The Prophetic Significance of Palm Sunday

Introduction

 

The significance of what we have come to call Palm Sunday cannot be overestimated as a major prophetic event in the Bible. This day occurs a week before the Passover, which was the day our Lord Jesus was crucified. It is the one day that was prophecied in the Scripture that would be fulfilled by the Messiah Himself.

Many times during His ministry the common people sought to declare Him their “king”. He avoided it on all those occasions except on Palm Sunday. After the miracle of feeding the five thousand with a young man’s five loaves and two fishes, many realized that He was the one prophecied in their Jewish Scriptures (our Old Testament) that who would come as their King Messiah:

Feeding of the Five Thousand by Ambrosius Fracken the Elder

John 6:11-15

11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone (KJV).

Jesus Arrives at The Appointed Time and The People Declare Him King

Where was this arrival prophecied in Scripture?  How did the people know that this was their king, and that this was the day for Him to make His arrival? Jesus knew that His arrival on this single particular day was so important and prophecied in Scripture, that He was not going to let the people make Him their King until the exact time had arrived. He had arranged all things pertaining to His arrival in Jerusalem to be fulfilled exactly on the date when the Scriptures prophecied.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Giotto 14th Century

Matthew 21:1-11

1And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee (KJV).

Matthew writes in verse 4 above that Palm Sunday is prophecied: “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” As the text says, they shouted the words of Psalm 118:26: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” The word “hosanna” in Hebrew is hoseeah, and means “save us”, or “deliver us”. A worldly king would have arrived on majestic horses, pulling golden chariots adorned with precious decorations of earthly value. This King was not prideful, nor was He of this earth (John 18:36). He created the world, but He was not of it (John 1:10).

The Messiah Will Come and Truly Conquer

In the beginning of the ninth chapter of the book of Zechariah we read a description of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian conqueror. He had come to Jerusalem to conquer it but did not as the priests welcomed him in and showed him their Scriptures prophesying his arrival. After this discussion of Alexander in Zechariah 9:1–8 the next verse, verse 9, is one of the most significant Messianic passages in the entire Bible. (We will examine it more in detail below.) Zechariah goes on to write God’s prophecy about the coming of King Messiah on the earth on the day we call Palm Sunday. This is the day when Jesus was recognized as Messiah the King. Both Jewish and Christian commentaries interpret it this way. Judaism views it as the basis for a single royal messianic appearance, whereas the New Testament and Christianity see it as a prophecy of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His crucifixion (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15).

God makes a clear distinction that Jesus appears as a very different conqueror compared to Alexander. The date of this prophecy is approximately 487 B.C., about 519 years before it happened (A.D. 32). While Alexander’s swift and aggressive nature brought some measure of peace to the Jews, it will not be until the Lord Jesus comes for the second time that there will be true peace on earth. The genuine King of Israel has strength that is not dependent on chariots and horses (Psalm 20:7). Jesus is the creator and sustainer of the universe, and He brings salvation not only to Israel, but also to all the nations:

Zechariah 9:9a

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee.” (ASV, 1901)

The First Advent is heralded with exuberance by the use of words such as “rejoice greatly”, “shout” and “behold”. The phrase “the daughter of Zion” is referring to the entire population that is personified by a single female. It comes from an expression of referring to a city or a country affectionately as “her”, and the designation of Hebrew names for cities have an assigned female gender. The joy expressed here as God Himself writes through Zechariah, declares that He is coming to Jerusalem to fulfill all the prophecies regarding His first coming (Genesis 3:15, 49:10; Isaiah 7:14, 53:3; Deuteronomy 18:15; Daniel 9:26). Consider how comforting this prophecy is in contrast to the fear and trembling that Alexander’s armies created in Israel before he met with the High Priest and they read to him from the book of Daniel. This is THE occasion of immense spiritual significance as the announcement of the long-awaited “Immanuel is made”.  In Isaiah 7:14we read: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (KJV).” “Immanuel” means “God with Us!”

In Zechariah 9:9a, He is given the title of “king.” Jesus would not allow a crowd to declare him “king” after performing a miracle or significant action. He would slip away from the crowds before they could do this.  The Hebrew words for “Messiah the King” are Mashiach Nagid.  In Daniel 9:25, nagid gets translated as “the prince”. When David was crowned in I Samuel 13:14, it is translated as “king”.  Jesus allowed the multitudes to praise Him as their King on the Sunday before His crucifixion (Palm Sunday). The apostle Matthew affirms this as fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9a. Zechariah continues on with the prophecy:

Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Benjamin Robert Haydon Cir 1814-1820

Zechariah 9:9b

9He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (ASV, 1901)

Four of His characteristics are listed in this verse that pinpoint the predetermined arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday:

  1. He is “just” or righteous.

In Scripture. “righteousness” is one of the most prominent attributes declared of God. It is synonymous with justice, and its use in the Bible means “straight” or “morally right.” When we say that God is “just” we are saying that God always does what is right consistently, and without partiality or prejudice. These two words are the same in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. God’s actions are always fair and right. This righteousness is an expression of His holiness. He is infinitely pure and always opposed to sin. Since this is His nature, we see that He IS just. It is not a characteristic that He applies to Himself, but it is His way, His manner, or simply the way He is. He consistently acts in accordance with His own character. He cannot be anything different than the way He is. There is no standard of righteousness or justice that can be applied to God as a measurement. He IS the standard. The Hebrew word tsaddeq means “righteous” and is applied to God (Job 10:15, 15:14, 22:3; 34:17; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 119:137, 129:4).

  1. He Shows Himself as a Savior.

This characteristic of God and His Messiah, as a savior (“having salvation”), is diametrically opposed to Alexander, who was a conqueror. Alexander slaughtered thousands at Damascus, Tyre and Gaza, and then sold thousands more into slavery. The Hebrew word translated as “savior” is nosha. Of the various Hebrew language expressive grammar participles forms, this one is written in the nifal form. This form is categorized as reflexive, which means that something is shown or done by the person who is the object of the action. In this case it is the Messiah showing Himself to be the Savior because He is “having salvation”.

In the Bible, salvation is described in two different ways. One is physical salvation as if being saved from an impending catastrophe. The other is spiritual salvation, and that is what is discussed here in Zechariah 9:9b as coming from the Messiah. He saves because of the substitutionary atonement of His death. His death provided us the means to be connected to God and to be “saved” from the effects of our sins, which is eternal damnation. Eternal damnation is a permanent separation from God since He cannot be in the presence of sin because He is perfectly holy. That is the only punishment a holy and just God must give to those who do not accept the atonement He has provided. This is the “hosanna” from Psalm 118:25 which was shouted by the people recognizing Jesus is the one who saves as He arrived in Jerusalem. In Isaiah 51:6, the Hebrew word for “salvation” is yeshu’ah. In the New Testament the Greek name of Jesus is based upon the Old Testament word for salvation. His name in Greek is Iesous, meaning “Savior.” He was the servant who brought the Lord’s salvation to mankind (Acts 8:26–40). He is Himself that salvation which the apostle Paul proclaims in Romans 10:13.

  1. He is Lowly. 

“Lowly” is translated from the same word as “humble” (Psalm 18:27-28; II Samuel 22:28). Jesus came to the lowest members of the Jewish society. He did not court the governmental powers to gain access to the population. He started out lowly and humble and stayed that way during His First Advent. He did not have position, title, or possessions. He washed the feet of the apostles to demonstrate servanthood to them. He was beaten with a Roman flagellum, which ripped the flesh from His body. They beat Him about the head as they mocked Him.  Finally, Jesus suffered the humiliation of being nailed naked to the cross. The Roman crucifixion was meant to degrade the worst criminals as a deterrent to other criminals so they would not commit crimes against the state. Here the God of the Universe, who created it all, entered a human body to take on the low state of a man and allowed Himself to be humiliated to the point of death on a cross for all mankind. This is what it means to be “lowly”. 

  1. He is riding a colt of a donkey.

This Messianic passage displays our Lord’s prophecy of the manner in which he would display Himself one week prior to His crucifixion. After the time of King David, human kings usually displayed their power and glory by riding on majestic war horses (I Kings 10:25-29; II Kings 9:18-19; Esther 6:8; Jeremiah 22:4). Our Messiah showed his humility by riding a donkey, the ordinary person’s beast of burden. A “colt” is a young donkey (male in this case) and “foal” is another term for a young donkey, which refers to an even younger animal, hence the greater display of humility.

The Timing of The Exact Day of His Arrival

Daniel 9:24–25

24Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. 25Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times (ASV, 1901).

The prophecy starts off with Daniel’s prayers being answered by the angel Gabriel where he says, “Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” The Hebrew word translated “weeks” in Hebrew is shavuim (Strongs H7620).  It should be translated as “seven” or as “seventy-sevens.”  Shavuim simply refers to seven of something, much like we refer to a “few” as referring to 3 of something.  Unfortunately, the word shavuim has been mistranslated in our Bibles as “weeks.” Genesis 29:27 also uses this word in describing the length of time that was required for Jacob to wait until he could marry Rachel. He worked for her father Laban for seven years and the text says that he worked for him for one “week” – shavuimShavuim simply means seven of something, and in this context, it is speaking about a shavuim of years, or 70 years which is 7 X 70, or 490 years in total.

Gabriel then is telling Daniel that seventy sevens of years have been “decreed” upon the Israelites. 490 years are “decreed” and fall within the Times of the Gentiles to bring about the final restoration of the Nation Israel.  The purpose of the 490 years is to accomplish six things, 3 are negative and 3 of them are positive:

  1. To Finish the Transgression
  2. To Make an End of Sins
  3. To Make Reconciliation for Iniquity
  4. To Bring in an Age of Righteousness
  5. To Cause a Cessation of Prophecy
  6. To Anoint the Most Holy Place

All these decrees listed in verse twenty–four describe in outline form the purposes of the Great Tribulation and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. Verse twenty–five is the focus of our study regarding the appearing of Jesus in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Gabriel then says to Daniel, “Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” The “going forth of the commandment” is from first chapter of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:5-7).  On March 14, 445 B.C., the Persian King, Artaxerxes Longimanus issued a decree and he sends Nehemiah back to rebuild Jerusalem from the Babylonian destruction. The seventy–sevens, which are a total of 490 years, can now be sub–divided into three categories:

  1. The Seven–Sevens or 49 years
  2. The Sixty–Two Sevens or 434 Years
  3. The Last Seven Years (The Tribulation)

The Seven-Sevens or 49 years

For our purposes, numbers 1 and 2 above help us see the date that Messiah the Prince came to Jerusalem. The angel Gabriel said, “Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” The first sub-division begins with Nehemiah returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the city in very difficult times whose events are recounted in the book of Nehemiah.  It speaks of the time that it took for the rebuilding of the city to be completed as far as they could get it.  It took forty-nine years to finish or one seven. This is seven weeks or seven shavuim.

