October 18, 2013
Harold, Have you considered a link between the Zech 14 quake and the one described in Ezek 38?
Eze 38:19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
Eze 38:20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
IN OUR PRECIOUS HOPE, _____
Yes ... I have considered whether these seem to be the same earthquake in a time of greatly increased earthquake activity in the Levant, but I feel that they are decisively separate, because the events during which they occur happen at widely separated times.
That is, my understanding is that the events of Zechariah 10-14 (and other parallel conflicts, as Isaiah 63, Psalm 83, Isaiah 11, Ezekiel 35, Micah 5, and several others) will occur at some indeterminable time prior to the events of Ezekiel 38, 39 (the Gogian affair); that these are entirely separate events.
It is during the Zechariah prophecy (14:3) that the Lord's Second Advent occurs - the time when He appears before His people in person, I believe, and destroys their fierce enemies, conquering them with swift retribution.
The earthquake of the 14th of Zechariah also re-arranges the topography of the Land, preparing it for the construction of the Holy Oblation and New Jerusalem, according to Bro. Sulley. It is not notable as damaging the Gogian host.
In my understanding, the Gogian conflict is at that time yet to come.
Another reason for this opinion is that during the fulfillment of Obadiah, which precedes the invasion of Gog in Ezekiel's account , the prophet writes (verse 21) that "Saviours shall come upon Mt. Zion, to judge the Mount of Esau, and the Kingdom shall be the Lord's."
This is surely the time of the Second Advent, and establishes the Israelis as dwelling in peace and safety in their Land under Messiah, then to await the Gogian host. That Israel will then be dwelling in safety (verses 8 and 11 are Gog's opinion; but verse 14 is the statement of the Father of this reality: In that day, when My people of Israel dwelleth in safety, shalt not thou know it?).
In clearer terms, Israel really IS dwelling in complete safety as it can ONLY under Messiah - their King, Who shall have come at some indefinable time prior to the Gogian invasion. So any earthquake affecting the Gogian host will have to occur in that time frame.
In my opinion, the Gogian conflict then follows on that earlier conflict - the (earlier) one in which Christ immediately clears the Land of all the pagan intruders and absolutely erases the nations of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, captures the Sinai, Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and all the other areas from the Nile to the Euphrates. I don't believe He is going to waste any time in doing this "clearing" of His land for His people; it is His first objective.
That thunderous appearance of Christ and the Saints will show every observer that these Newcomers From Nowhere are now about to reverse all the adversity which has lain heavily upon His people up until then. Ezekiel 35: 12, 13.
It seems only after the above, drastic, definitive action against the "local" enemies (the nations round about) that the Gogian host gathers for its foray into oblivion in the Land of Israel - which ALL that territory shall then be named - known today as "Greater Israel" (an Arab term which seems to recognize this threat). It will not be unusual for there to be another great shaking in the Land at the time of Gog's attempted invasion as it is said to be a time of increased seismic activity - along with the fact that it shall be a divinely-directed event.
There is a distinct possibility, however, that the earthquake of Ezekiel's prophecy may be in the mode of that described in Haggai 2:6,7,21,22, which might be describing a political "earthquake" more than a physical one, as it is stated to be so pervasive (over all the earth?). I say that, because the results of the shaking that Ezekiel describes seems to accomplish the same ends (the utter end of the motives and forces of the Gogian host) as those of Haggai's prophecy describe - a societal demolition of the customs and mores of the world at large.
I have recently been re-studying John Thomas' narratives in Eureka and again find them just unworkable as seen from our present time in history. So many of his proposed, intricate tracks to the kingdom have taken completely different turns from his expectations, that the work (Eureka), although tremendously profitable spiritually, does not reflect what really has already happened in the fulfillment of the prophecies leading up to the Kingdom. Some of the "keys" he needed in his time had not appeared yet, so it was impossible for him to unlock the later prophecies rightly. Those came only later in the End Time.
Having said that, his writings and encouragement, although erroneous in many of their (doctrinally non-essential) details (but correct as to the finality), gave strength and comfort - and a structural, rational understanding of what was probably to come - which at the time his brethren needed to hear.
As the time draws nearer, we can almost FEEL the tension building. If I were a "normal" human being, I would be scared out of my wits. But really, most people aren't paying much attention, are they?
With fraternal regards,
Splitting of the Mount of Olives: When?
October, 2013: A reader has written that he "is inclined to question the thought that as soon as Jesus' feet touch the Mount of Olives at His return, the Mount cleaves in two. There is a passage that indicates that the Jews "flee," showing a reaction to some fore-warning. If the "cleaving" occurred immediately [when] Jesus descends (to it), then countless would perish. Is that in God's plan? I personally don't think so. There is no mention of thousands of Jews dying at the Lord's appearing. I think that there is an interval of time before this event happens that allows the Jews to make plans."
We certainly agree with this thought. It is unthinkable that the Second Advent of Israel's Messiah should cause any discomfort to His people at all. To others, certainly ... but not to the Jewish people.
However, our views of the return to Olivet may diverge just a bit.
The two angels of Acts 1:10, 11, who witnessed the ascent of Jesus into the heavens, along with some of the disciples, made this statement: Acts 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Therefore, we must not deny that He shall return to the Mount of Olives in the sight of all, just as He went into heaven.
The timing of THAT return is perhaps what is in question.
It appears to this writer that this is not the INITIAL return to the earth that the Master accomplishes. It is His visible return, certainly, but not necessarily His initial return.
What do I mean by those words?
In my own considered view, the initial return of the Lord from heaven occurs at what is termed “the last trump,” as stated by the Apostle Paul. 1Corinthians 15:51 - Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
This account is a summary of a much longer process in our opinion. The apostle here is addressing their change to, or assumption of immortality, so he does not cover all the steps leading up to that state for every successful believer.
His Second Coming must be perceived as being in stages. It is not the same to every person whom He intends to affect.
I believe His initial contact with the earth is at the sounding of that last Shofar (trumpet) – the trumpet of the resurrection of the dead in Christ, and the gathering of the living persons also in Christ – and his angels’ ushering them to the place of judgment.
Now, that assize cannot be in the sight of all the world. The world at large is not concerned in this affair in any way, so it is excluded from viewing it.
In Corinthians, Paul writes that the dead will be raised … In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1Corinthians 15:52
These raised ones, in other texts, are shown to undergo a process of judgment before Christ, the Judge, and to be made immortal after being approved by Him.
