An eTPL Position Paper, #23
We have recently been considering the “Passover” of which Christ and the Apostles partook in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. Did they observe on that occasion the Passover as originally instituted in Egypt? Or was it an entirely separate ceremony – the beginning of a new era in which the True Passover Lamb was to be memorialized?
Jesus told them, “With desire, I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22: 15). But may we with any degree of confidence claim that it was an observance of the traditional Passover? If so, what provision had they made to have a lamb slain and roasted? There is no record of this having been done. There is also no record of their having performed the duties of the Day of Preparation prior to the day of observance.
The Day of Preparation occurs on 13 Nisan. It is the day in which the entire property – house and land – of the family or group is searched for leaven, and cleansed. In this manner the family prepares for Passover. It consists of a thorough and exhaustive house-cleaning, which assures that no leaven of any amount remains in the house.
A paschal lamb should also have been selected three days prior to the Day of Preparation, and it should have been confined in order for them to observe it for any hint of sickness or disease. The Pascal lamb was then slain on 14 Nisan, in the afternoon, and was roasted by fire to prepare it for eating during the early hours of 15 Nisan – the beginning hours of Passover.
In addition, no provision is made in Exodus 12 for any elements other than the flesh of the fire-roasted lamb and unleavened bread. Wine was not recorded as included in this feast.
There is no evidence that these procedures were followed in preparation for what is termed The Last Supper, which was then held in the Upper Room, observed one full day before the regular Passover meal – the Seder.
It is clearly recorded that Jesus, Himself the Pascal Lamb of the Ages, was later that same Hebrew day, slain at the same time as the multitudes of Pascal lambs were slain for the people. That precise procedure was necessary for His valid fulfillment of the role of His sacrifice as the Lamb of God.
The entire procedure of the Last Supper is at complete variance with the ritual of Passover. How can all this non-compliance with The Law be explained if that observance was intended to be of Passover? In addition to being held on an unacceptable day for Passover’s observance, the Last Supper contained wine, an element not included in the Passover observance.
In addition, only one exception was made for an alternative observance of Passover under the Law. That was allowed only if one were ceremonially unclean, or in a far place on a journey; in such a case, those persons were commanded to observer the Passover on the same schedule in the second month. (Cf., Numbers 9). Nisan was the first month of the Hebrew year.
So we cannot deny that the ceremony was entirely different and apart from the traditional Passover observance. We believe we must view the entire ceremony in light of what was being accomplished by the Lord at this momentous time in history.
Jesus’ death – which occurred at precisely the same time as the lambs for Passover were being slain – occurred on 14 Nisan. That event fulfilled the anti-type of the entire meaning of the Passover. It did so to the extent that the Law is said to have been fulfilled: It is finished, the last words of Jesus, seem to have indicated far more than just that His suffering was finished. The Law itself was fulfilled in His perfectly prepared body being killed by being nailed to a tree; the Law itself was considered to have ended at that exact moment.
That is a most important consideration.
The Law of Moses ended at the moment of His propitiatory death. There was no more any need for the Jews’ observing the Passover in the earlier, ritualized fashion. The “type” that the propitiatory sacrifice represented had finally appeared in person to become the “antitype,” and the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy contained in the Passover ritual as given to Moses.
“This Passover” now became the memorial ritual by which the True Sacrifice would be remembered and appreciated. It became the embodiment of all the personal faith, obedience and sacrifice of the Christ Himself, that made His crucifixion an effective offering, fulfilling the Law.
Now that the Law was abolished, the succeeding observance was instituted. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come” (I Corinthians 11:26). Now, the participants in this service were quite obviously looking BACKWARDS to the atoning Sacrifice rather than in the first case (the original Passover) in which they were anticipating it. Their viewpoint (and their observance) of The Sacrifice had shifted from un-fulfilled to fulfilled – from anticipated to accomplished.
“The Lord’s death” is the very object of the original Passover celebration. It foreshadowed the confinement, the period of anxiety before his sacrifice, the physical and mental suffering which He endured during that terrible time – the very embodiment of the shedding of the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant for the sins of the world.
In being so slain, Jesus’ own innately sinful being, now fully subdued, subjected entirely to God’s will, was also destroyed in its perfection and holiness, and now full accepted by His Father as a body prepared (Hebrews 10:5) to be sacrificed for the sin of the world.
Never having committed any personal sins, His body of sin – cf. Romans 6:6 – came to its final hours of life and was freely given for the expiation of the constitutional sin which was in Him by dint of his having partaken of the flesh of every man, and made in every point like unto His brethren, He made possible, by the grace of God, the forgiveness of all sin for those who would accept and follow His way.
This truth is of the greatest importance to those who accept that Jesus came in the flesh. The reference to the necessity of this doctrine is specified in I John 4:2, 3 and II John 1:7. It draws a clear, broad line between those who accept that truth and those who hold to the doctrine of the “Trinity” of Gods, absolutely abrogating this foundational truth of God’s word. It is a fine point of innate understanding that separates the true followers of Christ from the “Christian” world – virtually ALL of whom hold to the doctrine of the Trinity.
Worldwide, believers even today assemble each first day of the week to observe “this Passover,” as did the disciples who attended Paul in Acts 20: 7 – the occasion upon which his exhortation extended until midnight, and young brother Eutycus fell asleep and plunged from the third loft to his death – afterward being raised from the dead by Paul.
“This Passover” is that unique and singular memorial ritual which was initiated by the Lord Jesus Christ on 14 Nisan, in the year of His being hanged on the tree of death at Golgotha. And as such, it is entirely separate and distinct from the Passover that was commanded to those under the Law of Moses, and should never be deemed to be the same ceremony. <HEL MD/USA code 12M> ~1300 words. Position Paper #23.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) – or Assyria!
An eTPL Position Paper #22
A week or so ago (first week of November, 2013), we wrote about the progress in the amalgamation of Iraq and Syria in today’s world – a factor which we see as a significant fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and as a faith-strengthening concept as we approach the End of Times. [For full information, please see our previous Circular Letter entitled “Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Not Finished Yet.”]
By this statement, we mean to affirm that our Father strengthens our faith in allowing us to perceive and understand certain, finite advances in prophetic fulfillment. Such advances, however small, confirm our faith and reassure us that our understanding is on track and accurate.
This is not a lightly concluded concept. It provides a confirmed surety in Micah’s prophecy of Micah 5:5,6, and Isaiah 37:31 et seq, the latter of which certainly appears to be an exact reprise of Assyria’s earlier, failed excursion into Judah, c. 710 BC.
As such, both are surely End Time prophecies as determined by certain included clues.
Close inspection of Micah 5 reveals that it occurs in the End Time when … the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (verse 3)
It is in the time when … He (Christ Jesus) shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; (verse 4)
It is also the time when He shall be great unto the ends of the earth (and) … be the peace (bring a peaceful resolution to the Assyrian problem by utter conquest!)when the Assyrian comes into our land. (verses 4,5)
And when, Micah 5:6 - And they (Israel and its Saviours) shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall He deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
None of these events have been fulfilled to this day, so they remain to be fulfilled in the future.
Close inspection of Isaiah 37:31 et seq, reveals that it occurs (duplicates itself) similarly in the End Time. Verses 31-35 confirm that … the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward … the king of Assyria shall not come into this city … I (God) will defend this city to save it … both of which are future echoes of events of time past that are certain of fulfillment based on Micah 5 and other authorities.
The new Islamic entity to which we had referred earlier consists of fighters of Al-Qaeda from both Iraq and Syria – now linked in an official capacity for the first time.
In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (its leader) released an audio statement, in which he announced that Jabhat al-Nusrahad been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Baghdadi declared that the two groups were officially merging under the name "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham."
As we earlier affirmed, this will bring about the new End Time entity of “Assyria,” of which the prophets speak. The group may not change its actual name to “Assyria,” but in referring to Al-Sham, it owns that identity. Al-Sham is an ancient name of Assyria!
As we earlier confirmed, “A report by DebkaFile on 15 November, 2013, says the “new mission” of ISIS is “to fight for the foundation by ISIS of Al Qaeda’s first independent state in the heart of the Middle East.
As an amalgam of Iraq and Syria, that State will be equivalent to “Assyria” of old, and become a fulfilment of this key prophecy by Micah and others, in our view. In addition, its power will likely supersede the now-existent governments of Iraq and well as Syria due to the inherent weakness of both governments. <HEL MD/USA code 11M> ~650 words. Position Paper #22
Trust Only in the LORD – Not in Man
An eTPL Position Paper #21
Psalm 40: 4 expresses David's thankfulness to his Father, and for the trust which he has allowed David to extend toward His holy name. Blessed is the man whose hope is the name of the Lord, and who has not regarded vanities and false frenzies (Ps 40:4 Septuagint) is a superb statement of the faith of David – that he has adhered to the LORD's ways, and not man's ways ... and that he has not deviated from God with respect to those who disbelieve the Almighty, and by extension, those who teach ways that are glaringly not His ways.
His clear undertaking was to Trust only in the LORD – not in man!
How does this guidance apply in our time, we ask?
Unfortunately, there are a few sincere believers today who doggedly and diligently strive to impose their own wills upon their fellows, insisting that all their brethren accept and teach prophetic theories and pathways that have proven by fulfillment to be entirely contrary to God's stated intent.
These are, in reality, however, not doctrinal points of consideration, for they do not affect the salvation of Believers if accepted one way or the other. That is, if that acceptance is gentle, and allows for other views of brethren who, earnestly and honestly, have reached a somewhat different conclusion.
But when they insist upon the acceptance and active teaching of these deviant interpretations by all others on pain of withdrawal, they ultimately injure the whole body, promoting its morbidity – its illness. [Their urgent insistence upon their concerns almost amounts to a grievance industry!]
Ancient Israelitish leaders were roundly castigated for not “feeding the flock,” and were ultimately rejected for that practice.
The flock deserves SOUND teaching – faithful teaching – excellence and accuracy in scriptural exegesis, not fanciful theories of yesteryear which have already failed and have no possibility of fruition!
Such shepherds become an issue of blood to their brothers and sisters – in their continuing struggle to get "their own way" with their brethren in the name of revered (but blind?) adherence to "the old way."
