A Brief Note to Readers: This Series of Articles will Appear in Reverse Order of Their Insertion - That Is, the Latest Articles will Appear at the Top of this Column, So they Begin at the Bottom of this Potentially Very Long Page. Click on the Sections Indicated Above for Direct Access in this Column. Ed.
Installment Number Twelve: X to AA
Habakkuk too writes of the time …
Habakkuk too writes of the time when Gog will “invade them with his troops,” and the subsequent desolation is described in the words, “the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines” (3:16, 17). (X)
No! There is no warrant whatever for connecting Habakkuk 3 with Ezekiel 38/39. The end-time enemy stated here is by specific names, Cushan, Teman, Mount Paran, and Midian – all of which are among the “enemies round about” Israel today – not the Gogian host which comes from its northern lair far away. Your statement contradicts the words of the prophet – and of the Father who gave them to the prophet. Habakkuk writes in his entire third chapter of God (Messiah) “coming from Teman, and the HOLY ONE from Mt. Paran. His glory covers the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.” Cf., Numbers 12:16; Deuteronomy 33:2. This chapter shows the invincible strength of the Christ of the Second Advent as he enters into the Land at His Second Coming, to rescue and save His people from the peoples referred to: the Edomites of the South – Teman and Mount Paran, and Cushan (vs. 7). Verse 13 states plainly that He “went forth for the salvation of Thy People, even for salvation with Thine ANOINTED.” In such a case it is not thinkable that the desolation of verse 17 refers to Israel; it refers to the fate of those named enemies’ lands, which by His hand, shall become desolate. There is no logical reason to connect these events with the invasion of Gog and his confederacy.
The Anointed One is Messiah and His multitudinous Bride – John Thomas’ “One Man,” Who is here depicted as going against those named entities, who are certainly NOT the Gogian host as you claim, for the named entities are here opposing Israel and trying to devise ways to overthrow His people. We cannot simply just decide to transpose the enemy as being other than stated; the enemy is nominated IN the TEXT, and it is NOT GOG! It is unconscionable to claim otherwise – and additionally unscriptural. All students of prophecy recognize this plain reference as being just what it is – except those who think the aggression is of Christ against ‘the Antichrist!’
Joel describes the scattering of Israel by the nations …
And Joel describes the scattering of Israel by the nations, the parting of “My land” and “they have cast lots for my people.” Tyre, Zidon and the coasts of Palestine-Gaza (Joel 3:2-4). All this speaks of a time of desolation yet to come upon Israel. (Y)
Dear brother, Joel in no sense indicates Israel’s population being scattered in time future to our day – only future to his day. This account refers to the actions related in Obadiah, in which the nations round about moved into the vacated Land, and sold slaves of the Israelites which were left behind by Babylon, as well as the selling of Jewish slaves by Rome after the conquest of 70AD. In this also, He condemns those who ‘parted My Land,’ indicating both Great Britain (Winston Churchill created Trans-Jordan in 1922, taking over 75% of the British Mandatory Territory of Palestine away from the Jews), and the United Nations, which decreed a “partition” of the remaining portion, awarding additional amounts of the Land to the “Palestinians,” who fortunately refused the deal and suffered greatly for their error.
The solution? Read Obadiah! This passage by Joel primarily points to the historical guilt of the nations around Israel who cooperated with the Babylonians (and equally with Assyria, earlier, when Assyria was taking captive the Ten Tribes) as God expelled the Israelites in two stages early in their history. Obadiah is one of the clearest records that the peoples who moved into and “squatted” in the Land to occupy it in those times, did these despicable things to God’s people. The land of today will not be further “parted” in the sense that the Jewish People will be dispelled; I’m not claiming that some portions of the “West Bank” (a “Palestinian” term) won’t be awarded to the enemy temporarily by the present-day unfaithful shepherds of Israel, because we don’t know that won’t happen. But the Land in modern time has already been “parted” on two notable occasions, as noted above.
However, we cannot doubt that Babylon, and Assyria before her, did part God’s Land and remove His people from it by commandment of God. But like the Pharaoh of the Exodus, they too were held responsible for that act. History also records details of these particular acts by the nations round about when Israel, and finally Judah, were removed from the Land – how their neighbors moved in just after the Jews were transported away and took their land and their houses, and assisted in selling Jewish slaves into the world markets. This era is when these records of Obadiah were fulfilled. You see, our Father has a very, very long memory; He records in His heart such despicable deeds done against His people by their brethren – and rewards them eventually.
Ezekiel 35:12 records that He has “heard all thy blasphemies which thou (Mt. Seir, or Edom – verses 2, 3, 7) has spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are laid desolate, for they are given us to consume.” These are the people referred to by Joel 3, when our Father comes against those NAMED entities (Edom!) with ‘troops’ (the returned Christ and His helpers), against none other than ‘Tyre and Zidon (modern Lebanon now inhabited by Hamas and the PFLP, etc.) and Palestine (the Gaza Strip), also inhabited by the same murderers who fire rockets into Israel by the hundreds each day! THESE are the direct recipients of the Godly response described in Habakkuk 3 referred to earlier.
In addition, this cannot be future for the reasons already stated; there will be no future removal of God’s people from their Land. That conclusion was reached by Bro. Thomas because he didn’t have the ‘key’ to unlock the prophecy in his own day and just couldn’t unravel the complex details of it. But we of today must use our own minds and other faculties to unravel the events of the future.
… the prophet is told “these bones are the whole house of Israel.”
Since the prophet is told “these bones are the whole house of Israel” (that is, both Judah and Israel (vs. 11), it would appear that this state of desolation is not confined to the Jews in the land. Gog’s invasion of the State of Israel will be accompanied by anti-Semitic/ anti-Zionist in the countries of Gog’s armies, and throughout the world). (Z)
I both agree and disagree! This state of desolation is indeed NOT confined to the Jews in the Land, and cannot refer to them in any way; their bones are NOT desolate, or disconnected. These bones are the “whole house of Israel” because they are present-day Israel and Judah who are yet in Diaspora – the state they have dwelt in for over two millennia for the former, and nearly two for the latter. It is a picture of Israel in dispersion after the Assyrian expulsion and Judah after the Roman expulsion. It is a picture of the return of Judah first, and later Israel, from the nations of the world to their Land to be there to prepare that “ensign” (Isaiah 5:26; 11:10, 12; 18:3; Zechariah 9:16).
“Can these bones live?”
The great question will then be asked, “Can these bones live?” Will the nation of Israel, devastated by the Northern invader, the latter day Assyrian, the Gogian host, be able to arise again in the fulfillment of the promises of God? (AA)
There is that unscriptural mantra again! But we have already dealt with that problem, so … Well, of course they can live, as stated by verses 4-10. The picture is of an ongoing process of the ‘resurrection’ of God’s people, bringing them into their own Land and converting their spirits from hardness of heart to the law of God written in their hearts. We cannot in any sense, presume the process to be ‘nearly complete’ as I believe you inferred in your article; it is not anywhere nearly complete as of today because nearly twice as many Jews (Judah) live outside Israel as within it; and almost none of the Ten Tribes have returned, as we understand it.
The process is long and deliberate, at every step of which I believe God is teaching His people subliminal lessons about their service to Him … what He requires and expects of them. Then, at the end, when they see His salvation, a portion of them IN THE LAND WHEN HE RETURNS (yes, still in unbelief!) beholds His salvation in His swift and utter delivery of them from their rabid enemies, see the wounds in His body, seek His identity, recognize Him, and finally confess, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” as he said they should in Matthew 23: 39 and Luke 13:34. At that time and under those circumstances, they shall have good REASON not only to be extremely curious as to His identity, but also to be thankful for His deliverance, to ask questions of Him, and require Him to identify Himself.
This statement would be completely inappropriate, by the way, if they were still in dispersion (after some imagined Gogian scattering) when the Lord Jesus comes to them, having no reason in such circumstances to recognize Him as such because He should have done nothing to cause them to believe in His identity.
I will conclude my commentary here. I hope you will not either ignore or denigrate my sincere thoughts, but read them carefully, with Bible at hand, and see whether these things are so. The approach you have taken with these three articles is seriously flawed in many ways, as my remarks clearly show.
You may be interested to know that I do not intend to comment upon your second and third installments to the above extent – and perhaps not at all – for I feel the rebuttals outlined above are adequate to cover objections to all three articles, their being in the same vein as the first.
Sincerely, your Brother in Christ,
[It may be interesting to readers to hear the follow up from the author of this article, but there was actually no initial response at all. Only after being contacted some months later as to whether the author read my comments, and why there had been no response whatever, he replied, “Oh, I just thought you wanted to vent!” HEL]
Installment Number Eleven: U, V, W
The colonization of Judea by Jews ...
“The colonization of Judea by Jews under the provision of a Gentile government is neither ‘restitution,’ ‘restoration,’ nor ’regeneration.’ Nothing short of a national establishment in the land under Messiah and his brethren constitutes either of them in the scriptural sense…Restitution is not simply the return of the race, but the setting up again of institutions that once existed there…” (Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, J. Thomas, 1852, pg. 199). (U)
This statement is partially true. The institution of Israel today is not identical to the future status of the people. But their preliminary re-gathering is necessary in order for a body of people to be on hand in the Land when Christ returns. So, yes, "restitution" really is the return of the race, but also includes the re-establishment of institutions of the kingdom of Christ as well. It is a plan in current progress - incomplete by a long way, and destined in future to do full service as the ongoing, operative Kingdom of God on the earth.
Ezekiel’s vision of Israel as a valley of …
Ezekiel’s vision of Israel as a valley of dry bones is a vision of things still future. It represents the condition of modern Israel and world Jewry which will result from the Gogian offensive. It is a picture of Israel at the time depicted by Jeremiah – “Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble…” (30:7). (V)
I believe I have adequately addressed this statement denying that Israel is a valley of dry bones being returned toward its final assembly, covering with skin, and instillation of God’s Spirit. The Time of Jacob’s Trouble has clearly passed and they shall NO MORE be plucked up as Jeremiah 24:6 and 42:10 plainly record; if you don’t agree, please show me any mention whatever of a THIRD removal of the People from the Land – for surely you agree that a nations of six million Jewish people presently reside in their Promised Land for the SECOND time. There is no hint whatever of any third removal and subsequent return – it’s not scriptural!
And of course there is an additional reason that such cannot occur, namely, that the Gogian affair is depicted as an entirely FAILED attempt even to enter the heartland of Israel successfully. What constituent of Israel does Ezekiel say go out of their villages to bury Gog in his gruesomely detailed account of 39: 1 – 20? It is the ordinary citizen of Israel who shall have sat still, under Messiah’s protective, assured hand, to “see the salvation of the LORD” which they shall surely trust Him to exert on their behalf against the otherwise terrifying multitude of Gog of the Land of Magog!
Instead of successfully expelling and scattering Israel, Ezekiel spends almost a third of his account spelling out carefully how Gog and its host will be utterly destroyed and of how their dead bodies are disposed! If Israel has been scattered (by Gog, for who else is a viable candidate?) before the return of Christ and regathered by Him and then attacked by Gog how you do square all the difficulties and the utter illogic of it all?? Just consider these verses…
“I am AGAINST thee, O Gog …” verse 1.
“I will smite thy BOW… cause thine arrows to fall …” verse 3.
“Thou shalt FALL upon the mountains … ” verse 4.
“I will give thee unto the ravenous birds … to the beasts of the field to be DEVOURED.”
“Thou shalt FALL upon the open field …” verse 5.
“…I will send A FIRE on Magog …” verse 6.
“… they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall set on FIRE and BURN the weapons … for seven years!” verse 9.
“…they shall BURN THE WEAPONS with fire …” verse 10.
“They shall SPOIL THOSE that spoiled them.” verse 10.
“(they) shall ROB THOSE that robbed them.” verse 10.
“I will give unto Gog a place of GRAVES in Israel.” verse 11
“and there they shall BURY Gog and all his multitudes.” verse 11.
“Seven months shall THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL be in burying …” verse 12.
“…ALL the PEOPLE of the LAND shall BURY them …” verse 13.
“…ye (beasts of Bashan) shall EAT THE FLESH … DRINK THE BLOOD of the
princes of the earth … all of them fatlings of Bashan” verse 18.
“ye shall be FILLED AT MY TABLE with horses and chariots.” verse 20.
“all the heathen shall SEE MY JUDGMENT that I have executed, and My
hand that I HAVE LAID UPON THEM.” verse 21.
How can anyone explain these excoriating condemnations of Gog in the context of the scenario that you and others propose? Where in the entire scriptures is the great victory of Gog??
This is a detailed account depicting the precisely and totally opposite outcome to the scenario you have proposed! Gog is utterly destroyed (no sixth part left as the AV says), as attested by nearly every other translation of Ezekiel in my library – NOT ONE of that great host survives that ‘day’ – that utterly surprising, unexpected, most horrible and dread day in northeastern Israel of that day (but not in this day – yet).
Gog, please note, is “given a place there of GRAVES in Israel.” The location described is “east of the sea” (of Galilee), according to Young; we might suppose this to mean the Dead Sea, except that the beasts who devour Gog’s carcasses are described as ‘fatlings of Bashan” which is east of Galilee’s Sea. In either case that land today is NOT in Israel but in Jordan – a further indication that Israel shall have expanded into Jordan and annexed that territory previously!
To make any other outcome appear here you must entirely re-write Ezekiel 39! To make any other outcome appear here you must misapply numerous other scriptural passages and distort them to entirely contradict Ezekiel. I should not even attempt that if I were you; indeed, I would hasten to write and publish an article giving the TRUE reflection of Ezekiel’s words, for I suggest that to do otherwise is a direct contravention of God’s holy word – not a very honorable position!
Zechariah speaks of these days …
Likewise, Zechariah speaks of these days saying that Jerusalem “shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished…” (14: 2). (W)
Yes, Zechariah does. The date of his prophecy is some 450 years before the sacrificial death of Messiah, and about 2500 years before its fulfillment; it is now an historical account! This was fulfilled in 1948, when the only significant victory of the Arab Legion against Israel was that they held on to the Old City of Jerusalem – and did those vile acts against God’s people. [To be continued, Lord willing]
Installment Number Ten: R, S and T
The word ‘dry’ is defined by Gesenius as …
In verse 2 of Ezekiel 37 the word ‘dry’ is defined by Gesenius as meaning “hope has failed, or to be disappointed.” Proverbs 17:22 reads “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken heart drieth the bones.” Certainly this is not Israel’s disposition currently. She relies upon the strength of her own hand, the treacherous treaties with her neighbors (Isaiah 30-Egypt), and resides confidently in the ability of her own military to defend herself. She is not of “failed hope, disappointed and in despair” as Ezekiel 37:2 requires. Therefore this state must occur and (sic) some point in the future. Let’s look more closely at this dried bones aspect. (R)
Well, dear brother, let’s not make up our minds on this point prematurely. They did feel all those feelings during the time of Jacob’s Trouble – the Shoah (Holocaust) – and sincerely sought the Father’s help but it did not come to them.