Revelation 20:12,13 narrates a portion of this process. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (the grave) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Only after that process does each immortalized Saint go in to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – a ceremony in which Jesus welcomes His faithful brethren to be His Bride – and to become “one” with Him in nature and in spirit – and in every other parameter.
It is then that John sees these in the vision of Revelation 19:11 et seq,, in which the Faithful are mounted upon white horses, clothed in white vestments, handling swords (the word of God). Their subsequent combat with the nations begins in the 25th verse of the same chapter, outlining the conquest of the nations and their rulers and followers – all of whom know not God.
In my understanding, the first peoples who are confronted and destroyed by Him (along with the Saints – a collective Man) are those nations inhabiting the territory which His Father promised to Abram – all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates rivers, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
These enemies behold His appearance as a thief in the night. They do not expect Him. They do not recognize Him. They have no conviction of Who He Is or What He Is. Their age-lasting aggression against His people and against Himself as their God bring swift retribution upon them.
It emerges that when the One Man (Christ and His Saints) visibly appear in the Land of Israel to dispatch these ageless enemies, is when His feet touch the Mount of Olives for the first time. He descends in their sight, just as He went away – but with an innumerable cloud of companions. But it is precisely as He disappeared from their sight over two millennia in the past!
But His appearance there must necessarily be preceded by some kind of warning to the People of Israel to flee to the mountains – to get away from the area which will be re-arranged by the earthquake. We know not exactly how that will be accomplished, but we may be sure, as our correspondent has said, the Almighty will not cause the demise of any of His people in the process of appearing to them.
It may be that much conflict takes place before He chooses to place His feet upon the Mount of Olives. But when that is done, He has finished with clearing the Land of the interlopers, and is ready to apportion to their Cantons His people of Judah, Manasseh, Ephraim and so forth, in their designated possessions, preparatory to the construction of the Temple of the Millennium in Mount Zion.
This is a brief picture of the “process” of His Second Coming in my own understanding. Others may have a better view of it. We will just have to wait and see.
One thing is fairly certain ...
Every enemy to which He and the Saints shall appear after His Second Coming will be “as a thief in the night,” for NONE of them shall be expecting Him, not knowing the scriptures. <HEL code 10M> ~1225 words.
"Return" of Egypt to the Lord - How So?
This is an excellent question about the Circular Letter, “A Cry of Egypt My People: Isaiah 19,” sent to my list earlier in August, 2013.
Because readers may not have received this Circular Letter, we reproduce it here for context: 1120 words, so it’s short – as is the answer to it. HEL
The Cry of Egypt My People: Isaiah 19
H E Lafferty
The prophet Isaiah foretells, that in the End Time, the Almighty shall speak lovingly of the redeemed people of Egypt as well as those of Assyria, along with Israel, in words such as these:Isaiah 19:25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying,Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
At the present time, however, we are seeing fulfillment of earlier portions of that important 19th of Isaiah. For example,verse 20b: … for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors ….
To what “oppressors” might the prophet be referring?
Actually, in modern times, these have been a long series of oppressors of the Egyptian people.
We might begin with Gamal Abdul Nasser – a late dictator of Egypt who fought three major wars with Israel, wasting the treasury and resources of Egypt each time.
Then there was Anwar Sadat, who fought Israel in 1973 – attacking her on her holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur; but he also was handily defeated after about the first four days of fighting when the Israelis had marshaled their forces. In desperation, Sadat made a peace treaty with Israel.
Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood for making agreement with Israel, and was succeeded by HosniMubarak, who maintained the peace treaty with Israel for many years.
Then came the so-called Arab Spring. Mubak was overthrown and jailed for oppressing the Egyptian people. A free election was set, to elect a president of the country.
The Moslem Brotherhood, which had always claimed it was not interested in governing Egypt, leaped into the race. Its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won the election and was sworn in as president of the country. It was easy at that time to visualize the course of short term despotism in Egypt.
Immediately his moderate campaign platform started to drift toward despotism. He abolished parliament. He plunged the country toward Sha’aria Law (Islamic interpretation of law). He placed Moslem Brotherhood members in strategic offices.
The people, and the army of Egypt, always a powerful factor, became alarmed. Soon about 20 million people had signed a petition to depose Morsi – a worse dictator by far than Mubarak had been. Egypt had descended into near anarchy, terror, and crime; and the country was rapidly heading for bankruptcy.
About a year into his first term, Morsi was removed and jailed. Many leaders of the Brotherhood were hunted down and arrested.
A deep dichotomy became immediately apparent.
The Brotherhood members cried foul – that their “democratically elected” candidate had been unlawfully removed from office. But many of the people, seeing the direction in which Morsi had been taking the country, agreed that he should have been ousted.
Both groups sent hordes of people into the public streets to protest. Of course, these came into conflict with each other. Deaths resulted. Government buildings and Coptic churches were torched. Burning tires littered the public squares. Tear gas and rubber bullets – then real bullets – were used by the army to quell the riots. Egyptian was now fighting Egyptian, district against district, and city against city, as clearly outlined inIsaiah 19:2 as a final event.
We cannot yet see the end of this process of tumult and alarm in Egypt.
The Moslem Brotherhood was a brief, but cruel lord over Egypt. But we cannot be sure that one will not arise with even more harshness before these current events are finished. Or that the Brotherhood will not achieve a comeback.
As an interim measure, the army installed General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, to lead the country. He, in turn, appointed AdlyMansour, a Supreme Constitutional Court Justice, as interim president; he is a respected economist.
But things are still not going well, as all readers will be aware.
The riots continue daily; one recent day saw the death of over 500 Egyptians on the streets of Cairo, Port Said, and Alexandria. Many others have lost their lives on subsequent days.
The mostly poor, common people of Egypt are calling out for help in these dark days. Not all of them are haters of Zion. The average Egyptian citizen earns less than $300 USD per year. Many of these poor fellahin have no political ideology whatever.
There are ten million Coptic Christians in Egypt, who presumably do not hate Israel.
We must not believe all is lost for Egypt – nor give them up to the despots of the Brotherhood. Because many Egyptians are destined to be converted to the way of God; Isaiah 19:20 says that … they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a Saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
Thus, the sequence goes like this: the Lord will smite Egypt(in the events such as we are now witnessing) – verse 22: and he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
We anticipate that future day, when the dear humble and helpless people of Egypt shall – after their “smiting” (we cannot conceive of whatever eventual character that shall take) – shall be thoroughly healed by the Almighty, and return to the Lord by their sincere entreaty to Him as a nascent people of God in that day – and, by so doing, become those … Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
What significance does this statement lend to our understanding?
