January: Balaam the Prophet, Part I
Reprinted from TPL, September 2010 (Edited)
A Prophecy for the End-times
In Numbers 22, the curious episode of Balaam and Balak begins. It is one of the first highly detailed forecasts of the destiny of the great People of Israel, newly born in Egypt and delivered into the wilderness of Sinai, now having survived for forty years of the incredible journey to the Promised Land.
Balak, King of Moab, became aware of the host of Israel as it marched northward along the east side of the Dead Sea, bound for Canaan. Balak was greatly intimidated by Israel; so he determined to bring help to deal with them. He solicited assistance of Balaam.
It seems that Balaam was a “prophet” of renown, for Balak, King of Moab, sent emissaries to summon Balaam from his far northern home at Pethor (Peor), a city on the Euphrates near Haran.
The trek would take several days. The emissaries of Moab came out to meet Balaam; they were laden with the “rewards of divination” (v. 7) – a tempting treasure as ample remuneration for Balaam’s assistance.
But a surprising turn of events comes when, upon hearing the request of Balak, Balaam turns from the men telling them that before he can give them an answer as to whether he can be of service to them, he must consult the Lord, and get His permission.
That night, God comes to Balaam and asks, “What men are these with thee?” Balaam tells the Lord that Balak of Moab has sent these emissaries to hire Balaam’s assistance against “… a people [having] come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth,” and that Balak has asked him to “come now, curse them for me, peradventure I should be able to overcome them and drive them out” (v. 11).
Now, we really know nothing about Balaam at this point. Was he a renegade priest/prophet from Abraham’s earlier habitation of that far northern area? Was he a separately appointed prophet of God in that area? (We can give little credence to that thought.) We just don’t know how he came to occupy this office. But we must realize that he had an entirely valid and direct connection to the Lord!
The representatives of Balak were surprised when the next morning, Balaam refused to go with the men saying the Lord had denied him permission; the emissaries immediately returned to Moab.
But Balak refused to accept Balaam’s answer and quickly sent more honorable lords with even greater gifts to entice Balaam. Again the Lord appeared to Balaam and discussed this with him, telling Balaam that he now may go with the men: “Rise up, and go with them, but yet the word which I say unto thee, thou shalt do it.”
The journey did not go well for Balaam. For the Lord was angry that Balaam had asked again to go to Moab after His telling Balaam he must not.
We know well the story of the talking donkey and the episode of the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword in the way, unseen by Balaam but clearly visible to the donkey. Finally, her way being blocked by the angel, in despair the donkey falls to the ground, protesting Balaam’s treatment (and her speech not seeming to be surprising to Balaam!) as Balaam threatens her life.
But presently Balaam is allowed to see the angel of the Lord and repents of his bad behavior.
The angel uses this encounter to reinforce his instruction to Balaam: “Go with the men, but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that shalt thou speak!” (v. 35)
Now the stage is set for some of the earliest long-term prophecies concerning Israel and her future history. The revelations of Balaam, given him by the Lord, are mainly four “parables.”
Balaam is met by Balak at the River Arnon – his northern border with Ammon. They commiserate, then enjoy a feast of roast oxen and rams in a town called Kirjuth-huzoth, which means “a city of streets,” a town somewhere in northern Moab.
On the morrow they journeyed to a high-place of Baal from where Balaam will be able to see a large part of the Israelite encampment.
Here they offer an ox and a ram on each of seven altars as burnt offerings – to put Balak in “good stead” with any “gods” that might be observing this series of events, and Balaam with the Almighty One he at least nominally serves.
Now Balaam advises Balak to stay with the offerings, and goes alone to the high place, advising Balak that “peradventure the LORD will come to meet me; and whatsoever He showeth me, I will tell thee.” The word translated “meet me” here is spoken in a neutral or passive sense. Balaam clearly expects a friendly, amicable conversation with Elohim [God] when they meet.
“And Balaam met Elohim:” here the word used indicates a hostile, NOT a passive, sense – and he (Balaam) said unto Him (Elohim) “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram.”
The angel absolutely ignores this solicitous information and curtly informs Balaam, “Return unto Balak, and thus shalt thou speak.”
We learn the message only when Balaam gives it to Balak, whom he finds still standing obediently by the burnt sacrifices with all the princes of Moab.
Imagine the anger – the disappointment and fury – of Balak when he hears what Balaam has been instructed to say – and his embarrassment before all his chief princes – when Balaam pronounces this extensive blessing upon Israel! Numbers 23:7-10.
“7. Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram,
Out of the mountains of the east, saying,
‘Come and curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.’
8. How shall I curse, whom GOD hath not cursed?
Or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?
9. For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him:
Lo, the People shall dwell alone.
And shall not be reckoned among the nations.
10. Who can count the dust of Jacob,
And the number of the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let my last end be like his!”
Here, in its apparent simplicity, is Balaam’s impression from seeing presumably only the northern fourth of the encampment of the mighty people of Israel spread in the plains below him – phrased so elegantly in the words of the angel of the Lord who had instructed him in his speech!
The language is full of the significance of God’s predetermined future destiny of Israel! And not only that, it was testimony as to Israel’s hidden but true character.
Oh! And notice the clarity with which he now identifies this multitude, which was so strange to Balak that he did not even know its name – describing only “this great multitude (which has) come out of Egypt!”
Originally, Balaam also did not know its name or its identity – only that it was a “people blessed,” as the angel had told him in Pethor his home, before this adventure had even begun.
Now he reveals clearly to us that Balak has asked him to come from the mountains so far away “to curse me JACOB, and to defy ISRAEL.”
He seems to speak the words in an awesome, admiring, enlightened, and hallowed voice! His next words are pure admiration for this strange People: paraphrasing…
From the top of the rocks of Baal I see (Israel),
And from the hills I behold (a part of Israel),
LO! The people shall dwell alone,
And shall not be reckoned among the nations!
The injection of the word “LO” is a figure of speech called Asterismos, which means “indicating” and employs 'some word' (in this case Lo!) which directs special attention to some particular point or subject. It was used earlier in verse 6 where it is recorded: “Lo! Balak stood by his burnt sacrifice.”
It here indicates an incontrovertible fact, which is that “the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” The meaning is that, even from this early beginning, the multitude was a special, sanctified (set apart) people before the God of heaven, first identified as Jacob (Ya’akob) which means “a heel-catcher, or a supplanter;” but secondarily, Israel (Yishra’el) which means “he shall rule as God.” It was never to be a typical, “normal” nation such as all others.
How IS it that Israel shall not be reckoned among the nations? Because he is God’s chosen Son and People, covenanted to Him through his father Abraham, to whom Abraham’s obedience was imputed as faith [Romans 4: 3: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.” Cf. Hebrews 11: 8], thus setting Israel apart from the other nations – indeed, making them “holy” in God’s eyes. In that special, blessed people, would God’s mighty plan be fulfilled! From them would come forth Messiah, their Saviour, as we learn a bit later in another of Balaam’s prophecies!
These are profound and unexpectedly adverse pronouncements to Balak regarding this mysterious multitude; and these are certainly not praises for his enemy that Balak wants to hear!
“10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
And the number of the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let my last end be like his!”
His conclusion was that these People COULD NOT BE CURSED, and thus never obliterated! Indeed, its number would, in one figure, be “like the dust of the earth.” Balaam couldn’t even begin to count the “fourth part” which he apparently could view from the Baal-place where he had stood.
Balaam would surely not understand the last couplet; but he had been instructed to tell Balak – and us, through his writings – of the blessed destiny of this great People. So now Balaam expresses the sincere wish that HE might “die the death of the righteous,” which was a much fairer end than he could see for himself in other terms; so he expresses the unique prayer: “Let my LAST end be like Israel’s!” The expression means “latter end,” and indicates issue or reward, or in this case both! (Cf., Bullinger f.n. on verse)
It is interesting here, that when Balaam prays “Let me die,” the phrase literally means “Let my soul (life) die…” (The Hebrew is nephesh), so “Let my LIFE die the death of the righteous.” It would be a “sleep” of indeterminable length, which would end in the latter days.
In so praying, even Balaam refutes the queer notion held by many even today – that men who die haven’t really died! That only their body has deceased, but their real “essence” lives on with God in heaven – a doctrine to which the Bible gives no support whatever.
He therefore prays for that SPECIAL “death of the righteous,” the (upright) ones of God, whose destiny alone – among ALL the dead – is to be brought back from the grave and restored to life again in the latter day – doubtless the reason he includes the same concept in the last line of the couplet: “Let my LAST (or latter) END be like his.” For the righteous, or upright, there is expected restitution of his “soul” or his “life” – his nephesh – at the end, when comes that “Star out of Jacob” of which he later speaks in his unique prophecies!
But Balak is furious with rage! “What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to CURSE mine enemies, and behold, thou hast blessed them altogether!” (23: 11)
But Balaam’s rebuttal is steadfast: only that which the LORD speaks to me may I speak to you!
So Balak leads Balaam to another promontory which he can view the multitude of Israel from a different angle – but his view is still limited to only a portion of them. They offer the animals on seven altars as before, and Balaam goes forth to meet the Lord.
Again, the Lord does meet Balaam; again in a hostile context. The Lord tells him what to say to Balak. We hear it only when he tells Balak, in verse 18:
“18. Rise up, Balak, and hear;
Hearken unto Me, thou son of Zippor;
19. God is not a man, that He should lie;
Neither the son of man that He should repent:
Hath He not said, and shall He not do it?
Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?
20. Behold, I have received commandment to bless:
And He hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
21. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,
Neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel;
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a king is among them.
22. God brought them out of Egypt;
He hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
23. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
Neither is there any divination against Israel:
According to this time, it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel,
‘WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?’
24. Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion,
And lift himself up as a young lion:
He shall not lie down until he eat of the prey,
And drink the blood of the slain.”
In the words of verses 18-19, Balaam enlightens Balak that he is dealing with a completely unknown entity never before seen in Moab – the Almighty God of Israel, Protector of the Children of Israel, Whose message was being sent directly to Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab! Not a member of the race of men is God, but One Whose word is steadfast, whose promise is SURE! He has made a sure pronouncement and He shall perform it!
There is no alternative to God’s holy will – and no overcoming it by divination, as he tells Balak in verse 20:“I cannot reverse it.”
Indeed, as he intimates in verse 21, there is no earthly NEED for God to reverse His decision, for God has beheld “no iniquity” or evil in Jacob, nor any perverseness in Israel! Even in the wake of their utterly unfaithful conduct during the last 40 years in the wilderness, God’s very presence is with Israel and the shout of a king is among them! They are His people, and he “deems” them righteous!
Such is the fortunate state of a sanctified People...
It is extremely significant this commentary must also be applied to Israel today, re-gathering into its land. They cannot – and shall not – be effectively “cursed” by their enemies, for God is redeeming His people, and holding them guiltless for their perverse attitudes! His final pronouncement of that fact shall come at His confrontation with them as written in Zechariah 13: 6, when “... one shall say unto Him, “What are these wounds in thine hands?” Then shall He answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends!”
Verses 22 and 23 repeat the stubborn blessing that God has placed upon His people. And an indication that men shall eventually say about Israel, “What hath God wrought?” – not “What hath Israel DONE?” – showing that men such as Balak the Moabite, son of Zippor, shall recognize that GOD has done these great deeds for Israel, preserving them, and causing their great prosperity and success!
Verse 24 puts the capstone on this second utterance of God’s Spirit exercised through Balaam: “Behold! (asterismos again!), the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion; he shall not lie down (rest) until he eat the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.”
The enemy, or prey of Israel, was then – and are now – the avowed enemies of God’s purpose with Israel in the earth! You see, man’s plans or concepts mean absolutely nothing to the Almighty! His plan takes hold of His people and promotes them in the face of ALL adversity! No puny little despot such as Balak, Sihon, or Og – or Nasser, Hussein, Assad, Ibn Saud, or Arafat – could obliterate Israel from its inheritance, nor deflect it from its intended course and Godly destiny!
What a shattering message Balak had been delivered! It is so heavily against his own will that he fairly shouts at Balaam,“ Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!” – Which in our parlance means, “If you can’t CURSE them, then don’t BLESS them!”
But Balak, still hopeful and undaunted, leads Balaam to a third location – to the peak of Mt. Peor, which overlooks the wilderness. The mountain is northeast of Mt. Nebo, probably of about equal height, from which Balaam could not behold “ISRAEL abiding in his tents, according to their tribes.”
The idea is that now he could see the entire encampment and thus hopefully curse them all together.
The impact of its enormous size hit Balaam hard. He did not seek the angel of the Lord on this occasion, for he truly now understood that “it pleased the Lord to bless Israel.” (24: 1)
Instead, God’s Spirit descended upon Balaam as he turned his face toward the Israelites. The third message he delivered to Balak begins in Numbers 24. Verses 3 – 9:
“3. And he took up this parable, and said,
Balaam the son of Beor hath said,
And the man whose eyes are open hath said,
4.He hath said, who heard the words of GOD,
Who saw the vision of the ALMIGHTY,
Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
5.’ How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob,
And thy tabernacles, O Israel’’2
6. As the valleys are they spread forth,
As gardens by the river’s side.
As the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted,
And as cedar trees beside the waters.
7. He shall pour the water out of his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters,
And his king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
8. God brought him forth out of Egypt;
He hath as it were the strength of an unicorn:
He shall eat up the nations his enemies,
And shall break their bones,
9. He crouched, he lay down as a lion,
And as a great lion, who shall stir him up?
Blessed is he who blesseth thee,
And cursed is be who curseth thee.”
Balaam’s description of himself in this parable is almost mystical, as he delivers to Balak the words and intentions of the Almighty. He is “the man whose eyes are open.” The Hebrew word for “open” is shatham, and means to unclose. It indicates one who is immersed in ecstasy – eyes closed, yet seeing. He is imbued – absolutely saturated – with the power from on high as he continues: “He hath said, who heard the words of God, who saw the visions of the ALMIGHTY, falling to the ground, but having his eyes open.”
Our intention, God willing, is to examine the details of this third “parable” spoken to Balak by Balaam in next month’s insertion in this Section – and to move into the remaining quite remarkable revelations of Balaam the son of Peor...
This is the end of Part I of this article; God willing, it will be completed in next month’s issue of eTPL. Harold Lafferty MD/USA. Compiled November, 1998. For eTPL, September 2010. Reprinted as the eTPL prophecy article for January 2019.
February: Balaam the Prophet, Conclusion
Please read Part I of this series prior to this Conclusion
Balaam’s spirit soars! As such a suitable purveyor of God’s revelation, he seems not to care at all for the rewards of silver and gold of which he shall surely be deprived! He seems, really, now to care only about the will of the Almighty, Who inspires him. He is reckless, submerged in the intonations of the great blessings which God freely showers upon His unique and blessed people Israel!
He records in Numbers 24 …
“3 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said
4 He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
5. How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, And thy tabernacles, O Israel!
6. As the valleys are they spread forth, As gardens by the river’s side.
As the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, And as cedar trees beside the waters.
His description of God’s chosen ones probes far deeper than all that is perceptible to the eyes of mortals. Their very tents reflect the favour of their God. The vastness of their encampment of perhaps two millions of souls is wonderfully spread forth as the great clefts between mountains. Festooned with greenery, reminding Balaam of exotic tropical aloes and fragrant woods beside abundant streams of water!
“7. He shall pour the water out of his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters,
And his kings shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.”
Although this location is semi-arid, Israel’s destiny is that he shall, in future time, possess such an abundance of life-giving water that he could with impunity waste it upon the ground – a forecast of the Latter Days, and of Millennial blessings of the Tabernacle in Zion from which living waters shall flow continually day and night toward the east sea and toward the hinder sea, healing the waters of the Dead Sea, supporting the “wood of life” which is pictured growing on either side of that river in Revelation 22:2, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, whose sustenance is without money or price to all who would partake of it.
Likewise, His “seed” (Israel’s progeny) – the individuals imbued with the blessings, doctrines, and foundations of the Father – shall spread abroad, transported by this life-giving “water,” to the nations and peoples of the earth, all of whom joyfully come up to Jerusalem once a year to worship the Lord of Hosts! A KING also shall be there – “higher than Agag” shall he be!”
It is a magnificent understatement of God’s Spirit! There is really no valid comparison of these two kings! Although this is the first Biblical occurrence of this name – Agag – we recognize that in principle it refers to one actually named Agag, a much later king of the Amalekites, whom Saul spared in I Samuel 15, and whom righteous Samuel hewed to pieces before all the people. Indeed, it is a specific prophecy that a future king of the Amalekites would bear that name.
Only four decades prior to this, during the Exodus, the people of Amalek dwelt in the top of the Negev desert southwest of the Salt Sea. They presented the first national barrier to Israel’s entry into their Promised Land as they challenged the passage of God’s people, and fought with the Israelites at Rephidim.
Joshua led the Israelites against Amalek in Exodus 17 and was victorious when Moses held high the rod of God, but began to lose the battle when Moses became tired and let down the rod. So Aaron and his brother Hur sat Moses on a stone so they could support his hands throughout the day, “And Joshua overwhelmed the people of Amalek with the sword.” (vs. 13, Tanakh)
Then came the ominous sentence upon Amalek from God: “Inscribe this in a document as a reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: ‘I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven!’ And Moses built an altar and named it Adonai-nissi. He said it means, “Hand upon the throne of the Lord! … The Lord will be at war with Amalek through the ages!” (Verses 14 – 16)
Bullinger points out that an ellipsis here causes some difficulty, but should be understood as “Surely the hand [lifted up] upon the banner of Jah [is to swear]; for the war of Jehovah [YHVH] against Amalek is to be from generation to generation.”
