PFI [27]: Peace at Last

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PEACE AT LAST

Peace will come to Israel and to the world. But it will not come through military might nor treaties produced by the greatest minds on earth. Man’s best efforts will ultimately fail, plunging the world into carnage and destruction. Christ will come bringing peace.

When the governments of earth have finally fallen, the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of men, will set up His kingdom (Daniel 2:44).

Upon ending the Battle of Armageddon, Christ the King will judge the nations and destroy the wicked (Matthew 25:31 — 46). The Beast (the Antichrist) and the False Prophet will be cast into a lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). Satan will be bound for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3). And the long-awaited Millennium will begin.

Millennium means one thousand years and refers to the kingdom of Christ on earth. This era, foretold by all the prophets, will be a time of peace among people and nations. War will be but a relic of the painful past. Jerusalem, known for war, bloodshed, and international tensions, will at last become the city of peace and the capital of the world:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isaiah 2:2-4).

The Prince of Peace will rule from David’s throne, and the promises given to Mary concerning Jesus will be fulfilled:

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32, 33).

For centuries, the name of Jesus has been feared, hated, or ignored by the Jews. Mistaken people have persecuted them in that name.

Dr. H. A. Ironside once took his umbrella to a Jewish handyman to be repaired. He watched the old man as he worked and was moved by his obvious poverty. When asked the charge the handyman replied, “Thirty-five cents.”

Dr. Ironside gave him the thirty-five cents and then said, “I can imagine you have to do many jobs like this to earn a living. Here is an extra half-dollar which I would like to give you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The old Jew was stunned. He replied, “In the name of Jesus Christ they burned my house in Russia! In the name of Jesus Christ they robbed me of all I had! In the name of Jesus Christ they drove me and my family out into the snow! I have been in America four years, and now for the first time someone speaks to me in the name of Jesus Christ and gives me more money than I ask!”‘

In the coming age of peace, Jews will love the name of Jesus and will be thrilled with the benefits of His kingdom. Isaiah saw it all more than seven hundred years before the birth of Christ and described their expressions of praise:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah. 9:6, 7).

Today Israel walks a tightrope, continually under the threat of invasion by her Arab neighbors. Efforts at peace take a few steps forward, only to retreat as a result of terrorism and bitter hatred by extremists. The Camp David summit meeting, arranged by President Jimmy Carter for Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel in the fall of 1978, was one such peace-making effort. More will follow involving other nations.

Hopes rise and fall with the temperature of tranquility in the Middle East.

But there is a better day coming:

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance” (Isaiah 19:24,25).

PEACE IN THE WORLD OF NATURE

The Millennium will bring peace in the world of nature. All of God’s creation suffers as a result of the fall of man and will not be restored until the kingdom of Christ is established on earth:

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:20 — 23).

Earthquakes, tornados, floods, and other marks of travail will be absent in the kingdom. Harsh climate changes will be forever past. Nature will cooperate with man.

Productivity will return to the earth. When the Jews returned to their land, they found a desert, and through backbreaking labor and scientific farming they transformed it into a garden. Irrigation made the desert come alive. Citrus orchards replaced arid land denuded of topsoil. Israel became the agricultural showplace of the Middle East.

But Tribulation events will change all that. Plagues and judgments will pummel the earth, and the massive movement of military equipment to the Middle East for the Battle of Armageddon, followed by the awful conflict itself, will finish the destruction. The land will return to rubble again.

Then the King will restore all things:

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes (Isaiah 35:1, 2, 7).

The curse will be removed and harvests will be Edenic:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman man shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt (Amos 9:13).

For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things (Zechariah 8:12).

We will continue our study of the coming peace in our next POSTINGS.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [26]: The World’s Most Violent Hour “Armageddon” part (02)

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We continue our study of the coming battle of Armageddon.

3. THE IMPACT OF THE DEFEAT OF RUSSIA

The deliverance of the Jews from the Russian invaders will cause many of them to turn to Christ, claiming Him as their Messiah and Lord: “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward” (Ezekiel 39:22).

This desertion of the dictator by numbers of Jews will intensify his hatred of both Jews and Christians, especially Jews who have been converted to Christ. A wave of anti-Semitism will sweep the earth, motivated by Satan and promoted by the Antichrist: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman [Israel], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

4. THE TWO WITNESSES

THE ANTICHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM WILL BRING GREAT TROUBLE TO THE EARTH.

But he will also be troubled. Irritations will increase with the message of Christ’s imminent return preached throughout the world. Every tribe and nation will be made aware of the timetable of the end, the eventual fall of the Antichrist, and the coming kingdom of Christ. To add to his miseries, two powerful prophets will appear in Jerusalem and will witness there for three and one-half years, guaranteeing the truth of the kingdom message of the 144,000 servants of God.

The identity of the two witnesses has caused great speculation, with general agreement that one of them will be Elijah: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).

The other witness is usually thought to be either Enoch or Moses.

Those who choose Enoch do so because like Elijah he did not die (Hebrews 11:5), and it is thought that his exemption from death was in view of his coming martyrdom during the great Tribulation. His message must also be considered. Evidently this prophet had been given a revelation of the second coming of Christ and had announced it to his generation:

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14,15).

Some build a strong case for Moses, citing his appearance with Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration as an association with that prophet in God’s plan of the ages. They also point to the similarity of many of the plagues of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble to those brought by Moses in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

These two witnesses will be miraculously protected for “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (forty-two prophetic months of thirty days each). Their power to bring plagues will draw the attention of the world to their ministry and message: “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6).

They will undoubtedly herald the countdown of the Tribulation timetable, pointing to the time of the Lord’s return to set up His kingdom. It seems likely that many of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the kingdom of Christ will be repeated by these men of God. Perhaps they will cry that the great stone of Daniel’s vision is about to fall from heaven, bringing the downfall of all earthly rule and establishing the millennium kingdom (Daniel 2:44, 45).

When the two witnesses have concluded their work they will be slain, and television cameras will beam the sight of their dead bodies lying in the street of Jerusalem to the entire world. The news of their death will cause a celebration among the ungodly of all nations: “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (Revelation 11:10).

After three and a half days they will be resurrected and will ascend to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watch, paralyzed with fear.

