January: Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus’ First Coming
H E Lafferty
Compiled, November, 2011
Some of the most strengthening aspects of God’s word relate to fulfilled prophecies – the words of the Almighty which predicted that certain specific events would come to pass many hundreds or thousands of years before they happened – the fulfillment of which may be examined in such tremendous detail.
The prophecies relating to the appearance, the career and the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth attest to the amazing accuracy of God’s word! This month we intend to examine several of these and discuss them in detail.
In this article we will review some 17 texts which were written as predictions about Jesus of Nazareth, Who would become Jesus the Christ by His perfect life and His sacrificial death and resurrection. [I credit the work of Grant Jeffrey in his book The Signature of God, for the statistical probabilities which I will assign to each case.]
The first prediction: His birth in Bethlehem of Judea …
Probability: 1 chance in 2,400.
Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to the Ruler of Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Also, Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
There were twelve tribes in ancient Israel in which Messiah could have been brought forth, but only two were still in existence when He was sent. But a more significant factor is that there were over 2,000 towns and villages in the densely populated area allotted to these tribes of Judah and Benjamin – in Judea. Being conservative, let’s say there were only 200 villages, so that 12 possible tribes x 200 villages = 2,400 chances to one that He would be born specifically in Bethlehem and in Judah.
Fulfillment: Matthew 2: 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.
Prediction number two: He would be preceded by a particular kind of messenger.
Probability: one chance in 20
Isaiah 40: 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert an highway for our God.’
The probability of 20 is purely arbitrary. No other king in history is known to have had such an introducer/messenger as John Baptizer. Calculating this probability into the first one, we multiply 2,400 times 20 to arrive at one chance in 48,000 of His being born in Bethlehem of Judah and being preceded by a prominent messenger!
Fulfillment: Matthew 3: 1, 2 In those days John Baptizer came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Subsequent the Spirit of God visibly showed Jesus to be the Agent of that kingdom.
Prediction number three: He would ride into Jerusalem on a colt, foal of an ass.
Probability: one chance in 50
Zechariah 9: 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, you King is coming to you: He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The mule was the designated royal riding animal of the kings of Israel and Judah. Jesus rode into His future capitol on a day the church has designated “Palm Sunday,” fulfilling this prophecy. The odds against this occurrence were set at one chance in 50.
50 x 48,000 yields once chance in 2.4 million against a purely chance fulfillment of the three prophecies considered so far!
Fulfillment: Luke 19: 35-37 – And they threw their own garments on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, they spread their clothes on the road. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen.
Prediction number four: He would be betrayed by a friend.
Probability: one chance in 10
Psalm 41: 9 Even My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Many secular kings have been betrayed by friends. But in the realm of great religious leaders, this is a rare circumstance. The probability has been set at 1 in 10.
Fulfillment: Matthew 26: 47, 48 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.’
Prediction number five: His hands and his feet would be pierced.
Probability: one chance in 100
Psalm 22: 16 For dogs have surrounded Me; the assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet.
The combined probability of these five predictions (100 x 24 million) has now reached one chance in 2.4 billion!
Fulfillment: Luke 23: 23 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and one on the left.
Prediction number six: He would be wounded by His enemies.
Probability: one chance in 10
Zechariah 13: 6 And one shall say unto Him, ‘What are these wounds in Thine hands?’ Then He shall answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.’
In all history, most kings who were killed were assassinated by various means while they were kings. Jesus was a future king, which lessens His chances of being so treated. The arbitrary odds against this are 10. Ten x 2.4 billion equals one chance in 24 billion!
Fulfillment: Matthew 27: 26 … and when he has scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. This procedure involved piercing His hands as well as His feet.
Prediction number seven: His betrayal price would be 30 pieces of silver.
Probability: One chance in 50
Zechariah 11: 12 Then I said to them, ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain. So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.’
How humanly impossible is it to predict the exact price of the betrayal of a future king, five centuries in advance? Well … arbitrarily, one in 50.
So, the probability mounts of 50 x 24 billion – or one in 1.2 trillion!
Fulfillment: Matthew 26: 18 ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?‘ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.
Prediction number eight: He will be spat upon and beaten.
Probability: 1 chance in 10
Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard: I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
Few kings were tormented, beaten and ridiculed before being killed. Jesus Christ bore those insults and injuries for our healing and salvation, as well as for His own. At arbitrary odds of 1 in 10, 10 x 1.2 trillion is equal to one in 12 trillion.
Fulfillment: Matthew 26: 67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands.
Prediction number nine: His betrayal money would be cast down in the temple and then given to buy a potter’s field.
Probability: one chance in 200
Zechariah 11: 13 And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter;’ that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.
This prophecy is complex, and really may seem impossible of fulfillment. Yet, in spite of this, every detail of it was fulfilled with precision! Judas threw the 30 pieces of silver down in the Temple. The priests retrieved it, and immediately used the money to purchase a potter’s field in which to bury strangers or indigent citizens. Judas himself was perhaps its first occupant, for he immediately hanged himself!
The conservative odds of 1 in 200 gives us 200 x 12 trillion, which is one chance in 2,400 trillion!
Fulfillment: Matthew 27: 5-7 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.’ And they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
Prediction number ten: He would be silent before His accusers
Probability: one chance in 100
Isaiah 53: 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
How likely is it that a totally innocent man would stand before his accusers and answer not a word in his own defense, even though invited by them to defend himself? Yet that is precisely what Jesus of Nazareth did! The arbitrary odd s of one chance of 100 is extremely low, but now 100 x 2.4 trillion is equivalent to a combined one chance in 24,000 trillion!
Fulfillment: Matthew 27: 12-14 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him,’ Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?’ and He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
Prediction number eleven: He would be crucified with thieves … transgressors.
Probability: one chance in 100
Isaiah 53: 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, the He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
It is considered very unlikely that an innocent man would be crucified with a criminal, or especially two criminals; but in Jesus’ case, that is what happened. The continuing multiplication of these odds reaches another staggering, new high; that progression will continue throughout the entire 17 prophecies we are considering. Our calculations are being suspended at this fulfillment but an accounting will be made of the final probability of all these facts about Jesus being guessed correctly by sheer chance when we finish our considerations.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27: 38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
Prediction number twelve: People would gamble for His garments.
Probability: one chance in 100
Psalm 22: 18 They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.
Just think of how unlikely it would be that Roman soldiers would cast lots in order to claim the rather ordinary garment of a crucified prisoner. Yet the prophecy was fulfilled precisely!
Fulfillment: John 19: 23, 24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now, the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said among themselves, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,’ that the scripture might be fulfilled which says, ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’
Prediction number thirteen: His side would be pierced.
Probability: one chance in 100
Zechariah 12: 10 And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me Whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
The express cruelty of the Romans was promoted even in the terrible, slow death of crucifixion, as prisoner hung for lengthy periods on the stakes of death. Despite his orders to allow the prisoners to linger for a long time between life and death, the Roman centurion was moved by God to pierce the side of Christ, thrusting his spear up through His diaphragm into His heart, draining probably the left ventricle of its now separated plasma and formed elements. The effluent would appear as blood and water.
The chances of a soldier piercing the side of a crucified man is low, but was set at 1 in 100.
Fulfillment: John 19: 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Prediction number fourteen: None of His bones would be broken.
Probability: one chance in 20
Psalm 34: 20 He guards all His bones; not one of them is broken.
When a Roman prisoner was crucified, his feet were nailed together to the pole with one nail, his hands with another. The prisoner was able to alleviate some pain from his pierced hands, and to promote deeper breathing if he pushed upwards with his legs, supporting his body above his pelvis. Breaking the prisoners’ legs prevented even this small amount of pain alleviation, making his death even more painful.
Fulfillment: John 19: 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they did not break His legs.
Prediction number fifteen: His body would not decay.
Probability: one chance in 10,000
Psalm 16: 10 For You will not leave my soul (i.e., himself) in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
There are absolutely NO odds against a dead corpse not decaying; it is inevitable under normal circumstances. It always occurs! But in this special case, the body of the deceased was resurrected, resulting in NO decay! The odds here were set at one in 10,000 because there were a few others in the OT who were resurrected, such as the Shunnamite widow’s son who was raised from the dead by Elijah. In the NT there was the case of Lazarus, as well as some others. All these, without exception, died again later – and decayed.
Fulfillment: Acts 2: 31 He foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
Prediction number sixteen: He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb.
Probability; one chance in 100
Isaiah 53: 9 And they made His grave with the wicked; but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
One of the possible sites of the tomb of Christ is located in a beautiful garden just north of the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem. The tomb, located a hundred yards from a cliff face known as Golgotha, was discovered in the 19th century by a British army officer. Only one body depression was ever used as the owner did not complete the stone-carving work in order to bury other bodies. The site features a huge cistern which could hold 200,000 gallons of water, and the remains of a wine press; both are indicative that the place was a garden of a rich man which contained a vineyard. It is by no means certain that this is Jesus’ burial tomb.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27: 57 Now when evening had come, there came a reich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man wentd to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb, which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
Prediction number seventeen: That darkness would cover the earth at His death.
Probability: one chance in 1,000.
Amos 8:9 ‘And it shall come to pass in that day,’ says the Lord God, ‘That I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight.
As Jesus was killed at Passover, which is ALWAYS at a time of full moon, a natural eclipse of the sun would have been impossible, as the moon at that time in its cycle is located on the opposite side of the earth from the sun and would be unable to block the sun! So this prediction is perhaps the most unlikely of the seventeen cited – at least equivalent to that of a corpse not decaying.
Yet, a pagan historian of the third century, in The Third History of Thallus, has attested to the fact that there was an unusual darkness which blotted out the sun for a number of hours at the time of Passover in this year of Christ’s crucifixion! The supernatural darkening of the sun at that particular time signals the divine nature of the operation. It expressed the inhuman nature of the deed and perhaps the gloom that would overcome the nation of the Jews both in their own land and in the future lands of their dispersion.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27: 45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour, there was darkness over all the land.
