No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tis the Season- might as well get used to it

I hope everyone had a good, safe, happy and Blessed Christmas. Ours was nice and quiet, some of the family able to show up, just the way I like it. While I do like the traditions of trees and tinsel, giving and receiving, cookies and Grandma's home cooking, I always try and meditate on the true meaning of the whole season which is called Christmas.

I am forever grateful and glad that God so loves the world, that He came to us that long ago night as a little baby, the Heavenly King of Kings, born in a smelly stable and laid to rest in an animal's feeding trough.

Christmas has changed a good deal over the centuries, and while not everyone has always celebrated Christmas, it seems as though people were not so vocal or demonstrative about their objections to the Christian celebration of Jesus' birth either. Not so today.

In our ever more politically correct, multicultural, globalist, ever tolerant society. Where one religion is as good as another, or none at all, where those who are so vocal about tolerance, peace and to each his own, I have noticed more and more outrageous and intolerant attitudes towards Christmas and Christians. While I am not surprised by more intolerance toward Bible believing Christians, it does make me sad and a little angry that such demonstrations have to happen on both of the most important and significant Holy observances of the Christian belief.

Seems that every year during Easter and Christmas, is the time where most of the true intolerance is practiced against those who are accused of being intolerant. Bible believing Christians. What is sad, that Christmas is a time when most people, Christian and non Christians alike think about peace and goodwill towards others.

So, how much tolerance, peace and goodwill was shown this year? If you or someone you know was denied a Merry CHRISTmas greeting, offended by our retailers because they are observing the bottom line dollars instead of the reason for the season, get used to it- because compared to the rest of the world, Americans have seen nothin' yet. If you think that children being denied the
right to sing Christmas Carols in school or the theft of baby Jesus is persecution, you got another thing coming.

Let's go to Jolly old England. The land of my parent's heritage. Not only is Great Britain losing her own heritage, it seems as if she is willing to give it away lock stock and barrel to Islamists. Not only are the leftists in England as stupid as those in America, in believing that being tolerant to Islam while blaming Christians and Jews for the injustices to the world, but to allow someone so hate filled as
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even a second of television time is not only absurd, but s dangerous and moronic move. To allow time for this man to spew his offensive drivel , statements such as “If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over. If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime.”

Now, again, people who see this, would think that the man speaks loving and something true. Now, I have no intention of even attempting to rebuke his statements, because he actually does speak enough truth in that Jesus did preach justice and love- but the rest of the truth is lost on Ahmadinejad - that is the rest of the Holy Bible. I'll not respond about Jesus' righteous justice, Iranian/Islamic hatred for Jews, which Jesus Christ when He walked on this earth was a Jewish man from a Jewish family in the line of David, King of Israel. Nor will I add that the only terrorists these days are Islamic ones. Maybe not all Muslims are terrorists, but all the recent terrorist activities have been done by Muslims. And the Iranian PM is one of the lead instigators in much of it.

So, why did Channel 4 do it? For the Peace and love of Christ at Christmas time? Well, Dorothy Byrne, head of news and current affairs at Channel 4, said: “As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad’s views are enormously influential. As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view.”

OK, so forget Christmas, lets bring in the biggest threat since Hitler to the Jewish people, because he is influential?! So, what, would they have given Hitler his say too? A critical time in international relations?! Oh, well, of course, one of the best way to pacify the enemy is to give him equal air time during a celebration of the birth of Christ.

How else is Great Britain bowing toward mecca and giving unto Allah at Christmas time? Well, how about
shoving Christian kids to the back of the line so muslim kids could celebrate Eid?

A letter sent to parents from “The staff at Greenwood Junior School', said: "It is with much regret that we have had to cancel this year's Christmas performances. This is due to the Eid celebrations that take place next week and its effect on our performers.”
Following outrage from parents, the school was forced to send out a second letter saying that the Christmas play would be done in January.
Sent by the head teacher, Amber Latif, and Yvonne Wright, chair of governors, it apologised for “any misunderstanding” but said it had to respect “the cultures and religions of all the children”. It added: "The Christmas performance has not been cancelled outright but has been postponed until the New Year.”
So, I would like to ask these brilliant scholars of everything Politically Correct, just how is postponing a celebration of the Savior's birth which happened over five hundred years before Mohammad was even a twinkle in his daddy's eyes, being respectful to Christians?! It's not. And in a world where people celebrate different meanings, different cultures and beliefs- someone is going to get left out in the cold. It just so happens that it is always the Christian who is.

