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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God Will Always Stand With Israel

God Will Prosper Israel

 

Temple Recreation at the Israel Museum in  Jerusalem-Photo by Daniel E Woodhead

Temple Recreation at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem-Photo by Daniel E Woodhead

Jehovah God Answers The Question of Fasts

Zechariah 8:18-19

18And the word of Jehovah of hosts came unto me, saying, 19Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love truth and peace (ASV 1901).

God’s Word again comes directly to the spirit of Zechariah bypassing his eyes and ears. God reminds him of the question posed by the men from Bethel with their spokesmen Sharezer and Regem-melech. These two men and their entourage accompanying them asked to entreat the favor of Jehovah, and to speak unto the priests of the house of Jehovah of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years? At that time God did not directly give them an answer. Instead He admonished them for their self-serving fasting, which was not in repentance for what they had done. It was simply an attempt at penance, which is not a biblical truth. True repentance means you have turned away from your sin. Penance is man’s attempt to provide some self-atonement for his sin. God wanted the Jews in Zechariah’s day to connect with Him and establish a relationship with Him. He did not want them going through the motions of a ceremony to commemorate an event that they caused themselves. For those who have entered the Church since the sacrifice of Jesus there is no additional atonement. Jesus already took our sins and wiped them clean at the cross.

The men from Bethel who came to Jerusalem to entreat God and His prophet asked specifically about a fast that they had been conducting in the fifth month of the year (Av). When Jehovah God answered their question He reminded them that they had also fasted in the seventh month (Tishri) as well. The Lord God knowing that there were more fasts, in which they were engaged, provides two more in this text. The fast of the fourth month (Tammuz) commemorated the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. This followed a Babylonian induced famine of Israel, which is a typical wartime strategy. Once the enemy has been starved out, their resistance is feeble. This one happened in the eleventh year of king Zedekiah’s reign (Jeremiah 39:2, 3; 52:6-7). The fast listed in the tenth month (Tevet) marked the initiation of the siege of Nebuchadnezzar in Zedekiah’s ninth year (II Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 39:1; 52:4). What God is saying to the Jews through Zechariah is comforting to them. He says that all these fasts shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love truth and peace. What God is speaking to in these verses is the state of worship in the Millennial Kingdom as well as the Jew’s status with God. God mentions this in Isaiah.

Isaiah 61:2-3

2to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified (ASV 1901).

Isaiah 65:19

19And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying (ASV 1901).

The Lord closes this section of Scripture with a command to love truth and peace, ohev, emet and shalom. The Hebrew word order is this; truth, and peace love. This is a warning against apostasy and backsliding into sin. This will not be the case for the Jews in the Millennial Kingdom but those who went back after the exile would be susceptible to these issues.

Those Who Will Come Seeking The Jews

 

flandes_jericho_grt

Zechariah 8:20-22

20Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come peoples, and the inhabitants of many cities; 21and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to entreat the favor of Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of hosts: I will go also. 22Yea, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of Jehovah (ASV 1901).

During the Millennial Kingdom Jerusalem will be continually visited by all nations. They will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord God who will have His throne there running the theocratic government of the world. They will collect others in different cities and head to Jerusalem in large groups. This will indeed be a universal worldwide pilgrimage of all Gentile nations to pay homage to King Jesus in Jerusalem who will be sitting on David’s Throne. The level of enthusiasm for worshipping the God of the Universe who will have taken up His place on this earth will be unprecedented. These verses describe the pilgrimage as happening speedily (nēlĕkâ hālôk). Others who don’t hear of the invitation in the first declaration will say that they want to go too when they say, “I will go also.” This also demonstrates a contagious enthusiasm for worshipping God in the world headquarters, Jerusalem. Zechariah describes the pilgrims as “many peoples” and “strong nations.” This will be a worldwide movement of all peoples, not one limited to a few nearby people groups that come out of fear or weakness and inability to remain independent. The mightiest of all nations will be there, knowing full well that Jehovah God is sovereign over the entire earth. Psalm 122 vividly depicts this.

Psalm 122:1-9

1I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of Jehovah. 2Our feet are standing Within thy gates, O Jerusalem, 3Jerusalem, that art builded As a city that is compact together; 4Whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of Jehovah, For an ordinance for Israel, To give thanks unto the name of Jehovah. 5For there are set thrones for judgment, The thrones of the house of David. 6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee. 7Peace be within thy walls, And prosperity within thy palaces. 8For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. 9For the sake of the house of Jehovah our God I will seek thy good (ASV 1901).

