“Has This Happened? - Genesis 27: 39, 40.”
A Question From “Sissy”
The two verses in question are the substance of Isaac’s blessing of Esau, after he had mistakenly given the blessing of the firstborn to Jacob, Esau’s younger twin brother: Genesis 27:39 - And Isaac his father answered and said unto him (to Esau), Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
Our correspondent did not voice a specific question about this verse except to query, “Has this happened?”
Our brief answer is, Yes, it has happened. All of it has been placed in motion, although the drama has not yet come to consummation, or complete fulfillment.
Both Esau’s inferior position to Jacob, and Esau’s sometime superior position to Jacob, have both come to pass.
But the resolution of both destinies has yet to be expressed eternally – or on a lasting, endless basis.
Esau still opposes Jacob; Esau is still in a real sense, a servant of Jacob, if not obviously so.
This is claimed as fact because in their recent hot conflicts, Jacob has always won the contest handily over Esau – the descendants of whom are defined by the text of the small prophet Obadiah, in verses 18-20, q.v.
These specific verses describe the final showdown between the twins’ progeny, and indicate the final liquidation of Esau’s descendants – the constituents of which are defined in Obadiah, as the PLO, al-Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Kingdom of Jordan, the Bedouin of the Negev and the Sinai, and the “Palestinian” Arabs who are citizens of Israel and who live sprinkled throughout the Jewish state today.
These are only a fraction of Israel’s strongly motivated, violent assailants of the end time. But they are some of the most threatening of all these enemies, being at arm’s length to God’s people now restored to their Land.
Their complete liquidation results in a summary event – superbly telling in its finality – in which Obadiah reveals this somber outcome:
Obadiah 1:21 And Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
The prophet is clearly saying that when Jacob (Israel) consummates this great victory over Esau, the outcome shall be the immediate appearance of the LORD in the earth. There can be no other valid conclusion; one colossal victory leads to the ensuing Second Advent of Christ, Who is at that time accompanied by myriads of “Saviors” upon Mount Zion.
The Hebrew word for Saviours is yasha, meaning “avengers, succorers, defenders, helpers, preservers, rescuers, bringing safety, salvation and security.”
These are decidedly the multitudes of immortalized Saints who have accompanied the LORD in His ultimate aliyah – His purposeful ascent – to Jerusalem, directly from the place of His Judgment Seat – wherever that may be in the earth.
In our consideration of every question, we need to consider all the information about it. In the passage in question, we must realize that Isaac has already given his firm, expansive blessing to Jacob; it is irrevocable.
So we begin reading in verse 37, in which Isaac begins to give Esau the secondary blessing which we know that he was required to accept.
Gen 27:37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him (Jacob) thy lord, and all his brethren (meaning, Esau and his children) have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? 38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. 39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
Our human hearts of compassion fairly cry out in tears along with Esau in his desperation to retrieve his rightful blessing.
We easily empathize with his desperate and dreadful feeling of such great loss, and having to accept subordination to his brother in all the important aspects of the inheritance from his father, not only of losing the elements of physical wealth and property, but also of being brought into subservience to his brother – a factor which stuck in his craw perhaps more than anything else.
How did such an outcome happen?
At this point, we must review some prior history of Isaac’s family. It is clear that the divine arrangement of Esau’s servitude to Jacob had already been decided.
The die was cast long prior to this time, for Jacob to become the favored son of inheritance. “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated” were the words that certified this decision as divine; but these declarative words do not appear in the record for thousands of years ahead in time – during the ministry of Paul the Apostle.
However, we easily discover this principle revealed clearly in the earlier records …
We read a short treatise on the Law of Election referred to by the apostle in Romans nine.
First, the account of Sara’s son Isaac’s election by “the word of promise,” which, of course, is divine. In this instance, Isaac was chosen over the older son, Ishmael, son of Hagar, Sara’s Egyptian bondwoman with Abraham.
Then we learn of Isaac and Rebekah’s children – that the younger was destined to become the son of promise, and the “hated” son Esau should serve him.
Note carefully the underlined portion of the text that follows: neither child had done anything good or evil; but the younger was selected for the Father’s blessing simply on account of His own reserved privilege of election – or appointment – of one over the other – of the younger over the elder, in contrast to the common practice of succession.
Rom 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Because this is the expressed will of the Almighty, we cannot say it nay, nor bring any just criticism to bear upon it.
So as Rebekah’s day of delivery approached, she was intimately informed by the word of the LORD, Who informed her of the destinies of her twin sons, as stated in Paul’s letter.
Soon (nearly forty years later) she would be saddled with the necessity to make certain that her unknowing husband did indeed bless the younger son in preference to the older, for his verbal blessing held ultimate authority in any matter.
The simple mechanism of an insignificant bowl of lamb stew was the mechanism utilized in her ingenious scheme. We wonder in this account whether Rebekah should be labeled “the supplanter” (Yaakob) rather than Jacob!
But seriously, Rebekah had a divine basis, an entirley valid reason for her seemingly deceptive role in the matter of the pottage, and the purchase by Jacob of Esau’s birthright.
It, too, was of the LORD.
As to Rachel’s supposed culpability, bear in mind this key fact: Gen 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Rebekah already had been assured of the outcome desired and destined by the LORD.
In this narrative we learn that Esau came home from an extended period of being “in the field,” and was extremely weary and faint; he sought food from his brother Jacob, for said he, “I am at the point to die.”
In this statement, Jacob saw opportunity to achieve the birthright of his father for himself, being surely aware of the promise that God had made to his mother in Genesis 25:23 (above).
Apparently there had to be some sort of obvious, observable legal transaction for this reversal of the law of succession to take effect – some “deed” executed upon which it should stand; in the insignificant bowl of pottage Jacob saw his opportunity to assure the passage of the birthright to himself.
He took advantage of Esau’s weariness and fatigue – a period in his life when he seemed to think himself near death.
But bear in mind, Esau was still not forty years old – a fact which we learn in the next chapter of Genesis.
But we also must take account of Esau’s gross negligence in the matter of the birthright which he rightfully claimed as the firstborn of fraternal twin sons of Isaac.
In his moments of lax judgment, and preoccupation with his own personal and temporal feelings of exhaustion and hunger, he flippantly pledged away his inheritance in only a few words of agreement with Jacob’s demand.
He did not esteem his birthright to be high on his list of priorities, perhaps in addition, thinking his frivolous promise of giving it up could not really mean anything significant.
But that moment was the moment in which the Almighty had already devised the sure transfer of Esau’s magnificent inheritance from Isaac, to the second son, Jacob.
The thing was “of the Lord” all along.
The response of Isaac upon discovering the deception is extremely interesting, and shows us a picture of a man of deep faith.
Firstly, Isaac’s next declaration had a quality of firmness and surety guaranteed by his inherent right to bless his sons with whatever properties and possessions that pleased him.
Isaac begins by telling Esau, “I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren (Esau and his offspring) have I given him for servants …”
The authority of Jacob over Esau was in this statement established, whether one thinks it a just decision or not. The thing was clearly “of the LORD,” because Jacob, once he had realized that he had been deceived by his second son Jacob, consciously and deliberately caused his first blessing to stand.
He did not take it back from Jacob in order to give it to Esau.
But there were blessings which he had available for Esau as well – some of which were positive, and some of which were negative.
Firstly, Esau was appointed a subservient position to his brother. The review of the text shows these clearly: Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
Esau’s “dwelling” was to come from the fatness of the earth, and the dew of the heavens. He was to be an outdoorsman, similar to his earlier prototype, Nimrod, the fabulous hunter and outdoorsman. Both are adversaries of their Creator. Both their lives are self-consumed. Neither are interested in serious service to their Creator, their heavenly Father, facts well established by their immediate histories.
The phrase, “by thy sword shalt thou live,” is a sure indicator that he should always be a man of conflict, repression, and war. This propensity should assure the continuance of his race well into the future. But it eventually would be his downfall.
But as Isaac now revealed to Esau, there should come times of temporary victory over his brother – times when his hand should be much stronger and his mien more fearful than at other times; there should come times when Esau should have the upper hand (“dominion”), that he should break the yoke of servitude by Jacob off his neck.
Here are several instances of this happening:
2 Kings 8: 20-22 – In the days of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, Edom revolted and expressed its independence from Judah for a long while. David had previously conquered Edom (Esau) and placed it under occupation.
2 Chronicles 21: 8 – refers to the same rebellion of Edom against Judah.
2 Chronicles 21: 10 – continues the account of that same rebellion.
2 Chronicles 28: 17 – another revolt by Edom against Ahab.
2 Chronicles 25: 11-12 – during the time of Amaziah, king of Judah, the Edomites revolted. His army killed 20,000 Edomites.
Obadiah 1: 10 – In this prophecy, the final judgment of Esau (Edom) is pronounced: Obadiah 1:10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
Verses 13 and 14 of this same chapter tell of the many atrocities of Edom against the sons of Jacob, indicating their perpetual animosity toward God and His people.
So there were times of elevation of Esau over his brother in a temporal setting; but the eternal destiny of Esau is as stated above – to be utterly exterminated from the presence of Jacob and Israel.
The blessing by Isaac of Jacob as if he were Esau contains some interesting information as well:
Gen 27:27 And he (Jacob) came near, and kissed him (Isaac): and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: 28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
The abundant blessing of Jacob over Esau is steadily coming to pass in this day. The equivalent peoples of Esau (those of Obadiah’s prophecy) are yet resisting the sons of Jacob and their God. That resistance is soon slated to end abruptly and terminally for Esau and his descendants.
They shall be awarded no rightful place in the economy which is now being steadily established, preparing the way for the Second Advent of the LORD from heaven.
Our conclusion is that the prophecy concerning Esau’s inheritance has been being fulfilled throughout the centuries. The general drift of it has been established by historical events.
<HEL 1P> 2500 words. An entry in “Other Items” on the eTPL website, Jan., 2016.
Al-Baghdadi Says ISIS Has Not Forgotten Israel
Analysis of News Reports, by Harold E. Lafferty
A news post entitled, “ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Threatens Israel with new Holocaust as IDF Prepares for Islamic State (IS) Attack from Egypt,” was published on December 29th in The Daily Mail (UK).
The self-proclaimed caliph released a 23 minute audio message on Saturday, December 26th, his first in about seven months. In his diatribe, he threatened Israel, and mocked the enemies of the Islamic State.
In it he said that “ISIS has not forgotten Israel,” and vowed to expand the caliphate to “Palestine” soon. He said, “The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it. Not at all, Jews; we did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it…. The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day.” “You will never find comfort in Palestine, Jews. Palestine will not be your land or your home, but it will be a graveyard for you,” he declared.
He also used specifically anti-Semitic language about an imminent, new holocaust. He said that Allah had gathered the Jews in Palestine so that it would be easier for Muslims to kill them: “God (he means Allah) caused the Jews of the world to gather in Palestine, and the war against them has become easy. It is the obligation of every Muslim to carry out jihad. Jews, you will not enjoy (sic) in Palestine. God has gathered you in Palestine so that the Mujahadeen can reach you soon and you will hide by the rock and the tree.” It was a direct reference to words from the Koran (Quran) about the final battle against the Jews.
In the audio message, the ISIS leader harshly criticized Saudi Arabia that recently formed a Muslim coalition to fight against Islamic State in Arab states. “They announced lately a coalition falsely called ‘Islamic,’ and announced its goal is to fight the Caliphate. If it was an Islamic coalition, it would have declared itself free from its Jewish and Crusader lords, and made the killing of the Jews and the liberation of Palestine its goal,” al-Baghdadi said. He called upon Saudi citizens to rise against the monarchy and its “apostate tyrants.”
The leader of the self-proclaimed caliphate also mocked the U S coalition that attempts to defeat ISIS by airstrikes. “Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets,” he said.
Al- Baghdadi’s threats against Israel, and the specific language he used to warn an attack on the Jewish state is not far away could be related to what is happening in the Sinai Peninsula at Israel’s southern border with Egypt.
Israeli Middle East expert Ronen Bergman, who has connections within the Israeli intelligence services, published an analysis about Wilayat Sinai this weekend. Wilayat Sinai is the ISIS branch in Egypt; Bergman reported that the organization is growing stronger all the time and now possesses advanced weapons.
“My instincts tell me the downing of the Russian plane [in the Sinai], recently was a terrorist attack. And if it indeed turns out that Ansar Bait el Maqdis (ABAM – meaning “supporters of the holy house”) was behind it, we are talking about an incident with wide strategic significance. It proves that ISIS leader (Abu Bakr) al-Baghdadi has the ability to operate through satellite organizations not only in Iraq, but also in Syria, Lebanon, Africa and now in Sinai. If it’s true, he succeeded in a very short time in terms of preparing and executing an operation, in taking revenge against the Russians for the war they are waging in Syria.
“If that is the case, his ability and his organization’s ability is much higher than we thought.”
In November, 2014, ABAM changed its name to ISIS in the Sinai, while still holding its original identity as “supporters of the holy house,” meaning al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
This ideology brings more credence to the notion that the ultimate goal of ISIS and all its branches has as its ultimate goal the conquest of Israel and Jerusalem.
Indeed, its first change of name from Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (meaning Syria) or ISIS, to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, came when al-Baghdadi realized that the original name did not include Israel, but that the Jewish State would be indicated if the name included the word, “Levant,” which comprehends Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula – all of which are the land of the sun’s rising (Levant relating to levitation, or lifting up, of the sun), and all of which are in ISIS’ sights.
In addition, ISIS has a small presence in southern Syria near the Golan Heights but it has not yet been active against Israeli targets. If it does launch rockets into Israeli territory or attempts to infiltrate the Golan Heights, says the author, “ISIS knows that the Israeli Air Force will respond with greater force than that used in the surgical strikes carried out by the U. S. and its coalition partners (in Syria). ”
A German journalist named Jurgen Todenhofer spent a short time with ISIS forces in Mosul recently, writing of his experiences in a book when he returned. He says “They think they can defeat U.S. and British ground troops who they say have no experience in urban warfare or terrorist strategies…. But they know that the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting guerillas and terrorists. They told me the Israeli army is the real danger. ‘We can’t defeat them with our current strategy. These people (the Israeli army) can fight a guerilla war.’”
Conclusion: We continue to view with intense interest this evolution of a powerful, wily Islamic force based primarily in the territory of ancient Assyria (Syria and Iraq). And even though the privately expressed view of some members of ISIS is that Israel is a foe beyond their present capability to fight successfully, the wealth of ISIS which is enormous, can soon acquire for them the weapons that they deem necessary to defeat Israel.
We are assured of the survival of Israel, however, and have no fear whatever that ISIS’ expectations might bear fruit.
Again, we view this entire episode as an highly likely fulfillment of the remarkable prophecy of Micah 5, which points to an end time “Assyrian” attack on Israel (only possible since 1948) in great force, and its defeat, hands-down and complete, by One Whom we know to be the LORD Jesus Christ. That can only come about by His return to the earth in the Second Advent.
<HEL 12O> ~1200 words. An eTPL Circular Letter dated December 30, 2015.
By James Farrar
The base on which the great image stood, of which king Nebuchadnezzar dreamed, was made of iron and clay mixed together. This unstable combination has given rise to the proverbial expression, “feet of clay.” Daniel recounted the dream to the king:
This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:32-35).
