HEADINGS ON THIS PAGE
1. ATTENTION ISRAEL 8. JEWISH HOLOCAUST DENIERS 15. HUMAN RIGHTS vs. GOD’S RIGHTS
2. DEFINING JEWISHNESS 9. SATAN IS THE PERSECUTOR 16. GOOD COP, BAD COP
3. SPIRITUAL CIRCUMCISION 10. TO THE JEW FIRST 17. JESUS REVEALED TO HIS BROTHERS
4. JEWISH PRIDE 11. BLESSED FIRST, JUDGED FIRST 18. WHAT WILL THE KINGDOM BE LIKE?
5. DEBATE ABOUT CIRCUMCISION 12. SOLD FOR ALCOHOL & SEX 19. A WARNING TO GENTILES
6. TWO ISRAELS 13. WATCHING ISRAEL TWIST IN THE WIND 20. AN INVITATION TO JEWS
7. TWO ERRORS IN THE CHURCH 14. JEWISH RACISM? 21. IDENTIFYING THE PLAYERS
BIBLE QUOTATIONS ARE FROM THE OLD KING JAMES VERSION, WITH MODIFICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
Before beginning this web page, I need to say one thing to my Jewish visitor: ‘You think that Jesus is dead; He is not! Jesus is your ‘Joseph’. Some of the sons of Israel turned their Brother over to the Gentiles to be put to death 2000 years ago. Now most Jews believe that He no longer exists.
Jesus, like Joseph, suffered patiently for crimes which He did not commit. Also, like Joseph, He was ‘resurrected’ from the ‘prison’ of His sufferings. He is now seated at the right hand of His Father, the great ‘Pharaoh’ of the universe, and is working behind the scenes as Joseph did, using the world’s animosity toward the Jews to bring His brethren to their senses. Jesus has put His ‘cup’ in Israel’s sack (Genesis 44).
JOSEPH HATED BY HIS BROTHERS, CAST INTO A PIT (Genesis 37:24)
Each one of us, as individual men and women, must account for our own sins and crimes, and not the sins of our ‘fathers’. But Israel, as a nation, will not know peace and the blessings of Abraham until it has ‘connected the dots’, going back to its ‘Book’ in humility, and acknowledging that all of the curses that Moses and the prophets warned about, have been poured out upon the Jewish people over the past 2000 years. You need to stop talking about the horrid crimes of the ‘Christian world’, and take an honest look at the original roots of your national dilemma.
I know that I will be rejected by Jews, Christians and others for saying these things; but the words of Moses and the prophets, and of Jesus and His apostles, stand out like a mighty rock that has stood the test of time, and will prevail in the end. The Jewish nation that Jesus will save when He returns will be a humble nation, looking upon the One whom they have pierced and mourning over their past treatment of Him (Zechariah 12:10). Given the stiff-necked refusal of the Jewish people to obey their God throughout their history, continuing in to this day, it will be a wonder to the whole world that the God of Israel will restore their nation at all. Israel’s deliverance will be a testimony to God’s unspeakable grace; not to any inherent Jewish worthiness.
I know that you are tired of hearing this. I realize that it has often been professing Christians who have called you ‘Christ-killers’ as they have impoverished you, tortured you and killed you. But just as there are evil Jews who will be damned, so also there are evil Christians who will be damned. You need to get past this, and not let their hypocrisy turn you away from your own Messiah. If you fail to exercise discernment here, these enemies of Christ will have managed to curse you twice over; first to desolate your country and shed Jewish blood for 2000 years, and then secondly, to deceive you about Christianity and damn you eternally. Such is Satan’s ‘diabolical’ way. It’s your choice.
I know that my words will fall upon many deaf Jewish ears. That does not trouble me. Your Brother will not fail. All of the wisdom, power and wealth of the universe are at His disposal, just as they once belonged to Joseph. Just as Joseph blessed his brothers because they were Jacob’s children, so Jesus is going to bless Israel and many Jews because they are the children of Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah (as well as many other faithful Jewish ‘fathers’ from Israel’s past). The only unanswered question is ‘Will you be a part of that blessing, or will you exclude yourself from it?’ Will you take it upon yourself to learn more about Jesus, or will you let the excuse of Christian falsehood drag you down to eternal damnation with it. It is time to stand up, to read your book with open eyes, and to be honest with yourself. Your fate lies in your own hands.
The Bible speaks of two kinds of Jewishness:
1) Physical Jewishness This is genetic, biological descendance from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God established a Covenant with Abraham in which He promised him that one Person, whom God called Abraham’s ‘Seed’, would accomplish two things: 1) bring blessings upon all the nations of the world, and 2) give a specific piece of land to Abraham as an everlasting possession. That land is the land of Israel. For a fuller explanation of the Abrahamic Covenant, see my Introduction to Prophecy.
God gave Abraham a physical sign in his body, and in the bodies of every male in his family, as a reminder of this unique Covenant. Every male in Abraham’s family was to be circumcised in the penis as a reminder of the promise that it would be through their reproductive organs that the promised ‘Seed of Abraham’ would come. Any male who refused circumcision, or whose parents refused it for him, was to be excluded from Israel. Circumcision is the outward sign of physical, biological descendance from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Today this rite is still observed by many Jews, although they may not fully appreciate the fact that it points, in a very down-to-earth way, to the promise of one very special ‘Seed’.
Where does the term ‘Jew’ come from? As I understand it, it is derived from the name ‘Judah’, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, and Abraham’s great-grandson. These twelve sons went on to father the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel’s great King, David, was from the tribe of Judah, as was Jesus. In 722 BC, ten of Israel’s twelve tribes were removed from the land by the armies of Assyria. Prior to that time the citizens of Israel were often referred to as Hebrews or Israelites, but after the dispersion of the ten tribes, the remaining Israelites were dominated by the tribe of Judah. Only the kingdom of Judah remained, and so the citizens of Israel (who continued to be a mixture of people from all 12 of the original tribes) came to be called ‘Jews’.
Although circumcision was a God-given commandment to the Jewish people, and defined them physically as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it could not guarantee that a little Jewish boy would grow up to be an obedient, God-fearing Jew. It was a physical sign, reflecting genetic traits and pointing to a future Messiah, but did not necessarily mean that the circumcised person would enjoy the blessings that the Messiah would bring. To enjoy the blessings of the Messiah, one would also have to be a spiritual descendant of Abraham, following in the spiritual footsteps which brought Abraham into God’s blessings in the first place.
2) Spiritual Jewishness The Bible talks about Israel as one nation physically descendant from Abraham. But it also speaks of Abraham as a father of many nations:
And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 12:3 (18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14)
As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you.
And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed My voice.
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you (Isaac), and will bless you; for unto you, and unto your seed, I will give all these countries. And I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham your father. And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you (Jacob) shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Who was this ‘Seed’ of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed? The apostle Paul answered that question:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He (God) said not ‘And to seeds’, as of many (plural) but as of one; ‘And to thy seed’, which is Christ.
How are we to understand this broader ‘fatherhood’ of Abraham? Paul described this spiritual descendance from Abraham in terms of being ‘one with Christ’, united with the promised ‘Seed’ of Abraham, and thus a partaker of the blessings originally promised to Abraham:
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed. Not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. As it is written “I have made you a father of many nations“, before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.
For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
This inclusion of the Gentiles in the Messiah’s saving work was foretold by Israel’s prophets:
Rejoice, O nations (Gentiles) with His people (Israel): for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and His rest shall be glorious.
I the Lord have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will keep You, and give You for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.
And He said “It is a light thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give You for a light to the Gentiles, that You may be My salvation unto the end of the earth.
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof. And I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen which are called by my name (Gentile Christians)” says the Lord that does this.
Amos 9:11-12 (Acts 15:16-17)
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen” says the Lord of hosts.
What is it that defines this ‘spiritual descendance from Abraham? It is an inward ‘circumcision of the heart’, where a person’s ‘old man’ is ‘cut off’, and he becomes a new person inside. This spiritual circumcision was described by Jesus to a leader of the Jews, a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Jesus described this inward spiritual change in terms of being ‘born again’:
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night and said unto Him “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that You do, except God be with him”. Jesus answered and said unto him “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Nicodemus said unto Him “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you ‘You must be born again’. The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell from whence it comes, and where it goes. So is every one that is born of the Spirit”. Nicodemus answered and said unto him “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said unto him “Are you a master of Israel, and know not these things?”
