Friday, January 6, 2017
We live in perilous but exciting times, for our generation lives in the end-times of this present age. Barring an early death, we will engage Christ’s foretold seven years of tribulation, going up on the high road of testimony for Christ. And depending on whether or not we’ve believed and prepared in, “the testimony of Jesus Christ”, will determine our ability to endure to the end.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Therein true saints believe, “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). John, the writer of The Revelation, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos for “the testimony of Jesus Christ, and we, the saints of Christ, are called to no less.
The next likely near-term end-time Scripture(s) to be fulfilled will be, 1) the dividing of Israel for peace with the Arab nations…that is, a temporal 3 1/2 year peace authored by “the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3), “the abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24:15), “the Antichrist” (1 John 2:18); or 2) the destruction of Damascus, Syria according to Isaiah 17:1.
Last week the Times of Israel, 12/29/2016, reported this headline, “Arab states welcome Kerry’s framework for Israeli–Palestinian peace”, to which I said, “Well of course they do!” The article continued, “Key Arab states on Thursday expressed their support for US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two-state solution, which he laid out a day earlier in a long, comprehensive speech in Washington.”
Well, of course! When their evil intent is exposed, the illegitimate never mind dividing what’s not theirs! That’s an ancient concept. Presently, Arab nations having disclosed their evil intent, are the illegitimate occupiers of Israel who demand cutting the child in two! I was reminded of a spiritual parallel involving King Solomon from 1 Kings 3:16–28 going back about 2,970 years.
“Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him” (1 Kings 3:16). As regards Christ the Messiah, unbelieving national Jews and Arabs are spiritual harlots, for neither believe that Christ is the Messiah. Both have forsaken the true God who said of Christ, “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
As the account goes, woman 1 gave birth to a son and three days later woman 2 also gave birth to a son. Before her destruction in 70 AD, Israel was established 1,516 years, after which Arab nations illegitimately occupied her. However, God’s prophetic Word being fulfilled, Israel was reborn at the appointed time (Ezek. 37:1–14). Thus, reborn Israel will be 69 years old this year.
Consequently, the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael metaphorically live in the same house. In the 1 Kings 3:16–28 narrative it happened that the son of woman 2 died when his mother lay on him. Under cover of darkness, then, woman 2 exchanged her dead son for the living son of woman 1. Then women 1 took woman 2 to court [modern day United Nations] seeking justice.
Then King Solomon said, “Bring me a sword…[and] said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other” (1 Kings 3:24–25). Woman 1, the true mother begged the King not to divide her son. But woman 2, the illegitimate one, said yes, “divide him” (3:26). So, it comes as no surprise that Arab nation’s desire, in fact, demand, the child / the land be divided.
Similarly today, the legitimate mother, Israel, has sought justice from both America and the United Nations, but to no avail. The illegitimate occupier of Israel, the Arab nations, demand the division of Israel for their own evil purposes, that is, Satan’s evil purposes that would ultimately prohibit the truly legitimate and eternal occupiers of the land of Israel…saints of the Most High!
As Christians, we must think in terms of God’s plan according to His written Word for the end of this present age and beyond to our eternal inheritance. We must recognize the signs of the times according to God’s Word and be spiritually discerning and fully cognizant of what it means to be a follower of Christ. The road to our eternal inheritance has always been narrow and difficult.
Please follow this powerful truth from God’s Word: concerning Israel of the Old Covenant, God said, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people…And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo. 19:5–6). But Israel fell, seeking to be like the wicked nations of the world.
Therefore, when God gave the prophet the promise of Israel’s future restoration as a nation, the prophet recognizing that Israel had forsaken her covenant with God, exclaimed, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!” (Ezek. 37:11). The prophet recognized that because of Israel’s harlotry, she had been cut off and carried away into Babylonian captivity!
The apostle Paul recognizing by the Holy Spirit that Israel had not been irreconcilably cut off, said, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin…Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:1, 5). And truly, a remnant of Israel is being saved!
But post-Calvary God warns, “You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:19–22).
What national Jews once were, that is, “a special treasure to Me above all people…a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo. 19:5–6), is no more, because God now says of all post-Calvary saints: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…who once were not a people but are now the people of God” (1 Peter 2:9–10).
The reality is, only born again saints from all nations will inherit the land of Israel, for God promised it to Abraham, “as an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8), then restated the promise to his grandson, Jacob (Gen. 48:4), and then said post-Calvary, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29), meaning heirs to all the promises to Abraham and his descendants; not inheriting one promise, but disinheriting another.
Thus, I often remind Christians that it’s imperative we understand who we are in Christ – we are the true Jews God seeks. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, [nationally or genealogically] nor is circumcision that 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, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Rom. 2:28–29). Therefore, I often ask the question, “Do you identify as a true Jew?”
God said, “Before she [Israel] was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? [Yea and amen! Israel was born in one day – May 14, 1948!] For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. “Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says the Lord” (Isa. 66:7–9).
The land of Israel will not receive justice in this present age, for God said, “I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zech. 14:1–4).
Christ stands on the Mount of Olives at the resurrection / rapture at, “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), when, “the Lord Himself descends from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16), “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21), “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31).
Concerning, “the times of restoration of all things” which occurs at the last day, God says, “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory” (Isa. 66:10–11).
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isa. 65:17–19).
But first, the road ahead for all people is seven years of tribulation. This time will consist of great wars, demonic alien beings and natural disasters. God’s two witnesses of Rev. 11:3–13 will also testify in Jerusalem. We will witness the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. And our faith will be challenged in ways we’ve never imagined because the church doesn’t teach all of the Bible.
Only God knows the details of how Israel will be divided according to Joel 3:2. But that division will create terrible wars, while simultaneously creating a temporal peace of 3 1/2 years in Israel. It will be, “a covenant with many for one week” (Dan. 9:27) meaning seven years. When this occurs do not be dismayed, but gird yourself in the full armor and knowledge of Jesus Christ. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Marlin J. Yoder