And “so it was,” he says, “It was carried on by Ehud (Judges 3), Barak (Judges 5), Gideon (Judges 6), Saul (I Samuel 15), David (I Samuel 27), the Simeonites (II Chronicles 4), Mordecai (Esther 3 and 9). Some have proposed that the name Agag is equivalent to GOG and that the final victory over Agag comes when the Gogian host prepares to attack Israel as in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and meets its doom, but there seems little reason to suspect anything more than a phonetic similarity as the circumstances are not parallel.
Indeed! His king – that exalted One then named Yahveh Tz’vaoth– the Lord of hosts – shall be higher than Agag, and His kingdom shall be exalted,” NOT cursed, utterly defeated, and destroyed.
Balaam continues his message in verse 8 –
“8. God brought him (Israel) forth out of Egypt:
He (Israel) hath as it were the strength of a unicorn:
He (Israel) shall eat up the nations his enemies,
And (Israel) shall break their bones,
And pierce them through with his arrows.”
Balaam’s absolute confession is that it was GOD Who had miraculously brought forth Israel out of Egypt, giving to Israel the strength of a unicorn. The word “unicorn” is from the Septuagint, but the Hebrew is reem, and is supposed to mean the rhinoceros, buffalo, or antelope, but is often rendered “unicorn” in the AV, indicative of mythic, supernatural strength – the strength of God Himself.
So, in light of such strength, Israel AS A NATION should ‘eat up the nations who are his enemies, and break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows!’
That was their short term destiny as they soon began to destroy the seven nations which inhabited Canaan, their Land. And it is their long-term, Latter-Day destiny as well, as they wither the hands and crush the heads of the nations round about who persecute them daily, terrorize them hourly, and consistently hate the Israel of God and His plan for their imminent redemption!
“9. He crouched, he lay down as a lion,
And as a great lion, who shall stir him up?
Blessed is he who blesseth thee,
And cursed is he who curseth thee.”
Balaam again refers to labiy (the great lion; earlier he had referred also to the young lion - ariy), perhaps the fiercest beast known to those people at that time –“the king of beasts,” who has his own way with every other species. Who, indeed, shall “stir him up?” – that is, who dares “rouse him?” Such an act could bring sudden death to the rouser. The lion is a metonym for Israel’s invincible character under God’s will; a relentless hunter and fighter who is unconquerable. It is for this reason that Messiah is called “the lion of the tribe of Judah.” He also is invincible and irrepressible.
Balaam finishes this parable with a repetition of Abraham’s early blessing from the Almighty in Genesis 12: 3, when He had told Abraham, “I will bless them who bless thee, and curse him who curseth thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing, “ and of Isaac’s inspired, repetition of the same promise to Jacob (who was posing as his brother Esau) in Genesis 27:29, giving the promise, “ … cursed be everyone who curseth thee, and blessed be he who blesseth thee.” That is a promise to Israel which is un-revoked even today!”
Jacob – blessed yet again! And by this trusted, paid, supposedly trustworthy cohort of Balak!
Balak is livid with rage! He strikes his hands together in fury, shouting that he has hired Balaam to curse his enemies but Balaam has blessed them! In Balak’s mind, these spoken blessings add weight to the value of the real blessings; by Balaam having spoken the blessings they will now surely become true! People today often say, “Don’t talk about it – it might come to pass.”
Balaam’s defense to Balak is utterly consistent; he can say ONLY what God tells him to say about the People!
So Balak dismisses him in his rage: “Therefore now flee thou to thy place!” Balak commands. (Verse 11)
But Balaam will have the last word – indeed the last “parable.”
Balaam’s next words continue to rub defeat into every pore of Balak’s ruddy skin. As he turns to leave, he spits out these words for Balak’s admonition, saying, in effect – Okay; I’m leaving; but before I go, come … and I will advertise thee [or tell thee] what THIS People shall do to THY people in the latter days.”
Now we are approaching the final conclusion of the matter! WE personally, live “in the latter days,” and are intensely interested in how the present attempt at an Arab-Israeli “peace process” will work out – and why it won’t – which are Balaam’s conclusions in this prophecy!
Before we read his final words to Balak, let us remember clearly the truth that God had told Moses to write in Exodus 17: 16: that “The Lord will be at war with Amalek throughout the ages!”
The combat and animosity between Israel and his Arab neighbors will drone on and on, seemingly forever – in nearly endless strife!
But at the END of the age of strife, there comes the final conclusion: a body-bag of sorts would be drawn over the people of Balak, and others of his kith and kin as they are utterly destroyed out of hand!
In a repetition of the trance-state in which Balaam saw and heard the instruction of God’s Spirit (in verses 15 and 16 of his previous vision), Balaam recites still greater revelations from God about Israel.
Now, please note that Balaam starts to bring even HIMSELF into the future equation, beginning in Numbers 24: 17 –
“17. I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh.”
Now the facts begin to come home on a personal level for Balaam!
He declares the word of God has been given him by inspiration: “I shall see Him, but not now” – speaking of the Almighty One Whose words Balaam had to have heard in the preamble, and Whose vision he had seen. “I shall behold Him, but not nigh!” – Not near, in terms of time. In other words, he expressed faith that Balaam would himself SEE the Almighty – not sooner, but MUCH LATER.
Unfortunately, that event is not to conclude well for Balaam, as we shall see.
He continues describing WHO it is that he now, in his own mind, believes that he shall see …
“18. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, And a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And shall smite the
corners of Moab, And destroy all the children of Sheth.”
The Hebrew word for Star is kokab (Strong H3556), “star, as round, or as shining; figuratively, a prince; translated also as star, stargazer.”
It indicates none other than the Messiah of Israel, Who had been revealed to Balaam of Pethor, son of Beor! – Jesus of Nazareth, Who refers directly to Himself in Revelation 22: 16 in this tenor: “I, Jesus, have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the Ecclesias. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star!” [Other relevant references are Luke 1:78; Revelation 2:28; and Matthew 2:2.]
Balaam’s revelation again expands, in the next line, with absolute accuracy that this Star is to be regent over Israel, for that is the significant implication of His also being named a Scepter: “a Scepter shall rise out of Israel!”
The angel who announced His coming birth to Mary in Matthew 1:32 revealed that “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
A Scepter indeed! – A Throne and a Scepter! – A Kingdom AND a throne AND a Scepter are His certain and blessed destiny! And at this time Balaam himself seems destined to behold it all in that future day, along with all the faithful and called and chosen of God! How fortunate, that, to this point, he has exhibited the faith to follow the word of God and to BLESS Israel, and not CURSE Israel for the mammon offered by Balak!
However, these faithful acts failed to seal Balaam’s fate with relation to the future, as we shall see!
Now, for further expansion of this intriguing story – What shall that Scepter DO?
No benign or timid Scepter is this, but a Ruler of positive, conclusive action against the enemies of Israel and of God! “He shall smite the corners (or quarters) of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth” – or Seth – which means ALL these men, for all men on the earth are now sons of Noah, son of Seth!
His connotation, of course, is that these sons of Seth are worldly, fleshly and rebellious; they are the ones who will be destroyed.
But it shall not be so with all mankind. Those who become the “Seed of Abraham” escape such an end, and are brought through the great destruction to life forevermore! In the end, ALL inhabitants of the kingdom – the remainder of all mankind – shall be of the “seed of Abraham!”
The untoward destiny of Moab and his neighbors is here absolutely sealed! It will be a long time in coming, but come it shall!
“18. And Edom shall be a possession” he continues. The people of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, dwell in Edom. Edom is also called Idumea and Mt. Seir. A double curse is placed upon Esau by reference both to Edom and Mt. Seir.
“Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.”
The outlook is not at all good for Israel’s enemies – specifically those nearby, and “round about” Israel, who even to this very time in history – TODAY – are continually sniping, terrorizing, cursing, and vilifying Israel and its God, striving to possess God’s Land, and to destroy His People.
Balaam’s revelation continues, with his concentration on Him who shall be the victor over Moab, Edom, and Seir:
“19. Out of Jacob shall come He Who shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth in the city.”
Tanakh has “ir” for “the city.” It is mentioned once in I Chronicles 7: 12 where the man Ir bore two sons, Shuppim and Huppim; their tribe is Benjamin. The “city” of vs. 19, however, is a city of the enemy – its whole camp – which is wiped out by Christ at His second coming in power and great glory. The Christ, of course, has His origin in Jacob – specifically in Judah, son of Jacob.
“20. And when he looked on Amalek, He took up this parable, and said,
Amalek was the first of the nations: But his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.”
Amalek, you remember, was the first enemy that attacked Israel during their Exodus, thus becoming the prototype – or first – of ALL Israel’s enemies. But it was merely the first nation that warred against the People after they left Egypt, not first in preeminence or in importance among the nations. Amalek’s destiny is here sealed forever by God’s inspired word: “His latter end shall be that he perish for ever.”
Now Balaam turns his attention to another enemy – Midian:
21. He looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said,
“Strong is thy dwelling place, And thou puttest thy nest in a rock
22. Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, Until Assur shall carry thee away captive.”
Note that Balaam LOOKED ON the Kenites (apparently one of the chief tribes of the Midianites), and addressed them with a particular curse. A Kenite is Hebrew Qiyniy (kee-nee) [Strong H7017 = a Kenite or a member of the tribe of Kajin: - Kenite.]
Those who hired Balaam to curse Israel were now cursed by Balaam in Numbers 21: 22! Asshur was to carry them away captive; this was done by Assyria [which is Asshur] in later years. The area known as Midian today is in Saudi Arabia; it is desolate and barren with only a small population of Bedouin.
Verse 23 of Numbers 24 is problematical. Balaam, addressing both Assyria and the Hebrews – Asshur and Eber – saying:
“23. And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim. And shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber,
And he also shall perish forever.”
What can Chittim have to do with this prophecy?
Chittim was probably Cyprus, including the north coastline of the Mediterranean (southern Turkey today). The word is spelled “Kittim” in Genesis 10:4 and in I Chronicles 1:7,
Chittim (with a “C”) is mentioned six times: Numbers 24: 24 is the present reference; Isaiah 23: 1 and 12 refer to Chittim as one of the trading nations having commerce with Tyre, against whom the prophet is writing in this chapter. Jeremiah 2: 10 mentions Chittim as a synonym for the trading, sea-faring nations of the world; the word has been extended to include the people of the coastlands of the Mediterranean opposite Cyprus. Daniel 11:30 is a reference which relates to the Ottomans being attacked by “the ships of Chittim,” and his being grieved and returning, and having indignation against the holy covenant.
Unfortunately, none of these seems to assist us to understand this verse.
“Chittim” comes from Strong H3794, kittiyiy, partially from an unused name denoting Cyprus (only in the plural); a kittite or Cypriote; hence an ISLANDER in general, i.e., the Greeks or Romans on the shores opposite Palestine; Translated Chittim and Kittim.
At this point in the narrative, Balaam rose up, went out and returned to his place and Balak went his way (vs. 25).
It might seem that the matter of Balaam had ended here on an extremely good note. But such is not the case.
The matter which occurred immediately after this at Peor shows how Israel was corrupted by its near neighbors and the cult-worship of Baal in Numbers 25.
Peor is Baal-Peor, and is the promontory from which Balaam viewed Israel the third time – when he was able to see the entire encampment – and the enormity of Israel’s destiny was revealed to him. Baal was a Moabite god and Peor was the chief mountain upon which the idol was worshipped. His worship involved cult prostitutes who enticed the men of Israel to sin before God. The plague from God that resulted destroyed 24,000 of His people.
Soon after this, Moses is commanded to fight against the Midianites (Numbers 31) and does so with 12,000 men (a thousand from each tribe). During this war, Balaam is killed. Their list of slain enemies includes Balaam the son of Beor, slain with the sword. Numbers 31: 8.
In Numbers 31: 16 we read that this ungodly practice – their sin with the cult prostitutes – was a direct result of the counsel or doctrine (margin) of Balaam. Because of this incident, Balaam became a symbol for evil and trespass. II Peter 2: 15 speaks of believers who have forsaken the right way; and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness …”
Jude 11 pronounces a woe upon the followers of Balaam, grouping his trespass with that of Cain and Core (Korah, in the matter of Korah, Dathan and Abiram) all of whom grossly disobeyed the law of God and went their own ways to their everlasting shame.
Revelation 2: 14 lists one of Jesus’ dissatisfactions with the Ecclesia of Pergamos; He says “I have a few things against thee because thou hast there them who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” There is the thing in which Balaam went wrong!
Here, in the final book of the Bible, the matter becomes completely clear. The transgressions at Baal-Peor were a direct result of the “doctrine” or teaching of Balaam.
We surely may conclude that Balaam, in departing from Balak, took Balak aside and counseled him to forget about “cursing” Israel or even of overcoming the People militarily; but advised him rather that it would be easy for him to overcome Israel with his Baal-cult prostitutes! That would destroy Israel from within by the lust of the flesh, which is in every man.
Thus we might not be surprised to find when final judgment is given by the Master, that Balaam finally took a bribe from Balak for this advice. In this entirely subtle way, Balaam might have “earned” his commissions for destroying Israel in an entirely different way. It surely does seem that Balaam will be in that number who DO behold Him, and who stand in judgment before the Lord of all the earth, fulfilling his earlier inspired words, “I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall arise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab.” (Numbers 24: 17)
But for Balaam, though we can make no judgment of him, the gift of eternal life seems improbable. What a shame! Balaam spoke to angelic beings. He received good counsel from the Almighty. He spoke approving words of the Children of Jacob. He obeyed God, if reluctantly, almost until the end! But he apparently did not finish the course, keeping the faith.
Finally, he was overcome by his greed for reward and counseled Balak to entice Israel with the abominable rituals of their stone “god” Baal! That transgression is inexcusable in the words of Peter, who tells us that Balaam not only went astray, but took many of the faithful with him – all to their eternal doom, for “he loved the wages of unrighteousness.”
This is the end of this two-part article. Harold Lafferty MD/USA. Originally compiled, November 1998. For eTPL, October 2010. Republished as the eTPL Prophecy article for February 2019
March: A Day of Darkness and Thick Clouds
Harold E. Lafferty
The words of Jesus as recorded by John Mark set the stage for the appearance of the LORD Jesus Christ in the end-time ... comparing those days to physical darkness: but at the same time, noting that the darkness is reserved for the heathen aggressors of Israel, and not for God’s People, whose good fortunes have already visibly begun to rise. The record is found in Mark 13.
The Master’s words are comprehensive: after revealing the coming of “false Christs” and false prophets arising who should deceive, if possible, the very elect, He goes on ...
Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
Mar 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
Mar 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Note the marked usage of heavenly cosmology in describing these events which shall impact even the higher powers – the rulers and despots, or ruling classes – of the age to come.
But now the prophecy turns, and concerns itself with the common people of the earth – the subjects of those ruling classes – and illustrates the overriding control of the coming Power of God Who shall begin overtly to intervene in the affairs of mankind ...
Mar 13:27 And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
But this wonderful affair was to be preceded by other astonishing events which are a preamble of and necessary to its fulfillment. Jesus’ words set the stage for His hearers ...
Mar 13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
Mar 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Mar 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
We are well aware that His reference to “the fig tree” is a distinct reference to the reformation of Israel as a nation specifically upon the mountains of Israel – the regathering of His People to their Land, and their reconstitution as a national polity.
They should be gathered into their Land against all odds ... and established in the midst of a sea of Islamic peoples – and immediately become the object of their consternation!
Although not obviously stated in this reference, this was to be the conditions upon which would be based the second recovery of God’s People – to begin among a large and hostile Arabic people.
As confirmation of the accuracy of this supposition, it is the manner in which we have personally witnessed the recent events of history ... which is, really, just the fulfillment of Bible prophecy!
The Local Effects of the Return
The yet future stunning events of the end-time will capture the rapt and concentrated attention of all the nations of the earth; but its most intensive and concentrated effect shall at first be upon those nations “round about” His People, Israel – the Proximal Islamic States.
This heightened attention would be – and has been – a natural consequence of the unlikely return of millions of God’s People to a desolate land and to an insignificant and impoverished indigent population of both Jews and Arabs who have long struggled with a sparse existence in “Palestine” as it was then designated.
The regathering of Jews from the entire world has far exceeded anyone’s initial expectations; their number grows rapidly each year supported by a high birthrate and by steady immigration from the nations.
Their rapid expansion within their Land is not accepted by a few million Arabs who have also come into the land during this expansion period.
This marked growth of Judah is unstoppable.
The resistance of the Arabs within and round about the Jewish state is relentless ... and grows ever stronger with the passing years!
Conditions, in our opinion, will not improve until the abrupt personal intrusion of Christ Jesus, Who shall appear in person, and bring a decisive conflict involving all the enemies of Israel between the Rivers and the Seas, ending with the result that “the Saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever.” Daniel 7: 18.
There are many prophetic allusions to this precise conclusion of this final conflict of the beginning of Israel’s struggle for dominance in the end-time. We intend here to examine some of them.
As to our view of this initial phase of the coming conflicts, we would paraphrase Winston Churchill who declared after the battle of El-Alamein, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
The Enemy Shall Come in Like a Flood
Utilizing the figure of an overflowing stream, Isaiah 59: 19 is a straightforward prophecy that the enemy shall at some time "come in like a flood" upon Israel as restored to its land.
