Question # 230….(08-18-04)Why must there be an Armageddon? It seems inappropriate to me that God would engage in such a horrendous action, or still further, to even permit it to come to pass.
Answer…….Armageddon, is a word that frightens everyone, including international diplomats and military defense strategists alike. Isn’t it ironic that the mere term Armageddon causes mankind to conjure images that horrify him, and yet mankind is not nearly as mortified at the thought of spending eternity in Hell. The catastrophe that will result at Armageddon is not God’s desire. You can literally sense the Lord’s heartache over the evil that besets our fallen world in the words of Ezekiel, as they were imparted by God to warn Israel of its unrighteous paths. (Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?) Herein is the Lord’s great desire, in that He desires that all men and all nations would turn from their evil ways.
We tend to blame God for everything in this world. We refer to natural disasters as acts of God, but in reality that is not necessarily the case. God created this world and in his post-construction analysis of his great universal-project, He surmised that all that he created was good, including man. God then gave humankind dominion of this world, and it was only because mankind chose to join the cosmic Luciferic rebellion and became entangled in that conspiracy that our world has become subject to chaos and commotion, both in nature and within the scope of world history. Romans 8:18-23 conveys the fact that the entire creation (animals, plants, planets, etc.) groans in travail awaiting the day when the Creator will undo the terrible atrocity that has befallen our world because of the human rebellion against God. In truth, God as the almighty and lone righteous judge, is allowing mankind an allotted space (time) to analyze the evidence pertaining to the cosmic war between himself and Lucifer, before he prosecutes the final and just sentence on a rebellious world. God could just wipe us (mankind and the devil) all out, but because of his gracious omnipotence and omniscience, he accords us the opportunity of a hearing and a trial before judgement is executed. In reality, Satan is even now persisting in Heaven acting as the Chief prosecuting attorney against all of humanity, arguing a case before God that we ALL deserve damnation, because we are as guilty as the Devil. But God continues to extend his gracious offer of a pardon from judgement, a pardon that was manifested in the offering of his own son, Jesus Christ! That’s why it is called grace.
Yet, the world still has a date with Armageddon, because we gave dominion of our world to Lucifer. The powers and most nations, empires and kings of this world have fallen under Satan’s province of power. Lucifer played this powerful trump card of temptation against Jesus when he confronted him 2000 years ago. (Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.) But by refusing Satan’s conspiratorial power trap, Jesus submitted himself to his Father’s will and went to the Cross, and thereby earned back the authority to retake the dominion of the world/nations from Lucifer. (Jesus was found worthy to open the seals of “His” Revelation; Rev.7)
There will be an Armageddon only because the Devil (like Custer) intends to make his hopeless Last Stand against the anointed one. Armageddon is Satan’s desire. Satan is the architect of evil and destruction, and he will not relent. God designed that the Church be created for the purpose of taking the Gospel message of Christ to the whole world, while he has set aside his Divine plan for his chosen nation, Israel. In that allotted time-span, God has directed his heavenly forces for the allowance of the nations (Gentiles-Goyim) to choose sides in this dynamic supernatural conflict. The rebirth of Israel (although still in unbelief, and only a physical rebirth as of now—but will end in a spiritual rebirth when Christ actually comes) portends that God is preparing to withdraw his “called out” among the Gentile/Church and then to send his Son back unto the world to literally and forcefully take his rightful place as the true King of Israel.