The expositors of the "old way" boldly advanced their thoughts, which were first propounded over 150 years ago, as the certain outworking of the prophetic word; these were the forward-looking theories of authors who were venturing into the realm of future events with an uncommon certainty, as expressed in their exquisitely convincing writings concerning events future to that earlier time.
In this sense, the impressive power of their pen has sometimes done great damage to the folk whom it was designed to strengthen and inform.
But not so by design of the originators of those interpretations in their times.
In actuality, they did their very best to understand and propagate their expectation of what lay ahead from their view of the scriptures as related to their own time.
Most of them expected the return of Christ to the earth well before the turn of the 20th century – an event which, quite evidently, did not materialize.
But they also expected their successors to apply their minds to God’s word, recognizing and observing the marked fulfillment of the prophecies as they passed into history, and to draw their brethren’s attention to these wonderful fulfillments, all these marking steady progress toward the promised kingdom – giving their brethren joy and active hope in the events experienced by them.
Unfortunately for the Body of Christ, many of the expectations of those of the "old way" have proven to be inconsistent with the events that have historically played out – events which lay well ahead of the times in which they were projected or put forward.
Historical events have proven them insufficiently, and inaccurately, to explain the events they purport to elaborate. That train has left its rails and now lies a smoldering ruin as to actual fulfillment of its views of prophecy future to that day.
We here acknowledge that the same claim is NOT SO with the doctrinal re-assertion which took place at that earlier time – which was a markedly great blessing of the End Time – a time when “knowledge should be increased” as the Prophet Daniel, in 12: 4 predicted.
But the "old way-sayers" keep driving their prophetic engines along the same right of way as if there has been no catastrophic failure of their expectations, denying or discounting (?) many clearly undeniable, spiritually profitable, historical fulfillments of God's prophetic word since the mid-19th century – therefore actively refusing much of the profitability and strength embedded in those fulfillments.
These are vanities and false frenzies (LXX), the AV version of which is more accusatory and more to the reality: Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psalm 40:4)
How have they done this?
Allow us to cite some major mis-constructions, as we now see them:
A. They do so by their denial of the second (and permanent) retrieval of God's people from the earth's nations in this End Time. That view is inherent in the highly (but limitedly) touted expectation of some, that the Gogian host is destined to drive the little ones of God from their Land into Egypt in the near future, and that Christ is destined to bring them forth from Egypt, literally, in future time.
Even a casual reading, however, of Ezekiel 38 and 39 entirely precludes this possibility!
That supposition also does not recognize that ANY Israeli who today might be literally dispersed into Egypt would be slaughtered as soon as he crossed the Suez Canal. The days of Jews’ “peacefully” dwelling in the nation of Egypt have long since departed. No Jew is safe in Egypt today – and has not been for decades!
The theory denies that the Jews have been "in Egypt" for centuries (i.e., among the nations, estranged from their Land, and persecuted there in the iron furnace of the Gentiles as they were in Egypt of old), and that the Almighty has called them by the millions to return unto Me, as in Jeremiah 24: 6,7, where we behold His immutable definition of His Plan for His people: For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and NOT pull them down; and I will plant them, and NOT pluck them up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
So: That God’s people HAVE returned to their Land cannot be denied – that He has carefully and miraculously PLACED them in His Land is undeniable! The entire operation of their restoration has been miraculous from its inception – angelically accomplished for those who have the faith to perceive it. It has been an accomplishment that should NOT have been attainable simply by people with a will to do it.
That Israel has not yet returned to Him with their whole heart, we readily admit. But the pro-active indication of that blessed event is now plainly evident in their physical return to their Land, as Micah 5:3 clearly indicates that they shall do: "Therefore will he give them up (abandon them to the nations of their captivity) UNTIL the time that she which travaileth (labors, as in birth) hath brought forth (brought to birth their nation), THEN the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the (land of) the children of Israel."
It is a precise forecast of what has actually occurred before our eyes!
We therefore see the active, vibrant progression of their return to be dynamically and consciously accomplished, not precipitously, or suddenly so, but solely on their OWN initiative, progressively, and not by a persuasive or compulsory recovery from the lands of their captivity by an external agent.
In our view, the Christ is – and has been – recovering them from “Egypt” all along, thereby fulfilling Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37, which speaks of that return in uncommonly clear terms.
And now, during its drawn-out fulfillment, we perceive that its progress was to be extensive as to time and complexity, as we have beheld the incredible saga of their retrieval from the nations among which they have been scattered, and their difficult, arduous, hazardous, multi-staged re-gathering back into the Land of their inheritance!
The process has not been immediate, nor precipitous – and has taken far longer than we were willing to concede when it began!
We await patiently the coming stages of their full redemption.
B. Other claims are fully as perplexing. We have difficulty rectifying the assertion that The Time of Jacob's Trouble still lies ahead for God's people – a mystifying prospect in light of the heinous result of the Shoah (the Holocaust) which engulfed his dispersed people under the fiendish despotism of the German Third Reich (1933-1945).
This singular event has absolutely no chance of being surpassed by any enemy of God’s people since that time! Therefore it fulfills its billing as the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time (Daniel 12: 2).
We see the inconsistency of this view of a FUTURE time of trouble greater than the Shoah, from a sensible and faithful consideration of that wonderfully reassuring message of the Prophet, as already quoted above: Jeremiah 24: 6 - For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
We see in this prophecy the definitive, two-stage fulfillment of the PHYSICAL resurrection of God’s people spoken of in Daniel 12:1, 2, preparatory to their SPIRITUAL resurrection which inevitably shall follow. Holding a contrary view is going after lies – untruths, spurious theories – which are contrary to the Almighty’s prophetic word.
Both these “resurrections” are a foreshadowing of the worldwide resurrection of the saints of God who shall appear before His judgment seat when He returns!
This process, which is somewhere near its mid-point (?) of fulfillment cannot be over-emphasized; and it should not be misunderstood or denied!
We clearly perceive the Almighty to have placed His people back in their land by miraculous (angelic) agency in this End Time, and that His avowed intention is not to uproot them again - ever.
Their future is certain; their course of development toward reconciliation with Him is secure. Verse 7 of that indicated reading is yet future - that time when He gives them an heart to KNOW ME ... for they (also – subsequently) shall return unto Me with their whole HEART – a spiritual event which visibly and tractably FOLLOWS upon their physically being brought again to THIS LAND as stated in the previous verse!
This exact course of progress is here stated clearly and indisputably.
Thus we behold the progression, in retrospect, to be a PHYSICAL RETURN of His people to His Land prior to a SPIRITUAL RETURN to Him and His ways. It is now seen to be likely that their core redemption must be brought to pass within His Land, not in the nations of their dispersion, for there must be many on hand IN that Land personally to welcome Him with immense relief, and thankfulness, when He comes and expresses His contempt for their vile enemies by their destruction!
It shall be THESE who cry, Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!, as the Lord Jesus Himself told them they should in Luke 13: 34.
In those words, Jesus’ compassion for His errant people – thoroughly misled by their shepherds and leaders of His day – is positively and passionately recorded: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The certain meaning of this is that in that future day, when His people have thus beheld His glory and accepted Him gladly, and with full repentance (Zechariah 12 and 13, q.v.), He shall then shelter them in utter safety and serenity under His graceful protection, as an hen doth gather her brood under her wings.
As His then pacified and accepted and newly-covenanted People of Israel, they shall do unto Him as He has purposed, as He invites them, in Isaiah 55:3: Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David ... fulfilling His gracious offer of compassion and forgiveness toward His beloved people then in their Land as foretold in II Samuel 7, wherein those “sure mercies” are faithfully promised directly to King David.
As his abjectly repentant People, they shall then dwell without bars or gates, in true peace and safety as attested by the Almighty Himself in Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14; Jeremiah 23: 6; Zechariah 2: 5, 8, q,v.
C. One other citation will be adequate to illustrate our point. Some prominent commentators continue to publish their fervent expectation that the King of the North and the King of the South are yet to come to conflict in the Middle East, duking it out for control of Israel. One of them speaks of America as King of the South. He speaks of Turkey (in cahoots with Russia) as King of the North.
This scenario appeals to those of the Old School, and has done so for over 150 years!
But it is an impossible expectation. It was the fervent expectation of men … but not of God!
It reflects either a serious misunderstanding, or outright denial, of past historical events which have fulfilled the entire account of Daniel 11, which details all the interactions of these kings of the north and south in one capsule, ending with the king of the north coming to his end with none to help … in verse 45.
How can we be certain that this is accomplished?
We are compelled to do so from several aspects of the prophecy of Daniel 11 and 12, which is one continuous revelation, and must be considered as such to be rightly understood.
Our conclusion has been that the Ottoman Empire – the indisputable King of the North of its day – after controlling the Holy Land for 400 years (1517 – 1917) was ousted and brought to its end by the British Army of Egypt in that final year.
This is the absolute end of those interactions of these kings of the north and south with God’s Land and People.
In retrospect we can define these events as having taken place from the time when Israel was about to be displaced from its land by Babylon (c. 604 BC) until the time when “Israel” was about to be re-constituted (1917 AD). They filled that period known as the times of the Gentiles.
In other words, these fought for control of the Land when Israel was ABSENT from it, or about to BECOME ousted from it by their God.
Britain is in no sense to be considered another “king of the south,” even though her forces came from the south to liberate Jerusalem.
Why is this true?
Because of the legal consideration of the Balfour Declaration, Great Britain did not conquer “Palestine” of that day for her own imperial interests; instead, ostensibly, she was bringing liberation to the land to promote Jewish independence – a Jewish State, which Lord Balfour had promised in his declaration. Daniel mentions no further conflict of “kings of the north or south” but immediately tells us that AT THAT TIME (the time of the end of the king of the north) shall Michael stand up – and defines him as that great prince which standeth for thy (Daniel’s) people (the Jews). Daniel 12: 1
In this revelation, Daniel is revealing that the Archangel, whose responsibility Israel is, was to begin his work of the recovery of the Jewish people from the nations – their physical resurrection from those nations, and their popular regathering into God’s Land, and their re-vitalization – as depicted in the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37.