We quote here the context of that verse – a series of statements which can apply ONLY to the end-time conflicts of Israel, and refer to the newly returned and concentrated Jewish people in their land by Jesus Christ, Who shall have come back to His People in response to a grand reenactment of three distinct, earlier aggressions by Israel’s enemies round about during this same era.
The student of prophecy should pay careful attention to the minute details of the revelation given here; each word of each phrase is meaningful, and cannot be denied or abrogated – nor assigned a meaning different from that of the surface meaning of the text as recorded.
The Premise: At the most crucial point of the regathering of God’s people to His Land, Israel shall stand entirely alone against their vile enemies.
That fact is clearly supported by the prophesied words of the Master in Isaiah 63: 1-6, where He states clearly that, “of the people there was none with Me!”
One might inquire: “How can this be? Does not the USA have an unbreakable treaty now in place with Israel to come to its aid in case of attack?”
And our answer should have to be, “Yes; the United States has made such a commitment to Israel, and maintains several huge stockpiles of arms and ammunition within Israel to reinforce that promise.”
Therefore, the presence of the USA in the area seems to be a problem as to this view of the fulfillment of the prophecy at the present time.
An even greater conundrum is the presence of Russian forces in Syria today – and the Russian president’s relatively friendly demeanor toward Israel and its security concerns – although this attitude has at times seemed to be changing slowly for the worse!
This well-known condition of the present time flies in the face of the later account of the attack by the Gogian host of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
But we must restate: No matter how difficult that degree of Israel’s isolation is to imagine in this current month and season, the scriptures of truth consistently inform the scholar that neither the USA, nor Great Britain and its young lions, neither Sheba and Dedan, nor any other ally shall stand with Israel when its final aggressors rise up to attempt to destroy her!
It is impossible to forecast just WHY this shall be so – or perhaps even to assign a reasonable explanation for the present allies’ impotence; but we know from scripture that it shall be a fact.
The test of our credence is that we be willing to stand still and see the salvation of the LORD!
As we shall see, this text now speaks deliberately of the personal return of the LORD Jesus Christ in specific terms. And that glorious event, in our opinion, is on the verge of fulfillment at this hour!
We believe it awaits ONLY a clearly defined and a massively aggressive move by the enemies of the Father and His People against the People and the Land at the present time, to bring the return of Christ to His People.
This aggression will probably be entirely similar to at least three previous assaults upon His People which we shall review in more detail in a moment.
We begin our reading at Isaiah 59:16 - And he saw that there was no man (no man in the sense of no human army in alliance with His People; no physical support for her), and wondered that there was no intercessor.
An intercessor is an ally of a different sort; it can indicate a rhetorical intermediary, a SPEAKER on Israel’s behalf, a verbal defender such as the UNO might be, but will not be) – therefore Israel shall have no physical OR moral support from the world.
And these two humanly desperate conditions for Israel necessitate the third factor – the intervention of the LORD from heaven in support of Israel, His People): therefore His arm brought salvation unto him; and His righteousness, it sustained him.
The picture, in our thinking is one of seeming desperation for Israel – indicating that the strength of their enemies has finally become greater than the Jewish state believes it can defend against!
It is not an unreasonable expectation, given that the combined hostile population of the nations of Psalm 83 (a summary compilation of all of them!) is probably around 80 millions of people – or at least ten times the population of Israel today.
This is the plain meaning of this prophecy and the conundrum it presents to us must be considered.
Regardless of our personal convictions otherwise, at this time it appears that Israel shall be challenged by forces which shall seem to Israel to be overpowering ... beyond her capacity for resistance.
To Israel’s military leaders, in our opinion,
it shall appear to be the death-knell of the Jewish state.
The next verses speak of the returned Master’s plan of action in entirely human terms, explaining The Master’s deliberate preparations for the impending conflict...
Isa 59:17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
These tersely stated properties of the now Militant Messiah well define His abilities and intentions toward His people and their enemies – which is to bring retribution upon their enemies for their long-standing evil against His People.
Isa 59:18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompence to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompence.
The Hebrew for “islands” is iy, and is from Strong’s root H183; “properly a habitable spot (as desirable); dry land, a coast, an island: - country, isle, island,” and simply means “lands of” a given enemy.
Isa 59:19 So shall they (His vile enemies) fear the name (the personal Being then present before them) of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a Standard against him.
We intend to comment further upon the “Standard” in a moment...
We believe this stated condition, that “the enemy shall come in like a flood,” has long either been overlooked or simply ignored by most students of prophecy.
But such a revelation must come as no surprise to any scholar – any astute observer of the current scene.
Hamas – The vile enemies of Gaza, for example, almost daily voice their CLEAR intention to flood across their border with Israel by the hundreds of thousands of “fighters” intent on destruction of the Jewish State.
Hezbollah – in Lebanon almost daily repeat that boast, bragging that it has installed well over an hundred thousand missiles to fire against Israel in the coming war! Its “fighters” are also ready to stream across the border with Israel, heading southward by the millions.
When such enemies make such often repeated statements of their intentions, those statements must be heeded – and realized to be the real goal of such enemies.
They mean just what they are saying; that is their plan of attack!
Hamas DOES often voice the stated intention of invading Israel with hordes of terrorists armed with whatever instruments of destruction as are available to them, in a blindly fanatical attempt to destroy the Jewish State and wipe out its population.
The Hebrew word of this passage for “a Standard” is nus, meaning to be displayed, to chase, to cause to flee away – and of course is synonymous with “the Redeemer” of the next verse, whose appearance is stated to be “trip-wired” to this particular event.
The result of such an overpowering, bloodthirsty invasion horde will be His Second Advent – coming to them as a thief in the night, and with destructive power that is unthinkable!
Note the clearly noted positivity of the next verse – not couched in hidden meanings or nuances of thought ...
Isa 59:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
This phrase “Zion, and ... them that turn from transgression in Jacob” defines all the citizenry of Israel who physically have “returned” to Him – to the land of the Children of Israel in response to His commandment to do just that.
This is the identical message of Micah 5:3; Jeremiah 24: 7; Malachi 3: 7, q.v.
By having physically regathered in their homeland His People have secured for themselves the positive reassurance of His protection and ultimate guidance, as stated in Amos 9: 11 – 15.
Bear in mind that this specific RETURN was not possible prior to 1917, prior to the time when the Ottomans’ control of Palestine was removed and the way opened for their return ... and even more forcefully after May, 1948, when their nation was established and the Law of Return could take effect.
As His incredibly powerful, physical, confrontational intrusion on their behalf signals – and is humbly recognized by them – as the appearance of their long-awaited Messiah in their midst – coupled with their repentance for their earlier denial of Him – His intimate and beneficial association with them becomes instantly apparent to them.
It strikes to the heart of their formerly obstinate refusal of Him – of their resistant contention that Jesus of Nazareth WAS NOT their Messiah at His first appearance.
It also belies the same obstinacy seen today among Israelis of every stripe!
Against all probability, they will suddenly and decisively realize that their repudiation of Him was a gross error of scriptural understanding at the time!
As prophesied by the LORD Himself in Luke 13:35, q.v., they shall cry in joyful unison: “Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord!”
Their prophesied humble, heartfelt repentance of past deeds shall immediately be rewarded by His immediate blessings of the People as a whole.
It takes the form of His complete forgiveness, and His giving them an everlasting covenant ...
Isa 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
It is a covenant with them for eternity.
His overriding grace having bestowed forgiveness upon His People – and their having been restored to His favor – is irreversible, contrary to conditions in time past. Their fidelity to Him is assured from this time forward by His overriding faithfulness.
Therefore the covenant of that age is an everlasting covenant, and is based upon the pre-Levitical Promises made to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob – all the Patriarchs who received them, well before the institution of the Law of Moses.
We believe the pivotal event described in these words of Isaiah, which is the trip-wire for His Second Advent, is the matter-of-fact revelation that their enemies shall “come in like a flood” – aggressing His People in great waves of human invaders who threaten Israel’s existence unless effective resistance can be arranged!
In our own lifetime, since Israel has been reconstituted a nation, similar aggression has already occurred on three occasions in our personal memory:
· In 1948’s War of Independence,
· In 1967’s Six Day War,
· And in 1973’s Yom Kippur War.
On all three occasions the surrounding Arab (Islamic) forces have invaded Israel in enormous numbers from all points of the compass in an attempt to overthrow and eradicate Israel from the Land.
On all three occasions the Israelis prevailed to victory, given the divine assistance which the Almighty has promised in such words as those of Amos 9 and Isaiah 11, and most importantly in Daniel 12: 1-3, the promises of which are rock-solid!
Previously, the Almighty’s intervention in Israel’s affairs has been hidden to all but the eye of faith. But in this future invasion, the inflowing of the heathen will be stopped by the personal, overtly visible, enormously powerful intervention of the LORD Jesus Christ!
The Prophecy of Zacharias
Thus, Isaiah’s spirit-inspired word agrees with the prophecy of Zacharias, the priest and prophet in Luke 1: 71, 74, that Messiah (Christ) should "save us from our enemies and those who hate us ..." repeating the same promise to them!
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit as he began to speak of the Son of God which his own son John should announce to Israel ...
Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
His next words speak of the initial appearance of the Son of God as he comes back to the earth after fulfilling His role as High Priest and Mediator at the right hand of His Father.
The quotations are from verses 71 and 74:
Luke 1: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us ... 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear.
The student of God’s word will quickly make the connection with promises made as far back in history as The Creation, at which time the roles of the Seed of the Serpent (sin) and the Seed of the Woman (righteousness) are set forth.
Genesis 3:15 - 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.
Such prophecies speak to the ability and certain destiny of the Seed of the Woman to overcome SIN in all its manifestations.
In addition, this language designates a well-defined, physical enemy or of enemies which hate God’s people of the latter days, which intends to destroy them ... and takes action to do just that!
It is the avowed plan and fervent desire of all their enemies of today (and NO others!) as prophesied in Psalm 83 – the named components of which includes all the Islamic entities located between the Nile River and the Euphrates River.
Why is this geographic definition of the Rivers and the Seas supremely important?
Because these are the precise boundaries of the Land promised to Abram and his Seed for an everlasting possession! Psalm 72:8. And it is further designated “the first dominion” of the Kingdom of God by Micah 4: 8!
When He appears, He will allow no further occupancy by foreigners, or any future compromise of this sacred territory.
Smiting the Judge of Israel Upon the Cheek
These two prophecies agree completely and perfectly with Micah 5: 1, which pictures an entity named “Assyria” "laying siege against us (and) striking the judge of Israel upon the cheek...."
This, too, is a description of aggression from a foreign power upon whomever is identifiable as “the judge of Israel,” who in our view probably designates their resistance against the LORD Jesus Christ Who shall have suddenly appeared among His people to wage war against (and to obliterate!) all their active nearby enemies.
All these prophetic words of Micah 5 show an aggressive move against the people of God in a crucial move to wipe out the Jewish state ... and seem to indicate that the aggression will be so intense that Israel may not deem itself capable of defeating the aggressors.
That condition has come about in Israel on one previous occasion that we know about: during the Yom Kippur War, the Israelis suffered greatly from the surprise Islamic attack during the first several days.
For a moment, the outlook for God’s people was so dim that General Moshe Dayan personally called on Prime Minister Golda Meir and informed her that it was his opinion that “The Third Temple is about to fall!” – an alarming statement which brought an alarming response by Mrs. Meir – her directive immediately to begin arming Israel’s fighter-bombers with nuclear weapons in expectation of exercising Israel’s battle doctrine of “The Samson Option.”
That doctrine states that if Israel is ever about to be defeated and destroyed, it will take all its attackers down with it by means of nuclear warfare!
Thankfully, the tide of battle turned before this directive was carried out, and the result was that Israel emerged victorious in a grand defensive war against the forces of Islam for the fourth time within 25 years (if we include the Suez Action of 1955).
In this case, too ... divine intervention prevailed!
The Valley of Jehoshaphat
This principle of an overwhelming invasion of Israel is also entirely in line with the picture we see in the prototypical account of the Valley of Jehoshaphat of II Chronicles 20, which pictures an aggressive force coming against Israel, which King Jehoshaphat immediately realizes that he and Israel will be unable to combat by their own strength. Going immediately to God in prayer, a satisfactory solution is revealed to Jehoshaphat.
YHVH revealed to Jehoshaphat that he essentially should sit still and observe the salvation which Yahveh would bring! He should not be required to lift a finger in these enemies’ defeat.
The resultant battle was entirely self-contained within the forces of the aggressors’ camps.
Before Jehoshaphat and his army (which at the time numbered well over a million armed men) arrived at the enemy encampment, Moab and Ammon had teamed up against Edom and destroyed all its soldiers.
Then Ammon and Moab had turned against each other and had each slain all the others: every man's sword against his brother, as has been seen on so many previous occasions! Cf., Judges 7:22; I Samuel 14: 20.
When Jehoshaphat and the people arrived on the scene, the enemies were all dead men, and were discovered to be laden with enormous amounts of valuables which required three days gathering!!
The account leads us into a consideration of further details of this conflict ...
Joel 3: 2 which informs that “I will gather all nations AND BRING THEM DOWN INTO THE VALLEY OF JEHOSHAPHAT, and will plead with them there for my people and my heritage Israel (the nation now so named, only since 1948), whom they have scattered among all the nations, and parted my Land."
This is a distinct picture of an aggressor at that time threatening God’s people.
The admonition of Joel 3: 9 indicates a similar rising up against God's people in the words, Proclaim this among the Gentiles; Prepare war (the Hebrew words are qadash milchamah, and translate as “holy war,” or JIHAD – the precise term in Arabic for their aggression!) ... Prepare War! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. 11 Assemble yourselves and come, all ye heathen (the surrounding nations), and gather yourselves together round about; thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
The details of these passages indicate end-time aggression against God’s people yet again – consistent with the earlier quotations of the prophets. The picture is that of a final, huge influx of foreign warriors, intent upon the destruction of God’s People now in the Land; but in this case, it triggers the return of Messiah accompanied by “Thy mighty Ones.”
We believe it to be identical to the massive assault pictured in Isaiah 59.
The result will be catastrophic for those enemies, just as in the case of King Jehoshaphat’s encounter – the abject failure of their multiple assaults, for “the Lord is there” (Ezekiel 38: 35) among them, conducting lightning warfare which gives new meaning to the German concept of “blitzkrieg,” or lightning-war!
The Forces of the Gentiles Shall Come Unto Thee
Another similar scenario is indicated by Isaiah 60: 5 – “the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”
These “forces” (chayil, in Hebrew) are not only the troops that attack Israel, but also the great heap of wealth that shall accrue to the defenders of Zion in that day; the word richly connotes both classes of “forces,” both military strength and wealth!
Zechariah 14: 14 mentions the significant fact that, in complete parallel to the gathering of the immense wealth of Edom, Moab, and Ammon in King Jehoshaphat’s day, all their resources – all their lands and all their wealth – will pass over to the LORD of all the earth and His People Israel.
We now consider the entire, relevant passage...
Zechariah 14:11 And men shall dwell in it (in Zion), and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely (betach, in Hebrew) inhabited.
Notice particularly that the ONLY benefit that is deemed worthy of mention of all the great number of benefits to be realized by the People is that “Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”
This is the primordial benefit ... and sets the stage effectively for the “evil thought” of Gog of the land of Magog! He believes Israel and it new “king” to be utterly naïve in its immediate disarmament program which their King shall undertake at moment in time; see Zechariah 9: 10, 11.
Zec 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
We stress here that all the nations of the whole earth are not included in the phrase “all nations” of Joel 3:2, where they clearly are noted as being limited to the Islamic nations round about Israel who have perpetrated the described offenses against The Jewish People throughout the end-time ... only those who “have fought against Israel.”
To repeat this important observation: note carefully that qualifying disclaimer underlined in verse 12, above: that the LORD will smite “all the people that have fought against Jerusalem” in that day; these nations are limited at that time and are ONLY the proximate Islamic peoples located between the Nile and the Euphrates!
And note well: They have only a malevolent intent that is similar to the nations beyond the Rivers – the nations confederated with Gog – and have absolutely nothing to do with the powers represented by the ten toes of the Image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel 2.
Literally “ALL nations” shall have to wait for a later series of conflicts – but not at Jerusalem, in our studied opinion! Those now “saved” Israeli folk from this day forward shall dwell in utter peace and security; beginning at that precise time, they are immune to any of the vile threats of any of the nations of the earth!
Some have wrongly ascribed all the people (or representatives of all the people) of the entire earth as here described as coming against Jerusalem – as in a massive assault of a United Nations force, for example, which is believed by a few to be forecasted to attack Jerusalem.
But there is no valid scriptural support for this view whatever!
If so, please bring it forward, as the case under present discussion does not prove such a point – indeed, disproves it, hands-down.
Our expectations must not be founded upon our own whimsical expectations, or upon our own prejudices, or on a contrary, confused interpretation of the words of the prophets. Our Father is revealing His plan clearly to us ... but it is our obligation to receive His words in faith.
Zec 14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD (as in Jehoshaphat’s confrontation with this same assortment of enemies of his own day!) shall be among them (just to reinforce: at this time these are only the Proximal Islamic aggressors of the first wave of assault upon Israel, destined to be defeated hands-down by Christ and the Saints along with the IDF of that day); and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
Zec 14:14 And Judah (indicating the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF) also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
This descriptor of “the wealth of all the heathen (nations) round about” specifies the limit of the invasion force, showing it to be a non-universal assault even in symbolic terms!