We know from many other references that Assyria shall be defeated out of hand, punished severely, but finally purified of its animosity toward Israel; from this reference we realize thatEgypt, after being punished severely, shall be converted to the ways of the LORD; and, of course, Israel shall turn from its secular ways, and offer its full-hearted repentance and acceptance of its Messiah, an event which is well outlined inZechariah 12 and 13.
Thus all three peoples are severely punished, and then redeemed! We believe our prayers should be raised for the deliverance of all those who shall hear the word of the Lord in the days ahead, and glorify His name – not only in Egypt, but in Syria/Iraq, and in Israel itself.
God’s word directly tells us that all the polities between the Two Rivers (the Nile and the Euphrates) and the Two Seas (the Mediterranean and the Gulf) shall be united in one polity,brought divinely up to full equality with Israel, Mine Inheritance! We wait and watch! <HEL MD/USA code 8M> ~1120 words.
How is it that Egypt "returns" to The Lord? I just can't think of a time that they were with the Lord, or am I misunderstanding this phrase?
Thanks for your insight. Signed ______
It is an excellent question that you have pinpointed.
I should have elaborated more on that concept in the article, as the phrase does seem difficult to understand.
Initially, I felt the prophet must be referring to the time when the descendants of Jacob were greatly blessed by Egypt because of Joseph, and had been given support and refuge by Egypt during the famine of their early history.
That action was certainly “to their credit,” in the mind of the Almighty.
However, further study of Isaiah 19 where the word is utilized, we find that "return" is not used here in the way we understand it in English. That is our finding because of the fact that Egypt has never been a “godly” country.
It is the Hebrew word shub (Strong's H7725). Strong defines it as a primitive root, meaning "to turn back (hence, away from one's previous course of action) ... not necessarily with the idea of a return to the starting point. Generally, to retreat (from evil intentions).” Other verbs related to it in a long list are, “retreat, break, cease, repent, return, reverse, turn away, withdraw.”
So we can see that in Hebrew it does not necessarily mean to return to some previously held position or conviction.
In Isaiah 55:7 the prophet uses the word in the same way. The unrighteous man, or wicked man, with adverse thoughts (toward the LORD) has not likely ever been with the LORD.
In this prophecy Isaiah invokes again, a “return” to the Lord in the same sense.
The process involves the wicked man learning of the Almighty, often for the first time, and confessing His sovereignty.
In this case his subject is errant Israel – that the Father “will have mercy upon him, and abundantly pardon.” In this case it urges a return of Israel to its (presumed) former state of conformity with God’s ways.
But it may be suspected that many of Israel had never been WITH the LORD in their convictions, and therefore are being urged to give up their erroneous positions as to idolatry, for example, and to return to the Lord in this unusual (to us) meaning of the word.
In Ezekiel 33:14, another prophet uses the word to mean the same thing: “turn” from his sin; and in vs. 15 “restore;” vs. 18 “turneth” from his righteousness (a reverse cause and effect); vs. 19 “turneth” – same meaning.
So far, no one else has raised this seeming incongruity, so I commend you for your critical analysis!
With love in the Lord,
Questions About Latter-Day Events
Dear Readers: This insertion appeared in The Testimony magazine’s last issue. It is from Bill Form of Wardley, U.K., and is quoted here verbatim because we do wish to respond to it in Q&A.
To: Your Letters, The Testimony
Questions about latter-day events
May I ask for some space in Your Letters to enable me to pose some questions to readers about latter-day events? The first question arises out of Ezekiel 38 and 39. Where in these chapters does it say that the Jewish population in the Land will be harmed by the forces of Gog? There is definitely an indication of intention to do so:
“It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages . . . to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations . . .” (38:10-12).
But that intention is never realised: “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that My fury shall come up in My face” (v. 18). There is as a result earthquake (v. 19), “pestilence . . . an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone” (v. 22), and finally for Gog, “a place there of graves in Israel . . . The valley of Hamon-gog” (39:11). Gog and his forces are hardly into Israel, it seems, when they are struck down and the Jewish people come out of their cities to burn their weapons and bury their bodies.
Daniel 11:40-45 is sometimes used with Ezekiel 38 and 39 to present a picture of Gog triumphantly speeding down through “the glorious land,” occupying Jerusalem, and “Egypt shall not escape.” How can this picture be correct if Gog has already been destroyed as soon as it enters the land of Israel? There are many questions that may be asked about these passages, but I will limit them to two:
1 Daniel 11:44: “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him.” I doubt that every last Russian soldier, and every soldier of the supporting nations, will be included in the expedition against Israel—nor every tank or jet fighter. So what “tidings” could trouble Mr Putin’s monolithic state?
2 Verse 45: “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.” The difficulty here seems insuperable. Russia has fifty million followers of Islam within its associated Commonwealth of Independent States. Russia is certainly aware of the great veneration that all Muslims have for the ‘holy places’ on Mount Zion. To plant a Russian “palace” of any size on the site of these mosques would surely alienate the countless millions of Muslims worldwide, with potentially disastrous results for Russia.
Turning next to Zechariah 13:8, two thirds of Jews in the Land will die and one third live. At prophecy days and on other occasions I have heard speakers suggest that in the raid on Israel by Gog and his supporters some four million Israelis will be killed. Four million bodies! Who is going to bury them? The Nazis killed six million Jews during the Second World War, but not all at once or in an area as small as Israel. But now that the Lord has drawn Jews from 102 countries to their homeland, are we to believe that such slaughter is to happen all over again? For what purpose? It has been suggested that it is because they are puffed up with pride in their own achievements. But are they all like this? We should perhaps bear in mind Abraham’s appeal in Genesis 18:23: “Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”
Dear Editors of The Testimony:
Many of us in the U. S. have read and profited from your excellent magazine for many years. I should like to submit a reply to Bro. Bill Form's comments/ questions in the "Your Letters" section of The Testimony last month.
August 12, 2013
To: Your Letters, The Testimony
I appreciated greatly, and was intrigued by the questions posed by Brother Form relative to latter-day events. We have been studying and addressing these extremely germinal issues for several years and find it refreshing to have others also doing so.