Moses spoke of this circumcision of the heart, and the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel also spoke of a profound inward change that God would achieve within those who are His:
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
“Behold, the days come” says the Lord, “that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the (Mosaic) 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 covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them”, says the Lord. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days”, says 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 I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which you (Israel) have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord” says the Lord God, “when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
So what is this ‘spiritual circumcision’ that the Bible speaks of? What is this ‘spiritual heart transplant’ all about? It is first a repentant change of heart and mind, where we judge ourselves for our sins and look to Christ alone to save us. This repentance and faith is then recognized by God, and He unites us with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection (see Why God Requires Our Faith and Forgiveness). It is a rejection of our self-righteous ‘works of the Law’, and a turning to the way of faith that God originally commanded in Eden. Abraham is one of the Bible’s great examples of the righteousness of faith, and the new heart that comes with it:
Abraham believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness.
Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.
For circumcision truly is profitable if you keep the law. But if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keeps the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart; in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. For Moses described the righteousness which is of the law, ‘That the man which does those things shall live by them’. But the righteousness which is of faith speaks in this way: “Say not in your heart ‘Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or who shall descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead)”. But what says it? “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach: ‘That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved'”. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says “Whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed”. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (Gentile); for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
For we (Christians) are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
In Whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead.
John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus’ work among the people of Israel. John was a Levite, the son of a priest, and had a deep knowledge of the Mosaic laws and sacrifices. He was sent by God to proclaim the transition from the old Mosaic system to the New Covenant foretold in Jeremiah 31:31-33 (quoted above). Hence when this Levite saw Jesus, he said “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36). John was not only foretelling Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover sacrifice, but was also pointing out that this sacrifice would extend beyond the Jewish people to the entire world.
Many of the Israelites of John’s day were proud of their biological Jewishness, and felt that they were uniquely blessed and pleasing to God. Though physically circumcised, they were essentially ignorant of the spiritual circumcision that God requires. Because he loved his countrymen, John confronted these Jewish illusions head-on:
But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them “O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves ‘We have Abraham to our father’: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham”.
Matthew 3:7-9 (Luke 3:7-8)
Jesus also warned the Jews about placing false confidence in their biological Jewishness. Just as Paul taught in Romans 2:25-29 (above), Jesus taught that righteousness constituted true descendance from Abraham. He challenged the Jews regarding whether or not Abraham was truly their father. He taught that God prefers righteous Gentiles to unrighteous Jews, and when He said this in His hometown of Nazareth, they sought to kill Him:
And Jesus said unto them “You will surely say unto Me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in your country (Nazareth)'”. And He said “Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you a truth, that many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. But unto none of them was Elijah sent, except unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman (Gentile) that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian (a Gentile)”. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.
When Jesus heard the words of the Centurion (a Gentile), He marveled and said to them that followed “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. And Jesus said unto the centurion “Go your way, and as you have believed, so be it done unto you”. And his servant was healed in the same hour.
They (the Jews) answered and said unto him “Abraham is our father”. Jesus said unto them “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father”. Then said they to him “We are not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God”. Jesus said unto them “If God were your Father, you would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? even because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, you believe Me not.
The apostle Paul also confronted this false Jewish pride. As he described his conversion to Christianity to the people of Jerusalem, they listened attentively until he spoke of taking the Gospel to the Gentiles:
And it came to pass that when I (Paul) was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance. And saw Jesus saying unto me “Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive your testimony concerning me”. And I said “Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those that believed in You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him”. And He said unto me “Depart, for I will send you far hence unto the Gentiles”. And they (the Jews) gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices and said “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live”, as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air.
The idea that physical Jewishness somehow confers favor before God was not unique to unbelieving Jews. The apostles, who were Jews who founded the early Church, also struggled with the idea that the Gentiles could be partakers of the grace of God without becoming Jews (being physically circumcised). Although Peter knew about Philip’s ministry to the Samaritans, and possibly about the Ethiopian eunuch as well (Acts 9), it was not until God sent him to speak to the household of Cornelius (Acts 10) that he and the other Jewish leaders of the Church were confronted directly with the fact that Gentiles are as fully able to become Christians as Jews are. We see Peter’s discovery in the book of Acts:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears Him and works righteousness is accepted with Him.
While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit.
With this entry of the Gentiles into the Christian church, there came questions about whether or not they should be circumcised physically, and whether or not they must keep the Mosaic laws. There was much conflict and confusion around these questions throughout the apostolic era, as seen in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), and in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul dealt with each of these two questions by looking back at Abraham, and the fact that Abraham entered into God’s blessings 1) before he was circumcised, and 2) before the Law of Moses was given:
Comes this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it reckoned then (in Abraham’s case)? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he (already) had being yet uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them (the Gentiles) also. And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only (Jews), but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men. Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He (God) said not ‘And to seeds’, as of many, but as of one: ‘And to your seed’, which is Christ. And this I say, that the (Abrahamic) covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, the (Mosaic) law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Paul’s point was, first of all, that Abraham’s righteousness consisted of his faith, and that circumcision followed and resulted from this righteousness, rather than being a part of it. Paul taught that we should look at Abraham’s character, rather than his circumcision, as the basis of his acceptance by God. In addition, Paul pointed out that Abraham’s ‘righteousness of faith’ preceded the Mosaic Law by over 400 years, and therefore the Mosaic Law could not annul its validity. Hence, no Gentile who came to righteousness in the same way Abraham had was bound by the legalism of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law merely symbolized or foreshadowed Christ, while the Gentile believer had the very substance of the Law; Christ Himself. Rather than run from the Jews, Paul pointed to the father of the Jews and answered them with their own scriptures.
As I pointed out in the first part of this web page, physical-biological descendance from Abraham (and physical circumcision) does not guarantee that the person will grow up to obey God. The Old Testament clearly points to a distinction between the physical posterity of Abraham, and those who will actually enter into the Kingdom of God:
Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us (Israel) a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom; we would have been made like Gomorrah (utterly destroyed).
Isaiah 1:9, Romans 9:29
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
Isaiah 10:20-23, Romans 9:27
The apostle Paul wrote at length about God’s dealings with biological Israel in Romans chapters 9-11. He pointed out that while it has on occasion seemed as though no Jew was obedient to God, even then God had a people from among the Jewish nation who were faithful to Him:
I say then, has God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people which He foreknew. Know you not what the scripture says of Elijah? how he made intercession to God against Israel, saying “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, and torn down Your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” But what says the answer of God unto him? “I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Even so then at this present time also there is a (Jewish) remnant according to the election of grace.
In his letters Paul talked about two Israels; an Israel comprised of the physical descendants of Abraham, and a ‘spiritual Israel’ comprised of those Jews who are Abraham’s children through union with Christ. Paul distinguished physical Jews from spiritual Jews by calling spiritual Jews ‘children of the promise’, and ‘the Israel of God’:
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall your seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
God is going to honor His Blessing/Atonement promises to Abraham, while at the same time He will fulfill the unique Land/Kingdom promises made to Abraham and his Jewish descendents. God will show His great love and faithful regard for physical Jewishness from within the larger context of His worldwide grace.
For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob” says the Lord. “As for Me, this is My covenant with them”, says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your children, nor out of the mouth of your children’s children” says the Lord, “from henceforth and for ever.”
So where does this leave a Jewish person today? How are we to perceive Israel in this time of tremendous world events, as history moves rapidly toward the fulfillment of God’s promises? It leaves each Jewish person right where Nicodemus was when he came to Jesus during the night (John 3:1-21). Jesus told Nicodemus that a person cannot see or enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless he is ‘born again’. I describe this new birth in my web page on Forgiveness. Jesus also told Nicodemus that the salvation of God was not limited to Jews, telling him that “God so loved the world” that He was giving His only Son (John 3:16).