The interpreter of Bible prophecy cannot afford to be shoddy in his or her interpretations of the prophets’ words. Such an approach leads to confusion, and to wrong assumptions, which can be deceptive, and misleading, drawing one to fatally-flawed (non-scriptural) expectations! Even seemingly extremely un-pretentious, minor statements of the prophets must be taken into account and correlated with the larger picture of events to be expected. These will always be found to correlate with the larger prophetic content!
<HEL> ~5,200 words. An eTPL29 Analysis. Final edit, April 9, 2019.
April: The Dignity of Labour
A public discourse that briefly explores how the principles of the Holy Scriptures apply to our work ethics and lifestyle & attitude in our workplace, and how the claims and demands of the Gospel of the Kingdom apply to the profession of our of faith as a worker and employer of labour, owner of business or in whatever job or trade we are doing, and using our Christadelphian work ethic as a public testimony to bring honour and glory to God and adorn His doctrine in whatever our vocation, occupation or trade might be.
Presented at All Nigeria Christadelphian Youth Conference (CYC)
Held at Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria, on 18-22 April, 2019
By Bro. Timothy Temilola
The Dignity of Labour
14 Biblical Principles of Work: Dignity & Fulfillment in Work
Some people hate to do it. Some love to do it. Some go to great lengths to avoid doing it. Some do it too much. While there are many different attitudes toward work, one thing remains constant: work must be done. Since the Garden of Eden everyone has worked or depended on someone else's work for their survival. Work sets a person's lifestyle—where you live, when you sleep and eat, the time with family, even your dress. Another constant about work is the fact that God has a clear perspective on it, and we are to align our thoughts with His.
As we reflect on our attitude toward work, let us consider the following 14 principles that outline Biblical perspective on work in general:
1) Work Is Ordained By God. It was very own original idea. His creative invention from the beginning. The Bible declares that God worked (Genesis 1). By working we resemble God. Like God, you have the ability to work, make plans, implement them, and be creative. Additionally, God gave us the task of ruling over and taking care of His creation—Assignment to care (See Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:15).
*Work is originally God’s idea from the beginning - a Divine arrangement, a Divine Institution
Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
Here is another indication that it is God who places us where we are. The Lord took Adam and “put him in the garden…to work it and keep it. “ Work is a divine institution because Adam was commanded to work and this was before the fall had occurred so we see work, once again, as a holy vocation from God for God puts us where we are and tells us to “work it and keep it” wherever that might be. Work is not a curse from God but a blessing. The curse of the hard toil of work only came after the fall in the Garden, not before. Creation was God’s work ---all of nature and things seen and unseen were made by the hands of our Almighty God. Genesis 1; 7, 16, 27, 2; 8
2) Work Is For A Lifetime. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground (Genesis 3:19). God intends that humans are to work as long as they live. Meaningful activity plays a critical role in being a human being - whether paid or volunteer. The retirement age shouldn't end meaningful, purposeful work—even in serving the Lord & building up the brotherhood & ecclesia.
3) Work Is Not A Punishment. Not a burden. Not a curse. God did not create work as
drudgery, but as a gift of fulfillment to life. A human being can do nothing better than...find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)?
4) Work Has Three Purposes: to provide money or resources:
A. to provide for the basic necessities of life,
B. to care for self & family (what to use to buy food on the table, pay NEPA bills, water, DSTV bills etc);
C. to provide for a quality of life in the satisfaction of doing a job well; and to serve God.
5) Our Work Calls for Obedience—integrity, honesty, punctuality, transparency, accountability—Prov11;3. Even when the boss isn't looking, a good Christadelphian worker is consistent and diligent to the task and loyal to the organization (Colossians 3:22). Our real boss is the Lord Jesus Christ. We take and see our various jobs/trade/occupation/business-- as service to Him - not simply our employers or clients/customers. Employers should treat employees with respect and fairness.
6) Work Should Be Done With Excellence, effectiveness & efficiency. (We remember Daniel, Joseph in their duty posts) You are to render service, as to the Lord, and not to men (Ephesians 6:6-7); not to be men-pleasers but God-pleasers. God's standard of excellence needs to be our goal & standard as a people claiming to know the God of Truth.
7) Work Is Honorable. All trades, jobs, all decent professions and all kinds of work, assuming they are legal and biblically ethical, are honorable before the Lord. There is no dichotomy between sacred and secular work. All work brings glory to God and fulfillment to you, if it is done to God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
8) Work Provides A Good Opportunity For Witness. We advertise the King and the coming Kingdom by the work you do, both verbal and nonverbal in your attitude/approach to work. Our society today needs this powerful witness to the reality of the living Christ and the difference that He makes in those of us claiming to be His true followers. (Matthew 5:16).
Biblical Principles & Our Workplace & Work Ethic
What does the Bible have to say about work? What do these tell us about our work ethic or employment as a believer in Christ, a follower of the God of Israel?
What is the Bible teaching regarding work?
9) Work with all Your Might
Ecclesiastes 9:9b-10 “in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
This is one of my favorite Bible verses on employment because Solomon says that whatever our job is you are to “do it with [all of] your might.” Wherever God has placed us, it is a holy vocation, a calling and not just a job or trade. We are working for God and not just our employer. Ultimately, God will reward us, if not in this life, surely in the life to come—the promised kingdom. For those who hate their jobs, realize that workplace-where you are is no accident. You work for God and so we should do our jobs the very best that we can because we are an example to those outside of the household of faith. We can make a good impression for the Lord or we can bring shame to the cause of Christ so we ought to “obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” (Col 3:22). In other words, don’t just start looking busy when the boss is watching but even when she /he isn’t, for God is always watching everything we do.
10) Working for the Lord
Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Once more, the theme of doing the best that we can where we can is doing it for God. Here we are specifically told that we “are serving the Lord Christ” and not just our employers. The Lord is the one who will reward us in the end, not the employer. What God rewards us for is for all eternity and can be enjoyed in the promised Kingdom . That is our inheritance, not what we gain while on earth. We do it “for the Lord and not for men.”
11) Robbing the Worker
Deuteronomy 24:14 “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns.”
Whether you are an employer, a boss or a supervisor, God warns us to not oppress those who work for us and especially the poor and the needy. God tells us through James that “the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (James 5:4). This is aligned with Deuteronomy 24:14 and should be taken seriously because these “cries of the harvesters (or laborers) have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” and He will not be happy if you exploit or take advantage of your hired help. You ultimately will answer to God for that. It is nothing less than robbing an employee if you are not paying them what is their due.
12) No Quick Way to Money---No Shortcuts to earning income apart from decent work
Proverbs 12:11 “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”
There is no short cut to hard work and having sustenance. Nothing can replace hard work. For those who follow get-rich quick-schemes, these are really “worthless pursuits” that “lacks sense.” Work is its own reward but hard work always pays off, if not in this life, in the life to come. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Prov 14:23).
13) No Work, No Food
Second Thessalonians 3:10-12 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
Paul had problems with the ecclesia in Thessalonica because they were expecting the Lord to return at any moment. There is nothing wrong with that in itself because He could come at any time. The problem was that many in this ecclesia had just stopped working and while waiting for the Lord’s return, they were asking for handouts from the other members who were still working. This angered Paul and rightly so because he said that if they are “not willing to work [then] let him not eat.” He heard that many were walking “in idleness, not busy at work” but only being “busybodies” (gossips). Paul commanded that these people “earn their own living” and not to leach off of those who are still laboring.
14) Poverty Comes to the Sluggard
Proverbs 24:30-34 “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”
When Solomon wrote that he saw a field and a vineyard that was “overgrown with thorns [and] the ground was covered with nettles (weeds), and its stone wall was broken down” and he understood why. It was the owner saying “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest” but this would result in poverty. A slumberer may be sleeping when they should be getting up to go to work. A “folding of the hands to rest” is obvious and a “little sleep” is sleeping when one ought to be getting up in the morning and working. No wonder Solomon knew that “poverty will come upon [them] like a robber, and want like an armed man.” This is similar what Paul was saying. If a man doesn’t work, he will go hungry and end up in poverty.
Paul tells Timothy that “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5;8- That means that if a person doesn’t work and support their own family, they are to be treated as an unbeliever because what Christian refuses to care for his or her own family? It is clearly not proper not to work, even if it’s in the home, or if you are retired, perhaps you can volunteer. I was not able to find anyone in the Bible where they retired and drew a pension or from retirement and then did nothing for the rest of their lives. Even in retirement we can still keep serving the Lord and working at something worthwhile, even as small as it is volunteering, not working at all is wasting a life that is meant to spent for the glory of God because “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Points to take away:
What are your own thoughts? What biblical principle about work would you add?
All individual work should be respected - including:
*Before God, all jobs are equal
*No particular job is indispensable.
*All jobs are complementary---sweepers, cleaners, bricklayers etc
*We should not look at any job as menial.
*We must work to earn a living for others to be encouraged by our example.
*The ability to work hard is a gift of God's grace.
*Work deserves enthusiasm, passion, drive, efficiency, integrity
*God wants us to do the work that is before us.
*Hard work is a lifetime commitment.
*Hard work deserves special honor, and will be rewarded.
*Each person is unique. Each work is unique and indispensable –
Those who find dignity and fulfillment in their work see it as a calling, they are working “unto the Lord,” not to please men. I do not want to minimize the plight of millions who find their work to bemore characterized by drudgery than dignity, but I would encourage them. Have they really made their work a matter of prayer? Have they considered the lessons God is trying to teach? Have they humbly but with determination tried to make improvements? If the job is intolerable and cannot be changed, that person needs to find work alternatives, trusting the Lord for the place of His choosing. Dignity and fulfillment become a reality when we are in the right job, looking to the Lord for His grace in every situation and circumstance.
There Is Dignity In Hard & Honest Work - Quotes
* My dad said, 'the world doesn't owe you a living, if you don't work you don't eat, though there were means to care for those that can't work, and finally, as long as you put your feet under my table you'll do as I say, when you're out and on your own, you can do whatever you want. As simple as that seems, it worked. One should never feel a job is below them. To be able provide for your family and others should the need arise is a blessing. It need not matter what job God provides, do it cheerfully" - Bro. Dick Forbes
*All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
*Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. - Abraham Lincoln
*No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
*Jesus came into this world not as a philosopher or a general but as a carpenter. All work matters to God. - Timothy Keller
*Thou, O God, dost sell us all good things at the price of labor - Leonardo da Vinci
*We work to become, not to acquire. - Elbert Hubbard
*Honour lies in honest toil. - Grover Cleveland
*Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. - Abraham Lincoln
*It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent - W. Somerset Maugham
*Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. - Abraham Lincoln
*Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you're put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling. - Vincent Van Gogh
*The basic goal of labor will not change. It is - as it has always been, and I am sure always will be - to better the standards of life for all who work for wages and to seek decency and justice and dignity for all Americans. - George Meany
*From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength. - Cesar Chavez
*Do we talk about the dignity of work? Do we give our students any reason for believing it is worthwhile to sacrifice for their work because such sacrifices improve the psychological and mental health of the person who makes them? - Sargent Shriver
*My dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest-working man I ever knew. It's because of him that I learned from my youngest age to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people. - Donald Trump
*The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and at the foundation, the pre-eminence of family. - Mitt Romney
*Don’t just work hard but work smart, work efficiently, work professionally, just keep working on improving and innovating your job performance. Keep a decent work attitude. – Anonymous
*How I wish everyone had decent work! It is essential for human dignity. - Pope Francis
God Still Believes Very Much In Hard & Honest Work
A BIBLICAL WORK ETHIC
Genesis 2:15 - Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
Genesis 3:19 - By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."
Leviticus 23:3 = 'For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.
Proverbs 13:11 - Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But the one who gathers by labor increases it.
Proverbs 14:23 - In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 - Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
Ephesians 4:28 - He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 - and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,
2 Thessalonians 3:12 - Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.
Ecclesiastes 1:3 - What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 1:14 - I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 - Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 4:8 - There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, "And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?" This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.
Ecclesiastes 5:16 - This also is a grievous evil--exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind?
Isaiah 55:2 - "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
Habakkuk 2:13 - "Is it not indeed from the LORD of hosts That peoples toil for fire, And nations grow weary for nothing?
John 6:27 - "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."
John 9:4 – ‘I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
The principle of hard work: “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (Proverbs 13:4).
In the New Testament, the emphasis on the life of good works in Christ is not limited to the job that you do. Rather than speaking about our jobs, the New Testament speaks to us about the whole of our lives, and calls on us to do every work as someone who is committed to the lordship of Jesus.
This of course covers the whole of our ‘working’ life. But the modern obsession with our ‘jobs’ is not a biblical invention. What we do when we are paid, just as what we do when we aren’t paid, is all to be for the glory of God. And so rather than speaking about ‘work’ in our modern sense of that term, what God keeps talking to us about in the Scriptures are our good works—our whole lives lived as followers of Jesus. When we come to the Bible asking about our jobs, we need to be careful that we do not distort what the Bible says.
If this means anything at all, then it must mean that Christians need to stop evaluating their work by worldly standards. The job that we do is not who we are.And the ridiculous gap in status, prestige and social class between the wealthy elite and the working class has no place in Christian fellowship. Our work is not to find theperfect job or to chase the trappings of career. We must treat all jobs as equals and evaluate work through God’s eyes.---- Paul Grimmon
The Holy Scriptures on the Dignity of Labour - A Christian Work Ethic
What does the Bible say to us about our work ethic? What attitude should we have towards work, our trade, profession or business in general?
Colossians 3:23-25 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Another translation says to “work heartily” (ESV). Yet another says to “work willingly” (NLT). The Amplified Bible adds “from the soul.” Ephesians 6:7-8 shares a similar concept: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” In essence, this is the Christian work ethic. We are commanded to put forth our best efforts, to work from our heart and soul at whatever we do. We are accountable to God and stewards of the gifts He has given us. Our work flows out of our gratefulness to Him.
God instituted work at the very beginning--with creation, prior to the Fall. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” After Adam and Eve sinned, work became toil (Genesis 3:17-19), but work itself is included in the “very good” part of creation (Genesis 1:31).
Throughout the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites specific instructions about how to do their work. He also gave instructions about providing for those who had less: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 23:22). This command confirms the importance of work. God does not tell the people to harvest everything and then simply give food to the poor. Instead, He tells them to leave enough of the grain to allow the poor to work for themselves. Work has a way of giving us a sense of purpose, productivity, and dignity.
The Proverbs and Ecclesiastes contain some wise sayings regarding work. Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 6:6-11 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” A strong work ethic is confirmed, with warnings concerning slackness.
The New Testament contains another important principle regarding work: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10); that is, the refusal of an able-bodied man to work should have the consequence that he lacks food. Paul also says that an “idle” man who refuses to work should not be part of the church (verse 6). Paul and his companions set a good example of hard work: “We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you” (verses 7-8).
Christians should work hard. Work is integral to our mortal life, and approaching work as God-given gift will give us more pleasure in it. We can work cheerfully and without complaint because we are working for the Lord who loves us and has redeemed us. A good work ethic can also be a witness to others (Matthew 5:16). The world takes notice of our efforts and wonders why we do what we do.
It is important to note that the Bible does not condone workaholism. We do not work merely to amass worldly wealth (in fact, Matthew 6:19-34 warns about this). We work to bring glory to God. We work efficient to adorn the doctrine of God. We also do not work ourselves into the ground or to the extent that our health is damaged or our families suffer. God is more interested in relationship with us than He is in what we do. God instituted the Sabbath at the beginning of creation. He did the work of creation for six days and then ceased. God is omnipotent; He did not need rest; He was setting an example for us. In the Ten Commandments, God confirmed both the importance of work and rest. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9-10a). Later, we see that God even required a Sabbath for the fields (see Leviticus 27). Though the specific laws regarding the Sabbath no longer apply to believers, we are told that “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). It is a gift that we are wise to accept. So, while we are called to have a strong work ethic and to work hard at all that they do, we are also called to take times of rest. Maintain the balance between work and rest ---as God originally intends it—from the beginning.
The Scriptures on ‘Good Works’
(The Claims of true faith)
1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
James 5:4 - Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Acts 20:35 - I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Luke 10:7 - And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
Colossians 3:23-24 - And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (Open and read in full...)
2 Thessalonians 3:7-13 - For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; (Open and Read in full...)
1 Timothy 5:18 - For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer [is] worthy of his reward.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 - And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to workwith your own hands, as we commanded you;
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.
Ephesians 4:28 - Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Matthew 9:37-38 - Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few;
Ecclesiastes 5:12 - The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
Exodus 20:9-11 - Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Psalms 127:1 - (A Song of degrees for Solomon.) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.
Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 - Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
Hebrews 6:10 - For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Jeremiah 22:13 - Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; [that] useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;
There is Dignity of Labour
More than 80 countries in the world have a day which commemorates the value of work, and the contributions of workers to the well-being of society. In the United States and Canada, it is the first Monday in September. May 1st in Nigeria.
The Bible has much to say about the dignity of work, which helps us to see our labours as more than “just a job.” And, of course, we should keep in mind the labor of many who may not receive a salary/remuneration for what they do, but whose contribution is just as valuable. Studying at the university, going to college, learning a trade/vocation or changing diapers or volunteering at ecclesial events, doing house chores, helping to clean the ecclesial halls, is valued labor in the eyes of God.
The first thing to notice in Scripture is that God is a laborer—A Master Worker.
Genesis 2:2-3 says: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” And what a work it was! We all would do well to have a day during our week, when we stop what we normally work at (the word “Sabbath” means “to cease”) to reflect on God and the work he is doing through us. God’s work shows his wisdom. “How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24).