The Sixty-Two Sevens or 434 years:

The second subdivision immediately begins after the first seven sevens, and there is no break between them.  There is no particular sign for the second sub-division to begin or to start, it just runs right into it. Adding the first seven sevens (49 years) to the next segment of Sixty-Two Sevens (434 years) give us a total of 483 years that will elapse from the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to the coming of Messiah the Prince.

The following chart shows a time line that begins on March 14, 445 B.C. when the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem came from Artaxerxes Longimanus.  We see where the first seven-week period of 49 years elapses.  Then segment of 62 “weeks” runs to April 6, 32 A.D.  That is the date Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a colt on what we call Palm Sunday, or His Triumphal Entry.  They were praising Him and singing “Hosanna” saying: “Blessed [be] the King that cometh in the name of the Lord.”  The prophecy is very exact.   If we account for leap years, it works out to be exactly 173,880 days from the decree to return to Jerusalem to the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem the Sunday before His death on the following Friday.

70 Weeks Prophetic Chart

 

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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The Lord Judges the Nations

Introduction

Ezekiel chapters 25-32 details Divine judgments against nations that have risen up many times against Israel as their adversaries. There are seven people groups singled out, and the text divides them in two groups. The first is a group of four that includes Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines.  The second group is a group of three that includes Tyre, Zidon and Egypt.

Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines are immediate neighbors to Israel. Their presence posed a constant spiritual as well as physical danger to Israel’s relationship to God and seemed to be a persistent frustration of the Divine plan for the Nation Israel. Most Bible teachers and commentators avoid specifying a time as to when these judgments will take place, but all accept that they have not yet occurred. When one sees the entire Bible as one long chronological story, the period of the timing of the judgment is brought into focus.

These eight chapters also seem to provide an answer to the psalmist Asaph’s imprecatory prayer in Psalm eighty-three asking the Lord to terrify them, to cause them to be confused, and to make them perish so that Israel’s adversaries will seek the name of the Lord Jehovah:

Psalm 83:1-8

1O God, keep not thou silence: Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. 2For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult; And they that hate thee have lifted up the head. 3They take crafty counsel against thy people, And consult together against thy hidden ones.4They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5For they have consulted together with one consent; Against thee do they make a covenant: 6The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagarenes; 7Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre: 8Assyria also is joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah (ASV, 1901).

Some have written that this Psalm teaches that these nations will come against Israel before the Great Tribulation, and prior to the allied invasion described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. As we will see they already have come against Israel. But the case in point is that this Psalm does not describe an invasion of Israel by these nations, just a hatred of Israel.

Since the days of Abraham, there has been a long standing, adversarial relationship between the progeny of Isaac and Ishmael. God promised a covenant to Abraham along with a special child to receive the covenant that would come from his loins. It began in Genesis with the barren Sarah giving Abraham her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, as a concubine to produce a child for him. That child was Ishmael. Sarah later had a child of her own, Isaac, and he would receive the covenant promise (Genesis 16:12). Isaac had twin sons, Jacob and Esau, and it was his son Jacob who received the covenant, and his twin brother Esau did not. In reaction to this, Esau married into the Ishmaelite family, thereby adding people to the group in conflict with Israel. This animosity has been obvious since the time of Abraham, and it was still there during the Exodus (Numbers 20:14-21), and into more modern history.

The nations listed in Psalm 83 are unified in their desire to annihilate Israel, and they do not want the name Israel to be remembered. The names used are the ancient biblical names, and have modern counterparts as shown in the comparison of the two maps below:

Maps from www.bible.ca/maps

In summary, here are the names from two different historical time periods:

 

Edom      –     Southern Jordan

Ishmaelites –   Father of the Arabs

Moab        –      Central Jordan

Hagarenes –    Egypt

Gebal     –      Lebanon

Ammon   –      Northern Jordan

Amalek    –     The Sinai Peninsula

Philistia   –      The Gaza Strip

Tyre         –     Lebanon

Assyria    –      Iraq and some of Syria

Current History Between Israel and these Nations

In the fall of 1947, the United Nations voted to give Israel sovereignty over the piece of land on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel declared statehood on May 15, 1948. A coalition of five Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq immediately invaded Israel.

The stated purpose of this invasion was to “push the Jews into the sea”, in other words, genocide. Assam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, declared their intentions:

“This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades. What Hitler didn’t finish three years earlier, the Arabs would finish once and for all.”[1]

A Nazi collaborator, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, led the Arabs of the former British Mandate of Palestine (a post-World War I division of Israel). He was charged at the Nuremberg trials before escaping in 1946. Al-Husseini actively supported Hitler’s aim to exterminate the Jews in World War II. Israel prevailed over all the military efforts of these cited nations to destroy them. The Arab nations failed miserably to destroy Israel.

Following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, in the period leading up to June 1967, tensions increased dangerously. In reaction to the mobilization of Egyptian forces along the Israeli border in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel launched a series of preemptive airstrikes against Egyptian airfields. On May 15, 1967 Nasser ordered a blockade of the Strait of Tiran. This blockade cut off Israel’s southern access to the Red Sea and beyond. By May 31,1967 Egypt had moved 100,000 troops, one thousand tanks, and five hundred heavy guns into the Sinai. By June 4, Arab forces outnumbered Israel three to one as they poised on Israel’s borders. This was Israel’s Six Day War and it was fought on three fronts, against three countries, in three overlapping stages. In the south, Israel engaged and defeated the Egyptians. In the central region, Israel engaged and defeated the Jordanians. In the north, Israel engaged and defeated the Syrians. In each of these theaters, Israel gained significant territory that would serve as its own buffers in future years.

On the morning of June 5,1967, the Israeli Air Force destroyed almost the entire Egyptian Air Force (more than three hundred planes) in less than three hours.  Israel’s armored divisions, under the leadership of General Ariel Sharon, also launched a lightning attack on the same day.

After some initial resistance, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the evacuation of the Sinai. Israeli forces rushed westward in pursuit of the Egyptians, inflicted heavy losses, and conquered the Sinai. Nasser later acknowledged that eighty percent of Egypt’s Russian-supplied military equipment had been lost in the Sinai debacle. Finally, at 8:00 p.m. on June 8, Nasser accepted a cease-fire. On June 11, 1967 a ceasefire was signed. Arab casualties were far heavier than those of Israel with fewer than a thousand Israelis killed compared to over 20,000 from the Arab forces. More than eight hundred Egyptian tanks had been destroyed, and thousands of soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. Nasser later acknowledged that eighty percent of Egypt’s Russian-supplied military equipment had been lost in the Sinai debacle. Finally, at 8:00 p.m. on June 8, Nasser accepted a cease-fire.

 

However, there has been no settled peaceful relationship between them. After a third war in 1973, the Arab nations turned to terrorism (known as the Intifada), to attrition, and to “trying” Israel in the world press as a means of combat. God has obviously caused the Israelis to regain their land after being out of it since 586 B.C., for is a total of 2,533 years. As described, He has allowed them to prevail in several large-scale wars in which the nations in Psalm 83 state a desire to exterminate the Jews, but always lose militarily.

 

More Still to Come

These prophecies in Ezekiel chapters 25-32 and in Psalm 83 seem to indicate a Divine, permanent, and severe judgment against those nations.  Other Scriptures indicate a restoration of a relationship of varying sorts between these nations and Israel (Ezekiel 35:6-9; Isaiah 19:18-22; 23-25; Jeremiah 49:28-33; 34-39 etc.). Since there has not been a restoration of relationship between these nations and Israel as of 2018, it is necessary to consider when this might occur on the long chronological timeline of human history as laid out in the Bible.

These judgments have had a partial fulfillment, a past fulfilment, and the complete fulfilment is yet to come. The prophetic Word shows that the nations who have sinned against Jehovah and His people will be judged in “a coming day”, when Israel will be restored and be blest in the Millennial Kingdom. This is evident when we read the future promises to His covenant people Israel in Ezekiel 28:24–26 and 29:21. These unfulfilled promises concerning Israel’s restoration and spiritual prosperity make it clear that these judgments will be end time events, also known as the “latter”, or “last days”.

Only the Biblically illiterate fail to see that we are presently in the “last days.” The “last days” began with World War I. In the Olivet Discourse, Christ used the Jewish idiomatic phrase “nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom” to mean a conflict in the total region under discussion. In the Olivet Discourse He was discussing the events pertaining to the entire world surrounding His Second Coming. Matthew records our Lord’s words with respect to the beginning of the end, or as the Bible states the beginning of the “latter days”:

Matthew 24:7-8

 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places, 8All these [are] the beginning of sorrows (KJV).

According to all three synoptic Gospel writers, the sign of the end of the age is said to be when “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”. This act will be coupled with famines and earth quakes in various places, and Jesus clearly stated that this would be the beginning of travail (“sorrows”). The term “travail” beans “birth pang”. It refers to the series of birth pangs that a woman undergoes before giving birth to a baby. The Jewish prophets also pictured the “last days” as a series of birth pangs before the birth of the Messianic Age, also known as the Millennial Kingdom. The beginning of travail, the first birth pang, and the sign that the end of the age has begun is when “nation rises against, nation and kingdom against kingdom”.

It is important to find out just exactly where and how this idiom is used in the Bible. It is used in at least two passages, and here the second group of three nations located geographically further away from Israel becomes important.  The nation of Egypt, is the subject of this next section from Isaiah. The first passage of “nations against nations” idiom use is about the land of Egypt, and points to a conflict all over the land of Egypt as the nation is involved in a civil war:

Isaiah 19:1-4

1Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. 2And I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. 3And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst of it; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek unto the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. 4And I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts (ASV, 1901, underlining added).