Oh, and speaking of celebrating differences, how about Amsterdam? You know, that bastion of all things free? Legal prostitution, legal drug use, legal just about everything?
Check out the gay nativity, with the transvestite Mary. OK. Now, all I ever hear is about Christian bigots and homophobes when it comes to anything to do with out not accepting homosexual behavior. No mention of the fact that we have love for gays and lesbians, just that we are hateful because while we may have to give in and tolerate their agenda, but will not accept it. The other thing I hear the most is how the Homosexual agenda is only about being tolerated and not anything more. I find this quote most telling in the truth of the gay and lesbian agenda- Frank van Dalen, chairman of Pro Gay, which organized the event, said gays were not satisfied with being tolerated, but wanted to be "socially accepted as an indivisible part of society. I am not going to apologise for my deeply held Biblical beliefs, no matter what anyone says. I have known and been friends with gays and lesbians, and will continue to love them- but I will NOT ever accept the life choices as anything other than wrong and unnatural. There. I've said it and will no doubt have a lot of people hating me for it. So be it. I trust the Bible as the Word of God, and I also accept the Word as truth for when it was written as well as for every period in history, today and in the future. God's word is the same yesterday as it is today.

One last thought on this article. They claim they want to be accepted. They claim they only want to fit in as a normal part of society- to not be offensive, but be visible. I have to ask, in all honesty, How is it that one can believe it is normal and non offensive to hold celebrations and parades in cities all over the world, while prancing around naked, dressed outrageously, or having a man in drag holding a fake baby Jesus with the wise men dressed in leather and dog collars? Is that sounding normal?

OK, now that I have offended so many people, and most likely given a bad name to Christianity. For those who believe that Christians are the bane of society, that other religions are more peace loving and caring, well, lets look at the
Buddhists for a minute and see what some peace loving monks in Bangladesh have been up to this Christmas season. Oh, well, seems like they are holding 13 newly converted Christians captive in a southeastern part of Bangladesh in an attempt to forcibly return them to Buddhism. Buddhist leaders and local council officials have warned Christians to return to Buddhism or be evicted, saying, "You cannot live here - you have to leave this place with family members because you became Christians. Those who became Christians cannot live in this predominantly Buddhist area."
Fearing for their lives, the source said, some area Christians have gone into hiding.

Yep. Sounds like peace and pacifism to me. Gotta love those Buddhist monks.

Now, if you've been watching or hearing the mainstream media within the past two days, you know that mean ol' Israel is at it again- murdering innocent Palestinian women and children again with unprovoked attacks on Gaza. ( If you've ever paid attention, however, to real news, you would realize that there never was a cease fire on the part of the Palestinians- they have been lobbing and firing rockets into Israel almost daily ever since the so called truce began.)

So, how are theses peace wanting Palestinians treating their fellow Gaza citizens this Christmas? Well, let's just say I am not the only one who had a quiet Christmas celebration. Looks like Christians in Gaza have no choice but to be quiet about their Christmas celebrations. Oh, publicly they blame Israel for their woes, but with past persecution from Muslims in Biblical lands, they know where the real threat comes from. I'll let you read
the article yourselves for this one. I get tired of trying to spread the word all by myself.

In other parts of the Biblical Holy Land, we travel to the town where Christ was born.
O' Little Town of Bethlehem... Not only has the Birth place of the savior of the world been taken over by Muslims, we have these peaceful purveyors of Islam hanging banners out denouncing the Son.

Nazareth Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy played down concerns that a banner effectively denying Jesus’ deity was provocative to Christians, although he did question its position, in front of Nazareth’s most prominent landmark.

Oh, not provocative. SO, would it be fair to say, hang a giant banner in the middle of the Dome of the Rock or Mecca saying that Mohammad was a pervert who married a 6 year old little girl, and also believed that he talked to demons? Would that be provocative?

Well, other than the usual about
Churches being destroyed in Vietnam, Christians being jailed in China and the usual persecutions which happen around the season of peace and good will toward men, we do have some good news actually.

This may come as a surprise to all of those 60's flower children throwbacks- the code pinkos and Jane Fonda followers, but did you know that Iraq Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf,
"All Iraqis are Christian today!" on Christmas?

Some of you may not realize, or maybe you do, but Iraq was a Christian nation from way back until recently. Remember the story of Jonah? He was a prophet in the Old Testament (yes, the one who was swallowed by a big fish) sent to Nineveh to preach to the people there. Nineveh was an ancient northern Assyrian (Iraq) city. Christianity was also brought to the Assyrians early in the new Church.

It is wonderful, and I pray that it will be lasting, that Iraqi authorities are celebrating the birth of Christ, and I pray that the Christians who fled during the early part of the insurgency
will return to their homeland.

For those of you who may be reminded of evil and bad things, thinking that this is too negative of a post even for me, especially at Christmas time, I would like to say, A New Year is coming. It would be prudent for all Bible believing Christians to remember those around the world who are suffering for Christ, and to pray for strength and boldness for them and for us, as we will be facing more in the coming years. It is also a time to look forward to more of what the Lord is showing us, and getting us ready for when He returns again.