In this first information about the dream, it is disclosed by the prophet that the feet of the image were part of iron and part of clay and that it is this part of the image that was struck by the stone. The prophet then provided additional interpretation to the king:
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:40-44).
The unusual characteristic of the feet and of the toes is that they were composed of two different mineral substances, iron and miry clay, and that these two substances did not mix together. As a result, although there was in the toes the strength of iron, that strength was compromised by the presence of the clay, and led to the prophet’s characterization of that which is represented by the image as “partly strong and partly broken.” The prophet is also very clear that it is in “the days of these kings,” that is, the nations and national governments represented by the toes, that the image is struck by the stone and gives way to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
In the progression of the image, from the head to the toes, there are five different minerals described and the first four of them are metals: gold, silver, brass (an alloy of copper and zinc), iron and clay. The first four metals correspond to civilizations and cultures that dominated the earth for a period of history: Babylon (gold), Medo-Persia (silver), Greece (brass) and Rome (iron). If this identification then provides a key as to what the minerals correspond to, that is, to a particular civilization and culture, then it would imply that the clay must also answer to a civilization and culture.
Over the course of time, different suggestions have been brought forward as to which civilization and culture is represented by the clay. Nineteenth century expositors identified the clay with Russia but Russian influence and culture has not comingled with the rest of Europe. Russia retains its own identity as a nation with minimal ethnic representation in western European nations like England, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Others have identified the clay as that type of government system which we call democracy, a people-based republican form of government. This form of government continues to co-exist with monarchial government structures, in which the king or queen is the titular head of state, in countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The difficulty with this explanation of what the clay stands for is that it is not logically consistent with what the metals represent. Do they not represent civilizations and cultures distinguished, among other ways, by language? They did not represent different types of government.
One aspect of clay, in addition to its lacking the strength of the four metals, is that it would be considered the most inferior and the least valuable of the five substances of which the image is composed. If it represents a civilization and a culture, then it is one that is lower in prestige than those represented by Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. Is there any such culture that could be identified that is comingled among the nations of Europe while not itself European?
The answer is, yes. In the past thirty years, many of the large European nations have developed significant Muslim minorities, composed of immigrants of different ethnicity but sharing in common Sunni Islam as their religion. Although some of these ethnic minorities are not Arab, Islam is an Arabic religion and arose out of Arabic civilization and culture. The foundational work on which Islam is based, the Koran, is through and through an Arabic book. European Muslims come from Turkey (Germany), Pakistan (England), the north African countries of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria (France) and other parts of the Middle East such as Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and from Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Iran, modern day Medo-Persia, although predominantly Islamic does not follow Sunni Islam and is therefore not part of the Arabic culture associated with this dominant form of Islam.
The European and Arabic civilizations have been in conflict ever since the Saracen warriors of the seventh and eighth centuries began their territorial conquest, conquering Spain in eight years from A.D. 711 to A.D. 718 and advancing as far north into the heart of Europe as the Pyrenees Mountains forming the border between France and Spain. On the other side of Europe, the Ottoman Turks advanced north into Europe, capturing Constantinople in 1453 (by them renamed Istanbul) and the Balkan peninsula before being stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1529. Many Bible expositors believe that these amazing conquests of European territory by those imbued with the Islamic religion are described in the 9th chapter of Revelation. The Muslims were eventually defeated and driven out of Spain by the 15th century. The Turkish Ottoman Empire became the Sick Man of Europe in the 19th century, losing most of its territories in Europe.
A phenomenon arose in Post-War Europe that, so far as this writer is aware, was not anticipated by Bible expositors. That phenomenon was immigration into Europe of Muslims where they have established substantial communities that are not well integrated into European society. That immigration has accelerated in the past thirty years. As birth rates in western Europe declined to well below replacement levels, there was a labour shortage of indigenous European youth particularly for the more menial jobs like serving as maids in hotels and driving taxis. That need has been met by allowing immigration from Muslim countries where, with high birth rates and political instability in many cases, there was a keen desire to leave.
There is no disputing the fact that Muslims now form a significant minority in many European countries. Statistics on the percentage of the population that is Muslim tend to understate their importance for two reasons. First, they fail to capture that the Muslim population of Europe is, on average, substantially younger than its European counterparts with higher birth rates and second, that the Muslim population tends to be concentrated in large population centres where it forms a substantially larger percentage of the population than it does for the nation as a whole. Nor is there any disputing that the Muslim communities have remained separate and are not integrated within European society: there are parts of European cities where Muslim sharia law is followed and that function in many ways as autonomous communities. Muslim communities are most common in western and northern Europe and least prevalent in central and eastern Europe. Russia is the exception. It also has a large Muslim population.
Many of us have been puzzled about the creeping Islamization of Europe and how it figures into Bible prophecy. If the clay is an indicator of Arabic culture and influence in Europe, it would explain the instability that the image would experience as a consequence.
Is the tentative identification of Arabic culture and Islamic civilization in Europe simply a case of opportunism, of fitting facts to the Bible after they occur? While it is possible to view the suggestion through this critical lens, it is also the case that certain things in Bible prophecy were not discernible beforehand and were only evident after they developed. No Bible expositor living in Europe in the nineteenth century could have easily anticipated that significant Muslim minorities would come to live in the great cities of Europe.
What scriptural evidence is there that the clay is a representation of Arabic culture and civilization as represented by Muslim societies? The evidence may be summarized as follows:
1. There is an unusual expression used in Daniel 2:43: And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men. The Aramaic word translated as “mixed” and “mingle” in this passage is the word arab. Is the Spirit conveying to us in this passage that the Arab culture will be intermingled with European culture and that the Arab culture will itself be derived from a mixture of many races?
2. Clay, unlike the metals in the image, is not one substance or element. (Brass is an alloy of two elements. All the other metals in the image are unique elements). It is therefore an appropriate representation of Arabic culture which is truly a mixture of many peoples holding in common reverence for Mohammed and the Koran.
If this suggestion that the clay refers to Arabic culture is correct, it helps put into perspective the Paris attack by Muslim extremists. This attack served to underscore the instability of the base of the image. It also indicates that the refugees created by the Syrian civil war that are flooding into Europe are fresh clay to mix with European society. It also points to the circumstances in the earth when the image is ready to be toppled by the stone’s striking it. Until the clay was comingled with European civilization, the image was not complete. Is it possible that we have been witnessing the preparation of the feet and toes of the image to be struck by the stone unfolding before our eyes?
James Farrar, Grimsby, Ontario
Editor’s Comment: It continues to be a source of amazement to us that the “Muslim” factor in the end time has been so pervasively overlooked – and underestimated, or undervalued – when the references to end time nations that are now Muslim in character are so heavily prevalent in God’s word. This community of religionists number nearly 1.5 billion adherents; virtually ALL of them are biased against Israel and its God by the decrees of their “clerics.”
Like paganism and Christendom, Islam’s days are numbered. Those philosophies are not godly by definition. They cannot survive more than a few months or years into the kingdom age. The Truth of God’s word shall refine them as silver is refined, leaving a product which is then workable and pliable by the Master of the Kingdom age, and able to be taught the salvational Truths of God’s word.
Their dissolution is to be parallel to the conversion of the masses to His way, and shall result in their vast numbers approaching in desperation the Jewish race with a dire request: Zechariah 8:23 –“ Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” This verse alone proves graphically that the population of the earth has been “in the dark” all along, as to His Plan and Purpose with the earth.
 According to the Pew Research Center, based on tabulations done for 2010, Germany and France have the largest Muslim populations among EU countries at 4.8 million and 4.7 million respectively. Russia has the largest Muslim population at 14 million representing 10% of the population. The United Kingdom has just under 3 million Muslims. The percentage of Muslims in European population has increased from 4% in 1990 to 6% in 2010 and is expected to reach 8% in 2030. The median age of Muslims in Europe is 32 compared to 40 for all Europeans.
 The Muslim population of Amsterdam is estimated to be 24% of the total population; of Birmingham, UK 27%; of Brussels, Belgium 26%; of Barcelona, Spain 18%; of Malmo, Sweden 20%; of Paris, France 15%; of Vienna, Austria 10%; of Copenhagen, Denmark 10%; of Frankfurt, Germany 12% [Source: Wikipedia]
 There are several references in the King James translation to the “the mingled people” in which, in the context, the Arabs are being described. See Jeremiah 25:19-24. <HEL> Entered in "Other Items" on eTPL’s site, January 7, 2016.
To HEL, and from him to a fellow student of God’s Word
An avid student of scripture wrote this note in response to a recent article that we published. We believe you will profit greatly from reading it and running the references she cites. Her comments are extremely relevant to today. A quotation from these notes will indicate just HOW relevant they may be. She writes: 2015-16 being a Jubilee year, it can bring deliverance to the redeemed and Yahweh’s judgment upon the nations for the “controversy of Zion” (cf. Isa 34:8; 35:4; Isa 63:2-4). <HEL> Published to List on December 27, 2015.
(September 7, 2015)
Thank you, Brother Harold.
We truly are living in amazing signs as we witness the final stages of the prophecies coming to its completion.
Thank you for your labor of love.
Your sister in Christ, VM
P.S. I wrote the following, which I thought you might like to read.
Lev 25:3,4,8-11 - “Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard…” (cf. Exo 23:10, 11)
The law of Shmita was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Lev 25:1). The count began when they crossed the Jordan under Joshua to inherit the land God gave them (Deut 31:10-13). Most Rabbis do not agree on Shmita beginning from the first day of Creation as taught by some. Every seventh day was a Sabbath day and every seventh year was a Sabbath year (cf.Exo 23:10; Lev 25:1-4,20,21).
This was their Shmita year, or year of Release. It was the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the land of Israel. We read in this chapter that the people of Israel were to completely desist from cultivating their fields, relinquish personal ownership of their fields (Shmita karka), and the produce was for communal use (Shmita kesafim).
The Shmita year is also about judgment. The 7th Shmita is the 49th year with the 50th being the year of Jubilee, and then the cycle starts all over again (Lev 25:8,10). 7x7, or 49 years forms one complete cycle. In relation to our time, how do we know this is the end of the 7th Shmita cycle?
Well, we can see the systemic pattern of the Shmita woven into history. For example: in 1917-8, the Ottoman Empire fell, WW1 was won, the Balfour Declaration proclaimed a homeland for the Jews. It functioned as a Jubilee year. In 1966-7, the six day war, Jerusalem was restored as capital of Israel. It functioned as a Jubilee year.
The year 2000-2001 was a Shmita year. During this time, 37% U.S. stock market value was wiped out, the attacks on 9/11 (occurred), and global recession (came about). 2007-2008 was a Shmita year - 50% U.S. Stock market value wiped out, global recession. Even though the Shmita judgments against Gentile nations are not linked to the land of Israel, it is linked to their national disobedience against God (cf. Gen 12:3; Gen 22:18; Gal 3:8,9). 2014-15 still remains to be seen, but in this Shmita year we have the Lunar Tetrads, four consecutive total lunar eclipses, all falling on Jewish Holy Feast days along with eclipses of the sun (cf. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21)! The last blood moon on September 28, 2015 of the Tetrads is also a “super moon,” falls on the Feast of Tabernacles, and is the start of a Jubilee year. This is a statistical impossibility! Clearly, the Divine hand is in this.
The Shmita year was proclaimed on Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish year with 360 days in their year. Rosh Hashanah fell on the Hebrew calendar dates of Tishri 1, 2, or September 24-26 at sundown, 2014. It marked the beginning of the Shmita year and Rosh Hashanah, September 13-15, 2015 at sundown, ends the Shmita year and the New Year starts over. Year 1 of the new Shmita cycle runs concurrently with the Jubilee year.
Keep in mind that this year, 2015, is a Shmita year according to the Hebrew calendar. How can we know if they are right? Well, firstly, all Shmita years are divisible by 7 (God’s perfect number) with no remainders. 2015 is the Hebrew year 5775, divided by 7, we get 825; going back seven years brings us to 2008 or 5768, divide it by 7, we get 824 with no remainders; going back again seven years brings us to 2001 or 5761, divide it by 7 and we get 823 with no remainders. (e.g. 2016 is the Hebrew year 5777 divided by 7 = 825.285714286; it is not a Shmita year).
Secondly, going back to June 7, 1967, the year Israel captured Jerusalem, 1966-67, or 5727 on the Hebrew calendar, was a Jubilee year and Jerusalem was restored to Israel.
Going back further, we have the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the Hebrew year 5678. It too was a Jubilee year – 5678+49=5727+49=5776, which is 2015-16! The Jubilee years are correct.
Therefore, let the facts inform us whether the year functions as a Shmita or Jubilee year. Furthermore, since 1967 of 49 Jewish years multiplied by 360 days in their year = 17,640 days, brings us to exactly September 23, 2015, (sundown and into September 24th) the Day of Atonement, Tishri 10, and the start of the new Jubilee or 50th year in 2015-16! What incredible precision!
The Jubilee year is a proclamation of liberty for the captives (Isa 61:1-4). It is a blessing to the obedient, restoration, cancellation of debts, slaves set free, but it also brings with it judgment for disobedience (Lev 26:14-17). 2015-16 being a Jubilee year, it can bring deliverance to the redeemed and Yahweh’s judgment upon the nations for the “controversy of Zion” (cf. Isa 34:8; 35:4; Isa 63:2-4).
We witness today how the Gentile nations want to divide the land of Israel, divide Jerusalem, and when they do, it will bring forth God’s judgment, His vengeance against them (Joel 3:1,2). The vengeance of God encompasses the year of Jubilee with its blessings, restoration, liberty and judgments all rolled in one!
According to the Jewish Historian Eusebius, Christ’s proclamation from Isa 61:1, stopping at mid-sentence in verse 2 was a Jubilee proclamation (Luke 4:18-21). “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” is the great Jubilee proclamation (Rev 11:15) and the fulfillment of Isa 61:2b! God has a timeline for the restitution of all things, and His timeline includes the Gentile nations.
Let us, therefore, keep watch for we know not which day or which hour our Lord will return, but we do know that not only are we in the season, but that it is very, very near. [End of notations]
We commend this Sister for her detailed, dedicated research into this matter! We are happy to publish such writings for the profit of all readers. H. E. Lafferty, Editor and Publisher, eTPL.
The City of Light ... Really?
Harold E. Lafferty
“I believe the light that shines on you will shine on you forever ... though I can’t guarantee there’s nothing scary hiding under your bed.”
– “Father and Daughter,” by Paul Simon.
These prophetic words viciously turned and lunged at the unsuspecting French world on Friday, November 13th, when supposedly eight Islamic terrorists began their rapacious attacks on several venues in Paris, France – the renowned City of Light.
The glittering city on the Seine was shattered on that fateful evening in ways that heretofore had been only imaginable. The seat of Gaelic Enlightenment was instantaneously transposed into a dark venue for evil and death at the hands of a vengeance-seeking band born of the villainy of religious fundamentalism – an impulsive force equal to hardly any other in this world.
What possibly could have been the reason for such treachery – such wickedness?
Were the 229 initial victims who were slain specially deserving of such a fate? Or were the attacks merely random violence, wrought upon the general population at a whim by the perpetrators? Were they personally guilty of some common malevolence or evil deed?