A second passage using an idiom very similar to the previous section is found here:

II Chronicles 15:1-7:

1And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: Jehovah is with you, while ye are with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 3Now for a long season Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law: 4but when in their distress they turned unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. 5And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in; but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the lands. 6And they were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God did vex them with all adversity. 7But be ye strong and let not your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded (ASV, 1901, underlining added).

In this passage the idiom states that the conflict encompasses the entire Middle East. In the Olivet Discourse it is the whole world that is in view. This is clear from Matthew 24: 14; 21; 30 and 31. So, this idiom refers to a worldwide conflict, and this worldwide conflict is the first birth pang, signifying that the end of the age, and that the “last days” have begun.

Interestingly, the Jewish rabbis have used the idiom “nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” in various texts outside of the Bible. One Jewish source known as the “Zohar Chadash” states:

“At that time wars shall be stirred up in the world. Nation shall be against nation and city against city; much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.” [2]

Another Jewish source known as the Bereshit Rabbah states:

“If you shall see the kingdoms rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of the Messiah (XLII:4)

The Rabbis clearly taught that a worldwide conflict would signal the coming of the Messiah. Jesus corrected this idea slightly, for He said that when the world war occurs, while it does not signal the coming of the Messiah, it will signal that the end of the age has begun. These “birth pangs” that He talked about are the same as the “footsteps” the rabbis talked about. “The footsteps of the Messiah” had to do with a series of events that led up to the coming of the Messiah.

World War I (1914-1918) was the fulfillment of this particular prophecy for that was the first time the entire world was at war. World War II was a continuation of World War I because it involved the same participants and was fought over the same issues. Both wars had a significant impact on Jewish history. World War I gave impetus to the growth of the Zionist movement, and World War II let to the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

Since World War I, history has entered the “last days” of the Church Age. However, the “last days” are an extended period of time. We do not know when the end of the “last days” will occur. The “last days” are a period that includes the consummation of the Church age and the Great Tribulation. The period of the “last days” up to the beginning of the Great Tribulation is unrevealed in Scripture. The Great Tribulation is seven years long. The sign that the end of the age has begun is the worldwide conflict fulfilled by World War I and World War II.

Therefore, our pinpointing the events of the judgment of the nations surrounding Israel seem to place themselves in the “last days”. Specifically, with the Great Tribulation still in the future, and the Arab nations continuing to be at odds with Israel, it is reasonable to place these judgments at the end of the Great Tribulation when all animosity toward Israel will end. It may also be at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom when Israel is at peace with all nations, and the Messiah is governing the world from His throne in Jerusalem. This state of the earth after the Great Tribulation is one where wickedness and sin has been defeated (Isaiah 13:9), and the animosity of the nations toward Israel will be over.

Daniel E. Woodhead

[1] Sachar, Howard M.  A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time: 2nd Edition. New York: A Borzoi Book, 1976. Reprint Alfred A. Knoff, Inc.,1996, 333.

[2] Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2003). The footsteps of the Messiah Rev. ed.,Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries. pp. 626–627.

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God Initiates Sacrifices, Festivals & Practices in the Messianic Kingdom

God Initiates The Ordinances of the Offerings

 

Ezekiel 43:18-27

18And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. 19Thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that are of the seed of Zadok, who are near unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord Jehovah, a young bullock for a sin-offering (ASV, 1901).

This first set of ordinance offerings initiate the operation of the Messianic Temple. This is God’s first official act to consecrate the Temple and inaugurate its nearly full thousand year operation following its construction and operation. These very specific sacrificial offerings will be made upon the altar described in the previous verses in full sight of the Messiah as He sits in the inner Holy of Holies and looks out on the inner court as they are made in loving obedience to the Savior. The altar will be cleansed by the shedding of blood and used for offering whole burnt and peace offerings. Blood which the Bible regards as containing the life of the offering will be placed in the prominent place on the altar to communicate holiness. It imparts holiness and removes sin. This is a direct reference to the Lord Jesus whose blood imparted holiness to us and removed our sins. Now He is celebrating the fact that these two factors of the Messianic Kingdom have been achieved by Him. This is very similar to what Moses was commanded to do in the wilderness to inaugurate the Tabernacle over a seven day period. Details are important because similarity does not mean sameness.

 

Source: http://bible.ag/en/enezekieltranscript.htm

Leviticus 8:14-15

14And he brought the bullock of the sin-offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock of the sin-offering. 15And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar, and sanctified it, to make atonement for it (ASV, 1901)

Since Ezekiel has been promised to be resurrected he will be able to actually give to the priests, the Levites that are of the seed of Zadok, who are near unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord Jehovah, a young bullock for a sin-offering. This is promised to the faithful Old Testament saints in at lease two places. This is God’s Promise.

Isaiah 26:19:

19 Your dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead (ASV, 1901).

While this passage promises that a resurrection will some day take place a more specific promise regarding timing is found in the second passage found in the book of Daniel.

Daniel 12:2:

1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (ASV, 1901).

This passage  is making a clear distinction between the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the unrighteous. Only the righteous saints will be resurrected at this time in order to partake of the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom. These are the friends of the bridegroom (John. 3:29) who will be invited to the wedding feast with which the Messianic Kingdom will begin. The rest of humanity will be resurrected to everlasting destruction at the Great White Throne judgment after the Messianic Kingdom. Since Daniel chapter twelve begins with a discussion of Michael the Archangel prevailing at a time of trouble greater than any ever, it clearly points to the time of the end of the Tribulation. Therefore Ezekiel will be resurrected and provide the necessary first sacrifice to the Sons of Zadok of the priestly line to inaugurate the Messianic Temple. He may be the High Priest or at least have a significant role in the High Priest’s activities.

The Sons of Zadok are a very special group of which Ezekiel belongs and as God says, “are near unto me, to minister unto me.” All Hebrew names have meaning. The  Sons of Zadok have a unique name meaning “righteous.” As such Zadok was a type or model of the Lord Jesus. Zadok was a priest, who descended from Eleazar the son of Aaron  the first High Priest (I Chronicles 6:4-8). He aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom and was subsequently instrumental in bringing King Solomon to the throne. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there. The Sons of Zadok have always been faithful to the Lord and His chosen elect.

In their rebellion Israelite priests had violated the Lord’s covenant by allowing foreigners to bring their detestable practices into the temple. Because the Levites had been unfaithful to the Lord, they will be demoted in the Messianic Temple. They will tend the temple gates, slaughter sacrificial animals, and assist the people, but they will not be allowed to handle the holy objects or offerings of the Lord. As a reward for their faithfulness the Zadokite line of the Levitical family would function as the Lord’s priests. Zadok was a descendant of Aaron through Eleazar and Phinehas (I Chronicles 6:3–8, 50–53). They will be the priests selected for service of the altar called in Hebrew the Mizbeyach in the Messianic Temple. The sacrifices while memorializing the atonement that Jesus provided for the world will also emphasize the divine election of the nation Israel. They will have been chosen to perform the very sacrifices that will impress upon the whole world the blessings of salvation and peace that have been provided by the Messiah Jesus. The very first sacrifice will be a young bull as a sin offering. The Hebrew word for sin is chatat.  Since Hebrew words are built on a root of three letters this word’s root is chat which means cleanse. It is actually more accurate therefore to describe this as a cleansing offering.

Administration of the Cleansing

 

Ezekiel 43:20-21

20And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the ledge, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21Thou shalt also take the bullock of the sin-offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary (ASV, 1901).

Similarly was the case in the Mosaic Law when the blood was applied to the four horns of the altar with the priest’s finger (Exodus 29:12). Actually every sin offering mentioned in the Law was a blood applied on the four horns of the altar. Then in the Mosaic Law the remainder of the blood was poured on the base of the altar. In the Messianic Temple the blood will be sprinkled first on the four horns of the altar and then also sprinkled on the corners of the settle which went round it, for the priests to walk on, and carry out their activities.

This could be either the uppermost, or the lowermost settle, or both (see diagram).  Some will also probably be applied on the border or ledge that enclosed the settle. Here is another distinction between the Messianic Temple sacrifice and that of the Mosaic Law found in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 29:13-14

13And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul upon the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. 14But the flesh of the bullock, and its skin, and its dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin-offering (ASV, 1901).

In the Mosaic Law the inner parts of the bullock were burned on the altar. Here the command is to burn all the bullock outside the Temple. There is no mention of the Mosaic practice of allowing the priests to eat the flesh of the private sin or peace offerings here in the memorial sacrifices.

The Second Day’s Offerings

Ezekiel 43:22-25

 22And on the second day thou shalt offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin-offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock. 23When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. 24And thou shalt bring them near before Jehovah, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah.

The Lord changes the offering for the second day from a bullock to a he-goat. This did not occur in the Mosaic Law at the Tabernacle’s inauguration. The bullock was used for the full seven days of that inauguration. The object of the offering of the “he-goat” was the same as that of the offering of the bullock is to continue the cleansing of the altar. Simmarily to the scapegoat in the Mosaic Law, the scapegoat took on the sins of the Israelites and removed them (Leviticus  16:10). This is again a memorial to what Christ has done for the world. After which on the same day a bullock and finally a ram all without any blemishes or flaws shall be offered. The use of salt with an offering is associated with the idea of covenant (Numbers 18:19; II Chronicles 13:5).  Salt was used as part of sacrificial communal meals and was a sign of purification and preservation. Therefore salt is a symbol of preservation of the promises of God and a sign of the purity of the  New Covenant, which promises no possibility of failure of God or His people in the Messianic Kingdom who will be under it

Jeremiah 31:33-34

33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV, 1901).

Ezekiel 36:25-27

25And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them (ASV, 1901).

 

Seven Days Shall be The Inauguration

 

Ezekiel 43:25-27 

25Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin-offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. 26Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and purify it; so shall they consecrate it. 27And when they have accomplished the days, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah (ASV, 1901). 

