Friday, November 10, 2017
The second Jewish Temple was destroyed in AD 70 by Titus the Roman Emperor, upon which Israel ceased from being a nation. Since the rebirth of Israel as a nation, however, in May 1948, seventy 360-day Hebraic years have passed. Upon David Ben-Gurion’s declaration of Israel’s statehood, U.S. President Harry S. Truman led the world in acknowledging Israel as a nation.
The Vatican, however, was the one nation that did not recognize Israel as a nation for the next 45 years and 7 months! The Vatican finally recognized Israel as a nation, but only on its terms and conditions of the “FUNDAMENTAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE HOLY SEE AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL, December 30, 1993”. The Vatican, unlike other nations, put in legal terms its rights to Israel which will ultimately seat the pope in the temple where he claims to be God.
Article 10 of that “AGREEMENT”, states in part, “The Holy See and the State of Israel jointly affirm the right of the Catholic Church to property.” In carefully crafted legal terms the Vatican seized “religious, moral, educational and charitable” rights, including “land”. Orthodox Jews will soon be allowed by a seven-year “covenant” of peace to rebuild their third Temple in which they will again offer Old Testament-style animal sacrifices.
But construction of that Temple will not begin until “he [Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” (Dan. 9:27), meaning 7 years. That covenant is the event that begins the seven-year tribulation, the final seven years of this present age. Christians, both now and then, must ascend the holy highway of testimony for Christ Jesus. It’s nearly 24 Gregorian years since the Vatican signed its “FUNDAMENTAL AGREEMENT” with Israel. The time is near when the Vatican and its final pope will “confirm a covenant with many”.
At or near what will be the start of the final seven years of this age, John the revelator is told by the angel to, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Rev. 11:1–2).
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, [3 1/2 years] clothed in sackcloth…And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire” (Rev. 11:3–6). Their ministry effects the whole world.
The offering of animal sacrifices will indeed be an abomination to God who sent Christ to die for the sins of mankind, hence, the ministry of God’s two witnesses. And at the end of their 3 1/2 year ministry the two witnesses will be killed, but “after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them” (Rev. 11:11–12).
“But in the middle of the week he [Antichrist] shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate” (Dan. 9:27). 3 1/2 years into the tribulation Antichrist breaks his “covenant” and demands that the whole world worship him as God.
To enforce global worship of himself, “He [Antichrist] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:16–17). But at the middle point of the tribulation God has a (Rev. 12:6, 14) place of safety and provision for Christians who believed Christ and prepared accordingly.
This begins the last 3 1/2 years of this present age which Christ called the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21). That time will be known by those having the knowledge God gave, together with spiritual discernment, when “the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:3–4).
We will then know that about 42 months of this age remain, for Jesus said, “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13); and, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25). So, I ask you in the love of Christ, do you believe and personalize Jesus’ end-time teachings? Many Western Christians do not believe Christ because they’ve been deceived by false teachers.
God is faithful and true, and “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10). Now is the time to believe Christ and get right with God, because no one has the promise of tomorrow.
The significance of the rebirth of the nation of Israel is this: Jesus said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree [Israel]: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:32–35). The May 1948 rebirth of Israel marked the start of the last generation of this age.
God’s Word reveals that the Vatican is the seat of “the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication…The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls…And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:1–5).
We must depend on Christ for strength to endure the rising spiritual and physical tsunami of evil. The persecution of Christians is escalating globally, and the mass murder of Christians has now come to America. But Jesus foretold all this and more. We’ve begun seeing the hatred, chaos and tribulation that will envelop the earth. But only in Christ and His atonement is eternal salvation!
Marlin J. Yoder