We offer as commentary on the massacres, the following article which appeared in The Jerusalem Post, authored by one of that newspaper’s most insightful thinkers, Caroline Glick. In this succinct article, she offers ample reason for the Almighty’s retribution upon the people of France; not that each individual victim was guilty of all her charges (they surely were not), but the result is divine judgment upon her people, much in the same manner that each Egyptian family lost its firstborn of not only sons but those of beasts and cattle as well, when the Almighty was forced to bring the plagues of Exodus upon Egypt for its resistance to God’s will.
Please read the article with your minds and hearts open – and understand deeply how French policies toward Israel today has quite possibly brought these horrendous events upon its own people. Ms. Glick reiterates and illustrates many of the legal and social violations of Israeli sovereignty by the French government in this enlightening article. –Ed.
Through its actions, France has shown that
it isn’t even vaguely interested in promoting freedom and peace.
Caroline Glick, The Jerusalem Post
France’s plan to use its position at the UN Security Council to bring about the deployment of international monitors to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has been condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers as biased, unhelpful and detached from reality.
Certainly it is all those things. But France’s decision to use its diplomatic position to advance a plan which if implemented would end Israeli sovereignty over Judaism’s holiest site is first and foremost a French act of aggression against the Jewish state.
Contrary to what the French government would have us believe, France’s Temple Mount gambit is not an effort to quell the violence. French protestations of concern over the loss of life in the current tempest of Palestinian terrorism ring hollow.
France doesn’t really oppose Palestinian terrorism.
To the contrary, it facilitates it.
Every year, the French government pays millions of euros, dollars and shekels to Palestinian NGOs [non-government organizations] whose stated goal is to destroy Israel. Through its NGO agents, France finances the radicalization of Palestinian society. This French-financed radicalization makes Palestinian terrorism inevitable.
Much of the current rhetoric used by the Palestinians to reject Israel’s legitimacy and justify violence against Jews is found in strategic documents that France paid Palestinian NGOs to write.
According to NGO Monitor, between 2010 and 2013, France gave $6.5 million to a consortium of Palestinian NGOs called the NGO Development Center. It paid for the NDC to put together a strategic plan to advance its members’ goals. That French-initiated and financed document includes a list of activities not aimed at promoting peace, enhancing the daily lives of Palestinians, or expanding economic growth.
Rather, the French-financed strategic planning document provides a list of activities that the NGOs will undertake to delegitimize and criminalize Israel and ensure that Palestinians hate the Jewish state and view it as the cause of all their suffering.
The paper called for “Establish[ing] monitoring databases by relevant NGOs on sectoral issues and themes (expansion of colonies, [i.e. Israeli neighborhoods and towns beyond the 1949 armistice lines,] construction of Separation and Annexation Wall, Gaza siege, Jerusalem, house demolitions and evictions, water resources, environment, political prisoners, etc.)”; “Implement[ing] and disseminat[ing] in depth thematic studies about Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied territories”; “Development of a unified NGO strategy for international advocacy.”
A 2008 NDC document required all member groups to ban all “normalization activities with the occupier [Israel], [both] at the political-security [and] the cultural [and] developmental levels.”
The document went on to call for Israel to be destroyed. No action on the part of any Palestinian entity can be carried out it said, “if it undermines the inalienable Palestinian rights of establishing statehood and the return of refugees to their original homes,” that is, the immigration of millions of foreign-born Arabs to the ruins of Israel.
The “international advocacy” referred to in the document includes lobbying foreign governments and societies to wage economic war against Israel. To this end, for instance, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the French government, uses racist language to demonize Jews and Israel by among other things assaulting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem” and attacking Palestinians who work with Israeli companies.
In 2011, PARC sabotaged a trade delegation in France comprised of Israeli and Gazan farmers organized by Agrexco, Israel’s main exporter of agricultural products. Rather than welcome Israel’s actions on behalf of Gaza farmers, PARC organized a boycott of the delegation – causing direct harm to Gazan farmers.
In its press release following its action, the beneficiary of French government financing wrote, “PARC salutes all activists and international supporters for the BDS campaign [boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)] and especially our French friends and partners who were able to frustrate the Agrexco attempt to conduct a joint press conference with a few exploited Palestinian producers.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but these are not the actions that peaceful groups interested in a non-violent, peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict with Israel undertake. By paying these groups to carry out these sorts of activities, the French government has made clear that far from seeking to advance the cause of peace, its actual goal is to block all prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
These sorts of actions are the norm, rather than the exception in France’s treatment of Israel. And France makes no bones about its hostility toward the Jewish state.
On December 2, 2014, barely a week after two jihadists from Jerusalem butchered like sheep four rabbis in prayer at a synagogue in the city and murdered a policeman who tried to rescue them, the French parliament recognized the non-existent “State of Palestine.”
That Islamic State-styled massacre was part of a larger Islamic terrorism offensive against Jews in Jerusalem that was incited by the leaders of “Palestine.”
Just as it does today, last fall the Palestinian Authority, led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, spread the lie that Israel was planning to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount and called on the Palestinians to attack Jews.
The French government’s policies on the ground in Israel and the PA are a natural complement to its anti-Jewish policies at home.
Whereas France seeks to reward Islamic terrorists on the international stage by helping them to weaken the Jewish state, back home the French government is willing to place its own Jewish community at risk in order to pretend that Islamic terrorism doesn’t exist.
Since Jews are among the top targets for French jihadists, the French government’s policy of refusing to acknowledge or combat Islamic extremism and violence in France is an anti-Jewish policy.
Last January, in the wake of the jihadist massacre at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, which had followed the massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine, French President Francois Hollande refused to acknowledge that the murderous violence was rooted in Islam. To the contrary, Hollande perversely insisted, “These terrorists and fanatics have nothing to do with the Islamic religion.”
In a further act of hostility toward the grieving Jewish community, two days after the massacres Hollande told Netanyahu to stay away from Paris and not participate in his solidarity march with the victims of the attacks.
When Netanyahu insisted on participating in the march anyway, Hollande invited Mahmoud Abbas to participate as well, despite his direct sponsorship of anti-Jewish terrorism.
French authorities tried to push Netanyahu to the second row of marchers to prevent anyone from seeing him. Ahead of the march, they left him exposed, in an unsafe area, where his life was in danger every second, as he waited for a bus to pick him up and take him to the event.
In the evening after the march, Hollande refused to appear with Netanyahu at the memorial ceremony for the victims of the Hyper Cacher massacre. In a tangible snub, Hollande left the synagogue where it was being held before Netanyahu arrived.
In the nine months since the attacks, rather than go after the Islamic communities of France that infect their members with Nazi-like Jew hatred marinated in Koranic dispensations for murder, French authorities have forced French Jewry to live under lock and key. Jewish communal institutions are required to shoulder astronomical security costs as their buildings have come to look more like military garrisons than elementary schools and synagogues.
As a French professor writing under the pen name Alain El-Mouchain explained this month in Mosaic Magazine, the French government’s “refusal to identify either the culprits [of anti-Semitic violence] or their [Jewish] victims by their proper names ... has perversely combined with the swift posting of police and military guards at Jewish institutions to make Jews feel that at best they have become ‘protected citizens’ in their own country, reinforcing the idea that they are no longer at home in France but are rather a new kind of dhimmi [a minority group that lives at the pleasure of the ruling Muslims].”
In rejecting France’s bid to destroy Israel’s sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Netanyahu and his ministers have all noted that such a position will do nothing to protect the Temple Mount or guarantee freedom of religion. Only Israeli control of the holy site, Netanyahu explained, protects members of all faiths.
Again, while their statements are correct, they miss the point. It isn’t that France is doing nothing to ensure freedom of religion. Through its actions, France has shown that it isn’t even vaguely interested in promoting freedom and peace. The policy of the French government, revealed yet again by its bid to end Israeli control of the Temple Mount, is to delegitimize Israel and curry the favor of jihadists at the expense of the Jews of Israel and of France alike. –[End]
Editor’s note: We are indebted to more than one reader who brought this article to our attention as contributing to the desecration of life and property in France being a probable result of that nation’s treatment of the Jewish people – both those within France and, by legal maneuvers, those of Israel as well. <HEL 11O> ~2000 words and photograph. An eTPL Circular Letter. November 20, 2015.
Israel’s Battle Doctrines Altered
Analysis by Harold E. Lafferty
Information culled from DebkaFile reports.
August 18, 2015. This report is issued in order to help readers make some sense of Iran’s newly mounted assault against Israel using proxy forces which it expertly manipulates. We felt that this detailed explanation would assist readers to make better sense of what is currently happening in the hostile territories surrounding the Jewish State.
In light of Iran’s discussions with Syrian Rebels, Israel’s Northern Forces have had to alter their plans for a possible renewal of fighting in the north of Israel. Five new fronts are being discussed among the combat engineers tasked with readiness in this section of the country.
These adjustments in preparedness have become necessary in the face of Iran’s drive to engineer border aggression against Israel across a wide spectrum of possibilities. Israel’s military planners have increased their efforts to get ready for Iran’s new push as “top dog” in the Middle East – a position to which the July 14th nuclear accord of the P5+1 powers with Iran has seemingly propelled the Islamic Republic.
It is significant, we believe, that all the planned aggression is intended to be accomplished by proxies of Iran – not by Iran at first hand. The actual terrorism is intended to be carried out by the factions of the nations “round about” Israel – the Proximal Islamic nations – one of which Iran is not.
Several factors impinge upon the urgency of Israel’s planning. Hezbollah in South Lebanon is already “in Iran’s pocket.” Building on that fact, secret Iranian emissaries have for the first time opened direct talks with Syrian rebels, and Palestinian groups, and are urging them to activate a new South Syrian front against Israel.
It was precisely this looming event that sent Israel’s top generals and ministers on several visits to the Golan and IDF Northern Command headquarters on this date. These officials included Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Gady Eisenkott, all of whom inspected the military forces of Israel which are dispersed along the Golan frontier and the always brittle border of Northern Israel with South Lebanon.
These and other officials were then thoroughly briefed on the IDF forces’ disposition against the perceived threats by OC Northern Command Major General Aviv Kochavi and his leaders of IDF divisions and brigades.
The prime minister, addressing the troops, said, “We are here for a close look at the forces and their disposition,” and are satisfied that “we are ready to face up to any scenario.” He added: “Anyone wishing to harm us, we will harm them.”
The defense minister said Iran was seeking to “inflame the region.”
It was the second time in three days that Israel’s security authorities had specifically mentioned the Jewish State’s military preparedness levels opposite the Syrian Golan and the Lebanese borders.
Six Alarming Events to Come
There are six alarming events which could evolve into new battle fronts, according to Debka’s analysis.
1. In contrast to earlier conduct, Iranian Al Qods Brigades officers serving in Syria are for the first time in dialogue with certain Syrian rebel leaders. This is in contrast to earlier conduct in which Iranian officers have had no contact at all with President Bashar Al-Assad’s enemies. Debka believes that as the Syrian Civil War enters its fifth year, the Iranians realize that the ability of Al-Assad’s army and Hezbollah to pull ahead and win the war is declining rapidly. Therefore in the last couple of weeks, Tehran has seemed to switch course, turning away from the military option to open up highly confidential talks with Syrian rebel groups in search of a political solution for ending the war on a more “honourable” basis. Their thinking is evidently, “Why not employ Syrian rebels to fight Israel?” – an action which would come in addition to making an accord with them.
2. After three long, tortuous years of frustrating efforts to defeat the Syrian rebels, in line with Tehran’s usual tactic of striving to achieve more than one goal at a time, Iran’s move to approach the rebels makes some sense. Iran now is thinking it might enlist these same enemies in order to accomplish two goals that will be useful to both parties. The wily Iranians planners apparently see no reason why the rebels can’t serve a second purpose, namely, the effective displacement of the US and Jordanian emplacements in Southern Syria which was won by Jordan by fostering select Syrian rebel groups’ friendship and cooperation. This goal slipped past Iran in actual combat on the battlefield when the Syrian army and Hezbollah were forced back as late as last year when they strove to (but failed to) push the rebels out of the Golan town of Quenitra and the southern Syrian town of Derna. This defeat frustrated Iran’s plan to establish a Hezbollah missile base on the Syrian frontier with the Golan to face down Israeli military positions opposite them. Now the Iranians want the Syrian rebels to cooperate with them after the long period of confrontation.
3. If the rebels can be won over, Israel and Jordan will be forced to confront a new Iranian-backed belligerent close upon their borders for the first time. Neither of these allies can really depend upon the United States to resist such a move by Iran because President Obama himself was responsible for giving to Iran its new status as “top dog” in the region. Some observers even feel that the Americans are more than likely to lend the Iranians a helping hand, congratulating Iran’s outreach to the Syrian rebels for a diplomatic resolution of the Syrian war, and playing down Tehran’s aggressive designs as a parallel issue.
4. This move would effectively create a newly dangerous Eastern Front, enhancing Iran’s goal of “effacing Israel,” as first revealed by DebkaFile earlier in the week. Intelligence reports reaching Israel in the last month reveal Iranian Al Qods Brigades and Hezbollah officers involved in the creation of a new terrorist network designed to mount mass-terror attacks inside Israel from a new base on the Syrian-Israeli Golan border. This initiative reveals Iran and Hezbollah doling out anit-tank missiles and anit-aircraft missiles to enable their new cadre of terrorists to grab small Israeli locations or even urban districts and hold out against an Israeli tank and/or air attack via helicopter gun-ships. The three radical terrorist movements are, (a) the hard=line rejectionist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command; (b) the Golan-based Syrian Druze group known as Liberators of the Golan, headed by Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze and former PLO member who was responsible for the 1979 Nahariya Outrage in which children were brutally slaughtered in the name of Islam, and (c) the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which is composed of radical Christian terrorists. These well established, extremely violent group, which is run by Syrian Intelligence, conducted the 1982-83 Hezbollah bombing massacres at the US Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut. Israeli intelligence indicates that these fighters have already arrived in the Quenitra vicinity in the Golan.
5. The fifth new factor in the mix is that “the West Bank Palestinian leader, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, appears to have approved the latest Iranian plans.” Reports have surfaced as to the secret presence in Tehran of Abbas’ personal emissary, Jmail Jajdalani, a member of the PLO executive. He dismissed his presence there as an attempt to “break the ice” between Iran and the PLO and discuss exchanging ambassadors between Tehran and Ramallah. In so doing, Abbas is shown to be willing to give Iran its first diplomatic presence on the West Bank as well as accepting a military role. We believe it will be to his undoing. Because arming Palestinians with missiles not only in the Gaza Strip, but on the West Bank, would endanger Israel’s most populous regions and its commercial centers. Thus is Iran feverishly pursuing a program for importing the most vile terrorist groups in history, the forerunners of ISIS, to the Syrian Golan on the very edge of North=eastern Israel. These would enhance the propensity of Hezbollah and Hamas (in Gaza) to “efface” Israel, as phrased by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
6. The sixth alarming event concerns Israel’s response to Iran’s greatly expanded, multi-faceted terrorist offensive against the Jewish State. It is is incomprehensible that Israel would simply wait to be overwhelmed from five diverse groups of forces of Iran’s surrogate forces along its borders – northern, north-eastern and south-western. Just after this communiqué was issued by DebkaFile, several rockets were fired from Syria into northern Israel – a front which has been quite for some time. The rockets ignited fires in kibbutz fields and orchards; a red alert sent Israelis to shelters to spend the night.
