Sequence of Events at the Second Advent - A Brief Discussion
A reader has noted the current reports of thousands of missiles in both Gaza and in Lebanon which are aimed at Israel's heartland at this moment. He voices the concern that "Every day it becomes more and more glaringly evident that if all the evil ones with those rockets connived together to attack Israel at 'say' 7 am one morning, Israel would face a catastrophe, as its Iron Dome and other anti-missiles are not yet capable of withstanding a massive combined attack."
Then the reader adds the thought ... "The Father said He would protect Israel "as birds flying," and this is coming to pass [a reference to Iron Dome, David's Sling, and other anti-missile systems newly developed there] But, at the moment Israel's adversaries are held in check by fear of the unknown ... (doubtless by) ISRAEL'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS. But one misstep by one of the enemies could start a conflagration before Israel's full missile defenses are up and running - which they will not be for a year or so."
These considerations are real cliff-hangers in our minds! Especially the high cost and widespread dispersion necessary for such defense: each of these anti-ballistic missiles cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
The reader/scholar goes on to comment: "Thus it's easy to see that if a catastrophic situation DID arise, then the coming of the Lord Jesus would HAVE to be a matter of urgency. BUT, the Father ... knows everything before it happens, so He has His purpose and actions prepared."
Then he addresses his most serious concern: "It's my opinion that few (of Believers) realize the urgency of 'things' in Israel and just how close the second coming could be!"
In other words, are we as a community essentially asleep at the wheel??
Our comment is enthusiastically to share that concern. It is disturbing that so many spend so much time on social media following inane and shallow pursuits, discussing nothing more weighty than the weather or personal problems.
And so my friend offers his final comment: "... when Zechariah writes in chapter 14: 2, 3 that the LORD will come down and fight for Israel and then says that HIS FEET shall stand on the Mount of Olives ... are the two actions (destined) to happen at one time, or is verse 2 to be fulfilled AFTER the Lord Jesus arrives at the Mount as a later time?"
Our approach to this dilemma is first to cite the two verses in question. The context is some indefinite time after Jerusalem is subjected to war and divided into two separate cities - in our minds clearly a reference to 1948-49 when the Arab Legion of Jordan successfully overran and held the Old City at the truce of August, 1949. Jerusalem remained divided for the next 19 years - until liberated by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) on June 7, 1967, in a lightning operation.
We are obviously living in that time frame at present.
Then the prophet writes: Zechariah 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle (i.e., with visibly active assistance for His people). 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east ..."
That was the extent of the discussion in our earlier correspondence, and the kernel of our concerns and questions. Our considered concept of this event is that Christ and the Saints appear out of 'nowhere' [actually we believe they shall have come directly from the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as depicted only in Revelation 19:9].
The context of this Apocalyptical passage goes forward to include the immediate result of this eternal union of the Master with his Brethren of all ages. The account goes on for several paragraphs; we include six of those verses here: Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. 13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
This obviously divine Being is quite patently the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who has seen fit to invest a multitude of Saints with eternal robes of pure white indicative of eternal life and perfect purity, their now having been raised to that blessed, secure state of immortality ... charged with service and fealty to Him forevermore!
It is THESE same Beings who ride forth in His dedicated train upon white horses, still clothed in white linen. The following verses detail several aspects of Their combined mission - to forth into the wicked, depraved world and convert it to righteousness forthwith.
We faithfully view Their coming conflicts as those depicted in Isaiah 63, for example, where those brilliant, white garments are stained with the blood of His enemies in the most decisive victories ever achieved in human history - all that great multitude ranging essentially throughout the Abrahamic Land Grant, clearing it entirely of ALL enemies and saving those who humbly submit to His authority and confess His name.
Sometime during that terrible carnage a significant event happens in the very City where He has placed His everlasting name, and the immediate place of His throne: Mount Zion.
This event is depicted in the latter portion of Zechariah 14: 4 - ... and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
As with all epochal events a perfectly sequential telling is not possible. Several intertwined events happen simultaneously, often impinging upon each other and altering circumstances and outcomes for each in the process.
It is so here.
Our earnest conception of this entire process is that Christ and the Saints appear out of nowhere [proceeding directly from the great Marriage of the Lamb and His Bride] to begin to consummate the King's will in the earth - to take care of the decisive 'affairs' of the moment.
The first indication that the prophets give of His presence in the earth is the account in Isaiah 63. He MUST be present for that to occur.
At sometime after the din of battle subsides - or perhaps at a quieter interval within a longer series of conflicts - most likely, we feel, after the conquest of the "Edomites" of the account of Obadiah (namely, the "Palestinians" of the Gaza Strip, the Negev, the Sinai, Moab and Ammon [Jordan], the "West Bank," South Lebanon, and within and throughout Israel's Inheritance) - Christ and His Saints appear upon the Mount of Olives, thus initiating the terrible earthquake depicted in Zechariah 14: 4, causing widespread devastation of property and perhaps of life of His enemies as well. But not the lives of Israelis, which He is careful to preserve, allowing them to flee away from the epicenter.
At that point we can visualize at least two possible decisive events:
1. Having demonstrated His immense power and His thunderous advance among their enemies, He perhaps shall invite the IDF to join in the fray with the collective Him, to finish the prosecution of their own liberation, clearing the land of the evil beasts which now inhabit it with abandon and braggadocio - with immense pride and arrogance against God Himself (cf. Psalm 83: 1, 2) as well as His people. The objective of doing this would be to include Israel in much of the Campaign of Liberation of their Land Grant ... perhaps His immediate confrontation with ASSYRIA (Syria and Iraq) then combined or at least in cahoots with one another against Israel.
This inclusion would give the world an entirely new conception of the power and strength of what appears to them to be just "Israel," for in no case shall the nations He is then combating actually RECOGNIZE this new Dynamic Leader as Christ (indeed, some will cry "AntiChrist!!" in His wake of destruction).
This will engender immense RESPECT for Israel among the states of the world, and will be a redeeming force for Israelis as well, their being included in the conflict as several prophecies such as Obadiah verse 21 reveal. His relevant words there are: Obadiah 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. 19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. 21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
This wonderfully detailed account is one in which many of you readers shall participate personally!
2. A second possibility is that this is the precise time at which Christ reveals His identity to His people as foretold in Zechariah 12 and 13 (Where did You receive these wounds in Your hands??) ... and their intensive mourning for Him as for one's only son.
From that point, having recognized Him and accepted His identity, and seen the multitudes of immortal Saints with Him, they wholeheartedly throw themselves into the fray with determination and enthusiasm.
Together this insurmountable force drives out all the other interlopers within His Land of Promise, and He gives it to them ready for all their soon-to-return brethren of the Twelve Tribes from all the earth!
One simultaneous difficulty that we have no way to fathom is the disruption caused by that gigantic earthquake. It would seem at this point a good time to allocate the land grants to each Tribe of Israel as He intends (cf., Ezekiel 48). Yet the remaining rabid foes are waiting in the wings, ready to resist to the death.
How can these two entirely different streams of concern and necessity be prosecuted simultaneously?
We have no clue.
How can the healing of their trauma and the necessary disruption of their lives and property be pursued at the same time as the rapid defeat of the remainder of their Islamic opponents, which supposedly would lie ahead of them?
So what shall be the precise sequence of events here? It is difficult to envision because of our limited understanding and insight into Christ's unmitigated power! In order for Israel to actually BELIEVE that He really is Messiah, they will require some preliminary demonstration of His immediate mastery of His (and their) enemies on the battlefields of The Land, and on their behalf.
When they behold that spectacular demonstration in Bozrah among the Edomites (Palestinians) there they will get their first inkling of their Salvation and certain Liberation from their ever-threatening, foul enemies.
His strokes shall be like lightning, and shall put into deep shade all the previous exploits of the IDF in all its victorious wars and battles of the past! This will instill within the entire populous a fierce determination to serve Him with all their strength and will. Here, finally, is Someone Who is really ON THEIR SIDE!
It also seems imperative that Israel's Defense Force should also enter into the conflict as in the past wars.
Having said all his, we are inclined to the strong feeling that Israel's belief and acceptance of Him may come after all the enemies are defeated and the Land is secured from the Nile to the Euphrates - perhaps a matter of only a few days (?). After they behold His strength exercised ON THEIR BEHALF, why would Israel NOT follow Him into the remaining days or hours of the conflict ... for it is for their own liberation and freedom?
In any event, it shall be an eerie transition for Israel and its people - to join with an apparent ally whose objectives are CLEARLY the same as their own - even though He is previously entirely unknown to them. The revealed testimony of Obadiah, however, reveals just that willingness of Israel - to throw itself into the heat and danger of hot warfare in league with this Stranger!
It is important to keep in mind that Israel's acceptance of Him and their national repentance (ala Zechariah 12, 13) will only come AFTER they SEE Him come in the dictum of Luke 12:35 - Ye shall not see (or, perceive) me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord
And their acceptance BY HIM shall be only AFTER they wholeheartedly confess that view - that He has come specifically and unmistakably in the name of the Lord!
<HEL MD/USA July, 2012>
Does Christ Come as a “Thief” or as a Bolt of “Lightning”?
Joseph Arabia, Matawan, New Jersey
Revelation 3:1-4: “Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write ... Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain ... If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee [the believers] as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me.”
Matthew 24:23-27: “If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there [claiming that Christ has come secretively – as a thief], believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ [false ideas about Christ’s Second Advent] ... if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert [in the “wilderness”]; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers [Jehovah’s Witnesses – the invisible “Kingdom of heaven”], believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
A “thief,” because he has evil conclusions, operates in strict quietness, and under cover of darkness to achieve his objective. A bolt of lighting, regardless of what one is doing, or thinking, will produce in any one who has the “breath of life,” an instantaneous, alarmed (shaking) by the thunderous sound, closely followed by an all-attracting, heavy illumination.
If one were to ponder all day, one would not be able to come up with two more divergent analogies concerning the one event of Christ’s second coming. This event could not be presented in Scriptures in a more contrasting and divergent setting than a thief versus a lightning bolt. Why such a stark contrast for the same event?