The correlation is positive – and perfect!
And so, we sincerely feel, we see the immediate result of Michael’s work in an almost inhuman episode of Jewish history – the Shoah – the Holocaust – the time of trouble such as never was – following immediately upon the last end of the king of the north! It began in earnest, only sixteen years after 1917 – and continued with odious, murderous atrocities which lasted twelve terrible years.
And AT THAT TIME shall Daniel’s people be delivered. The details of their suffering and persecution are omitted by Daniel for the time. The end result is that they shall be delivered!
Delivered from WHAT?
Delivered from that agent of their trouble. Delivered from the lands of their oppression to their Land of safety.
We know the searing details of their plight, and the great cost of that deliverance – the deaths of six million of a population of about nine million Jews in the realms of their persecution.
In this prophecy, though, Daniel does not give the finer details of this complex future history. They are not conducive to his readers’ clear understanding of the overall prediction.
Daniel’s prophecy goes straight to the “bottom line” as we often say – to the restoration of the people to his Land –and shortly, of his Land to his people – and their progressive management and occupation of it – their expansion in it – as the Almighty’s plan goes forward!
However, we can NOW read all the details between these lines because of our awareness of other details of this time – and our personal recollections of exactly what happened!
The end result is God’s people’s restoration to the Land of His Promises to Abraham.
But the restoration is, at first, only partial. Some of their subsequent tribulations of occupation of their land is hinted at in Daniel 12, but only outlined for our further consideration as illustrated by subsequent history.
Our Father knew in advance that we should have access to completely adequate facts – stated as his reference to the “increase of knowledge” upon which to pursue our understanding of the fulfillment of His plan! This small detail acknowledges the thousands of representatives of the world press which are continuously present within Israel, said by some to be the largest press contingent of any nation on earth.
On the surface, it is peculiar that tiny Israel should require so many minds, pens and “talking heads” to “cover” its affairs; but we surely know the reason why this is true. In this way, our Father is informing the world of the fulfillment of His plan with Israel, even though nobody is really paying much attention to the core features of it (except you and me, dear ones!).
The Almighty’s concluding words to Daniel are recorded in the last verse of Daniel 12: But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
Why is All This Important to Each of Us?
Some may question why this consideration is the subject of a Position Paper.
It is partially because we are living in that coming time when Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. The day of Christ’s kingdom is imminent!
It is also because we strongly believe that a logical understanding – a scriptural understanding and acceptance – of these coming events is vital, in order that Believers may be prepared and ready for His appearing and kingdom.
Its correct understanding provides greater and more intense faith in His Plan, and seems to us a matter of prudent, vital principle (although, again, not salvational principle, as such).
Our reckoning is that Christ’s return shall come much earlier than expected by the strict adherents of the Old School.
Shall His return take some by surprise?
Shall it overtake many who are just not prepared for His return, not suspecting or thinking it imminent?
Is it not self-evident that our deepest expectation and heartfelt understanding regarding His plan governs our conduct and demeanor toward it – and our faithfulness in supporting and preaching it to those about us … and to our brethren and friends?
So the body of Christ vitally needs renewal of much of the animation and the anticipation, the sheer excitement, of earlier brethren – at the breathtaking moment of Israel’s re-constitution in 1948.
It is time for the followers of Christ (“Christ-ones”) to get back into the spiritual mode of respecting our Father’s unmitigated call of His people Israel back to their Land, of respecting the nation and the People who have returned to their Land, of proclaiming our favor and our love of God’s people in every conversation, and of recognizing their return to it as their pointed, purposeful response – whether or not yet realized by them – to His End Time call to them to “Return unto Me.”
We have been advised by His word, time and time again that God LOVES His people of Israel. That they are protected by Him in the same manner as each living being heavily guards his own eyeball (phrased as the apple of His eye).
Not every action undertaken by Israel is considered “right” by the world, which brings widespread criticism of Israel from every quarter; but we, of all people, should realize that ALL its actions are leading inevitably to the fulfillment of God’s Plan for them!
Our personal criticism of their conduct is not admissible!
Is Israel still in denial of the true identity of its Messiah? Yes!
Have they returned to their Land in ignorance of the real purpose of this return? Probably so!
But shall we see a sea-change in His people’s acceptance of His Way during the coming months or years? Yes! We shall!
The entire scenario is already written down on tablets for our inspection – in case any believe that these events are “tarrying,” as the Prophet Habakkuk so aptly phrases it in Habakkuk 2: 1-3, q.v.
Paul makes a point of telling us clearly in Romans 11 that God has NOT cast away His people. Those subject “people” are not spiritual Israel (Gentile believers) but NATURAL Israel – the nation and race who have been miraculously reconstituted and re-designated as “Israel” in these End Times.
Neither may WE “cast them away!”
Of all generations, we are the most fortunate to be able to behold and appreciate the enormity of this singular event – the resurrection of the nation of Israel from “Egypt” of our day! It saddens us greatly to hear believers take sides with Israel’s enemies, even if subconsciously, and criticize the Jewish people who are assuring their own survival when no one else gives a hoot.
When that happens, such have swallowed the lies of the heathen, effectively condemning God’s beloved people.
We should never be in that camp!
Let us not deny the Nation’s miraculous appearance, or allow our support for Israel to cool.
God’s holy Spirit is with them, according to His own words. He is consistently and inerrantly leading them to REDEMPTION. So should our spirits and fervent prayers be with them as well!
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122: 6) was not uttered as idle patter.
In our own day, simply due to the Return of His People, Jerusalem has risen to new prominence in the earth. The world’s attention is on that city more than any other city in all the nations. It is a vibrant, challenging commandment to us of this day mentally and spiritually to connect with and support His people.
That’s the way, in our opinion, that we simply must see it in these last days of the End Time.
Our consideration of these passing differences of opinion with some brethren should not drive a barrier between us; it must not destroy fellowship between us, although it seems to have done so in some cases – hopefully not permanently.
This separated condition is extremely difficult to rectify with the commandments of Christ as expressed through the Apostle John.
In his first epistle, chapter 1, verse 6, John writes that If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The cautionary advice John gives is to avoid darkness.
The darkness against which he advises is any clear denial of God’s word, no matter how well-intentioned or sincerely mistaken. And even without regard as to whether the denial is vital to salvation (a fundamental doctrine of salvation).
We often take this to mean only grossly uninformed views of God’s basic plan of salvation, or of deviant conduct of one’s life – the essentials of a valid faith in Christ – with which we are scripturally in disagreement.
The avoidance of this kind of darkness certainly is sanctioned by His word. Those DO walk in darkness. We can have no fellowship with such ESSENTIAL differences with the Gospel.
On the other hand, the denial of fellowship is to be avoided over non-essential issues such as future fulfillment of Bible prophecy – as long as it upholds the coming of His kingdom!
“Darkness,” in this case, can be recognized as one’s willingness to withdraw fellowship from one who disagrees with one’s views on an unfulfilled prophecy. It logically should also apply to the unwillingness (or even perhaps the inability) to recognize fulfilled prophecies as being the visible hand of the Almighty among mankind – prophecies which were expressly designed to illustrate and verify His Plan with His elect and chosen ones.
When we consider the events leading up to the Last Supper in the upper room, we mark three separate times at which Jesus clearly informed the disciples that He must go up to Jerusalem and be killed, buried, and resurrected.
But the disciples “knew not” that this was to be – that is, they did not realize the frank reality that Jesus should be so savagely put to death within the next few days. They were in darkness on this matter.
Even before they had passed through Jericho, on the way up to Jerusalem, Jesus had informed them of these future events clearly in the words of Luke 18:34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Fortunately, they did not depart from Him and start their own splinter group, teaching that He should NOT so die, but that He should have a different fate! That darkness, should it have taken traction, and remained, should have sealed their fate as unbelievers.
But their “darkness” of mind was temporary; and it was corrected fully within a short time by the events which came to pass.
After Jesus had been crucified, the disciples found it absolutely necessary to accept that fact. This acceptance, along with the reality of His resurrection, brought great joy and renewed ambition to each of them to get out and proclaim the Gospel to all men.
They had recovered from that temporary “darkness.”
Similarly, when brethren today entertain dark theories – and especially when they insist on their belief even after these have abjectly failed – they are dwelling in darkness, refusing to be enlightened by fulfilled events - and essentially deny that the Almighty has brought about these events upon His people.
The passing of prophecy into history is designed to strengthen brethren – not cause denial or confusion in any.
It cannot strengthen unless it is recognized – and accepted. One who maintains, even after the fact, that the prophecy has not been fulfilled “because it conflicts” with some other notion they have formulated, is not an acceptable excuse.
Because of its prospective nature (as yet un-fulfilled), prophetic realization must be subject to ongoing inspection, to progressive adjustments of our understanding in some cases, to the possibility that we have not initially understood it in its true meaning. Fulfillment in ways one has not expected must be met with immediate revision of one’s dogmatic expectations, and trigger re-appraisal of one's perceived expectation.
Illustrating this point is that dogma of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose leaders still maintain that Christ returned to the earth in 1917, exactly when they had forecasted that He should – but that he has been invisibly ruling the earth for 96 years! They remain in darkness on this matter because they stubbornly will not accept that their earlier theory was grossly erroneous.
We hear this principle voiced in our own midst by dogmatic reference to "the pioneers'" expectations of certain prophetic fulfillment, which "must be right' because that's what the "pioneers" opined!
Another case in point is that of brethren who still hold that the Prophecy of the 2300 Days of Daniel 8 should have been stated as 2200 days instead, and that it terminated in the 19th century!
The verification of the real termination of that widely discussed prophecy can be surely and accurately substantiated as one of the most stupendous examples of the Almighty’s foreknowledge of historical events – and that this specific prophecy of 2300 Days was fulfilled on its precisely predicted ending date – June 7, 1967, when the Israel Defense Force captured the site of the Sanctuary on Temple Mount, the Old City of Jerusalem, and the remainder of their Land, consolidating all under their own governance (though not un-challenged by the PLO) on that specific date!