Debka concludes its report with the words, “The new terror front engineered by Tehran appears to have gone into action.”
Conclusion: Our view is that these developments are a certain outworking of the overall aggression of Israel by the Proximal Islamic States of Syria/Iraq (now being supplanted by ISIS), Lebanon (Tyre and Sidon of Amos 1:10), Jordan (Moab, Edom and Ammon of Ezekiel 35), Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates,Kuwait, and the lands of the South of Israel, including the Negev and Sinai Peninsula – from the River Nile to the River Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (and possibly the Indian Ocean (?).
They are a minute outworking leading to that end – the utter defeat of all these peoples who illegally inhabit God’s Land – the Holy Land of Israel, whose inheritance shall no longer be divided and torn asunder, but united under the LORD, Jesus Christ, when He comes to establish His everlasting kingdom upon the earth.
<HEL MD/USA; code 8O> ~1700 words. eTPL article, August 30:“Other Items, 2015”
Harold E. Lafferty
August 15, 2015. The vapid and humid dog days of summer are rapidly vanishing toward the refreshingly crisper, shorter, more colorful days of fall, being itself a perfect metaphor for our collective, dwindling time just prior to the Second Advent of the LORD from heaven – the certain end of these present “dog” days, and the beginning of a much more vigorous and more colorful, season of experience, defined by brighter, deeper colors, and by a crisper, more vigorous climate, trending decisively toward the polar opposite to today’s environment of man’s general lack of regard (and indeed,even repudiation) of the things of God.
That rather stilted, ponderous sentence summarizes the thoughts we have recently been having regarding the critical events which we believe we can possibly (and prayerfully) expect before the end of this current year.
We have recently considered what precisely the LORD Jesus meant when He said, regarding the generation of those who beheld the budding of the Fig Tree (the founding of modern Israel on May 14, 1948) – that those who witnessed that shooting forth of the Fig tree – as well as “all the trees” of Luke 21:29, that they represented a generation which should not pass away until all things be fulfilled (verse 32).
The details of Luke 21 contain details of some of the last revelations of the Master to the crowds who came to hear him in the Temple at Jerusalem, immediately prior to His being nailed to the stake of death at Golgotha.
In verse 6 of that chapter, He had foretold the overthrow and destruction of the (so-called) Second Temple (the temple of Herod, which had replaced that of Nehemiah, and as such was actually the Third Temple.)
The ensuing mayhem and dispersion of Judah was then foretold which should initiate and occupy the seemingly interminable age which lay ahead, defined by the Master, in verse 24, as the times of the Gentiles – the utter desolation which came upon His People and His Land during that obdurate age.
Then, Verses 25-27 address the turmoil and uncertainty of the years following the end of “the times of the Gentiles.”
This is the precise period which we have personally experienced since May, 1948 – the clearly-cut, near-seventy year period subsequent to that date, following upon the abrupt end of those specific (Gentile) “times” of dominance over His Land and people.
We have personally concluded that by “this generation” of verse 32, He is indicating a period of 70 years. If this be a correct assumption, that period would come to its conclusion in 2017-2018AD.
Our minds are drawn specifically to His description of the “signs” which should mark those extremely significant “times,” namely these: Luke 21:25 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 …
Some have rebuked those who see His reference to “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” as being literal (that is, as being celestial in nature), because earlier expositors stated that these unequivocally stood for “signs” among the nations and peoples of the earth – not to literal signs in the celestial realm. [One recent exhibition of such a refusal to accept these signs as celestial rather than political, appeared in a current journal two months ago – reprinted from a similar journal of 150 years earlier – spending approximately six pages repudiating any indications in the scriptures of signs as exhibited in the physical heavens, but relegating all such references to signs exhibited as metaphor among the nations and polities of the earth.]
We beg to differ, because of His insertion of the remark that in contrast to these heavenly signs, that in addition, “upon the earth” there should be distress of nations, with perplexity. This concise delineation as being “upon the earth” means that those heavenly “signs” ARE heavenly – celestial in nature – because they are compared and contrasted with conditions upon the earth.
We believe subtle clues such as this must be attended by His dear people in order for His servants more perfectly to understand and profit from His prophecies.
We imply here, among other such signs, the literal importance of the Jewish Tetrads of 1493, 1949, 1967 and the current Tetrad of 2014-2015. We intend to share more comments upon these events further down in this discussion.
Then, in Luke21:28, the Master gets down to the critical meaning of His previous words. He tells them in clear terms …
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
We have remarked on past occasions of the significance of Jesus’ phrase, which only Luke reports – where he references the fig tree, and ALL the trees.
If Israel is symbolized by the fig tree, what means the phrase “all the trees?”
The simplest and most direct deduction is that He is referring to other nations which should arise at approximately the same time as Israel – all of them symbolized as being “trees” of that woodland – as a result of the same action which brought forth the emergence of Fig Tree Israel, the modern nation.
An additional thought is, that the (other) subject trees besides the Fig Tree, would blossom and flourish in the precise territory that should become the future Garden of Eden Restored – the First Dominion of the Kingdom as it is called by the prophet’s words in Micah 4:8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
As alien, or foreign, residents and occupiers of the future core of Christ’s kingdom, these peoples must be characterized as interlopers – as intruders upon the Holy Place of His name.
Does this thinking fit with the facts of history?
Yes, it does – precisely. The times of the Gentiles were set to end precisely at the termination of the last King of the North, which in our studied opinion was the cessation of the Ottoman control over Palestine which was brought about by the British Army under Lord Sir General Edmund Allenby in 1917, with his sudden and remarkable defeat of the armies of the Porte in Palestine in December of that year, subsequently driving the Turk back into Anatolia where he (i.e., the empire, the Desolator) came to his end with none to help (Daniel 11: 45)..
Only after that time – the routing of the Ottomans from the entire Levant, including the Euphrates Valley and territories of the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, etc), Tyre and Sidon, Palestine, Trans Jordan and the Ottoman influence in Arabia and the emergent Gulf States up to that time – ONLY after that time was there opportunity for other “trees” to become established in these now vacant, undesignated, largely uninhabited, mostly desolated, and unassigned areas of habitation.
These “trees” can only be the Islamic countries which were similarly newly established like Israel, which were immediately and artificially established by France and Britain in the vacated territories of the Porte – the new nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, the Gulf Emirates, and others, including Saudi Arabia, Muscat, Oman, and Bahrain – all of which are comprehended in a similar term – the kings of the East, in the well-known designation uttered in Revelation 16:12 And 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.
We rightly recognize these two events as being concurrent, and therefore as being significantly related to each other, thus furthering our understanding and appreciation of the accuracy and the verity of our understanding of them.
Having established the valid comparability of these “trees” and “kings” of that area, we are now confronted with the heavenly “signs” portending the end of human domination of the earth.
As we have extensively noted in past articles, the first three Jewish Tetrads – of a Blood Moon on Passover and Tabernacles of one year followed by the same the following year – which have happened in the years indicated above, have all been closely allied with something that was at first adverse for Israel, but which then turned about and resulted in a great benefit to God’s people.
We believe the same scenario will be further in store for the Jewish State of today.
The nations round about Israel have affirmed time and again their intention to overcome and obliterate Israel of today. If they indeed carry out that threat of invasion, it will at first appear, in human terms, to be a rather dire outlook for Israel, diminutive as Israel is in comparison to the population, wealth, and land areas of its opponents.
One typical statement of these enemies of YHVH is found in Psalm 83:3 They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against Thy hidden ones. 4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against Thee (i.e., against YHVH)… a statement which could have been clipped from Arab threats contemporarily reported on Al Jazerra TV, or printed in The Times of Jordan.
Our hope is that, as the first four festivals of Israel, having been fulfilled literally by active events on those specific dates, so also shall the fall festivals have their literal fulfillment.
Specifically, these spring festivals were …
Passover, fulfilled in the literal crucifixion of Christ on that date (Leviticus 23:5);
Unleavened Bread, fulfilled by His interment on that date (Leviticus 23:6);
Firstfruits, fulfilled by His resurrection on that date (Leviticus 23:10); and
Pentecost, as fulfilled by the limited outpouring of the Spirit gifts on the 50th day (Leviticus 23:16).
These literal fulfillments have long been recognized as significant to the orderly progression of the establishment of God’s Plan in the earth.
Why should the pattern of fulfillment not be further accomplished in the Fall Festivals?
These are …
The Feast of Trumpets (of Blowing of Trumpets – Leviticus 23:24), on 1 Tishri, heralding The Coming King. Another name for this festival is Rosh Hashanah – the head of the year.
The Feast of Yom Kippur (of Atonement – Leviticus 23:27)), on 10 Tishri, heralding The National Day of Atonement, and
The Feast of Tabernacles (of Indwelling – Leviticus 23:34), on 15 Tishri, as signifying God Dwelling with Men, and with Israel specifically, as he is enthroned upon the Throne of David in Mount Zion.
Like the spring festivals, why should not these likewise literally be fulfilled by unique events beginning with the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, resulting in the Resurrection of His covenanted People from the graves and the living societies of the earth – utilizing the Feast of Trumpets as their beginning?
We certainly must recall the direct reference to this Festival in the words of 1Corinthians 15:52 - In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
What means this saying, “the last trump?”
The phrase has a specific meaning to the Jewish people, but one which is altogether overlooked by non-Hebrew speakers.
In the observance of The Feast of Trumpets, a Shophar was sounded – not once, but many times. It was a joyful, exuberant sounding.
The instruction for this festival is found in Leviticus 23:23 - And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
Firstly, even if the first day of the seventh month should fall on a day other than the physical Sabbath (the seventh day of the week), it is always considered to be a Sabbath – and is observed as any other normal Sabbath day. It is possible in the Hebrew calendar to have as many as four “Sabbath days” in a two week period because of this special provision.
The words “ye shall have a Sabbath” indicate the necessity for the priests to designate these special days AS Sabbath days even though they were not, strictly speaking, the seventh day of the week.
Secondly, a memorial of blowing of trumpets was not merely the sounding of a trumpet once and done on that day. That observance involved a multiple blowing of the Shofar in a pre-set protocol which had been revealed to them as being necessary. Although not specifically spelled out in scripture, we understand that the practice of the blowing of trumpets on this day followed this protocol:
The procedure was as follows: The Shofar on this day is blown an hundred times in this sequence, as described by Mark Biltz in his book, Blood Moons [WND Books, distr. By Midpoint Trade books, New York, 2014] p. 67 … “On the Feast of Trumpets, the shofar, or trumpet, is blown one hundred times. Three sounds are made with the trumpet: Tekiah is one long, straight blast; Shevarim is three shorter blasts. Teruah is nine quick blasts in short succession. The one hundredth blast on the Feast of Trumpets is known as ‘the last trump.’”
Where in scripture do we encounter this exact phrase?
It is known by perhaps every reader, that it is in Paul’s words given in 1Corinthians 15:51 - … we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Therefore, the certain designation of this Festival is that of the Resurrection of the Dead in Christ from all past ages, and the assembly of the living saints from all societies of this day.
Following that operation, these are judged as to their individual fitness to enter and serve eternally in the Kingdom; multitudes of them are immortalized, soon visibly to appear with Him in the earth to clear His Land of all the intruders and oppressors of the nations round about Israel of today, thus cleansing the Land, freeing His people from oppression, and preparing them and their Land for their imminent progression into the Kingdom Age.
Although we shall not discuss the details of the last two festivals at this time, we can easily envision how that the national Atonement of Israel follows His visible appearance with the Saints as they physically clear from the Land the intruders, followed by Israel’s national acceptance of Him as Messiah and Saviour, and His consequent Dwelling with them in Zion.
We believe that if this sequence is indeed indicated, that this terminal event –the Feast of Trumpets will be triggered by the last and final, serious warlike threat of the nations that are round about Israel, necessitating the appearance of the Christ to save His people from an overpowering threat from them. Psalm 89:19-23; Isaiah 11:11-16; Zephaniah 3:19; Zechariah 9:16; Romans 11:25-27. Further, we expect this Second Advent to occur on some future day of The Feast of Trumpets – exactly which future one we cannot say (but our fervent hope is that it is the one upcoming in early September, 2015).
The end-point of this process will be the Tabernacling of God with men in the Kingdom Age, bringing into vivid reality that wonderful promise recorded in Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Our earnest expectation of these final, curtain-drawing events of the Age of Man, gives us a magnificent confidence in the sovereignty of our LORD, Who is coming to bring about these wondrous events of the ages. <HEL MD/USA, 8O> ~2800 words. An eTPL insertion: Other Items, August 15, 2015.
Governor Scott Walker Won’t Answer
But We Will!
July 19, 2015. Quoted in Glenn Beck’s daily blog, The Blaze, Dave Urbansky makes this statement: “Scott Walker Is Asked If Being Gay Is a Choice. Here’s How He Responds ...”
Mr. Urbansky wrote: “Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker was asked in an interview by CNN’s Dana Bash if being gay is a choice.
“At first Walker didn’t appear to want to answer the question.
“’That’s not even an issue for me to be involved in,’ Walker said during the ‘State of the Union’ segment Sunday. ‘The bottom line is, I’m going to stand up and work hard for every American regardless of who they are, no matter where they come from, no matter their background … no matter whether they vote for me or not.’
“But Bash pressed, and then Wisconsin’s governor said he doesn’t know.
“’I don’t have an opinion on every single issue out there,’ Walker said. ‘I mean to me that’s — I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question. So I’m saying, from an opinion standpoint, I don’t know what the answer to that is. And I’m going to spend my time focused on things that I do know and what I can work on.’
“Bash’s question on whether being (homosexual) is a choice came after a back-and-forth on gay Boy Scout leaders, which Walker seemed reluctant to comment on. He noted, however, that ‘one thing that people (find) unique, I guess, whether you like it or not, is I actually answer questions.’
“To which Bash replied, ‘But you’re not answering this one.’” [End of blog.]
This sort of equivocation by Mr. Scott Walker comes from an intense desire to be elected President of the United States, and is understandable coming from a politician seeking such an office.
But we are not reluctant to speak out on this issue: Is Being “Gay” a Choice?
It seems to be a burning question in the minds of all the media talking heads these days, and a pervasive social issue of today perhaps more than at any time in history.
But the answer is easy … and readily available.
The catch is, to receive the verified answer (Yes, it IS a choice) is to admit credence in the words of scripture – a concept far removed from most modern politicians, with a few notable exceptions such as perhaps Mike Huckabee and a few others.
What is the verifiable answer?
It is recorded in the Law given by the LORD to Moses at Mount Sinai. The portion of that law relevant to this issue is found in Leviticus 20, where homosexuality and bestiality are both addressed in the same distinct, straightforward language of condemnation.
The instructions recorded there are unmistakably clear; they cannot be contravened nor denied. The quotations are:
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them…. And Leviticus 20:15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
To be “put to death” was to be stoned until death came. It is a practice of some in Islam today, and is decried by nearly all “civilized” Westerners as barbaric.
But it was God’s Law, and as practiced in ancient time under His authority, cannot be so labelled.
We are not recommending stoning as a solution today, but reform for those whose proclivities are homosexual and/or lesbian.
Many will object to this view of the problem and its solution. They may claim that the Law was done away in the death of Jesus (true) and that it no longer is in force (true).