Armageddon will see Satan divested of earthly reign and international manipulation. Armageddon will see this world turned into the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.) The greatest thing about Armageddon is that nobody has to be there! It is a day of battle reserved only for Satan, and his Antichrist, and ALL those who choose to follow their evil scheme. (Zechariah 14:3, Matthew 25:41)
Why must there be an Armageddon? Have you ever thought what our world would come to if God did not intervene at some point in history? Do you wish that Satan could reign and rule in our world forever? Jesus said that our world would descend into such a climate of depravity and deception in the Last Days that evil would fill the whole world, and in effect threaten to destroy the whole world. That threat exists today because of the demonic inspired hatred of Israel! That fact (Israel’s gathering) is the ticking time-bomb that inevitably points toward Armageddon, and to the victorious return of Jesus Christ to save the whole world, and to establish a world-wide kingdom of peace and righteousness. (Matthew 24:21-22 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.) Left to his own devices, mankind would annihilate himself, but because God has decreed that He will intervene, and fight at Armageddon, the world shall be saved! Oh yes, our world has a date with destiny as alluded to by Peter. (II Peter 3:7-15 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;)
The Bible portrays Armageddon as a place where the nations of this world have assembled themselves to fight against the Lord when he returns. God compels the nations of our world to choose sides, choosing either between Christ and the coming Antichrist. For this reason, Armageddon is also referred to as the Valley of Decision. Our world is presently “deciding” whom it will follow. The Old Testament prophet Joel describes that fateful battle day:
(Joel 3:9-16 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.)
If you have a difficult time of perceiving why God would allow Armageddon, I suggest you compare the following prophecy of Micah and Isaiah to what persists in our decadent and evil world today under the reign of the prince of this present world system. (Micah 4:1-3 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.)
True world Peace at last! To ever have true peace, Satan and evil men must be defeated! Only Christ can accomplish that, and He will do it at Armageddon.
Question # 229….(08-16-04)Doesn’t the verse in Revelation 13:7 indicate the fact that the Church will still be on the earth during the Great Tribulation? It says the Antichrist will be given power over the Saints. Since God must surely grant this power, since all power is his, isn’t this verification that the Church is still on the earth and that God is allowing his Church to be purged?
Answer…….In Matthew 16:18, Jesus informs Peter that the Church will always be empowered enough to resist the onslaughts of Hell, and that it will never experience a situation whereby the powers of darkness will “prevail” against it. (Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.) The word prevail is taken from the Greek word “katischuo”, which means overpower. Granted, the gates of Hell has made great inroads and infiltration’s into the world Church body and has gained ascendancy over many of its governing institutions, but the real body of Christ, that sincere faithful loving body of Christian believers will never be taken from Christ’s possession. (John 18:9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I [Jesus] lost none.) Oh yes, the world system does indeed dominate the Church body-politic even today as it has in the past, and the coming political power of the Antichrist will certainly dominate the Apostate Church world of the Tribulation. That is why John depicts the whore of Babylon riding the back of the beast. But the promise to the Last Days faithful bride of Christ is recounted in the letter to the Church of Philadelphia and is particularly relevant for the Christians of the immediate pre-Tribulation era. (Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,(Tribulation) which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.)
The verse of Revelation 13:7 actually indicates the absolute vanity of the Antichrist’s conspiracy. Satan has often historically accomplished the feat of overcoming the Saints of God while they have been in the world, either through political intrigue or religious deception, but He cannot ever prevail against the seal of God on our souls. Verse six of Revelation 13 reveals the fact that the war Satan is engaged in (now and the future) does not prevent Christians from being logistically (them that dwell in Heaven) relocated to Heaven. The Saints that the Antichrist overcomes during the tribulation are post-rapture, or Tribulational converts. With the removal of the great restrainer, (II Thessalonians 2:1-7) the Antichrist is left empowered on the earth to an unprecedented level. Due to this circumstance, as well as the fact that the Antichrist will have virtual universal power, the saints of the tribulation era will be left exposed to the wiles of the climactic Satanic conspiracy during that time. Revelation 13:16 reveals the fact that the Antichrist will possess sufficient universal power during the Tribulation to deny trade and or living sustenance to anyone that refuses his infamous mark, number, or image. Revelation chapters 14 and 15 reveal that God will allow this demonic elite-status to occur to separate the heathen from the saints of the tribulation era. (Revelation 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [only offered during the tribulation] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.) Unfortunately, many of these tribulation era saints will suffer martyrdom at the hands of the Antichrist. (Revelation 20:4)
The Antichrist and his false prophet comrade (Rev. 13:11) will perpetrate a grand religious deception upon the religious world after the rapture. It will be cunningly fashioned and orchestrated to deceive many disillusioned church-religious types who have been afforded the opportunity to hear the word of God, but have consistently rejected it in the pre-tribulation era. Multitudes, however, who have previously been untouched by the Gospel will accept the testimony of God’s salvation that is provided through the witnesses God sends via Israel during that short period. But sad to say, as verse fifteen in Revelation 13 concludes in the context reference for your question, the Antichrist will cause the deaths of those tremendous and courageous saints who reject his image, his mark, or number. (Revelation 13:14-15 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.)