Also, you must be aware that Israel is being increasingly guided in the wrong direction by her present evil shepherds – especially were they by Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert – who neither know nor care for the things of God. They are striving to divide Israel by their misguided philosophy of “Land for Peace,” and we know that is not God’s plan for His people. (Cf. Joel 3:2)
But the Master also has not returned to them either. I believe that immediately prior to His appearing, Israel shall have fallen into failed hope, being disappointed and in despair because they shall have reached the point at which our Lord wishes them to feel those emotions. It is His means of preparing them for His spectacular deliverance from their enemies round about. They will be so grateful to have a miraculous Redeemer from the oppression of the Arabs round about that they will be primed to accept Him at the time He reveals Himself to them – eager to receive His deliverance and salvation, by then being convinced that they cannot solve the ‘Palestinian’ (Edomite) problem by themselves.
Remember, we are not yet looking at the extreme end of their plight – and it IS a plight – for only Michael the Archangel shall have delivered them up to that time. Yes, they DO now feel generally that their own hand has brought deliverance from their enemies, but they don’t see the entire picture quite yet. By the time the Lord Jesus sets His feet among those enemies and destroys them utterly I believe they shall suffer more and be entirely ready for his Presence.
To elaborate this point, when comes the Christ, they will be in a state of desperation from the vile threats being placed upon them. But the will of the Father will ‘out.’ Obadiah 1:16 informs us ... as ye (heathen/nations) have drunk upon My holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually (some versions read ‘round about’), yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be AS THOUGH THEY HAD NOT BEEN. AndObadiah 1:17, “…the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.”
Also Obadiah 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 (a devouring fire) in them, and devour them; and THERE SHALL NOT BE ANY REMAINING OF THE HOUSE OF ESAU; FOR THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT.”
Those nations shall be utterly destroyed by the Christ and His forces assisting the IDF; their lands shall be taken into Greater Israel; their wealth confiscated – this includes the vast oil reserves of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, their accounts receivables appropriated to Christ’s use and kingdom; all their chattels confiscated; their gold and their silver and vast bank accounts seized forever by the Messiah of Israel. If you haven’t thought of it before, this is why there is NO MENTION WHATEVER of any of the Proximal Islamic States in Ezekiel 38 and 39 – because in that time these nations shall have been wiped off the map of the Middle East.
So, yes – their day of failed hope is coming, along with their assessment that their (human) outlook is gone. Keep in mind that their historical pathway of the present day is long and tortuous to our human way of thinking, and they are not even nearly at the end of their dangerous pathway as yet. There are ‘rebels’ which must be purged out, and this is part of that process. I believe in that future day they shall be in extremely dire straits; they shall be without a friend in the world – even the USA will have suffered some reversal of feeling for Israel or have suffered some other setback, which shall prevent her from assisting Israel. “I tread the winepress alone” says Jesus, “and of the people there was none with Me.” (Isaiah 63:3) “And I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore MINE OWN ARM brought salvation unto Me; and My fury it upheld Me.” (verse 5)
Do you think that a U. S. president (written in 2008) who possibly could be named Barak Obama – a purely Muslim name – would continue to assist Israel as past administrations have done?? We don’t know what the outcome of the election in November will be, but anyone born of Muslim parents IS MUSLIM … forever, in the eyes of Islam. It is said that today within Hamas and the PLO, there is rejoicing at every advantage they perceive Barak Obama to have gained in this very close Democratic presidential nominating race!! Once a Muslim, always a Muslim, is the code by which Muslims live. The Muslims will never allow Obama to be a bona fide “Methodist” from Chicago!
This has been the experience of Israel …
This has been the experience of Israel through the ages – to be slain, devoured and picked bare by Assyria,Babylon, Rome and all the nations [in] which she has been scattered. However, Ezekiel’s vision refers to none of these, but to a destruction of the nation which is still future. It is from the dead, hopeless state ofIsrael here depicted that the nation is transformed into Messiah’s kingdom. (S)
NOT SO! Ezekiel’s vision refers to ALL these. Their ceaseless worldwide oppression is comprehended in their long history of scattering and peeling, of rape and pillage and murder by the pagan forces of mankind. Their incomprehensible suffering is embedded in the whole of Ezekiel 37 and is the very reason the people are so described! It has nothing to do with any destruction of the nation in the future. It isn’t going to happen! Their merciful Father is not basing his redemptive action upon the desires of the people of Israel (not “for your sake, O Zion”) but ON HIS HOLY NAME AND ITS VENERATION (“for My holy name’s sake”). See Ezek. 20:9; 36:22, 32; Isaiah 43:25; 44:1; 48:9, 11.
If He should now turn His hand upon Israel and destroy her He is repudiating His own promises to gather her from the four winds, to plant Israel in her own Land, and to never pluck them up – a promise of Jeremiah 24:6 and 42:10, a promise to be implemented after He had much earlier plucked them out of their Land and sent them packing for their shame and transgression, as in Jeremiah 12:14, 15; but examine that verse carefully and you will see that after God had plucked Judah out from among their neighbors (and sent them away for millennia), that He promises in verse 15 that “I will return and have compassion on them, and will bring them again every man to his heritage, and every man to his Land.” That is the SECOND regathering, for their destiny now is that of verse 16 of Jeremiah 12: “And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, The Lord liveth; as they taught My People to swear by Baal; then shall be they be built in the midst of My People ….” His People are now entrained in this prescribed process of inevitable fulfillment, to the glory of the Almighty. But it shall take yet some more time.
I submit that it will be impossible for them to transgress yet again to the point of His expelling them from their Land a third time, for at the end of their second dispersion they are shown His glory and deliverance; they wholeheartedly accept his deliverance; they recognize his true identity, and are given His Spirit and Grace from that time forward. There is NO THIRD DISPERSION AND REGATHERING.
At the present time there has been a change …
At the present time there has been a change in the condition of the Jewish people. Israel is a nation again in the land. But it should be carefully noted that this is not a fulfillment of this vision of revival, for verse 14 clearly teaches that God places them in the land. The word “places” does not mean simply to cause them to return to the land as many have already done. The Hebrew word muach signifies ‘to rest, settle down and remain.’ (T)
By what conceivable authority can you infer that God has NOT ‘placed’ them in the Land? How can you be so utterly sure that the LORD hasn’t done it? I submit that absolutely nothing happens to Israel that is not initiated by their Father. It could hardly be more obvious that our Father has done precisely that in the numerous miraculous means by which he has caused His people to return to the Land, to survive against odds of nearly 200 to 1, to build the most impressive economy outside the Far East within the framework of ongoing terrorism, threats, violence, rocket attacks, cross-border extermination raids, economic oppression and boycotts, constant vilification, and all other sorts of violence and mayhem. Why can’t you see this as a miracle? It doesn’t matter that a few in Israel may think they have done all this themselves – they HAVEN’T; THEY COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS ALONE, as many of them now freely confess. But we must be patient and observe the END of the present process, which will conform perfectly to your commentary on muach: His people SHALL “rest, settle down and remain” in light of the all the considerations above.
Here I want to insert numerous other thoughts, reasons why your proposals are not going to ‘fly.’
Jeremiah 31:8, 9
This is not a depiction of Israel’s initial remnant being brought back to their land by Christ personally (after His return) in great joy and security; it is instead a sketch of their return prior to His second coming – yes, in unbelief [why else would they be described as repenting en masse when the Lord shows them His wounds after delivering them from their enemies round about? Zechariah 12: 10 – 14 – and of their hazardous journey thitherward. It describes precisely what we have watched with faithful insight for nearly an hundred years: “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company (= an organized community; cf., Bullinger, f.n.) shall return thither. They shall come with weeping and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” Do these words describe a victorious, enlighten rescue of a yet-to-be-dispersed People being brought back to their Land (a third time) by Messiah? That proposal is not feasible in any way.
Verse 13 promises those in that joyous return, that “I will turn their mourning into joy (their mourning over the Holocaust and perhaps even a level of near despair over the persecution by their Arab enemies after they returned to their Land) and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”
Why would they be mourning if Christ were obviously and joyously leading them to their land? Instead they have been assisted mightily by their angelic guardian of Daniel 12: 1, 2 – Michael the Archangel – behind the scenes, to bring about their miraculous return, sometimes in great hardship and danger; he has brought about their dramatically impressive victories in warfare against their rabid enemies; their scientific and economic achievements have been guided by that faithful servant of God. For Israel has not done what we have witnessed since 1948 by their own hand; their help has been from God alone.
Jerusalem is to be a ‘cup of trembling’ to all the people round about. After Christ returns to His people there will no longer be any ‘controversy of Zion.’ He will tolerate no opposition or debate, and with the breath of His lips shall he slay the wicked ones who try to harm His people. He assures them of this fact when he returns and disarms Israel as in Zechariah 9: 9, 10. His indignation is admittedly against all those external enemies, and it shall not be “over-past” until His righteous indignation is expended upon them by their utter destruction. Only Israel shall survive His indignation, and that because of His holy name – not from any righteousness or supplications from Israel.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off [He disarms His people completely, for armaments are no longer needed]; and He shall SPEAK peace unto the heathen: and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9: 9, 10.Christ then maintains order and security by the breath of His lips – His edicts – only; no weapons whatever are needed by Him.
Until that time, the rabid nations are intent on taking over the holy places of God, murdering the returned Jews by every possible means – a reflection of the scenario of Psalm 83, which refers only to the nations round about, not to the Gogian host at all. The named enemies there are ten, listed in verses 6-8, NONE of which are at any time associated with the Gogian host … not once! [Neither have they any relationship to the metallic image of Daniel 2.] These nations are those who during our time, for decades, have been struggling to push Israel and her citizens into the sea, but have not been successful, because God has given Israel supernatural strength against those enemies.
Psalm 83 does not indicate ANY VICTORY whatever of those aggressors; instead it firmly and positively states that they become DUNG for the earth (vs. 10). This fits with the sequence of events which brings the return of Christ to the earth PRIOR to the Gogian invasion by some years (?), as the nearby Islamic states finally get their act together and attack Israel in a concerted effort but are destroyed (made as dung for the earth) by the returned Christ and the Saints.
After that time, Christ shall be recognized by the Jews as depicted in Zechariah 12: 10. This account is the only definitive account that we have of Israel’s abject repentance and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Advent – absolutely a ONE TIME occurrence. It is impossible for them to ‘repent’ before that time because this indicated repentance would then be redundant, having already occurred – which means that they MUST return to their Land ‘in unbelief’ so they will be there when He returns to see his power that He exercises on their behalf – saving them from what might seem to them to be an impossible onslaught of enemies from every direction, and via land, sea and air (including missiles from Iran or whomever). It is only on this basis that the great mourning of Zechariah 12 could logically take place.
Verse 14 – The people of Zion certainly said during the Holocaust these burning words: “The lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.” When they were being hunted down in every square meter of the ghettos of Nazi Europe – in Poland, in Austria, in Czechoslovakia, in Holland – their hearts feared for their lives … and two out of three of God’s remnant (a remnant even then as a result of earlier persecution and murder) were killed by Hitler’s murderers. Only one third survived the Shoah; that third desperately made its way toward what was then known as Palestine – their only hope for any future whatever. During the first four years of the State of Israel, its population doubled; it was one of the most concentrated and vigorous migrations of mankind the world had ever seen. And the State of Israel handled the staggering influx to the best of its God-given ability.
This migration and those intense ones to follow – including over a million from the land of the north (Russia) – are forecasted in verses 15 and 16: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands, thy walls are continually before me.” God never forgot His people. In Malachi 3:7, the prophet reiterates their waywardness, but along with that, their salvation – the prescription for their return to God in the latter days. He tells of His compassion for them in v. 6: “For I the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers [when they ‘dwelt safely in the land,’incidently, as recorded in I Kings 4:25 – under Solomon, not currently, and as recalled in Ezekiel 39:26.] ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?”
The means that He prescribes, relates to sacrifice and tithes. There are various ways to ‘return’ to God. Firstly we think of spiritual contrition and repentance; such has not generally been the case with Israel although it is certainly not unknown among thousands of returnees, many of whom tell us that they have come back to Israel because they must do so to be redeemed!
The second means to ‘return’ to God is a physical return to His land. Since we know that their spiritual return – the return of ALL His people – is forecasted in Zechariah 12, as referred to above, he is indicating this preliminary ‘return’ to His Land. He indicates their physical return to His land in the verses following. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” he tells them. And where is that storehouse? It is not in the place of their dispersion, for He refers to “meat in Mine house” (vs. 10); in vs. 11, He will rebuke the devourer (the Arab enemies among and round about them) and he shall not destroy the fruits of YOUR ground.
Israel never had its OWN ground until 1948, when the sovereign nation was established by law on the territory of Eretz Israel. Vs. 12 reinforces this principle; “… ye shall be a delightful land, saith the Lord …” What land is He speaking of here?Of His Land and of their Land – the Land of Israel, after their return to it. For a much deeper insight into the Jewish return to its land study Ezekiel 36, the first several verses of which address His Physical Land – Eretz Yishrael – in the last days. This entire chapter shows that a precious, few Jews are the first to return and develop the Land to make it productive enough so that greater numbers of Jews can be supported by it and make it ready for still more and more inhabitants. This is precisely how theGreat Aliyah begun in the nineteenth century, resulting today in the marvel that we see in the State of Israel today.
Has this condition persisted? Indeed it has as we have continually seen with our own eyes. Israel is a net exporter of agricultural products as well as technical products such as weapons of war, computers and software, aircraft, tanks, swift boats, drones, and numerous other hardware, which have developed from their expertise. Its economy is progressing faster than any other outside of the Far East. Its population, standing at around six million Jews at this moment, is the largest concentration of Jews in the world. How can you possibly seriously propose that these little ones of God whom He has carefully and persistently brought back to their Land [and ‘placed’ carefully there] will be overcome of ANYONE and dispersed yet again? Isaiah 11 makes provision for only a SECOND return … no third, no fourth.
We are seeing it today and it is as valid as the first return from Babylon. This second return is described in many passages of scripture. The first return was from Babylon – from the north and the east. But here Isaiah speaks of the second return from the ends of the earth in verse 12: “Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north, AND FROM THE WEST; and these from the land of Sinim (China!)”