Obviously, since it is the one Christ that is returning, two totally different audiences are being addressed. Furthermore, the contrast is so startling that it is impossible, when using human logic, to arrive at the conclusion that the same person or group of people is being addressed. Therefore, the thief-like circumstance, or the attracting lighting bolt, must represent the state of mind of two totally different audiences that will experience Christ’s Second Advent.
It is the responsibility of all Bible students to “rightly divide [correctly interpret] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2: 15). How do we go about arriving at a “right” interpretation of a particular phrase orprophecy? Christadelphia, based upon its correct understanding of doctrinal truth, has developed four principles to achieve this objective.
Four principles for “rightly dividing” Biblical Truth
1). Consider the context in which the phrase or prophecy occurs.
2). Take into consideration the entire “council of God” (Acts 20:27).
3). Additional confirming verses that substantiate the true interpretation.
4). The concluding interpretation should have no contradictions in Scriptures.
The verse under consideration is:
Rev. 16:15: “Behold, I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments [white], lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
Point 1a) Consider the context in which the phrase or prophecy occurs.
According to principle one, the context of Revelation 16: 15 is “three unclean spirits like frogs … [that] goeth forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to battle…in a place…Armageddon.” (Rev. 16: 13-16).
The surrounding context could provide for verse 15, the evidence to conclude that Christ’s thief-like appearance is to the “world” as expressed by our beloved pioneer writer (see Sanctuary-Keeper 4th quarter 2007, p. 32).
However, while verse 15 is sandwiched between the military battles involving the “world,” can the context of verse 15 be applicable to “the world?” If it cannot, we must exclude the thief-like advent to the “world” because of non-applicability, even though the surrounding context may permit it.
Point 1b). Consider the context in which the phrase or prophecy occurs.
In Rev. 16:15, the exhortation is to “watch!” Who watches? Certainly the last thing that the “world” will be doing is “watching” for Christ’s Second Advent! Biblically speaking, it is the saints who are admonished to watch.
Luke 12:32-40: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom ... and ye your selves like unto men that wait [“watch”] for their lord, when he will return ... Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching ... and this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through [robbed of his “hope” of “everlasting life”]”
Point 2). Take into consideration the entire “council of God” (Acts 20:27).
While the greater context (Revelation 16:12-16, is addressing events concerning the “world,” the specifics – the context of Rev. 16:15 – is not applicable to the “world” in general. Other Scriptures reveal that the “thief-like” Advent relates to and is applicable to baptized believers.
Point 3). Additional confirming verses that substantiate the true interpretation.
In addition to watching, the “watcher” is admonished to “keep his garments [white].” To keep one’s garment, is for one to keep himself “unspotted [undefiled] from the world” (James 1:27). To develop a character that is “holy” (Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Deuteronomy 18:13; Ephesians 1:4) and “perfect” (1Chronicles 28:9; 1Kings 15:14; Matthew 5:48; 1Thesalonians 4:7; Psalm 101:6; Psalm 18:32). The world cares nothing about developing a Christ-like character! Therefore how can verse 15 be applicable to the “world?”
Point 4a). The concluding interpretation should have no contradictions in Scriptures.
Lest “they see his shame.” The “shame” (Genesis 3:7, compared with 2:25) of nakedness is a type of the innate disfellowship between God and man as a consequence of the fall of Adam. God provided “coats [covering – atonement] of skin” for Adam and Eve’s personal shame of nakedness [a consequence of the fall] through the shed blood of the slain animal, a type of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. To be covered with Christ’s “white garment” is to have our shame covered, thereby reconstituting fellowship with God. After baptism, to have our “shame” again revealed is to have Christ’s covering garment spotted (defiled with holes) which is a type of being in a state of un-preparedness, because of a saint’s unrepentant attitude.
The “world” does not possess Christ’s white garment of righteousness (Deuteronomy 22:11; Revelation 1:13; Revelation 3:4; Romans 3:21-22; 1 Corinthians 5:21) with which believers are invested at baptism. Neither does the “world” know of, or experience the “shame of nakedness.” Both are strictly limited to believers. Therefore Christ’s thief-like advent should be limited to believers, particularly those saints who have failed to watch by failing to maintain their garments in a whitened (unspotted) condition (Revelation 19:8). During the judgment, Christ will take away (rob) unfaithful saints of their “hope of everlasting life.” This is the equivalent of Christ’s Second Advent: His appearing like a thief to rob unprepared, un-watching saints.
Point 4b). The concluding interpretation should have no contradictions in Scriptures.
Now according Scriptures and our customary prophetic interpretation, Gog is in Ezekiel 38 & 39 defeated and destroyed. Can any of these conditions (Gods’ wrath, causing men to shake, and His overflowing rain of hail, fire and brimstone), be in any way, compatible with a thief-like appearance of One who is silent and operating under the cover of darkness? Isn’t it obvious brethren that Christ’s thief-like advent, when applied to the “world,” as given in Ezekiel 38 & 39 is incompatible – produces a contradiction with Scriptures? On the other hand, Gog’s destruction caused by heavenly judgments is completely compatible with the mode of a lightning bolt.
We read that Gog’s destruction, which occurs “at the same time (“on that day” - RSV), (“on ...” - M), (“in ...” - LXX), as when God shall come against the land of Israel’ (Ezekiel 38:18) ... my fury shall cup up in my face” (Ezekiel 38:18). “And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains [the destruction of Gog occurs in the “mountains of Israel” – in the “north” and not the “south” – Edom!], saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:21)
Ezekiel continues and says: “In my wrath have I spoken, surely in that day (“on ...”- RSV), (“on ...” - M), (“in ...” - LXX), there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel” (Ezek. 38:19), … [all] shake at my presence [as one shakes with a thunderous bolt of lightning]…. And I will plead against him [Gog] with pestilence … I will rain upon him … an overflowing rain, [of] great hail stones, fire, and brimstone” (Ezekiel 38:22).
Why did our pioneer writers identified Christ’s Second Advent as being thief-like?
John Thomas suggests to us that Christ would return to earth in 1868. His Second Advent would take on a “thief-like” appearance (Eureka, Volume 2 [3Volume set 1921], p. 97; Volume 2A [5Volume set 1950] p. 82) to the “world.” This “thief-like” period would last approximately 40 years – from “1864-8 or thereabouts” to Christ taking control over Jerusalem and with that, the establishment of the Millennial reign in “1905” (Eureka, Volume 2 [3Volume set, 1921] p. 96; Volume 2A [5Volume set, 1950] p. 81). 1865 + 40 = 1905.
Therefore, John Thomas was almost compelled to address Christ’s Second Advent to the “world” as being “thief-like.” This “thief-like” period would last approximately 40 years he said – from “1864-8 or thereabouts” to Christ’s taking control over Jerusalem and with that the establishment of the Millennial reign in “1905” (Eureka, Volume 2 [3Volume set, 1921] p. 96; Volume 2A [5Volume set, 1950] p. 81). 1865 + 40 = 1905.
In order to support this “forty year” period, he drew upon Israel’s historical 40 years travel in the “wilderness,” as well as his (at that time) assumed basis that Christ was on the earth for 40 days before his immortalization.
One of the deduced but unstated reasons why the duration of the belligerency between Christ who reigns as king over natural Israel in the “wilderness of the people” (Ezekiel 20:35), and Gog who he believed should reign in Jerusalem, lasts for “forty years” is that Christ’s second Advent to this world is “thief-like” – hidden, generally undetected or unknown.
Also, since the date of Christ’s Second Advent had, by around 1850, been predicted to occur in or/around 1868, there was no place to put Bro. Thomas’ “forty year” period (which was his “greatest prophetic puzzle”), except after Christ’s Second Advent.
John Thomas stated:
[In the following quotes, whatever is between these parentheses [ ], Italic and bold type has been added by present author.]
“In the days of the voice of this woe when its calamites shall be complete, the mystery of the Deity will be finished ... The Eloah of the heavens will then have set up the kingdom (Daniel 2:44) ... But before this glorious blessed consummation, Yahweh Ail-Shaddai, the ancient of Days, comes in (Zechariah 14:5) upon the world as a thief in the night (Revelation 16:15). This is indispensable...”
John Thomas Eureka Volume 2 [3Volume set, 1921] p. 105, Volume 2A [5Volume set, 1950] pp. 88-9
“The Lord descended to Sinai for the purpose of setting up his kingdom under the Mosaic constitution ... by first, delivering his nation from Egyptian bondage; secondly, delivering to them a law in the wilderness; and thirdly, by driving out the seven nations of Canaan with fire and sword …. This was a great work that was not accomplished in a moment; it was the work of a generation … a period of nearly fifty years … secondly, the delivering to them of a law that shall go forth form Zion to them sojourning in “the wilderness of the people” (Ezekiel 20:35); and thirdly, the subjugation of the ten toe-kingdoms of “iron mixed with miry clay” … that they may be able to march into Canaan …. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him (the flock of mine heritage) marvelous things. The nations shall see and be confounded at all their (Israel’s) might” …. Now, “the marvelous thing” … was a period of forty years. The work therefore which Messiah, the angel of the Abrahamic covenant (Malachi 3:1) … will consume at least forty years from and after his advent “in power and great glory”…. The reestablishment of the overturned (Ezekiel 21:27) kingdom by Messiah, “whose right it is,” is a work then of the forty years succeeding the advent.”
John Thomas, Herald of the Kingdom May 1854, pp. 115-6
“This belligerent state of things between the King of Israel [Christ] and the nations of Gogue’s dominion, styled “the goat,” will continue for forty years. The subjugation [re-gaining control over Jerusalem from Gog] will be gradual …. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto Him [Israel] marvelous things”. This is forty years; for so long were they in passing from Egypt to Canaan, which was the type of their coming out from among the nations to the Holy Land under the generalship of Elijah … that while they are in the wilderness of the people [Ezekiel 20:35] they will be disciplined by the Law of Moses as their national code, which things concerning Jesus will be propounded to them as matter of faith.”
