A couple of extremely smart Omega Shock readers asked an important question that I hadn’t dealt with in literally decades. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about it, in all that time. I had just assumed that it would be completely obvious. Of course, this means that I had no ready answer.
Here was how the question was initially worded:
I still don’t get it that Israel has to get saved before the AC is revealed.
I love tough questions, and the author of the above has given me some difficult ones in the past – in addition to pointing out other errors in my writing. I greatly appreciate such input.
Why People Do Not Understand The Salvation of Israel
So, why is confusion over the salvation of Israel so universal?
For most of the past two millennia, the subject of Israel’s salvation just wasn’t important. The struggle of daily life-in-Christ was hard enough, without having to figure out the return of Israel, and their salvation. The Land of Israel was an awful place run by violent, villainous and barbarous Muslims, so the idea of this fulfillment of prophecy was just… unimaginable. And, it was unimaginable, right up to the 20th century.
But today, the Children of Jacob have returned to the Land of Israel, and there are Christian Israelis sharing the gospel with other Israelis. And, I have seen with my own eyes that the Body of Christ is growing in Israel. So now, the unimaginable is perfectly imaginable.
But still, no one wants to talk about it.
It’s The Books
Well it’s because of all the books written by doctor this or doctor that – PhDs who ALSO don’t talk about the salvation of Israel. And those who DO talk about the salvation of Israel – get it wrong.
So let me talk about the three main groups who seem to get this idea all mixed up.
- The dispensationalists believe that Israel will go back to the Law of Moses, with a Temple and blood sacrifices. I’m sure that there are different nuances to their belief, but essentially they say that the dispensation of Christ will end – with the Jews returning to the old one, or some version of it.
- The amillennialists spiritualize everything and claim that every reference to Israel, is a reference to us – Christians. To them, there is no need for the salvation of Israel, because all followers of Christ have replaced Israel.
- The postmillennialists believe that we are already in the Millennium – ruling and reigning with Christ – so it doesn’t matter anyway.
Those Christians who fall into one of the above, automatically don’t feel any need or have an interest in the topic of the Salvation of Israel. Those of us who do not fall into one of the above… well …we are such a small group that no one writes books or has a loud enough voice to be heard.
The Old Testament
In fact, outside of my articles, you might never have heard of the prophecies talking about Israel’s salvation. Part of that reason lies in the fact that we concentrate on the New Testament. The Old Testament is… well …old.
Who needs the Old Testament?
Well, Paul said that we ALL need it:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
When Paul wrote that, the New Testament did not exist. Therefore he was telling Timothy to read the Old Testament.
Okay, all of that is an introduction to the eight parts of my explanation for WHY Israel must be saved before the Great Tribulation.
Answer, Part One – Burden Of Proof
Some believe that Israel – the physical descendants of Jacob – will not be saved. If you are such a person, I’m amazed that you’ve gotten this far into this book. Keep reading. You’ll see a lot more evidence of the absolute determination of God to bring Israel back into a personal relationship with Him – through Jesus Christ.
So, the question isn’t WHETHER Israel gets saved, but WHEN. Or, to put it another way…
At what point – in the order of the events of the Last Days – does this salvation of Israel occur?
In fact, when looking at those scriptures that describe a list of events in the Last Days – we don’t see where to place The Salvation of Israel in that list – and no, the sealing of the 144 thousand young virgin men is NOT the salvation of Israel. (I’ll talk about the 144 thousand, later.) Yet, the prophecies of the spiritual salvation of Israel are all over the Bible, so it IS important.
The Pace Of Events
So, let me ask you about the pace of events in the Last Days:
Where do we see events moving quickly?
Towards the end.
In fact, when the Antichrist arises, we are just a few years away from the return of Jesus and the beginning of the Millennium. And, all of you should have some understanding of how long it takes to reach spiritual maturity – after you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Such a process is NOT compatible with the rapid series of events described in the Book of Revelation.
So, if you wish to say that Israel is saved just before the rise of the Antichrist – or during such a rise – the burden of proof is on YOU. Salvation is not like some ‘quickie marriage’.
Salvation is about a new birth in Christ. And, because God loves us, each of us is given time to drink the milk of the word, and then mature to the deeper things of God – the meat. That is the experience of each and every one of us.