He come the first time as a helpless babe in the lowest of circumstances. He will COME again, next time as our deliverer from the evils, perils and heartaches of this world. He Will come again, only this time, it will be as our King and Lord, who will bring with Him, His true PEACE. I can't find much negative and disheartening about that. God Bless you, and if you do not Know of the Christ, please read the Gospel of John.

To all of you, I pray a Happy, healthy and safe and Blessed New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blessed Christmas~

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high, Who ordered all things mightily; To us the path of knowledge show, and teach us in her ways to go. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might, Who to your tribes on Sinai's height In ancient times gave holy law, In cloud and majesty and awe.Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem, From ev'ry foe deliver them That trust your mighty pow'r to save; Bring them in vict'ry through the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come, And open wide our heav'nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high, And cheer us by your drawing nigh, Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind; Oh, bid our sad divisions cease, And be yourself our King of Peace. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!

Amen- Yes. Come Lord Jesus!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where are you storing Your treasures?

I'm not in a good place as I post this, so I'd do well to read it as I wrote it a few months ago and rejoice in it- as I hope and pray you all will.

A lot of Christians think about heaven a lot, and I imagine, many non Christians wonder what the big deal is. They may not believe the popular myths about heaven, but I wonder if they’ve ever had someone tell them the Biblical picture of heaven. Do you think about what heaven will be like? Do you wonder what we’ll do or see when and if we go?
If you are one of the millions of people who have only heard the myths of heaven, hopefully, this picture will give you a better and more appealing picture of a real place.
First of all, heaven isn’t~
Angel wings, playing harps on clouds and learning how to fly! It isn’t being quizzed by Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, waiting to see if you can go in or not!
To know what heaven is really like, we need to go to the source- The Bible! Let’s see what the Bible has to say about Heaven.

Revelations 21 says:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Let’s stop here for a minute. Notice first, that John (the Author of the Book of Revelation) saw a new heaven and a new earth. Jesus told us that all old things would pass away, and that includes heaven and earth as we know it. I’ve always wanted to travel. There are so many beautiful places on this earth that I would love to see. Places like Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Peru, Antarctica , but I know I’ll never get to these places. Heck, I can’t even scrape up the money for a family trip back to Canada to visit everyone! I’d also like to be able to go to West Virginia to see where my sweet husband was born. I’d love to see all of America and Canada too, but this is just not in it for me to see these places any time soon. I used to kind of let it bug me, but no more.
Some day, there will be a even more spectacular earth! It’s almost like God says, “You thought the Grand Canyon, the Angel Falls, and the Matterhorn were cool? Take a look at this!”

As an artist, I can't wait to see new colors that I can't even imagine right now.

Some day I will get to not only see a new earth, but I will get to see planets like never before either, and I will have all of eternity to allow my Lord to show everything to me!
The Next thing John mentions, is the New Jerusalem, with God saying that now He will live with us. Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I would just love to be held and loved as I was when I was little. You know, when you were afraid, or hurt, your mom would come in and rock you, smooth your hair back and whisper comforting words? I miss that, but am way past that anymore. Now I do it for my son. But I miss the feeling. I will be in the presence- the physical presence of God!
Those who had no physical or emotional love from parents will be forever loved, comforted and blessed by their heavenly Father.

I know I am able to pray and talk to Him in this life, and I know that He shows me things and speaks to me though His Holy Spirit, I won’t ever have to feel alone, I won’t have to pray to someone I can’t see or physically feel His loving touch! I will be with Him!!! This thought kind of makes me afraid a little, and I know I will have a lot to answer for first, but afterwards- I can, and you can, have a real relationship with Him face to face! How Awesome is that!
The next few words are the most lovely, most comforting words to a weary body! Jesus will wipe every tear from our faces! There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!
Oh, can you imagine?! I mean, most people when they read this, immediately think of the big things like no more diseases, no more handicaps. Now, those will no longer be an issue, and it is wonderful to think of believers who have lived their lives either blind, or deaf, wheelchair bound or without the use of limbs- they will be able to see, to hear, to run. All without pain!
Think though what else this means. All the smaller aches and pains will no longer be bothering us. Every winter (yes, even in Florida we feel winter!) I get pains where all my old injuries once were. As a accident prone child, I have many of those haunting me now! Not only that, but there will be no paper cuts, no sunburns, no scraped knees, no more bashing your funny bone. No more stubbed toes, no more tooth aches, ear aches, stomach aches, no migraines, no eye strain, no acne, no ingrown hairs, no infections, no more slivers- you know, those ones that go right up under your finger nails! No more hangnails, no more bruised shin bones. No broken toes, arms, legs! No more pain! No more suffering!
No more death and no more mourning! I love that too. There are so many people I miss, not only by death, but also by distance. There are people I miss terribly who I may or may not see again in this life, and I miss them very much. I miss my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. Those who died before me, knowing Christ as their salvation will be there waiting for me. I will never have to miss anyone or mourn because there will be no death anymore. I am blessed, but also in a way I feel bad, because I have not had to know yet, the pain of losing a parent, spouse, sibling or child. Those who have suffered such losses will not have to suffer those anymore! No more mourning. How comforting. We will never be too hot or too cold, never need anything because Jesus is our everything!