5. THE CALL TO ARMAGEDDON

The world dictator and his associates will have seen and heard enough. Furious over the success of the 144,000 evangelists and bitter because many Jews have rejected his rule and have turned to Jesus Christ, this dictator will announce a campaign to destroy the Jewish race once and for all. He will blame them for every ill on earth. Every problem in his kingdom will be laid at their door. Every wrong on earth, economic and political, will be charged to them. The hatred and animosity of all the Hamans and Hitlers of history will culminate in this end-time evil ruler.

Having been warned of the time when Christ will return to set up His kingdom, the Antichrist will summon the armies of the earth to the Middle East to destroy the Jews and defeat their Messiah at His coming.

DEMONIC POWER WILL BE UNLEASHED.

Miracles performed through satanic power will convince the leaders of the earth who are subservient to the Antichrist to move all their military might to the Middle East to do battle with Christ at His return to the mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God almighty” (Revelation 16:14).

JOEL’S ANCIENT PROPHECY OF THE GREATEST MILITARY EFFORT OF ALL TIME WILL BE FULFILLED:

Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, 0 Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:9-14).

ARMAGEDDON WILL DEMONSTRATE MAN AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS PRIDE AND FOLLY.

Convinced of the power of their weaponry and deceived by a leader energized by Satan, the armies of earth will march to their doom, expecting to destroy the Christ they have rejected.

Does this appear to be madness? It did to the psalmist who looked through the centuries and saw it unfold in prophetic vision. He asked: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).

Explaining the reason for his question, he wrote: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2,3).

: Here is the rebellion of man at its logical end.

: And Armageddon will end the rebellion of man.

6. THE KING IS COMING

Tribulation chronology will have allowed the Antichrist and others to know the time of the return of Christ. The armies of earth under the direction of the Antichrist will have gathered to destroy the Jews and to battle the Lord Himself. Armageddon will have arrived: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16).

The enemies of the Lord will not be disappointed: Christ will come.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11 — 16).

At Armageddon, the most awesome array of deadly weapons ever assembled will be waiting to destroy the returning Christ. In effect, the world’s end-time inhabitants will echo the cry of those who rejected the Savior at His first coming: “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).

BUT THE ENEMIES OF THE LORD WILL BE DEFEATED:

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh (Revelation 19:19-21).

IN THE WAKE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF ARMAGEDDON THERE WILL BE WORK TO DO.

The church, having returned with the King, will share in these responsibilities. The kingdom of Christ will be established, and the violent drama of the ages will end. There will be peace at last.

We will delve into this coming peace in our next newsletter.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [25]: The World’s Most Violent Hour “Armageddon” part (01)

Israel: Star of David Button feature

“Armageddon” has come to stand for the most terrible of all wars.

The word actually means “mount of Megiddo,” referring to a small mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The great valley there has been a battlefield for many conquerors and it will be the focal point of the earth’s final conflict.

Since the fall of man, earth’s population has been training for Armageddon. Every tiny skirmish and world war has been a preliminary to the battle of battles: Armageddon.

Following the defeat of Russia and her armies by Israel, the final world dictator, the Antichrist, will be revealed for who he is — a ruthless, satanically controlled, evil person. The length of his reign after the Israeli defeat of Russia will be three and one-half years (forty-two months; see Rev. 13:5) and during that time he will bring the world to its most violent hour.

The World’s Most Violent Hour

There is considerable speculation as to just what triggers the Battle of Armageddon.

» Why do the armies of the world gather in the Middle East at the end of the Tribulation period?

» Is there a rebellion in the kingdom of the Antichrist?

» What precipitates the final conflict?

Although there is mystery surrounding some of these questions, there are a number of certainties about Armageddon.

It takes place at the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 16:16).

It involves all the nations of the world (Joel 3:12).

It pits all nations against the Lord and His anointed (Ps. 2).

It ends with the revelation of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:11 — 21).

While many events of the end time are hidden from us, it is not difficult to sort out some important developments during the Tribulation period that lead to the Battle of Armageddon.

1. The Consolidation of the Power of the Antichrist

When the Beast (the Antichrist) makes peace with Israel and guarantees her security at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, he is not in complete control of the world. Although he is headed for ultimate dictatorship, the earth is at that time still given to considerable nationalism. The Beast will have to fight for total control of the earth. To gain unchallenged dominion, he will have to face the military might of both the Russian confederacy and a powerful Eastern force, probably China.

Writing of this international turmoil, Daniel explained:

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Dan. 11:40).

That this crisis is not confined to the northern alliance is made clear by Daniel 11:44:

But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

Following the miraculous defeat of the Russian armies and their allies for Israel’s sake, the Antichrist will vent his fury against the massive Eastern force of 200 million that is moving toward the Middle East to challenge his power. The casualties in this confrontation will total one-third of the world’s population.

Here is John’s description of the struggle and slaughter:

And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For this power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt” (Rev. 9:15 — 19).

It is not difficult to envision nuclear weaponry here, and in the populous Eastern nations the destruction unleashed by the Antichrist will be dreadful.

With all the world subservient to him, the final world dictator will deify himself, demanding worship in the Jews’ temple in Jerusalem. He will then assume total economic control, requiring his mark in the hand or forehead in order for a person to transact any business. The Beast will rule the earth, assisted by the false prophet and energized by Satan.

The entire world will be under the control of a satanic trinity:

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:4 — 8).

It is clear then that all opposition to the Beast will finally be put down, making him a world dictator.

Threats from the north, the south, and the east will be overcome.

“…therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious mountain…” (Dan. 11:44,45).

The Antichrist will have accomplished the dream of Hitler, Napoleon, the Caesars, and others. He will be dictator of the world.

2. The 144,000 Converted Jews

Another important factor as the world moves toward Armageddon will be the conversion to Christ of 144,000 Jews — 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (see Rev. 7). The result of their missionary activity during history’s most difficult time will be phenomenal. They will reap converts from all nations, even though conversion will mean martyrdom for many (Rev. 7:9 — 17).

The message of these 144,000 Hebrew Christian evangelists will be the gospel of the kingdom — that is, it will be the gospel with a kingdom emphasis. They will be announcing the coming kingdom of Christ, and during their ministry Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

In his book, The Jews and Armageddon, Milton B. Lindberg describes the work of the 144,000 Jews as follows:

The Gospel of Christ has a number of descriptive designations because of a variety of emphases. In Matthew 24 it is called the “gospel of the kingdom” because the emphasis in its proclamation will be upon the Saviour’s near return to set up His kingdom…. How these redeemed sons of Israel will delight to proclaim the good news of salvation with the added emphasis that at last the long-looked-for kingdom is about to be established. At long last, the Messianic hopes of Israel are to be realized. Jerusalem is to be the capital of Messiah’s kingdom. Israel’s Messiah is to be king over all the earth (Zech. 14:9).