The pattern commanded for day two will be carried out for the entire seven days of the inaugural ceremony. That is, a he-goat, a bullock, and a ram all perfect without any blemishes. This also was not a practice of Moses when he inaugurated the Tabernacle. It was also not done by those that returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah after captivity in Babylon. This is another major change in the order of sacrifices in time to come, under Messiah. So this ceremony lasting seven days will provide a consecration of the altar to our Messiah. These particular sacrifices in this order will have the specific purpose to inaugurate the Messianic Kingdom’s services in the new Temple. From the eighth day forward the sacrifices will continue every day but they will be burnt offerings and peace offerings all ceremonial for what Jesus our Messiah has done for us. For God says that, “I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah.”

Select Concepts to Consider Regarding the Sacrifices on the Altar

 

  1. The sacrifices are a gift to our God and in burning them they become irrevocable as in a covenant that cannot be broken. They are promises of the people to God to keep His Law. The salt is a symbol of the preservation of these promises.
  2. Fire in the house of God is a type of the Shekinah which provides, power, (Exodus 9:24), wrath (II Kings 1:9–12), approval (Leviticus 9:24), guidance (Exodus 13:21–22), protection (Zechariah 2:5), purity (Isaiah 6:5–7), deliverance (II Kings 2:11), God’s word (Jeremiah 5:14), the Messiah (Malachi 3:2), the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3), judgment (Matthew 25:41), the return of Christ (II Thessalonians 1:8), and the end of the present age (II Peter 3:10–12).
  3. A sign of God’s presence with His people (Ezekiel 43:27).
  4. It was associated with holiness, purity, and mercy, especially the horns of the altar (Ezekiel 43:15, 20; 1 Kings 1:50–51; 2:28). The sprinkling of blood on the horns of the altar was a rite of purification (Ezekiel 43:18–21).
  5. The altar was a tool of mediation (Ezekiel 40:47; 43:19). Offerings were translated from the physical world by burning and given to God as the smoke rose to heaven.
  6. The sacrifice was a means of communication with God and was considered a form of prayer (Psalm 141:2).
  7. The act of sacrifice was for a temporary atonement of sins committed knowingly and unintentionally (Ezekiel 43:25–27; Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:3–4, 15, 18; Numbers15:22–31).

 

At the conclusion of the seven days of cleansing God will completely accept the population of the Messianic Kingdom. The cleansing ritual is passed and from then on the  daily sacrifices are memorial for the world to affirm Christ’s love and sacrifice for us. It will be a reminder of the order, peace ,and promises He provided for this world.

The Second Cleansing  Sacrifice

Ezekiel 45:18

18Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish; and thou shalt cleanse the sanctuary (ASV, 1901).

God speaks directly to Ezekiel giving him explicit instruction for the cleansing of the Sanctuary. Earlier in Ezekiel 43:19-20 a young bull was offered to cleanse the Altar.

With the Exodus (cir. 1444 B.C) God inaugurated a religious calendar for the Children of Israel that would replace the civil calendar for ceremonial purposes.

Exodus 12:1-3

1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household (ASV, 1901)

The events of the Exodus 12 passage took place in the seventh month according to the civil calendar which began in September with the new harvest. The passover & deliverance from their slavery was such a significant event that God would change the basis point from which they reckon time. A new year would signify a new beginning apart from the Egyptian solar calendar to a new lunar calendar.  So God then changed the religious calendar to the first month of the year which then He called Abib to commemorate a new start. This name was change to Nisan during the Babylonian captivity. God wanted this new start to be so significant to the Nation Israel that even the calendar was going to reflect it. The Antichrist as a false Messiah will try and do the same (Daniel 7:25). The rest of Israel’s law is given at Sinai, but this memorial of redemption was established in the land of Egypt. The religious calendar would begin in the time period of March-April.

This new Messianic cleansing will take place in Nisan but on the first day of the month not the 10th day as specified in Exodus 12:3 for the new beginning. The significance of this is that the 10th of Nisan was the month of Israel’s redemption from the persecution in Egypt. The final redemption of Israel’s persecution from this present age will also end on Nisan but on the first day of the month.

Ezekiel 45:19-20

19And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. 20And so thou shalt do on the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye make atonement for the house (ASV, 1901).

Once the bull has been sacrificed by the Levites they will put it on the door-posts of the Temple Doorway and the base of the four corners of the upper platform of the Altar and on the doorpost of the gate of the Inner Courtyard. Presumably this is the inner eastern gate.

This will be for any Gentile who unintentionally sins because intentional sin will not be possible for the Jew due to the New Covenant’s provisions. The simple person is also known as one who was foolish. It is generally seen as those who when the Babylonian captivity had ended decided to stay in Babylon instead of going back to Jerusalem. This procedure will be repeated on the seventh day of the month.

The Messianic Passover Celebration

Ezekiel 45:21-25

21In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering. 23And the seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt-offering to Jehovah, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a he-goat daily for a sin-offering. 24And he shall prepare a meal-offering, an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and a hin of oil to an ephah. 25In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, in the feast, shall he do the like the seven days; according to the sin-offering, according to the burnt-offering, and according to the meal-offering, and according to the oil (ASV, 1901).

Passover will be celebrated on the fourteenth of Nisan as it has been since the Exodus. In keeping with the celebration of what the Messiah did for us by sacrificing Himself on the fourteenth of Nisan, the Passover will continue to occur on the same day. The actual festival of Passover (Pesach) begins the nightfall on the fifteenth day of Nisan. But on the fourteenth day, after the sixth hour of the day. Chometz, unleavened bread,  or any food that contains leaven (yeast) will be forbidden. Yeast is represented as sin in the Bible because it puffs up as in pride like the first sin of the anointed Cherub Hallal who became Satan the adversary of God and then mankind’s adversary. Then in the afternoon the Korban Pesach (Pascal lamb) is offered. Interestingly Jesus was sacrificed on the Passover, went into the tomb on Unleavened Bread and rose from the dead on First Fruits the third holiday of the Jewish agrarian year.

The Prince David will be the director of the services first for himself then for the people of the land with a bullock for a sin-offering. in the Mosaic system, the Passover was held within individual families with the head of the household performing the ceremony. In the Messianic Kingdom the Prince David will perform the ritual on behalf of the nation. In the Mosaic Law, the Passover was a one day festival, while in the Ezekiel, it will last for seven days. The Mosaic offered an unblemished lamb, while in the Kingdom a bullock will be offered.

David will offer a flour offering on the first Passover in order to consecrate the newly operational Temple. This and the timing of the seventh month in the fifteenth day will signify the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) which will have a significant attendance including all the Gentiles in the world.

Zechariah 14:16

16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the (Gentile) nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles (ASV, 1901).

Closing of the Inner Court East Gate

Ezekiel 46:1-2

 1 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate; and the priests shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening (ASV, 1901).

The Sabbath of the Old Testament will be reinstituted. The Sabbath will be in force as soon as the Church is Raptured from the earth. This will continue for the entire reign of our Messiah during His one-thousand year Kingdom. The glory of our Messiah and in His honor the east gate to the inner court will be opened only on the Sabbath and the first day of the month (Hebrew Rosh Chodesh). The Prince will lead the worship and it will last until the evening at which time the east inner court gate will be shut again. It is by this gate that the Prince will enter into the sanctuary to preside over the worship services as the Levites prepare the designated offerings to our Messiah. The Hebrew text says the Prince will prostrate himself before the Lord not worship as our translation says. This is the appropriate level of obedience and honor one gives the king of the earth who gave us His life for our salvation.

People Worship at the Inner Court East Gate

 

 

Ezekiel 46:3-5

3And the people of the land shall worship at the door of that gate before Jehovah on the sabbaths and on the new moons. 4And the burnt-offering that the prince shall offer unto Jehovah shall be on the sabbath day six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish; 5and the meal-offering shall be an ephah for the ram, and the meal-offering for the lambs as he is able to give, and a hin of oil to an ephah (ASV, 1901).

 

All people will come to worship at the Messianic Temple at the sabbath and the new moons.

In the Mosaic Law, the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was required for Jews only. But this will change under the Kingdom Law, it will be mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles (Zechariah 14:16–21). Under the Law of Moses, only Jews could be priests, but under Kingdom Law, Gentiles will also serve as priests (Isaiah 66:18–21). This is not at all a return to the Mosaic Law, but it is a brand new Kingdom Law. It does not conflict with the  New Testament teaching that the Mosaic Law ended with Messiah’s death. Isaiah made it quite clear that these observances would occur when God gave him these prophecies nearly seven-hundred years before Jesus was born.

Isaiah 66:23-24

23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah. 24And they shall go forth, and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh (ASV, 1901).

God makes it quite clear through His prophet Isaiah that the people coming to Jerusalem shall see the multitude of people who perished in the last siege of Jerusalem during the Great Tribulation. These nations that came against Christ will find themselves being trodden down by the King of the Jews. The city is Jerusalem and the winepress metaphor is the battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat which today is called the Kidron Valley. It lies between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 14: 19-20:

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (KJV).

From here the armies leave for Bozrah and then return ending the conflict. The blood stretches for 1,600 furlongs or 200 miles. Jeremiah best describes this:

Jeremiah 49:20-22:

20Therefore hear ye the counsel of Jehovah, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely they shall drag them away, even the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them. 21The earth trembleth at the noise of their fall; there is a cry, the noise whereof is heard in the Red Sea. 22Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread out his wings against Bozrah: and the heart of the mighty men of Edom at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs (ASV, 1901).

The massive blood letting that began at Bozrah moves to the south down the Arabah until it empties into the Red Sea at the present-day cities of Eilat and Akaba. The distance to Jerusalem is about 200 miles. The level of the blood is about four feet high. The battle finally comes to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat ending the seventh stage of the campaign of Armageddon.

Offerings For The New Moon

Ezekiel 46:6-8

6And on the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish: 7and he shall prepare a meal-offering, an ephah for the bullock, and an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs according as he is able, and a hin of oil to an ephah. 8And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof (ASV, 1901).

Israel’s calendar was change by God as they left Egyptian time reckoning from a solar year to a lunar year. God commanded that this change be recognized of the new moon in a significant manner. The feasts were all reckoned in relation to the various phases of the moon.