Question # 228….(08-12-04)The Pre-Trib position is flat wrong. II Thessalonians 2:1-4 says so. There is no getting around it. Saying that the Restrainer is the Church is isogesis, reading into the Word of God what someone either does not want to understand or wants it to say. The Restrainer is Michael. The Bible speaks for itself if we avoid Isogesis. God Bless.
Answer…..I must assume that you mean exegesis. I have never heard of isogesis, or maybe there is an eschatological science of interpretation that I am unfamiliar with. Exegesis is the critical analytic method for the interpretation of scripture. In II Thessalonians 2:1-4, Paul is clearly consoling the Christians at Thessalonica that the day of the Lord has not yet come, and continues on to say that the “day of the Lord” cannot come until the apostasy first comes, followed by the permitted unmasking of the man of sin, or the Antichrist. These two events therefore must precede the literal physical coming of Jesus to the earth to establish his kingdom. The Antichrist cannot be revealed until the appointed time because of a hindering power. That restraining power resides in the functioning work of the Holy Spirit in the body of the Church. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent and will remain on the earth during the Tribulation. Only God in his providential omniscience and design has the power to prevent and later to permit revelation of the Antichrist. The Holy Spirit has only maintained the unique residence in believers (Church) since Pentecost, and it (restrainer) must be removed for this coming man of sin to fully emerge, for it is presently witholding the Antichrist’s appearance. This fact can only place the event known as the Rapture at one of two prophetic time-points. (the pre-trib and mid-trib scenarios) But the pre-tribulational rapture position is the only scenario that fits all of the scripture exegetical requirements. (For an in depth review of the exegetical requirements, see FOJ articles; Rapture or Tribulation, with sub-articles comparing the scripture references to each theory)
Michael is not the restrainer of the Antichrist. He is the great defender of Israel during the Tribulation. (Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people, (Israel) and there shall be a time of trouble, (Tribulation or time of Jacob’s trouble) such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, (Israel) every one that shall be found written in the book.) Michael does not take this dramatic “stand for Israel” until the Antichrist has established his abominable place in Jerusalem, which is in turn a sign for Israel to flee into the wilderness for supernatural protection. (Matthew 24:16, Mark 13:14, Luke 21:21-22, and Revelation 12:14)
There are several clear statements within Scripture that clearly point to a pre-tribulational rapture position. First is the fact that the Church was (example: Philippians and Thessalonians) living with an expectant hope of the imminent appearing of Jesus Christ, and were in a constant and consistent vigil waiting upon his appearing. (Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:) (I Thessalonians 1:9-10 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.)
If Christ were not going to rapture his saints before the tribulation period, then it stands to reason that Jesus should not have been expected by the Church, until the end of the tribulation time period. But this would be in direct conflict with the attitude and doctrine that was taught to the early Church. Indeed Titus taught the early Church that the blessed hope of the Christian rested in the appearance of Jesus Christ, and that this teaching was considered by him to be sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1, 13-14) Had the church been taught not to expect Jesus, then the clear message would be that the Church should expect the Antichrist first, and to expect for him to literally liquidate the Church physically. That isn’t my idea of a “blessed hope,” and it wasn’t the idea of the blessed hope that resided in the early church either. The blessed hope points to the fact that dead saints will be joined together with the Lord forever, while those alive at the time that the Antichrist begins to emerge in the Last Days can expect to be “caught up,” to be with them, before he (Antichrist) can be revealed, and to establish Hell’s little empire on the earth. It is clear that the Church body must be relocated to Heaven, while the Antichrist turns his evil intent upon Israel, because the marriage supper of the Lamb requires her complete presence during that event, and it is a seven year-long festival. Revelation 19 portrays the fact that all the armies of Heaven, even the ones clothed in white (Church) accompany him when he returns to Jerusalem to smash the brief empire of the Antichrist.