John Thomas Elpis Israel, 1958, pp. 449-50
“There was an interval between the restoration of the body to life and the glorification of Jesus seven days before Pentecost (sic). During this typical interval of forty days, he associated with the disciples, ate, drank, and conversed with them as usual. The body raised not having been “received up in glory” …. Now Jesus was the great example of all things pertaining to his Brethren, the Saints. When their bodies come out of their graves they come forth as Adam or Jesus …. It was so with Jesus; and will be so with the Saints. Between their resurrection and glorification is the resurrection state, styled “in the resurrection,” a period of forty years preceding the Millennium, in which some of the most important events of the Apocalypse are to be transacted. The end of this judicial period, during which the kingdom is being established, or “set up,” is the “Evening Time” – the time preceding the Millennial Day.”
John Thomas Eureka Volume 1 [3Volume set, 1921], pp. 186-7, Volume 1 [5Volume set, 1950] p. 158
“These symbols [Lampstand and Olive trees] … are representative of … the resurrected Sons of God, who are spirits …. When a true believer dies, he falls asleep in Christ. He corrupts [decays] …. The Spirit operates upon the dust of the former man … [and he] is caused to live. In commencing life again at this epoch, this renewed man is said to be “waked as a man that is wakened out of his sleep.” At this awaking, he is as Adam was before he fell; because, having been pardoned, or justified from all sins by an obedient faith, perfect in kind and degree, in his former lifetime; and after that, “waked worthy of God” to the end thereof; in the resurrection he is awakened as a man without sin. Being thus renewed, he is still in the image of the earthy Adam, but before he fell.” John Thomas: Eureka Volume 1 [3Volume set, 1921] pp. 62-3.
Question from Correspondent: “THE FORTY-YEAR MARGIN OF THE LATTER DAY“ Will the ingathering of the Jews occupy forty years, and will this forty years be finished before the commencement of the thousand years sabbatic rest? (M.I.) ANSWER – Christ and the saints are to reign a thousand years … the ingathering of Israel precedes the millennium. But as to the duration of that period occupied [“forty-years”] in this ingathering, there is no revelation …. We are now five years into the latter-day forty year margin that lies between the ending of the down-treading of the Gentiles and the establishment of the kingdom.”
Robert Roberts: The Christadelphian, June 1874, p. 284.
“THE FORTY-YEAR MARGIN OF THE LATTER DAYS. Brother Arthur Andrew remarks as follows on the answer given last month on this subject: - “I quite agree with the idea you express in your Answer to correspondents in the June number on ‘the forty-year margin of the latter days.’ I have for some time been of opinion that Micah 7:5 does not refer to time…”
Robert Roberts The Christadelphian, July, 1874, p. 336.
“AN ASSAULT [BY J.M.] ON CHRISTADELPHIANS AND PROPHECY. “This Chronikon* (chronology) of mine” says Dr. Thomas, the founder and great teacher of the Christadelphians …. Then according to the Christadelphian standard, the millennium is dated for 1906 with a previous 40 years’ time of trouble such as there never was before since there was a nation … REMARKS [BY bro. Roberts] …. As to the forty years lying between A.D. 1866-70 and 1906-10, there was nothing to guide to an exact idea of how they would be occupied beyond the fact that during that interval, all human power would be overthrown, and the Kingdom of God established. As the interval was perceived to be forty years … begin at the very beginning of the interval, and occupy the whole forty years, though against this, there was the often-expressed feeling that such a length of time seemed long for the work.”
Robert Roberts: The Christadelphian, Sept.. 1878, pp/ 415-6.
Question: “WHEN WILL THE SAINTS BE GLORIFIED? “Will the saints or body of Christ be glorified at the judgment seat …?” (M.I.) – ANSWER. This very question was in substance proposed to Dr. Thomas in 1864, with a reference to seeming discrepancy on the subject in Eureka, Volume 1. We cannot do better that quote the Doctor’s reply: “You understand me aright …. I have reason to believe that the incorruptible and immortal saints do not appear to the eyes of ordinary men different from men in the flesh until after their work is done – until after Micah’s 40 years …”
Robert Roberts: The Christadelphian, June, 1874, p. 286.
However, that view changes with time: “ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS … A.J.W. writes: “On page 187 of Eureka, Volume 1, Dr. Thomas speaks of Jesus being in the mortal state for 40 days after his resurrection, and says that the saints will in like manner be 40 years during the conquest of the world to Christ before they attain to the incorruptible state. Are we to understand … that the saints will not be immortal during the conquest of the nations?”
ANSWER. – The first volume of Eureka was published in 1861. Dr. Thomas’ understanding of the doctrine of resurrection and judgment was subsequently enlarged (see Anastasis, a treatise on Resurrection and judgment published in 1868). When Mary first saw Jesus after resurrection he said to her, “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my father” (John 20: 17). Yet the same day at evening in Jerusalem he said to the disciples, “Handle me and see that it is I myself” (Luke 24:39). Consequently … the “change,” from mortality to immortality … is to be at the time of the resurrection, and not forty years afterwards.”
C.C. Walker: The Christadelphian, September, 1904, p. 413.
Few today, if any, are as biblically qualified as John Thomas was. However we today do have the privilege of hindsight and the enormous advantage of 141 years of recorded history. It is a relative easy task for us today to associate past fulfilled prophetic historical events with prophetic Scriptures that provide greater harmony and consistency to our exposition of Scriptures. Therefore, we are almost in an automatic position to provide very good and reasonable answers to most of John Thomas’ prophetic “puzzles” as they seemed to appear in the 1800’s.
The “Puzzle” of Micah 7:15-16: Firstly with respect to Micah, the establishment of Israeli statehood in 1948 can adequately provide for a “forty-year” period, prior to Christ’s Second Advent. This would then permit a reasonably shorter time period (perhaps only months, or sooner) for the “subjugation” of the nations and the “setting up” of Christ as “king of king” reigning in Jerusalem – the millennium.
Secondly, Israel today probably has the second most powerful air force (certainly if not the second, then the third) in the world! For a tiny nation, approximately the size of New Jersey to have developed an atomic bomb and to have achieved such “military might” is an outstanding military accomplishment. This would adequately explain “the nations shall see and be confounded at all their might.” However, this work is not all “natural Israel’s” doing. “Fear not [Israel]: for I [Deity] am with thee” (Isaiah 43:1-10; 35:4; 41:4-15; 44:1-8; 51:1-7; 54:1-17; Jeremiah 30:10-11; 46:27-8). This could presently account for the fulfillment of “the nations shall see and be confounded at all their [Israel’s] might” (Micah 7:16).
Military Conclusion: In years gone by and because of limitations of warfare technology, a conclusively swift and deciding blow to an enemy was not generally possible. Consequently in the past, wars were always protracted affairs. There was the 100-year “War of the Roses” – a war between England and France (which) lasted for decades. World War II, after six years of fighting was decisively brought to a swift end by modern American military technology in the Pacific. In 1967 Israel won the “Six Day War/” In 1990 American military might based upon modern military technology took only “100 hours” to destroy the largest assembled army (Iraqi’s one million men army, dug in a defensive posture) in the Middle East!
For mankind, modern military technology has made long protracted warfare an absolute impossibility. All of the future Armageddon battles will be just as swift and decisive as the “100-hour” war against Iraq. In point of fact, and because it is Deity and Christ who is meting out the punishment, we suggest that the results may be even quicker than man’s 100-hour war.
Christadelphia’s love of Scriptures and respect for the writings of John Thomas should never abate. His principle understanding that prophecy should be correctly interpreted in an historical and chronological manner is extremely sound. We liken John Thomas’ historical and continuous approach to prophetic interpretation to a basic V-8 engine – sound and reliable. However, we with all good engines, minor maintenance – up dating, from time to time only enhances performance.
Final Conclusion: We would suggest that that Christ’s “thief-like” Second Advent relates to baptized believers who are living their lives in “darkness;” consequently, when Christ returns he will take away their present “hope” of “everlasting life,” because they have allowed Christ’s white garments, which he gave to us at our baptism, to become soiled because we failed to live in the light as “he is the light/”
Christ's Second Advent to the “world” will be like an unmistakable bolt of lightning which no man can, nor will be able to ignore. It is the day of Christ’s vengeance against those who have malicious intent against the Jewish State of Israel and therefore “come to fight against Jerusalem.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2-8: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night ... but ye brethren [the faithful brethren], are not in darkness [do not commit the deeds of “darkness”], that that day [the day of Christ’s Second Advent] should overtake you as a thief. We are all the children of light ... we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as others, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 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.”
Joe Arabia (2012-5-13)
Editor’s Note: For the novice student of prophecy the above will probably not be easy to understand. The author is pointing out the early teachings on the matter of Christ’s Second Advent and showing that the expositor John Thomas changed his view of certain vital aspects of it. He also points to later editors’ viewpoints on some of these affairs, changes which are reflected by numerous footnotes in later editions of Eureka and Elpis Israel. In addition, numerous aspects of the Second Advent are not covered in this dissertation, being outside its purview. <HEL MD/USA, June, 2012>
When They Say Peace and Safety
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: 1-3.
In this Q & A Article, 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 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 tells 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 no feeling of alarm or threat from any quarter – from either man or God.
“Safety” conveys the idea of security from external threats from either God or other people – contentment, idleness, unguarded watchfulness. 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.”
More comments along this line are at the end of the next section.
We now contribute the following small portion [of a 75-page exchange] with the above-indicated commentator some years back on this subject. His comments are in bold italics; our replies are in lower case font. Here ‘tis …
When They Cry 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. 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.
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 Yarmuk 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.
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.
The sudden destruction spoken of in 1 Thessalonians after they shall SAY peace and safety is also worthy of note is 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 security.” (Commentator’s words)
Yes … and so has every OTHER Israeli Prime Minister and every leader of every other country in this age when over twenty conflicts 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 sometime 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.”
We believe that 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).
There is then a real possibility that the time of peace and safety is 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! (Commentator’s words)
We must 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 “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 (they already have done so!) that they now CANNOT be defeated, and that the call is in their court for a change – that THEY control the peace and safety.
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 summarily smashed and acquired by Christ and Israel!
