Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’


Thomas IceBy Dr. Thomas Ice
Pre-Trib Research Center

And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” – Ezekiel 38:1-2

“This was the final message in this series of six night oracles delivered by Ezekiel,” notes Ralph Alexander. “A central concern throughout all these night messages had been the possession of the land of Israel.” “This series of night oracles was given to encourage the exiles that ultimately God would remove these invaders and restore this land to Israel.” [1] A wonderful message indeed to which those who love Israel still look forward to today!

This prophecy is divided into two major sections. In the first section Ezekiel reveals the invasion by Gog with his allies (38:1-16). The second section reveals to us God’s judgment that will befall Gog and his associates (38:17-39:16). This great prophecy begins with Ezekiel noting that it was not his idea to deal with the matter of Gog’s invasion of Israel instead it was God who imitated and communicated this prophecy through verbal revelation, “the word of the Lord came to me saying.”

Son of Man

Ezekiel is called “son of man” throughout the book. “Son of man” is used 93 times in Ezekiel to refer to the prophet, with the first use found in 2:1. Why is Ezekiel so often addressed by God as “son of man” when he is about to receive revelation from the Lord? It appears that “son of man” underscores his humanity in relation to God. In other words, God is the One who is the Revealer while Ezekiel, as a human, is the recipient of the Divine message that he is to pass on to other human beings. Thus, Ezekiel is passing on to us the infallible prophecy of these two chapters, which will surly come to pass.

Set Your Face Toward Gog

Ezekiel is told to set his face “toward” or “against” Gog. The Brown, Driver, and Briggs (BDB) Hebrew Lexicon says, the Hebrew word translated “toward” is a preposition that denotes “motion to or direction towards (whether physical or mental).” [2] BDB also tells us that when “the motion or direction implied appears from the context to be of a hostile character,” then it has a negative connotation and would be translated “against.” Ezekiel is told to turn his face in the direction of the nation Gog, because the Lord is against him. Later in the sentence the text says for Ezekiel to “prophesy against him,” that is Gog. The sense of this passage is that God is initiating the attack by Gog against Israel and the Lord is against or opposed to Gog and his allies. But just who is Gog? The identification of Gog has been a greatly debated issue.

The Hebrew proper noun “Gog” occurs 12 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. [3] All but one use occurs in Ezekiel 38 and 39 (Ezek. 8:2, 3, 14, 16, 18; 39:1 [2x], 11 [3x], 15). The only non-Ezekiel occurrence is in 1 Chronicles 5:4 and says,

“The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son.”

Other than demonstrating it was a real, proper name, the 1 Chronicles reference contributes nothing to our study of its use in Ezekiel and is not related to the Gog of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Whoever he is, Gog appears in this context to be a person, leader and ruler that God has told Ezekiel to prophesy against. Because of the frequent use of Gog in this passage, “we conclude, therefore, that Gog is the most important person or nation in this coalition,” [4] declares Mark Hitchcock.

The passage says that Gog is from the land of Magog. Some have said that Gog is a reference to the Antichrist. Charles Feinberg is right when he says, “but for this there is not a shred of biblical or nonbiblical evidence.” [5] Some have suggested that Gog is a name “arbitrarily derived from the name of the country, Magog, but this is not valid because Gog appears in 1 Chronicles 5:4.” [6] “The name Gog means ‘high, supreme, a height, or a high mountain.'” [7] The only references to the Gog of Ezekiel’s prophecy appear in the passage itself and there is virtually no information about Gog outside the Bible in history. However, when Gog leads his invasion of Israel he is said to come “from the remote parts of the north” (Ezek. 38:6). Louis Bauman tells us that “L. Sale-Harrison says in his booklet, The Coming Great Northern Confederacy: ‘It is interesting to note that the very word ‘Caucasus’ means ‘Gog’s Fort.’ ‘Gog’ and ‘Chasan’ (Fort) are two Oriental words from which it is derived.'” [8] So there does appear to be a faint reference to Gog in the general area of Russia that Gog is likely to be from.

Who then is Gog? Bauman says, “Without doubt, Russia will furnish the man – not the Antichrist – who will head up that which is known to most Bible students as ‘the great northeastern confederacy’ of nations and lead it to its doom upon the hills of Israel’s land.” [9] Hitchcock believes “the reason Gog is singled out eleven times by God in these two chapters is because God is the general over this coalition of nations in its great military campaign against Israel.” [10] Hal Lindsey tells us, “Gog is the symbolic name of the nation’s leader and Magog is his land. He is also the prince of the ancient people who were called Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” [11] Arnold Fruchtenbaum informs us: “Who Gog will be can only be determined at the time of the invasion, for ‘Gog’ is not a proper name but a title for the rule of Magog, just as the terms ‘pharaoh,’ ‘kaiser,’ and ‘czar’ were titles for rulers and not proper names.” [12]

The Land of Magog

Gog the leader of the invasion of the land of Israel is said to be “of the land of Magog.” The proper noun Magog is used four times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. [13] Magog is used twice in the passage we are investigating (38:2; 39:6) and twice in genealogies (Gen. 10:2; 1 Chron. 1:5). Genesis 10:2 says,

“The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras.”