Today in some of Orthodox Judaism’s followers special prayers are recited at the appearance of the new moon.  This Messianic Kingdom change is a new offering brought by David and it differs from the Mosaic Law as prescribed by the Torah in that there is no mention of a sin offering (Numbers 28:11, 15). This is a brand-new offering unique to the Messianic Kingdom.

David enters by the outer door on the side of the east and he goes out the same way. He has a very prominent role as the representative of the people. He presents his offerings to the Lord God our Messiah, while the people stand as worshippers at the outer side of the inner east gate. The offerings the Prince is to bring on the Sabbath are larger than those commanded in the law. Both the burnt-offering and the meal offering brought by him on the Sabbath are more abundant than those offered under the Mosaic Law. This represents a higher form of worship of the Messiah who will live with us and restored Israel.

The Worship Procession

Ezekiel 46:9

9But when the people of the land shall come before Jehovah in the appointed feasts, he that entereth by the way of the north gate to worship shall go forth by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth straight before him (ASV, 1901).

During the Messianic Kingdom there will be a orderly procession of all the people of the earth coming to Jerusalem to honor the King at the appointed festivals. This is a public display of worship and honor to God. In order to prevent congestion and confusion all the people will be entering the Temple compound through either the north or the south gate. The Temple proper, known as the Heichal, will be passed by as the worshippers stream through the inner court and prostrate themselves before the Messianic King of the universe. Whatever gate they enter by they will proceed straight through to the other side and exit that opposite gate. So if they enter by the north gate they will go out by way of the south and visa-versa. God is very concerned with appropriate decorum in His House as well as worship practices and has stated that in the Mosaic Law as well as the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 16:16

16Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Jehovah thy God in the place which he shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before Jehovah empty (ASV, 1901).

This same concept holds true in the New Testament too. The apostle Paul when giving us rules of order in the proper expression of Spiritual Gifts (Greek Charismata), says that we should “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40). Paul does not limit the proper order to charismata. He says, “All Things,” which focuses on the worship and honor we pay to the Lord. In fact the book of I Corinthians from Chapter 11:2 to 14:40 reveals the proper order of Christian worship leading up to this section’s conclusion of the proper functioning of charismata. It includes the state of women and headship as well as the state of all at the Lord’s Supper. We will all stand before God to give and account. (Romans 14:12; II Corinthians 5:10). God does not want us to follow the culture. He wants us to be obedient to Him in all things.

There will be an unknown number of people in the millions coming to Jerusalem during the Messianic Kingdom so order and decorum must prevail in our public display of worship. What is important for us to realize is that everything is divinely ordered. We may not understand it but God does everything for a reason. He wants our obedience.

David The Prince With His People

Ezekiel 46:10-12

10And the prince, when they go in, shall go in in the midst of them; and when they go forth, they shall go forth together. 11And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meal-offering shall be an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs as he is able to give, and a hin of oil to an ephah. 12And when the prince shall prepare a freewill-offering, a burnt-offering or peace-offerings as a freewill-offering unto Jehovah, one shall open for him the gate that looketh toward the east; and he shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, as he doth on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate (ASV, 1901).

One of the most precious views of the attitude of David the Prince and why he was chosen for this role is the love for and obedience he had for God. He as the great leader is not pushing the people to properly worship God. He is showing them how to obey by doing it with them. Here he is in the midst of them; and when they go forth, they shall go forth together,  (David’s Lament in I Samuel 26:19; Sons of Korah Psalm 42:4; David’s Godly resolve in Psalm 132:1-5). God says that when David shall prepare a freewill-offering, a burnt-offering or peace-offerings as a freewill-offering unto Jehovah, one shall open for him the gate that looketh toward the east; and he shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, as he doth on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate. So the gate on the east of the inner court will be open for him to make his obeisance to The King of the world. After he came in with the people he will then ceremonially go in  and out of the eastern gate in obedience to God. The gate will be opened for him and closed after he has made his ceremonial offering leading the people in worship with the specified offerings in the volumes required. The outer eastern gate is permanently closed now after Messiah entered the Temple compound. The lesser leader David will obey a model of that with the inner eastern gate. The New Year offerings, the Passover offerings, the offerings for the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Sabbath offerings, will all take place at the inner eastern gate. The inner eastern gate will be shut for six days, but will always be opened on the Sabbath throughout the Kingdom period.

The Lamb of  Sacrifice

Ezekiel 46:13-15

13And thou shalt prepare a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah daily: morning by morning shalt thou prepare it. 14And thou shalt prepare a meal-offering with it morning by morning, the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of a hin of oil, to moisten the fine flour; a meal-offering unto Jehovah continually by a perpetual ordinance. 15Thus shall they prepare the lamb, and the meal-offering, and the oil, morning by morning, for a continual burnt-offering (ASV, 1901).

During the period of the Mosaic Law the daily offerings consisted of a lamb every morning and of a lamb every evening (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:1-8). In the Messianic Kingdom services the only burnt-offering mentioned is during the mornings. One more difference  to the Mosaic law is that the  offering volume is increased from one-tenth to one-sixth, and the oil from one-quarter of a hin to one-third.  This difference is intentional even though not clearly explained why. One observation we can make is that as the blessings of grace abound under the Gospel dispensation, and we should abound in our thanksgiving to God. The blessings of the Messianic Kingdom will be greater than at any time before and offerings should represent this greater blessing to us. This then brings an end to the commands for the new order of worship in the Messianic Kingdom.

The Rules of Inheritance of the Prince

Ezekiel 46:16-17

16Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, it is his inheritance, it shall belong to his sons; it is their possession by inheritance. 17But if he give of his inheritance a gift to one of his servants, it shall be his to the year of liberty; then it shall return to the prince; but as for his inheritance, it shall be for his sons. 18Moreover the prince shall not take of the people’s inheritance, to thrust them out of their possession; he shall give inheritance to his sons out of his own possession, that my people be not scattered every man from his possession (ASV, 1901).

David the Prince will have some special rights or privileges because of his exulted position in the Temple. The fact that the Prince has sons, natural descendants is conclusive that the Prince of these last chapters of Ezekiel is not Christ. Clearly by decree in the Messianic Kingdom whatever gifts he bestows upon them shall be their possession by inheritance. During the one-thousand year Messianic Kingdom there will be twenty Jubilee years. In compliance with one of the laws for the Jubilee property will revert to its original owner as in the Mosaic Law. The Jubilee was celebrated after 7 sabbaths of years or 49 years. Then in the 50th year, counting from Israel’s entry into the Promised Land certain practices were to be set free.  The land was to lie fallow during the Jubilee year, Hebrew slaves were to be set free and, hereditary lands that had been sold were returned. The Jubilee was, in a sense, an entire year of festival, a year of liberty that restored the nation to the state it had enjoyed when God first established it. With the Messianic Kingdom being set free of sin, Satan and the curse on the earth at the Fall it will experience true liberty in Jubilee fashion too. So it is in this requirement of the Prince that when he gives gifts to those outside his family these gifts will revert to the original owner in the year of Jubilee which, is him. God sets limits on this practice referencing the abominable practices of the Jewish leaders in the confiscation of the people’s land in the period leading up to the Babylonian captivity and unfortunately after. David while not guilty of these practices during his reign as Israel’s king is nevertheless charged with providing for his offspring from his own personal property not that of others. The people will be protected as to their own personal property. This Jubilee return of gifts only pertains to that which Prince David gave to others outside his family.

Leviticus 25:23-24

23And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is mine: for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land (ASV, 1901).

The Law of the Boiling of the Sacrifices for The Offerings

 

Ezekiel 46:19-24

19Then he brought me through the entry, which was at the side of the gate, into the holy chambers for the priests, which looked toward the north: and, behold, there was a place on the hinder part westward. 20And he said unto me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, and where they shall bake the meal-offering; that they bring them not forth into the outer court, to sanctify the people. 21Then he brought me forth into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and, behold, in every corner of the court there was a court. 22In the four corners of the court there were courts inclosed, forty cubits long and thirty broad: these four in the corners were of one measure. 23And there was a wall round about in them, round about the four, and boiling-places were made under the walls round about. 24Then said he unto me, These are the boiling-houses, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people (ASV, 1901).

This is a continuation of the discussion that the Messiah was providing Ezekiel which stopped at chapter 43:17. Starting at the side of the north gate He shows Ezekiel the spot where there is a one cubit gap in the northern wall of the inner wall and the knife depository. This is the place where the priests will boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, and where they shall bake the meal-offering; that they bring them not forth into the outer court, to sanctify the people.

The priests will cook the guilt offering and the sin offerings so as to not bring them out into the outer court. Since these sacrifices are of the highest quality and most holy, any transportation to the outer court would disqualify them for use in the services. If they went to the outer court then they would be exposed to non-priestly people wearing unsanctified apparel and this would render them unfit for use. The outer court where the Angel of Jehovah leads Ezekiel is also called the Women’s Court. This is because it completely surrounds the Temple and Inner Courtyard. From Proverbs 12:4 we see that a virtuous women is the crown of her husband. So it is that the women of the Messianic Kingdom are all virtuous and the outer court surrounding the inner court as a crown is known as the women’s court. In Solomon’s Temple the women’s court did not surround the inner court but stood east of it. The text in this section of Scripture ends with a description and location of the cooking chambers. Here the priests will cook portions of the sacrifices of the lesser holiness offerings such as the peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings, which are not disqualified if they are taken out of the inner courtyard.

Messianic Temple will not have the Ark of the Covenant.

http://www.bibleprobe.com/ark.htm

Jeremiah 3:16-17

16And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. 17At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart (ASV, 1901).

Since the Messiah who is God Himself will be dwelling in and reigning from Jerusalem, there will be no need for any Ark of the Covenant. The contents of the Ark of the Covenant were the  tablets of stone that were the embodiment of the Law of Moses, a jar of manna and Aaron’s budded rod. The fact that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect is another reason why the Ark of the Covenant will be missing. Finally the Law of the Messianic Kingdom will be the New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV, 1901).