An added dimension to the kingdom message of the 144,000 servants of God will be their ability to announce the approximate time of the Lord’s return. Tribulation chronology will make this possible.

A number of prophecies state that the rule of the final world dictator will continue for three and one-half years after breaking the agreement for peace with Israel. Daniel described this period as “a time and times and the dividing of time” (Dan. 7:25).

John similarly spoke of “a time, and times, and a half a time” (Rev. 12:14).

Becoming more specific, he wrote: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Rev. 13:5).

Armed then with the evidence of fulfilled prophecy and the unfolding Tribulation drama, these end-time messengers will reap a great harvest.

To quote Lindberg again:

When the 144,000 begin to preach the Gospel, they will be given a hearing. Even today the world loves to hear the testimony of those who, like Paul, having hated Christ and persecuted the church, now proclaim the grace of God. Not only will these transformed Jews have a hearing, but as Revelation 7 indicates, their preaching will result in “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” coming out of the Great Tribulation, having “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” What a mighty revival will result when these enemies of Jesus Christ become His devoted servants! Onward sweeps the revival in mighty power, drawing multitudes to faith in Christ.

It is not difficult to imagine the reaction of the world dictator to these who publicly proclaim the end of his reign and announce the coming kingdom of Christ. His anger will explode in an avalanche of persecution. Multitudes will be martyred. There will be no Sunday-gotomeeting Christians during the Tribulation. Great numbers will be called upon to seal their testimonies with blood.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [24]: The Unfolding Mystery

Israel: Star of David Button feature

The Unfolding Mystery

The purpose of this war has long caused questions for commentators. Ezekiel explains the purpose to be twofold: to take a spoil and to take a prey. The poverty of Palestine has made this difficult to understand, but now the mystery is unfolding.

The Jews have been the prey of persecutors for thousands of years. Today, if it were militarily possible, they would be the prey of their Arab neighbors. In the coming war with Russia, nearly all the Arab nations will be allies of Russia, and their primary purpose will be to take a prey — Israel. The Russians, however, will be marching to the Middle East to take a spoil. They will be pleased to cooperate in the conquest of Israel, knowing that when their military forces overrun the Middle East they will control all the wealth there, including the Arab oil.

Recent history has demonstrated that those who become the allies of Russia are soon totally controlled by her; witness Eastern Europe. So while the Arabs will join the attack against Israel to take a prey, Russia will be invading to take a spoil.

And the spoil is oil.

In addition, the mineral wealth of the Dead Sea, valued at two trillion dollars, must be considered, as well as the wealth being generated in Israel through industry and agriculture. The protest of Israel’s allies makes this clear:

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchant s of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, and take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? (Ezek. 38:13)

Sheba and Dedan represent a small number of Arabs who will not participate in the attack on Israel. The merchants of Tarshish are Western powers who by this time will be under the control of the Antichrist, soon to be revealed for who he is and to become the final world dictator.

Important Timing

When will this war take place?

There are four time factors that allow us to arrive at the approximate time of the war between Russia and Israel.

The war takes place in the “latter years” (38:8), or the “latter days” (38:16).

The war can only take place when the Jews are in their land. This prophecy could not have been fulfilled before 1948. Any invasion of the Middle East by Russia previous to statehood for Israel would have been meaningless in regard to this prophecy. The enactment of this scene in the last days also guarantees the survival of Israel until the war with Russia. Were the Arabs to succeed in destroying the Jews, it would be impossible to fulfill Ezekiel’s prophecy.

At the time of the invasion of Israel, Russia must be a major military power, a fact that guarantees the survival of Russia until the war with Israel. The increase of Russian military might is well known, but that immense and fearsome buildup would have no prophetic significance if the Jews were not in their homeland. Conversely, the gigantic Russian arms effort in view of the present Middle East situation must be seen as preliminary to an attack on Israel as prophesied by Ezekiel.

This war between Russia and Israel must take place when the Jews are dwelling securely in their land. The threat of Arab invasion will therefore have been removed to the point that the Jews feel safe: “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Ezek. 38:11).

It seems likely that this Jewish security will come from enacting a treaty with the head of the Western alliance or the revived Roman Empire. It will be an agreement intended to last for seven years: “…And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week… ” (Dan. 9:27).

Since by the time of the Russian attack, the treaty of peace will have been in force long enough for the Jews to feel safe, it appears that the Russian invasion will come at about the middle of the Tribulation period or approximately three and one-half years after its signing. There is also a hint that the Antichrist will come to world power at that point in time. The extension of his dominion over all the earth seems to follow the defeat of Russia and the armies of the East (Rev.9:16).

Russia’s attack on Israel will be her greatest military blunder. Though brief, the conflict will be one of the most destructive in history.

Ezekiel’s description of the battle is as follows:

Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him through all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezek. 38:19-22).

The prophet’s vision carries with it many of the characteristics of nuclear war. There are earth-splitting explosions. Mountains are toppled. Rain, hail, and fire become part of the picture as nature erupts in rebellion against the forces marching to bring destruction to the Jews.

While details of military action in this war are few, something about the defeat of the northern invaders will make it clear to the Jews that God has protected them: “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD (Ezek. 38:23).

The casualties of the Russian invaders are so great that only one-sixth of the fighting force is left after the battle: “And I will turn thee back, and l eave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezek. 39:2).

Two important developments will follow the defeat of the invaders of Israel. First, the attack by Russia will give the Antichrist an excuse for full occupation of Israel under the pretense of protection and will, along with his defeat of the huge Eastern force (Rev. 9:16), extend his power over the entire world. Second, the divine protection of Israel as prophesied by Ezekiel and proclaimed to the world by evangelists and writers throughout the closing time will turn many Jews to their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The remaining forty-two months of the Tribulation will show man at his worst.

The final world dictator will become the most evil of all earth’s political and religious leaders. His blasphemy, oppression, and self-exaltation will surpass that of all tyrants before him.

Persecution of believers in Christ will reach an all-time high. Millions will be martyred.