But such an one insensibly fails to realize that the Law of Moses was God’s standard of righteousness for all time. Yes, it was an unattainable standard of conduct for the most part; only one Man lived as the Law dictated without committing any personal sins – and He died an horrible death for His “trouble.”
The legal position of the Law is an entirely valid and comprehensible view of the evils it warned against – including the sin of homosexuality. Although unattainable as to perfect practice, the tenets of God’s Law were placed before Israel as God’s standard of righteousness in order to show Israel a clear view of the nature of sin.
Paul divinely addresses this very subject in his words of Romans 7:7 - What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
We can inspect and understand the points of the Law related to
· this vile practice of sodomy as compared to
· the disease of leprosy, for example.
The vile practice IS A CHOICE; the disease is NOT A CHOICE but an involuntary affliction of the human condition.
Yet how does God’s holy Law regard these two opposite conditions?
Some rudimentary research in God’s word will reveal two entirely opposite means of treating persons exhibiting these two conditions – homosexuality and leprosy.
The record is entirely clear, that the first manifestation (homosexuality) is a result of one’s own volition – a choice; and that the second manifestation (leprosy) is a contracted disease, and not a choice at all.
The stated nd mandated treatment of individuals stricken with either condition was entirely opposite from the other – the difference is God’s Judgment upon one, compared to His Compassion upon the other.
We say the conditions are “opposite” advisedly, because if homosexuality is NOT a choice, then it is the result of an inborn trait which cannot be avoided and IS in such a case, NOT A CHOICE (a strong claim of some, to be sure) and must be considered a disease.
It is still a bit different from leprosy, which is not strictly a congenital, inherited trait, but a bacterial disease, the modern form of which we call Hanson’s disease. In Leviticus 13 we find a remarkably comprehensive dissertation on dermatological diseases, including leprosy.
The treatment for leprosy is found in Leviticus 13:46 - All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.
That is to say, the leprous patient was isolated from the general population, and in some measure provided for by that population. Leprosy is caused by the victim becoming physically infected by Mycobacterium leprae – a rod-shaped bacterium similar to Mycobacterium tuberculosis – the causative agent of tuberculosis.
Although it is thought to be spread mostly by droplets of saliva and contact with mucous membranes of an infected patient over a long period of time (the incubation period is up to five years), there is a familial, inherited factor as well.
It may be that a person’s genes dictate some susceptibility to leprosy.
Such is not the case in homosexuality. The practice is entirely voluntary; it has never been proven to be familial, or inherited in any sense, in which case it is entirely volitional.
So persons who are homosexual are such by their own choice – an act which is clearly abhorred by the Almighty, Who prescribed death by stoning for such as do those things, which can only be termed SIN, or TRANSGRESSION – both of which are terms not frequently utilized or even recognized by people today.
The true Believers must be different from these contemporaries; in the words of the LORD Jesus, in Revelation 18:4 - And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
We realize full well that our position on homosexuality is not popular – nor even acceptable to the “politically correct” pundits of today’s society. Indeed, in some countries today, such an expression is regarded as breaking the law! Yes ... our position goes against the practice of homosexuality, which today even infects some who profess to be in The Household of Faith.
But we care not for the judgments of the world’s ignorant masses, to whom Paul referred in the very context of this present discussion, in the 1st of Romans, the concluding phrases of which are profitable to consider here, and which read as follows:
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature (themselves – their own flesh) more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
We fervently hope that Scott Walker, now Governor of Wisconsin, and presidential hopeful, will live into the age of the near future when the overarching Master of the Universe of that day will bring forward and establish the definitive recognition, and enforce the just retribution, upon those who at the present time are not sufficiently informed as to the forbidden practice of homosexuality. <HEL 7O> ~1800 words. An eTPL Circular Letter: August 11, 2015.
An “Alarming” Advance of ISIS in Syria and Iraq
Making Sense of the Calamity of Syria and Iraq
Harold E. Lafferty
Amid refusals by the US administration to admit that the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS) is making significant gains, the major Mid-East news services this week summarized the last fifteen days’ activities in these words, “The fall of Damascus and Baghdad, or large slices thereof, into the rapacious hands of the Islamic State, is no longer a debatable subject of strategic forecasts. Today, the capital cities of Syria and Iraq are within the Islamists' grasp.”
Most responsible observers see this development as a failure of the “single-minded obsession” of the US administration with Tehran, and a nuclear accord with Iran, which goes nearly without saying, is an utterly failed approach to some sort of settlement of the crisis there evident.
How can the US administration fail to perceive this present danger? Its failure to do so seems almost a divine diversion of their sensibility to these present circumstances!
As intense, concentrated observers and students of God’s word as revealed through the prophets, we take the ISIS-crisis at its plain-faced value as the mid-course attempt by this rabid Islamist band to evolve itself into the ancient entity of Assyria, in bald-faced fulfillment of the prophecies of Micah 5 and 7.
To refuse to perceive this readily apparent effort is to ignore one of the foundational principles of end-time Bible prophecy, and to look the other way (toward the intrigue of Russia in Ukraine, for example) while the most important fulfillments of prophecy take place openly and obviously.
We are appalled that some of the students who should readily recognize the danger of ISIS – scholars/writers on current events within our community – are completely ignoring the “Arab challenge” to Israel, and wasting endless pages of journal commentary on the boring, mundane, and largely meaningless attempt of Russia to gain control of Ukraine and other East European territories that were formerly members of the Soviet bloc.
As Hillary Clinton once said about a completely different affair, “What difference does all that make now?”
Our humble opinion is that it makes NO difference, and adds little to our understanding of current events which are most eminent – fulfillment of major prophecies which are at our doors.
These ancillary, integral affairs might be mildly important for future times, but are not critical to our understanding of present day affairs – events which are leading up to the imminent physical return of the LORD Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the gathering of the living covenanted ones with them to the site of Judgment and Redemption.
To our mind, this ignorance of the eminent affairs of the Mid-East is cognate to one’s understanding of, and preparation for, that great day. To set these current affairs aside is to mis-construe God’s end-time plan and purpose – arrangements which lead inevitably to that condition accounted by Obadiah 1:21 - And Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
That is to say, The King of the Kingdom shall have arrived back on the earth, and assumed His Kingdom!
Scholars who are not even aware that Obadiah’s prophecy, and many others integral to it, will be fulfilled well BEFORE the attack on Christ’s kingdom by the Gogian/Russian/Islamic host of Ezekiel 38 and 39, are due for a surprising (to them) turn of events, the maturation of which we are seeing in today’s news reports.
Washington also has consistently played down and even dismissed ISIS as a formidable enemy, and has contended that the slightly more than meager, US-led “coalition” air campaign has destroyed much of ISIS’ operational capability.
This evaluation is evidently an illusion of the grossest proportions as one is consistently informed of alarming, rapid ISIS advances on many important fronts toward its goal of Iraq/Syrian dominance.
Most knowledgeable observers regard Barack Obama’s trust in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (and its terrorist arm, the Al Qods Brigades) to curb the Islamist momentum, to be an utter fallacy.
Iran itself is the epitome of Islamist momentum. But its resistance to ISIS, though expected by many, has been relatively minor.
Iran has engaged ISIS on only one apparent occasion; in March, a cluster of Iraqi Shiite militias (aligned with Iran, of course, and commanded by Al Qods chief General Soleimani) managed to sieze a portion of the Iraqi town of Tikrit from the Islamist group.
But Iran has engaged ISIS on no other occasion in Iraq as far as is known. After that move, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei showed his sectarian colors by pulling back from such moves. He had decided instead, as the news services reported, that “the battlefield was not Iran's forte, but rather subversion, clandestine warfare and limited support for local Shiite surrogates.”
Iran’s focus shifted to Yemen and greater support of the Houthi rebellion as its vehicle against the West, and Sunni Islam. Although a smaller arena, it (Yemen) is as strategically valuable to Iran as are Iraq and Syria, for it commands foreign access to the important Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb to world shipping traffic.
Another salient fact is that Khamenei realized that the US president has little appetite for fighting Islamic State, and that Tehran would be better advised to save the Iranian army and the Revolutionary Guards forces for defending its borders against potential future ISIS assaults from neighboring Iraq, rather than wearing them down in Iraq and Syria. He would not risk the fragile and entirely marginal Iranian air force in the face of the US’s weak effort to combat ISIS from the air.
America appears to have no clue as to how to approach the troublesome conflict – or how to stifle ISIS advances within Iraq and Syria. Thus it denies that the emperor has no clothes.
The effect seems to have been to have nudged Washington into a specious plan to arm Iraqis of both Sunni and Shi’ite persuasion who are said to be ready and willing to defend Baghdad – an action which seems certain to feed fuel to the sectarian fires of the area, or even to assist the advance of ISIS toward an offensive to seize Baghdad!
It appears that ISIS has held back until now from a positive offensive to capture Baghdad for several tactical reasons. One of the most important reasons is that a city as large as Baghdad is yet a bit too large for the Islamists to swallow, to hold and to administer. A better tactical choice seems to them to be to hold the city under siege – and under constant terrorist harassment.
All this comes in the face of the absence of any sensible explanation from the US Central Command as to its part in any of these conflicts. Some opine that its almost invisible profile in the fighting is due to its preoccupation “in preparing a grand campaign” for the recovery of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which recently came under ISIS” control and rulership.
To many, this plan appears to be a pipe dream, as ISIS has literally given rise to a Middle East earthquake of sorts, after capturing Ramadi in Iraq, and Palmyra in Syria in a matter of a few days, causing intense alarm not only in Amman, but in Jerusalem and Riyadh – additional capitals which are now forced to conclude “that their borders are in danger - not just from Iran, but also from ISIS, and (that) they will have to confront these perils on their own.”
Further adding to the dilemma of Western powers, ISIS forces (just last week) seized the last of the border crossing gateways between the former territories of Syria and Iraq which was being held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, as reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
This seizure of the last vital connection between the two official governments is a great advance for ISIS – a boon which allows it more effectively to transfer its resources and supplies between its forces in both countries; it also illustrates clearly that ISIS is continuing to solidify and deepen its hold on Syria’s Iranian-backed government.
The same Syrian agency (the Observatory) now estimates that ISIS controls "more than 95,000 sq km (36,679 sq miles)" in Syria, which constitutes no less than half of the country's entire territory.
But contrary to US admissions, in neighboring Iraq, ISIS forces have been aggressively conquering more new ground as well, as evidenced by the fall of Ramadi in Anbar Province on Sunday two weeks ago, after only a three-day assault.
Our Scriptural “Take” on these Observations
Because of the immediate threat to God’s people, the Jewish citizens of Israel, and as an important geophysical event of the end-time, we are forced seriously and maturely to consider these important events of modern history and their relationship to Bible prophecy.
Our impression of all the above is that the Islamic State is moving forward aggressively in a completely unrealized (unrealized by themselves) initiative at fulfilling the prophecies of Micah 5 and Micah 7:12, which manifestly tell of the latter-day assault of “Assyria” upon God’s people, and their deliverance by that Man patently prophesied in Micah 5:2 - But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting …. 5 And this Man shall be the peace (i. e., bring peace by conquest), when the Assyrian shall come into our land:
Having been recorded by the prophet some 500 years prior to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, this prophecy serves two important functions for us in the end-time:
a. It foretells precisely the place of Jesus’ birth – Bethlehem of Judah, and
b. It forecasts the key part that He will play at the time in the distant future when “Israel” is again re-constituted a nation, and is in danger from “Assyria,” a term which Micah was forced to utilize, because in his day there was no “Syria” and “Iraq,” both of which are modern terms for the principal territories of “Assyria” of Micah’s day.
c. In addition, it surely foretells the re-assertion of an immensely strong force from the ancient lands of Assyria by modern-day armies, forming themselves for the expressed purpose as that of Assyria of old – to overrun and conquer Israel, and to take its lands.
As such, the prophecy of Micah is remarkably reflective of the importance of ISIS of our day. The record of this prophecy helps the modern day believer make complete sense of the main feature of today’s marquis item on the world stage of conflict – and reveals to the faithful Believer just how remarkably accurate and prescient is the word of the LORD as revealed through His servants the prophets.
The prophetic record also reinforces just how graciously informative (and faith-generating) His words must impact us in this precise time in history – for they would make little sense to any believers previous to the last three years of history; how wonderful that we have been privileged to see with our own eyes the development of the Islamic State, and to have heard its claims to be a bona-fide Islamic Caliphate with its goal to consolidate itself in the territories of today’s Syria and Iraq (ancient Assyria) and specifically to be tasking itself to move southward into the Holy Land, to “liberate” it from Jewish rule, bulldozing Israel into the sea, and giving the land to the “Palestinians.”
It is a scenario which is impossible for them to achieve.
We know this to be true because the Word of the LORD is great and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, to perform His work and His will among men, much to the chagrin and disappointment of His enemies both near and far! For His dreadful and deadly intentions are clearly stated in the last verse of Micah 5: And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. Micah 5:15
<HEL 6O> 2050 words. An eTPL Circular Letter, June 4, 2015.
Making Some Sense of the Arab Winter
Commentary by Harold E. Lafferty
As students of Bible prophecy, the Middle East is our chief area of interest. The morass of troubles there at this moment is intensely interesting, and bears heavily upon the fulfilment of prophecy as we see it. The reason for our concern is that ALL the nations round about Israel are antagonistic to God's people and their "intrusion" into "their" lands. That assertion is a mis-conception as we know, but not so in the Islamic minds of those striving to displace and destroy Israel.
The entire process is so complex it is difficult to comprehend for the casual reader; so we should try to make some sense of where things are going.
We are assured by God's word that the aggression of Islam against Israel shall not be successful.
The reckless chaos that we behold in all the Middle East attests to that, as well as the sure word of prophecy.
But a current review is in order. It has been prompted by an article in PJ Media by Jonathan Spyer, dated April 15, 2015, entitled "Post 'Arab Spring,' the Middle East in Chaos."
Mr. Spyer's initial statement got our attention: that the Middle East "is about to be devoured by the mullahs of Iran." Further, he says, "In a process of profound importance, five Arab states in the Middle East have effectively ceased to exist over the last decade. The five states in question are Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya. It is possible that more will follow."
We do agree with that last sentence. We should firmly state that ALL shall follow these five into oblivion; but not in the manner in which secular commentators believe. The scriptures of YHVH are clear as to their final ends as well as to the manner of their demise.
It is not a pretty picture.
But to continue this current review, the author analyzes the milieu quite accurately.
He writes that the causes of their disappearance are not all the same. "In two cases (Iraq, Libya) it was western military intervention which began the process of collapse. In another case (Lebanon) it is intervention from a Middle Eastern state (Iran) which is at the root of the definitive hollowing out of the state. "But in all these cases, the result has been remarkably similar — it is the ceding of power from strong central authorities to a variety of political-military organizations, usually but not always organized around a shared sectarian or ethnic origin. The Middle East today is overshadowed by this process. We are living in the time of the militias.
Militias are localized armed groups who usually exhibit their own agenda of self-importance. We now review these as best we can.
Syria, the clearest-cut case, is now actually separated into various ethnic and sectarian enclaves. These are a limited (Shi'ite) area ruled by Bashar al-Assad in the south and west, around Damascus; another is dominated by the Sunni jihadi Islamic State in the east; there are three non-contiguous Kurdish enclaves across the north of Syria; and an area under the control of al-Qaeda and its allies in the northwest; there is also a small area in the southwest of Syria held jointly by al-Qaeda and a variety of other Sunni Arab militias supported by the west. These latter forces are weak and ineffective - and their loyalties are scattered.
