(Delivered at Orange Street Congregational Church on 9th April 2006)
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" - Romans 11:25
THE FIRST POINT:
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery..."
In the Epistle to the Romans, in Chapters 9,10 and 11, Paul is writing about the mystery of Israel.
In Chapter 11:7:
"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he is seeking for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."
And again in Verse 11:
"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy."
Throughout the Old and New Testaments the Word of God is speaking continually to Israel, with Everlasting Covenants being made, plus their duty to keep these
Commandments, laws and Statutes given to them, with blessings to follow. Then there will also be Judgements, Rewards, Curses and Afflictions, according to the Will of God as He brings forth His Elect within Israel, throughout the ages.
From the beginning of the Christian Church, the early Fathers applied all these Scriptures to the Jews, (the House of Judah), being blinded to the consideration that many of these Scriptures and Prophecies could be intended for the Twelve Tribes, (all IsraeI) , or some to the ten tribes, the Northern House of Ephraim only, and
some to the Southern House of Judah only.
The Northern House of Israel was taken into captivity 771-676 B.C. and since that time the House of Judah, then known as the Jews, was the only visible remnant of Israel.
They did not look further, the ten tribes had been dispersed some 7-800 years earlier, scattered amongst the gentiles, so that these early Church Fathers could themselves be part of the elect within Israel but blinded to their identity.
Blindness in part has happened to Israel and this is clearly explained to the Apostles by Our Lord.
"And Jesus said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto them which are without, all these things are done in parables:
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at anytime they should be converted, and their sins forgiven them."
Again in Luke 24:13-16:
" And behold two of the disciples went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them, But their eyes were holden that they should not know him."
Churches and their theologians today adopt a theological device termed REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY whereby all the Covenants and Blessings given to Israel,
(still considered to be the Jews, and now a State of IsraeI), have been replaced and the Christian Church must now receive them!!
All the curses and judgements would then, without question, apply to the Jews. This replacement theory was adjusted to include all twelve tribes so that this would cover any remnant of the Ephraim tribes that may have filtered back to Jerusalem.
Unfortunately for the proponents of this theory, Scripture is more precise
SAMARIA, centre of the ten tribes, was besieged and taken by the King of Assyria in 721 BC and, by 697 BC all the ten tribes were carried away.
Scripture is clear and definite on this point:-
" Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight, there was none left but the tribe of Judah only."
We are still left with this mystery; what happened to Israel? Because the Elect People of God must be within them.
THE SECOND POINT:
"Lest ye should be wise in your own conceits..."
And here the early Fathers were in difficulties, they could not reconcile the Israel references in the Scriptures with the Jews!!!
Origen (185-254 AD) was forceful in giving warning to the church, (which he considered to be the true Israel,) not to interpret Israel passages to mean the Jews, for they were heretics!! Especially when we consider Romans 11:26,27.
26: "And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
27: "For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."
Origen believed that a certain Israel will be saved after which he calls a period of blindness, however he remained unsure whether the blindness refers to Israelites or to people from the nations not calculated in this period - THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES.
This mystery confused all the early fathers - for the time was not at hand for them to understand:
Justin Martyr was 1st-2nd Century A.D.
Origen was 2nd-3rd Century A.D.
Augustine was 3rd-4th.Century A.D
Chrysostom was 4th-5th Century A.D.
Pope Gregory was 5th-6th Century A.D.
And so this Replacement Theology had originated with the early church fathers, who must themselves have been part of the elect Israel, and so, unbeknown to themselves, and being wise in their own conceits, confirmed the Israel blessings to the now Protestant Churches in the western world, which is Israel within the Gentiles.
THE THIRD POINT:
"that blindness in part is happened to Israel..."
As we have seen, there was a blindness induced into our early church fathers, who being wise in their own conceits, placed the Israel covenant with, the early church, and thus fulfilled the prophecies. But as the fullness of the gentiles approached, so an awareness that history was marking the Protestant countries with identities that matched those of the ten tribes.