Anti-Semitism will become the passion of those in power.

And the world will continue its age-old march to the most fierce and foolish war of all — the Battle of Armageddon.

We will delve into the Battle of Armageddon in our next study.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [23]: The Coming War with Russia

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The Coming War with Russia

Russia will invade Israel at a time when war is not expected.

Students of Bible prophecy have long expected a Russian military move in the Middle East. Early in the 20th century, Dr. Ironside wrote:

In the last days, the final head of the Russian people will look with covetous eyes upon the great developments in the land of Palestine. They will determine that Russia must have her part of the wealth there produced. Consequently, we have the picture of a vast army, augmented by warriors from Persia, Cush, Phut, marching down toward Palestine.

Aggressors in Conflict

But why have prophetic experts come to this conclusion?

The reasons are found in chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel’s prophecy. There a devastating war is described that takes place in the Middle East involving Israel, Russia, and a number of other nations.

The following is Ezekiel’s indictment of the aggressors in the conflict:

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of amour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands: and many people with thee… (Ezekiel 38:1 – 6)

It is no secret that the majority of prophetic speakers and writers identify the prime mover among these nations named by Ezekiel as Russia. Millions of booklets, pamphlets, and books have been circulated describing the coming war between Russia and Israel. But is there hard evidence that the conclusions of these students of prophecy are correct?

Did Ezekiel really foresee Russia rising as a military power in the end time and having a special interest in the Middle East, or have present-day writers and speakers simply used today’s international tensions as an opportunity to sell books and attract crowds?

Is the public the victim of ecclesiastical opportunists who have themselves set the stage for what they describe as the end-time drama?

How can anyone be sure that Ezekiel’s prophecy has anything to do with modern nations when the words used in his description of this conflict are so unfamiliar to today’s Bible reader?

» Who is Gog? Where is the land of Magog?

» Where would one look on a map to find the cities of Meshech and Tubal?

» To what nations did Ezekiel refer when he wrote of Gomer and Togarmah?

Unless these questions can be answered satisfactorily, there is good reason to question the conclusions being so widely accepted and promoted in our time.

Convincing Evidence

Let us begin at the beginning.

A table of nations is given in Genesis 10.

At the opening of this important chapter, we are confronted with the key names in Ezekiel’s prophecy: “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras” (Genesis 10:1, 2).

These key verses describe the repopulating of the earth after the flood. It was the custom in ancient times for the descendents of a man to adopt his name for their tribe. Understanding this, historians and Bible students have been able to trace the movements of some of the tribes and know where their descendents can be found today.

Using this system, the editors of the Scofield Reference Bible have furnished the following information about the names that concern us in the table of nations:

Magog — “From Magog are descended the ancient Scythians or Tarters, whose descendents predominate in modern Russia.”

Tubal — “Tubal’s descendents peopled the region south of the Black Sea from whence they spread north and south. It is probable that Tobolsk perpetuates the tribal name.”

Meshech — “Progenitor of a race mentioned in connection with Tubal, Magog, and other northern nations. Broadly speaking, Russia, excluding the conquests of Peter the Great and his successors, is the modern land of Magog, Tubal, and Meshech.”

The Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1909. These notes alone let us know that the identification of Russia as the main aggressor in Ezekiel’s end-time battle is not the conclusion of prophetic opportunists. But there is more.

In the oriental tongue, the name of the Caucasus Mountains that run through Russia means  Fort of Gog  or  Gog’s last stand.  If you were to ask a Russian what he calls the heights of the Caucasus Mountains, he would say,  the Gogh. 

The evidence builds.

The word that is translated “chief” in Ezekiel 38:3 is “Rosh” in the Hebrew language.

For centuries prophetic scholars have generally agreed that the word “Rosh” is a proper name.

Allowing this long-accepted conclusion in the translation of this verse would make it read, “And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the Rosh prince of Meshech and Tubal.

But who is Rosh?

Rosh” was the name of the tribe dwelling in the area of the Volga. And “Rosh” is the word for “Russia” today in some languages of the world.

In Belgium and Holland it is “Rus.” Here, abbreviated, it’s “Russ,” and often appears in that form in the headlines of newspapers. An understanding of this truth moved Robert Lowth, Bishop of London two hundred years ago, to write: “Rosh, taken as a proper name in Ezekiel signifies the inhabitants of Scythia from whom the modern Russians derive their modern name. The name ‘Russia’ dates only from the seventeenth century and was formed from the ancient name ‘Russ.’

It is clear then that Ezekiel was delivering a warning to the Russian prince (leader) of Meshech and Tubal.

We have already seen from Scofield’s notes of 1909 that Tubal is the root of the name Tobolsk, but what about Meshech?

In his note on Ezekiel 38:2, Scofield continues his work of identification, stating: “That the primary reference is to the northern European powers headed by Russia, all agree… Gog is the prince, Magog his land, the reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification.

As has been already shown, Dr. Scofield was by no means the first to come to this conclusion. In 1890, Arno C. Gaebelein wrote a book on Ezekiel. Commenting on chapters 38 and 39, he declared:

“This is Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk.”

Another important voice of the past is that of Josephus. In Book I, Chapter VI of his work, this historian who lived almost two thousand years ago stated that the Scythians were called Magogites by the Greeks. Why is that important? The Scythians populated Russia.

It is little wonder then that the weight of prophetic scholarship has gone with the conclusion that Russia is the chief aggressor named by Ezekiel in this end-time war with Israel. The allies of Russia in that fierce conflict will be Persia (Iran and Iraq), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer (Eastern Germany and Slovakia), and Togarmah (Turkey).

It is interesting that Daniel adds Egypt to the names of nations coming against Israel and the final world dictator, so that the invasion includes attacks from the north and the south, as well as the prospect of trouble from the east (see Dan. 11:40-44).

There is no need to marshal the scholars of the past to confirm the place or purpose of this war.

Ezekiel explained: 

After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them (Ezek. 38:8).

What a clear and up-to-date description of Israel! She is certainly the land that is brought back from the sword — gathered out of many people — a former wasteland — brought forth out of the nations.

The invaders of Israel will come with immense air power:Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee” (Ezek. 38:9).

They will also come in full confidence of victory: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land (Ezek. 38:11,12).

