiles, only when their King appears to re-establish the Throne of David in Jerusalem, and authoritatively to proclaim His kingdom on the earth.
But they are assured of longevity (and of certain possession) in the Land even prior to that time, by such definitive words as found in Amos 9:15, which inform that they (the returnees of Israel) shall no more be pulled up (routed) from their land which I have given them.
How may we be assured that this is the day of that particular fulfillment?
Because the word of the LORD through Amos, only a few sentences prior to this one, proclaims: Amos 9:11 – In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old …
No person acquainted with the word of God can rationally claim that the steps necessary (the preliminary activity) has not been accomplished. The miraculous, singularly unique return to the Land by His people necessarily precedes the “raising up” of that tabernacle (house) of David that fell long ago – a process which we unmistakable witness today in the Land.
It is interesting that the entire writings of Amos are occupied with the faithlessness of ancient Israel, until the last words of his prophecy, where the entire Redemptive Process is brought to its sure closure.
The concluding inspired words of Amos and others tell of the certain future destiny and redemption of His people in their Land: And I will bring again the captivity (the dispersed) of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Amos 9:14.
Has this state of affairs happened? If one believes it has NOT been fulfilled, he should pay even a brief visit to Israel today, where he will see nothing but abundant and prosperous orchards, fruit-laden vineyards and lush fields, in which are grown some of the premium produce of the entire world.
Jaffa (Joppa) Oranges are adjudged to be the most perfect oranges of all the earth. Israeli wines seriously challenge those of France and California as being of the finest quality. Israeli agriculture is deemed to be the most advanced on earth, taking advantage of Israeli initiatives in water conservation, land development, and husbandry.
The Time of the End
By such fulfillment we are assured that we are today in “the time of the end.”
But, the end of what? The “end of the world?”
No, in no wise!
The phrase, time of the end, is found only five times in the scriptures. Here is the entire list: all of them are in the prophecy of Daniel.
1. Daniel 8:17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
That is, the time in which the vision shall be understood will also be “the time of the end.” The vision that here was shrouded in mystery was the vision of the evenings and the mornings (Daniel 8:26), which we often refer to by either of its other two names as stated in Daniel 8:14: And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
These “days” are therefore also called, “the 2300 days,” or “the Cleansing of the Sanctuary.”
As we have definitively proven in prior studies, this time period with three designations was perfectly fulfilled on June 7, 1967, when the nation of Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem with its Temple Mount – the place of God’s past and future Sanctuaries – liberating it from the Arab nation of Jordan, which had held it for 19 years, since the termination of Israel’s War of Independence (1948-1949).
It had not been held securely by Israel as a sovereign nation for exactly 2,300 years!
Now, we readily admit that the “cleansing” was a preliminary but necessary step to its FULL sanctification. But we believe that the passing of Temple Mount into the possession and sovereignty of God’s people was sufficient to interpret the vision – especially as it fulfilled on the EXACT DAY of its scheduled termination!
2. Dan 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
“Time appointed” here is the Hebrew word, Moed – a time appointed, a festival, a signal, a solemnity. In Genesis 1: 14 it is translated “seasons.” The Festival of Tabernacles is such.
We must inquire whether the coming Blood Moons concurrent with these festival days shall be uniquely significant. We cannot be absolutely certain, but surely have confidence based upon the previous three Tetrads, that the events which occur shall relate to the terminal features of the “time of the end” as we observe it!
That measure of faith is dependent upon each saint’s ability to utilize his God-given intelligence to observe and accept the valid fulfillment of the prophecies as recorded. The words of Daniel 11:39 illustrate that the times indicated to the prophet had not yet reached the “time of the end,” but were involved with the machinations of the False Prophet and the time of his despotic reign over the “world” of that time – that is, the Papal ascendancy of that day, which partially terminated in 1870 with the removal of the pope from his position as regent of the Vatican (since restored, to a smaller extent).
3. Dan 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
At this juncture, time had progressed more closely toward its “end.”
If our understanding that the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire (the last King of the North) is correctly interpreted here, then this prophecy tells us literally that the “time of the end” had been reached at the year 1917 – the year when the “end” of the Islamic dominance of the Land of Israel was reached, and the way opened for the unfettered return of His people preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom Age.
Indeed, we believe the time of the end to have been reached somewhat earlier than that date. We mortals tend to think of such terms as immediate, and as short in duration; and such they are – not to US, but to our Father, with Whom a thousand years is as but a short time – a reality understood intimately by the psalmist: Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy (the Almighty’s) sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
How may we know that the “time of the end” had been reached? Because at that time, the prophetic picture had essentially become clear to the Watchers. The event portrayed had become intelligible, transparent, and assured, quite a while prior to this time, but certainly were evident AT that anniversary in 1917.
Some years after that date, a succinct pamphlet which had been written by H. Fry in 1919, was referred to in The Testimony (of 1931) (a British journal) concluding that the last King of the North had been the Ottomans, because the Land was now freed from either a King of the North OR a King of the South. Their expectancy of His grace was confirmed in their intelligent observations of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Almighty through His servants.
Thereby we realize the “key” to understanding had become available and had been utilized.
4. Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This precise revelation to Daniel clearly tells his readers that they would be in darkness as to the meaning of these prophecies until a certain time in the future – the “time of the end.”
It additionally describes conditions on the earth that have never consisted prior to this time. The time of the running to and fro of “many” and the exponential increase of all knowledge has now become apparent as essentially having occurred during the past two hundred years, thus designating the beginning of the period known as “the time of the end.”
Although that understanding fits well, there is more …
We discovered a comment some time ago which added to our appreciation of the phrase “to and fro,” from the Hebrew, Shut.
The Heb. Shut = to rove, turn about, despise. Hence to ”do despite” (Ezekiel16:57; 28:24,26). But if we spell SUT with Shin (=S) instead of with Shen (=Sh), the meaning is to swerve, turn aside, to apostatize, "those who turn aside," or revolters (Psalm 101:3, Hosea5:2); as in Psalm 40:4 (S), "such as turn aside to lies..." Swede's ed., LXX, Vol.III, P. 572, reads HEOS AN APOMANOSIN = "till many shall have gone raving mad." (Bullinger, Companion Bible, f.n. on this verse.)
If any phrase more perfectly describes conditions we have seen since the beginning of World War I (1917) we don’t know what it may be.
The other matter is the phrase “knowledge shall be increased."
"Knowledge": here, with an article. Ginsburg reads, HA-RAªOTH (calamities, or wickedness) for HADDA’ATH. The Septuagint reads, AKIKIAS, "wickedness" (Swete's ed., Vol.III, p. 572). The Vatican (Theodotion's translation) reads "knowledge" (GNOSIS): Ginsberg's hypothesis for this reading arises from the two letters, Resh (=R) for Daled (=D), being not infrequently mistaken (or mixed up). Companion Bible, f.n.
This definition is again apropos to our time, describing it perfectly as “wickedness,” a word which certainly applies. Can anyone doubt that we are now in the “time of the end?”
5. Dan 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
The process of the “end” of the present dispensation is the occurrence that is designated in this phrase. That process of coming to its end, if validly understood, in our finite estimation takes a long time; but in reality it is but the blink of an eye in historical time. At that time, it brings the unsealing of the prophecies to the Watchers in a flood of understanding of the implications for the end-time.
The saints of God, as implied, are now reading an “open” book of prophecy, relatively speaking. We no longer have any excuse for ignorance of the bundled message of the prophets of Israel as to coming events.
The current display of the Jewish Tetrad of Blood Moons excites our expectancy as to whether we are experiencing the full term of this “time of the end” in which we are privileged to dwell!
It does so particularly when considered alongside the grossly wicked constitution of the world in general – the wars and rumors of wars; the fanaticism of “religion” among the heathen races and peoples; the vulgar state of the general population of many countries; the financial uncertainties faced by the whole world; the increase in severe earthquakes; the increased activity of volcanoes; the social and governmental upheavals in process in more countries today than ever in past history; the fear and unpleasantness of men and women looking at the entire milieu, their hearts literally failing them for fear of those things coming upon the races of men, as foretold by the Master Himself in Luke 21:26, q.v.
His words immediately following were: Luke 21:27 – And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
It is the event of the ages!
By definition, this is the “time” of the end of Adamic civilization as we have known it – a time uncivilized at best and revolting at worst – in which mankind has learned or understood practically nothing of spiritual value or profit.
But it is not, as some preach, “the end of the world,” but is instead the end of the times of restoration described by Peter, who speaking of Jesus Christ, in Acts 3:21, said that it is He … Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
We behold therein the extreme value of studying and understanding the prophecies of the Almighty displayed in the pages of the scriptures – and the blessing inherent in those who search out the promises made in them, and rightly interpret them as the final throes of His execution of His Plan for the ages.
Some might object that, No! Our understanding of fundamental doctrines is more important. But we submit that if one understands one, he understands the other – they are direct complements of each other, both leading to deep and abiding FAITH.
So, such is not “the end of the world” except in the sense that the flood waters ended the “world” of Noah – wiping civilization from the face of the earth, denying the men-pleasers any further ascendancy or authority – replacing the society with a righteous family – an household of faith – which had been saved from perishing by water.
We read the inspired testimony of the apostle: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. 2Peter 3:6.
The Apostle Peter, again, points to the vast importance of the element of di-hydrogen oxide (H2O) in that process, writing of BAPTISM by complete immersion in water as … The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1Peter 3:21. <HELafferty, MD/USA: 9N> ~3,200 words.
September: Psalm 83: A Verse By Verse Consideration
Harold E. Lafferty
Psalm 83 is receiving a great deal of attention currently, largely because of the turmoil in all the nations surrounding Israel, but most importantly in Syria and Iraq, both now being slowly devoured by Islamic State; by the activities of Hezbollah in South Lebanon; by the activities of Hamas in the Gaza Strip; the animosity and hatred of the larger fraction of Jordan’s population (who are “Palestinians”); and the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in central Israel’s Judea and Samaria.
A verse by verse commentary will be useful to illustrate the psalm’s close connection to all these regions and states of the present day.
This consideration is extremely relevant to today’s history because the Jewish people – of all the peoples of the earth – are God’s witness as to the certainty and veracity of His Plan in the earth. All history is judged and evaluated against the backdrop of the exigencies of His People. The Prophet Isaiah was inspired to reveal the intention of YHVH, the God of Israel, in these three key passages:
Isaiah 43:10 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.
Isa_43:12 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.
Isa_44:8 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.