Jesus was the son of a worker, and was a hard & smart worker himself (Mark 6:3). As a carpenter, Jesus had callouses on his hands. He had strong muscles from swinging the hammer, pushing the saw, and shoving the plane. He sweated. He picked slivers out of his fingers.
The Bible shows work woven into the created order of all things. Genesis 2:15 says “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 says: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” Ephesians 4:28 says: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”
Do you have a difficult and discouraging job? Many do. Genesis 3:17-19 tells us that our work sometimes is not like tending a nice garden, but working the difficult, stubborn fields full of thorns. If you feel sometimes as though you slog through your job just to put bread on the table, know this: there is dignity in accomplishing just that.
"A little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man”—Prov. 6:10-11). And it consoles those who have been working hard and need a rest, as was the case when Jesus’ disciples were working so hard they didn’t have time to stop and eat: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).
Rest, not “workaholism” - It must have been comforting to hear from the Lord Jesus Christ: C’mon, take a break. That is a message many of us in this high-pressured world need to heed. Sometimes we honor God not by doing more and more, but by taking a break—at God’s command.
And then there is the most important work of all. Work that doesn’t seem like work, because it is easy and simple, but accomplishes the most important thing in life: getting connected to God. One day a man asked Jesus about spiritual work: “What must we do to work the works God requires?” Jesus’ answer? “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (See John 6:28-29). Believe. Obey the Gospel of the Kingdom. Be baptized into the saving name of Christ.
So on this beautiful afternoon, let us take a break, and know that our labours are worthwhile. Before God, there is meaning, fulfillment, purpose in the jobs we are doing –not just dignity but God’s good pleasure---with working to do all things to the glory our heavenly Father—who is ever at work with all His angels to bring about His eternal purpose in Christ—May we be accounted worthy to part of His glorified saints—working joyfully in the promised coming kingdom. <>Timothy Temilola, Ibadan, Nigeria
May: Jerusalem: A Burdensome Stone
Why Will the Peace Talks Fail Again?
The Arab Emirate of Oman will soon convene a meeting of Arab interests to preview the economic aspects of President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” For months the plan has been touted as a comprehensive peace process which can bring reconciliation between the Arabs and the Jewish State of Israel.
The president’s Senior Advisor (and son in law) Jared Kushner has noted that the overall plan will require concessions from both sides, but that it should justly and satisfactorily settle the dispute if both parties can agree on it.
But the “Palestinians” will not even attend the conference.
So far, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its Present Mahmoud Abbas have rejected the plan out of hand even though they have actually not read a word of it. As Israeli Ambassador Aba Eban once noted, “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!” They might be missing their latest chance in this decision to boycott the meeting.
But never mind. It is clear from the prophecy of Joel 3:2 that such is not favored by YHVH at any time. But it has already happened twice in modern times.
The UNO “parted” the Land in 1947 when it passed the Partition Plan for Palestine – a plan which was rejected by the Arabs leading to the War of Independence of 1948.
It had happened earlier when the San Remo Peace Conference lopped off 78% of the British Mandate for Palestine and gave it to Abdullah of Mecca as the “kingdom” of Trans-Jordan, later known as Jordan.
Our opinion is that the “Deal of the Century” will not get enough traction to be placed in effect, resulting in yet another failure, after Camp David in the ‘90s, and later at Shepherdstown, WV, on both occasions the generous Israeli offer of “land for peace” being rejected by the Arabs!
Other Historic Considerations
The writer clearly remembers the latter years of the British Mandate in Palestine at the close of World War II. The Jews of Europe had just endured the Shoah, losing two thirds of its population in the (European) war theater to the Nazi death machine. All the remaining Jews had been displaced from their homes in the continent and were now “displaced persons” to the other citizens of the world.
Most of the remaining three millions of people were desperately striving to leave Europe for freedom elsewhere. Palestine, as it was then known, had been under British control since 1918. Jews had been striving to emigrate there for the 27 years since that war but were permitted only in small numbers due to British restrictions on immigration to the land.
Which is difficult to understand in any context. The Land of Palestine was largely unoccupied. There were only two cities of any size at all – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – and there were thousands of square miles of vacant land, or land owned by foreigners who were willing and anxious to sell it to the Jews. Yet Great Britain refused to allow an influx of Jews in contravention of the policy enunciated by the Balfour Declaration, which had stated that “his majesty’s government favored” that an homeland for the Jews be established there.
Britain had reneged on its earlier promise.
The reason for this was that the British navy was converting all its naval vessels from being coal-fired to being powered by bunker oil. They needed Arab oil. They needed Arab friendship and cooperation. The Jews really meant nothing to them. Their promise to the Jews meant nothing, as they proved.
The Jews of Palestine rebelled with great fury – far greater than the British thought possible. Still they diligently fought to keep the Jews out. Ships laden with Jewish refugees were intercepted on the high seas and made to proceed to British-controlled Cyprus, where they were herded ashore to be detained and were placed into “camps” similar to the ones in Germany and Europe.
A few ships threaded their way through the British blockade and grounded themselves on the beaches of Palestine where the passengers quickly debarked and fled into the adjacent hills to meld into the local population – illegal immigrants to “their own country” – not as intended by the Balfour document.
Men such as Menachem Begin and Zeev Jabotinsky formed Jewish brigades from the kibbutzim, trained themselves in military tactics, armed themselves as heavily as possible, and began to sabotage British installations and to capture British soldiers and officers. Their warfare was guerilla in style and intended to free their Land from the repressive British power.
Their enemies were the British overlords on a natural basis, but the local Arabs were their foes also. Britain confiscated any guns they found among the Jews and even gave them to the Arabs. They trained and equipped the Arab Legion of Jordan. They suppressed the Jewish brigades in every possible way.
But in the end their efforts were futile. This became apparent when the men of Manachem Begin’s Likud blew up the headquarters of the British Administration in a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing many Brits and several Arabs and Jews working there. Their telephoned warning of an imminent explosion had been coolly ignored by the Brits, much to their hurt.
As a youngster, I became exceedingly weary of hearing of this ongoing conflict, and wished it could end in the Jews’ favor. This act of sabotage seemed to have been the final damage that could be tolerated by Britain. They decided to give up their mandate over Palestine, and turn it over to the United Nations Organization for governance.
The great prophecies of The Return were about to be put into fast forward. Isaiah (11: 11) had prophesied many centuries earlier the recovery of the Jewish people from eight specific areas – all portions of the Arabs round about except the last (the islands of the sea, which indicates all other areas to which they had been scattered). And it shall come to pass in THAT DAY that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the REMNANT of His people which shall be left (after the rampage of murder of the Shoah), from Assyria… Egypt… Pathros… Cush… Elam… Shinar… Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
By the year 1955 this prophecy had largely been fulfilled!
Recovery continues today from the last-designated places.
After Britain made its decision to terminate its mandate known, it was given a few months in which to make its preparations for departure. Meanwhile, the Jews were diligently at work on a governmental structure to succeed the British administration; forming a provisional government, a formalized army, a state currency, ministries, and other necessary infrastructure to permit them to function as a working government when the opportunity came.
It did come. The British decided to leave earlier than planned, and completed their withdrawal on the afternoon and evening of May 14, 1948. As their troops left the wharves of Haifa, David Ben Gurion stood before the Jewish Agency meeting in Tel Aviv and proclaimed the State of Israel in Palestine. It required only about eleven minutes for President Harry S Truman to recognize the new state (he was awaiting information on the official name of the new country!). The Soviet Union followed with its recognition within hours. Israel was on its way – to a savage War of Independence.
Because the Arab nations round about the new state would have none of this action. The forces of Egypt moved northward from the Sinai; the Arab Legion and the soldiers of Saudi Arabia approached from the east; Iraq sent a large contingent through northern Jordan to attack from the Golan Heights, where they were joined by a large force of Syrian troops and tanks; even tiny Lebanon sent soldiers into the north of Israel to try to take territory from the Jews.
From May, 1948, until the summer of 1949, these peoples fought doggedly. Israel’s population at the outset of the war was about 660,000 people of all ages. The Arab countries totaled around one hundred million people. But even in the face of these tremendous odds, the Jewish State not only survived, but expanded the borders it had been awarded by the UNO by about 160%, if my memory is correct.
Now, under its own government, the Jewish State began to accept every new arrival who was a Jew. Even those who were aged and infirm, or stricken with fatal diseases, were allowed to enter the new State. The Jews finally had an homeland!
Although they had remarkable success against the invading forces in general, a peculiar aspect of the War of Independence was that the Jews were able to conquer and hold only half of Jerusalem. The “Old City” within the walls, and its eastern suburbs, were held by Jordan at the moment of truce. It was the fulfillment of Zechariah 14: 2 – that half the city should go forth into captivity, but that the remainder of the city would remain in the Jews’ hands.
Jerusalem thus became a “burdensome stone” – and has been so ever since.
The Jews proclaimed Jerusalem their eternal capital. They built the entire infrastructure of their government there. They located the Knesset (Parliament) Building in its western suburbs. Government institutions were located all over the same area. The municipality of Jewish Jerusalem grew and developed rapidly as more people arrived to populate it. It became a beautiful, thriving, Westernized metropolis in contrast to the Arab-held sector – a trashy, dilapidated, squalid village which was making no perceivable progress.
But tension and opposition grew as both Israel and the Arabs gained strength. The succeeding wars of 1956 (Suez), 1967 (The Six Day War) and 1973 (The Yom Kippur War) really settled none of the enmity, but resulted in Israel gaining huge tracts of land in addition to its original territory of the 1949 Truce.
The Arabs would not give up their demand to reclaim the lands they had lost as a result of their own aggression in each case. Israel actually annexed (officially added to the country) the Golan Heights and the Old City of Jerusalem and its eastern suburbs; they did not annex Judea and Samaria (called by the Arabs “the West Bank”) or Gaza or the Sinai. But they did administer these territories as the de facto owners.
Since that time they have ceded Sinai to Egypt in a peace treaty, and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, which was usurped by Hamas in an election. The PA has nominal control over the ‘West Bank’ including Hebron, Jericho and Nablus (Shechem).
Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, the enmity between Israel and the Palestinians has continued. One major suppressing factor on terrorism has been the construction of The Wall which Israel has constructed running roughly along the ‘Green Line’ – the truce line of 1967.
Like the 1940s and 1950s, the period since seems absolutely peppered with “peace talks” which have borne no fruit. But the talking – or attempting to talk – continues. Israel has learned quite thoroughly that concessions do not lead to peace but an increase to the Arab perception of weakness on the part of Israel. Their attitude makes for a no-win scenario. The violence emanating from Gaza against Jews has been many times as great since, in 2007, the Jews abandoned their holdings in Gaza and moved all the Jews out of the area. Hamas now is reported to have at least 80,000 missiles in place in Gaza – all aimed at Israel.
Israel’s withdrawal of forces from southern Lebanon has likewise brought an intense infiltration of the forces of Hezbollah into south Lebanon to the extent that there are now estimated to be well over 100,000 missiles of all sorts on Israel’s northern border!
The forces of Hamas in Gaza and of Hezbollah in Lebanon are subsidized and largely supported by Iran who is known to have donated equipment, ammunition, supplies and money amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
At the same time, the Palestinian Authority whines and complains about not readily receiving Jerusalem as capital of a State of “Palestine” which it is determined to establish in Israel. In Arabic they make it quite clear that the portion of Israel they want is ALL of Israel – and to push the Jew into the sea.
Like earlier US presidents, President Obama made it his goal to get the “two state solution” in place – virtually to force the Jews to accept the Arabs’ conditions of “peace” not even realizing what these actually are!
With Obama’s tacit approval the PA leader Abu Abbas, chairman of the PA, insisted on a ten month freeze on Jewish building in Yesha (Judea and Samaria) as an initial basis just for “talks.” Late in 2009, PM Benyamin Netanyahu conceded and put in place a ten-month hold on new construction; its end would come in early October. The peace discussions should have begun immediately.
But for nine months Abbas would not convene a meeting with Netanyahu while insisting upon preconditions which instead should have been decided in negotiations. Approximately 30 days before the end of the “freeze” on construction, Abbas then decided to sit down to discuss peace; and now his pre-condition was that Netanyahu extend the freeze again, at least for sixty days. Mr. Netanyahu refused to do so, reasoning that Abbas had wasted nine of the ten months quibbling over nothing and did not deserve the consideration.
Well, in the natural course of affairs, the PA immediately appealed to Mr. Obama to lean hard on Israel to extend the freeze. They wanted to make concrete demands for the “return of Arab refugees” who they claim were displaced during Israel’s wars with the Arabs; to negotiate borders prior to any other discussions; to negotiate Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital; to claim numerous ephemeral Palestinian “rights” even in the face of all their prior aggression against Israel and its people.
This matrix of unreasonable, even outrageous demands became the major blockage of any progress. The prophets of Israel foretold this present troublesome history many centuries ago.
Zechariah 12: 2, 3 tell us: Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all people that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Jerusalem is the piece of the pie that is most coveted by the Arabs. During the second week of October, 2010, the Palestinian Authority Religious Affairs Minister threatened WAR over Jerusalem a mere week before “peace talks” in Washington. He warned that there would be war if Jerusalem is not “returned” to “its owners; and we are its owners.”
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, writing in WorldNetDaily reported that, “With PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the audience, Mahmoud Al-Habbash declared in his Friday sermon, "Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars,” according to a translation supplied by Palestinian Media Watch.
He is reported to have said, unless Jerusalem "becomes the capital of the Palestinian people, there is no peace … The term 'war' will not be erased from the lexicon ... as long as Jerusalem is occupied. If Jerusalem is dishonored, if Jerusalem is disgraced, if [Jerusalem] is lost, it may leave the door open to all possibilities of struggle, all possibilities of war.”
He continued in his rant: "Jerusalem is not just a city. Al-Aqsa is not just a mosque. Jerusalem is the key to peace…. Unless Jerusalem will be (sic) Palestinian, as it was throughout history (sic), the capital of the Palestinian state and the capital of the Palestinian people, the place which is the object of heartfelt longing and which all Muslims aspire to reach; unless Jerusalem is like that way (sic), there is no peace. There is no peace without Jerusalem. There is no stability without Jerusalem.”
The PA Minister of Religious Affairs is pathetically ignorant and obtuse! The italicized statements in the above paragraphs indicate quite plainly his abysmal ignorance and insensitivity.
He warned that there would be war if Jerusalem is not “returned” to “its owners; and we are its owners.” Not really, Mr. Al-Habbash! Your Koran doesn’t even MENTION Jerusalem once, and has nothing to say about its Owner, the Lord God of Israel, because your Koran knows only a diminutive stone idol called ‘Allah’ chosen by Mahomet from 360 such ‘gods’ at the Kabala Stone at Mecca about 1400 years ago, which was about 2700 years after the living Creator and God of all the earth manifested Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai!
"Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars,” said he, apparently knowing little of the history of Jerusalem: that it has already done so. Yet, who holds Jerusalem today? The Jews. An enemy who shall soon NO LONGER EXIST can ignite NO conflict over Jerusalem; that outcome will soon become a fact.
Unless Jerusalem "becomes the capital of the Palestinian people, there is no peace!” You must never have noted the history of Manasseh, who in II Chronicles 33:7 “… set a carved image (exactly similar to your “Allah”), the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David, and to Solomon his son, ‘In this house and in Jerusalem have I chosen before all the tribes of Israel, WILL I PUT MY NAME FOREVER.” So how does such an usurper as yourself honestly feel he has a right to a City whose owner is The Almighty God of Israel? It shall NEVER become a “Palestinian” capitol.
“As long as Jerusalem is occupied …” If you mean “inhabited” you’ve lost the game! Jerusalem shall be inhabited by the Lord God of Israel and His people the Jews forever; that’s a long time for you to wait.
“If Jerusalem is dishonored, if Jerusalem is disgraced, if [Jerusalem] is lost, it may leave the door open to all possibilities of struggle …” Believe me, Jerusalem has been dishonored, disgraced, and LOST by you Arabs, never to be regained in a trillion years. Your cause is diseased and loathsome. Your goal is unattainable, vapid, and illusionary.
“Unless Jerusalem will be Palestinian, as it was throughout history ….” Now, now … Don’t be so sure of your imaginary “history” of Jerusalem. It really NEVER has been “Palestinian” in identity. For 19 years (1948 to 1967) one could have called it Jordanian, but NEVER Palestinian. But let’s face it – the Jordanians won’t even allow your kind to inhabit their soil with any kind of freedom, but keep you sequestered in squalid “refugee camps” and feed you as little as possible, not allowing you to work or go to school. You are mere pawns on the international chess board, beggars from the UNO – the lowest of the low in your race’s estimation!
“There is no peace without Jerusalem. There is no stability without Jerusalem.” You are correct! But your premise is entirely wrong. There is no peace outside of JEWISH possession of Jerusalem, and no stability of the local polity until that matter is settled for eternity. When your people had control of East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, your soldiers fired on Jewish citizens in West Jerusalem from the crenellated walls of the Old City each day. Your international crossing for neutral visitors was a dangerous no-man’s land at the Mandelbaum Gate, where tourists were forced to carry their luggage across a barren terrain watched over by soldiers of both sides. You trashed and destroyed everything Jewish in the Old City, including dozens of synagogues. You blocked the Western Wall with trash and debris. You imprisoned or expelled its Jewish citizens. You allowed no Jewish visitors to the Western Wall or the Temple Mount.