We will continue our study in this next week.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [22]: The Vials & The Beast

Israel: Star of David Button feature

We want to continue our study in the Time of Jacobs Trouble where we ended last week.

The vials constitute an outpouring of God’s wrath upon the earth toward the end of the Tribulation period, and the results are mind-boggling

FIRST VIAL

And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image

People who have received the mark of the Beast, the Antichrist, are afflicted with painful sores that are evidently incurable. Perhaps this is a universal reaction to receiving the mysterious mark of the Beast in the hand or the forehead — some allergic affliction that falls upon all who have been imprinted with this satanic skin-credit-card that allows them to buy and sell during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. 


SECOND VIAL

And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

The sea, once the source of food for man and his supposed hope for the future as a reservoir of nutrients, becomes as the blood of a dead man and every living thing in the sea dies.


THIRD VIAL

And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

The rivers and springs of the earth turn to blood as a judgment against the wicked Tribulation regime that has shed the blood of righteous people.


FOURTH VIAL

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

The sun, which has befriended earth’s citizens through the centuries, becomes their enemy, scorching men.


FIFTH VIAL

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

Intense darkness comes upon the earth, accompanied by unbearable pain, causing ungodly people to blaspheme God. The Euphrates River is dried up and a huge army from the east marches through the dry riverbed on its way to Jerusalem.


SIXTH VIAL

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

Electrical storms and earthquakes that dwarf all such manifestations of nature in the past strike the earth with ferocity, destroying cities and causing nations to fall.


SEVENTH VIAL

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against the Antichrist and his kingdom.

The Beast

The rise of the Antichrist, the Beast, is the most significant cant political event during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. He is described by John in Revelation 13 as the beast that rises out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. The prophets call for him to emerge from the revived Roman Empire. And Daniel spoke of him as the “little horn” whose power would reach its zenith for three and one-half years.

Having guaranteed peace to Israel, temporarily settling the Middle East problem and putting down all rebellion, the Beast gains the allegiance of the entire world. His domination of the oil-rich Middle East will allow him to control the economies of the world, reaching even to the simple routines of life such as buying and selling food or clothing. A special mark in the hand or forehead will be required for all to transact any business.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Revelation 13:16-18).

The false religious system that prospers during the early part of the reign of the Antichrist is described in Revelation 17. This blasphemous ecclesiastical empire will thrive on pomp and ceremony and will give allegiance to the irreverent final world dictator, the Beast.

But the work of God does not cease during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Shortly after the Rapture there will be a remnant of Jews who turn to Christ. The initial number is 144,000 — 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel. These converted Jews are called ” servants of God” and they are extremely successful in ministering to others. Not long after this elect group is announced by John, he describes a great multitude from all nations who have been converted to Christ as a result of their labor and who are willing to prove their faith through martyrdom.

It is interesting that many Jews who do not turn to Christ during the Tribulation will return to temple worship as in Old Testament times, including the sacrifice of animals. It may be that allowing the erection of this temple in Jerusalem will be a part of the peace agreement between the final world dictator and the Jews.

Ultimately, however, the Antichrist will destroy the false church and will take control of Jewish worship, declaring himself to be God and demanding worship from the Jews in their own temple. The prophet Daniel spoke of this act of blasphemy as the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 12:11).

And Jesus warned that this would mean untold suffering for the Jews:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days shall be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened (Matthew 24:15-22).

The peacemaker then, the Antichrist, will break his covenant or treaty with the Jews and will become their enemy and persecutor. Anti-Semitism will flourish, and Israel will experience her final holocaust.

But what event gives the Antichrist reason to break his pact of peace?

Who tampers with the tranquility established in Israel and the Middle East by this powerful end-time ruler?

What nation introduces war to the Time of Jacob’s Trouble?

We will continue this study next week.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [21]: Jacobs Trouble

Israel: Star of David Button feature

THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE

For nearly two thousand years we have been living in a parenthesis, a prophetic interval, a time “in between.”

Daniel’s prophecy in the vision of the seventy weeks called for a period of 490 years when God would deal especially with Israel.

Seventy Weeks – 490 years

1.0 When Christ offered Himself as the Prince of Israel, 483 years, or 69 weeks of years, had been fulfilled.

2.0 When He was rejected and crucified the prophetic clock stopped, not to begin again until the Jews were back in their land and the parenthetical period had ended.

During this prophetic interval, sometimes known as the Church Age, both Jews and Gentiles who are born again through faith in Christ become part of the body of Christ or the bride of Christ. The signal that the “in between” time has ended will be the removal of the church (the bride of Christ) from the earth.

This great event is described in a number of Bible portions.

One of the clearest is:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words

The event then that ends the Church Age and ushers in the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy is the return of Christ for His church. This coming of Christ in the air is known as the Rapture of the church; it involves the resurrection of the Christian dead as well as the exit from earth of all believers living at that time.

With the removal of the church, earth plunges into its most awful hour.

Of this time Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

He was speaking of the seven-year period known as the Tribulation, or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, so named because of Jeremiah’s prophecy: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

Some believe the church will remain on earth for the Tribulation. There are a number of reasons for rejecting this conclusion.

The return of Christ for His church is a sign less and always imminent event.

Even the New Testament writers expected the Lord’s return at any moment: “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

All signs of the Lord’s return have to do with the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom.

They are only indicators of the approaching Rapture because that event precedes the establishment of Christ’s kingdom by seven years. The moment the Tribulation begins, however, a timetable will be evident. Date-setting will be conclusive. During the Tribulation, Christ’s return will no longer be imminent. Therefore, the Rapture of the church must precede the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

The Tribulation will be a time of wrath:For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17). And the church is not to be the recipient of wrath. In assuring the Thessalonian Christians that they would not go through the Tribulation, Paul explained: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians. 5:9).

Wicked as it is, the world is not quite ready for the Tribulation and the Antichrist.

The church is not all it ought to be, but the world is better because the church is here.

Sin is rampant, but it would be far worse without the presence of the church and its hindering influence to evil: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let [hinder], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:7,8).

The Holy Spirit, working through Christians, holds back the tide of evil sweeping the world. When His influence in this manner is removed at the Rapture, the world will be ready for the Antichrist and the Tribulation.

The church has three heavenly appointments during the earthly Tribulation.

