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God's Word Eight

A website for those who wish to digest the "strong [solid] meat,"
not just "the milk or meat," of the Word of God.
 Hebrews 5:12-14

TOPIC INDEX LINKS:
Middle East Peace, How? When? BOOK
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
Rear Cover

An intractable Middle East problem faces man today, one that can only become worse and worse with the passage of time, Until

The reason for the problem is the existence of an Israeli nation in the midst of mainly Moslem nations — a nation presently comprised of some 6,000,000 Jews who have returned to the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before it is time for the Jewish people to return.

The “Jewish people” have returned to the land in unbelief, prior to repentance, prior to their conversion, and while the house still lies desolate (Exodus 12:1ff; Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 23:37-39).

The “manslayer” (KJV: slayer) has returned to the land of her possession before Christ completes His high priestly ministry, apart from availing herself of the ransom (Numbers 35:1ff).

God, in time past, because of the Jewish people’s continued disobedience, extending over centuries of time, uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the Gentiles.

And, out among the nations, the Jewish people possess a promise (seen numerous places in Scripture) that when repentance is forthcoming, God will hear from heaven and act in complete accord with His promise (cf. Exodus 1:8; 2:23-25; 3:1ff; Leviticus 26:14-42; Deuteronomy 30:1-3; 2 Chronicles 6:24-27; 7:12-14).

Until repentance is forthcoming, God will not act.  God will act with respect to a deliverance of His people only after His purpose for uprooting them from their land and driving them out among the nations has been realized.  God’s Word is crystal clear on the matter.

In this respect, what is an unrepentant and unconverted Israeli nation doing back in the land?  And what are the ramifications of the Jewish people being back in the land under existing conditions?

The preceding is what this book is all about — not what man may think, but what Scripture has to say.  Numerous facets of the matter are covered from different passages of Scripture, with a particular emphasis on the beast and the harlot in Revelation 17:1-19:6.

Foreword

This book has to do with Israel and the nations, from present and future perspectives, taking the reader from that which is seen during the present time, continuing into and through the Tribulation, and concluding at that future time toward which everything in Scripture moves — the Messianic Era.  And if one desires to understand Scripture, that which is about to occur in the world and where it will all lead, he MUST understand the place that Israel occupies in God’s Economy.

Solely from a biblical perspective, what place does Israel occupy in events occurring in the world today, not only in the Middle East but worldwide?  The answer would surprise most, shock the nations surrounding Israel in the Middle East, for, within the manner in which God exercises omniscient, sovereign control of all things, nothing occurs apart from Israel occupying center-stage.

Note Deuteronomy 32:10b and Zechariah 2:8b as somewhat parallel verses to begin dealing with the matter, again, solely from a biblical perspective:

“. . . He [God] kept him [Israel] as the apple [lit., ‘the pupil’] of His eye.”

“. . . he that touches you [Israel] touches the apple [lit., ‘the pupil’] of His [God’s] eye.”

In short, God views all affairs occurring in the human race through one means alone, through Israel, through the Jewish people.  Thus, God views all affairs in any and all of the Gentile nations through the one nation separate from these nations.  Israel, in this respect, is God’s eye-gate as He has viewed affairs in the world down through centuries of time, continues to view them today, and will always view them.

Now, let’s approach the matter from a different standpoint.  Apart from Israel, even with the nation’s present state of unbelief and disobedience, the Gentile nations all find themselves in exactly the same position relative to an association with the one true and living God — estranged from God, “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12b).

And that should be simple enough to understand, for, according to Genesis 9:25-27 as the starting point — to begin explaining Ephesians 2:12a relative to Christians and Psalm 96:5 relative to the Gentile nations — not only is Israel the only nation on the face of the earth with a God, but “the gods of the nations” are clearly stated to be, “idols [lit., ‘nothing’ (compared to the one true and living God), or ‘demons’].”

How can the preceding be true as it pertains to the thought of “demons” relative to the nations?  The answer to that is in the latter part of Daniel 10.  In the closing part of this chapter, the government of the Gentile nations is seen from two perspectives — earthly and heavenly.

In the earthly realm, individuals in the human race occupy positions of power and authority.

In the heavenly realm, angels occupying positions of power and authority in the kingdom under Satan (demonic beings) rule from the heavens through those occupying positions of power and authority on earth (Daniel 10:12-20; Ephesians 3:10; 6:12).

Israel though, not to be reckoned among the nations because of the creation in Jacob (Isaiah 43:1), finds itself completely separate from this rule.  Israel’s ruling angel from the heavens is Michael, with evidently a great host of angels ruling under him (Daniel 10:21).

Note where this places the Gentile nations in relation to possessing a God during the present day and time when they, because of Israel’s unbelief and disobedience, can’t go to the one nation in possession of a God.  They are left with the only god available, as their rulers occupy positions of power under demons.  They are left with “the god of this age [one age, covering Man’s 6,000-year Day]” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

(For additional information on both Israel as a separate creation and the present structure of the government of the earth, refer to the author’s books, in this site, God’s Firstborn Sons BOOK [Chapter 2] and The Most High Ruleth BOOK [Chapters 1-3].)

Now, put just these two parts of the picture together and one can easily and clearly see how and why God views all activity occurring among the nations after only one fashion — through Israel.

1) Israel is God’s eye-gate, His pupil, the lens through which He views all things.

2) And the nations, unlike Israel, are estranged from God.  Thus, God can view and deal with them only one way, through Israel.

And the preceding is exactly what God has done since the call of Abraham 4,000 years ago, continues to do today, and will always continue to do (or, this, as well, would have to be seen in the lineage from Adam to Abraham throughout the twenty generations during the first 2,000 years of human history [e.g., Noah and his family]).  God has to do things in this manner, for Israel is the only nation with a God, the only nation with which God is associated (whether preceding Abraham [in the bowels of Abraham, his ancestors] or following Abraham [his seed]).

(As an example of the bowels of Abraham, note in Genesis 10:5, 25, 32; 11:5-8; Deuteronomy 32:8 that God divided the nations and set their boundaries following the Flood, during Peleg’s day, “according to the number of the children of Israel.”  And God did this before Abraham was even born [Peleg’s death preceded Abraham’s birth], centuries before Israel even existed as a nation.

Or, note the beginning of the sojourn of the seed of Abraham thirty years before Abraham even had a seed [cf. Genesis 15:13-14; Exodus 12:40-41; Galatians 3:17-18; ref. Chapter 6 in the author’s book, in this site, We Are Almost There BOOK].)

Remove Israel from the equation on this basic premise and the human race is left with nothing other than a godless, hopeless future wherein only destruction and eternal damnation await mankind.

However, leave Israel in the equation on this basic premise and exactly the opposite is seen.  The human race is left with hope and godliness.

But, again, this can be brought to pass only one way, as revealed in the Word — through Israel, the one nation with a God, as God views and deals with the Gentile nations through the nation that He has called into existence to effect His plans and purposes in this manner.

(Clarification needs to be made about Christians in the preceding respect.

Unlike the nations, but like Israel, Christians — a separate creation [in this case, separate from either the nations or Israel] — possess a God.  But this is only because Christians are positionally “in Christ [a Jewish Savior],” forming a separate creation, the one new man.

Then, exactly in accord with Deuteronomy 32:10b and Zechariah 2:8b, God views Christians through Israel, more specifically through their Jewish Savior.  And this is all dealt with only one place — in a Jewish book, written by Jewish prophets.)

Israel and the Nations in the Middle East

Putting all of this together, note the present situation in the Middle East.  A situation exists that is quite different than the world could possibly even begin to envision.

To introduce the picture of the existing situation, in the light of that which has already been presented, let’s drop back some 3,500 years in Jewish history, to Moses’ day.

Moses, during his forty-year rejection by the Jewish people, was tending sheep on the far side of the desert when a burning bush captured his attention.  “The angel of the Lord” appeared to Moses out of the midst of the fire, the bush burned continuously but was not consumed, and “God called to him from the midst of the bush . . . .” (Exodus 3:2-4).

It is evident from the context — “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt . . . .” (Exodus 3:7) — that the continuously burning, unconsumed bush represented Moses’ people in Egypt, persecuted by an Assyrian Pharaoh.  And note God’s position in relation to the Jewish people, ever burning in the fires of Gentile persecution.  God is seen in the midst of His people, viewing the persecuting nation through Israel from this vantage point.

Exactly the same thing is seen over 900 years later in the book of Daniel.  Three Israelites, representing the nation as a whole, were cast into a fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal.  Then, a fourth person is seen in the fire with them.  And these three Israelites emerged completely unharmed, without the smell of fire on their garments, without even a hair on their heads singed (Daniel 3:19-27; cf. Daniel 6:16-24).

Again, God viewed matters during Daniel’s day from the same vantage point seen during Moses’ day.

Then, bringing this down into modern times, where was God when 6,000,000 Jews were slain during the twelve-year reign of the Third Reich?  The answer, of course, is seen in Exodus and Daniel.  God was there, in the midst of His people, viewing the persecuting Gentile nation from that vantage point.  And though 6,000,000 Jews perished, the nation itself lives.  Israel can no more perish than could the burning bush in Exodus be consumed or the three Hebrews in Daniel be slain.

Note one of the many promises which Israel possesses in this respect, as seen in the two previous types:

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn . . . . (Isaiah 54:17a).

So, where does that leave the world with the current situation in the Middle East — with Israel in the midst of nations who would like to see the Jewish people uprooted from their land and driven into the sea?  It leaves the world at exactly the same place seen anywhere in the Old Testament where the subject is dealt with.  It leaves the world with God in the midst of His suffering people, viewing the surrounding, persecuting Gentile nations from that vantage point, viewing them through the very nation being persecuted.

As this is being written (August, 2014), here’s the picture in the Middle East:

The Palestinian Arabs, ruling in Gaza (Hamas), are firing missiles over into Israel.  A people ruling under the god of this age (Satan) is not only firing missiles into the only nation with a God but they are firing these missiles at and into the very presence of God Himself, with God viewing the entire matter from Israel’s vantage point as He views events through Israel.

Even though the nation exists in an unrepentant and unbelieving state, God still resides in their midst and views the Gentile nations through Israel.  The situation must exist in this manner, for this is the way it has been set forth in an unchangeable fashion in the Old Testament.

(In this respect, note the inseparable association of God [manifested in the flesh] with Israel in Matthew 25:31-46 — “. . . inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

One’s attitude toward and treatment of Israel [individuals or nations] — whether negative or positive — is an attitude toward and treatment of the One in Israel’s midst, the God of Israel, the one true and living God.

“Israel” is God’s son [Exodus 4:22-23]; if one wants to receive either the Father’s favor or His wrath, extend like treatment to His Son.)

Then there is the matter of individuals trying to effect peace between Israel and those nations seeking Israel’s destruction (e.g., current efforts by the U.S. Secretary of State).

These individuals really need to check the Book and find out not only who they are dealing with but what they are dealing with.  The Middle East situation that man is vainly seeking to deal with has its roots in 4,000 years of Jewish history and can only be dealt with by the One in Israel’s midst. 

Israel and the Other Nations of the World

Though an Israeli nation exists in the Middle East, the Jewish people, as well, remain scattered throughout the Gentile nations.  The reason for this is simple.  Those forming the nation in the Middle East have returned under a Zionistic movement, before the time for Israel to return, leaving most Jews still scattered worldwide (again, refer to the author’s previously mentioned book).

And, with this in mind, how does God view the Gentile nations where these Jews are scattered?  The answer, of course, is evident.  It has already been given in the two verses quoted at the beginning of this chapter.  God resides in the midst of His people and views these nations through the Jewish people in their midst.

The whole of the matter is really that simple, in the Middle East, or elsewhere in the world.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Chapter 1

Your House Left Desolate (1)
The House of Israel Left Desolate at Christ’s First Coming

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,

that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

See! Your house is left to you desolate;

for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)

When God called Israel out of Egypt under Moses, one central purpose was in view.  The nation, God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23), had been called out of Egypt to enter another land — a land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — and exercise the rights of the firstborn, the rights of primogeniture, in that land (Exodus 19:5-6).

And everything that has occurred within Israeli history down through the years, from Moses’ day until the present day, has had its roots within Israel’s calling as God’s firstborn and that which Israel has done relative to this calling.

A theocracy, with God’s firstborn son realizing the rights of primogeniture within that theocracy, was in the offing during Moses’ day.  But, because of unbelief, the people refused to enter the land at Kadesh-Barnea and conquer the inhabitants, as God had commanded.

And, as a result, the Israelites entering the land and realizing a theocracy within the land was delayed until that entire unbelieving and accountable generation (those twenty years old and above [Numbers 14:29]) had passed off the scene.

As well, because Moses subsequently struck the rock in Numbers 20:8-11, in direct disobedience to God’s command, he was also numbered with that generation and was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the land.  The Lord, instead, subsequently appointed Joshua for this task (Numbers 20:12; 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 34:1-12).

Thus, once all those having a part in the unbelief exhibited at Kadesh-Barnea had died, along with Moses, Joshua was allowed to lead the nation into the land.  And the theocracy, which had come into existence at Mt. Sinai thirty-nine years earlier when the Glory of the Lord “filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34), first existed in the land under Joshua’s leadership and lasted for about eight hundred years.

The theocracy lasted until the time of the Babylonian captivity, when the Glory departed from the Temple (Ezekiel 8:4, 6-9; 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23).

The theocracy though, throughout the centuries of its existence — because of continual disobedience on the son’s part — never came anywhere near the heights that God’s calling for His son involved.

Then, when Christ came about six hundred years following the Babylonian captivity and the end of the theocracy, a remnant had returned to the land (a return that had begun under Zerubbabel over five centuries earlier).  And though a remnant was in the land at this time, forming an Israeli nation, there was no restoration of the theocracy, for there was no Glory.

The Glory would not return until following Israel’s repentance and the restoration of the complete nation to the land (cf. Ezekiel 36:16-38; 39:21-29; 43:1-5).

The Times of the Gentiles

The Times of the Gentiles has to do with that period of time during Man’s Day when the Gentiles hold the scepter, when the Gentiles exercise control in the government and in world affairs.

The Times of the Gentiles has to do with that period of time during which there is no Glory in the camp of Israel (though there may be an existing Temple); or, another way of stating the matter, this period has to do with the time lying between the departure of and the subsequent restoration of the Glory.

The Times of the Gentiles was running its course when Christ was here the first time.  Rome was the world power, and Rome not only possessed governmental control over the remnant in the land but also over the Jewish people scattered throughout the Roman world of that day.

And, though a Temple existed in the land, there was no Glory, as had filled the Tabernacle during Moses’ day and had filled the Temple during Solomon’s day.  Thus, there was no theocracy.

Israel had been called into existence to exercise governmental power and control over the Gentile nations, for purposes involving God’s blessings (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:17-18; Exodus 19:5-6).  Israel was to dwell in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy, at the head of the nations; and God was not only to bless Israel but God was to bless the nations of the earth through Israel.  All spiritual blessings were to flow to and through Israel in this manner.

But events transpired that resulted in a complete reversal of the position that Israel had been called to occupy relative to the nations.  The Gentiles had been allowed to invade the land of Israel and take the Jewish people captive (the northern kingdom by the Assyrians about 722 B.C., and the southern kingdom by the Babylonians about 605 B.C. [beginning the Times of the Gentiles]).

And centuries later, when Christ was upon earth, the Gentiles still exercised control over world affairs, something that has continued down to the present day and time.

Why had this been allowed to occur?  Why had matters been allowed to go in this direction, with the Gentiles exercising governmental control after this fashion — control that included both the Jewish people and their land?  Why had God dealt with Israel in this manner?

And not only was Israel under Gentile dominion when Christ came the first time, but the nation, in its unbelief and disobedience, wanted nothing to do with the One announced by the wise men to be their King; nor did they want anything to do with the proffered kingdom.

Why?  After all, acceptance would have freed them from Rome’s control and Gentile dominion in general.  But, in spite of this, there was only rejection on Israel’s part.

1)  The Offer and Reoffer of the Kingdom

God went to great lengths in both an offer of the kingdom preceding Christ’s crucifixion (an offer lasting about three and one-half years) and a reoffer of the kingdom following Christ’s resurrection and ascension (a subsequent offer lasting about thirty additional years).  But Israel rejected the proffered kingdom both times.

In the first offer of the kingdom, the Jewish people, in their rejection, went so far as to crucify the One making the offer.  The religious leaders, even though they knew Christ’s identity — One who had come from God, the Heir of the vineyard — were not going to have this Man reign over them.  Thus, they not only cast Him out of the vineyard but slew Him (cf. Matthew 21:33ff; John 3:2).

Then, in the reoffer of the kingdom, Israel’s religious leaders reacted to the message the same way they had reacted in the original offer.  They began to threaten, beat, imprison, and even kill the ones proclaiming the message (cf. Acts 5:40-42; 7:54-60; 8:1-3; 9:24, 29).

They still were not going to have the Heir of the vineyard reign over them (which would, during the reoffer of the kingdom, have necessitated His return from heaven [cf. Acts 3:19-21; 7:56-57]).

The entire nation, save “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5), followed the downward course set by its religious leaders; and this resulted in God eventually ceasing His dealings with Israel (about 62 A.D.) for the remainder of what can only be seen as a new dispensation (no longer a Jewish dispensation, but now a Christian dispensation [moving from the typology of Genesis 23 to that of Genesis 24]).

Jerusalem was then destroyed by the Gentile world power of that day (by Rome, in 70 A.D.), and the Jewish people were subsequently scattered among and left at the mercy of the Gentile nations.

(Israel was set aside in 33 A.D. at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, at the end of the sixty-ninth week in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy [Daniel 9:24-27].  God, so to speak, stopped the clock marking off time in the prophecy, and set the nation aside until time in the prophecy again resumes [seven years remain in the prophecy, which will be fulfilled during the coming seven-year Tribulation].

Then, fifty-three days later, on the day of Pentecost, God called into existence the one new man “in Christ,” to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected, which had been taken from Israel [Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9-10] — the proffered kingdom, the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, not the earthly sphere [the kingdom covenanted to David, which can never be taken from Israel].

And though Israel had been set aside, with the kingdom taken from Israel and a new man called into existence to be the recipient of this kingdom, God still dealt with Israel in a special and particular way relative to the kingdom for about the next thirty years, reoffering the kingdom to the nation.

As the Twelve and the Seventy had been called to carry the message to Israel during the original offer [Matthew 10:1ff; Luke 10:1ff], the one new man “in Christ” was called to carry the message to Israel during the reoffer [Acts 2:14ff; 3:12ff; 4:8ff; 5:12ff; 6:8ff].

Aside from recognizing Israel’s position as God’s firstborn son, along with a saved generation of Jews remaining in existence beyond the events of Calvary [to which a reoffer of the kingdom could be made], attempting any explanation of the “why” of the reoffer of the kingdom to Israel [as seen in the parables of the marriage festivities in Matthew 22:1-14], would lead one nowhere.  Scripture simply deals with the matter as something that occurred.  No explanation is given; nor is one needed.)

2)  Blessings and Curses

But even though Israel had been set aside, allowing God to deal with a separate people for a dispensation (those forming the one new man “in Christ”), principles established by God relative to Israel and the nation’s calling still remained in effect.  And these principles centered on blessings and curses, not only for Israel but for the Gentiles as well.  Israel, because of disobedience, would fall into the latter category (curses); and the Gentiles, depending upon their attitude toward and treatment of Israel, could fall into either category (blessings or curses).

(God, through Moses, had outlined this entire matter in graphic and minute detail to Israel after He called the nation out of Egypt.  There are two long chapters in the revelation given through Moses — Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28 — where God went to great lengths to relate that which would occur if the Jewish people were obedient to His commandments or that which, on the other hand, would occur if they were disobedient.)

Israel had chosen the latter path.  Israel had been disobedient to the Lord’s commandments.  And, true to His Word, God had allowed Gentile powers to come into the land and uproot the Jewish people (Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:64).

And throughout the remainder of that dispensation and the ensuing dispensation, during the time when Israel was out of favor with God, one thing could not occur — the Gentile nations could not be blessed in the manner that God had intended by and through Israel’s calling, for these blessings had to flow by and through Israel dwelling in the land within a theocracy.

Blessings of this nature would have to wait for a time when Israel was once again in favor with God.  They would have to wait for Israel’s future restoration, which would, of necessity, have to include the restoration of the theocracy to Israel.

The picture is that of God’s firstborn son, Israel — whom the Father had called into existence to be the channel through which He would bless all the Gentile nations — being out of favor with the Father (through disobedience).  As a result, chastisement has befallen this son, with the Father allowing the Gentile nations to subdue and control His son, resulting not only in the son being chastened by the Father but also in the numerous blessings that God had reserved for the Gentile nations being withheld from these same nations.

However, some of the Gentiles (nations and individuals) — not really understanding that which has happened — have brought curses upon themselves by seeking to help God chasten His son.

. . . And I will curse him who curses you . . . . (Genesis 12:3a)

. . . I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

And I am very sore displeased with the heathen [the Gentiles] that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased [with my son], and they helped forward the affliction [anti-Semitic actions of the Gentiles]. (Zechariah 1:14-15 KJV [14b])

Others (nations and individuals), on the other hand — some understanding, some not understanding that which has happened — have brought blessings upon themselves by being a friend to the Father’s son (though not the abundance of blessings reserved for the Gentiles, with Israel in favor with God).

I will bless those who bless you . . . . (Genesis 12:3a)

3)  Recognizing Israel’s Place in God’s Economy

The entire world conditions down through the centuries has revolved around God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel in the preceding respect — i.e., His dealings with Israel relative to the nation’s calling, and His resultant dealings with the Gentile nations relative to Israel’s calling.

Everything in this respect has revolved around and continues to revolve around Israel.  ISRAEL ALONE IS THE CENTERPIECE.

And, apart from the Gentile nations of the world occupying their proper place in God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel, there cannot even be a beginning of a solution to any one of the problems that confront these same nations.

That’s how IMPORTANT the nation of Israel is in the affairs of world history (Deuteronomy 32:8; Isaiah 43:1-10; Acts 17:26-27).

Nor can that which has happened to Israel over the centuries — from the brickyards in Egypt to the crematoriums in Auschwitz, typified by the ever-burning bush in Arabia during Moses’ day, or the three Hebrew men in a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal during Daniel’s day — be explained in any way other than that which is set forth in Scripture relative to the nation’s calling.

The Father is chastening His son, because of disobedience.  And, at times, the Gentile nations have stepped in and “helped forward the affliction [the chastisement],” something which God has allowed in order to effect His purpose for uprooting His people from their land and scattering them among the nations (though these same Gentile nations have paid or will pay dearly for their part in the matter [Genesis 12:3]).

As long as God’s son continues unrepentant, the chastisement will continue.  And not only will it continue, but in the latter days, through the Gentiles seeking to help “forward the affliction,” conditions will become so tumultuous that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22a).

But in That Day

But in that day, God is going to intervene in man’s vain attempts to help chasten His son.  God is going to supernaturally shorten those days, and He will do this for the sake of His son.

And it will be following this time that all of the past chastisement will bear fruit.  The son will ultimately be brought to the place of repentance, allowing God to send the Deliverer, restore a converted Jewish people to their land, bring the Times of the Gentiles to an end, and restore the theocracy to Israel.

There is that which Scripture has to say about the matter, and there is that which man may think or say about the matter.  The two are worlds apart.