Isaiah also confirms the sovereignty of God during this time.

Isaiah 45:23

23By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear (ASV 1901).

This good news spreading like wildfire is reminiscent of the early Church Age. The birth of the Church saw three thousand souls converted the first day on the Jewish festival of Pentecost (Acts 2:41). The early Church consisted primarily of Jewish apostles and messengers who were exceptionally enthusiastic for Jesus. Over time the Church became populated with a preponderance of Gentile believers. However instead of converting the world, the Gentile Church became more and more merged into the world. The Gentile Church grew as a whole apathetic to the evangelistic zeal that these verses describe for people coming to Jerusalem during the Millennial Kingdom. In fact Christ in His letter to the Church at Ephesus said that they had lost their first love, Him (Revelation 2:4). God’s Word will never fail, as it will go out to all its intended audience exactly as God has planned. However, the Church Age will not end in a worldwide conversion of all peoples, groups and tongues. There will not be universal peace and righteousness but it will end in apostasy.

The Bible says there will be a falling away (Apostasy) in the last days.

Castenda The Second Ring of Power by Hawkwood (David Bergan)

Castenda The Second Ring of Power by Hawkwood (David Bergan)

 

Three NT passages clearly describe the character of the apostasy.

I Timothy 4:1-3

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth (KJV).

The source of the apostasy is demons, for apostates have essentially given in to seducing spirits and are preaching a system of doctrine, which is a doctrine of demons. Furthermore, they speak lies through hypocrisy, and their consciences have stopped working.

 II Timothy 3:1-5

 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these (KJV).

In verses 1-4 there is a description of the general character of the world in the last days, and it is obvious to the casual observer that these characteristics are true today. Verse five centers on the religious front, where the last days will be characterized by men having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Apostate ministers, having churches which function as businesses, have a form of godliness. Others wear clerical garb but do all for show. But because they deny the power thereof, they have denied the true power of godliness. They claim to trust in God but are actually trusting in worldly methodologies such as building programs, marketing strategies, and staff enhancements. These are all coupled with appeals for funds to fuel their growth.

II Peter 2:1-22   discusses the apostates at length. Reading through the passage, Peter displays no love or tolerance toward the apostates. The Bible and particularly the Lord Jesus do not display any toleration toward apostasy and both castigate it very severely, as these verses clearly show. The apostasy and failure, will end in the greatest war that mankind, will have ever known, The Great Tribulation (Revelation 6:1-19:21). During this worldwide war the Lord will again use Jewish evangelists (144,000) to spread His Word on a worldwide basis most effectively with incredible missionary zeal (Revelation 7:3-9).

The Flourishing of the Jews in the Millennium

 

Esther & Ahasjerus by Francois Langrenee cir 1775-80

Esther & Ahasjerus by Francois Langrenee cir 1775-80

Zechariah 8:23

23Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you (ASV 1901).

The Lord God now continues to describe the extent of Jewish leadership and favor in the world during the Millennial reign of Jesus. He says that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nation. Ten is a common number used in Scripture to denote an indefinite but large number (Genesis 31:7; Exodus 34:28; Leviticus 26:26; Numbers 24:22; I Samuel 1:8; Job 19:3; Daniel 1:12; Amos 6:9). Here it means a great multitude of Gentile people who shall gather to see God’s Glory in Jerusalem. The Gentiles will vastly out number the Jews in that day as they do now as well. Further this is not a regional gathering. It will be from the entire world as all languages and nations are described. What they are described as doing is taking hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew. The Hebrew verb translated as taking hold is the verb ḥāzaq often denotes almost a violent grabbing of something with the intention of not letting go. The khenaph, is the corner of the long flowing garment worn by the ancient Jews. Then to each of the four khenaphayim of the typically white outer garment were attached tsitsith, “fringes,” or tassels of blue. This is probably what is being referred to, since it was the distinctly visible sign of “a man, a Jew” as the Hebrew text reads. It is spoken of as being caught hold of, first with a view to detain the Jew, so as to request his permission to accompany him. But it also has the sense of keeping firm hold, depicting the earnest determination of the Gentile pilgrims to accompany the Jew who is on the way to the future world capital Jerusalem to pay homage to the Jewish Messiah King Jesus.

The Lord God and Creator of the entire universe will be the center of attraction for the entire thousand-year Theocratic Kingdom. This is perhaps the strongest and most concise statement of the future blessing of the Jews as they are given a commanding role in the world’s government. These Gentiles will say to the Israelites, “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Deuteronomy 28:13

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do [them] (KJV).

