Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Friday, October 07, 2005

Special Series: Part Three: What's so special about the End Times anyway and what are "these things"?

An old Chinese curse says “may you live in interesting times”. I do believe that holds true for each and every one of us, especially these days.

In the past two parts of this special series we covered the year 1948 and what was so special about the Jewish people and Israel and how both of those topics relate to Bible prophecy. Part three, as mentioned on the last post is going to talk about just what are “these things” which will come to pass that Jesus talked about in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 24, Luke 21 – Signs of the End of the Age) and which generation was He talking about.

Matthew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

Jesus said to look to the nation of Israel as the indicator of how close we are to the end of this world.

As before, there will be information on this from the Omega Letter. Some briefings will have two or more briefings combined because separately they contain much of the same information.

This is getting to be an exciting time for everyone to keep “looking UP!”
We live in an age of miracles unlike any the world has ever known. In this generation, man has unlocked the secret of the genome, can 'create' life in a test tube, can duplicate that which is already created [cloning], develop medicines and compounds that can prolong life, and it seems as if there is almost nothing that we cannot do.

Science expects to one day be able to control the elements, bring rain where drought is, anticipate natural disasters like earthquakes, and perhaps, even prevent them.

We can travel outside our atmosphere, and one day expect to reach distant stars. In the natural, it would seem that there is nothing we will not eventually be able to do.

Science has pretty much been able to naturalize, internalize and explain away what were, in previous generations, miracles, reducing them to probabilities, equations, charts and graphs.

With one exception. We can do everything except tell the future. The future contains too many variables to accurately predict. Take the restoration of Israel, for example. Israel was destroyed in 702 BC by the Assyrian king, Sargon II, who conquered the kingdom of Israel.

Some two hundred years after the political subdivision called the 'Kingdom of Israel' was destroyed by Sargon II, the prophet Ezekiel from the Southern Kingdom of Judah wrote from exile in Babylon.

When Sargon destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, he did what conquerors did in those days; he transplanted the population of Israel to elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire, and then relocated elements of other subjugated people in their place.

It was common practice for a conqueror to uproot and displace the conquered people to another part of the empire, repopulating that place with a conquered people from somewhere else.

The purpose of this was to keep the populations docile. A people without a land have little to fight for. To separate a people from their land effectively prevented uprisings. After a generation or two, they assimilate, and the new land becomes their land.

This is how the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were lost to history, and from the beginning of the 7th century BC, there was no place left in the world called Israel.

The northern Kingdom of Israel was scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire, and was effectively lost to history, leaving only the tiny southern kingdom of Judah.

The surviving kingdom of Judah, known as Jews, was captured and partially assimilated by the Babylonians in the mid 5th century BC. They survived their captivity in Babylon, and later, the Medo-Persians, only because they were allowed to return to their own land by Artaxerxes.

To a Jew living in Babylon during the Captivity, it seemed certain that Judah would go the way of Israel and would similarly be lost to history.

Yet the prophets of the Captivity, like Daniel and Ezekiel, wrote confidently that in the last days, there would again be a nation called 'Israel' and that its citizens would once again inhabit the same piece of real estate from which they had been displaced, seemingly forever.

Yet Ezekiel wrote, "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country." [Ezekiel 34:13)

The Jews would be gathered from the countries, and brought into THEIR OWN LAND, upon the mountains of ISRAEL, and not some other place.

"And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. . .(Ezekiel 38:11)

In Ezekiel's day, there was no place called 'Israel', had not BEEN a place called 'Israel' for 150 years, would not be another place called 'Israel' for 2,520 years, and besides, Ezekiel was a Jew from Judah.

But Ezekiel's prophetic writings are filled with references to a future place called 'Israel', one that he describes as "the people that are gathered out of the nations" (38:12) and then further describes as "my people of Israel" (38:18)

Ezekiel wrote of Israel's regathering in the last days. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet is shown a valley of dry bones. Those dry bones, the Lord explains, are the "whole house of Israel"(37:11) that the Lord says would be restored in the last days.

Six hundred years BEFORE the remaining Jews of Israel were scattered by the Romans, the Lord told Ezekiel of their regathering in the last days.

"Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." (Ezekiel 37:21-22)

The fulfillment of this prophecy could not be more obvious. The Jews of the Diaspora have indeed 'come from among the heathen' from 'every side’ and returned to the Promised Land.

Ezekiel prophesied that the regathering of Israel would be on their own land, "mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations" (38:8)

Writing of the Gog Magog invasion, God inspired Ezekiel to prophesy; "After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them." [Ezekiel 38:8]

In this passage, we find the time frame in which Ezekiel's prophecy would come to pass -- 'after many days, in the latter years'. And again, we find that it is not Judah, but ISRAEL, of whom the prophet prophesied. That they would be 'brought forth from the nations' to a land that had 'always been waste' -- until they returned.