So there is absolutely no reason for anyone to suppose that the “peace talks” are really that. For they are not! Because the province of Syrian Palestine was once controlled by Turkey – a Muslim Empire – the Arabs now consider the entire land to be Islamic forever. In their mind it MUST be liberated from the “infidel” (i.e., anyone who disagrees with Mahomet and his “Allah”) at some point; Islam’s ignorant Imams dictate no rest until it is so liberated. Then, when all formerly Muslim land has been reclaimed such as Spain, South France, the Balkans, etc., the Muslims intend then to continue on to conquer the rest of the world! In their minds the entire world must be converted to Islam. It is the only way for them to prove the invincibility of “Allah” over all others.
It is a vain, blatantly goofy, and unrealistic goal! If Islam gained control of the world it could not even feed the population. Technology would be thrown out and abandoned. Nearly everything that did NOT exist during the life of Mahomet would be repudiated. Even bicycles would be forbidden as a mode of transportation (but the jackass would be back in style!). The world would regress to the darkest of the Dark Ages. Sharia Law would prevail everywhere – a severe system of rules and regulations that are repressive to women and every non-Muslim, demonic in its scale of punishments for even minor transgressions, reflecting the whims and desires of the Mullahs, with no attention to divinely given rights of humanity. Civilized society would not survive.
We can be absolutely certain that this will not be humanity’s destiny, for it is not YHVH’s will!
The God of Israel has “appointed a day (Acts 17: 31, in the real Scriptures) in the which He will judge the world in righteousness, by that Man Whom He hath ordained, whereunto He hath given assurance to ALL men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” Muslims, if they consider themselves “men” are included in that announcement; they shall not be able to escape it.
So the Muslim world must face the music. Jerusalem as their permanent capital of “Palestine” is a hookah-pipe dream having no possibility or basis in reality. So just give it up now, and start spending the relief money on food for the squalid masses instead of ammunition.
So the burdensome aspect of Jerusalem shall continue for a while yet. As we can see almost daily, the intrigue over the city is growing quickly and deeply. The popular news media of the world favor the “Palestinian” cause. They object to any new building in Jerusalem, and even the replacement of illegally constructed houses in the Silwan area of the City, south of Temple Mount adjacent to the Pool of Siloam, an area which, like so many, is hideously blighted by Arab squatters. The Municipality of Jerusalem plans to demolish about 20 houses which never obtained building permits – masonry shacks really – to make room for a new park to be called The King’s Gardens. It will be a lovely recreational area for Jerusalemites of all religions modeled upon the gardens planted there by King David over 3,000 years ago.
Of course the news media has leaped upon this project with rabid disfavor. Leslie Stahl of Sixty Minutes absolutely excoriated the Mayor of Jerusalem on a recent Sunday, whining that the plan would “compromise the peace process!” Leslie! … just breathing in and out will accomplish the same purpose! We wonder if she is really so obtuse as to believe that this is a real process, or that it will ever “go forward,” or achieve any positive results.
But that’s the way it is this week in strife-ridden Jerusalem, the renowned City of Peace, whose tranquility is not ready to settle upon it quite yet. Still, the admonition Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalyim – to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” – still stands, and is more urgent than ever before.
<HEL> Originally written: October, 2010. Revised: June, 2019. Published as eTPL entry on that date.
June: The Nature of Christ
Harold E. Lafferty
The body of Christ’s brethren is not immune to controversy or to disagreement over doctrinal matters. Brethren have found it necessary to stand aside from others of the same name because of a difference of conviction on more than one basic issue.
This article will strive to address one of the most serious deviations from Truth that may be found in our community – that of the nature of Jesus Christ at His first coming.
Was He born in the universal state of sinful human nature as are all Adam’s children? Or was he free from that curse placed upon the Adamic race, and thus born in a divine constitution?
These are the only two alternatives in our estimation.
We may be certain that the answer lies only in the words of scripture, where the subject has been and must be discussed and decided. The controversy seems to be endless, as challenges to the fleshly nature of Jesus continue to persist.
What Saith the Scriptures?
As the entire body of truth in this regard is so vast – stretching as it does from the earliest chapters of Genesis to the terminal portion of the Apocalypse – we shall present several concise, targeted, cameos of the most vital points of difference as bullet points. In so doing, reference will be made to supporting arguments of the last 150 years, for they are as pertinent now as then.
Those proclaiming that Jesus’ nature was different from that of His brethren are denying the most elemental feature of our Savior’s makeup.. This is a “spirit of anti-Christ” according to the apostle John. We see it as the grossest of misunderstandings of basic tenets of God’s word.
Jesus Christ Came in the Flesh
· 1John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
How therefore can any claim that Jesus was not made “in sin’s flesh?” If not made in sin’s flesh, it was impossible for God, by Him, to condemn sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3). If sin could not be “condemned in His flesh, there was nothing in Him that could be called “sin.” If nothing in Him could be called “sin,” He did not “bear our sin in His own body on the tree (2Peter 2:24). If sin was not borne “in his body on the tree,” “the old man of the flesh” was not crucified, and “the body of sin,” was not destroyed by His death (Romans 6:6); sin was not “put away by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26); and consequently there is no hope of a resurrection through ceasing to “serve sin.”
Jesus Christ was the Offering for Sin
· Hebrews 9:28: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Infant salvation is undeniable if the babe born in Bethlehem was not constitutionally a sinner. If the child of Mary was not a sinner by constitution, no children are. If no children are constitutional sinners, they ought not to die, as they have committed no actual transgressions.
But they do die. Therefore, they are constitutional sinners. Consequently the infant son of Mary, who, though miraculously begotten, was born in the universal way, was also a constitutional sinner, but was at the same time free from actual transgression as are all such in their early lives. But unlike all other infants, Jesus grew to maturity and persisted unto death without committing any sins by transgression.
Jesus Christ was Seed of the Woman, Son of Adam, and Born in Adam
· 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.
If Jesus was not the descendant of Adam, He was not “the seed of the woman.” If He was not the “seed of the woman” it was impossible for Him to “bruise” the seed of the serpent [sin] in the head (Genesis 3:15). If unable to “bruise” the serpent’s seed, he could not take away sin. If He took not sin away – If He has not “abolished death” – neither has He brought immortality to light (2Timothy 1:10). If He has not brought immortality to light, there is no hope of a future life for anyone, for “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4: 12).
If Jesus possessed “clean” flesh (an “immaculate” nature), He was not a son of Adam. Those who claim His flesh to have been “clean” essentially deny that He was so born as Adam’s Son. But if not in Adam by birth, he was not the “seed of David,” who was a “son of Adam” (Matthew 1:1). If not the “seed of David,” he was not the “fruit of David’s loins” (Acts 2: 30). If not “the fruit of David’s loins,” He is not the heir to David’s throne (Luke 1: 32). If not the heir to David’s throne, He is not the lawful “King of the Jews.” If not the “King of the Jews” He was an impostor; therefore the Jews were justified in charging Him with treason and assuring his crucifixion (Luke 23: 21). If an imposter, His future title as the King of the earth is fictitious (1Thessalonians 2: 12), His future kingdom is a myth (Micah 4: 1-3), and the hope of His disciples being the future kings of the earth is fond delusion (Daniel 7: 18).
Jesus Was Made in Sin’s Flesh
· Hebrews2:14: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil …
Those claiming Jesus was made only in the “likeness” of sin’s flesh (similar to it but not identical to it), are essentially claiming that He also was not made in the identity of sin’s flesh. If He was not in reality made in sin’s flesh, because of being made in the “likeness’ of it (Romans 8: 3), then on the same principle He was not really a man, because He was made in the “likeness” of men (Philippians 2:7). The resurrection of believers will be only in a resemblance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, for they are planted and raised (in baptism) in “the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). Additionally, they will only “resemble” Him in the next life, for they are to be made “like Him” (1John 3: 2) – that is, in His likeness.
Jesus Was Son of Adam and Son of God
· Luke 1:35: And the angel answered and said unto her (Mary), The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee (a woman) shall be called the Son of God. ALSO … Galatians 4:4: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Thus the babe born of Mary was a son of Adam, being born of a woman, and Son of God, having been begotten by the Spirit of God. Therefore, He was a member of the Adamic race. If not a member of the Adamic race, He was not a member of the Jewish race, for all Jews have descended from Adam. If not a Jew, He was not under the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4: 4). If He was not “under the Law,” then He could not have been “made a curse” under that Law (Galatians 3: 13). If not being made a curse under that Law, He could not redeem any Jews from that curse (Galatians 4: 5). If He did not redeem any Jews from under the Mosaic curse, there is yet no way of redemption available for Moses, the Hebrew prophets, or any faithful Israelites living before the abrogation of the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4: 4).
Jesus, Being Like His Brethren, was Tempted in all Points as Are They
· Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Some contend that Jesus was born in the same nature as Adam before he sinned. If that be true, then He did not “know good and evil” (Genesis 3: 5-7). If He did not “know good and evil” then He was not “tempted in all points like as we are” (Hebrews 4: 12). If He was not “tempted in all points like as we are” He was not “made in all things like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2: 17). Consequently He could not have been “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4: 15). If He were not “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” He cannot be “a merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2: 17). Therefore He is not fit to be our intercessor (Romans 8: 34). How, then, if we deny the very basis of His mediatorial office, how can we expect Him to intercede for us? If he does not intercede for us, how can any hope for life beyond the grave? Because, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
Jesus, Being the Son of David, Partook of Sin in His Nature
· Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Here, David was recognizing his natural, inherent propensity to commit sin, as he had done with Bathsheba. Certainly, a mother’s conception of a child is not sin in any sense; such as commanded of the original Couple so that they would “multiply and replenish the earth.”
These words of Jesus’ forefather are describing the constitution of sin which David inherited from his own mother as well as from his father, Jesse – and consequently that same defect of Jesus, his future son, inherited through his own mother, Mary. But does not the Apostle John write of a different kind of sin? In 1 John 3:4, he writes of active sinning in this: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
So our question is, why do some insist that “sin” is used in the scriptures only to describe actual transgression? If “sin” be applied only to actual transgression, it was impossible for the apostle Paul to say that “sin wrought in him(self) all manner of concupiscence,” that “sin dwelt in himself,” and “did that which he would not” (Romans 7: 8, 10, 17); and that by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). If there be nothing in the flesh called “sin,” wherein lay the necessity for Jesus Christ being made of the same flesh and blood as the children of Abraham in order that “through death He might destroy” that in the flesh which has “the power of death,” namely sin, or diabolos. (Hebrews 2: 14)
Such are the conclusions which logically flow from statements made by believers of one of the most subtle, seemingly plausible, but pernicious heresies which have arisen since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven.
To embrace it is to take the step from Jerusalem to Rome – to admit the “immaculate conception” of Jesus, in direct opposition to John’s statement quoted above in I John 4: 2,3.
And to do this is to imperil one’s position in the coming conflict concerning these two cities. He who would be on the Lord’s side then must be on the Lord’s side now.
[Acknowledgement: these bullet points are adapted from JJA, The Christadelphian, Dec. 1, 1873; pp 559 - 562]
In the foregoing discussion one must surely understand that Christ is our Redeemer based first upon His nature as being identical to ours, but also, in spite of that being true, upon His perfect obedience to God, His Father. Being of the same nature of those who He came to save, His death necessarily also benefitted Himself, His own body being in need of redemption from the sin which was indwelling in Him.
In suffering death, He proved that He was mortal – and illustrated that His death was not a mere sham, to which He submitted only in a counterfeit manner (i.e., not for Himself).
<HELafferty MD/USA 2O> ~2200 words.
Submitted to the Advocate for publication, February, 2015, and published in the August, 2015 issue. Posted as an edited eTPL prophecy article here,
July: Thoughts on Daniel 12: 1-3
An inquiry from a friend recently triggered the following investigation, which is vital to our understanding of end-time prophecy. My intention is, as exhaustively as possible in the space allotted, to study and comment upon the first three verses in this present essay. The verses are …
Daniel 12: 1: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.
2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [KJV]
Michael the Archangel
The setting is 1917 AD, the year of the termination of the last King of the North, in our opinion, the Ottoman Empire, which was driven forever from the Province of Palestine by the armed forces of Great Britain in December of that year, as prophesied in Daniel 11: 41 – 45.
The prophet states at that time (1917) shall Michael stand up,” and defines Michael as “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.
Some earlier scholars have surmised that “Michael” is a term designating the Lord Jesus Christ, Who in their view would be returning after what they believed would be the defeat of the Gogian invader which they believed to be indicated in the previous chapter. Such was clearly not the case. Daniel has already mentioned Michael twice in his revelation and it is inconsistent to claim that the angel’s identity is different here. Reference to these verses and yet earlier ones will be helpful to our understanding of his identity and mission.
We need to note that the statement that it is AT THAT TIME (when Michael “stands up”) is precisely the time at which Michael’s skills and power as an archangel are needed to bring the Jews back to their Land and sustain them in it after their long dispersion!
It seems that while they are in exile, Michael has little to do in helping Israel because of a statement made in the next reference. But now his power and godly assistance shall be needed by his people again.
Further critical understanding and correlation of the angel’s identity and mission may be abetted by reference to the Angelic Being described (but not named) in the early history of Israel as it emerged a nation from the Land of Egypt. That this Michael is the same angel is almost certain – the same as the unnamed one of Exodus 23:20 – the angel of the Cloud and of the Pillar of Fire: Behold, I send My Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and bring thee unto the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For Mine angel shall go before thee … (that is, to lead them into the Land which He had promised them).
Before we leave this reference there are four crucial factors about this angel of which we need to be aware.
1. It was this angel’s divine assignment “to keep Israel in the way” (the way of God’s direction); it was also...
2. ”To bring them unto the place” (Canaan) which God had prepared for them;
3. “My name is in him” is clearly conveyed to Israel; this special angel will be their protector and guide to the Promised Land and as residents in it. But there seems another shade of meaning which we must note. Michael (H4317) is defined by Strong as “who is like God.” So El’s name (God) is part of Michael’s name; it is literally true that he bears God’s name, in addition to the commission that he has been given;
4. And if Israel follows his directions, then God promised to be “an enemy to their enemies, and an adversary to thine adversaries.” We need to keep this in mind whenever referencing Michael and his duties toward God’s people – especially in the end-time.
Now to Daniel 10: 11-13: “Then said he unto me, ‘O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. ‘ And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, ‘Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for (because of) thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”
This is the first time the angel Michael is named in the scriptures. The second time is Daniel 10: 21, where Gabriel identifies his counterpart Michael as “holding with me in these (revealed) things.”
The clear information in this passage is that the speaker is an angel whose identity has not yet been made known to Daniel. That angelic being is actually Gabriel, the only other angel mentioned by the book of Daniel, or even named in the entire Bible. Gabriel is assigned an important duty in Daniel 8: 16 where the voice of “a (mighty) man” is heard by Daniel between the banks of the River Ulai in Babylon.
The voice commands Gabriel to make Daniel understand a vision which he had just seen – the Vision of the Sanctuary Cycle being our current name for it – a significant revelation leading all the way to the End-time (“at the time of the end shall be the vision” – Verse 17).
The vision had just been seen by Daniel and involved several events leading to the confrontation of a Ram with two horns standing by a river, and engaging in combat with an He-goat with one notable horn between its eyes. Daniel 8: 5.
Without going into the intricate details of exegesis at this time,  the Ram with two horns represented an eminent political power (the Medes and the Persians) which would be overcome and soundly defeated by a future rival power represented by an He-goat with a notable horn; that He-goat represented Alexander the Great of Greece – the power which overthrew the Medo-Persian overlord of God’s land in future years.
The Medo-Persian kingdom would succeed Babylon which, almost until Daniel’s death, still had control of God’s Land. When this vision was received by Daniel the date is specified as the third year of Belshazzar (Daniel 8: 1) – nearly at the end of Babylon’s ascendancy, and just prior to the decree of Cyrus the Persian that they return to their homeland in Judaea.
The Vision of the Sanctuary Cycle which now followed [also called the Vision of the 2,300 Evening-Mornings] concerned the “cleansing of the Sanctuary,” which we understand means the Temple Mount – the Mount of the Sanctuary, or Temple – in Jerusalem.
Briefly, the timing of this vision began when Alexander defeated Medo-Persia in their first encounter at the River Granicus in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) in the spring [early June] of the year BC 334.
Lapsing the years forward (Daniel 8: 13, 14) as history progressed, the 2,300 “evening-mornings” (“days” = solar years) terminated in 1967 AD. The span of time given by angelic revelation is exactly 2,300 solar years from the starting date. It is a superb example of God’s perfect foreknowledge of events of such long term. And it terminated very nearly or precisely at the terminus of the forecasted time span, on June 7th of that distant year.
You will remember that it was on this date that the Israel Defense Forces assaulted and overcame the Arab Legion of Jordan, which had held East Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank since the War of Independence in 1948 (a span of 19 years).
We have introduced all these previous facts, which may seem extraneous, to show clearly that Michael is the arch-angel charged with the supervision of Israel when either it is IN its Land (these end-times) or is ABOUT TO ENTER IT (as from ravaged Europe in 1945, or anciently from Egypt into Canaan).
From this precise verse, Daniel 12:1, we discern that Michael again “stood up” to assist and guide Israel to come BACK TO ITS INHERITANCE in these end-times JUST AS HE HAD BEEN CHARGED AS THEY EMERGED FROM EGYPT. This is an important fact to recognize here for reasons that will become clearer as we progress.
So far, Daniel has been told that Michael shall “at that time” stand up for Israel, and that Michael specifically, is that “great prince which standeth FOR the children of thy people.”