The present geopolitical lay of the land almost 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. 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. It will not 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 Israel clearly is prophetically scheduled to destroy first. This great, overwhelming, decisive victory over the nearby Islamic States will innervate the Russians and their Islamic friends to begin preparing concrete plans to invade and conquer Israel – especially so after …
• Christ has 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 in Zion,
• 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 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 north 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,”
• Is bringing the Ten Tribes and the remainder of Judah 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 Exodus and the Valley Berechah (of Jehoshaphat - II Chronicles 20),
• Has officially claimed all their territories and annexed them to Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Med 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,
• 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, to dismantling of the Wall and other structures such as military strongholds, airfields, encampments and barriers).
This naïve Jewish upstart is a fool in their eyes – far too confident!
They observe this newly disarmed land of unwalled 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 ot now GREAT spoil, 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 confidence and bravado; instead, their exit from the Land is via DEATH and BURIAL at Hamon-Gog in the Valley of the Yarmuk River – then said to be “in Israel” but at this moment the international border between Syria and Jordan, east of the Sea of Galilee (Young).
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 Yemens and Oman (?) – 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 Samaria (the Edomites of Obadiah).
The monetary wealth of some of these nations is almost nil (such as Lebanon and Jordan) but their land masses are great; but just think of the vast oil and natural gas 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!
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 soon to be 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 makes sense in totality, but is still only a general outline of what seems to be quite clear from the writings of the prophets, and is not contradicted by any other portion of scripture which we can locate.
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 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.
<HEL MD/USA May 25, 2012>
Harold Edward Lafferty
1301 Woodland Way
Hagerstown MD 21742
AN OPEN LETTER TO A MINISTER
January 28, 2011
Emmanuel Baptist Temple
A few days ago two young men rang our doorbell and asked to do a survey of our household. When I discovered the nature of the "survey" I politely declined telling them that we were Bible students and were not interested in being "churched." In response they handed me a neat small booklet entitled, "Can We Be Sure of Heaven?"
Now, let me say, I wasn’t surprised by your entire thesis as elaborated in that tract. But may I also say respectfully that I am nevertheless appalled by the gross ignorance and overwhelming superstition of the overall piece! I am so disheartened that folk could misapply the Scriptures of God so thoroughly – in diametric opposition to His wonderful plan of salvation.
Can one be sure that heaven exists? Well … of course! It is God’s domain; it is where Christ sits at His right hand to make intercession for his brethren.
But is it the destination of the righteous in an afterlife?
No sir – not in ten million years. As a “doctor” of some sort (the term means “teacher” as you know) you MUST be aware of the Promises made to Abraham beginning in Genesis 12 (and repeated and enlarged several times thereafter): that God concretely promised Abraham both numerous descendants and the Land of Israel (then known as Canaan) for an EVERLASTING POSSESSION. We can be sure that the promise was for a future time because during his mortal lifetime Abraham never possessed any part of the Land except that part which he purchased from the native owners, for example the Cave of Macphelah, his own burial place in Hebron. His remains lie there today in dissolution - awaiting his resurrection - and not in the heavens!
Those promises have never been cancelled or abrogated. You should know that Abraham, after he is resurrected, along with his “seed” (which is Christ and those who are His – Galatians 3: 16) will physically inherit the Land as promised on that occasion, and on later occasions to Isaac, Jacob and David and their Seed as well. God never promised the father of the faithful (Abraham) a place in heaven under any circumstances. As a teacher you should be aware of this fact. And you should be vigorously and knowledgeably teaching it to all your attendees at church and Bible classes. You should be setting an example of solid Biblical scholarship for them rather than grossly deceiving them. You should also give up your salary as “minister” and work in an acceptable occupation just as the rest of us do or have done for our daily bread.
That principle of the meek (trained, and disciplined adherents to the salvation of Christ) inheriting the earth pervades the scriptures from cover to cover; it is at the core of The Lord's Prayer (Thy kingdom COME, Thy will be DONE, ON EARTH ...); it was foremost in the mind of the Apostle Paul as he was transported in chains toward Rome in Acts 28. He proclaimed that it is “For the HOPE OF ISRAEL I am bound with this chain.” Do you now know WHAT this “hope of Israel” is? Was it a promise of ethereal glory beyond the clouds? Is that the destiny Paul expected when he was resurrected?
Deeply down, you already know the answer, surely, but would rather teach and profit from this fanciful lie which your tract has put forth! The prophet Jeremiah (16: 19) has predicted that every Gentile person such as yourself shall in future “…come unto Thee (God's Son) from the ends of the earth, and shall say, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.’” This is the fate of the overwhelming majority of ALL people – including all “orthodox Christians.”
They will humbly admit that their “gods” (the Trinity, as well as idols such as Allah and others such as Baal, Chemosh, Jupiter and scores of others) were a vapor in which there was no truth, power, vitality, knowledge, nor substance. It makes a real difference WHAT one believes, don’t you think? Paul debated with the pagan doctors of his day at Athens, proving this fact to them, although they heard him not. Jesus the Christ debated endlessly with the doctors of the Law in the same vein. One such as yourself, in a position of authority in a ‘church’ should be willing to teach THE TRUTH of God’s work, and withdraw visibly and emotionally from the gross errors of your cohorts and colleagues in the churches! Quit you like a man; stand for truth!
Now, I must admit to you that I am not a holder of a doctoral degree as you are. But neither were Peter and the apostles, Apollos or Barnabas or John, or the Eunuch of Ethopia nor Philip who taught him. Paul came nearer than any – and he thoroughly repudiated his earlier indoctrination! Indeed, the “doctors of the law” repudiated Jesus, and scorned his Galilean roots, asking whether any prophet could come out of Galilee (the answer to that is Yes! Jonah, for one, and probably Nahum, for another).
Neither were there ‘doctors of divinity’ in the “primitive” Ecclesia of Christ. But they were well schooled in the Torah, including the prophets of Israel; and the absolute teaching of Jesus was never taught or believed as being a reward beyond the heavens. Even Jesus told us that His father David "is not ascended to the heavens;" his sepulchre is with us even today on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, in direct contravention of your avowed teachings.
Their understanding, sir, was never such ethereal fantasy, but it was an expected inheritance along with Christ (the Seed of the Woman in Genesis, and the Seed of Abraham of Genesis and of Galatians) of good old Eretz Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. You doubtless recognize the scriptures to which I refer so I will not designate their sources.
When you and your good but utterly misguided people fail to be “raptured” to heaven when the One proclaiming Himself to be the returned Jesus Christ appears in Israel, and expresses all the characteristics of “the Antichrist” that is so favored among the “Christian” sects of this age, please don’t join that throng and either resist or reject Him. For your own sake, and that of your flock be still; be circumspect; hold His actions and promises in your heart and wait for the outworking of His purpose. He has lots of earthly work to be done before sending forth Saviors (the resurrected and then immortal Saints of God) into the earth to preach the real Gospel to everyone.
May God be with you in now seeking out the real Truth; and may your heart be converted to accept that bona fide Plan which He shall bring with Him. Salvation will be in it, and nowhere else, but is today available in every page of His holy word of truth.
Harold Lafferty, BA, MS and “Lay Minister” in your parlance.
What About Turkey as the Home of Gog?
Harold E. Lafferty
This is a notion put forward by a few students of Bible prophecy; and it might almost seem to be heresy, but … What about Turkey as the home of Gog? It really might not be a far-fetched notion at all, or so say a few students of prophecy! We deem this an appropriate discussion for this Q & A section of eTPL.
It’s a possibility to which I have given a bit of thought lately – admittedly since Turkey has been flexing its almost invisible “muscle” toward Israel and the West in general and this notion has again received some currency. This new aggressive activity by Turkey has compelled me to do more microscopic research in this entire subject. A correspondent wrote me that Schofield’s Reference Bible identifies Turkey as Gog in the footnotes.
But are there indecisive conclusions with the notion of Russia as Gog; what is the real gist of the scriptures?
We intend to discuss this possibility Biblically at some length in this paper; our minds are open, as all minds should be when we are considering the esoteric events of the future as expressed in God’s prophetic word. We cannot afford to be operating on narrow-band considerations in these important elements of Bible prophecy!
We may think – we may be nearly sure – we understand many things prophetic, but numerous past events have proven that belief sometimes to be dead wrong. These future events are never as clear-cut as they may seem. It is well that we not be dumb-headed or head-strong or blindly stubborn, and to insist on our own enunciated and seemingly “proven” views.
We were prompted carefully to review some critical geographical research by the (formerly) out-of-character, stubborn militancy exerted by Turkey in its sudden kefellufel with Israel – its recent friend and ally. Could we be wrong in our determination of Russia as home of Gog?
We had carefully noted the ancient maps on several past occasions that Togarmah and Gomer were located in eastern Asia Minor, and are therefore certain indicators of Turkey’s national participation in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Gogian assault on God’s people. On that basis, we have asserted years ago that Turkey would turn against Israel before the “showdown” comes.
That has now occurred, and seems irreversible.
But then we noted something we had not ever observed before: surprisingly, there on ancient maps of the nations’ distribution (Genesis 10) are the names of two more of the powers named by Ezekiel: Meshech and Tubal!
Meshech and Tubal! But haven’t we long assumed these names to refer to Moscow and Tobolski in Russia? Moscow and Tobolski have long satisfied our thinking that Rosh of Ezekiel’s narrative refers specifically to Rus, or Russia. Our aim has always been to untangle this prophecy with accuracy, with objectivity and in earnest. So more research has been called for.
Can our previous view have been inaccurate? What’s going on here?
Further research at present indicates that Meshech and Tubal being in modern day Turkey are the verifiable EARLIEST locations of Meshech and Tubal – MSH and TBL. This early residential verification of these two peoples affirms their earliest location. Could this fact override any transfer of these names to Moscow and Tobolski of contemporary fame? Or is their similarity with Meshech and Tubal a fortuitous “accident?” Moscow and Tobolski were verifiably not in existence when Ezekiel prophesied, coming to be established some 800 years or more, later. Further investigation may indeed give indication that the present Russian cities of Moscow and Tobolski are indeed echoes of the early locations of these two peoples, taking their names directly from these tribal habitations although their locations were widely different.