For more than 2,500 years, this prophecy remained dormant, until, on May 14, 1948, the survivors of the Holocaust were 'brought forth' under the banner of 'never again' to the 'mountains of Israel' -- which 'had always been waste' as the nation of 'Israel'.

In 1897, the first Zionist Congress petitioned the British Crown to allow the ingathering Jews to set up a state in what was the British colony of Uganda. At the time, Palestine was in the hands of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. The British told them they should ask the Ottomans to let them have their historical homeland and turned the Uganda request down.

The Jews would have settled for Uganda as a Jewish homeland, but the prophets said that the Jewish homeland of the last days would be 'on the mountains of Israel'. And that is exactly what happened.

In his book, ‘Personal Witness' Abba Eban, one of Israel's Founding Fathers, noted that when David Ben-Gurion cabled President Truman to ask the United States to recognize the Jewish state, the Jews still hadn't decided what to call it.

Eban noted, 'Some wanted to call it Zion, others Judah . . .what about 'Israel'?' The name was chosen only hours before the state came into existence, AFTER ben-Gurion had already requested the new state be recognized by Washington. Eban, wrote in his book, 'Personal Witness' that, right up until the last moment before issuing their 1948 Declaration of Statehood, they were quibbling about what to name the new Jewish State.

Ezekiel foretold all this two and one half millennia before it happened. He said his prophecy was for "the latter days." (38:16)

The prophet Daniel, also writing from captivity in Babylon, penned the future history of Israel, [a nation that had not existed for a century] dividing its future into 70 weeks of years. During the 70th and final week, Daniel prophesied the revival of an empire [Rome] that, in Daniel's day, would not see its FIRST incarnation for another 500 years.

Today, the nation of Israel exists, composed of a people 'brought forth from the nations' while, for the first time in 2000 years, a European superstate made up of what had once been the territory of the Roman Empire, seeks involvement in a peace process that Daniel said would be confirmed by a leader of a revived Rome.

Israel was reborn in 1948, as the embryonic European Community of nations was being born out of the 1948 Benelux Treaty.

According to Jesus, the generation that would see His return would be one in which there would be;
"signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."[Luke 21:24-25]

It would be a period of 'wars and rumors of wars,' when, “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." [Matthew 24:6-7]

Jesus noted that; "All these are the beginning of sorrows" [v.8].

Bible prophecy was given the Church so that, "ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it [His return] is nigh, even at the doors." [Mark 13:29]

We are indeed living in the 'age of miracles’ but they are miracles of God, against which the miracles of science cannot possibly compete.

We in this generation have been given the unspeakable gift of certainty that the Lord is about to return, a warning that time is running out, and a renewed commission to go out into all the earth and make disciples of all nations, before time has run out.

No man can know the future, but the God of Creation foretold it --in detail -- so that there could be no misunderstanding. The Lord is about to return.

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” [1st Corinthians 15:1-52]

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

"Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." [1st Thessalonians 4:16-18]
So, what else do the Bible and the prophets say about these “end times” and what is the generation that will witness this coming to fruition? We will cover that in the continuation of this Part Three in the next post. There is so much information to impart regarding this part of Bible prophecy. Did you know that fully 28% of the Bible is dedicated to prophecy. That’s over ¼ of the Bible! Obviously God is trying to tell us something in regards to prophecy. Prophecy in the Bible is roughly divided between two things: 1) the coming of Jesus and who He really was – the son of God who was slain for the sins of the world so that all who believed in Him would live in eternity in heaven and 2) the End Times, when Jesus comes back for his followers, who are all of those who have accepted Him as the Savior of their life and repented of their sins. When He takes those who believe in Him, in the twinkling of an eye, there will be no more restraining hand and confusion and lawlessness will run amok until the Antichrist comes on the scene. He will bring peace to the Middle East and Israel but it will be a false peace from a 7 year treaty (the Tribulation period), that he will break after 3 ½ years. In future parts of this series we will not only discuss the end times signs and the generation, but the rapture, the antichrist and the tribulation. True, the actual word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible anywhere, but the very word rapture means to be caught up and the Bible says that we will be caught up in the air with Jesus when He returns to take us out of the world and spare us from the wrath of God that He will pour out on the unrepentant world that is left behind.

Next: Special Series: Part Three: What's so special about the End Times anyway and what are "these things"? (continued)


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Great post, Nic; we have always lived in 'interesting times'.

Alvin Miller said...
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