Our constant and fervent prayer is that our dear brethren who voice those failed expectations as yet being future, and denigrate students who disagree with them – and even refuse fellowship to them for their views – will awaken to the reality of our age – will examine their overall assessment of the End Time prophecies, and revise their views drastically. That they will pull themselves up out of the dark and dreary trenches of failed expectations, and trust the Almighty to show them His definitive and certain will, being carried out in abundant and accurate progress among the nations and peoples!
In this way they shall discover a more dynamic understanding of the events of our day, shall derive great strength from admitting their true fulfillment, and shall find that they make complete sense when viewed in that context.
And even more importantly, they shall find that the enlightened understanding of the subject prophecies does not in any way compromise any basic tenet of salvational doctrine!
We wish for them to adopt the spirit expressed by David in those words with which we began: Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psalm 40:4) <HEL MD/USA Position Paper #21; coded 8M> ~5200 words.
When They Say Peace and Safety
An eTPL Position Paper #20
An high profile commentator on scriptural prophecy (to be unnamed here) has written some thoughts on the “Peace and Safety” aspirations voiced in I Thessalonians 5: 1 - But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
In this Position Paper, we are considering his comments as a question which requires discussion.
As part of our reply, we must admit that this saying, “Peace and Safety” has been the subject of much discussion in the past. We believe it is certainly a statement of the unbelievers who, perhaps at first unknowingly, oppose Christ and His kingdom, for it is He Who shall bring such sudden destruction upon them – permanent destruction – not just victory in warfare but total dismantlement, dismemberment, and utter termination of their regimes.
Paul specifically informs the Thessalonians that this destruction shall not fall upon them, or their later counterparts in The Faith.
“Peace” indicates a lack of caution by the world absorbed in the cares of this life – an entire population which shall have been lulled into a false sense of safety and security. Peace conveys the idea of lacking alarm or threat from any quarter – a laissez faire attitude of comfort and lassitude.
“Safety” conveys the idea of security from external threats from either God or other people – contentment, idleness, unguarded carelessness. The world shall have turned a deaf ear to warnings from such persons as ourselves and our God, of coming Judgment, and as such will be vulnerable to the destruction of their ways and mores and institutions and dogmas – and their “religion” so-called.
More comments along this line are at the end of the next section.
Here we now contribute the following small portion [of a 75-page exchange] with the above-indicated commentator some years back on this subject and others. His comments are in BOLD TYPE; our replies are all the remaining comments. Here ‘tis …
When They Say Peace and Safety
H E Lafferty
Your claim that Israel shall be again defeated in warfare is without support. Modern Israel … defeated in war? The Scriptures attest that it cannot happen! The overwhelming prophetic indication is that Israel is never defeated after she begins to gather back into her Land in the End Time.
God’s Purpose cannot be defeated. It has never been and never shall be!
When Gog invades Israel, its vast force comes with the intent of covering the Land, but we can prove with certainty that she shall not do so.
First: Where is that force destroyed?
Surely it is where they are buried – east of the sea of Kinneret (Galilee) according to Young – in the valley of the passengers – in the Yarmouk River Gorge, at a place to be named Hamon-Gog. Armies are not transported many miles to be buried where they are not slain, witness the killing and burial fields of Chateau-Thierry, Flanders, and Normandy, those of Korea and South Vietnam where hundreds of thousands of men lie central to where they were slain.
Second: Who is said to bury the Gogian host?
Ezekiel 39:9 answers that query directly: And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: 10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD. This arrogant throng never even comes within sight of Jerusalem and causes no harm whatever to the State of Israel.
These two points alone show clearly that Israel has NOT been displaced from its Land but is dwelling confidently and peacefully in it when Gog comes forth.
Writer: THE SUDDEN DESTRUCTION SPOKEN OF IN I THESSALONIANS AFTER THEY SHALL say PEACE AND SAFETY IS ALSO WORTHY OF NOTE IN THIS CONTEXT. THIS PASSAGE DOES NOT LEAD US TO EXPECT A LITERAL TIME OF PEACE AND SAFETY. IT DOESN’T SAY ‘WHEN THERE IS PEACE AND SAFETY’ BUT ‘WHEN THEY SHALL say PEACE AND SAFETY (SECURITY).’ ARIEL SHARON HAS CAMPAIGNED ON THIS VERY SLOGAN “PEACE AND SAFTY.”
Yes … and so has every OTHER Israeli Prime Minister and every leader of every other country in this age when over twenty wars are in progress at any time throughout the earth! They are CRYING for peace and safety – but they are certainly not PROCLAIMING it at this time. However, it appears they shall do so at some time in the future.
This prophecy is in an entirely different context and is not referring to Israel or to Israelis, but to the world at large (i.e., all Israel’s enemies).
There shall be no ‘sudden destruction’ wrought upon Israel at any time in the future, for the Almighty has plainly declared that His people are favored in an unparalleled way. Jeremiah 24:6 states it plainly, that in the Endtime, I will set Mine eyes upon them for GOOD, and I will bring them AGAIN to this Land; and I will BUILD them, and NOT PULL THEM DOWN; AND I WILL PLANT THEM, AND NOT PLUCK THEM UP. No living person can possibly deny that He has “brought them AGAIN to this Land.”
And there shall certainly be no sudden destruction on the saints of God of this age, who are diligently watching and waiting for the Advent.
We believe that clear statement of Israel’s security is an immutable promise of God and that it cannot be broken! What shame and embarrassment such a defeat would bring on the Almighty’s name and purpose! His Arab enemies would quickly claim that Allah was more powerful than Israel’s God as He was unable to maintain His re-gathered people in their land!
However, instead, He has purposed that His people permanently return to His land in preparation for His kingdom and His infinite blessing (however, not for their sakes, but for His holy name’s sake – Ezekiel 36:22-32; Isaiah 43:25; 48:9, 11).
THEN THERE IS A REAL POSSIBILITY THAT THE TIME OF PEACE AND SAFETY IS (NOW) OVER AND WAR IS IMMINENT. WAR, NOT PEACE, COULD BE THE TRIGGER THAT BRINGS DOWN THE NORTHERN HORDES INTO ISRAEL. IT MAY BE SOONER THAN WE THINK.
We surely cannot agree that it is war which brings the Gogian host down upon Israel. What war? It is FOR war that they come, but apparently not because of the existence of a war. Rather, it is a result of the catastrophe suffered by the forces of Islam during the first conflict that causes this invasion.
Ezekiel’s specific statement is that they (Gog) behold a “land of unwalled villages” dwelling in peace and safety! Gog is obviously gulled into the belief that Israel is becoming a pushover for their massive forces because of its peaceful demeanor!
We must surely have observed that the cry FOR peace and safety is even now a permanent mantra of all the nations; we hear of no greater goal of the nations and leaders of the world today.
We shall have to wait and see exactly how this develops, but it would seem most logical to us that there will come a certain time in the future when SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will come up with a plan for peace which seems workable – and we don’t mean a treaty with the so-called “Palestinians” because they just are not capable of making such a treaty. They won’t even sit down with Israel to DISCUSS one.
Either a false SENSE of peace and safety, or a fervent cry FOR peace and safety seems in the offing (as in petitioning the Almighty for peace and safety).
It also could be that the Arabs in their burgeoning strength with scores of thousands of missiles and a greatly enhanced cadre of fighters, will just proclaim that they now CANNOT be defeated, and that the call is in their court for a change – that THEY control the peace and safety. (Indeed, they already have done so.)
It shall be at that height of confidence and pride that their hopes and dreams, their lives and families, their property and their territories, will be slain, smashed, dismantled, and acquired by Christ and Israel!
The present geopolitical lay of the land almost perfectly fits that description already! Iran is constantly saying that Israel is but a gnat which they can swat to death at any time. Their boastfulness is incredibly obnoxious, teeming with pride and arrogance – and with defiance of the God of Israel! However, Iran is likely instead to feel the hot wrath of Israel’s Air Force, Navy and Missile Defense Forces in a short time, if they persist in openly developing nuclear weapons – a goal which we cannot envision their giving up.
However, Israel’s decisive conflict with Iran probably will go little further than quenching for a time the ability of Iran to make nuclear weapons. We do not feel that it will bring significant hot conflict to Israel from Iran because it is seemingly much too early in the prophetic timetable for that to happen in our opinion.
Iran is Persia, and as such is an integral component of the GOGIAN host, not the forces of Proximal Islam, which Christ, (alongside the forces of Israel) clearly is prophetically scheduled to destroy first. This great, overwhelming, decisive victory over the nearby Islamic States will enervate the Russians and their Islamic friends to begin preparing concrete plans to invade and conquer Israel – especially so, after in His initial operations …
· Christ shall have manifested unheard of power against Israel’s enemies,
· Has quelled all their strength and silenced their incessant threats,
· Has conquered them all and appropriated all their lands and wealth,
· Has begun His kingdom’s administration,
· Has proclaimed Jerusalem Capital of His Kingdom Administration,
· Has established a firm theocracy,
· Has been accepted as King of the Jews by his people,
· Has restored the Throne of David and sits upon it,
· Is disarming Israel entirely,
· Is demolishing the Defense Walls being built on the former borders,
· Is beginning to build the Temple of the Millennium,
· Has allocated the Tribal Cantons of Israel as outlined by Ezekiel, in their rightful order, from the northern River Euphrates to the south River Nile,
· Is moving and settling His people securely into their Tribal allotments,
· Has expelled ALL foreigners from His land, including all the Arabs and “Christians,” and appropriated their properties and claims,
· Is bringing the Ten Tribes and the remainder of Judah (the Two Tribes) home to Israel,
· Has appropriated all the wealth of the nearby, conquered states to His treasury for the glory of the Lord as in the time of the Exodus,
· Has officially claimed all their territories and annexed them to Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (and Indian Ocean?),
· Has been proclaimed Messiah and King by His repentant and reconciled people, reversing the democratic constitution of the present time,
· Has established and confirmed a new Covenant with Israel,
· And is accompanied by a vast throng of Assistants – the Redeemed Saints – Who manifest power far beyond any human ability.
This whole scenario will present to the alien forces a picture of great ambition and of apparent childlike confidence (as to disarmament of Israel, to dismantling of the Wall and other structures such as military strongholds, airfields, encampments and barriers).