The Blessing/Atonement thread of the Abrahamic Covenant does not run side-by-side with the Land/Kingdom thread, as though they are two separate sets of promises independent of each other (see my Introduction to Prophecy for an explanation of these two threads). The Blessing/Atonement promise completely envelops and gives birth to the Land/Kingdom promise. The Land/Kingdom promises are dependent upon the Blessing/Atonement promises, and are impossible without them. No Jew can enjoy the Kingdom of David who has not first addressed the problem of sin that plagues all of us as human beings. Jesus is the promised Son of David, but more importantly He is the Lamb of God whose atonement will ‘lift all boats’; that of Israel as well as the rest of the nations. Although there may be some aspects of the Jewish experience that are unique to them, all blessed people will have equal access to God as His children, and will enjoy eternal intimacy and bliss with Him, through the shed blood of Christ.
I have witnessed two errors within the Christian church today:
- 1)Not enough respect for the Jews
- 2) Too much respect for the Jews
The first error that I have observed within the Christian church is the belief that God has cast the nation of Israel off forever. They claim that Israel does not have a unique place or identity in God’s future plans. This view is known as ‘Replacement Theology’; the belief that the Christian church has somehow replaced Israel in God’s sight, and that all of the promises found in the Bible regarding the future blessing of Israel are actually descriptions of the church. Those Christians who have chosen to ‘write the Jews off’ would do well to pay closer attention to the apostle of the Gentiles. We see Paul’s respect for biological Jewishness in his circumcision of Timothy (Acts 16:3), his observance of the Jewish traditions (Acts 20:21-26), in his special love for his Jewish brethren (Romans 9:1-5), and in his warnings to Gentile Christians that it was a ‘Jewish Tree’ that supported them rather than the other way around. Most of all we see it in his joyful declaration that the Jews as a physically identifiable people and nation will someday be restored to a right relationship with God (Romans chapter 11).
Replacement theologians are guilty of the Gentile arrogance that Paul warned against in Romans 11:18-27. This arrogance has led some, down through the centuries, to join in the persecution of the Jews, when they should have been recognizing Jews as ‘spiritual relatives’ who are beloved of God, pitying and supporting them. I fear that such Christians have put themselves under God’s everlasting curse.
Israel and its Patriarchs represent the foundation of Christianity, and the original ‘Olive Tree’ that all Gentiles have been grafted into (Romans 11:17-18). Gentiles must not forget this, and that there is a special place for the nation-state of Israel in God’s future plans. Many Gentile Christians are excited about this, and have been stirred spiritually as they have seen the Jews returning to Palestine, and the rise of the nation of Israel. But Gentiles must also remember that, underneath it all, no Jew is inherently different or better in God’s sight than any Gentile. We are all, first and foremost, sons of Adam.
The second error that I have observed within the Christian church, I would describe as ‘fawning’ over Jews. Any Jew who has become a Christian is somehow assumed to be spiritually superior to a Gentile Christian. Some Jews have established Christian ministries, and travel from church to church enjoying this special respect, while they have nothing especially unique or valid to say, and in many cases teach error. I have also attended local ‘Messianic’ fellowships where Jews expect special treatment.
One Jewish leader demanded that I call him ‘Rabbi’, even though Jesus commanded that we are to call no one ‘Rabbi’ except Himself (Matthew 23:8). When I pointed this commandment out to him, he mentioned that John the Baptist’s followers called him ‘Rabbi’, as though this somehow invalidated Jesus’ command. Apparently he thought that, because the greatest prophet ever born of a woman (Matthew 11:11) was called ‘Rabbi’ by fellow Jews (this being done under the Old Covenant and before Jesus had given His commandment on the subject), that he was entitled to require Gentiles to call him ‘Rabbi’ as well. It was this same kind of ‘Judaizing’ that the early church had to battle constantly, as various false apostles and prophets, trading on their Jewish heritage, sought to lead the early church astray. This is why Paul, more than once, was compelled to magnify his own Jewishness in order to counter the influence of other Jews, and why Jesus censured them as well:
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation (circumcision)! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Biological Jewishness counts for nothing in the sight of God if that person is not in Christ, circumcised in the heart and bringing forth the fruits of Holy Spirit. If such a person truly is abiding in Christ, he will exalt his spiritual Jewishness over his physical Jewishness, as Paul did; especially if he wants his fellow Jews to rightly understand God’s way of salvation.
For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Some Gentile Christians accord such special status to the Jews, and are so afraid to confront them with the Gospel, that they even teach that Jews can receive God’s salvation without repenting and trusting in Christ (John Hagee comes to mind). Others are afraid to tell Jews that the past 1900 years of Jewish dispersion and suffering are the direct result of their nation’s opposition to God. They are afraid that the Jews will lump them together with all of the false Christians who persecuted them down through the centuries, and shrink before the potential accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’. Anyone who truly loves the Jews, however, will tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Some have understood the apostle Paul to say that when Jesus comes back, the every Jew in the nation of Israel will either already have repented and believed in Him, or will be instantly converted upon seeing Him:
For I wish not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn ungodliness from Jacob. For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Romans 11:25-27 (Isaiah 59:20-21)
I do not believe that this is what Paul was saying. Jesus is going to come back to judge the world. That judgment will include Jews. Those Jews who have repented of their sins and turned to Him will become citizens of Israel. Those who have opposed Him, and have done things like taking the Mark of the Beast, will suffer the same judgment as anyone else. What Paul is saying is that, when Jesus re-establishes the Kingdom of David, it will be inhabited by Jewish Christians only. There will not be one unrepentant Jew in the land. To say otherwise contradicts the truth of the Bible, and runs counter to the best interests of Jews by misinforming them. God has indicated that a nation of Israel will come into existence that is (I believe) largely organized and run by 144,000 young Jewish men who will be of the same caliber and devotion to God that Daniel was in his day (Revelation 7:1-8, 14:1-5). This nation will not be established, however, without some serious ‘house-cleaning’ having been done first.
It is hard to believe that anyone denies that the Holocaust occurred, it is such a widely and clearly documented historical event. There are people and even entire nations, however, that choose to foment lies. But just as there is a denial of the Holocaust among its perpetrators, there is also a denial of the Holocaust among its victims; the Jewish people. They do not deny that the Holocaust occurred, but they deny the underlying reason for it. Often they point to the perpetrators of the holocaust, sometimes focusing on Christianity as the cause of their suffering (because so many false Christians were their primary persecutors down through the centuries), rather than asking why God abandoned them into the hands of such enemies in the first place. The reason they were expelled from the land is writ large across the Old Testament.
When God promised the land of Israel to Abraham, He told him that possession of the land is directly tied to the moral state of its occupants. God told Abraham that his family would not be able to take possession of the land for 400 years; until the wickedness of the Amorites would ‘become full’:
But in the fourth generation (of the Israelites living in Egypt) they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
This principle, that living in God’s land is conditioned upon obedience to God, permeates the entire Old Testament. The entire Jewish Torah is saturated, in both the Law and the Prophets, with the warning that God would not allow the Israelites to remain in the land if they disobey Him. Below are some of those warnings:
And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the its iniquity upon it, and the land itself vomits out her inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourns among you. For all these abominations have the men of the land (the Amorites) done, which were before you, and the land is defiled. That the land not spit you out also, when you defile it, as it spit out the nations that were before you.
You shall therefore keep all My statutes, and all My judgments, and do them: that the land where I bring you to dwell spit you not out. And you shall not walk in the manners of the nation which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. But I have said unto you “You shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that flows with milk and honey”. I am the Lord your God, Who has separated you from other people.
When you shall beget children, and children’s children, and you shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord your God, to provoke Him to anger: I (Moses) call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over Jordan to possess it. You shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left few in number among the heathen, where the Lord shall lead you.
But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods and worship them, then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them. And this house (Temple) which I have sanctified for My name, will I cast out of My sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passes by it, so that he shall say “Why has the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house?” And it shall be answered “Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshipped them, and served them: Therefore has He brought all this evil upon them”.
2 Chronicles 7:19-22
Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.
And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries. But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen where they come; and they shall know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 12: 15-16
God did more than forewarn that the people of Israel would be removed from the land if they sinned; He also explained (through King Solomon) how they might be restored to the land. Solomon proclaimed the formula for restoration when he dedicated the first Temple. His words were heeded by Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel and other Jews, and thus the people of Israel were allowed to return from the Babylonian captivity:
If they sin against You (for there is no man who sins not,) and You be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near: yet if they bethink themselves in the land where they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto You in the land of their captivity, saying “We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly”; if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which You gave unto their fathers, and toward the city which You have chosen, and toward the house (Temple) which I have built for Your name; then hear from the heavens, even from Your dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive Your people which have sinned against You.