The Creator has stated the matter in no uncertain terms, and He has stated the matter to both inform and warn His son.  Obedience results in blessings, and disobedience results in curses.

God’s disobedient son must be brought to the place of repentance.  Only then can God bless Israel and the Gentile nations through Israel.

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s books, Israel from Death to Life BOOK, in this site, and Distant Hoofbeats.pdf.)
Chapter 2

Your House Left Desolate (2)
Desolation to Continue Until . . . Then . . .

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,

that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

See! Your house is left to you desolate;

for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)

When Christ came the first time, He appeared to Israel and offered the kingdom of the heavens to the Jewish people, based upon national repentance.  The message was very simple:

Repent [the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:1-7)

The theocracy could have been restored (cf. Acts 1:3-7); and though only the heavenly aspect of the kingdom was being offered to the nation at this time, any realization of the heavenly would have necessitated a realization of the earthly as well.  One cannot exist in its fullness in this respect apart from the other.

Israel, at Christ’s first coming, was viewed as sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:4-6).  Supernatural signs were being manifested — supernatural healings of individuals, supernatural provision (Matthew 4:23-25; John 2:7-10) — pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and have if the nation would repent.

(“Repentance” and the use of the word in Scripture is, more often than not, misunderstood [e.g., unsaved individuals often called upon to repent prior to believing (some attempt to make repentance and belief synonymous or inseparable); or, in a similar respect, seeing the call for Israel to repent in the gospel accounts and in Acts as a call to the unsaved].

The word “repent” is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia, or in its verb form, metanoeo.  Both are compound words [the preposition meta (meaning, “with”) prefixed to words derived from vous (meaning, “mind”)].  Thus, these compound words, in their base sense, mean “with the mind.”

The word [either noun or verb form] refers to doing something with the mind, and that which is referenced through the use of this word has to do with changing one’s mind.  And that is really all that the word means.

The Jewish people in the gospels and Acts were called upon to change their minds relative to their continued disobedience, which would lead to a change of actions, etc.

Relative to salvation today, does an unsaved person have to repent?  He does if he has to change his mind about Christ before he can believe, though most today would probably have to make up their minds rather than change their minds prior to belief.  But either way, it is believing that saves a person, not making up or changing one’s mind.  The latter would only place a person in the position where he can believe and be saved.)

The message proclaimed to Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry was God through one Son calling His other son to acknowledge that which had been done, and repent (cf. Exodus 4:22-23; Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15; Hebrews 1:6).  But the other son refused, and the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 began to be fulfilled in the antitype.

One son rose up against the other Son, and slew Him.  As Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, Israel rose up against Christ and slew Him.  And as the blood of Abel cried out “from the ground,” the blood of Christ “speaks better things than that of Abel.” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).

Then the story continues from Genesis 4.  Cain’s punishment for this act was something that he looked upon as greater than he could bear.  He was to be driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth, he was to be a “fugitive and a vagabond . . .  on the earth [a fugitive moving from place to place across the face of the earth, with no permanent home]”; and, in this condition, he would find himself at the mercy of those upon the earth.

Others would seek to slay him, but would be unable to do so.  God, in spite of that which Cain had done, would not only supernaturally protect Cain, but He would judge those who did seek to slay him (Genesis 4:13-15).

And this is exactly what has happened to the Jewish people over the centuries since they slew their Brother.  Israel has been driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth (among those “without God,” dwelling in the tents of Ham and Japheth [cf. Genesis 9:26-27; Ephesians 2:12]).

Israel has been scattered among the nations — a fugitive, one guilty of blood, with no permanent home (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-67) — and Israel, in this condition, has been placed at the mercy of these same nations.

Israel and the Nations — Past, Present

Some of these Gentile nations where the Jewish people have been scattered have sought to help God chasten His son by and through forwarding the affliction (Zechariah 1:14-15).  They, as Cain feared would happen to him when he was driven out in this manner, have sought to take Israel’s life (Genesis 4:14).

But Israel possesses the same promise Cain possessed.  God would supernaturally intervene, protect His son’s life (though allowing the nations to enact their anti-Semitism), and then judge the nations that did interfere with His treatment of His son.

The classic example of this in modern times would be that which occurred in Europe during the reign of the Third Reich (1933-1945).  Germany, not realizing who they were dealing with (God and His son) or what they were doing (another Gentile nation fulfilling that which is stated in Genesis 4:14-15; Zechariah 1:15), sought to help God chasten His son — though, in the process, attempting the impossible, attempting the destruction of God’s son — with grave consequences following in the wake of this attempt.

The Third Reich built the concentration camps, the crematoriums, and sought to produce a Jew-free Europe through the destruction of an entire race of people.  And six million Jews in Europe (Jews dispersed in Gentile lands, at the mercy of the Gentiles) died during this time.

Where though was God when the Jewish people were suffering and dying by the tens and hundreds of thousands in the Nazi death camps?  Moses provides the answer to that question as well, along with the answers to any other questions that can be raised relative to the Jewish people.

The answer is seen by asking:  Where was God when the Israelites were suffering under the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt during Moses’ day?  He was in the same place during Jewish suffering in modern times as He was during the sufferings of these same people in Moses’ day, or during any other sufferings that the Jewish people have undergone over the course of the intervening centuries and millennia.

Note where God was during the sufferings of the Jewish people in Moses’ day:

And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” . . .

And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt” . . . (Exodus 3:2-4, 7a).

The picture is that of Israel ever-burning in the fires of Gentile persecution, with God in the midst of the nation.  God was allowing the Gentiles to help “forward the affliction”; and, at the same time, He was in the midst of His people, who were being afflicted.  God Himself, along with His son, was being afflicted.

(Exactly the same thing can be seen through the sufferings of God’s Son at Calvary.  One Son died, and this Son was God Himself.  It was God who suffered.  It was the very blood of God that was shed at Calvary [Acts 20:28].)

This is why treatment accorded either Son — whether good or bad — is treatment accorded God Himself (Matthew 25:31-46).  It was God Himself, manifest in the flesh, dying at Calvary.  And God is always seen in the midst of Israel.  He is seen standing with His son, receiving exactly the same thing that the son receives.

The burning bush during Moses’ day, representing Israel continuously suffering in the fires of Gentile persecution, couldn’t be destroyed.  To destroy the bush, one would have had to destroy God within the bush.  The bush burned in a continuous manner, though nothing was being consumed in the process, for God could not/cannot be consumed.

Thus, where was God when the Jewish people were being gassed and placed in the crematoriums at Auschwitz, among other death camps?  The answer is simple:  God was there!  God was in the midst of His people, just as He was in “the midst” of the burning bush during Moses’ day.  And, as the bush couldn’t be consumed during Moses’ day almost 3,500 years ago, neither could the nation be consumed in the gas chambers and crematoriums during modern times.  It was the same nation, with the same calling, with the same unchangeable God dwelling in the nation’s midst.

Israel could no more be consumed in the gas chambers and crematoriums during the reign of the Third Reich than could the three Israelites be consumed in the fiery furnace during Nebuchadnezzar’s day — a furnace heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated, so hot that it slew those who cast the three Israelites into the furnace (“seven,” a complete number, evidently indicating that the furnace was to be heated as hot as possible without destroying the furnace).  The fire though had no power over these Israelites, none whatsoever.  Not a single hair on their heads was singed by the fire; nor was there even the smell of fire or smoke on them or their undamaged garments.

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Distant Hoofbeats.pdf, Chapters 1-3 and the two appendixes.)

Israel and the Nations — Future

Israel’s greatest time of affliction at the hands of the Gentiles still lies in the future.  That which occurred in Europe under the reign of the Third Reich is little more than a precursor of that which is about to occur worldwide under the reign of a man who will shortly appear on the scene.

During “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), when Antichrist exercises full power, he will enact a form of anti-Semitism without parallel in history.  He will seek to destroy the Jewish people, not just in the Middle East and Europe, but worldwide.  And he will be responsible for the death of far more Jews than were slain in Europe during the war years.

(Some 6,000,000 Jews were slain in Europe immediately preceding and during the war years, mainly from 1938 to 1945.

During the coming Tribulation, mainly during the last half [the last three and one-half years], two-thirds of the Jewish population of the earth will die [about 9,000,000 by today’s count].  One part will die as a result of famine and related diseases, the other part by the sword [Ezekiel 5:12; Zechariah 13:8-9].

This will be the day when Satan, by-through the one who will sit on his throne in that day — to whom Satan will give “his power ”and “great authority” [Revelation 13:2] — will seek to do and complete that which the Third Reich under Hitler, among others preceding him, attempted.
 
Satan in that day, by and through the one seated on his throne, will seek to bring about that which the Third Reich called, “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”

And the end result of that which Satan will attempt in that day will be exactly the same as the end result of any and all of his attempts to destroy the Jewish people down through history.  It cannot be otherwise, for he can succeed only by destroying the One in the midst of the burning bush during Moses’ day, the fourth Person in the furnace during Daniel’s day.

Satan knows that the only way he can remain on the throne is to do away with Israel. Because of the manner in which God has structured the earth’s government among the nations [all the nations having descended from the first man, created for regal purposes]), he is left without a choice.

Israel MUST be destroyed.

God has established Israel at the heart and center of everything related to His purpose for man’s creation in the beginning, leaving Satan occupying the position in which he finds himself — a position in which he can only attempt the impossible if he is to attempt anything at all.)
 
The Jewish people, remembering the Holocaust, have a saying today: “Never again!”  But, a problem exists.   Israel is saying this in an unrepentant and unbelieving state, guaranteeing that something similar, if not worse, will happen again.

And that which is about to occur will be worse, far worse.

The Old Testament type for all of this is set forth in the book of Exodus.  Moses wrote about the matter in great detail almost 3,500 years ago — detail that will be fulfilled exactly as recorded:

The Assyrian Pharaoh, seeking to destroy the Jewish people in Egypt during Moses’ Day (Exodus 1:8ff; Isaiah 52:4), typifies the Assyrian (Antichrist) of the end time, who will raise his hand against Israel after the same fashion (Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 23:13; 30:31; 31:8; Hosea 11:5).

Just as God supernaturally protected His people under the past Assyrian, He will supernaturally protect His people under the future Assyrian (Exodus 1:11ff; Micah 5:5-6).

Just as the Jewish people in the past were driven to the place where they cried out to God for deliverance, the Jewish people in the future will be driven to the place where they will cry out to God for deliverance (Exodus 2:23; Hosea 5:15).

Just as God heard His people’s cry in Egypt, remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will hear His people’s cry in the future, scattered throughout the earth, remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:24-3:9; Hosea 6:1-2; Ezekiel 39:25-29).

Just as God then sent Moses back to His people to deliver them in the past, He will then send Jesus back to His people to deliver them in the future (Exodus 3:10; 4:19ff; Revelation 19:11ff).

Just as the Jewish people received the one whom they had previously rejected (Moses) when he returned in past time, the Jewish people will receive the One whom they had previously rejected (Jesus) when He returns in the future (Exodus 4:29-31; Zechariah 12:10-14).

Just as the Jewish people slew paschal lambs and applied the blood in that past day, the Jewish people in the future will apply (through believing) the blood of the Paschal Lamb whom they slew 2,000 years ago (Exodus 12:1ff; Isaiah 53:1ff).

Just as God, in that past day, then led His people out of Egypt under Moses, God, in that future day, will then lead His people out from a worldwide dispersion under Jesus (Exodus 12:40-41; 14:13-22; Matthew 24:29-31).

Just as the power of Egypt was destroyed during Moses’ day, so will Gentile world power be destroyed in the future, in the Lord’s Day (Exodus 14:23-28; Joel 3:9-16).

Just as the Jewish people subsequently dwelled in the land within a theocracy, they, in that coming day, will dwell in the land once again within a theocracy (Joshua 3:1ff; Joel 2:21-32).

The Son of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), a repentant nation will look upon the One whom they pierced, a nation will be born in a day, the nation will be restored to the land, and the theocracy will be restored to Israel (Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Isaiah 66:8; Ezekiel 37:1ff; Joel 3:17-21; Zechariah 13:6; Revelation 1:7).

The Prophets have spoken; and it will all happen, exactly as foretold in the unchangeable Word.

Then, and only then, will blessings flow out from God through Israel to the Gentile nations of the earth, as God originally intended through Israel’s calling.
Chapter 3

The Intractable Middle East Problem (1)
God’s National Firstborn Son, Returning before the Time

. . . Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.

So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me” . . . . (Exodus 4:22-23a [22b]).

There is an existing problem in the Middle East, having to do with Israel and the nations (mainly Moslem), which is far from simple.  From a biblical standpoint though, it is not as complex as one might be led to believe.  One might say, from a biblical standpoint, a person can understand the problem; apart from a biblical standpoint, it is not possible to understand the problem.

“Israel,” of course, is the key.  And concerning problems existing between Israel and their Moslem neighbors in the Middle East (Arab, Iranian, et al.), during the spring of 1991, James Baker, Secretary of State under the first President Bush, stated that this is “the most intractable problem that there is.”

James Baker was also one of the two men who co-chaired the Iraq Study Group in late 2006, turning out an assessment and recommendations — The Baker-Hamilton Report — on Iraq and the Middle East in general that referred to the situation as “grave and deteriorating” and warned of “dwindling chances to change course before crisis turns to chaos.”  And the somber faces and urgency in the voices of both James Baker and Lee Hamilton told the story apart from the report itself.

Was James Baker correct in his assessment of the situation in the Middle East over twenty years ago?  Insofar as man solving the problem, he was as correct as one can become.

Were James Baker, Lee Hamilton, and others in this group correct concerning the more recent assessment of the Middle East situation?  That could be answered two ways:

1) From a biblical standpoint, the situation is far worse than the report indicates.

2) Also from a biblical standpoint, the situation is much brighter than the report indicates.

And the preceding would require explanation, providing, at the same time, information to address the whole of the issue at hand.

A Biblical Base

First, dealing particularly with the intractable problem in the Middle East, this MUST be done from a biblical baseTHERE IS NO OTHER WAY!  Apart from a biblical base, a person will only find himself as mired down trying to deal with the problem as the problem itself has become.

A biblical base is simple and easy to come by.  However, it would not be acceptable to the secular world at all.

How could it be acceptable when most of those in the Middle East are Moslems, along with the fact that the bible would not be acceptable as a base to work from by any nation attempting to solve the problem, whether the United States or elsewhere?

Even Israel, which gave mankind the Bible, would have major problems in this respect because of that which would have to be stated and dealt with.  And the preceding would be true even among many Christians in these nations, among those purporting to believe the Bible.

Allow an example to illustrate the point, part of which bears directly on the Middle East situation.  And, in order to understand the existing problem, this would have to be dealt with first and foremost anyway.

The One Nation with a God

In 1954, at the urging of President Eisenhower, the words “under God” were added to a line in the United States pledge of allegiance to the flag, making the pledge of allegiance read, “one nation under God” (the words “under God” [or similar words] had been used in statements and documents by a number of preceding U.S. presidents, beginning with Washington, the first president).

But is the United States really “one nation under God”?  Is this true from a biblical perspective? — the ONLY means through which one can possibly answer the question.  Christians will fight the ACLU and others through whatever means deemed necessary over this issue.  But does either side really know what Scripture has to say about the matter?

The biblical base for this and all the remainder of the Middle East problems can be found in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.  One doesn’t even have to go into the New Testament.  Such would be of little to no value in the matter anyway, for there is nothing in the New that cannot be found in some form in the Old.  The New is simply an opening up and unveiling of that which had its beginning in the Old.  So, for the most part, we’ll simply stay with the Old since all of the information is there anyway.

For “one nation under God” a person would begin with Genesis 9 and proceed from there.  This chapter deals with Noah and his three sons following the Flood, and everyone in the human race today can trace their ancestry back to Noah through one of his three sons.

Note Genesis 9:24-27:

So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.

Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.”

And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.

May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; and may Canaan be his servant.”

Only one of these three sons — Shem — is said to have a God (Genesis 9:26).  Neither Ham nor Japheth had a God, which is evident from the continuing text.  If either was to receive spiritual blessings, which could come only from and through the one true God, they had to go to the one son with a God.  As stated in the text, Ham and/or Japheth had to “dwell in the tents of Shem” (Genesis 9:27).

That is to say, in order to receive spiritual blessings, Ham and/or Japheth had to go to and partake of that which God had bequeathed to Shem.  Or, in the words of the explanatory statement by H. C. Leupold in his word studies in the Hebrew text of Genesis, the expression “implies friendly sharing of his hospitality and so of his blessings.”

This is the manner in which God has established the matter in Genesis, and it can never change.

The lineage from Shem, in the respect seen in Genesis 9:26, goes through Abraham nine generations later and then through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, from whom sprang the twelve tribes of Israel, the nation of Israel.  In short, the descendants of Shem through this lineage alone have a God.  The whole of this matter is something clearly revealed and seen in Scripture.

Other descendants of Shem, such as the Arab nations (from Abraham through Ishmael, or through one of the six sons of Keturah, or through Isaac’s son, Esau), are as the descendants of Ham and Japheth in this respect.  They are to be “reckoned among the nations [Gentile nations].”

Israel, on the other hand, is NOT to be “reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9; cf. Deuteronomy 14:2).

And the preceding is not only because of that which is stated in Genesis 9:26 but that which is stated in Isaiah 43:1ff as well.  The former forms the base for the latter, explaining the “why” of that which is stated in Numbers 23:9.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel . . .

I will say to the north, “Give them up!” And to the south, “Do not keep them back!” Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth-

Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:1, 6-7 [1a]).

Within the lineage from Shem through Abraham to Jacob, God waited eleven generations until Jacob appeared on the scene to act in a manner that set the one group of people with a God completely apart from the remainder of the human race.  God, at this time, performed a special creation in the person of Jacob.

God could not have performed this special creative act prior to Jacob, for sons outside the lineage would have been involved in this creative act (e.g., both Abraham and Isaac had more than one son).

Then, with the creation having occurred in connection with the natural man, “Jacob,” rather than the spiritual man, “Israel,” the creation can be passed from father to son through the natural man, allowing all twelve of Jacob’s sons, along with their descendants, to be included in this special creative act.

Isaiah 43:6-7 clearly states that every descendant of Jacob is himself a special creation, as Jacob is seen as a special creation back in verse one.  This can be true because, as is previously seen, God performed a special creation in Jacob, the natural man (NOT Israel, the spiritual man).  And because of this, God’s creation of Jacob can be passed on via procreation, making Jacob’s twelve sons and all their descendants special creations, separate from the Gentiles.

Thus, the fact remains that, because of creation, “Jacob” is seen as a son of God; and, through procreation, all of his descendants are seen in Scripture individually as sons of God, with the nation as a whole seen collectively or corporately as God’s son.  And, following the adoption, the nation would be viewed as God’s firstborn son, something that can NEVER change (Exodus 4:22-23).

(Only “Sons” rule in God’s kingdom, whether in the angelic realm or in the human realm.  “Sonship” in Scripture has to do with creation and regality, NOT with salvation [though everything is tied together, and salvation results in creation (a new creation “in Christ” today) and is for purposes having to do with sonship and regality].

All angels, because of their individual creation, are seen as sons of God.  Angels occupy varying positions in God’s government of the universe and must occupy a position of sonship to do so.

Note what are evidently congresses of the sons of God in the opening two chapters of Job [angelic rulers appearing before the Lord at evidently scheduled times (Job 1:6ff; 2:1ff)], with Satan appearing among other sons of God [Satan, the appointed ruler over the earth, one province in God’s kingdom; the other sons of God appointed rulers over other provinces in the universe].

And Satan, as the others, is seen as a son of God simply because “sonship” has to do with creation and regality, with his fall not causing a change in his position as God’s son.

“Adam” was a son of God because of creation [Luke 3:38].  God created Adam with regality in view [Genesis 1:26-28].  Man was created to replace the incumbent ruler, Satan [man and his progeny to replace Satan and his angels].  But, Adam, as the federal head of a new order of sons, fell, disqualifying him and his progeny from occupying the position for which this new order of sons was to assume.

But God provided redemption, something previously unknown in the angelic world when Satan and his angels fell.  And redemption can only be inseparably tied to the reason for man’s creation in the beginning.

And God performed all of this in a manner quite different than man might even think about or consider [Isaiah 55:8-9], which may very well account for much of the confusion on “salvation” existing today [i.e., man dealing with the “why” of salvation more from his own finite wisdom and understanding rather than going to Scripture to see what God has to say about the matter, resulting in numerous non-Scriptural ideologies].

God waited 2,000 years, and then called one man out of the human race [Abraham], through whom He would later form a special creation out of his grandson [Jacob] and ultimately form a nation from the descendants of this special creation.

And through this nation the entirety of God’s plans and purposes would be accomplished, beginning with redemption [John 4:22], with the end of the matter seen in regality during the coming Messianic Era and evident regality out in the universe during the ages beyond.

Thus, there is the importance of not only Israel but sonship in relation to Israel; and, as well, this all projects out to the importance of this nation being brought to the place of repentance.

And the importance of adoption, as seen in Scripture, then comes into the picture at this point as well.  In the angelic world, “sons of God” rule [with adoption unknown]; in the human realm, matters move beyond the thought of simply Sons holding regal positions in God’s kingdom to that of firstborn Sons holding these positions [God’s act of taking a son and adopting this son into a firstborn status (with Christ occupying the position of God’s firstborn Son through being begotten)].

Thus, in the human realm, unlike the angelic realm, ONLY firstborn Sons can rule in God’s kingdom.  With regality in view, Israel was adopted in past time, continuing to hold the position of firstborn today [regardless of their unrepentant state, for this has nothing to do with God’s past act of adopting the nation]; with regality in view, Christ occupies this position [that of Firstborn] through a divine begetting; and, with regality in view as well, the Church waits for the adoption yet future [waits for being adopted into the position of God’s firstborn son].

For more information on this complete subject, including adoption, refer to the author’s God’s Firstborn Sons BOOK.)

Thus, this entire thought of creation and sonship, followed by adoption, is what separates and sets apart both the Jewish people individually and the nation of Israel as a whole from all the Gentiles (individually, or nationally), with Scripture making a sharp distinction between Israel on the one hand and the Gentile nations on the other (cf. Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 7:6; Amos 3:1-2).

(Accordingly, prior to that seen in Isaiah 43:1ff, there was only one creation in the human race — the creation in Adam.

Following the creation in Jacob in Isaiah 43:1ff [God taking an individual from the Adamic creation and performing a separate and distinct creation], two creations existed in the human race.

Then, following the events of Calvary and those seen in Acts 2:1ff, a third creation came into existence in the human race — the new creation “in Christ,” taken from both Jew and Gentile, from both of the prior two creations.

And though the creation in Jacob can be passed on from father to son [for the creation has to do with the natural man], the new creation “in Christ” is different.  The new creation “in Christ” has to do with the spiritual man and cannot be passed on from father to son, though available to the son through his own personal exercise of faith.

And, just as the old Adamic sin nature is NOT done away with in the new creation “in Christ,” neither was it done away with in the prior creation in Jacob.  All three creations possess this in common.)

With the preceding as a base to work from, one can then understand verses such as Psalm 72:18 and Psalm 96:5.  The first verse refers to:

. . . the LORD God, the God of Israel . . . .

And the second verse states:

For all the gods of the peoples [KJV: nations] are idols [lit., ‘nothing’] . . . .