There is no question that Ezekiel 38 and 39 are the definitive discussions of the Gogian affair. Every additional observation that may be made about this episode must agree in every way with Ezekiel’s prophecy, in our opinion. It is the locking mechanism for understanding this prophecy. One must be certain that any added opinions agree completely with this base-line text. It was so tempting for earlier expositors to bring into play several ancillary prophecies which seemed to them to relate to this one; but because the fulfillment of these extraneous prophecies also lay well beyond 1865, those expositors did not yet have the key to understanding their fulfillment, either.
As Brother Form has rightly said, at no place in these chapters does the prophet say the Jewish population of the Land shall be harmed by Gog. Yes … Gog’s intention is to do great harm to God’s people in its drive to “take a spoil and a prey,” as its forces amass in quantity sufficient to “cover the land” as 38:9 informs.
But intention is not execution. The sudden introduction of Gog of the land of Magog is almost startling in Ezekiel. But the Revelator knew that “Gog” should need no introduction to those of the end-time who should be awake and alert – who should have seen Gog’s interest abuilding, accelerating, for decades in acquiring warmer sea ports in the south – the prevalent “old” view of Gog’s motivation.
But now that Israel has succeeded in discovering oil and natural gas in great quantities, the word “spoil” gains new stature. Not only does Israel now present serious competition with Russia for the European markets for these commodities, but we can now perceive that Russia covets them as orphan-spoil for its own profit – orphan-spoil because Israel shall have none to help her (as if her then-present King needed assistance), c.f. Isaiah 63.
The two observations as to (1) the tidings out of the east which might trouble Russia, and (2) the notion of Russia placing a government center of any sort on Temple Mount, both are indeed ludicrous proposals. The latter move would infuriate over a billion Muslims, worldwide, and trigger resistance that should overwhelm even the vast forces of Russia. As an aside, when the Christ of the Second Advent begins to build the Millennial Temple there, He may trigger some outcry from Islam (from the few adherent who remain in that day), but our feeling is that the great Jerusalem earthquake of Zechariah 14 shall have devastated all the intrusive shrines on Temple Mount along with the temporal structures of the entire City, leveling and lifting it up in preparation for construction of the Millennial Temple. All the old order must perish to make way for the permanent placement of the Throne of David and its Occupant. Some of remaining Islam will object strongly, of course, but it is of no consequence to Israel’s Messiah.
The abject failure of the Gogian initiative is poignantly indicated by such phrases as I am against thee, O Gog; I will call for a sword against him; I will plead against him; and over a dozen other such phrases, in addition to more than a dozen other such phrases indicative of obliteration of Gog, there is the added detail of Ezekiel 39: 9, 10, which informs the reader of the serenity of Israel’s response to Gog’s destruction – that those who dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth and burn the weapons and bury the bodies of the Gogian host. We easily perceive that Gog invades God’s Land and People intending to take a spoil of great value, but it immediately inherits graves in Israel’s Valley of Hamon-gog, which Young opines is the deep gorge of the Yarkon River east of Kinneret – now the international boundary between southern Syria and northern Jordan, but then “in Israel” (39: 11) due to the expansion of Israel which shall have taken place prior to that event.
As to the second portion of Brother Form’s queries – Zechariah 13: 8 – we suggest that a prior fulfillment must be admitted in place of any future expectation that two thirds of Israelis now in the Land shall be destroyed. It is surely incontrovertible that the Almighty has placed His people (Ezekiel 37: 26) in their Land as carefully as an hen arranges her eggs in her nest for incubation. That metaphor has an extended application as their Father is, in reality, hatching little ones as future inhabitants of the first dominion of His kingdom (cf., Micah 4:8).
Expecting a destruction of four millions (or more) of the Israelis who now live in Israel is surely a mis-application of the end-time process of re-establishing Israel in its Land. Everyone knows the universal reaction of Islam in such a case should be that such would be absolute proof that “Allah” is far more powerful than Israel’s God in allowing such a catastrophe.
As required by Daniel 12: 1-3, The “time of Jacob’s trouble” has already occurred in its precise time-slot: after the last end of the king of the north (Ottoman Turkey) and prior to the “resurrection” of the Jews to their heritage, from the nations in 1948 and afterward. The Holocaust fills that requirement of Daniel 12: 1, as a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. It occurred precisely in that appointed time-slot. Small details such as this greatly strengthen our faith, proving each time that our Father’s omniscience is both accurate, objective, and palpable.
So how may we view the prophecy of a two thirds destruction of the Jews of Jerusalem? The verse prior to this one, verse 7, evokes memory of the Jews’ rejection and crucifixion of Christ (smiting the Shepherd) and the record in Josephus’ history of the Jews of the later conquest of Jerusalem by Rome; that one third of the Jews were killed in the fighting; another third starved to death; and the last third were captured and sold as slaves in the world slave markets. It is this final third that has finally been brought through the fires of persecution and now constitute the “remnant” of Israel (Jeremiah 31: 7) which is now entering and populating the Land, as verses 8 and 9 vividly depict.
Our brethren of today must soberly consider that the expectations of 1865 were simply misplaced. We must apply our own minds to our Father’s word, and carefully determine the course of prophecy since 150 years ago, and see plainly that it has worked out in ways greatly different from those expected in that day. At the same time, realizing, thankfully, that those earlier, errant expectations are not vital errors – not salvational doctrines – but were the best determinations that could be made by those of that day. Even though many of them were misinterpretations of other prophecies, they did strengthen and encourage our brethren of that day. But their inaccuracy must likewise be admitted by every contemporary believer, and their true meaning ascertained. <HEL MD/USA code 8M> ~1875 words.
Bro. Harold Lafferty
Hagerstown, Maryland USA
The Meaning of Jeremiah 12: 14-17
In the daily readings, I took note of Jer. 12:14-17. What is this referring to?
Reply: July 23, 2013
Methinks it refers to the two “trial runs” which the Father gave Judah at their inheritance of the Land – at both of which they failed badly. At least the gist of these verses seem to fit those conditions. The wording of a couple of the phrases of this passage are a bit difficult in my mind; I suppose they weren’t really clear to the translators either! I can say that the following comments are consistent with the renditions of Rotherham's Emphasized Bible of this passage. The Septuagint rendering does not seem to alter the AV wording.
But here is the general drift of these four verses to my best knowledge, in verse by verse format ...
Remember that Jeremiah lived and prophesied just prior to the Babylonian invasion of Judah, and their destruction of the Temple. Jeremiah's warnings went forth to Judah incessantly about their idolatry and their iniquity. He warned them that their “evil neighbors” would come and displace them from their land, and was castigated by the priestly administration for his many warnings. At one point they placed a wooden yoke upon his neck which was removed by Hananiah (Jeremiah 28), but they replaced it with a yoke of iron. I believe these two “yokes” were symbolic of the two captivities that Judah would suffer at God’s hand – first the Babylonian, and later the Roman (at 70AD).
