Posts Tagged ‘Jews’


Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B’rit Hadashah Ministries

Secular historians generally write history from an anthropocentric view. That is how it relates and centers on Man and his development and various achievements in a closed universe. But the Bible concentrates on the historical fulfillment of God’s covenantal relationship with the nation of Israel leading up to the first coming of the Messiah and His second coming to Israel in a supernatural fashion whereby God freely and arbitrarily intervenes in the affairs of man. In fact, the Bible says God determines the national boundaries and demographic habitations of humanity with the intent that the children of Israel could live in the land of Canaan in an area that would perfectly accommodate their numbers and allow for this. For Deuteronomy 32:8 says:

“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.”

And all that the Bible has predicted about Israel’s divine history thus far has literally come to pass.

So then it is only reasonable and natural to conclude that the prophecies about Israel’s future will also literally be fulfilled. Bible Prophecy predicted as a super sign and precondition for the return of Christ the regathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland as the nation of Israel. That took place on May 14, 1948. The rest of this article will explore and explain how the modern nation of Israel is fulfilling this role as the super sign to indicate the coming of Christ is close at hand and could very well happen in our generation.

The Bible predicts in Deuteronomy 30:1-3 that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will occur sometime after the regathering and return of the Jews from world wide dispersion into the land of Israel. God gave this prophecy through Moses and the Jews just before God brought them into the land of Canaan. The Authorized Version of these verses is most telling:

“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice. According to all that I commanded thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.”

Notice the chronology or sequence of prophetic events here:

  1. God will bring the Jews back to the land of Israel from the nations of the world where they were scattered abroad by Him for their disobedience.
  2. During this regathering the Lord Himself “will return” and complete the restoration of all Israel back into the land.

In others words, when God begins to bring the Jews back into their land He gave them, Christ will return! The phrase “will return” is omitted from most modern translations of the Bible since the Masoretic text (upon which the majority of modern translations of the Old Testament are based upon) and the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) do not include it. But the Dead Sea Scrolls copied some 150 years before the birth of Christ and over 1,000 years older than any previously discovered manuscript of the Bible includes this very phrase! The passage reads as follows:

“…then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from the peoples, [from] where the Lord your God has scattered you…” (Martin Abegg,Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, p. 187).

Thus, the phrase has good precedent for being included as from the original. And the prophecy given in Deuteronomy 30:3 foretells that when the Jews return to their ancient homeland from the Diaspora (the scattering of the Jews to all Gentile nations of the world after the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.), the Lord Jesus Christ will return. If we just had this prophecy alone in Scripture concerning the return of the Jews to Israel and the return of the Lord following it, this would be adequate alone to believe in His word that He would regather the Jews back to Israel and subsequently return at the second Coming. This unquestionably means in the words of author Homer Duncan that:

“For centuries, the prophecies concerning the regathering of Israel lay dormant in the Word of God. There was no outward indication that they would be fulfilled, but they are now being fulfilled before our eyes, and this can mean but one thing: THE COMING OF THE LORD DRAWS NEAR.” (Homer Duncan, Israel: Past, Present, Future, p. 16)

Related Links


Tunisian Jews flee upheaval for Israel – JTA
Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: Land Covenant – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
The Modern State of Israel in Bible Prophecy – Ariel Ministries (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
Federations launching $5.5 million campaign for Ethiopian aliyah – Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Is Modern Israel Fulfilling Prophecy? – Pre-Trib.org (Thomas Ice)

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Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B’rit Hadashah Ministries

Part of the reason for the return of Israel’s Messiah will be to enforce the everlasting decree of God’s land grant to the Jewish people and to overthrow the nations of the world in league with the anti-Christ who will violently attempt to take the land away from them (Zech. 12-14; Ezekiel 47:13-48:35). In fact, the boundaries God gave for the Promised Land stretch from the river of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish) to the Euphrates River near the Syrian/Iraqi border (Gen. 15:18-21) — an area yet to be occupied by the Jewish nation that well includes the two presently disputed areas of Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

The covenant God made with Abraham not only would produce the Jewish people from his posterity (“seed”) with a land to live in, but their presence in the world also would greatly benefit and bless Mankind. The Lord said:

“And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Indeed the Jews have brought the world immeasurable blessings. They wrote and preserved the Scriptures (the Bible), which is the number one best-seller in the world and were the people through whom the Messiah came to redeem humanity from sin (Romans 3:2; 9:5). The Jews wrote the Bible and the Messiah Jesus is a Jew.

God subsequently reaffirmed this covenant with Abraham to his son, Isaac, and Isaac’s son, Jacob (Genesis 25:5-6; 35:9-15). From these three patriarchs, God eternally promised the land of Israel to the Jewish people. From a divine and biblical perspective then, the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. And so God chose this Land and the Chosen People to play a central role in His plan of redemption for the world and mankind that naturally involves the past, present, and the future.

The plan of redemption for Israel and the world focuses around two epochal events — the first and second comings of the Messiah Jesus Christ. In both advents, Christ has and will personally come again directly to Israel. The covenant God made with Abraham plays a special significance and role in end-time Bible prophecy. The fact God guaranteed the people of Israel a national existence and homeland forever that brought the material and spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations basically defines and determines the primary focus of the whole eschatological program of God. The covenant of Abraham with the provisions of a land, nation, Messianic descendant, and blessing to the world is the building base and foundation upon which the plan of God is built and enlarged through the other covenants.