These detailed prophecies, all made at least five centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, were fulfilled with absolute precision in the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus!
And now we come to the numerically impossible improbability that these seventeen events could have occurred to one man – the SAME man – by sheer chance, rather than by the divine plan of God! Either they came about by chance, OR the evidence provided here shows without dispute that God our Father has inspired the Bible and is in total control of history, as prophecy lapses into fact (into history) by fulfillment!
You will not be able to comprehend the overwhelming weight of improbability that comes with just these seventeen texts and their fulfillment, let alone at least 31 other, equally prominent predictions that we could add, given more space and energy.
The chances AGAINST these events happening exactly as prophesied are one chance in 480 billion x 1 billion x I trillion! In other terms, 480 followed by THIRTY zeroes!
There is hardly such a huge number in the universe – even in the usually impossible measurements seen in astronomy, where star distances are measure in light years rather than miles!
Not only are the odds this great against those 17 events happening to one man by sheer chance, there is the equally slim possibility that any man could himself even have fulfilled these detailed prophecies by any means alone, even if he had tried to do so.
How could any man control, in the first place, his Tribal descent and his town of birth?
How could he arrange a non-eclipse darkness of the sun from noon until 3 pm to shroud his death?
How could he arrange his own death by some kind of betrayal, and then arrange that the price of his own betrayal be precisely 30 pieces of silver?
How could he arrange to be crucified with thieves, and then be buried in a rich man’s grave?
How could he arrange in his crucifixion not to have his legs broken, but to have his side pierced ONCE, and ONLY once?
How could he have arranged for none of his bones to be broken during crucifixion?
And how could he be sure that his body would never decay? For what man can bring about his own resurrection, thus preventing the inevitable decay?
When we consider such remarkable facts from our Bibles, and realize the strength and encouragement that we surely receive from them – and the re-legitimization of our faith – our hearts leap up to realize yet again that innumerable weighty events in history have not only been known in advance but also foretold with incredible accuracy by our Father through His prophets!
Jesus told His disciples that He had revealed to them many things that would happen to Him in the SHORT TERM, so that when these came to pass, they might believe His long term plan! That’s in John 14: 29.
The Service of Memory of which we partake every seventh day is actually one of those prophecies! It foretold his death for sin.
Within 24 hours it was fulfilled!
Later, the apostles understood – and their faith was sealed unto death! All except Judas, the betrayer, whose blood money purchased his own graveyard!
Many longer term prophecies have also been written about His Second Coming and His Kingdom … their mode of appearance is well outlined for us. Their long-term implications are relatively clear to our perceptive minds.
These strengthen us. The make our faith unshakable.
They glorify Christ and His Father as they occur.
We are commanded to Watch, and Pray, for the hour of His coming could fall upon us as a thief coming in the night.
That means that we must watch for the signs we have been given of His coming, praying for them to come.
That means we must daily (even hourly!) prepare ourselves for that inevitability – that destiny – that lot.
As the hour draws near, we are reminded of the beautiful words of this hymn –
Thy People, Lord, who trust Thy word,
And wait the smiling of Thy face,
Assemble round Thy mercy-seat,
And plead the promise of Thy grace.
Hast Thou not sworn to give thy Son
To be a light to Gentile lands;
To open the benighted eye,
And loose the wretched prisoners’ bands?
Hast Thou not said, from sea to sea,
His vast dominion shall extend,
That every tongue shall call Him Lord,
And every knee before Him bend?
Now let the happy time appear,
The time to favor Zion come;
Send forth Thy heralds far and near,
To call Thy banish’d people home.
<HEL MD/USA> Published January 2021 as the eTPL “Prophecy” Article
February: The Mystery of Election
An eTPL29 Exhortation
Our minds are often mystified by the resistance to God’s word by some among our number who have had unlimited and relentless exposure to the wonderful, life-giving truths of God’s word.
We think of close relatives and of intimate acquaintances who have been exposed to Truth since their early childhood, but ones upon which that close, personal familiarity has never elicited a significant positive response in their lives.
Indeed, their consistent response is positively negative! For not to make a positive move in acceptance of God’s word and will is to make a positive response of negativity.
As difficult as it is for believers to accept, such a response is a definite “No.”
The result is that they are lost ... at least for the present time.
The Apostle Paul stated this truth to his brethren at Corinth. He wrote, in 2Corinthians 4:3, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Even in its readily understandable form it is “hid” to those who are “lost.” They seem unable to perceive or appreciate the immense value of God’s word and Way.
We believe such an enigma is directly attributable to the divine dispensation of His “election” of certain ones – intending for them a positive response to His message of salvation.
We are not privy to the divine reasoning in such cases, but observe it in seemingly endless cases among our peers.
The “god” of this World
This phraseology seems to infer that some are “lost” because they are restrained by a “god” of this world which is not defined by the apostle in this place. The Greek word translated “god” here is theos – most often meaning the almighty Creator, God – but is used of heathen idols as well as ungodly desires, and is capitalized in every other occurrence of the word in verses surrounding this one – God, meaning the Creator.
But even the translators recognized “theos” in this reference as referring to an anti-God principle of the flesh – the supreme ruler of raw humankind apart from God.
Such is the ruler of the Gentiles without exception ... “the god of this world.”
Such a “god” exerts ultimate overriding control over such folk ... whatever its nature or identity.
Such control can only be broken by the person who is in ensnared in its powerful hold.
We suspect that the Corinthian Believers understood Paul’s meaning, for they had been well-tutored in Truth.
The apostle further spoke of those who rejected God’s way as incapable of “seeing things that are unseen” – of perceiving profound principles and advantages which are not readily apparent on the surface – or even of comprehending the deeper spiritual implications of seemingly mundane affairs surrounding them, such as fulfilled prophecies, or God’s short-term promises that were kept.
Something powerful is restraining such an one’s perception, keeping him from realizing or appreciating the wonderful benefits of the eternal things of the Spirit.
The apostle had himself been subject to, and held back by, that same “god” – that same diabolical principle which blinds many of the world, and restrains their acceptance of the Almighty’s words of salvation.
Paul – as Saul – knew the principle well, for he was avidly pursuing his own hatred and suspicion of the converts to Christ in his day; he despised them ... and all that they stood for.
He was following the way of the flesh, and not that of the Spirit.
He was following the “god” of this world ... human proclivities and desires rather than divine ones, even though cloaked in full respectability by being designated the “religion” of the Pharisees of his day.
Paul recalled and recited the details of his own conversion in his appearance before King Agrippa, ruler of Judea and Samaria, the great grandson of Herod the Great, who slew the infants of Bethlehem while seeking to destroy the infant Jesus.
We get a glimpse into Paul’s earlier, Godless “philosophy” in the audible words of the LORD on that occasion...
We consider Paul’s entire testimony for context, beginning with the moment of his seeing (and being felled by) the bright light on the road to Damascus.
He tells of seeing a bright light “above the brightness of the sun,” which obliterates his vision, then continues...
Act 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Both these charges by the Voice were examples of Paul’s pursuit of his “god” of the flesh; but he is about to be converted according to the principle of “election.”
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan (the word in Greek is satanas) unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.
The words are from the mouth of the LORD Jesus booming forth from the heavens.
The Almighty relates in this narrative the human principle that retards the belief of the Gentiles, who dwell in “darkness.” It describes those who are under the mastery of this same repressive “god.”
Saul’s mission will be to convert many of these to “light,” by instructing them in the principles of Godly salvation ... and of righteous living before Him.
The Almighty’s mission statement for Saul is here clarified – “I send thee to open their eyes (giving them the perception of truth), and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satanas (that oppressive, fleshly “god”) unto God, that they may be saved from sin and receive the inheritance (of life) among them who are sanctified by faith ... in Me.”
In these divine terms, “satanas” is identified as the faith-retarding factor in all unbelievers.
Many Bible readers understand this “satanas” to be a personal, living tempter – which they equate with “the devil,” the well-known “personal devil” of orthodox Christianity.
But from many other references we have understood that this powerful faith-retardant, satanas, is not a person at all, but a lying principle. It is a firm mindset of resistance to the Truth of God and the rewards that He has promised His followers. It is the stubborn conviction of unbelief – of disinterest – of callow, adolescent disregard for the articles of salvation.
The word “satanas” means “false accuser,” or a conveyor of lies ... a liar.
It is borrowed from the Hebrew satan, which has the same definition.
It is capitalized by the translators because their view of the entity is that of a personal devil with powers nearly as great as those of God!
Satan in Eden
Our minds flash backward in time to Eden – to the Garden of God in which dwelt a serpent that tempted Eve. This entity took upon himself the character and identity of satan – of a false accuser or liar, as already noted.
We immediately recall the fatal lie which the serpent conveyed to Eve, “Thou shalt not surely die,” thus deceiving Eve to partake of the fatally evil fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, bringing about the ultimate curse of mortality (certainty of death) upon Eve and her husband (after he also partook of the fruit of the evil Tree) and all their posterity.
In this action the serpent falsely accused the Creator of a statement which He had not made. For He had told Adam that if he ate of the forbidden Tree, “... dying thou shalt die” (or become mortal). The A.V. renders God’s words as these: in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
In other words, in that particular day of his eating Adam would begin to decay, and to regress toward death ... to begin the process of dying ... and the death he would suffer would have no end as the sentence stood at that time, because no stipulations for any escape from that death state had yet been voiced or enacted by God.
Because the opportunity presumably had existed for Adam either to live forever (the conditions for which had not been stated by God), or to begin dying, he became in a sense a prototypical “test case” for all succeeding humanity.
Whatever Adam did w0uld determine the ultimate condition of all his progeny.
Adam failed that test; after Eve ate first of the evil fruit, so did he.
