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Prophecy: An Incredible 45 Days

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Sometimes little things turn out to be quite powerful. There is intense interest in both the Great Tribulation and the Millennium. However, there is a fascinating passage in Daniel 12:11-12 indicating there will be a 45-day period after the Great Tribulation but before the Millennium. What has God planned for those 45 days?

The prophet Joel indicates part of what will take place during this period. In Joel 2:12-17 God is described as calling the nation of Israel, all 12 tribes, back to Himself. After that happens, God will bless the land that He promised to the nation and restore the people to their land (Joel 2:18-27). Some have stated they believe this will take place at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. But I find that hard to believe, since He also promises three times over, “Then My people will never be put to shame.” During the last 3½ years of the Great Tribulation, Israel will be running and hiding to save their lives.

There is going to be a complete national repentance of the nation of Israel, and God is going to restore them to their land and bless the land. They will never be put to shame again. But that’s not all.

Joel paints a prophetic picture of all the people of the nation of Israel receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and all of them will speak the message of hope through Christ to those of other nations in their own language (Joel 2:28-32). He says even Jewish boys and girls will be doing this. The purpose of this great outpouring of God’s message to the world is to give all those yet living the opportunity to repent and call on the name of Christ, not curse at Him. It will be one of the greatest evangelism periods in human history.

Jesus also gives us a picture of something that will take place during this 45-day period. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus speaks of coming again, sitting on a throne and bringing judgment to those yet living at the end of the Great Tribulation. This is often referred to as the judgment of the sheep and goats, because the section begins like this:

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and goats on the left. – Matthew 25:31-33

He goes on to say those on His right, the sheep, will enter into the Kingdom, the Millennium Kingdom. But those on the left, the goats, will be cast into the lake of fire, which we often hear labeled as hell.

So during this 45-day gap between the Great Tribulation and the Millennium, three primary things are going to happen: The entire nation of Israel is going to turn to Christ and repent, leading to God’s blessing on them and their land, and they will never again be put to shame. They will be evangelists for Christ to all the nations. And after the entire living world of people have this last chance to respond to Christ, He will come and bring judgment on all the living people in the world. Some will enter into the coming Millennium Kingdom. Others will be cast out, waiting for their final sentencing at The Great White Throne Judgment, after which they will be cast into the eternal lake of fire.

It is going to be one power-packed little 45-day period.

Remember & Never Forget: Reflections on My Wanderings Through the Land of Israel – Part 3

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The Land: The Future

In this series on the land of Israel, we have looked back at God’s unconditional and perpetual promise of the land to Israel (Part 1) and how God has brought the Jewish people back into the land after a 1900-year absence (Part 2). But the Bible has much to say about the future of the land that God has promised to the nation of Israel.

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “If God gave them the land with no strings attached and as an everlasting possession, why have they been kicked out of the land twice (722 and 586 BC the first time and 70 AD for the second time)? The answer is that the land has always belonged to them, but because of disobedience God has not always allowed them to live in the land.

God’s promise to them is a prophetic promise that a time will come when they will completely turn to God, and the land will be restored for them, and they will live in it without interruption from then on. Notice these words of Joel:

Blow a trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room And the bride out of her bridal chamber. Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, Weep between the porch and the altar, And let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not make Your inheritance a reproach, A byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’” Then the Lord will be zealous for His land And will have pity on His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. – Joel 2:15–19 (NASB, emphasis added)

There will come a time when the entire nation, as a nation, will repent and totally turn to the Lord, “the Lord will be zealous for His land,” and they will never again be a reproach among the nations.

That has not happened yet. But God has said it will. Joel goes on:

Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the Lord has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, For the tree has borne its fruit, The fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the Lord your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. “Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame. “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the Lord your God, And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame. – Joel 2:21–27 (NASB, emphasis added)

The books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, among several others, speak prophetically of God restoring the land and the people to the land in the last days.

Do we believe God? Is God true to His Word? Can we trust the Scriptures to be accurate in all that they say?

The answer to all those questions should be a resounding “yes.” God has kept His word in the past in restoring the land and the people to the land. And God will do the same in the yet future.

God is not finished with the nation of Israel as a nation among the nations. Nor is He finished with the land.

The Israelis in the land today take immense pride in their land and take great care of it. But God has even more in store for them and their land.

We should remember, and never forget.

Remember & Never Forget: Reflections on My Wanderings Through the Land of Israel – Part 2

Remember-Part2

In 1948 a baby boy was born with great distress. He was a month overdue, and born at 10.5 pounds to a very small mother. He was blue from not getting enough oxygen in his lungs and had a heart murmur. Doctors said he should never have been conceived. I was that baby boy.

Also in 1948 a baby nation was born with great distress. It was ravaged and maligned from all corners of the earth. It was born amidst prejudice, hatred and mass murder. It was made up of people from all over the world but not having a land of its own, speaking many different languages but not having a language of its own. Many world leaders said it should never have been conceived. Israel was that baby nation.

In the years leading up to World War 2, some interesting things were happening thought-wise in Europe. The ideas of evolution had gained popularity and had begun to burgeon into other areas. For instance, Dr. Richard Wagner, a university professor in Switzerland, had popularized the idea that not only was humanity at the top of the evolutionary food chain, but that the pure Arian race of Germany was at the very top. They were the superior people of the human race and Jewish people were the bottom.