This became more apparent at the end of the Reformation when the identity of the Man of Sin,being the papacy was understood, and the Apostate Roman Catholic Church started persecuting the true church. This led to an understanding of the Israel Identity within the Anglo-Saxon people and under God's hand shaped our liturgy in the development of the Book of Common Prayer.
The throne of David and Jacob's stone within Westminster Abbey was accepted by our people, but later the Church of England would not preach this full Israel Gospel throughout the land. It was left to individual groups and churches to research and keep alive this knowledge of the hidden works of Almighty God to preserve his people in an alien world.
When the Roman Church had become world wide and fully Apostate, God put His hand upon Ephraim and cemented them with His Truth and built a national church for Ephraim/Israel, giving them a threefold foundation to build upon:
Firstly - His Word - the Authorised Version
Secondly - His Worship - the Book of Common Prayer
Thirdly - His Doctrine - The 39 Articles of Religion
The Reformation was preceded by the opening of the Word of God to his people in their own tongue. Previously only the catholic priests holding the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible could read scripture and give the interpretation according to the apostate church doctrine.
Then in 1382, The Lord opened the minds of His servants and chose Wyclif to translate the existing Vulgate Latin into English.This was before printing was invented and only handwritten copies were available.
But despite these difficulties, this opening of the Scriptures in England paved the way ahead for the Reformation, and in 1525 Tyndale translated the Bible into English using the original Greek and Hebrew texts then available, the Textus Receptus, rather than the Septuagint Text used for the Vulgate. His New Testament
was printed in Germany and smuggled into England. For translating the Bible into the language of the people the priesthood ordered Tyndale to be burnt in 1536.
Then came the Great Bible in 1539, based upon Tyndale's translation and others, followed by the Bishops Bible in 1568.
Later,at the time chosen by the Lord, in 1604, James I of England, appointed 54 scholars to produce a Bible in the language of the day. These scholars were the
most learned and godly men in the country, with a reverent regard for the Divine inspiration, Authority and Inerrancy of Holy Scriptures, using the Textus Receptus
developed from the original autographs through the years 452-1453AD. Erasmus edited the first printing of this Greek New Testament in 1515 AD. Tyndale
translated his New Testament from this Textus Receptus.
Then in 1611, Ephraim/Israel was given the Word of God, to guide them into knowledge of GOD'S Will on earth, the FIRST foundation block for the reformed
Church of England, the AUTHORISED VERSION of the Bible.
The SECOND foundation block, to worship the Lord their God in truth and righteousness developed over the years 1543 to 1662, with the authorisation by Church and State and we were given the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
The Lord chose Cranmer, His servant, to start work on this prayer book in 1543, using King Henry VIII to instruct Cranmer to prepare a Prayer Book in English
for use by the new Church of England. By 1552 an English Prayer Book had been prepared, and this, under God's guidance survived the revival of Catholicism
under Queen Mary, when Cranmer was burnt as a heretic in 1553.
Elizabeth I restored this 1552 Prayer Book to the Church of England which went under further revision in the reign of James I and then in 1604, a conference was held at Hampton Court between King, Bishops and Puritans and in 1662 under God's guidance we had the Book of Common Prayer, the standard guide to Biblical
Church Worship in our churches for the last 346 years.
The THIRD foundation block given to the Church of England was to define their Biblical Doctrine, and thus ensure that the Church of England does not drift back
into the false and apostate beliefs held by the Roman Church. The Thirty Nine Articles must be viewed as part of a large number of confessions of faith given by reformed churches over Europe.
There were the Lutheran Confessions, Zwingli Confessions, the Augsburg and Wurtemburg Confessions, together with the Institutes of Calvin, all designed specifically to avoid the errors of Roman Doctrine re-entering the Reformed Churches, and our Thirty Nine Articles developed over these Reformation years from 1546. In 1553 Cranmer made out 41Articles, revised in 1571 to our 39 Articles, which have been based on these earlier Confessions of Faith.