The Time of Trouble Such as Never Was
Now time leaps forward as the next phrase unfolds: “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time: and at that time thy people (Israel) shall be delivered…”
By studying events that followed the Great War of 1917-18 (World War I), we can easily see that its failures and injustices laid the sure framework for World War II. In less than 15 years from its conclusion, a despotic political aspirant named Adolph Schickelgruber (later called Hitler) rose to the foreground to wreak revenge on the Great Powers for their shoddy treatment (in his mind) of Germany. His evil ranting against the Jews of Europe and the world were voiced clearly in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) written while he was in prison. His rise to power in Germany was uncommonly meteoric.
The result of Hitler’s coming to power was this “time of trouble” for God’s and Daniel’s people “such as never was.” In Hebrew this Trouble is known as The Shoah; in English as The Holocaust. It shall not be our purpose here to review the horrible and horrifying events of that era in which over six million Jews were imprisoned, enslaved, tortured, incinerated, and slaughtered by The Third Reich.
It is reputed to be the most horrible, most concentrated, most intractable, most grindingly terrifying event in human history levied against any single group of people. Actually the Jews were only about half of all the enemies of Germany which were murdered, but their identities and loyalties were not unified as were those of the Jews; also, God had no specific purpose with them as He did with His People.
In 1945, near the conclusion of the war, Russian and Allied forces began to discover the horrors of the Death Camps – of hundreds of murder factories which bore evil-sounding names such as Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Majdenek (Maidenek), Dachau, and Sobibor. Of the original Jewish population of about nine million in the war’s arena, six million now lay in graves and ash-pits.
Only three million had survived in various degrees of destitution – but mostly starved and weakened. Soon the world body, the United Nations Organization, took pity on the Jews and voted to partition Palestine, which had already been awarded to Britain as a Mandatory home for the Jewish people of the world by the Balfour Declaration. The Jews of almost the whole world were solidly behind the formation of a State, which was established in May, 1948. The greatest proportion of Jews left in Europe, all of whom had been “displaced” from their homes, migrated to the new State and its freedom. So, a limited number (those found “written in the book”) migrated to their ancient homeland, and were “delivered” out of the lands of Holocaust.
“Every One that Shall be Found Written in the Book”
The exact (and ultimate) meaning of this phrase, that these “shall be delivered,” is at this time somewhat obscure to this writer.
It may mean “all those who were appointed by God to escape death.” But that is a subjective definition.
It might mean “all those who are slated to enter the kingdom which Messiah will soon establish,” except that almost all the personal survivors of the Holocaust are now deceased, and the kingdom has not come.
It may mean “all those who are specially designated physically to build the newly formed State of Israel” would be delivered.
Or it might be most of all a reference to their deliverance into immortality in their time of judgment.
So far, the phrase is an enigma to this writer. It certainly shall be understood in the future, but what does it mean to us today?
Although this writer is unable to offer a fully rational explanation of his own (perhaps he is viewing this as a more difficult problem than it really is), he has consulted a peer who seems to have only negligible problems with the phraseology.
Please allow him to elaborate in his own words (emphasis mine):
“This statement is referring to “thy people” (Daniel’s people, the Jews) in the land. Daniel was a prophet to the Jews, of course.” To our commentator friend, “it states quite positively that certain people in Israel, not the world, whose names are written in a book, shall be delivered. (Delivered) from what? From eternal oblivion! From eternal death! (Mark 16: 16)
“Revelation 20:12 tells us that, ‘THE BOOKS WERE OPENED; and another book was opened, which is The Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written IN THE BOOKS according to their works (Verse15). Whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.’
“You will notice in the above, ‘THE BOOKS (PLURAL) WERE OPENED AND ANOTHER BOOK, THE BOOK OF LIFE.’ Perhaps the first BOOKS were those personal ‘notes’ about the people spoken of in (another) book. The Psalmist says, ’In Thy book all my members were written.' How can we escape the thought that this refers to the DNA of each person, ensuring that those who sleep in the Lord can be re-created exactly as they were!?
“It seems to me that the verse speaks only of the Jews, many of whom (similar to many of the Gentiles) will not find salvation because their Names are not written in the Book of life.
“In Malachi 3:16 we read, ‘They that feared the Lord spake often one to another and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him FOR THEM THAT FEARED THE LORD AND THAT THOUGHT UPON HIS NAME’
“Daniel 12: 4 says: ‘Shut up the words and seal the book even to the time of the end.’ Does this mean that the recording of those in Israel who were in the books ceased at the time Daniel is speaking of; or is he referring to the time of the end of the Hebrew ages and times – and the end of the first Hebrew kingdom age? I don't know; but you might have some ideas” [or perhaps readers may have some thoughts – Ed.].
“The Psalmist speaks of such people (in this way): ‘Let them be blotted out of the book of the living and not be written with the righteous.’ (Psalm 69:28)
“After asking ‘WHO IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE BOOK?’ (Revelation 5:2), the answer is given in verse 5: ‘The lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seals.’ Surely (this is) the Judgment day!
“Can this book be the same (book) that Daniel spoke of in 12:1? Can there be two books? Hardly! Paul speaks of ‘those whose names are in the book of life.’ Surely it must be the same 'book.' Are there TWO divisions – JEWISH AND GENTILE?”
That is the end of our correspondent’s comments. In addition, this researcher believes there is a veiled reference also to the recovery (resurrection) of the Jews from the nations of their dispersion – a very real “resurrection” of their nation which precedes the resurrection from the dead of the saints of God, Jew OR Gentile. As these verses are a vast, overall consideration of a long period of time, which omits many of the details, it may have still other ramifications we have not considered here!
Many of Them That Sleep in the Dust of the Earth Shall Awake
Verse two leaps forward to an easily discernible goal: but even that understanding could have two rational explanations. As just inferred, the Jews of Diaspora can be said to be “sleeping” in the “dust of the earth,” for they are not yet gathered completely into their own nation – or not yet “resurrected” from that Diaspora. This is a spiritual application which I believe to be valid, though certainly not exclusive. These are identical to the bony remnants of the children of Israel of the Valley of Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37 ... many of whom yet “sleep” in the environs of the world into which they have been scattered.
2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
But the more sure interpretation is that of a literal resurrection from death. When the Messiah of Israel appears, myriads of covenanted Jews shall be raised from the dead, and shall be judged. Their worthy lives under the Law of Moses shall have been validated by the sacrifice of Christ, and they shall be raised to stand before Him in judgment, along with enormous numbers of believing Gentiles.
These shall “awake” to (1) “everlasting life,” or (2) “to shame, and everlasting contempt.” This is a clear, unmistakable picture of the Judgment Seat of Christ – the time when one of these two courses is set in stone for every participant in the Judgment proceedings. The Inspirer gives no further consideration to those who are turned aside into outer darkness (Matthew 22: 13).
On the other hand, he describes the future of those who are considered worthy of life: “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they who turn [have turned] many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
It is an extremely happy outcome for these faithful ones! Their victory shall be clearly visible by all God’s creation forevermore.
Michael Stands Up
Now, returning to the first phrases, we have read that “at that time (1917) shall Michael stand up, that great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” That phraseology is completely compatible with the first facts revealed by the Almighty in reference to “Mine angel” of the Exodus, which was to “go before” Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land – to shepherd them into the Land and maintain them in it as long as they obeyed God.
So Michael “stood up” in 1917 to resume his earlier duties which were again to lead his people back to their Promised Land and to be “an enemy to their enemies, and to be an adversary to their adversaries as in Exodus 23. He has in our time executed his duties extremely well; we may rest assured that Israel shall remain under Michael’s protection until Messiah appears to them.
We can clearly see the undeniable effects of Michael’s assistance to Israel in these end-times. He has aided and assisted them immeasurably in their highly successful Return (Aliyah) to the Land; in the liberation of the Land from the Ottomans AND from Britain (!); in Israel’s four wartime victories over the Proximal Arabs; in their War of Attrition; in their assaults by Intifada; and even in their “peace negotiations” which are going utterly NOWHERE.
We believe these farcical “peace” activities will never bear the fruits desired by the “Palestinians” (which is to root Israel out of the land and take it for their own) OR by the shepherds of Israel who in the past have seemed willing to concede land (and portions of their capital city) and to conclude “peace” with the Arabs among them and surrounding them.
We believe both to be impossible and not at all in the offing for either party. Their only resolution of their differences upon Jerusalem – the “burdensome Stone” of Zechariah 14 – shall be the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ from the heavens to “save them from their enemies” (Psalm 44: 7).
So our parting thoughts must be: Hold fast, O Israel, to that which thou hast; stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!
H E Lafferty MD/USA for the eTPL, November, 2010, reprinted 2019
 It was partially for this reason that earlier scholars mistook this reference to the angel as being to the Lord.
 The author intends to bring a documented, clear exposition of this enlightening prophecy of “The 2,300 Evening-Mornings” to these pages in future issues, God willing, as well as other land-mark events which have been fulfilled.
 These folk comprised yet another “remnant” of God’s people who had survived persecution, famine and Pogroms upon them through the ages. The “remnants” began with the negligible return of Jews from Babylon. <HEL>
August: Have You Noticed...?
An eTPL30 Analysis
The long-awaited Trump “Deal of the Century” is being drawn out in an unprecedented manner as its details are now being further delayed until after the Israeli elections in September. Conceived and developed about two years ago, the plan was formulated under the tutelage of the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and U. S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt. But details of the plan have been revealed only in bits and pieces – and so far only the economic portions – in such venues as the recent regional conference held in Bahrain.
The main problem that the plan faces is that the “Palestinian” leadership in Ramallah has declared that it wants no part of any “peace plan” proposed by the American president because it does not view him as an impartial participant. Their reasoning is specifically that he has disqualified himself by choosing to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, thereby giving overt recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
It strikes us as interesting that this recognition took seventy one years to be ratified by any nation other than Israel itself, and that that span of time is exactly how long it took for Jerusalem of old time to regain its certified identity after the Babylonian captivity began. King Cyrus of Persia issued his decreed for the Jews to return and rebuild their city and its wall (thus declaring it a valid capital city) in the seventy first year after their captivity began!
That fact as well as others has prompted some to compare President Donald Trump to Cyrus, and even to issue commemorative medals depicting the two men together on that item of memorabilia.
In a recent article in The Jerusalem Post, the president declared: “I probably will wait (until after the elections [to reveal the entire plan]), but we may put out pieces of it,” explaining that “peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians” is the “toughest deal of all.”
Yes, it is, isn’t it!
Jerusalem, a Cup of Trembling
But Bible students are not surprised by that reality. The Prophet Zechariah predicted these conditions over two millennia ago when he wrote: Zechariah 12:1- The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
No forecast could be more accurate! No insight could be more perfect!
The words of this prophecy are a warning for the United States delegation as it has been for everyone who has “burdened” himself with the City in recent history. The Trump Plan is doomed to failure because YHVH will not suffer His Land to be permanently divided any more.
After June 7, 1967, Israel’s continuous possession of Jerusalem has been assured because that is the precise date of the fulfillment of the 2300 Evening-Morning (2300 Year) prophecy given by Daniel as the Sanctuary Cycle – Daniel 7: 14.
The prophecy began in early June, 334BC, and terminated 2300 solar years later ... precisely on June 7th of 1967! The fulfillment of this prophecy on the specific date 2,300 years after its beginning is remarkably precise – one of the longest-running O.T. prophecies having to do with the Recovery of the Jewish People.
Readers will possibly recall more detailed articles that we have published about this spectacular fulfillment in past issues of The Prophecy Letter.
The prophecy is accurately known to have begun in the early summer of 334BC with the successful assault of the Greek army led by Alexander the Great upon the Persians at the River Granicus located near the site of Troy and near the Dardanelles in eastern Turkey of today. The battle may have taken place precisely on June 7th of that year, but that date cannot yet be certified.
The angel who gave this revelation to Daniel in chapter 8 specified that this landmark occasion of the victory of the He-goat (Greece) over the Ram (Persia) was the beginning date of the prophecy. It was to end 2300 YEARS (a day being put for a year, as prophetic principle) later – a date which was reached precisely on June 7, 1967!
Such precision of forecasting and subsequent fulfillment gives absolute proof of the sovereignty of Deity – that He is omniscient; that is He is capable of long-term prophecies which are subsequently fulfilled on precise dates thousands of years in future time. This is one of the longest-term prophecies given anywhere in the scriptures.
Present readers may peruse the details in an extensive article published in an earlier issue of eTPL. It may be directly accessed by clicking on this address: 8 August: The 2300 Evening-Mornings of Daniel 8
It is notable that Jerusalem had never been in the hands of a sovereign Jewish government from the beginning year of that prophecy until the ending date of June 7th, 1967! Therefore the date marked an unique turning point for the status of that venue as related to the reestablished Jewish People and state...
It is also notable that the Old City (to which this prophecy refers) was not taken and retained in the War of Independence of 1948 and 49, when Israel was almost miraculously hindered from retaining possession of Jerusalem’s Old City. That failure was indeed the most notable lack of success achieved by the Israel Defense Forces of the day. Otherwise its success was overwhelming; the new nation at the signing of the truce had achieved control over an area far greater than had been awarded by the UNO’s prior official proposed division of the Land between the Jews and the Arabs who lived there!
Israel did retain possession of the western portion of the Jerusalem urban area, however, and almost immediately proclaimed that portion of the city the eternal capital of Israel, the Jewish State as reconstituted by that conflict.
In this action we submit that Zechariah 14: 2 was exhausted...
But other significant milestones remained to be passed.
Only nineteen years later – at the precise end of the “2300 days” of the Sanctuary Cycle – was the Sanctuary (Temple Mount) “cleansed.” We accept that as meaning that it was taken back into possession by God’s regathered People and placed under its sovereignty because that is the reality of the historical events of the proper time.
We soberly realize that further refinement awaits the site after today – further sanctification – but that process awaits a greater Power (the returned LORD Jesus Christ) than now exerts its authority in the City.
While in the possession of the Arab Legion of Jordan (from 1948 until 1967) the Jordanians had ousted all the Jewish citizens of the Old City, sending the men to detention camps in Jordan, and releasing the women and children to their families in Israel.
During that period of 19 years, no Jew had access to the Western Wall; dozens of synagogues were destroyed. The Western Wall was crowded upon by scores of shabby Arab houses and was generally not well tended.
But now the entire City had been returned to the control of the Jewish state; the prospect is that it shall never be divided again – that it is, indeed, the “eternal capital” of the Jewish people dating from 1967!
The Trump “Deal of the Century” cannot again divide the City, but we do admit that, not having been privy to the details of the Plan, we have no inkling whether that is being proposed by it. The bottom line is that the City will never again be permanently divided by any human interference with the Plan of our Father – no matter how meticulously it has been prepared, how well it is presented, or how “beneficial” it might seem to be to the present inhabitants. HEL> ~1350 words. Published as eTPL main article August 21, 2019
September: The Penned Up Lamb
John 11 records that Jesus had come to the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary on the 9th Day of the month Abib, six days before the Passover. Jesus had entered the last week of His mortal life. The fact that He had raised Lazarus from the dead had sent the Chief Priests and the Pharisees into apoplexy. They resolved with finality that Jesus must be killed, Caiphus the High Priest had announced that it was expedient that “one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
They actually determined to kill two men because they also decided to kill Lazarus as he was incontrovertible evidence testifying to the resurrection miracle.
It was the Passover Week and it was an essential feature of the Passover ritual that a lamb without spot or blemish be selected on the 10th day of the month Abib and be penned up for inspection until the 14th day of Abib, on which day it was to be sacrificed. That stipulation is recorded of the very first Passover in Egypt and mandated for all subsequent Passover observances. It’s recorded in Exodus 12 and reads:
Exo 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Exo 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
Exo 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
Exo 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
For the four days in which the Lamb was penned up, it was tested for spots and blemishes by priests and neighbours scrutinising the Lamb for any flaws.
Jesus was to fulfill the Passover type which prompted Paul to refer to Jesus in...
1Cor 5:7 For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
He was killed on the day the Passover Lamb was killed as related by John 19:14-30.
As the Passover type required, Jesus entered Jerusalem four days prior to being killed, when the Passover Lambs were penned up for inspection. For those four days, as recorded in Matthew chapters 21 and 22, He was under constant scrutiny by the Priests who were doing their level best to find fault with Him.
Bethany (House of Dates) was a Sabbath day’s journey from Jerusalem and was therefore considered to be legally within the precincts of Jerusalem; and so Jesus knew that when He left Bethany that 10th day of Abib, He knew that as Yahweh’s Passover Lamb, He would not again leave the city until He rose from the dead.
He was also well aware that the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets had testified concerning Him and all His actions – that these were guided by those testimonies concerning Him.
Approaching the city near Bethphage (House of Figs), He directed his disciples to a small farm where they would find other disciples with an ass and a colt tied near the door with orders to “loose them and bring them to me.”
The ass was a symbol of Israel (Gen 49:10-11, Hos8:8-9, Jer2:23-24). It was also a symbol of Kingly honour (2Sam16:1-2, 1Kings1:33-34). Under the Law by which Israel lived, and as did Christ Himself, the Law provided that firstlings of all unclean animals had to be slain, except the firstborn of an ass which could be redeemed by a Lamb; if it was not so redeemed its neck was to be broken as directed by Exodus 13:13.
Israel was Yahweh’s firstborn as declared by Moses at Exodus 4:22, but in another sense, it was an unbroken colt, which is to say it was untamed; so to ride such a colt into Jerusalem was a miracle in itself, a miracle that presented a lesson of Israel’s promised redemption through the blood of the Lamb. It was also a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
The King who would rule both Israel and all the world would first be a sacrificial Lamb whose death would declare God’s justice and enable the way of salvation for all men by the forgiveness of their sins.