That is to say, the gods of all the nations (whether they be idols, demons, or anything else) are “nothing” in comparison to the God of Israel, the one true and living God.

Psalm 33:12 is often misunderstood in the preceding respect:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord . . . .

That statement is not a reference to any Gentile nation.  It can’t be!  From a biblical standpoint, such could not be possible (unless projected out beyond Man’s Day, into the Messianic Era, during that future time when a Gentile nation would be able to associate itself with Israel in the respect seen in Genesis 9:27)!

The statement, contextually, has to do with Israel, the only nation with a God.  The only way any Gentile nation can have a God is to go to the nation with a God, go to Israel.

God made that quite clear at the outset of His word, in Genesis 9.  And today, with Israel in her current state of unbelief, for the most part scattered among the nations, it is not possible for a Gentile nation to dwell in the tents of Shem and possess a God.

For a New Testament reference relative to the preceding, note Ephesians 2:12.  Christians possess a God, but this is only because of and through a Jewish Messiah who came through Israel.  With Israel in her current state of disobedience and unbelief, the same thing cannot presently be true of nations per se.

Thus, from a biblical standpoint, it is not possible for any Gentile nation to look upon itself as “one nation under God.”  And that one truth really forms the central base for understanding the entire Middle East problem.

At the center of the problem is Israel, the only nation on the face of the earth with a God, a standing that Israel holds even in the nation’s present state of unbelief.  And surrounding this nation with a God are Moslem nations with a governmental system, intermixed with a religious system, with a god who is described in Psalm 96:5, the same place the god of the United States or any other Gentile nation is described during the present day and time.

Israel’s Position among the Nations

And, as seen, beyond the preceding, Israel is God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23), the one and only nation among all the nations that God recognizes as possessing the rights of the firstborn — a firstborn right among nations, which, among other things, includes the right to hold the scepter, the right to rule.  Then, with Israel exercising these rights (which the nation will one day exercise, though that is far from the case today), the Gentile nations are not only to be ruled by Israel but also to be blessed through Israel (in accordance with Genesis 12:2-3, realizing another part of the rights of the firstborn, the priestly rights).

The Gentile nations today rule under Satan and his angels (in accordance with that which is seen in Daniel 10:12-20).  But Israel, not to be reckoned among the nations, occupies a position separate from this rule (in accordance with that which is also referenced in Daniel 10:21).

(Note the sharp contrast in the government of the earth as it has existed during the last 2,600 years and as it will exist yet future once God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized.  Conditions in the government of the earth are quite different when the Gentiles hold the scepter [present], as opposed to Israel holding the scepter [past, but more particularly future].

As previously seen, the descendants of Shem through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — comprising the nation of Israel — form the only nation on the face of the earth with a God [Genesis 9:26; Psalm 33:12].  And for the Gentile nations, without a God, to acquire spiritual wealth and blessings, they must go to the one nation with a God.  They must go to the nation of Israel [something really not possible today because of Israel’s condition and position among the nations]. 

The Gentile nations though, as previously seen, do possess gods, but not the one true and living God.  The gods of the nations are said to be “nothing” compared to the one true and living God [1 Chronicles 16:26; Psalm 96:5].  The gods of the nations could be anything separate from God Himself — materialism, demons in Satan’s kingdom, etc.

All of the Gentile nations find themselves in the same position, in the natural realm.  And they simply cannot move from that realm into the spiritual realm [except, of course, that spiritual realm where Satan and his angels operate, which is aligned with the natural].  The man of flesh simply cannot function in the realm where the man of spirit exists.

Many individuals out of the nations, over centuries of time, have moved from the natural into the spiritual realm through a Savior who came from the one nation with a God.  But it is not possible for the nations themselves to do this.  Again, nations simply cannot function in this realm.

In this respect, there is no such thing as a Gentile nation with a God, or a Gentile nation that can be referred to as a Christian nation [the Church, taken mainly from the Gentiles, is referred to as a “nation” and has a God, though the Church is neither Jew nor Gentile but one new man, a new creation “in Christ,” with a heavenly citizenship (Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9-10; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-15; Philippians 3:20)].

Gentile nations, in their governmental structure today, rule within a form of a theocracy, though a corrupted form connected with Satan and his angels.  “Satan” is the god of this present age [2 Corinthians 4:4], and he and his angels rule through the Gentile nations from their place in a heavenly sphere [Daniel 10:13-20].

God rules the entire universe, and He rules over all parts of His kingdom through angels whom He has placed in regal positions throughout the universe.  The earth, one province in the universe, is ruled in this manner, though presently through a rebel ruler.  God presently rules the earth through Satan, the god of this age.

God has delegated power to Satan, and Satan, in turn, has delegated power to subordinate angels ruling with him.  It is this delegated power and regal position [his throne] that Satan will give to the beast during the coming Tribulation [Revelation 13:2; cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Luke 4:5-6].  Then the beast will rule in this same manner under God, as a rebel ruler in a corrupted form of the theocracy.

It is immaterial whether a nation’s government is like that of the United States [where there is a separation of religious and civil powers] or like that of a Moslem country [where religious and civil powers are inseparably connected], in the final analysis all Gentile governments have a common connection.  All occupy their positions directly under Satan and his angels, who rule in a rebel respect under God.

There is only one nation on the face of the earth with a government that rules after any other fashion than the preceding, and that’s the one nation with a God, the nation that is not to be “reckoned among the nations” [Numbers 23:9], the nation of Israel.  The angelic princes of the Gentile nations [each nation has a prince, with other princes under him], who rule through the nations from a heavenly sphere, are demons [Daniel 10:13-20].  But Israel’s angelic prince, ruling through the Jewish nation in the same manner, is Michael [Daniel 10:21], and Michael [evidently with a host of angels as well (cf. Revelation 12:7)] exercises power under God separate from Satan and his angels.

This is why God could establish a theocracy and rule in the midst of Israel during Old Testament days.  As well, this is also why God will be able to establish a theocracy in the world yet future.

“Israel” is the key.  Since Abraham’s day, the separate creation during Jacob’s day, and the subsequent inception of the nation during Moses’ day, God has looked upon and dealt with the Gentile nations through one nation alone, through Israel [cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 4:22-23; 12:2; 19:5-6; Isaiah 43:1-11; Zechariah 2:8].  And the manner in which God deals with the nations in this respect can NEVER change [Romans 11:29].

Israel’s position relative to the nations is why Israel must be brought to the place of repentance, Gentile world power destroyed, Satan and his angels removed from power, and God’s three firstborn Sons [Christ, Israel, and the Church (following the adoption)] placed in power [cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Hebrews 2:5].

Satan knows this, and over millennia of time he has done everything within his power to thwart God’s plans and purposes by launching his attack at the fountainhead, seeking to destroy Israel.  And this is why Satan will give his power, his throne, and great authority to the earth’s last ruler during the Times of the Gentiles [Revelation 13:2b].  Satan will use this man in a final, climactic attempt to do away with the nation of Israel.

But God, in His sovereign control of all things, will use this man’s efforts to achieve a completely opposite end — to bring about His own predetermined plans and purposes for Israel.  Matters in that day will be as in the words of Haman’s wife, Zeresh, relative to Haman attempting to slay Mordecai:

. . . If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him. [Esther 6:13b]

For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s The Most High Ruleth BOOK.)

Satan, of course, knows all of the preceding, whether Israel and the nations, or Christians, know or do not know these things.  And well he should know these things, for he and his angels have been ruling through the Gentile nations (knowing that they can’t rule through Israel) for millennia.

And, throughout this time, Satan has been doing and will continue doing everything within his power to prevent the one nation with a God from ever fully exercising her God-ordained position as firstborn son.  He knows that should this occur, not only would he have to relinquish the scepter but conditions relative to Israel and the nations would become as described in Zechariah 8:20-23:

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities;

The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.’

Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.”

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

And in an effort to prevent the preceding from ever occurring, Satan and his angels, ruling from a heavenly sphere through the Gentile nations on earth, have been seeking for decades in the Middle East, through the nations, to bring about that which is stated in Psalm 83:4:

They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

In Psalm 83, ten Gentile nations are seen allying themselves against Israel in the preceding respect, foreshadowing the ten-kingdom confederacy of Gentile nations that will one day rule under Antichrist and ally itself against Israel in exactly the same manner.

But, as Scripture clearly attests, it will all be for naught.  God has already spoken concerning the matter.  God has already had the final Word.
Chapter 4

The Intractable Middle East Problem (2)
God’s National Firstborn Son, Returning before the Time

. . . Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.

So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me” . . . . (Exodus 4:22-23a [22b])

If that which is seen in Chapter 3 of this book pertaining to Israel in the midst of Gentile nations in the Middle East (almost entirely Moslem and mostly Israel’s half-brother [centrally, descendants of Ishmael]) wasn’t already too much for man to even begin to deal with, there is still more.

And man can’t deal with that which remains any more than he can deal with that which is previously seen.  It is all outside of and completely beyond his control.  God alone, in His omniscient, sovereign control of all things, can deal with the present Middle East situation; and He will bring matters to pass, in His way and time, exactly as they are outlined in His infallible and unchangeable Word.

An Existing Israeli Nation in the Middle East

In the preceding respect, there is the matter of Israel having been driven out among the nations in time past, because of unbelief, to effect repentance.  And a remnant has returned to the land before the time.  This remnant has returned in unbelief, prior to repentance.

Or viewing the matter from another vantage point, though related to the previous, the Slayer, “Israel” — typified in Numbers 35 — has returned to the land of her possession before it is time for the nation to return.

The Slayer, according to the type in Numbers 35, cannot return to the land of her possession before Christ completes His present high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek (cf. Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1-7; Hebrews 5:6-10; 6:20; 7:1-21).  And because a remnant has returned before the time, before Christ completes His high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, a major Middle East problem has resulted.

It is the age-old story of a disobedient Jonah asleep on board a ship headed away from God’s calling and then finding himself in the midst of a raging storm out on the sea, a storm so severe that it struck fear in the hearts of those men on the ship, a storm so severe that it was about to destroy the ship.

The preceding two types form Scriptures own word picture and comments pertaining to the dire situation in the Middle East today.

(For information on the preceding types, in relation to the antitype of that which is seen in Numbers 35 and Jonah 1-3 refer to Chapters 5-8 in this book.)

Then, as if the preceding addition to the existing problem wasn’t enough, add something else.  God pictures Israel as having been wounded, as being sick, because of past disobedience (Isaiah 1:2ff).  And God states concerning Israel’s condition in this respect that the One who brought about this condition (God, because of the nation’s disobedience) is the only One who can cure the nation (Hosea 5:13-6:2).

The present nation of Israel in the Middle East is an outgrowth and result of a Zionistic movement that began under Theodor Herzl (an ardent Zionist) and others toward the end of the nineteenth century.  Then, the catalysts to bring this Zionistic movement to fruition were, centrally, events occurring during and following two subsequent world wars, WWI and WWII.

The former (WWI) provided England with the Mandate to Palestine (“the administration of the territory of Palestine” given to England by the League of Nations in 1922).  And England, prior to this time, had become sympathetic toward the Zionists’ aims of a homeland for the dispersed Jew in the land to which they now held the Mandate, resulting in numerous Jews, during particularly the next two decades, returning to the land of Palestine.

And the latter (WWII), resulting centrally from the actions of the Third Reich in Europe — seeking to produce a Jew-free Europe, slaying some 6,000,000 Jews in the process, in what came to be known as The Holocaust — provided the Jewish people with the catalyst, with that which was necessary among themselves and world opinion, to bring about events of May 14, 1948.

On this date, the current Israeli nation was born.  A remnant of Jews, for the first time since Rome had ruled the known world, once again existed as a nation in the Middle East.  And since that time, with Jews worldwide continuously streaming into Israel, the nation to date is about 6,000,000 strong.

And it is this return of the Jewish people from a worldwide dispersion (referred to through the name, Aliyah) that Bible students often attempt to associate with the prophesied biblical return.

The fact of the matter though is that the Jewish people have sought to return through man’s own power and strength during a time in which the nation remains in disobedience and unbelief.

God scattered the Jewish people among the Gentile nations because of disobedience, to effect repentance.  However, an unrepentant and a disbelieving remnant returned before the time.  A nation resulted, and that nation has grown over the past sixty-seven years to where it comprises a sizeable percentage of the world’s Jewish population (about two-fifths).

A people described in the words of Isaiah 1:4-6 (“a people laden with iniquity”) presently reside in the land.  And the land itself is described in the verse immediately following; in verse seven (“desolate . . . strangers devour your land”).

Numerous verses in Scripture deal with Israel’s restoration (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Isaiah 1:4-2:5; 6:1-8; Ezekiel 36:24ff; 37:21ff; 38:8ff; 39:25ff; Matthew 24:30-31).  And that which is stated in the text and context of verses of this nature clearly presents numerous, insurmountable problems for anyone attempting to associate the present return of a remnant with God’s prophesied restoration of His people.

Many Bible students today, seeking to align the present return of a remnant to the land with God’s promises in the Old Testament to not only restore His people to their land but restore their land as well (e.g., Isaiah 35:1-2) point to the present agricultural progress of the nation, along with other related efforts to produce vegetation, seeking to correspondingly align that with the land being restored in conjunction with the restoration of the people to their land.

But, all teachings of this nature are only man’s efforts to attempt something that he cannot do.  That which is seen in Israel today, resulting in man’s efforts over decades of time to cultivate and farm the land, along with certain other related efforts to produce vegetation on the barren landscape, has no more to do with biblical prophecies pertaining to a healing of the land than does the return of a remnant, during the same time, have to do with the healing of the Jewish people.

One cannot be fulfilled apart from the other, with neither having to do with God presently restoring His people to a restored land in accordance with His numerous promises to do so.  Man simply cannot circumnavigate the Word and make current events relate to something other than that to which they do relate.

And through attempting to do something of this nature, man not only has to ignore or misrepresent large sections of Scripture but he invariably ends up distorting or doing away with that which is actually taught in many of these same Scriptures.

Thus, error of this nature is no small thing, for the promises of God are being completely mishandled.

Note Isaiah 8:20 in this respect:

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them [or, ‘no dawn to them’].

That sounds plain enough!  And it not only sounds plain enough, it IS plain enough!

The Hebrew language has a way of often repeating the same statement or truth in different words, allowing the text to say the same thing twice.  The opening part of Isaiah 8:20 is a case in point.  Both “Law” and “Testimony” point to the same thing, the complete Word (the Old Testament at the time Isaiah was written, but including the New Testament as well today, for there is nothing in the New that cannot be found after some fashion in the Old).

And everything with the Lord in His Word is either black or white; there is no gray area in the Word (e.g., one is either for or against the Lord, he either scatters or gathers; in-between actions of any type, within the confines of the Word, do not exist [cf. Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23]).

Thus, study the Truth, and study the Truth after the manner in which God has laid it out in His Word.  And, if one does that, coming into a knowledge of this Word, it will matter little what type-ism or false teaching appears.  It will be looked upon and dealt with in the light of the Truth, the Word, wherein no error exists.

With these things in mind, what does “the Law” and “the Testimony” say about a remnant of Jews having returned to the land during modern times?  Are these Jews returning in fulfillment of God’s promises to one day re-gather His people back to the land?  And, is the land being restored in a corresponding fulfillment of His promises to do so when the Jewish people are re-gathered?

According to “the Law” and “the Testimony,” God, in time past, uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the Gentile nations to effect repentance, and He clearly states that He will remove them from the nations only following repentance.  And, further, any restoration of the land is always connected with that future time when the Jewish people have been restored to the land, which, again, can ONLY occur following repentance.

Then, when God restores His people in accordance with His numerous Old Testament promises to do so, the Jewish people will NEVER be uprooted from their land again (Ezekiel 37:21-28; 39:25-29; Joel 2:27; 3:17-21).  But the remnant presently in the land will be uprooted in the middle of the Tribulation by the actions of the rider on the red horse in Revelation 6:3-4 (cf. Matthew 24:15).

(For information on the actions of the four horsemen in Revelation 6:1-8, refer to the author’s book, Distant Hoofbeats.pdf.)

Further yet, the time which is seen in Scripture when God will restore His people to their land occurs following the Tribulation, not before the Tribulation (Matthew 24:29-31).  And this, of course, is perfectly in line with the purpose for that which will occur relative to Israel during the Tribulation — bringing the Jewish people to the end of themselves, through persecution at the hands of the Gentiles of a nature unparalleled in the history of the nation, to effect repentance.

In short, according to the latter part of Isaiah 8:20, the teaching that God is presently restoring the Jewish people to their land in accordance with His many promises has “no light” connected with it, for such a teaching is not according to “the Law” and “the Testimony.”  The teaching is completely removed from the light of God’s Word and seen in a completely opposite sphere — darkness.

And that’s the way anything being taught or anything which has been taught is to be dealt with.
If it is being taught correctly, it MUST be according to “the Law” and “the Testimony.”  The individual MUST proclaim the Word, not what he thinks, but THAT WHICH THE WORD STATES (2 Timothy 4:2). 

Thus, if something taught is to be seen as Truth, that which is taught in Scripture, it MUST be in accordance with “the Law” and “the Testimony.”  If it is out of line with this Word, then it is associated with error, not truth.  It is associated with darkness, not light.

Again, there is no middle ground; it has to be one or the other.

The same prophecies that deal with Israel’s restoration also deal with the reason Israel was driven out among the nations (because of disobedience), along with that which must occur before God will remove His people from the nations and place them back in the land — repentance.

And the latter has yet to occur.

Thus, in this respect alone, it is not possible that the return of a remnant at a time before repentance occurs can be looked upon as God restoring the Jewish people in accordance with the numerous Old Testament prophecies.

If the present restoration of a remnant to the land is the beginning of the prophesied biblical restoration of the Jewish people to the land, God, within this restoration, would be seen acting contrary to His revealed Word, not only relative to repentance but in numerous other realms as well — an impossibility.

Aside from the fact that the restoration of the Jewish people can occur only following Israel’s repentance, this restoration must occur in accordance with the chronology of that which is foreshadowed by each of the seven Jewish festivals in Leviticus 23 (which means that it can only follow Israel’s national conversion at the end of the Tribulation).

This restoration can occur only after Christ completes His present high priestly ministry in the sanctuary.

This restoration can occur only after Christ has returned at the end of the Tribulation.

This restoration can occur only after two days, on the third day (only after 2,000 years, in the third 1,000-year period, which comprises the Messianic Era).

This restoration can occur only after the Time of the Gentiles has been completed.

This restoration can occur only after Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy has been fulfilled (and seven years yet remain to be fulfilled in this prophecy, during which conditions will become so terrible on the earth that the Jewish people will be left without a place to turn other than to the God of their fathers).

The Complete Picture

Thus, the complete Middle East picture, as it exists today, could be succinctly depicted:

On the one hand, God’s firstborn son, the one whose right it is to hold the scepter, the only nation with a God, is sitting wounded in a place where the nation is not even supposed to be today, in the midst of Moslem nations, with the nations raging and the whole situation about to tumble out of control (cf. Psalm 2:1ff).

And on the other hand, Satan, through existing conditions, is doing all within his power to destroy Israel, using the surrounding Gentile nations, which are under his control and sway.

This is why there is a situation rapidly becoming uncontrollable, with the nations raging, in the Middle East today.  This is why the world heard the cry from Nasser over five decades ago that the primary goal of a war between Egypt and Israel was to drive Israel into the sea, doing away with the nation.  

And, as well, this is the reason why other Middle East rulers since that time have continued to echo the same cry which was heard from Nasser (e.g., Arafat among the Palestinians or Ahmadinejad in Iran).

And this is all perfectly understandable, for note who rules from the heavens through the governmental rulers on earth, both among the nations on the one hand and Israel on the other.  Among the nations (all of the Gentile nations, no exceptions), it is Satan and his angels; then with Israel, it is Michael and his angels.

(These things are clearly stated and dealt with in the latter part of Daniel 10.  Refer to Chapter 3 of this book.)

None of the basics behind these things are being taken into account in the nations’ endeavors to effect Middle East peace.  They can’t take these basics into account.  The intractable Middle East problem has both a biblical base and a false religious base, and the nations seeking to effect peace cannot operate in either realm.

Both bases are spiritual and involve supernatural powers — one emanating from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the other emanating from the god of this age.  Man’s best efforts in either supernatural realm would be as powerless as trying to extinguish the flames of a burning skyscraper with an empty eyedropper.

And even if the nations could operate in the spiritual realm, the nations couldn’t cure Israel of her current condition.  Only God can do this, something that He clearly states that He will do following Israel being brought to the place of repentance.

The Middle East is a powder keg with a burning short fuse.  It is going to blow, and man can’t stop it, for the prophets have already spoken.  This is simply what GOD HAS DECREED that it will ultimately take to bring Israel to the place of repentance, something that has been in the offing for over 2,600 years of Gentile rule and persecution of Israel.

How soon will it be before the Middle East tumbles completely out of control in the preceding manner?  We’re not told.  So there is no need to speculate.  Such would be useless anyway.  Suffice it to say that it is later, much later, than most care to think, imagine, or admit.

Then, There Is Something Else

The preceding outlines the bad news.  The preceding shows why a report such as The Baker-Hamilton Report (ref. Chapter 3 in this book) can’t even begin to touch the problem, as it exists.  And this is not to speak negatively of the report.  Rather, it is simply to say, from a biblical base, as previously outlined, that there is an existing problem in the Middle East that man can’t deal with.

But there is good news.  The more that the matter deteriorates, the brighter things become in another respect.  The dawn always follows the darkest hour of the night.

The time is rapidly approaching when the Church will be removed, and after that God will allow conditions to deteriorate to a point, particularly in the Middle East, where Israel will have no place to turn other than to the God of their fathers.  Scripture describes that time as a day “that shall burn as an oven” (Malachi 4:1), and Scripture also speaks of conditions deteriorating during that time to a point where “no flesh” would survive apart from divine intervention (Matthew 24:22).

It will be the story seen in the book of Exodus all over again.  Israel, through Gentile persecution, will be brought to the place of repentance, a Deliverer will be sent, Israel will be delivered, and Gentile world power will be destroyed.

That coming day will see the “Sun of Righteousness” arise “with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2).  Christ will return, Israel will be cured of her wound (her sickness), Gentile world power will be destroyed, and God’s firstborn Sons (Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the adoption]) will then exercise the rights of primogeniture, with the Gentile nations being blessed through Israel.

Then and only then will the intractable problem in the Middle East be resolved.  Then and only then will there be peace in the Middle East.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)
Chapter 5

The Turbulent Middle East (1)
Unrest in the Middle East — the Reason, the Solution

Now the Word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.

Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. (Jonah 1:1-5)

Would Christians, Israel, or the nations, like to know why unsettled, turbulent conditions currently exist in the Middle East, with seemingly no end to the matter?  The answer to that question was foretold centuries before these conditions ever existed, over 2,800 years ago, in the opening five verses of the book of Jonah.

Would Christians, Israel, or the nations, like to know the only solution to the existing problem in the Middle East?  The answer to that question was foretold centuries before these conditions ever existed as well, again, over 2,800 years ago, in the continuing verses of the book of Jonah (Jonah 1:6-2:10).

In this respect, it would appear that man today might want to consult the centuries-old guide Book on the matter.  But not so!  This Book has seemingly been relegated to the last place that man would turn for information on about anything these days.

Man’s outlook or actions on anything regarding Middle East conditions though changes nothing.  The Prophets have spoken (Jonah, among numerous other Prophets), and that’s the end of the matter.