Israel’s final restoration will bring the nation Israel to the world’s attention. As we have seen the Gentiles will lay hold on the Jews to be with them realizing that they are the ministers of God. They will no longer be persecuted but will lead the way to the Messiah Jesus.

Zephaniah 3:20

20At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, saith Jehovah (ASV 1901).

Pesikta Rabbathai, in Yaklut Shimoni.

Thus in this ancient Jewish Midrash we read: “All nations shall come, falling on their faces before the Messiah, and the Israelites saying, Grant that we may be Thy servants, and of Israel. For, as relates to the doctrine and the knowledge of the law, the Gentiles shall be their servants, according as it is written: ‘In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirts of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the most important city in the world.

jerusalem

The Jews have at least seventy different names for it. Some of those found in the Bible are:

  1. Aliza
  2. Ariel
  3. Bat-Zion
  4. Ben-Zion
  5. Debir
  6. Eden
  7. Harel
  8. Moria
  9. Zion
  10. Salem
  11. Jebus
  12. Ziona
  13. Jerusalem

יְרוּשָׁלִַ֜ם

Yerushalieem

It is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 14: 18 as the city Salem.

  Genesis 14: 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God.

 

This first appearance in the Bible demonstrates that a mysterious person who the Bible describes as having no beginning called Melchizedek the King of Salem blessed Abraham the first Hebrew (Hebrews 7:2). The name occurs 814 times within 767 verses in the KJV. Before Jerusalem finally fulfills its appointed destiny as the city of the Prince of peace, and capital city of a world at peace. It has had to experience a long period of being trodden down by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24).

 

    Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled

 

It cannot be a matter of chance that Jerusalem’s former name when under Gentile Canaanite control was Jebus (Judg. 19:10), a name that translates as a place ‘trodden down’ or ‘trampled under foot’. Just as King David captured the city of the Jebusites (1 Chron. 11:4,5) and made it his capital city, so the One (Jesus)

greater than David is to free Jerusalem from being trodden down by the Gentiles and make it truly the city of peace. 

From the time that Jebus was captured by David’s army it is frequently referred to in Scripture as (Mount) Zion. The very first mention of this name is in the phrase “strong hold of Zion” (2 Sam. 5:7). We would expect that the name Zion would be as meaningful as are the names Jebus and Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is chosen by God in His divine plan of the ages. We see evidence of this as the Psalmist declares: “The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than the dwelling places of Jacob” (Psalm 87:2). Moreover, it is this city alone to which God descended, as the Psalmist again declared: “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:13-14). Consequently, Jerusalem attained a status as both the holy city and as the city at the center of the world (Ezekiel 5:5).

Given such privileged position, it is no wonder that Jerusalem is mentioned more than any other city in Scripture: more than 814 times and appears in some two-thirds of the books of the Old and almost one-half of the books of the New Testament.

In biblical prophecy it is known as “Sodom and Egypt” (Revelation 11:8). Of the biblical references, 465 in the Old Testament and 24 in the New refer to prophecies of Jerusalem later than the time there were spoken.

In the Bible Jerusalem occupies a strategic position with respect to two major prophetic periods: “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) and “the seventy weeks of Daniel” (Daniel 9:24-27). In the case of “the times of the Gentiles,” the city prophetically marks the beginning and ending of this period that stretches from the Babylonian destruction (586 B.C.) until the Second Advent of Christ. In the case of the “seventy weeks,” events in Jerusalem likewise determine the beginning and ending of this prophetic period as well as affecting the parenthesis in time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week.

During the time of the First Temple, Jerusalem became the focal point of prophecy as foreign invaders sought to capture the holy city. At one such occasion the prophet Isaiah prophesied Jerusalem’s deliverance while declaring God’s covenantal pledge to preserve it for the future: “For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake” (2 Kings 19:34).

Jerusalem is at the heart of Messianic prophecy and redemptive history. In fact, it may be said that there could have been no such plan revealed apart from its presence (Luke 13:33b). Jerusalem was indispensable to the preparation of Christ’s first coming, being restored from ruin (Isaiah 52:7-12) to fulfill its role in the messianic advent as the city of the great king.