And so Adam passed under the sentence of death ... and the earth under a universal curse of a similar fate. This began the irreversible law of entropy, as in the Second Law of Thermodynamics – the declension of all things from a state of perfection (God saw that His creation was “very good”) to that of dissolution, the decline of mortals from the new life of infancy to youth, to midlife, to the infirmity of old age, and to certain death.
Yet God provided a covering (an atonement) for their “sin” – symbolized starkly by Adam and Eve’s naked bodies – by the sacrifice of animals to provide coats of skin for their covering. The coats of skin divinely covered their sin – directly represented by their nakedness.
Obtaining these coats of skins necessitated the shedding of blood, which the student now realizes is a “type” of “the blood of the everlasting covenant” noted in Hebrews 13: 20.
It was typical (representative) of the crucial, freely-offered blood that was shed by Jesus in the process of His death on the stake at Golgotha, and was the operative factor in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; He is noted to have been brought from the dead “... through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
In this manner, the false accuser (satan) of Genesis two, brought down the entire human race that would subsequently issue from Adam, into the abyss of death.
That principle is divinely defined by Paul, and was understood as the “sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3) of mankind.
In the Greek language of the N.T., the equivalent word is diabolos, and indicates as does “satanas” the principle of sin in the flesh.
Here is Strong’s definition of the term: “G1228: Διάβολος diabolos [dee-ab'-ol-os] From G1225; a traducer; specifically satan (compare H7854): - false accuser, devil, slanderer.”
It is therefore clearly the propensity of men to do as man natively feels best doing ... namely, sinning – of not obeying the voice of God – and continuing to enjoy the dubious “rewards” – the fleshly gratification of disobedience.
In that sense, the attractiveness of evil is a “god” to them in every way.
They follow it slavishly.
And most men do not have the will to reject it in favor of a life of righteousness...
But many do Obey
But there are many who DO “obey” God by learning of His way and being baptized into the name of Christ by complete immersion in water. Cf., Mark 16: 16.
These have resisted the promise of the false accuser satan (diabolos), steadfastly refusing and rejecting that “god” of opposition to God’s Way to salvation.
It is THIS “god of this world” that “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” and must be understood as human nature: raw, untutored, undisciplined conduct of lives absent His Truth and saving grace.
A Three-Pronged Pathway to Life
But a fortunate few are privileged to perceive the ultimate reality of things: that God has provided a pathway of escape from eternal death through the blood of the everlasting covenant, and that His standard is for each to accept the clear scriptural teaching that the sentence of death may be eluded by one’s adaptation of an humble mien, and adoption of three principles...
(1) Learning the Way that YHVH has prescribed for His children to follow. But they discover in their considerations that merely knowing His Way is not enough – and that...
(2) Baptism by complete submersion in water is also required for salvation (cf., Mark 16: 16), for that procedure He also has commanded. Then, after that time, a sincere prosecution of...
(3) A life of righteousness to the best of one’s ability is then required.
We feel certain that one, two, or all three of these requirements are the elements that retard and prevent belief in some.
They are not interested or motivated enough to pursue the “learning curve” of Truth.
They see no rationale for the necessity of baptism in water (total immersion).
And they certainly are not motivated to strive for a life of righteousness ... because that interferes with their comfortable mode of living in sin – and in its rewards which are so delicious to the flesh of humankind!
The default position, therefore, is following “the god of this world” ... diabolos, satanas, evil, hedonism, debauchery, and their end is death ... oblivion. Nothingness – forever.
Election ... in all its Glory and Blessedness
And here, dear brethren, is where one encounters the mysterious factor of election by YHVH. We review briefly the words of the apostle following those first quoted. They state in terms more than adequate the apostle’s motivation to pursue the things of the Spirit ... and involve the consummation of the divine process of “election” (or selection) by His grace.
His loving words describe a life of service – of devotion to the Son of God spoken of as being that of a Servant (even more ... of a self-effacing Slave) of that same LORD.
They illustrate the process of election quite well ... that arcane and deeply spiritual process of allowing oneself to “be recruited” for duty in Christ’s army of followers:
2Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your Servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 but we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
There it is: the divine principle of election!
It is God who “elects” His people – and they are enlisted from among those who “hear” His words, which are always revealed in His written Word, or spoken by one of His servants, such as Paul – or you ... or me!
In speaking Truth to them, he brings to light the unseen things that are superbly beneficial to both the man and the Father. In hearing and understanding these – and accepting them – one allows himself to BE elected!
The opportunity of election is extended widely to all (Matthew 22: 14); but it is apprehended by only a few ... by those who respond to the divine invitation to salvation!
He skillfully brings to light the glorious profession of Christ Jesus, and the salvation which is only to be found in Him.
But the rewards of his stewardship of purveying the Gospel are not without challenges.
The apostle recounts the temporary drawbacks that are attached to his profession; but extols the ultimate rewards in a sublime comparison of their respective payoffs.
His words surely describe the awkward, unsettling factors which the unbeliever will always note – and which may doubtless be the deciding factors which prevent his acceptance of The Way as preached by Jesus and Paul.
Yet, consider the decisive, immediate contrasts on the spiritual level, which these factors evoke ...
2Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but (the incontestable result (!) is) life in you.
Note the reality of the sacrifices borne by the Slave of the Master – all for an end that is eternally beneficial – a sacrifice of continuous, unfailing agape: unmerited favor as offered by the Christ!
2Co 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
These phrases are quoted from Psalm 116: 10, a tome in which David cites the process which captured his appreciation of YHVH’s benefits as offered to him, and which induced him to follow the LORD all his life!
These are Paul’s critical factors as well. Noting the trouble and sorrow of the life of the flesh, David “called upon the LORD (saying) I beseech thee, deliver my soul (nephesh – life).”
David’s knowledgeable and willing acceptance of the minor inconvenience to his flesh is entirely compensated by his appreciation of the final, unspeakable reward: Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15.
We note with superb appreciation that this “death” is that of David’s mortality. It is his faithful expectation of the victory of death over sin to the eternal embarrassment of Sheol – the revolting and certain destiny of those who do not move to bring sanctification in His Name upon themselves by obedience to Him – viz., all those who continue slavishly to follow the “god” of this world to the grave ... which is that “god’s” kindest reward!
So Paul’s faithful observations continue.
Behold the sublime benefits of faithful service...
2Co 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace (expressed as “election”) might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
<HEL> ~3100 words. An eTPL29 Exhortation Completed January 25, 2019. Published in eTPL February, 2021.
The ruins of the large city of Ephesus are located on the west coast of Turkey about 2 km from the present-day town of Selçuk. It was one of the most important centers of culture and commerce in Paul’s day and featured an active seaport on the Aegean Seafront.
The city was the location of the great Temple of Artemis – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the largest building in the world at that time. Hardly any of it remains today, notably a solitary column which originally was over fifty feet in height.
The city is also home to the Library of Celsus – a magnificent structure whose façade has been reconstructed from its ruined fragments. Reputed to be the second largest library of the ancient world (Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest) it held an estimated 12,000 scrolls.
It is also the location of the largest Roman theater ever excavated which seats 25,000 persons. It is commonly the site of various theatrical and musical performances each year. This writer visited Ephesus around the turn of the 21st century and can attest that a normal speaking voice on the stage of the theater may be heard distinctly in the topmost tiers of seats in the enormous structure. It was here that Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s companions, were dragged before an huge throng who chanted “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” by the space of about two hours (Acts 19: 34).
Paul begins his epistle with the familiar reference to himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” Those words establish his authority as well as any could! He addresses the saints of Ephesus, defining them as the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Eph 1:2 Grace (Greek, charis) be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
By addressing his readers in this manner, Paul sends them his warmest greetings for grace from God and His Son, by which he means their divine influence upon their hearts and its reflection in their lives. It is identical to his greetings to the recipients of his letters to the Romans, to the Corinthians (II Cor. 1:2), to Galatia and to Titus.
Eph 1:3 Blessed (adorable) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed (spoken a blessing upon) us with all spiritual blessings (commendation) in heavenly places in Christ:
Notice the triple reference to blessings in this verse, for each of which I have noted possibly the best meanings. These are three forms of reference to divine assistance or commendation both to Deity and back to His creation. These are derived from Strong’s G2127, eulogao, “to speak well of or invoke a benediction upon.”
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen (0r selected) us in him (His own name) before the foundation (the word even carries the meaning of conception!) of the world (kosmos, the nature of things), that we should be holy (hagios, or sacred – morally blameless) and without blame before him in love:
My apologies for having to insert so many glosses in this verse but it is so richly endowed with deep, spiritual meaning that we felt it necessary.
The compound phrase states clearly that each bona fide Believer – baptized adherent of the doctrines of salvation as given by Jesus Christ – has been specially chosen of the Father before He created the kosmos – or the earth as we know it.
Whether we wish to agree or not, that is the meaning of Paul’s statement. But it does NOT indicate that which is fallaciously believed by some ... that “once ‘saved,’ every person is always ‘saved!’” – that is, it does NOT mean that any selected and ‘sainted’ one can go about committing every known sin and still expect salvation – an absurd, ridiculous mental construct! Even THAT impossibility is put to death within the concept as we understand it!
[Readers who may be interested in further research into the principle of Election may wish to consult this article on our website: February: The Mystery of Election.]
The verse sets the stage for Paul’s next phrases which present his objective meaning that is extremely controversial among the spiritual thinkers of mankind.
The principle is that of predestination. (There! I’ve said it in unmistakable terms!)
The principle has to do with the election – or selection – of those who shall be heirs of salvation, with whom the sublime angels of heaven are intimately connected – as “ministers to those who shall be heirs to salvation (Hebrews 1:14).”
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated (Greek, proorizo, to limit in advance, or to ordain) us unto the adoption (Greek, uihothesia, the placing of a son, or children, in God’s family) of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Our Father’s special property of knowing the end from the beginning is a distinct advantage! That property is intimately joined with the principles of “predestination.”
The LORD Jesus famously said, “Fear not little flock. It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!” Luke 12: 32.