But … is their existence contemporaneous with Ezekiel required? In contradistinction, Meshech and Tubal in Asia Minor were in existence well before the time of Ezekiel and evidently well-known by him and others of his time. But by his time of prophesying, these had already moved from that original place of habitation just as had Magog, a factor which we will address further down. We must realize that in prophetic matters, the location of tribes and peoples at the time of the prophet’s utterance is the designation of that tribe or people which we believe important – not some earlier location, and not some location to which they are later supposed to have migrated and become established.
Ezekiel’s reference to these specific entities’ location at the time of his utterance is far more than likely; almost certainly not to their much earlier, original location!
When the Almighty designated Meshech and Tubal as future invaders of the Land of Israel along with Gomer and Togarmah (both certainly located in central and eastern Turkey of today as well as north of the Black Sea, as is part of Gomer) was He indicating that the modern nation of “Turkey” in its entirety would invade Israel? It can hardly be otherwise, because if Ankara of today decides on an action it involves the entire country.
When Ezekiel refers to “Rosh” our dilemma has always been to decide whether he was using the word as chief or head (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word) or was using it as a proper noun, referring to an entity named Rosh – often taken to mean “Russia.”
On this subject, a colleague has done extensive research on this problem as well. His studies show a peculiarity in the translation of “rosh” in the Septuagint version of the O.T. in which the text in Ezekiel must be considered. He has written,
“Regarding the identity of this "chief", Gogian leader of the horde of nations that come against God's people Israel, it is helpful to take notice [of] Ezekiel 38: 2 in the Septuagint (a Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures). Instead of the translation of "chief" which is translated from the Hebrew term "Rhos", the Septuagint translates "Rhos" as "rws" (Ros), the name the Greeks of Byzant[ium] at first gave to the Russians who came down the Dnieper river to trade in the Byzantine markets. The 29th issue of Encyclopedia Britannica also gives that information, although later versions of Britannica do not since when new material is added to any work, some of the earlier material must be removed in order to make room for later history. One can also go to the Internet and type in "The early Greek name given to the Russians" and one will find links giving reference to "rws" from rwsia (Rosia).
The same evidence is available in the Septuagint at Ezekiel 39: 2. A comparison of Ezekiel 38: 2 and the term "rws" with Genesis 46: 21 where a son of Benjamin is named "Rosh", the term is again correctly given as "rws" in the Septuagint, showing that form is correct for it is a proper noun, an appellative. Everywhere else where "Ros" or "Rosh" occurs in Scripture as a common noun, the Septuagint translates the term as "arcontes" (arkontes), not "rws." Therefore, beyond doubt, Russia is to be the leader of that horde of nations in Ezekiel 38: 2. It is more than noteworthy that Russia is today very cozy with the very nations named as her cohorts in the passage and they are already in her camp. Therefore, Ezek. 38: 2 should read: "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the Russian prince of Meshech and Tubal." [emphasis mine – Ed.]
It is important to remember that Ezekiel was not writing or speaking to modern readers primarily, not to English-speakers or to modern nations or powers; he was referring to nations and powers well-known to the people to which he was speaking in his own era, or which would become established in their following historical sequences.
We believe it better to stay with the Hebrew meaning of “rhos” as an appellative as recognized by the Jewish scholars who created this Greek translation of their scriptures – as the Septuagint (LXX) uses the term – “Rhos, prince of Meshech and Tubal.” In the LXX, Ezekiel 38:1 reads: And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, and the land of Magog, Rhos, prince of Mesoch and Thobel, and prophesy against him, 3 and say to him, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Rhos prince of Mesoch and Thobel …
As stated by Wayne Tanner, above, the literal term “Rhos” came later to refer directly to Russian traders from the north!
Another colleague has also commented extensively along this same approach, from his individual research on this subject, as follows:
“Gog is identified in [Ezekiel] 38:2 as the chief prince (KJV) of Meshech and Tubal. The word ‘chief’ is the Hebrew ‘rosh.’ Bill Yake writes, “If Ezekiel intended the phrase “chief prince,” he would have used the phrase “nisi ha-rosh,” the common phrase for “chief prince.” But in Ezekiel 38:3, the author used the phrase “nisi Rosh,” meaning “prince of Rosh.” (p. 259). It seems therefore as if Ezekiel was indicating a location associated with Gog. Bro. Yake reviews the compelling evidence to associate ‘Rosh’ with Russia in Chapter 4 of his manuscript. A more accurate rendering of Ezekiel 38:2 is, “Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” In Ezekiel 38, Gog seems to refer to a military ruler who comes from the area of Rosh (Russia), Magog, Meshech, and Tubal (all discussed subsequently).
“Magog was one of the 7 sons of Japheth. Bill Yake reviews the considerable evidence that he settled in Scythia.
“Meshech & Tubal were two nations inhabiting regions between the Caspian and Black Seas. Meshech is historically associated with the Moschi/Mushki/Muscovites in the land of Musku, near the Moschic mountains, at the eastern end of the Black Sea. Tubal is associated with the Tibareni/Tabali/Tabalu people in the land of Tabal. (Meshech & Tubal are not derived from ‘Moscow’ and ‘Tobolsk’ - Moscow doesn’t appear in historical literature until AD 1147 (Yake, p. 278) and Tobolsk was not founded until 1587 AD (Yake, p. 278).”
These comments seem to solve the problem of Meshech and Tubal referring directly to Moscow and Tobolski; they most likely do not, although such would not be intolerable to our understanding; they may actually be named in honor of those earlier peoples (?).
Gog is thus described (LXX) as Gog of the land of Magog, Rhos prince of Meshech and Tubal. That application would place “Gog” as an individual closely associated with Magog (as he shall be its leader) – and Magog as closely associated with Meshech and Tubal, an historical reference to the original locations of all four of which we are certain as being Eastern and Central Turkey of today. This must certainly be true as to Magog’s original location – in the immediate years after the Ark grounded, and before the family of Noah began to expand.
But what was the location of Magog at the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy – the only location which is a valid consideration?
That qualification begs an identification of Magog in Ezekiel’s era. We know that Herodotus, in the 5th century B.C., refers to the Magogites as dwelling in the areas north of the Black and Caspian Seas and toward the East. That was evident at the time he wrote. Josephus, some 680 years after the time of Ezekiel (c. 610-580 BC) tells us that the Magogites were called by the Greeks, Scythians.
Furthermore, Josephus’ source of information was probably Herodotus – which may explain their consistency. In any event, Herodotus’ designation, if accurate, is applicable to a later time in history after the peoples had migrated from their original habitats … and there is no reason for us to believe it was inaccurate as the family of Noah spread out from the location of the Ark’s grounding in the mountains of Eastern Turkey (Mt. Ararat).
A commentator has written this – “Furthermore, though the Scythians are of the Japhetic line, they are believed by historians to be descendants of Gomer through Ashkenas; this is not true of Magog. To identify Magog as the Scythians is without support from historical anthropology.” This, as the opinion of a much later observer – one not at all close to the constitution of nations at the time of the prophet – is at odds with information we have recently discovered. Much research has shown that all ancient authorities considered the Magogites as the Scythians, as well as many modern scholars making decisions from unearthed records of parallel civilizations.
So, our problem is, leaving all these comments aside, where had Magog, a son of Japheth, son of Noah (Genesis 10:2), settled as time elapsed – as civilization spread from the place where Noah’s ark had come to rest? A key consideration is that families tended in their colonization of other lands to stay relatively close together for protection and sustenance. They also tended to move as whole tribes to new areas of inhabitation – expanding their holdings into uncharted lands.
The location of the earliest settlement of Magog is actually not designated; it must be inferred, but that may be done with some degree of assurance. There is no reliable record of the earliest habitation of Magog; yet we may be fairly certain that its first neighborhood was near where the Ark came to rest.
However, we now realize that by Ezekiel’s time, Magog had already spread over the Russian Steppes and Trans-Caucasus, eastward into the Central Steppes and Siberia, an area far beyond the near frontiers of Ezekiel’s age.
Historical writer Tim Osterholm has written extensively on these wide-spread and related civilizations, compiling historical accounts and integrating them with archaeological findings. He says: There are numerous examples from geography, archeology and historical records. Scythian culture extended more than 2,000 miles east from the Ukraine to Mongolia. This was demonstrated by the discovery of tombs in the Chilikta Valley of East Kazakhstan, evidence that Scythian culture had spread to the Mongolian border as early as the 6th century BC. Historians suggest the Great Wall of China began construction around the 5th century BC to keep out hordes of invading Magog-Skythian warriors. Thousands of Scythian burials, ranging from the 6th to 2nd centuries BC, have been uncovered in areas to the north and east of the Black Sea. Gog and Magog in History, by Tim Osterholm.
There is evidence in Ezekiel 38:6 that Togarmah was indeed considered by Ezekiel to be located in the north quarters. It is therefore evident that Ezekiel was acquainted with this area, but not as some claim – as being the most northern inhabited areas of his day. The Magogites had already spread 2,000 miles further northward into non-existent Southern Russia of his day. Some have claimed that this country was a vast, vacant, un-inhabited wasteland in Ezekiel’s time, but the research shows otherwise.
In Ezekiel 38: 15 the prophet utilizes precisely the same terminology of Gog in this way: And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee … (emphasis mine).This is an expression indicating FURTHER north (the uttermost north) than verse 6 as indicated by some translators.
The prophet knew and considered (at least was informed by the Spirit) that Gog would dwell in the uttermost parts of the north of the future day, in Magog of that era. Since we really do not know the location at the same time of Meshech and Tubal we may consider that these peoples had migrated northward at the same time; this consideration places all three of the geographic entities in close proximity at the time, from the Caucasus eastward into the Steppe-lands of Central Asia. We do not yet definitely know whether the cities Moscow and Tobolski took their names from Meshech and Tubal, but in light of the above quotations, such is not required.
Now … think of this amazing, correlating fact: In Daniel 11: 40-45 the last “King of the North” (whom we believe to have been the Ottoman Empire) inhabits the peninsula of Anatolia in the near north, while Gog occupies a location much further north, as I believe we have conclusively proven in companion articles in eTPL! It is absolutely remarkable that both aggressors are defined in the same general terms with emphasis on their northern habitat! The main difference in the two is not only their entirely separate identity, but that one of them (Gog) dwells in the uttermost parts of the north.