So, let’s look at “the why” of the problem in the opening five verses of Jonah.  Then we’ll look at “the only solution” to the problem in the continuing verses of this book.

The Why of the Problem

Jonah, in direct disobedience to the Lord, booked passage on board a ship, paid the fare, went down into the ship’s hold, and set sail — fleeing from the Lord’s presence, traveling west toward Tarshish rather than east toward Nineveh, where he had been told to go.

Because Jonah had done this, the Lord sent “a great wind” and “a mighty tempest” out on the sea (the Mediterranean) of such a nature that the ship was about to be destroyed (Jonah 1:3-4; cf. Jonah 1:7, 12b).  And though the crew of the ship was fearful of that which seemingly was about to occur, Jonah, during all this time, was asleep down in the hold of the ship (Jonah 1:5).

The story of Jonah, a true account of past events pertaining to one of the Lord’s prophets (Matthew 12:38-40), has to do with events that occurred under the sovereign direction and control of the Lord in order that He, at a later time, might have these events to draw upon to teach His people the deep things of God.

In this respect, Jonah forms a type; and it is evident from this account that his actions foreshadow those of God’s two firstborn Sons, Christ and Israel.

The overall story throughout all four chapters has to do more specifically with Israel, and the time that Jonah was in the belly of the great fish in the latter part of chapter one and in chapter two (“three days and three nights”) has to do with both Christ and Israel.

(For information relative to the expression, “three days and three nights,” seen in Jonah 1:17 [having to do with the length of time that Jonah was in the belly of the fish] and referenced by Christ in Matthew 12:38-40 [having to do with the length of time that He would be in the heart of the earth], refer to “O Sleeper, Arise, Call…” in this site.”)

God called Israel into existence for three main, inseparable reasons:

1) To give mankind the Word of God.

2) To give mankind the Savior.

3) To be God’s witness to the nations, telling them about the Savior, using the Word of God.

Israel gave mankind the Word of God and the Savior (Psalm 147:19-20; Isaiah 9:6-7), but Israel failed miserably as God’s witness to the nations (Isaiah 43:1-11).

And the place where Israel failed in her calling is what the opening part of Jonah is about, in a type-antitype structure.  Israel, as Jonah, refused to go to the Gentiles with God’s message; Israel, as Jonah, went in an opposite direction — a path that Israel persists in continuing to travel down to the present day and time; and, as in the account of Jonah, God has acted accordingly.

The “sea,” throughout Scripture, is used as a metaphor for the Gentile nations, also for the place of death (Revelation 13:1; 21:1), with both usages of the word seen in the opening two chapters of Jonah.

And Jonah on board the ship, removed from the sea, could only picture one thing.  There is only one place on earth that can be seen as a place removed from the nations, and that place is the land of Israel.

And the sea raging after a manner that was about to destroy the ship and its crew could only have to do with one thing as well — with unrest of a similar nature among the Gentile nations surrounding Israel.

Thus, Jonah on board the ship, asleep in a place where he wasn’t even supposed to be, typifies Israel in the land, asleep in a place where they are not even supposed to be; and the sea raging typifies unrest of a similar nature among the nations surrounding Israel.

The Lord sent the great storm in the type because of Jonah, and the Lord has sent the great storm (unrest among the nations [with the full unrest, as will be shown, yet to occur]) in the antitype because of Israel.

Jonah was a disobedient prophet, asleep in a place where he wasn’t supposed to be (on board a ship rather than headed toward Nineveh).  And Israel is a disobedient nation, asleep in a place where the nation isn’t supposed to be (in the land rather than scattered among the nations).

Israel, because of disobedience (seen in Jonah’s disobedience), was driven out among the nations to effect repentance.  But a part of the nation has returned to the land (under a Zionistic movement) while still in their disobedient state, before repentance, asleep to their calling.

And this is exactly what has been foreshadowed in Jonah through the disobedient prophet being on board the ship (out of the sea), in an unrepentant state, asleep in the hold of the ship, asleep to his calling.

And, exactly as in the type (the Lord, because of that which Jonah had done, caused the sea to rage to such an extent that the ship was about to be destroyed), so in the antitype (the Lord, because of that which Israel has done, has brought about unrest among the nations to the same extent as seen in the type [the present unrest among the nations, though not as intense as the sea raging in Jonah’s day, will culminate in one just as intense]).  The type has been set and cannot be changed.

Thus, the trouble among the Gentile nations in the Middle East today can be traced to one thing.  It can be traced to actions that the Lord, in His sovereign direction and control of all things, has brought to pass because of the presence of a disobedient and unrepentant Jewish nation in the land.

Everything revolves around Israel.  It always has, and it always will.

(As previously seen in this book, it is widely taught in Christian circles today  that a Jewish nation presently existing in the land of Israel [since May 14, 1948] has to do with God progressively fulfilling His numerous Old Testament promises to restore His people to their land.

From a biblical standpoint though, as also previously seen, such is not at all possible.  A present restoration of the Jewish people [before the time], particularly under existing conditions [a disobedient and unrepentant people], would have God acting contrary to His Word in numerous realms — an impossibility.

Aside from that which is developed in previous chapters in this book, to grasp an overall understanding of that which Scripture has to say in this respect, refer to the author’s Israel from Death to Life BOOK, in this site.)

The Only Solution to the Problem

The only solution to the existing problem in the Middle East (to bring an end to that which God, because of Israel, has caused to occur among the nations) is seen in the continuing account in the book of Jonah.

Jonah told those on the ship exactly what must be doneHe must be cast into the sea (where God would then deal with him relative to repentance).  And, after Jonah had been cast into the sea, the sea ceased raging.

Bringing that over into the antitype, to put a stop to the unrest among the nations, Israel must be removed from her land and placed back out among these same nations (where God had previously driven His people and where He had decreed that He would deal with them relative to repentance).

And after this has been done, in complete keeping with the type — after Israel is in the place where God can deal with His people relative to repentance — unrest among the nations (for the reason that it had existed) will cease.

The preceding may sound strange, but not so at all.  Unrest among the nations exists because of Israel’s presence in the land.  This is what God has brought to pass because of Israel’s present location (in a place where the disobedient nation is not supposed to be during the present time).

And God can bring about a change only when Israel has been removed from this place (Jonah from the boat, Israel from the land).

God, in His sovereign direction and control of all things, has set the whole of the matter forth in a perfect parallel form of this nature.

According to Scripture, Israel will remain in the land, out of place, until the middle of the coming Tribulation (Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff).  At that time, those forming the disobedient and unrepentant nation will be driven back out among the Gentile nations (as Jonah was cast out into the sea).

Then, exactly as in the type, God will bring about a change in conditions.  The existing unrest among the nations will cease, for the reason why this unrest had occurred will no longer exist (as the sea ceased raging after Jonah had been cast overboard in the type, for the reason why it had raged no longer existed).

But, according to related biblical prophecy, another unrest among the nations at this time will replace the previous unrest, becoming far, far more tumultuous.  This though will be for an entirely different reason, but still having to do with Israel.

Once Israel has been removed from her land, the previously existing catalyst for unrest among the nations will have been removed; but, because of anti-Semitism on an unprecedented scale that will then begin to occur, a new catalyst will come into play, having to do with a far, far greater unrest among the nations than will have ever existed before this time.

And, in the end, the nations, brought to the brink of complete destruction, resulting from this unrest, will be prevented from destroying themselves only because of the continuing presence of the nation of Israel.

In little more than three additional years, the nations will be brought to the place seen in Matthew 24:21-22:

. . . And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake [for Israel’s sake] those days will be shortened.

Thus, as seen in the preceding verse, or the book of Jonah, or anywhere else in Scripture, Israel occupies a place at center-stage on every hand, at every turn, in complete keeping with the reason that God called this nation into existence.
Chapter 6

The Turbulent Middle East (2)
Unrest in the Middle East — To One Day Cease

So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”

So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this.” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?” -for the sea was growing more tempestuous.

And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” . . .

So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. (Jonah 1:6-12, 15)

As seen in Chapter 5 of this book, the small four-chapter book of Jonah, written by a Jewish prophet over 2,800 years ago, outlines in exact detail not only the reason for the current unrest among the nations in the Middle East, extending out into the world at large, but also the solution to the existing problem.

In the type, there is a disobedient Jewish prophet on board a ship headed west toward Tarshish when he should have been back on the land headed east toward Nineveh.  Since Jonah is seen on the ship rather than in the sea, he is seen, from a typical standpoint, as being in the land of Israel (the “sea” is used in Scripture as a metaphor for the nations, along with the place of death [Revelation 13:1; 17:1, 15]).

The land of Israel is the only place that could possibly be in view and still see the place where Jonah was as separate from the nations (i.e., he was out of the sea, on the ship, not in the sea).

Then, viewing the matter from the standpoint of the antitype, Israel is on board the ship, out of the sea (i.e., a segment of the Jewish people, over time, has returned to the land of Israel [under a Zionistic movement]; those comprising this segment have removed themselves from the sea rather than remaining where God had previously placed them — out among the nations).

And those presently comprising the nation of Israel (some 6,000,000) are in the land, in exactly the condition and state which is seen in the account of Jonah on board the ship.  The Jewish people are in the land in a disobedient and unrepentant state, with their actions seen to be the same as Jonah’s — seeking to flee from the Lord’s presence.

(Any type of action on Jonah’s part in the type or Israel’s part in the antitype, seeking to flee from the Lord’s presence, was/is futile.  Regardless of circumstances, the Lord is always seen residing in Israel’s midst, dating back to the inception of the nation during Moses’ day.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [‘Sheol’], behold, You are there. (Psalm 139:7-8)

For additional information in this respect, refer back to the foreword in this book, seeing Israel as “the pupil of God’s eye.”)

And exactly the same thing as seen in the type has occurred relative to Israel and the nations.  It has to, for the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.

God has sent a great storm out on the sea; God has caused great turmoil to exist among the Gentile nations.  And it is all because of Israel’s presence in the land (present in the land before the time) and their condition in the land (a disobedient and unrepentant people).

Israel, as Jonah, is asleep to the true nature of what is happening; and the nations, alienated from God and His Word, have no means to ascertain or understand what is happening.  And the entire matter will continue unchecked, only becoming worse and worse with time, until . . . .  

The unrest among the nations, particularly in the Middle East, can only continue until the Jewish people have been removed from their land and driven back out among the nations, exactly as is seen in the type (Jonah cast from the ship into the sea).  Only then will God allow the present unrest among the nations, for the reason that it presently exists, to cease.

(God had previously uprooted His people from their land and driven them out among the nations to effect repentance through continuous mistreatment at the hands of the nations.  This is not only where but how God had previously decreed that He would deal with His people in this respect, which is the primary reason why the 6,000,000 Jews presently in the land must be uprooted and driven back out among the nations.  And the time when this will occur cannot be far removed.

An interesting thing about the present unrest among the numerous nations fighting in the Middle East is that the center of activity is in the exact place from where the first beast out of Revelation 13, the Antichrist, will arise.  This man will arise from someplace in parts of northern Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Turkey [Daniel 8:8-9].

And all of that occurring, under God’s sovereign direction and control — because of Israel’s presence in the land — may very well be setting the stage for this man to emerge on the scene.  This is the man whom God will use in the middle of the coming Tribulation, in the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, to uproot His people from their land and drive them back out among the nations.  Then He will further use the actions of this man to bring Israel to the place of repentance.

Note how God has used and will use men and nations in this respect.  God used the past Assyrian and his armed forces ruling Egypt during Moses’ day in this respect, and He will use the future Assyrian and his armed forces ruling the world in this same respect [typified by the past Assyrian in Egypt]:

. . . for this purpose I have raised you  up [the Assyrian Pharaoh ruling Egypt during Moses’ day], that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. [Exodus 9:16b]

And the ten horns which you saw on the beast [the beast’s ten-kingdom confederacy], these will hate the harlot [Israel], make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire [setting forth in figurative language an end to Israel’s harlotry].

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” [Revelation 17:16-17; cf. Revelation 19:2-3].)

In the Sea, Then…

One part of the complete story concerning Israel and the nations is seen in the book of Jonah.  Once Jonah had been cast into the sea, the sea ceased raging; and once Israel has been removed from the land and driven back out among the nations in the middle of the coming Tribulation, in exact accord with the type, unrest among the nations will cease (this unrest will cease because the catalyst for the unrest will have been removed).  Divine power, controlling the matter, was seen in the type; and exactly the same divine power and circumstances must be seen in the antitype.

But, as previously stated, Jonah only presents this one part of an overall account of God’s dealings with Israel at this time.  When Israel is driven back out among the nations, things not dealt with in Jonah but dealt with in other Prophets will then come into play.  Though unrest among the nations will cease because Israel will no longer be present in the land, unrest among the nations will then begin on an unprecedented scale because of something else — anti-Semitism on a scale never before seen in the 3,500-year history of the nation.

The beast, empowered by Satan and seated on his throne (Revelation 13:2), will seek to destroy Israel from off the face of the earth.  God though, as previously stated, will use this man’s actions to effect His own revealed purposes — bringing Israel to the place of repentance after 2,600 years of Gentile persecution.

And Scripture reveals that it will take the type persecution which will be manifested under the future Assyrian, the Beast, to bring about Israel’s repentance.  The Third Reich, under Hitler and Eichmann, slaying some 6,000,000 Jews during the WWII years couldn’t bring about repentance.

But the true beast, about to appear, will either slay or otherwise cause the death of some 9,000,000 Jews in half the time (two-thirds of the world’s Jewish population, currently between thirteen and fourteen million [cf. Ezekiel 5:12; Zechariah 13:8-9]).  And, through his actions, as God uses this man’s actions, Israel will be brought to the place where they will have no recourse other than to call upon the God of their fathers.

In this respect, God will use this latter-day Assyrian exactly as He used his Assyrian predecessor during Moses’ day (Exodus 2:23ff).

Repentance, Then…

Once Jonah had been cast into the sea at the end of chapter one (Jonah 1:15), the events of Jonah 2 relate the account of Jonah brought to the place of repentance.  And this, of course, foreshadows Israel brought to the place of repentance once the Jewish people have been driven back out among the nations.

Jonah was brought to this place through circumstances that God had brought to pass.  Then, once this had occurred and Jonah acknowledged, “Salvation is of the Lord,” the Lord commanded the fish to spit him out on dry land (the land of Israel).  Jonah was driven to the place of repentance while in the sea, he acknowledged the only place from which salvation exists while still in the sea, and he was then restored to the land (Jonah 1:15-2:10). 

In complete accord with the book of Jonah, any of the other types, the Jewish festivals of Leviticus 23, or the Prophets, Israel’s restoration to the land will occur at a particular time yet future.

Israel’s restoration will occur following the nation’s repentance, following Messiah’s return at the end of the Tribulation, following the nation’s national conversion when they look upon the One whom they pierced, and following the resurrection of Old Testament saints (the dead will be resurrected and restored with the living, exactly as is seen in the type in Exodus during Moses’ day [Moses took the bones of Joseph with him when he led the Israelites out of Egypt]).

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s Israel from Death to Life BOOK, in this site.

Also, see Anti-Semitism in this site.)

Then, in the type, continuing in Jonah chapter three, Jonah did that which the Lord had commanded him to do in the first place.  He went to Nineveh with God’s message, resulting in the repentance of the entire city (Jonah 3:1ff).

And Israel, following their repentance, national conversion, and restoration to the land, will then do that which God had commanded them to do in the first place.

Exactly as is seen in the type, they will go to the Gentiles with God’s message.  And, as seen in the type, the Gentiles will hear and respond (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zechariah 8:13, 20-23).

This is what the future holds for Israel and the nations, as foretold over 2,800 years ago in the book of Jonah.
Chapter 7

Time of Israel’s Restoration (1)
Israel’s Return to the Land of Her Possession

Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty.

Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.

And you shall take no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the priest [the high priest (Num. 35:25)].

So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. (Numbers 35:30-33)

For over six decades, since May 14, 1948 — for the first time in almost nineteen centuries, dating back to the days when Rome ruled the world — a Jewish nation has again existed in the Middle East.  The Old Testament is filled with prophecies pertaining to a future time when God would restore His people to their land (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Isaiah 2:1-5; 54:1ff; Ezekiel 36:24ff; 37:1ff; 39:25ff; Zechariah 8:1ff).  But can this present restoration be seen as any type of fulfillment of God’s numerous promises to one day restore His people to their land?

As seen in past chapters in this book, many Bible students have understood the present restoration of a remnant of the Jewish people to be a progressive beginning fulfillment of these numerous prophecies.  But, as also seen in these past chapters, this restoration of a remnant during modern times can have nothing to do with God’s promises to one day not only restore His people to the land but to restore their land as well.  Not only will the Jewish nation be healed in that day, but the land itself will be healed.  A repentant and converted Jewish people will be removed from the nations and placed back in a land that is going to “blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1ff; Joel 2:18-32; 3:17-21).

It is rather amazing that anyone with an open Bible would equate what has been happening over the past six decades in the Middle East with God restoring both the Jewish people and their land in accordance with His numerous promises to do so.  But they do, completely ignoring what is so clearly taught in the Word.

Scripture lays the whole matter out, as is seen in previous chapters in this book — in numerous ways and places, in a clear and understandable manner — providing sufficient information (actually, an abundance of information) surrounding different things having to do with Israel’s prophesied return that no one should ever go wrong in this realm of biblical study; and Numbers 35 is another place in Scripture that deals with the matter in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.

The matter is dealt with in Numbers 35 after a manner that is not really seen elsewhere in Scripture, though remaining completely in line with all other places in Scripture where the fulfillment of God’s promises to one day restore His people and their land are dealt with.  This chapter in Numbers simply presents additional information for a developing word picture on the subject.

In this chapter, “a time” during Man’s Day, during the 6,000 years allotted to man, is given when Israel can return.  Until this “time” arrives, Israel cannot return; but after this “time” arrives, Israel can and will return, though only following certain other revealed events first coming to pass.

The “time” dealt with in this chapter is only one part of the overall equation, though a very important part.  Thus, one can understand one necessary facet of the matter from that which is revealed in this section of Scripture.

The Cities of Refuge

Numbers 35 relates the account of God instructing the children of Israel to set aside six cities to be “cities of refuge.”  And within this account one will find central truths pertaining to that future time — which is dealt with in Hebrews 5 — when the present high priestly ministry of Christ, after the order of Aaron, is concluded and Christ comes forth from the heavenly sanctuary as the great King-Priest, after the order of Melchizedek.

Three of the cities of refuge were to be located on the east side of Jordan, and the three remaining were to be located on the west side of Jordan (Numbers 35:14).  The three cities on the east side of Jordan were selected by Moses, prior to his death and the subsequent entrance of the Israelites into the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 4:41-43); and the three cities on the west side of Jordan were selected by the children of Israel under the leadership of Joshua, following their entrance into the land (Joshua 20:1-7).

1)  A Sanctuary

These cities were set aside to provide a sanctuary for any man who killed another man by an unpremeditated act.  The divine decree given to Noah and his sons following the Flood required the death of the slayer at the hands of man:

Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. (Genesis 9:6)

And God’s injunction concerning capital punishment for a capital crime was later reiterated to Moses and is part of the Mosaic Economy as well (Exodus 20:13; 21:12ff).

The command concerning capital punishment for a capital crime was thus given to Noah and his sons over eight hundred years before it was delivered to the children of Israel under Moses.

Consequently, man not being under the Mosaic Economy today has nothing to do with the validity or non-validity of capital punishment for a capital crime, for not only does the biblical origin of this injunction precede the giving of the Law through Moses but the command given to Noah and his sons (approx. 2,300 B.C.) has never been repealed.

Although capital punishment for a capital offense has never been repealed, provision was later made for a man who killed another man unintentionally.  This was the divinely established purpose for setting aside the six cities of refuge (cf. Exodus 21:12-13).

These cities were to be located at places where at least one city would be easily accessible to any Israelite living in the land of Canaan.  And should one Israelite kill another Israelite through accidental means — unintentionally — he could flee to the nearest city of refuge and be provided a sanctuary from the near kinsman of the person who had been slain.

It fell to the lot of the near kinsman to fulfill God’s injunction concerning capital punishment for a capital crime.  The near kinsman was to confront the slayer and, in turn, slay him.  God’s requirement in the matter was blood for blood (Numbers 35:16-21; cf. Deuteronomy 19:21).

God’s previous instructions to Noah and his sons remained unchanged within the framework of God’s instructions to Moses.

Something though was added to these instructions within the Mosaic Economy.  Provision was made for the person guilty of accidental, unpremeditated manslaughter — a city of refuge.  And once the Israelite guilty of such an act had taken advantage of that provision — once the slayer had fled to and was inside the walls of one of the six designated cities of refuge — the near kinsman, as long as the slayer remained in this place, couldn’t touch him.

Any individual though who fled to one of the cities of refuge must, at a later time, be returned to the area where the slaying occurred and appear before a judicial court.  And, in order for that individual to be found guilty of willful murder, at least two witnesses were required to testify against the man in this respect.

If the slayer was found to be guilty of willful murder, he would be turned over to the near kinsman to be slain; and the near kinsman, slaying the man, would not be guilty of blood himself.

But if the slayer, on the other hand, was found guilty only of involuntary manslaughter, he would be  delivered out of the hands of the near kinsman and be returned to the safety of the city of refuge to which he had previously fled (Numbers 35:22-28).

2)  A Ransom

Then there was the matter of a ransom.

This ransom constituted a payment for the life of the one found to have committed involuntary manslaughter.  No ransom though was provided for the life of a person found guilty of willful murder.  Rather, he was to forfeit his own life (blood for blood), apart from a ransom.

But though the ransom was a provision for the one having committed involuntary manslaughter, there was a stipulation: The slayer could not avail himself of the ransom until the death of the high priest (Numbers 35:28, 32).

Once the high priest in the camp of Israel had died and the ransom had been paid, the individual who had previously been found guilty only of involuntary manslaughter was then free to leave the particular city of refuge where he had been provided a sanctuary and return to the land of his possessionAnd once this had occurred, the near kinsman no longer had any claim on that individual.

Israel, the Slayer

In the Old Testament (in the type) it was individual Israelites who found themselves guilty of manslaughter (premeditated or involuntary) and, consequently, in a position where they would either be slain or be granted protection in a city of refuge.

Today (in the antitype) it is the entire nation of Israel that finds itself guilty of manslaughter and in a position to either be slain or be granted protection.

1)  Premeditated or Involuntary

The nation of Israel is guilty of blood.  The nation is guilty of the death of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The paschal lamb was given to Israel, and only Israel could slay this lamb (Exodus 12:1ff).  “Jesus” was the Paschal Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), to whom all the sacrificial lambs in the Old Testament pointed; and only Israel could have slain Jesus, which is exactly what, according to Scripture, occurred (Acts 2:23, 36; 3:12-15).

Israel today is unclean due to its contact with the dead body of God’s Son, with cleansing to be provided on the seventh day — the seventh 1,000-year period, the Messianic Era (Numbers 19:11-12).

But how is Israel’s act, as the slayer, to be reckoned?  Was it a premeditated act?  Or was it an involuntary act?

If it was a premeditated act, the nation would have to be cut off.  No ransom could be provided (it would have to be blood for blood; the nation would have to pay with its own life); nor, if a premeditated act, could the nation ever be allowed to return to the land of her possession (which would mean, in the final analysis, that God’s promises to Abraham, beginning with Genesis 12:1-3, could never be realized).