That property of generosity has been referenced in Paul’s preceding words: “according to His good pleasure!” His self-determination cannot be fathomed by mere human beings; their finite minds cannot grasp the concept in all its meanings and implications... but it is a mark of extreme generosity and liberality (agape, or charity) on His part.
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
We look upon these explanatory phrases here recorded by Paul as a divine revelation of the character of this mysterious process – and we do regard it as a sheer mystery – for who can know the mind of our Creator and our Father?
It is entirely His prerogative as to whom He awards immortality, for that is the end process of the principle explained here) and directly impacts those to whom is thus given the special privilege of becoming a kingly priest in His eternal kingdom, to reign upon the earth (Revelation 5: 10)...
Further explanation is hardly necessary for the earnest student of the Gospel, but Paul leaves his readers in no doubt whatsoever as to his meaning: that such an one, being so selected (elected) is the subject of redemption... the forgiveness of sin ... atonement. That is summarily a process which entirely reverses the curse placed upon Adam and his posterity as a consequence of his sin of partaking of the forbidden fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Cf., Genesis Three.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption (full ransom; deliverance from death) through his (shed) blood, the forgiveness of sins (an unintentional lapse, or deviation), according to the riches of his grace (His charis, or liberality);
Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded (Greek, to be superfluous, or extremely abundant) toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
That in itself is an expression of the Father’s extreme liberality – His universal tendency to over-provide with great generosity.
Does the heavenly expanse actually require six hundred sextillion planets (stars) for its integrity?
Perhaps not ... but He has produced an excessive number of many of the natural elements of nature in order to accomplish His purpose.
Consider the enormous, incomprehensible number of human sperm cells that are produced by every man – yet in a lifetime of childbearing only ONE of these ubiquitous and miraculous cells is successful in bringing about each discrete birth event!
Consider the number of leaves on all the trees of the earth in the same context ... or the incomprehensible variety of the snowflakes that fall upon all portions of the earth in only one season – none of them being identical to any other!
Consider the number of grains of sand associated with all the oceans and deserts of the entire earth – can these be counted? It has been estimated by scientific minds that the number of stars or planets in the heavens is approximately the number of all the grains of sand that adorn the beaches of the earth and populate its deserts!
The enormity of it is beyond comprehensible!
And finally, consider the seemingly endless patience that our Father exercises toward those who are his elect – forgiving each one more than “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22), for His standards are doubtless set well above those that He asks of us!!
Our Father has no inhibition to His generosity of provision for us!
And that quality applies to His propensity to award life in His Kingdom to the least of His creation...
And though we deserve no such privilege, He has favored each and every one of us in such a manner, attesting to us for our much-needed support in the faith ... the mystery of His will, a generous benefit which He alone has decided upon within the context of His Purpose ... truly a great mystery in itself!
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Ever the teacher of divine principles, Paul elaborates:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
“The fullness of times” phrases the Almighty’s Purpose fitfully as indicating the perfect unification of “all things in Christ,” Who is the crux of all things, according to His eternal Purpose.
It should not be a foreign notion to any Believer: our Father has a perfectly-formed Plan for man’s redemption ... and for the perfection of His original creation.
For everything there is a time and a season as fully expounded in the wonderful concepts of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.
That Plan is exhaustive and comprehensive beyond all human estimation.
Paul’s words, “the fullness of times,” utilize a phrase which he repeats only one other time, referring, also of course, to our Father’s timetable ... “But when the fulness of the time was come (the previously appointed date), God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law...” Galatians 4:4.
Both these events are intimately associated with the perfect closure of His Plan and Purpose with man and with the earth... indeed the appearance of His Son on a perfect schedule leads directly to Paul’s allusion above of “... gather(ing) together in one all things in Christ.”
The arrival of His Son was foretold in a perfect revelation given to the Prophet Daniel in his chapter 9: 24-27 as “The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.” It foretold the exact year of Jesus’ birth of the virgin, Mary, at the beginning of the seventieth week of that time span, which was BC4 in our common reckoning.
It consequently also foretold the exact time of his sacrifice and all subsequent events that are addressed in detail in that prophecy (which are of secondary concern here).
If there be further interest in this prophecy by any reader a comprehensive study of it may be found on our website at July: Aspects of the Seventy Weeks Prophecy of Daniel 9. It is the July insertion of Studies in Prophecy (eTPL) in July, 2016 (see sidebar for location).
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
By the translators’ interpretation, Paul’s thought (and consequently, this sentence) began in verse 7 – typical of the long-running expressions by which Paul revealed the “mystery” that is ensconced selectively in the initiated followers of our Father’s divine instructions. For, you see, a scriptural “mystery” is not an un-knowable set of facts or concepts; instead, it is a body of information that is made known only to a selected (elected!) few recipients – His “body.”
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (that “sealing” is seen in the miracle of speaking in foreign languages seen on the first Pentecost after His resurrection: Acts 2.
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest (namely, a pledge of security, or a validating promise) of our inheritance until the redemption (the actual receipt) of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
By this temporal means, the Almighty illustrated what He had meant when he foretold these events to the Prophet Joel in 2: 28-32. See Acts 2: 16.
His long greeting to the Ephesian brethren now complete, Paul connects all those effusive words with the conjunction “wherefore,” linking all those previous greetings with the reason for his epistle...
Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Eph 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
The fifteenth verse does not indicate what it seems to mean on the surface. It sounds as Paul had never been to Ephesus and had had nothing to do with their establishment as an Ecclesia of Christ. But Paul was the first preacher as far as we can determine, to reach Ephesus and to preach the Truth of Jesus Christ to the people. It was his main base of missionary activity for many months during his Second and Third Missionary Journeys.
But he was writing this letter to them several years after his last visit, and wished to know of their status at the present time as well as to encourage them in the faith that he had taught them...
He prays for their renewal in the faith, and of the faithful extension of their earlier frame of understanding of the Gospel. Typically, his compound sentence is extended (to seven verses!).
Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Whether consciously or not, Paul renews his often-practiced careful definition of God is the father of the LORD Jesus Christ and as a separate and distinct Being – not a member of a trinity of gods as some were already preaching.
God’s wisdom would have supported them in this belief – the blessed enlightenment of all those who were the called and elected sons and daughters of the Almighty.
The mystery of their calling was not widely realized by others of their society but was closely held by the elect of God at that place. Their realistic hope defined the Hope of Israel which Paul had evoked as the basis for his “bonds” as he journeyed to Rome (see Acts 28: 20).
Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
No “enlightened” (vs. 18) being among them should have to guess the magnitude of God’s power, for they had been enlightened as to its strength in Paul’s testimony as to the resurrection of Christ after suffering a violent death at Jerusalem.
This was indeed the basis of their hope – its sure foundation of efficacy – the “earnest” of their expectation having been demonstrated and confirmed by the effulgent demonstration on the day of Pentecost (vs. 14).
Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
In so stating his last phrase, Paul affirms their conviction also that not only had God raised His Son from the dead, but that He had established Jesus at His own right hand beside His throne in the heavens there, securely above all principality, power, might, and dominion to exercise His own privilege of intercession for His brethren as in Romans 8: 34.
Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Jesus’ unabashed position of supremacy in his role as the sole Intercessor for his brethren is positioned as far above “every name that is named....”
It is an unassailable advantage for His brethren, for who could have a more effective Advocate than the Son, Who had suffered all the insults which he had absorbed on their behalf and then have been raised from the dead in the most tangible expression of the approval of His Father!
In so being treated by His Father, Jesus had had all things placed subject to Him – and had been given the headship over the affairs of all the Ecclesias...
Paul continues with a clear definition of exactly what he means, telling them it is that ... Which is His Body (the universal Ecclesia) to which is extended the infinite benefits of His fullness – that theirs shall be like it in the day when they reach the Year of the Redeemed and the final consolation of their souls...
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
<HEL> ~3,000 words. Ephesians One. March 13, 2021. Published in eTPL in March 2021.
 In our thinking, if a ‘saved’ individual goes on to commit sins as in his former life, that possibility, too, is already included in the principle of ‘predestination,’ and the ‘salvation’ devolves upon itself to the point of cancellation – or more directly to the character of a sham act of repentance and acceptance of the gospel – insincere and meaningless in the entirety of the act – and in the end means no positive result at all. Mortal individuals cannot ‘fool’ their Creator by deception such as that!
April: Executing the Judgments Written
It is written in Psalms 149: 9-9: “To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron’… to execute upon them the judgments written. This honor have all his saints….”
It was prophesied by our God above that the age which is now approaching its end will close as three major conflicts occur in an attempt to “cut Israel off from being a nation.” The first judgment is “written” more copiously than the other two conflicts that are prophesied.
It is found in the following passages:
Conflict Number One
See Psalm 83: 1-18; Ezekiel 28: 20-26; and Zechariah 14: 1-14. Zechariah 14: 14 declares that Israel and the “nations round about” are involved in this conflict. And Zechariah 14: 5 declares that Jesus and his saints arrive to settle this conflict.
It has been said that the term “saints” in Zechariah 14: 5 is a reference to angels from above and not the saints of Jesus. That claim is futile, for Psalms 149: 8-9 declares that the “saints” of Jesus who are described in Psalms 149: 1-7 are stated to have the honor of executing the judgments written. It does not declare that the angels from heaven have that honor. Also, it is written in Hebrews 2: 5-8 that the angels are not related to the future on the earth, but that the future pertains entirely to “man.”
We must not depend upon the folly of our own minds in order to prove our private ideas. Therefore, prophecy clearly shows that in the first case of the judgments written, the saints truly display the certainly of the honor to execute this “judgment written,” and it is clearly written at least three times. Zechariah 14: 14 declares that this chapter depicts a conflict between Judah and the nations round-about.
