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Appocalyptic Prophecies

Reader comment on item: Pushing for a Ceasefire
in response to reader comment: All Prophecies Have Their Own Timimg - All are Useful for the Approaching Kingdom

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Aug 16, 2014 at 17:48

Shalom Tovey

It has been quite some time since this reader pondered the very questions you have portrayed here; and for a while, there was a difficulty in getting it to the next step of understanding. For me, it took years of reading and rereading until a discernment of prophetical complexities finally broke through.

There are plenty of books and movies with appocalyptic themes nowadays, but it seems you have gone the right route. Prophecies from the Babylonian Exile period (from Jeremiah onward, more specifically from Ezekiel onward) were given to encourage Israel during its time of trouble; but understanting the details of those prophecies, many of which speak of the very last days of the age, could only happen as they came to fruition. Even in my younger adult years, up to around 1991, the international scene did not line up as it is today, when most of these prophecies are virtually transparent.

I am not one of those evangelicals that are hoping for any continuation of the pressure Israel is going through; but the Scripture about such things is plain

Israel is promised a time of great suffering, which has certainly come to pass -- culminating with Hitler. Then it is promised a time of great prosperity, which would make their enemies envious (cf. Ezek. 38:13). Finally, it is promised that the United Nations of the world would attack Israel, and do great damage before God Himself delivers them and punishes the UN countries (Zech. 14).

The NT book of Revelation expounds a great deal on European history, on the successors to the Roman Empire that culminated first in European domination of the world, and then the coalescense of this power into a single country (the US). The struggle of God's people against this "beast", in what seems to be a final 3½ year period, almost certainly coincides with Zech. 14, as this is the final battle before the Messianic Age.

"...Israel's future with HaMashiach:

Zechariah 12:4-10) "Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it...

Odd, that you should place these events in the Messianic age. The siege of Jerusalem is already happening in the spirit (viz the many UN resolutions against Israel); and "rehearsal" attacks like Kosovo, Libya and Afghanistan have already happened. The US has even prepositioned troops and equipment in Israel and Jordan for the final battle. As for Jerusalem being a "heavy stone", consider how it seems to hand around the neck of President Obama -- who wishes with all his might, that he could simply be rid of the area and "pivot" to Asia; but he can't -- his tennis shoe is stuck to the floor with chewing gum.

On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.' "On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. "And the LORD will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah.

That passage is still a mystery to me. It talks about "Jerusalem" and "Judah" as two kindred but separate entities. There has been something of a fulfilling of this already. Jerusalem had a Jewish plurality when the British left and the Arabs attacked in 1948; but the central, holy parts were conquered by Jordan's Arab Legion. The modern State of Israel was then formed by the Jews ("Judah"?) in other parts of Israel. Later, in 1967, God restored Jerusalem to His people.

As for "I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness", that happened in many miraculous instances during Israel's wars with the Arabs.

As for the kingdom of God not coming with observation, in the first advent (Isaiah 52-53), this was fulfilled by the internal kingdom, not appearing as the conquering entity the Pharisees wanted (for they hated Rome), but by the Spirit

Yes, this is my understanding. No number of wars, battles and exchanges of leaders can bring about the rule of Torah in people's lives. The victory has to be internal, and permanent -- with our total surrendering of our lives to God. This can only come about when we realize that God has forgiven and accepted us; and that because of the resurrection, we can be assured that even death cannot separate us from the love of God. Jesus made these things a reality, though his teaching, death and resurrection.

As you say, those are internal, unseen matters, matters of faith. The fate of the State of Israel, however (and of the nations of the world, who are foolishly opposing it), is not internal; it is very observable.

For the second advent, we read: Isaiah 16:5) then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness." This is the approaching observed kingdom.

This has not happened yet in "observed" space; and I am unsure of its meaning. This is the description of the "Messianic Age":

Zech. 14

[16] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
[17] And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
[18] And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
[19] This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
[20] In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowl's before the altar.
[21] Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

In those days, Israel will certainly not rule over Egypt. Also, it speaks of all the people of Israel being holy; of the "house of JHVH" being established, and of sacrificial offerings upon the altar. The mitzvah of Chag Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) will be open to the Nations, who will do pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It sounds like something out of the Tales of Narnia, during which the "White Witch" aka the "Dragon" of Revelation, is bound for 1000 years in the bottomless pit. The current world order, run from Washington, DC, will no longer be in power; and the people of the world will be, to an extent, keepers of Torah.

I don't see scriptures that say Messiah will personally reign for 1000 years:

Rev. 20

  1. [4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
  2. [6] 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.

This says that Messiah's followers would rule on earth -- specifically, those who had been beheaded for their testimony (which would include quite a few from Iraq and Syria nowadays). Considering that much of the Bible is to be taken allegorically, reigning "with" Messiah does not necessarily imply his corporeal presence. Moreover, Jesus, for whatever reason, chose to spend some of his last hours with the disciples in disguise:

John 21

[4] But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus....
[12] Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

That's why I say that the whole "Messianic Age" thing sounds a bit like Narnia. Jesus, like Aslan, seems to pop up and disappear in the strangest of ways; and in some of the Bible instances, he doesn't even appear as Jesus. What's to say that he won't do something similar during the thousand years? Remember, we are exhorted to live by faith, not by sight; and when the 1000 years are over, the Devil will be able to once more deceive the masses.

For reasons such as these, I do not speculate concerning the Messianic Age; but instead, I usually confine my discussion to the matters at hand.

Interesting discussion.

Shabbat shalom


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