1 Chronicles 1:5 is basically a repeat of the genealogical information from Genesis 10:2. The fact that Magog is used in the table of nations (Genesis 10) [14] provides a basis for tracing the movement of one of the earliest post-flood descendants of Noah.

It appears that Ezekiel is using the names of peoples, primarily from the table of nations, and where they lived at the time of the giving of this prophecy in the sixth century b.c. Therefore, if we are able to find out where these people and places were in the sixth century b.c. then we will be able to figure out who would be their modern antecedents today. I believe we will be able to accomplish this task and be able to know who will be involved in this battle if it were to come to pass in our own day.

It is probably fair to say that most scholars and experts would trace Magog’s descendants to the ancient people that we know as the Scythians. Chuck Missler notes that a wide collection of ancient historians “identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century b.c.” [15] These ancients include: Hesiod, Josephus, Philo, and Herodotus. [16] Josephus lived in the first century a.d. and said, “Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him but who by the Greeks are called Scythians.” [17] Bauman tells us that Magog and his descendants must have immigrated north after the Flood and that “the Magogites were divided into two distinct races, one Japhetic, or European, and the other Turanian, or Asiatic.” [18]

Who are the Scythians? Edwin Yamauchi tells us that the Scythians were divided into two groups, a narrow and broad grouping. “In the narrow sense, the Scythians were the tribes who lived in the area which Herodotus designated as Scythia (i.e., the territory north of the Black Sea),” notes Yamauchi. “In the broad sense the word Scythian can designate some of the many other tribes in the vast steppes of Russia, stretching from the Ukraine in the west to the region of Siberia in the east.” [19]

Endnotes


[1] Ralph Alexander, Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976), p. 118.
[2] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (London: Oxford, 1907), electronic edition.
[3] Based upon a search conducted by the computer program Accordance, version 6.4.
[4] Mark Hitchcock, After The Empire: Bible Prophecy in Light of the Fall of the Soviet Union (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1994), p. 16.
[5] Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), p. 220.
[6] Feinberg, Ezekiel, p. 220.
[7] Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 17
[8] Louis S. Bauman, Russian Events in the Light of Bible Prophecy (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1942), p. 23.
[9] Bauman, Russian Events, p. 26.
[10] Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 17
[11] Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), p. 63.
[12] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, [1982] 2003), p. 106.
[13] Based upon a search conducted by the computer program Accordance, version 6.4.
[14] The table of nations is a term used for the records of the descendants Noah and his three sons: Ham, Shem and Japheth. Every human being on planet earth is a descendant of Noah and his three sons. If we could trace our genealogies far enough back we would find that we all descend from Noah through either Ham, Shem or Japheth.
[15] Chuck Missler, The Magog Invasion (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front, 1995), p. 29.
[16] Missler, Magog Invasion, pp. 29-31.
[17] Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, vol. 1, vi, i as cited in Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 19.
[18] Bauman, Russian Events, p. 23.
[19] Edwin M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982), p. 62.

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Chuck MisslerBy Dr. Chuck Missler
Koinonia House

End-of-the-world fever seems to have hit the masses. It’s as epidemic as whatever killed thousands of drum fish in the Arkansas River. First it was 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar. Now animals are dying by the hundreds and thousands in a wide variety of places around the globe. Plus, a group of date setters are looking for the rapture to occur in just five months on May 21. Whether it’s due to boredom, or fear, or a desire to rouse folks from their spiritual slumber, humans are fascinated with the apocalyptic. Yet, so far, efforts to set a date for the Rapture or Judgment Day have been incorrect and … plain anticlimactic.

Animal Deaths

First, the drum fish died. An estimated 100,000 of these bottom feeders began floating to the surface of the Arkansas River on December 30. When thousands of redwing blackbirds fell out of the sky over Beebe, Arkansas, landing in the road and dropping onto people’s cars, people started to wonder, what else is wrong with Arkansas?

But, it didn’t stop there, of course. About 500 redwing blackbirds and starlings were discovered dead along a stretch of highway between New Roads and Morganza, Louisiana on Monday, January 3. In Italy, thousands of turtle doves rained from the sky onto the streets of Faenza, about 30 miles southeast of Bologna. The shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland were littered with the carcasses of two million fish. Coromandel beaches on the North Island of New Zealand were suddenly covered with dead snappers on January 4. Boaters reported seeing “a carpet of floating fish further out to sea all along the coast.” All within a few days of each other.

The series of strange animal deaths has created a flurry of interest in the end times, and there are plenty of people wondering if the end of the world is at hand.

The spate of animal deaths is a bit unnerving until each case gets investigated.

  • The USGS National Wildlife Health Center’s Arkansas bird analyses determined that the redwing blackbirds died of blunt force trauma, likely from running into things after being spooked because of New Year’s Eve noise-making. They flock together by the thousands and can easily be disturbed by fireworks or noise-makers going off at midnight.
  • The doves in Italy were examined and the vets concluded the poor birds had died of indigestion from eating too many sunflower seeds from a nearby oil factory. The seeds are hard on the birds livers and kidneys.
  • The unusual cold in December is credited for the Maryland fish deaths.
  • The drum fish, well, the problem was likely species-specific. Possibly a disease.