The creation of the Jewish people and the bestowal of a national homeland via the Abrahamic covenant were preparatory for the first coming of the Messiah. Gentiles who come to faith in Him are adopted into Abraham’s family and receive the blessing promised through that covenant (Galatians 3:8; 14-29). And just as the establishment of the Jewish people as the nation of Israel was crucial to the first coming of Christ, so too Scripture indicates that the regathering of the Jews into their ancient homeland, after being scattered throughout the world for nearly 2,000 years, and the reestablishment of the nation of Israel are necessary for the second coming. In fact, it would serve as a super-sign that will set the stage for the prophesied series of events that will culminate in the return of Christ to Israel. Without the reconstitution of the nation of Israel in our generation, none of the events of End-time prophecy could occur or be possible.

Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy articulate and underscore this point well when they write:

“God’s plan for history always moves forward in relation to what He is doing with Israel. Thus, the fact that Israel has been and continues to be reconstituted as a nation is prophetically significant, so significant that it makes Israel God’s super-sign of the end times. Were Israel not a nation again it would be impossible for events of the end times to occur since so many of them take place in that tiny country or in reference to it. But it has returned and so it is that all other aspects of Bible prophecy are also being prepared for the grand finale of history.” (Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, Prophecy Watch, p. 61.)

Related Links


Israel Through The Eyes Of Scripture – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Are Israel and the church the same thing? Does God still have a plan for Israel? – GotQuestions.org
Christian Israel supporters urge Rand Paul on aid – Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 1) – BPB (Todd Baker)
Soros blames Israel, encouraged by Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – American Thinker


Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B’rit Hadashah Ministries

Preachers and theologians are often fond of saying that History is “His story,” meaning that God plans and determines the details and events that make up human history ruling over the process from beginning to end to fulfill His great purpose for Mankind. Nothing could be truer of Israel. The history of the Jewish people is “His story” played out within human history, which has been revealed, foretold, and written in the Bible.

Israel’s history is supernatural from beginning to end. It began with the Patriarch Abraham some 4,000 years ago when God called this nomadic wanderer from Ur of the Chaldeans (Modern day Iraq) to leave his homeland and go into the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham obeyed that call and became the father of the nation Israel and the Jewish people. Though Abraham, and Sarah his wife, were well beyond the age of having children (Genesis 18:11), God miraculously rejuvenated the ninety-year old body of Sarah to bear them a son; Isaac through whom God would raise up the people and nation the Messiah would come through (Genesis 21:12).

With the promised child came the Promised Land — the land that is called Israel – where Abraham and his descendants would live. In Genesis 13:15 and 17:7-8, God promised to give the land to Abraham and his descendants (the Jews) for an “everlasting possession” under the unconditional terms of an “everlasting covenant”:

“For all the land which you see I have given it to you and your descendants forever. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.”

Here we observe from Israel’s inception that the history of the Jewish people and their divine destiny is inextricably bound up with the land God promised them. The covenant referred to in Genesis 17:7-8 is formally called the Abrahamic Covenant. It is an eternal covenant made between God to Abraham and his descendants forever. God essentially established through this Covenant with Abraham a people from him (the Jewish people), a place for them (the land of Israel), so that the purpose of blessing all the nations of the world could occur in perpetuity, that is forever. Thus God gave the land of Israel to the Jews forever and to no other ethnic group or nation, protestations from the Arabs, Palestinians, and international community notwithstanding.

One of the basic laws of Bible interpretation is the law of first mention. The law of first mention states that when a thing is mentioned for the first time in the Bible it carries the same meaning all throughout the Scriptures. It establishes the Bible as consistent in its meaning from beginning to end as it applies to persons, places, events, and things.

In Genesis 13:15 we have the first mention in Scripture stating that God gave the land of Israel to Abraham and the Jewish people forever. This truth is reiterated throughout the rest of Scripture and establishes the rightful owners of the land to be the Jews granted by divine right. There is no deviation or alteration by God from this covenant. It stands for all time. The ongoing struggle for Israel’s right to live in the Land of Promise has already been settled once and for all by the eternal counsel of God as codified and enacted in the Abrahamic Covenant. God has spoken and His Word on this matter is settled forever (Psalm 119:89); thus all the political wrangling about who the land belongs to is quite simply moot and in the end irrelevant and inconsequential.

The current Middle East crisis centers around who owns the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. But unbelief coming from the world disputes and dismisses the whole issue being settled by the inerrant Word of God. One cannot begin to understand the current Middle East crisis and how it relates to Israel’s past, present and future without knowing and understanding the fundamental importance of this divine covenant. Author Richard Booker wisely wrote:

“Indeed the key to understanding today’s headlines and tomorrow’s news lies in the past within the sacred covenant God made with Abraham.” (Richard Booker, Blow the Trumpet in Zion, p.17).

In the series of articles to come, we will explore how this is true throughout the divine panoramic plan God has for Israel in the past, present, and future as revealed through Bible prophecy.

Related Links


Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: Abrahamic Covenant – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Palestinians urge Quartet to back their state – Khaleej Times
Merkel warns against stalled Mideast peace talks – Deutsche Welle
What is the Abrahamic Covenant? – GotQuestions.org
Abbas Reveals His True Agenda – Family Security Matters


Todd StrandbergBy Todd Strandberg
Rapture Ready

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that he has no intention of sharing the holy city of Jerusalem with the Palestinians. This statement did not generate too many headlines, but I believe it is very significant in showing us where we are in Bible prophecy.

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).

The Palestinians’ claim to Jerusalem is based on a massive sham. Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for three thousand years. There never was a Palestinian people, nation, language, culture, or religion. The archeological record points endlessly to a Jewish heritage for Jerusalem. If the Palestinians had any common sense, they would go pick some other city as their capital.

Since Netanyahu came to power nearly two years ago, he has accepted the principle of a Palestinian state next to Israel. There is growing indication that Netanyahu is beating the Arabs at their old game of repeatedly agreeing to something but never getting around to actually accomplishing the task.