To guard against the church altering the doctrine given by these Articles, at the 1604 Convocation all clergy were required to subscribe individually to each Article at Ordination and upon each entry to a new benefice. This form of subscription has been weakened since 1665 and in 1968 it was reduced to a general assent to the formularies of the Church of England.
After the Reformation, with this re-emergence of Israel within the Gentile nations, we have certain marks of identity given throughout the Old Testament, for these
were the people with whom GOD made a progressive and everlastingcovenant; firstly with Noah and his seed, and then amplified through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).
Genesis 9:9 - Covenant with Noah: Behold I establish my covenant with you and with Your seed after you.
Genesis 12:1-3 - with Abraham: I will make of thee a GREAT NATION, and make thy name GREAT, and to be a blessing to all families on earth.
Genesis 26:3-5 - with Isaac: To be blessed and multlplled, possess the gate of his enemies, to be a blessing to all nations on earth.
Genesis 28:14 - with Jacob: seed as dust on earth, spread abroad to east, west, north and south.
Genesis 35:10-11 - with Israel: To be fruitful and multiply, spread abroad.
Genesis 48: 19 - with Ephraim: to be great, seed a multitude of nations.
2 Samuel 7:12-17 - with David: establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
Jeremiah 33:17 - with David: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of Israel.
But this heredity Israel identity is then widened and made more mysterious with other Scriptures, particularly in St John's Gospel, Chapter 10, in which Our Lord confirms his identity as the Good Shepherd for his Israel sheep and then includes other sheep not of this fold!!!
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
Then Paul in his epistle to the Romans 9:3-7 gives a description of the divisions within Israelites.
" For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; Who are Israelites. to whom pertaineth 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 hath taken none 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 thy seed be called."
Now earlier theologians naturally equated the Gentiles as being this other fold eventually to be joined with the House of Judah (the Jews), but if Ephraim is hidden within the Gentiles, it is still within the one fold of Israel. The other sheep not of this fold must be Christians outside of the seed of Israel, and it is only now when we, as a nation have forsaken our main Christian heritage, that we have African and Indian Bishops speaking up for our Anglican Church Doctrine. It is also reported that Indian Christians converted in the last century by Welsh Presbyterians, are to return to Wales as missionaries to bring the Gospel back to the land that gave them Christianity. Can these Christians, not of the seed of Isaac, comprise this other fold which were chosen before the foundation of the earth? We cannot be certain until this prophecy is fulfilled.
THE FOURTH POINT:
"Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
What is the fulness or the times of the Gentiles?
This includes the period between the first visit of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to establish His Church on earth, and his second coming to prevent the destruction of this world.
When can this be? ... Back to Scripture again.
The words of Our Lord Himself:
"...Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until The times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
JERUSALEM was ruled by the Kings of Judah until 587 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem captive in accordance with the prophecies given to Jeremiah
some 20 years earlier.
Jeremiah 25:9; 2 Kings Ch. 24 and Ch. 25:
"... and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all those nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations."
Remember, the northern ten tribe Kingdom had been dispersed into Assyria some 200 years earlier, and Jerusalem and Judah were now captive. Bear in mind that Jerusalem has been continually under Gentile (non-Jewish) rule for 2,555 years from 587 BC until 1967, as can be seen from this brief outline of the history of
Jerusalem over this period.
HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
587 BC Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and carried the Jews into captivity
532 BC Cyrus conquered Babylon and permitted the Jews to return. Jerusalem ruled by Persians
331 BC Alexander the Great defeated Darius II at the battle of Arbela. Jerusalem ruled by the Greeks
300 BC After the death of Alexander, his general Ptolemy included Jerusalem in his Egyptian Empire.
198 BC Antiochus III, descendant of Alexander's General Seleucus Nicator took Jerusalem from the Egyptian Empire.
142 BC Maccabees revolt 165Be. Independence by defaul tin 142 BC. Antiochus VI had plundered and desecrated the Temple and was too busy defending his land to squash theMaccabee revolt
63 BC Roman Generals forced their way into Jerusalem. Parthian army plundered Jerusalem.
37 BC Under Roman Rule. Herod the Great started a building project in Jerusalem.
33 AD Under Roman rule. Our Lord Jesus Christ crucified.
70 AD Titus surrounded Jerusalem.
132 AD Hadrian razed Jerusalem to the ground. Jews excluded from city.
312 AD Constantine allowed Jews to return to city
614 AD Persians stormed and captured city.
637 AD Arabs captured Jerusalem. Dome of Rock built on Temple site.691 AD.
1050 AD Turks replaced Arabs as rulers.
1099 AD Crusades, Christian kingdom held for 100 years, still Gentile rule.
1187 AD Arabs under Saladin took the city and held it till....
1517 AD Turks of Ottoman Empire took Jerusalem.
1917 AD General Allenby entered the city on foot. Balfour Declaration opened Palestine for Jewish immigrants.
1948 AD The new state of Israel established, under Jewish rule, Jerusalem divided.
1967 AD Miraculous six-day war, Israel captured Jerusalem, now under Jewish rule for the first time since 587 BC.
The times of the Gentiles must now be fulfilled - what now sayeth the Scriptures?
"And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken"
"and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Since 1967 Jerusalem has been ruled by the Jews, it is no longer ruled by Gentiles, and we must now have reached the final end times. The Lord has not yet returned to rule with a rod of iron for one thousand years, but the stage is set for His Return.
Hear the comforting words Our Lord says concerning these end times, for they speak of the situation now with us:
"Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on earth?"
And the faith within most of our churches today has been weakened and downgraded being transferred from belief and worship of an ALMIGHTY AND ALL
POWERFUL TRIUNE GOD to that of a friendly father!!!
Our Lord Himself, clearly describes the signs for Christians to watch and wait for that will warn of his return to restore Divine rule over the earth. These were
given in reply to the disciples plea for enlightenment:
"Tell us, when shall these things be and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?"
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you."
These signs are clearly given in Matthew Ch. 24, Mark Ch. 13 and Luke Ch. 21
SIGN 1 "and ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars" - ( Matt.v.6, Mark v.7, Luke v.9)
History does not record such an incidence of wars and rumours of war that have taken place through the whole of the 19th.century and continue through to this
present day, with world wide publicity given through press, radio and television reporting.
SIGN 2 "For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom" - ( Matt.v.7, Mark v.8, Luke v.10)
The Great War in 1914 involved the greatest number of nations at war at one time in world history, yet the World War in 1939-45 was even greater in extent. These total wars involving the civilian populatlons specifically fulfils this text.
SIGN 3 "and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places Note: all these shall be the beginnings of sorrows" - (Matt.v.7,
Mark v .8, Luke v.11)
The present day incidence of earthquakes is phenomenal, famines are becoming greater and there is growing concern that the world food resources may be overtaken with the world population 'explosion'.
SIGN 4 "and because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold" - (Matt.v.12)
Never in the history of Christendom has there been such a widespread disbelief in the Word of God and failure of the church and state to uphold the Commandments, Laws and Statutes that we, as a nation, did maintain in our Constitution, Church and Government, and in our public and private life.
SIGN 5 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come" - (Matt. v. 14, Mark v.10)
It was significantly reported recently that the Bible has now been translated, printed and distributed in all the known languages with the exception of the rare dialects, and it has certainly been distributed world wide amongst all racial groups "as a witness".
SIGN 6 "For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" - (Matt.v.24, Mark v 22)
There is a great growth in religious sects, many of them working so close to Biblical truths that it is difficult for the man in the street to separate the truth from 'lying
wonders'. These false teachings have always been in evidence but not hitherto in such numbers, neither with such publicity given to false prophets in clerical orders,
especially within our National Churches.