The USGS notes that mass animal deaths are not that uncommon. The deaths of the fish and birds in Arkansas simply brought attention to the fact that animals do die in large numbers fairly frequently. For instance, the USGS NWHC documented eight separate events in 2010 in America alone in which 1,000 or more birds died en masse. It’s sad, but not that unusual – certainly not indicative of the apocalypse … or as it has been widely called in the press … the “aflockalypse.” Remember, the vast majority of towns are happily carcass-free.

Date Setting

Adding to the excitement, a small group of believers are calling for the Rapture to take place on May 21 of this year. They’ve based their expectations on Bible code calculations made by 89-year-old Harold Camping. Harold Camping was incorrect the last time he attempted to predict the Rapture when he said it would occur in 1994. Camping is not alone in trying to make such predictions. Sir Isaac Newton declared the apocalypse had to wait until at least AD 2060.

Others throughout history have made their estimations, and have been wrong:

  • AD 1033 was believed to be the 1000th anniversary of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His second coming was naturally expected.
  • In 1179, John of Toledo predicted that the alignment of many planets during 1186 would coincide with the world’s end.
  • Pope Innocent III added 666 years to the year that Islam was founded and came up with AD 1284 as the day of reckoning.
  • AD 1689 was the year a Baptist named Benjamin Keach predicted would offer the end of the world.
  • William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, believed the key date would be March 21, 1843.
  • Joseph Smith, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and even Charles Wesley have offered incorrect end-of-the-world dates.

Jesus said even he did not know the time of the end, saying in Mark 13:32-33

,

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”

Certainly, then, we need to watch and pray. Setting dates, or being fearful because of bird deaths, or making too much of the end of the Mayan cyclical calendar, all these things are unhelpful. The best thing we can do is to just keep doing the work He’s set us to do until He comes.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” – Matt 24:45-46

Related Links


‘Aflockalypse’ Hits California – Discovery News
Thousands of fish washed up in Chicago – Metro
Fish & Bird kills: are we getting answers or being placated? – Northeast Intelligence Network (Douglas J. Hagmann)
Camping with Rapture Loons in 2011 – BPB (Don Koenig)
Mass animal deaths cause many to search for answers – NewsNet5.com
Are Mysterious Bird and Fish Deaths Prophetic? – Charisma News Online
The ‘Aflockalypse’: Google Map Traces Mass Animal Deaths – TechNewsDaily
Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Chuck Missler (Book)


Ed HindsonBy Dr. Ed Hindson
World Prophetic Ministry

Q. What was the significance of miracles in the Bible? Do miracles still happen today?

A. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines “miracle” as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” or “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” When we consider the miracles of the Bible, we note that they give validity to the reality of God’s dealing with mankind, and with the messenger whom God has chosen to use to transmit His truth.

For example, when John the Baptist inquired from prison whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah, Jesus told John’s messengers:

“… Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them,” (Matthew 11:4-5).

In keeping with this idea, miracles are often called “signs,” a term which the Apostle John used towards the end of His Gospel to validate Christ’s role as the Son of God:

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,” (John 20:30-31).

Although miracles are recorded throughout Scripture, there are three main times in which they were particularly prevalent. These were times when God was dealing with Israel in a unique way and wanted their full attention in the process. The first was during the Exodus, under Moses and Joshua, when He was bringing His people out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land. The second was under the ministry of Elijah and Elisha, when Israel, now in the Promised Land, had fallen into apostasy and was in danger of God’s judgment, which later came in the form of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. The third was during Christ’s earthly ministry, to announce to Israel that their Messiah had come.

Another such period is coming, during the Tribulation. The activities of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-13, particularly their resurrection in verses 11-12, certainly come under the heading of the miraculous, as do the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments throughout that book. In addition to serving as judgment on an unrepentant world, these events will also be God’s last attempt at bringing mankind into a saving relationship with Himself.

Do miracles occur today? Sometimes they do! Some people hold that the age of miracles is over – that it ceased when the Bible was completed. Others take the opposite position and say miracles are available to everyone today if one only has enough faith to believe they will occur. Either extreme serves to place God in a “box” and attempts to define the parameters of His sovereignty. The truth is, God can do what He chooses, when He chooses, for whom He chooses, and for whatever reasons He chooses.

Meanwhile, let us not forget the greatest miracle of all – and this happens every day, all over the world. That miracle is when a sinner accepts Christ and passes from an eternal death sentence to eternal life with Him, because of what He did on Calvary so long ago. If we have experienced this miracle, we should thank God for it. If we have not, we should make it a priority to appropriate it rather than seeking any miracles of a more temporal nature.

Related Links


Does God still perform miracles? – GotQuestions.org
Revelation 11 – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Confirmation of Jesus’ Messiahship – BPB (Doug Bookman)
Miracles – C. S. Lewis (Book)
Biblical Inspiration Validated by Miracles – Grace to You (John MacArthur)
Revelation (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary) – Edward E. Hindson (Book)

Answer: Very sadly, there is a higher percentage of suicides during the Christmas season than any other time of the year. Whether you are contemplating suicide, or know someone who is, or just want to know how to minister to someone who is considering suicide – we hope this article is helpful to you.