KJV Jer 12:14 Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.
The neighbors of Israel of old coveted her land, as did the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Both of the latter took of God’s land and people, displacing them from their inheritance because of idolatry. But here Babylon was indicated to conquer them and pluck many of Judah from the land, taking them to Babylon. Thus they “touched” His people’s inheritance. As a result of those invasions, He plucked Judah out of their land … the house of Judah from among those who had coveted and taken their land. They were transported to Babylon.
Jer 12:15 And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.
After he plucked Judah and took them to Babylon, he had compassion on them and brought them again to their land under Cyrus, returning every family to its land. Only a relatively small percentage of the captives returned, but enough to constitute “the return.”
Jer 12:16 And it shall come to pass, if they (the returned captives) will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they (had formerly) taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people.
Those thus resettled in their Land were charged with learning the ways of God, and being His true people, swearing by His name as diligently as they formerly taught the people to swear by Baal. If they did thus obey him, then shall those who returned be “built” or caused to prosper in their Land.
Jer 12:17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.
If they did not obey him – which they did not after their return from Babylon – He would utterly pluck them up again, and destroy that nation. When the Jews of Jesus’ day rejected Him and His mission, the Almighty’s fury came up in his face and He destroyed them with a vengeance, persecuting, enslaving, scattering, and destroying them for 1900 years – until the time when they should return in the End Time.
Now … at the End Time return, He brings them back to the land in spite of their being unworthy to re-enter it; His reasoning is that He is returning them “not for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake” (Ezekiel 36: 22).
In other words, He had made a covenant with His people, and He MUST execute it. He is bringing them back despite their disbelief. But He knows in advance that they shall at that second return ultimately obey Him, knowing that when they see the return of His Son and the mighty deeds which He shall wreak upon their immediate, fierce enemies, they will rejoice in the words of Luke 13: 35 – Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!
That is the redemptive statement for them, and that recognition and acknowledgement of Christ becomes the gateway to their redemption in the End Time. <HEL MD/USA, code 7M> ~800 words.
Considerations of the Second Death
July 22, 2013
I have another young student who was exposed to the term 2nd Death and now has more questions. As I was trying to explain to her it was obvious to me that it is more complicated than I thought. Can you do a response to that but if you can make it for either a young student or someone just learning the truth. Thanks, __________
eTPL Comments -
There are only four mentions of “the second death” in those specific words, though there are additional implications, such as some being refused everlasting life, and who are “cast out” into outer darkness at the judgment seat; this is the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” of those turned down by Christ; and is also comprehended in such statements as 1Cor.15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. This statement simply means that we must be changed into immortal bodies in order to inherit the kingdom and live forever. Mortals have no lasting place there, even though the kingdom will contain mortal people of the nations for the length of the Millennial reign of Christ; they are those who will be taught the Gospel and brought into the Name of Christ and offered salvation at the end of the Millennium, if acceptable to Him.
But the four that we must address are these:
Rev. 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
This text indicates that the second death is operable on those who are in the race to overcome, and fail. Their brethren who are successful do not suffer the second death. I believe that he uses the term second death because the greatest majority of those present shall have lived their mortal lives and have died once and therefore have been brought there from the grave. That death was their first death. If these have successfully overcome they do not suffer a second death.
Some have claimed that baptism is the first death, but that notion has some inconsistencies which must be considered. These two such “deaths” are entirely different from each other and are difficult to equate.
Baptism is a giving up of the life of the flesh in preference for the life of the Spirit of Christ. The Way of Life is elected and chosen, and embarked upon voluntarily and willingly.
If one is turned down for a place in Christ’s kingdom that is a goal which he/she did NOT voluntarily choose – and shall not be embarked upon voluntarily by them, but with weeping and regret they are turned away.
Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Here the “first resurrection” is just that: it is the resurrection of those who have died during the Adamic era, but in covenant with Christ, who have come forth from death for the first time.
I believe this may have an additional component of meaning which may not be quite as apparent. The Greek word “protos” (first) means “foremost in time, place, and order of importance.”
ALL those who are subjects of the resurrection at the last Trump are designated as being of the “first resurrection” in order of time, they are partaking in the first general resurrection of the saints.
But there is another sense in which their resurrection is “first,” for upon them the second death (condemnation at the judgment seat) does not operate. Therefore, their resurrection is foremost in importance as well, because upon them there shall be no condemnation.
Those who are destined to be condemned, also come forth in the first resurrection (in order of time) but are not of the character for it to be one of the first importance, as they are condemned to die again. I hope this makes some sense …??
Rev. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
I believe this is a depiction of the judgment at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ, when all suffering, pain, illness and death are destroyed. We can visualize that all those who have made a covenant with Christ during the Millennium shall come forth to a judgment after they have lived through their probationary lives; these shall be judged as to worthiness.
Those who are NOT worthy to inherit the kingdom are destroyed then and there, which is again, a second death. But think of this important aspect. ALL the people who are left alive at that time are now immortal, and shall never die!
This drastic and utter end of life for the condemned is the origin of this vivid figure of speech indicating the destruction, or the cessation not only of the physical ones who are refused life, but even of death and suffering as enemies of mankind. These shall have ended their existence as if being consigned to a lake of fire, where they were utterly destroyed, never to be experienced by anyone again. Death and the grave are banished from His presence forever, and never threatens His people again.
Rev.21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Our view of this is also that it refers to the judgment at the end of the Millennium. We see just prior to this that the Holy City New Jerusalem – which defines Christ, all the Saints, and His new administration perfected by Him upon the earth (in that sense, “from” heaven). Then there is this picture of those who are resurrected at that time. Those who are adjudged unworthy of His gift of life are consigned to the second death. They are as thoroughly destroyed as if they had been cast into a lake of fire and brimstone; nothing shall remain of them, and they shall never trouble Christ’s kingdom or people any more.
Now, in retrospect, we can see that Revelation 2: 11 as quoted above, has reference to OUR resurrection that occurs at the Second Advent. The saints who trust in God and live upright lives are to be raised and judged worthy by their Lord at His Second Coming. These shall never suffer death again. And the fortunate few who are still living when Christ comes, if approved by Him, shall NEVER die!