Have Jews returned from the West and from Sinim? Indeed they have done so, not in the first return but in the second. To say that the present State of Israel means nothing to the plan of God and as a harbinger of the return of Christ is to repudiate scriptures such as these. The only ‘research’ I have read that you have done is to quote human writers such as John Thomas and Graham Pearce as to what their opinion is about the return of Israel. These are essentially "the doctrines of men" and not of God - for their interpretation of His forecasts wire in error.
I submit to you that those supporting your view base their thinking slavishly on John Thomas, as do you and many, many others, who pontificate about how the things HAVE to, and MUST, take place as earlier supposed, when those earlier expositors just didn’t understand the final sequence of events at all! John Thomas elaborated the basic Bible teachings of salvation very very well; and on historical prophetical fulfillment up to his time, he was a wonderful expositor. But he went into far too much detail in his prognostications for the future from his day – many of which later failed utterly. These may have served their purpose in his time, and for a decade or so after his death. I was astounded to find that nowhere in his writings does he recognize that the Ottoman Empire was one of the kings of the north, as in Daniel 11. But by scriptural convention the Ottomans WERE a king of the north, and indeed were the LAST king of the north having met their demise in 1917 as Allenby invaded the Holy Land from the south and sent them packing back to Anatolia, where that empire came to its end with none to help!!!
But now back to your paper… [To be continued, God willing]
Installment Number Nine: N to Q
Note Graham Pearce’s personal notes on this issue:
“…what Dr. Thomas had written was in complete agreement with the conclusions that I had reached…he did not consider the pre-adventual colonization of Palestine by the Jews (i.e. the creation of the modern State of Israel) to be in any way the restoration spoken of by the prophets … he considered that there would be a desolation of the State of Israel by Gog’s hosts, and this would be in fulfillment of Ezek. 37 (causing Israel to say, “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost (and) that Messiah and the saints will be involved in causing the bones of the nation of Israel to come together and stand up an exceeding great army.” (N)
With all respect to Graham Pearce, his publication Milestones is a direct parroting of the future as seen by Bro. Thomas from his own time. Bro. Pearce as well as others who adhere to his line of interpretation, including yourself, is merely your expression of an incredibly unsuccessful attempt to prove by any and every way possible that John Thomas was right all along, and to show the considerations of contemporary brethren to be null and void – and their considerations to be a somewhat ignorant, naïve and even shallow attempt to place the events of recent history in the Biblical context of fulfillment when they just don’t fit. But the plan they actually don’t fit, is the Thomas Plan. They don’t fit – and haven’t fit – for 150 years,
although their deviance did not become very clearly apparent until about 1897.
Bernard Burt did an extended literature search…
Subsequently, Bernard Burt (Central Fellowship) did an extended literature search for references to Ezek. 37 in early Christadelphian literature. He concluded, “It appears clear from researches into these published expositions that the view that the return of the Jews to the land, which began with the Zionist movement in 1897 was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the valley of dry bones, was the interpretation given to the prophecy by some leading Zionists and non-Christadelphian students of the day and that the brethren adopted this interpretation and publicized it despite the existence of quite different exposition of the prophecy in the writings of Dr. Thomas.” (O)
And this is as it should be! To interpret it slavishly as John Thomas said it should be would have been to override the words of the prophecy and establish John Thomas as the prophet. Please give intelligent and faithful brethren some credit for those qualities. The prophecy is so simple in its revelation it is readily interpreted in such a way and no other! Otherwise the historical fulfillment that did occur would be of no value to students of prophecy; the trumpet of God would have been giving an uncertain sound.
But not so! The clarion note of the trumpet was crystal clear: God’s plan was finally beginning to move forward in an unmistakable surge of fulfillment! These faithful brethren recognized that forward movement and were courageous enough to realize that Bro. Thomas had not been correct in his prognostications. He had no “key” to the prophecies – and no valid insight into just how these complex affairs would come about in the annals of History AFTER his time. He had pieced the events together in his own approximate assessment and put them forth perhaps as more than a possibility (due to his zeal) but in more of a certain pathway of fulfillment. The year 1897 was the 68th Jubilee of Israel – a landmark year, and one likely to produce significant movement forward of God’s Plan.
By no stretch of the imagination can the spirit …
“By no stretch of the imagination can the spirit of independence and self-reliance which pervades modern Israel (identified as the trespass while dwelling peace and safety) be correctly styled God’s spirit, as some maintain.” (J. Allfree)
When God imputes his spirit into the nation of Israel it is never to be withdrawn again and subsequently they are never to be scattered, oppressed or persecuted again and certainly not by Gog. (P)
I didn’t realize that any Christadelphian writer had claimed that Israel presently possessed God’s Spirit. I do repudiate that claim. That blessed occurrence awaits a singular time in future history: Zechariah 12: 10 – 14. It is ONLY at that future time, recognizable to all who are closely observing events within Israel, that God’s Spirit is only being poured out on the house of David (vs. 10) the spirit of grace and supplication as they look upon Him Whom they once pierced, resulting in ‘great mourning.’ Again, it’s a very simple, straightforward operation upon His repentant and now submissive people. It is conferred permanently upon them and shall never leave them. It shall be through this Spirit, I believe, that the remnant of Jacob still remaining scattered among the nations shall be brought home to their everlasting inheritance. And certainly, they shall NOT BE PERSECUTED NOR REMOVED BY GOG!
… Modern day expositions fail to explain this critical principle.
But modern day expositions fail to explain this critical principle. Ezekiel 39:29 states: “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the lord God.” Ezekiel 36:26, 27 states “A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” The point being, when God bestows His spirit into Israel it is a permanent change – something we have yet to see and most certainly an event after Christ has defeated Gog and his hosts in the battle of Armageddon. (Q)
In my publications I have addressed (explained) this critical principle many times! Ezekiel 39:25-29 addresses the ‘whole house of Israel’ (vs. 25) who I believe are at that time being completely returned from the wilderness of the people (the whole earth – their Diaspora) and addresses the changes that come upon them after they are brought home. And note that this is “after they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against Me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.”
What is the prophet telling us here? He is clearly reiterating the reason for Israel’s (the 10 Tribes’) original dispersion: they shamed themselves, sinned in many ways, and trespassed with idols when they dwelt safely in their land PRIOR TO THE ASSYRIAN’S COMING AND DISPERSING THEM TO THE LANDS OF THE NORTH, where they have not repented during the 27 centuries or so since their dispersion!
It is a complete distortion of that cluster of verses, to claim that they are fulfilling it (bringing this shame on themselves and trespassing greatly) during their present habitation of the Land. In my opinion, their level of sin as they dwell in the land during this second return (at the present time) is discernibly far milder than in those former times when it was absolutely disastrous, and for which they were originally dispersed. Indeed, in the land today are many Hassidic and other religious Jews who live their lives as righteously as they know how in the complete absence of idolatry. If they had originally continued to obey God and not gone after idols, they should have continued to ‘dwell safely’ in the land; but they did not. So that “trespass” and “shame” refers not to contemporary time but to former time. Today they are not true Believers, but they also are not obstreperous idolaters!
So that leaves us to consider Ezekiel 36: 21 – 38, which must be included in the historical outworking of His personal appearance to the returned people – the great blessing to be conferred upon the 6 million who live in the land today, for example – and certainly to the additional ones who have gathered there when He arrives … but PRIOR to the Gogian attempt to invade the heartland. When the Christ appears and delivers them from the overwhelming power of their enemies round about (specifically those of Psalm 83) and they discern just Whom He is, it is at that point that His Spirit is poured out upon them … at least upon those who are then dwelling in the Land. And note, in verse 32, it is “not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God.” It is for His holy name’s sake (vs. 22). After that time shall they walk in His statutes and keep His judgments and do them. This is a portion of the abrupt change which Christ brings upon them at His second appearing … and all prior to the invasion of Gog!
Now, one more matter in this reference to your paper … the term Armageddon is thrown around by the brotherhood in an entirely reckless and senseless manner. Almost nobody seems to have given this subject much more than a cursory reading without even a second thought. It is treated as a general term for all the end-time conflicts of Israel surrounding the Second Advent. But it is no such thing! For example, where is the term mentioned? It is ONLY in Revelation 16:16.
With what event is the text concerned in that chapter – indeed in the vast entirety of the Revelation? It is concerned with the European Beast with seven heads and ten horns, with the city on seven hills, with the great Whore and her abominations, the man of sin, the Son of Perdition. Therefore it is an European affair and none other (with certain other possible qualifications which are outside our purview of interest here). Armageddon, in my humble opinion, strictly speaking describes the hostile interface (war) of the forces of the Saints upon that false religious system described as the Man of Sin and later by the Beast itself, which finally realizes that it has been duped by this false Christ (the pope) for millennia! [To be continued soon, God willing.}
Installment Number Eight: L and M
The Scattered Jews…
The scattered Jews are then re-gathered as part of the Rainbowed Angels march from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Moab-Jordan, and part of that company that is returned and restored to Israel when Christ plants his feet upon the Mount of Olives. Christ and the Saints in complete victory now complete the gathering of the whole house of Israel from the land of Assyria, Egypt and the four winds (Zech. 1:6-10 & Jer. 31:8, 9). (L)
This bears some extensive discussion but not at this time. Christ and the Saints are nowhere described as rounding up Jews and bringing them to Israel after the Judgment Seat is held; this was a theory which seemed logical at the time of its propagation, but is not indicated by scripture.
I do agree that Christ and the Saints arrive at the Mount of Olives in complete victory over their proximal foes and subsequently complete the gathering of the whole house of Israel. These are not located in Assyria or Egypt, however, for nearly every Jew has already been returned from those and the countries associated with them in the reference you are alluding to in Isaiah 11:11. As already stated, if Jews today were scattered to those countries they wouldn’t live for even one day but would be destroyed by the intractable hatred of the Arabs who have vowed to kill all the Jews by dictate of theKoran.
Jeremiah 31, I believe, outlines the regathering as we have seen it in our time, but certainly projects on into the future when the WHOLE house of Israel is regathered, as comprehended also in Ezekiel 37.
This view found traction in the Brotherhood …
You see how quickly this view found traction in the Brotherhood as a shuffling of events was required to make a present day interpretation fit the world scene. The motive was pure; just imagine the emotional exuberance to the events of 1917, 1948, 1967, 1973. The desire for Christ’s instant appearing burned bright within the Brotherhood, but this interpretation was not the original one put forth by our pioneer brethren and more importantly the scriptures themselves. (M)
Of course it “found traction” – because the watchful brethren recognized it as the valid fulfillment of the prophecies!
Had he lived until that time, John Thomas would also have recognized it as the valid fulfillment, and should have acknowledged that his earlier projections were in error! Indeed his intellect, I believe, would then have demanded that he rethink his entire scenario from that time forward, for the facts as revealed by historical fulfillment were already abrogating and invalidating his own prognostications at that point. John Thomas recognized events of history as fulfilling prophecies regularly; he realized that to see the evidence of fulfillment it is NECESSARY to correlate them with historical fulfillment. Witness his now fairly nebulous references on numerous occasions to obscure (and to us relatively unimportant) events in Slovenia, Moravia and the Baltic states which he regarded as fulfilling prophecy.
So, of course these events were recognized to be fulfilling prophecy! Motive? Of course it was pure! If brethren expected the events to which you referred to bring Christ’s “instant appearing,” however, they were expecting something to which scripture does not attest. It is my considered opinion that when the proximal enemies of Israel are obliterated by Christ he is accompanied by the Immortalized Saints, so those Saints-to-be must have been cognizant that Christ was not about to appear at that earlier time, for they were still occupying their mundane places among the nations, and were as yet unredeemed. The dead Saints were yet in their graves. No such event was therefore in the offing.
What they (we!) DID recognize was, however, important milestones beside the pathway to the ultimate fulfillment of the perfect and immutable prophecies of the end-time.
1. The end of the “times of the Gentiles” in 1917; the drying up of the Euphrates; Britain’s avowed purpose to establish an homeland for the Jewish people (although later disavowed and retracted by numerous restrictions on immigration of Jews and other draconian measures to now keep Jews OUT of the Land leading to Britain’s fall from God’s favor and reduction to a third world power).
2. And God going forth to fight for Israel in 1948“as He fought in the day of battle,” giving His Peoplea permanent foothold in the Land that they would later inherit as an everlasting possession. The spectacular fulfillment of Zechariah 14:2 in which HALF of the City of Jerusalem was taken by the Arab Legion of Jordan and, indeed, “went forth into captivity” as the Jews of the Jewish Quarter were marched out of the city to prisons in Jordan. This is certainly one of the most unique and singular occurrences in history. At no other time in JEWISH history has such an unique event happened, yet brethren even today are still obtusely expecting it to happen again!!!
3. Happy are those who, in 1967, saw with their own eyes the fulfillment of the Sanctuary Cycle (Cleansing of the Sanctuary) when the military forces of Israel drove all the Jordanian forces from not only the Old City but Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights!
4. The victories of that war (the Six Day war) and the Yom Kippur war of 1973, were surely evidence of significantly official sanction of these actions by our Father through the abilities of the Israel Defense Force. Indeed, it is obviously the visible outworking of the divine assistance to Israel through the offices of Michael the Archangel working behind the scenes to accomplish the will of our Father with Israel!
Installment Number Seven: J and K
Problems are evident with this phased approach…
But many problems are evident with this “phased approach,” or Arab/Muslim confederacy approach. First, if you read carefully the prophecies of Psalm 83 and others, the “Arabs” never succeed in their desire to “cut Israel off.” Christ of course cannot return to Jerusalem first with literal angels, this discounts the entire Rainbowed Angel/multitudness (sic) Christ (Deut. 33 and Hab. 3), and the judgment of those Saints which must have already taken place in Sinai. Christ of course returns as a thief to the world (Rev. 16) and not until his glorious/victorious entrance into Jerusalem is he witnessed by the world. Gog is responsible for the scattering of Israel (there are not two scatterings of Israel just as there are not two “Great and terrible days of the Lord” or Armageddon – this is one event). (J)
“…the “Arabs” [Islamists] never succeed in their desire to ‘cut Israel off…’ et seq: Certainly, this is true, as already discussed in detail.