Sometimes I still find myself wishing for a nicer home. One which has air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter. One which the windows will open or close when I need or want them to! One which has 2 bathrooms so no one is inconvenienced. One which does not have so many mouse doors and insects coming in to visit! Sometimes I wish we had a bigger kitchen, with an updated stove and refrigerator, more cabinet space and a little more space. I used to want more- but the more I read God's Word, the more I wait for the house my Lord and Savior is getting ready for me right now. I can be assured there will be no "wildlife" living in it with me, nor will there be any dust, rot or mold. I don't mind "this old house" anymore, because I know as meagre as it is, it is still so much more than many people have. Jesus is getting our rooms ready, and we will never need or want more.

The next part of Revelation 21 says:
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

I know that part was a lot to read, and for some, who may believe all people will go to heaven, they may not like to be reminded, or believe that there is also a real and literal place called Hell.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Ezekiel Factor Part 4

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

So far in this study, we’ve seen the prophecies of Israel’s latter-day rebirth. We’ve learned that they would first appear again in unbelief, thinking that they had brought themselves back to life and that they themselves had built, populated, and defended their homeland. But we’ve read God’s declaration that He was behind this, although not because of anything they’d done to deserve it. In fact He said He would bring them back in spite of their behavior in the world.
In our last episode we saw that one day soon God will decide to step from behind the scenes and reveal Himself directly to His people and to the world, through signature signs like fire, hail, and earthquakes that always signaled His presence in Old Testament times. He had Ezekiel tell them and us that this will happen in the context of a great battle that would catch them off guard and almost put an end to them. But at just the right time He will intervene and save the day. Now He’s going to tell us how this will happen.
Ezekiel 39
“Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coast lands, and they will know that I am the LORD.
” ‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of. (Ezek. 39:1-8)
The King James has the more accurate rendering for the beginning of this passage. The phrase translated I will turn you around and drag you along in the NIV and others, literally reads I will turn you around and leave but the sixth part of you which means that 5/6ths of the Moslem forces will be destroyed. The Hebrew concept is roughly equivalent to the one behind the English word “decimate.” Although decimate originally described the punishment requiring that 1 in 10 soldiers in a mutinous Roman Legion be executed, figuratively it has come to mean that something is all but totally destroyed. Synonyms are “annihilate” or “wipe out.” So it is with the Hebrew. When the Lord brings this Moslem coalition into the mountains of Israel, He will also use the ensuing battle to wipe them out. Because they’re too big a force for Israel to handle alone, He’ll cause them to attack each other. Then He’ll make their weapons and ammunition fall from their hands.
Some interpret the idea of sending fire on Magog and those who live safely in the coast lands as warning of a nuclear exchange. Magog refers to Russia of course, but the identity of the coast lands is less clear. The Hebrew word literally means “a coast, island, or shore” and in Jeremiah 25:22 the phrase “beyond the sea” is used to help locate them, the sea being the Mediterranean. This reference could easily be pointing to Europe, and some even believe the US is in focus here. But as I’ve said, I don’t think this attack can take place until the US is out of the picture, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Also the Hebrew word translated in safety is the same one that’s used to describe Israel’s state of mind in Ezek. 38:8. Again it denotes a sense of carelessness, this time on Europe’s part, as if they don’t believe this kind of thing could happen to them and therefore aren’t prepared for what’s coming.
And once more the Lord explains His real purpose. He’s going to use this battle to announce to one and all that He’s Israel’s Protector and Champion. The nations of the world are being told that to get to Israel, they’ll have to go through Him.
” ‘Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up-the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezek. 39:9-10)
In Ezekiel’s day people burned wood for heat and so that’s the idiom he used to describe the situation. In fact, the passage indicates that all of Israel’s energy needs for 7 years will be met by converting the energy from the weapons the enemy leaves behind to peaceful use. I can’t imagine the enemy carrying in enough of any traditional energy source to supply Israel’s national power and heating needs for 7 years, so a more modern application is in order. Let’s say nuclear. The old Soviet Union converted submarine reactors into electric power plants so the notion isn’t that far fetched. And as you’ll see, the clean-up procedures for this battle are remarkably similar to today’s nuclear decontamination process. Why only 7 years then, when a nuclear reactor could theoretically supply energy needs for much longer? If, as I believe, this battle will introduce the 70th week of Daniel, 7 years worth of energy is all they’ll need. After that, the Lord will supply their needs. (Rev. 22:5)
” ‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east toward the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.
” ‘For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD.
” ‘Men will be regularly employed to cleanse the land. Some will go throughout the land and, in addition to them, others will bury those that remain on the ground. At the end of the seven months they will begin their search. As they go through the land and one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it until the gravediggers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. (Also a town called Hamonah will be there.) And so they will cleanse the land’. (Ezek 39:11-16)
If this valley is east of the Dead Sea, as the King James translation implies, it would be in Jordan today, and even in Ezekiel’s day would have been outside Israel’s borders. Yet verse 11 clearly locates the burial place in Israel. Therefore I believe the NIV translation is more accurate and the valley Ezekiel’s referring to is more likely the one traditionally called the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Psalm 23:4) that was part of Israel during Ezekiel’s time. If so, it’s at the bottom of the old Jericho Road that still runs east from Jerusalem to Jericho and is on the way to the Dead Sea. And remarkably, it’s in territory occupied by the Palestinians today. Does Ezekiel’s battle effectively wipe out any Palestinian claims to Biblical land? Or is this one more clue that the battle described in Psalm 83 will have preceded it and the Palestinian claims have already been done away with?
It will require the combined efforts of all Israeli citizens for 7 months to bury the enemy dead. After that they’ll hire professionals, some to decontaminate the land and some to search for any bodies the people may have missed. They won’t touch any bones they find, but will set up markers and call the professionals to come take them away. This method fits modern Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare decontamination procedures to a tee. Did the Lord have Ezekiel write this to show us the type of weaponry being used? Between this and the energy reference above, it sure looks that way.
“Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls-all of them fattened animals from Bashan. At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezek. 39:17-20)
The carrion birds and scavengers will have a field day due to the carnage left behind on the battlefield. Earlier the enemy force was described as being a great horde, like a cloud covering the land. Now that it’s been decimated there are dead bodies everywhere. This is not unique in Israel’s history. Josephus wrote that after the Battle of the Galilee in 68 AD there were so many dead bodies floating in the Sea that you couldn’t see the water.
“I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezek 39:21-29)
Following this victory the Lord will complete the return of His people Israel to their land, begun in the early 1900’s and made official in 1948. Though He caused them to be scattered all over the world, He’ll now bring them back, not leaving any behind. Since about 55% of the world’s Jewish people currently live outside of Israel this will be some homecoming. But having witnessed His defeat of their enemies, Jews from all over the world will flock to Israel and to Him, yearning for a reinstatement of their Old Covenant relationship. And after waiting for nearly 2000 years for them to return, He certainly won’t refuse them now.
For their part they’ll soon build a Temple, Old Covenant worship being impossible without one. Following the instructions from Ezekiel 40-48, which we’ll begin exploring next time, they’ll build the Temple in Shiloh, about 12 miles (20km) north of Jerusalem. I believe this is the Temple that will be made desolate by the anti-Christ and later cleansed at the beginning of the Millennium, just as the second Temple was first made desolate and then cleansed in the time of the Maccabees.
And so this battle will mark the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, the last 7 years of human history before the Lord returns. Having given this prophecy to Israel, Ezekiel doesn’t get into any detail about its immediate aftermath, especially as it relates to the world’s subsequent reactions. But for we who are the Church today, the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 carries more significance in what Ezekiel didn’t say than in what he did.
From our study of Ezekiel 38 you can see that there are really only a few major preceding conditions left before this prophecy can be fulfilled. Turkey has to switch sides, the US has to be taken out of the picture, and Israel has to be living in an assumed state of peace with its neighbors. So when will this happen?
In almost 60 years of Israel’s modern existence, there really hasn’t been a day when this condition has been met, although enemy sneak attacks in 1967 and especially 1973 did take the country by surprise as to timing. The simultaneous invasion by Egypt and Syria on Yom Kippur 1973, with Jordan and Iraq right behind them, brought Israel perilously close to defeat. Historians report that due to “a rare moment of flabbiness in Israeli intelligence and in the government, Israel did not expect any attacks from its neighbors just at this point in time.” (Both the Jewish Yom Kippur and Moslem Ramadan forbid waging war during their observance, and in October 1973 as the attack began these Holy Days overlapped.)