We can therefore perceive that there are two eras of mankind which are destined to end with the resurrection of saints, meaning those who have made a covenant with Christ in baptism into His name. The initial time is when He returns to the earth in the Second Advent. The subsequent time is after He has ruled the earth for 1,000 years, making multitudes of converts to His way during those years. All these people shall also live probationary lives during that time and shall also die during the Millennium. These will have to be resurrected for their subsequent judgment as to worthiness by Him as well.
We must add here that there may be aspects of the Second Death that we have inadvertently omitted in the above discussion. Readers are invited to contribute additional comments that they believe relevant. Please use email address: email@example.com <HEL MD/USA code 7M> ~1250 words.
The Second Advent Indicated by the Next Jewish Tetrad?
A correspondent has written the following brief note in which he voices his concern that the brethren of Christ may be on the brink of being “called out” of the nations, and/or their graves, to the great Judgment Seat of Christ. We believe this a profitable insertion in the Q&A Section of eTPL. Giving his reasoning for this postulation, he says:
Dear Brother Harold,
A few weeks ago you sent out an email that caused the awareness of the soon return of our blessed Lord from heaven. The seeming certainty of the nearness of the return, of course, was the fact that Scripture foretells at that time the occurrence of both a Solar and a Lunar eclipse, which is foretold by NASA to happen in April of 2014. It occurs to me that that there is an indication that the return, and our call, is even closer than April of 2014. It appears from several of those forecasts that the eclipses occur during the Arab/ Israeli conflict in which the saints definitely are participants with Christ as immortals (Isa. 26: 19-20 w. Isa. 10: 25; Zech. 14: 1-5). Therefore, the return, the judgment and the immortalization of the saints has to precede that battle and the eclipses which are in April of 2014. That means our call is prior to April 2014 which could be at any time, for the judgment precedes those eclipses.
It is also a fact that the "indignation" that Isa. 26: 20 mentions is shown to be God's indignation against Israel (Isa. 10: 25), therefore, the saints, as soon as the resurrection occurs, are told to hide themselves (Psa. 83: 3 - "hidden Ones") and be ready for battle as soon as the indignation has ceased. Just a thought.
These comments are certainly material to our hope. These singular “signs” in the moon and sun mean something extremely important, we may be sure. There were four of these sets of “signs” described as “Jewish Tetrads” because they appeared on two specific holy days in the Jewish calendar.
The first three Jewish Tetrads were described as “blood moon” eclipses in the years 1492, 1948, and 1967. In every case, these appeared on Passover and on the Feast of Tabernacles for two consecutive years starting at those dates ... an occurrence that is astronomically UN-related to mere “chance” occurrences, these were DESIGNED to get our attention!
Why do we so claim? Because ALL those dates are extremely important to the Jewish people, around whom God’s divine plan certainly revolves, “For Israel is My son …” says the Father. And of Israel, He reveals, Ye are My witnesses (Isaiah 44: 10, 12; 44: 8).
The Year 1492 saw the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by the Catholic rulers Ferdinand and Isabella. At that time I understand that Spain had the largest concentration of Jews of any nation. That expulsion therefore was directed against not only the Jewish people of Spain but also the Jews of the world, in symbol. The most important nation/host of the Jews was telling them, “Get out! We don’t want you here anymore!”
In the same year, these same regents financed an expedition by Christobal Colombo westward to discover a new route to India. Instead, he discovered an entirely new “world” in the Western Hemisphere – two entire continents which subsequently furnished a safe haven for the Jews who had been so maltreated by their host nations in Europe.
The Year 1948 was important to the Jewish people as well – but in a completely opposite sense. In that year the United Nations Organization partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state by a polled vote of the Security Council.
The Arabs refused their state. Israel accepted its portion, but subsequently had to fight a savage war to retain it. And retain it they did! At the end, the Jewish people had claimed a great deal more territory than had been awarded it by the United Nations Partition Plan, and due to the lack of a peace treaty, Israel retained that land. It was the beginning of good fortune for the Jewish people as witnessed by the next several “hot” conflicts they engaged in with Arab attackers.
The Year 1967 – the next set of Jewish Tetrads – occurred in this and the year following. Only four blood moon eclipses, and all four on the next pair of holidays of Passover and Tabernacles! The “odds” were almost impossible for this to happen on yet four successive Jewish holidays – the SAME Jewish holidays as on prior occasions, and appearing four times in sequence! The celestial blackboard in the heavens was crying for Israel to “pay attention” My people, for I have great things in store for you!
What historical advance for Israel came in 1967? The Arab nations round about Israel again attacked Israel and forced it to fight a war it did not want, and did not initiate. Well … it DID initiate the war (with the destruction of the entire Egyptian air force in the opening hours of the fighting), but only after the vicious, homicidal threats of Gamal Abdul Nasser, the “president” (pronounced “dictator”) of Egypt at the time, made it imperative that the Jews defend themselves.
On June 7th of that Six Day War, the military forces of Israel flooded into the Old City of Jerusalem, liberating it from the Jordanian forces and driving them back into Jordan, capturing at the same time the entirety of the so-called “West Bank” of the Jordan River (Judea and Samaria), as well as the Golan Heights in the north and the Gaza Strip in the south. It was a superb victory for Israel, again increasing its territories by a large proportion, giving the returning People space to settle in their own Land! It is not inconsequential that June 7, 1967, was the exact termination of the prophecy of the 2300 Days of Daniel 8: 14 … a double land-mark of achievement!
But this liberating process is not yet complete.
Ahead lies the prophecies of Obadiah, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 35 and 63, Ezekiel 35, Psalm 83, Micah 5, and many other detailed actions which Israel must take in the near future. The way we view this process, the next set of wars we believe will bring the Consolation of Israel – the Lord, Jesus Christ – returning to save His people Israel from their overwhelming enemies (they are also God’s enemies!), to clear the land of foreigners from the Nile to the Euphrates Rivers, and to take His rightful place over Israel among the nations – a fitting inaugural to His universal Kingdom on the earth, beginning with the Abrahamic Inheritance located between those rivers and the adjacent seas.
That Return is the subject of our correspondent’s note quoted above. Our considered view is that the now mortal saints, then to be designated Saints (capital “S” indicating a change in their natures to immortal) shall accompany Christ in His intervention in the affairs of the nation of Israel. For ONLY He and they – constituted the “one man” of that day – may settle these differences. He shall do it arbitrarily, summarily, and with justice for all those who are involved.