First, Christians cannot be on earth during the Tribulation because they have important business elsewhere. When the Lord returns for His church, it will be time for the judgment seat of Christ: “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

Second, Christians who are living at the time of Christ’s return must have time in the mansions prepared by Jesus as described in John 14:1 — 3. The only time available for the fulfillment of this promise before the Millennium is during the Tribulation.

Third, the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place in heaven during the end of the Tribulation period, according to Revelation 19:9, and the bride of Christ must attend. Following this joyful occasion, those who belong to Christ will return with Him as He comes to set up His kingdom. Since believers must come from heaven to earth at the end of the Tribulation, it is clear that the Rapture must precede that time of trouble.

Finally, it must be remembered that the Tribulation is especially related to Israel.

Once this truth is established, all confusion about the time of the Rapture disappears. The return of Christ for His church marks the end of the Church Age, the parenthetical period, and begins the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

What is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble?

Let Daniel describe it:there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time” (Daniel 12:1).

This unprecedented period of tribulation is not to be confused with daily tribulations which all of God’s people pass through.

Jesus said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Paul had learned to glory in tribulations: “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3).

These heartaches, problems, and tribulations are different from the Tribulation.

This seven-year period is one of immense suffering for the entire world.

It is an era of unthinkable trouble.

Nothing in history can be compared to it, nor will there ever be anything equal to it in the future.

Chapters 6, 8, 9, 15, and 16 of Revelation describe the Time of Jacob’s Trouble under the headings of:

• Seven Seals.

• Seven Trumpets.

• Seven Vials.

Next week we will look at the panorama of human pain that will be experienced by the inhabitants of the earth during the Tribulation.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [20]: Jerusalem

Israel: Star of David Button feature
Jerusalem =
city of peace
or
foundation of peace.

But the history of Jerusalem is one of war and destruction.

The sounds of battle, the clash of arms, have been heard in Jerusalem through the centuries. From the siege of David in 1000 B.C. to the Six-Day War of 1967, the city of peace has experienced forty-six sieges and thirty-two partial destructions. It has been burned to the ground five times, yet has always risen from the ashes. It has been the scene of four wars in the past twenty-five years. Today it is the site of the most volatile political, religious, and military problem in the entire world.

The Jewish cry for peace in Jerusalem is sincere, finding its roots in the promise of peace for the Jews given through Moses: “And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land” (Lev. 26:6).

The Jews were instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee (Ps. 122:6-8).

As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel (Ps. 125:5).

Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel (Ps. 128:6).

He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat (Ps. 147:14).

The Jewish desire for peace has waited long and weathered many storms. Since the dispersion, this troubled people has anticipated a day of peace.

Following the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry, during the Spanish Inquisition, while Crusaders attacked them in the Rhine Valley and murdered them in the name of God, the Jews longed for peace.

Suffering unbelievably at the hands of the Cossacks during the Polish rebellion, under the reign of the merciless Czars who instituted the bloody pogroms, the Jews cried for peace.

During Hitler’s holocaust, when total annihilation of the Jews in Europe seemed imminent, the Jews longed for peace.

At the birth of their nation in 1948, the Jews longed for peace.

When surrounded by hostile neighbors and under the threat of being pushed into the sea and destroyed by the forces of Nasser in 1967, the Jews longed for peace.

But peace did not come. The long struggle for the end of hostilities continued. Tranquility evaded them. And the words of the prophet Jeremiah seemed to describe their daily experience: “We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!” (Jeremiah 8:15).

The Push for Peace

Today the entire world has a stake in the peace of Jerusalem. As never before, the Middle East is the proverbial powder keg of the world. Informed people everywhere know that a spark of conflict there might ignite a fire that would engulf the entire planet, plunging all of civilization into a nuclear nightmare.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” is good advice for all people.

Since the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the introduction of oil as a weapon of war, all industrial nations need peace in the Middle East. The prospect of unemployment, recession, inflation, and worthless currency has made political leaders aware of the absolute necessity of solving the Middle East problem and moving the Arab-Jew conflict to a peaceable solution.

Talk of peace will be increasingly the order of the day. Western nations, the United Nations, and the Communist world, acting together and unilaterally, may be involved in seeking to both calm and exploit Middle East tensions. Top-notch diplomats will be employed. Peace conferences will be scheduled in the most desirable locations. Behind-the-scenes bargaining between all powers can be expected. Diplomatic arm-twisting will not be overlooked. News releases reporting the slightest progress toward peace will be fed to the public. The push for peace will seem almost irresistible.

But peace will not come easily to the Middle East. Differences there are deep and longstanding. Jerusalem itself presents an almost insurmountable obstacle to peace. It is important to the three major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Some Arab leaders are determined to wrest control of Jerusalem from Israel. And the Jews, having finally retaken their most important city, are determined not to give it up.

Jerusalem has passed from one Gentile power to another since 400 B.C.

Consider the conquerors since A.D. 70 alone:

A.D. » 0070: The Romans;

A.D. » 0614: The Persians;

A.D. » 0637: Caliph Omar;

A.D. » 1099: The Crusaders;

A.D. » 1187: Salidan;

A.D. » 1250: The Egyptian Mamalukes;

A.D. » 1517: The Turks;

A.D. » 1917: The British; and finally in our lifetime,

A.D. » 1967: The Jews.

An anguished and heartfelt cry for peace is both desirable and dangerous.

The desire shows the heart is right regarding peace, for that is to be the aim of the child of God:

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Ps. 34:14).

On the other hand, one may be so enamored with the hope for peace that he closes his eyes to the danger of accepting fraudulent conditions for peace. Prime Minister C. Neville Chamberlain of England met with Hitler before the outbreak of World War II and thought his policies of appeasement had bought peace for the world. Instead they had but increased the appetite of an evil ruler. The report of the conference was one of peace, but it was a false peace that would not last. The temporary tranquility was just the calm before the storm. And what a storm! Jeremiah described that kind of peace, lamenting: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).

Another fact that makes Israel open to the acceptance of peace negotiations is the message of peace associated with the promised Messiah. Of His rule, Isaiah wrote:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6,7).

Micah declared: “And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men” (Micah 5:5).

And the prophet Haggai spoke of a better day: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts” (Hag. 2:9).

The Bible message then is one of genuine peace for the Jews in the future. For that reason, leaders of Israel who believe the prophets are conditioned to expect ultimate peace. Since they have not recognized nor accepted their true Messiah, they may be open to deception by one who seems to be able to deliver peace to the world, especially to the Middle East with security guarantees to Israel.