Mr. Spyer's article points out that, "The important point to note here is that the area controlled by Assad (around 40% of the total area of Syria) does not essentially differ in its militia-nature from the other areas."
In other words, the Syrian president has survived because he is tightly aligned with THE FORCE best designed successfully to exploit the breakup of Arab states and the emergence of militias seeking to impose their authority on the ruins of (every) state. That force, he says, is Iran - and more specifically the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with its Qods Force.
So just what is the Qods Force?
It is a shadowy group which is said to exist for the singular purpose of building proxy paramilitary organizations (militias) to serve the IRANIAN regional interests of every area where it operates. It gives Assad an enormous advantage and great staying power, if successful.
But in the process it removes Assad from being "president" of Syria and reduces him to the identity of a warlord/militia chieftain in his limited enclave. Although Assad identifies with the Shia branch of Islam, his army is Sunni; that army became largely useless to him about four years ago. That happened when the IRGC intruded into Syrian affairs and created for Assad one of its own preferred force types. This resultant militia, the National Defense Force, along with with other Iranian-created or-sponsored militia forces from neighboring Iraq and Lebanon are the "props" which support Assad in his current role.
Moving now to Iraq - this country is today separated into three areas, a Kurdish north, an area in the center controlled by Sunni jihadis (ISIS, or Islamic State) and a Shia area in the south. Again, the Shia south, which is still seen in the west as the "legitimate" government of Iraq, is in fact an area in which Shia militias are the key element, operating freely and acting according to their own will. Often, this will is the product of the desires of the Qods Force, and its commander General Qassem Suleimani.
In Lebanon, in a notably different process, an Iran-created militia, Hezbollah, acquired the dominant role in the area once ruled by the state, because the state was a hollow construct long competed over by rival sectarian militias; and came about because Iranian and Syrian support enabled Hezbollah to acquire a level of strength which no other home-grown political-military force could match. It may well be that this is now changing, as al-Qaeda associated Sunni militias enter the arena.
In Yemen, where the state and central government was also weak, the Iranian supported militia. Ansar Allah (the "Houthis") seized the capital in January, 2015. Sunni elements in the south, including one of the strongest franchises of al-Qaeda (again, this is ISIS), are fighting against them. A mobilization of Arab air and sea power is underway to prevent Iran's proxies from seizing the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. Control of this vital waterway, between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, would tilt the regional balance yet further in Iran's favor.
The Iranians, because of their matchless IRGC, are best equipped to make gains from this chaos.
Finally, in Libya, the western destruction of the Gadaffi regime has led to the splitting of the country between two rival governments — one supported by the Egyptians in Tobruk, another backed by Islamist militias in Tripoli, here lately identified as cohorts of ISIS.
These five Arab states are effectively no longer in existence. In all, militia power has replaced ordered government.
Here is Mr. Spyer’s summary statement about all these conflicts: he asks ...
“What does all this mean for the region?
“It means that a huge chunk of the long mis-governed Middle East has exchanged an age of despotic torpor for an age of chaos. The Iranians, because of their matchless IRGC, are best equipped to make gains from this.
“But nowhere (with the partial exception of tiny Lebanon) have the Iranians yet succeeded in keeping a country united under the control of their local proxy. This is not a story of an unstoppable Iranian advance, like a juggernaut, across the region. Their successes are notable, but partial in each area of operation. Sunni and Kurdish forces prevent their complete victory and are likely to continue to do so.
“Where will all this end — what will the landscape look like when the storm passes? Impossible to say. But it may be said with certainty that the shadow of the gunmen is today hanging over the Middle East, all the way from the Iraq–Iran border to the Mediterranean coast and from the Gulf of Aden to Libya.”
These facts bring our understanding quite up-to-date on the current flux of the Middle East. The chaos that has come especially to those five areas of Islam, excluding Iran and Libya, is immediately to be considered as critical; but both these latter powers are grouped with the Gogian host of Ezekiel 38 and 39 – a conflict which is not difficult to comprehend – but which will concern the world of tomorrow intensively.
The drastic changes seen in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are of more critical concern. Their development toward the identity of “Assyria” is striking, and surely will bring the prophesied conclusion as predicted in Micah 5 and 7, which are so closely allied to the prophecies of Obadiah, Isaiah 11, Ezekiel 35, Psalm 83, and other specific, targeted writings which bear so directly upon the Second Coming of Christ and the overthrow of all the enemies of Israel between the Nile and the Euphrates, and the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Students will wish to keep a close watch upon all these affairs of state, following with wonder the precision with which the word of God comes to fulfilment. Such a process surely generates an increment of faith equal to few other efforts (cf. Mark 13: 29; Luke 21: 28, 31; but especially John 13:19 - Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.)
We realize that the complex issues of the Middle East are daunting to some – and is the reason that we strive often to comment upon them, striving to make sense of their significance to the lover of God’s word.
<HEL 4O> ~1650 words. Posted in “Other Items” on eTPL web site.
The Full Solar Eclipse of March 20th, 2015
Harold E. Lafferty
Washington DC, March 17, 2015. The Israeli election is scheduled for today in Eretz Israel. Always an important event among the nations, and especially in Israel, we observe this event closely, but due to the structure of Israeli parliamentary affairs, we may not know who has been successfully elected for some weeks.
When the present prime minister was elected a few years ago, he came in second in the polled votes. But he was successful in setting up a coalition among Israel’s eleven political parties, and became prime minister.
Our conviction is that our Father sets up over the kingdoms of men – and especially over Israel – whomsoever He will, as the Almighty instructed Nebuchadnezzar so long ago. Daniel 4:17. For this reason – not having any notion of His choice – we are apolitical (although we do like to discuss it!).
But another momentous event is also about to occur.
As of this moment, the full solar eclipse of March 20th is about three days away. As we have stated in previous articles, we believe that this “sign in the sun and the moon” may be fulfillment of that signal phenomenon referred to in Joel 3:15 - The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
The reason for our concentrated attention upon this eclipse is that the events of Joel three, where this is recorded, are directly and exclusively conjoined to the conflicts of Israel with its proximal neighbors of this day – a dispute which is unique to our present time, and became possible only after Israel re-attained statehood (1948), phrased by the inspired Prophet Joel as being … in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 3:1).
Of all God’s servants of every age, we of this day are most blessed to have observed this great sign of the budding fig tree, itself indicative of the extreme proximity of Jesus’ return to the earth. Luke 21:29.
And beside this, we are fortunate to have what we believe is substantial spiritual insight into the events portrayed by Joel’s prophecy.
Having said this, we are not predicting that the Return of Jesus must be concurrent with, or even in close proximity to these heavenly signs; but we are praying that this shall come about, and that our expectations are not misplaced.
The events of this narrative in Joel concern not only the restoration of Judah’s captive people to their homeland, but also their exoneration and elevation among the nations of the earth, beginning with the complete obliteration of the nations (the heathen) round about her – or in close proximity to her borders.
The cry of the Almighty is (Joel 3:12): Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen (nations) round about.
In several previous articles we believe we have satisfactorily proven that the Valley of Jehoshaphat is a symbolic venue, not a physical one, because the conflicts indicated in this text and others that correlate with it, pictures a massive, widespread slaughter of the nations’ armies and peoples who lie about Jerusalem and Israel like the hordes of Sennacherib lay in the valleys about Jerusalem – like flies buzzing about a body about to become a cadaver.
This great multitude cannot be destroyed in a limited space or in a single location.
The savage conflict shall range, as previously documented, from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.
In our studied opinion, this is the idealized Valley of Jehoshaphat (cf., II Chronicles 20 – the Valley called Berechah[i] or blessing) – also called the Valley of Decision – in which the enemies of the returned Christ, His immortalized Saints, and the Israel Defense Force shall bring to an abrupt end this long-standing international challenge to the authority and sovereignty of the Almighty.
We may be absolutely certain of this outcome by reading the testimony of Obadiah, as one example:
Obadiah 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
How may we be certain that these immediate enemies are indicated?
We may be certain because much of their constituent host, including Tyre and Sidon as well as Egypt and Edom (the sons of Esau) are specifically named as to location by Obadiah in the next two verses. The specific places named are precisely the present habitat of the PLO, of Hamas, of Hezbollah, and of the Palestinian Authority of today – only one grouping of Israel’s specific enemies – all of whom intensely covet the territory of Israel, and have said they will not settle for only a portion of it.
In addition, we may be assured that this is manifestly the TIME and the SEASON of the Second Advent, by the assurance of the last verse: Obadiah 1:22: And Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
That cannot be the case aside from the personal return of the LORD from heaven with the mission to carry out His battle plans.
Solar Eclipses as Indicative of Gentile Events
Solar eclipses – especially those in conjunction with special Jewish festivals – are thought to be indicative of Gentile changes of geopolitical importance.
The colossal, comprehensive defeat of all the hostiles of the Levant now arrayed against Israel certainly would fill that requirement – especially if it occurred in conjunction with the beneficial achievements on behalf of God’s people.
The full solar eclipse of March 20th will occur on 29 Adar (the next day will be I Nissan, the opening day of the Jewish Civil Year), will come 14 days before the Blood Moon of Passover, and will accomplish two things:
· It will completely darken the sun, due to the interposition of the moon between the earth and the sun, the moon being displayed in silhouette to the earth’s peoples, and …
· It will result in the complete darkening of the moon as well, because the moon’s “light” is actually only reflected sunlight, all of which at that particular time will be falling on the reverse side of the moon, and therefore will not be being reflected to the earth and its peoples.
The partial solar eclipse which will occur on September 13th will be 29 Elul; the next day will be I Tishri, or Rosh Hoshana (the Feast of Trumpets), the beginning of the Jewish Religious year. It will come 14 days before the Blood Moon of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. This eclipse will only partially darken the sun, and will also not reflect any sunlight to the earth from the moon (a dark moon), which will be in near total silhouette, as the sunlight will be falling on the other side of the moon.
Its Relationship to the Blood Moon of April 4th
Such is the solar eclipse – a phenomenon that is the exact reverse of a “blood moon” eclipse, which will follow these on the Feast of Passover, 14 Adar (April 4th ) and on the Feast of Tabernacles, 15 Tishrei (September 28th).
The approaching total lunar eclipse – the Blood Moon – of the evening of April 4th shall most likely relate to a vastly important occurrence in Israel and among its people.
We must caution that that event may not occur on that day … but should be clearly relatable to it.
Our fervent hope is that it shall be of such immensity as to change the course of history, and at the same time, be deemed nearly impossible to overlook in the rational, fleshly minds of men (if it is observable at all by them – see discussion below).
Mankind in general knows (and cares) nothing for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth. It is an event that is totally foreign to his hope or expectation; he realizes not its worth or benefit to his general society, or to his world. He cannot conceive that such a benefit is greatly needed by his race, nor can he visualize the infinite results that it shall achieve.
His hope, unlike our hope, is not that of Israel, and not the concrete intent of its coming King.
We have stated above that, “The approaching total lunar eclipse – the Blood Moon – of the evening of April 4th shall most likely relate to a vastly important occurrence in Israel and among its people.” Lunar eclipses are believed by many scholars to be especially relevant to Israel specifically.
A Jewish Tetrad – consisting of four blood moons in two successive years on Passover and Tabernacles – is especially notable.
The prosecution of the coming War of the Liberation of Israel from its enemies by the Christ of the Second Advent would certainly fill that requirement, effectively ending all credible opposition to His People and their State from the nations round about Israel.
But there is another major factor which in our thinking shall precede this War of Liberation.
If we interpret the prophets correctly – that the Christ is to return WITH His immortalized Saints to engage openly in this bloody conflict – it is necessary for those covenanted ones to be gathered to Him prior to that War.
The student of God’s word must realize that the resurrection of the dead who were believers, and the collection of the living believers, shall occur prior to His being able to bring the immortalized ones with Himself to the fray.
The appearance of Jesus with His Saints on behalf of Israel will fulfill the prophecy that His Second Coming will be as lightning.
Two records of this event are found in Matthew 24:27 - 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 … and in Luke 17:24 - For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
We believe His initial appearance upon the earth shall be earlier than this time, and for the entirely different purpose of resurrecting the dead and gathering the living believers – marshaling them to His Judgment Seat (Bema) where they are adjudged as to their lives of service to Him. That affair has nothing to do with world affairs, and is not a credible concern of the nations.
Our conception of it is that this operation shall be completely silent and unobtrusive to the world.
The description of the snatching away (the Latinized word is “rapture”) of living believers as described in Matthew 24:40,41 seems to be that of the harvesting angels unobtrusively taking out of the living population those who are marked by the blood of the covenant, and who are thus subject to the approaching Judgment of their Master.
But there is at least one other depiction of His coming which must be commented upon.
1Corinthians 15:51 - Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (i.e., not be in the death state), but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Question: if a trumpet (a Shofar) shall sound, should it not be heard by the general population?
We believe not.
That Shofar is being sounded to alert the living believers, and to awaken the dead in Christ; it does not impinge upon the world in any significant way.
So it may be heard only by the dead in Christ, and by the covenanted ones who are still living. It announces that the gathering angels have come for their charges, in order to accompany them to the place of Judgment, wherever that may be in all the earth – to that secreted, clandestine chamber where the blood-marked saints of God must gather for their final assize before the Master.
We may not conjecture as to how long this sober appearance before Him shall go on. Past estimations have been as long as forty years. We believe that not possible, and certainly not necessary.
The “twinkling of an eye” does not require forty years – or even forty days; even forty seconds is probably an excessive length of time for the process.
We believe it shall be instantaneous – this decision by the Master as to the worthiness of His adherents – for their record is already completely inscribed at that time, and cannot be altered nor further atoned for. Confession shall already have been made if it is forthcoming, and forgiveness given; or shall already have been omitted if that dread condition has overcome His brother or sister.
That process of the covering (atonement) of our sin has already been accomplished in His death on the stake at Golgotha, given that we have committed our lives and faithfulness to Him.
The necessity at that time, of those so assembled is to depend upon the Master’s compassion for each of those who are gathered before Him.
We must assert our firm conviction that this quality of the returned Jesus Christ shall be abundantly dispensed among His people, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Let His brethren take heart and be joyful; for he has already told us of His intention, in the image that He personally related to us in Matthew 7:11 - If ye then, being evil (i.e., still in the flesh), know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Only the final decision remains to be pronounced, “in the twinkling of an eye,” or instantaneously.
Having been accomplished, the wonderfully assuring text of Revelation 19 comes into reality for all those present who are approved and awarded immortality at that time. The approved sing forth as … the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Truly, blessed are they who are called at that sublime time to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (verse 9).
Is it possible that we have finally come to this long-awaited juncture in our sojourn while still living? That we have arrived at that time of which all of us have dreamed? That the terminal point of our probationary lives shall have been reached?
We are certain that the promised time is destined to come at some certain point in the near future.
Considering the desperate state of affairs of the world, and the immensely fortuitous, and scripturally relevant indications of these unique heavenly signs, what better time than this?