Jerusalem was filled to capacity by Jews from all over the world who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They were to witness Jesus riding the ass in royal dignity. They strew both garments and palm leaves in his path as expressions of goodwill and to soften the path of the King entering His domain. Because it was Passover, the Passover Psalm, Psalm 118 was on everyone’s mind and so the people began to chant Vs 25 & 26 of that Psalm but not quoting the critical V27.
Psa 118:25 Save now (Hosanna), I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Psa 118:26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
They omitted verse 27, which reads,
Psa 118:27 God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
The people believed that the Christ should claim His throne there and then, they did not want that he should first be the Covenant sacrifice tied with cords to the horns of the Altar.
The Jewish Hierarchy was just beside itself. John 12:19 records that to the Jews it seemed the whole world had come after Him, and they actually asked the Master to rebuke His own disciples. The Master’s retort was, “I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40) The Lord’s retort was that If Israel refused to praise Him, the Gentiles, whom Jews regarded as lifeless stones would praise Him.
Entering Jerusalem the following day, the second day as the penned up Lamb, He threw into bold relief in a graphic way the moral barrenness of the nation by cursing a barren Fig tree. The Fig tree was a symbol of Israel. He had come seeking fruit from it and there was none. The Israel fig tree would therefore be smitten and wither. The Mosaic economy would vanish, the Law of Moses would cease to function as a national way of life and the people would be expelled for a second time from the land, by Rome, the latter-day Babylon.
His first act after performing this enacted parable of cursing the barren fig tree was to cleanse the Temple. It was supposed to be the centre of worship that glorified Yahweh but instead had been corrupted by commercial transactions. Have a look at V12 of Matt 21.
Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overhrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Mat 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Mat 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
Mat 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Christ identified the Temple as the Temple which was the subject of Ezekiel’s writing. Ezekiel in his prophecy had taught that this Temple was to be a house of Prayer, not only for Israel but for those of any nation that would join Covenant with Israel’s God, a house of prayer for all nations. As Jeremiah had prophesied in 7:11, the Temple had instead become “a den of robbers.”
Jesus also quoted Psalm 8:2 “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” Psalm 8 was a Psalm celebrating David’s victory over Goliath, which was, in turn, a type of Christ’s victory over sin. Not only were the Priests endorsing the thievery which Christ identified, but they were also identifying with Goliath the Philistine, the representation of the will of the flesh, a severe warning to the Priests that they would share the judgment meted out to Goliath.
Having issued that warning Christ then retired to Bethany at the closing of the second day and still no spot or blemish had been identified.
Returning to the city the third day it is noted that the cursed fig tree had withered away.
Matthew doesn’t relate that but the parallel record from Mark does...
Mar 11:20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
Mar 11:21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
Mar 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
Christ was telling them that if they had sufficient faith they could wither a fig tree but that that was “small time;” with sufficient faith you could move mountains. They actually did move mountains; they moved mountains of flesh like Goliath from out of the world and into Covenant with God.
It’s not difficult to imagine that when Jesus retired the previous evening the very perplexed priests called a meeting to devise a strategy against Him. When Jesus comes to the Temple this day we’ll ask Him to publicly declare the basis of His self-proclaimed authority. We’ve got Abraham and Moses; who’s He got? The deputation of Chief Priests, Scribes and elders challenge the Lord with virtually the same challenge Moses faced when he was asked “who made thee a ruler and a Judge over us”?
Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
The response of the penned up Lamb was a master stroke. “Was John’s baptism of heaven or of men? A question to which either response was absolutely to their detriment, so they were left with one response, “we cannot tell.”
Jesus actually then pursued his challengers with three Parables which we won’t have time to deal with but they were the Two Sons, The Wicked Husbandmen and the Marriage of the King’s Son...parables that highlight their hypocrisy, their injustices and their eventual judgment.
Still no spot or blemish in the Penned up Lamb.
Faced with the failure of the Chief Priest’s challenge the Herodians decide they will issue a further challenge of their own.
Mat 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
To either answer with a yes or a no would have been wrong either way, so Jesus didn’t answer either way; instead He asked for a coin and pointed to the image of Caesar and advised that the demands of Caesar which were valid should not be withheld, nor should the demands of God, in whose image they were made.
Still no spot or blemish.
The Sadducees will issue a challenge.
The only Scripture that the Sadducees would acknowledge was the five Books of Moses; they rejected the prophets and Psalms.
The Sadducees rejected the reality of resurrection and a future life and therefore spared themselves the threat of a coming judgment.
Seven brothers had the same wife; in the Kingdom whose wife will she be?
The Master’s response was, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Not knowing the scriptures because the very passage they used in their argument (Deu25:5) was a law used to teach the resurrection. The duty of the goel, or kinsman-redeemer, who was representative of the promised Redeemer, Christ Himself, would be to raise up a "seed" (new life) in the name of the dead man.
Nor did they know the power of God – because God's promises cannot be broken by the trivial human incident of death.
The Chief Priests have failed to identify a spot or blemish, The Sadducees have failed to identify a spot or blemish so the Scribes will take up the cudgel with what they believed would be an indissoluble question, “which is the greatest commandment”? This was a question that caused a minefield of disputation among the Rabbis.
One can imagine Christ envisioning Moses descending Sinai with the two tables of stone, on the one were the commandments dealing with man’s relationship to God and on the other the commandments dealing with man’s relationship to man. The first and greatest commandment, says the Lord, is “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” taken from Deu 6:5. The second is “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” taken from Leviticus 19:18. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Those two commandments perfectly encapsulate the intent of the commandments on the two tables of stone.
The Chief Priests were silenced, the Sadducees were silenced and now the Scribes were silenced. All the Jewish intelligentsia to whom the people resorted for definitive answers on moral and religious questions were now silenced.
Now, the Lamb without spot or blemish speaks, which we can confidently accept happened on the fourth day of being penned up, though neither Matthew nor Mark identify the beginning of the fourth day. The verdict given can only have occurred on day four.
The Lord challenged the assembled Pharisees with a challenge of His own.
Mat 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
Mat 22:42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
Mat 22:43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
Mat 22:44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Mat 22:45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
A mere son of the flesh could not be addressed as “Lord” by his father, at least not among Hebrews. Yet David had called his son “Lord.” On what basis? The answer clearly was that the son of David, on His mother’s side, was in fact the anticipated Son of God. The Pharisees gave no response, their hearts were hardened and they refused to answer.
When the fourth day was over the Master addressed the multitude with a scathing denouncement of the Scribes and Pharisees with eight woes recorded in Matthew 23 – eight woes which contrasted in every detail to the eight beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount.
The verdict of the scrutiny of the penned up lamb is issued in V46.
Mat 22:46 Ad no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
As the verdict on Christ had been issued, so Christ issued His verdict on Israel.
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Mat 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Mat 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
AD 70 became a reality, Rome expelled the Jews from the land and Israel lost nationhood, it would suffer 1,878 years of expulsion and persecution before Israel once more became a nation, never again to be uprooted from God’s land. After Christ was crucified, Israel was given a forty year period of grace before Rome destroyed the nation, coincidentally the same period as the Wilderness Wanderings.
The lesson of the “Penned up Lamb” event was lost on Israel nationally. It had no impact on the national psyche at all.
The crucifixion is history’s watershed moment, all that had happened prior to it was leading up to it...and all that has happened since is the fallout from it.
It was lost on Israel; it has not been lost on God’s Elect.
To identify with the Passover Lamb under the Law, one was to eat the flesh; but the drinking of its blood was strictly forbidden. Not so with the anti-typical Passover Lamb. The blood, representing the life of the animal lamb was not to be assimilated as it was a beast of the field, not capable of moral responsiveness, not a characteristic to be identified with. But in identifying with Christ, we are commanded to drink His blood to identify with His characteristics. Something specifically commanded by Christ Himself, as recorded by John:
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
This commandment is not confined to a little ritual to be observed once a week, but rather embraces an all-day-every-day lifestyle activity.
The token of bread represents Christ’s repudiation of the will of the flesh, whilst the wine as a token of the blood represents to us the need thoroughly to embrace and express God’s will.
As we pass the time of our sojourning here in fear awaiting our Master’s return, we are penned up lambs contending against the threat of spot and blemish.
We do well to heed Paul’s advice:
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Submitted by Peter Horne (AU). September 19, 2019
October: Meditations on Jehoshaphat
II Chronicles 20 Compared to Joel 3
At a recent weekend series of lectures we listened to a detailed analysis of the early years of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, in which the speaker investigated the familial, developmental background and early history of the king. In two one-hour lectures he competently laid the early foundation for Jehoshaphat’s later life. His presentation continued up to the beginning verses of II Chronicles 20 – a critical juncture in our minds – but then concluded because of a lack of time.
Later we approached the speaker and expressed our dismay that he had not attempted to comment upon this markedly singular account – the last major event in the life of Jehoshaphat.
He replied that he had been given only two sessions in which to cover the subject and that he had not felt that there was time to give Jehoshaphat’s end-time events any detailed commentary.
In our opinion, the speaker ran out of time when he was just entering the most crucial phase of Jehoshaphat’s meaningful lifespan – the definitive attack upon Judah by Moab, Ammon, and Edom at a critical time in the king’s reign, including their utter defeat at the hand of YHVH by the phenomenon of “every man’s sword against his brother.”
In Jehoshaphat’s day his former army had numbered over one million men. But these had probably been reduced and weakened by Jehoshaphat’s unwise participation in the war against Ramothgilead in league with Ahab, King of Israel – a war in which Ahab was slain by a “chance” bowshot which pierced a chink in his armour. II Chronicles 18: 33.
In II Chronicles 20, after returning to Jerusalem and reestablishing the worship of YHVH throughout his land, Jehoshaphat is challenged by an embolden enemy – the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites which dwelt to the east and south of Judah. Their forces were evidently far superior to those of Jehoshaphat.
The king expressed his fear of the threat in prayer to YHVH. The account is as follows:
2Chronicles 20:5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
2Ch 20:6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
2Ch 20:7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
2Ch 20:8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
2Ch 20:9 If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
2Ch 20:10 And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
2Ch 20:11 Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
2Ch 20:12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
Jehoshaphat is then reassured by the LORD by the words of the Prophet Jahaziel:
2Ch 20:15 - And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
2Ch 20:16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel (Stong’s ref. H3385:Yerael – founded of God).
2Ch 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation (H3444: the Yeshua!) of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
Note carefully the occurrence of the noun “Yeshua” here, because it fully correlates with the expected end-time fulfillment of this typical event of history – the personal intervention of Yeshua Messiah in the end-time affairs of Israel, His returned and regathered People!
The remainder of the chapter reveals the details of what happened next.
Prior to their encounter with the enemies, Jehoshaphat appoints singers to go before the army to praise and extol YHVH – and it becomes a task force led by the singers from among the Levites!
Well before the people reach the appointed place, which was the wilderness of Jeruel, later renamed the Valley of Berekah (blessing), their enemies faced “ambushments” (verse 22). Amazingly, the word is translated from Hebrew arab (H693), meaning “to lie in ambush,” or “to lie in wait.” Those peoples today are the Arabs of the same region!
The thing was entirely of the Lord ... and was prophetic.
The result was that Moab and Ammon destroyed the forces of Edom, and then turned upon and destroyed each other to a man! When the army of Jehoshaphat and the people arrived on the scene, all the attackers lay dead and scattered about the battle site.
Now ... we raised that point because of the phraseology of one of our two scriptures of reference: Joel the 3rd chapter. In that specific chapter, YHVH inspired Joel to designate a LOCATION which is only mentioned these two times in the entire scriptures – and which is completely unknown to cartographers of Bible or modern time – the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
The passages are Joel 3: 2 and 12. We believe that IN those two verses our Father gives us subtle clues as to the identical end-time conflicts to which He refers in Psalm 83 and in Obadiah – the judgment of the “nations round about” Israel.
Note well ... Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
In this passage, is YHVH indicating that all the nations of the world will be brought down into the “Valley of Jehoshaphat,” or just a fraction of the nations of the earth – certain ones? Our well-studied opinion is that He is indicating ONLY certain nations, nations which He specifies in the 12th verse, calling “the heathen (the nations, literally) to be wakened ... and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat: FOR THERE WILL I SIT TO JUDGE ALL THE HEATHEN ROUND ABOUT.” To repeat for context, the scroll relates: Joel 3:12 - Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
We are fully convinced that our Father is in these phrases, relating a key factor for the information of His future Saints, by telling them that, contrary to the belief that will be (in the end-time) prevalent, that He means to bring JUST CERTAIN nations down into this ‘Valley of Decision’ (also mentioned twice as a synonym for the Valley of Jehoshaphat) to be JUDGED by His Emissary, the then-returned LORD Jesus Christ.
In these statements, our Father designates the venue in which He shall bring terminal judgment upon these same peoples in the end-time.
We believe that the typical account of the Valley of Berekah (Valley of Blessing) is a prophetical forecast of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. It is the only “valley” associated with that king of Judah, and extremely significant, as it resulted in the utter deliverance of Judah from the massive assault of the SAME nations which are now ready and anxious to devour the state of Israel and to drive the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea!
The symbology, in our mind, is unmistakable.
The “Valley of Jehoshaphat” is unknown to Middle Eastern geographers or historians. No place anywhere on earth has borne that name historically. It, therefore, in our opinion is the symbolic name of the greater arena in which the “heathen” are to be gathered and judged at the appearance of the LORD from heaven in the first of a series of confrontations with the nations of the earth – beginning, logically (and scripturally) with the “nations round-about” Israel. It indicates the entire region which is occupied at the present time by the enemies of Israel - the blessed and promised Land between the rivers and the seas!
This was the conclusion which we had anticipated that the lecturer we had eagerly listened to would reach.
This application gives new depth and significance to the meticulous accounting of the victory of Judah over her proximate enemies, Moab, Ammon, and Edom, in Jehoshaphat’s day – and makes it incumbent, in our thinking, that we realize that the latter-day “Valley of Jehoshaphat” is the widespread battlefield of Christ and the Saints against all the nations that surround Israel in the Promised Land – that Land bordered by the Nile and the Euphrates, and by the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf (perhaps even the Indian Ocean?) of the present time.
A “Type” of the End-Time Events
In our opinion, that account is a probable (indeed, most-likely) illustration of the prototypical FUTURE of these same enemies’ opposition to modern-day Israel as it currently faces this same group of enemies.
It is well-known by all that Israel today faces several national and pseudo-national enemies “round about,” including this same assortment of enemies both within and hard upon its borders.
The larger assortment is conveniently summarized in Psalm 83, q.v. These occupy all the lands – and ONLY the lands – which are the first and primary objective of the LORD upon His return to His People.
By his detailed account of their destruction, the Prophet Obadiah literally defines the population of “Edom” in his short scroll as being the PLO scattered throughout Israel and the “West Bank,” and also represented by its associates Hamas (in Gaza) and Hezbollah (in Lebanon).
His pin-pointed prophecy indicates the defeat and obliteration of these enemies in seven specific arenas which they occupy at this day! Verses 19 and 20 outline Edom’s utter obliteration (see verse 18 – “there shall be not any remaining of the House of Esau”) in the highlighted areas indicated:
Obadiah 1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau (south Jordan and the Negev); and they of the plain the Philistines (the Gaza Strip): and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim (West Bank), and the fields of Samaria (West Bank): and Benjamin shall possess Gilead (Northern Jordan).
Oba 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath (Lebanon, today); and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south (the Negev and the Sinai).
A careful search will reveal that these are the precise venues now occupied chiefly by the PLO and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah! Obadiah was given this highly accurate information over 2,400 years ago from the breath of YVHV Himself!
Obadiah was given this information, in our opinion, because our heavenly Father wished His latter day servants to be consoled as to the concern that they would have in that day for His People – and would enable them better to understand the sequence of events which would confirm that His Kingdom was nigh at hand ... events that would come to pass immediately upon his return.
Such information would reassure those brethren as to the certainty of YHVH’s deliverance of His People Israel at such a precarious time as we are now witnessing – a time in which Israel seems still strong and able to defend itself – but a time in which the reality is that her innumerable enemies are increasing daily in strength and in their level of animosity toward the Jewish state.
God’s message to the Believer (and to Israel, if they will hear Him) is, as it was to Jehoshaphat and Judah, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.” II Chronicles 20: 15.
In that regard, please note the last verse of the scroll of Obadiah: Obadiah 1:21 - And Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
The English word “Saviours” here is Strong’s H3467, Yasha, and means “causatively to free or to succor.” It can ONLY indicate the arrival of the Immortalized Saints Who shall accompany the King, the LORD Jesus, as He (and they) go forth to establish His Kingdom in its first dominion – the Land of Abraham and the Patriarchs, the realm of David My Servant, when He shall “take unto Himself His Kingdom and reign...”
That action is clearly prophesied in Isaiah 9:7 - Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
But the last phrase of Obadiah is the most conclusive: “And the kingdom shall be the LORD’s” – a phrase which surely indicates HIS PERSONAL PRESENCE there upon Mount Zion, the designated site of the restored Throne of David. Compare Psalm 48: 2; Isaiah 24: 23; see also Micah 4:7 - And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” <HEL> Published October 28, 2019 in eTPL.
November: As in the Days of Noah and Lot
An eTPL30 Exhortation
Our scriptural text of Luke 17: 26-30 reads as follows...
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
Luk 17:27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
Luk 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Brothers and Sisters of Christ around the world recognize that the world has clearly entered “the last days” of its existence because of direct prophetic messages which tell us so in unmistakable term