Paul assures the early Church that the rapture will take place simultaneously with the resurrection, for he instructs us in I Thessalonians of the fact that “we which are alive and remain” (I Thes. 4:15-17) shall not prevent or hinder (phthano) our gathering together with all the deceased saints at the great trumpet of God. This is an event that is outside the universe domain and beyond our dimension of time progression, and therefore allows for the resurrection and rapture to be a parallel occasion, being one great resurrection, namely the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.) All saints must entreaty the first resurrection.
Whether you believe in the eschatological pre-trib rapture or choose not to believe it is not so terribly all-important in the long run. The first and foremost thing is that you have been washed in the precious blood of the Lamb of God. (Then we will all see what the eschatological facts are in the sweet by and by.) God Bless!
Question # 227….(08-05-04)The subject of the New Jerusalem fascinates me. I have heard that it is quite large. Will there be any unbelievers in that city? What is the reason that a New Jerusalem is needed?
Answer…..Revelation Chapter 21 describes the city known as the New Jerusalem. The actual measurements of the city are provided in the breathtaking details about the Holy City. (Revelation 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.) A furlong (stadion) is about 1/8th of a mile, which translates to us that the city will be about 1500 miles in length, width, and height. Of course, we mere earthlings are not accustomed to measuring cities according to their height, but if we compare against the modern skyscraper, (1000-1500 feet) we can readily see that the New Jerusalem is a city quite literally out of this world. No wonder John relates that he saw the Holy City, “coming down from God out of Heaven.” A most important aspect of the New Jerusalem is that it contains within it the throne or tabernacle of God, for John is told in verse three that the tabernacle of God is now with men, and that He will dwell with His people forevermore. That fact alone portrays the fact that the New Jerusalem is the “perfect” dwelling place. The New Jerusalem is in reality the city that Father Abraham searched for in his sojourn through the Promised Land. (Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.) One can just imagine that Melchizedek shared that glorious view of the New Jerusalem with Abraham 4,000 years ago. Hebrews 12:22 reveals that the heavenly Jerusalem is the city of the living God, and is the domicile of an innumerable company of heavenly angels.
The Bible is explicitly clear that the New Jerusalem will only have inhabitants that are believers. (Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.) The New Jerusalem will make its appearance after both the Tribulation and the Millennium. The New Jerusalem will be the true “eternal city” and it will be the linkup between the New Heaven and the New Earth. The New Jerusalem will also be the capitol city of God’s eternal kingdom and will be inhabited by the saints of all ages, past present and future. It is referred to by numerous passages of scripture. (Hebrews 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.) (Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.) The Psalmist identified this great city and took note of the fact that it was located on the sides of the North. (Psalms 48:1-2 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.)
A New Jerusalem is needed because the Old Jerusalem (Israel) has become a harlot.
(Isaiah 1:21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.) Satan in his conspiratorial campaign against God, [spelled out in detail in Isaiah 14] waged war on the earthly Jerusalem and corrupted it, knowing that it was the earthly parallel to God’s throne. (Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:)
The New Jerusalem will never see any unrighteousness or death as it is the eternal city of God! It has no need of the Sun or the moon, for the glory of God will light it! (Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.)
Question # 226…..(08-04-04)Why is it that Jews for the most part still reject Jesus as their Messiah even today, and remain adamant against Christian proselytizing?
Answer……The Bible makes a case for this phenomenon in several references. For instance, Paul explains that the Jewish mindset has become blinded to the identity of their true Messiah because of a spiritual veil that obstructs their vision. (II Corinthians 3:14-17 But their minds [Jews] were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.) Paul concludes by adding that the Spirit of the Lord will free the Jews from this blindness. In Romans, Paul additionally declares that this “spiritual hardening” has befallen the Jewish people because their blindness to Jesus first visitation, and that it will take the return of the Messiah (second visitation) to open the spiritual eyes of the Jews. (Romans 11:25-26 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:) John explained that salvation is of the Jews: (John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.) Jesus came unto his own, yet his own knew him not, and thus Israel has migrated into centuries of blindness.