The Ark will not be needed because God says, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prophetic Significance of Jerusalem

The Significance of the USA Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

 

Recently on December 6, 2017 President Donald Trump of the United States of America recognized the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the nation of Israel. The significance of this cannot be underestimated. Jerusalem is mentioned more than any other city in Scripture: more than 800 times. It is named in 660 verses in the Old Testament, and in 142 verses in the New Testament.  Jerusalem appears in some two-thirds of the books of the Old Testament, and almost one-half of the books of the New Testament. While Jerusalem is its most common title, it also occurs under other names such as Zion, Salem, The City of David, and Ariel. It is symbolically named in allegory as “Hagar and Mount Sinai in Arabia” (Galatians 4:25) and in prophecy as “Sodom and Egypt” (Revelation 11:8). Of the over 800 biblical references, 465 in the Old Testament and 24 in the New Testament refer to prophecies of Jerusalem yet future to the time they were stated.

First Mention of Jerusalem in The Bible

Genesis 14:18-20

18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth of all (ASV, 1901).

Jerusalem, formerly known as “Salem” first appears in the book of Genesis in the Bible where “Melchizedek, the king of Salem” blessed Abraham, the first Hebrew. “Melchizedek” is one of the most interesting characters in the Bible. Here he is said to be “priest of the God Most High”, and this is the first mention of a “priest” in the Bible. The title “God Most High” in Hebrew is El Elyon. This Hebrew title of God is found three times in these verses. It is only found elsewhere in once in Psalm 78: 35. Frequently we find the phrase “Most High” in other Bible passages, but only here and in Psalm 78 do we see the phrase “God Most High.” This designation has special significance, and verse 19 specifically states that God is the “possessor of heaven and earth”. It also means that Jehovah God had a relationship with “Melchizedek”, for “Melchizedek” was a follower and minister of the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Here “Melchizedek” is said to be both a priest and a king. Abram acknowledged Melchizedek as his superior, and seemed to recognize that God had revealed Himself to this man. In the New Testament and Psalm 110, “Melchizedek” is treated as a type of Jesus. He is never seen as the Lord Jesus. A type is an example or model of something else. The book of Hebrews says he was like the Son of God (Hebrews 5,6,7). What is important to realize is that Melchizedek is a representative of God as the text says “priest of the God Most High.” Abraham recognized this and gave Melchizedek a tithe of one-tenth of all he owned.

God Says Jerusalem is His Dwelling Place.

Here the psalmist declares that Jerusalem is God’s earthly dwelling place:

Psalm 76:1-3

1In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel. 2In Salem also is his tabernacle, And his dwelling-place in Zion. 3There he brake the arrows of the bow; The shield, and the sword, and the battle, Selah (ASV, 1901). 

Jerusalem is a very special place in God’s plan for this earth, and He can do with it as He pleases:

Psalm 87:2

2Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God (ASV, 1901).

Moreover, it is this city alone to which God took up His residence in the Tabernacle, resided in the Temple, and sacrificed Himself in the Lord Jesus. The Psalmist again states:

Psalm 132:13-14

13For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 14This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it(ASV, 1901).

As a result, Jerusalem is both the Holy City, and the city at the center of the world (Ezekiel 5:5).

God Gave the Land of Israel to The Jews

Joshua 1:2-4

2Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spake unto Moses. 4From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border” (ASV, 1901). 

After the death of Moses, God made Joshua the key figure to fulfill His program. His instructions were very explicit. Joshua was to lead the people across the Jordan River into the land that God was about to give to them. It is entirely God’s right to give Canaan to the Israelites for He owns all the earth. The psalmist affirmed this:

Psalm 24:1

1The earth is Jehovah’s, and the fulness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein,(ASV, 1901). 

God Gives Jerusalem to The Nation Israel

II Samuel 5:6-10

6And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither; thinking, David cannot come in hither. 7Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David. 8And David said on that day, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites, let him get up to the watercourse, and smite the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul. Wherefore they say, There are the blind and the lame; he cannot come into the house. 9And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 10And David waxed greater and greater; for Jehovah, the God of hosts, was with him” (ASV, 1901). 

 

The Jews were now given the city of Jerusalem for their capital because God was with King David, and caused him to grow ever more powerful in terms of enlarging his dominions for Israel. The Jews were subject to the conditional Mosaic Covenant, and they were apt to lose their occupation of the land if they were disobedience to God’s Law. But they would never lose the title to it (Leviticus 26:3-45). Furthermore, He promised to always love them regardless of whether they sinned or not. In 586 B.C. Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Babylonians because of their disobedience. Jeremiah 31:38 tells us the city will be rebuilt later, and God described two characteristics of this new city of Jerusalem. First, it will be “holy to the Lord” (Zechariah 14:20–21). The city and its inhabitants will be set apart to God, who will dwell in her midst (Ezekiel 48:35). Second, the city will no more be uprooted or demolished. The ravages of war will not be experienced in this new city. However, these verses were not fulfilled after the Babylonian Captivity ended because the Jewish leaders did not cease from sin, and failed to recognize God when He appeared in the Lord Jesus. As a result, the city that was rebuilt by Ezra and the returning Jews from Babylon, and was expanded upon until the time of Jesus was destroyed again in A.D. 70 by the Romans. The new city of Jerusalem spoken of by the prophets Jeremiah, Zechariah and Ezekiel will be fully restored as Bible says, but not until the Messianic Kingdom (Ezekiel 40-48). From the time after the Roman destruction until the Zionist movement of the late 1800’s the land was not again occupied by the Jews. God told the Jews through the prophet Ezekiel that He would lead them back to the land in stages starting with the Zionist movement (Ezekiel 37:1-14). Those stages are:

  • The Zionist Movement
  • The end of World War I and the establishment of the Mandate
  • End of World War II and the creation of the sovereign State of Israel
  • The National Regeneration of Israel and beginning of the Messianic Kingdom

In the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:1-14 the valley is covered with bones. Ezekiel also makes the observation that there was a large volume of the bones, and they “were very dry”. These bones were scattered about and not in piles. This is an indication that they were not produced in a single event, but over a great length of time, and no vivid life had been in them for an extended period. For example, from the time of the last invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. to the rebirth of the nation Israel in 1948, Israel had been without life for 2,534 years. This is quite in keeping with the Lord statement of “The Times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).

The Times of the Gentiles

Jerusalem occupies a strategic position with respect to two major prophetic periods/events: “The times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) and the Allied Invasion led by the Russians (Ezekiel 38-39). “The times of the Gentiles” is that long period of time from the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.) until the Second Coming of Jesus. In “The times of the Gentiles” the Lord Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until that time period ended, and during this time the Gentiles have control over the city of Jerusalem. There have been times of temporary Jewish control over the city. For example:

  • Maccabean Period (164-63 B.C.)
  • First Jewish Revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-70)
  • The second Jewish Revolt (the Bar-Kochba Revolt) against Rome (A.D. 132-135)
  • As part of the end of 1967 Six-Day War

Any Jewish takeover of the city before the Second Coming is temporary, because Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles for at least another 3 ½ years during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11:1-2). Thus, the current situation of Jerusalem as of 2017 does not mean that “the times of the Gentiles” have ended. “The times of the Gentiles” can only end when Gentiles cannot “tread down” Jerusalem any more.

The times of the Gentiles” is also the period of time when Gentile empires will follow one another in sequence, with the Fourth Empire of imperialism going through several different stages. But eventually this will give way to God’s setting up His Own Kingdom. So even though the Jews won through battle in 1967 the control of Jerusalem, their presence there has been disputed by the eastern block of nations, including Russia and the Islamic nations. The affirmation of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital city by the United States is one link in the sequence of events in “The times of the Gentiles”. It is important to realize that the United States, through President Harry Truman, was one of the first nations to recognize the modern state of Israel in 1948 after they declared their independence. Now President Donald Trump is officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. These affirmation of Israel, and Jerusalem’s sovereignty, are much in keeping with the blessings promised in the Abrahamic Covenant.

The Abrahamic Covenant is the first unconditional covenant that God made with Israel.  The Abrahamic Covenant promised a seed, land, and blessings. As such, these three major promises of this Covenant were personal promises to Abraham, national promises to Israel, and universal promises to all the people of the earth. God promised that He would bless Abraham and make him a blessing to others, to make his name great, to give him many descendants, to make him the father of a multitude of nations, to give him the land of Canaan for always and to “bless them that blessed Abraham and to curse them that cursed him” (Genesis 12; 13; 15 & 17). God also made national promises concerning Israel. They are to make a great nation of his descendants, to give land from the eastern most branch of the Nile delta (called the river of Egypt) to the Euphrates to his descendants forever, and to give the Abrahamic covenant to his descendants forever (Genesis 17:19; 21; 26:2-4; Genesis 28:12-15). As a result of these promises, we can see the period after the Second World War as having unprecedented prosperity to the United States of America, thus fulfilling God’s promise to bless those who bless Israel. We can look forward to addition prosperity following President Trump’s affirmation of Israel’s capitol as Jerusalem.

However, as expected, the Muslim Arab nations are violently reacting to President Trump’s declaration. This may trigger the allied invasion as described in Ezekiel 38 & 39. It will at the very least cause the allies of Russia to desire the invasion in an ever more urgent manner.

The world is setting the stage for this prophecy to be fulfilled by various peace negotiations, demanding that Israel give up land, and most importantly, constantly threatening their security. The biblical text as stated in Ezekiel 38:1-39:16 describe an invasion of Israel from the north, and the subsequent total destruction of the coalition of invading forces once they reach the area of “the mountains of Israel”. It appears that there is a preemptive attack by the Israelites with a nuclear weapons exchange that results in a seven-year clean-up period. The unidentified person who will be leading this alliance is named in Ezekiel 38:2 as “Gog”. Some have referred to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the notorious Russian Jew hater, as the one who would be “Gog”. It could also be Vladimir Putin, the present Russian president, or some other person.

The various nations that will invade Israel have their origin in Genesis. In the two charts below, notice that the names of the Genealogy of Noah/Japheth colored in blue in the first chart are the same names, among others, listed in the second chart naming those who invade Israel:

Chart by The Author

 

Invading Nation of Israel from Gog and Magog War Ezek. 38 & 39 Art by Daniel Woodhead

God’s love for Israel underlies His promises to protect them and His Land by decimating the invaders of His land. God Almighty has had enough, and His fury is unleashed. This invasion of Israel is equilivant to the cup of iniquity being full, the apple of God’s eye being touched, and the Wife of Jehovah being violated, thus arousing God’s anger so that He moves out in judgment to destroy the invading army. Several causes of destruction are listed, and these include an earthquake civil war breaking out among the invading soldiers, pestilence, blood, flood, hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Since these things totally destroy the invading army without the aid of other nations, God’s purpose is seen as succeeding in its objective. God is indeed sanctified in the eyes of many people.