It took a week for Israel’s forces to recover and go on the offense. Two weeks after that the war was over, cease-fire arrangements having been negotiated by the UN. In the treaties that followed, Egypt regained control of the Suez Canal and the Sinai Peninsula lost in 1967 and Syria got back a small portion of the Golan Heights, although had the UN not stepped in, Israeli forces would have soon entered both Cairo and Damascus.
Those Who Don’t Learn From History …Not since then has there been such a relaxed state of readiness by Israel and indeed it’s hard to see how one could happen in the future. In fact the Bible mentions only two possibilities for a time of peace in the entire End Times scenario, and neither fits the bill. The first occurs at the outset of Daniel’s seventieth week when the anti-Christ makes his initial appearance. By means of peace he will deceive many, Daniel 8:25 (KJV) tells us.
The other time is during the 1000 years of peace known as the Millennium or Kingdom Age. Let’s rule that one out right away. First of all it’s an unparalleled time of peace personally administered by the Prince of Peace. Israel won’t have any enemies to attempt a sneak attack until right at the end when Satan is freed from his 1000 years of captivity to lead them. And second, the end time prophecies in Ezekiel are sequential, first the latter days re-gathering of the Jews to Israel in chapters 36-37, then this battle, then from chapter 40 on it’s the Millennium. The Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 has to follow the modern re-gathering but precede the Millennium. It can’t happen at the Millennium’s end.
So let’s go back to the first possibility, the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week. Daniel 9:27 reveals that as one of his first official acts, the anti-Christ will enforce a seven-year covenant with Israel that includes permission to build a Temple. (This seven year period is called Daniel’s 70th week.) But because of the controversy it would stir up, most Jews today don’t want a Temple and won’t want one till the Creator of the Universe dramatically reveals Himself to them. He does so in the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39, and after that they’ll be clamoring for a Temple, regardless of the consequences. Old Covenant observance requires it. So it appears that this battle has to precede Daniel’s 70th week, too early for the anti-Christ’s false peace.
Also, the fact that the anti-Christ emerges as a peacemaker implies that some parts of the world will have recently been at war. Perhaps even a war involving a nuclear exchange, which will have left the world in shock, desperate for a plan that would prevent that ever happening again. Satan’s “man of peace” with his seven year covenant will have just the thing to put the world at ease and allow him to begin his meteoric rise to world dominance.
Have You Reached A Verdict?As we see, circumstantial evidence weighs heavily in favor of the anti-Christ revealing himself on the heels of Ezekiel’s battle rather than before it. And so neither of the Bible’s identified possibilities for peace will take place in time for this battle. That means that some dramatic chain of events, similar to those that led to the “sudden” fall of the Soviet Union, will have to occur soon to place Israel in the vulnerable state necessary for Ezekiel’s prophecy to be fulfilled.
From what we currently understand about End Times Prophecy, the two events most likely to create such a sudden change in the political climate are the destruction of Damascus, foretold in Isaiah 17 and the battle that’s the subject of Psalm 83. No alliance against Israel such as the one described there has happened in history, and if the Lord grants the psalmist’s request to destroy them, the Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, and Syrians will all cease to be a threat when it’s over. In its aftermath, Israel will be larger, stronger, and feel more secure than at any time in its modern history. Perhaps secure enough to let down their guard a little.
So What’s The Point?Now why is all this so important to us? Well, we’ve already made a case for the anti-Christ to appear right after the battle of Ezekiel 38 and we know from the passage itself that the Lord uses it to reveal Himself to Israel and draw them back to Him.
But here are two more good reasons. First, you’ll recall from our study in 2nd Thessalonians that the church has to disappear before the anti-Christ can be revealed. (2 Thes. 2:7) And second, in the past when the Lord’s focus was on Israel there was no Church, and while it’s been on the Church there has been no Israel. These two entities seem to be mutually exclusive in the Lord’s workings, so if He’s going to focus on Israel again the Church has to disappear (Romans 11:25 & Acts 15:14-18).
So if the Church has to disappear before the anti-Christ can be revealed and if the Church has to disappear when the Lord turns again to Israel, and if both these are outcomes of the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39, you can see why it’s so important to us. By the way, none of this is meant to modify or refute the Doctrine of Imminence, which holds that the Lord could come at any time. In fact rather than saying that Ezekiel’s battle has to happen before the Rapture, I’m saying that it looks more like the Rapture has to happen before Ezekiel’s battle.
Beginning in chapter 40 the focus will shift to the Millennium, Israel’s Kingdom Age. We’ll learn a lot about the coming Temple and about life in Israel after the 2nd Coming. We’ll see God’s return to the Temple after a 2600 year absence, signifying that the people, the Temple, the City and the Land will all have become holy again. See you then.