Asaph was a priest of Israel; as such, he composed songs or psalms.
This 83rd Psalm is the last of a series written by Asaph beginning in Psalm 73.
Its message is remarkably relevant to today, being surely meant to forecast the events which are about to be fulfilled.
Not only do all the nations round about Israel despise the Jewish State, they regularly issue fearsome threats upon the Jewish people and their state as well as physical assaults upon the Jewish people. Since Israel’s reestablishment, the nations and regions listed in this psalm have waged war against God’s People – to no avail, except to lose every contest, as well as much of their lands.
The conflicts now raging in the regions adjacent to Israel – and often even within Israel – appear to every decent man so heinous as to require the supernal judgments of the Almighty. But He has thus far only wrought judgment upon those vile enemies by the hand of Israel – divinely assisting His people to win each of its wars exceptionally swiftly (except the War of Israeli Independence of 1948, which ended in a truce some 14 months after it began).
These Islamic states and other political subdivisions clearly are Israel’s enemies; but they are God’s enemies first, as attested by the underlined portions of the first two verses:
Psa 83:1 A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. 2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
Asaph’s previous psalm had ended with the fervent prayer, Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
It was a plea for the Father’s intervention on behalf of His People Israel, at a particular time in history which would come some 3,000 years into the future!
For nearly two millennia, there was no nation of Israel; its state was abolished, and its people were scattered to the four winds of the earth.
Their re-congregation into their own land has triggered great animosity and aggression from their neighbors on every side. The people of God once again comprise an entity known as “Israel.”
Psa 83:3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
Who are the “hidden ones?” The Hebrew word so translated is Strong’s H6845, Tsaphan, meaning “to hoard, to preserve, to protect” among other similar definitions. This seems to be a sure indication of the Almighty’s FAVOR for Israel – His bias toward preserving them in this sea of chaos and persecution.
These words refer directly to the endless discussions and threats of the PLO, the Arab League, the Moslem Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and many other Islamic groups in the general area of the Levant. We have published The Hamas Covenant on past occasions; it is the official founding document of this offshoot of the Moslem Brotherhood of Egypt – which calls for the destruction of Israel in nearly every one of its provisions.
The identical desires are recorded in the founding document of the PLO as well – and those of Hezbollah. It is the very serious continuation of the animosity between Esau and Jacob, which originated nearly 4,000 years ago. Cf., Genesis 25.
The next verse of the psalm records this modern phenomenon. These threats could not have had meaning prior to 1948, for that was the beginning date for the modern Jewish State. Their loathing is rendered more forceful in revealing that their base desire is to cut them (Israel) off from being a nation.
Psa 83:4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
There has hardly been in all history a record of disunity as profound as that of the mingled peoples called Arabs. But one point of unity between practically ALL of the tribes and clans of Islam is their common hatred of Israel.
Now Asaph enumerated the precise populations about which he is speaking; not one of these is recognizable today, for they have all passed away in the dust of history.
However, the ancient locations of all these peoples are known quite accurately. By the logic of prophetic revelation, readers today must simply identify those ancient peoples, so a determination may be made as to their modern counterparts.
Whoever occupies those ancient tribal places today are the people indicated by the prophecies as they come to fruition in the end-time.
Psa 83:6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
The list begins with the tabernacles (tents) of Edom. Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Esau’s sale of his birthright to his brother effectively deprived Esau of his legal inheritance as first son (which he was, being the firstborn of twins).
Thus, Esau hated Jacob, and desired to kill him for his treachery. But the actions of Jacob were guided by YHVH through Jacob’s mother, and Jacob was affirmed to be the son of promise. That hatred has never subsided.
The location of the Edomites today within and near Israel is readily found in Obadiah’s prophecy, verses 19 and 20. Specific areas of their habitation are listed there as being readily overrun and taken by Israel in the end-time.
The phrase “tents of Edom” is also most appropriate because a great number of them literally inhabit tents in their exile. Their first dwelling places in the lands of their exile were hastily erected tent-encampments in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Syria and in other adjacent areas.
Next are listed the Ishmaelites – the offspring of Ishmael, son of Abraham with his concubine, Hagar, an Egyptian servant woman. Today they inhabit north Arabia, but also are linked to the Golan Heights.
An angel of the LORD had told Ishmael’s mother, in Genesis 16:11 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. 12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Although somewhat less intense than the hatred of Jacob by Esau, the descendants of Ishmael are in league with Esau against the sons of Jacob even today.
The Moabites are mentioned next. Moab was one of the two sons of Lot, Ammon being the other. Today the descendants of Moab are the inhabitants of central Jordan. The area’s population is nearly 75% “Palestinian,” and they frequently have voiced their desire to wipe out Israel.
The Hagarenes are descendants of Hagar also. They were located in northern Arabia as well as in the Negev (the Bedouin of south Israel).
Psa 83:7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Gebal is located in central Lebanon, and is home to many of the party of Hezbollah – extreme enemies of Israel.
Ammon, the brother of Moab, was located in north Jordan – the area represented by these peoples today. The capital of Jordan preserves the name as “Amman.”
Amalek was a fierce tribe located in the northern Negev (the desert of the south of Israel), and is distinguished as the first military enemy of Israel during its Exodus trek. This people’s obituary is found in Exodus 17:14 - And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
The Philistines inhabited the Gaza Strip of their day. Today they are Hamas.
Inhabitants of Tyre lived at Tyre, in south Lebanon, now the home of the Hezbollah of that region.
Psa 83:8 - Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.
Assur is another name for Assyria of the prophet’s day. They were fierce, intractable enemies of Israel at the time of the first dispersion, treating hostages extremely violently and mercilessly. Their territory was roughly that of Iraq and Syria of today.
The “Children of Lot,” again, nominates Moab and Ammon, q.v., above.
All these groups of Arabs, now adherents of Islam, are beyond being due for punishment for their treatment of God’s people in every age. Just scan the prophet Obadiah’s only chapter for a detailed list of atrocities of Esau against Israel both in good times and in bad.
The psalmist prays for their destruction following certain patterns – all divinely inspired. He compares their punishments to several notable enemies of Israel in the past …
Other Prophets Forecast These Same Events
At this point, we must point out the close correlation of this prophecy of Psalm 83 with other parallel prophecies which tell of the demise of the same peoples.
These are in part, Obadiah; Isaiah 11; Ezekiel 35; Joel 3; Zechariah 10-14; Amos 9: 11-15; Isaiah 15 to 19; and many other scattered references. When studied carefully and diligently, all these will be seen to pertain to the same group of Israel’s malevolent foes, and tell the same destiny as does Psalm 83.
Their resistance and nettlesome qualities are to be terminated by the Christ of the Second Advent, and their territories confiscated for the glory of God and His Son – from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. And no Canaanite shall dwell in the house of the LORD, for the words of the prophet Zechariah testify that: Zechariah 14:21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be ‘holiness unto the LORD of hosts:’ and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
Their destinies are set in stone as to finality, and their end-time destinies solidified, as now stated by Asaph ...
Psa 83:9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
Psa 83:10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
This group of enemies typifies the greater portion of God’s enemies. The Midianites despised the people of Israel and their God, and oppressed them mercilessly. The prophet's assessment of their importance as being essentially nothing - as dung for the earth - has given rise to the most derogatory and vulgar assertion than one can make of an enemy.
Psa 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
We recall the man Gideon, who selected 300 men and equipped them with earthen jars, torches and shophars; these surrounded the Midianite camp, burst their pitchers (jars) hiding the torches. These blazed forth brightly as each man blasted their notes on their shophars. The ensuing panic caused all the host of Midian to slay each other in the melee!
But some escaped, and retreated toward the Jordan. Gideon, Israel’s commander, captured two Midianite kings, Oreb and Zeeb, whom they slew. The remainder of the Midianites fled helter-skelter toward and beyond Jordan to safety. Judges 7 and 8 recount this history.
Two princes of Midian remained, and were pursued by Gideon and his troops beyond Jordan; these were Zebah and Zalmunna. Gideon captured these kings and brought them back to Samaria, questioned them, then slew them with his sword.
The people of Israel requested that Gideon be their ruler; but Gideon refused, telling them that God was their ruler. But he did spoil the Midianites, collecting 1700 shekels of gold which had been removed from their corpses, besides the valuables of Zebah and Zalmunna.
God’s victory over the Midianites was consummate, and a sure forecast of what is in store for those peoples today.
The reference to Sisera is recounted earlier in Judges chapter 4. Sisera served Jabin, king of Canaan in Hazor. Aided by the prophetess Deborah, Barak led the Israelites against the iron chariots of Sisera, whose forces discomfited the Canaanites, causing every one of them to fall upon his own sword (Judges 4:16).
This phenomenon seemed to have occured regularly to Israel’s enemies – falling upon their own swords – and is indicative of a spirit of terror from the LORD having fallen upon them for their aggression against His people!
Sisera fled to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, who enticed him into her tent to rest and for refuge, then slew him in his sleep by piercing his temple with a tent peg. It was an ignominious death for a mighty general of an army! The slaying of Sisera and his army was the defeat of Jabin as well.
Asaph prophetically prays that the end-time enemies be treated likewise, for they too, have declared that they will take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. It is the most offensive, direct threat that can be leveled against an enemy.
Psa 83:12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. (See verse 4 above, for a forecast of that mantra!)
Asaph prophetically prays as to the means of punishment of the end-time host:
Psa 83:13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
The Hebrew word for wheel is Galgal, meaning a whirling dust storm, or a rolling thing. Many readers have been in the desert and seen the wind blowing the chaparral , broken off at its base, leafless, shaped like a ball, it rolls freely before the desert winds – aimlessly roaming, destined for nowhere, desolate, desiccated, and dead.
Psa 83:14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
Likewise we are familiar with the total devastation of wildfires. They destroy everything in their paths … houses, animals, grasslands, forests; and they severely blight the land. Asaph prays for this desolation to be laid upon Israel’s enemies …
Psa 83:15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
We recall recorded tempests of the Lord, such as that which beset Jonah’s ship, and the vessel in which the Apostle Paul was being transported to Rome. These are inescapable, and do to their victims as such storms do – indiscriminate in their fury, unrelenting in their force.
Another psalmist refers to such elements as being available and useful to our Father in order to accomplish His purpose, to compel action, to repress men's animosity toward others, and to fulfill His will: Psalm 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word ...
Psa 83:16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
Today, these enemies’ faces are visages of PRIDE and ARROGANCE – of resistance to God’s people and His will for them. But they shall be “ashamed” for their iniquity, and the remnant of them shall indeed seek Thy Name, O LORD.