John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, General James Haig, John Foster Dulles, Yitzak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, and David Ben Gurion, among several others, have in the past been ineffectual arbiters of the “peace” of Jerusalem related to the Arabs round about – being completely unable to negotiate with those aggressors – those “troublers” – of Israel in the End Time.
The end of these feckless efforts is at hand!
In our interpretation of the prophetic picture of that future day, Christ and His immortal Saints shall come suddenly, in a vast array of power and glory, intervening on Israel’s behalf in the trouble that shall be precipitated at that time. Christ’s solution shall be complete eradication of all the foreigners within Israel’s rightful Land Grant (the Abrahamic Land Grant of Genesis 12 et seq.).
Rabbi Meir Kahane of several years back suggested this as the only solution to the safety and peace of Israel – to drive out all the Arabs who are hostile. I believe even he was willing to allow peaceful “Israeli Arabs” to remain in the Land.
Not so with the Returned Christ! Zechariah 14:21 foretells that there shall be NO Canaanite in the house of the Lord in that day. But more comprehensively, Obadiah 1:18 foretells that there shall be NONE REMAINING of the house of Esau! … And Saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (verse 21).
Thus we perceive that those “saviours” are identifiable as the immortalized Saints of God (who else COULD they be?), Who accompany Christ in His foray into the enemy ranks of the nations round about Israel, an action designed swiftly to result in the “peace and safety” which Israel is assured to enjoy at the moment of the Gogian assault, which shall follow this war in short order (Ezekiel 38 and 39).
The moment of His Second Advent could be extremely near for the covenanted saints of God. Let us tend our lights, be washed, clothed, shod and staffed - ready to answer that Last Trumpet – that Last Shofar – which shall also be attended by the dead in Christ, who shall awaken from their sleep and arise to go, together with those who are alive, to His Judgment Seat. It is a sobering, yet exhilarating prospect – “with joy, if yet with fear” for our inadequacy. Let us have deep faith in His compassion, my dear friends, for He has also suffered as we have – but much moreso! <HEL MD/USA code 7M) ~1625 words.
Usage of the Name YAHWEH for the God of Israel in Today's World
A fellow student recently asked this question, which is certainly relevant to our community:
“Please don't take offense in my next question. Why do you not use our Father's name Yahweh when you write? Here where I live, when I am talking to a person who goes to a church they think you are talking about their Jesus when you use the word Lord in any part of scripture. Is not the name of Yahweh our Hope? He Who Will Be Mighty Ones.”
Here is my reply to that query, dated July 17, 2013 -
Dear Sis. _____:
I certainly take no "offense" at your question about the use of YAHWEH in our references to the God of Israel; but please let me explain why I almost never use the term.
I realize this consistent, endless use of "YAHWEH" is nearly a requirement for many today who are trying to be Biblically exact. The Jehovah's Witnesses have corrupted it to "Jehovah" and absolutely insist on that term. The Jews will not attempt to pronounce this holy name because they do not know HOW to pronounce it. So they substitute G-D for His name.
When we examine the facts, the usage of YAHWEH is itself, a corruption of the Word of God. Upon whose authority is the A and the E inserted into YHVH? And who changed the V to W? There are numerous combinations of vowels which could be substituted. Obviously, if one is determined to use this holy name of El Shaddai, they should use the tetragammaton, YHVH. You must be aware that there is no "W" in Hebrew. So YHWH is not correct - it is YHVH.
When our Lord Jesus was hanging on the stake, ready to expire, His final words were "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" meaning, as translated: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? I would like to ask the YAHWEH enthusiasts why our Lord did not say in this most critical moment, Yahweh, Yahweh, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Jesus' use of the term is a direct quotation from Psalm 22: 1. There, the word “God” is translated from "el" (not YHVH) - which is the most numerous name for our Father in the entire scriptures. I do not recall that any translation of the scriptures in my entire library contains the word YAHWEH - not even in footnotes.
Therefore, I look upon the practice as perhaps a subtle affectation for one to appear exclusive, and "in the know." By saying this, I am not being snooty or mean. It is an earnestly held opinion.I don't believe that many (any?) of one's "Christian" friends would recognize the name YAHWEH, and probably would immediately ask one to explain their usage of it. The reason they assume "LORD" even in the OT to be "Christ" is because they believe in the Trinity, believing many occurrences of LORD in the OT to refer to Christ when it most often refers to YHVH - a difficulty not of our manufacture.
So, in passages such as John 1: 1, why would John write "Theos" instead of "YAHWEH" if it is mandatory? Why would he not teach the Greek readers of his words the word YAHWEH (or YHVH), rather than resort to a Greek term for "a supreme magistrate, a diety, the supreme Divinity, or God," as Strong defines the word Theos.
It appears that whether we use “YHVH” (not the spurious YAHWEH) or “Lord,” we will in both cases have to explain our usage to "Christian" friends, which is a desirable effect in any case.
But the problem still remains: how does one pronounce YHVH without adding vowels? - And WHICH vowels may we add? We just don't know. So I resort to YHVH (not pronounced but spelled) when necessary; and if I have to explain it, that's good. But it is also accurate in my best estimate.
Having said all that, I hope you will not take exception to my reasoning. Perhaps it is imperfect, or honestly inadequate. But the complexity of this subject is very great. Let us believe that our Father will hold us harmless if we mistakenly MIS-pronounce His holy name. Sometime in the very near future, we shall be able to address our Lord Jesus personally; we should ask Him for the solution to our difficulty. And plead for His mercy if we have wrongly spoken or written.
I hope this reasoning adequately addresses your earnest concern. Yours is a well-received question, and we are glad to have an opportunity to respond to it - however inadequately or awkwardly explained!
With love in Christ,
Discussion of Daniel Eleven
May 9, 2013
I have a request …. I am studying with (two) adults. We are now in Daniel chapters 11 and 12. I do not understand chapter 11. I type up questions for the class then we all answer them before the next class. It's more of a verse by verse study just so they will learn how to study rather than just read. It's worked well until I got into something I don't even understand. I copied Joseph Arabia's article on Dan. 11 & 12, haven't read it yet but I think I could use some more help. There are too many different kings of the north and south for me to know who exactly each one is and they surely can't all be the same person. Is there another position paper about these chapters that would help?
Thanks so much … (signed ...)
OUR REPLY ...
Dear fellow student:
Your dilemma is a common one relating to Daniel 11. You're right ... there are so many kings of the north and south they are hard to figure out from scratch. But many smart people in the past have studied this chapter in great detail and have understood it quite well, in my opinion.