Related Posts:
Why Will Israel Need A Treaty?
Magog / Armageddon?
More End Times Chronology
Questions From The Ezekiel Study
End Times According To Ezekiel, Follow Up

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Ekekiel Factor Part 3

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
We have now come to Ezekiel 38, the battle between Israel and a coalition of Moslem nations that comes on the threshold of Daniel’s 70th Week and will kick off the End Times in earnest. We’ll review the 2600 year old prophecy in light of recent world events.
What Time Is It?First of all, let’s get some kind of time frame started. Although Ezekiel’s prophecies aren’t consecutive they are chronological. In other words, he didn’t include every event of the End Times, but those he did include are in the proper sequence according to time. Falling between Israel’s modern re-birth, prophesied in Ezekiel 36-37, and the Millennium, covered in Ezekiel 40-48, the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 has to take place after 1948 but before the 2nd coming, and all agree it hasn’t happened yet.
This has led some to see the passage as a description of Armageddon, but as we’ll see there are several prominent nations missing from this battle whereas Zech. 14:2 prophecies that all the nations will join the battle on that day. Even if you take the phrase “all the nations” to mean only Israel’s neighbors, you’ve still got a problem because Ezekiel’s list of attackers leaves out some that you’d expect to be involved.
Also, Ezekiel prophesied that the Lord would use this battle to turn Israel back to Him and to complete the return of Jews from all over the world to Israel, not leaving any behind. (Ezek. 39:28) This leads me to believe that the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 is the event that re-starts the clock on the 490-year period of time spoken of by Daniel, the famous 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24-27. The 483rd year of that prophecy had come when the Messiah was crucified and the Temple destroyed, stopping the clock seven years short of complete fulfillment.
And there it’s remained. But I believe the dramatic victory the Lord wins over Israel’s enemies in Ezekiel’s battle will start the clock again. It will convince them to officially re-instate their national Old Covenant relationship and demand a Temple for worship. It’s this Temple that’s later desecrated by the anti-Christ, kicking off the Great Tribulation. That makes Daniel’s remaining seven years the last ones before the 2nd Coming, so Ezekiel’s battle will be a dramatic sign that the Lord’s return is very near, on a par with the re-birth of the nation.
With all this in mind, let’s begin a careful study of Ezekiel 38, to prepare us for these events now because many believe that they’ll become reality soon.
Ezekiel 38
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army-your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops-the many nations with you. (Ezek. 38:1-6)
Who Are These People?I believe that Gog is a supernatural being, leading both the battle of Ezekiel 38 and the final battle at the end of the Millennium 1000 yrs later. (Rev. 20:8) Perhaps he’s Satan’s counter part to Michael the Archangel.
For what it’s worth, there’s an obscure reference in the Septuagint translation of Amos 7:1 to Gog, The King of the Locusts. The identification of Gog as the locusts’ king is revealing since Proverbs 30:27 states that locusts have no king. This hints that the “locusts” of Amos 7 are not intended to be natural beings, but symbolic of something else.
Then there’s a similar reference in Revelation 9:11 where locusts from the Abyss are described as having a king, and are clearly demonic. Are these two references giving us a clue to Gog’s supernatural nature as well? I think so.
You won’t find any hint of this in translations of Amos 7:1 rendered into English from Hebrew. You can only get there from the Greek translation. But with no connection to any physical territory or people as there is with Magog and the others named in Ezekiel 38, and with Biblical appearances so far apart in time, there’s good reason to believe that Gog is a non-human character, one of Satan’s own.
In contrast, there are over 130 historical references tying Magog to the ancient Scythians (they defeated Saul at the battle of Beth Shean and nailed his body to the gate of the city). They include Josephus and Herodotus, called the father of history. The Great Wall of China was known as the “Ramparts of Magog” in ancient times and was built to protect China from Magog. Some see a striking similarity between what’s known about the Scythians and the Mongol Hordes of Genghis Kahn. Magog was a son of Japeth and inhabited central Asia. His children, the Scythians, are the ancestors of today’s Russian people.
Meshech and Tubal were brothers of Magog and are linked to the same general area, but more likely with the Turkic people. Josephus associated Meshech with Cappodocia, home of the ancient Hittite Empire in Eastern Turkey.
There are many opinions on what the “hooks in the jaw” phrase describes, but I think it’s becoming clear that Vladimir Putin is determined to make Russia a world power again, with dominating influence in the Middle East, and that’s what will drive him into this battle. I think Gog is whispering in Putin’s ear right now, persuading him to do this. And the Lord is encouraging it because it’s the only way to get Israel’s attention.
Persia is the ancient name for Iran. Cush and Put were sons of Ham and brothers to Mizraim (which means “two Egypts”) and Canaan. Narrowly they are called Ethiopia (Cush) and Lybia (Put) but both were in possession of much larger territory in the past. The word Cush has a Hebrew root meaning black, and can be representative of the black races of Africa, while Put can represent the north part of the continent; Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, etc. Note that all are sons of Ham and therefore not Semitic. The common denominator among African nations is religion (Islam) not race.
Gomer was Magog’s brother and settled along the Danube River in what would become Eastern Europe. Beth means house in Hebrew. Togarmah was a son of Gomer. The Armenians of today call themselves the House of Togarmah. The Turks (but not the Kurds, who are the ancient Medes of Media-Persia fame) are also included. As with the African nations, The characteristic all these nations have in common is their religion, they’re all Moslem.
“Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land. (Ezek. 38:7-9)