Psa 83:17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
Their confoundation and troubling shall indeed be forever, as their wicked lives come to an end forever, and they descend back to the dust from which they came, as is said of the ungodly in Isaiah 26:14: They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
These actions of godly wrath upon these enemies of God have a beneficial effect as fierce testimony to the majesty and authority of the God of Israel – of YHVH – of the Almighty One. Thus His authority shall cover the earth and the seas, bringing blessings abundantly to all the survivors – to those who confess His name and honor Him. Cf., Micah 4: 1-4, his repetition of Isaiah 2:2-4.
These summary events shall exert a most favorable outcome upon all men and women who are compelled thereby to seek the Lord and to understand and adopt His ways ...
Psa 83:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. <HEL 9N> ~3050 words.
August: The Assured Permanence of Israel Today
Harold E. Lafferty
Brethren of Christ were greatly encouraged – were enormously elated – when the State of Israel was re-established in May, 1948. The Entity that they had long expected to appear seemed almost miraculously to leap onto the pages of history, confirming the prophetic word that had been on record from old time.
They wholeheartedly accepted this event as valid fulfillment of those incisive writings of the prophets of Israel – the detailed, explicit particulars of the end of the Jewish struggle for an homeland over the previous fifty years or more, or since the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland, in 1897.
These scholars were aware of the poignant narrative of the prophet Micah, who, in chapter 5, stated of the Jewish people, that they would suffer an extended period of desolation – of abandonment by Him – in pursuit of the ultimate goal of Kingdom Establishment. [It is a condition that was also reinforced upon them by the Christ: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate … Luke 13:35. It had long been desolate, and should remain so for many years.]
This wonderful prophecy of Micah begins with the only specific prophetic utterance as to the birthplace of Messiah - in Bethlehem of Judah: that ... out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth (Whose destiny) have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2.
This prophecy is a sure, divine forecast of the re-establishment of His people in the Land ultimately to be ruled over by that Ruler, indicated by the precedent events expressed as, then shall they return to the (land of ) the children of Israel. The people who had returned should ultimately exist under Christ’s kingship; but prior to that time, they would be resettled in the Land which had been promised to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
As they were therefore being brought back into that Land as a national people, surely the Almighty One was - and is - their ultimate Regent, Who miraculously and angelically, shall have re-gathered His people to the Land in unbelief, well before the Second Advent of the LORD (Jesus Christ) from heaven.
At that specific time, their enemies are His (the Almighty’s) enemies as confirmed by the piercing words of Asaph in Psalm 83:2, et seq: For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. 3 They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against Thy hidden ones. [The Hebrew word for “hidden,” Tsaphan, means “to reserve, to keep, to protect,” and describes His regathered People – the “nation” – “Israel” – to which He then refers.] 4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against Thee:
Note carefully that the enemies of Israel are first noted to be the enemies of the great El – the Almighty One. The enemies of “Israel” in that day – which is OUR time in history – are first HIS enemies; there is thus indicated and verified the moral equivalency of the two objects of their animosity: Israel and her God.
The enemy of one is the enemy of the other.
Their relationship is indelibly linked, and their association unbreakable.
Our logic, as well as God’s word, therefore tell us that those nations which have been sniping and biting at Israel’s people – terrorizing and insulting them with weapons and lies – are firstly aggressing the LORD God, their Regent at this time.
These enemies are an affront to, and a repudiation of, the LORD Himself as He purposefully brings His people home!
In this sense they may be said in a certain manner to have “smitten” Him on the cheek, as prophesied: he (the enemies, later typified as “Assyria”) hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek (verse 1).
Ultimately, this insult – this slap upon the cheek – is harmless to Him, yet insulting in the extreme.
He is strangely patient and forbearing of these insults to His authority, for these heathen nations are completely unaware that this extensive re-gathering of Jews is “of Him.”
But This is not the Whole Narrative.
With the Second Advent, the rulership changes …
Israel re-constituted in its Land as the Kingdom of Christ shall be under a different Regent: the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall have returned to take responsibility for His people and Land.
The prophecies indicate that those enemies shall persevere long enough also to smite the Judge of Israel (at that future time, Jesus Christ) with a rod upon the cheek, meaning, we believe, that they shall also assault Israel’s King and people as continuation of their present evil course of conduct: for the prophet foretells this to happen, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces (verse 5).
But all ends well with this permanent resolution: Micah 5:9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon Thine adversaries, and all Thine enemies shall be cut off.
And further, we discover a great blessing in this detailed forecast of Micah, that … the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass (verse 7), indicating their uninterrupted continuance of occupation of the Land without any harm of any consequence – and their becoming a great blessing to all those who remain!
There unfortunately are scattered critics of this view of things.
Their aversion to it is expressed in their opinion that the events of the vision of Ezekiel 37 – the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones – from which Israel of today has surely been “resurrected,” is not applicable to our time, and that Israel is slated for yet another destruction, and for displacement from their Land into a desiccated pit of death, and that perhaps two thirds of them shall perish!
They mistakenly believe that the AGENT of Israel’s destruction – and its assignment to a future Valley of Dry Bones – is the Gogian invader of Ezekiel 38 and 39!
In so saying, they automatically identify themselves with the repugnant nations round about – those who are described in Micah 4:11: Now also many nations (Goyim) are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
Just WHAT ENEMY is indicated by Micah in this prophecy?
It is the “many nations” – the Goyim (“nations”) of Micah 7:16 – who are typified by the “Assyrian” of Micah 5: 5. 6, and of Micah 7:12.
Further definition is supplied by the statement in Micah 4:11: Now also many nations (Goyim) are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
To “look upon” Zion is to violate her sanctity – to humiliate and denigrate the People of God, which is surely a main feature of their enemies’ present assault upon her!
Another point of their confusion is that they believe Israel shall have been driven by Gog into the literal land of Egypt when Gog comes into the Land, and that the people will be recovered from Egypt by Christ at His second coming and brought back into the Land in opposition to the then resident Gogians.
If this scenario is valid, the recovered People coming from "Egypt" shall surely know just Whom their Leader is: Jesus Christ. Otherwise, why should they follow Him?
They should not thusly be re-gathered into their Land in ignorance.
In the above considerations, we stated that He (the Almighty) “shall have re-gathered His people to the Land in unbelief, well before the Second Advent of the LORD (Jesus Christ) from heaven.”
Why should we make such a confident claim?
We do so because Israel’s plainly stated recognition of their Messiah comes to them in Israel (not in Egypt) where they clearly are enlightened as to the identity of this suddenly apparent Savior, Who has not yet been made known to them.
In Zechariah 12 and 13, there are two vivid references to their moment of recognition – and it takes place not in Egypt, but in Jerusalem!
These references are specifically:
Zechariah 12:10: And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zechariah 13:6: And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
The results of these revelations are poignantly descriptive of the humble, heartfelt, pervasive repentance of the whole House of Israel when they behold Him as He is – their long expected Savior – Whose identity is Jesus of Bethlehem and Nazareth!
No Intimation of Gog
Yet in these prophecies there is no reference to Gog of the Land of Magog and his confederates. The assumption of 150 years ago was that “Assyria” IS to be identified as Gog.
That interpretation seemed to make some sense at the time. But in that era, the Arab enemies of Israel were practically non-existent, were submerged in poverty, were uneducated, were politically ignorant and had no organization whatever. They were virtually a ‘non-entity” despite the numerous references specifically to those races in the prophets.
In contrast to that earlier perception, we note the abundant proof that the national entities of Islam in the Levant are all the trees, of Luke 21:29 – the emergent Islamic States which also budded along with the Fig Tree (Israel) in the vacated spaces of the Ottoman Empire.
Expositors had no inkling that this re-population should eventuate. And they simply did not comprehend the Islamic significance which should be attained in later years.
The discovery of crude oil – and its urgent usefulness to the world – changed all those factors.
But another, more glaring set of facts confronts such theorists.
Even a cursory study of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will reveal NO hint of Gogian success of any kind! Although that host approaches Israel with enough manpower to cover the Land, it is not afforded the opportunity to do so.
In THAT DAY shall Gog and its hosts suffer utter desolation: Ezekiel 39:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel … and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.
Many other prophecies have been appropriated as applying to this Gogian invasion, but they have no merit in such a setting. ALL of them refer to military actions entirely separate from the Gogian affair, and tell of a significant EARLIER set of conflicts of Christ and Israel with the nations (Goyim) round about Israel, in order to clear the Abrahamic Land Grant of all the freeloaders and squatters who have come into it throughout centuries past, thus cleansing it from Islam, and from “Christianity,” further to the establishment of a purely Israelitish nation with its pure tongue (Hebrew) in the Land.
A certain reference to this latter claim (of their being given a pure language) is found in Zephaniah 3:9: For then (in the end time) will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
If there be uncertainty that the “pure language” is Hebrew, consider this evidence: Mark Biltz, an Hebrew scholar, has discovered that the verse previous to the one quoted above – Zephaniah 3:8 – is the only verse in the entire Bible which contains ALL the Hebrew letters, including the “final” forms of those five letters which have unique, final forms. It is a celebration of the Language of God!
Its message is of supreme import:
Zephaniah 3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
That verse is a celebration of the Hebrew language such as may not be refused.
Similar to Psalm 119, it utilizes every Hebrew letter, and gives weight to that tongue that is afforded no other – the glorious, descriptive, poetic language of the Almighty!
And think of the significance of the next statement after this exhibition of every Hebrew letter – that ... then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
We cannot deny that the (already accomplished) re-vitalization of Hebrew as Israel's national language is a direct fulfillment of this prophecy, and that it is not a blessing which shall be conferred upon the entire nation in the future as if it were a friendly epidemic of sorts, or a miraculous infusion of knowledge in each citizen's psyche.
Fulfillments Since 1870 are Abundant, but Often Unrecognized
Without going into all the details yet again in this space, suffice it to say that a great number of prophetic events have been fulfilled with extraordinary accuracy when applied to history after 1870, until the present time.
These show a distinctly unfavorable trend toward the concepts of yesteryear as to prophetic fulfillment, and should alert true Believers to the imminence of the return of the LORD from heaven – an eventuality that the “nay-sayers” seem to be ignoring (?).
It remains, then, for some carefully and humbly to examine these readily available records for the objective fulfillment of these great advances in the prophetic scheme, and for their humble recognition of such as having been accomplished – and their explicit admission that “things” have moved forward in greatly significant leaps toward the consummation of all things.