The international pressure on Israel has been relentless. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been pushing hard to get Israel to give on the core issues of Jerusalem’s status. In one recent speech, she urged both sides to reach a final agreement “without delay and with real specificity.” She pointedly called for compromise on the contested holy city, observing that “there will surely be no peace without an agreement” on Jerusalem — “the most sensitive of all the issues.”

Bible prophecy promises calamity for any nation that seeks to divide Jerusalem. I believe a key reason America’s economy has stumbled in recent years is the pressure we’ve been placing on Israel. Now that the Obama administration has decided to increase the pressure, I would expect to see greater trembling in the land.

Israelis have a good reason to stick with the status quo. A decade ago, the public lived in terror of being killed in a suicide bomber attack. After trying everything to combat the problem, the Israeli government was finally driven to the point of walling itself off from the Palestinians. Since the borders were sealed, there has not been a single terrorist attack in the past several years.

Another reason for Netanyahu to play coy with the Arabs is that it doesn’t have any land to give away that will not jeopardize Israel’s security. In the past, the Jews made the Arabs happy by giving them the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, a southern zone of Lebanon, and partial control of the West Bank. The Arabs always come back asking for more land.

The situation reminds me of story about a woman who was once chased by a grizzly bear. A human can only run half as fast as a bear, but the woman saved herself by taking off several items of clothing. Every time she dropped an item to the ground, the bear would momentarily pause before resuming the pursuit. At this point in the Middle East chase, Israel is down to its underwear, and instead of one bear there are about two dozen pursuing the Jewish state.

One of Satan’s key goals is to gain control of the city of Jerusalem. The devil certainly knows that his only chance of delaying events that will lead to his destruction is to capture Jerusalem and destroy the Jewish state. So far, Satan has edged closer to this goal by using peaceful means. Now that it looks like the Jews are not going to give up any more land, his next move will likely be war.

Prophecy teachers have long said that we are in the last days because our generation witnessed the rebirth of Israel. Perhaps it is time to say the Lord’s return is near because Jerusalem has now become the focal point of world attention.

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

Related Links


Obama dispatches more officials to Mideast in bid to reignite talks – Ha’aretz
Abbas invites Israeli lawmakers to lunch in Ramallah – Christian Science Monitor
Understanding Zechariah 12:2-3 – GraceThruFaith.com (Jack Kelley)
Why should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem? – GotQuestions.org
Are You Rapture Ready?: Signs, Prophecies, Warnings, Threats, and Suspicions that the Endtime is Now – Todd Strandberg (Book)


August RosadoBy August Rosado
Today in Bible Prophecy Ministries

Russia and Jordan have agreed to a joint expedition to find the ruins of the Biblical Sodom & Gomorrah. Genesis 19 records the destruction of the cities by God. Russia has agreed to fund the cost in order to find the remains. The Russian Government has always been fascinated with the Dead Sea and has coveted it’s minerals for years.

Russia and the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan are two major players in Bible prophecy for the last days. Ezekiel 38-39 describes a coalition of nations that will come against Israel in the last days. Many prophecy scholars believe that the “Gog-Magog” leader will be that of Russia itself. I happen to be of that same persuasion. C S Lewis, when publishing his study Bible in 1909 said that “Gog-Magog” is Russia. The Jewish Historian Josephus Flavius stated in his writings, “The Antiquities of the Jews” identified the area of Gog and Magog as the area occupied by the Scythians, which today would be located in south central Russia. The Jewish prophet Ezekiel tells us that when Russia and an Arab/Islamic coalition of nations invade Israel, that Russia would come to “take a spoil” (Ezekiel 38:12-13; 39:10). I believe that “spoil” will be the plundering of the Dead Sea and Israel’s oil (if confirmed).

Jordan is mentioned in Daniel 11:41 as “Edom, Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon”. That is Jordan today. Two thirds of Jordan come from Lot (through an incestuous relationship with his daughters in Genesis 19), and one third comes from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. When the Antichrist destroys the king of the north (Syria) and the king of the south (Egypt) he does not touch Jordan (Dan 11:40-41). The reason is that God will supernaturally shelter the Jews there for the last three and a half years of the tribulation period, (Isa 16:1; 4; 63:1-6; Rev 12:6; 14). Jesus the Jewish Messiah will return at the end of the tribulation to rescue those Jews in Petra (Jordan) and come to Jerusalem, where his feet touch the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4). Jesus the Messiah will reign for 1000 years in Jerusalem, with the beast and false prophet in the lake of fire, and Satan bound in the bottomless pit. Satan will later be cast into the lake of fire when the millennial Kingdom concludes, (Rev 20:4).

Does this news story have a connection to Bible prophecy? Only time will tell. I do believe however that what we see in the political does set the stage for the events in the prophetical. Jesus is indeed coming soon and it could be today. The Rapture of the Church could take place at any moment and we need to be ready.

Related Links


Russia’s quest for Biblical depravity – The Moscow News
Russia Decides to Search for Sodom and Gomorrah-in Jordan – Arutz Sheva
The Two End Time’s Judgments Upon Edom (Part 1) – BPB (Bill Salus)
Jordan & Russia Team Up to Search Dead Sea for Sodom & Gomorrah – Associated Content
What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? – GotQuestions.org


Thomas IceBy Dr. Thomas Ice
Pre-Trib Research Center

As I continue to deal with the questions of the disciples in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21), I want to look more closely at the first question. After observing the Temple, Christ said to the disciples, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (Matt. 24:2). The disciples ask Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be, . . .” (Matt. 24:3). Thus, the first question relates to the destruction of the Temple in a.d. 70.