So, why do we assume that God will not give this experience to Israel?
If God loves Israel so much – and He does – why would He NOT give them time to mature?
Well, the answer is that God DOES give Israel as much time as they need, to mature into the kind of grown men and women of God that I hope that you and I are. And, Israel will need every bit of that spiritual growth and maturity to withstand the evil doctrines of the Antichrist.
The Burden Of Proof
So yes, the burden of proof lies squarely upon those who wish to prove that Israel must be saved around the time of the rise of the Antichrist, or afterwards.
And no, there is no such proof to be found in the Bible.
So, why would anyone conclude that Israel would be saved AFTER the Tribulation begins?
The reason why so many continue to conclude that Israel is saved after the Tribulation begins… is because of this Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory that has infected the churches, since 1811. I’ve already demonstrated that it’s a lie, and – if you’ve read this far – you at least see some merit to my point. But, even if you are in wholehearted agreement with me on this lie, you still harbor all the other supporting elements to this lie – without knowing it.
Even when you decisively disprove and repudiate a lie such as this, you still need to clean up the foul mess of errors that were used to support this lie.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory teaches that Israel is saved AFTER the Tribulation begins. And, it teaches this because if Israel is saved BEFORE the Tribulation, then the Pretrib Theory is… well …a lie. And, when such a lie is taught for two centuries, it takes on a life of its own, distorting the interpretation of scripture and creating new lies.
(I also talk about how the Pre-Trib Lie
messes up the Biblical timeline,
when I talk about the Prophecy Clock.)
One of those ‘new lies’ is the belief that salvation for Jewish people is somehow different than salvation for non-Jewish people. This lie was vital for the success of the pretrib theory. It is an example of the need to add a lie to support another lie – and so on.
Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself, as I always do. So, hold that thought for a moment as I try to finish the first part of my answer.
Setting The Default Position
Just remember that we have allowed a non-Biblical entity to change the default proposition – via the pretrib lie. Many assume that we must prove that the salvation of Israel is NOT during the Tribulation, or even afterwards, during the Millennium.
I say the opposite.
The default position should be that of Israel being saved BEFORE the Tribulation.
The burden of proof lies upon those who believe otherwise.
Another way of saying that is:
What proof is there that Israel is saved AFTER the Tribulation begins?
Of course, the answer is none, but we still need to find scripture that backs up this ‘default position’. So, let’s look at Jerusalem.
Answer, Part Two – Jerusalem
Even though I currently live in Taipei, I consider Jerusalem to be home, and I find that ancient city to be utterly fascinating. The Bible has its focus there. Everyone wants to possess Jerusalem. Everyone in the world has some view about that city. And no one understands why.
Seriously. Jerusalem is a complete mystery – even to me.
Anyone who claims to truly understand why Jerusalem is so important, either doesn’t understand the question, is lying, or is deceived. Either way, you should never trust ANYONE who claims to know the complete truth about why God chose Jerusalem.
I spent 15 years living there, and most of my life studying that city and the spiritual and geopolitical ramifications. And, even I cannot say that I understand the complete truth about Jerusalem. All that I have is the Bible and my own speculations.
Yes, yes, I know all the passages about the importance of Jerusalem – the footstool, etc. But, none of that tells us WHY.
Why not some place like Indianapolis? Or, Beijing?
Well, God doesn’t actually say why, other than the fact that it was chosen BEFORE God chose Abraham and his descendants. For some reason, God chose THAT PLACE and then brought Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to THAT PLACE. And, THAT PLACE will be the center of the Millennium.
So, let’s look at THAT PLACE by opening the Bible and starting with the words of Jesus.
The Words Of Jesus
In Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13, the disciples talked about how wonderful the Temple was. Then, Jesus knocked all the wind out of their sails by describing the destruction of Jerusalem, and how not one stone would be left upon another. This terrified and astonished His disciples. So, they asked Him about the destruction of Jerusalem – and His return.
As a part of His answer, Jesus said this:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
(The ‘they’ in that verse is the Jews.)
Of course, Jesus said a lot of other things in His description of the last two millennia, but I want to focus on that verse, above. Here’s the part that we MUST pay attention to, in terms of our discussion:
…until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
I don’t know about you, but this phrase is mind-blowing. It means that a promise – or intention – was given to non-Jews, until that promise or intention was complete.