We are aware that no man knows the day or the hour of His coming. But the “times and seasons” of His coming, which He expects His people to recognize, are now quite apparent.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about this approaching Advent, that he had NO NEED to write to them of the nature of affairs at the time of Christ’s appearing: 1Thessalonians 5:1 - But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
This stealthy appearance by Him fully accords with our remarks above, and is the time of the removal of the saints from their mundane lives, and/or their ancient tombs, to the place of judgment – that we might all be gathered at one time, … that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
In conclusion, we cannot be certain that the portents of the lunar eclipses of this present Tetrad will bring this much desired conclusion. We hope fervently that it shall.
If it does not, we shall continue our lives in the ardent hope that the Advent will come soon afterward, that finally His will may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.
<HEL 3O> ~2900 words. An eTPL Circular Letter, published in Other Items 2015, March, 2015.
[i] Strong’s H1293, a root word, בּרכה berâkâh, pronounced ber-aw-kaw' - from H1288; benediction; by implication prosperity: - blessing, liberal, pool, present.
Promises of the Return of Zion
A Brief Exhortation
H. E. Lafferty
Our basis of consideration for this subject is found in the words of Isaiah 52:8: Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
One of the chief promises of the end-time IS the RETURN of the children of Israel to Zion from the four quarters of the earth amidst great difficulty and hardship.
That keystone event is the palpable beginning of a finely tuned, complex and breathtaking series of events which shall inevitably result in many desired accomplishments, one of the chief of which is all His brethren seeing “eye to eye.” We believe BOTH understandings of the phrase to be operative – that is, they shall see their Maker and all His work “face to face,” and they shall view the outworking of His Plan in complete agreement, or “eye to eye.”
The Return to Zion
Here is a brief compendium of references to that Return, which we have beheld in great wonder nearly all our lives, along with our comments as to that Plan, and the manner of its execution.
The Return to Zion is a matter of sheer physical, miraculous application of His will in the earth, the time of which has already come and is in rapid progress as we consider it.
Our chief consolation is that that Return to Zion has already initiated a long set of predetermined (foretold by the prophets) set of accomplishments which lead directly and immutably to the Return of the earth to Eden’s perfection.
These related narratives answer several of our most pointed questions:
How shall they return to Zion?
Who shall return initially?
What are the details of the process?
How are their enemies defeated?
Are they at some era of the end-time to be in complete banishment from their Land, as some claim, and then be brought home precipitously by the personal appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to them in those strange lands, and escorted to their homeland in a great Aliyah of humanity?
Or is their return to be gradual, progressive, against resistance, yet doggedly persistent and aside from any visible help from their Savior?
This latter proposal is that which is clearly designated by all the prophecies, and has become the reality of our lives. The Jews’ accomplished re-settlement of Zion – the second of two, although yet only partial – obviates any further scattering of God’s People to the nations of their former captivity.
The Return of Zion historically has been accomplished in fits and starts – blunted here and there, stifled, retarded – and then relieved and advanced in great bounds of progress, accompanied by huge leaps forward among the nations for His People.
It is by certain scriptural testimony that we may faithfully declare the permanence of the People in their Land; it is because of such carefully revealed details that we must faithfully accept the Return to Zion of this day as that indicated by these words of scripture! Our expressed faith demands that we do so, and do not deny His work.
The unique language of Isaiah 52:8 as quoted above, has often struck us as being hauntingly similar to the prophecy of Micah, where he reveals these facts relating to that Return. Micah’s prophecy reads like this:
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Mic 5:3 Therefore will he give them up (i.e., abandon them to their captors), until the time that she which travaileth (which has proven to have been World Zionism) hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto (the land of) the children of Israel.
Mic 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
The strikingly similar language compelled us to follow some references relating to the People of Zion seeing “eye to eye,” in the day in which the LORD brings again Zion – that is, when He causes them to return to Him and to settle upon the mountains of Israel in the latter day. Recall that the People of God have not “seen eye to eye” for millennia, after having been fractured by the rebellious Jeroboam, son of Nebat, in his revolt at the death of Solomon. That breach is to be reversed entirely, as witnessed by the words of Ezekiel 37, in which the prophet symbolically re-joins a broken and separated stick upon one piece of which is inscribed the name of “Judah,” with “Ephraim” (or Israel) inscribed on the other – Ezekiel 37: 16-22.
Reviewing Isaiah’s evocative statement, it reads as follows: Isaiah 52:8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
Refs. in ESword on this verse are: Isaiah 30:26; Jeremiah 32:39; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 12:8; Acts 4:32; 1Corinthians 1:10, 1Coronthians 13:12; Ephesians 1:17-18. All THESE ARE IMPORTANT!! ALL ARE INTIMATELY RELATED TO ZION’S RETURN, AND TO THE CONDITIONS WHICH ARE DESTINED TO BE ATTAINED IN THAT DAY.
We felt compelled to investigate yet again the process of the return – and to determine just how thoroughly it is revealed in words of scripture.
The concise correlation of all the conditions and principles of the Return as related by many of the prophets and disciples would be remarkable did we not realize (as we certainly do) that all the revelations come from the Spirit of God. Thus their utter consistency.
First, the prophecy of Isaiah 30:
Isaiah 30:19 For the people shall dwell (to settle, remain, or dwell continuously) in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
We recall that His people shall see Him, meaning to perceive Him, and utter that “cry” at a specific time in the near future. The details are found in Zechariah twelve. We read:
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. (This refers to their mourning for their beloved King Josiah, who had been slain by an Egyptian archer – 2Chronicles 25:20-23.)
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
The next verses of Isaiah 30, reveal the end of Zion’s woes, and the beginning of their redemption. This action is resultant from His decision: I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications – Zechariah 12:10.
Their continuing relief is now recorded – words that take our understanding into future realms of blessing for His People …
Isa 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity (He has long done this), and the water of affliction, yet (in that day) shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
This blessing is in contrast to that which has long been true, namely their endless, desperate seeking for acceptance among the nations, and reconciliation to their Father: Amos 8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
But now His blessing of them returns …
Isa 30:22 Ye shall defile (repudiate, or refuse) also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.
Isa 30:23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed (their copious return to the Land), that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.
Isa 30:24 The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.
Isa 30:25 And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
These ominous words foretell in their context, the pulling down of strong holds of Israel’s enemies – the dismantling of their vicious siege “towers,” or their ability to besiege His People. The immediate blessings of His presence are then revealed.
Isa 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.
Isa 30:27 Behold, the name (meaning the Personage of the LORD Jesus Christ Who BEARS His name without reservation or limitation) of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:
Isa 30:28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations (literally, to shake them up and down with a great shaking) with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people (their enemies), causing them to err.
Just as He pours upon His own People the spirit of grace and supplication, He endows their enemies with a forceful bridle of opposition to His will and People; their punishment now reaches its climax in their destruction, piling woes upon the already prevalent factors of every man’s sword being against his brother among their enemies, such as we see in today’s internecine strife between the various sects of Islam, for example, in which Shi’ite murders Sunni, and vice versa.
Isa 30:29 Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel.
Isa 30:30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
Isa 30:31 For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.
This reference is not historical, as some may claim. It is contemporary, end-time action, as shown by the context of all the text preceding it – it occurs at the time of Zion’s consolation and redemption. It is sure proof of His ability to slay His enemies with the breath of His mouth; their defeat is “through the VOICE of the LORD.”
Isa 30:32 And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.
Isa 30:33 For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.
This reference to Tophet is in direct reference to the Valley of Hinnom in which the children of Israel formerly made their children to “pass through the fire” – to be burned in sacrifice – to Molech and to Ba’al.
That heathen practice now turns about and “eats up” and swallows the heathen forces besieging His People, and destroys them. Their personal sacrifice is literally to their heathen idols, such as "Allah."
The reference to “Assyria” cannot be lost upon contemporary students of these revealing words, but that consideration is outside the purview of this study.
Jer 32:36 And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city (a metaphor for this People of Judah) , whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;
These words refer to the initial punishment of Judah by Babylon. However, the REMEDY of this first scattering is not directly addressed – that is, their return from Babylon, for it was incomplete and also temporary – but he refers to their Return from “all countries whither I have driven them ….”
The words indicated an as yet unexplained (to the prophet) SECOND scattering, not into Babylon, but into all countries.
Jer 32:37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
Jer 32:38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
Jer 32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever (this bringing again is not to be partial or temporary, but complete and forever, as further indicated in the phrase in the next verse, “an everlasting covenant”), for the good of them, and of their children after them:
Jer 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Jer 32:41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
Jer 32:42 For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.
Jer 32:43 And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.
Jer 32:44 Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses (proofs of purchase) in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.
This heartening summary of the Return of His People is being realized vigorously in our day! For decades already accomplished, the buying of land and its urgent cultivation has been a Jewish priority – indeed was the first prerogative of the earliest settlers, who realized deeply that the Land had to be improved in order for it to sustain the impending immigrants whom they intended to bring profusely into the Land as a result of their early settlement of it!
Zep 3:7 I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.
Zep 3:8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations (these are the nations “round about” the Jewish State today – their remarkably determined and vicious foes, who are also foes of the Almighty), that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Zep 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
As commentary upon these verses, I quote my own researched Study Notes, Reference 530: “Zephaniah 3: 8, 9 - Vs. 8 utilizes ALL the letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet. Zephaniah 3:8 - Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
“Mark Biltz, an Hebrew scholar of some note, has made the observation that this verse – alone, in all the Bible – uses every one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet including the “final forms” of the five letters that have final forms that are unique!
“It therefore appropriately celebrates the Hebrew language – God’s pure language – as does Psalm 119 (q.v.) in its own unique way– but the amazing additional fact is the next verse:
“Zep 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
“The singular verse tells the reader plainly and pointedly that in the kingdom age, Hebrew shall be the only language spoken! It is the “pure language” in which His word was composed. It contains structures and themes which are consistent throughout. It contains thousands of pinpointed encoded messages at equidistant letter spacing. It contains anagrams which reveal such content as the name of God in Esther – which is purported not to contain the name of God (it is revealed in anagrams!). It encompasses so many unique and highly unusual features that it stands out among all languages of the earth as divine!”
Zechariah 12:7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (but, we emphasize, these words cannot indicate all the nations of the world – a most important limitation for this moment. ALL the world’s nations at this future moment in history shall not have opposed Jerusalem, or Israel, but ONLY the nations “round about” her).
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
These poignant words have been referred to earlier as being illustrative of THE time of Israel’s recognition of its Messiah and its acceptance of His personage and authority in their contemporary economy, and as the turning point of His adversity toward His favor for them and His redemption of them.
A N.T. reference on the original verse of this discourse included one in Acts 4. How is this reference relevant to our discussion of all seeing “eye to eye” in the Return of Zion? Our assessment is that it probably hinges on the text of verse 32; let us see.
The occasion here is the unity of the nascent Ecclesia of Christ in Jerusalem upon being challenged by the priests and the elders in the matter of healing the impotent man in the previous chapter. Their mien of solidarity is realized as being similar to that of the brethren of the kingdom age, when all shall agree in all things, seeing “eye to eye.” We find Peter and John praying for the Father’s assistance in resisting the elders and priests:
Act 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
Act 4:30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Act 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
This description is surely a microcosm of conditions in the Kingdom, when all they also shall be of one heart and of one soul, and have all things in common.
Act 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Act 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
Act 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Seldom has such a case been seen in the Ecclesial body since that spirit-filled day; but the events of our time suggest strongly a swift, future return to those halcyon days of yore, when the intense Spirit of Christ was in control of His chosen ones, and ruled their daily communal activities.
Following a meaningful, exhortive preamble as to the Corinthians’ faithful reception of the Truth, and their continuation in it, Paul concludes these verses with his injunction of the tenth verse, the validity of which is based on all the previous statements he has so eloquently recorded and affirmed …
1Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Such a condition recalls that of Acts 4, considered above – a microcosm of conditions which shall be enjoyed in the Kingdom age, when all shall see “eye to eye.”
In these well-known refrains of the Apostle Paul, he encourages the brethren at Corinth in a vein similar to that of chapter one, reaching his climactic exhortation in the 12th verse, as we shall see. His subject in this chapter is Agape – unconditional love of brethren for others (here translated as charity). It is the perfect love of the Kingdom age, and as in the above instances, is harbinger of those times.
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
After all these wonderful exhortations, in which he contrasts our condition now, with our expected future prospects, he concludes with the blessed promise of full maturity of the things of the Spirit – and the arrival of coveted rewards in which he encourages our full credibility and deepest-held desire.
These are qualities which can only come together in our expected gathering to Him in immortality – being features of the Kingdom of God which we expect soon to arrive. Conditions NOW (seeing through a glass – or in a mirror – darkly, or imperfectly) are vastly inferior to conditions THEN, as seeing face to face, clearly, with infinite definition, and compete, consummate clarity.
Seeing “face to face” is seeing “eye to eye” in perfection, and with utter clarity and absolutely infinite perception, His eternal grace and glory in the unity of love and in the bond of eternal peace.
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
And why, we must inquire, is charity (agape) the only enduring quality of the three? It is surely because that when the substance of our faith appears and is fulfilled, and hope is realized, they become accomplished features of the present – of the here and now – to the great joy of their recipients.
Then, only our infinite prospect for the future remains, which is incalculable love for our brethren, and our highest regard for our Elder Brother Jesus, and for our dear ABBA, remain as a continuing legacy of a past-expressed and enacted profession of faith in the wonderful world of tomorrow – the infinite aion of purely-felt and adequately expressed, ongoing deep affection for those persons and things of the Spirit of God in the earth.
That age of the Return to Eden shall confirm and validate the Return to Zion of His People, the in-grafting of the formerly alien sons and daughters of the Gentiles into the Good Olive, or sons of the Covenant, and the Return to the Earth of the eternal Son of God, the Return of a pure (single) tongue to all the earth’s peoples, the erasure of enmity between the Almighty and His creation, and the undying establishment of value-based lives shall signal the sure return of righteousness and peace to the earth, and the re-bonding of perfected men and women to their Maker who have spent their lives in His service – honoring and lifting up His name in all their lives and in every manner.
In lofty, soaring lines of prose, the apostle voices the superior ideals that we strive for in these phrases, penned to his brethren at Ephesus:
Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 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: 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, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 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, 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: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Behold, in these uplifting phrases, the veritable landslide of events whose final consummation has begun with the Return to Zion of His People – and the coveted, much-desired time, when they shall see “eye to eye” the features of His glory and power, and behold the permanent displacement of the ways and mores of men of flesh in preference for the things of the Spirit of God for all eternity. <HEL MD/USA 2O> ~5200 words. An eTPL exhortation.
Until I Drink it New With You in My Father’s Kingdom
Harold E. Lafferty
The words of the Lord Jesus which He uttered at the Last Supper are comforting, reassuring, and instructive to every Believer.
Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is (meaning represents) my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is (represents) my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
His drinking of the Cup with them on this occasion is indicative of His oneness with them – their position of great favor, and the object of His love and care.
Although the content of “this cup” is not named as wine, specifically, it is defined as “this fruit of the vine,” by which we are assured that its content is wine. There could not be a more fitting analogy to His blood than the fruit of the vine. He is in every way a fruit of the Vine which is Israel, the Vine of God.
We know that Israel is the “vine” of God from the words of the LORD recorded by Isaiah, where He discusses rhetorically the fate of His vineyard (Israel), carefully defined as, the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is (represents) the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:7).