The fact that Israel is the target in this passage is self evident, but a controversy rages around the Heberew word betach translated “in safety” in verse 8. A secondary meaning, “carelessly” could mean that they’re not really safe but just think they are and so their guard is down. From outward appearances it looks like it would take a truly miraculous change in Israel’s current situation to achieve either of the conditions this word implies.
As I mentioned last time, some are beginning to think that a fulfillment of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 are needed to create the climate in which Israel would be living in a false sense of peace without walls and gates. The idea is that if Israel took off the gloves and went bare knuckle against the terrorists who live next door, they’d win hands down. There’d be no more Palestinian problem, no Hamas and no Hizbollah. Israel would wind up with more territory, something that would bring greater security, and the country’s reputation of invincibility would be restored, and along with it their confidence.
They’d also have the room they’ll need to accommodate the return of Jews from all over the world who’ll stream into Israel after Ezekiel 38.
In Isaiah 49:19-21 the prophet foretold of this return that began as a trickle with Israel’s re-birth and will expand into a flowing river and then a mighty torrent.
“Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.
The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’
Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’ “
The prior fulfillment of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 also helps explain why Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt won’t be participating in Ezekiel 38.
” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people-all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?” ‘ (Ezek. 38:10-13)
What Are You Guys Doing?Israel is described here as a country at peace in the idiom of Ezekiel’s day, a land of unwalled villages, when this enemy coalition attacks, and other countries not mentioned before take notice. Again we see that something significant will have happened to change Israel’s perception of the surrounding nations.
Sheba and Dedan are first mentioned as grandsons of Cush in Genesis 10:7. Later, in Genesis 25:3, we read of grandsons of Abraham named Sheba and Dedan as well, born to Jokshan, a son of Abraham and his 2nd wife, Keturah. From the passage it’s not clear which pair of grandsons is being referenced, but commentaries none-the-less identify these two as representing the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, notably Saudi Arabia.
According to archaeologists W. F. Albright and Wendell Phillips, Sheba was on the southwestern edge of the Arabian Peninsula across the Red Sea from present-day Ethiopia. Sheba is known in history as Saba in Southern Arabia, home to the Sabaeans of classical geography, who traded in spices with the other peoples of the ancient world. Dedan was probably the habitat of the Arabs in the northern part of the Arabian Desert, which is modern-day Saudi Arabia. The ancient capital of Saudi Arabia is still called Dedan on many maps today.
Tarshish was a son of Javan, who settled the area of Southern Greece. There are three schools of thought where Tarshish is concerned. One view locates Tarshish to the East, accessible from Solomon’s great seaport at Ezion Geber on the Red Sea. But since Javan and his family traveled north and west from Babel at the confusion of tongues, it seems unlikely. Large sea going vessels were often nicknamed “Ships of Tarshish” and more likely this is how Tarshish came to be linked with Ezion Geber, since both Solomon and Hezekiah built such vessels there. Others see this as a reference to ancient Tartessus, a seaport in southern Spain, near Gibraltar. They recall the sea going navies of the Phoenicians, who operated “Ships of Tarshish” out of nearby Cadiz. They sailed as far north as England for tin, a metal used in the making of bronze and other alloys, which they mined in Cornwall. Some believe that the name Britannia is actually derived from a Phoenician word meaning “source of tin.” If so, since the ships of Tarshish brought tin to the ancient world, this reference could be to Great Britain making the “lions” (KJV) or “villages”(NIV) of Tarshish Great Britain’s colonies, of which the US is most prominent today. The fact that the lion is a symbol of the British Empire lends support to this view.
All that being said, the most provocative point here is that the very coalition of western nations that freed Kuwait and deposed Saddam Hussein are not engaged here, but instead question the invaders’ intentions from the sidelines.
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes. (Ezek. 38:14-16)
Here the Lord makes His intent unmistakably clear. He’s orchestrating this event to reveal Himself to the world once again. The years and years of debate over God’s existence, begun with the German School of Higher Criticism in the 1800’s and continued in the modern rationalism of the 1950’s will be put to naught as God uses this battle to poke His head through the fabric of the sky and shout, “I’m still here!”
” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. (Ezekiel 38:17)
The absence of any specific reference to Gog in any other prophetic writings (except the Greek version of Amos 7:1) lends credence to my theory that he’s a supernatural figure who has influenced various nations to rise up against Israel. Gog is not a traditional enemy like Edom or Philistia. He has no human descendants who’ve grown into an historic nation opposed to the Lord’s people. Nor is there a geographic location on Earth we can point to as his homeland. He’s a supernatural enemy who the Lord will deal with in a supernatural way.
This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD . Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ (Ezek. 38:18-23)
With signs reminiscent of all the Heaven-fought wars of the past, the Lord is aroused in anger to execute judgment against the invaders of His land and enemies of His people. And as He has done before, He sows confusion in the hearts of Israel’s enemies so that they commence attacking themselves while He unleashes the classic weapons of divine intervention. Earthquakes, plagues, bloodshed, rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur; these are His signature signs. Neither Israel, nor the enemy coalition, nor those watching from afar will fail to interpret them correctly.
So ends chapter 38. Next time we’ll see why some think this battle goes nuclear and get another good reason why it’s not the last battle of the Age of Man. See you then. 02-02-08

Related Posts:
Ezekiel 38 And Armageddon
Why Will Israel Need A Treaty?
Magog / Armageddon?
Who Is The Lord Talking To?