Yet, Paul explains that salvation still went forth to be freely offered to the Gentiles because of the Jews failure to recognize the Messiah. But he further adds that God is not finished with the Jews, and is quite capable of bringing them to his salvation. (Romans 11:11-12 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?) We as Christians are merely grafted branches into the natural branch. Remember always that Jesus was a Jew, and that the Jewish people were God’s precious vehicle that produced his Holy Word, and provided the lineage that begat his Holy Son. Therefore, Israel has always, and continues to have a special mission in God’s providential plan to the world.
Jewish resistance to Christ is sadly strengthened by attitudes of superiority among Christians and consequent unwillingness to accept the Jews as their 'older brother' with a special calling. It may also be the consequence of Jewish reluctance to accept Christ because they have suffered innumerable and horrendous persecutions at the hands of many calling themselves Christians, but who acted wholly contrary to God’s will. Christians need to cultivate a growing Jewish openness towards Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah and to acknowledge and appreciate the emergence of a messianic-Jewish movement called Christian or rather “Biblical Zionism.”
Jesus recognized the historical consequences of the Jewish ignorance regarding his first visitation 2000 years ago. He literally chastised the priests of Israel for blinding the people of Israel to the identity of their true Shepherd. (Luke 19:41-44 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.)
But the good news for Israel is that the Messiah is coming back for another visit! The Lord’s hand is not slack that he cannot save his own people. (Isaiah 50:2) In fact, Jesus next appearance in Jerusalem will see a massive spiritual awakening in the soul of Israel. (Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.) In this passage we clearly can see that Israel will finally recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Of course, before that day arrives, Israel will enter into a false covenant with an imposter Messiah. Two thousand years ago, Jesus foresaw all the evil that would befall the Jews, but he looked beyond to the great and glorious day when all Israel would fall down and cry out to him. (Matthew 23:37-39 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, [Jews] Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.) This is the reason that Christian and Jew alike should pray for the “peace of Jerusalem.”
Question # 225….(07-20-04)I am interested to know what the population of Jerusalem was in the time of Jesus. Do you have a rough idea of how many people lived in the city and how many in the whole of Israel? thanks.
Answer……..The population of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus in the first century is difficult to ascertain with any degree of certainty. I have seen many estimates about Jerusalem’s population and they can range anywhere from 30,000 up to 500,000. The ancient historian Jeremias places the figure for Jerusalem between 25,000-50,000. Referring to demographic studies on ancient cities and considering many factors affecting the density of population in Jerusalem at a time of great prosperity, most arguments lead to the conclusion that 1st century Jerusalem must have had many more inhabitants than is usually assumed. An estimated figure of 60,000 to 120,000 seems realistic. Jerusalem also became a swelled city with many pilgrims at various times, particularly during Passover. During these times the enormous crowd of pilgrims into the Holy City inflated its population to at least four or five times that of its normal number. (500,000) The years from AD 1 to AD 33 are usually regarded as the high point for the holy city as a civic municipality. It was afterall a great metropolitan area and home to the lavishly restored Jewish Temple, a world-renowned wonder of its time. It was prosperous and somewhat cosmopolitan in that many visitors from all around the world came to visit. Jerusalem was actually one of the biggest cities between Alexandria, Egypt and Damascus, Syria. The city's great Roman garrison, the Antonia, named after Herod's patron Mark Antony is known to have housed between 2,000 and 3,000 soldiers, so that seems to indicate that the population of the city was near 100,000. It is estimated that the gigantic Temple complex employed clergy, staff, scribes, researchers and other artisans numbering into the hundreds. The families of the Temple Mount hierarchy and their affiliated staffs probably approached about 18,000 people. After Herod's death, Jerusalem achieved world-class status as a major provincial city of the Roman Empire, a status that would have earmarked it as one of the largest cities of the era in its immediate region. It was a city full of ideas and of course controversy. In its streets roamed, among others, (Jewish priests, Temple scholars, farmers, shopkeepers, traders, etc.) Syrian traders, Greek philosophers, Egyptian travelers, and of course many Roman soldiers. In 66AD, a group of extremist Jews known as the Zealots led Judea into open revolt against Roman power. In response, the Romans sent their best general, Vespasian, to quell the uprising. In February of 70AD, when Titus began the final siege of Jerusalem, the Romans eventually broke through each of the walls defending large portions of the city, and after reaching the inner courtyard of the Temple, proceeded to butcher the last 6,000 defenders of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. So even in the awful period of the Roman siege, Jerusalem was not a small city.