SIGN 7 "Now learn a parable of the fig tree (and all the trees, Luke) when his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves ye know that summer is nigh" - (Matt v.32, Mark v. 28, Luke v. 29)
The fig tree is used in prophetic scriptures to symbolise the Jewish nation, (House of Judah) and her proselytes. This verse could then be read 'therefore when one sees the Jewish people blossom forth as an independent nation (still not Christian) and when many other small emergent nations start to seek and get independence, then the time is near for the return of Our Lord, as promised.'
SIGN 8 "and there shall be signs in the sun and moon and stars" - (Luke v 11, 25)
This may refer to recent astronomical signs, sun spots, moon landings and other developments in space, or refer to the signs when our Lord visibly returns into the heavens
SIGN 9 "And JERUSALEM shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" - ( Luke v. 24)
This is the great and unmistakeable sign of the nearness of the Lord's return. In 1967 the Jewish people took Jerusalem and formed their own state of Israel.
Jerusalem is no longer trodden down by the Gentiles for the first time since 587 BC and Our Lord's words are confirmed and we now earnestly took for His Second Coming.
SIGN 10 "and upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roanng" - (Luke v. 25)
The Sea and the Waves have roared this past year, firstly Boscastle town was destroyed by unexpected river flood, then the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean causing distress of nations. with perplexity, and in September 2005 the destruction of New Orleans.
SIGN 11 "Men's hearts failing them with fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." - (Luke v. 26)
The last year has seen this sign visible more clearly than ever before, the wide variety of terrors and disasters that have occurred have clearly left our leaders in church and state fearful for 'looking after those things which are coming on earth'.
Firstly the terrorist attack on New York, twin towers destroyed.
In August, 2004, Boscastle town was destroyed, but no lives lost, then in December 2004, the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
July 2005, the terrorist attack in London
September 2005, the flooding and destruction, New Orleans USA
December 2005, the earthquake in Afghanistan
December 2005, Egyptian elections - illegal MUSLIM Brotherhood elected?
February 2006, Abu Hamza -arsenal of terror, threat of Muslim Jihad.
February 2006, the danger of bird flu sweeping through the world.
February 2006, the Phillipines disaster.
March 2006, USA and UK consider attack on Iran
March 2006, parishes urged to let Muslims into their churches
We now have a number of inexplicable events occurring which further cause our Government leaders hearts to fail. The first elections in Palestine gave the terrorist organisation HAMAS the majority vote and they are to form a governrnent.!!!
This has thrown the USA and European countries into confusion, for they will not support terrorists in any way, but they subsidise Palestine.!!!
The second difficulty for all European countries is the world-wide reaction of the Muslim communities to newspaper cartoons published in a Danish newspaper four months ago.
Luke 21 :28
" And when you see these things begin to come to pass then, then look up, and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh."
" So likewise when ye see ALL these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."
We now live in these exciting end times, for firm faith is declining, wars, rumours of wars, great earthquakes, famines, floods, plagues and pestilences abound as never before, and JERUSALEM, for many centuries trodden down by the non-Jewish Gentile nations, has been nominally restored to the House of Judah, to enable end time prophecy to be fulfilled for the time must be at hand.
The Jews are back in JERUSALEM ready to:
" Look upon Him whom they pierced" (Zechariah 12:10) ...
" For His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east" - (Zechariah 14: 4)
This prophecy was confirmed to the Apostles on Ascension Day, as they were left standing on the Mount of Olives:
"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as you have seen him go into heaven." - (Acts 1:11)
THE FIFTH POINT:
The End Times
As we have seen, to prepare His People Ephraim/Israel for these end times, the Lord gave us three foundation blocks upon which to hold our faith and worship, and to open our eyes to these mysteries.
Within our Bible, Book of Common Prayer and Articles we have the full armour of God.