Our hearts go out to those who have thoughts of ending their own lives through suicide. If that is you right now, it may speak of many emotions, such as feelings of hopelessness and despair. You may feel like you are in the deepest pit, and you doubt there is any hope of things getting better. No one seems to care or understand where you are coming from. Life just is not worth living…or is it?

If you will take a few moments to consider letting God truly be God in your life right now, He will prove how big He really is, “for nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Perhaps scars from past hurts have resulted in an overwhelming sense of rejection or abandonment. That may lead to self-pity, anger, bitterness, vengeful thoughts, or unhealthy fears that have caused problems in some of your most important relationships.

Why should you not commit suicide? Friend, no matter how bad things are in your life, there is a God of love who is waiting for you to let Him guide you through your tunnel of despair and out into His marvelous light. He is your sure hope. His name is Jesus.

This Jesus, the sinless Son of God, identifies with you in your time of rejection and humiliation. The prophet Isaiah wrote of Him in Isaiah 53:2-6, describing Him as a man who was “despised and rejected” by everyone. His life was full of sorrow and suffering. But the sorrows He bore were not His own; they were ours. He was pierced, wounded, and crushed, all because of our sin. Because of His suffering, our lives can be redeemed and made whole.

Friend, Jesus Christ endured all this so that you might have all your sins forgiven. Whatever weight of guilt you carry, know that He will forgive you if you humbly receive Him as your Savior. “…Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you…” (Psalm 50:15). Nothing you have ever done is too bad for Jesus to forgive. Some of His choicest servants committed gross sins like murder (Moses), murder and adultery (King David), and physical and emotional abuse (the apostle Paul). Yet they found forgiveness and a new abundant life in the Lord. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Why should you not commit suicide? Friend, God stands ready to repair what is “broken,” namely, the life you have now, the life you want to end by suicide. In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet wrote, “The LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Come to Jesus, and let Him restore your joy and usefulness as you trust Him to begin a new work in your life. He promises to restore the joy you have lost and give you a new spirit to sustain you. Your broken heart is precious to Him: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:12, 15-17).

Will you accept the Lord as your Savior and Shepherd? He will guide your thoughts and steps—one day at a time—through His Word, the Bible. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8). “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). In Christ, you will still have struggles, but you will now have hope. He is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you in your hour of decision.

If you desire to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, speak these words in your heart to God: “God, I need you in my life. Please forgive me for all that I have done. I place my faith in Jesus Christ and believe that He is my Savior. Please cleanse me, heal me, and restore my joy in life. Thank You for Your love for me and for Jesus’ death on my behalf.”


Stan GoodenoughBy Stan Goodenough
Jerusalem Watchman

Christians – Bible-based and believing Christians – believe neither in luck nor in fate. We do not believe in yin and yang – darkness and light counterbalancing each other. We do not believe that our world and our lives are caught up in a war of good versus evil, with the sides evenly matched and the outcome up for grabs.

We believe what the Bible teaches. And yes, it really is quite straightforward.

There is one God, one Creator. He has numerous rivals but He has no equal. There is no one and no thing that can come even close to competing with Him.

God is good. God is love. God created man so as to fellowship with him – to love man and to be loved by man. God also created the angels. They may be different in character and nature from man – may operate in a different dimension – but they are as much creatures as we are. Angels are not sub-gods or mini-gods; they cannot win promotion to god status.

One of those angels – Lucifer – led a rebellion against the LORD God. Naturally he was defeated – for he is only a creature and he was trying to overthrow the Creator. He was not destroyed, and remains God’s sworn enemy, committed to spoiling and tearing down everything good that God made. His first goal was to win the allegiance of man – marring and destroying the relationship between man and God.

In this Lucifer – aka Satan/the Devil – had partial success; he turned man against God. Man, of his own free will, chose to join the ranks of the rebels. Nonetheless, God still loved man, loved him enough not to eradicate his kind; loved him enough to set in motion a rescue plan, a plan of redemption that would restore the broken relationship to what it was.

From that day there have been two sides to the conflict. God and those who choose to love God on the one side; Satan, and those who choose to remain in rebellion against God, on the other.

There is no middle ground. We are both with and for God, or we are against Him.

Central to the outworking of God’s salvation plan was the selection, by God, of a specific and particular nation through which He would reveal Himself. Via this nation He would pass His oracles on to mankind. And to and through this nation – exclusively – God would send His Messiah to save all mankind – people from all the nations of the world, including this specially-tasked nation itself.

Abraham’s offspring – explicitly through Isaac and Jacob (and explicitly NOT through Ishmael and Esau) – became the nation of Israel. God made a covenant with Israel, making Israel a holy nation. That is to say, Israel as a nation was set apart or sanctified by God, becoming His special treasure.

What was special about Abraham, what made him stand out when God was looking for someone from whom to create this nation, is that he believed in God. He believed in God and he chose to submit his will to God’s, pledging his allegiance to the Lord.

As far as the nation of Israel itself goes, however, it was not because of any special inherent national attributes that she was chosen. On the contrary – ths was (and is) one stubborn, stiff-necked people. Rather, Israel was made special BY God’s selection of her. (By way of an imperfect illustration: Kate Middleton – born to a middle class British couple, like tens of millions of other middle class British girls – has been made special by Prince William’s act of choosing her to become his wife. As regards her future position and role, she has not been made special by who she is but by dint of her selection.)

From the moment God chose the man from whom He would bring that special nation into being, that man’s seed became the focus of all Satan’s efforts to thwart God’s plan.

Also from the start, God would keep a close eye on Israel. He would watch over her, fight for her, protect and defend her, discipline her, even allow her to experience the cursed consequences of her disobedience – but only in order to turn her back to Himself. He determined that their relationship would survive. He would never completely abandon or wash His hands of her. He had covenanted with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bless mankind through the nation they would father and, for the sake of His great and holy name, He has and will keep His covenant to do so.

We are in a war. Israel is in a war and we, Christians, are in a war. Ultimately it is one and the same war. And it is a war to the death.

What it is not is a war between two equally matched sides. Our side – God’s side – is guaranteed victory. Satan’s side has already lost and will soon be vanquished forever. Which makes the battle even fiercer for, knowing his days are numbered, the enemy is resolved to take as much of the hated Creator’s beloved creation down with him.

We Christians should note that it is not just that we have to be alert, on our guard, ever sensitive to an imminent attack. This war is not about to break out. It is already raging all around us, and has been from the moment we entered life. It may be that, in our different lands, cities and circumstances, we experience moments of quiet between the battles. But battles are always raging somewhere, and one front where the battle is incessant – where in reality it is just one, unending war – is Israel – the people and the land.

Know and understand this, Bible-believer, and you will less easily be seduced by the wiles and strategies of the Devil. A master tactician with millennia of warfare experience in which deception is his most potent weapon, he wants to dupe and mislead us concerning this battle.

He may even get us to fight, without realizing it, on his side.

We need to know that there’s a battle. We need to know that there are two sides. And – and this is crucial – we need to know whose side we’re on.

Related Links


The Source of Anti-Semitism – SpiritandTruth.org (Andy Woods)
US-Israel tiff on security and Iran. US envoy denied direct access to generals – DEBKAfile
Israel Through The Eyes Of Scripture – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Is Lucifer Satan? Does the fall of Lucifer describe Satan? – GotQuestions.org
Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology – Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum (Book)

Jack KinsellaBy Jack Kinsella
The Omega Letter

The Bible contains sixty-six different books, written by forty different men, most of whom lived and died in different centuries, in different countries, many of them unaware of other prophets or other prophecies.

The writers of the Bible were shepherds and kings, statesmen and beggars.

All the Bible’s writers were ‘non-profit prophets’ – being a prophet of God was not a sought-after job; most prophets lived miserably and died painfully. Most, like Jeremiah, tried to talk God out of hiring them.

Yet with all of that, every book blends seamlessly into the rest, both the books that came before, and those that came AFTER. Some books of the Bible quote other books not yet written at that time. Others quote earlier prophets or sacred writing, but all are harmonious with one another.

The writing of the Scripture is nothing short of miraculous in and of itself. Its preservation over the centuries is mind-boggling, if you let yourself think about it. You and I have both experienced discussions with non-believers convinced they can prove the Bible is wrong.

They rail and babble and quote everybody EXCEPT the Scriptures, and in the end, come away as convinced as when they went in. Or get mad and just go away.

Think how many times similar conversations take place around the world, every single day.

Then, take a look at the broader view: In every generation since its compilation, the Bible has been the subject of discussion between believers and non-believers.

In every generation, non-believers have made it their mission in life to disprove the Scriptures.

Any discrepancy has been analyzed and re-analyzed by both friend and foe, read and re-read, argued and re-argued, in a million conversations over thousands of years.

Whoever successfully proved the Bible wrong on any point; doctrine, history, archeology, law, medicine, science, or geography would have single-handedly destroyed the basic foundation of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

The Bible says of itself,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

A Book that claims to contain perfect knowledge and perfect accuracy sets a very high bar for itself. A Book that maintains that standard of knowledge and accuracy over the course of centuries – while under constant attack! – fair-minded logic demands it be accepted as perfect until proven otherwise.

It requires willful suspension of reality to argue otherwise under such circumstances.

The Bible is wholly consistent with known science. The book of Isaiah said the earth was round tens of centuries before Columbus.

“It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth. . .” (Isaiah 40:22)

Ecclesiates 1:6 reveals that the winds move in cyclonic patterns and Job tells us that light is in motion (Job 38:19-20) thousands of years before weather satellites and Einstein’s calculations proved both to be true.

Medically, the Bible tells us the chemical nature of human life (Genesis 2:7, 3:19) that the life of creatures are in the blood (Leviticus 17:11), the nature of infectious diseases (Leviticus 13:46) and the importance of sanitation to health (Numbers 19, Deuteronomy 23:12-13, Leviticus 7-9) many thousands of years before doctors were still practicing blood-letting as a treatment for disease.

The list goes on. Every historical event described by the Bible has either been confirmed by other sources, or has yet to be confirmed. Not a single historical event described by Scripture has ever conclusively been disproved.

Sometimes, it is necessary to go back and take another look at the Source and meditate on just what a miracle it is in order to get a clearer understanding of what it says. It helps to reconfirm that everything it says is true.

Despite thousands of years of editorial criticism, the Bible stands essentially unchanged from when it was first given.

A complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was unearthed as part of the Dead Sea Scroll treasures and is today enshrined in the Dome of the Tablets in Jerusalem. I have personally seen it and marveled at the fact its date could NOT be questioned.

It could NOT be younger than the day it was buried in AD 70.

But, apart from grammatical changes made necessary by changes in Hebrew grammar over the centuries, it reads exactly the same way as the Book of Isaiah in your own Bible.

It makes sense to assume the rest of the Scriptures are equally accurate, since there is no evidence to the contrary and all the available evidence supports Scripture.

The Bible’s accuracy is not limited to history, geography, science or medicine. It is equally accurate in describing the events that have not yet taken place.

The prophecies of the Bible are, from God’s perspective, ALREADY history.

“. . .yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:11)

So not only does the God of the Bible know all things, but He has chosen to make known to us, through the Bible, what is still to come! In fact, even more than that, the God of the Bible CHALLENGES any so-called ‘gods’ to do the same.

“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.” (Isaiah 41:21:23)

From God’s perspective, outside of space and time, everything is now, so to speak. God’s historical pronouncements are given from the benefit of Divine Hindsight. His prophetic pronouncements also enjoy the benefit of Divine Hindsight.

The Bible describes the future, but to God, it has already happened, if you can follow that line of reasoning for a minute. Since to God, it already happened, the events that remain yet future will be fulfilled as specifically as those events that have already come to pass.

Including His promise:

“I will not leave you Comfortless. I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

Maranatha!

Related Links


The Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Authority of the Bible – Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries (Ron Rhodes)
What is the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture? What does it mean that the Bible is sufficient? – GotQuestions.org
An Exposition and Evaluation of the McGowen View on the Inspiration of Scripture – NormanGeisler.net
Christ’s High View of Scripture – SpiritandTruth.org (Andy Woods)
The Last Generation – Jack Kinsella (Book)

Andy WoodsBy Dr. Andy Woods
SpiritandTruth.org

As we enter the Christmas season, we celebrate Christ’s entrance into the world. Yet Christ’s birth was anything but normal since he was born of a virgin (Matt 1:18-25). We might ask, “Is it really necessary to believe in the virgin birth?” Why was it so important for Christ to have been virgin born? At least six reasons come to mind.

First, the virgin birth was necessary to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Isaiah 7:14 predicts that when the Messiah shows up, he will be born of a virgin. The Hebrew word used here is almah and it can mean either a virgin or a young maiden. As one studies this word as it is used throughout the Old Testament (Gen 24:43; Exod 2:8; Ps 68:25; Song of Solomon 1:3; 6:8; Prov 30:18-19), it is found in contexts that apply to virgins. The Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament created two centuries before the time of Christ) translators understood well the significance of this since they translated the Hebrew word almah with the Greek word parthenos, which always means virgin. Matthew also used parthenos in his Spirit-inspired translation of Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:23. Simply put, Isaiah’s prophecy given 700 years before Christ was born demands that the coming Messiah be born of a virgin.

Second, the virgin birth emphasizes both Christ’s humanity (Luke 2:52) and deity (John 1:1). Christ was both since He was the unique God-man. He was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man (also called the Hypostatic Union). The fact that Christ was born of a woman (Gal 4:4) emphasizes His humanity, and the supernatural element of His virgin birth emphasizes His deity.

Third, Christ’s virgin birth emphasizes His eternality. Christ has always existed (John 8:58; 17:5; Rev 22:13). There never was a time in which He was not. This point is emphasized in the Nicene Creed, which says Christ was “begotten and not made.” Had Christ experienced a natural conception, He would have had a beginning point. Yet the eternal Christ had no beginning point, thus necessitating His supernatural conception through the virgin birth.

Fourth, the virgin birth was necessary in order to maintain Christ’s sinlessness. The Bible indicates that Christ was the only sinless man to ever live (John 8:46; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 John 2:1; 3:3). If Christ had a biological father, then the Adamic sin nature, which is passed down to all of us, would also have been passed down to Him at the point of conception (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12). Yet because Christ was sinless, His conception had to be supernatural rather than natural.

Fifth, the virgin birth was necessary in order to protect Christ’s bodily atonement. Only an eternal God could pay the eternal penalty for man’s sin (Rom 6:23). As explained above, Christ’s virgin birth protects His eternality. Also, only a perfect substitute could pay the penalty for man’s sin (1 Pet 1:19). God will only accept a perfect sacrifice in the place of the guilty. Such an emphasis on perfection explains why an Old Testament sacrificial animal had to be unblemished (Exod 12:5). As explained above, Christ’s virgin birth protects His sinlessness. Thus, the virgin birth protected both Christ’s eternality and sinlessness. Both of these elements are required for Christ to atone for the world’s sin debt.

Sixth, the virgin birth was necessary in order to circumvent Jeconiah’s curse. God had placed a curse upon Jeconiah’s lineage (Jer 22:30). Christ was a candidate to be cursed since He and His father Joseph were in Jeconiah’s line (Matt 1:12). However, the virgin birth took Christ out of this cursed line since Joseph was not Christ’s biological father. The Holy Spirit used Mary’s womb and Mary was not in Jeconiah’s line. Thus, the virgin birth took Christ out of the possibility of being born from Jeconiah’s cursed line.

It is indeed amazing to consider all that was accomplished through the Messiah’s virgin birth. In the midst of the hectic Christmas season, let us routinely reflect upon these profound truths. After all, He is the reason for the season.

Related Links


The Virgin Birth – Let Us Reason Ministries
Why is the Virgin Birth so important? – GotQuestions.org
Proof that Mary Was a Sinner, Needed a Savior, Had More than Four Children, and Is Not Mediatrix – DeceptionintheChurch.com (Neil Rivalland)
Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics – Ron Rhodes (Book)

Jimmy DeYoungBy Dr. Jimmy DeYoung
Prophecy Today

According to the Berman Institute and the Jewish Data Bank, there had been a steady decline for several decades in the worlds Jewish population but the trend has been reversed and an increase has been recorded recently even though it is very so slight in numbers. The number of Jews outside Israel continued its decline but their number increased inside Israel bringing the total Jewish population in Israel to around 5.7 million, the largest number of Jews in any one location anyplace on earth. Out of a world population numbering around 6.9 billion people there are only about 13 and a half million Jews in our world today which is slightly less that .2% of the world’s total population

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

With less than .2% of the world’s total population being Jewish, the world’s focus is on these unique people who will be the major players in the end of times scenario that can be found in Bible prophecy.

Out of a world population that numbers 6.9 billion people, the Jewish people and their very small nation in the Middle East has attracted the attention of the world. It seems that daily some world leader is talking about the Jewish state of Israel and what is happening there as it relates to the existence of this young nation among the nations of the world. The Jewish people came into existence 4000 years ago when Abraham became the Father of the Jews and passed that heritage along to his son and grandson Isaac and Jacob. Though there have been countless attempts to destroy the Jewish people down through the centuries God has protected a people that He calls His chosen people, that is according to Deuteronomy 7:6-8. In fact, God divided humankind on this earth and he set the bounds for them based upon the Jewish people in this world – that’s recorded in Deuteronomy 32:8.

Every student of Bible prophecy is aware that God’s plan for the end times will happen in order to fulfill the Lord’s promises to the Jewish people. Those promises found in the Abrahamic Covenant, (Genesis 15) the Land Covenant, (Deuteronomy 30) the Davidic Covenant, (II Samuel 7) and the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31).

Though the Jewish people are small in numbers in our world today, they will be the major players for the last days. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

Related Links


After Decades of Decline, Total Number of Jews Grows – Arutz Sheva
Introduction to the Biblical Covenants – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
World’s Jewish population rises in 2010: report – Xinhua
Why did God choose Israel to be His chosen people? – GotQuestions.org
Revelation: A Chronology – Jimmy DeYoung (Book)

Jim FletcherBy Jim Fletcher
Prophecy Matters

I was talking with a friend recently, and we were discussing questions we get while speaking.

One of the most popular is, “How do we know we are in the last days?” A perhaps more popular version of this question is, “How do we know Jesus is coming back soon?”

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I hear this question answered with a New Testament verse or verses. That of course is legitimate. However, there is a fascinating reference in the Old Testament, and it has become my favorite answer.

In Psalm 102:16, we read:

“When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.”

Preterists and others hostile to Israel and predictive prophecy answer that this must refer to Christ’s first coming. Yet…was the Lord building Zion on that electric night in Bethlehem? An emphatic “no.”

The Romans were pressing the inhabitants of the Holy Land under a dictatorial heel at that precise moment, and for a few centuries after that. In fact, after several decades of Jewish sovereignty under the leadership and aftermath of the Maccabees, who had taken control of Judea from the Seleucid Empire, that sovereignty came to an end.

In the first century, B.C., this Jewish rebel army gave way to the powerful Romans.

So at that stage of history, the Lord was not building Zion.

He has, however, been building Zion since the late 19th century, and now millions of Jews live in their ancestral land.

Logic — the great hallmark of Bible-believing Christians, and the Achilles’ Heel of the liberals — tells us that since Zion is being built-up right now, we can confidently expect the Lord to return at any time.

One of my favorite books is an obscure title from Prof. Benzion Netanyahu, entitled: Don Isaac Abravanel — Statesman and Philosopher. The 15th century financier-turned-biblical scholar was a fascinating character, a Jew who saw much of the turmoil of Jewish life in Europe at a seminal moment in history.

At one point, upon seeing the brutal and callous treatment of Jews in Spain and elsewhere, Abravanel — in order to make sense out of circumstances — turned to Scripture in order to understand what was happening. It was there he developed a thrilling and significant worldview that had as its bedrock the truth that the Bible is supernaturally inspired.

This reality of course is hateful to liberals, among them certain Christian leaders who have crept in unawares, as they say. For them, predictive prophecy is a formidable weapon that can be used against their diabolical attacks on the faith. That’s why they hate it, and why they hate the Jews.

Netanyahu, the historian, went to the heart of the matter in discussing Abravanel’s epiphany:

“The spearhead of the drive against the Jews in Spain, as against those of any other medieval country in the west, was the clergy.”

Isn’t that chilling?

Do you see?

The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 was one of those highlighted historical markers, in which human history is traced by how men have treated the Jews. And Abravanel observed up-close just who in fact led the efforts to persecute Jews: the Church.

Of course, in those days it was the Catholic Church. Although it’s a topic for another time, the Catholic involvement in this area is somewhat of a mixed bag since World War II (on the one hand, a virulent stream of anti-semitism still infects Catholicism; on the other hand, significant inroads have been made to bring Catholics and Jews together).

Today, the problem area for Jew hatred is center-left Christian leadership, and what are still legitimately evangelical leaders. I promise you, they completely loathe Psalm 102:16. This represents one side in a massive war going on today between biblical truth and paganism. Let’s look at a critical aspect of Abravanel’s emerging worldview, as told by Netanyahu:

“The position of Abravanel was thus simple and direct. It was based on his triple axiom: the Bible is the word of God; the Bible represents truth; the Bible must be taken literally before it can be interpreted symbolically.”

Yes!

More on Abravanel’s epiphany:

“If the Bible is to be believed, miracles must be believed as well, and they can be explained only by God’s omnipotence, by His complete independence of nature and of matter. How can we establish the veracity of the Bible, which is threatened by the doubts placed in the miracle stories, and make it unchallengeable by the skeptics? Only by accepting creation ex nihilo, the greatest of all miracles.”

Wow, and wow. Leave it to a Middle Ages Jewish philosopher and a modern Jewish historian to hit the nail on the head. Ironically, they are giving us the principle reason young people (and people of all ages) are leaving our churches in droves.

The relationship-and-self-driven, narcissistic, lights-and-laser-show programs of the modern American church are the antithesis of a New Testament church, and therefore, of reality itself. Modern Christian leadership in America has, by and large, either capitulated to liberal scholarship, or has turned to smarmy and ultimately pointless programs that have nothing to do with teaching the Bible as the guide for life. They have let the attacks on the miracle stories of Scripture cut the guts out of faith for millions.

You might think I’ve digressed in this column, but I argue that I have not. For what is the return of the Lord if not the ultimate modern miracle? That cosmic return will tear open the fabric of time and space and provide a way of rescue for a planet that is coming apart at the seams.

He said a long time ago that when he builds up His people in their ancient land, He will come. That’s it. He will come. Again, Netanyahu, writing about Abravanel:

“His position is that the universe has been endowed by its Creator with the power to endure a limited time, at the end of which it must cease to exist.”

I’m not saying that the long-dead Abravanel, or the now 100-year-old Benzion Netanyahu believe exactly as modern, Bible-believing Christians do regarding present-day and future history. But I am saying that these ideas are shedding light on what is really going on in our world right now.

As the great prophecy teacher Tommy Ice likes to say, “Maranatha!”

Related Links


Israel Through The Eyes Of Scripture – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Pope Benedict XVI affirms his warm feelings for Israel – Israel Today (Ryan Jones)
What is the Preterist view of the end times? – GotQuestions.org
Germany: Exploding Anti-Semitism – Hudson New York
Erdogan ‘Hates’ Israel in WikiLeaks Posting of U.S.-Turkey Talk – Bloomberg
It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these End Times – Jim Fletcher (Book)

Q. In doing a study on the 70 weeks of Daniel I’m confused with some of the dates.  From your past studies I’ve learned that the 70 year servitude of the nation began in 606 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and Assyria at the Battle of Carchemish.  Then in 536 B.C. the Persians freed the Jews who began returning to Israel and rebuilt the altar.  But the decree by the Persian king Artaxerxes to allow the Jews to return and rebuild the city of Jerusalem wasn’t until March 5, 444 B.C.  My question is what happened between 536 and 444 B.C.?  Were the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem during this time even though the decree had not been given yet?

 

A. When Cyrus conquered Babylon and freed the Jews, only about 42,000 of the people there returned to Israel with Sheshbazzar (Ezra 2:64).  And they only had permission to rebuild the Temple, not the city and its walls. Because of this they suffered constant harassment from their enemies. Finally they decided that the time had not yet come for the Temple to be built and in 520 BC they gave up (Haggai 1:1).  But the Lord sent first Haggai and then Zechariah to encourage them to finish.  The Temple was finally dedicated  in 516 BC (Ezra 6:15-18).

Ezra arrived with another group in 458 BC (Ezra 7:8-9) but the Jews lived without a fortified city until Nehemiah received permission to rebuild its walls from Artaxerxes. According to Sir Robert Anderson and the London Royal Observatory the decree of Artaxerxes was dated March 14, 445 and began the 483 year countdown to the Lord’s appearance in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.