The entire Roman Empire of Christ’s era is thought to have held a population of around 120,000,000. Caesarea and Capernaum were other large towns in first century Israel. The population of Israel, or Palestine probably ranged anywhere during this period from about one to six million.
Question # 224…. (06-08-04)I've been a Christian for 25 years and the passage in Revelation chapter 6 verse 6 has had me puzzled. I know you're extremely busy, but I esteem you as to be an intelligent person of the scriptures. It shines through in your writings. If you can find some free time in the summer that's just ahead, would you please tell me what you think this means, "See thou hurt not the oil and the wine". I am puzzled over the wine part. I believe the oil actually means oil. Thank you for your ministry.
Answer……The Revelation’s Apocalypse phrasing pertaining to “not hurting the oil and the wine” is a prophecy relative to the opening of the third seal. We must be mindful that the third seal scenario comes immediately after the rampage of the Red Horse, which wreaks the great sword of warfare upon the world for the Antichrist’s totalitarian control. (a post-rapture event) After control is established the Antichrist will command the world to conform to his empirical dictates which are spelled out in Revelation 13:15-17, they being namely the universal geopolitical-commercial control through the auspices of worship and economic participation. (Revelation 13:15-17 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And ”he” (Antichrist) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.)
The third seal releases the black horse of the apocalypse and its rider, which in turn sees the angels of God permitting the natural agency of order to be altered as further alluded to by the details in Revelation 7:2, 8:7,12, 11:6 and 16:9. These ecological disorders will adversely affect the environment and therefore agricultural productivity, culminating in a Global restructuring and unification of the world’s economic system, under the auspices of the Antichrist.
The instruction not to hurt the oil and wine is grimly ironic. Oil and wine are the two world commodities that represent the extravagance and luxury of the powerful, while wheat and barley are the two commodities that represent the level of absolute necessity for the workers of the world. Oil is the resource of power in today’s world while wine is symbolic of ill-gotten wealth and the drunken delusion of world power. Oil in this case may indeed refer to petroleum while wine is the intoxicating beverage of the powerful elite. It appears that it may be God’s design to allow the powerful and wealthy ruling hierarchy of the Antichrist system to indulge their appetites for a short season before his judgment falls upon them as is spelled out in Revelation 18 regarding the destruction of commercial Babylon. The prophetic scenario of the black horse is one of violence and near anarchy, even as famine and shortages abound for the subservient population.
(Revelation 6:5-6 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.)
The key to interpreting the command “hurt not the oil and the wine” is dependent upon understanding from whence the commandment ensues. The opening of each of the seals of the four horses of the apocalypse is announced by one of the four beasts situated around God’s throne. (Rev. 5:6) They provide the narrative for the unfolding drama that John was shown. The rider of the black horse is shown with a pair of balances in his hand, which indicates that he has acquired universal economic control in conjunction with the “war and false-peace program” of the rider of the white horse. (Antichrist)
Similar pronouncements to the “hurt not the oil and the wine” phrase abound in Revelation. In Revelation 7 we see an angel commanding forces not to hurt the earth, the sea, or the trees until the servants of God are sealed. A similar command is shown in Revelation 9 ordering the locusts and scorpions to not hurt any green plantings, but only those not having the seal of God. Apparently, while the world’s ruling Antichrist elite seek to protect themselves from God’s judgments, God is always offering protection to those who are his own, even during the Great Tribulation.