This naïve young Jewish upstart is a fool in their eyes – far too confident!
They observe this newly disarmed land of un-walled villages which is at that time dwelling peacefully and entirely safely – without any immediate threats on their borders at all, dwelling in confidence – and they see a summer fruit which can almost be plucked from the ground.
Taking no chances, they form a vast amalgam of forces and equipment, and approach the Land with great confidence. Problem is, they haven’t read Ezekiel 38 and 39, in which NOTHING but destruction is concretely determined for them!
They plan to invade Christ’s Kingdom with great self-reliance, and bravado; instead, their exit from the Land is via DEATH and BURIAL at Hamon-Gog in the Valley of the Yarmouk River (Young) – which is then said to be “in Israel” but which at this moment is the international boundary between Syria and Jordan east of the Sea of Galilee.
Of course both these countries are intruders – interlopers – within God’s covenanted Land, and as such will be driven out or exterminated (more the latter than the former), along with the Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the citizens of the Gulf Emirates, and even The Yemenis and Omanis (?) – some of these being not well delineated as to their fates – as well as all the “Palestinians” now inside Israel, in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Gaza, the Negev, the Sinai and in Judea and Samaria (the Edomites of Obadiah).
The monetary wealth of some of these nations at the present time is almost nil (such as Lebanon and Jordan) but their land masses are great; but just think of the oil resources of Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and Saudi Arabia along with their enormous land masses – the future territory of the Kingdom of God’s First Dominion! And now, oil shale in great abundance has been discovered throughout Jordan, and vast reserves of petroleum and gas in the waters adjacent to Lebanon and Egypt. All that wealth shall accrue to the Kingdom of Christ which shall have absorbed all of them.
When the Christ of the Second Advent allows the dust to settle from this Proximal conflict, He will be Master of over half the known reserves of oil in the entire world (for what that’s worth in the kingdom age!). But it will have ENORMOUS impact upon the Distal Islamic nations – those confederating with Gog – and shock them into drastic action at any cost.
That COST will be great – and fatal to all those people who will not convert and accept Christ. The trouble is, Will they be given enough time to learn much of Him before they are destroyed for their animosity and hatred of God’s people?
We don’t believe any other process than the above is scriptural, or makes sense in totality, but is still only a general outline of what seems to be coming quite clear from the writings of the prophets, and is not contradicted by any other portion of scripture which we can discern.
It is the safety of the world powers that is at hazard, but in no sense the peace and safety of Israel under the Christ.
The older theory of John Thomas and several other expositors, that Israel is to be driven from its Land yet again, displaced from its Land by the Gogian host and driven into Egypt, completely omits any consideration of the scores of passages which tell of Christ and the Saints (and Israel’s) conquest of the nations round about, and the REAL establishment of PEACE and SAFETY PRIOR to the Gogian invasion, thus setting up the conditions for Gog’s evil thoughts as well as its certain destruction.
That theory also completely ignores the destructive language directed against Gog in those two chapters of Ezekiel, in which our Father makes certain to convey to us the abject failure of Gog's efforts and the destruction of ALL his forces.
This is our Lord’s final and conclusive decision to dispel the forces of DARKNESS and ignorance forever!
The opposite consideration comes into play with Christ’s faithful brethren, in the continuation of Paul’s words to the Thessalonian Ecclesia:
1Thessaonians 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1Th 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
<HEL MD/USA PP #20: Edited 7M> ~2880 words.
Ezekiel 39:23-26 as Related to I Kings 4:25 and Leviticus 26
An eTPL Position Paper #19
H E Lafferty
One wonderful result of the Gogian conflict with Israel is that it establishes concrete testimony to the heathen (the nations) of that day, that God has punished His people for their transgressions; as Ezekiel 39:23 says - And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that 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.
Israel of Today?
Some have claimed that these verses in Ezekiel 39 refer to Israel of today, dwelling in their land, partially regathered from the nations, but grossly "trespassing" against God - and that the supposed "punishment" of the Gogian invasion is to be exacted upon them for not recognizing and returning to God by acknowledging Christ as their Messiah during their present residence there. That their opportunity to do so is being wasted during their present sojourn in the land of Israel. That Gog is sent to punish them and drive them forth from their land into exile in Egypt ... or somewhere.
We can think of hardly any supposition more far-fetched ... or more opposed to scripture! Such a claim betrays a serious misunderstanding of God's expressed will for His people.
In the first place, Israel is not dwelling "safely" in their land today - witness their incredible military strength and huge defense budget expended just to remain free of enemy invasion. In no sense are they dwelling safely today. Their citizens even today are subject to incoming missiles from Gaza and Lebanon, and subject to even greater threats from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and factions in Jordan.
In the second place, the People's modern history is progressing perfectly along prophetic lines - their present sojourn being the mere, but necessary, preliminary path to their awesome conversion to God's way forecasted in Zechariah 12 and 13, which gives poignant details of Israel's recognition and acceptance of the returned Christ at His second appearance to them in power and great glory. They shall at that time mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, abjectly repenting of their collective sins and wholeheartedly accepting His sovereignty and kingship over them ... but before that time, not so.
In the third place, Ezekiel's words in verse 23 indicate that they all fell by the sword. If that should happen to Israel today, it would bring shame and degradation to the very name of God, Who has absolutely PROMISED that Israel shall never again be scattered. He shall PLANT them in their Land, as he is doing, and shall not pluck them up. Jeremiah 24:6.
The subject passage, in revealing: they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid, is clearly a reference to the conditions stated in I Kings 4:25: And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
This was their peaceful, safe condition under the reign of Solomon, and was a reflection of the promises they were given in Leviticus 26: 5,6, the perfect peace which had been promised to OBEDIENT Israelites before they entered their inheritance. That state of their polity was perfect fulfillment of the entirety of this blessing under Solomon, whose reign of peace is a perfect forecast of that to be established by Christ in the Solomonic phase of His imminent kingdom in Israel:
Lev 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
Lev 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Lev 26:6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
Lev 26:7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
Lev 26:10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
Lev 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
Lev 26:12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
The entirety of this prophecy in Leviticus was fulfilled for a short time under Solomon, and is not possibly a description of the nation today ... although today's Jewish State admittedly fulfills most of those conditions except their dwelling in peace and accepting God's sovereignty as a nation, which they yet do not.
Everyone knows the sequel to the days of Solomon.
The kingdom of the Twelve Tribes was split into Two and Ten Tribes. The Ten abandoned Jerusalem as its center of the worship of God and turned to idols and other profane practices. Later, Judah (the Two) fell into the same abominable practice of idol worship. Both nations have long borne that "shame" of turning from YHVH to idols and of their non-acceptance of Jesus at His first coming.
Their subsequent, exhaustive punishment has been the result of the transgression of idolatry, first by the Ten and later by the Two Tribes. The largest proportion of the Ten have not yet returned to their land; a large portion of the Two have done so. The Jews in Israel today do not practice idolatry as did their forefathers. Indeed, the Two never did again after returning to their Land from Babylon; they had learned that portion of God's will quite adequately. Their second exile was triggered by their rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah at His first coming. <HEL PP#19, code 3M> ~1220 words.
Endtime Role of Michael the Archangel
An eTPL Position Paper #18
H E Lafferty
The student of scripture will note that the last two chapters of Daniel are linked by the phrase “at that time,” indicative of the time when the last King of the North has been defeated and the State of Israel is coming into being. The narrative is of a cloth – a continuous revelation divided into two chapters.
The Archangel Michael is specifically concerned with Israel, the people. But when there is no cohesive collection of the sons of Jacob in the Land, Michael is apparently not especially tasked with their care.
Therefore, when the resurrection of Israel from the nations (from “Egypt”) became eminent, and their formation into the State of Israel became near, Michael became operative on their behalf in an invisible role ... or, rather, a role visible only to the eyes of faith.
It is in this context that we see the first verses of Daniel 12: Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up (begin again to work for Israel), the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book, indicating their regathering (resurrection) from the nations, but also prefiguring resurrection from the dead.
The phrase “at that time” indicates the end of the time of the events of the previous account in Daniel 11:45 where it is said of the King of the North, yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
We believe that this prophecy was fulfilled on the occasion of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire – the last King of the North – by Great Britain in Palestine in 1917, when they drove the Turkish forces out of God’s Land by a decisive defeat.
If this event has NOT yet come to pass, then we cannot apply any of the last 70 years of Israel’s re-gathering to these first verses of Daniel 11 – an unworkable incongruity in our opinion.
The Ottoman Empire, as a result of Allenby’s offensive, did come to an end, and was replaced by Gemal Ataturk’s modern state of Turkey.
History was at that time swiftly also closing in rapidly on the establishment of modern Israel as haven and renewed homeland for the Jews of the world. As custodian of the Holy Places of the time, Britain had ostensibly conquered the Land for the benefit of the Jews of the world and not for its own imperial interests.
Therefore, Britain did not fulfill the role of another King of the South as some had supposed it would. There is no further indication of a King of the South in the prophecy.
Daniel then addresses the immediate occurrence of this “time of trouble” which should develop for the Jews of Europe – the greatest concentration of the Diaspora of the time.
Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich mounted an unprecedentedly fatal campaign against innocent people within the Reich and in conquered lands, hunting them out of every isolated recess of these countries and murdering them simply because they were Jews. It was termed The Shoah by the Jews; it was indeed a time of trouble for them such as had never been forced upon any group of people up to that time nor ever shall be.
But Daniel gives hope to some of them who should be most fortunate. Utilizing the “standing up” of Michael the Archangel, the Almighty would rescue some of His people from that Holocaust: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
We cannot but receive this narrative in any way except that in which it is delivered.
Not all the people were to be delivered. Only about one third of the known group of Jews lived through this time of extreme persecution and were “delivered” from death. They constituted a remnant of the overall group, and are pointedly addressed as such in many references to that time.
As an example, consider these words of Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
The “consumption” which was decreed was The Shoah; but it was to be succeeded by “righteousness,” which we realize is the Almighty’s deliverance from that crucible.
Several facets of that passage are important to note.
(1) In that day is a code or euphemism for the Endtime. The Shoah occurred well within the time constraints of that period … the Latter Days.