The result will be their deeper understanding of the following summary prophecies as to the validity of the present, indissoluble Restoration of Israel in the end time – that glorious time (post-Dry Bones) of the beginning progress of the First Dominion of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
We state "post-Dry Bones" because the nation of Israel today, and every individual resident therein, has indisputably been recovered bone-by-bone from the desolate graveyard of Gentile nations and history - a doleful cemetery of pervasive persecution, unjust death and taxation, often exile, sometime "conversion," and constant vilification - and been reassembled in their land where they have "stood up," having received the flesh and tendons and skin of a valid national identity - and that they are now primed for the final blessing of receiving His Spirit that is to be shed abroad upon their frames in glorious recognition of their LORD from heaven!
The reader who humbly and earnestly evaluates these current events will note that many of these prophecies are in process of fulfillment at this time, and that the end-point of some of them remains to be fulfilled when the Christ appears again upon the earth to His people Israel, who now await Him in complete unawareness of the enormous blessing which they are about to experience, for their iniquity has finally come to an end (see Ezekiel 35:5), and the great love and esteem of the LORD is about to overwhelm them.
Their unspeakable gratitude to their LORD is the subject of the narratives already referenced in Zechariah 12 and 13, above.
Conclusion: those who claim another, future destruction of Israel, must explain the meaning of the following quotations, and show why they are not NOW in process of fulfillment ...
Exodus 15:17: Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
Dare any man say that the Almighty has NOT brought in and planted His people in its inheritance? - that He has NOT brought them back to His Sanctuary Jerusalem in force, to be where His name dwells eternally? Who will say to Him that they are NOT in that place for eternity?
2Samuel 7:10: Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime …
Dare any man claim that His Chosen People are dwelling in a place which is NOT appointed to them? - or that they are NOT "planted" there? Who will say unto Him that the children of wickedness SHALL afflict them again, as beforetime?
IChronicles 17:9: Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning …
Dare any man deny the ordination of Jerusalem as a place for His people Israel? - or declare that they shall in future time BE REMOVED? And who will say unto Him that the children of wickedness SHALL afflict them again, as beforetime?
Jeremiah 24:6: For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Dare any man declare that their Father has NOT set His eyes upon His people for GOOD? - or that He has NOT brought them again to this Land? - or that He has NOT built them? - and similarly, can they declare - against His sovereign word - that they SHALL be plucked up? And who will certainly declare that the nation is not upon the cusp of His Return, and imminent receipt of a new heart which knows Him, that He is the LORD; and that they shall be His people, and He shall be their God, because they shall have returned to Him with their whole heart?
Jeremiah 32: 41: Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42 For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.
Dare any man deny that the Father of Israel has "rejoiced" to do GOOD to them in these end times? - or that His whole heart and soul is IN THEIR RETURN of today? And who will deny His further blessing upon His people, preventing any more "evil" upon them, but bringing upon them all the GOOD that He has promised them?
Amos 9:14: And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Dare any claim that our Father has NOT brought again to His Land over six millions of His people, has NOT assisted them in building their great cities, in planting vineyards and crops for their own sustenance, in vain? - that this has been an exercise of futility? - that He intends to allow their destruction once again, thus demeaning His name and implying His inability to protect His people? And who will deny that He has established them in the Land permanently, never to be removed again, and has given it to them forever?
The answer to all these questions cannot be supplied by the imprudent and persistent supporters of a set of theoretical conditions which are bankrupt, and entirely blind to the coming reality, which could not possibly have been suspected by earlier expositors, whose best efforts were expended in the task of unraveling the prophecies of the end time, but who at that time lacked the necessary facts and historical fulfillment of some of those very prophecies, causing them to make erroneous forecasts.
Prudent stewards must make prudent evaluations and adjustments of their expectancy as prophetic events move forward - a facility which one lacks if he accepts the notion that practically nothing has happened to move the Plan forward for 150 years.
<HEL 9N> ~3600 words.
August, 2014: The Abrupt Rise of The Islamic State
And A Serious Consideration
Harold E. Lafferty
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has just appointed himself Caliph of The Islamic State. Formerly known as The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the change takes into consideration a wider and deeper agenda which the Caliph has declared just since July 1st.
As you will remember, this new entity originated as al-Qaeda in Iraq and was comprised of only about 5000 combatants. But since that time, al-Baghdadi has fallen out (is anyone surprised?) with his counterparts in Syria, alongside whom he had been fighting the Syrian regime, thus parting with the well-funded al-Qaeda leaders in that area. But he has amassed thousands more fighters in the Sunni lands he has been conquering.
Al-Baghdadi has far greater ambitions!
The new entity, IS, has been created from al-Baghdadi’s conquest of vast portions of Iraq and Syria (together comprising ancient Assyria), straddling these two states’ common borders, and expanding toward both the northeast and southwest. Its goal is to take over the oil-producing areas of Iraq to gain its lucrative cash flow, leading to long-term security for IS.
Several months ago, ISIS proclaimed that its goal was to form a Caliphate (an Islamic super-state governed by Shari’a Law), to absorb both Iraq and Syria, then to attack Israel.
Further considerations seem to have led to an intermediate goal – the conquest of Jordan, a weak “kingdom” east of Israel – which would give IS free access to Judea and Samaria via the relatively un-guarded eastern frontier of Israel along the Jordan River.
In such a move, IS is determined to overrun all other Arabic opposition of whatever kind or ideology; al-Baghdadi is determined be the Grand Master of it all.
And all Islam has been commanded (by him) to follow him as Caliph – an arrogant decision by himself, to go it alone.
His confidence has been bolstered by early and rapid victories against the inept Iraqi army, almost all of whom shed their uniforms, donned civilian clothing, and headed home to safety.
In early June, the forces of IS captured a giant Iraqi airfield along with its American-supplied fighter bombers, its stockpiles of rockets and ammunition, its military vehicles, helicopters, huge mounds of military supplies, food and hardware.
In addition, it heisted nearly half a billion dollars from an Iraqi bank in Mosul, the second largest city in the country.
With these “free” weapons and a fortune in funding, al-Baghdadi exhilarates in his good luck, probably attributing it to his own expertise in warfare.
This presumption may be entirely false. He may be misguided!
Our opinion is that the Almighty has guided the IS advance so that it may form the aggressor referred to as “Assyria” of Micah 5.
This prophecy was written about 500 years before the birth of Messiah, and accurately foretold his birth in this tiny village of Judah. Micah 5:2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
In order for Him to be ruler in Israel, there has to BE an “Israel” over which to rule.
His ordination for this task from olden time cannot be denied.
But the prophecy does not end there. It addresses a long period of time during which Judah shall be “given up,” or abandoned by Him, after which the nation would be re-born and become the ultimate destination for his favored people in the end time.
The prophet continues: Micah 5:3: Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
This verse contains two key words which are time-markers: “until,” and “then.” They indicate that the nation would be “given up,” or abandoned, until some unnamed entity should travail in birth and “brought forth” something – subsequently determined to be the nation of Israel from later narrative.
Beginning at that time (THEN – at the nation’s re-birth) should the children of Israel begin to return to the Land as a terminal, end time conclusion of their dispersion.
Dismembered and scattered, the Jewish people lay in limbo in nearly every nation upon earth – a condition described by the LORD as “a valley of dry bones.” Ezekiel 37.
But then the nation was re-born!
Historically, we recognize that the birthing entity was the World Zionist Organization, or Zionism – an human institution which was certainly divinely directed to form and bring to birth the nation of Israel in the end time.
Zionism was the birth-mother of Israel, which was re-established in 1948.
Prior to that time, during its long period of abandonment, the nation had lain destitute, as disconnected, desiccated bones in the worldwide Valley of Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37.
The vision concerns the reassembly of the People of Israel (both Judah and Israel) into its own Land – a divinely provided geographic receptacle into which would be poured the scattered people in a progressive fashion; these people were destined to become the first dominion of the kingdom of Christ (Micah 4:8).
So in review, we understand the prophet to foretell the abandonment of the Jewish people until their nation was re-formed in Israel, at which time (then) they should begin to return to the (land of) the children of Israel – a highly unlikely fulfillment (in human terms) which we have witnessed in our own lifetime.
Prior to their re-gathering, the People were in a destitute, disorganized, degraded and scattered condition symbolized by the dry bones; but their return to their Land was symbolized by “bone coming to his bone,” and sinews being laid upon them, their breath restored, and the people arising as a very great army – Ezekiel 37:10.
We believe we have seen the prophecy fulfilled to this stage in our day; we expect the appearance of David My Servant (or, Messiah) of verse 24 to be the next stage in their restoration.
Israel is said to have the third most capable army in the world at this time – a defense force which has never lost a war – a very great army indeed.
After the events surrounding Jesus’ Advent, He will make an everlasting covenant with His people who shall then be blessed perpetually by Him.
There is a carefully laid-out sequence in this narrative:
Verse 5 of the 5th of Micah tells of the victory of this Man of Bethlehem over the Assyrian – a force which today would comprise the combined states of Iraq and Syria, which most closely correlate to the territory of ancient Assyria.
This factor is the reason for our opening remarks concerning The Islamic State now newly formed in the territories of Syria and Iraq. We believe this is the beginning of the re-constitution of The Assyrian of Micah 5.
However, there are a few among our number who deny that the State of Israel of today has any relevance to these detailed prophecies – nor to others which are just as graphic, and easy to understand. Belief in the simple revelations of the prophets, and acceptance of their words, is all that is required for their understanding. But we hear strident and confusing interpretations of these which are not in accord with the historical developments which we have seen.
The detractors take their cues from the writings of John Thomas, a 19th century expositor who wrote extensively and in detail about events to come.
Although his writings are extremely relevant up to his own era, not even one of his forecasts has come about as he thought since his death.
So, in his followers’ minds, nothing of much significance has happened to advance the prophetic expectations since his time in history.
It is time to speak kindly, frankly and openly about this affair.
While we highly respect the doctrinal conclusions of John Thomas, we cannot agree with his prophetic pathway to the kingdom of Christ. Many of the “keys” that he needed to unlock the gigantic mystery had not been revealed in his time; many of these are now easily deduced from historical fulfillment in ways entirely dissimilar to his earnest proposals.
But we stress, these are NOT doctrinal disagreements, a completely opposite position being taken by their adherents. For acceptance of the Thomas prognostications to be required of fellow laborers for spiritual fellowship is unacceptable – it is extremely inadvisable.
It is extremely poor judgment, and divisive.