According to the principle of the survival of the fittest, a teaching within evolution, the Jews needed to be eliminated from the human race to make room for the superior races to grow fuller and stronger still.

Adolf Hitler grew up to dislike Jews in Germany, where he lived, and later used Wagner’s teaching to help support the eradication of all Jewish people. During his war to create Arian dominance in the world as the superior race of people, he strove to exterminate over 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, boys and girls from all over Europe.

All of the Jews who could be identified were arrested and sent to special ghetto communities throughout the conquered countries of Europe, where they were confined and later sent to camps where they would work and/or be exterminated en masse.

At the end of the war, the Jewish people left alive throughout Europe were homeless and penniless. They had been displaced from their homes in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Romania, parts of Russia…all over. All their possessions had been seized and stolen. And to make matters worse, much of the populace in Europe and around the world still had a burning distaste and resentment of the Jewish race.

A movement began among the Jewish people of the world to go “home,” back to the land that had been the home of their ancient ancestors, back to the land God had promised them.

At the end of the WW2, in 1947, after Israel had not existed as a nation for almost 1900 years, a large contingent of Jews from all over the world moved back to the land of promise, and they sought nation status from the United Nations. There was much debate and question if they were entitled to this land.

Then one day three shepherd boys were grazing their sheep in the rocky, hot, arid region of the northern Dead Sea, on the eastern slopes of the Judean Mountains. The youngest of these brothers was apparently a little bored and did what boys do: threw rocks. In the slopes of the Qumran Mountains beside him, he slung rocks trying to hit some of the tens of thousands of caves in that region.

With one perfectly thrown rock, he hit the mouth of a cave and was instantly terrified because he heard the shattering of pottery. It was there that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, proving the book of Isaiah had to have been written before the time of Christ even though many had argued that couldn’t be the case because the descriptions were too specific, and they did not want to rely on anything supernatural.

To Christians, the Dead Sea Scrolls represent God’s stamp of approval on the Old Testament Scriptures and their accuracy. (All but two books of the Old Testament were found in the caves of Qumran.) But what about to the Jewish people who were seeking nation status for their land?

For them, discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls was the equivalent of God reaching down and handing the fledgling Israelis a title deed to this land. These scrolls predated the religion of the occupants of the land by the better part of a thousand years.

These scrolls showed that this had been the home of the Jewish people, and the only reason they were no longer there was because another nation, or empire, had destroyed them, chased them off, and in many cases exterminated them. The UN quickly recognized them as a nation in their land.

God was keeping His promise to the Jewish people. He gave this land to them as a perpetual gift. In giving this land back to Israel, God was once again telling them to remember, and never forget!

What are the future promises regarding the land?

 

To be continued…

Remember & Never Forget: Reflections on My Wanderings Through the Land of Israel

Remember-Part1

One of the first things apparent to anyone visiting Israel is that they are committed to their land. The State of Israel owns around 90% of the physical land. Virtually all homeowners lease the land their home is built on from the State of Israel. The same is true of businesses, schools and so forth.

I’ve walked their present land from Dan in the North (and even further to the Lebanese and Syrian borders) down to Beersheba and Arad in the South, in the Negev wilderness, from the western cities of Tel Aviv and Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea on the eastern border with the nation of Jordan. And at first glance it is hard to see why Israelis would make such a fuss over this small, mostly rock-infested piece of land.

Much of the land, except for the northern Galilee area and the coastal plains, is rocky terrain – hard to walk on and challenging to build on. Oh, but it’s in the Middle East, so there must be oil. Yet the land of Israel is the only major Middle Eastern country without oil. They have limited plant-able land, limited water supply and limited natural resources.

So why is this land so important to them?

Look back at the Scriptures, going back to the time of Abraham in Genesis 12 and following, and it all begins to make sense. Notice what God calls Abram to and what He promises:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1–3 (NASB, emphasis added)

The promise made to Abraham (also known as Abram,) in Genesis 12, and repeated several times after, was that God promised Abraham and his descendants three things:

  1. He promised to make them a great nation through the loins of Abraham and Sarah.
  2. He promised to bless them and bless those that bless them
  3. He promised to give them a land. Not just any land, but specific real estate that would be their permanent home as a blessed nation of people.

Read on in Genesis 12, noticing what Abram did when he arrived in the land:

Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev. – Genesis 12:5–9 (NASB)

He came into the land of present day Israel from the North and proceeded South through Shechem, then down to Bethel and finally to the Negev. He walked the land, the land God had promised to him and his descendants:

  • Genesis 12:1-3 (the original promise of a land)
  • Genesis 13:14-17 (God tells Abraham to walk this promised land)
  • Genesis 15:7, 17-21 (God makes this an unconditional promise to Abraham)
  • Genesis 17:8 (God declares that this shall be an everlasting promised land)
  • Genesis 26:3-4 (God reiterates the same promise to Isaac, Abraham’s son)
  • Genesis 35:12 (God reiterates the same promise to Jacob, Isaac’s son)
  • Genesis 50:24 (Joseph’s last words were regarding the promised land)

The land was important to God. Why shouldn’t it have been important to the people in those days, as well as now? The land was and is an unconditional, everlasting, promised, specific gift to the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This is one promise we should remember, and never forget.

What does this have to do with today?

 

To be continued…