(2) The remnant of Israel – of the house of Jacob – could not have been more concisely designated: only a small portion would remain. This process has been repeated over and over through history because of Israel’s disobedience when they dwelt safely in their land at the first (cf. Ezekiel 39:26 – a specific reference to that time prior to the Babylonian captivity).
(3) Those who should escape should no more stay (i.e., depend) upon him that smote him (i.e., the Nazis of Germany and the German people who the Jews had trusted, and with whom the Jews had tried to assimilate up to that time). The Jews’ socio-political goals were to be deflected to another path – toward their Father and their covenanted Land, as indicated in the next phrases.
(4) As a result, the remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God – which, as we have seen, indicated their immigration to the Ensign of Israel (the State of Israel as soon as it was formed – cf., Isaiah 11:12).
(5) The consumption (which was) decreed (the Shoah) shall overflow with righteousness is indicative of the physical salvation, the refuge which came into being at the end of that terrible period of persecution for a fortunate remnant. The Almighty’s righteousness would surely prevail for those whom He marked out to escape death in that awful period, bringing them “home” to their Land as a place of refuge and safety. In this reaction to His invitation, they would be returning unto the children of Israel as the prophet Micah revealed that they should in Micah 5:3.
It was prophesied to occur – and did occur – at and subsequent to, the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth … a clear indication of the divinely governed, human mechanism of Zionism bringing forth (bringing to birth) the Nation of Israel in May, 1948! – Zionism being the entirely secular machine (directed by the Almighty and His Agent, the Archangel Michael, as we see indicated here) who obviously arranged, devised, re-manufactured and developed the refuge of The Land for the Jews of the world.
The Death-Ring of Islam
But now, 65 years later, the menacing Death-Ring of Islam is tightening, intensifying, concentrating again on the existent remnant of six million of God’s chosen people. The “Arab Spring” has begun to show its real colors – and they are not the fresh, green hues of spring! A reader recently wrote, “How can six million Jews stand up to countless millions of heathen Islamists? We know how!!”
The simple answer is that, alone, they could not effectively resist those foes. Were it not for His love for and care of them through His special agent, Michael, they should again be ripped and torn apart and scattered to the winds.
But let not your hearts be troubled! Such a fate is NOT His plan!
The Father has already prepared a defense for them in advance: Jeremiah 31:6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. 7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
This is clearly the time of their return to their Land in the Endtime. Their intention is to go up to Zion unto the Lord our God (to that blessed place where He has pleased to place his name forever).
They are not alone in this initiative, but have a faithful, competent, powerful accomplice!
Daniel clearly states that at that time shall Michael the Archangel stand up for their assistance. The perceptive eyes of faith alone can see the miraculous care Michael has given Israel in the spectacular, unexpected victories which Israel attained over its fierce enemies each time they strove to destroy Israel - in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, from the PLO, from Hezbollah, from Hamas, from the Arab Legion, and in the near future from a coalition of all these enemies that occupy the Land of Promise between the Nile and the Euphrates.
Angelic assistance, however, is completely invisible to the eyes that see not, viz., those eyes not imbued with or energized by faith in God’s word. Michael has quite evidently been assisting Israel through all its wars and conflicts, through terror and mayhem, in time of conflict as well as economic hardship. To deny that fact is to deny the direct promise of the Father to His people.
Their dogged determination to return to Zion has been singularly remarkable; it has been successful beyond all reasonable expectation. Today, Israel’s economy is steaming ahead at about 7% growth per year – one of the most successful polities on earth in these uncertain times.
As the Jews accumulate in Zion in great numbers, the danger from their enemies round about grows exponentially; in human terms the threat to their survival is extreme – as it is today. The prophet cries in response, revealing the eminent (supernatural) outcome: Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
His cry does not go unheeded. Their salvation shall be accomplished by the only Agent Who can save them – their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ – Who appears to them in a spectacular apocalypse, soundly defeating their enemies [and HIS enemies: Psalm 83:1-3] as He delivers them from their enemies’ murderous quest to drive the Jews into the sea and take their lands.
Clearly, their enemies’ plan is not His Plan; that certain destiny is stated clearly in many portions of His Word; one instance is Ezekiel 36:24 - For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 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. 27 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. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
We currently behold this process in mid-term fulfillment! The inflow of His People to His Land is unstoppable. Their greater volume of return lies ahead of this time when, under Messiah’s benevolent reign, all Israel shall come home to dwell before the Lord and to observe His ways; and all the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2: 14; Numbers 14: 21.
<HEL MD/USA, PP #18, code 5M> 2050 words.
Syrian and Iraqi Insurgents Consolidate – into “Assyria?”
An eTPL Position Paper #17
The Bible has a lot to say about Assyria – a country which does not exist today. Its ancient territory is now occupied largely by Iraq and Syria – peoples of two entirely different Islamic identities. We have been acutely aware for decades that in some manner Iraq and Syria would come under the same umbrella of influence – that of Radical Islam – and develop into the final identity of the latter-day Assyrian. We have been willing to wait faithfully and patiently while this confederation has seemed to be almost impossible in human terms; however, we are not considering mere human eventualities!
When the Western Coalition led by the U. S. military forces invaded Iraq in 2002, its stated goal was to overthrow Saddam Hussein and convert Iraq into a Democratic system of government for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Nearly any astute observer of Islamic behavior and ideology could have predicted the failure of this aim; indeed, we did so at the time.
Islam has no perception of democracy. It is a tribal-oriented, male-dominated autocracy, bent toward Sha’aria (Islamic) Law, and slave to “Allah” and the “prophet” Mohammed of old. It exhibits no character of democracy in its treatment of women, for example, advocating that wives be summarily beaten by their husbands at will. It supports and practices slavery on a wide scale in many countries. Its judgments for perceived crimes are meted out hastily and harshly toward accused criminals resulting in amputated hands and feet, gouged-out eyes, body parts excised, and victims being stoned to death or beheaded. Not much democracy in that!
In Syria, by contrast, the government was under the control of the family dynasty of the Assads, who are Alawite in identity – a loose form of Islam derived from the Shiites. Its repressive minority government has been riding for a fall for decades, but has stayed on top by its cruel dictate over its citizens. Any resistance was met with harsh measures, such as the slaughter of thousands of Syrians in the northern city of Hama by the present ruler’s father, the razing of their homes to the ground, and the construction over them of a giant parking lot. Many of these rebels were slain by poison gas, including women and children, as toxic gas is no respecter of persons.
The configurations of both Iraq and Syria have changed drastically during the last several years – a trend which we believe militates toward the consolidation of these two states. Perhaps they will not be legally constituted one country, but their citizens will have the same overlords colored with the stripes of militant Islam – haters and oppressors of both their own people and of the Israeli “cancer” to their south.
It’s Happening Now
Even as we write, there is a movement of a common thread which is resident in these two countries, which appears poised to bring about this union of these two peoples under their oppressive power. Just last Tuesday, the Syrian extremist militia Jabhat al-Nusra admitted to being a branch force of al-Qaeda’s coalition in Iraq – and has been all along! This was acknowledged by the Islamic State (not the Democratic State) of Iraq early in April. No less a personage than the Emir of the Iraqi coalition group, Abu Bakr al-Hussayni al-Qurayshi al-Baghdadi, issued an audio message avowing this heretofore hidden fact: “It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and world that Jabhat al-Nusrah is but an extension of the Islamic State of Iraq and part of it.”
The story was broken by Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times of April 9th in his article, “Al-Nusra Was Front all Along.”
The implication of this newly-admitted fact is huge.
It reveals a great leap forward to the expected Iraqi-Syrian coalition which is prophesied to go against Israel specifically in the End Time. The account is in Micah 5, beginning in verse 2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Mic 5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
Mic 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Mic 5:5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
Mic 5:6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
This highly specific prophecy is integral to the anti-Israeli war which shall bring the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven! The text makes this self-evident even to a casual reader!
Just who or what is al-Nusra? It is swiftly emerging as the leading insurgency group among the rebel fighters of Syria against the Assad regime. Like all the other rebels, its goal is the overthrow of the Assad government and its replacement by Islamic rulers exactly like itself. As such it will become a far more dangerous opposer of Israel that Syria has ever been, and inheritor of the leadership of what is left of the Syrian nation! As a now-revealed companion of the Islamic State of Iraq, its principles are shown to be identical to that of Iraq, which although established by the elective process has never been truly “democratic.” In this sense it is quite similar to Egypt’s present oppressor, the Moslem Brotherhood.
A spokesman at the New America Foundation, Peter Bergen, said “This is major news.” Aaron Zelin, editor of Jihadology (an Internet blog) said: “It means al-Qaeda is confident enough about its position in Syria to go public …. Their perception is correct because their position is strong” in the ranks of Syria’s fractious and ill-disciplined rebels, he added.
What is the specific importance of this development?
It reveals the underlying identity of the Syrian rebels as actually being the forces of al-Qaeda. And the admission relates its close affiliation with the rulers of Iraq of today, who are also admitting that they identify with al-Qaeda!
It exhibits a one-on-one relationship of common identity and purpose! The newly-merged organization will be named The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (the Levant). There seems no effective barrier to this coalition going forward, according to observers.
On a militant website, photos show militants in a border region on the Iraqi side of the Syria-Iraq border called al-Jazeera. Last month, Islamic militants inside Iraq massacred 48 wounded Syrian government troops who had sought refuge from the war within Iraq. The militants’ ambush is now viewed by regional officials as growing evidence of a strong cross-border alliance between two powerful Sunni jihadi groups, namely al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Nusra Front in Syria, now admittedly an al-Qaeda “front.”
Two Iraqi intelligence officers told reporters that the jihadi groups are “sharing three military training compounds, logistics, intelligence, and weapons as they grow in strength around the Syria-Iraq border, particularly in (the) sprawling region called al-Jazeera, which they are trying to turn into a border sanctuary (which) they both can exploit.”
Press reports revealed that, “In the audio statement, al-Baghdadi said the original members of Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, were dispatched from Iraq by his group, the Islamic State of Iraq, a coalition of al Qaeda and other extremist groups and militias that came together during their bloody insurgency against the U.S. occupation.