However, if Jesus was delivered into Israel’s hands after a manner that would allow the nation’s act of crucifying her Messiah to be looked upon as involuntary manslaughter — i.e., allowing the nation’s act to be looked upon as having been done through ignorance — then Israel could be granted protection and a ransom could be provided.

And beyond that, the nation could one day avail itself of the ransom, at which time Israel would be free to return to the land of her possession (allowing God’s promises to Abraham, beginning with Genesis 12:1-3, to be fulfilled).

2)  The Biblical Testimony

The biblical testimony concerning the manner in which the nation’s act must be viewed was given by Jesus Himself at Golgotha; and the same testimony was later provided by Peter, following the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.

Note the words of Jesus:

. . . Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. . . .” (Luke 23:34a).

Then note the words of Peter:

Men of Israel . . .

But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. . 

Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. (Acts 3:12, 14-15, 17 [12a])

Thus, Jesus was delivered into Israel’s hands (cf. Exodus 21:13; Acts 2:23) after a manner that not only allowed the Jewish people to act after the described fashion but also prevented them from acting after any other fashion as well.  Consequently, Israel is to be granted protection, a ransom will be provided, and the Jewish people will be free to one day avail themselves of this ransom and return to the land of their possession.

 But this will occur only after the antitype of the death of the high priest.  And it will be at this time — not before — that all of God’s promises to Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, beginning with Genesis 12:1-3, will be fulfilled.

Christ’s Present High Priestly Ministry

Patterned After the Order of Aaron, or Melchizedek?

Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is often associated with that of Melchizedek rather than Aaron, though Christ exercising a ministry after the other of Melchizedek today is not possible.  As well, associating Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary with Melchizedek will close the door to a proper understanding of the typology seen in Numbers 35.

1)  Aaron

Aaron was a minister in the sanctuary during that period when the children of Israel, under Moses, traversed the wilderness on their pilgrim journey from Egypt to Canaan.  These Israelites constituted a nation that had experienced death (via a substitute) in Egypt, burial as they moved down into the divide between the waters of the Red Sea from the Sea’s western banks in Egypt, and resurrection as they moved up out of this divide between the waters on the Sea’s eastern banks in the wilderness.  The first had been set aside and the second established (Hebrews 10:9); and this nation, under Moses, passed through these experiences for one central purpose.

This nation was to be established within a theocracy in the land of Canaan as God’s firstborn son; and, occupying this position, the Gentile nations of the earth were to be both subject to and blessed through Israel.

God had previously made certain promises to Abraham, and He had established a covenant with Abraham concerning the land wherein these promises were to be realized.  Before Abraham ever left Ur of the Chaldees, God revealed His plans and purposes in relation to Abraham, his progeny, and the Gentile nations of the earth.  Then, once Abraham had left Ur and entered into the land of Canaan, God established a covenant with him concerning the land itself (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:18-21; 17:7-8).

Within God’s plans and purposes, a nation, separate and distinct from the Gentile nations, was to be brought into existence through Abraham.  The descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:18-19; 21:12; 27:29), comprising this separate and distinct nation, would come under God’s direct blessing; but such would not be the case with any Gentile nation.  The Gentile nations of the earth were to be blessed only through the nation emanating from the loins of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, the nation of Israel.

And these blessings were to be realized by and through Israel only as this nation dwelled in a particular land — the land of Canaan, to which Abraham had been called when he left Ur.  God, through an unconditional and everlasting covenant gave this land to Abraham and his seed (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:18-21; 17:7-8; 26:3-4; 28:13-14); and the seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob holds (and will always hold) the title deed to this land for one central purpose, recorded in Genesis 12:1-3.

Then, in keeping with Deuteronomy 28:1-14, the Gentile nations being blessed through Israel were also to be subject to Israel.  Israel was to be placed at the head of the nations (cf. Genesis 22:17-18; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6), within a theocracy.  God Himself was to dwell in the midst of His people (cf. Exodus 40:34-38; Leviticus 26:11-12; Joel 2:27-32), blessings were to be poured out on the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 28:2-14), and these blessings were to flow through Israel to the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:3).  That is, the nations of the earth were to be subject to Israel — God’s firstborn son, a kingdom of priests — and, in this manner, be blessed through Israel.

This is how it was to have been under the old covenant during the days of Moses, and later Joshua; and this is how it one day will be when God makes a new covenant with the house of Israel during the days of the Son of Man.

Then, in that coming day, God, in the person of His Son, will dwell among the Jewish people, in a theocracy (cf. Joel 2:27-32).

During Moses’ day, Aaron was a minister in the sanctuary on behalf of a people who had been redeemed from Egypt for the purpose at hand.  This was an earthly sanctuary, and the purpose at hand was earthly.  The Israelites had been redeemed and called out from one part of the earth to occupy a particular position in another part of the earth, within a theocracy.

In the antitype, Christ is presently ministering in a heavenly sanctuary (after which the earthly was patterned), and He is ministering on behalf of a people who have been redeemed from the present world for a particular purpose.  Christians are presently being called out from this world to one day occupy positions in heavenly places (paralleling Israel’s earthly calling in a type-antitype framework [called to be “kings and priests,” “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people]), within a theocracy (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10; cf. Exodus 19:5-6).

And Christ, ministering in the heavenly sanctuary today, is ministering after the order of Aaron.  He is ministering on the basis of shed blood on behalf of a redeemed people removed from this world for a purpose, paralleling Israel’s removal from Egypt for a purpose.

(Note that Christ can minister in the sanctuary in this manner today, though not of the Levitical line, because He is not ministering as High Priest to individuals under the Mosaic Economy.  Rather, He is ministering on behalf of those who form the one new man “in Christ.”

But in that coming day when Israel is brought back into the picture, Christ’s priesthood, of necessity, will have to change.  In that day Christ will be the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek, a priesthood of an entirely different order [Hebrews 7:11ff].)

2)  Melchizedek

Melchizedek is mentioned eleven times in Scripture — two times in the Old Testament (Genesis 14:18; Psalm 110:4) and nine times in the book of Hebrews 5-7.  And the manner in which Melchizedek is presented in the Old Testament will govern the manner in which he must be viewed in the book of Hebrews.

Melchizedek first appears in Scripture when Abraham was returning from the battle of the kings (Genesis 14:18-19).  Melchizedek was “king of Salem [‘king of Jerusalem’ (Psalm 76:2)]” and “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18).  Thus, he was a king-priest in Jerusalem.

Meeting Abraham, following the battle of the kings, he brought forth bread and wine and blessed Abraham, saying, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:18-19).

It is evident that Melchizedek’s actions in the type during the days of Abraham were Messianic in their scope of fulfillment in the antitype.  Immediately prior to Christ’s death at Calvary, He partook of the Passover with His disciples (Matthew 26:19ff).  And at the end of the Passover feast — after Jesus had participated with His disciples in the breaking of bread and drinking from the cup, along with His instructions to them concerning both (Matthew 26:26-28) — Jesus said:

. . . I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. (Matthew 26:29b)

This could only be an allusion to one thing — that future day when Christ will come forth in the antitype of Melchizedek as he is presented in Genesis 14:18-19, with bread and wine to bless Abraham and his descendants, both heavenly and earthly (cf. Genesis 22:17-18).  And this is an event that will occur following the battle of the kings (cf. Revelation 19:17-21).

The one hundred tenth Psalm (Psalm 110), where Melchizedek is referred to in the only other time in the entire Old Testament is also Messianic in its scope of fulfillment.  It must be, for this is the way Melchizedek is presented in Genesis, and there can be no change when one comes to the book of Psalms.

In this Psalm, the Son is told to sit on the Father’s right hand until such a time as His enemies are made His “footstool” (Psalm 110:1).  Then, after His enemies have been made His footstool, He is going to rule “in the midst” of His enemies (Psalm 110:2).  He is going to “strike through kings” and “judge among the heathen [Gentiles]” in that coming day of His “power” (Psalm 110:3, 5-6), a day when He will be revealed as the great King-Priest in Jerusalem, “after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4).

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! . . . 

The LORD has sworn and will not relent [will not change His mind], You are a priest forever [Hebrews, olam, ‘a long period of time,’ not ‘forever,’ which, contextually, can only refer to the Messianic Era] according [after] the order of Melchizedek. (Psalm 110:1-2, 4)

Then the subject matter in the book of Hebrews has been established in and through seven Messianic quotations from the Old Testament in the first chapter, introducing the book (with the last of the seven quotations taken from Psalm 110:1 [Hebrews 1:13]).

And the same subject matter is seen after a continuing fashion in Hebrews 2 where it is stated that the world to come — the Messianic Era, dealt with in chapter one — will be governed by man, not by angels [as the present world is governed (Hebrews 1:5; cf. Daniel 10:12ff; Ephesians 3:10; 6:12ff)].  These are the individuals seen at the end of chapter one (Hebrews 1:14), who are “about to inherit salvation” (literal rendering of the verse from the Greek text) — a salvation having to do with rulership in the world to come.

Then, with the introduction of Melchizedek in chapter five, this same Messianic setting MUST continue in view, which is in perfect keeping with that which is stated about Melchizedek in the Old Testament or elsewhere in the book of Hebrews:

You [Christ] are a priest forever [Gk., eis ton aiona, ‘with respect to the age’ (singular, one age, not ‘forever’), which can only refer to the Messianic Era] according to [after] the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:6; cf
Hebrews 7:17, 21).

Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 must be understood in the light of one another (actually, Psalm 110 draws from Genesis 14), and Hebrews 5-7 must be understood in the light of both Old Testament references, along with the subject matter of the book as is set forth in the opening chapter.  Thus, all eleven references to Melchizedek in Scripture can only be looked upon after one fashion — as Messianic in their scope of fulfillment.

(Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary on the basis of His own blood on the mercy seat, is something that is seen in connection with Aaron, not with Melchizedek.  This is not to say that Melchizedek ministered as a priest apart from a sanctuary and shed blood.  Rather, it is to say that there is no mention of a sanctuary or shed blood in connection with his ministry in Scripture.

This is seen solely in connection with Aaron’s ministry, forming the basis for his past high priestly ministry, as it forms the basis for Christ’s present high priestly ministry.

Concerning the absence of the mention of a sanctuary and shed blood in connection with Melchizedek, this would not be the case as matters are seen in the antitype, in that future day, when Christ comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek and a new covenant is made with the House of Israel.  The new covenant, as the Mosaic covenant, is associated with death and shed blood in Scripture [cf. Genesis 15:9-21; Jeremiah 34:18; Matthew 26:28].

There is an allusion to this in Hebrews 7:21-22:

The LORD has sworn and will not relent, You are a priest forever [a priest with respect to the age] according to [after] the order of Melchizedek.

by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

Then, when Christ deals with Israel in relation to sin at the time of His return [fulfilling that which is foreshadowed by events on the Day of Atonement], of necessity, shed blood and a sanctuary will have to be in view.  And also, of necessity, Jesus will have to be exercising the Melchizedek priesthood at this time.

Thus, in the preceding respect, one could find death and shed blood, along with a sanctuary, associated with the Melchizedek priesthood.  But that is solely future, it involves Israel alone, and it has nothing to do with Christ’s present priestly ministry on behalf of Christians.)
Chapter 8

Time of Israel’s Restoration (2)
Israel’s Return to the Land of Her Possession

Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty.

Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.

And you shall take no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the priest [the high priest (Num. 35:25)].

So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. (Numbers 35:30-33)

In the camp of Israel there was only one high priest at any one time.  At the time of the high priest’s death, he was succeeded by another from the Aaronic line; and the high priestly ministry in the Aaronic line continued in this manner, after this fashion.

Aaron ministered in the sanctuary in the earthly tabernacle, with blood, on behalf of the people.  Jesus, on the other hand, is presently ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, with blood, on behalf of the people — a ministry patterned after the order of Aaron.

And, as evident from Hebrews 5, along with other related Scripture, Christ’s present ministry after the order of Aaron will not continue indefinitely.

There is a day coming when Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary will end.  And the termination of this ministry, along with certain events that will occur relative to Israel in that day, was typified by the death of the high priest in the camp of Israel and events that occurred relative to the slayer when the high priest died.

And these events, as they pertain to the slayer, have to do with two things in the antitype:

1) Israel’s cleansing from defilement through contact with the dead body of the nation’s Messiah.

2) A restoration of the Jewish people to the land of their possession.

Earlier in the book of Numbers, in Numbers 19, information was given concerning cleansing for that which is subsequently dealt with in Numbers 35 — cleansing for those coming in contact with a dead body.  In this chapter, cleansing occurred by following prescribed instructions using the ashes of a red heifer, running water, and hyssop, foreshadowing a future cleansing of Israel through the shed blood of the very One whom they slew (foreshadowed also by the ransom in chapter 35) — made necessary through contact with the dead body of their Messiah at the time He was slain.

Note how Numbers 19:11-12 reads in this respect:

He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.

He shall purify himself with the water on the third day [purify himself using the ashes of a red heifer, foreshadowing Israel and the shed blood of the One whom they slew, placing themselves in the unclean state seen in Numbers 19; 35], and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.

Then, note the use of the third and the seventh day.  Both of these days, in that which is being foreshadowed [Israel being cleansed, at a future time], refer to the same ending time — a yet future day when Israel will appropriate that which is foreshadowed by the ashes of a red heifer or the ransom, the shed blood of Christ.

The three days have to do with the time between Israel slaying their Messiah and the Messianic Era (after two days, on the third day; after 2,000 years, on the third 1,000-year period).

And the seven days have to do with the entirety of Man’s Day, leading into the Lord’s Day, the Messianic Era (after six days, on the seventh day; after 6,000 years, on the seventh 1,000-year period.)

The beginning time of each is different, but the ending time of each is the same.

(After two days, on the third day, and after six days, on the seventh day, are used in the preceding manner numerous times throughout Scripture [e.g., Hosea 5:15-6:2; Matthew 16:28-17:5; Luke 24:21; Hebrews 4:4-9].  In fact, all of Scripture is built on a septenary structure using six [Man’s Day] and seven [the Lord’s Day], or a part of that structure using the last three of the seven days [after two days, on the third day].

The Old Testament is introduced this way in Genesis, and the New Testament is introduced this way in John’s gospel [which parallels Genesis throughout and should begin the New Testament rather than Matthew].

For information on John introducing the New Testament rather than Matthew, refer to Chapter 1, “Genesis and John,” in the author’s Moses and John BOOK, in this site.

Also, to understand how God reckons time using days after the manner seen in Numbers chapter nineteen [e.g., be unclean for seven days, yet be cleansed on the seventh day (Numbers 19:11-12, 19)], refer to “O Sleeper, Arise, Call…”, in this site, where the expression “three days and three nights” from the book of Jonah and Matthew’s gospel is dealt with from a Scriptural standpoint.)

The High Priest and the Ransom

The word ransom (Numbers 35:31-32 [translated “satisfaction,” KJV]) is from a cognate form of the word for “atonement” in the Hebrew text.  The underlying thought behind “atonement” is to cover; and that is the same thought expressed by the “ransom” in this chapter.

This ransom provided a covering — a covering from view, a putting away, a blotting out — of the previous capital act (necessitating a prior, unpremeditated act for the ransom to be made available).

And once the slayer had availed himself of the ransom, which could only be after the death of the high priest, the whole matter was put away.  The person was then free to return to the land of his possession; and the near kinsman of the one slain could no longer have any claim on him whatsoever, for the matter had been put away and could never be brought up again.

(In the type, this ransom was connected with some aspect of the person and work of the high priest, or of other priests.  For example, the slayer could not avail himself of the ransom until the high priest had died.  Then, this ransom had to do with a covering [with atonement] from defilement wrought through contact with a dead body.  And such a work in Numbers 19, where cleansing from this type defilement is dealt with, was performed by a priest.

The high priestly ministry of Aaron and his successors in the camp of Israel, whether in this or in other areas of defilement, was a work on behalf of the saved, not the unsaved.  Their work was for those who had already appropriated the blood of slain paschal lambs, pointing to Christ and His shed blood at Calvary [the slain Paschal Lamb].  This succession of high priests ministered in this manner, on the basis of shed blood, typifying Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary after this same fashion [a ministry for the saved, on the basis of shed blood].

Thus, that which is being dealt with in Numbers 35 — portending a priestly work — has to do with the cleansing of saved individuals from defilement [defilement wrought through contact with a dead body], not with issues pertaining to the death of the firstborn [issues pertaining to eternal salvation].

And the Jewish people, for two reasons, find themselves in a position today where they cannot avail themselves of this cleansing [cleansing from contact with the dead body of their Messiah]:

1) The Jewish people today are in an unsaved state.

2) The Jewish people, even if they were in a saved state today, could not presently avail themselves of the ransom [cleansing] because of the nature of Christ’s present, continuing priestly ministry.

Cleansing from defilement [for the saved] during the present dispensation is brought to pass through only one means — through Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat.  Though Christ is not of the Levitical line, His present ministry is patterned after the order of Aaron’s ministry; and, because Christ is not of the Levitical line, if God were dealing with Israel on a national basis today, He could not deal with the Jewish people in relation to Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary [else He would violate that which He Himself established].

The Jewish people, if they were being dealt with in relation to the priesthood today, would have to be dealt with in relation to that which is set forth concerning the priesthood in the Mosaic Economy [as will evidently be seen in and through the covenant Antichrist will make with Israel during the coming Tribulation, when God completes His national dealings with Israel during Man’s Day (rebuilding the Temple, re-establishing the Mosaic Economy)].  The priest, within the Mosaic Economy, had to be of the Levitical line.  And Christ is not of this line.  Christ is from the tribe of Judah.

Thus, dealing with the Jewish people in relation to Christ’s high priestly ministry today would be completely out of the question in more ways than one.  The Jewish people today find themselves in an unsaved state; and Christ’s present high priestly ministry, as was Aaron’s ministry in past time, is solely for the saved.

Even if the Jewish people were in a saved state today, remaining separate from Christians [though an impossibility, for Jews saved during the present dispensation become new creations “in Christ”], they could not go to Christ and receive cleansing, for the Mosaic Economy does not recognize a priestly ministry of the nature Christ is presently exercising [a non-Levitical ministry patterned after the order of Aaron, a Levite].  And any priesthood which the Jewish people themselves could enact today, from the Levitical line, would be completely non-efficacious.

However, as seen in Chapter 7 of this book, note that Christ [though from the tribe of Judah] can conduct a ministry patterned after the order of Aaron for Christians during the present dispensation, for Christians are not under the Mosaic Economy.  Christians form part of the one new man, which is neither Jew nor Gentile [cf. Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:12-15].  Thus, for Christians, Christ’s lineage has nothing to do with the matter one way or the other.

But, before the Jewish people can enter into the picture as matters pertain to the priesthood and the ransom, seen in Numbers 35, not only must a national conversion occur but Christ must terminate His present ministry in the sanctuary and come forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  And, as well, a new covenant [which will replace the old covenant] will be made with Israel at this time [Jeremiah 31:31-34].

In the preceding respect, from the vantage point of the antitype, it is a simple matter to see why the high priest in the camp of Israel had to die before the slayer could avail himself of the ransom and return to the land of his possession.  God had established and brought matters to pass after this fashion in the history of Israel in order to form a type, with a view to the antitype.  Christ’s high priestly ministry in the sanctuary has to terminate first.  Only then can the slayer [Israel] avail herself of the ransom and return to the land of her possession.

Christ’s ministry of the preceding nature for Christians will end once the present dispensation has run its course, though this ministry evidently continues for those individuals saved during the Tribulation which follows.  In this respect, though Christ will judge Christians following the rapture, preceding the Tribulation, He will evidently still be active as high priest for those individuals saved during the Tribulation.

Then, following the Tribulation He will come forth from the sanctuary and appear to Israel as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  Only at this time will the Jewish people be able to avail themselves of the ransom.)

The ransom for Israel’s capital offense has already been paid.  Jesus paid this ransom at Calvary, shedding His own blood — blood which is presently on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary.  However, although the ransom (providing atonement) for Israel’s sin has already been paid, as previously seen, the nation cannot avail herself of this ransom or return to the land of her possession until the antitype of the death of the high priest.

Israel though must first experience her national Passover in fulfillment of Exodus 12:7 and Leviticus 23:5 — through applying the blood that was shed 2,000 years ago.  And this can occur only at the termination of Israel’s present blindness (Romans 11:25).

Israel, as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13ff, must continue in a blinded condition until the resurrected Christ, by His personal presence at His second coming, opens the Old Testament Scriptures to the Jewish people’s understanding in this respect (cf. Luke 24:16, 25-27, 31).

In that day, Israel’s eyes will be opened; and a nation will be “born at once” (Isaiah 66:8).  The entire nation will experience the birth from above at the same time (when the Jewish people look upon the One whom “they have pierced” [Zechariah 12:10]).  And this will occur only after Christ terminates His present ministry, departs the heavenly sanctuary, and comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  Then cleansing can occur, allowing the ransom seen in Numbers chapter thirty-five to be accessed.

It will be in that day — not before — that Israel will experience her national Passover, subsequently be able to avail herself of the ransom, and then be free to return to the land of her possession.  As long as Christ occupies His present position in the heavenly sanctuary, Israel cannot avail herself of the paid ransom and return to this land.  Israel must remain in her present condition — blinded — throughout the present dispensation;  and, according to related Scripture, Israel will not be removed from this condition until a few years beyond the present dispensation, at the end of Man’s Day, at the end of the Tribulation.

Availing Themselves of the Ransom

Also, the Jewish people one day availing themselves of the ransom in Numbers chapter thirty-five would have to do with the fulfillment of events set forth in the second and sixth of the seven feasts of the Lord in Leviticus 23 — the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which immediately followed the Passover, and the Day of Atonement.

“Leaven” points to that which is vile, corrupt (cf. Matthew 13:33; 16:1-12; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8); and the fulfillment of this festival in the type had to do with a cleansing of the house, a removing of all leaven from the house immediately following the Passover (cf. Exodus 12:8-20; Leviticus 23:6-8).

And in the antitype, it is the same.  The fulfillment of this festival will immediately follow the fulfillment of the Passover.  It will occur immediately following Israel applying the blood of the slain Paschal Lamb, blood shed 2,000 years prior to this time.  And because Israel had previously shed this blood, the entire house of Israel will be found in an unclean condition in that day, an uncleanness that will have to be dealt with.

Israel, in that day, will be found in this unclean condition through the nation’s prior contact with the dead body of their Messiah.  The house, resultantly, will be found completely leavened.  And the leaven will have to be removed; it will have to be put out, done away with.

(Refer to Chapters 1, 2 in this book — the house will be left completely leavened, desolate, until…)

But, though all things associated with leaven will be put out of the house (fulfilling the second festival, the festival of Unleavened Bread), cleansing cannot occur until events surrounding the fulfillment of the sixth festival (the Day of Atonement).

Only then will the Jewish people be able to avail themselves of the ransom, be cleansed of defilement resulting from prior contact with the dead body of their Messiah, and be free to return to the land of their possession.

Only then can the seventh and last festival be realized — the feast of Tabernacles, a time of rest at the completion of the previous six festivals, foreshadowing the time of rest awaiting the people of God (a seventh-day rest, a Sabbath rest), the Messianic Era.