Well … yes, Christ is witnessed (seen) by the world when He returns to Israel and saves her, but I must say I’m sure He shall not be recognized as Christ (indeed, the ‘Christian’ world will deem Him to be their cherished ‘Anti-Christ.)’ He will occupy the highest profile among the leaders of the world after the previous exploits, but is not recognized as to His real identity. Gog knows nothing of the course of events to be ushered in by Messiah, and could care even less as to who He is; their trust is in the god of forces and with that power they intend to overthrow Him and take His kingdom and riches – for now Christ has ‘gather(ed) unto Himself the wealth of the Gentiles,’ as Zechariah 14:14 foretells – all prior to the Gogian invasion.
Now you state a ‘fact’ which is not fact, but a serious presumption on your part due to your misapplication of several ancillary prophecies which you and others both now and in the past, have very erroneously supposed to corroborate the statement: that “Gog is responsible for the scattering of Israel (there are not two scatterings of Israel just as there are not two “Great and terrible days of the Lord” or Armageddon – this is one event).”
I respectfully suggest that you are unjustifiably adding ‘facts’ into the mix which are not warranted! As already discussed in great depth, there is no earthly justification for your presumption that Gog scatters Israel, nor even that the Gogian coalition brings any discomfort or inconvenience whatever to Christ and His kingdom which is then clearly resident in Zion! A prime rule in prophetic studies is that any prophecy being studied must be considered first to stand on its own, and that any further actions imposed upon it or seemingly implied by it by anyone must be in harmony with the original prophecy and not violate the premises of that prophetic revelation.
As I have pointed out, in light of the CLEAR and unequivocal statements made by Ezekiel within chapters 38 and 39 regarding Gog’s immediate destiny, other (outside) ‘proofs’ must not be interposed upon those chapters which violate those clearly defined statements. To ignore the prophet’s claim (really the revelation of our Father Himself – the Inspirer of those words) that the Gogian host is DESTROYED (in one literal day? - 38:19) is a direct and violent repudiation of the Lord’s own words … His purpose for bringing Gog against His Land is ONLY to exonerate His holy name among the nations, and to prove yet again that He is the God of Israel.
Ezekiel 38: 16 – “… I will bring thee against My land, that the heathen (the nations) may know Me when I shall be sanctified IN THEE, O GOG, BEFORE ALL THEIR EYES.”
I ask you, by what mechanism is the Lord sanctified by allowing His enemies to destroy and scatter the People whom He has quite obviously, painstakingly and lovingly returned to the Land and made to dwell in peace and safety … and in un-walled villages?? The answer is that such a proposition is a complete fantasy, and a violent misapplication of scripture, because that premise violates a major internal feature of these two chapters. That is not either reasonable or feasible, and cannot be excused or ‘explained away!’ It is a blatant assault upon the integrity of the prophecy as given. There are others fully as serious, that are violated …
Ezekiel 38: 18 – “…at the same time when Gog shall come against the Land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that My fury shall come up in My face.”
I ask you how does that righteous reaction of our Father square with allowing His people to be driven out of the Land? I might for a moment wonder if you think His fury is directed toward His people of Israel rather than Gog’s arrogant and disdainful attitude and intention, except that you cannot have overlooked the clear and distinctive message of verses and following: “… I will call for a sword against him (that is obviously against GOG, not Israel) throughout all My mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against HIM (that is against Gog, not Israel!) with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
I must inquire again – how should such a horrible and final series of punishments heaped upon Israel ‘magnify’ the Lord? It simply cannot; and those statements cannot be ignored and set aside in favor of some other frankly loony conclusion that Israel is going to be scattered and expelled from their land by the ungodly forces of Gog. And especially so in light of your earlier stated belief that the people who are there in the Land now are inconsequential or unimportant? Incredible!
If ‘the pioneers’ had been more diligent to ‘rightly handle the word of God’ they might never have placed such an unwarranted scenario into print! They may be excused however, as doing their level best to untangle the web of end-time prophecy as it appeared in their day, but being just a bit too early to see how the entire situation developed in total accord with the revealed word of God, and as verified by historical developments of the near (to them) future, and therefore not witnessed by them.
On the other hand, we have no such excuse, dear brother! We surely have eyes of understanding and reason – eyes to ‘see’ and ears to ‘hear’ His pronouncements … His sure revelation of what was to come upon His people. Having said that, it would never be a cursory, superficial, or undemanding pursuit, but would require diligent searching, poring over texts far and wide in diligent prayer.
It is the utter simplicity of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that draws men to it by flocks and droves. Not one of the TV ‘evangelists’ such as John Hagee, Jack van Impe, Grant Jeffries or Hal Lindsey have any inkling that the series of skirmishes and even the deadly wars that we have witnessed between the Islamic states “round about” and Israel, are detailed in over 50 clear references to occur PRIOR to the Gogian invasion AND TO BE INSTRUMENTAL (absolutely necessary) to set the stage for it and to bring about the Gogian conflict, because they have not really dug deeply enough to see these quite obvious features of prophecy.
Another reason is that they understand almost nothing accurate about the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, presuming its last ‘week’ to have been postponed and set aside in Christ’s time and relegated somewhere to our future even today – a principle (the ‘gap’ principle) seen absolutely NOWHERE in all the Bible's prophetic literature, and in no way justifiable.
That error, and their misunderstanding of the nature of man and of Christ, their muddy understanding of the ‘snatching away’ (‘rapture’) of ‘those who have accepted Christ as their personal savior’ without ANY accurate basis of knowledge of Him or His mission – or indeed of the necessity for knowledgeable baptism into Christ – doom them to eternal subservience to sheer ignorance and fantasy.
We must be far more astute than that.
Gog is also responsible for…
Gog is also responsible for the planting of his tabernacles of his palace (or tents) between the seas (the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean) in his glorious mountains (Dan. 11:45). (K)
You might want to check out the wording of some other, earlier versions on this one, my brother. Most others state that he plants his tents (pavilions of war) between the Sea and the glorious holy mountain – i.e., in the Sharon, or coastal plain. The Ottomans established their military headquarters at Ramle, which is near Ben Gurion International Airport in the vicinity of Tel Aviv (but even then, only when they saw Allenby threatening to move north from Egypt)! You should also read the excellent treatises on this entire end of Daniel 11 by Bro. C. French of Australia in 1950, “Daniel Chapter 11, verses 36-45.” (63 pages published as a booklet and available from G. P. L., free).
Another excellent one is “The King of the North” by Bro. A. Winter-Moore in the Testimony, January, 1956.
Another is “Daniel’s Last Prophecy” by Bro. Tony Benson in the Testimony of May, 1983. This is a serialized article which ran for several months and is perhaps the most detailed and perceptive one of the three, although all three have their excellent points.
All these students of the Bible AND of the ‘pioneers’ (for they show that they know what those early writers believed and show clearly how God’s plan has worked out much differently in subsequent years to those of the early writers) disagree with the ‘pioneers.’
Their main proposition is that the serial activities of the Kings of the North and of the South are totally fulfilled – the last king of the north passing off the scene with the defeat of the Ottomans in 1917, driving them out of the Land as well as the Euphrates/Tigris valley and subsequent ‘drying up of the Euphrates’ to make way for the kings of the east, which has turned out to the all the new Arab/Muslim states which sprung up to occupy all the former Turkish territories. They clearly show how Britain could not be another King of the South as John Thomas believed they would be, for Daniel mentions no further of either of these aggressors when the Ottomans are finished off in verse 45.
We can easily discern and define a king of the north or south – and of course you realize there was a whole series of both north and south kings – that these can be defined as a power either north or south of Jerusalem who (during the time of Israel’s dispersion) attacked the Land from his own territory and drove out the opposite ‘king’ who would have had control over the Land up to that moment.
These kings always came against the Land – which during the Dispersion was almost vacant of Jews until the early 19th century – violently, for their own imperial purposes, and to exploit the land for their own uses. Britain, entering the Land from Egypt could not be a new King of the South because she didn’t come against the Land for her own imperial purposes but (because of the stated intent of the Balfour Declaration) came against it for the purpose of liberating it for the Jews’ homeland which it strongly supported at that time.
Problem is, Britain almost immediately reneged on her Declaration and started to repress Jewish immigration almost immediately. The upshot for the Brits is that they have sunken to the level of a third world power and now can’t even control their own country in the midst of the Muslim influx, much less anything more important. They required three full weeks to arrive at the Falkland Islands to ‘defend’ it from whom? Argentina?? Good night! Argentina isn’t even a significant military power and Britain had trouble dealing with it even them.
But when Allenby attacked from Cairo toward the north some few weeks after the Balfour Declaration was issued, the end of the last King of the North was in clear sight. The Ottomans ‘came to their end with none to help them’ because their ally in the Great War was too busy defending the German homeland to help them ward off the Brits. They were driven back to Anatolia where they were lightly punished; all their other eastern holdings in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Transjordan (Jordan today) were deserted by the Turks and handed over to the native and indigenous populations of that day, both Jews and Arabs.
In those territories arose the modern nations of the Islamic fanatics of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, etc.
These, then, were the Kings of the East to which Daniel referred – not Christ and the Saints as Bro. Thomas thought. And at that time, Michael, that great prince who standeth for the children of thy (Daniel’s) people, ‘stood up’ and began to bring his charges home from the ends of the earth in that ‘second time’ in which the Lord has recovered His people. This time they have come not from the limited areas of Babylon (the first dispersion) but from the ends of the earth.
It’s said that there are Jews in Israel from about 130 countries – indisputable fulfillment of several scriptural references referring to just this event. Look again, if you will, at Isaiah 11:11, which specifies some of the actual countries from which the Jews were to be recovered (not an exhaustive list, but the most relevant ones); the ‘remnant’ (a remainder of a much larger population) have been recovered from “Assyria (that is, Syria and Iraq), and from Egypt, and from Pathros (upper Egypt) and from Cush (a very old name for the Upper Nile valley) and from Elam (ancient name for W. Iran/Persia), and from Shinar (Babylon/Iraq) and from Hamath and ‘from the islands of the sea.’ This last reference refers to the far-flung populations of Jews in the Dispersion literally all over the world.
Now, if your theory were in any way accurate, and these Jews presently in Israel were to be dispersed from Israel to these places today (to be recovered from those places they would have to be sent there, because almost all the early olim returning to Israel have come out from these Arab/Islamic countries) they would be killed instantly with no consideration. That’s the avowed purpose of the fanatical, fundamentalist Moslems of today; that’s what they want to do; so these wouldn’t survive long enough for Christ to bring them back into His Land … an operation which is NOT SCRIPTURAL in the first place because Isaiah firmly and unequivocally says there is to be only TWO recoveries of His people; we CANNOT deny that the second has already occurred! – i.e., is now in process of being recovered.
Today these countries and all Muslim countries contain almost NO Jews (Iran contains perhaps the greatest number, which is only about 25,000 Jews today out of hundreds of thousands before 1948) because this prophecy has already been largely fulfilled. But since it was fulfilled well after the time of the ‘pioneers’ they did not see this fulfillment and so were not able to take it into account in their prognostications! [To be continued, Lord willing. Ed.]
Installment Number Six: G and H
As Many Modern Expositors and Writers Argue …
If, as many modern expositors and writers argue, Ezek 37 is applied to the modern revival of the State of Israel then, in view of the unbroken chain of events presented in the chapter, logic demands that Ezek. 38 will take place after Christ has returned and restored Israel (being the cause of the peace and safety and unwalled villages and in response to an Arab confederacy which almost overruns Israel i.e. Psalm 83 and Zech. 14:2, which then entices Gog to come down). But Ezek. 39: 25-26 demonstrates conclusively that this peace and safety is considered a state of trespass against Yahweh, in that they secured it in the pride of their own hand. Brethren, here is the fork in the road and the origin of this commonly accepted view. (G)
Yes! That’s absolutely correct – that is the fork in the road. By the way, Psalm 83 does NOT indicate any victory of Islam over Israel. Israel is not adversely affected by the Psalm 83 war, except that it spends its wealth and manpower.
But the ONGOING process of development of chapter 37 does not prevent other prophecies from being fulfilled. What I mean is, since the process of ingathering of Israel has begun long ago, and continues today, that process needs other elements to occur along with it in order to be completed – such as the return of Jesus Christ to the earth – before it can be completed. The process cannot be completed without certain other events that are integrated with it coming to pass. Prophecy rolls over into historical fulfillment in concert with other integral events – not just as solid blocks of isolated events.
Yes! Christ’s return and pacification of Israel IS the cause of the peace and safety and the land being one of unwalled villages and of safety (Heb. betach, confidence). This will follow the end of the great, protracted conflict that Israel is experiencing today and has been experiencing since 1948. Christ comes and brings his fatal judgment upon the nearby enemies of Israel (those of Psalm 83) and removes the walls and gates and checkpoints and fortifications of this era as he begins the initial stages of the kingdom of God on the earth!
As commented upon earlier in these notes, He shall disarm Israel immediately and entirely, take down the terrorism-retarding wall now in place along much of the Green Line, remove the horse, battle-bow and chariot from among them (dismantle their standing army and military emplacements, air bases and naval bases) and immediately make Israel a land of UN-walled villages, dwelling in contrast to today, in peace and in confidence … confidence in His strength and protection, not their own. Ezekiel 38:8 and 11 is Gog’s opinion that they do so dwell; 38:14 is God’s confirmation that they indeed do – “In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?”).
Ezekiel 38 DOES take place after the events of chapter 37! Yes! Without doubt. Read the pointers we have been given in both chapters 36 AND 37. And incidentally, your reference to Ezekiel 39:25, 26, citing the Jews’ “bearing their shame and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against Me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid” refers not to their present return, because that description in no way correlates with their present occupation of the Land, but to their original habitation in their Land as God’s kingdom in which they trespassed – grossly, not once but thrice! – and were expelled from the Land as punishment.
The narrative given here does not detail the actual event of the Lord’s return from heaven to save them from their enemies, but His presence is adequately attested by the prophet’s description of the state of their economy and of their ruler in the days immediately prior to Gog’s attempted invasion: he is David My servant (Ezekiel 37:24; Psalm 89:20). He is presaged in Acts 13:22 and 23 – referring directly to the Lord Jesus Christ! Not to David Ben Gurion, Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon or Ehud Olmert! That benevolent Prince is the Lord Jesus Christ Who has returned to set up again the throne of David in Jerusalem and to take unto Himself His kingdom and reign, and “My Servant David shall be their prince forever.” (Verse 25) Only ONE personage fits that description; only one CAN fit it.
That view holds that …
1. That view holds that an Arab confederacy overruns/scatters Israel.
2. Christ returns (in dramatic appearance to the world) with his angles (sic) to Jerusalem to redeem Israel and establish the Kingdom.
3. Judgment of the Saints then follows. The unwalled villages and the peace and safety are established.
4. Gog is enticed down to Zion because of the peace and safety, and is opposed and defeated by Christ and the Saints/Israel on the mountains of Israel in the battle of Armageddon. (H)
I will comment upon these (H) points one by one:
1. That view holds that an Arab confederacy overruns/scatters Israel. (H)
Respectfully, I do NOT agree; I’ve never heard that view put forth! In the first place, Israel is in their Land for the second time (Isaiah 11:11) to grow and prosper and REMAIN – not be overrun. Psalm 83 names ten specific proximate Arab foes of the Father Himself (verses 1, 2) and of His people Israel – precisely the ones fighting against Israel at this moment (and for 60 years!), and NO OTHERS!
This episode must occur after 1948, because for 2500 years there had been no “Israel” in existence. According to verse 4, these enemies intend to “cut them off from being a nation, that the name of ISRAEL may be on more in remembrance.”
These are confederate against THEE (God) as they have been since before 1948! There is NO HINT that these peoples are in any way successful in conquering Israel and removing her people from the Land. Their end is typified in the punishments meted out to the Midianites, to Sisera, as to Jabin…which perished (their enemies perish; they themselves will NOT) at Endor” becoming as dung! ALL their nobles (shall be) like Oreb, and like Zeeb…all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna” who also threatened Israel in parallel fashion (verse 12) and were destroyed. Verses 13-18 give details of their ‘shame;’ they are troubled and confounded. Does that sound like an Islamic victory to you? It doesn’t to me!
2. Christ returns (in dramatic appearance to the world) with his angles (sic) to Jerusalem to redeem Israel and establish the Kingdom. (H)
Nope. I believe Christ has returned secretly and brought together the Saints by regathering the ones living and resurrecting the ones who have died; He takes them to a sacred and secret place where he holds the Judgment Tribunal. He awards the ‘righteous’ with life eternal, immortalizes them, and brings them with Him as he conquers Israel’s foes. This honor hath all the Saints.
The angels will perhaps accompany this blessed company in this work, but that is not necessary for its successful conclusion. Israel, even at this hour, is becoming more deeply mired in inextricable circumstances, humanly speaking. By the time of His appearance with the Saints, Israel will, I believe, be in great straits from the overwhelming numbers of the un-covenanted sons of Esau, with their oil wealth, their far superior numbers, their fanatical mentality of death to the Jews – as we see at this moment. Our Elder Brother has been watching their activities and noting their vicious hatred for His People.
Alone (Isaiah 63:3), the ‘one man’ (Christ and the Saints – or perhaps the angels, as some believe), along with the forces of Israel, will make short work of the Islamic countries named in this Psalm, taking their land, their wealth, their chattels and goods, their gold, their silver, their oil, all their property, and incorporating them into the Greater Israel which He so establishes. These countries are utterly destroyed. The UNO and other bodies of ‘authority’ in the earth will scream genocide – for it appears (from Obadiah) that every last person of ‘Edom’ will be destroyed, none left to witness to the great victory of Christ and the Saints! At the end of this conflict, prior to the Gogian onslaught, all the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf shall be His, free and clear of all the intruders of all ages, and shall be then constituted the “first dominion of the kingdom of God,” or Greater Israel.
They “shall be AS THOUGH THEY HAD NOT BEEN” according to Obadiah 10.
The ‘house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” (Obadiah 17).
And ‘there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Obadiah 18).
Further details are included in Obadiah 19-21, which leave the student of scripture in no doubt whatever as to their final state of affairs. In this precise fashion shall Israel be “planted…upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” Amos 9:15.
How could any ‘student’ EVER conclude from those wonderful prophecies that the coalition of Psalm 83 has ANY MEASURE of success against Israel and scatters them??? It would be a complete repudiation of God’s decree.
3. Judgment of the Saints then follows. The un-walled villages and the peace and safety are established. (H)
This has already been answered in the text above.
4. Gog is enticed down to Zion because of the peace and safety, and is opposed and defeated by Christ and the Saints/Israel on the mountains of Israel in the battle of Armageddon. (H)
At this point in the scenario that I have (scripturally) proposed above, Christ reveals Himself to His people much in the same manner as Joseph made himself known to his brethren in Egypt. They might expect severe retribution upon themselves for their earlier rejection of Him, but His love and forgiveness extends to them for the same reason that Joseph’s did the same; God brought Him to this place so that they might benefit eternally, and be saved. However it is not for their sakes says our Father throughout the middle section of Isaiah, but “for My name’s sake I will blot out your sins.” (Cf. parallel language in Ezek. 20:9; 36:22, 32; 43:25; 44:1; 48:9, 11) As an aside that same level of mercy shall also be extended to ourselves, for we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
So as the new Administration begins the physical and spiritual foundation of the kingdom, Christ performs many landmark acts …
He re-establishes the Throne of David upon Mt. Zion: II Samuel 3:10; 7;13; Acts 2:30.
He makes the Apostles and Saints to occupy similar thrones: Matthew 19:28.
He makes an everlasting covenant with Israel: Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:40; 33:20, 21; Ezekiel 16:62; Zechariah 9:11.
He assures their safety and they shall dwell in confidence: Jer. 31:28; Zechariah 9:8.
He begins building the Temple of the Millennium: Ezekiel 40 – 48.
He disarms Israel completely; in contrast He shall ‘SPEAK peace to the heathen,’ by smiting ‘the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked’: Isaiah 11:4; Zechariah 9:10 and many others.
He tears down every wall making Israel a land of un-walled villages, its people dwelling in safety and in peace: this action sets the stage for that described in Ezekiel 38: 11, 13 – a land of un-walled villages.
All these actions together attract the attention of the Gogian Coalition of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and it now begins to form as an ultimate resistance force to the yet unknown Christ, the new King of Israel. Over many months, I suspect, or even a short term of years, that bloody coalition, bent on the destruction of Israel and her new ‘King’ gathers and lays its plans. Finally it feels confident that it is ready to strike and does so only to meet its doom upon the mountains of Israel! [To be continued in a few days, God willing. Ed.]
Installment Number Five: E and F
An Unbroken Chain of Events
You claim in the next line of your paper: The prophecy of chapter 37 presents an unbroken chain of events. (E)
I agree with you the Vision is ‘an unbroken chain of events’ as far as the second regathering is concerned. When it started (and it ‘DID start in the mid-Eighteenth Century with the First Aliyah) it could not be stopped. At that beginning, Israel began to be regathered under the auspices of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and built and progressed to about 5.5 million Jews in the Land today (2008). Such an improbable path of development is due to God’s benevolent and divinely guiding hand in their return – and it is for His glory and honor that He has done this! We must NOT deny our Father His due glory in such an incredible feat – the first time in history that a scattered people has maintained its unique identity for eighteen centuries while scattered through every nation on earth, then returned to their original homeland and re-formed as a nation in it, and revived their ancient language! There is no doubt to the spiritual discerner of God’s plan that this entire Restoration was the work of God, and we repudiate His hand in it if we do not so acknowledge it!
And further, contrary to outmoded theory, that nation shall NEVER be uprooted from their land again. Hence the prophet’s pronouncement in Isaiah 11:11, “the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people (the first time their recovery was from Babylon, but this second time), from Assyria (Syria/Iraq) , and from Egypt, and from Pathros (a part of Egypt) and from Cush (kuwsh, in Hebrew, meaning Ethiopia/Eritrea/Sudan) and from Elam (ancient name for Persia), from Shinar (Babylon) and from Hamath (now in Syria: Hama) and from the islands of the sea (all their lands of dispersion).”
You do realize, do you not, that this proposed recovery of His people in the future will be impossible – since it has already been done? A scant four years after Israel was established its population more than doubled. Where did those Jews come from? They came from those precise areas, and from Europe (part of the ‘islands of the sea). There are NO MORE JEWS (or an extremely sparse number of Jews) in the Islamic countries listed in this passage. The important exception is “the islands of the sea,” indicating all the OTHER lands of their dispersion – where they today largely remain, yet to be recovered.
Another important fact: If the Jews of today were again dispersed into those Arab lands by the Gogian host; lands they wouldn’t live five minutes! Even more predominantly, having noted that all the cohort of Gog are Islamic, do you even think ONE Jew would even leave Israel alive?? No, they would not! Their rabid Arab enemies would take no quarter and would drive the remainder of the Jews into the Sea, as they have expressed the desire to do on thousands of occasions via their radio, newspapers and television networks.
So, not to labor my point - this prophecy has been fulfilled except for the completion of the recovery of the Hebrews of the “islands of the sea,” – all their other venues of residence. And there is no provision for its being duplicated; it is DONE when that is done! Jeremiah 24:6 states clearly the will of our Father, which cannot be overthrown: ” I will set Mine eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again unto this Land, AND I WILL BUILD THEM AND NOT PULL THEM DOWN, AND I WILL PLANT THEM AND NOT PULL THEM UP!” This is in direct contravention of your main claim with this article! This statement would be entirely redundant if it be applied to Israel under Messiah, as must admit; in such a case there would be NO POSSIBILITY of their being removed from His hegemony.
But the chapter’s being an unbroken account of the gathering of the bones does not mean that nothing else related to His people happens while this is being accomplished. And here I say ‘accomplished’ in the sense that GOD has miraculously accomplished this feat under the auspices of the Archangel Michael of Daniel 12:1, 2, who, as you must realize ‘stood up’ at the defeat of the last King of the North – the Ottoman Empire, in 1917 – and began to do his appointed work in returning Jews to their homeland by every miraculous means and devious schemes known to man or angel! While Israel was scattered into all nations Michael was not assisting God’s people (I will abandon them…as per Micah 5), but when the way was cleared by the actions of Britain and the UNO for them to return to their Land, the Archangel resumed his work among them.
It is extremely interesting that this prophecy in Isaiah 11: 11 “… the Lord shall set His hand again a second time to recover the remnant of His people …” was given before the FIRST dispersion and subsequent re-gathering of the Jews from Babylon; and although this prophecy was given prior to the FIRST scattering (captivity)k, by default it foretold a SECOND one, skipping any mention of the first one! But we also must note that in all of scripture there is no third gathering of Israel foretold. Surely we cannot deny that the Jews of the Land are actually and physically being regathered to their land, and that although they are not nearly fully re-gathered as yet, are well on their way to the recovery of ‘the tents of Judah’ from the nations! Of this gathering God has pronounced several features:
1. Judah shall be recovered first.
2. All the 12 tribes are to be gathered – vs. 12
3. They shall conquer Philistia, Edom, Moab and Ammon v. 14
4. These events lead to the kingdom – vv. 1-10. In this narrative the prophet does not consider the Gogian affair as ‘the kingdom’ comes BEFORE the Gogian host descends to take a spoil.
Surely Isa. 11: 12 should also be considered as well: “And He shall set up an ENSIGN for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (from over 100 countries to date!). This is clearly the operation which moves forward the vision of the Dry Bones. But why establish an ‘ensign’ if Christ is gathering and bringing the Jews into the Land? Does He need a guide by which to navigate homeward? Of course not! This ensign is established WELL BEFORE the return of Christ and is the nation of Israel – the magnet which draws all faithful Jews of this day to return to their ancient homeland, many stating that they realize redemption shall be found here.
So what do we see occurring instead? During the years preceding His return, but well before the actual date of His return, He moves them into the arena of that ENSIGN – the State of Israel, flying the flag (Hebrew, Nec, the ENSIGN) of Israel, exercising its own volition among the nations round about. What a glorious testimony to the benevolence and grace of Our Father toward them, Brother Tom; no one must denounce it as unimportant and not the real thing!
GOD has set them in the Land in as firmly positive a way as can be imagined; we don’t need to falsely emphasize this expressed will of God; He has just not YET completed it by the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ; but He SHALL finish it by Messiah’s hand. At this stage in its development, not even all Judah has yet been regathered, so the process is far from finished. It is a progressive work, necessarily, especially the pre-adventual portion of it. When Messiah comes, I believe He will institute immediate measures to bring the vast remaining remnant of Judah and all Israel back to the Land. His people of the Ten Tribes are not ‘lost’ to God and He shall return each one to his rightful place in Israel.
The State of Israel is this obvious ENSIGN (banner, flag) to which Israelites are returning – yes, in unbelief – for how else can they return, their day of national enlightenment lying yet some time in the future? (Zech. 12: 10-14) In that passage “they shall look upon me …” indicates their Messiah has come and they have believed that it is He (vs. 10)! Their Messiah has come and they are given many reasons to believe and accept that it is He! There must be an unbelieving Jewish presence there in multitudes to see their Savior when He comes, prior to the Gogian invasion, to witness his salvation from the nations round about … the Proximal Islamic States of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as the Gulf Emirates, etc.
As further commentary, I offer this short article from “Looking for Christ’s Return,” a GPL Bulletin…
“John Thomas, a 19th century writer, in his excellent book Eureka (Vol.3, pp. 595-96; 1921 edition) anticipated that the ‘returned Lord Jesus would deal with the Arabs’ before marching on Gog and his northern hosts (see Ezekiel 38 and 39), and that seems to be the order of events developing in these latter days. From present indications in the Holy Land, it appears certain that the Palestinians will put increasing pressure on the status of Jerusalem and enlist the aid of the United Nations, in their battle for Jerusalem, which is referred to in Zechariah 12:8, 9. That struggle results in the mass attack upon Israel by their neighbors round about triggering the return of the Lord Jesus and their utter defeat at His hand.
When the Lord Jesus subsequently restores peace, with all Israel’s defenses dismantled in the Land, Gog and all his hosts come down against the Land of Israel, are defeated and destroyed ‘east of the Sea.’
This order of events conforms with ‘pioneer’ writings although the locations are different. The writer John Thomas had the Arabs in the south wilderness and Gog surrounding Jerusalem.
Obadiah, a prophecy against Edom, shows that the modern equivalent of the Edom of Scripture is the Palestinians. Every area [in future to be] restored to Israel by Obadiah’s prophecy is today populated by Palestinians. Verses 19 and 20 list the ‘mountains of Esau’ (south Jordan), Philistia (Gaza), Ephraim and Samaria (West Bank), Gilead (north Jordan), and Zarephath (south Lebanon).
Obadiah does not mention Jerusalem, and thus we must assume that the Palestinians do not ever get control of that city, and (that) they lose the rest. Obadiah plainly and positively tells us in v. 18 ‘…there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau.’
Ezekiel 35:10-12 describes Edom’s boasts that they will take over the Holy Land: “These two nations and those two countries (Ephraim and Judah) shall be mine and we shall possess them…” But the Lord says “I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel…When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.’ This is the promise God makes to such as Yasser Arafat, who claimed constantly that the Jews have never had a history in Israel before 1948, and that Israelis are interlopers in the land.
The first six verses of Isaiah 63 describe the glorious Christ-like figure, having come from ‘Edom and Bozrah’ with garments stained red and having trodden down the nations. A three-way link between Obadiah, Zechariah 12 and Isaiah 63:1-6, provides the picture of Israel and the Lord Jesus, having destroyed Edom and having dealt with the nations (round about) in foiling their proposed takeover of Jerusalem, and finally of Israel having restored to her all of her ancient lands.” End
John Thomas recognized that the Arabs would have to be dealt with – those of whom he spoke pejoratively as “freebooters of the desert!” He minimized their parts in the second coming scenario because they were in his time enemies of no foreseeable consequence. Their petroleum fortunes would not begin to evolve for some fifty years after his time. So he could in no way foresee the immense power that both petrodollars and Islam mixed together would produce.
Compare Graham Pearce
The next point I want to criticize is, “But compare Graham Pearce: The substance of the prophecy that brings bone to bone, flesh on bones to make a body, and the spirit that makes it a living body, is all in the future” (F)
May I just say that Graham Pearce is only partially correct, in my opinion; the valley of the Dry Bones vision depicts an ongoing process in the regeneration of Israel as a distinct nation under God. It has begun long ago, so it is NOT all in the future. However, it has by no means reached its end point at the present time in history. This is not a process which can or is intended to occur in a short period of time. The prologue – its long-standing desolation – was extremely prolonged. Its recovery is under our Father’s guiding hand. To say all the bones are lying still scattered, dry and desolate is simply not a valid fact, for we see and have often visited the State of Israel where [in 2006] live some 5.5 million of the remnant of God’s people; that entity does not fit the dry, scattered and desiccated picture of early verses of Ezekiel 37, but is a development of the vision somewhere after the starting point but well on its way to fulfillment, and so far along as to give students a real understanding of where the process is going. This, among other signs, are the merciful harbingers given the faithful as to the nearness of the return of the Son of Man from heaven to accomplish the miraculous and God-ordained final stages of the process; these are faith-generators in the household of Faith, and must not be denied nor gainsaid.
[To be continued in a few days, Lord willing. - Ed.]
Installment Number Four: AA
The Northern Invader, the latter day Assyrian, the Gogian host …
Now, you mention near the end of your article a triple-named entity – something described in this passage: Will the nation of Israel, devastated by the Northern invader, the latter day Assyrian, the Gogian host, be able to arise again in the fulfillment of the promises of God? (AA)
Although this text is near the end of your article, we need to clear up this ‘triple entity’ as stated above. This text that you have written makes it clear that you think all three of these entities are identical to each other – interchangeable. Well, that is a myth that deserves some dissection! The following is a mere skeleton of consideration but adequate for my use at this time …
That designation – the Northern invader (by which most mean, ‘the King of the North’ of Daniel 11), the latter day Assyrian, the Gogian host – is almost a magical mantra among the followers of John Thomas in end-time prophecy. It’s embarrassing to me and other students to see folk who think of themselves as students of prophecy equating these three entities!
Absolutely embarrassing! Every Bible student without exception should know the basic facts about these, namely that they are three DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT ENTITIES, ARISING AT DIFFERENT TIMES AND FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, ACCOMPLISHING DIFFERENT GOALS IN FULFILLING PROPHECY, AND SUFFERING completely DIFFERENT ENDS. They are unique. Each stands alone! We refer readers to various other sections of this web site for in-depth articles on these three entities fully proving this allegation! Let me summarize:
Firstly, The King of the North: Such despotic powers as these foreign rulers held, cannot be exercised, of course with the exception of Nebuchadnezzar, when Israel is in control of their own land. These are those who overrun the Land from the north or the south and controlled it entirely during the time between the Babylonian exile and the liberation of ‘Palestine’ by Allenby in 1917. All of them do so with their own Imperial interest in mind.
The first of that long line of kings of (actually FROM) the north was Babylon, which certainly did disperse Israel from its land and took it for his own imperial interests. Examination of Daniel 11 reveals that the first invader actually labeled “king of the north” was the holder of the Syrian lands after the death of Alexander the Great – a Seleucid despot. The last was the Ottomans who exercised at least as much resistance to Jewish aliyah as did the British.
As the Ottomans were routed, Britain offered Palestine as an homeland to the Jews through the Balfour Declaration, and was given a Mandate in the land not for its own imperial interests but in order to ‘create a homeland’ for the Jews – which they promptly repudiated and then outrightly resisted with much blood. They could not therefore possibly have been a king of the south; in the first place Britain, though they came up from the south and overran the Land, because of the Balfour Declaration’s contents, did not take Palestine for its own imperial interest. (In addition to these two excellent reasons, Daniel mentions no subsequent king of the north or south after chapter 11:45. Their avowed purpose was to establish a homeland for the Jewish people. But it was already being resisted heavily back in the home Islands.
Very soon the British reneged on their mission and have suffered greatly for their folly. They have seen their ‘empire’ diminish to the point that it took them three weeks to get their forces in place to attack the lousy little defenseless Falkland Islands late in the last century! What a comedown for the mighty Lion power, which Bro. Thomas expected to be yet another King of the South!
After the detailed accounts of the kings of the north and the south throughout Daniel 11, the prophet finishes his account with the defeat of the last king of the north. After that there is no further mention of a king of the north OR south. Bro. Thomas opined that Britain would be the next king of the south; but there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE for that conjecture – for that’s what it is – a warm and fuzzy conjecture which seemed logical to him but has no valid basis for expectation from our later, much more mature (prophetically) view of today.
These kings by their very nature and definition overran the land when the Jews had no sovereignty there; but not before nor after. In reality if you study this long line of kings you will note that all of them were to exercise hegemony or outrightly despotic rule in the land from which Israel had largely been dispersed (afterward often called Palestine, but Israel today), but never when Israel was there as a legitimate nation with the one exception of Babylon, which God designated ‘my army’ which came to overthrow the Commonwealth and initiate these kings and their activities.
Conclusion: the Kings of the North and the South existed far into the past from our time and the last one was defeated and driven from God’s Land in 1917. We cannot therefore expect one to appear in the future.
Secondly, the ‘latter day Assyrian’ (a non-scriptural phrase): When the Bible calls an entity “Assyria” I am faithful to believe the prophets meant just that – Assyria – which in these latter days is Iraq and Syria (parts of both). This tells me that Micah 5, for example, refers to an invasion of Israel by a coalition led by Assyria (that is Iraq and/or Syria) and has NO REFERENCE and NO RELATIONSHIP to any ‘king of the north’ which shall arise. Now … having said that, yes, Assyria shall attempt to overrun Israel and will doubtless come from her location in the north. But she will bring with her, according to the prophetic picture given, a coalition of other nations to try to destroy Israel in one final push to accomplish this. I believe those nations are clearly cataloged in the 83rd Psalm where every one of the nations struggling against Israel today (and no others!) are listed – ten in all. It’s an unique historic ‘fit’ here that the active combatants against Israel today are listed there, in one place, and for the first time in history! And NOT ONE of the powers of the Gogian host is named in that consideration! [Why is that true? I believe it is because at the time of Gog’s later, attempted invasion of God’s Land, those nations no longer exist!]
Micah 5 and others almost certainly indicate that Assyria of the end-time (Iraq/Syria) will lead this vicious confederacy against Israel and the attempt to perform the events depicted in Micah 5. After God had abandoned (given them up – verse 3) His people for so many centuries, the movement of the World Zionist Organization, as a finely tuned human instrumentality of God, arose and ‘birthed’ Israel, making it possible ‘then’ for their return. Isaiah 11 gives an excellent picture of this. He, at that time, began causing them to ‘return unto the children of Israel’ which means to the Land of Israel (only possible since 1948, as before that there was NO “Israel” to which to return).
Vs. 4 speaks of “He” (the same ‘He’ ‘Who shall come forth unto Me That is to be ruler in Israel of verse 2, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ – that Man of Bethlehem Ephrata); “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 (that is, his people shall NOT be removed from the Land!): for now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth (this speaks to their future destiny, although not attained immediately). And this Man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian (Iraq/Syria) shall come into the Land; and when he shall tread in our palaces, THEN shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men (princes of men). And they shall WASTE the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod (not the land of Lenin and Stalin and Czar Alexander – not yet!) in the entrances thereof!”
The utter defeat of the Assyrian is here indicated in nearly every word of that prophecy, for ‘He shall deliver us from the Assyrian’ as foretold in verse 6. How anyone can claim this to be a victory of Assyria over Israel is certainly beyond my logic. So, that’s entity number two: ‘Assyria’ is modern day peoples who live on the territory of ancient Assyria (Syria/Iraq) who do God’s bidding in the end-time. It IN NO WAY indicates Gog of the Land of Magog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal! Assyria is an entity entirely different from the king of the north, occupies a different time in history, has a different function in prophecy, and suffers a different end. How can there be any confusion in this? Furthermore, "Assyria" is grouped with the nations of Psalm 83, where verse names "Assur" which is another name for Assyria; as such, Assur is one of the nations round about Israel who are fighting Israel today, and have been for nearly an hundred years. So this is a contemporary battle of Israel with the nations.
Thirdly, as to Gog of the Land of Magog; its prophetic delineation is so clear and straightforward that nobody should be confused as to its identity! Trouble is, many attempt to expand its implications far beyond that intended by the Spirit, and drag into its role many other entities (the two named above) and complicate the picture beyond understanding. Compared to the other two discussed above, this despot arises sometime in the future. Gog has never yet existed to this point in history – therefore exists in a different time from the other two in historical outworking. After Christ has returned and accomplished the destruction of the Assyrian and his coalition (the Proximal Islamic States as amply proven in our work, Twilight of the Prophets), He sets about performing the affairs of His kingdom. He ignores the insults and protests and sanctions of the UNO, NATO, SEATO, the EC, and others -- the military heads of all the nations who will severely protest what Christ has done – not knowing Who He is, of course, and probably not caring even if they knew. But the Christ is now in control of far more power and authority than they can conceive in their tiny little pinheads!
As he builds the Temple of the Millennium (Ezekiel 40-48), He is also bringing the remaining sons of Judah and Ephraim home to Israel from the far reaches of the earth. Some length of time passes. The cohort-to-be of Gog is livid with rage that the (unrecognized) Christ has defeated their lackeys in the East and taken their lands for Greater Israel. These are named in Ezekiel 38 and include Persia (Iran), Libya and ‘Ethiopia’ which is Hebrew Kuwsh (Cush) and includes some of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea. The point is they and the remainder of their designated forces are ALL Islamic powers, to which Russia has served as ‘guard’ (Ezekiel 38:7) for many decades by furnishing advisers, supplying tanks, planes, armor and training, building their infrastructure and generally leading them in the matters of warfare and aggression.
These put their heads together and try to figure out a plan to overthrow this interloper, this “king” of Israel. They approach the leader of all the Russias, who conveniently will be, at that time, a man who can be rightly designated as ‘Gog’ (mighty leader) who shall just happen to have come from Magog – the ancient territories of Russia now occupied by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan - all now in existence, for these occupy roughly the same territory as ancient Magog. (Yes, I do deny the proposition that Magog, some nebulous power in Europe supposed by some to fit this prophecy, will be the homeland of Gog. This notion only works if one thinks that ‘Armageddon’ takes place all at one time and in the Holy Land, although it is mentioned only in Revelation 16:16 in a strictly European (‘Beast’) context.)
The remainder of these two chapters in Ezekiel outlines the rest of the story – how they come with a mighty force (to ‘cover the land’ itself) as is their intent, but are stopped dead in their tracks without making any serious advances into Israel proper and are utterly destroyed in one day in an area east of the Sea of Galilee. The Christ of the Second Advent will suffer no incursion upon His kingdom and people! To make even the slightest victory claim for Gog is to corrupt the words of Ezekiel and add into the account other ancillary passages which cannot possibly fit into this account and which would absolutely destroy the internal integrity of Ezekiel 38 and 39! With Christ the King on the throne in Israel, NO significant incursion into the Land will be possible. The weapons of his destruction of Gog and his confederacy originate at His spoken command; for has He not declared, “With the breath of my lips I shall slay the wicked?” [To be continued in a few days, God willing. HEL]
Installment Number Three: C and D
The Simple Premise/Conclusion …
You say: The simple premise/conclusion that we wish to present to you is that the vision of the valley of dry bones takes place after the Gogian invasion. (C)
Now, these foregoing events lead us further into Ezekiel’s prophecy. Christ returns to the earth and to His people within the framework of the fulfillment of the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones. Having now established His throne in Jerusalem, and removed all bars and gates, walls and military check-points from the Land, it becomes a “land of un-walled villages,” in which His people dwell “without bars or gates” - Ezekiel 38: 11. Many other phases of the kingdom are going forward at this time but are unrevealed at this place as to order or magnitude because those facts would muddy the main line of His revelation.
Gog recognizes Israel as a ‘pushover,’ and assembles his forces in league with the more distant Islamic nations (for ALL his collaborators in this attempted invasion are Islamic). Gog twice voices the opinion that the land is one of ‘unwalled villages,” but in 38:14 the Almighty Himself confirms that fact: “ … in that day when My people of Israel dwelleth safely, shall thou not know it?”
Now the stage is set for the Gogian invasion. These two chapters are relatively simplistic in their content and show conclusively that Israel is not only unharmed by this horde of murderous heathens but that Gog scores ABSOLUTELY NO VICTORIES WHATEVER! It is simply farcical to make ANY claim that Gog gains any victory whatever in this affair. In ONE DAY Gog is to be destroyed by the weapons of God (39:8) and Gog is utterly decimated before Him and before Christ and His people. They are absolutely ripped to shreds, slain in every horrible way, and scattered as corpses across some of the landscape of the Land. After all is said and done, is the Lord Jesus going to tolerate any invasion whatsoever of His Kingdom’s nucleus? No! And He has no reason for protracted, drawn-out resistance against these filthy heathen peoples. So he makes short work of them!
Ezekiel 39:2 in the A.V. leads one to believe that a sixth part of Gog shall escape. But older texts show otherwise: for example, in the texts of Tanakh and The Septuagint. ALL of Gog – every last soldier and airman, every tank and personnel carrier, every rifle and missile – is destroyed there on the mountains of Israel.
But there is no mention of any destruction of Israelis in the Land AT ALL! None! And there is certainly no DISPLACEMENT of the inhabitants either! In order to ‘prove’ such a result one has to resort to other scriptural passages which don’t even relate to this event at all, but which may on the surface have once seemed to do so. Here is an example where accurate, intense comparison of all scripture with all scripture becomes so vitally important!