Conflict Number Two:
The judgment regarding the attempt to rob and destroy Israel is recorded in Ezekiel 38th and 39th chapters. Russia is the leader of the horde of nations enumerated in verses five and six. This horde of nations does not enter into Jerusalem for they are destroyed on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39: 4).
Upon reading this account carefully, it does appear that God alone is involved in the destruction of this mighty horde. However, it also appears that God himself did every activity in the Old Testament alone. It is a fact that he did no such thing. God did not leave his throne in heaven and come to earth to perform those acts alone. As proof of this, we read in Exodus 14: 30 that “Thus God saved Israel that day out of the hands of the Egyptians….” However, we read in Isaiah 63: 9, “The angel of his presence saved them.” Therefore, God saved Israel by performing it through his angel who was present at the scene.
In addition, it is recorded in Exodus 24: 10 that seventy or more Israelites “saw the God of Israel.” However, John 1: 18 declares, “No man has seen God at any time.” In that case, it is clear that the Israelites saw “the angel of God’s presence.”
Also, in Exodus 3rd chapter an angel of God appeared in a burning bush on Mount Sinai. In verse 6 that angel said he was “the God of Abraham.” Clearly, the word tells us that it was God’s angel who said that. It was because that angel was there in God’s name representing God, and so he was “the angel of God’s presence.”
This was true pertaining to Moses in Exodus 7: 1. Moses was told he would be “god” before Pharaoh. That was because Moses was standing before Pharaoh and God was performing the divine actions through Moses. God was performing the actions, but those present saw the actions of God performed before Moses.
That was also the case with Jesus. In John 14: 9 Jesus declared that to see him was to see “the Father.” Jesus certainly was not “the Father.” However, in verse 10, Jesus declares that as he spoke, God spoke, and as Jesus acted, his Father acted, for the words and actions of Jesus were his Father’s words and actions.
In Acts 2: 22 Peter declares to that huge assembly of Jews that God performed many miracles and wonders through Jesus. Notice that God was the doer, while Jesus was thought to be doing what was done.
Jesus himself declared that he himself “could do nothing” (John5: 30). See also 2 Corinthians 5: 18-19 where “God was in Christ,” doing what was done.
So it was throughout the Old Testament. God was the doer, but he performed his works through other individuals. So, it shall be in Ezekiel 38th and 39th chapters. Since those chapters are clear episodes of executing God’s judgments, we are unmistakably informed in Psalms 149: 8-9 that it is the honor of the saints of that chapter to execute the judgments written. It is clearly a matter of either believing or disbelieving what is written.
Conflict Number Three
The third conflict that will end this age as is recorded in Revelation 17: 12-15. Here, as in the two previous instances above, the “judgments” upon the invader are obviously recorded. Verse 14 directly includes the Saints: “... He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” So, again, “it is the honor of saints to execute the judgment written.”
It is recorded in Zechariah 14: 5 that the saints are “with the Lord” in that first conflict. How do we know that Zechariah 14th chapter is not about the second or third conflict?
We know for certain; in Zechariah 14 the invaders are in the houses ravishing the women and performing further evils things. Not so with Ezekiel 38 and 39. That horde of nations is shown to be destroyed to the last man on the mountains of Israel and do not make it into Jerusalem. The ten horns of Revelation 17 are not shown to get into Jerusalem either.
A WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL REALIZATION
Since Scripture makes it clear that the saints are present, executing the judgment written in all three conflicts it is obvious the saints are already partakers of the divine nature prior to the first conflict for they cannot perform those tasks while they are mortal descendants of Adam.
Therefore, the appearance of Jesus to send his angels to gather his saints (Matthew 24: 29-30), occurs prior to the beginning of the three conflicts and must happen before those conflicts begin.
Therefore, that wonderful event can occur at any time, we know not when. Let us all be ready for we know neither the day nor the hour.
Wayne R. Tanner
May: The Strange Importance of Nineteen Year Intervals
Several times in history we have seen significant changes in nineteen year intervals of time. We intend in this short essay to discuss several significant nineteen year intervals in history and strive to determine if there is a common pattern of significance.
605BC to 586BC
The first instance of such is the attack by Babylon on Judah in 605BC. The Jewish polity was placed under the control of Babylon and the Jewish King Jehoiakim began to pay tribute to Babylon. Many of the more prosperous Jewish citizens were removed to Babylon along with certain vessels from the Temple (Daniel 1:2). The hegemony of Babylon upon God’s people had begun: the beginning of the seventy years of her captivity...
In retrospect, we see that action by Babylon as minimally harmful to Judah but that it was a clear warning from YHVH to turn from its ways and repent. But His People did not heed the warning of God.
An interval of time was allowed for Israel (the Two Tribes) to comply with God’s wishes and the pressure that He was applying upon them. They did not comply with His mandates...
That interval was nineteen years.
Nineteen years later, in 586 BC, Babylon returned and rendered God’s decisive judgment on Judah; Nebuchadnezzar overthrew the Temple and destroyed it, destroyed the city, and took more of Judah’s people captive.
The first exile had begun nineteen years earlier but was consolidated and established in this decisive action in 586BC – the destruction of the Temple.
2001AD to 2020AD in the USA
In a parallel action in an entirely different part of the world and with a different people, another nineteen year cycle may be observed with the same sequence of effects.
The founding fathers of the United States had taken care to establish it on what they considered godly principles – the only Gentile nation in history to have been conceived in that way.
By the middle twentieth century the United States had reached the pinnacle of its power. But its determination to uphold the just principles of God was failing. In a legal action known as Roe vs. Wade (January 22, 1973), abortion of infants was made legal by the Supreme Court. At the same time the LGBTQ movement was making great strides at becoming legal and above board.
On September 11, 2001, four groups of terrorists commandeered four commercial airliners and used them to attack the USA – a sequence of events which eerily reprises the attack on Israel in 605 BC.
Two of the aircraft destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. A third crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. A fourth was diverted by passengers and crashed in an open field in Pennsylvania.
The attacks were unprecedented and shook the nation and the world by its intensity and ferocity.
Was it a warning of sorts for this nation to amend its ways?
Many indeed see these attacks as a direct parallel to the initial attack on Judah – namely as a warning to turn from the wicked ways which had recently been legally established by the USA – chiefly the allowance of abortion on demand and the permissive practices of the LBGTQ “community,” both in direct defiance of God’s will and word.
The nation showed no signs of change; instead, it proclaimed “we will rebuild” with sturdier materials and greater resolve. It said, in effect, “We will not search our hearts to discover the reason for this challenge!”
Nineteen years passed with varying rumbles of trouble such as SARS, MERS, and the Ebola virus infections in the interval.
Then, in 2020, early in the nineteenth year of this cycle, it became known that a new respiratory virus of the corona virus class had emerged from China’s Wuhan Province, and was beginning to infect the outside world.
Certain measures to stem the infection were immediately put into place; but nobody knew anything about this viral strain and how it would behave. It spread quickly throughout the world to the level that we see today: there have been 175,332,051 cases of corona virus to date with 3,780,265 deaths. 158,884,746 people have recovered worldwide, and over two billion persons have been vaccinated.
Although seeming to subside in certain nations, the original virus of the now full-blown pandemic is entering its so-called third phase, threatening again the closure of many of the counties of the world to prevent its spread. The newly-emerged Delta variant is considered to be 50% more infective (virulent) than the original virus, and is beginning to crop up in countries all over the world.
The vaccines devised to prevent its spread are being feverishly evaluated for their efficacy against the new strains. There is at present no reassurance of their effectiveness.
But meanwhile, the infection continues to spread rapidly in some sectors.
The prospects, in our opinion, are now building toward the drastic ends illustrated by the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC; indeed, the effects of this plague have been relatively as destructive to the world economy as was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was to Judah in former times ... and perhaps will end being just as terminal, in our opinion.
Truthfully, we cannot visualize the end result of the current crisis ... except that, for the elect’s sake, those times will be shortened (Matthew 24: 22).
1948AD to 1967AD
A similar effect may be seen in a third nineteen year interval which occurred in modern Israel. The difference is in the overall result, which instead of being destructive was one of marked progress toward a prophesied end-point – the elevation of Israel among the nations of the world to the supreme level, eventually, following events closely connected to this significant step forward...
In 1948, after much warfare and bloodshed, Israel succeeded in establishing the State of Israel, much to the chagrin and disappointment of the entire Arabic Middle East.
It was a crushing blow to the other nations of the Levant that the Jews had finally succeeded in achieving most of the goals set forth in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
All the goals, except one, had been achieved: the Jews on that date had not been successful in holding onto to Jerusalem and portions of Judea and Samaria; these were languishing in the possession of The Arab League of Trans-Jordan of the day (Jordan today).
Nineteen years passed in which unrest was prevalent in the new nation of Israel; threats and assaults from her enemies round about her were endless.
Finally, in 1967, war again erupted between Israel and all her surrounding Islamic neighbors. In a short time Israel had won the conflict handily – in six days – and had taken additional territory known as the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, the Old City of Jerusalem including Temple Mount, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula.
It had increased its size by well over 100 percent – and had gained control over several million additional “Pales*******” in the bargain.
But the victory was seen as an insult by the Islamic enemies round about Israel – a morbid setback from which they should never recover – never regain “their” lost lands.
It seemed to be a peculiar adaptation of the “rule of nineteen” to the Arabic enemies of Israel – but a boon, for a change, to Israel and its prospects for successful development of its integral lands and people.
Today, two of those enemies of the Six Day War and four additional adversaries of a lesser degree have signed peace and trade agreements with Israel. The lately adopted agreements are known as The Abraham Accords. And the prospect is for several more to do likewise in the near future.
Meanwhile, the nakba (disaster, in Arabic) that the Pales******* have suffered deepens. Their failure to negotiate in ‘good faith’ with Israel as to a “two-state solution” to their animus, the poverty-stricken people of Judea and Samaria (the Arabs of the so-called “West Bank”) have been left in the dust by these current developments – these remarkably pacific settlements with Israel, their long-held enemies.