Question # 223…..(06-04-04)Why does the Lord make so much of executing His wrath on the area of Idumea, Bozrah, and Teman ("a fire shall arise out of Teman and devour Bozrah"; "who is this that comes from Bozrah with His garments stained in crimson"; etc)? If I look up these places on a map of that area of the world, they appear to be to the south and east of Israel in modern-day Jordan. These maniacal homicide bombers and other murderers of Jews are coming from the so-called "West Bank" (Ramullah, etc) or the "Gaza strip. If I am reading the scriptures correctly, the area surrounding and including the ancient city of Bozrah will be the site of a future blood-bath, executed by the Lord Himself (just as also in the future, the city of Damascus "shall cease from being a city and become a ruinous heap"). Why the focus of the Lord's wrath on a place which as of now at least does not appear to be the source of Israel's current torments and which also appears to be not greatly populated? Besides all this, the country of Jordan seems to be the least hostile (at least at this time) towards Israel. (thanks for your thoughts)
Answer…….You are correct in your analysis of prophetic scripture. Bozrah is the Old Testament names of two cities, one of which had been the Royal capitol of Edom and the other a city in Moab. Edom is the vicinity is focus with these prophecies. Edom is synonymous with Esau and Mt. Seir. These names carry the modern burden of the Palestinian despisers and haters of Israel. Bozrah and Teman is also the vicinity of Petra, where the fleeing remnant of the children of Israel will be assembled in the wilderness when the Lord returns to fight on the Day of the Lord. You are astute in your observations, but we need to also figure into the geography that the Palestinian peoples (Edom-Mt. Seir region) include southeast Jordan. (Jordan is a Palestinian State that will escape the wrath of the Antichrist because it will be in league with the Antichrist’s false covenant with Israel) Ezekiel 35:10 portrays the fact that these tribes will lay claim to both Jordan and Palestine, (during the sojourn of Israel) and once again today. The Lord has chosen this vicinity in the wilderness as the place for Israel to find rest (Revelation 12:14) during the last portion of the Great Tribulation. That geographical fact will compel the Antichrist to send forces towards Bozrah to eradicate the remnant of fleeing Jews.
Question # 222….(05-27-04)In the 24th chapter of Matthew it seems to me that He is clearly speaking to His disciples of things that will come in their lifetime. Those things did come to pass in 70AD. Even the statement Jesus made about tribulation such as the world has never seen was concerning that generation. How do so many of you divide up these things and say this was for them and this is for the future? The Bible also says the blessed and holy are they who take part in the first resurrection. The Bible only mentions 2 resurrections, one for the saints and one for the lost. I believe that most of the Bible prophecies have come to pass and we are being taught by most to look for these things all over again that Jesus was clearly giving as signs for the generation He was with. There is nothing symbolic about 'this generation'. He meant that very generation. The rapture doctrine was not even taught 200 years ago and a Jesuit priest played a big hand in creating that teaching. The rapture theory got started with the help of such as John Darby, Cyrus Scofield and Westcott & Hort and it became the new thing. The Bible tells us that he who endures until the end shall be saved. I think the rapture doctrine is telling many people to be at ease in Zion and they will be totally unprepared for what is coming. They won't recognize apostasy for they think they won't be here.
Answer…….The prophetic words of Jesus in Matthew 24 should be taken in the context of the three questions that the Disciples asked in verse three. Your insistence that all of the details of Jesus Olivet Discourse was for the Disciples sole generation reveals that you have taken the faulty position of preterism. I have two questions for you, “when did Jesus return, and when did the world come to an end?” Oh yes, many of the things that Jesus alluded to in this discourse did indeed happen in the Disciples lifetime, but not all of them, not by a long shot. Your preterist position demands that all of Matthew 24 occur in the first century. So when did the “abomination of desolation” take place leading to the revealing of the Antichrist? When were the powers of heaven shaken? When did the Son of Man come in the clouds and receive his elect from the four winds of Heaven? And what meaning does the fig tree have if all these things were fulfilled in the Disciples day? And why would Matthew 24 end with a narrative about watching for the Lord’s return if Jesus words of prophecy were already accomplished?