John Thomas and others have done the spade work for us. In this case, I'm willing to settle for their findings because almost all the chapter is history and the interpretation isn't critical to End Times observers.
If you have a copy of the Exposition of Daniel by John Thomas, just look at his commentary on Daniel 11. I believe he is "spot on" until he reaches verse 40. Dr. Thomas and other serious students including even Sir Isaac Newton have largely agreed on Daniel 11 to this point.
But from there to the end the events were prophesied to occur beyond these earlier expositors’ day (though not all of it) and they could not possibly have understood it in full.
Those last six verses deal with the Egyptian king of the South pushing at the Ottoman King of the North in the region around Damascus ("shall push at him"). This "push" angered the KofN (Ottomans - then new and very successful at the expansion game!) and they reacted with fury, killing the Egyptian Sultan and driving the Egyptians (who fell into disarray with the death of their leader), driving them south in hot pursuit through the Holy Land back to Egypt.
Six months after the original "push" against the KofN, the Ottoman forces defeated the Egyptians in Cairo and placed Egypt under tribute for 400 years, draining Egypt of its wealth by imposition of tribute year by year, which Egypt willingly paid. The Ottomans' power was so great they also placed Libya and Ethiopia (Hebrew "kuwsh" - and includes more than modern-day Ethiopia) and other nearby states under tribute by threat of invasion if they didn't "pay up." They did!
Thus, the Ottoman Empire became the custodians of the Holy Land on an almost passive basis (there was nothing of value there at that time!) for exactly 400 years: 1517 to 1917.
They were driven out of the entire Land, including the Euphrates/Tigris basins (resulting in the "drying up" of the Euphrates - Revelation 16:12), by the British forces under Allenby and T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia). The Ottomans at that decisive time shrunk back into the Anatolian peninsula where the Empire came to its end with none to help.
Gemal Ataturk renovated the Turkish nation, removing the burkas, changing the Turkish alphabet to a form other than Arabic script, and instituting democratic foundations for the resultant state, thus fulfilling perfectly the dicta that the KofN – the Ottoman Empire – would come to his end with none to help!
In my mind, this latter consideration is the most important (but not ONLY important) discussion of Daniel 11. The remainder is historical testimony to the perfect foresight (accuracy of prophecy) of the Almighty One, for it was all foretold before it happened, through Daniel.
Now ... as to these latter events, Joseph Arabia's article deals with all that in some detail and you will find it profitable reading, parallel with your Bible.
I also wrote a definitive article (definitive in my own mind!) on these interactions. I believe that article is on the earlier eTPL web site but am not sure. If you don't find it there, please let me know and I'll forward a b/w copy of it so you can print it easily. Yes ... I just checked that site and the article was posted March, 2011, and is "Why Ezekiel 38/39 and Daniel 11: 40-45 are Different Prophecies," by Jonathan Farrar. Please refer to it.
If you still have questions after all the above, please contact me and we’ll try to further our understanding together.
With love in Christ, and the honor of His service,
Harold <HEL code 5M>
A Reader’s Thoughts on I Thessalonians 5: 3
By the late Calvin Dodl, Richmond, Virginia
“If you will turn now to I Thessalonians 4: 13, I want to read through 5: 11.
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.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 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:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1Th 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1Th 5:3 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.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1Th 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
“In this series of verses, Paul is talking to believers about the return of Christ. In chapter 4, he is speaking about what will happen to the brethren, how that the dead are called first to the Judgment Seat of Christ, followed by those who are alive. Then, in chapter 5, he addresses the brethren again, (telling them) that at the time of the end, that we must watch and be sober.
“A question arises in verse 3. Who are the ‘they’ who say ‘peace and safety?’ And who are the ‘them’ who have sudden destruction coming upon them? We have read 17 consecutive verses, all concerning events of the last day.
“My question to you is, does not verse 3 apply to brethren as well? Many (writers) pull verse 3 out of this context, and apply it to the current peace process (1996).
“Is this justifiable?
“Again, who are the ‘they’ and the ‘them?’
“If this verse is talking about the current peace process, then it would appear to me that they and them are representative of both sides, since the pronouns are in the plural. What, then, would be the destruction that comes upon both sides at the same time?
“Could it be the return of Christ to call His household?
“If you think, ‘Yes,’ then what effect would this have on the Arabs and on Israel?
“In my view, the return of Christ does not have an immediate impact upon these two peoples.
“Could it be that while they are talking of peace and safety, that the sudden destruction that comes upon them is the invasion by Gog/the King of the North? (sic)
“In my view, there does not appear to be sufficient evidence that Israel, right now (1996), has the necessary spoils to bring Gog and all the nations to Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zechariah chapters 12 and 13.
“Now, let me bring to your attention what I think is a more plausible explanation of I Thessalonians 5: 3. Paul, in the 17 verses that we read, is talking to believers of the time of the end. In chapter 4 he talks about the procedure for appearing before the Judgment Seat; and in chapter 5 he speaks of watching faithfully for the manifestation of the Son of God from the heavens.
“In verse 1 (he says) YE have no need that I write ... In verse 2, FOR YOURSELVES know perfectly … In verse 4, YE BRETHREN are not in darkness … In verse 5, YE children of light … children of day … In verse 6, let US not sleep … In verse 8, let US of the day work out our salvation …
“All these verses pertain to active believers at the time of the end. Does this mean, then, that Paul does not recognize that there will be believers who will not be watching at the time of the end? Not by any means! Peter stated that there would be those who would say ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’
“Now … what did I leave out? Look first at verse 7: For THEY who sleep, sleep in the night, and THEY who are drunken are drunken in the night. I suggest to you that the THEY of verse 7 is the same THEY and THEM of verse 3. These are believers who are not children of the day; they are children of the night. There is a connection, however, to the peace process, as these believers, who know about the talking of peace and safety, will be lulled further into being brethren in darkness. To these brethren, Christ’s return will be as a thief in the night.
“When you read these 17 verses in this context, it all makes perfectly good sense. For further support of this thought, I refer you to Matthew 24: 48-51: But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord doth delay His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of. And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ This class of believers then is like unto the five foolish virgins.
“As watchmen, then, we must be faithful to our charge. In Habakkuk 2: 1-3, I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’”
[Editor’s note: Reprinted from TPL, Dec., 1996. This article is presented as pertinent commentary by a dear friend speaking 17 years ago, who we believe gave a sensible perspective to these often-discussed words of Paul to the brethren at Thessalonica … and to us, today.] <HEL MD/USA 5M> 1310 words.