We see these developments as having much deeper implications than already seen.
We see them as precursor to the events of the prophecy of Asaph in Psalm 83, in which all the Islamic states and polities and sheikdoms located in the Promised Lands of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are finally obliterated, their lands and property taken in warfare, and their polities ended forever.
It shall be the event of the ages in which the returned Jesus Christ (at His Second Advent) shall suddenly arise against them in hot conflict – a war which shall be conducted on a scale never before seen in the annals of warfare. Cf., Isaiah 59: 19-21.
It will be a war fought in lightning fashion by the returned Redeemer, in our opinion, being concluded in an extremely short time (one day?) by an unconventional force of immortal beings mounted upon white steeds, clad in white linen garments, and wielding the Sword of the Spirit, offering no quarter: merciless, deadly, lethal in every way – heaping upon those hostiles the judgments which are already written against the enemies of the Christ and of Israel. Cf., Revelation 19:11 ... “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Conclusion: in our reasoning, these three nineteen-year intervals reveal a common thread of drastic divine intervention in the affairs of nations with which God is intimately concerned.
Why should the USA be included in this consideration?
Because during the years 2016 to 2020 a president presided over that country who did marvelous deeds for the Jewish people – deeds that are best conveyed by another nation among the nations – but which show glaring overtones of divine intervention in favor of God’s Chosen People, bringing forward their high profile in the arena of their influence (not only in the Middle East, but also the world!).
God, in our opinion, raised to the task one Donald J. Trump, an international figure of stature who should recognize and elevate Israel to previously unrealized importance in the eyes of the world – and at the same time, bring it more perfectly into alignment with the expressed will of God in order to fulfill its destiny.
He effectively shifted the world’s attention to Jerusalem by moving the U.S. Embassy to that city from Tel Aviv – a move first among the nations but by no means the last to do so – and focus the world’s attention upon the future Capital of the World as it shall be realized under the sovereignty of the Returned LORD Jesus Christ, to Whose Second Coming all these events invariably lead.
The immediate result has been a rapid shift of the animosity of Israel’s surrounding enemies (those listed by name in Psalm 83!) against Jerusalem. As they see their influence against her ebb away, the reality of those nations now gulping down the contents of YHVH’s Cup of Fury (Cf., Isaiah 51: 22, 23), is shown in stark relief against the background of their aspirations to destroy God’s People and Land ... to execute that dream expressed in the psalm: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.”
Let us lift up our heads, for our Redemption draweth nigh!
<HEL> ~2,000 words. Published June 10, 2021.
June: The “Young Lions” of Ezekiel 38:13
Who or What are they?
In this short article I will suggest that the “young lions” of Ezekiel 38:13 is quite possibly an inaccurate translation. The KJV rendering of this verse is as follows: Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee [Gog], Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? Generally, Bible lexicons or concordances identify that there are two possible meanings of the Hebrew word kephîyr (Strong’s #3715) – “young lion(s)” or “village(s).” Strong’s concordance states, “a village (as covered in by walls); also a young lion – perhaps as covered with a mane.” The Septuagint renders Ezekiel 38:13, Sabba, and Dedan, and Carthaginian merchants, and all their villages shall say to thee, Thou art come for plunder to take a prey, and to get spoils, while other versions such as the NIV and NASB also use “villages” instead of “young lions.”
In the KJV, there is only one instance where kephîyr is translated as “villages”, in Nehemiah 6:2: That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in the villages in the plain of Ono. Clearly this verse would be nonsensical if “villages” were instead translated as “young lions.” This verse demonstrates that context will be very helpful in determining whether kephîyr should be translated as “villages” or “young lions” in our subject verse.
Excluding Ezekiel 38:13 and Nehemiah 6:2, below is a chart showing the remaining Old Testament verses containing the word kephîyr. Notice that the context in each verse is consistent with these translations as “young lions,” as there are other animals mentioned (including other lions), and descriptions associated with lions (such as roaring), or other contextual language consistent with a lion (such as the face of a young lion on a tree, which could apply to an animal but not to a village). None of these verses would make sense if the translators had used “village(s)” instead of “young lion(s).”
Judges 14:5 - A young lion roared against Samson
Job 4:10 - The teeth of the young lions are broken
Job 38:39 - The appetite of the young lions
Psalm 17:12 - A young lion lurking in secret places
Psalm 34:10 - Young lions lack food and are hungry
Psalm 35:17 - Rescue from destruction by lions
Psalm 58:6 - The great teeth of the young lions
Psalm 91:13 - Lion, adder, young lion, and dragon shall be trampled
Psalm 104:21 - Young lions roar after their prey
Proverbs 19:12 - Roaring of a lion
Proverbs 20:2 - Roaring of a lion
Proverbs 28:1 - Bold as a lion
Isaiah 5:29 - Roar like young lions
Isaiah 11:6 - The calf, young lion, and fatling together
Isaiah 31:4 - The young lion roaring on his prey
Jeremiah 2:15 - Young lions roared
Jeremiah 25:38 - Forsaken his covert (lair) as the lion
Jeremiah 51:38 - Roar together like lions
Ezekiel 19:2 - A lioness nourishes her whelps among young lions
Ezekiel 19:3 - A young lion learned to catch prey
Ezekiel 19:5 - The lioness took another of her whelps and made him a young lion
Ezekiel 19:6 - He went up and down among the lions, became a young lion, learned to catch prey
Ezekiel 32:2 - Pharaoh is like a young lion of the nations and like a whale in the seas
Ezekiel 41:19 - The face of a man on one side of a palm tree and the face of a young lion on the other side
Hosea 5:14 - God is like a lion to Ephraim and as a young lion to the house of Judah
Amos 3:4 - Will a lion roar in the forest if he has no prey, and will a young lion cry out of his den if he has taken nothing?
Kephîyr in Ezekiel 38:13
In Ezekiel 38:13, is there any language to indicate that the context is lion-like, similar to the language in the verses itemized in the chart above? The answer appears to be “no.” There is no reference to animals, prey, a lair, eating, roaring, teeth, etc. Instead, there are three geographical references prior to the reference to “young lions” – Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish. Thus, the context would seem to suggest that “young lions” is a mistranslation, while “villages” is a geographical term consistent with the three other geographical terms in this verse.
The NIV renders Ezekiel 38:13, Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?” This translation recognizes the geographic context and translates kephîyr as “villages.”
Incidentally, there are some translations that personify “young lions” as “officials” or “rulers” of Tarshish. While these translations are plausible given the preceding reference to “merchants,” they are inconsistent with the other verses in which kephîyr appears. Furthermore, there is nothing in the context of Ezekiel 38:13 to suggest that symbolic language is here used. Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish are actual locations; thus, the word kephîyr would seem to be used similarly, i.e., in a non-symbolic way.
There may be a further contextual clue that “villages” is the proper translation. Strong’s concordance is clear that the word kephîyr, when referring to a village, is a village “as covered in by walls.” Why is this detail, that kephîyr refers to a walled village, potentially important? Could it be because it contrasts Ezekiel 38:11, which refers specifically to “unwalled villages”: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages… Thus, the prophecy in Ezekiel may indicate the concerned reaction of Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish – with all their walled villages – to the Gogian host descending on Israel and its unwalled villages. If the Gogian host is willing to attack a land with unwalled villages, might not it also be willing to attack a land with walled villages?
Scholars tend to agree that Sheba and Dedan settled in what is the present-day Arabian Peninsula. Moreover, there is some evidence that, in the time of Ezekiel (circa 600 BC), permanent settlements in the Arabian peninsula were walled. For example, the Assyrian king Sennacherib recorded a list of 81 walled towns in southern Babylonia (including modern day Saudi Arabia).1
In contrast, in the early days of Israel, there were many villages that were unwalled. Also, when the Israelites were conquering the land of Canaan in the time of Joshua, there are approximately 30 verses in the book of Joshua that describe towns or villages as “unwalled.” There is therefore historical identification with Israel as a land of “unwalled villages.” Moreover, when the Gogian host invades the land of Israel, Israel is likewise described as a “land of unwalled villages.”
In summary, given the context of Ezekiel 38:11-13, the word translated as young lions in verse 13 appears to be inaccurate. Since the word kephîyr in that verse seems to be used in a literal geographic context, “villages” seems to be a more contextually accurate translation than “young lions.”
<> Jonathan Farrar, Paris, Ontario
 Eph’al, I. (1974). “Arabs” in Babylonia in the 8th century B.C. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 94 (1), p. 111
July: Passover: Come into thy Chambers
8th April 2020, hej
In relation to the Corona Virus going about the globe with just enough infectivity, without symptoms so as to be hard to trace, and with just enough morbidity to cause a dramatic collapse in a nation’s health care system, governments, not knowing where the virus is, has ordered people to stay home. I have heard from multiple sources a quote from the Bible, “come my people enter into thy chambers.”
This is the full quote: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:20-21)
Indeed, people are hiding themselves from this virus. Many do indeed think it is the indignation of the Lord. Variously they think [it is] for sins of immorality or for the so called Trump 'peace plan' dividing God's land, the land of which is the apple, or pupil, of his eye (Zechariah 2:8).
Whereas the sins of immorality were predicted 'as in the days of Lot' (Luke 17:28), there seems no reason as to the timing of this plague. If for immorality, why not a few years ago at the height of the votes for re-definition of marriage?
But it may indeed be wrath at the sin of dividing the Holy Land may be substantiated by two things: On the 28 January 2020 a map of the division of the Holy Land under Trump's plan was published – on that day, in China, WHO meets to discuss the virus in Wuhan. On the 30th, WHO declared global health emergency.
The second point to note is that Israel's government who is a significant party to the plan, having 'bought into' the thinking of the EU and the Clintons (Daniel 11:39), has not been able to form a government despite 3 elections, was hit early with many Rabbis dying; as of a week ago no less than 17 inside Israel and at least 44 outside, with Jews disproportionately among the early deaths in the UK and noted in the early cases in New York. It is then perhaps no accident at all, that nobody now cares one bit for that 'peace plan', and by the time they think of it again the world will have changed dramatically.