Prelude to the Messianic Kingdom

This invasion is immanent and could occur at any time. With the recent announcement of moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem, the Muslins have been rioting, and shooting rockets into Israel. Russia has been relatively quiet, only making slight affirmation of disagreement with the United States’ announcement, and thus affirming their allegiance to their Muslin allies. Once this invasion occurs it will trigger a major step in “the times of the Gentiles”. It will remove all the eastern bloc Islamic nations as well as Russia from political prowess on the world stage. This will pave the way for super dominance by the western democracies, and usher in the one world government. Later following this, the Antichrist will emerge as the sole leader.

It is necessary to have some basic realization of power in human relationships. This power over the world shifts from person to person and empire to empire. All the while though, God remains in control at least 2 ways. He creates, or makes things happen (His Creative Will), and He allows things to happen (His Permissive Will). All the events that lead up to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom are affected by both God’s Creative Will and His Permissive Will. It is important to direct our attention to the Fourth Gentile Empire, described in Daniel Chapter 2 and 7, which is included in the chart below:

Chart drawn by Cathy Bateson

 

Both Daniel passages in Chapters 2 & 7 make it clear that the Fourth Gentile Empire begins with the end of the Third Gentile Empire, which was Greece, and continues until Messiah comes to set up His Kingdom. The Fourth Empire is an Imperialistic Empire. Imperialism is simply a policy of extending a country’s influence through diplomacy or military force.

This Fourth Empire is diverse from all the rest. It goes through five distinct stages. Rome is only the first of the stages. Rome is not the name of the successive stages. I realize that some Bible teachers believe that there will be a revival of the old Roman Empire, but the text never says this. It is man’s speculation that leads to that idea. What Rome did that was different than all the other empires was to establish the imperialist form of government. It is this form that the Bible speaks of as the Fourth Gentile Empire, not just Rome. There is no break or gap in the imperialist form of government on the earth from the initiation of the Roman Empire until Christ returns. Nowhere in Scripture is this stated. This form will go through five successive stages. We need to study those to see where history fits in this exposition.

  1. The United Stage-Rome is the first stage of the imperialist form of government. The first stage, or the United Stage, started about 43 B.C and lasted until A.D. 364. However, there were five types of government that Rome went through from its origin and subsequent development, which is referenced in Daniel chapter seven.
  2. The second stage or the Empire of Imperialism was the Two Division Stage. This stage was foreseen by Daniel 2 (Legs of Iron), but not by Daniel 7. It began in A.D. 364 when Emperor Valentinian divided the Roman Empire into an east and west division. There was an earlier division in A.D. 285 that was of short duration. The Emperor Constantine in A.D. 312-313 reunited the empire. The A.D. 364 division was permanent. The Western Headquarters was in Rome and the Eastern Headquarters was in Constantinople. This lasted until A.D.1453 when it collapsed in the Turkish invasion. When Constantinople fell the political rulers, scribes, and scholars fled north into Russia, infiltrated the government there, and set up an imperialist form of government. The rulers called themselves Czars, which is Russian for “Caesar.” Later Russia began calling itself the Third Roman Empire. Eventually the eastern balance of power was centered in the Soviet Union and included the Communist block of nations. When European communism collapsed, the eastern balance of power shifted to Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Presently power transfers are still occurring, with Islam becoming a major eastern power. More settling is sure to occur in the future until this Two-Division Stage gives way to the as of yet future One-World Government Stage (The Allied Invasion).   The western division of power remained in Rome from A.D. 364 until A.D. 476 when Rome fell. From there it shifted to France, especially the power gained by Charlemagne in A.D. 800. He called his domain the Holy Roman Empire of the Frankish Nation. In A.D. 962 Otto I of Germany defeated the Franks and set up the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The leaders called themselves Kaiser, which is German for “Caesar.” Since then, especially after World War I, the western balance of power has been centered in the democratic nations of the west. So, the Two-Division Stage, which began in A. D. 364, continues to this day and there may be some shifting yet to come before the east-west balance becomes the third stage.
  3. All the remaining 3 stages of the Empire of Imperialism are yet future to us today in 2017.  Daniel 7:23 clearly states that at some time the Fourth Empire will “devour the whole earth”. Rome never did this. Rome did not even extend to the borders conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great. The Imperialist form of government will at some time exercise control over the whole earth.   Rome must not be seen as the total of the Fourth Empire, but as only one stage of the Empire of Imperialism.  The Allied invasion of Israel, which will occur prior to the Great Tribulation, will cause the Russian and Muslim nations to lose their authority. (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16) This event will give way to the One-World Government Stage. 
  4. The Ten-Division Stage is seen in both Daniel 2 with the ten toes, and in Daniel 7 with the ten horns. This stage is clearly stated to come out of the One World Government Stage. The Bible is silent as to why the division occurs. These ten kingdoms will cover the entire earth and not be limited to some specific continent such as Europe. They will begin sometime before the Great Tribulation, and continue into the middle of the Tribulation.  To be consistent with Daniel’s prophecy, perhaps one could consider the Club of Rome’s recommendation that the world be divided up into ten administrative districts to avoid economic collapse. The Club of Rome is a global think tank, and center of worldly innovation and initiative. As a non-profit, non-governmental futurist organization, it brings together scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not pre-ordained, and that each human being can contribute to the improvement of our societies.
  5. The Antichrist Stage follows the Ten-Kingdom Stage. The Antichrist rises to power during the Ten-Kingdom stage, uproots three of the ten kings, and the other seven submit to his authority. This then becomes the Stage of Absolute Imperialism. Once this submission occurs the Antichrist Stage officially begins. This stage is the fifth and final stage of Gentile World Imperialism.

It is very valuable to understand the course of “the times of the Gentiles” so we can get an understanding of biblical eschatology itself, and see that various world events clearly fall into line with God’s overall Plan.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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The Nature and Names of the Coming Antichrist

The Coming Antichrist Has Been Given Many Names in the Bible.

 

Samyaza The Fallen Angel by Hawkwood

Biblical Names for the Antichrist- Old Testament

  1. Adversary; Psalms 74:8-10; Amos 3:11
  2. Assyrian; Isaiah 10:5, 12
  3. Belial; Nahum 1:15
  4. Bloody and Deceitful Man; Psalms 5:6
  5. Branch of the Terrible Ones; Isaiah 25:5; Isaiah 14:19
  6. Chief Prince; Ezekiel 38:2
  7. Crooked Serpent; Job 26:13; Isaiah 14:19
  8. Cruel One; Jeremiah 30:14; 23
  9. Destroyer of the Gentiles; Jeremiah 4:7
  10. Enemy; Ps 55:3; Jeremiah 30:14; 23
  11. Evil Man; Psalms 140:1
  12. Head over many Countries Psalms 110:6
  13. Head of the Northern Army Joel 2:20
  14. Idol Shepherd; Zechariah 11:16-17
  15. King of Princes; Hosea 8:10
  16. King of Babylon; Isaiah 14:11-20
  17. Little Horn; Daniel 7:8-11, 21-26; 8:9-12, 23-25
  18. Man of the earth; Psalms 10:18
  19. Merchant, deceit, oppress; Hos 12:7
  20. Mighty Man; Psalms52:1
  21. Nail; Isaiah 22:25
  22. Prince That Shall Come; Daniel 9:26
  23. Prince of Tyre; Ezekiel 28:2-10
  24. Profane Wicked Prince of Israel; Ezekiel 21:25-27
  25. Proud Man; Habakkuk 2:5
  26. Rod of God’s Anger; Isaiah 10:5
  27. Seed of the Serpent; Genesis 3:15
  28. Son of the Morning; Isaiah 14:12
  29. Spoiler, Destroyer; Isaiah 16:4-5
  30. Vile Person; Daniel 11:21
  31. Violent Man; Psalms 140:1, 10, 11
  32. Wicked, Wicked One; Psalms 9:17; 10:2, 4; Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 30:14, 23
  33. Willful King; Daniel 11:36

Biblical Names for the Antichrist-New Testament

  1. Angel of the Bottomless Pit; Revelation 9:11
  2. Antichrist; 1 John 2:18, 22
  3. Beast; Revelation 11:7, 13
  4. Father of the Lie; John 8:44; 2 Thessalonians 2:11
  5. Lawless One; 2 Thessalonians 2:8
  6. Man of Sin; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  7. One Come in His Own Name; John 5:43
  8. Prince of Darkness; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  9. Son of Perdition; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  10. Star; Revelation 8:10; 9:1
  11. Unclean Spirit; Matthew 12:43
  12. Vine of the earth; Revelation 14:18

Capabilities of the Antichrist

  1. Big Mouth Daniel 7:8, 11, 20
  2. The Son of Satan; Genesis 3:15
  3. Intellectual Genius; Daniel 7:20; Ezekiel 28:3
  4. Oratorical Genius; Daniel 7:20; Revelation 13:2
  5. Political Genius; Daniel 11:21
  6. Commercial Genius; Daniel 8:25; Revelation 13:17; Daniel 11:38; 43; Ezekiel 28:4-5
  7. Military Genius; Daniel 8:24; Revelation 6:2; Revelation 13:4; Isaiah 14:16
  8. Governmental Genius; Revelation 13:1-2, 17:17
  9. Religious Genius; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:3, 14, 15

The Jews have called him Armilus. In their non-canonical writings (Midrashim)

For Example:

Saadia ben Yosef (cir. AD 882-942) writes of this coming world leader as Armilus[1] which in some smaller Midrashim are dealing with the “latter days.” In the “Midrash wa-Yosha'”—which comes nearest to Saadia’s conception—Armilus is taken to be Gog’s successor; but is represented as a monstrosity, bald-headed, with one large and one small eye, deaf in the right ear and maimed in the right arm, while the left arm is two and one-half ells long. His battle with and his defeat by the Messiah, son of Joseph, correspond with Saadia’s account.[2] The statement that is found there is that Armilus is the son of Satan and of a stone. [3]

 The Antichrist Appears at the Beginning of the Tribulation

 Revelation 6:1  

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, Come.