“We laid for them plans, and drew up for them the policy of work, and gave them what financial support we could every month, and supplied them with men who had known the battlefields of jihad, from the emigrants and the natives,” al-Baghdadi said.
Whereas Jabhat al-Nusra has up to now been mostly concerned with combating the Syrian forces, it has also involved itself in distributing food and water to the oppressed Syrian people. Observers have said that the group’s new admission of being actually al-Qaeda, probably means they will begin to conduct themselves more like al-Qaeda.
While resident within Iraq, the U. S. and Iraqi forces had mostly put down al-Qaeda’s presence in Iraq. But when American troops withdrew in late 2011, observers noted that Iraqi intelligence officials were soon warning that al-Qaeda was regrouping, taking advantage of regional instability and government security failures to regain its strength. By September, 2012, al-Qaeda’s fighters were crossing into Syria to battle the Assad regime. Since that time, those forces have strengthened the al-Jazeera area “into what they hope will be a haven to battle their foes …. For these guys,” said the regional security analyst, “the border between Iraq and Syria is not even a real thing.”
If this trend continues and grows, it can easily become the sinister entity known as “Assyria” of the End Time, bringing an equivalent identity to both Iraq and Syria – and giving rise to the group that boldly attempts to invade Israel, and to “tread within our (Israel’s) palaces.” We may be utterly assured of Assyria’s destruction by the forces of Messiah – the “seven shepherds and eight principal (princes of) men” of Micah’s prophecy. <HEL MD/USA, PP #17; April, 2013> 1628 words.
Have The Rebels of Israel Already Been Purged?
An eTPL Position Paper: #16
H. E. Lafferty
The Prophet Ezekiel reveals a time when Israel’s rebels shall be purged: Ezekiel 20:38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
We have been cogitating upon this subject recently – wondering exactly when this purging of “rebels” takes place in the End Time progress of the nation of Israel being restored to its Land – a process which has been advancing since about 1882 when the First Aliyah began to resettle the Jews back into the Abrahamic inheritance which they have been promised, and reaching partial maturity in 1948, when the modern restoration of Israel as a nation became a reality.
It is our understanding that the early expositors of Truth expected this purging to take place after the Jews were brought back to their Land, and to be accomplished after the Second Advent of their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
A close study of the language of Ezekiel 20 seems to indicate that any rebels shall be removed from the People prior to their entry into their Land. A similar reference to this removal of the resistors of His will, seems to be indicated in the language of Zephaniah 3:1 - In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The timing of this action seems ambiguous as to whether it shall be prior to their re-gathering or subsequent to it.
So we turn our attention back to Ezekiel 20. The 38th verse seems clear that the rebels “shall not enter into the land of Israel.”
In addition, verse 36 suggests that their removal shall be as “in Egypt” originally – that is at the time prior to their entry into Canaan under Joshua – phrased as “in the wilderness of the people,” that long, tedious journey toward the Promised Land where the record of Exodus reveals many thousands of the disobedient as being slain of the Lord before they arrived at the Jordan River to enter the Land.
Could this possibly reflect the End Time purging of the rebels while they were being prepared to enter their Land in the End Time – either during the purge of World War II, or afterward, while they were assembled in the various detention camps of the nations where they awaited their passage to the land? While no active purging was pursued in those camps of which we are aware, it is well known that thousands of those Jews elected not to go to Palestine (as it was then called), but opted to remain in Europe where they had been persecuted.
Thousands of them remain there today, in France, Germany, Ukraine, Belgium, Italy, etc.
This note of explanation comes just after verse 34, which foretells that I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out.
In retrospect of that End Time Exodus from the nations (fully parallel with the earlier one from Egypt), we realize the stark reality of the proclamation of His fury. Not only was the Third Reich destroyed with great fury, but His people were destroyed with the same intensity – as two thirds of the affected population was destroyed by being hunted, persecuted, enslaved, murdered, and incinerated at the caprice of the Gestapo and the SS in the notably unique Shoah.
Verse 38 has stated that they shall not enter into the land of Israel – surely a clear reference to the Jews who were either destroyed in the Holocaust or who elected to remain away from Israel and remain in the countries of their persecutors. The certain implication is that only those who are “approved” may enter the newly established country of Israel.
Does this mean that we may consider all those Jews who have “returned unto Him,” the ultimate end of which is described in Jeremiah 24: 7, and have “returned to the children of Israel” as Micah 5:3 specifies they shall do, as having already been purged of those who are rebellious?
If we postulate this reality from this passage of scripture, then it is logical to assume that perhaps ALL the citizens of Israel who behold the Second Advent of Christ shall accept Him wholeheartedly, expressing their repentance and gratitude in the words of Luke 13: 35 – Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord!
This view admits of those who have returned in the first stage of their re-gathering to be completely free of “rebels” who still need to be purged from their fellow Israelis. This blessed acceptance by His people is thoroughly discussed by Zechariah 12 and 13, outlining the process of His apocalypse to His people, and their wholehearted acceptance of His identity as he reveals to them his wounds (Zechariah 13: 6) - a process fully portended by the unbelief of Thomas the Apostle, that Jesus had been raised from the dead, prior to being invited to view and touch His death-wounds (John 20: 17). Subsequent to this revelation to Thomas, he accepted his Lord unconditionally and thankfully!
This view of the present population of Israel would suppose that their transgressions (for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God) are not so deeply embedded that they will be blinded to His identity, and that their repentance of their centuries of rejection of Him can be accepted in full from all of them. We cannot, of course, be certain that this is to be expected, but we can hope that in His mercy, this is the case for His people.
Verse 40 seems to affirm this principle: Ezekiel 20:40 For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
Even this blessing shows without question that making Aliyah for the every-day Jewish family brings a great initial blessing upon them, and fulfills their Father’s requirement that they execute the first stage of their “return to Him,” for it THERE that He will accept them – and it is THERE where He will require their offerings. And ALL of them in the Land shall serve Him! <Harold E. Lafferty, MD/USA April, 2013>
God’s New Covenant with Israel
An eTPL Position Paper #15
The new covenant which God will make with Israel is mentioned multiple times in His Word. The definitive occurrence and detailed description of it is Jeremiah 31: 31-34:
Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenantthat I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD:' for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
God’s unlimited mercy to His repentant People is here vividly portrayed. He shall forgive all their sins, and remember them no more! There is surely a profound, mystical component to this great benefit. In it, God is depicted as jealous for His holy name, and for the sake of His name overlooks all their iniquities! By placing His law in their inward parts (their hearts) they are prompted from within to obey His will. It is a function which they have never been able to accomplish on their own. Failure was always inevitable and sure. Perfection was far beyond their attainment, just as it is beyond our own power as well.
This intent of our Father is stated in similar terms by Paul in Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
We can see clearly here that it is the Deliverer Who turns away their ungodliness, making a firm and steadfast, new, open-ended covenant with them for the age. But it does not occur “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” And, as we shall discover, it occurs ONLY after their recognition and acceptance of His personage as Messiah! Both these requirements are prerequisite to their blessing!
At the present time God is calling out of the Gentiles a people for His name, as Simeon declared in Acts 15: 14 … how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.
I believe the meaning of that phrase until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in refers to the full number of the Gentiles who shall be brought into the name of Christ. Of course we have no way of sensing how close that time may be.
See also Jeremiah 32: 40: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Departure from the Almighty has always been the intense failing of men – of all men – whose inability to follow Him and to do His will is universally realized. But in that day they (Israel) shall not depart from me.
That statement implies and indeed requires that they first accept Him and come TO Him with all their hearts. They are prophesied to do just this when Messiah appears among them and saves them from their enemies, as vividly portrayed in Zechariah 12 and 13.
Luke sets clearly forth that requirement of His people - a requirement which shall be met with heartfelt thanksgiving and gratitude at the appointed time in the near future. Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
This act of recognition and confession constitutes their overwhelming acceptance of Messiah and His kingdom and rulership over them. From that point they are truly His people as He consequently instills within their hearts His Spirit and acceptance.
It is manifested that God’s covenant is expressed intensely and personally in them as attested by these words of Paul from 2 Corinthians: it is not a covenant of scroll and ink, but of body and spirit; it is a document of faith and trust instilled into the redeemed of God! – granted freely by His love to His creation.
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared (clearly discerned) to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
These letters are open to all men – observable to everyone and always – and as such are indelibly on display to all close observers.
It is readily apparent that only the covenants of God are effective to bring resurrection and life – not only from the death state (the pit wherein is no water) but also from spiritual morbidity, as in the covenant of their future … Zechariah 9:11: As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
In this promise is couched the not-so-subtle feature of redemption by blood sacrifice. In this case, it is the blood of His Son which He indicates. The blood of the Lamb of God, the partaking of which is an absolute requirement for elevation to His nature! It is here defined as THE blood of THE covenant. We behold it on the Table we set at each Ecclesial convocation. The dark, red fruit of the vine which represents that poured-out, willingly-sacrificed blood - and the unleavened bread which truly and precisely represents the body prepared which faithfully shed that blood.
The Father’s pledge is never to break His covenant; this is clearly stated in His word as quoted in Moses' words: Leviticus 26:44-46: 44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. 46 These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
In the end of days, Israel shall have no friends to stand with her in the critical outworking of her present tribulations; but what nation needs a greater friend than the God of Israel? Jeremiah prophecies firstly of a time when the people should return from Babylon, but the passage contains a sure reference to the return of the End Time, from all nations: it evokes thankfulness from His people – and a sincere, consistent, deeply-felt yearning for their heritage.
The prophet draws a deeply touching picture of the beginnings of their RETURN to Him: Jeremiah 50:4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
The contrition and poignancy of this scene is heartbreaking. It reflects a time when Israel shall humbly seek their re-found Father and His infinite mercy in their Land! They do so initially, as we have experienced, by seeking desperately to return to and to enter into the glorious Land. But it is not, in that time - the late 19th century - a glorious land at all, but a land forlorn and desolate, a waste, howling wilderness of poverty, stones and dust. But we learn from the prophets that this purposeful, determined, dogged return to the depleted, desolate Zion is THEIR CERTAIN DESTINY.