And who is destined to bury the slain of Gog? Verse 9 answers that handily: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth and set fire and burn the weapons…” It seems almost to be a calm affair – a walk in the park so to speak – for God’s people. Israel is untouched by this terrible slaughter of the Gogian host in the valley “east of the Sea (of Galilee)” where Gog is also buried! There, in the Valley of the Passengers, is the final, enigmatic end of the Gogian host.
Contrary to the notions of earlier expositors, Gog has not wiped the land clean of Israelis and sent them packing to the nearby Arab countries for ‘shelter.’ There is absolutely no basis for such an unscriptural claim. That fact is as clear as can possibly be; for anyone to ‘read into’ the text that Israel is wiped off the Land and taken into captivity is unconscionable and unscriptural. That conclusion is absolutely necessary within these two chapters themselves, and to try to twist the outcome of Gog’s invasion does extreme violence to the word of God!
For example, the verse usually relied upon to substantiate the supposed fleeing of Israelis from the Gogian invasion into Moab and Edom is Isaiah 16:4. It is a gross mistranslation of the texts as reference to at least six or eight other older texts and translations will readily show. The verse in fact actually says the exact opposite! It is an admonition to Israel and the river east of the Sea of Galilee (Young) to shelter the refugees of Moab when they faced the rapacious forces of Sennacherib in the time of Hezekiah; it has nothing to do with latter day prophecy at all!
Just in passing, another reason for repudiating that Israel is scattered a THIRD time is because Isaiah 11:1 indicates that the SECOND time that He sets His hand to recover the scattered of Israel is the FINAL time. They are taken by that regathering directly into the Land that is beginning to develop, and is later to become the First Dominion of the Kingdom of Christ on the earth! Isaiah 11 contains a wealth of information on this subject and clearly shows the progressive, drawn-out character of it.
Your claim that the Valley of Dry Bones is not yet in progress also nullifies all the work that the Almighty has done in His precious Land as well as the noble work done by that thoroughly humanistic organization, Zionism, since the early stirrings of Zionism (begun in an obscure and finite way to restore the fortunes of Israel at about the time John Thomas was learning the Truth), and especially since the beginning of the First Zionist Congress in 1897. I firmly believe that God raised up the intense and fervent spirit in Theodor Herzl which would fulfill His will perfectly.
Micah 5 addresses this process in a most unusual way: speaking of the future of His people, the prophet was directed to explain just why His people would be without a scepter and ephod (king and priest) for so many centuries: “Therefore will he give them up (abandon them to the nations!) UNTIL the time that she which travaileth (Zionism! – see later references) hath brought forth; THEN the remnant of His brethren shall return unto (the land of) the children of Israel.” That verse contains two important time-markers – UNTIL and THEN – in showing the sequence of events as being not only perfectly logical but as perfectly fitting the later historical outworking of the prophecy.
In order to bring His people back to the Land in the end-time, the Almighty employed an entirely human agency. He scattered His people to all nations in 70 AD, by the human agency of the armies of Rome. They remained in the lands of their dispersion until a great Aliyah began in the 19th century which would result in a flood of Jewish refugees – millions upon millions of them, when the process becomes complete (and it is FAR from complete at this moment) – back into the Land at the instigation of Zionism. Zionism is that human agency by which this part of His will was carried out – and is being now carried out.
Psalm 102: 13 ff comments upon this phenomenon: “Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof ….When the Lord shall BUILD UP ZION (this Hebrew word for ‘build up’ is Strong #1120 = banah, and means to build, obtain children, repair, set up), He shall appear in His glory [We cannot possibly deny that He has ‘built up’ Zion!]. We learn from this prophecy that their being ‘built up’ will be immediately followed by His Coming; there will be no ‘gap’ in which His people are again scattered and peeled, dispersed and murdered. The Time of Jacob’s Trouble [the Nazi murder machine which Jews term The Shoah, fulfilled that to the letter in an absolutely unrepeatable way]. He will regard the prayer of the destitute (“Next year in Jerusalem!”) and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise THE LORD.”
Virtually ONE ENTITY and its various branches throughout the world have brought the nation of Israel into existence almost single-handedly: Zionism! It is the human tool of God for the end-time regathering of His People back into His Land – forever – and is so designated in these remarkable passages.
Subsequent Prophecies …
And now, there is this statement which I must contest: Subsequent prophecies (chapters 38 & 39) will show that Israel is to suffer greatly at the hands of the Northern Aggressor – Gog. If Ezekiel 37 takes place before the Gogian invasion and Israel (possessed of God’s spirit) stands on its feet an exceeding great army, placed in the land by Yahweh (where “placed” denotes “given rest, THE rest”), then why is such defeat and humiliation still future at the hand of Gog and his confederacy? (D)
I have already given many reasons why your statement that “Israel is to suffer greatly at the hands of the Northern Aggressor, Gog,” is an ill-formed and completely baseless conclusion. It is flatly and outrightly impossible to conclude that Israel is to ‘suffer greatly’ at the hands of Gog given the internal evidence of those two chapters. If you have drawn this conclusion from other scriptural sources, I would like to see the references and proof that they are concretely connected with the Gogian host. If my conclusion is NOT what is conveyed (that Israel shall be virtually untouched by Gog) I sincerely ask you to prove it by means other than quoting the ‘pioneers’ of our holy fellowship. Bro. Thomas quite readily admitted that he was no prophet and intimated that if things go other than as he projected, he would gladly admit error in them – or words to that effect. All those who slavishly ‘follow’ his reasoning should in all humility be likewise disposed!
Nobody that I have ever read has claimed that Israel will be defeated and dispersed at the hand of Gog while possessed of God’s Spirit! – that new spirit which He shall instill in them at the momentous time of repentance described in Zechariah 12:10. That’s not even sensible. It’s one of the precise reasons why we know that Gog will be defeated hands down when they unsuspectingly come against Christ and the Saints (as the defenders of Israel) who at that time possess the Spirit without measure. That’s precisely the reason why, in the end, Israel under Christ’s kingship CANNOT be defeated by Gog or even successfully invaded, despite Gog’s rabid intentions! God’s Spirit (as well as His Son!) is there with His Immortalized Saints in the Land when Gog attempts to come down and destroy them.
Conclusion: Israel SHALL NOT BE DEFEATED AND HUMILIATED BY THE GOGIAN HOST, BUT SHALL SIT PASSIVELY IN THEIR VILLAGES AND ‘SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD’ UPON GOG, whose carcasses shall be given by His mighty power to the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the field in the most enigmatical defeat ever suffered by an army in history. It will be an hundred times more devastating than the humiliation of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria in the 1967 Six Day War – itself a most remarkable accomplishment by the armies of Israel as assessed by the greatest military strategists of our day.
Also my brother – I read early on in your dissertation that you took up the challenge offered by the brother whom you had heard lecture on this same line of thinking and “did your research.” But you didn’t do your ‘research’ in the right place! You researched the ‘pioneer’ expositors instead of the Bible texts!
That’s not acceptable to me, and hopefully hundreds more of our number who may not have the courage to stand up and demand SCRIPTURAL PROOF for these outrageous conclusions. I don’t want to hear the tired, outdated reasoning of ‘Dr. Thomas’ (Brother Thomas) but the words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel and all the rest of the prophets! Nor any of the other contemporary ‘students’ you quote as support for your contentions, because the whole brotherhood knows that Graham Pearce, W. H. Boulton and the others you quote are mere adherents to the ‘pioneer’ writings and are remarkably slavish to John Thomas.
By quoting Milestones, you prove absolutely nothing to me except that its Editor can parrot the prophetic teachings (now recognized to be largely defunct following the death) of John Thomas, a sincere and well meaning brother and one to whom we all owe an huge debt of gratitude for his DOCTRINAL expositions, but measures less to his prophetic ones as it has turned out, except that they did serve to encourage his generation who would never know they were in error or often widely missing the mark due to his not possessing the key (the fulfillments of prophecy leading up to) the prophecies he was striving to unravel.
On that subject, I did an electronic search of Elpis Israel and Eureka and found that in neither one did Bro. Thomas even recognize the Ottoman Empire as one of the Kings of the North as they had been for nearly 400 years at the time of his death! Of course he couldn’t have known that the Ottomans would be the LAST king of the north because Allenby had not yet defeated them and driven them out of Palestine (1917). Or that Egypt was the last king of the south having been defeated by the Ottomans in 1517 and driven back into Egypt, leaving the Ottomans in control of Palestine for 400 years! There have been several excellent research articles written about these events, proving them beyond any shadow of doubt, and not one of our members may be excused from knowing the true facts.
The ‘King of the North’ is a passé entity and of no further consequence in the study of prophecy except as a tired, humiliated relic of the past! [To be continued in a few days, God willing. HEL]
Installment Number Two: Points A-B
To readers of the eTPL web site: this Section of the web site begins a series of installments of an open letter written in rebuttal to an article printed in a quarterly journal (The Sanctuary Keeper) in 2007, authored by Tom Northey of Colorado. This Editor disagreed with its premises nearly entirely – a discourse upon which follows in these installments. I had originally replied to this article as “an open letter,” but have reserved publication until now. We have entered this initiative because every publicly presented thesis deserves a similarly open, critical examination so as to fulfill the commendable Berean spirit – that of Acts 17:11 – the brethren who were commended because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
So as not to overwhelm any readers of these remarks, I intend to insert the entire article serially, in small installments of a few pages each in this new Section, referencing the title given the initial article for clarity.
Please note: My comments which follow are based on quoted excerpts from the article referenced. All these are headed by an underlined, centered title relating to the excerpt immediately following in bold faced type, and assigned a reference letter, for direct relevance. If any reader should like to receive a copy of the original article upon which these comments are based, I will be happy to forward a verbatim copy by email so it may be read in its entirety for context. This intention is only fair to the original author, and we do not wish to compromise him in any way – but certainly to place our studied views before readers in clear language. It is not our intention to embarrass anyone in this response. Indeed, we expect some responses to THIS response! The original article is about nine pages in length in Georgia 12 font.
Our series of replies follows … HE Lafferty, Editor and Publisher, eTPL.
Released, January, 2015 for publication here ...
To: Brother Tom Northey, in the form of an Open Letter
From: Brother Harold Lafferty, Hagerstown, Maryland.
Subject: Scriptural repudiation of his initial article, “A Final Scattering of Israel,” in The Sanctuary Keeper, 3rd Quarter, 2007.
Your line of reasoning in this article, the entire text of which is reproduced at the beginning of this critique to you, is in our opinion a direct repudiation of scripture – not of one scriptural reference but of the entire, correlated and perfectly integrated body of prophetic revelation as to the nature of, the extent of, and the success of the beginnings and of the eventual completion of the return of God’s people to their Land.
You have, we believe, seriously denied numerous of the revelations of our Father in this article.
I cannot, without considerable resistance, allow you and others to retain your faith in earlier, far more speculative interpretations of the vital prophecies, and I certainly will not allow you to throw my faith into that murky mix.
The following italicized text is one of several I will refer to from your article reproduced at the first, marked by a letter of the alphabet, as “(A)” inserted at the end of the text so it may be located and read in context. You write …
Prompted to Dig Further …
“We were prompted to dig further into this study after hearing another brother speak on this subject. His presentation on Ezekiel 37 was a bit different than what we had always understood, and when he indicated that in fact our pioneer brethren agreed with the position he was presenting we decided to verify his sources and do the research (A).”
Your slavish adherence to the (to them, future) prophetical interpretations of ‘the Pioneers’ clearly does not stand you in good stead on several aspects of the end-time, because their early view of it was impossibly limited – and many of their speculations have proven entirely wrong in essentially every detail – by their not having witnessed fulfillment of many of the key prophetical events that they were trying to understand and cobble together to gain a clear picture of the chain of events. It was an impossible task at that time to understand many of the details of end-time prophecy, although its general drift and final end were clearly visible, and not compromised by the writings of the earlier expositors, in our view.
These brethren were not being disingenuous nor crafty in their speculations; it turns out their expectations were simply wrong – and therefore unscriptural. They were striving to unlock many prophecies which did not yet have a key available to them; Daniel 12: 9 informs Daniel to “shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end,” and is reiterated in Daniel 9: 27 where he confirms that sealing, “Go thy way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
Unfortunately those scholars lived just a bit too early in history to be enlightened in these particular end-time affairs as all contemporary men and women have been – or should be, at least. But Daniel himself never understood these ‘locked’ words which he had written! Understanding was withheld from Daniel, righteous and good man that he was. They were also essentially ‘sealed’ to John Thomas and his contemporaries of the mid-19th century; they could not possibly, during their day, have understood these prophecies with any degree of certainty. After all, the setting of God’s hand a SECOND time (Isaiah 11:11) to recover His people had not yet occurred; but it has now occurred and we are foolish to repudiate His words affirming that fact.
In your article at the beginning of this critique, I have underlined and bold-lettered the passages which I intend to address. That is the only emendation I have made to your text so that any who read this will be able to read your remarks in context. It is wholly proper and fair that when anyone publishes strong statements on any subject for household-wide assessment they are subject to criticism by others as to reasons why they do or do not believe the theses put forth.
I cite hereunder a few of the major examples of your article that I do not support and which I believe to be inappropriate and in error; there are many others which will be discussed in the following pages.
· An electronic search of the entire texts of early editions of Eureka and Elpis Israel, at least, shows that John Thomas never recognized the Ottoman Empire’s identity as a King of the North – and certainly not as being the last of a long line of Kings of the North. But without any doubt, it held that dubious position and then ‘came to its end with none to help’ in the early years of the twentieth century (1917, as far as the Land of Promise was concerned). The Kings of the North and of the South are valid labels only for the time between the two exiles, when Israel and its Land were subjected to the hegemony of foreign kings. Nebuchadnezzar brought about the first exile and was the first king FROM the north. The first “king of the north” by that name, was the Seleucid (Syrian) successor of Alexander the Great.
The time of Israel’s regathering was brought about by the defeat of the last king of the north – the Ottoman Empire – at whose demise, the Jews’ Return began in earnest with the Balfour Declaration and the defeat of the Ottoman Turk by General Edmund Allenby. As no further King of the South OR King of the North is described by Daniel after chapter 11:45, the entity (series of entities) known as the King of the North – OR King of the South – is of no further consequence in the study of prophecy except as to historical importance. That is, today they have no future portion at all in events surrounding the return of Christ: their role has been played and is ended; Daniel eleven has been completely fulfilled. Students may read several relevant studies of the similarities and differences between (1) the kings of the north and south, (2) the “latter day Assyrian,” and (3) Gog of the Land of Magog (often supposed to be the same entity) elsewhere on this web site.