It is also entirely unnecessary.
These specifically are matters of prophetic fulfillments which have happened over the 150 years since John Thomas wrote his essays on the subject, as well as the events that he expected to happen which have not done so.
Some of these vital historical fulfillments which he did not understand, and could not possibly have understood, are:
· The role of Zionism in the birthing of the State of Israel – a movement which was just beginning at the end of John Thomas’ life, the importance of which he did not notice.
· The initiative taken by the Jews on their own behalf – not depending upon the sponsorship of Great Britain, but benefiting from it all the same.
· That the Jews of the world would themselves bring about the existence of a fully fledged State in Palestine rather than settle for an identity as a British colony there.
· That the Jews would begin to display courage against the oppressors which was hitherto unheard of in their recent history.
· That a Great War would ensue, in which two key events would be accomplished: a) an entirely LEGAL basis (the Balfour Declaration) upon which their State would be established, and b) provision for its PHYSICAL location in Palestine of the day by British defeat of the last king of the north – the Ottoman Empire – clearing the way for the immediate growth of the Fig Tree (Israel) and all the (other) trees (the Arab emirates and kingdoms which occupied the newly dried up valley of the Euphrates).
The words of Jesus clearly indicated that the (other) trees of Luke 21 should be national equivalents of the fig tree, when He said: Luke 21:29: And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
· That the (Islamic) kings of the east (equivalent to “all the trees” of the above reference) would be the Arab nations that filled the vacuum in the territory that came to occupy the valley of the Euphrates River – the vacated lands of the Ottomans (not as he supposed, Christ and the Saints).
· That a great Despot (Adolph Hitler) would arise who would perpetrate the most heinous persecution of the Jews in their history – the Shoah, or Holocaust of Nazi Germany.
· That the repercussions of this persecution would create a climate in which the nations of the world embodied in the United Nations Organization would elect to allow the Jews to form the State to which they aspired – to partition Palestine.
· That the neighbors of the Partition Plan would be powerful enough to mount resistance against the new Jewish state. At John Thomas’ time, the Arabs of the Mid East were uneducated, poverty stricken fellaheen – incapable of organized warfare.
· That the discovery of vast deposits of petroleum ‘neath the sands of Arabia, Iraq and Iran would create a treasury which could purchase almost any commodity, any weapon, or the loyalty of nations.
· That the British navy would eminently decide to power its fleet of ships utilizing bunker oil (a petroleum fraction) rather than with coal, thereby creating utter dependence of Britain upon maintaining friendship with the Arab producers of crude oil.
· That World War II would then ensue, two of the chief results of which were again a boon to the Jewish people: a) a LEGAL award of permission (the UNO’s Partition Plan) to create their own state in Palestine, and b) the specific land (PHYSICAL space) which was given them by international consensus.
· That the Jews of Israel would be able successfully to resist the huge influx of the armies of six Arab nations round about, and end their War of Independence in possession of far more land than the Partition Plan had allotted them.
· That its history ongoing from 1948 would be filled with Israel’s necessity to fight several wars in order to survive, and that their victories should be immensely lop-sided in each conflict.
· That Israel should by its own initiative, build its armed forces to the level of the third most capable military force in the world by the estimation of Jane’s of London.
· That irregular groups of Islamic terrorists would evolve in opposition to the Jewish state (characterized as thorns and briers) which would resist them effectively as well.
· That the scientists of Israel should develop an armamentarium of extreme weapons which would be able to smash missiles in mid-air on their way to Israeli targets, entirely neutralizing them.
This list could be continued for an hundred more lines of text, but the above facts are sufficient to show the necessarily limited perspective of earlier expositors. They had no inkling of the importance that Israel should gain in its sometimes ungainly progress toward becoming the nucleus of the first dominion of the kingdom, as Micah 4 specifies.
So … can there be ANY reasonable doubt whatever that Israel’s second and FINAL recovery in these days has been miraculously achieved? Or that HE has placed His people there?
Or that its success has been divinely guided and abetted through the good offices of Michael the Archangel of Daniel 12: 1, 2?
Or that it has arisen from the Valley of Bones, an exceeding great army?
Or that the People have returned to their Land eternally, by the LORD’s provision, and have been divinely planted there, and shall NOT be plucked up any more, as specified by the LORD in Amos 9:14: And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
If the Almighty has NOT divinely brought about this enormous return of six million of His people to their homeland, there has been a colossal mistake!
Our conviction is that brethren who resist and deny these vital truths are willfully denying the inspired words of the prophets throughout the ages;
· and that they are unreasonably insisting upon acceptance of only their views over all others;
· and that they are still expecting events which have already transpired in ways different than expected by them (an example being the last end of the King of the North of Daniel 11);
· and that they may be taken unawares by the (premature, in their minds) return of the Bridegroom from the Far Country to claim His Bride;
· and that they are ascribing actions to the Gogian host which are spurious and falsely constructed, not allowing for the immediate and total destruction of Gog of the Land of Magog and his confederacy of Ezekiel 38 and 39 before it can do ANY harm whatever to God’s People Israel, and their King.
So we are entirely aware that the above projections are not the “received wisdom” of John Thomas. But he confessed humbly that he was NOT a prophet, and did not pretend to be one; that he was merely utilizing the faculties of an intelligent, scholarly, spiritually minded SERVANT of God – a vocation which should be undertaken by every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, to His honor and glory.
He advised a studied reference to historical accounts for evidence of prophetic fulfillment, comparing their features closely to the words of the prophets for indications of accurate fulfillment – a case in point being the detailed, complex commentary which he penned on the prophecy of Daniel 11, taking into account the lust for power, the greed, and the foibles of the main actors in this dramatic narrative of the kings of the Gentiles and their interaction upon the People of God through the ages, including the transactions of the kings of the north and the south.
He is certainly excused for misinterpreting the end of this set of affairs of Daniel 11, because they lay 50 years in his future. Indeed, an electronic search of Eureka and Elpis Israel, for his recognition of the Ottomans as the king of the north of his own day, reveals that he did not acknowledge this fact. But at that time, being prior to the Restoration of God’s people to the land, the Ottomans were in control of Palestine, and were therefore the king of the north of that day.
But the historic correlation to the prophecy as given is irrefutable in our opinion, and if humbly and gratefully accepted, helps the true scholar clear away many, otherwise confusing prophetic features from his view of the end time events. It assists him more clearly to interpret the Gogian affair, realizing that this king FROM the north is entirely different from the king OF the north of Daniel 11! – clear historical proof of which is attested by approximately ten features which are different between the two accounts – information which is available upon request.
Our suggestion is that brethren must relinquish their animosity and willful proprietorship of John Thomas’ expositions of prophecy which would be fulfilled future to his time, and be willing at least to discuss with others in friendly dialog, their thoughts about the outworking of prophecy which may be somewhat different from their own.
They have no “right” to separate themselves from others on the basis of their (different) prophetic understanding. To do such is to advance party spirit and spiritual commotion – and to induce a feeling of helplessness upon those who may not understand what has caused this disruption.
Nobody “owns” any interpretation of the prophets’ writings; none are inspired in these end times; none are infallible; and no one, small segment has the privilege of insisting exclusively upon their own notions of future prophetic fulfillment to the exclusion of all others.
Brethren of good will should readily admit that ALL are fallible and imperfect in many ways – and that this is especially so in the exposition of future fulfillment of prophetic utterances.
Only AFTER fulfillment may one be absolutely sure of the meaning of any prophecy.
It would be extremely helpful if that privilege were exercised more liberally upon the studious and honest detractors from any prophetic interpretations that are different from those of John Thomas.
Their refusal to do so, and to claim that “Dr. Thomas was RIGHT all along,” must be recognized by those brethren as actions by which they denigrate the memory of Brother Thomas, making him out to be a hard-headed expositor of one specific pathway to fulfillment which may not be controverted – even by the facts of history and the words of scripture!
We expect brethren to use their good judgment and scriptural reasoning, in their expositions of future prophetic events, and to be pliable and considerate in their attitudes – not vehemently “set” in their views of what is destined to come.
We expect more than anything else, their adherence to scriptural principles in recognition of historical fulfillment of divine forecasts.
This discussion has stemmed from our consideration of The Islamic State which has been lately established by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, now ravaging the populations of Iraq and Syria – and in our minds a possible, even probable, fulfillment of the end time re-constitution of “the Assyrian” of Micah 5.
But, being unable to separate the singular battles from the series of conflicts of the State of Israel against its proximal neighbors (which he did not foresee) from that of the Gogian host, John Thomas supposed this “Assyrian” entity to be the Russian Autocrat who should have invaded and overrun that area and to then have assumed the moniker of “the Assyrian” in so doing.
Our thoughts as stated above are certain to be denied any serious consideration by those who adhere to Brother Thomas’ theories, for if he didn’t forecast this outcome then, in their minds, they can’t possibly have any validity.
We disagree; and shall, God willing, continue to comb and brush, to sweep and gather all the writings of the prophets with all their magnificent visions and their subtle nuances, in an earnest attempt to come to valid conclusions on the events which we see before our eyes as fulfilling our Father’s promises.
Only in this manner may the saints be suitably engaged in their Profession, and maintain an imminent expectation of the Second Advent, of the impending approach of their own assessment at the feet of the Lord Jesus, and hopefully a rich reward in His kingdom. <HEL 7N> ~3600 words.
July, 2014: Israel Swarms Upon Gaza
Harold E. Lafferty
7/1/14; Israel. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had said earlier that Israel was intent upon destroying the terror tunnels linking Gaza to Israel; he had not given much indication of Israel’s going much further in its retaliation upon the forces of Hamas in Gaza.
But the force of Israel’s attack this week (of June 27th) has proven unexpectedly fierce. Mr. Netanyahu now has made it clear that Israel intends to decimate the forces of Hamas before it leaves the coastal Strip, quelling Hamas’ aggression fully.
It is an enormous task.
Gaza has imported weapons and goods from Egypt for years – until Egypt recently supposedly closed all the tunnels leading from the Sinai to Gaza. This put a squeeze on Hamas that seemed to have had some effect, with Hamas leaders practically begging Egypt to open its doors to their supplies.
But Egypt, having now largely put down the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, is intent upon destroying its First Son as well – that is, denying supplies to Hamas.
Strangely, Israel has been supplying much food and materiel to Gaza until this present fighting began, and continues to do so! We supposed that lifeline would have been cut for the present time but we recently noted that several hundred truckloads of supplies entered the Gaza Strip from Israel.