Jesus was sent to Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37) and the city served to mark defining moments in Jesus earthly life and ministry:

  1. Dedication (Luke 2:22-38), dialogue with the teachers in the Temple (Luke 2:41-49),
  2. Temptation by the devil (Luke 4:9-12),
  3. Confrontation with the money-changers (Matthew 21:12-27),
  4. Signs of Messiahship (John 5:19; 7:14-29; 8:2-12),
  5. Trial and crucifixion (Matthew 25-27),
  6. Resurrection and ascension (Luke 24:1-51; Acts 1:9-11).
  7. The Church began in the city (Acts 2:1-13),
  8. The apostles performed miracles there (Acts 3),
  9. The Jerusalem Council met there (Acts 15:2-29),
  10. Paul began his climatic trip to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6)
  11. He also experienced the conflict that lead to his imprisonment and death (Acts 21:27ff).

Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 by the Roman Tenth Legion was predicted as the result of the Jews (corporate government) rejection of Jesus and its persecution of the Church: “and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44). Yet, Jesus’ prediction included the future hope of Jerusalem’s restoration when it repents and receives Him as Messiah (Matthew 23:39; Acts 3:19-21) at the Second Advent. Jesus even revealed the duration of its desolation, being “trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Thus, Jerusalem’s experience as the time of the end approaches is to be one of escalating tribulation until it becomes the Tribulation period and finally finds deliverance at Christ’s coming (Matthew 24:21-31).

Jerusalem under attack by Titus Vespasian Artist Poussin 1623

According to Daniel’s prophecy of the seventieth week (Daniel 9:27), which informs Jesus’ prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), Paul’s prophetic instruction to the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and John’s prophetic vision of the city’s invasion by the nations (Revelation 11:1-2), the armies of the Antichrist will occupy the city (cf. Daniel 11:45), desecrate the Temple and usurp the place of God within it, demanding worship from the world (cf. Revelation 13:6, 15).

Zechariah’s prophecy chronicles this period of distress for the city, detailing the gathering of all nations against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-3; 14:2) and its battles until at the climax of the campaign of Armageddon, when the final assault on Jerusalem takes place (Zechariah 12-14).

The Lord will bring about Israel’s national repentance beginning with “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:8-13:2), Christ will defeat the invading armies of Antichrist (Zechariah 14:3, 12-15), deliver the Jewish Remnant in the city by an earthquake (Zechariah 14:3-4), and there set up His Millennial reign (Zechariah 14:9), transforming the city’s topography (Zechariah 14:8, 10) rebuilding the Temple (Zechariah 6:12-15), purifying and glorifying the city (Zechariah 8:3; 14:11, 20-21; cf. Isaiah 4:5-6; Jeremiah 3:17), and calling the nations to worship Him (Zechariah 14:16-19).

Isaiah, likewise, prophesies concerning Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom, declaring the elevation of the Temple Mount and its new position as the worship center for the world (Isaiah 2:2-3) and center of Messiah’s rule over the nations, establishing universal peace (Isaiah 2:4). Isaiah also reveals the glorious reversal of Jerusalem’s fortunes in the millennial restoration, announcing the predicted fulfillment for the city with the divine declaration: “For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing, and her people for gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people” (Isaiah 65:18). The prophet’s portrayal of restoration in Jerusalem includes a restoration of harmony in the created order to prevent the defiling “[God’s] holy mountain” in Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25), and the nations turning to Christ, becoming His people (Isaiah 11:10, 12; 19:25) and beholding His glory in Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:18-20).

The prophet Ezekiel focuses on Jerusalem’s Millennial Temple and the city’s extended sacred status (Ezekiel 40-48), depicting the Lord’s return to dwell in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:1-7; cf. 37:26-28) and conferring upon it a new descriptive title: “YHWH Shammah: The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:3).

The final assault on the city is predicted to occur at the conclusion of the thousand year reign of Christ when Satan, released from his imprisonment deceives the nations and gathers an army to march against King Messiah enthroned in Jerusalem (Revelation 20:7-9a). As He had promised (2 Kings 19:34), the Lord defends Jerusalem and destroys these last adversaries of His holy city (Revelation 20:9b).

With the creation of the new heavens and new earth for the eternal state, Jerusalem is mentioned for the last time in the Bible. The earthly Jerusalem will continue in relationship to the heavenly Jerusalem in fulfillment of its divine destiny as the place where God’s Name will remain forever (2 Chronicles 33:4; cf. Psalm 48:8; 68:16; 132:14 Joel 3:20; Micah 4:7). We must adhere to the command in Psalm 122.

Psalm 122: 6-7 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.

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