This is where the account of the slayer availing himself of  the ransom in Numbers 35, following the death of the high priest, is seen being fulfilled in the antitype (along with the fulfillment of that which is seen in Numbers 19).

Israel in that day will be cleansed of this defilement, and the house will no longer be leavened, no longer be desolate (cf. Daniel 9:24).

Accordingly, only in that coming day, only following cleansing from Israel’s present defilement wrought through prior contact with the dead body of the nation’s Messiah, will the Jewish people be free to return to the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And only then can the Jewish people realize their calling in this land, with God’s promised blessings flowing out through Israel to the Gentile nations of the earth after the fashion that God intended when He called this nation into existence.
Chapter 9

The Great Image, Great Beasts (1)
Identity of Daniel’s Image, Four Great Beasts

The “great image” in Daniel chapter two (divided into four parts [Daniel 2:31-43]), and the “four great beasts” in chapter seven (Daniel 7:1-8), are viewed by most premillennial students of the Word as representing four successive world kingdoms.  These four kingdoms, as seen by most, begin with Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and end with a revived Roman Empire under Antichrist.  But is this the correct way to view the matter?

Note a summary picture of the four parts of the “great image” and the four “great beasts” in the preceding respect, as viewed by most Christians who interpret Daniel’s prophecies from a premillennial standpoint:

1) The head of gold (Daniel 2:32, 38) and the first great beast (Daniel 7:4) have to do with the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and his immediate successors, extending to Belshazzar (605 B.C. to 538 B.C.)

2) The breast and arms of silver (Daniel 2:32, 39) and the second great beast (Daniel 7:5) have to do with the Medo-Persian kingdom, beginning with Darius and Cyrus, rulers of Media and Persia at the time of the conquest (538 B.C. to 330 B.C.).

3) The belly and thighs of brass (Daniel 2:32, 39) and the third great beast (Daniel 7:6) have to do with the Grecian kingdom (330 B.C. to 323 B.C. and beyond), beginning with a conquest of the Medo-Persian kingdom by Alexander the Great, who died seven years later (323 B.C.).

The kingdom was then divided into four parts, with Alexander the Great’s four generals each commanding a part.  And the kingdom, over time, gradually faded from existence as a world power.

4) The legs of iron and feet part of iron and part of clay (Daniel 2:33, 40-43) and the fourth great beast (Daniel 7:7-8) have to do with the Roman Empire, forming a Roman kingdom (27 B.C. to 476 A.D.), followed by a revived Roman Empire, forming a future Roman kingdom.

This would be the position set forth in the Scofield Reference Bible footnotes for example, a position followed by most premillennial commentators.

The only part of the prophecy really in question would be the fourth part of the “great image” (Daniel 2), or the fourth “great beast” (Daniel 7).  Daniel identifies the first three beasts (and, correspondingly, the first three parts of the image) as particular Gentile nations forming world kingdoms whose governmental rule had been established in Babylon (the first by conquering the Assyrian Empire [the beginning of the Babylonian kingdom under Nebopolassar, then several years later under his son, Nebuchadnezzar], and the succeeding two [Media-Persia and Greece] by conquering Babylon itself).  And this part of the prophecy has been fulfilled and is a matter of history.

But SHOULD the fourth part of the image (or the fourth beast) be identified as Rome?  There are two main reasons why individuals interpret the prophecy after this fashion:

1) Rome was the next world power following Greece.

2) The words, “and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary,” in Daniel 9:26, are usually associated with a Roman destruction in history (by Titus in 70 A.D.) and a Roman prince in prophecy (the beast of Revelation 13:1ff, Antichrist).

In this respect, both the historical and prophetic aspects, as they are said to relate to Rome, are seen connected with the fourth part of the image (or the fourth beast).

Greece was the third kingdom (represented by the belly and thighs of brass on the image); and the fourth kingdom (represented by the legs of iron, and in its final form by the feet part of iron and part of clay) would, from history, seem to be Rome — the next world power following Greece — with the final form of the image looked upon as a revived Roman Empire.  And this interpretation would appear to be substantiated by Daniel 9:26.

In this verse, as previously shown, “the prince that shall come,” would be Antichrist; and “the people of the prince [understood as ‘his people’],” who would one day destroy the city of Jerusalem, are looked upon as a reference to the Romans destroying Jerusalem in 70 A.D. under Titus.

Thus, Antichrist is said to be a latter-day Roman prince who will rule a revived Roman Empire.  In this respect, all four parts of Daniel’s “great image” except the feet would have a historical fulfillment.  The legs would represent the Roman Empire in history, and the feet would represent the revived Roman Empire during the Tribulation.

And the same would hold true for the corresponding description set forth by the “four great beasts” in Daniel chapter seven. The first three beasts would have a historical fulfillment, and the fourth would have a fulfillment in both history and prophecy. The fourth beast would represent the Roman Empire in both history and prophecy, corresponding to the legs and feet of the image.

But, is the preceding the way Scripture sets forth the fourth and final part of this Babylonian kingdom?  Or, is this an attempt to interpret biblical prophecy by using events in secular history rather than interpreting prophecy by comparing Scripture with Scripture?

The answer is easy to ascertain if one remains solely within that which Daniel (and related Scripture) reveals about the whole matter.

One World Kingdom, in Babylon

Note first of all that Daniel’s image is seen standing in Babylon (Daniel 2:31). This image has to do with a Babylonian kingdom from beginning to end.  The “head of gold” has to do with the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and any immediate successors prior to the conquest of the kingdom by Gentile power(s) represented by the breast and arms of silver (Daniel 2:37-38).  The “breast and arms of silver” have to do with the Medes and the Persians coming in and conquering the preceding kingdom (Daniel 2:39; 5:28, 31).  And the “belly and thighs of brass” have to do with the Grecians coming in and conquering the kingdom ruled by the Medes and the Persians (Daniel 2:39; 8:6-7, 20-21; 10:20).

The mechanics of the preceding, of course, form the interpretation held in common by almost anyone reading Daniel.  This is simply what the record in Daniel states, along with secular history.

But note something often overlooked about the preceding:  This kingdom is Babylonian throughout.  The powers represented by the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, and the belly and thighs of brass all reigned from Babylon. 

When the Medes and the Persians came in and took the kingdom in 538 B.C., they conquered the kingdom at Babylon, reigned from Babylon, and were still there when Alexander the Great came over in 330 B.C., two hundred and eight years later.  Then, when Alexander the Great took the kingdom, he also conquered the kingdom at and reigned from Babylon.

In other words, the image is not seen lying down, with the head of gold in Babylon, the breast and arms of silver in Media and Persia, and the belly and thighs of brass in Greece.  That’s not the picture at all.

The image is seen standing in Babylon. It is Babylonian in its entirety.

(Note that “Babylon” in history was a city-state, which, from biblical prophecy, will evidently exist once again when the final form of Daniel’s image appears [i.e., Babylon existing as a city-state yet future as well].  In this respect, Babylon is used in Scripture referring to both the city and the state, which included [and evidently will include] a number of Middle Eastern cities or countries; cf. Jeremiah 51:29-32, 42-43].)

The fact that the image in Daniel chapter two is Babylonian in its entirety is one place where those who view a Roman Empire next in the prophecy go astray.  Rome had nothing to do with a reign from Babylon in history.  The capital of the Roman Empire was Rome, NOT Babylon.

And Rome is NOT Babylon, regardless of the attempts by some individuals to see certain things moved from Babylon to Rome in time past, seeking to align and identify Rome with Babylon in this respect.

Those viewing Rome as representing the fourth part of the image try to press secular history into biblical prophecy at a point where it seems to possibly fit, but really doesn’t.  Then they further complicate the matter by a misinterpretation of Daniel 9:26.

But the most interesting thing about the whole matter — the central thing that voids all thought of Rome having a part in the prophecy — is the fact that Daniel identifies all four parts of the image, and he identifies the fourth part as being OTHER than the Roman Empire.

Daniel, in his identity, has Antichrist coming into power following a four-way division of the kingdom after Alexander the Great’s death.  The kingdom under Antichrist follows the Greco-Babylonian kingdom and is represented by the legs of iron, and in its final form by the feet part of iron and part of clay.

(No break in time is seen in the book of Daniel between powers represented by the third and fourth parts of the image, similar to no break in time subsequently being seen in the book between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy [Daniel 9:24-27].

However, it is evident from both biblical and secular history that a break in time exists at these respective points in both prophecies, though no break in time precedes these in either prophecy.

This break in time though between the third and fourth parts of the image doesn’t lead to, and end with Rome.  Rather, it leads to, and ends with a kingdom in the Middle East [in Babylon], the kingdom of Antichrist.

Also, as with Daniel’s subsequent prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, events seen occurring within the prophecy itself cannot occur during the break in time not seen in the prophecy.  Events as seen in the prophecy must occur within time covered by the prophecy.

For example, the destruction of Jerusalem in Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks [Daniel 9:26] must occur within time covered by the prophecy itself, not outside of this time [as the destruction under Titus in 70 A.D. would be].  If this prophesied destruction didn’t occur during time covered by the first sixty-nine weeks [which it didn’t], then it must occur during time covered by the seventieth week.  And events foreshadowed by the things stated about the great image and the great beasts [Daniel 2; 7] must be understood the same way.

In the preceding respect, it is just as impossible to fit Rome into the prophecy regarding the great image and the great beasts [Daniel 2; 7] as it is to fit Titus’ destruction of Jerusalem into the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks [Daniel 9].)

The first part of the image is identified in Daniel 2:37-38.  Then, following this, the remaining three parts of the image are presented, though not identified at this point in the book.  Then, note the prominence given to the fourth part — two verses cover the first part (Daniel 2:37-38), one verse covers the next two parts (Daniel 2:39), but six verses are devoted to the final part, along with its destruction (Daniel 2:40-45).  And such prominence relative to the fourth part is true elsewhere in Daniel as well (see Daniel 7; 8; 11).

Why would such prominence be given to Rome and not to nations associated with the first three parts of the image?  It’s not!  Rather, it’s the kingdom of Babylon under its last king (Antichrist) which occupies the forefront in the book of Daniel.

The identities of the other three parts of the image, beginning with the breast and arms of silver, are given in the interpretation of the vision of the “four great beasts,” and this interpretation is provided in chapters seven and eight.  The “four great beasts” are said to represent four kingdoms (four sequential kingdoms forming the one Babylonian kingdom [Daniel 7:17; cf. Daniel 7:23]); and beginning with the second beast, the last three are identified in Daniel 8:

1) For the identity of the second, compare Daniel 8:3-4 with Daniel 8:20 (cf. Daniel 5:28, 31).

2) For the identity of the third, compare Daniel 8:5-8 with Daniel 8:21-22.

3) For the identity of the fourth, compare Daniel 8:9-14 with Daniel 8:23-26.

Note that the identity of the second is Media and Persia (a dual kingdom, corresponding to the breast and arms of silver on the image), the identity of the third is Greece (corresponding to the belly and thighs of brass), and the identity of the fourth is the kingdom under Antichrist (corresponding to the legs of iron and the feet part of iron and part of clay).

Where is Rome?  Rome is not in the prophecy!

Following Alexander the Great’s death, the kingdom was divided among his four generals (Daniel 8:8, 22), and the vision then goes immediately into the days of Antichrist yet future (the “little horn” in Daniel 8:9 is not Antiochus Epiphanes, as many expositors contend, but Antichrist [see parallel verses, Daniel 8:23-26]).

Though the prophecy in Daniel chapter eight covers this division of the kingdom following Alexander the Great’s death (Daniel 8:8b), it does not cover events during the reign of these four generals following this division.  Rather, following this division of the kingdom, Daniel’s prophecy in chapter eight goes immediately into the power represented by the fourth part of the image (or the power represented by the fourth beast), i.e., into the days of Antichrist (Daniel 8:9ff).

(As previously seen, there is a break in time of over two millennia at this point in the prophecy [unseen in the prophecy], between the four-way division of the kingdom and the rise of the “little horn” [Antichrist], as there is a break in time of two millennia between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy [unseen in the prophecy as well].)

About three hundred years following Alexander the Great’s death, Rome appeared on the scene as the succeeding world power (27 B.C.), but not as a world power fulfilling any part of Daniel’s prophecy surrounding the kingdom of Babylon.

According to the way that the book of Daniel is structured, this prophecy cannot again continue to be fulfilled until Antichrist appears at the beginning of Daniel’s Seventieth Week.  Then, and only then, will the fourth part of the image from Daniel 2 and the fourth beast in Daniel 7 come into existence.

(Also, as previously seen, Daniel’s image presents matters as if the Babylonian power represented by the fourth part of the image [the future kingdom under Antichrist] immediately follows, in time, that seen represented by the third part of the image [the kingdom under Greece].  However, there is a gap of over two millennia between these two parts of the kingdom, which is not seen in the prophecy.

This may seem strange to the Western way of viewing material of this nature, but not so with those in the East.  Those in the East are interested in the next important event, not in the time that might intervene between two events.  And Scripture, humanly speaking, is an Eastern book.

Franz Delitzsch, a Hebrew scholar from past years, put the matter in these words:  “Prophecy sees together what history unrolls as separate.”

This same thing can be seen in Daniel’s vision of the “four great beasts” in Daniel 7 and the interpretation of the vision in Daniel 8.  These four great beasts simply present another picture of the four parts of the image in Daniel 2, with added details provided in the interpretation.

And, as in chapter two, the complete prophecy presents matters as if there were no break in time between any of the four parts, though the same break in time exists between the third and fourth parts as exists between the third and fourth parts of the image.

Examples of this same thing can be seen in other parts of Scripture as well.  This is simply a peculiarity of the way Scripture is structured, which is seen at the very beginning, in the opening two verses of Scripture.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. [Genesis 1:1-2]

Scripture presents all of the events in these two verses together, as if no break in time exists.  But, in reality, two breaks in time exist, a break between the two verses, and another break between the first two sentences and the third sentence in verse two.

Note another similar example in Isaiah 9:6.  Over two millennia lie between the first sentence and the remainder of the verse, though Scripture places all of these events together, as if no break in time exists:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Or, another example would be Isaiah 61:1-2:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

Christ, in the synagogue in Nazareth, read most of this passage from a scroll; but He stopped with the words, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”  Then, after rolling the scroll up and handing it to the minister, He sat down.  And the eyes of all those in the synagogue were fastened upon Him when He said,

Today this Scripture is fulfilled [lit., ‘This day this Scripture has been fulfilled’ (Greek perfect tense, pointing to a fulfillment in past time, with the matter existing during present time in that finished state)] in your hearing” [Luke 4:16-21].

Christ stopped reading at this point in the passage because the remainder had to do with events that would occur at the time of His second coming.  But note how the entire matter has been placed together in the two verses.

And understanding the manner in which Scripture is structured in this respect is vitally necessary when studying biblical prophecy, particularly in the book of Daniel when studying prophecies relating to the great image in Daniel 2, the four great beasts in Daniel 7, of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9.)

The People of the Coming Prince

Now, what about “the people of the prince that shall come” destroying the city of Jerusalem and the Temple in Daniel 9:26?  Many commentators attempt to see this fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and his Roman legions in 70 A.D., with the Romans then being Antichrist’s people in history.

But, as previously seen, events in the prophecy have to occur within time covered by the prophecy, with the events in 70 A.D. occurring outside the scope of the prophecy.

First note the expression, “the people of the prince that shall come,” and compare this with a similar expression in Daniel 7:27 — “the people, the saints of the Most High [lit. ‘the high places’ (also plural in the Hebrew text in Daniel 7:18, 22, 25b)],” who will one day take the kingdom (Daniel 7:18).

Note in verse eighteen that the ones who will one day take the kingdom are said to be “the saints of the Most High [‘the high places’],” and in verse twenty-seven they are said to be “the people, the saints of the Most High [‘the high places’].” The expression, “the people, the saints of the Most High [‘the high places’]” in verse twenty-seven, is, contextually, a reference to the saints themselves from verse eighteen.

And this same type expression in Daniel 9:26 should be understood the same way that interpretation has already been established in the previous chapter of the book.  The “people of the prince” in Daniel 9:26, contextually, has to be understood as a reference to the prince himself (and possibly also including those ruling with him).  Failure to recognize the book’s own built in interpretation for Daniel 9:26 has resulted in confusion.

And the destruction of Jerusalem in Daniel 9:26, as previously seen, cannot be a reference to the destruction which occurred in 70 A.D, for this destruction occurred outside the scope of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy.  Rather, since the destruction seen in this verse did not occur during the first sixty-nine weeks of the prophecy, it can only be a reference to a future destruction under Antichrist during the Tribulation.

This is the same destruction referred to in Luke 21:20-24 (cf. Revelation 11:2).  Also note that Matthew 24:15ff and Luke 21:20ff parallel one another, depicting events in and around Jerusalem beginning in the middle of the Tribulation.  Matthew’s gospel centers on one aspect of the matter (the rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem), and Luke’s gospel centers on another aspect of the matter (the city of Jerusalem itself).

Again, the destruction in Daniel 9:26 must occur within the framework of time covered by the Seventy Weeks.  This destruction has to do with events occurring in connection with Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks; and, contextually, it is seen occurring in connection with Antichrist breaking his covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27 [cf. Daniel 11:22-32; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 6:3-4]).

And where this man’s actions will then lead is outlined in detail in both the books of Daniel and Revelation, along with a number of other books and numerous sections of Scripture. This is the man whom God, in the final analysis, will use to bring His plans and purposes surrounding Israel to pass.  Despite this man’s goals, aims, ambitions, and aspirations — as he exercises power and great authority from Satan’s throne itself (Revelation 13:2) — God, in His sovereign control of all things, will use this man to bring both Israel to the place of repentance and Gentile world power to the place of destruction.

This will then be followed by God’s judgment falling upon this man, on the basis of the unchangeable principles set forth in Genesis 12:3.

Aside:  The Great Image and Four Great Beasts, in this site, may add to understanding of subject at hand.
Chapter 10

The Great Image, Great Beasts (2)
The Fourth Part of the Image, the Fourth Great Beast

The book of Daniel is about the kingdom of this world during the Times of the Gentiles, to be succeeded by the kingdom of Christ at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.  In this respect, Daniel deals with the last 2,600 years of Man’s Day, and then projects matters out into the following 1,000-year Lord’s Day.

The Times of the Gentiles exists for two main reasons:

1) Because of Jewish transgression.

2) To bring the Jewish people to the place of repentance, through Gentile persecution.

The Times of the Gentiles began about 605 B.C, with Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah (completing that which began over one hundred years earlier by the Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom of Israel).  At this time the Jewish people began to be uprooted from their land and transported to Babylon in the Mesopotamian Valley.

The scepter was removed from Israel’s hands and placed in the hands of the Gentiles at this time.  And the scepter has remained and will continue to remain in the hands of the Gentiles until the appearance and destruction of the beast’s kingdom, Antichrist’s kingdom, yet future.

Antichrist’s kingdom, as Nebuchadnezzar’s, will be centered back in the Mesopotamian Valley, or in that proximity (Babylon, in history, was a city-state, with part of the kingdom centered in the Mesopotamian Valley and part in the proximity of this valley).

This man will be the last king of Babylon (which, in that day, will extend out from the Middle East into a worldwide kingdom).  And once the Jewish people have been removed from his kingdom and placed back into their land, the scepter will be taken from the hands of the Gentiles and placed back in Israel’s hands.  At this time, Gentile world power will be destroyed, and Israel will be elevated to the head of the nations, within a theocracy.  Then, with the destruction of Antichrist’s kingdom, the Times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close.

The book of Daniel is the one book in Scripture that deals with this complete sequence of events, and the entire book is given over to revelation having to do, after some fashion, with this subject.  That which is depicted by the “great image” in Daniel 2 and the four “great beasts” in Daniel 7 deal with the same thing from two different vantage points.

These two sections of Scripture deal with Gentile world power throughout the Times of the Gentiles (throughout that time when the scepter is held by the Gentiles), and the overthrow of Gentile world power at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.  And these two sections of Scripture, together, form the foundation upon which the remainder of the book rests.

Final Form of Gentile World Power

The emphasis in Daniel is exactly where it is seen in all other parts of Scripture where the subject is dealt with.  It is upon the final form of the kingdom seen depicted by the fourth part of the great image in Daniel 2 and the fourth great beast in Daniel 7.

And, in a respect, all of the remainder of Daniel forms commentary on that which is depicted by the great image and the great beasts in chapters two and seven, with the book, particularly from chapter seven forward, centering on the final form and destruction of this Babylonian kingdom.

The types in Scripture having to do with this Babylonian kingdom deal with the final form of the kingdom and center on the Jewish people, the last king of Babylon, and the utter destruction of this kingdom.

The Psalms and the Prophets, when referring to this kingdom, do the same.  Their message, as well, deals with the final form of the kingdom and centers on the Jewish people, the last king of Babylon, and the utter destruction of this kingdom.

And the book of Revelation, providing summary Scripture, as well, deals with the exact the same thing — the final form of the kingdom, the Jewish people, the last king of Babylon, and the utter destruction of this kingdom (Revelation 6-19).

The book of Daniel is the one book in Scripture providing a complete, overall view of the kingdom of Babylon, dealing with all four parts, showing the complete picture of the kingdom of this world, from beginning to end.  But, as elsewhere in Scripture, the emphasis in Daniel is on the final form of this kingdom.

In Daniel’s reiteration of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the great image in chapter two, Scripture devotes four verses to the dream itself — two verses describing the image (Daniel 2:32-33) and two more verses stating that which would happen when the final form of that which is depicted by the image appeared (Daniel 2:34-35).

Then, in the interpretation of that which is depicted by the great image, Scripture devotes one verse to the head of gold (Daniel 2:38), one verse to both the breast and arms of silver and the belly and thighs of brass (Daniel 2:39), but six verses to the legs of iron and the feet part of iron and part of clay (Daniel 2:40-45).

And the image is then seen struck at this final form (in both the dream and the interpretation) by a “stone . . . cut out of the mountain without hands.”  The complete image is destroyed, and the Stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:44-45; cf. Daniel 2:34-35).

Years later, in Daniel’s reiteration of his own subsequent dreams and visions about the four great beasts in chapter seven, Scripture devotes one verse each to the first three great beasts (Daniel 7:4-6).

Then, beginning with verse seven and continuing through the remainder of the chapter (Daniel 7:7-28), Scripture deals with things surrounding the fourth great beast, the stone from chapter two, and the destruction of the kingdom represented by this fourth great beast.

Then, in the interpretation of that which is depicted by these four great beasts, in chapter eight, the first beast is passed over without mention because that part of the image was about to become history.  Though Belshazzar still ruled at the time of this vision (Daniel 8:1), the Medes and Persians would shortly conquer the kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31).

Thus, the interpretation begins with the second great beast, by picturing a ram with two horns (Daniel 8:3-4, 20).  Then the third great beast is depicted by a male goat (Daniel 8:5-8, 21-22).  And quite a bit of space is devoted to information concerning this male goat, apparently because the ruler associated with the fourth great beast (the “little horn” [Daniel 7:8]) is seen coming out of a part of his kingdom (Alexander the Great’s kingdom).

Then, along with the latter part of chapter seven, the remainder of the book has to do with different aspects of revelation that mainly center on or have something to do with this man and his kingdom, depicted by the fourth part of the great image and the fourth great beast.

The Little Horn
The Prince of the Covenant

The little horn in Daniel 7:8, 20; 8:9 is none other than the future world ruler when the final form of the great image or the great beasts is seen — the Antichrist, the man of sin, the beast.