Israel’s concern had been the welfare of the civilians of Gaza, who because of the Israeli blockade by land, sea and air, would have been caused great harm.
Despite the public outcry (illustrated by many demonstrations earlier this week in some dozen European cities) against the Israeli onslaught, PM Netanyahu vows not to relent.
The photographs of injured, terrified, and dead women and children of Gaza are persuaders of the coarsest sort when seen by the outside world. These casualties are inevitable, due directly to the tactics of Hamas, which places its artillery and missile launchers in schools, on hospital roofs, and in private residences.
It has become impossible – much as Israel desires, and tries to avoid it – impossible to avoid “collateral damage.” Israel has dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets, sent text messages, telephoned homes in various areas, and used other means such as light shelling as a warning of oncoming destruction.
It is a practice of consideration of which we have never heard in the annals of warfare!
So, we see disproportionate numbers of killed and injured in Gaza vs. Israel.
Over 1300 Gazans have been killed, compared to less than 60 Israelis at last count.
So what about those “innocents” of Gaza?
Is Israel committing war crimes in its retaliation against the thousands of missiles rained upon it by Hamas? Isn’t warfare always disproportionate in favor of the winner? Aren’t civilian casualties inevitable and unavoidable?
Of course they are.
Between us, this point deserves close examination – this consideration of “morality” in Israel’s wars, both past and future. In this consideration, we are not claiming that Israelis have not done any wrongs, or are perfect. We are simply comparing the weights of the actions of the two peoples.
No Ordinary War
This conflict is not an “ordinary” war. Its prosecution has been determined by the Almighty. We cannot expect the world to adopt, or even consider, this viewpoint, for it is a divine one!
In past dispatches, we have cited numerous prophecies which have foretold these precise events in the conflict between Israel and its enemies “round about” – the Proximal (nearby) Islamic peoples and states.
These prophecies go so far as to foretell these enemies’ total destruction – the full fury of which lies yet in future.
We are beholding some of the intermediate action at this moment. The beginning of this conflict was over 75 years ago in “Palestine” of the day. The terminal portion obviously lies ahead.
So that’s the first point: This is No Ordinary War.
Israel Required to Fight for Survival
Israel has been most certainly and meticulously “placed” in their future inheritance in these end times. We believe that truth to be incontrovertible. It is our Father’s specific will at this time for Israel to have been regathered into the Land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To repudiate that fact would be to deny His word and will for His people. These dear ones have returned to their Land for redemption, fulfilling their Father’s reminder to them to return unto Me, and I will return unto you saith the LORD of hosts.(Malachi 3:7)
They are in process of doing just that at this time in history!
Israel as a nation has always been required to fight against enemies whose intent was to come in and take their lands and wealth, or to harm the People in other ways. After over 2500 years of exile, they have now returned.
And, again, they must fight for survival.
It was so when the LORD designated the Land of Canaan as the future, eternal inheritance of His people, Israel, and brought them out of Egypt in the Exodus.
The first dreadful but godly scourge of the Hebrews’ enemies was that of the firstborn of Egypt who were slain on the frightful night of the first Passover – when the Angel of Death passed over those whose homes were marked by the blood sacrifice of the Pascal Lamb. Exodus 12.
The second followed it by only a few days, as the multitude came to the Red Sea shore, and then observed the chariots of the army of Pharaoh menacing them from behind.
Firstly, the LORD moved his Pillar of Cloud and Fire to the rear, to stand between Pharaoh and Israel.
Secondly, He commanded Moses to lift his rod and part the waters of the Sea – a process which required all night, the darkest hours in every sense.
Thirdly, He instructed the Children of Israel to cross the Sea on dry land, and go toward the east.
Fourthly, He closed the waters upon the Egyptian army which followed them into the watery trench but were inundated when Moses’ lifted rod caused the waters to return to their natural levels.
The People greatly rejoiced at this second wave of destruction of their oppressors. They sang a triumphant dirge which became known as the Song of Moses – Exodus 15.
Note carefully that the victory over their enemies was considered “glorious,” and that the Almighty was given all the glory (and the credit for it) as seen in the gist of that song of thanksgiving found in Exodus 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
We conclude that the dreadful slaughter of the firstborn of Egypt, and then of its army in the Red Sea, are retributions against GOD’s enemies firstly, as expressed against His people. These are examples of justified retribution upon God’s enemies, which are always the enemies of His people. And they have always resulted in the forward movement of His Plan with His People.
Similarly, when the multitude came to the eastern shore of the Jordan River, and viewed the Land which it would inherit, the same condemnation of the inhabitants of Canaan was recorded.
Two statements in Deuteronomy define the inhabitants of the Land and imply their great offenses against the Almighty: they are the definitive instructions at the mouth of the Almighty, and represent His Judgments upon those peoples …
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
Deuteronomy 20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
The reader understands by these statements that the Hebrews did not before that time possess the Land of Canaan. But God had promised it to Abram from the first. It was not Abram’s land then, either; but God had elected to give it to him forever.
That was the Father’s privilege, for all lands are His lands to apportion as He shall please.
At one point, the Almighty revealed, in Genesis 15:16 that Abram’s descendants should not come into that land until some time in the future, for “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
Just what was the iniquity of the Amorites? I Kings 21:26 reveals that they worshipped idols, so idolatry was their main transgression. It was a practice forbidden by the Almighty and one which would lead Israel and Judah astray fatally.
The entire book of Joshua records the conquest of Canaan by Israel. In a preponderance of cases, he and the army of Israel destroyed every soul (living ones) of the cities of Canaan – every living being, including children, leaving none to breathe.
A typical description of their God-directed action is that of Joshua 10:32 And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
Joshua 11:11 testifes that … they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
We must logically ask, Why were the children and infants of the Canaanites destroyed? Had they offended the Father in any way? Had they committed sin? Probably not; nevertheless, this was THE ALMIGHTY’S judgment upon those people – that all their seed were to be cut off – forever.
At the time of Noah’s flood, were “innocents” suffocated by the rising waters? Yes. Again, they were the evil seed of a society which had degenerated to purely violent evil in God’s sight, and during 120 years of Noah’s preaching among them, none had been recovered – not even one person!
Those examples will suffice to illustrate our point: among the vile enemies of God and His people, Israel, there apparently are no “innocents” as such. The inherent wickedness of the society is inbred within their offspring. We have seen numerous photographs of Hamas “militants” in their silly garb, presenting a three year old child clad in the same way as they, and enclosed with a mock bomb belt, illustrating their philosophy of “every man, woman and child a martyr” for Islam.
If such could come out of those societies and learn of God’s true ways, forswearing Islam, adopting Christ with genuine fidelity, the door of salvation would be open to them. A few of those folk HAVE left Mohammed’s ranks and became “Christians” who now fight against those philosophies in print and deed. But even these are seemingly rare.
So ... Are the “innocents” of Gaza really, in fact, innocent? We would venture to claim that they are not, because the entire society is against God’s people (and thus are against God Himself) – persecuting and killing as many of His people as possible.
The Prophet Ezekiel uttered these words against the enemies of the Almighty: Ezekiel 35:12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. 13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them.
Our studied opinion is, then, that the entire culture of death and godlessness is guilty of such blasphemy – all who have the breath of life! And that all such will be rejected by Him in the finality. And that Israel, from a godly viewpoint, is performing His approved work.
Mr. Netanyahu has now affirmed that his intent is to clear away Hamas from the Gaza Strip. Whether he will again be deterred by “world opinion” we know not. But we must admit that Israel is now performing the work of the LORD, whether it OR the world realizes it. For, at the very end of the prophecy of Obadiah, it is stated that “there shall be none remaining of the house of Esau.” (Obadiah 1: 18) There, Jacob and Joseph are a FLAME, and Esau is STUBBLE – and ALL Esau is “devoured” by God’s people.
Does that seem just, in humanistic terms?
No – not in any wise.
But Humanism is not godly, and has never claimed to be.
The Apostle Paul exclaimed of God’s principles, on the other hand, that they are arbitrarily RIGHTEOUS: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Romans 11:33
Humanism – and Islam – as well as Communism, Fascism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Animism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Baha'i-ism, and all other “isms” are failed institutions that are unable to purvey saving Truth to their followers, for they “know not God” and His ways. In the kingdom age all such shall approach the (now hated) Jew, and plead, as in Zechariah 8:23 – We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you!
That is a pitiful and pathetic summary of the age-old non-receptivity by men of God’s Way during the thousands of years which he has been given to do so.
In the coming Kingdom Age, and after that time of many initially seeking Him, this condition shall consist: Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
<HEL 7N> ~2400 words.
Jer 51:1 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;
Jer 51:2 And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
Jer 51:3 Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine (coats of mail): and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.
Jer 51:4 Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.
Jer 51:5 For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
||Note: this impending action will destroy Babylon and free her captives, including those of Judah, who shall then be allowed to re-establish themselves in their land. This action is parallel to the destruction of Babylon the Great in the end time (Revelation 16-19) after which the Kingdom of Israel’s Messiah shall spread to the four corners of the earth! Great Babylon has long usurped the People of God, exercising Dominion Theology (also called Replacement Theology) as their claim to God’s blessings for the Church in place of the intended recipients of His largess. In this unwarranted claim, the Church has long persecuted the true believers – the true saints of God in this present dispensation – instead of heeding their teachings of the true intent of the scriptures.
Jer 51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.
Jer 51:7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
||Note: in this chapter parallel references will be cited to the records of similar features of the account of the great drunken Harlot of Babylon the Great in Revelation 16-19. At this juncture we note, Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
Jer 51:8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
||Note: Revelation 14:8: And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Jer 51:9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
Jer 51:10 The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.
Jer 51:11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.
Mark here that the source of this vengeance upon Babylon is of the LORD. And that is being administered against Babylon for vengeance of His Temple!
As Babylon destroyed Judah, so shall Media destroy Babylon!
Jer 51:12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath (note the past tense, as if the deed has already been done!) both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.
Jer 51:13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.
||Note: Revelation 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. The riches – the treasures of Babylon the Great is far beyond estimation. Its thousands of treasures of fine arts has no valid assessment at to their worth; the art of the Vatican buildings (their ceiling paintings, their walls, their murals, their frescoes, their tapestries) is also priceless, by man’s valuation; many of the basilicas of the Catholic world contain Treasuries housing uniquely valuable items which they do not intend to sall at any price; the finances of the Vatican are beyond any ability to be audited or verified by any human agency. The Papal See and Vatican State is one of the wealthiest countries on earth; and their financial dealings are the least transparent of all!