This notable phraseology gives solid substance to the observation that modern day Turkey was NOT the furthest extent of civilization in Ezekiel’s time as some have claimed. Vast tribes of people were already living much further north – for example in what is modern day Southern Russia, and in those territories which would become the CIS republics of Kazakhstan, etc, which occupies the territory of Magog in our time.
The comprehensive observations in the historical survey of Tim Osterholm indicates the extremely warlike characteristics of all these peoples leading to the development of the Goths, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and Mongols of later history.
However, we must realize another significant fact: Russia’s foundational civilization is reputed to have been laid by the Viking Rurik in C.E. 862, founding the first Russian dynasty in Novgorod, some 1400 years after Ezekiel wrote! This area is even further north of the Scythian (Magogite) territory which had been settled earlier; we see clearly that it was settled in preparation for the future role of Russia in his prophecy. Thus the eventual plot against God’s people has been a long time simmering.
This fact lends further credence to Magog as being an entity known to Ezekiel and living in “the north parts” (uttermost north) of the known world of the time – and ties Meshech and Tubal, and Magog and its leader, Gog, in close association with each other; the areas yet further north were not colonized at that date.
What is the implication of this consideration? It is prophetically accurate referring to the polities most powerful and most threatening to Israel today, regardless of early historical facts. It should be realized that prophecies were given by the prophets primarily to their contemporaries and should have been meaningful to those people; that is, their fellow Israelites should have been able to comprehend what the prophets were telling them in terms of nations and peoples as they should have had some familiarity with these. Otherwise, the prophecies should have no meaning and could bring forth little profitable responses from the contemporaries.
There are doubtless other deliberations to be made upon this subject; there are other facts to be uncovered and verified with further investigation, in pursuit of the whole truth of the matter.
Meanwhile, does it make any sense at all to view Turkey as the homeland of the Gogian confederacy because of the above considerations? We must conclude it does not.
Another contrary fact is that Turkey is almost devoid of any known rich sources of wealth, which militates against its having the means or strength to form a giant coalition and fiercely come against Israel “to take a spoil and a prey,” as stated so emphatically by Ezekiel, threats of which Turkey is now surely making with bravado, but from a position of extreme weakness.
So we must be emphatic: in light of even further recent research, it does not make sense to view Turkey as the homeland of the Gogian Confederacy. Even in Ezekiel’s time, the Magogites inhabited a vast area much farther north than their doubtless original habitation in Eastern and Central Turkey. Lacking the resources and the international “clout” of Russia today, Turkey cannot hope to fulfill the role described of Gog of the Land of Magog in Ezekiel’s prophecy.
In complete character with that role, Russia is now and has been historically a major confidante, military supplier, economic prop, and general “guard” to the powers named as her future confederates in Ezekiel 38 and 39. As such she supplies sophisticated arms and armament, military guidance, financial assistance and warm, fuzzy companionship to the Muslims with which Russia will soon unite in militancy toward God’s People and Land. All this is true while Turkey is a near-total consumer of outside favor and is not a producer of such products nor able to carry forth that philosophy with effectiveness.
Another qualifying factor is that these determinations give the Gogian host an unmistakable and unifying Islamic identity, that is, all the designated lands and peoples listed as Gog’s allies are Islamic, and as such are immersed in the superiority complex and pride of “the prophet” Mohammed. It shall be a second-tiered attempt by Islam (succeeding the final attempt of the nearby Arabs) to eradicate Israel after that first tier of enemies shall have so colossally failed in the conflicts of Micah 5, Obadiah, Psalm 83, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 63, Ezekiel 34, Zechariah 10-14, etc., etc.
Conclusion: The Gogian miscalculation shall be fully as dysfunctional as that of that earlier conflagration in which there shall be none remaining of the house of Esau (Obadiah 18) as well as other enemies round about! Ancient authorities state clearly that ALL the Gogian host shall also be destroyed – even the final “sixth part” (A.V.) inhabiting their final resting places “In Israel” of that day (Ezekiel 39:11). Both these vile confederacies are certain to be destroyed in their final aggression against Israel; these thorns and briars (Isaiah 10: 17 and 32: 13) pricking Israel and her people shall be no more. <HEL MD/USA February 12, 2012>
 Wayne R. Tanner in private correspondence received February 12, 2012.
 Bill Yake, quoted in correspondence with Jonathan Farrar, 2011.
August 20, 2011
A long time friend and Bible student in West Texas, knowing of our intense personal interest in giving combative, firm resistance to the practice of homosexuality among God's people (it does exist) has written the following essay giving his scriptural view of this repulsive, morally and biologically filthy practice. Soon such objective criticism may become impossible as the "gay-lesbian coalition" is very strong throughout the world in general and is rapidly succeeding in having such commentary banned from publication or even discussion; they have no compunction about this being a scriptural discussion! They do not wish valid and intelligent commentary exposing their culpability nor having it published abroad. We strongly and FIRMLY disagree with this agenda and intend to continue to speak and teach against it in every form until Sheol waxes cold!
Although this subject is not put as a question, I have included it in this tab as being appropriate. Certain emphases in the text following are mine - Ed.
By Charles T. Kelley
One might wonder why in the world a brother would choose to write on this subject. It is a subject that is totally abhorrent to this writer but sad to say it is one that is rearing its ugly head in the … Body at this time. The practice of various forms of homosexuality are becoming common in the world around us and increasing at an alarming rate due to the acceptance by many of the authorities, many individuals, and even (sad to say) by some churches.
A great effort is being made by the churches, authorities, and many in the medical and scientific fields to try to make this reprehensible practice acceptable on the grounds that (it) is a natural way of life because it is part of human nature. Some governments, both state and national are passing laws protecting the "rights" of homosexuals to enter into same sex marriages and even to adopt children to raise up in such reprehensible situations.
As watchmen of the Body of Christ it is the duty of brothers and sisters to search the Scriptures to find out what they tell us of how God looks upon such practices. What should (we) believe and teach about this subject? True brothers of Christ and sons of God should above all be concerned with what God has revealed in his Word on this subject. It matters not what any man says nor what any other "authorities" say about it - only what the Almighty Creator of all things says about it. If we cannot agree with Him then our cause is lost and our hope for a place in His promised Kingdom is in vain!
Before going into the Scriptural part of our study let us examine the meaning of a few related terms as explained in Webster’s dictionaries.
“Homosexual” … defined as “relating to or exhibiting sexual desire toward another of the same sex.”
“Perversion” … the second definition of this word in Webster’s: “a perverted form of something, especially aberrant sexual behavior.” Aberrant means “deviation from a moral standard or normal state.”
“Gay” … the fifth definition for this word in Webster’s is “homosexual.”
Let us now do a study of this subject and see what God’s views are on it. In order to do this we need to begin at the very beginning when He created the first man and woman and put them on the earth.
Genesis 2: 18, 20-24 - And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Notice that woman was created to be an help meet (mate) for man.
For what purpose did God create man and woman? We are told in Genesis 1:27-28 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …
It is obvious from these passages that He created them for a special purpose and that was to produce children in order to populate the earth with mankind. This was only possible by mating a woman with a man using the special ways in which He created them. This was the “mark or goal” that God intended when He made them in this special way. This was not only in arrangement of their physical parts but in the mental and emotional elements that drew them together that Eve might be a help meet or mate to Adam, and he a perfect mate for her, becoming her “other half.” Any attempt to change this relationship in any way is a perversion of God’s ways and intention. Any other arrangement misses God’s goal or target and that is what the Hebrew and Greek words translated sin in our Bible mean – “to miss or to miss the mark.”
This is quite simple to comprehend and leaves no margin for change to accommodate mankind in any perverted way.
Let us look at some examples of how God dealt with such practices in the Scriptures to see how He feels about and deals with it.
The first recorded example is found in Genesis 19, where God dealt with the wickedness of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which He completely destroyed with fire and brimstone for their practice of homosexuality. When His angels came into the city to investigate just how wicked they were, the men of Sodom made an attempt to take them from Lot’s house where the angels were lodging in order to abuse them sexually. When the men would not cease their demands God struck them with blindness rendering them helpless and the next day destroyed them with the rest of the occupants of the city by the fire and brimstone He rained upon them.
Does this not shout out to us how displeased God was with this breach of His creation? What further proof do we need that this “misses the mark” that God established for His natural creation? Since that time this type of homosexual behavior is referred to as sodomy.
To show just how reprehensibly God looked upon this practice let us read Deuteronomy 23: 17-18 - There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Here we see that He forbade such practices or those who practiced them among the people of Israel. Notice in verse 18 (that) the sodomites were spoken of as “dogs” – one of the most unclean of the animals. Both male and female prostitutes were in some way incorporated into the idolatrous religious practices of the nations around Israel and sad to say were allowed to become a part of the apostate religion which Israel came to practice. It is recorded that two kings, Asa and Jehoshaphat, attempted to cleanse them from Israel during their reigns, but sad to say this was only a temporary improvement as they later returned to their reprehensible practices for which Israel later paid dearly when God scattered them and destroyed their kingdom.
The practice of homosexuality was punishable by death under the Mosaic Law. Let us read in Leviticus 18: 22-29 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
Please notice in these verses that homosexuals were classed in the same category as those who practiced bestiality; that also carried the death penalty as seen in verse 29.
This death penalty is repeated in Leviticus 20: 12 – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
Another like command is given in Deuteronomy 23: 17-18 - There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. The term “dog” here is in reference to the male prostitutes who were spoken of as dogs, one of the most unclean animals under the Law of Moses. When Israel began to stray in their worship of the gods of the nations they also embraced the practice of having both male and female prostitutes available in their places of "worship." Notice God says they are abominations in His sight!
Does the passage of time affect how God looked upon these practices? Let us look at what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 1: 21-32 - Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
We can see from these verses how God still looks upon what is spoken of as “vile affections” in verse 26. How much plainer can we get than that? Notice also in passing that all the practices of man which are to bring about God’s destruction upon man are listed in these verses. He destroyed Israel for these very things, so can we imagine Him treating modern mankind any differently? All these things are looked upon as part of natural life in much of our society. Are we of like mind? If so, our hope is gone!!