This is the man whom the Lord will raise up, place in the highest of regal positions, and use to bring the Jewish people into such dire straits that they will have nowhere to turn other than to the God of their fathers (cf. Exodus 3:1ff; 9:16; Daniel 4:17, 25-26).

Thus, this is the man whom God will use to bring Israel to the place of repentance.  The Caesars during the time Rome ruled the world couldn’t do it, the different Pogroms, Crusades, and Inquisitions during the Middle Ages couldn’t do it, The Third Reich during modern times couldn’t do it, but the man about to appear on the scene will be able to do it.

Jewish persecution under this man will far exceed anything that has ever occurred in the past, resulting in the actions of the wandering and persecuted Jewish people closing out 2,600 years of a human drama in which no Jewish person has ever wanted to participate but in which all Jewish individuals have had to participate.

As previously seen, this little horn will arise from one of the four divisions of Alexander the Great’s kingdom — the northern division, which covered what is today northern Iraq and parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey (Daniel 8:9).  This is the part of the world from which this man will arise, not from Europe but from the Middle East.

This man’s ten-kingdom federation is referenced through the use of “ten horns” in Daniel 7:7, 24, referring to “ten kings.”  And he is said to subdue three horns (three kings [Daniel 7:8]).  But these subdued horns (subdued kings), couldn’t be three of the ten, for these ten horns (ten kings), are to reign with this man (Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:12).

Rather, let Scripture interpret Scripture, and the matter becomes clear.

Note the parallel verse in Daniel 8:9, referring to the four parts into which Alexander the Great’s kingdom was divided.  The three horns, three kings, which he subdues can only be those who ruled the other three parts of the kingdom (the matter is viewed, with no break in time as seen in the prophecy [ref. Chapter 9 in this book.], as if this kingdom still existed when the little horn comes into power [cf. Daniel 2:44-45; 7:12], else he couldn’t be seen coming out of one part of the kingdom, then subduing those ruling the other three parts [Daniel 7:23-24; 8:8-10, 21-23]).

The kingdom of Babylon, which was divided four ways at the time of Alexander the Great’s death — divided among his four generals — must be seen as one undivided kingdom in its final form.

Thus, the first thing mentioned is the “little hornsubduing three kings — referring, as previously seen, to those ruling the other three parts of the kingdom — showing the kingdom being brought back together again under one ruler.

Then the covenant that this man will make with “many” in Israel, along with his breaking this covenant, occupies a central place in these latter chapters in Daniel.  This covenant lies at the center of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy in Daniel 9, and it is seen again through a large part of chapter eleven (Daniel 11:21-45).

(The word “covenant” appears seven times in the book of Daniel, all in chapters nine and eleven [Daniel 9:4, 27; 11:22, 28, 30, 32 {v. 30 twice}].)

The Mosaic Economy, the Temple Mount, the Temple

The covenant that the man about to appear will make with Israel will, of necessity, have to involve things in the Mosaic Economy, particularly things having to do with the Temple Mount and the Temple itself.  This can be clearly seen both from events that will transpire in Israel during the first half of the Tribulation and from the way this man will break the covenant.

The Jewish people, during the first half of the Tribulation (actually, as will be shown later in this chapter, at or near the beginning of the Tribulation) are going to gain access to the Temple Mount, rebuild their Temple, and reinstitute the Old Testament sacrificial system.

Then, in the middle of the Tribulation, the man having previously made a covenant with Israel is going to break this covenant by stopping the previously instituted sacrifices occurring at the Temple.

And this Temple, of necessity, will have to be located not only on the Temple Mount but be at a particular place on this Mount.  The Jewish people would not consider building their Temple in any place other than “the place where the LORD your God chooses,” referring to a place that He chose in past time, where the two previous Temples stood (Deuteronomy 12:11-14; 16:5-6).

This man is going to walk onto the Temple Mount, enter into the Temple, and desecrate the Holy of Holies (the innermost part of the Temple, the dwelling place of God among His people in the Old Testament theocracy), declare himself to be God, and subsequently destroy the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.

And he will then set his sights on efforts to destroy and do away with the Jewish people, not only in Israel but worldwide.  As Hitler sought to produce a Jew-free Europe, this man will seek to produce a Jew-free world, seeking to destroy the Jewish people from off the face of the earth (cf. Esther 3:5-6; Psalm 83:3-4; Daniel 9:27; 11:31-32; 12:11; Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff; 2 Thessalonian 2:3-4; Revelation 12:1-17).

1)  A Brief History of Israel, the Temple, and the Theocracy

There is really nothing more important to the Jewish people than a return to the things connected with the Mosaic Economy.  And at the center of everything is a rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount.

All of this can be clearly seen from that which occurred in 1967 in Israel during the Six-Day War.  But first, in order to better understand that which occurred during this war, note a brief history of Israel over the past 3,500 years in relation to the Temple and the theocracy.

From the time of the construction of the Tabernacle during Moses’ day to the time of the Babylonian captivity, about eight and one-half centuries passed.  And during all of this time, the people of Israel were in possession of the Tabernacle or the succeeding Temple, with a theocracy existing in the camp of Israel (discounting the time [about 100 years] that the ark of the covenant was separated from the Tabernacle and in the hands of the Philistines [1 Samuel 4:11; 2 Samuel 6:17]).

Then, the Jewish people were without their Temple during the seventy-year Babylonian captivity and the succeeding time that it took for the returning remnant to rebuild the Temple.  This was the same Temple in existence when Christ was on earth the first time, though an extensive rebuilding and refurbishing process had occurred (John 2:18-21).  And, as well, this was the Temple destroyed by the Romans, along with the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Thus, in the overall history of Israel — from Moses’ day to the destruction of the Temple and city of Jerusalem under Titus with his Roman legions in 70 A.D. — the Jewish people, throughout some 1,500 years of Jewish history, were, in reality, without a Temple for slightly less than one hundred years.

And though the Glory did not return to the Temple built following the Babylonian captivity, which would have resulted in a restored theocracy, the shadow of regality remained.  That’s plain from Jesus’ statement regarding the place that the scribes and Pharisees occupied 2,000 years ago, as seen in Matthew 23:2.  The scribes and Pharisees were seen as individuals occupying “Moses’ seat.” 

However, things have been quite different in this respect for the past nineteen and one-half centuries.  Since 70 A.D., when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus, the people of Israel have been without a Temple — something completely unprecedented in the 3,500-year history of the nation.

Never in Israel’s history, prior to the destruction of the second Temple, had generations of Jews come and gone without direct contact with either the Tabernacle or the Temple; and until the recent establishment of Israel as a nation in the land once again (on May 14, 1948), the issue of a third Temple could not even be raised.

All of this though began to change with the establishment of the nation in the land once again, and it is about to change even more, in a very real and tangible way.  Israel is about to have a third Temple, and then a fourth.

2)  A Third Temple — How?

The question is not, “Will a third Temple be built?”  The Word of God is clear on this matter.  A Temple will exist in the land during the days of Antichrist, and his assuming power over the earth in the middle of the Tribulation is closely connected with action that he will take concerning this Temple.

As previously seen, Antichrist will, at this time, desecrate the Temple; and he will subsequently destroy the Temple.

The question concerning the building of a third Temple should thus be, “How…?” or “When…?” not “Will…?”

There are two major events that have occurred during modern times, with a third yet to occur, which can only be seen as progressively setting the stage for a rebuilding of the Temple:

1) The first was the establishment of the New State of Israel in 1948.

2) The second was the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem (the place of the Temple Mount and thus the Temple site) during the Six-Day War of 1967.

3) The third will be that day when the Temple Mount (a part of the Old City still controlled by the Moslems) will come under Jewish control once again.

During the battles that immediately followed Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, the Old City of Jerusalem was lost to the Arabs; and the Jews were subsequently barred from this part of Jerusalem.  This situation persisted for twenty years; but during the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured certain portions of land previously controlled by the Arabs, and among these portions of land was the coveted Old City of Jerusalem.

And at the very point of conquest, the interest of the captors became focused on one thing in the Old City — the Wailing Wall, also called “the Western Wall.”  This wall was the only visible, surviving part of the second Temple; and it was to this place that the captors of the Old City desperately wanted to go.

And in many cases, because of unfamiliarity with the Old City, guides had to be employed to direct the troops to the Wailing Wall.  Then, as word began to spread, it was not long before governmental leaders, rabbis, and others began to enter the Old City for the express purpose of going to the Wailing Wall.

They came, stood before the wall, and prayed and wept; and during the days and years since, they have continued to come to stand there, to pray and to weep.

For the Jewish people, there is presently no place on earth like the Wailing Wall.  This is the closest they can presently come to their Temple, the central place of a past theocracy and the central place of worship for the people ruling in the theocracy.

And the entire matter dates all the way back to the days of Moses — almost three and one-half millennia.  It is then no wonder that they continue to frequent this place day after day after day, standing before this wall, praying and weeping.

But the Wailing Wall is still not enough.  The Jewish people want that which the Wailing Wall only portends, calls to mind.  They want their Temple once again; because they know that without the Temple there can be no restoration of the kingdom and the accompanying Glory.

Unfortunately though, the Temple site, located just beyond the Wailing Wall, is seemingly occupied at the present time by the Dome of the Rock (a Moslem shrine).  And Jewish law prohibits the disturbance of any religious shrine in Israel.

In keeping with this law, after the Israeli troops captured the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish authorities turned over responsibility of the Temple Mount to an Islamic charity.

Then, to further complicate matters, the Dome of the Rock is not just any religious shrine.  It dates all the way back to 691 A.D. and is the third most sacred site in the world for the followers of Islam (after Mecca and Medina).

The Dome of the Rock stands over the site from which Moslems believe Mohammed ascended (leaped) to heaven.  And to even further complicate matters beyond the preceding, the El Aksa Mosque, built after the Dome of the Rock, is also on the Temple Mount.

Thus, even though the Jewish people control the Old City of Jerusalem, they do not control the Temple Mount; and, under Jewish law, they are prohibited from disturbing Moslem structures on this site.

Not only is this the case, but for Israel to disturb these structures under present conditions, especially the Dome of the Rock, would inflame the entire Moslem world.

Officials in Israel today, viewing this situation, state, “Anything seen as a threat to the Dome of the Rock would be highly provocative to Moslems.”  And the head of the Supreme Moslem Counsel in Jerusalem echoed the attitude of the followers of Islam toward this place some years back when he stated, “The Moslems are prepared to die for this place [a statement actually referring to the Temple Mount, which would include land upon which both the Dome of the Rock and the El Aksa Mosque are built]”; and there are over one-half billion adherents to Islam worldwide today.

What then will transpire to allow Israel access to this site?  If an answer can be provided, it would have to be within the framework of the covenant yet to be made between the man of sin and Israel.

As previously seen, the man of sin will break his covenant with Israel by stopping the Jewish sacrifices, entering into the Holy of Holies, and declaring himself to be God (cf. Daniel 9:26-27; 11:30-32; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonian 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1-2).

In view of this, the ratifying of the covenant will somehow evidently involve or allow a restoration of the Mosaic Economy, with its Temple and sacrificial system.

Accordingly, this man will evidently be the one to bring about a solution to the present dilemma in which the Jewish people find themselves.  We know from Daniel 11:39 and Joel 3:2 that he will be instrumental in dividing the land (establishing borders) in the Middle East; and the Temple site, located on the Temple Mount, the most important piece of real estate, not only in the land of Israel, but on earth, could only form the major part of the territory in view.

To move beyond the preceding thoughts though is to move beyond information that Scripture provides.  But, things that we can know for certain are these:

1) A seemingly intractable situation presently exists, denying the Jews access to their Temple site.

2) The seemingly intractable situation will one day be resolved, giving the Jews access to this site (and this is one reason, among others, that Antichrist undoubtedly fits into the picture, bringing about a resolution to the problem in that coming day).

3) The Jews will rebuild their Temple, and, seemingly, it will have to be built where the Dome of the Rock now stands.  It must be built, as the two previous Temples, in the “place where the LORD your God chooses” (Deuteronomy 12:11-14; 16:5-6).

In 1903, Great Britain offered the Jewish people land for Zionistic purposes in British East Africa.  The Jewish people though would not even consider such an offer.  They were interested in one tract of land alone — the land in the Abrahamic covenant.

In like manner, as previously seen, the Jewish people would never consider building their Temple on any site other than where it had stood on two previous occasions.

The Jews have an affinity for a particular land insofar as the nation is concerned, and they have the same affinity for a particular place in that land insofar as the Temple is concerned.

3)  A Third Temple — When?

Note the words of General Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israeli armed forces, as he stood at the wailing wall on June 7, 1967 following the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War (June 5-10).

“We took an oath today, while capturing the city.  On our blood we took an oath that we will never give it up, we will never leave this place.  The Wailing Wall belongs to us.  The holy place was our place first, our place and our God’s place.  From here we do not move.  Never!  Never!”

After the Old City of Jerusalem had fallen to the Israeli troops during the Six-Day War in June 1967, the commander of these troops stood at the Wailing Wall and announced:

“None of us alive has ever seen or done anything so great as he has done today.”

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stood at the Wailing Wall that day and vowed:

“We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to depart from it again.”

Rabbi Shlomo Goren, along with the preceding quote, stood at the Wailing Wall on that day and cried out:

“We have taken the city of God.  We are entering the Messianic Era for the Jewish people…”

Why did the chief rabbi of the Israeli armed forces, the troop commander, and the defense minister view the Wailing Wall after this fashion?  Why did the chief rabbi of the Israeli armed forces further associate Jewish possession of the Wailing Wall with the nearness of the Messianic Era?  The answer is singular and very simple:  This site not only reflects on a past Temple and theocracy but it also portends a future Temple and theocracy.

General Shlomo Goren, from 1967 to 1994 (the time of his death), became a leading authority on the Temple Mount.  A few years before he passed away, he called attention to a well-worn personal map of this Mount, dated June 21, 1967 (two weeks after the Israeli army captured the Old City).  His calculations and recalculations of the area during about two decades led him to only one conclusion:  A third Temple would have to be positioned in the same place where the Dome of the Rock is presently located.

When asked about how this could be brought to pass, his reply was simply, “It’s a big problem.”

The Prince of the Covenant

The “big problem” concerning a particular piece of real estate on the Temple Mount though will one day be resolved.  And it will seemingly be resolved through the covenant that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:1-2 will make with Israel.

Scripture clearly reveals what the nation of Israel is about to do concerning a third Temple, along with that which will then occur.  The Jewish people will shortly build a third Temple, and it will be built during the opening months of the Tribulation.

Note how Daniel 8:13-14 reads in a somewhat round-about way of revealing when this Temple will be built:

Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?”

And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed. [220 days (7 months, 10 days) short of the full 2,520 days (7 years)].”

According to these verses, there will be “two thousand three hundred days” from the point when sacrifices begin in the rebuilt Temple to the end of the Tribulation.  This would place the beginning of sacrifices in this Temple in the eighth month of the first year of the Tribulation.

Thus, Daniel 8:13-14 places the building of the Temple during the first seven or eight months of the Tribulation.  This fact fits perfectly with the covenant to be made between Antichrist and Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation, as well as the fact that the Jewish people will be offering sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple three and one-half years later when this man breaks his covenant with Israel.

The event that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation is the ratifying of a covenant between the man of sin, the Antichrist, and Israel.  This, correspondingly, is the event that will mark time resuming in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, with time then continuing until the remaining seven years in the prophecy have been fulfilled.

(For additional information on this covenant that a man about to arise on the scene of world affairs will make with Israel, refer to Chapter 5, “Rider on the White Horse,” in the author’s book, Distant Hoofbeats.pdf.)

God has placed Israel in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5); and God looks upon and deals with the nations, not just in the Middle East but worldwide, through Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-10; Zechariah 2:8; cf. Genesis 12:1-3).  Thus, the place that Israel occupies in the Middle East — whether at “peace,” or at “war” — has direct ramifications affecting all of the Gentile nations, beginning in the Middle East and extending from there worldwide.

And it is evident from things stated in Daniel’s prophecy that the covenant that “prince who is to come” will make with “many” in Israel will have to do, at least in part — either directly or indirectly — with a restoration of the Mosaic Economy, evidently somehow guaranteed by this man.  Israel will, through some means, be allowed to rebuild her Temple on the Temple Mount and re-institute the Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices (evident from things seen in Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation).

For the Jewish people to attempt something of this nature today, under present conditions and circumstances, would, as previously stated, present insurmountable problems.  If they tried to do this today, the Moslem world surrounding Israel on three sides would undoubtedly erupt, for a Moslem shrine (reputed to be the third most holy place in the world for Moslems) presently occupies the spot on the Temple Mount where many believe that the Temple will have to be erected.  And even if the Jews sought to build a Temple any other place on the Temple Mount today, similar insurmountable problems would exist.

But in that coming day things will somehow be quite different.  They will have to be different.  And this man will apparently possess the ability to bring about the necessary changes to make possible that which man would find impossible today.

In Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, where this man and the covenant are first introduced, as previously stated, things related to both his making and then breaking the covenant occupy center-stage.  In reality, things surrounding the two together (his making and then breaking the covenant) comprise all that is revealed about this man in the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.

Then, following the reference to “prince who is to come” (Daniel 9:27), he is seen as “the prince of the covenant” (Daniel 11:22).  And Scripture again refers to this covenant several times during things revealed concerning his reign (Daniel 11:28, 30-32).  And the things revealed about this man and the covenant in these subsequent verses have to do with exactly the same things introduced in Daniel 9:27, when he breaks the covenant.

Once the covenant is broken by this man entering into the rebuilt Temple and declaring himself to be God (2 Thessalonian 2:4; cf. Daniel 9:26-27; 11:30-39), the most horrific time this earth has ever seen will break out overnight.  It is at this moment in time that the Jewish people living in the land are told to not take time to pick up anything but to run for their lives, with only that which they have in their possession or on their backs (Matthew 24:15-22).

This man is going to have an affiliation with those who forsake the covenant; he will pollute the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice, and make it desolate.  He will “corrupt with flattery” those who side with him against the covenant.  He will “do according to his will,” exalting and magnifying himself “above every god” (Daniel 11:30-32, 36; cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 23:37-39).  He will not regard any God [the true God, or false deities of the Gentiles).  Rather, he will “honor a god of fortresses [power]” (Daniel 11:36-38).

But, after all has been said and done — following this man’s reign of terror, with the nations lying in ruin, and millions on top of millions slain (one-fourth of the population of the earth [Revelation 6:8], which by today’s count would exceed one and one-half billion) — this man is going to “come to his end, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:45; cf. Isaiah 14:15-17; Jeremiah 4:23-28).

And Israel, in that day…

The story is told and re-told, different ways and through different means, time after time after time in Scripture.  But, though that which God has revealed concerning Israel’s future is dealt with over and over, few seem to know that much about any of these things.

Though all of this information is available, and has been for millennia, with the end being told before the beginning (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15), man, down through the centuries has ignored that which God has revealed and has continued to try the impossible — to do away with the Jewish people.  And the last of those attempting the impossible is about to appear on the scene.

Through it all the Lord is seen sitting in the heavens, laughing (Hebrews, a contemptible type laugh [Psalm 2:4]) at man’s feeble efforts to thwart His plans and purposes.  Then, in the final analysis of His sovereign control over all things, God will deal with the nations “in His wrath” (Psalm 2:5ff; cf. Revelation 6:14-17).

And in that day (Malachi 4:1), following “the Sun of righteousness” arising “with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2), matters as they presently exist on the earth will be completely reversed (Malachi 4:3).

Israel, so to speak, will stand on the eastern banks of the Sea, singing the victor’s song, with the waters of the Sea covering and destroying the enemy that had sought their destruction (Exodus 15).

Israel, so to speak, will walk out of the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal, completely untouched by the fire, while those casting them into the fire will be slain by the fire (Daniel 3).

Israel, so to speak, will walk out of the lion’s den, completely untouched by the lions, while those responsible for their being cast into the den will be slain by the lions (Daniel 6).  The preceding is where matters are headed, and God has laid all of it out in His Word for any and all who would want to see and know these things.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23)
Chapter 11

The Beast and the Woman (1)
Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.

And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:1-5)

The book of Revelation is where many expositors and Bible students commit mayhem in biblical interpretation, and that is especially true beginning with Revelation 17 and continuing through the first six verses of chapter nineteen (Revelation 19:1-6).

These are chapters where interpretation, for the most part, has remained unchanged over the years, with expositors seemingly being unable to break away from an erroneous view which has been held by individuals in one form or another for at least the last five hundred years.

Among those expositors viewing the book in some semblance of the correct manner — referred to as “futurist,” understanding events in the book, particularly in Revelation 6-19, as future and having to do with events during Daniel’s unfulfilled seventieth week — almost all, when coming to Revelation 17, seem to forget what the book is about and begin dealing with material completely foreign to the subject matter of the book.

And this foreign subject matter, more often than not, is the Church of Rome (or this Church as the center into which numerous false religions will be drawn in that future day).  Individuals seek to understand and present the “harlot” in these chapters in this manner.

Then, if the preceding manner of mishandling Revelation 17:1ff wasn’t enough in and of itself — i.e., attempting to see God dealing with the Roman Catholic Church during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), the seven-year Tribulation — there is still more.

The “harlot” in Revelation 17:1-19:6 is clearly identified in these chapters in several unmistakable ways (as other than the Roman Catholic Church), completely in keeping with the subject matter being dealt with in this section of the book (Revelation 6-19).

Christians will be removed from the earth and dealt with at the end of the present dispensation, prior to “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Revelation 1-3).  And it is completely outside the scope of anything taught in Scripture to attempt to see God dealing with anyone or any group of individuals associated with Christianity (either true Christianity or a so-called false Church) during the Tribulation.

Misguided interpretation of the book of the preceding nature (which is not really interpretation at all) results in two things:

1) People are misled, causing them to believe that which is “not according to this Word” (Isaiah 8:20).

2) Proclaimed error at any point in Scripture invariably closes the door to a correct understanding of the passage being dealt with, which, many times will close the door to correctly understanding related passages of Scripture as well.

Thus, mishandling Scripture after this fashion is a serious matter.  The end result can and often does have far-reaching ramifications, moving far beyond one passage dealt with in an erroneous manner.

Again, beginning with Revelation 6:1, this book is dealing with “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” not the time of the Church’s trouble (either the true Church or a so-called false Church).

God, at this time, will have completed His dealings with the Church during Man’s Day.  And beginning with Revelation chapter six, God is seen turning back to Israel and completing His dealings with the Jewish people during the last seven years of Man’s Day, fulfilling events that will occur during the final week of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (along with the nations to be dealt with through Israel at this time, with the Messianic Era to follow).

Subject and Structure of the Book

Note the subject matter of the book of Revelation and how the book has been structured, given in the opening verse of the book.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John. (Revelation 1:1)

Then, with these things in view, the time element — “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” beginning in chapter six — can be dealt with and understood within its proper context and the manner in which the material has been put together in this book.

The first five chapters of the book deal with events that will occur immediately preceding “the time of Jacob’s trouble” — the Church removed and dealt with at Christ’s judgment seat (Revelation 1-3), the twenty-four elders cast their crowns before God’s throne (Revelation 4), and the search for One worthy to break the seals of the seven-sealed scroll (Revelation 5).