Jer 51:14 The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee (Babylon) with men, as with caterpillers (the word also means locusts, as already referenced in Joel 1; the bizarre picture is that of locusts (the Medes) devouring locusts (the Babylonias!) ); and they shall lift up a shout against thee.
Jer 51:15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
This fact of YHVH as Creator of all things is in contrast to the proud words uttered by Nebuchadnezzar, when he boasted, Is this not great Babylon, which I have built? – giving no credit at all to his Creator.
Jer 51:16 When he uttereth his voice (the only instrument of war that is needed by the Almighty One!), there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
Jer 51:17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder (metal workers who made the idols) is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
Jer 51:18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
Jer 51:19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former (i.e., God is Creator) of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.
Jer 51:20 Thou (here He means Cyrus, who should conquer Babylon) art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;
Jer 51:21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;
Jer 51:22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;
Jer 51:23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.
Nine usages of the term “with thee … will I” signifies the great importance of the Medes and the Persians in God’s plan to punish Babylon for her iniquities against His people – see next verse – even though Judah’ punishment was warranted and justified!
Jer 51:24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.
||Note: in this context, the inhabitants of Judah are His saints of that time – His holy ones – which have been repeatedly assaulted by Babylon, much in the same fashion as Great Babylon is stained with the blood of righteous ones (saints) which she slew during her reign of terror: Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration (the word means astonishment).
Jer 51:25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.
||Note: during the events of the second vial of the Apocalypse, we note a similar description of the drastic effects upon the Church, which Napoleon was systematically destroying for a time in the late 17th century: Revelation 8:8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; this account is given the people of God as evidence of the forward movement of His plan through the ages, continually progressing and being fulfilled, and firmly proving to them that their understanding was accurate, assuring them of the faith once delivered to the saints – the words of Jude 1:3.
Jer 51:26 And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD.
||Note: these words are extremely similar to these concerning the Great Whore: Revelation 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought!
Jer 51:27 Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare (Qadash: sanctify, dedicate) the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers (or locusts).
Jer 51:28 Prepare (the Hebrew word is Qadash, meaning to consider as consecrated, or clean – dedicated) against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.
Jer 51:29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.
||Note: a similar end is determined for Babylon the Great: Revelation 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Jer 51:30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.
Jer 51:31 One post (runner) shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end (the Ellipsis here should be supplied: “at each end,” meaning at each portal of the River Euphrates – at its entry into the city under the bronze gates, and at its exit under similar gates downstream, for the forces of Cyrus entered from both ends after they had drained the river!).
Jer 51:32 And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.
Jer 51:33 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while (exactly seventy years from its beginning!), and the time of her harvest shall come.
Jer 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me (the people of Judah – see next verse), he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.
||Note: even this feature of the goods consumed and traded by ancient Babylon is similar to those of Babylon the Great! Please read and absorb these rueful words concerning her sumptuous merchandise, connected irrevocably by the striking figure of speech, Polysyndeton – or “many ands:” Revelation 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Thus they are consumed as completely as when ancient Babylon took away the delicacies and riches of Judah in their successive conquests.
Jer 51:35 The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.
Jer 51:36 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.
Jer 51:37 And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons (jackals), an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.
Jer 51:38 They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions' whelps.
Jer 51:39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.
Please notice here this clear sentence of eternal death for all the wicked of Babylon and other despotic societies; if it is valid for them, it is valid for every transgressor of God’s ways. The death of the wicked is simply that – to lie down in the pit of Sheol, the place of darkness, and to sleep a perpetual (that is, never ending) sleep in the dust of the earth – a much more humane end for them than that devised by wicked men: to roast them alive, eternally, in the imaginary fires of a burning hell!
Jer 51:40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.
Jer 51:41 How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!
||Note: the merchants of the earth are greatly astonished at Babylon the Great’s destruction, also! Revelation 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.
Jer 51:42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.
Jer 51:43 Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.
Jer 51:44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
YHVH’s Avengement of Zion
Jer 51:45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.
||Note: this exclamatory command of the Almighty is precisely that leveled at His people who are associated with Great Babylon of the end time! His words in this regard are loud and clear: Revelation 18:4: And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Jer 51:46 And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.
Jer 51:47 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
Jer 51:48 Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing (lament) for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.
||Note: see remarks on verse 41, above.
Jer 51:49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.
Jer 51:50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.
Jer 51:51 We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house.
||Note: this statement is a singular indictment of the Roman Church, indicating its character as being uniquely parallel with these ancient “strangers” who came into the LORD’s house and destroyed it physically. The damage wrought by the Church was in our estimation far worse than that of ancient Babylon, for its destructive work was exercised on the spiritual content of the Ecclesias, beginning in Paul’s day.
In his letter to Thessalonica, Paul wrote this: 2Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
In order for there to be a “falling away,” there must first be a position of validity in something. Paul was the leader of all the Gentile converts of the Ecclesias being then established. These all began with possession of valid Truth of every sort – the saving Gospel of Christ was held and taught by all of them. But then there entered into the Ecclesias a spirit of opposition and of false doctrines.
This evil force is here documented by Paul as being a leader called “the man of sin” which should be revealed, the “son of perdition.” These words referred to a personal corrupting element which, even then, doth already work, as in 2Thessalonians 2:7, q.v.
A “son of perdition” means a son who has fallen through (as having fallen through a firm foundation, which was the Gospel) and contradicted the original teachings of Christ – changing doctrines, times, laws, observances, dogmas, and all manner of the characteristics of Truth!
Over the beginning decades of the teaching of the Gospel of Christ, vain leaders in various Ecclesias began to adopt the teachings of the pagan philosophers, all based in Babylon and Egypt, and to stray from the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, and thus “fell through” their foundations – that downfall being a fatal departure from the sure word of God.
In this same sense, the teachings of Mohammed, and of Islam cannot be meant, as some claim; Mohammed never possessed the Truth of God, never even coming close to perceiving the saving grace of Christ, and therefore had NO true “foundation” through which to fall! The identity of the “man of sin” is surely discernible from merely the comparisons brought out in this present discussion of Jeremiah 51, ignoring the volumes and heaps of ancillary writings revealing the rapacity and lawlessness of the Church!
Jer 51:52 Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.
Jer 51:53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.
||Note: in the same sense as Babylon aspired to reach the heavens with its ziggurat (and consequently had its tongue confused), so has Catholicism mounted up to heaven with its construction of “St. Peter’s Basilica,” which is reputed to have been built with the proceeds from the sales of Indulgencies by such men as Tetzel in medieval Europe.
The pope sits in this “house of God (St. Peter’s)” AS GOD, having no peer on earth, in his own eyes, and no valid or credible critic!
Thus the papal office has been elevated into the “heavens” of their world, its chief executive officer naming himself the Vicar of Christ – or vice-Christ – which literally means “anti-Christ!” or INSTEAD of Christ, on earth!
Paul’s words again are extremely relevant: 2Thessalonians 2:4 -Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God (St. Peter’s basilica), shewing himself that he is God.
I believe it was Pope Pius XI who made the brash claim that, If I sit in the temple of God (in his mind, St. Peter’s), as the vicar of Christ (whom he believed also to be God – not Gods’ Son) then what can one say except that I AM GOD?!
Jer 51:54 A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:
||Note: the idolatry of Great Babylon is likewise condemned as we see in: Revelation 9:20: And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Jer 51:55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
Jer 51:56 Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.
||Note: similar words are written about the realms of the Harlot: Revelation 16:19: … and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Jer 51:57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
Jer 51:58 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.
The Words of Jeremiah to Seraiah
Jer 51:59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince.
Jer 51:60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.
It seems evident that the same words recorded here were written to the King of Babylon, and read in his presence. Then a surprising act ended their existence – an act which also has a distinct parallel to Babylon the Great!
Jer 51:61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;
Jer 51:62 Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.
Jer 51:63 And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:
Jer 51:64 And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
||Note: even this final insult to Babylon of old has a similar response in Babylon the Great: in the latter case, she is likened to a millstone which is taken up and cast into the depths of the sea, never to rise again! The reference to this is: Revelation 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Some observers of these similarities perhaps will claim that they are only random similarities, and that the Church is a GOOD institution, unworthy of such condemnation.
To such we say sincerely, Open your eyes! Consult the multiple published histories of the Roman Church through the ages. Research the “Holy Office of the Inquisition,” the papal “bulls,” the excoriations of the “hereticks” of the Church (its critics), the fate delivered by the Church upon the scholars who translated the scriptures into common languages so that the multitudes of the long-duped Papal sheep could read it and learn what the Bible really teaches, and observe to do those things to the best of their ability. Research the practices of Simony, of Indulgencies, of homosexuality of the priesthood and the nuns, of the monetary corruption of the Abbots and Priests of the Orders, and of the heartless condemnation of discordant voices to the most horrible executions!
No institution that can be conceived could have a longer history of verifiable guilt in all these matters as well as many others. Her destruction shall be as final and complete as was that of Nimrod’s Babylon, upon whose principles the Church is surely based in every way.
<HEL 5N> ~4475 words.
May 2014: The Keystone of God’s Promises for the Earth
Harold E. Lafferty
Ours is the age of reckless, irrational murder of innocents by “innocents.” Every so often a student enters his school with a weapon and senselessly kills or wounds several of his classmates. The searching for a motive begins in force. The shooter is often called a “loner.” Others have a wide circle of friends. What caused him to turn on his classmates? Past medical history is searched; friends are interviewed; pastors are called to newsrooms to tell of the subject’s past church activities and community service.
Questions abound. But answers are few.
Nobody seems to recall that everyone is born under sin, and that all SIN. Perhaps it was due to hatred – or envy; or bullying. Decidedly, sin is the final answer.
But the word “sin” has not surfaced once that we have heard.
Then the witnesses appear before the TV interviewer, telling of the victims in endearing terms, noting their good traits and charitable works.
Almost invariably the witnesses state that the victims are now in heaven, benefitting from God’s grace.
They’re in a “better place,” according to the newscasters and the witnesses. And we have never heard of anyone having been assigned to “hell.” It’s amazing! Every victim who ever died has gone to heaven! At least, that is the judgment of his or her companions.
It is evidence of their pathetic, regretful, but abysmal ignorance of God’s real truth!
These folk are victims of the most egregious fraud – of deception of the worst sort – that trumpeted by the trusted “ministers” of their churches; the sheep have swallowed the lies and dishonesty that they have purveyed to their flocks.