Our Church of England has fallen away from these foundations; and we fulfil prophecy in that we have discarded the Authorised Version in favour of other versions based on suspect originals, attempted to introduce alternatives to the use of the Book of Common Prayer and have chosen to ignore the Articles of Religion as being outdated and no longer relevant to our beliefs.!!! The Faith Once Given to the Fathers is to be rewritten. In Matthew 7:21-23 we have this present position of The Church of England and other Protestant denominations, clearly shown in the Light of Scripture:
"Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wondrous works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY."
Let us now look more closely to the words of the prophets which now undoubtedly refer to these end times - especially Joel 2:1:
" Blow ye the trumpet In Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the earth tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh for it is nigh at hand"
"For behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem."
When I shall bring again the captivity of Jerusalem, a second time.!!!
Jerusalem was delivered the first time in 1967, after the miraculous six day war. The news today (2006) speaks of the uprising of militant Muslims and also the new HAMAS government in Palestine declares that Israel will remain only until Islam eliminates it.
".. .for I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city."
This speaks of the present day situation with Hamas to rule half of Israel. Surrounded by Syria, Egypt, Jordan and with Muslim Iran using Russian aid in their nuclear
programme - can Russia also be involved?
Daniel also speaks of these end times.In Chapter 11 we have the guide for the interpretation of prophetic language against historical record. From Verses 1-33 we have the full record of the three kings in Persia, the Alexandrian kingdom divided, Egypt, Syria, and Judeans helping Antiochus against Egypt.We then move on:
"...even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed."
"And at the time of the end shall the king of the south (UAR) push at him and the king of the north (Syria/USSR) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over."
"He shall enter also into the glorious land."
These prophecies speak of future events that are very relevant to our present day.Jerusalem to be under siege and/or captured by Muslim and Russian forces. Then what? The prophecy continues ...
"Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle."
"and this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smile all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouths."
Is this not a description of the result of nuclear power? Have we not the record of the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima to confirm this account?
What can be the signs that "THE LORD GO FORTH AND FIGHT." Joel gives the warning
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound the alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains; ... ."
"The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble; the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."
"But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face towards the east sea, and his hinder part toward the hinder sea ..."
...AND THEN THE ENCOURAGING WORDS:
"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice for the Lord will do great things."
This Final war in the Middle East which we can now see developing with the Hamas ruling Palestine, the worldwide troubles with Muslims threatening a JIHAD
against the Western Civilisations and Israel, could well be the final warning of the visible return of Our Lord, with His angels, to remove the northern armies and to
gather his elect who have passed through the tribulation.
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude stood before the Lamb, clothed with white clothes. What are these which are arrayed in white robes? ... these are they which came out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which remain shall be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air."
And it is the Old Testament prophet Zechariah, who details these New Testament descriptions of end time events:
"And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shalt cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it to the south."
"And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and winter it shall be."
This majestic and visible return of our Lord to earth, on to the Mount of Olives is to be accompanied by a period of great earthquakes, and tidal or living waters flowing from the Mediterranean through to the Dead Sea.
The actual fulfilment of all these features is difficult to visualise or to imagine with our puny human understanding.
There is also a new Jerusalem described in Revelation 21:2...
" And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband."
"And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel."
All this is so difficult or possibly too complex for us to picture, and we could be lost in idle speculation, especially in the sequence of the fulfilments, and we must rest our hope on Our Lord, who is to come in great glory, destroy the enemies attacking Jerusalem, gather together the Jews and all twelve tribes of Israel and prevent the earth being destroyed, for He is to reign for one thousand years.
In the Gospel of St John 3:17:
" For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
St John 1:3
" All things were made by Him; without Him was not anything made that was made."
A clear description of these end time events is given by St. Matthew 24:29-31
" Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from one end of heaven to the other."
When we have great confidence in the Word of God, we can see His will is being done on earth, as it is also being done in heaven. We look to the fulfilling of His
Word, in these end times being confident in HIS WORD, AND HIS EVERLASTING COVENANTS, and although faith will be weak on earth, none of the ELECT OF GOD, chosen before the foundations of the world were laid, will be lost.
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