The Hebrew prophets warned of a false peace plan that will be accepted by the Jews near the end time. The attack upon Israel by Russia and other nations prophesied by Ezekiel for the “latter years” will come when the Jews feel secure in their land:

After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them…. And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates (Ezek. 38:8,11).

Furthermore, Israel and perhaps many other nations will enter into a covenant (treaty) with the final world dictator wherein they will be guaranteed peace. The duration of the agreement will be seven years. This seven-year agreement will coincide with the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy, and genuine peace will be short-lived. The treaty will be broken after three and one-half years, and its breaking will usher in earth’s most terrible time:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Dan. 9:27).

Commenting on Daniel 9:27 and the efforts for peace in the Middle East, Walvoord and Walvoord have written:

A peace settlement in the Middle East is one of the most important events predicted for the end time. The signing of this peace treaty will start the final countdown leading to Armageddon and then introduce the new world leader who will be destined to become world dictator — the infamous Antichrist. According to Daniel 9:27, the last seven years leading up to the second coming of Christ will begin with just such a peace settlement. The same passage describes a covenant to be made between the nation of Israel and the prince who will rise to power (Daniel 9:26). While the details of the covenant are not given, it will be an attempt to settle the Arab-Israeli controversy which has focused world attention on the Middle East. It may well take the form of a forced peace settlement in which Israel returns much of the land conquered through war in exchange for strong international guarantees for Israel’s safety and prosperity…

The key issue in negotiations would be the city of Jerusalem itself, which Israel prizes more than any other possession. Undoubtedly there will be a strong attempt to make Jerusalem an international city with free access not only for Jews but for Christians and Muslims as well. The temple area may be internationalized, and Israel’s territorial conquests will be greatly reduced. In the light of Arab power and the isolation of the United States as the sole supporting force behind Israel’s continuity as a nation, it seems that any settlement short of this will not satisfy the Arab world.

cogsThe ingredients then in the coming peace agreement between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries are as follows:

 

» Israel will long for peace.

» The Arabs will long for peace.

» The world will fear the igniting of a nuclear war through a Middle East confrontation.

» Arab wealth and power will have produced worldwide apprehension of an energy cutoff or another economy-shattering rise in the price of oil.

The prophets have written of a temporary peace that will come to Israel in the end time that will be broken by the Antichrist.
The peace offensive is already on. We may expect a number of lesser treaties before the tragic one involving the final world dictator. As diplomats assemble and the push for peace increases, it will be well to remember Paul’s comment concerning the cry for peace at closing time: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Students of the Scriptures will remember that real peace can only come when the Prince of Peace returns. Until then there will be no lasting peace on earth. And the crescendo of peace rhetoric that has already begun is but a sign of end-time destruction, the harbinger of history’s bloodiest hour — the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [19]: Paying the Price

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Bruised and bleeding from centuries of suffering, the Jews came home to the land of their fathers. They bought their ancient land at premium prices from its Arab owners, fulfilling the words of their prophets:

For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields s hall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord (Jeremiah 32:42-44).

Paying the Price

But in bringing about the birth of their nation, the Jews also had to pay the price of blood. Desiring to retrieve the land they had sold, the Arabs battled the Jews for decades. And after the nation’s birth, the struggle continued still.

Considering the odds for survival in a conflict with the Arabs, some Jews wondered whether they had bought a beachhead or established a nation. Their tiny land hardly compared in size with its neighbors, and the population of 650,000 at the time of the nation’s birth seemed minute compared to that of the Arab nations surrounding them (approximately fifty million). Still, the promises of scattering and persecution had been fulfilled, so why not the promises of restoration and blessing? Size or strength of opponents certainly did not alter the promises of God:

Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal the e of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after (Jeremiah 30:16,17).

Although the Jews began their return to Palestine in unbelief, still not having accepted their Messiah, they did cling to the biblical promises concerning their land. In 1956, when they again found themselves fighting for their lives, Radio Jerusalem broadcasted the words of the prophet Amos:

And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God (Amos 9:14,15).

Victory came easily in 1956. Israel quickly conquered the Gaza Strip and the major powers intervened to bring about a cease-fire in order to save Egypt from complete collapse.

Between 1956 and 1967, tensions continued to mount. Egypt’s President Gamel Abdel Nasser, the leader of the Arab world, boasted of his intention to destroy Israel completely — to push her into the sea and annihilate her citizens.

On May 15, 1967, the anniversary of Israel’s independence, Egyptian forces moved into the Sinai. On May 17, Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs proclaimed: “All Egypt is now prepared to plunge into total war which will put an end to Israel.”

Following the movement of his troops into the Sinai, Nasser demanded the removal of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force stationed there, and on May 18 the Voice of the Arabs announced:

As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is a total war which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.

Hoping to exploit the dangerous situation in the Middle East, the Russians sent exaggerated accounts to both Syria and Egypt of the movements of Israeli troops and war materials along their borders. Through these inflated announcements they were successful in fanning the flames of patriotic passion and fear among the Arabs. On May 28, Nasser declared,

We will not accept any coexistence with Israel. Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel. The war is in effect since 1948.

On May 30, he announced,

The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and the whole Arab nation [all Arabs]. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle. The critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.

The Six-Day War of 1967

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In an overt act of war, Nasser then closed the crucial Israeli port of Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba.

The war was on.

The Jews had heard and seen enough, and on June 5 Israeli jets struck a death blow to the Egyptian air force. Israeli tanks rolled into the Sinai. Fierce battles took place in the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem. Russia warned the world to keep hands off, expecting a quick Arab victory. But the dry bones of Ezekiel’s vision had begun to come together, and nothing in the prophecy gave any hint of annihilation or a return to the graves of other nations from which they had come. The Jews would not be destroyed, for God had promised to preserve them.

Within six days the Arab forces were in serious retreat. Israeli soldiers had captured the Sinai and the Golan Heights, and Russia was demanding peace in the Middle East. It is significant that Israel had captured all of Jerusalem. All of this ancient and beloved city was in Jewish hands for the first time since A.D. 70, causing Bible students to take a fresh look at 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.”

The Six-Day War of 1967 gained world respect for Israel as a military power. Friends of Israel who had feared for her safety now respected her ability to defend herself. The Russians were appalled at their loss of three billion dollars’ worth of military aid to the Arabs in a six-day period. Nasser was humiliated; in an attempt to save face he manufactured stories of American and British intervention on the side of Israel.