As to whether the passage in Isaiah is fulfilled now; though there may be parallels in events – there is no way that is a fulfillment.
Despite the so called lockdown, many still go out to walk, to work and shop for essentials, the earth has not disclosed her blood, and everyone is entering into chambers, not just the people of God.
The point of it is that the events now remind us that Isaiah 26 is soon to be fulfilled, and to prepare. It is worthwhile looking at the whole chapter which speaks of those who envy Israel (the nation) and those wicked who will not learn righteousness if favour be shown them. We leave you read it, but draw attention to the beginning of Chapter 26:
In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; “We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD YAHWEH is everlasting strength: For he brings down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he lays it low; he lays it low, even to the ground; he brings it even to the dust.” (Isaiah 26:1-5)
Passover 15-22 Nissan, 8-16 April
The first Passover, Pesach, was not a social get together, it was each family household hidden in their house with the blood of the lamb, that they would eat that night, on the door lintel and post, the very place where later Jews were to place the Law (Deuteronomy 6:9).
They were not gathered for a party, they were hiding in their house to prevent the death of their firstborn from the 10th deadly plague. This year, Christian Easter aligns with the Passover; and so each household of most of the world is ordered, is begged, to stay indoors, to prevent any of the family coming in contact with the current plague.
The servant of Christ may be alert to this next point. “They shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.” (Exodus 12:8-11)
It wasn't a feast. It was a quick meal before they had to get out of there – fast.
It's never been the case that we have had to keep the day like this before: Jews and everyone – even the irreligious!
Are we, with mental shoes on, prepared for the coming of our Lord, ready to go with no looking back? “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife.” (Luke 17:28-32)
It is as in the days of Egypt; the nations, as Egypt, will be economically destroyed by this plague. It was, before trade was reduced, as the days of Lot. We do not know the day of our Lord's return, but for sure this is a warning, to think, to be prepared with the Lamb of Christ (1 Peter 1:19), the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8) and the understanding of bitter grieving. “I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” (Revelation 10:9-10)
Everyone is fleeing 'Home'
This virus has caused people scattered all over the world to flee (or plead) to go home. This is a warning that likely will not be heeded, of what is to come. At no time in the past has so many been so far from their homes. This virus and the forced closure to contain it have shown that in any time of trouble most will seek to flee home. There is yet another day of trouble, much worse, when again all will flee home. “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.” (Isaiah 13:9-14)
Yes, the great of the earth are afflicted; no less than the PM and heir to the throne of Britain, and many leading stars have been smitten; yet the arrogant and proud still exist. We see now a pattern, but if you think this is bad ... the earth 'ain't seen nothing yet!'
Not only will people flee but there are two sets of chambers: the ones prepared by 'preppers' working out their own salvation, and the ones prepared by Christ.
The Two Different Chambers
Those who consider the Passover Lamb as Christ may note, our Lord as both sacrificial Lamb and Shepherd said before he gave his life for his sheep (John 10:11), “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions (abiding places): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)
The death and resurrection of Christ allowed him to prepare a hiding place for us.
Those who are in Christ, at his coming, will be taken to be in the same hiding place from the judgments that are coming upon the world. These are the chambers of Isaiah 26, the chambers entered through resurrection: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)
Christ knew that in days of trial, humans make their own secret chambers in which to hide! But while some protection may be there, salvation isn't there. Christ isn't to be found in man-made chambers! “Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:25-27)
The other man-made chambers and hiding places are entered in fear in the day of the Lord!
But listen to the context and take warning!! In Isaiah 2, “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:” (Isaiah 2:6-8)
Do you see? Who is replenished form the East – from China? Who, instead of working their own lands, use strangers? Who has great wealth? Who has many cars? Who values above all, above the worship of God, their work of their own hands?
Then, see what is next!
“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:” (Isaiah 2:10-12)
As yet we can still see the proud and lofty, but they are not as proud now. They will yet be brought very low.
“For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” (Isaiah 2:12-19)
This is the judgment of a great earthquake – not a virus.
This virus has affected the ships of trade (of Tarshish), but has not removed the high towers and pleasant pictures. Though city life may appear much more awful to those hiding in apartments, most still persist there.
What is remarkable is how the whole world is now fully embracing the pleasant pictures of the internet related to keeping the ships of trade going!
The move to put all things of trade 'online,' to rely on it entirely for visual communication and teaching is now setting the whole world up for a total 'pulling of the plug' of all civilization and trade in the earthquake of the Judgment of the coming of Christ.
At the death of Christ the earth quaked: (Mat 27:54). At his resurrection the earth quaked: (Mat 28:2). At his return the earth will quake, when God 'shakes terribly the earth.' We also now know that the Mt. of Olives is on the great Syria - Africa rift line.
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:2-4)
After the drama of the events in Isaiah 23 where Tyre, a great trading city, and the ships of trade is forgotten and revived after 70 years, as we have seen with Brexit, Isaiah 24 speaks of a time when: “The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.” (Isaiah 24:10-11)
What we experience now prefigures this. There are no parties. Every house is shut up, to all but those who live there. But this time now is nothing to be compared as to what is predicted as coming: “Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.” (Isaiah 24:17-18)
“The windows on high is for the treasuries of hail reserved.” (Job 38:22)
The conclusion of the earth shaking is that all of the things [that] humans value shall be given to the bats. “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:20-22)
Let us consider that not only are bats highlighted in the current crisis, but bats and moles both live in dark caves and holes. The human-made chambers of protection are dark holes and places, with no hope of eternal salvation. Hell (literally a covered place; compare the word helmet, the places in Norway from Hellir the Old Norse for 'cliff cave' also a deep dark place) and the Hebrew Sheol both speak of the covered dark places of death in hell (Jonah 2:2). The best of human-provided protection is worse than of no account, it's a cliff cave Hellir.
The high towers of humans are to fall; but to the faithful, Yahweh Elohim is their high tower: “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)
Corona is a crown
This is the 7th corona virus. The first was found in 1960. The first four didn't kill. Then in 2003 there was SARS, and in 2012, MERS. In Revelation, having seen the events of the Ottoman empire drying up, and the progress of the French humanist ideals bringing the nations to the last war, we then see the last Vial is poured into the air, a place in which this virus is spread, and more so by flights from place to place. “The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” (Revelations 16:12-18)
The earthquake of Revelation is the last great political change where the kingdoms of humans are replaced by the Kingdom of God as Daniel explained to King Nebuchadnezzar. Jesus was born a king. Christ at Passover time, who was the lamb led to the slaughter, whose blood was on the door posts of the protected the family, confessed he was a king: “... to this end was I born” (John 18:37)
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Christ predicted a time of fear
On the Mt. of Olives which is to split in the Day of Judgment upon the high towers, ships of trade and the pleasant pictures, the disciples asked about the conditions at the time of the end before his coming as king. Remember they didn't understand he had to die first and return.
Christ told them: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:24-28)
We now know a precise date for the beginning of the time of this prophecy: June 8, 1967 when Jerusalem was no longer ruled by Gentiles (non-Jews) [This is the date when Jerusalem was recovered by the IDF]. This era began years of trouble and discontent that has intensified since then.
If many feared possible climate catastrophe in twelve years, and [there] were a sea of protest as waves, this has now been superseded by global fears of possible sickness and death right now, from a disease that is very contagious and has no solution but severe economic pain.
Many hearts are failing in the perplexity of events that have no good solution.
The powers of heaven (the stars, leaders and politicians) are themselves succumbing and facing battles, that will likely be of long duration.
All of the ephemeral things of this life, the social things, are all lost and will not return in the foreseeable future. The distress of nations is such, and the economic structure of cities so fragile, that many now focus on not much more than obtaining food. The sensible, not caught in the desperation of hoping the service 'industries' come back, have adapted, and are seeking to find work in agriculture; but many will not adjust.
But for us, do we fear?
No; rather we look up, for our salvation draws night, our mansions are prepared. As we enter our houses as 'caves' (some for three days of the long weekend where trade is shut down), we consider our mansions, dwellings, abode, our family home that was prepared nearly precisely 2,000 years ago, when the earthquake rolled back the stone to hell, the sepulcher-cave, and Christ, Messiah, the king anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, came forth as the First Fruits, to live forever.
We, too, will come out of this hell, to be delivered soon, by our Lord who will return with power and great glory.
Two thousand years ago, at the eve of the Passover – then already an anniversary fifteen hundred years old – there was a sign written for all to read, forever: “And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (Luke 23:38)
The glory of the coming Kingdom is sure.
Christ said to his disciples who expected he be make king without death and suffering, in the bitter herbs of the Passover, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26)
<> Submitted by JH of Australia, and presented here for your consideration as the “Prophecy” article for July, 2012. This article is published with a view to promoting further consideration of the current pandemic; it is always good to consider additional viewpoints although we may not agree with every claim that it presents. We consider this article worth everyone's perusal, and expect that all readers will weigh it against yet other scriptural evidence. <HEL - Editor and Publisher of eTPL>
August: Expediency Versus Commandment
An eTPL32 Exhortation
Because of the established, eternal character of the wisdom of God given to us in the scriptures of Truth, we may not be as conscious of the immediate nature of some of our Father’s pointed instructions as we should be. I am referring to our Father’s commandment in Isaiah 26:20 - "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
It seems to us that some of our members – with all good intentions, we readily admit – have declared their own “end” to the Almighty’s “indignation.” In response to that verdict, some have reverted to their old ways of close association at various spiritual gatherings – activity that I believe we must now view as questionable judgment (although backed by entirely good intentions). We suppose that yearning is common to every one of us – that desire for close association and fellowship with our brethren...