Jeremiah 33:20, 21: The surety of the covenant to David (a repetition of the covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) – Jeremiah 33:20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Joel 2:21-32 gives further details of His covenant blessings of the kingdom age: it is perhaps the most extensive, comprehensive treatise on the Almighty’s intent for His creation.
Joel 2:21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. 22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Isaiah 49:19-20; is another feature of His covenant with them: the abundant renewal, and the repopulation of His people, and a marked increase in their race and importance in the earth. His overarching plan for His beloved People is reminiscent of the healing with which he blessed Job in days of old, at the end redoubling his possessions, children, and estate after he had faithfully served God. Isaiah 49:19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. 20 The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. These beautiful prospects fill our hearts with gratitude for His beloved People as their prospects grow brightly abundant.
Isaiah describes yet another facet of the covenant: Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. These mountains and hills are metaphors for obstruction and resistance to His People such as we now behold.
Isa 55:3 - Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Isaiah again, details the process of these blessed developments among them: Isa 59:20 - And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Those abundant blessings to His covenanted People become infinite.
Ezekiel 11: 17-20 give some other features of that covenant: Ezekiel 11:17 - Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. 18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. 19 AndI will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Heb 10:16, 17 contains yet another promise of His covenant with His beloved People: Heb 10:16 This isthe covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
All these benefits are covenantal promises destined to be given by God to His people; they are immutable; they are incontrovertible; they are unassailable by enemies; they are unabridgeable by the shepherds of Israel; they cannot be voided by disobedience or deviance by His people. They must be fulfilled because of the sanctity and faithfulness of His holy name, and He shall pursue it to that end!
How beautiful are these tiding of true peace!
How overflowing they are with grace!
How fortunate are His People, so blessed! <HEL MD/USA, PP #15, November, 2012>
The Magnificent Fulfillment of Ezekiel Four!
An eTPL Position Paper #14, Revised and Amplified
H. E. Lafferty
In the fourth chapter of Ezekiel there is a remarkable revelation for Jerusalem’s – and God’s People’s – future. The portion we shall first consider is verses 4 – 6. The word “also” indicates that important information came before the actions commanded by this verse, but we shall consider that preamble later.
This prophecy is both profound and beautiful in mathematical accuracy! We have personally been intrigued by it for decades, with only lately some better understanding deduced from several sources of information. This paper discusses this prophecy in some detail.
The Almighty commanded Ezekiel to lie on his left side for a long period of time (390 days), then on his right side for a much shorter period of time (40 days).
There were reasons given for this somewhat odd arrangement – odd, and certainly unusual enough that they should have caused Israel to examine itself and consider its ways; it did not.
One needs to concentrate upon …
These actions … and upon
The times required for their performance … and upon
God’s given reasons for their performance. His words are …
Ezekiel 4:4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
Eze 4:5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days,three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
Eze 4:6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.
Please note carefully that each day of Ezekiel’s reclining would be equivalent to one “year” of Israel’s suffering for its iniquities.
Now we summarize what the prophet was told:
1. The Action: First he was to lie on his LEFT side. God said that this designated the iniquity of the house of Israel (the Ten Tribes)
2. The Time Required: According to the number of the days (390 DAYS),
3. The Reason for the Action: Thou shalt bear (and illustrate to the witnessing people) the INIQUITY of the House of Israel.
These are the three parameters of his lying on his left side.
Now to the summary of his second task:
1. The Action: Now he was to lie on his RIGHT side. God again said that this designated the iniquity of the house of Israel (Judah – the Two Tribes).
2. The Time Required: According to the number of the days (40 DAYS)
3. The Reason for the Action: Thou shalt bear (and illustrate to the witnessing people) THE INIQUITY of the House of Judah.
These are the three parameters of his lying on his right side. Combined, these “days” amount to the entire punishment of Israel at God’s hand from about the time of the prophecy.
What does all this mean? Students have sought to understand the exact meaning of this prophecy for many years. We can determine internally (from the provisions of the acted parable) it has to do with the YEARS of Israel’s punishment for iniquity – each day indicating a “year” – a well-defined and accepted interpretive principle of certain Bible prophecies as proven many times. In the final assessment, the punishment begins with that of the Two Tribes, although the Ten have already gone into Assyrian captivity.
In the final analysis it could not be understood until a certain TIME in Israel’s history. That time proves to be the year of the ESTABLISHMENT of Israel as a re-established State among the nations! It perhaps could have been proposed; but not proven, as it now seems to be.
As previously observed the prophecy is both sophisticated and mathematically perfect, as we should by now expect from the utterances of the Almighty. Our task is to discover exactly HOW sophisticated and accurate it is!
We may summarize the prophecy so far, as
390 days: Punishment against the Ten Tribes of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
+ 40 days: Punishment against the Two Tribes of Judah (Southern Kingdom)
= 430 days (years): Punishment against the whole House of Israel
Now the punishment for Israel’s iniquities begins to play out in an incredibly powerful, precise course of events.
In 606 BC, Babylon came against Judah’s Commonwealth and placed it under servitude to Babylon. Judah was no longer master of its own destiny. The slavery to the kingdoms of men has begun for them; in practice, these would be the Kings of the North and of the South, until very near the final years.
Their captivity in Babylon lasted exactly 70 years.
These years thus diminish the entire term of punishment remaining, thusly:
430 = total years of judgment determined against the nation of Israel
- 70 = the years fulfilled during the captivity in Babylon
= 360 years now remaining in judgment against the nation of Israel.
The date lapse is the seventy years from 606 BC to 536 BC – the end of Judah’s captivity and restoration (temporarily) to its land under the hegemony of Persia, BUT NOT AS A COMMONWEALTH – not with its own independence.
Now one encounters a stone wall! In the remaining history of the Jews there is no discernible fulfillment of the remaining days (years) of the prophecy as previously experienced by them. From 536 BC a lapse of a further 360 literal years brings one to the date of 176 BC – an era in which no end of Israel’s iniquity can be said to have occurred. Indeed, this date is within the “dark” period of God’s word about which we know (scripturally) nothing. So this method of determination cannot be utilized.
So how may we understand the MYSTERY of these 360 “days” (years, or “times”) of the prophecy?The conclusion that we must reach is the mystery is so deep and so highly improbable that nobody could likely have solved this mystery until it was fulfilled! However, in viewing the prophecy from its possible (most likely) date of fulfillment, we can determine the sheer accuracy of it without any doubt whatever.
The Solution Determined
Here is the solution in our opinion: the answer (the key to it) lies in another reference in which the punishments of Israel are clearly stated. That reference is in Leviticus 26.
Lev 26:18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
There is more:
Lev 26:21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
There is more:
Lev 26:24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
There is more:
Lev 26:27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
And there is yet more – further defining their punishment:
Lev 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen (nations), and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Note please that the final sentence is that they be scattered among THE NATIONS; this is not the earlier case of their being removed specifically to Babylon – to one nation. It is that later scattering – in 70 AD – literally to every nation.
This series of sentences has been called by some the Seven Times Factor, or the “Seven-X Factor.” Its definition and recognition is the key to the understanding of this prophecy.
As we consistently observe in our studies of Bible prophecy our Father is an utterly truthful, straightforward, observant Revelator in these matters: He says exactly what He means to say – and He means exactly what He says! We do not have to syllogize, ponder, or theorize as to His intentions! We are not required to force upon it “types” and “shadows” as many do. And we are NOT PERMITTED to do so, either. We need to keep it as simple as He does in order to understand His faithful words.
The Prophecy is Fulfilled!
We “experimentally” apply the Seven-X Factor to the remaining 360 days (years) of the prophecy to determine just where it leads. That long period will be observed as almost incessant judgment against the people of Israel in this remarkable mathematical prophecy . . .
Remember, there were 360 years remaining for Israel’s judgments
x 7 which is the 7X factor of Leviticus 26
= 2,520 years of judgment which remained against the nation of Israel – the Jews.
It is a familiar time span to us as students of prophecy, but in a slightly different application than that familiar to us, the beauty of which lends even greater weight and credibility to its fulfillment! Our greatest familiarity with 2,520 prophetic years spans the period between the initial Babylonian overthrow to the liberation of the Land from the Ottomans in 1917. This present period is entirely parallel with that earlier period butbegins with the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity and ends with the establishment of the State in 1947-48. As a different period, it does not invalidate the earlier proven fulfillment.
The Jewish calendar is the most sophisticated calendar on the planet, suiting perfectly its religious and civil obligations. It is both lunar and solar in character. It utilizes a 360 day Lunar year (the Prophetic year), but because this arrangement does not match the Solar year, it mandates the addition of five months in each 19 year cycle in order to adjust for the seasons. These are “leap months” and are always designated Adar II (Adar Beit) as Adar is the last month of the Jewish calendar, and as such is simply repeated in those years.
Well … not simply, but certainly repeated.
So we may understand this prophecy – and see its exquisite fulfillment – by first converting these times into Hebrew DAYS. We may do that in this way:
We start with 2,520 years, and multiply by Jewish days per year
x 360 days (of the basic Jewish calendar), which yields
907,200 which is the number of Jewish calendar days of remaining Judgment against Israel after the Babylonian Captivity of 70 years. This assumption ignores any "leap months" of the Hebrew calendar but considers only the simple, basic lunar year.
Now … in the calendar which we must use to understand this time period (our Gregorian calendar of 365.25 days per year, including the adjustment (0.25) for Leap Years), we reach this figure in this way:
The 907,200 days divided by 365.25 days = 2,483.78 years of judgment which remained in Gregorian terms. We may round this number to 2384 years for the best approximation.
These will now result in Gregorian years adjusted for Leap Years and are easy to calculate as to their termination, as follows; with this calculation done, we may ask how does it (or even DOES it) apply to the prophecy? We shall see!
The entire integrated calculation looks like this:
606 BC – Judah (Israel) taken into Babylonian Captivity
- 70 years’ Captivity
= 536 BC – These are years remaining before Christ at termination of first 70 years of judgment
+ 2,484 years of added (remaining) judgment according to the Gregorian calendar:
Minus 536 years remaining before the date of 1 BC