· The ‘pioneers’ knew nothing of the two great preparatory world wars of the 20th century, each having distinctly different features of prophetic fulfillment and accomplishment as related specifically to the Jewish people.
· They knew little or nothing of the surprising rise to power of Zionism – that great cohesive and compelling force for Jewish Return which began to take shape in 1897 … of World Zionism, which was the human institution which, at God’s behest, literally birthed the State of Israel (see Micah 5:3). The “she which travaileth” was World Zionism, which through an incredible, boot-strap effort brought early olim to ‘Palestine’ to prepare the Land for further, more intensive immigration of His People.
· They knew nothing of the impending, bizarre and fiercely evil rise to power of a despotic leader of Germany and his immediate, relentless and terrifying institution of The Shoah – that most horrible ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:2) foretold by the prophets – the greatest concentrated, horror-based persecution of any people of all time (and scripturally never to be repeated), which lasted twelve long, grinding years – one year for each of the twelve Tribes.
· They foresaw not the actual establishment of the State of Israel under the initial sanctions of Great Britain (indeed John Thomas expected just a few thousands of Jews to be brought to Palestine in a rather benign and passive colonial maneuver by Britain (to resettle Jews there among the Jews and Arabs already there).
· They knew nothing of the coming British betrayal of the Jews, and then the nearly total demise of their hero-nation, specifically because of its initial approval (a principle embodied in the Balfour Declaration but later firmly repudiated all Jewish aspirations in the Holy Land by numerous White Papers and then by martial law during the Mandate years) followed by a later retraction.
· They knew nothing of the now clearly discernible and absolutely certain activities of Michael the Archangel (Daniel 12:1, 2) in which he has assisted Israel to survive miraculously at odds of better than 150 to 1 (eighty to an hindered million murderous Muslims against 600,000 Jews).
· They had no inkling that at least 5.5 million Jews (as at this date, 2008; now, in 2015, over six million) would regather in their rightful Land with Old Testament ideals (without any understanding at all of the role of Christ) and with great longing and purpose prior to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
The pioneers’ view of the detailed path that the numerous end-time prophecies which would follow, therefore suffered greatly without the earlier investigators’ having any inkling of these necessary preparatory fulfillments; we can now see that their projections of the future outworking of God’s plan was woefully inaccurate and inadequate; their model of even near-term future fulfillment fell into disarray rather soon after their times, and must be humbly admitted by every honest and diligent student of His word.
So, where do I begin?
At the beginning is a good place. Then I will attempt to consider each of your major comments in an effort to present what I believe to be the scriptural elaboration of the notion put forth. Early in your article, you ask:
Is the Application of Ezekiel 37 and the Dry Bones …
Or is the application of Ezekiel 37 and the dry bones the correct interpretation for this pre-colonization of the land – in unbelief? (B)
Indeed, it seems to me that the obvious ‘interpretation’ is to believe just what the text relates, paying close attention to the great bearing of Ezekiel 36 directly upon the events of Chapter 37. It seems to me that, at the least, from Ezekiel 36 and forward the narrative of Ezekiel’s prophecy is laid out in an orderly, consecutive fashion. In other words, it is revealed as chronologically as such a complex prophecy may be told. Indeed, it appears that Ezekiel’s entire prophecy from at least chapter 36, is chronological in sequence, but with some prophecies such as the vision of Dry Bones going well ahead to its end point in one continuous revelation but not to the exclusion of other important events of those same times.
This recognition realizes, too, that some major prophetic fulfillments are not included in this narrative - such as the War of Armageddon - which is elaborated upon in other texts and in a different context.
To exemplify that principle, there are long, protracted episodes within all prophetic revelations which cannot conveniently be broken up into several parts in order to reveal other, interspersed, parallel events which happen within that longer period of development or fulfillment without losing the sense of the main object of revelation. An example of what I mean is the Valley of Dry Bones vision itself. Israel had been in a valley of ‘dry bones’ for many centuries, lying scattered, forlorn and forsaken for nearly two millennia. Many other relevant prophetic events occurred within that time frame which furthered the fortunes (good or bad) of the children of Israel but were not revealed by the prophet at that time and place, because it would complicate the unfolding of the prophecy so that it couldn’t be comprehended.
After all, the Almighty’s object with the giving of prophecy is to enlighten, not to hide His will or to confuse it.
The bones lie neglected, scattered, desiccated and dis-jointed. But there comes now a command to the prophet in verse 4: “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!” Something is about to happen to the bones. “Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
This intention is obviously not for full execution upon all the bones immediately; it is instead a statement of God’s overall plan for them over a period of time – a process which we discern by what we read after these words in the narrative as it unfolds through the remainder of the chapter. He intends to place breath in them and make them to live through a drawn-out process of development – not on an immediate or consummate basis – and obviously to accomplish other integrated goals upon them within the time frame in which this is taking place.
At the end of the process all His purpose with the bones shall all have been accomplished perfectly and fully.
How is the process accomplished? The bones have to be brought into a central place so their proximate parts may be fitted together. This is tantamount to God’s bringing Jews from the far reaches of the earth to their Land, and concentrating them upon the mountains of Israel – of assembling them together. Note that this is long before “David My servant shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes and do them … and they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob…” as Ezekiel 37:24, 25 tell us.
But notice an additional fact: the bones have a specific destination which has been prepared for them in advance. This destination is, of course, the Promised Land. It had been a barren wasteland for century upon century; it could not accommodate a great influx of immigrants in its desolated condition. The Land needed to be prepared for the first substantial arrivals in the Land by some method.
Just what was that method? The way He chose is addressed in chapter 36 where the opening words are “… son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord!” Ye mountains of Israel! Not the people (there were few there when this end-time re-gathering began) but the MOUNTAINS themselves. He is speaking to THE LAND itself.
After a preamble of prophesying His Land’s historical rape by the nations round about, he says in verse 8, “… O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to the people of Israel, for they are at hand to come.” This accomplishment has come to pass as you have witnessed with your own eyes. It is a statement which indicates clearly that the people are still nearly totally absent from their Land AT THAT TIME, but are about ready to start making their way home. Both parts of this prophecy will be brought to pass by the invisible hand of the Lord, and may appear to be a NATURAL migration to their ancient homeland of an ancient people entirely apart from His helping hand.
Such a view is not one of faith or discernment in light of these statements which He has just made, but clear fact.
We can discern this not only because He tells us so, but because of the tenor of His language. Chapter 36: 8, for example infers that almost none of the Jewish people are present at first, but ‘they are at hand to come.’ When they do come, the Almighty is assuring that the land will have sufficient fruit to ‘yield your fruit to My people of Israel.’ (Same verse) Verse 10 as well shows this progression clearly: “I will multiply upon you man and beast and they shall increase and bring fruit.” Verse 12: “I will cause … My people Israel [to] … possess thee.” A fact of today’s world! The process is here TIME denominated and decreed to be a progressive accomplishment – not instantaneous.
The entire gist of these verses shows a clearly laid out path of progressive development of the Land, exactly as we have seen accomplished by the grace of God (cf. vs. 22, where that grace is clearly shown: “I do not this for your sakes O House of Israel, but for Mine holy name’s sake.”) They shall have not repented of their ways, accepted Christ as their Messiah, and become ‘converted’ as some believe (erroneously) that they must do, but have returned to the Land in UNBELIEF.
This is further correlated by the poignant account of the time of their national repentance – a spectacular one-time event – pictured in Zechariah 12: 10-14 and Zechariah 13:6, an event which must happen IN the Land, after the inhabitants’ deliverance from their enemies round about, at the time indicated – at the personal appearance of the Lord from Heaven – not before and not after that time, as that would contradict the revelation of the Almighty.
We inquire as to how these prophecies can be fulfilled as proposed by your article if they have been approached by the returned Christ in "Egypt" and followed Him back to their Land; these two narratives are mutually exclusive - so we must adhere to the Scriptural explanation.
Near the middle of this chapter the Land has obviously reached the developmental point at which it can now sustain a beginning population … and they begin to come.
The prophet now begins to address his returning people. At first they come in trickles and dabs, always in great difficulty and hardship, but they come with a vengeance and with tenacity; we know that hundreds of thousands have come in faith that their redemption is in the Land (although not believing it to be through Christ). This is the fulfillment of the first portion of the offer for them to ‘return’ unto Him and then He will return unto them (Deuteronomy 30:2, 3, 8). The last two verses of chapter 36 leap far ahead to the halcyon days of Christ’s kingdom: “I will increase them with men like a flock” (vs. 37) shows the PROGRESSIVE development of a nation upon its territory. And vs. 38 confirms that fact: “As an holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with the flocks of men, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” Again, progressive re-colonization of the Land over some length of time into the future beyond our time is revealed – not a sudden return of all Israel in one fell move such as you have set forth.
This narrative leads directly into the details of the Valley of Dry Bones in chapter 37, where various detailed operations of the process are elaborated for our edification. Note that the process of re-articulating the bones, of covering them with sinews and skin, and finally of instilling life into them is narrated without interruptions to tell the reader anything that will be happening in the meantime. It’s the way you or I would tell a story to our friends. The endpoint is that Judah and Israel (the two and the ten) are reunited as one kingdom, and “one king shall be king to them all” (37:22). They are no longer to be divided into two kingdoms, nor defile themselves with idols "… and I will cleanse them. And David My Servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have ONE Shepherd …” I strongly suspect that Servant’s identity is THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, don’t you? His Second Coming, their tearful and genuine acceptance of Him and their initial redemption is not covered in the narrative here even though it happens within this time frame.
Now, from not only this passage but from scores of others scattered throughout the prophets (list and extensive commentary available in your copy of our book, Twilight of the Prophets), we know that Christ shall have returned to His people and saved them from their enemies round about, has identified Himself to them, been whole-heartedly accepted by them, and mourned-for in a devastating show of contrition and emotion by them (Zechariah 12:10-14). This summary of events shall be the result of the utter devastation of all Israel's enemies "round about" in the conclusive destruction of Edom, Moab, Ammon, the Philistines, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria (Assyria), the Saudis and the Gulf states, we we believe.
The process at this point still has a way to go, however, before all His people are ‘home.’ The kingdom is now in place in the Land and is a progressing, enlarging entity. But the Gogian invasion has not yet gathered against His people. At this point we make the following observations of some aspects of the beginning development of the kingdom…
Christ makes an everlasting covenant (Ezekiel 37: 26; Jeremiah 31:31-34) with His people. From the latter reference we learn that it is a renewal/restatement of the First Covenants made with the fathers of Israel, renewed to identify Himself as the Seed of the Woman, the Seed of Abraham, and the Seed of David.
He disarms them completely (Zechariah 9: 10). Today we see in the Land a high level of armament, a nation equipped with not only a powerful standing army/navy/air force,but also with walls and barriers, checkpoints and retardants to terrorism from Dan to Beersheba. At that day the Lord Jesus Christ shall SPEAK peace to the heathen; he needs no carnal weapons of warfare to accomplish His will!
Israel shall dwell in peace and safety under Christ’s rulership, without bars and gates, thus setting the stage for the Gogian onslaught of Ezekiel 38 and 39. (They do not so dwell today – even in the sense of any false confidence that they do so.)
He takes immediate measures to gather the remainder of Israel and Judah into the Land (Zech. 10:10). Note that of the places named from which His people shall be taken (Isaiah 11: 11), that these are at this day already virtually free of Jews. As the nations of Egypt and Assyria, and Gilead and Lebanon have already returned their Jews, these can no longer be gathered from there. Also refer to the comprehensive list of Psalm 83 (including those of Isaiah 11) – their enemies; because of their vehemence against the Jews their Jewish population has been returned to Eretz Israel in earlier time before their hatred had grown so great. They are also lands from which He purposed to return them; they are also (almost) completely bereft of Jews! They have at this date, already returned just as they were prophesied to do, immediately following the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (The Shoah), and upon the establishment of Israel in 1948 and subsequent years. There is just no denying the validity and the divine significance of this sudden, almost total, migration out of Arab lands by the Jews of the 20th century! To do so is insensibly to repudiate God’s prophetic word!
It is extremely important to realize that the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones is an over-arching prophecy which illustrates the entire saga of how the Father shall bring all Israel (both houses) from Diaspora to COMPLETE REGATHERING INTO THE LAND AND PLACING THEM UNDER GOD’S ETERNAL BLESSING.
In our day the process has barely begun, in contrast to its being nearly complete as you stated. Only about a third of the world’s known JEWS have returned to the Land at this time. Ephraim (the ten tribes) has almost completely failed to return at this date. Since these people of the Ten Tribes have suffered far less persecution that those of Judah, their number (beginning at perhaps ten to twenty times the numbers of Judah, being ten) is no doubt vastly greater than the dispersed of Judah. I believe that the Almighty’s intent to ‘save the tents of Judah first’ correlates perfectly with the above facts. Almost all the citizens of Israel today claim membership in either Judah or Benjamin (or the priestly tribe of Levi), but there are exceptions. In that day the Lord shall regather ALL OF THEM from the ends of the earth and identify them as this or that tribe, and settle them in their Cantons in the Land.
And yes, the greatest Aliyah lies ahead under the personal leadership and instigation of the Lord Jesus Christ!
[To Be Continued Soon, God Willing.]
The Permanence of the Return of Israel to Its Land
A Case for Investigation
Beginning of a Series of Articles Devoted to this Subject, God Willing
Harold E. Lafferty
Some of our elderly readers will be hearing (reading) the following words for the first time in six or seven decades, if they recall them at all:
“It shall be my duty, as District Attorney, not only to prosecute to the limit of the law, all persons accused of crimes or unlawful actions perpetrated within this jurisdiction, but also to protect the rights and privileges of all its citizens.”
Those were the deep-throated, soberly deliberate words of Mr. District Attorney – the main character of a popular radio drama which was aired more than 60 years ago. Those words set forth a purposeful program of conduct for the chief character of this absorbing radio series.
The investigation of Bible prophecy is similar to the duties of a District Attorney, except that judicial prosecution is not a part of the drama, which will unfold as intended by the Almighty, due to the prophecy being already divinely established and dependent in no way upon our private interpretations.
But Discovery, Attestation, and Verification are relevant factors in our consideration and understanding of it.
The role of those who are bent toward the investigation of Bible prophecy must be every whit as diligent as the D. A. doing his due diligence. Like he, they must be consistent, thorough, comprehensive, insightful, intensely accurate, honest, and fully prepared to arrange ALL their evidence to agree fully with, to reveal clearly, and to explain conclusively each individual case investigated.