How else are you to interpret that word fulfilled?
I mean, you fulfill promises. You fulfill intentions. You fulfill requirements.
What else is there?
Worse, that word ‘fulfilled’ indicates a completion. It means that a promise has been completed or finished. It means that something is now over.
What is over?
A period of time allotted to those who are not Jews.
A period of time for what?
Some might say ‘control of Jerusalem’, but my spirit rebels at this interpretation – especially in light of current events. We have turned our back on God, so God has turned His back on us.
When was the time of the Gentiles fulfilled?
June 7th, 1967
I have already written about Jewish control of Jerusalem, and I will write more later. Suffice it to say that Jerusalem really is under the complete control of Israel. And yes, Israel really is Jewish, and they really ARE children of Jacob. Those of you who wish to say otherwise, will need to provide real proof, and not the vague hand-waving that most use for ‘proof’.
(And, think about the spiritual decline of our churches, since that time.)
So, the time of the Jews has begun…
…wouldn’t that indicate that their spiritual salvation occurs somewhere during this time?
It certainly does to me, but I’ll leave it for you to decide.
Let’s move on to my third point.
Answer, Part Three – The Ezekiel Tetrad
Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: For this, moreover, will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them: I will increase them with men like a flock. As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.
I don’t know about you, but this does NOT sound like the Tribulation. It sounds like peace and safety. And, this isn’t the Millennium, because the Millennium begins AFTER the First Resurrection. I’ll talk more on this later, but remember that there are only two resurrections, and you are only ‘blessed and holy’ – if you are in the first one. So, you have a little problem if we are going to fit the above passage into the Tribulation, or the Millennium.
But, let’s move further into the Ezekiel Tetrad.
In Ezekiel 37, it says:
And my servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in mine ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them.
I think that you can probably guess why I really, REALLY like this part.
Who is this David?
Is this literally King David, risen from the dead?
For those of you who are actually LISTENING to the Holy Spirit, it is easy to see that this is referring to the THRONE of David, or – more accurately – the one who rightfully sits on it.
Who is that person?
Some will want to claim that this is proof that it is the Millennium, but that is completely foolish and preposterous. Remember that there are only two resurrections.
The Resurrection Of The Just
In fact, let me talk about that here. Jesus spoke of our resurrection, here:
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Hmmmm… the resurrection of the just.
What is this resurrection of the just?
Well, Revelation speaks of it, here:
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.
Combine those two verses together, and you get Just, Blessed and Holy for those in the first resurrection. This would seem to indicate that those who are NOT in the First Resurrection are NOT Just, NOT Blessed and NOT Holy.
There are only two resurrections spoken of in the Bible. The first resurrection, and the second. In the first resurrection, all those who are in God’s kingdom will rise from the dead. Those who are not, will remain dead until the end of the millennium.
The first resurrection occurs BEFORE the Millennium begins, and there is no way that God would not include Israel in this first resurrection.
My devout hope and prayer is that you will be in the first resurrection. Nothing good happens to those in the second resurrection.
Answer, Part Four – Romans 11
Now, let’s turn to what Paul says:
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Okay, THAT is the salvation of the physical descendants of Jacob.
Who will do this?
The Deliverer, Jesus.
WHEN will He do this?
When the fulness of the gentiles comes in.
When did this fulness happen?
June 7, 1967 – when Jerusalem was captured
Here’s the relevant verse, again:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Israel was automatically ‘saved’, but it does mean that the era of their salvation has come – and when the Prophecy Clock starts ticking.
Answer, Part Five – Hebrews 8
And, for those who think that Israel will turn back to the Law, think again. Read Hebrews 8. That chapter is a powerful indictment to all who want Israel to return to the sacrifice of bulls and goats for their salvation and righteousness.
The perfect covenant was made in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no greater covenant, and there is no other covenant by which men and women can be saved.
Prove to me that there is a greater salvation than Jesus Christ.
Even having to write that sentence is horrifying to me. Anything that takes away from that foundation laid by God, is complete and damnable heresy.
Answer, Part Six – Revelation 12
I find Revelation 12 to fascinating, as well as offering hope that we will be able to escape the Antichrist. I like hope, and will grab ahold of any legitimate form of it – every chance that I get.
Revelation 12 centers around a woman.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
The twelve stars tell us that this is Israel. And, we have a bit of confirmation with verse five:
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
She then flees into the wilderness. I have some suspicions, but I’m not completely certain what the ‘wilderness’ is, other than that she is protected in it for 1,260 days.
Who is the child?
Well, that is an easy one:
Therefore, this is confirmation that the woman with 12 stars is true-blue, through-and-through, physical Israel.
Then, there’s this:
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
(I’ve always wondered how you could have a war in heaven. I’m sure that God will tell us, when we get there.)
God’s angels are victorious in their war with Satan, and that vile being is cast to Earth – out of heaven. The next few verses indicate that God’s people were also victorious – because we willing died for Christ.
Then, there is this verse:
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
So, there will come a point in time when Satan and his angels are thrown out of heaven, and Satan will then do his very best to kill and destroy the people of Earth.
Has this happened yet?
I don’t think so. If it HAS happened, then it is fairly recent. Of course, events are beginning to accelerate, so… we’ll see.
But, here is the point when it will become clear:
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
You might make a case that this happened in the Holocaust. But, it is verse 14 that clarifies when this happens:
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
That phrase, ‘time, and times, and half a time’ should give you all the clues that you need to place this moment in time:
The Antichrist will begin The Tribulation by trying to kill those Israelis who have chosen to follow Christ.
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
For some reason, the Antichrist is unable to go after those who flee into the wilderness. So, he turns his vile attention to those Christians living in the rest of the world.
My Hopefulness In Revelation 12
Now, I mentioned hope at the beginning of this section of text about Revelation 12:
Why does Revelation 12 give me some hope?
Because that chapter demonstrates that there are limits to the power of the Antichrist.
What those limits are – and why – is hard to figure out. But, it gives me some basis for thinking that there might be other places in the world that will be able to escape the Antichrist.
Having said that, the Bible only speaks of ONE PLACE, and that is this wilderness that Revelation 12 is talking about. My hope is that you will be able to get to this ‘wilderness’.
Israel Saved BEFORE Revelation 12
Now, why do I include this under the topic of Israel being saved before the Tribulation?
Because, before The Woman (Israel) can flee into the wilderness, she must be in covenant relationship with God – otherwise, she could not BE the woman. She must be saved. These are not unsaved Israelis who flee into the wilderness. These are followers of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.
Furthermore, all the prophesies in the Old Testament indicate that Israel will be saved WHILE THEY ARE IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL. Therefore, they CANNOT be saved while they are in the wilderness – after having LEFT Israel.
Let me make this point extra clear:
- The prophecies about the salvation of Israel ALL show that Israel enters the Land of Israel BEFORE THEY ARE SAVED.
- All the prophecies about the salvation of Israel show them being saved IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL – not in a wilderness.
- Therefore, the Children of Israel MUST BE SAVED BEFORE REVELATION 12.
This means that there will have been a moment in time, before this event, when they will be saved. And as I described previously, it cannot be immediately prior to the coming of the Antichrist.
The question of HOW MUCH time that Israel will have before the coming of the Antichrist is hard to say. But, when you look at all the other evidence of Israel’s salvation… well …it should be clear that this salvation happens several YEARS before the Antichrist comes. It doesn’t have to be many, but it DOES need to be at least ‘a few’.
A Question About Zechariah 12:10
Now, one Omega Shock reader went on to ask about Zechariah 12:10. Here is his excellent question:
Where in this sequence of events is Zech12:10? Here is what confuses me – isn’t the appearance of the real Jesus on earth, to defend them, tied into the salvation of Israel? And if they get saved by recognizing their real Messiah, then how does the AC get entwined in all this for 7 more years?
Here is the relevant verse:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Here is my response to what he said…
The word for ‘look’ there is not ‘see’. It is הביט (pronounced hee’beet) and not ראה (pronounced ra’ah).
(Please note that I am giving the Hiph’il root construction,
for the purposes of explanation and not exactly as used in the verse.)
I consider the difference between hee’beet and ra’ah to be important.
Take a look at a Strongs analysis of the word hee’beet. You can see it here:
(By the way, their verb structure and pronunciation guide appears to be different from mine. The word נבט should be pronounced neh-vet in the Pi-el form. However, they claim differently. Maybe the issue lies in Modern vs. Biblical Hebrew – or, my ignorance.)
Notice how the word is used in the Bible:
beheld (1), behold (1), beholds (2), consider (2), depend (1), depended (1), gaze (1), gazed (1), look (34), look down (2), looked (11), looks (4), observe (1), observed (1), pay attention (1), regard (2), see (3)
That allows us to understand the usage as ‘consider’, ‘pay attention’ or ‘regard’. I say ‘allows us’ because we must be guided by the context of this verse and other verses.
Notice what this verse is talking about:
The salvation of Israel – IN JESUS CHRIST.
Not salvation in the Law.
Remember that The Mosaic covenant was only useful as an introduction to Christ. Paul called it our ‘school master’. So, when God saves Israel… it will be through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like you and like me. But wait… the worship of God during the Millennium appears to be vastly different than how WE worship God.
Here’s the verse:
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
But read also verses 17-21. (In fact, read ALL of Zech 14.)
Does that sound like the worship of Jesus Christ?…
…As WE worship Him?
No. It sounds like a form of The Mosaic Law.
Is THIS how God wants His children to worship Him?
No. OF COURSE NOT!!
Zechariah 14 is about the end of the Tribulation, the return of Jesus with the saints and the Millennium. It is clearly NOT about the spiritual salvation of Israel.
The spiritual salvation of Israel happens BEFORE the Millennium. BEFORE Jesus returns with His saints.
How much before?
Long enough ‘before’ so that this can happen:
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Read the whole chapter, here:
I firmly believe that the salvation of Israel MUST occur before Revelation 12:14. Must. They MUST already be followers of Jesus Christ. The preparation in the wilderness MUST be made in advance of Revelation 12:14.
Lots of ‘Musts’ there.
Answer, Part Seven – The 144,000
Lots of foolishness has been written about the one hundred and forty four thousand. So, let me lay something to rest at the outset:
These are men.
They are virgins.
They are NOT Gentiles.
There are ONLY 144 thousand of them.
So, let’s talk about them.
We see them first, here in Revelation 7:
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
And no, please-Please-PLEASE do not tell me that America is Ephraim, Britain is Judah, or anything else like that. We are all gentiles. We are NOT physical children of Israel. Paul speaks of us as wild branches grafted in, and NOT the natural olive branches – in Romans 11.
We also see the 144,000 here:
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
How You Get 144 Thousand Virgin Men
There’s a little problem when you starting thinking about those 144 thousand virgin men.
Where are you going to get them?
And again, please don’t play games with the Bible. It says 144 thousand virgin men, and that means males that have never had sex. It means that they are not women. And, they are descendants of Jacob.
THESE ARE NOT GENTILES!
Sorry to shout like that, but I am so very tired of those who wish to twist the Bible. If the Bible says that something is so… then it is so.
Again, where are you going to get these 144 thousand?
Well, they’ve gotta come from Israel – or at least the children of Israel. But, the numbers of the children of Israel are quite small. There are only 15 million Jews in the world.
How many virgin men can you get out of 15 million?
Well, obviously enough.
Furthermore, Ezekiel’s Fire will knock out electricity over most of the globe – maybe even all of it. It will take years for the world to recover enough to enable the Antichrist to take over. In fact, the Antichrist might even be the one who helps the world recover. If the Antichrist helps bring high-tech civilization back to the world, it certainly would make him famous and make the world grateful. But, I digress.
Those years will enable Israel to develop to spiritual maturity, so that the 144,000 men of Revelation 7 will be able to fulfill the task set for them. In Revelation 14, we find out that these men are virgins, and it appears that they will go out to preach the gospel – although, we should be careful here, because the chapter does not explicitly say that these men will do that.
My point is that there must be a sizable number of Christians in Israel for there to be 144,000 virgin men to be sealed by God.
So, the salvation of Israel MUST be before the coming of the Antichrist, and it must be long enough so that the world can recover sufficiently for the Antichrist to arise – and so that 144 thousand virgin men can fulfill their service to God.
Answer, Part Eight – A Closer Look At Old Testament Prophecy
Now, let’s turn to the Old Testament, where you will find the majority of those prophecies about the return of Israel to God. And, we have great confidence in what the Old Testament tells us, because our God does not change. Therefore…
…The promises made in the Old Testament are alive and well today.
I won’t go through all of them, but there are a few that speak loudest about the situation that Israel will find herself, when she is saved – and afterwards.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.
I will go into more detail about Isaiah 30 later in this book, so I just want to talk about verse 21, which I highlighted above:
What is that verse talking about?
And why does God guide Isaiah to mention it?
Well, maybe I can answer that with another question:
What is different about spiritual life now, as opposed to spiritual life during the Old Testament?
That is still a pretty tough question, so let me quote Jesus:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
That’s right. We’re talking about the Holy Spirit.
Of course, the Holy Spirit dwelt within many during Old Testament times, but apparently not like today.
Now, when Jesus returns and rules for a thousand years from Jerusalem:
Will the inhabitants of the Earth depend upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide them?
Well, not much is written about the Millennium, so we can’t speak with any authority on the subject. But, with the Lord Jesus Christ physically and visibly reigning over all the Earth… I would have to say that the guidance of the people would be far more overt and obvious than ‘a word behind thee’.
If nothing else, the character of the guidance by God, that we experience today – meaning, a word behind thee – will not be like the experience in the Millennium.
Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city:
Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;
15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
Yet another example of the character of the salvation of Israel in the Last Days:
Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high
Except in individual incidences – such as with King David, King Saul, Moses, etc. – the Holy Spirit was not poured out upon the followers of God during the time of the Old Testament. What Isaiah 32 describes is something different than they experienced during the days of the Patriarchs and the Prophets – a difference that we experience, today.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:
If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.
I think that the above passage sounds extremely familiar to those of us who follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It will be a NEW COVENANT, the same new covenant that you and I follow.
I’m quoting all of Micah 5, and will specifically discuss the verses in bold:
Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
– Micah 5
There are lots of woe and WHOA! here, so let’s get into that – starting with verse three:
Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
The first two verses of Micah 5 are easily understood as referring to Jesus. That is the ‘he’ and the ‘his’ in verse three.
Who is the ‘them’?
Well, it’s not Bethlehem.
Could it be the thousands of Judah?
It really must be. Either that, or it is referring to Israel – mentioned in verse 2. There is no other ‘them’ in verse two. And, Hebrew is extremely precise about such things.
Now, here’s the really interesting question:
Who are remnant of his brethren?
That’s an easy one:
YOU and ME.
That’s right. WE are the remnant of the brethren of Christ. I know that this sounds almost blasphemous, but it’s true.
We can see a clarification of this special relationship, here:
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
What we are seeing here, in verse three of Micah 5, is the coming of Christians to draw Israel to Christ. And, they will be successful, because the time will be right for their return to God.
Verse four speaks about the gospel being spread throughout the world, and it may refer to Israeli Christians spreading that gospel. Or, it may just refer to the fact that the gospel has been spread around the world – even as it has, to this day. Then, we get to verses five and six:
And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
Interesting stuff in those two verses.
Who is this man?
Well, it’s the same ‘man’ in verse three:
And, when you look at the result of ‘Gog and Magog’ in Zechariah 12 and Zechariah 13, you definitely see peace – the peace of our Lord and Savior. Jesus really WILL be The Peace, when Gog and Magog comes down.
Of course, Micah doesn’t say ‘Gog and Magog’. Micah says:
Who is this Assyrian?
I’m not really sure. It could be that the remnants of the Assyrians are part of the coming of that vast army led by Gog and Magog. Or, it could be the result of the conflict that is happening now, in Syria and Iraq, in the areas where Assyria used to control.
As of this writing, ISIS and other Islamic rebels are fighting in Syria. And, the Kurds, who live in the area that the Assyrians once controlled are pushing back – hard.
Are the Kurds the Assyrians that this passage talks about?
Or, does the federation described in Isaiah 19 – with the Assyrians – break down, resulting in an invasion of Israel by these Assyrians?
It’s hard to say, but you can bet that Israel would push back against ANY invader. And, they would not stop pushing them, until they were destroyed. We will have to see.
Moving on in Micah 5, we see that verse seven speaks of the descendants of Israel having been spread abroad – as they are today. And then, we get to verse eight and nine:
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
For thousands of years, the Jewish people have been weak and persecuted. It has only been during the 1900s that the Jews gained any power at all. Yes, there have been a few ‘blips’ in the radar of history, but – generally speaking – they had very little power or influence.
That has changed.
Now, many men and women of power and influence are Jewish – in fact, far far greater than their numbers. Israel also has a far greater sphere of influence and power than her size would suggest.
The enemies of the Jews – and of Israel – have been soundly defeated. This has led to a great deal of whining by the anti-Semites, but such whining is to be expected from the vile and evil who have been so thoroughly defeated. And, I rejoice in the fact that these whining, sniveling racists have been so thoroughly beaten. Such pathetic fools have justifiably earned the contempt of God.
And, the rest of the verses? Ten through fifteen?
They are clearly and absolutely about Ezekiel’s Fire:
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
I’ve already talked about how Ezekiel’s Fire will destroy the electronics in cars and military equipment. Most solar flares don’t do that, but this one will be far more than just a ‘solar flare’.
What we haven’t talked about yet, is the earthquake. We’ll get into this when we go in-depth with Isaiah 30. But, the key verse about this earthquake is this one:
And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
This earthquake will be so big that underground streams and aquifers will be rerouted. And every high building will collapse. In fact, everything standing will fall down.
And why is verse 25 important?
Because it comes before the key verse about this solar flare:
Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.
THAT is a MASSIVE solar flare, coupled with a MASSIVE earthquake. EVERYTHING will be knocked down. And, there is evidence of at least some connection between solar flares and earthquakes.
Oh, and we aren’t finished with Micah 5, yet. I have ‘neglected’ to mention the last verse:
And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
THAT is Ezekiel’s Fire, too. Except for The Great Flood, never in the history of the world, will there have been such a huge amount of destruction across the globe – in one day, at one time. The only question is whether there will be very many who will escape this cataclysm.
But, notice the context.
This is NOT the triumphant return of Jesus. This is not the coming of the Antichrist. In fact, we do not see any ‘Antichrist’ here. That vile person will come later – along with even MORE destruction.
I could go on and on, but I must leave you to read for yourself. As you do that, take a moment to look at these passages:
I will refer to those later, but one thing is clear…
Israel MUST Be Saved Years BEFORE The Great Tribulation
So, think about my answers to those who would tell you that Israel will be saved just before the Antichrist comes, or at the return of Jesus:
- The Burden of Proof is on them
- Jerusalem is the Key
- Ezekiel 36, Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39 all point to Israel being saved a considerable time before the Antichrist arrives
- Romans 11 talks about the salvation of Israel when the fullness of the Gentiles have come in – and NOT the Antichrist
- In Hebrews 8 it is completely clear that Israel WILL NOT return to the sacrifice of bulls and goats, for their salvation
- Revelation 12 firmly indicates an Israel that has been saved BEFORE the Antichrist arrives
- The sealing of the 144,000 show us that Israel MUST be saved BEFORE the Tribulation begins
- And then, the prophets in the Old Testament confirm the circumstances of the salvation of Israel
The Demonstration Of God
There is one more thing that I want to add. It’s not a proof. But, it is a powerful reason.
With all the evil that is coming upon the world, it is easy to think that the Antichrist is about to arrive. But, that is not what the Bible says. The Bible says that Israel must be saved first, and it makes sense that this is true.
Remember also that God does not send a judgment without a warning. And, I cannot think of a greater demonstration of the existence of God – and of His power – than Ezekiel’s Fire and the salvation of Israel in Christ. It will be God’s way of showing the world – one last time – that He is God. God will show His power and His might, and so the world will have no excuse when they reject Him and follow the Antichrist.
God always warns, and that warning is coming.
It’s Coming Soon
All of the above – and more – tell me that we should expect Ezekiel’s Fire to come several years before the Antichrist proclaims himself. So please take this to heart. This is not some idle threat that may never arrive.
Ezekiel’s Fire is as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise.
It won’t be here tomorrow, next week or next month. But, when I start to think in years… well …I must pause. It might not happen in 2017…
…but, the year after?
It very well could be. The time really is that short.
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