These words are recorded as it had become evident that Israel was on a pathway of abandonment of its God, and bent upon idolatry and transgression of every sort. Yet the People were still His “wellbeloved,” even in the face of their wickedness and insurrection.
But they now required disciplinary action by Him.
Note in these words His tender, nurturing care for His vineyard; even as it yielded “wild” grapes – uncultured, defective, stunted fruits of little value.
Isaiah 5:1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
Isa 5:2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth (good) grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
Isa 5:3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
Isa 5:4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
Isa 5:5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
The words “go to,” are translated from the Hebrew, yada, meaning, to know, or to ascertain by seeing; in our vernacular, “Look here!
The Almighty is demanding that Israel perceive (understand) His reasoning, His desperation, practically.
His decision is to take away His protection and allow His Vineyard to be “eaten up” by predators – to be “trodden down.”
It is extremely interesting that those precise words are employed by the Lord Jesus, when He gave these words of condemnation of His People, in Luke 21:24: 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.
His destructive, yet instructive, intention for His vine is further explained:
Isa 5:6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
Isa 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
The briers and thorns are the numerous enemies who infiltrated the Land, assumed ownership of it in the absence of its rightful owners, who neglected and abused His Land, and reduced it to poverty of production and value. Its worth should further be degraded by lack of rain – literally indicating the lack of physical rainfall as well as the figurative blessing of the LORD.
The vineyard should be reduced to ruin for a season.
But we return to the figure utilized in the Last Supper – the use of the “fruit of the vine” of which they drank.
We discern that the “cup” of the Memorials that He ordained represents His blood of life – as shed by One Who should, by His obedience, reverse the fortunes of Israel, His chosen People – the life blood of the Firstborn Son of a daughter of Israel (Mary) impregnated by the Spirit of God.
This humble act of obedience as rendered to His Father by Christ resulted in high ordination for Jesus of Nazareth, as attested by the writer to the Hebrews, where he admonishes faithful service to the Almighty: in these words the writer admonishes he brethren to look steadfastly toward Jesus as the source of redemption and salvation.
Hebrews 12:1 … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Sitting at the Father’s right hand implies many favorable benefits, among which is the principle that He shall remain there until it is time for His enemies to be “made His footstool,” or subjected to Him.
At that time the visible Hand of God again takes traction and moves aggressively forward on many fronts …
From the evening of the Last Supper and the events leading to His death, the world’s seeing Him should be a long while in the future, as measured in years.
But not so for those who should have died “in the Lord,” as their prospects are entirely different – superior, and greatly advantageous. They lie in the grave for but an instant in time, in their perception, awakening at the last trump to greet their Savior with great joy.
As His elected people, although dead, they are covenanted to live to see Him again at His Second Coming and in His kingdom.
One of the most prominent features of that second appearance shall be a great feast of celebration, during which the Savior of all men shall receive unto Himself those redeemed by the shedding of His blood of the everlasting covenant.
They are likened to a Bride, as being united to her Bridegroom in the symbolic language of the Prophet John, in Revelation 21:9 - And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God …
That everlasting covenant sealed by Christ’s blood, is the pivotal hinge of salvation from death and the grave. Without it, no man can be resurrected with any prospect of inheriting the kingdom of God.
Its bonds are unbreakable and immutable. Its benefits are unspeakably infinite, and inestimable. It is a reflection of His faithfulness – and of His love for His creation. His shedding of His righteous blood ratified all the inferior sacrifices of the Law of Moses which preceded His death – validating the eternal principle that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. (Hebrews 10:18)
This is the godly principle that is so thoroughly discussed by the writer to the Hebrews in chapter 9 – words which draw a distinctive difference between the two covenants. We review several verses …
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Heb 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Heb 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh (this phraseology speaks to temporal elongation of life in the land by the Law) :
Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (This phraseology speaks to eternal aspects of His sacrifice which could not be brought about by the sacrifices of animals.)
Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
In these words, the reader is assured that His sacrifice both abrogated and validated the sacrifices under the Law, sealing them, and giving them a strength and efficacy that they did not have originally – that is, prior to the validating force of the perfect sacrifice of His only Son.
Thusly did the Son of God establish the New Creation – a Creation of which He was the Firstborn, the Forerunner, the Harbinger and Herald of immortality. Cf., Revelation 3:21.
In the Upper Room, He ate and drank the emblems of the New Covenant in the terminal days of His flesh, with the promise of eating and drinking it anew, and in immortality, with His brethren in the age to come.
That account is prophesied in the words of Revelation 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
This wonderfully affirming, strengthening account of the terminal events of the dispensation of Adam, and the beginning of the dispensation of Christ’s kingdom, shows the importance of His eating and drinking this feast anew with them in His kingdom – reflecting a faithful continuation of their having partaken of these emblems (and of the Life that they represented) faithfully, during the years of their probation – of honoring His sacrificial death often and continuously as the Day approaches when He should eat and drink them anew with them in His kingdom.
What a day of celebration that will be! How pervasive the rejoicing – the passionately fervent thanksgiving – of the Faithful of all ages and all races!
Never has an earthly Bride and Bridegroom so rejoiced and celebrated their union – their temporal oneness until death – for in this unique ceremony there is no possibility of its ending; instead, it is instituted in prospect of Their Oneness throughout the ceaseless aion which lies ahead in infinite time and space.
Such are those fortunately beloved Sons and Daughters of the Almighty Who are chosen to eat and drink it anew with Him in His kingdom. <HEL 2O> ~2100 words. A short eTPL Exhortation.
A New Level of Atrocity by ISIS
Harold E. Lafferty
A Short Exhortation of 2300 words.
February 6, 2015. Earlier this week, the vicious renegades of ISIS descended to new depths of depravity in their execution of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot by incineration. The terrorists enclosed the pilot in a barred cage, doused him with gasoline, and ritually burned him alive as cameras recorded the hideous incident. They then disposed of his remains under waste from a construction site consisting of concrete and rebar, trash and refuse.
In reporting this terrible atrocity, even seasoned news anchors lost their composures on every network. They rightly described the ISIS leaders as “savages,” and as having done the unthinkable. Shepard Smith of Fox News Channel had forced himself to watch the video of this heinous act, and then reported it verbally to his viewers in objective, crisp, sensitive terms. Megyn Kelly, another Fox anchor, described the act as inhuman, and its perpetrators as sub-human. She opined that the ISIS gang was even lower than the Nazis, who at least gassed their innocent victims before burning their corpses.
Both these commentators were correct in their assessment of this terrible incident. The horrible episode strikes terror in the hearts of everyone – and evokes immense sympathy for the victim and his family.
Jordan’s king Abdullah happened to be in Washington when this video was aired by ISIS, and found out about the execution at the same time as his citizens at home in Jordan.
The king took immediate action, apparently, as within hours – even before he arrived back in Jordan – his countrymen had executed a female suicide bomber and another ISIS prisoner, by hanging. The female prisoner of ISIS had been the object of bargaining by ISIS earlier in January; ISIS wanted to trade a Japanese journalist to Japan in exchange for this female suicide bomber. But Japan would not deal with the terrorists.
And yet another complication arose. Jordan agreed to release the woman prisoner but demanded the return of its pilot from ISIS, not yet knowing that he had already been executed on January 3rd. ISIS would not discuss such an alternative, for good reason.
We agree that this incident of incineration of a prisoner of war reaches a new, depraved benchmark of today’s conflicts.
But regretfully, incineration is not a newly devised means of execution.
As Ms. Kelly was expressing her heartfelt dismay at the atrocity, I murmured to my wife that Ms Kelly’s own “church” has executed perhaps thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocents by this same method – except that the victims were bound to a stake and roasted atop piles of ignited wood rather than being doused in gasoline and roasted inside a cage.
Burning victims at the stake was a favorite tactic of the Jesuits such as the Ignatius Loyolas and Francisco Ribera, founders of the Spanish Inquisition. It was a death sentence based roughly on the same premise as that leveled against the Jordanian fighter pilot incinerated by ISIS – failure to cow-tow to the principal’s demands, or standards – or as vile punishment for opposing them.
The Inquisition was designed to enforce the ideology (doctrine) of the Church upon the masses. Its victims invariable were designated “heretic” by the inquisitors when found to be at any variance with the teachings of the Church (we stress, the Church – not the Bible).
Being Jewish, and unwilling to “convert,” invariably brought the sentence of death by some heinous means – often by burning at the stake.
Otherwise, other horrible and inhuman sentences were carried out upon them – such as
· stretching victims upon the Rack, gradually pulling their joints apart until their tattered limbs were separated from their bodies, then leaving them to die; or
· placing them bodily in the Iron Maiden (a cage enclosing their erect bodies) and hoisting them into the air, leaving them standing upright in the cage to die slowly of thirst and starvation in a matter of days; or
· disemboweling victims bound to tables, removing their internal organs one by one without benefit of any “deadening” effects (anesthesia was not yet invented); or
· pulling out their fingernails and toenails with pliers as the victims screamed in pain and agony; and even
· binding victims and tossing them into icy lakes or rivers as punishment for those who disagreed with (and would not “convert” to) the demands of the Church authorities of the Dark and Middle Ages, when the imperious leaders of the “religious” establishment were empowered to enforce the beliefs of Roman Catholicism.
So … yes – the ideologues of ISIS have sunken to an hideous level of persecution of their enemies in this modern age.
Some of the talking heads of the media voiced the analogy that we have drawn above, and were criticized for it. because it happened “nearly a thousand years ago.” We earnestly inquire, was it not wrong then? What matters the passage of years in matters such as this? Is ignorance of modern “mores” any excuse? Would not the same punishments be meted upon heretics today if the church authorities still had the power to do so? (We sincerely wonder.)
So the inhumanity of man toward man is not new or novel to this age. The exercise of authority by those in power has often been seen in nearly every culture of mankind. It is a function of SIN and depravity that is odious to the Creator and Sustainer of all things – the One Who lovingly gave those same depraved criminals their own dearly held lives.
All these incidents bear out the words of Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The philosophical musings of the wise King Solomon are germane to this issue: he addresses the appearances of the human condition in …
Ecclesiastes 9:1 – For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.
Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
Ecc 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Ecc 9:4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
These words might seem to be the end of the matter; as regards the sons of men; they do appear to be so. If if they are the final assessment, we are of all men most miserable.
However, there is much more to the story.
One of the most tortured souls of ancient Israel, God’s servant Job, voiced his own conviction that even in the midst of persecution and oppression, that for SOME, himself included, there is hope for the future that is not apparent to mortals: he wrote these words to his tormentors …
Job 19:21 - Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. 22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? 23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Our own grateful perception of this present, evil sojourn is that of righteous, beleaguered Job; Yes! There is hope!
For those who persevere, and who hold to Truth – putting down their own desires and fleshly priorities – there is wonderful deliverance in store.
Unfortunately, for those who do not adopt The Way of Life as freely given every man and woman by Jesus Christ, there really is no hope of a life after death.
And it is entirely true that that Way is learned and perceived only by familiarity with God’s word of Truth.
To the average person, being natively outside the pale of the law of Christ – the rewards are insensible, and unattainable; they may be perceived and achieved only by faith in His promises.
But faith in otherwise ethereal principles does not come naturally to the children of men. It is a learned quality, which comes only by hearing – and hearing comes only by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
That orderly, progressive and rational approach to salvation is extensively explained by Paul in his letter to the Romans. And it is the only prescription which shall alleviate our universal illness.
Those who are lost do not have to remain so, as there is a gracious remedy, which we perceive as a process of enlightenment: notice the details of its process as explained by Paul, in this wonderful passage in which he instructs us in the ordered pathway to salvation: Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
But is it really that simplistic? Can one just state in prayer that he accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior and therefore be “saved?”
No, he cannot; this passage does not import that notion. The process is more complex; it requires a deeper response to a deeper, more profound message. Follow Paul’s explanation:
14 (But) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard (this word means perceived, or understood, not simply blindly acknowledged)? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
These blessed words describe the godly-ordained process of salvation – the ordered pathway out of the valley of the shadow of death.
The discussion of this vital initiative is our constant profession, in this modest project known as The electronic Prophecy Letters (eTPL). It is our joy and our great privilege, to speak often to others of those things most surely believed among us, and to teach and reinforce the words of truth to all who will hear.
In this regard, we sincerely thank all those numerous respondents who express appreciation for these discussions; and especially those who join in the conversation, often contributing additional bits of encouragement. Together, our small group comprises an unique example of those sparse folk spoken of by the LORD through Malachi in these memorable words – words which speak of tenacity, of intense interest, of godly dedication to sober principles:
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared (who worshipped, respected, revered) the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
Our heartfelt desire is only to serve our Father – to glorify and honor His great name, and to make His provision of salvation known to all who will hear – and to strive to understand more fully what His will is with us now, in our brief existence.
By this initiative, our hope is to bring some mature perception to the inscrutable (in merely human dimensions) certainties now impending upon this extremely troubled world … to bring to light the deeper layers of understanding of His ways, and appreciation of His will to our present lives.
In this sense we are truly analogous to Israel of old, which was to be blessed as noted in Numbers 6:23 - Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
They who are so blessed cannot be un-blessed by any man, or truly (eternally) slain by any heinous killers. Their hope cannot be blunted, nor their faith hewn away by any means.
<HEL 2O ~2300 words.> A brief eTPL exhortation.
Earthquakes in the Scriptures: a Short Summary
Harold E. Lafferty
(about 12,000 words)
Executive Summary: Earthquakes in the scriptures are not rare. This present scriptural consideration was begun when the question was posed by a reader as to what should be the physical and human damage of the earthquake spoken of in Zechariah 14. The author had never addressed that question prior to this, therefore was compelled to do a search of the entire Bible in order to determine the general import of earthquakes and their occurrences in scripture.
Our conclusion is, in short, that the earthquake which shall occur at the coming and revelation of Christ to the nation of Israel (Zechariah 14:3-5) shall do no harm to His People who have congregated in and around Jerusalem, for they shall have fled to the Valley of Azal, and presumably other safe places, surely due to a preemptory divine warning of the impending ‘quake.
We hope this extended discussion of earthquakes is not tedious, and that it lends some greater understanding of the phenomenon to faithful Bible students. We do not pretend that it is an exhaustive study, but that it does address the chief references to earthquakes in the Bible –Editor.
Earthquakes in Scripture
Earthquakes are signal events in the scriptures; as does little else; their occurrences receive the rapt attention of every witness, and often mark important edicts or events of Biblical history. The concept of earthquakes is seen biblically to be both literal and spiritual (symbolic); we shall consider many various instances of such activity in this article.
Earthquake at Mount Sinai
The first earthquake recorded in scripture is that which occurred when Moses received the Law at Mount Sinai. It is not named as such, but its description is unmistakable: Exodus 19:18 - And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. The occasion was one of the milestones in the plan of God with His people, Israel – the giving of the Law, which Paul describes as “a schoolmaster, to lead them to Christ” – Galatians 3:24, 25.
Elijah’s Plea at Mount Horeb (Sinai)
The next incident is recorded in the account of Elijah at that same mountain: 1Kings 19:11 - And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
On this occasion, Elijah was relieved of his duties as prophet to Israel, and was instructed to anoint Elijah to take his place; he was also instructed to anoint two men as kings over Syria and Israel. This was the terminal epoch of Elijah’s recorded ministry.
Earthquakes as Symbols of Oppression