This is borne out by Paul in I Corinthians 6: 9-10 - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice that he tells us not that such may … inherit the kingdom of God but that they WILL NOT! How much plainer can it be put to us by God as to how He looks at all sinful practices which includes the perversion of which we are speaking?
Let us take notice of what Paul says to Timothy when giving him spiritual teaching: I Timothy 1: 9, 11 - Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
The laws of God are not given to control righteous men but to control those Paul names here, including homosexuals (defilers of themselves with mankind).
Having studied only a few of the Scriptures that deal with the subject we are examining, let us look at a couple more concerning God’s unchanging ways: Numbers 23: 19 – God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Malachi 3: 6 also fits into our closing thoughts: For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
With these two verses (and there are many more like these) I hope that we can understand that practices God regarded as a terrible sin in ancient times are no different in His sight today. Even as He destroyed this evil in Sodom and Gomorrah and pronounced it as worthy of death in Israel, His thinking hasn’t changed in this modern age. There will come a time when He will reward this evil as He did then; with certain and terrible death! Do we want to reap the punishment for such actions at the Judgment? Do we want to support those who practice such reprehensible acts, defend their "rights" to do such, by teaching that such acts are NOT evil in God’s sight? If so, we do not have any hope for a place in God’s kingdom. [Signed] <Charles T. Kelley, P. O. Box 974, Del Rio TX 78841>
August 15, 2001
A reader wrote:
While I might have come around to your way of thinking with regard to the phrase, "without bars and gates" in Ezekiel 38, I'm not sure I can accept what you've stated with regard to Zechariah 14, relative to "half the city taken" and the "woman ravished", etc. as having occurred before today. Don't believe this really fits in with the earlier attacks by the Arab nations. I have a hard time believing that any of that has taken place before today.
The Hebrew in Zechariah for "all nations" is just that ... complete, every one, in totality ... in other words, every nation that has been singled out in Ezekiel 38, including some of the Arab nations (some of the Muslim people), and those mentioned in Daniel 11 ... still puzzled over the reference to "Edom, Moab, and the sons (NASB) of Ammon." Doesn't sound like they have been thrashed or damaged by our Lord, or anyone else, in any way, which as I say is a bit of a puzzle. I would think that would mean a bit more than 'they were not under attack because of their complicity'.
Haven't had a chance to go back and find your reasoning, but just thought I'd mention my early reticence.
My reply: More on Zechariah 14
Edited further on October 20 as to atrocities in Jerusalem - HEL
We always appreciate conciliatory approaches such as this one for intelligent discussion of the scriptures! I would refer you to “Jacob’s Time of Trouble and Zechariah 14” in this same section of eTPL (further down) where the capture of Jerusalem is discussed in some detail. I realize that my understanding of Zechariah 14: 2 is not the “received” text – but previous attempts to understand it have borne no ripe fruits. It might remain to be fulfilled AGAIN, but that would be confusion to our minds when it has been so clearly fulfilled already. A repeat fulfillment would necessitate the Israelis being yet scattered again of which there is no scriptural evidence at all - indeed, their safety once in the land is assured.
All accounts of the protracted siege of Jerusalem in 1948 - 1949 give graphic basis to exactly how the prophecy was fulfilled to the Nth degree (in my opinion). When Zechariah predicted that the half the city would go into captivity and that the houses would be rifled and the women ravished, he was entirely correct. When the Jordanian forces (the Arab Legion) was able to take all the Old City it exercised every terrible tool of war.
Yitzak Rabin, in his memoirs, recalls that just before the truce in June, 1949, the Jewish sector of the Old City was finally overrun by the Legion, and viewing the scene from beyond the Hinnom Valley (through binoculars?) he witnessed the men, women, and chil..dren of the Jewish Quarter being marched out of the city, hands on their heads, “going forth into captivity” in Jordan – practically an exact quotation from Zechariah. A short time later the women, children and old men were sent to West Jerusalem; the military age men were held captive by the Jordanians in prisons east of the Jordan River.
That particular account is, I believe, in Sir Martin Gilbert’s excellent work, Israel, A History. Similar accounts are recorded in Collins and LaPierre’s Oh!Jerusalem, where the Fall of Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter is described extensively in the latter chapters of that book. Howard Sachar and others recount similar occurrenceds. Although the accounts of sexual abuse in Jeusalem itself are not as I remembered, a common practice of Arab "insurgents" is to rape the conquered women as a means of "humiliation." Even today, in Libya, Syria, Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) and others, Arab fighters are encouraged to rape the women they conquer, and indeed have been issued ample supplies of Viagara to help ensure this official policy! It is appalling and pathetic to our senses of propriety and uprightness – testimony to the purely pagan character of Islam.
The soldiers of Israel were also routinely mutilated in all her conflicts. For example, Ariel Sharon, later prime minister of Israel, tells of Israeli dead in the Kuleh Hills northeast of Lod, where he personally was wounded in the action, that "Twenty eight bodies (of Israelis) had been found, many with their ears missing, some with their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths. For days we scouted the area looking for missing pieces, and scattered around the hills we found them: fingers, ears, penises caked into the dusty earth." The reference is Sharon, Ariel, Warrior [Simon and Schuster, NY, 2001] p. 65. In the same volume, on page 136, he recounts: "Five days later, Palestinian terrorists from the neighborhood of Kalkilya murdered and mutilated two orange grove workers at Tel Mond, a few miles from Kfar Malal. In this case the killers had cut off their victims' ears. Many previous victims had been been mutilated in one or another of the standard ways - a traditional symbol in the MIddle East not just of hatred but of utter contempt."
As to half the city “going into captivity” that is well established by the entire history of the struggle. After the June truce (1949) the Old City was under Jordanian control until June, 1967.A personal acquaintance visiting Jerusalem in 1950 told me of crossing over from Israel and entering the Old City via the Mandelbaum Gate, near the Rockefeller Museum, by actually crossing no-man's land in the designated pathway accompanied by another friend, and of being acutely aware of the rifles of the Jordanian soldiers on the wall above them.
One author (Mike Evans) I have read pointed out that the only significant victory won by the Arabs in that entire intensive conflict in Jerusalem was the capture and retention of the Old City. To my mind, that is vivid evidence of the fulfillment of Zechariah 14:2. The division was geographic, but thousands of Israelis were displaced too. Yet the Western half of the City remained inhabited by Jews.
Another consideration is the phrase “all nations” of Zechariah. In the general context of all the O.T., the authors are speaking of nations that are known at the time. Zechariah’s “nations” are those round about Israel. Zechariah 12:9 limits these to those who have fought against Jerusalem: And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. He doesn’t destroy all the nations of the world, for then His plan should be aborted.
To this date in history, only the specific nations of Psalm 83 have physically fought against Jerusalem/Israel – those referred to as Proximal Islam. That psalm portends their end by their being treated as Oreb and Zeeb – destroyed – as in verse 17, “let them be put to shame, and perish.” None of the Gogian host has yet physically attacked Israel, and certainly none of the Beast nations of Europe. The latter groups are slated for future involvement after the nearby states have been destroyed as per Obadiah, Isaiah 11 and 63, Zechariah 10-14, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 35, the Parables of Balaam, and numerous other references to these but not to the Gogian confederacy.
I must respectfully disagree with your assumption in which you write that “all nations” are every nation in the world (?): “in other words, every nation that has been singled out in Ezekiel 38, including some of the Arab nations (some of the Muslim people), and those mentioned in Daniel 11.” On the basis of remarks above, those of Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11 are accounts of two different OTHER conflicts which have no relevance to Zechariah 14. (Please see reasons for this assertion in “Why Ezekiel 38/39 and Daniel 11:40-45 are Different Prophecies” in the Jan to Jun 2011 section of this website.)
This easy reference points up the reason why we are striving progressively to insert landmark studies – groundbreaking studies – on this website in order to clear up earlier misunderstandings of several very important prophecies which have gone off the rails, the correct understanding of which will lend a common basis for perception which we have not had up to this late time in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In so doing, we are conscious of ensuring the strict agreement of these articles with all other aspects of prophecy as we understand them. If they disagree in any way these conjectures are not valid, for our Father is NOT “the author of confusion” (I Corinthians 14: 33). <HEL August 19, 2011>
August 6, 2011
A brother recently wrote asking for comments on I Thessalonians 5: 1, 2. I had been meaning for a while to try better to understand this passage but just hadn't yet gotten to it. This account by Paul has given us much discussion collectively for years. I humbly admit that I'm not adamant in my convictions voiced in the following article, but it's the best I can do for the moment. - HEL
When They Shall Say 'Peace and Safety'
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ecclesia at Thessalonica from Athens, after spending some extended time there on his second tour about the Mediterranean as he preached the truth in pagan communities which had never heard the Gospel. A statement hard to be understood occurs early in the 5th chapter of I Thessalonians, part of which is the title of this article. The setting is: 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.
Paul’s instruction to them, in light of their realization that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night, compares their expectations with the unawareness of most other people who do not know that truth. It relates to those outside God’s covenant – aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise (Ephesians 2: 12) as the Thessalonians surely had formerly been.
In the last verses of the previous chapter (I Thessalonians 4) he has reviewed details of the resurrection of the dead in Christ.
1Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
The meaning of the last phrase is, will bring (them forth from the dead) with him (i.e., at His arrival). These are to be raised from the dead when He returns just as Jesus Himself died and then awoke from the death state. It is a clear description of the resurrection of those “asleep” in Christ. They shall be gathered in restored life before Christ’s throne of judgment – along with the living believers as we now see … he now addresses those who are yet alive when He returns:
1Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain (s0) unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (anticipate or precede) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (precedent to being gathered together with the living Believers): 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: [The word “air” is G-109, ahayr, to breathe (unconsciously, to respire: by analogy, to “blow”); air, as circumambient: - air] and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
At this point we might explain that “air” is the earth's atmosphere – in contradistinction to the grave from which they came, where there is NO air – where there is air that they can breathe in order to sustain life – the atmosphere which lies cloaking the globe to a depth of approximately sixty miles altitude. Given a positive outcome of their later judgment by Him, they shall ever be with the Lord in the atmosphere, that is, alive and breathing! It does not mean “in the highest heaven” given that the kingdom of God shall not be in that location but all over the earth “as the waters cover the sea” and last forever!