 Revelation 6:2  

And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon had a bow; and there was given unto him a crown: and he came forth conquering, and to conquer.

Since he is a counterfeit Christ he will have a natural birth and a supernatural birth.

The natural origin of Christ is that He was a product of a Jewish woman. The supernatural origin was the miraculous virgin birth by means of the power of the Holy Spirit. The result was the God-Man that we worship as Jesus of Nazareth that we know as the Messiah or Christ.

The Antichrist Will Be a Gentile:

He Will Be of Roman Origin:

The person that makes the seven-year covenant with Israel whose people destroyed the Temple is the Antichrist. (Daniel 9:26-27)

His Supernatural Origin:

The supernatural origin of Antichrist is by means of a counterfeit virgin conception. The supernatural origin is found in Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15  

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

 This verse gives the first prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. It also speaks to the coming of Antichrist. There are two pairs listed here.

  1. Enmity between Satan and the woman
  2. The second pair is the seeds of the Woman and the seed of Satan.

The first satanic enmity with woman is shown in Genesis six where demons intermarry with human women attempting to stop the Messiah from coming. A worldwide flood stopped this attempt. It is important to note though that the second pair is the enmity between Satan’s seed and the woman’s seed. Women do not have the seed for procreation, men do. However, since Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) the expression her seed represents a miraculous conception.

The reference in this verse to Satan’s seed implies a supernatural, miraculous conception too. From this passage then it can be deduced that Satan will someday impregnate a Roman woman who will give birth to Satan’s seed who is going to be the Antichrist. The woman might not be a virgin because Scripture does not affirm this but he will be conceived through supernatural means. Consider II Thessalonians 2:8-9.

II Thessalonians 2:8  

And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming;

II Thessalonians 2:9  

[even he], whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders

 The Greek word translated working is energeo, which means to energize. So then the coming of Antichrist will be brought about by the energizing of Satan. The counterfeit Son of the unholy Trinity will be brought about by a counterfeit virgin conception.

A time is coming when the events of Genesis six will be repeated.  The fallen anointed Cherub Satan (Lucifer) will impregnate a Roman woman to give birth to Satan’s son. The product of this conception will be a counterfeit god-man.

The Character and the Rise of the Antichrist:

Because of his close relative (father) Satan the Antichrist will have access to the satanic and demonic realm. He will accept the offer of Satan that Jesus refused when He was tempted in the wilderness. When he accepts Satan’s offer of all the kingdoms of the world it will start his rise to political power and world domination. The Church may be here to see his rise. We do not know when the rapture will occur. It can happen any time before the Tribulation starts and that is sometime before the signing of the seven-year covenant with Israel. Some see the timing of the Rapture of the Church as occurring sequentially different than this.

Daniel describes him as a willful king, characterized by self-exultation above all men and self-deification by magnifying himself above even God. By deifying himself he will put himself above all humanity. He won’t desire the love of women and therefore be inhuman toward women. Some have concluded that he will be a homosexual from (Daniel 11:37). The enmity of Satan against women will continue through Satan’s seed. He will be under the total control of Satan. He will honor Satan. His policy will be “might makes right.” Then with the help of this foreign god, Satan he will take over the strongest defenses in the world appearing invulnerable. Those who give over themselves to his authority will be given status and authority in his kingdom. (Revelation 13:17-18; 666) He will divide territory he has conquered among those who will be loyal to him and confess him to be god.

One of his capabilities will be superb oratory skill while misleading the masses.

 This will be his chief satanic enablement. He will be able to sway the masses with “great swelling words.” Ian Kershaw in his biography of Adolph Hitler provided the following quote of his appraisal of Hitler’s oratory skills. “Hitler’s frequently demonstrated diffidence and unease in dealings with individuals contrasted diametrically with his self-confident mastery in exploiting the emotions of his listeners in the theatrical setting of a major speech. He needed the orgasmic excitement which only the ecstatic masses could give him.” Hitler himself quipped that “I must have a crowd to speak.[4]

So the Antichrist will be Satan -controlled and Satan energized who will set out to conquer the world. The first seal demonstrates the beginning of his conquest. He does not gain full control until the middle of the Great Tribulation. This then is the first of the four horsemen of the apocalypse (Revelation 6:2) the rider on the white horse wearing a stephanos going out conquering and to conquer.

He Will Lead The Entire World

THE COMING ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT

Some day the events of Ezekiel 38 & 39 will occur as a Russian leader whose title is Gog seeks spoils of some sort in the land of Israel. It might be the minerals in the Salt Sea or the recent natural gas finds off shore of the land allotted to the tribe of Asher. Some have conjectured that he might have the Arab oil as his actual target using Israel as a stepping stone to get to it. In any event the Bible teaches that Gog leads a coalition of Arab Muslim nations as well as Germanic peoples in an invasion of Israel. Some believe that He will emerge from Islam. This causes the elimination of those world powers to have any remaining political prowess on the world scene. It will take the Israelis seven months to clean up the dead or they will wait seven months to enter the battlefield to start the clean-up. No one will be allowed to touch any of the bodies until the professionals have cleaned the area. Additionally, the residue of the weapons will burn for seven years providing fuel for the cities in that region (Mountains of Israel). It is for these two aspects of this battle I believe nuclear arms will be used. The Hebrew words in these passages mean simply generic weapons such as missiles. They have been translated into arrows for example in ancient Babylon (597 B.C to 586 B.C.) when Ezekiel prophesied and knew only ancient weaponry.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky the ultra-Russian nationalists is presently a four-time presidential hopeful. In the December 1993 elections, he was elected to the Russian parliament. His Liberal Democratic Party shocked the nation by receiving twenty-five percent of the votes cast. This is the party that has been compared to Hitler’s Nazi party. Liberal Democrat in the Russian sphere of political influence has a different meaning than what we are accustomed to in the United States. Some call them ultranationalists. This kind of nationalism often has as its avowed goal racial, ethnic, or religious purity. Zhirinovsky has written extensively of the future war that Russia must engage in with the people to the south. His autobiography titled the “Last Dash to the South” discusses the Russian fate of attacking the Mediterranean people in Russia’s last great war. He, like Hitler has claimed that the Jews are infecting the nation and were responsible for both World War I and II. He sees Israel as a nation with tremendous wealth. He says that he envies the Jews because they are the richest nation in the world! While he may not be Gog his attitude, rhetoric, and fervor would lead one to believe that God’s prophecy is immanent.

When this happens the east and west will be brought together with the western democracies having superiority. This will be followed by a regional or economic division of the earth into ten separate entities each with its own leader. The Antichrist will rise as the eleventh leader. He will depose three of the ten and the remaining seven will submit to him in obedience. He will then be supreme leader of the entire earth’s one world government headquartered in Babylon (Zechariah 5:5-11). Lest we look for his appearance on the world stage too early assuming control it is important to review and emphasize the imagery that the prophet Daniel wrote of in his book.

In chapters two and seven he received imagery that depicted world empires that would emerge following Babylon. The last empire described as nondescript will be the single world government or system such as imperialism.  Specifically, in chapter seven after this world unity of one government, the entire world will be segmented into ten either geographic or economic regions. Only then he will come to power. He will kill three of the ten leaders (kings) in coups d’état and assume control over the remaining seven. Until the earth is divided in some obvious manner into ten regions we will not see him coming to power. Many have looked for him too early and thought to identify him with many historical characters. Two of those for example have been the pope, and Nero, the first century Roman emperor.

Destruction of Ecclesiastical Babylon 

Revelation 17:16

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

One of the Antichrist’s first acts in gaining religious control will be the destruction of the first religious system of the Tribulation, the Ecclesiastical Babylon. Previously, this religious system had the support of the civil government, for the first 3 ½ years. With all civil authority turned over to the hands of the antichrist, who is now in full control, civil government itself will destroy the domination of the Ecclesiastical Babylon.

When Adolph Hitler assumed the Chancellorship of Germany on January 30, 1933 the Protestant Churches acclaimed him as the savior. Some such as Karl Barth the theologian of Bonn University did not see any major significance to Hitler’s appointment. Within one month civil liberties were extinguished. Within two months most political opponents were imprisoned or left the country. The Reichstag surrendered its powers and gave Hitler complete control of the legislative process. Within four months all the trade unions were dissolved. Within six months all opposition parties were suppressed and forced into voluntary liquidation leaving the Nazis as the only party in Germany.

 The Christian Churches began to make voluntary comprises to the Nazis.

 The following items were used to further Hitler’s agenda.

  1. Churches were supported with state taxes (church married to the state).
  2. There was a split between public and private morality (one for the state and one for the private person-the doctrine of two spheres).
  3. Human ideas were substituted for God’s Word-God was irrelevant-Enlightenment thinking was advanced.
  4. Hatred for the Jews flourished under Hitler which originally started with Martin Luther.
  5. The authority of the Bible which condemns these things was ignored.
  6. The Third Reich claimed complete control over all churches in Germany.
  7. The Nazis stopped the Bible from being published and disseminated.
  8. Mein Kampf, Hitler’s book replaced the Bible in Churches.
  9. All crosses were removed and replaced by swastikas.

If the genuine Church is here to see him, we must watch for him to have the same agenda that Hitler used. Many churches will go along with him because they are apostate now.

The Antichrist will try to change the laws too.

Daniel 7:25

And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

All these things will come to pass because the Scripture cannot be broken.

John 10:35

If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken

Many believe that he will be a Muslim. That may be as Scripture only tells us he will be born through a corrupt conception between an earthly Gentile woman and Satan himself.

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

[1] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1789-armilus

[2] Patai, Raphael, The Messiah Texts, Wayne State University Press 1979 Detroit, MI pg. 156-164

[3] Jellinek, Introduction to Bet Ha-Midrash, ii. 21-23, iii. 17-20

[4] Kershaw, Ian. Hitler in IV Volumes. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. Reprint Norwalk, CT: Easton Press, 2005, Vol. I, 133

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