What is the commotion going on in the Middle East? There is a group of people there that seem to be hated by all it's neighbors. They seem to have stirred up a lot of ire among the world leaders speaking this week at the United Nations. What is the problem and why is it such a big deal?
Some four thousand years ago, God found a man in Ur of the Chaldees. He was the son of an Idol maker and priest. God called him and told him to go to a land that you do not know and I will make from you a great people. The promise to everyone else is "I will bless those who bless thee and will curse those who curse thee." Genesis 12:3. God made numerous promises to Abraham then transferred these promises to Isaac and to Jacob. When Jacob was given the promises, God changed his name to Israel. Thus the name of the country.
The promises given to Abraham was also repeated many times and in many ways throughout the scriptures. Abraham's promises were unconditional. Moses received some conditional promises. The promises given to Moses had to do with following the Law that he had transcribed from God. The condition would be how long they lived in the land. Deuteronomy 28. He said that if you don't obey this law then I will scatter you amoung the Nations. That has happened twice.
David was given a covenant 2 Samual 23. God said that the throne of Israel would not leave the house of David. That he would not cease to have a king on the throne.
The prophets picked up on the theme. Isaiah, Ezekial, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Zechariah, etc, all had promised that Israel would one day rule the world.
Then came Jesus. When Jesus appeared on the scene he showed up at the right time for Daniel's prophecy's to be fulfilled. It was so precise that Maggi from the East who had followed the writings and teachings of Daniel in the East for many years, saw the signs and showed up in Jerusalem at the right time to meet this new Messiah. Jesus entered the gates of Jerusalem on a Donkey at the exact right time that Daniel had predicted.
The problem was Jesus wasn't coming to fulfill the parts of the prophecy the Jewish leaders wanted fulfilled. The leaders wanted Jesus to overthrow the civilian government of Rome. Jesus overthrew the moneychangers in the temple. Jesus, instead of changing government, changed the way people thought about God.
Jesus fulfilled roughly 1/3rd of the prophecies coming the first time. He left a lot of them out. Then he said, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you will be also." John 14:2,3. The promise of a return. A promise to finish the job.
Jesus said that the temple would be destroyed and the Jews scattered. He wept over the city in Matthew 23:37 saying, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" The whole of the scripture could be summarized in that one verse. The desire of Israel to unit under it's messiah.
Now we as Christians are looking at this verse and at the situation with the destruction of Jerusalem and wondering what is God's plan? Is God finished with the Jew or is there still a plan for it? The situation was debated for centuries. Orthodox Jews even believed that Israel could not be it's own people until the messiah came. In May of 1947, that issue was laid to rest. Israel would be a country again. Israel would claim it's rightful land. Israel had not been forgotten. As God had promised, he gathered them from around the earth.
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
Now the Idea of the Jewish state is under attack again. Iran has spilled out threats in the United Nations. Israel has been scolded by the Security Counsel for defending itself. The church has claimed that it has now inherited the promises given to the Jews and spritualized the kingdom of heaven. Romans 11 goes into great detail to say that Israel was only set aside until the fullness of the gentiles has come in. The Jewish messiah is coming. Jesus of the new testament is coming back. Zechariah 13:6 states that when the Jews see the piercings in Jesus' hands they will ask where did he get it and he will answer. "In the House of my Friends"
The Jew has not been forgotten. The Jew has not been replaced as the apple of God's eyes. Satan is well aware of this and he is on the warpath to destroy the Jew. He knows that if he can destroy the Jew then he will nullify the promises of God. He will make God to be a liar. God is not a liar and God has a plan for Satan.
America today is going down hill and quickly. The problem is the U.S. foreign policy towards Israel is to force them to give up land. Every time they have done so it has been at the peril of the Jewish state. It has given the enemy a closer point to attack from. When Jesus returns it will be with a blood stained garment from his war with the neighboring Muslim nations who have attacked Israel. If we don't stand on the side of Israel and side against them, then we are in danger of falling into the curse. We could easily be destroyed with the fall of Magog in Ezekiel 39.
This is not a Democrat and Republican issue. Truman, a Democrat recognized Israel. Nixon worked out a peace after the Yom Kipper war. Carter worked for the peace of Jerusalem with a treaty with Egypt. Reagan defended Israel by placing troops in Beirut. Even Clinton got the PLO to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Though not all these actions are perfect. These actions were taken on behalf of Israel, trying to secure the peace. Now we have a president who wants to tell Israel how to conduct internal affairs. He is in direct violation of common sense much less invoking the wrath of God.