At times, a concession to continued separation might seem to lead to a lessening of devotion on our parts ... or even an unseemly reversal of some acts of dedicated devotion to Him...
We are thinking of our present circumstances particularly, in which we collectively are yearning for the spiritual fellowship of our brothers and sisters in person – just at it used to be experienced in Ecclesial meetings, Bible study groups and conferences such as Bible Schools and Fraternal Gatherings.
Our obvious, human need for these benefits is fully realized by our heavenly Father. He is not insensitive to our requirements and such righteous desires. In His wisdom He has freely encouraged and permitted us these privileges for many years.
But there is a time and a place for everything, and unfortunately, in our opinion, this is not the time for social gatherings.
Instead, He has specifically forbidden these...
We may be sure that His forgiveness for our zeal will be forthcoming if we should disobey His wishes, erring on the side of spiritual benefits and the spiritual profits that we reap from such associations.
In short, such intention – such motivation – is recognized as decidedly on the side of patient and worthy continuance in His service.
But are we unconsciously ignoring His will in the present circumstances?
Often times His will is expressed by the prophets and addressed to His People of any given era in history, instructing them as to how they must react to any set of circumstances at a given time and place.
One example of this is that commandment that was given to the Jews of Judah in the matter of the Babylonian captivity. They were told to submit to their conqueror, Babylon, and to go willingly into captivity for seventy years. Many resisted His wishes and placed their trust in the king of Egypt – and were let down ... hard.
It was incumbent upon them to submit to that commandment without question. His decision was given them for their own benefit as well as for the righteous execution of God’s will. It was His wish for them only and for that time in history only. And He expected compliance with His commandment.
There is just such an injunction now in effect for the Believers in every nation.
Please read thoughtfully the words of Isaiah which we have quoted here; note carefully how closely the conditions which the prophet describes fit our case today.
Isaiah 59:15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey (one to be plundered, or spoiled): and the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment (notably, no judicial rectitude).
In our opinion, a new set of circumstances had arisen in the earth which caused the Almighty great concern, and raised His ire.
His righteous indignation speaks to our era exclusively...
Throughout all the latter centuries of history nations had established normal principles and laws which were reasonably in line with God’s will of common decency and morality.
The “enlightened” nations of modern time had nearly uniformly decreed the illegality of same-sex “marriage,” for example, and had legislated punishment for such heinous acts as the abortion of unborn infants at any stage of their development even up to the moment of birth (compare that principle with today!). Lesbianism was looked upon with official disfavor and often was grounds for legal action. Adultery was legal grounds for one getting a divorce.
In the minds and hearts of Believers, some of these infractions are so repugnant and shameful that they are difficult to discuss even between ourselves.
They cause discomfort and embarrassment, and are often dismissed out of hand.
But the time has come, dear brethren, when we must meet these issues head on – must discuss and disown them forthrightly and firmly as being unrighteous and repulsive to our ears and lives – as supremely evil.
Almost unbelievably, some of these sins have breached the gates of the brotherhood, although are not yet being widely followed.
In our understanding, these and similar issues may be the reason for the “indignation” of the Lord that we learn about in this text ... this terse and direct set of instructions to the Believers in particular – this commandment which is directly from His lips.
These words, in our opinion, have been written for our benefit and observance in this unique, untimely, worldwide crisis – and the coronavirus pandemic IS a crisis in spite of the opposition and the challenges of some who deny its legitimacy and that the vaccines are ineffective to prevent or cure the disease.
Isaiah wrote: Isaiah 26:20 “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:”
We implore readers to note well the immediacy of the Almighty’s will as made known by Isaiah for us in this critical end time period.
He is graciously expressing His will in the form of a COMMANDMENT to His covenanted people, to enter into their inner chambers and to remain in place UNTIL HIS INDIGNATION BE OVERPAST.
This is not a matter of “Do it if you feel like it,” but a matter of “I’m commanding you to obey My wishes, as it is for your own benefit and for My glory.” “You shall benefit greatly by doing as I ask” we might visualize Him as saying to us.
The Great Disruption
What is the reason for this sudden intervention in the affairs of the world – this sudden, unprecedented disruption of life and commerce and all the “normal” activities of ALL humankind?
We believe there is a simple but comprehensive answer:
God has now seen, since 1973 (the year that abortion was legalized by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade), that there is no intercessor – no qualified objector with a voice strong enough to be challenging against these heinous infractions against God’s natural laws – and He has decided to address these issues personally, not only in America but in the compliant world at large.
The world-wide effect of the Covid-19 pandemic we believe is His expression of this “indignation,” and we are beginning to see just the first effects of it among mankind’s dismal realms.
Human life has been affected on a scale never before seen in history!
The world has been turned upside down, every financial and social indicator pointing in the “wrong” direction for the immediate term...
The phrase, “there was no man ... no intercessor” is a pathetic sentence upon the God-given sensibilities that the race had aforetime acknowledged by de facto punishment of such crimes, but now not only approves but significantly encourages.
Isa 59:16 And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him (in the sense of bearing up or enforcing His original will).
His preparation for this offensive against these now legislated evils has been entirely righteous and sufficiently backed by His Word in holy script. Mankind is being given no quarter in the resultant conflict – its direct, unrepentant, legislated opposition to His Will.
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.
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 result that the Almighty desires SHALL be realized – but later rather than sooner because of the hardness of men’s hearts.
His fearsome resistance to their lawlessness, their heartlessness, their hedonism, their fleshly lusts and self-willed crimes shall result in the end-effect of the cleansing of the race of these and similar evils of conduct and intention ... and they SHALL fear (“shall” being the strongest form of the verb “to be”) ... they SHALL fear (respect, and defer to) the name of the Lord in all quarters of the globe...
Even His people in Israel are compliant in these principle evils – Tel Aviv being known widely as the homosexual capital of the world! – and now the prophet’s words begin their concentration upon God’s people – both natural and spiritual (both Jews in their homeland and all the converted Gentiles in a slightly different context).
Generally, the whole earth SHALL respect and serve the name of the Lord in all regions of the globe in the finality, but more especially shall it be accomplished in His People and maintained by them first of all.
This entire chapter in Isaiah concerns itself with the end time and its particular circumstances.
It even presupposes the resurrected People of God at that time as being present in their Land as an organized society because the words preceding these refer to a discrete society which is governing itself and making the wrong decisions for its own welfare – repudiating the ways of God in that “their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood” (cf., vs. 7).
Even these SHALL fear the name of the Lord – but that end necessitates an orderly process whose first motions are entirely chaotic!
Today we see the unprecedented case of many organized and fully armed nations “round about” Israel, fully intending to eradicate the State and People and take the Lands for themselves (Psalm 83: 3, 4).
At some point in the near future, having gained huge ascendancy of power, these shall lose their last bit of constraint and spill over the border of Israel with great fury and countless aggressors, whose intention is surely just such an end.
Isa 59:19 So shall they fear the name 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 (in Hebrew, a nus) against him.
That nus, or banner, in our opinion, shall be Israel the nation, and more particularly Messiah as its Leader, lately arrived and as of then yet unknown to His People, for He is the Redeemer spoken of in the immediate aftermath of the action of the “standard” (the nus). (The beginnings of His work are recorded in Isaiah 63: 1-6.)
“The Redeemer SHALL come to Zion” is the simple announcement of an attained goal which has lain deeply embedded within the souls of the Believers of God’s Truth for all the time since it was promised in Eden – their deep desire for that certain “Seed of the Woman” Who should bruise the head of sin and overcome it, removing the condemnation of sin for all those who would learn of and accept His great Plan of Salvation (Genesis 3: 15).
Isa 59:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
We May not like the Temporary Solution
We may not like the temporary solution to the current pandemic; stay at home; remain separate from those outside to the greatest extent possible; avail yourselves of the vaccines which have been provided for this disease as well as many other similar ones.
It is for this reason that we hold it to be resistance against God’s will to induce brethren to intermingle unnecessarily, to congregate (even for the purpose of holding Bible studies unless distancing can be observed), and to remain shuttered, protected, sequestered according to His specific commandment given through Isaiah the prophet.
The greatest rate of infection by Covid-19 is among those who remain unvaccinated.
We are aware that there are detractors to this opinion, but so be it.
Each person has to make his own decision in the finality. The vaccines which have been permitted to be developed have only minimal side effects, and maximal benefits. There is much bogus information abroad on this whole subject of the pandemic and volumes may be written about it that are yet undiscovered. It is unique among this “family” of diseases.
It seems obvious to us that the Almighty is expressing “indignation” against the nations because of their gross iniquity.
He has provided a means for His People to avoid its dangers to the greatest extent possible.
It is therefore up to each of us to put those initiatives into effect in our own lives and obey His commandment: to remain in our private rooms and shelters, to distance ourselves from those outside who purposely ignore the best advice of the medical personnel who are dedicated to the management of diseases such as this one and other similar ones.
All of us are quite familiar with Psalm 37.
We find in its words significant meaning as they concern our current predicament...
There is a clear mark of distinction among certain classes of mankind offered there:
Psa 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
Our consolation is that it shall be only “yet a little while” until the wicked SHALL not be ... a direct repetition of Isaiah’s words in Chapter 26: 20: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”
Isaiah repeated those same words as having been recorded by David in Psalm 37.
Psa 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
Psa 37:11 But the meek (those trained in the ways of the Lord) shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
But David’s preceding thoughts in Psalm 37 are preparatory to these desired end results. In them he teaches the principles which have underpinned the faith of all the faithful of God.
And it is these most worthy admonitions that those who have gone out from their shelters and purposely exposed themselves widely to the infected unbelievers have honestly and innocently been striving to uphold ... all worthy, vital, personal ambitions greatly admired ... but not at this moment in time, in our considered opinion.
These admirable qualities are expressible in many various ways other than by personal association with the larger world.
Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psa 37:6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Psa 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Psa 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. <HEL> ~2,700 words. An eTPL32 Exhortation. Published August 7, 2021