He then reviews conditions at the Endtime, the time of the Master’s return, which they evidently have previously discussed at some length. He reminds them of those conditions in these words …
1Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. His implication here is inescapable – Jesus’ return shall be during a time of great trouble and strife – a time of great hazard for all peoples.
There has been much discussion over this phrase, When they shall say, Peace and Safety … Is it being said as a statement of fact: such as “Now we HAVE peace and safety …” (with a sigh of relief)? – or as a fervent plea: “(Please give us) peace and safety (in light of great trouble in the world)?”
We must realize fully that those so saying are not Believers, and are not “brethren” of Paul or the Thessalonians. They are not aware of the impending Second Advent and the unique peace (Shalom) which it shall bring. But they ARE aware of the extreme hazard which confronts them at that time. They are undergoing (or have undergone) a protracted time of great danger from which they now believe they have been rescued, if our presumption is correct.
The key word here seems to be the verb, to “say.” It is Strong’s G-3006, lego, a primary verb; properly to “lay” forth, that is (figuratively) relate in words usually of systematic or set discourse. It indicates a firm conviction on their part – a statement of clearly understood fact. From this definition we get the impression that it is simply a statement of what the speakers believe is factual: “Now we finally HAVE peace and safety …” We suggest however that it is a statement only believed by the speakers to be fact. It appears that some great problems facing them seem to have been satisfactorily settled to their comfort and satisfaction.
Paul’s next words give the lie to that claim, for “sudden destruction” awaits them!
He then reminds those (such as the Believers in Thessalonica) that they alone shall be intensely aware of the day of His coming; that their understanding of His plan of salvation gives them assurance unavailable to all others. They easily recognize the socio-political climate surrounding and preceding that great event. They discern the “signs of the times” (Matthew 16: 3). 1Thessalonians 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Awareness of these impending events is ample reward for their having sought the Lord and His ways and teachings. They are enlightened and expectant of the Great Event. Paul’s following words reinforce their special insight. 1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 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. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Finally, in reality, Paul’s language here is fairly ambiguous. One might claim that either meaning of this key phrase could be understood as correct. Affairs of this pre-adventual world are certainly threatening enough to evoke a frantic plea, CALLING FOR (pleading for) Peace and Safety by the populous in the face of the desperate circumstances now facing the world in general. Many people now believe the world has reached a desperate state of affairs, not possessing the hope of the Gospel which Paul taught and lived – and which his brethren even now pursue with great fervor. Such an outlook is not reality, however, as the Master’s surprise appearance to the world in general shall avert the greatest disaster – and certainly for the believers.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Not to be redundant, but now let’s consider this scenario: say, for example, that those who cry Peace and Safety are voicing a PLEA for such. How would that fit with the remainder of the text?
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.
If the peace and safety cry is considered a PLEA for such, we have seen that for years and years. The “Palestinian” problem, for example, has evoked cries FOR peace and safety for at least sixty three years – since 1948. How can we integrate that fact with “then SUDDEN destruction cometh upon them!” Sudden retribution should certainly have come upon whomever is meant in less than sixty three years! Destruction at this time would not be "sudden" but would be late by about sixty years or more.
So can a view of the peace and safety cry be valid when considered a PLEA? It seems illogical to me that it is a statement that “We are pleading for peace and safety in the world, which has become so scary and dangerous!” being a valid notion because “sudden destruction” has not come SUDDENLY upon “them” – whoever they are! Since we’ve seen the PLEAS for peace and safety for years and years without retribution (sudden destruction) we must view the statement as the opposite stance – one of believed fact: “Finally, we now HAVE peace and safety; the time of danger has passed; we are safe at last!”
We are all aware that THAT scenario has not prevailed. Well … briefly perhaps after World War I (a war to end all wars – but which actually set the stage for WW II!). So I would think the more logical view would be that expressed throughout the article above.
We should therefore be on watch for a prominent group making a BIGGG deal of having attained WHAT IT SINCERELY BELIEVES IS ‘PEACE, AND SAFETY.’ <HEL MD/USA August 5, 2011>
'Time of Trouble' and Zechariah 14
July 10, 2011
I was perusing your June 11, 2011 web posting and came across your words: There is NO scriptural evidence for a future time of real "trouble" for Israel. The "trouble" shall be for Israel's enemies. So we urge our contemporary prophecy writers to stop referring to a FUTURE "time of Jacob's trouble."
I am not a "contemporary prophecy writer," but I am curious how you handle the "trouble" described in Zechariah 14: 2, which in the NIV says: "I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city."
If this Zechariah 14: 2 passage is a reference to what will happen to the Jewish people just shortly before Christ's "feet will stand on the Mount of Olives," then cannot this event ("the city captured, houses ransacked, etc.") be described as "real trouble" for Israel?
I'm not trying to be argumentative ... I'm simply unclear how the trouble of Zechariah 14: 2 fits into your above statement.
Signed: Bro. _________
REPLY: July, 2011
Dear Brother ________:
Thank you for your inquiry and valued comments! Your question has been a concern of many students as events have gone forward.
Yes, I will have to stand by my statement as cited below because this prophecy has already been fulfilled and therefore cannot happen again. Zechariah's prophecy in 14: 2 was fulfilled perfectly in the War of Independence when the only significant victory of the Arab League (a Jordanian force) was the successful capture of the Old City of Jerusalem. No matter what they did, the Jewish forces could not hold onto the Old City. Consequently it was divided from West Jerusalem and remained in Jordanian hands until June 7, 1967, when Israel conquered the Jordanian forces in the West Bank and took Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem from them; they took the Golan Heights from Syria, and Gaza from Egypt on that occasion, also. It is significant that another factor in this prophecy is obvious: and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. This was also fulfilled perfectly, for they continued to inhabit the western portion of metro Jerusalem, and faithfully proclaimed it their “eternal capital” and began constructing the infrastructure of the State in West Jerusalem, including the Knesset, Israel Museum, many government buildings and monuments such as Yad Veshem - the Israel National Holocaust Memorial.
I think often our vision is clouded by our own limited view of the length of time it requires for God's plan to be fully executed. The last chapters of Zechariah cover the time from 1948 forward to the Second Advent – the time when Jacob officially began to be regathered to its land – until Jesus' second appearing and Israel's enlightenment as to His identity as their Messiah (as in Zechariah 12 and 13). The Jordanian capture of the Old City of Jerusalem falls within that time frame and perfectly fulfills the requirements of the verse.
There are a lot of factors which bear on this. One thing we know is that after God sets His hand to recover His people the second time no real harm can come to them. Firstly, I refer to Isaiah 11:11: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign (the physical entity of Israel) for the nations (Israel and Judah), and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Consider the amount of time covered in just those two verses. In our day (since 1948) He has recovered His people almost totally from all those places except the islands of the sea, which means all the other places in which they are scattered such as USA, Britain, Europe and others. He has set up the "ensign" which is the State of Israel to which He is gathering them from the four corners of the earth. To date, it has taken over sixty years.
Notice that later in that chapter "trouble" is indicated, but it's not trouble for Israel. Verse 14 is reference to the events prophesied by Obadiah - the destruction of Edom (the "Palestinians" of today, defined by their demographics).
Think about the words of Jeremiah: 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. The last phrases of this prophecy remain yet to be fulfilled, so we are presently experiencing the ongoing events!
This prophecy in Jeremiah relates to this same time-frame in His plan. Note that He says "I will set mine eyes upon them for GOOD, and I will bring them again to this land, and will build them, AND NOT PULL THEM DOWN; and I will PLANT THEM, AND NOT PLUCK THEM UP." These words MUST be integrated into the events of our time, and they clearly state that no more harm will come to them after the events of 1948. Ezekiel 37 (the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones) indicates the same progressive return and settlement of their Land by His people ending in the reunification of Judah and Ephraim as all 12 tribes in peace. But it takes a long time by our standards!
The recapture of Jerusalem in 1967 by Israel was the spectacular fulfillment of the Prophecy of the 2300 Evening-Mornings (Days) of Daniel 8: 14. June 7, 1967 was exactly 2,300 calendar years from that prophecy's beginning at the River Granicus in 434 BC, when Alexander the Great first defeated the Persians - which began the time period given to Daniel. I refer you to my detailed article on this outstanding prophecy in January 2011 edition of eTPL, which you may reference at this same web site.
Also, think of this: if Jerusalem had not “gone into captivity" to Jordan in1948, there could have been no accurate fulfillment of the prophecy of the 2300 Evening-Mornings. Instead, the prize was there in Jordanian hands when the conflict began on June 5th, and by June 7th it had been liberated by Israel - a perfect fulfillment.
So ... yes; our Father's unassailable foresight is far beyond our ken, and magnificent in its import!
I refer you back to "The Time of Jacob's Trouble," the article in eTPL to which you referred, as commentary on when that was actually fulfilled – all within that time frame between the end of the Ottoman Empire (1917) and the proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948. The Nazi Holocaust filled nearly all those years and was the most horrible "trouble" than any people could ever experience. I speak as one who witnessed it at the time - an era of unspeakable persecution and murder of God's precious people.
I appreciate your earnest inquiry. I hope the above discussion lends some sense to my assertion. You see, this future time of Jacob's trouble was earlier suggested in an entirely different context to what we have seen come about. John Thomas thought the Gogian host would come down and scatter the few Israelites who would be living there as a colony of Great Britain. There are myriad reasons for rejecting this scenario. Israel has now returned to its Land due to its own initiative, finances and ingenuity (God-given, of course), and in huge numbers as a sovereign state which defends itself. Gog shall come down intending to destroy Israel and take her “spoils,” but instead shall inherit graves at Hamon-gog, east of Galilee in what then will be "in Israel" (but now is the Yarmuk River Valley which divides Syria and Jordan). Please re-read the details of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and explain to yourself how one can extract any victory for Gog out of that testimony when every word reflects her complete destruction!
Shalom! Harold Edward Lafferty <July, 2011>