Beyond the politics, we need to recognize that God said that all the nations of the world would rise against Israel in the final battle of Armageddon in Rev 19. For now it is the U.S. that is stopping the world from going to war with Israel. One day that won't be true. Let's pray that it is not today. Let's pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Let's pray for the people called of God to be his people.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
In I Thessalonians 4:13. Paul starts the part on prophecy by saying. "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren," That means he intended for us to know what is going to happen. He wanted us to be aware of end time events. He wanted for us to be ready.
There are two main camps right now in Christianity as to the end time events. Futurist sometimes mislabled dispensationalist are those who say that Jesus is coming back and he is coming back soon. The tribulation is still a future event. Then there is the Preterist camp who say that most if not all prophecies in the scripture were fulfilled in AD 70 or before 500AD.
The Preterist camp is a dangerous camp to belong to. As I make this statement, they are saying that the futurist camp is a dangerous one to belong to. I am going to make my point and leave it at that. There is always a problem when you make an assumption and it is wrong, There are rarely problems when your assumption is right. The only problem is that your solution on how to handle the assumption is wrong.
The Preterst says that we are now in the Kingdom of God and that the tribulation and all the trials took place in A.D. 70. They usually look to Matthew 24 for this but they also point out that the book of Revelation was written in AD 63. That the Anti Christ was Nero.
Both Bibliclly and historically it is hard to to defend those many scholars do with all their might. The Persecutions of Nero were only in Rome. The city was never destroyed. When Titus finally conquered Jerusalem, there were no Christians to kill. The temple was destroyed. There was never a pagan God set up in the Holy of Holies. The pagan God's were set up at the gate to the temple area by the solders. The final problem is that Nero actually died before the siege could be set up. This allowed Christians to escape.
In Matthew 24 it says when you see the Abomination that causes Desolation ... standing in the Holy place. It never appeared in A.D. 70. Luke 21 however says that when you see the armies encamped about the city of Jerusalem flee. The Christians of that day did. What do we know about the two passages? They were both given in the last week before Jesus died. Matthew however wrote his book to Jews. It is a handbook for the Jewish remnant. Luke wrote his to Christians. It doesn't say much about tribulation just the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and signs of the second coming.
When you look at Revelation, you are looking at a time still in the future. If you want to look at it as a past event, the everything from chapter four on has to be put in a symbolic sense. You have to name a person to be the star Wormwood for instance in Revelation 8. I will be writing later on it. But I believe there will be a literal star, not an evil world ruler as Matthew Henry likes to point out.
So why is all this important? The importance is that God doesn't want you ignorant. There is more said about the end times in the Bible than any other subject. The importance is that you have a road to walk and you know where it is going. The importance is that as you see things getting worse and worse and when it seems like God is not answering your prayers. Know that he is. He has a plan.
The Post and the A Millenialist will look at the situation and say that God will bring the efforts of the current administration to naught. When that doesn't happen, what are they going to do? There is no hope for them. We know that when things are at their worst, there is still hope. Luke 21:28 "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
There is a hope. We do not put our hope in government or in people. We put our hope in the Lord who made heaven and earth. We put our hope in the one that will eventually bring it all down and Make the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of his Christ.
If it was all fulfilled in AD 70, why are the prophecies in the Bible starting to come together. They say it is time to dump dispensationalism. I say it is time to dump Preterism and move into the real world.
I want to know what Preterist is preaching the entire council of God, cover to cover, verse by verse. J. Vernon McGee, and Chuck Messler are the only radio broadcaste I know doing it. Both dispensationalist. Most preachers do a hit and miss approach on scripture. Only preaching on those passages that they want to preach. I know Hank Hanagraf and Gary DeMar are Preterist but they only do talk show format. They do not teach verse by verse.
It is time to take the entire council of God. If you want to hold a Preterist view that is fine. Make sure you have studied your entire Bible to come to that conclusion. As for me I will take the entire council of God and say Jesus is coming and he is coming soon. Maranatha.
J Vernon McGee, True the Bible Radio ttb.org
Chuck Missler, 66/40 Radio, khouse.org
Hank Hanagraf, Bible Answer man, equip.org
Gary DeMar, Gary DeMar show americanvision.org