Israeli soldiers had distinguished themselves as fighting men. Against overwhelming numbers and immense firepower, they had been victorious. The whole experience was reminiscent of Gideon’s successful campaign against the Midianites when greatly outnumbered, or of Joshua’s conquest of the land of Canaan.

It is clear that God protected His ancient people. But this raises questions: If the scattering of the Jews resulted from their rejection of Christ, why has God brought them back to the land? Why have the Jews been allowed to return to their land in unbelief ? Why has God protected the people of Israel when they have not received His Son?

The answer to all these questions is simply that God promised through His prophets that in the end time He would bring the Jewish people back into their land, though still in unbelief, but that after arriving there they would turn to Him:

Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord (Ezek. 37:12 — 14, emphasis mine).

The War of 1973

The war of 1973, or the Yom Kippur War, began on October 6. Most Jews were in their synagogues observing Yom Kippur. Egypt attacked the Sinai Peninsula and Syria attacked the Golan Heights. Eleven Arab nations sent personnel and equipment against Israel. Once again the Jews had their backs to the wall.

Having taken the first blow in the Yom Kippur War, Israeli military forces suffered severe casualties. Within a few days, however, the Jews were on the offensive and the tide of battle was turning in Israel’s favor.

The fierce battle of the Golan Heights ended with the Jews conquering all strategic positions there and threatening Damascus.1973War

On the Egyptian front, Israeli soldiers crossed the Suez Canal and headed for Cairo. They were in a position to cut off the Egyptian Third Army that had ventured into the Sinai; had that been done, the Israeli air force would have been able to destroy the Egyptian force without fear of the missiles positioned along the canal. With the two major Arab nations in deep trouble, Russia again demanded peace.

Eager to avoid a major confrontation, the other great powers also brought pressure upon the Jews and Arabs to cease fighting. Once again tiny Israel had successfully defended herself.

Although the Arabs lost the 1973 war to Israel, they did make certain gains. Their fighting was greatly improved and their soldiers more disciplined. At the end of the war the Arabs were far more united than in the past. This new Arab unity brought about the use of a new weapon, perhaps the most deadly that has yet been used against Israel. That weapon is oil.

We will continue on this in our next newsletter.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

PFI [18]: Triumphant in Travail

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Triumphant in Travail

When in January, 1949, all fighting ended in the War of Independence, the small, ill-armed Jewish militia had developed into a seasoned fighting force supported by armor and fighter planes. Not only had the Jews survived, but they had increased their territory by six hundred miles. The final armistice gained them 21 percent more land than they had originally been given in the U.N. partition. They had been triumphant in their travail, and the world took notice.

Following the birth of the nation, the first official act of the State of Israel had been to set aside the white paper quotas, opening the doors of immigration to Jews everywhere. In the eighteen months following that action, 340,000 Jews arrived in their homeland. They poured in even during the war, and by June 30, 1953, the population had doubled. By the end of fifteen months following statehood, fifty-two displaced-persons’ camps in Europe had been closed and all the inhabitants sent to Israel.

The prophesied return to Palestine of the children of Israel was happening. Isaiah had written: “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5,6).

Coming Home

And from all directions they came.

They came from the east. The largest group arriving from the east came from Iraq, the ancient land of Babylon. At the time of the War of Independence, 135,000 Jews lived in Iraq. After the war, when they were allowed to return to Israel, they were required to leave all their wealth behind. It is estimated that they left assets worth five million dollars. Speaking of that exodus, Dr. Weizmann said, “Now we see the end of the Babylonian captivity.”

They came from the west. Jews arrived from the west more slowly than from other directions because the largest group of Jews there had settled in the United States. Being comfortable in America, they were not eager to leave. However, the financial resources of American Jews allowed them to invest heavily in founding the national home.

There are nearly 6 million Jews in the United States, a number that exceeds the population of Israel (5 million). Their success here may have been the blessing of God for the very purpose of enabling them to give financial support to those settling in the State of Israel.

They came from the north. From Hitler’s camps and the displaced-persons camps they came. From all the nations of Europe they came. Having learned the lesson of the holocaust, they came to Israel. They came home.

They came from the south. They came from Yemen and other lands south of Israel. The story of the Yemenite Jews and their return is a tale in itself.

Considering themselves exiles in Yemen, the Jews eagerly received the word that the State of Israel had been established and that a new David was in power (David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel).

Gathering up what possessions they could carry, great numbers of them started the journey to Israel. When their countrymen in Israel heard of it, an airlift was organized. Converted bombers were prepared to bring the Yemenite Jews home. In his book, Israel, the Key to Prophecy, William L. Hull described the scene:

Large planes, converted bombers, were flown to Aden. They contained only benches running lengthwise in the plane and thus enabling up to 130 of the small undersized sized Yemenite Jews to be loaded into one plane. It was all new to the Yemenites. They were a primitive people and entirely unacquainted with machinery or modern scientific development. Only a handful of all the Jews in Yemen had ever seen a plane before or even an automobile. With considerable trepidation, the crew prepared for the first flight from Aden. What would be the reaction of these primitive people? Thousands were to be transported. The first flight would indicate what might be expected.

Slowly men, women, and children made their way up the steps, took their places on the benches, sitting cross-legged, and waited in wonder. The crew was wondering, too. The roar of the motors, the movement of the plane, the sudden lifting from the ground, any of these could cause a stampede in the plane. A rush to the door, a crowding of all to one side or an attack upon the crew might wreck the plane. But nothing did happen. Everyone sat quietly, open-mouthed, breathless. Then the plane moved off and was airborne. Soon it was flying smoothly with its strange human cargo. The Yemenites just smiled and explained that God has promised that “they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” Here were the eagle’s wings provided to bring them back to Zion. Surely it was time for the Messiah to come. Maybe He awaited them in Israel!

All together 48,000 Jews were flown to Israel from Yemen.

The Jews, a people noted for their business ability, made a total investment in the State of Israel. They came burning their bridges behind them. Sometimes they were required to leave the labor of a lifetime to start anew as pioneers in a new land.

And yet this land was not new! Something within had called them back to the land of their fathers. At last the Jews were coming home.

But are they home to stay? We will cover this in our next newsletter.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE