THE LATTER DAYS
P. C. Johnson, England
SOME three thousand years ago, written in the Bible book of II Samuel chapter 7 verse 16 we read how God sent Nathan the prophet to see King David and tell him
" .. thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever".
This immutable promise from God to David, is called in the Bible The Davidic Covenant.
It can be shown in Biblical and secular history, that this throne and kingdom is still in being today, in this year of 2010. (After all it must be in existence because God's promises are always fulfilled and have never failed) This throne is now occupied by our beloved Queen Elizabeth II here in Great Britain.
The last Judean king to reign in Jerusalem was King Zedekiah. He was made a prisoner by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar who conquered Jerusalem about
600 BC. Zedekiah was taken to Babylon, his sons were killed, but his daughters Scota and Tea Tephi were later taken by Jeremiah the prophet to Egypt and then to Ireland. The royal line has continued through the Irish kings, then the Scottish kings and now the British kings.
In 1603 AD James VI of Scotland became James I of England. The royal line has continued in accordance with God's promise to David in the Davidic covenant.
At His second advent, Jesus, who was a descendant from David through Mary His mother, will take over this throne as the supreme ruler of the promised Kingdom of Heaven.
Where there is a King, there always has to be a kingdom.The people of David's kingdom and his successors' kingdoms were always the Children of Israel. The Davidic covenant therefore also shows, along with other numerous prophecies in the Bible, that the children of Israel are very much in existence today in many kingdoms. In this 21st century they are scattered throughout the world - in America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Scandinavia, here in Great
Britain and probably in smaller enclaves worldwide. The Israel people in many of these countries originated by emigration from Britain. Further evidence that the British and their descendants are the true Israelites rests in the name 'British' which was derived from the Hebrew 'brith ish' which translates as 'covenant man'.
To any doubt that the descendants of true Israel come from the British peoples, it must be pointed out that God in His book of Malachi 3:6 thunders out
"For I AM the lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed"
Note that this quotation includes one of God's names 'I AM' which indicates the outstanding importance of the quote!
The Bible records over a hundred or more prophecies that Israel will always exist. But sadly, because of unrepentant sins, Israel have in the past and will in the future, perish as a result of and because of their sins. But the faithful people of Israel, who are referred to in the Bible as the 'remnant' will be present in all generations. Zephaniah 3:13 describes this remnant
"The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid"
Many people believe that the Jews are present-day Israel. This is not correct. While we feel pity for the persecution and troubles they have had down through the centuries, they like us are still God's children. There are some Christian Jews, let us pray that more may be converted. The term Jewish relates more correctly to the Jewish religion than to a nationality.
After Zedekiah, the last Judean King, was taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar as a prisoner with most of the Judeans, Judea was empty of most people. As a result some people from neighbouring nations and tribes, started to occupy Judea and Jerusalem, and even parts of Samaria. The main incomers are the descendants of Jacob's brother Esau, who were called Edomites or Idumeans or even just 'Mount Seir' in the Bible, together with some Moabites, Ishmaelites, Philistines and others. Jeremiah records in Lamentations 5:2
"Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens".
The Bible records similar activity in Psalm 83, Psalm 137, Obadiah 10-14, Ezekiel 36:2.
About 536 BC Cyrus, King of Persia, who was then in Babylon, was inspired by God to rebuild the House of the Lord in Jerusalem. Cyrus persuaded some of the previous captives from Judea, who were then in Babylon, to go back to Jerusalem to perform this task. They were led by Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel. About 50,000 people returned, a relatively small number compared to the previously captive Judeans, who preferred to stay in Babylon .When the Judeans who were to rebuild the House of the Lord arrived in Jerusalem, they found many strangers occupying Jerusalem and Judea, who were Edomites and others as above.
Over the years that followed, intermarriage took place between the Judeans and other peoples. Thus when we come to the time of Jesus, the 'Jews' were a mixed people. Herod was of Edomite extraction along with many more. Some true Judeans and Israelites were present in the Holy Land, such as the disciples, Paul,
Timothy and others. The Jewish religion was prominent at that time.
Turning to Matthew 21:43 when Jesus was talking to the Chief priests and the Pharisees, He says
"Therefore I say unto you. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof".
The kingdom of God in the Bible refers quite clearly to God's salvation; which was brought about by the crucifixion of Jesus the Son of God on the cross of Calvary, where He died, so paying fully the penalty of death on behalf of all mankind in all time and space, whether Gentile, Jew or Israelite. God's law requires the penalty of death for the sinner. All we have to do is to repent (change our minds from sinning to goodness) and believe faithfully in our Saviour Jesus who rose from the dead and is now with God in heaven.
The nation who were "to bring forth the fruits thereof" in Matthew 21:43 above, which means teaching about God's salvation are the true and faithful remnant of the children of Israel. This was taught first by Jesus, then by the disciples and Paul, James, Timothy and many others, through the church of Christ which is led by Jesus and has been down through the ages, and still being taught today.
The description of the kingdom of God above shows that it has been with us a long time, but the Kingdom of Heaven is yet to come, and will start after the second
advent, when Jesus will reign for a thousand years. We do not know when Jesus will return as promised, but the Bible does give some evidence of what will occur just before and at the Second.Advent. This advent of Jesus will be a cataclysmic event. God is the moral Governor of the whole universe as well as the redeemer of mankind. The Bible prophesies that the period just before the Second Advent will be a time of great trouble, and as stated above, refers to it as the "Great Tribulation". In Matthew 24 (which should be read) Jesus gives great details of this particular time. In verse 21 Jesus says
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be".
In Luke 21:26 Jesus again describes that time
"Mens hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after these things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken".
In Matthew 24:38-39 Jesus compares the great tribulation, to the flood of Noah's time that took all the people away. The destruction of Nineveh and Sodom and Gomorrah are also quoted in the Bible as a simile to the great tribulation. The reason for this similarity can be seen in considering the phrase 'The fear of the Lord' from Psalm 19:9. Scofield says that this phrase is 'from Old Testament piety with a hatred of evil'. That's fine, but in the light of the great tribulation the meaning
could be deeper. For repentant believers in Christ at that time it could mean reverence, respect, honour, trust and awe to our God and great joy knowing that our redemption is near. Alas, for unrepentant sinners, it may well mean actual fear. The RV King James Bible translation of the verse of Psalm 19:9 is right up to date
at this time of the imminent great tribulation.
In Isaiah 13: 11-12 we are told of the severe retribution that will occur in the great tribulation
''And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir".
The wedge was perhaps a unique treasure, and for 'precious' read 'rare' (Strong).The punishments here indicate many unrepentant sinners may not survive in many cases or may receive another form of sentence. After all we are all sinners. We read in Revelation 14:6 at the time of the Second Advent
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people".
Obviously after the Second Advent there will still be a need to preach the gospel. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus tells His disciples
"But of that day and hour (of the Second Advent) knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
God in his wisdom has not revealed the Second Advent date. But careful study of His bible does reveal descriptions of the times just before and at the Second
Advent. The immediate time just before the advent, is given a few names: the day of the Lord, the time of Jacob's trouble, great tribulation. Jesus gives his
disciples many examples of these times which are also called the 'latter days'. In Matthew 24:12 He says
" .. because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold"
This describes our country today! In Mark 13:1-19 Jesus gives a lot of information which should be read. In verse 19 we read
"For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time".
Matthew 24:6-7 also describes our world today
" .. ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars ..... For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows".
Isaiah 29:13 also gives us a picture which matches Israel today.
" Wherefore the Lord said, For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men:" (not the Bible)
This is an indication where some churches fail today.
An extensive survey carried out a few years ago in Britain and Ireland among church goers and would-be church goers, revealed a lack of Bible teaching in churches - not all but in many. This a common complaint by the laity. Amos 8:11 also records a similar problem
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:"
In II Timothy 3:l-5 Paul tells us (abbreviated)
".... in the last days perilous times shall come .... men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. . ".
In II Thessalonians 2:3 Paul tells us
" Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day (of the Lord) shall not come, except there come a falling away first .... ".
In Matthew 24:7 Jesus says
"For nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes .... "
Again Jesus warns us in Matthew 24: 15
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) ":
Jesus then infers that the latter days had come. In Matthew 24:21 again we are warned
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be".
In Matthew 24:22 Jesus describes a puzzle
''And except those days (of tribulation) should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened".
This is easily understood if Jesus was referring to a number of days. But if He was referring to a number of hours? Impossible our scientists would say - ignoring
the Bible statement, 'with God all things are possible'. Your writer will only observe, that the former traditional working day hours were 9am to 5pm, but now seem to be universally starting earlier and last well into the evening, meaning that there is not enough time in the day to complete work each day!? Hosea 4 shows
another huge problem of today in verse 6 we read
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected Knowledge, I will also reject thee, .... seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God".
Also in Hosea 4:1-2 we read
"Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel; for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery ... ".
In Matthew 24:24 Jesus predicts
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, ifit were possible, they shall deceive the very elect".
Using the word 'prophets' (none of the Bible prophets) Jesus is probably referring to some book writers and pulpit occupiers who sadly provide little or no teaching of God's word in the Holy Bible.
Daniel in his prophecy in chapter 12 deals at length with the great tribulation. In verse 4 he says
" ... even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased".
Daniel is here describing the frequency and speed of modern fast travel, and possibly universal religious confusion. Certainly he knew of the then future tremendous increase in knowledge from his time to our time today. In Mark 13:10 Jesus tells His disciples
" ... the gospel must first be published among all nations".
Meaning, before the day of the Lord and the Second Advent. This has been done.
Isaiah 3:12 tells us how our leaders of today have failed us
" ... O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths".
This quotation does not say which type of leaders, so we must conclude church and state, how very true.
In Hosea 4:3 we read a prophecy of a situation which has been reported in the mass media for years now
" ... . . yea. the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away"
In Britain many large former fishing harbours are empty now and devoid of any fishing. A TV company showed a programe that claimed that this fish loss is actually world wide.
Hosea 3:5 gives us more cheerful information
''Afterwards shall the children of Israel, and seek the Lord their God, .... and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days".
These quotations from the Bible now warn us to recognize that 'great tribulation' is now here, and to be sure we have repented and are believing faithfully in Jesus and His salvation.
As stated above, only God knows the date of the Second Advent, and you can be sure that He will not miss that date. The Bible does give some information about happenings at that time.
Jesus warns us in Matthew 24:42-44
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come".
" .. for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh".
Zechariah 14:7-8 tells us roughly what part of the advent Jesus will appear (7)
"but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light"
And in verse (8) when Jesus comes on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4)
"in summer and in winter shall it be".
This last part gives us the season of the advent year. The Bible does not use the word autumn, which season comes between summer and winter, so it is surely
meaning that the advent will be in an autumn season. Strong enables us to narrow it down to 'harvest time'.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:20 concerning His advent
"But pray ye that your 'flight' be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath day".
As Jesus asks us to pray for this it surely must mean that the advent will not come in winter or the Sabbath. But what does the word 'flight' mean. This must be
connected to Paul's message in I Thessalonians 4:17 where he talks about the resurrection of the faithful
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected dead) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord"
In Matthew 24:27-31 Jesus describes His second advent, which should be read. Verse 27 tells us
"For as lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (verse 30) ''And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn (be very upset) and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory"
At the moment of the Second Advent and the redemption of all believers, Paul in I Corinthians 15:51-52 says
"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep (be dead), 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" (the rest of the chapter should be read).
In Ezekiel 36:22 & 31 Israel are told
"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God.
I do not this (forgive sin) for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy names sake, which you have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went (31)
Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations".
In Isaiah 13:14 at this time we read
"..... they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee everyone into his own land."
This probably means the mixing of different races will be stopped.
In Matthew 24:34 Jesus again confirms the permanent existence of Israel
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled".
In Isaiah 11:4 we are told of some of God's actions following His advent
"But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked".
God's word concerning His laws and rules for human behaviour if broken by man produces sin which itself slays us. We all sin and know that we all will die mortal death. Repentance and belief and trust in Jesus and God's salvation is the only Gate to eternal life after the advent.
Luke 21:28 advises us
''And when these things begin to come to past then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh".
Paul in Romans 13:12 with his usual wisdom says
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light".
Finally let us take comfort from Isaiah 40:31
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint"
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