What is the real truth about
the destiny of those who die?
It can only be determined by a careful study of GOD’S WORD – by ferreting out HIS promises to the righteous and the wicked – for both go unto one place: as Solomon wrote, in Ecclesiastes 3:20: All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
This simple, uncomplicated formula places all the dead back into the dust of the earth, from whence came we all.
In the Old Testament that place is called Sheol; in the New it is usually termed Hades.
Both are simply the grave: the place of the dead, the pit.
There is no mystery here. We see the literal fulfillment of this process at every funeral service we attend. It matters not that the words of the ministers are in direct opposition. The process cannot be stayed nor blunted. Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
We have often heard funeral eulogies in which the dearly deceased is claimed to be at that moment beside God’s throne looking down upon this scene, and sorrowing that the mourners are weeping for him or her!
Just two verses earlier than the above (in which Solomon wrote that the dead know not anything), King Solomon defined the destiny of the dead – that of ALL men and women – for ALL fit his description of them: … yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. (verse 3)
This description fits ALL the sons of men. Its harsh assessment does not indicate that all are heinous perpetrators of great and obvious transgressions. They are simply sinners. It is not in men and women to obey God in all things.
We humbly submit that this destiny is that of ALL men and women (and children) who die, and is supported by the Apostle Paul’s commentary upon the entire human race: Romans 3:23 – All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; and Romans 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Think about this seriously. The statement refers to all the earthborns of all time and every age! Men, women and children – ALL are victims of the sentence of death which was passed upon Adam. This is true whether they actively “sin” or not; all are born in a state of alienation from God, and are essentially dead (subject to death) unless they take intelligent measures to circumvent death.
Men and women may not like the sound of these words of instruction – but they ARE indelibly INSTRUCTIVE, breathed by inspiration of the Father Himself, and must not be denied or repudiated.
A Biblical Discussion of the Destiny of Man
Instead, the destiny of the true Believer in God’s Plan for mankind and for the earth is readily available in His immutable word. It is simple and straightforward – and results in far less insult to the sinner than man’s philosophy allows.
That penalty of sin is DEATH – not an everlasting life of pleasure and security in heaven, or of everlasting torture in the “fires of hell,” or Gehenna fire. Gehenna was a garbage heap in the Valley of Hinnom in Jerusalem where fires of consumption of waste deposited in it kept the flames burning at all times – consuming the refuse of the citizens of the City.
But even that fire is not still burning. Today in Jerusalem, the Valley of Hinnom is the site of great apartment buildings and lovely landscaping. Its location is central to all of the amenities of the City, and has become a choice address for many.
So the Gehenna fire is used by Jesus and others as a metaphor for destruction of its contents. One might think that the ministers who preach an everlasting burning hellfire destiny of the wicked should have learned something of metaphor in “divinity school.” Instead, they prefer to use the figure of speech, which refers to the destiny of everyone (not just the wicked) to leverage members to their congregations, and to add revenue to their church!
By scriptural testimony, ALL people who die are consigned to the grave – or Sheol, the pit.
But for some – those who have made a Covenant with Christ in not only learning the details of the salvation which He offers, but the pathway to it, including baptism into His name, this is not the end of the story.
The destiny of those whose ways are righteous is to follow a logical, progressive pathway to God’s kingdom on the earth – first descending into the death state, being buried in Sheol (the grave) and dissolving back to the elements of the dust.
In that safe, completely Unconscious state, every Believer in Christ rests until the resurrection, when he or she shall be brought forth from the grave and gathered along with the living Believers and mustered before the Judge of all the earth, the returned Jesus Christ.
At that time of assize, their fitness for the Kingdom is determined by Him, and those adjudged righteous are awarded life eternal on His right hand. Those on the left hand are sent forth again into the world with weeping and gnashing of teeth, to live for a short time until they descend again into the dust of the earth for eternity.
For them, there is no more hope or expectation. Like the earlier pagans who never knew or acknowledge Christ as Saviour, they are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise. Isaiah 26:14.
The Provision for Salvation
It is relatively easy and straightforward to ascertain the process of receiving the reward of the righteous; it merely requires some objective scriptural study. We shall proceed with that discussion here:
It begins by reviewing the provision God made in Eden as to “the Seed of the Woman.” Actually it begins even before that with the sentence of death which He pronounced upon the pair because of their sin; note please that the sentence was DEATH, not life. The latter decision and statement was that of the Serpent – thou shalt not surely die. Genesis 3:4.
It was a lie of the grossest kind – and brought fatal consequences upon Adam and his wife. In the “Christian” doctrine of the immortality of the soul of man, the lie of the serpent is repeated countless times in the congregations of the Church. It is as much a lie today as it was then.
Notice particularly verse 19 of Genesis 3: along with other provisions, God sentenced the pair to death in these fearful words: Genesis 3:19 - In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Those fatal words were God’s final judgment for the moment. But in order to fulfill His great Plan for the Ages, to which He had already committed, we behold His infinite mercy to His creation – His plan for redemption of certain ones from that universal sentence of death!
In his mercy the Almighty laid out a plan of salvation intended for them and all their posterity; a plan of salvation which He should clarify as time should pass.
But it would require obedience to Him and to His teachings, and as such, should not apply to every being; for many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).
We should note, additionally, that the remedy was actually given prior to the hurtful sentence; realizing that feature of it, we can determine that these drastic events did not take the Almighty by surprise – that this Plan was in place even before the creation.
That provision is given in Genesis 3:14 - And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The certain meaning of this is that the serpent represented sin in the flesh – the propensity of men and women to follow their own lusts as they had done in partaking of the forbidden fruit of Eden’s Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their transgression followed the elements of sinful processes which are stated by the Apostle John, in 1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. These specific failures were the cause of Eve’s downfall!
The provision of the Seed of the Woman would be the Almighty’s doorway to Salvation. But it would require a long time in man’s estimation for the Plan to develop.
No further forward progress seems apparent until after the great Flood of Noah’s time.
It begins in early post-diluvian history, when it pleased the LORD to call one man to His side for humble, obedient service.
At the time when God called Abram, while he yet dwelt in Ur of Chaldea, Abram was given a widely comprehensive set of invitations and promises by God. That entire blessing of the Covenant seems to have been a unilateral one: God promised great blessings.
But Abram had no input into the provisions of it, being in deep sleep at the confirmation of it.. And it was not a mandated request from the Almighty, i.e., Abram could have ignored it, and not responded.
When he did respond to the invitation, it became known as the Abrahamic Covenant. That was the indication that Abram had gratefully accepted the proffered blessing.
The Covenant may be reduced to its parts by careful consideration. Moses wrote there …
Gen 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Gen 12:2 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:
Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
The various clauses of this Great Covenant are as follows: first, God’s invitation to Abram:
· Get thee out of thy country, departing from your kindred and your father’s house
· Go into a foreign land later to be shown to thee
All the remaining portions are promised blessings to him: and by implication to his progeny – or, his Seed.
· You shall be made a great nation
· You shall be blessed by Me (God)
· Your name shall be made great
· You shall be a blessing (to all men)
· God would bless all those who blessed Abram
· God would curse him that cursed Abram – all of them
· In Abram (i.e., in his progeny) would all nations of the earth receive blessing
This invitation to Abram – for such it was, not being mandatory – would be moved forward only by Abram’s responsive faith. That became Abram’s initial test of fealty to God. That faithful response in a sense confirmed the Covenant by Abram’s agreement to it.
The invitation was issued first of all to Abram because in all His creation at that time, God saw that Abram was a malleable, obedient personality with whom God could work, and was potentially a man of great faith in God.
Abram would be a faithful recipient of his blessing, and offered to the Almighty the best human agency (person, or personality) for moving forward the Plan of God in the earth.
It would move forward through one man, but the entire world would benefit from his faith. We observe how in this sequence of operation, the plan of salvation would be made available, extending potentially to ALL men and women of all nations, kindred, tongues and people.
It would be His universal Plan of Redemption from the sinful condition that had passed upon all Adam’s progeny when he transgressed God’s sole commandment. No alternative was possible: this was His only plan.
We find in subsequent study of the overall Plan of God, that this Covenant made with Abram is the foundation stone of that structure.
Embedded within it were several other superb benefits and blessings upon the people who would spring from Abram – later renamed Abraham – and through him to the entire world, i.e., to all who should exhibit the faith that Abraham exhibited.
Abram means “he who crosses over.”
Abraham means “father of the faithful.”
We easily perceive that Abram’s response of “crossing over” the river and leaving the Mesopotamian civilization made him a pioneer of sorts, entering, as he did physically, an hostile and strange land which his fathers knew not.
It was the opening move of his faithful obedience to the Almighty. In doing God’s will, Abram crossed over a boundary from the familiar to the unfamiliar – and he did it by faith.
With passing events exhibiting the continued faithful obedience to God by Abram, He changed Abram’s name to Abraham; he became the father of that entire genus of people in whom faith in God took root, became enlightened by Him, and followed His ways to the best of their ability – a condition that, unfortunately, did not remain in effect, however, for the entire history of his descendants.
Only a superficial consideration would reveal that the entire world would benefit ONLY from the outcome of the Covenant to Abraham, for God made a covenant with no other.
We suspect that the early nations recognized this fact and were extremely jealous because God had elected a Chosen People – a select People who should spring forth from a supremely faithful man by divine calling and election.
We believe also that this jealousy and envy has persisted to the present day, manifesting itself in the vicious opposition to Israel that we shall review in some detail below.
Subsequent study reveals the multiple features of The Covenant, filled in by YHVH as the years advanced with Abraham’s descendants – the Royal Line being designated as being exclusively through his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob and his twelve sons (Tribes), particularly the Tribe of Judah.
These dependent parts of the Covenant may be illustrated by a verse by verse examination of Genesis, and later writings of God.
Such an examination brings forth a brief list of these features as relates to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
These follow, but are not exhaustive. Later blessings completely parallel to these were applied to David, specifically – not included here.
Land Abraham: Gen 13:15, 17; 15:18; 17:8
Isaac: Gen 26:3
Abram’s Seed Abraham: Gen 13:16; 15:4, 5; 17:
Gen 2, 4; 22:16-18; 24:7
Isaac: Gen 26:4; 27:29;
Jacob: Gen 32:12; Gen 35:11,12
Blessing of all nations in him Abraham: Gen 18:18
Blessing for blessing – cursing for cursing
Abraham: Gen 12:3;
Isaac: Gen 27:29
Covenant with Abraham Abraham: Gen 17:4-7