Preterist Literalism

Preterist Dr. Kenneth Gentry says, “The context of Luke demands a literal Jerusalem (Luke 21:20) besieged by literal armies (Luke 21:20) in literal Judea (Luke 21:21) – which as a matter of indisputable historical record occurred in the events leading up to a.d. 70.”1 This demonstrates that preterists take Scripture literally, unless it contradicts their presupposed system of theology, at which time they usually come up with a more pliable, deeply spiritual meaning of the text. But since both preterist and futurists, like myself, believe that Luke 21:20-24 literally refers to Jerusalem in a.d. 70, then this can be used as a template as to how Scripture speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century.

Christ’s Prophecy of A.D. 70

Before we look at Luke 21:20-24, I will examine the prophecies that Jesus gave specifically referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple that were indeed fulfilled in the first century. Note the following prophecies by Christ:

“Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” (Matt. 23:36-38; see Luke 13:34-35 for parallel passage).

And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).

Christ speaks clearly about the coming Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in this prediction. Jesus clearly describes a siege in verses 43 and 44 because the nation of Israel “did not recognize the time of your visitation.” They rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Notice that not once does Jesus describe this as a “judgment coming” as do preterists.2 In fact, coming is not used in any of these prophecies relating to a.d. 70, as it is used of Christ’ s future return.

Luke 21:20-24 and A.D. 70

When we look at the words of Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple, He uses words and phrases that clearly denote what the Romans did in a.d. 70.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24).

Note how the following words and phrases support the notion of judgment upon Israel in the first century:

  1. Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand
  2. flee to the mountains (The admonition to flee would indicate that Jerusalem will be destroyed. If the Jews were to defeat the Romans, then the safe place to be would be inside the walled city.)
  3. these are days of vengeance
  4. there will be great distress upon the land
  5. wrath to this people (Israel)
  6. they (Israel) will fall by the edge of the sword
  7. (Israel) will be led captive into all the nations
  8. Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles

There is not a single phrase in the above passage that suggests a future understanding because the a.d. 70 destruction of Jerusalem was clearly a judgment upon the Jewish people for their national rejection of Jesus as their Messiah (Luke 19:44; Matt. 23:38). This passage is our Lord’s undisputed answer to the disciples’ first question about when there will not be one stone of the Temple left upon another. Yet when compared with other sections of the Olivet Discourse, this kind of language referenced above is totally missing (see Matt. 24:4-31; Mark 13:5-27; Luke 21:25-28). Instead, in general, the language of the Olivet Discourse, except for Luke 21:20-24, does not speak of Israel under God’s judgment, but of Israel under threat from the Gentile nations and God’s intervention that rescues the Jewish people. This overall thrust of the passage is even clearer when one looks at the parallel passage of Zechariah 12-14.

Until

Luke 21:24 ends by saying that Jerusalem will be under Gentile domination “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The little word “until” clearly denotes that there will be a time when the current domination of Jerusalem by the Gentiles will come to an end. The current “times of the Gentiles” in which we currently live will indeed come to an end in the future. Thus, the end of verse 24 serves as a transitional period between the prophecy that refers to the past a.d. 70 event (Luke 21:20-24) and the prophecy that looks to a future fulfillment at Christ’s second coming (Luke 21:25-28). We now live in the “times of the Gentiles.”

A clear connection is established between Luke 21:24 which speaks of the current era of “the times of the Gentiles” being fulfilled and coming to an end and Romans 11:25 which speaks of “the fullness of the Gentiles” having “come in.” Both passages speak of Israel’s redemption (Luke 21:28; Romans 11:26-27). When we consider that the Old Testament pattern which says that Israel will pass through the tribulation, repent toward the end when they recognize Jesus as the Messiah, experience conversion, and then the second coming will occur to rescue them from their enemies, it follows that “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26) in connection with the tribulation. This is exactly the pattern of Luke 21:25-28. Preterist Ken Gentry believes Romans teaches a future conversion of Israel, yet he does not associate it with the tribulation as Scripture repeatedly does. Dr. Gentry declares, “The future conversion of the Jews will conclude the fulfillment (Rom. 11:12-25).”3 Yet only a futurist interpretation does justice to a harmonization of these passages that are clearly connected.

Luke 21:25-28 and the Future

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28).

J. C. Ryle says of this passage the following:

The subject of this portion of our Lord’s great prophecy is His own second coming to judge the world. The strong expressions of the passage appear inapplicable to any event less important than this. To confine the words before us, to the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, is an unnatural straining of Scripture language.4

The focus of Luke 21:25-28 reveals a distinct shift from the first century description of 21:20-24. The differences include the local focus of Jerusalem in the first century judgment verses the global perspective of the future tribulation. The tribulation will involve heavenly and global events that did not literally occur in a.d. 70. If preterists like Dr. Gentry would interpret verses 25-28 in the same way they did verses 20-24 then the events of 25-28 would be understood to be clearly global and if global then they did not occur in the first century. Since they did not occur in the first century then they must take place in the future. These are future tribulation events that are prophesied by our Lord in this section of the passage.

The basic thrust of Luke 21:25-28 is the opposite of God’s judgment upon Israel as stated in Luke 21:20-24. Instead verse 28 tells Israel that, “your redemption is drawing near.” This is all the difference of night (judgment) in verses 20-24 and day (salvation and deliverance) in verses 25-28. William Kelly describes some aspects of the differences in the following:

Hence, to, the reader may notice that, in spite of a considerable measure of analogy (for there will be a future siege, and even a twofold attack, one of which will be partially successful, the other to the ruin of their enemies, as we learn from Isaiah xxviii, xxix, and Zechariah xiv.), there are the strangest contrasts in the issue; for the future siege will be closed by Jehovah’s deliverance and reign, as the past was in capture and destruction of the people dispersed ever since till the times of the Gentiles are full. Accordingly we hear nothing in this Gospel of the abomination of desolation, nor of the time of tribulation beyond all that was or shall be; we hear of both in Matthew and Mark, where the Spirit contemplates the last days.5

Conclusion

When one examines the entire Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, there is no reference to wrath or judgment upon the nation of Israel. Instead, Israel is delivered from its invader as noted in Matthew 24:31, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (see also Mark 13:27). The question arises, “When was Israel rescued in a.d. 70?” They were not! The events of Matthew 24 and Mark 13 (also Luke 21:25-28) will all be fulfilled in the tribulation, which will take place in the future.

So the first question of the disciples to Christ in the Olivet Discourse relates to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. The record of its fulfillment is recorded only in Luke 21. Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13 deal only with the last question, which are a prophecy of events that are still future to our day. Maranatha!

Endnotes


1) Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), p. 176.
2) Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999), p. 72.
3) Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), p. 206.
4) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke, 2 vols. (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., [1858] n. d.), vol. II, p. 374.
5) William Kelly, An Exposition of the Gospel of Luke (Oak Park, IL: Bible Truth Publishers, 1971), pp. 332- 333.


Jeffrey CaminoBy Jeffrey R. Camino
LearnBibleProphecy.com

In Daniel chapter 9 the prophet Daniel explains that he has read Jeremiah’s words that Jerusalem would be restored after seventy years of captivity by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 29:10). Thus, Daniel’s expectation was that the Jews would be back in Jerusalem — yet Daniel was still in Babylon and Jerusalem was still desolate. Daniel, realizing something was very wrong, then says, “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3) The passage goes on to provide the details of Daniel’s earnest prayer, wherein he intercedes for the Jewish people and confesses their sins. He explains how they have ignored the words of the prophets, disobeyed the Lord, and are covered in shame; yet he requests that God give them mercy, not because they are worthy, but because God is a loving and merciful God. Daniel 9:4-19 presents a wonderful prayer we all should be familiar with for both prophetic and personal reasons.

The remaining part of Daniel 9 is extremely important to end-times prophecy and provides perhaps the strongest support for a Pre-Trib Rapture. As Dr. Grant Jeffrey explains, Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks stands out as one of the greatest prophecies ever given by God to man.1 The reason it is so important is that it provides us with a true understanding of the purpose of the tribulation: namely that it is a time set aside for God to deal with the Jewish people, not the Church. It also gives us further evidence that the Bible should most often be interpreted literally (something I’ll discuss later in this article). We read some very revealing words in Daniel 9:24-27, wherein the angel Gabriel explains to Daniel that there will be a special time period when God will deal with the Jews:

“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

First, we must understand that we are to take these time periods literally (as opposed to thinking they are just “general” symbols of time) because Daniel did so when understanding Jeremiah’s prophecy earlier in the chapter. That is, Daniel realized that Jeremiah’s prophecy was that Jerusalem was supposed to be restored within 70 years, yet it had not happened yet. Daniel was, therefore, very distressed and began to pray (as explained earlier). While still in prayer the angel Gabriel came to Daniel and explained that God would give Israel another chance and extend the time in which they must wait by sevenfold: which, not coincidentally, is 70 x 7 and also what Jesus said about how often we are to forgive one another (Matthew 18:21-22).

As we understand in the Jewish context that the ‘seven’ being referred to is 7 years, we can see that Daniel was told that there would be 7 “sevens” and then 62 “sevens”, resulting in 69 “sevens”. As we further understand that the Jewish calendar (as well as many other ancient calendars) had 360 days per year, we can calculate the exact time between when the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was issued and the Anointed One, the ruler, came to fulfill His destiny. It computes to exactly 173,880 days: (7 years + 62 years) x 7 unit years x 360 days/year. Today we can see yet another example of how God’s Word is absolutely amazing and accurate, for we find that there were precisely 173,880 days between the decree that was issued to rebuild Jerusalem (issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 B.C.) until Jesus rode into Jerusalem on April 6, A.D. 32. Unlike when Jesus previously declared “My hour has not yet come”, Jesus made a deliberate and triumphal entry into Jerusalem on that specific date (Luke 19:28-40).2

Thus far we have a vivid account of the first 69 weeks of the 70 weeks, but we are left with a final week (7 years) not yet accounted for. That final week, known as “Daniel’s 70th Week”, is the time in which God will deal with the Jewish people once and for all, which will also be during the end times. In fact, He is going to bend the Jewish people to their knees: in Matthew 23:39 Jesus said to them, “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ˮ

You may be asking, “What period are we in now?ˮ The answer is that we are in the “Church Ageˮ, a time between the first 69 weeks and the final 70th week. Not only can we understand that important concept by noting the obvious gap between those two periods when we read Daniel 9, but it is also supported elsewhere in scripture…

Paul explains in Romans 9, 10, and 11 God’s view of Israel in a historical, current, and future context, respectively. Paul’s words in Romans 11:22-25 clearly supports God’s inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles (“all the trees”) in His plan of salvation. Consider Paul’s inspired words to the Gentiles (you):

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they (the Jews) do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

Note that the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as the Messiah offered salvation to the rest of the world (Gentiles). It was all part of a profound and gracious plan God had laid out since the beginning of time! Please also be sure to note the last sentence, which explains that God has a predetermined number of Gentiles who will be saved before He sets in motion end-times events that will turn Israel back to Him.

We can also return to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday. As noted earlier, the full implication of that day is missed by many people. We often are provided with the most obvious when we study Palm Sunday, which is Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. However, as we continue to read in Zechariah, we learn that there are also end-times prophecy implications because what is described in the next verse has clearly not been fulfilled yet, “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth..ˮ (Zechariah 9:10, emphasis added)

Another place in scripture where we can study to help understand the “Church Ageˮ is Luke 4:16-21, where we come upon a very interesting scene:

He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.ˮ

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

What makes that scene so profound is that when we actually turn to the Isaiah passage Jesus read, we learn that He stopped reading in the middle of a sentence. The remaining part of that passage says “and the day of vengeance of our God…ˮ (Isaiah 61:2), which is describing God’s wrath in the tribulation, and God’s restoration of Israel afterward (Isaiah 61:3-11). The Church has been living in that prophetic “pauseˮ for almost 2,000 years; but that pause will soon resume once the Church has been removed via the Rapture!3

The idea of Daniel’s 70th Week being for the Jewish people is echoed in Jeremiah 30:7, where we learn the period is called “a time of trouble for Jacobˮ (not coincidentally, Jacob was renamed “Israelˮ in Genesis 32:28). Also, the book of Revelation from chapter 4 on (after the Seven Churches are addressed in chapters 2 and 3) is rich with Jewish terminology as the tribulation events are described, which further helps us understand the Jewish purpose for the tribulation. Consequently, Daniel’s 70th Week offers us one of the strongest areas we can turn to for support of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. It also offers us guidance about hermeneutics (and translating the Bible literally when the plain sense makes sense).

As I conclude this study of Daniel’s 70th Week, I leave you with these word of Jesus, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

Endnotes


1) Grant Jeffrey, Countdown to the Apocalypse, (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2008), 121-22.
2) Chuck Missler, Prophecy 20/20, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008), 47.
3) IBID

Jack KelleyBy Jack Kelley
GraceThruFaith.com

He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. (Daniel 11:21)

In 175 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to power in Syria by stealing the throne from his relative, Demetrius II, the young son of Seleucus IV Heliodorus and rightful heir. The original Seleucus was one of the four generals who divided the Greek Empire between them following the death of Alexander the Great. Thus Antiochus Epiphanes became the eighth descendant of Seleucus to sit on the throne of Syria.

Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant (Onias III) will be destroyed. With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South (Ptolemy VI of Egypt). The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. The king of the North (Antiochus) will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. (Daniel 11:22,25,28)

Soon after taking power, on his way to invade Egypt, Antiochus attacked Israel, stealing all the gold and silver furnishings from the Temple. He had Israel’s last legitimate High Priest, Onias III, murdered and from then on the office was sold to the highest bidder, with the money going to Antiochus.

The Birth of the Sadducees

He began to “Hellenize” Israel and before long many of the wealthy and influential among the Israelites adopted the Greek style of dress, cutting their hair short and shaving off their beards as well. They also argued for a blending of Greek philosophy and culture into the Jewish way of life. From these advocates of Greek thinking, the political party known as the Sadducees was born, eventually growing to a position of prominence during the time of Jesus. It was the influence of Greek philosophy on their approach to the Hebrew Scriptures that blinded the ruling Sadducees to the fact that Messianic Prophecies were being fulfilled right before their eyes during the Lord’s life on Earth.

“At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:29-30)

Initially, this accommodation with Greek culture encountered only vocal resistance, but that all changed when the Egyptians rebelled and, with the aid of the Roman Navy, defeated Antiochus and drove him from Egypt. In a rage, Antiochus again invaded Israel, this time demanding that he be worshiped as God. (The name “Epiphanes” comes from a title he gave himself, “theos epiphanies” or god made manifest. After this the Jews started calling him “Epimanes” which means the madman.) He outlawed the reading of the Hebrew Scripture, punishing by death anyone found with copies in their possession. Circumcision, praying, keeping the Sabbath, and worshiping the One True God were likewise proscribed with severe penalties for disobedience.

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (Daniel 11:31-32)

Put the Hammer Down

In 168 BC Antiochus again broke into the Temple, converting it into a pagan worship center in honor of the Greek god Zeus (called Jupiter in Roman mythology). Instead of the blood of bulls and goats, he sprinkled water in which pork had been boiled in the Holy of Holies, and slaughtered pigs on the altar. Then he erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy Place, with his own face on it, thereby proclaiming himself to be God. Because it rendered the Temple unfit for worshiping God, Jewish historians called this act the Abomination that Causes Desolation, the only event in history so named. It triggered the Maccabean Revolt.

For 3 1/2 years the Jews fought one of the world’s first guerrilla wars under Judeus Maccabeus (Judah the Hammer) finally defeating the Syrians in 165 BC. Upon regaining the Temple, they smashed the polluted altar and the statue of Zeus, grinding both to powder, and then built a new altar from uncut stones.

Next they set out to cleanse the Temple and re-dedicate it to God, an eight-day process (2 Chron. 29:17). But they could only find enough sacred oil to light the Menorah (the 7-branched lamp stand in the Holy Place) for one day, and the law required that it be lit constantly. Because the preparation of sacred oil was a time consuming process, they decided not to wait, but to use the oil they had to light the Menorah immediately, trusting that God would find this acceptable. God was pleased and made the oil last for the full eight days until the new supply was ready and the re-dedication complete.

Eight Is Enough

Those who study the symbolic use of numbers in Scripture know that eight is the number of New Beginnings, and indeed the Maccabean victory over the Syrians ushered in a new era, known as the Hasmonean Dynasty. During much of this period, which lasted till about 64 BC, Judea, as Israel was now known, enjoyed independent nation status, having finally won their freedom from Syria in 142 BC. Following other Hasmonean victories, the Jews regained boundaries that nearly approximated those of Solomon’s time. Jewish rule was exercised throughout the expanded nation and Jewish life flourished once again. A New Beginning for the Children of Israel.

The Feast of Dedication

The miraculous burning of the oil is still celebrated in the eight-day Feast of Hanukkah, from the Hebrew word meaning dedication. It’s also called the Festival of Lights and this year began on the evening of December 1.

To celebrate Hanukkah, a special 9-branched candelabra is used, with eight branches commemorating the eight days when the oil kept burning. The ninth branch, called the Shamash, is usually positioned above the other eight. Its candle is always lit first and then used to light the other candles, one each day, until on the eighth day of Hanukkah all are lit. The Hebrew word Shamash means servant, so the Shamash is the servant candle that’s raised up and gives light to all the others.

Incredibly, the Hanukkia, or Hanukkah candelabra, becomes a beautiful model of the Messiah and His church. It was the Lord Jesus, the obedient servant, who was raised up (John 3:12) and gives light to all others (John 8:12). For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. (Mark 10:45)

If you’ve read our studies on the Lord’s probable birth date, you know I believe He was conceived during the Feast of Hanukkah and that His life, like all others, began at conception. If so, the Hanukkia is a fitting reminder that the Light of the World arrived during the Festival of Lights, ushering in a New Beginning for all mankind.

History to Prophecy

We know that all the Levitical Feasts have both a historical and a prophetic fulfillment. For example, Passover commemorated the Jews’ freedom from bondage in Egypt and looked forward to the Messiah freeing us all from the bondage of our sins. The prophetic aspect of the Spring Feasts were fulfilled in the Lord’s 1st Coming, the summer time Feast of Pentecost commemorated the giving of the Law and was fulfilled in the Church, and the Fall Feasts commemorated God’s dwelling among them and will be fulfilled in the 2nd Coming. Hanukkah is not a Levitical Feast but I think it has an important prophetic fulfillment like the others.

In reviewing the history of Hanukkah, I’m sure you spotted the similarity to events yet future to us. One day soon a man will arrive on the world scene. He’ll become very powerful very quickly, assuming a leadership position that’s not rightfully his. Many will give their loyalty to him and he’ll conquer most of the world. Even in Israel, many will favor accommodation with him, some even thinking he might be the Messiah. (John 5:43)

But then he’ll stand in the Holy place and declare that He’s God. (2 Thes. 2:4) Another Antiochus Epiphanes. He’ll have a statue of himself erected and put in the Holy Place to be worshiped. (Rev. 13:14) Another Abomination of Desolation, the one Jesus warned about in Matt. 24:15. Just like his predecessor he’ll demand to be worshiped as God on pain of death, and make everyone swear a pledge of loyalty to him. He’ll put a stop to the recently instituted Temple sacrifice (Dan. 9:27) and try to erase every trace of the legitimate God from the world. He’ll wage war against those who oppose him, but they’ll fight back in another war of resistance. After 3 ½ years he’ll be defeated (Dan. 12:7) and the defiled Temple will be cleansed and made ready for use again during the Millennium. Another Feast of Dedication. And Israel will again experience a period of untold peace and prosperity, expanding fully to its originally promised dimensions. Jewish rule will be exercised throughout the expanded nation and Jewish life will flourish once again. (Isaiah 65:17-25) Another New Beginning for the Children of Israel and for all the world. Happy Hanukkah.

Related Links


The Kingdom Of Greece – Bible.org (John F. Walvoord)
Jewish People in Jerusalem and Around the World Are Celebrating the Rededication of the Jewish Temple – BPB (Jimmy DeYoung)
What is the abomination of desolation? – GotQuestions.org
Prophecy and Hanukkah – The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (Bruce Scott)
Children’s Stories of the Bible The Adult Version – Jack Kelley (Book)

David BricknerBy David Brickner
Jews for Jesus

It never ceases to amaze me how much fighting takes place over the celebration of Christmas. Legal battles about public displays of crèches or Christmas trees are fodder for the news media. One of the most bizarre examples was when Jewish comedian Jackie Mason made news by standing up to stores that banned employees from wishing shoppers a “Merry Christmas.” The headlines read, “Jackie Mason Saves Christmas.”

Have you ever felt like you were in the middle of a skirmish just trying to find a parking place or navigating your way through the local shopping mall during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas? It’s like a battle zone out there.

Let’s not forget the travel wars. I have vowed not to get on an airplane, if at all possible, between December 10 and January 1. But sometimes it is unavoidable and so I join my fellow trekkers enduring the long struggle to negotiate the overcrowded airports, airplanes, bus terminals and freeways.

Then there is the growing number of Christians against Christmas. These are the folks who assiduously renounce all things associated with Christmas due to their conviction that it is a pagan holiday. I will receive letters from some of these good people just for writing this article.

But the truth is, all these conflicts are insignificant compared to the real “Christmas warfare” dating all the way back to first-century Bethlehem of Judea. That battle deserves more attention than any of the annoying inconveniences or seasonal disagreements over traditions and their meanings. Even images of idyllic manger scenes and the beauty of carols and candlelight services can soften or sometimes even shroud our understanding of that battle. The real war — the life and death struggle for the future of the world, of all humanity — should never be forgotten!

We can’t know the exact point in time, but December 25 is the day that a majority of Christians choose to commemorate “D-Day” in this cosmic conflict of the ages. Selecting a date can help us focus on God’s holy invasion: The Creator of this world and everything in it came physically to reclaim His own, to defeat the forces of darkness and rescue every prisoner of war willing to be set free.

The Scriptures tell how the Incarnation — the birth of Jesus Christ — was central to the defeat of Satan and the rescue of sinners. Seeing Christmas in that light may help us push past all the other distractions and skirmishes of the season to find its deeper meaning.

I have never served in the military, but I’ve heard the language of warfare just by paying attention to news reports. No successful warfare is ever waged without having “boots on the ground.” It is just not possible to win and hold enemy territory without physically entering into the field of conflict. It is dangerous, costly, and always necessary. That danger, that cost, is exactly what lays behind the manger so often idealized by our artists and in our culture.

God did not seek to win the battle against sin through a detached, long-distance air war. He came into the thick of the conflict in the person of Y’shua (Jesus). The Scriptures tell us that “when He came into the world, He said: ‘… a body You have prepared for Me … Behold, I have come … to do Your will, O God'” (Hebrews 10:5,7).

Jesus was not drafted into the battle. He was an all-volunteer army of one. His incarnation as a baby in Bethlehem was an act of complete and willing obedience to the Father and a demonstration of His complete love for us, His lost creation. He endured the long separation from His home in glory and from a loving heavenly Father in order to engage and defeat the enemy, the ruler of this world. Jesus paid the ultimate price in order to win that war, to win our freedom. And those of us who have been rescued by His bravery have been commissioned to continue serving as His boots on the ground. Are we willing? Are we ready?

Any successful battle plan includes clear and unambiguous objectives. What could be more dangerous or discouraging than to find ourselves in the thick of the battle, wondering why we are fighting and what got us into the war to begin with? If we are following Jesus, then our objective is the same as His:

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …”(1 Timothy 1: 15).

God’s battle plan was never any mystery, nor were there any hidden costs involved. Y’shua was born to die, to give His life as a ransom for many. Christmas was always about the cross. When we think of the baby in the manger do we envision the man on the cross? God did. His purpose and saving grace was clear and established “before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9). It was spelled out in many ways throughout the book of Isaiah, which was written hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth.

How well do we carry on the clear communication of the Word made flesh? Are we ambiguous about our objectives on this planet? There is no doubt that Jesus lived life to the fullest. The Bible tells us that He grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” He laughed, He dined, He celebrated weddings and holidays, but He never lost sight of His ultimate objective to save sinners. Neither should we.

One of the greatest problems in any campaign is a breakdown in communications. Plans fail, people die from “friendly fire” and entire battles are lost due to the confusion referred to as “the fog of war.” That is why God planned and executed His invasion using only the best and most reliable communication:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

No war is won without clear communication, and Jesus is exactly that — God’s clearest communication of truth, love and salvation to a lost and dying world. Jesus never minced words and He never obscured the truth in order to gain a greater following. His mission was paramount to any other consideration.

Yet the profound simplicity of His mission is often overlooked today. Some who misunderstand what it is to be “incarnational,” have insisted that since “actions speak louder than words,” any verbal witness for Christ must be preceded by demonstrations of the speaker’s justice and mercy. I have heard people say that unbelievers are not interested in what we have to say until they see what we will do. I don’t know whether they are speaking from their own experience, but I have to tell you, I have found many people to be interested in what we have to say, even strangers on the street corner who stop to take a tract, listen to our music or notice the writing on our T-shirts.

Please do not let anyone discourage you from giving a verbal witness on the grounds that you must first prove yourself worthy by your actions. In reality, good works and good words spring from the same place and the two go together. One is not more important than the other, nor does God tell us that they need to follow a certain order to be effective. It is His Spirit that wins hearts and it is only through His power that anything we say or do will make a difference.

God’s incarnational battle plan involved the Word becoming flesh and if we are to continue to follow His strategy ourselves, we must be prepared to use our actions and our words to proclaim Him, to communicate truth with the same precision as He did. The celebration of His incarnation provides us with many occasions to take actions and to speak words of clarity concerning His mission on earth. The season offers so many opportunities for us to shine the light of His truth that pierces through the fog of war — but only if we are willing to act and speak.

We don’t often associate Christmas with warfare, but it just may be that seeing things from that perspective this year will help us to be fully engaged in God’s purposes for us in this season. May we not miss a single opportunity He has for us to celebrate and make known the joy and meaning of His coming.

Related Links


How should Christians respond to the “War on Christmas”? – GotQuestions.org
The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger – Lee Strobel (Book)
Atheists launch anti-Christian ad campaign – WorldNetDaily (Brad O’Leary)
The Incarnation – Ariel Ministries (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
Why Was Jesus Born? – Grace to You (John MacArthur)

Jimmy DeYoungBy Dr. Jimmy DeYoung
Prophecy Today

The eight day Jewish holy day Hanukkah is the time that Jews around the world mark the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem after the Greek leader Antiochus Epiphanes had desecrated the temple by slaughtering a pig on the temple alter. Over a three year period of time, the Jews grew strong enough to overthrow the Greek leader and the Maccabees ran Antiochus out of Israel and cleansed the temple and restored temple worship and practices.

In fact, the flask of virgin olive oil they used to relight the seven branched candelabra, the Menorah, stayed lighted for eight days – thus the Jewish holy days of Hanukkah.

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

The Jewish holy days of Hanukkah remind us of an event that will be repeated in the future – according to Bible prophecy.

Jewish people around the world for the eight days of Hanukkah will light a candle each day to mark the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes and the reconsecrating of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem over two thousand years ago.

The Maccabees rose up against the Greek leader Antiochus and after three years were able to return to temple worship and practice on Kislov 25, the Jewish month of December. Interestingly, the early church fathers selected December 25 to celebrate Christmas based upon the fact of the feast of dedication taking place on December 25, 165 B.C.

Antiochus Epiphanes had slaughtered a pig on the temple alter and stopped Jewish worship in what was referred to as the Abomination of Desolation. This event in history is a prototype of things to come, according to God’s Word found in the prophetic book of Daniel. In fact, Daniel, the ancient Jewish prophet, 360 years before the fact foretold the act by Antiochus (Daniel 11:21-35). Daniel also prewrote history about the Abomination of Desolation that will take place at the midway point of the Tribulation Period in the future (Daniel 9:27).

There will be a temple in Jerusalem desecrated once again, a temple that the Jewish people are right now prepared to build. History will be repeated – Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

Related Links


Chanukah – Jewish Virtual Library
What is the abomination of desolation? – GotQuestions.org
As Many as 40 Killed in Israeli Wildfire on first day of Hanukkah – AOL
Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation – John F. Walvoord (Book)
The Kingdom Of Greece – Bible.org (John Walvoord)