2 Chronicles 6:36-39
And at the evening sacrifice I (Ezra) arose up from my heaviness. And having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God and said “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day: and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands; to the sword, to captivity, to a spoil and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
I (Nehemiah) beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keeps covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments: Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant, which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I beseech You, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying “If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations. But if you turn unto Me, and keep My commandments and do them; though some of you were cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from there, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set My name there.
And I (Daniel) set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession and said “O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments; we have sinned and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly and have rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and from Your judgments. Neither have we hearkened unto Your servants the prophets, which spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs unto You, but unto us confusion of face, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries where You have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against You.”
This prayer of Daniel was heard and honored by God, and in direct response to this prayer God gave him a prophecy that contained schedules for both the first and second comings of Israel’s Messiah. I have explained these schedules in my web pages titled The Olivet Discourse and The Timetable for Jesus’ Return. In these web pages I explain how Jesus came, the first time, exactly when Daniel foretold He would. I also explain when Jesus’ will come again to restore the Kingdom of David and rule the world. I also describe how the Jews failed to heed Daniel’s prophecy, and how Jesus warned them that their rejection of Him, His apostles and His Gospel would render them and their nation guilty of all the righteous blood ever shed upon the earth up until that time. It is Israel’s crucifixion of Jesus, its persecution of His disciples, and its opposition to the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel of God that has led to 1875 years of dispersion, persecution and suffering. It is imperative that the Jewish people understand this; in fact it is impossible for them, as a nation, to be fully restored and see the promised Kingdom of David fulfilled until they do.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me, and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies: if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
Finally, I close with these words from Moses himself. Moses taught that it is not enough to be a Jew; one must obey Israel’s greatest Prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ:
The Lord thy God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him you shall hearken. According to all that you desired of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying “Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not”. And the Lord said unto me “They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto you, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.
Genuine Christianity is not the source of Israel’s sufferings. Jesus loved His Jewish brethren deeply, and the apostle Paul, that great Pharisee who became the apostle to the Gentiles, was deeply devoted to Israel:
And when Jesus was come near, he beheld Jerusalem and wept over it, saying “If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong unto your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you around, and keep you in on every side. And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.
I (Paul) say the truth in Christ, I lie not; my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit: that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites, to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
There has always been a special place in God’s heart for Israel, and a special place in His future plans for Israel as well. Every true Christian, who has studied and is obedient to God’s word, knows this.
John’s Little Book, found Revelation chapters 10-13 (see The Timetable for Jesus’ Return) shows us who the real force behind Israel’s sufferings is. Revelation 12:7-17 depicts what happened in heaven, and then on earth shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Israel is a player in a much greater battle between good and evil that extends out into the universe. Until the Lord Jesus died on the cross and made the unmerited mercy and grace of God available to men, Satan had always been able to come before the throne of God, accusing sinful men before Him and asking Him how He could sacrifice His own Son in order to provide forgiveness for such wicked people. Satan had a valid point, and hoped that God would come to a moral compromise with him, sharing power over the world with him.
But the Father didn’t listen to Satan’s accusations against man, and did forfeit His Son for our salvation. Satan no longer had any moral position before the throne of God. Hence he was cast out of heaven and down to earth shortly before 70 AD, knowing that his ultimate destination would be the Lake of Fire. In his rage Satan set out to attack Israel (because it had brought the Messiah into the world), Christians (because they are the direct offspring of Israel), and ultimately the entire human race (because Satan is a relentless ‘Pharaoh’ who will not let his captives go, and who intends to plunge as many of them into the ‘Red Sea’ of eternal judgment with him as he can. This is what has been happening ‘behind the scenes’ over the past 1940 years, as the Jewish people have fled from one persecution to another. It also explains the relentless animosity that still exists against Israel throughout the world today.
Satan is delighted when the Jewish people think that Christianity is the cause of their sufferings. It suits his purposes well. It turns them away from their Messiah. But genuine Christians have never been the persecutors of the Jews. They have suffered down through the centuries right along with the Jews.
TO THE JEW FIRST
As I pointed out in my Introduction to Prophecy, God has used the family of Abraham (the people of Israel) to bring the Savior of mankind into the world. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise that Abraham’s ‘seed’ would bring blessing upon all the nations of the world (Genesis 12:3). In the process of providing a Savior, God has also used the Jewish people to give the Bible to the world. These two things, God’s Word and His Savior, represent blessings that Israel has been the first to enjoy:
What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (the word) of God.
>Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
The apostle Paul continued this divine pattern in his own ministry. In city after city he proclaimed the Gospel of Christ to the Jews first, before presenting it to the Gentiles:
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.”
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus “whom I preach unto you” is Christ.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 1:16 (Romans 2:9-10)
Long ago God cautioned the Jewish people against thinking that they are better than the other people of the world. Moses warned Israel that its blessings would be tied to righteousness, and that curses would follow disobedience:
If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the Lord will make your plagues awesome, and the plagues of your offspring; even great plagues and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses and of long continuance. And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land where you go to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other.
Deuteronomy 28:58-59, 63-64
I have written about God’s fulfillment of these warnings to the nation of Israel, beginning with Jerusalem’s destruction by Babylon in 586 BC (see Introduction to Prophecy ), and then through Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (see Olivet). Because Israel was the first to hear God’s word and learn about the coming Savior, she has been the first to suffer punishment for disobeying God’s word and rejecting His salvation. But Israel’s punishment is more than justice; it is also a warning to the world. When God allowed the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, He warned the Gentile nations that Israel’s punishment indicated that theirs would surely follow:
“For behold, I begin to bring evil on the city (Jerusalem) which is called by My name, and should you (Gentile nations) be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth” says the Lord of hosts.
Today a memorial to the second desolation of Israel, by the armies of Rome in 70 AD, still stands in the city of Rome. In its stone carvings are depictions of the Roman soldiers carrying off the 7-candle Menorah from Jerusalem’s Temple. This monument stands as a timeless testimony to the Western world that the Jews were indeed prior inhabitants of Palestine, that it was their Roman ancestors who removed the Jews from their land, and that God always fulfills His words and warnings.
In 1945 the people of the Western ‘Christian’ world witnessed events of Biblical proportions unfold. They saw World War II end with the use of nuclear weapons, and saw the Jewish survivors of Hitler’s camps streaming toward Palestine. They also knew about God’s promise that He would restore the Jewish people to their land someday:
“Comfort, comfort my people” says your God. “Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Therefore thus says the Lord God “Now will I bring again (reverse) the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for My holy name. After that they have borne their shame and all their trespasses, whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations. Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen. But I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel” says the Lord God.
Despite their knowledge of these promises, the leaders of the ‘Christian world’ decided to betray the Jewish people and divide God’s land in order to enrich themselves. How did they do this? By making a large portion of the land west of the Jordan River (the West Bank) autonomous, instead of giving Israel sovereignty over it. This has allowed murderous terrorists like Yasser Arafat, and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah to achieve dominance over their own people by terrorizing them, while obtaining a base of operations against Israel itself. Instead of empowering the Jews to expel belligerent Palestinians from the land, the West has maintained the security of these vicious people, who are usually advised, armed and financed by foreign powers.
Jerusalem and the West Bank were the heart and capitol of ancient Israel. Dividing that land has been like giving the Jews a house to live in, but telling them that their worst enemies would have the key to the front door and possess the living room. Instead of partitioning the land cleanly and fairly along the Jordan River, allowing Israel defensible borders, the West has set up a situation where murderous terrorists could kill any Palestinian willing to cooperate with the Jewish state. There are Palestinians who want to live peacefully within Israel, but that they have been afraid to say so for fear that they and their families will be killed. The West has allowed the Palestinian people to become a pawn used by Iran, Saudi Arabia and other enemies of Israel to prevent peace. The lies told by Israel’s neighbors and the Western world in support of this injustice have now sunk to the level of calling Israel evil, oppressive, racist and the enemy of peace; some even liken Israel to the German Nazis. This is an evil that God will address soon.
Why is the Western world dividing God’s land and giving His people to their enemies? In order to please the Arabs and Persians (Iran), and to insure the flow of cheap Middle-Eastern oil to the West. Just as God faithfully watched over Abraham’s son, Ishmael, and provided him with a well that preserved him when he and Abraham parted company (Genesis 21:19), so today the sons of Ishmael have been given abundant wells to meet all of their needs. Those oil wells have left the Arab world incredibly wealthy, and more than able to absorb any Palestinians who might not choose to live peaceably under Israeli governance. Today oil is the foundation of every industrial nation. Whoever controls the world’s oil controls the world. America and her allies wanted to dominate the world’s oil supplies in order to enrich themselves and enjoy a decadent lifestyle. God has described the Western world’s betrayal of the Jewish people in its pursuit of sex and alcohol:
For, behold, in those days and in that time, when I shall bring again (reverse) the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat (meaning ‘the valley of judgment’). And I will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.
Forever consistent with themselves, Western media organizations (who gather much of their profits through the promotion of sex and the sale of alcohol) continue to promote the dividing of ancient Israel, portraying the Jews as ‘oppressors’ and the ‘poor Palestinians’ as victims. As far as God is concerned, U.S.A. stands for ‘Unrestrained Sex and Alcohol’.
In 1917 England declared its willingness to assist the Jews in re-establishing their ancient homeland (the Balfour Declaration). In 1922 England was given international authority to achieve that goal through a League of Nations Mandate. England promptly used a majority of the mandated land to establish the Arab nation of Jordan, and then resisted Jewish immigration into the land that remained. The Arab people were eager to block the return of the Jews, and to establish the existence of a large ‘Palestinian’ population in the Jewish portion of the Mandate. In cooperation with this goal, Great Britain placed tight quotas on Jewish immigration to Palestine, while they turned a ‘blind eye’ to Arabs entering the region.
In the 1930’s thousands of Jews sought to escape Hitler and enter Palestine, but Britain blocked them, allowing them to be systematically murdered by the Germans. The British thought their policies would secure Arab cooperation and oil during and after WW II, but the Arabs liked Hitler more. Britain’s treatment of the Jews was acceptable as far as it went, but Hitler’s policies were more to Arab liking. With the end of World War II, the surviving Jews of the world clawed their way back into their ancient homeland, seeking a place of safety in an overwhelmingly hostile world. The ‘Palestinians’ had been allies of Adolf Hitler during WW II, and supported him in his effort to exterminate the Jews; America’s leaders were well aware of that. But western leaders only acknowledged the State of Israel begrudgingly, dominated by their desire to please the oil-rich nations of the Middle East.
Many people throughout the world describe Israel as a ‘racist’ state. This is because the Jews have resisted assimilation by the rest of the world for 2000 years, and remain a distinct, unique and identifiable people. The world hates this because Jewish survival represents God’s fulfillment of His words in the Bible, and the possibility that all of His other words will be fulfilled as well. Now the Jews have separated themselves from the Palestinians and are seeking to define Israel as a ‘Jewish state’. The simple demographic fact is that the Palestinian birth rate is higher than the Jewish one. Therefore, if Palestinians are allowed to be citizens of Israel, they will ultimately dominate Israel’s population, and the Jews will cease to have a nation that protects them and represents their interests.
Critics of Israel, like President Jimmy Carter, call this Jewish focus on their identity ‘racism’, and liken it to the South African apartheid of the past. Carter, and others who share his views, hide behind the outward veneer of justice and ‘racial equality’ while they are in fact pursuing the destruction of the Jewish people. For one who once taught Sunday school in a Baptist church to do this, is reprehensible. The key to Israel’s survival is twofold: 1) a recognition of their right to preserve their Jewish identity and, 2) the right to do so in the land of their ancient heritage. The rest of the world may blur its racial distinctions if it chooses. God Himself has stamped the Jews with an identity that is connected to His own, and will never be erased.
Today the Israeli-Palestinian problem is constantly described in terms of human rights, and conflicts among various groups of people. The Jews are frequently portrayed as aggressors, and as unfair to the Palestinians. But this is not about human rights, it is about divine rights; the right of the one true living God to place whatever people He chooses in His own land. Those who fail to recognize this will remain in darkness regarding what is really happening in the Middle East. Israel is not about men vs. men, but about mankind vs. God.
Four thousand years ago God intimated to Abraham that the right of any people to live in Canaan would be directly connected to their behavior (Genesis 15:16). Four hundred years later God used Moses and Joshua to destroy the wicked inhabitants of Canaan militarily, replacing them with the Israelites. Today people still criticize God for doing that (particularly the atheists). Seven hundred years later God punished the Israelites in two stages, first removing ten tribes of Israel from the land through the Assyrian army, and then later removing the remaining Jews through the Babylonian army. Seventy years later God used King Cyrus of Persia to allow the Jews to return to their land. Then, several hundred years after Cyrus, God used the armies of Rome to punish the Jews again, dispersing them throughout the world (in 70 AD). Now, after nearly 2000 years of dispersion, God is bringing the Jewish people back to the land forever.
Today’s conflict is not between nations or races, but between the nations of the world and God. The problems in the Middle East do not revolve around questions of human rights, but around God’s rights, and mankind’s opposition to those rights. God is going to place His King, the Lord Jesus Christ, upon David’s throne in Zion (Jerusalem), and restore a repentant Jewish nation to a special relationship with Himself.
Why do the nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.” He that sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and vex them in His strong displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion (Jerusalem).”
Satan is using talk about fairness and Palestinian rights to stir up the nations in opposition to God, but God will not be defeated. When this conflict comes to a head, the Lord Jesus will return and destroy those who said ‘We do not want this man to rule over us’ (Luke 19:14,27).
The Muslim nations have been defeated repeatedly in their wars against Israel. Now they are trying to conquer Israel by turning the western world, and particularly the United States, against her. Through a two-pronged approach of sweet talk and terror (good cop, bad cop) they seek to accomplish by cunning what they could not achieve by the sword.
While one group of Muslims terrorizes the West, the other group pretends to love the West and detest violence, all the while pressing the claim that terrorism would disappear if the West would stop showing Israel ‘favoritism’. This is their attempt to move the cart of western public opinion by pushing as well as pulling. This constant ‘whipsaw’ of Islamic ‘love’ and ‘hate’ has worn away at American support for Israel over the years. American news organizations are aiding the Muslim world in pursuing their agenda. Their ultimate message is that ‘Israel is a major cause of the world’s unrest’. Many Americans do not understand what’s happening in the Middle East, but they know that they are tired of hearing about the trouble there; and through media bias they are slowly being convinced that the problem is all Israel’s fault.
I have identified who is ultimately behind these lies. It’s the same defeated and enraged Archangel (Satan) whose twisted propaganda dominated Nazi Germany 75 years ago, and led to the holocaust. Now this liar has led the world to redefine Yasser Arafat (a murdering terrorist) as a freedom fighter, awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize. Israel may eventually knuckle under to world pressure one more time, in a last-ditch effort to achieve peace, but God says that her days of humiliation will come to an end:
Thus says your Lord, the Lord, and your God that pleads the cause of His people “Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shall no more drink it again. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict you; which have said to your soul “Bow down, that we may go over.” And you have laid your body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.
I do not believe that the Jewish people, as a whole, will come to their senses until they have been brought to the utmost extremity of peril. This is not to say that such an extremity is to be prayed or hoped for, but rather that just as Joseph’s brothers had to be brought to disaster, so the Jewish nation will also refuse to face reality until total annihilation threatens it. This stubbornness is not unique to the Jews; I believe that most people who have come to a saving knowledge of Christ have only done so after they have reached the end of themselves. I know that was true for me.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 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 mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
Many have wondered what life in the nation of Israel will be like after David’s promised Son, Jesus Christ, comes back to re-establish David’s kingdom and rule the world. Who will live there? Normal human beings, or glorified saints? Will only Jews live there, or will there be Gentiles also? What will Jesus look like when He dwells in the midst of the people of Israel? Will God the Father be there too, or will He remain in heaven above? Until recently I had not realized that God has given us a revelation about what that kingdom will be like.
As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem for the last time, knowing that He would be crucified there, He began to tell his disciples what would happen. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him for such thoughts, saying that such a thing should not be allowed to happen. Jesus rebuked Peter, calling him ‘Satan’, and then explained to His disciples that unless a person follows Him to the Cross, he cannot be Jesus’ disciple (Matthew 16:21-28, Mark 8:31-38, Luke 9:22-27)
Immediately after Jesus commanded His disciples to recognize the necessity of His coming death, He told them that there were some there among them who would not die until they had seen His glorious second coming:
Verily I say unto you, there are some standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.
Matthew 16:28 (Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27)
Personally I had always thought that Jesus was referring to the fact that most of these same disciples (except Judas Iscariot) would live to see Jesus after His resurrection, and would experience the power of His coming kingdom at Pentecost. I also suspected that John’s reception of the book of Revelation fulfilled this prediction by the Lord. But now I have come to believe that Jesus fulfilled this promise much more quickly; in fact six days later, when He was transfigured on the mountain before Peter, James and John.
Right after Jesus’ prediction, each of the Gospels takes us immediately to the mountaintop where Jesus was transfigured before His disciples and talked with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-9, Luke 9:28-36). But what reason do we have, apart from its close proximity to Jesus’ promise that some would see His coming Kingdom, to think that Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain fulfills that promise, and is a picture of David’s coming kingdom? I believe that Peter himself tells us:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory; “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
2 Peter 1:16-18
Here Peter says that he had made known the “power and coming” of Jesus to his readers, having seen it himself on the mountain as an eyewitness to “His majesty”. Peter had seen a representation of what people in the coming kingdom of David will be like. So what can we gather from Peter’s experience? There will be four types of persons represented in David’s Kingdom:
- 1)Normal flesh-and-blood human beings, like Peter, James and John. I believe that these people who will be living in Israel will be almost exclusively Jewish. There will be representatives of the Gentile nations who will come to Israel to worship Israel’s God and King, but the citizens of Israel themselves will be Jewish. I think this continuation of the human race, reproducing and repopulating the world during the Millennium, is clearly foretold in God’s word.
- 2) There will be glorified saints, represented by Moses and Elijah on the mountain, who will be present in David’s earthly kingdom, and whom the people of earth will be able to see, and with whom they will be able to talk. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ’s saints will return to earth with Him, to rule the earth, and that they will have glorified spiritual bodies like His.
- 3) Jesus Himself will be physically present in Israel, and His glory will be radiant, like the glory exhibited upon the mountain before His disciples. It is this glory that will shine from one end of heaven to the other when He returns, and it will be this “brightness of His coming” which shall consume Paul’s ‘Man of Sin’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Peter, James and John were given a very accurate picture of what their Messiah will look like when He comes.
- 4) Lastly, God the Father will not be physically present in Israel. He will remain in heaven, glorifying His Son and communicating with His people from above. I think this is indicated by the fact that when Satan, Gog and Magog attack Israel for the last time, fire will come down from ‘God in heaven’ and consume them. We do not see the Father dwelling with His saints until a new heaven and earth are established, along with a New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).
It is important to observe that Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah on the mountain. Moses and Elijah were the greatest of men to the Jewish people, and they also represent God’s word, known to the Jewish people as ‘The Law and the Prophets’. God the Father was telling Jesus’ disciples, and the rest of Israel, that Jesus’ words are to be considered not only equal to those of Moses and Elijah, but superior, because whereas Moses and Elijah were God’s servants, Jesus is His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2, 3:3).
One of the most precious things about this transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain is seen in the words of Peter. The Gospels tell us that the disciples were overwhelmed by the vision, and that Peter didn’t even know what he was saying. Yet Peter, by the grace of God and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said exactly what he was supposed to say:
Then answered Peter and said unto Jesus “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
Why were Peter’s words appropriate? Because the Jewish feast of Tabernacles or Booths, comes in the seventh month of the Jewish religious calendar, and is symbolic of that day when the Jewish people will be restored finally and forever to the Land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Peter’s words represented exactly what the Jewish people will be saying and doing when their Kingdom is gloriously restored:
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land (symbolizing the great ingathering of the Jewish people to their God), you shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days. On the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And you shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths seven days. All that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.
It is interesting to note that it will be the Feast of Tabernacles that the nations of the world will be commanded to come to Jerusalem and observe during the Millennium (Zechariah 14:16-19). Zechariah chapter 14 gives a detailed description of Jesus’ second coming to Jerusalem, and the glorious future of that city and the land of Israel. Ezekiel chapters 40-48 also describe the future glory of Jerusalem, its Temple and the division of the land among the tribes of Israel during the Millennium.
If you are a Gentile, I would simply tell you that Jesus is going to do what He said He will do in Joel 3; enter into judgment with the nations. Over the past 1900 years, those professing Christians who have persecuted the Jews have allied themselves with Satan himself. It is true that the Jewish nation rejected its Messiah, and has brought judgment upon itself. This is an unavoidable message throughout the Bible, beginning with Moses and the prophets, and continuing with Jesus and His apostles. But it is one thing to recognize this truth and to humbly and fearfully ponder it; it is another to join with those who oppress the Jews and shed Jewish blood.
Jesus is going to address this issue, restoring His erring family, while taking vengeance upon those who have abused them. If you have been a faithful Christian this should cause you to rejoice, just as Joseph’s wife (and the household of Pharaoh) rejoiced when Joseph and his family were reunited. If it doesn’t cause you to rejoice, or if you don’t believe it’s going to happen, you might want to re-examine the scriptures. God never intended that the fall of the Jews should end in their total destruction. It was meant as an opportunity for the Gentiles to hear the Gospel (Romans 11:11-36), to demonstrate the certainty of God’s judgments, and to allow Gentiles to pray for and seek the restoration of the Jewish people to their God.
Thus says the Lord of hosts “I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased (with Israel), and they helped forward the affliction (of Israel). Therefore thus says the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, says the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying “Thus says the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem”.
I am not speaking to you as a member of any Christian denomination. I am an independent. For many centuries false Christians have impoverished Jews and shed their blood. Now, with their weak apologies, they would invite you to join in their ‘ecumenical movement’, as they use religion to pursue a false world peace. In addition, after having called you ‘Christ-killers’ for hundreds of years, they would say it was all a mistake, and exonerate you. They would deceive you if possible, and cheat you out of your portion in the rapidly approaching kingdom of David.
Whether or not you choose to listen to their words (versus their actions) is up to you. I would simply encourage you to ‘go over their heads’. Read the New Testament for yourself, and reacquaint yourself with the Old Testament. Let Jesus speak to you directly. You will find that He is nothing like those who have abused you in His name. I speak as a Biblical Christian. I know that I am a wild ‘Gentile branch’, grafted by God’s mercy into a ‘Jewish tree’ (Romans 11:17-22). In light of that I would plead with you; discover what the incredible wealth of your Jewish heritage is really all about.
IDENTIFYING THE PLAYERS
Because some people come to this web site through prophecy searches, often asking about things like ‘the Antichrist’ and ‘the last days’, it has seemed useful to set forth a summary of who the ‘prophetic players’ of the Bible are. Therefore I have included this section at the end of each of my web pages on prophecy.
My reader must first realize that my entire view of prophecy is defined by my understanding of the 70th Week of Daniel. I believe that this week is the great ‘Week of the Abrahamic Covenant’, beginning 4000 years ago with Abraham, divided in the middle by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and ending with the second coming of Christ. I believe that the ‘Great Tribulation’ is the second half of this week, from 70 AD to the present. It is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14) because it is the period of time after Satan has been cast out of heaven and down to earth in defeat. He is enraged because he knows that he only has a short time until his eternal fiery destruction (Revelation 12:12).
During the ‘Great Tribulation’ Satan’s violent frustration has been vented, first and foremost, against the Jewish people and against protestant Christians (Revelation 12:13-17). In addition, however, Satan is determined to drag all of humanity down to eternal damnation with himself if he can. The Pharaoh of Egypt whom Moses confronted (in the book of Exodus) is a picture of Satan, willing to see his kingdom and his people destroyed rather than to ‘let his captives go’. All of the ‘players’ on my list, and all of history since 70 AD, must be understood in the light of Satan’s angry presence here on earth. If you are coming to this list from a Dispensational or Postmillennial background, and have not yet read my first three pages on prophecy ( Introduction, The Olivet Discourse and The Timetable for Jesus’ Return), then the things that I am saying here may not make much sense to you. I would encourage you to examine these three web pages before making any final decision concerning the validity of this list.
1) THE BEAST OF REVELATION(discussed in The Timetable for Jesus’ Return)
This is the ‘Beast from the Sea’ in Revelation 13:1-10, and is also the Beast upon which the Woman rides in Revelation 17. This Beast will become increasingly ‘Eastern’ in its makeup and form an alliance with 10 kings in the last prophetic hour, and these kings will burn the Woman with fire (Revelation 17:12-18).
Some Dispensationalists believe that the Beast is an individual human being. This is not so. This Beast has its roots in the four beasts of Daniel 7, and is an organized political entity, just as they were. In addition, the Beast continues in existence throughout the second half of the 70th Week of Daniel (Revelation 13:5, a period of roughly 2000 years), and thus cannot be a person. Lastly, the Woman who rides the Beast is the Roman Catholic Church, and she has ridden this Beast for centuries.
Prior to 70 AD, this Beast existed simply as the Roman Empire. But in 69 AD, when Satan was cast down to earth, he reorganized the Roman Empire into an international ‘Beast’ of militant humanity, and a city (Rome) that would ride upon the Beast’s back (through the ‘destruction and resurrection’ process of a Roman civil war, during ‘the year of the four Emperors). Since 70 AD the Beast upon which Rome has ridden has come primarily from the original Roman Empire; Western Europe and then the United States. The Beast’s religious roots have been mostly Roman Catholic. But over the past 60 years this Beast has been increasingly comprised of people throughout the world. The primarily western and Roman Catholic Beast of the past has mutated since the end of World War II into a broader coalition, incorporating the military forces of Russia, China and the Muslim world, and is represented by the United Nations. In the final prophetic hour I believe that the United Nations will turn its back upon the Western world (where it was first chartered and established), and look to China and the East. This, I believe, will be followed by the East’s surprise nuclear destruction of western, Roman Catholic ‘Babylon’.
2) THE WOMAN (HARLOT, WHORE, BABYLON) OF REVELATION CHAPTERS 17 & 18(discussed in The City of Rome)
This is the city of Rome, confirmed for us in Revelation 17:18, where she is described as ‘that great city’ which was ruling over the kings of the earth when John received the book of Revelation. Prior to the Roman civil war of 69 AD (the ‘Year of the four emperors’), the city of Rome had been the seat and governing power of the Roman Empire. During this civil war, however, Rome watched helplessly as the generals and armies of the Empire fought for supremacy. Since that time the city of Rome has been powerless militarily. This explains the fact that the final form of the Roman Empire (its feet) are described in Daniel 2:33 as being comprised of iron and clay. It is this ‘mixed’ Empire, comprised of a ‘clay City’ and various ‘iron’ military powers, that Christ will destroy and replace at His return (Daniel 2:34).
Revelation describes Rome in a most negative way. She is an extremely wealthy whore, given to fornication and blasphemy against God, who is drunk with the blood of His people. She is described as the “Mother of harlots, and of the abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5). In short, she is wickedness itself. How did she get this way?
The key to understanding Rome, is to understand the angry archangel, Satan, who made her what she is. For 240 years, after 70 AD, pagan Rome did everything within its power to exterminate Christianity. Many thousands of Christians were impoverished, enslaved or killed. This was the official policy of Rome, all done in subservience to the ‘Dragon’, Satan. Around 310 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine announced that he had seen a vision instructing him to wage war and to conquer under the banner of the Christian cross. Constantine proceeded to ‘legalize’ Christianity, and to make it a part of his empire. He convened ‘ecumenical councils’ to define what Roman Christianity would be.
Hence Rome went, practically overnight, from persecuting the Christian church to declaring ‘I am the church!’. In reality what Rome had become was a religious institution that would not only continue persecuting Christianity, but would also deceive millions of others into embracing a counterfeit Christianity, sending them into eternity with false hopes. Rome became a three-pronged weapon in Satan’s hands; killing some, deceiving others, and turning the rest of the world against Christianity because of Rome’s greediness, bloodshed and hypocrisy. Constantine and his militant church are the first ‘seal’ of Revelation 6:2; a ‘white’ conqueror followed by the four seals of war, famine, pestilence and the persecution of Christians. The final, sixth seal, represents the ultimate end of Rome; a sudden, unexpected nuclear attack.
Rome’s destruction is described in Revelation chapter 18, where ‘Babylon’ is destroyed by fire in one hour. After this destruction, the kings and merchants of the earth are shown, mourning over the loss of their wealth and keeping their distance from her because of the fire of her torment (and its radioactive fallout). I do not believe that this mourning will result simply from the destruction of the city of Rome itself, but from the destruction of the greater ‘Roman Catholic world’; in other words, ‘the West’. This may include the entire western hemisphere, western Europe and Australia, and is represented by the destruction of 1/3 of the earth in the first four trumpets of Revelation 8:7-13. The ‘Roman Catholic world’ does comprise roughly 1/3 of the landmass of the world, but much less than 1/3 of the world’s people. At the very moment when the nuclear weapons detonate, as Revelation chapter 7 reveals, God will ‘seal’ 144,000 young Jewish men for leadership in Israel, and will ‘rapture’ true Christians off of the planet.
I am confident regarding my explanations of the Beast and the Woman (Babylon) above. I am not dogmatic, however, about the following three ‘players’ on the prophetic stage; the Beast from the Land (or False Prophet), Paul’s Man of Sin, and the Antichrist. They can, it seems to me, be understood in different ways. Each one can be understood either as a single person, or as a group of persons. Beyond that, it is possible that all three are referring to the same person or group. It is important that I be honest with myself and my reader, about what I know and what I don’t know. Given the gravity of these times and of God’s warnings, it is important that my reader embrace the liberty as well as the responsibility to reach conclusions for himself. With that in mind, I share my own thoughts.
3) THE BEAST FROM THE LAND (or THE FALSE PROPHET)
This is the second of two Beasts in Revelation chapter 13, the first being The Beast from the Sea, or simply ‘The Beast’ (explained above). The first Beast is described as coming ‘from the sea’ because, like the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7, it arises from the great sea of humanity. I do not know why this present beast is said to come from ‘the land’. Some have wondered if it indicates that this it will come from God’s land; the ‘holy land’ of Israel. This Beast from the Land has three primary traits:
- A)It is ‘lamblike’ in its appearance (possibly a reference to the ‘Lamb of God’, Christ), and yet speaks the words of the Dragon, Satan. This is consistent with God’s description of false prophets, who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). This Beast also works powerful miracles to deceive people; a trait that Jesus warned about in regard to future false prophets (Matthew 24:24).
- B) It derives its authority from, and directs everyone’s worship and obedience to the first Beast, and the ‘image’ of the first Beast. It will cause those who refuse to worship the Beast to be put to death. This is reminiscent of Nebuchadnezzar’s order to kill those who would not worship his image (Daniel 3:1-6).
- C) It introduces something called ‘the Mark of the Beast’ to the world, without which no one may buy or sell. This ‘Mark’ may be worldwide, and could possibly be a mark implemented by the United Nations.
We see this ‘duo’ of two Beasts elsewhere in the book of Revelation, where they are referred to as ‘the Beast and the False Prophet’ (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10). It should be observed that the number ‘666’ is not associated with this second Beast, but with the first Beast whom he serves. The miracles and the ‘Mark’ that coincide with the False Prophet remind me of present day technology. The ‘image’ that breathes, speaks, and causes the persecution of those who refuse to take the ‘Mark’ could be modern media such as television, movies and the Internet. The calling down of fire from heaven may be a reference to the drones and other ‘smart’ weapons that we see today. And the ‘Mark’ itself may be some kind of computer chip, placed under the skin, that will facilitate human organization, tax collection and crime control in unprecedented ways. To many people the ‘Mark’ will represent the only hope for the survival of the human race, and those who oppose it will be viewed as foolish and essentially ‘anti-human’.
Some may point out that the Beast and the False Prophet will both be thrown, alive, into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20), and therefore suggest that these two must be persons, and not kingdoms, organizations or ‘generic groups’. I respond by pointing out Jesus’ description of this same judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). He said that, when He returns, He will sit upon His throne and the nations will be gathered before Him. They will be separated to His left and to His right, like a shepherd divides sheep from goats. At that time He will banish those on His left directly into a fire that has been prepared ‘for the devil and his angels’. This can only refer to the Lake of Fire, since Satan is never described as inhabiting Hades. Hence, while Revelation describes two beings being cast alive into the Lake of Fire, Jesus describes a judgment where many are cast into the Lake of Fire alive. To me this suggests the possibility that the Beast is comprised of all those who have taken the Mark of the Beast.
How can this be? The secret lies in observing the increasing ‘solidarity’ of the human race against God. Throughout the world men are talking about the ‘oneness’ of mankind, and the necessity of international unity. It may be that those who take the Mark of the Beast will ‘become the Beast’. It is not coincidence that this rising religious ‘oneness’ is accompanied by an increasingly united worldwide animosity toward Israel. Satan is working behind the scenes to bring the human race, all the nations of the world, to Jerusalem to do battle against God. Satan has no illusions about how things are going to work out. He knows what awaits. But he is focused upon deceiving and taking as many into the Lake of Fire with him as he can. That is why he is called ‘the evil one’.
Jesus said that how He judges those who stand before Him will be determined by how they treated His ‘brethren’. Many believe that Jesus’ brethren are simply those who are Christians, whether Jew or Gentile. This is true. But it may be that, in the context of this particular judgment, as Jesus sits upon the throne of His fathers Abraham and David in Jerusalem, that His brethren may be, more specifically, those Jews who were mistreated by the world in the time leading up to His second coming. Those who are joining the present worldwide chorus to criminalise Israel and divide God’s land might do well to consider this. God’s judgment in this case may be instant and everlasting torment.
4) THE APOSTLE PAUL’S ‘MAN OF SIN’
It is my personal belief that the Beast from the Land (or False Prophet) is also the apostle Paul’s ‘Man of Sin’ (2 Thessalonians chapter 2:1-12). Paul’s ‘Man of Sin’ is also endued with Satanic miracle-working power, and he also is described as being directly and personally destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ, just as the False Prophet will be. Here again, however, I do not feel obligated to believe that Paul is speaking of a single man.
Paul speaks of a ‘great falling away from the Christian faith’ that will precede the appearance of this ‘man’. He also speaks of him as one who will ‘show himself as God, standing in the temple of God’. For centuries many Protestants have viewed these words as a description of the Roman Catholic priesthood, which claims to do what the Bible says Jesus alone can do; stand in God’s true Temple above (in heaven) and intercede for sinners. The gospel message is that people must come to Jesus directly, and know Him personally in order to be saved. Jesus says to the world ‘Come unto Me and be saved’, while Rome’s priests say ‘Come unto Rome and be saved’. Hence both Paul’s ‘man of sin’ and Revelation’s Beast from the Land could be a ‘type of man’, rather than an individual man.
Over the past few decades the Roman Catholic church has drawn closer and closer to the other religions of the world, seeking common ground. Rome now declares that it does not matter what one’s religion is, as long as one loves one’s neighbor. Rome now calls Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and snake worshippers her ‘brothers’. This represents Rome’s attempt to continue riding upon an increasingly international ‘Beast’. Rome is attempting to bridge the gaps between her ‘western children’ and the other nations of the world through talk of peace and religious ‘tolerance’. Hence in these last days we are seeing Roman Catholic leaders who are increasingly given to Eastern mysticism and ‘transcendental’ attempts to connect with the occult spirit world, seeking a ‘higher spirituality’ that will bring all men and religions together as ‘one’. It is in this light that we can understand how a man may soon arise who is a pope to the Catholics, a ‘christ’ to false Christians, a Mahdi to the Muslims, a Messiah to the Jews, and a wise soul to those of India and the Orient. Again, it may be one man, or it may be a cadre of men and women who, together, constitute the Man of Sin / Beast from the Land / False Prophet of the Bible.
Personally I do not believe that every unsaved person will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Depending upon how wicked they have been, I believe that many will spend time in the Lake of Fire before being consumed and ceasing to exist (see Original Sin ). But there are three beings who are specifically described in the Bible as being tormented forever and ever. This fate is reserved for Satan, the Beast and the False Prophet (Revelation 20:10). I believe that God’s warning about the Mark, given in Revelation 14:9-12, may actually be a warning about ‘becoming the Beast’ through taking the Mark, and thus joining Satan in a torment that will never end. This is a dreadful thought to contemplate. God is telling us that we need to take the warnings of His prophecies very seriously.
The contention around this issue, between believers and unbelievers, will be very sharp in the last days, and those who refuse to worship the Beast and his image will be put to death. Those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ will feel compelled, because they have no confidence about their fate beyond the grave, to take the Mark in order to extend their lives. The only way for a person to overcome in these last days will be to ‘not love their lives unto the death’ (Revelation 12:11), and this will only be possible for those who have tasted the forgiveness and the hope of eternal life that Jesus alone can give.
5) THE ANTICHRIST
The Antichrist is mentioned in only four verses, all written by the apostle John, and found only in his letters. The word ‘antichrist’ never appears anywhere else in the scriptures. It means what it appears to mean; one who is against or opposed to Christ.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
1 John 2:18-19
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:22
And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
1 John 4:3
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
2 John 8
As we examine John’s words, the one thing that defines the antichrist is false doctrine. More specifically, John defines antichrists as
- A)Those who once professed faith in Christ, but have departed from biblical Christianity.
- B) Those who deny the Father and the Son.
- C) Those who deny that the Son of God has come into the world in human flesh.
John’s description of an antichrist could apply to any one of a number of people, religions or cults that have claimed to be Christian or respect Christ, but have departed from the true Christian faith.
It should be observed that John never says anything about the Antichrist establishing covenants, ending sacrifices, claiming to be God, having miraculous powers, cooperating with the Beast or being destroyed at the second coming of Christ. Nor does he link ‘the Antichrist’ with any other passage of scripture. The term ‘antichrist’ is not even found in that greatest of all prophetic books, Revelation, which John wrote.
Rather than take caution from this, Dispensationalists have taken advantage of it. Because of his sinister name, and because so little is known about him, Dispensationalists have been able to plug the Antichrist freely into their end-times scenario. For them the Antichrist is ‘the Prince who is to come’ (of Daniel 9:26), the ‘Abomination of Desolation’, Paul’s ‘man of sin’, and ‘the Beast’ that gets thrown into the Lake of Fire together with the False Prophet. One cannot count all of the books, articles and movies that have flowed out of John’s very limited words about ‘the Antichrist’, today’s ‘Left Behind’ series being only one of many.
Although John says that there are many antichrists, in 1 John 2:18 he seems to refer to one specific person, ‘the Antichrist’, who surpasses all other antichrists in his opposition to God. So who is this Antichrist? I do not know. If I had to choose, I would consider Mohammed. Islam claims Biblical roots, but blatantly denies that God has a Son, and that Christ was ‘Emmanuel’; God in flesh. There is no other religion that more directly and forcefully denies the deity of Christ today than Islam (unless it is Judaism). Muslims have written ‘God has no son’ inside their mosque, the ‘Dome of the Rock’, sitting on the Temple mount in Jerusalem. This will ultimately prove to be a profound embarrassment to them. It was this One who declared Himself to be the Son of God, and who predicted the desolation of the Temple and the possession of the Temple Mount by Gentiles, whose words they now fulfill with their mosque.
Could the Antichrist be the False Prophet, and/or Paul’s Man of Sin? Yes, I suppose so, but there is nothing in John’s words that requires us to reach that conclusion.
While I am cautious in my identification of ‘Players’ 3-5 above, I am confident in my conclusions about ‘Players’ 6-9 below.
6) THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION(Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14) The Roman general Titus and his army, which destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD (see The Timetable for Jesus’ Return for a discussion of Titus).
7) THE ‘PRINCE WHO IS TO COME’ OF DANIEL 9:26- also the Roman general Titus.
8) THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 7:8The United States of America
9) THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 8:9The City of Rome, beginning as a very small power on the edge of the Greek Empire. Rome first expelled Greece from the Italian peninsula in the Pyrrhic War, defeated its southern enemy Carthage in the Punic Wars, and then proceeded to move east, conquering Greece, Asia Minor (defeating Antiochus the Great) and eventually the rest of the Middle East (including Israel).
This Little Horn exalted itself against the Prince of God’s host, the Lord Jesus Christ. It then brought an end to the daily sacrifices, destroying Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD. Because of Israel’s transgressions the Roman Empire was allowed to continue its dominance over the Jews, and to establish a religion (Roman Catholicism) that casts truth to the ground. No better combination of brevity and accuracy regarding Rome’s history can be found.