It is true that there are two resurrections, one on the Day of the Lord (Revelation 20:5-6) and the other after the one-thousand year reign of Christ. (the great White Throne judgement of Revelation 20:5; 11-15)
The Rapture doctrine is as old as the New Testament. It was considered to be of sound doctrine by Titus, who was instructed by Paul the Apostle. (Titus 2:1,13) Furthermore, the teaching of the great catching away is clearly depicted in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and again by the examples of Enoch, Elijah, and John the Revelator himself in Revelation 4:1. The whole point of the rapture doctrine is the very opposite from what you describe. (they will be totally unprepared for what is coming) Jesus instructions to the “goodman of the house” was to watch for the signs of the times, (so you can be prepared) lest the Lord come and his house be broken up while he was still unaware. Furthermore, we are instructed by Paul in II Thessalonians to watch for apostasy (falling away) because its roots will preclude the Day of the Lord, only to reach its climax after the Rapture and the advent of the Antichrist.
Nevertheless, for all Christians, even though we disagree on some things as we endure the onslaughts of the evil one while we are in this world, I do agree with your assertion that he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Question # 221…(05-11-04)I was just wondering if King Abdullah ever made you wonder that he is the future Antichrist? He is such a peaceful and caring man, with concern for Israel (yeah-right) as well as the way Jordan is effected by the middle east uprisings that has been going on. I read that he is the 42nd descendant of Mohammed the prophet? Tell me what you think.
Answer…….I don’t think that King Abdullah is, or will eventually be the Antichrist. True, he does emit the persona of a peace-loving man, and his Kingdom has enacted a peace treaty with Israel. And of all Israel’s neighbors in the Middle East, Jordan is by far the most amicable. While I do not foresee King Abdullah embodying the role of Antichrist, I do however think that his royal position as King may ultimately lend to his involvement of the rise of the Antichrist. Revelation 17:12 and Daniel 7:24 depict the geo-political scenario for the rise of ten kings in the Last Days that will solidify the Empirical base for the Antichrist. (Revelation 17:12-13 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.)
King Abdullah, being the eldest son of the late King Hussein assumed the throne of Jordan in February 1999 upon the death of his father. The Hashemite Royal family, or “Bani Hashem,” are descendants of the Arab chieftain Quraysh, who was a descendant of the Prophet Ismail, who himself was the son of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). The name “Hashem” is actually that of (Quraysh) Qusay’s grandson, who was the great-grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad. The Hashemites are thus the direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali bin Abi Talib, who was also the Prophet’s paternal first cousin and the fourth caliph of Islam. And you are correct that King Abdullah is the 42nd lineal descendant of Muhammad.
The Hashemite Family once ruled most of Western Saudi Arabia, including the holy city of Mecca. King Abdullah is descended from Al Hassan, or the Sharif (nobles) side of Muhammad’s lineage. The Hashemite Sharif’s ruled the Hijaz area of modern Saudi Arabia from 967 to 1925.
During the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, (WWI) King Abdullah’s great-great-grandfather, Al-Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca and King of the Arabs led the liberation of Arab lands from their domination by the Ottoman Turks. After freeing the lands of Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and the Hijaz, Sharif Hussein’s son Abdullah assumed the throne of Transjordan and his second son Faisal assumed the throne of Syria and also later Iraq. The Emirate of Transjordan was founded on April 11, 1921, and became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan upon formal independence from Britain in 1946. The Hashemite Royal Family has regularly feuded with the Nashashibi Family (Yasser Arafat) over the throne in Jordan.
The Hashemite family ruled Iraq until King Faisal’s grandson King Faisal II and his immediate family were all murdered in a bloody coup by Nasserist sympathizers led by Colonel Abdel Karim Qassem (Saddam Hussein) on July 14, 1958. The Hashemites suffered another major blow in 1925, when King Ali bin al-Hussein, the eldest brother of Abdullah and Faisal, lost the throne of the Kingdom of the Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) to Abdel Aziz bin Saud of Najd. (House of Saud) The loss, which was brought about by a partnership between Ibn Saud and followers of the Wahhabi movement, led to the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and brought to an end over one thousand years of Hashemite rule in Mecca.
And so the story of the Last Days Ten Kings continues to play itself out today. In the pre-trib Rapture scenario, we know that Christians will not see the rise of Antichrist, but we may see the logistical workings of the Ten Kings that enthrone the Antichrist.