And, beginning with Revelation 6 and continuing through the first six verses of Revelation 19, events are dealt with that will occur during or immediately beyond “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” a time when the seven seals of the scroll are broken — a period dealt with time after time throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.

1)  Subject

The word “Revelation” in the opening verse of this book is a translation of the Greek word apokalupsis, which means to “disclose,” “reveal,” “uncover.”  And this word, along with its verb form (apokalupto), are together used forty-five times in the New Testament in passages such as Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3, 5; 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 4:13.

The book of Revelation, the Apokalupsis, the “Apocalypse,” is about a disclosure, an uncovering, an unveiling of that which the Father had previously given to and would accomplish through His Son (cf. John 3:34-35; 5:20-22; 7:16; 8:28).  And that which the Father had previously given to and would accomplish through His Son is seen in both Old and New Testament Scripture as “all things” (cf. Genesis 24:36; 25:5; John 16:15; Colossians 1:16-18; Hebrews 1:2-13).

Then, more directly, in the words of the book itself, that being made known pertains to a revelation of the Son Himself.  This book is an opening up of that which relates to all that the Father has given to and would accomplish through His Son, revealed through a revelation of the Son Himself.

And the revelation of the Son, according to this opening verse, is going to be accomplished by and through a specific, revealed means — by and through revealing “things which shortly [Gk., tachos, ‘quickly,’ ‘speedily’] must take place.”  That is to say, once this revelation of the Son begins through an unfolding of future events, the revelation will occur in a quick or speedy fashion — actually over time covering little more than seven years.

(On the translation of tachos in the opening verse as “quickly” or “speedily,” refer to a cognate word, tachu, used seven times in this book, translated “quickly” each time [Revelation 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7, 12, 20].)

According to John 1:1, 14, the incarnation was simply the Word (the Old Testament Scriptures) becoming flesh.  There is the written Word (which is living [Hebrews 4:12]), and there is the living Word (which is the written Word, inseparably connected with the Father, made flesh).

The book of Revelation is thus an opening up of the Old Testament Scriptures through a Person, through the Word that became flesh.  And any thought of an opening up of the Old Testament Scriptures extending to and including an opening up of the New Testament Scriptures as well could only be completely out of place, for there is nothing in the New that cannot be found, after some fashion, in the Old.  If there were, there could not be the necessary corresponding completeness between the written Word and the living Word at a time before the New Testament even began to be penned.

The New Testament, at any point, of necessity, can only have to do with revelation that can be seen as having an Old Testament base.  Revelation in the New Testament must bear the same inseparable connection with the Word made flesh as revelation in the Old Testament bears.

Thus, the existence of the Word made flesh preceding the existence of the New Testament clearly relates the truth of the matter concerning the content of the New Testament.  The New can only be an opening up and revealing of that which is previously seen in the Old.  To state or think otherwise is to connect the Word made flesh with one Testament and disconnect Him from the other — an impossibility.

In short, the Old Testament is complete in and of itself; the Word made flesh incorporates this same completeness, and the New Testament adds nothing per se to this completeness.  Any supposed subsequent addition would be impossible, for this would be adding to that which God had already deemed complete through the incarnation, the Word made flesh.

The preceding is why Christ, shortly after His resurrection, began at “Moses and all the prophets” (an expression covering the entire Old Testament) when He appeared to and began making Himself known to two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31).  The living Word, using the written Word, began putting together different facets of a word picture pertaining to Himself.  And He could have gone to any part of the Old Testament to accomplish the matter, for the entire Old Testament was/is about Him.

Through this means, those being addressed would be able to see one (the word picture) alongside the other (the Word made flesh).  And, comparing the two, they would be able to come into an understanding of not only the identity of the One in their midst but an understanding of that which had occurred in Jerusalem during the past several days as well.

This is the manner in which God has put matters together in His Word, making Himself, His plans, and His purposes known to man.  And this is why the Son — God manifest in the flesh, the Word made flesh — undertook matters after exactly the same fashion when making Himself, His plans, and His purposes known to two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day of His resurrection.

Then, the same thing is seen when He appeared to ten of the eleven remaining disciples (with Thomas absent) in Jerusalem a short time later (Luke 24:36-45; John 20:19-29).

And this is the manner in which the book of Revelation must be studied.  Since it is an unveiling of the living Word, it is equally an unveiling of the inseparable Old Testament Scriptures, which, throughout, have to do with both of God’s firstborn Sons — Christ and Israel (Exodus 4:22-23; Hebrews 1:6), with one Son seen inseparable from the other Son (cf. Exodus 12:1ff [John 4:22; Acts 4:12]; Jonah 1:17 [Matthew 12:39-40]; Hosea 11:1 [Matthew 2:15]).

Then, another person is seen throughout the Old Testament as well — the beast, introduced in Genesis 3:15 and dealt with throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.  And he, accordingly, is seen and dealt with extensively in Revelation 6-20.

Thus, understanding the book of Revelation after the preceding fashion is the only way a person can come into a proper and correct understanding of the various things opened up and revealed in this book, which, of course, would be equally true of any other portion of Scripture.

2)  Structure

The word “signified” in the opening verse of Revelation is a translation of the Greek word semaino, which is the verb form of the word for “sign” (semeion).  The apostle John introduced, opened up, and developed matters in his gospel account through signs.  And in the book of Revelation, matters are introduced, opened up, and developed in a similar manner.

God, throughout His revelation to man, shows an affinity for the use of types, numbers, signs, and metaphors to make Himself, His plans, and His purposes known.  And this must be recognized; else man will find himself failing to go beyond the simple letter of Scripture (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:6-4:6).

Man, for example, will find himself understanding biblical history but failing to understand the God-designed typical significance of that history.  Or if numbers, signs, or metaphors are used — which they often are — he will fail to understand the God-designed significance of these as well.

At the very outset, God makes it clear that the book of Revelation has been structured in a particular manner, closely related to the manner in which John was led by the Spirit to structure his gospel.

The gospel of John was built around eight signs that Jesus had previously performed during His earthly ministry, and these signs were recorded and directed to the Jewish people during the time of the reoffer of the kingdom to Israel (which occurred between 33 A.D. and about 62 A.D.).

And the book of Revelation — dealing largely with the Jewish people once again (exclusively, along with God’s dealings with the nations through Israel, in Revelation 6-19, covering time and events during and immediately following Daniel’s Seventieth Week) — uses the verb form of the word for “sign” at the very outset in order to reveal the manner in which this book has been structured.

To understand how the word semaino, translated “signified,” is used introducing the book of Revelation, note how John uses this same word three times in his gospel, in John 12:33; 18:32; 21:19.  The context leading into each verse provides an illustrative statement that allows that which is stated in the verse to be understood.

Note the first of these three usages, within context:

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

This He said, signifying [from semaino] by what death He would die” (John 12:32-33).

Aside from Revelation 1:1 and the three verses in the gospel of John, the only other usages of the word semaino in the New Testament are in Acts 11:28; 25:27.  And the same thought is set forth by the use of the word in these two passages, though the illustrative statement is inferred in the first usage.

Thus, “signified,” a translation of semaino, has to do with making something known in a manner that carries the reader from a somewhat indirect means to a direct means, using an illustrative statement as a means of explaining the matter.  And this is seen accomplished in the book of Revelation centrally by the use of numerous numbers and metaphors, though other illustrative means are used as well.

Thus, all illustrative means of this nature in the book are, they would have to be, in line with the meaning of the word “semaino” and the manner in which this word is used elsewhere in the New Testament.

“Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots…”

Note that the identification of the “harlot” in Revelation 17:1ff with “Babylon” is associated with the word mystery.  And, as well, the identification of the “beast,” the last king of Babylon, is also associated with this word — “the mystery of the woman and of the beast” (Revelation 17:7b).

1)  A Mystery

The word, “mystery,” is not part of the harlot’s name — such as mystical, etc.  Rather, the word, “mystery,” states something about the harlot, aiding in the identification of the harlot.

A “mystery” in the New Testament does not have to do with something completely new, something not dealt with at all or unknown in the Old Testament (a common misconception that is often taught concerning the meaning of the word).  This, of course, couldn’t be true, for, as previously seen, there is nothing in the New that cannot be found after some form in the Old.

Rather, a “mystery” in the New Testament has to do with an opening up and an unveiling of something previously introduced and dealt with in the Old Testament.  A “mystery” has to do with additional revelation, commentary, on that already seen in the Old Testament, allowing the Old Testament revelation to be fully opened up and revealed (e.g., note that a full revelation of the Son in the book of Revelation allows the “mystery of God” [Revelation 10:7] to be correspondingly fully opened up as well, for Christ is God manifested in the flesh).

And the preceding is exactly what is in view by referring to the “woman” and the “beast” by the use of the word mystery.  There is an opening up, an unveiling of that previously revealed concerning the woman and the beast, which, of course, would necessitate prior revelation on the subject.

This alone would tell a person that foundational material for both can, and must, be found in the Old Testament, for, again, there is nothing in the New that does not have its roots someplace in the Old.

And, as previously seen, a relationship of this nature between the two Testaments can be seen in the opening verse of the last book of Scripture, the book of Revelation, stating at the outset the nature of the book’s contents.

The entirety of the Old Testament is about the person and work of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39-47).  And the New Testament, continuing from the Old — with “the Word” (the Old Testament Scriptures) becoming “flesh” (John 1:1-2, 14) — must be viewed in exactly the same light.

The New is an opening up and unveiling of the Old; and the book of Revelation, forming the capstone to all previous revelation (both the Old and New Testaments), completes the unveiling.  The book of Revelation, by its own introductory statement — an introductory statement peculiar to this book alone — forms the one book in Scripture that brings all previous revelation to its proper climax.

2)  Babylon and Jerusalem

Thus, the “harlot” being inseparably identified with Babylon is not something that suddenly appears in chapter seventeen, apart from prior revelation — revelation that would allow one to know who is being referenced and why an identification of this nature is being used.

The word “mystery” alone would tell a person that prior revelation exists, allowing the referenced identification to be easily understood.

Most of the prior revelation is in the Old Testament, but some can be found in the immediately preceding chapters of the book of Revelation.  And, even without these immediately preceding chapters — knowing that these are central entities dealt with during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” — plain common sense would seemingly tell any individual with a good grasp of the Old Testament Scriptures what and who is being dealt with, for that which is seen throughout Revelation 17:1-19:6 is a major subject of Old Testament Scripture.

Metaphors and other forms of figurative language are used extensively in these chapters, not only relative to the “harlot” and the “beast,” but numerous other places as well (e.g., the descriptive destruction of the harlot, “with fire,” the harlot referred to as “that great city, Babylon,” or the “great riches” enjoyed by the nations at the harlot’s expense).  And the use of metaphors or other forms of figurative language is seen throughout the book, in line with “signified [semaino]” in the opening verse of the book.

And, with the preceding in mind, relative to the inseparable association of the harlot with Babylon along with the harlot’s identification, note three previous verses — Revelation 11:8; 14:8; 16:19.

In the first verse (Revelation 11:8), where the first of nine references in the book to “the [or, ‘that’] great city” is found; this city is associated with both Sodom and Egypt and is identified as “Jerusalem”:

And their dead bodies [the two witnesses] will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)

In the second verse (Revelation 14:8), where the second reference to “that great city” is found in the book, the destruction of the harlot is seen (detailed more fully in Revelation 17-19a); and the harlot, previously associated with Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem (through identification with “the great city”), is here associated with Babylon:

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Revelation 14:8)

In the third verse (Revelation 16:19), where the third reference to “the great city” is found in the book, the end of the harlot is seen again.  But in this verse, additional explanatory material is given.  “The great city…Babylon” (cf. Revelation 18:10) is seen separate from “the cities of the nations.”  And, with “the great city” having previously been identified as Jerusalem (metaphorically, also with Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon), a separation from the nations, as seen in this verse, could only be expected (cf. Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 14:2):

Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. (Revelation 16:19)

(The identification of “the great city” [or, ‘that great city’ (same structure in the Greek text throughout)] with Jerusalem is dealt with more fully and after a different fashion in Chapter 12 of this book.

Note also that “Jerusalem” is used a number of times in Scripture as simply another way of referring to the Jewish people.  Even “the land of Israel” is used this same way at times in Scripture [cf. Isaiah 1:21, 26; Lamentations 1:7-8; Ezekiel 14:11-13; 16:2; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:33; 19:41].)

Thus, to see “Babylon” used as a metaphor for Jerusalem i.e., referring to the Jewish people — in the book of Revelation, one could only expect to find a prior Jerusalem-Babylon association in the Old Testament, for, again, there is nothing in the New Testament that does not have its roots somewhere in the Old Testament.

In this respect, not only should a Jerusalem-Babylon association be found in the Old Testament, one which would allow “Babylon” to be used as a metaphor for Jerusalem, but an association of this nature should also exist as it pertains to the numerous other things dealt with throughout Revelation chapters seventeen through the first part of nineteen as well.  And this is exactly what one finds when going back to the Old Testament, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

Note again that “Babylon” in Revelation chapter seventeen is referred to as not just “Babylon,” but as “a mystery, [which is] Babylon…” (Revelation 17:5 NASB20), and, as also previously seen, the word “mystery” is used of “the beast” as well (Revelation 17:7).

(Note how the preceding would negatively reflect on the false teaching that the “harlot” in Revelation 17-19a is a reference to the Roman Catholic Church.

The “harlot” is a mystery, necessitating that the harlot be found in the Old Testament.  And to carry such a teaching pertaining to the harlot and the Roman Catholic Church through to its logical conclusion, this Church, of necessity, would have to be found in the Old Testament, which, of course, it isn’t.)

Dealing with Babylon, Jerusalem, and the beast in the book of Revelation, one would naturally turn to the book of Daniel.  Though Babylon, Jerusalem, and the beast are first mentioned early in Genesis (Genesis 3:15; 10:10; 14:18), Daniel is the book that deals with the enter matter in relation to the beginning, progression, and end of the Times of the Gentiles.

The kingdom of Babylon is brought into full view in this book, Daniel deals with Israel and the nations in relation to this Babylonian kingdom, and Daniel places a particular emphasis on details pertaining to the latter days — details having to do with Babylon’s end-time ruler, the beast, exactly as seen in the book of Revelation (though this man had previously been introduced in different ways and places in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis, then quite extensively in Exodus).

The complete period of the Times of the Gentiles is depicted through two main means in the book of Daniel — through a four-part great image in Daniel 2 (revealed through a dream) and through four great beasts in Daniel 7 (revealed through a vision).  That which is depicted by the great image in chapter two is Babylonian in its entirety (from the head of gold to the feet part of iron and part of clay), as is that which is depicted by the four great beasts in chapter seven (from the lion to the dreadful, terrible, and exceedingly strong beast).  The great image and great beasts present exactly the same picture, though from two different perspectives.

That which is seen by the great image and the great beasts centers on and sets forth Gentile world rule during the Times of the Gentiles, from its beginning to its end, as this period relates to Babylon.  The Times of the Gentiles began in Babylon, and this period of time will end in Babylon.

God used the first king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar [the first king during time covered by the great image, or the great beasts]) to complete the removal of the Jewish people from their land — because of their prior, continued disobedience, extending over centuries of time — resulting in an end to the Old Testament theocracy.

And God will use the last king of Babylon (Antichrist) to complete the reason for the removal of His people under the first king of Babylon — to effect repentance, resulting in a reestablishment of the theocracy at a future time.

The former theocracy was established under the old covenant, and the latter theocracy will be established under a new covenant (cf. Exodus 19:5-6; Jeremiah 31:31-33).

The Visions of Zechariah

With these things in mind, note the eight visions in the first six chapters of Zechariah, for these visions deal with exactly the same thing seen in both the books of Daniel and Revelation, though from a different perspective yet.  These are visions revealed to and recorded by Zechariah following the return of a remnant from the Babylonian captivity.  And it is within these visions that possibly the best Old Testament basis for an association of “Jerusalem” with Babylon, as seen in the book of Revelation, can be found.

1)  Understanding the Visions

These eight visions are introduced by the Lord’s statement surrounding Israel’s past disobedience, the result of this disobedience, the call for repentance, and that which will result following Israel’s repentance (Zechariah 1:1-6).

Disobedience resulted in the Times of the Gentiles, and repentance would ultimately be effected by and through Gentile persecution during this period.

Then, following the six introductory verses, the eight visions begin with verse seven and continue uninterrupted until part way through chapter six of the book.

These visions have to be understood in the light of the manner in which they are introduced.

They have to be understood in the light of Israel’s past disobedience, which has resulted in the Times of the Gentiles; and they have to be understood in the light of the reason for the Times of the GentilesIsrael not only reaping the consequences of her actions, but ultimately bringing the nation to the place of repentanceand that which will occur once God’s purpose for this period is realized.

The visions, understood contextually, must be looked upon as having to do with Israel and the nations during and at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.

(Note that one of the laws of the harvest has to do with the fact that a person not only reaps what he sows but he always reaps more than he sows.  Israel has “sown the wind” [violating God’s covenant through centuries of disobedience, including harlotry], and they will, resultantly, “reap the whirlwind” [Hosea 8:7; cf. Hosea 8:1, 8-14].

Thus, with Israel occupying center-stage, this law of the harvest would reflect upon the reason for the intensity of the judgments and related activity seen during the Tribulation [cf. Matthew 24:14].)

Though God drove His people out among the nations, to effect repentance, the principles set forth in Genesis 12:3 remain.  God will not only use Gentile persecution to bring about repentance but He will also subsequently judge the Gentiles because of this persecution.

Summarily, these visions bridge the centuries of time between the first and last kings of Babylon.  They have to do with different facets of Israeli persecution at the hands of the Gentiles, with the principles set forth in Genesis 12:3 ultimately being worked out and realized.  They have to do with Israel ultimately being brought to the place of repentance, the Times of the Gentiles being brought to an end, and Gentile persecution of Israel being fully dealt with.

Only then will Israel occupy her proper place at the head of the nations in a restored theocracy, with the nations being blessed through Israel.

That, in short, is how the eight visions in Zechariah must be understood.  Each presents a different facet of the matter, and all of the visions together form a composite picture of that which God revealed concerning Israel and the nations through Zechariah.

Then, immediately after the last vision (Zechariah 6:1-8, dealing with the destruction of Gentile world power), Zechariah calls attention to the crowning of Joshua, the high priest, with reference then made to “the Man whose name is the BRANCH,” which is followed by a reference to the building of the Temple (Zechariah 6:11-13).

The name “Joshua” (Hebrews, Jehoshua) is an Anglicized form of the Hebrew name for “Jesus” (Gk., Iesous).  The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses Iesous in Zechariah 6:11, and this is the reason that the KJV translators erroneously translated Iesous as “Jesus” instead of “Joshua” in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8.  They are the same name, whether Jehoshua in Hebrew or Iesous in Greek.  And the name, “The BRANCH,” in Zechariah 6:12 is a Messianic title applied to Christ elsewhere in the Old Testament (Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8).

Thus, note that which is in view immediately following the visions in Zechariah, immediately following the Times of the Gentiles, when Israel occupies her proper place at the head of the nations, in a restored theocracy.

Events surrounding the crowning of Joshua (at the termination of the visions), the high priest during Zechariah’s day, foreshadow future events surrounding the crowning of Jesus (at the termination of that set forth in the visions), who will then be the great King-Priest.

And the building of the Temple following the restoration of a remnant during Zechariah’s day foreshadows the building of the millennial Temple by Messiah Himself, in that future day following Israel’s restoration.

2)  The Woman in the Basket

Now, with all that in mind, note the seventh of the eight visions — a woman seated in the midst of an basket (Zechariah 5:5-11) — immediately before the vision having to do with the destruction of Gentile world power (Zechariah 6:1-8).  This vision of the woman seated in the basket has a direct bearing upon a proper understanding and interpretation of Revelation chapter seventeen through the opening six verses of chapter nineteen, paralleling, in a number of instances, that which is seen in these three chapters.

The destruction of Gentile world power then follows in both Zechariah’s visions and that which is revealed to John in the book of Revelation.  And the crowning of Joshua and the reference to the “BRANCH” building the Temple foreshadow and have to do with that which follows in the book of Revelation — Christ appearing as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19 [b]), with certain events then occurring both preparatory to and during His millennial reign (Revelation 20 [a]).

Thus, there is a parallel between the seventh and eighth visions and that which immediately follows in Zechariah with that which is seen in Revelation chapter seventeen through the opening six verses of chapter nineteen.  Both sections of Scripture deal with exactly the same thing, from two different perspectives.  They deal with Israel and the nations during the Times of the Gentiles, Israel brought to the place of repentance through Gentile persecution, Gentile world power destroyed, and the Messianic Kingdom ushered in.

And similar parallels can be seen between a number of other things in Zechariah’s first six visions and other parts of the book of Revelation as well.

Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.”

So I asked, “What is it?” And he said, “It is a basket that is going forth.” He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth:

Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket”;

then he said, “This is Wickedness!” And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth.

Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.

So I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they carrying the basket?”

And he said to me, “To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base.” (Zechariah 5:5-11).

There are numerous metaphors throughout Zechariah’s visions, and the vision of the woman in the basket is no different.  Metaphors are used for practically everything in this vision, including “a house for it in the land of Shinar.”

However, metaphors, as used in these visions, or elsewhere in Scripture, do not lend themselves to fanciful interpretation.  Scripture uses metaphors after a consistent fashion (e.g., “a mountain” always has to do with a kingdom, “the sea” always has to do with the Gentiles or the place of death, “a fig tree” always has to do with Israel or showing a connection with Israel, etc.).

Metaphors found anyplace in Scripture are to be understood and explained contextually and/or through comparing Scripture with Scripture, in accordance with how Scripture deals with the metaphors being used.

For example, three women are in view in this vision — one in the basket, and two who transport the basket (with a woman inside).  Since the manner in which the visions are introduced at the beginning of Zechariah has to do with Israel and the nations, ascertaining who these three women represent is quite simple, for “a woman” is sometimes used in Scripture, in a metaphorical way, to represent a nation (Isaiah 47:1-7; 62:1-5; Revelation 12:1; 17:3ff).

Remaining with the subject matter of the visions and the metaphorical use of women elsewhere in Scripture, the “woman” in the basket can only represent Israel, with the “two women” who transport the basket representing Gentile nations.  The woman in the basket is removed from one land and transported to another.

And though the matter has its roots in history, where exactly the same thing occurred, the vision must be understood relative to the end times, for the destruction of Gentile world power follows in the next and last vision.

That is to say, the same thing occurred through the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, bringing about the Times of the Gentiles following the Babylonian captivity; and the same thing will occur yet future, bringing a close to the Times of the Gentiles.

During the end times, the Babylonian kingdom of the man of sin will encompass all the Gentile nations; and “the land of Shinar,” used in a metaphorical sense (in keeping with all the other metaphors used in the vision), would refer, not to one tract of land in the Mesopotamian Valley but to the origin (the land of Shinar) of a Babylonian kingdom that will then exist worldwide.

Thus, since the woman is moved to “the land of Shinar,” the only place from which the woman could possibly be moved would be the land of Israel, for any other part of the earth would be within the scope of the metaphorical use of “the land of Shinar” at this future time.

As previously stated, this occurred in history when the Jews were transported to the actual land of Shinar by the first king of Babylon (the first king as seen in Daniel’s image), and this will occur yet future, once again, when the Jewish people are uprooted from their land and scattered throughout a Babylonian kingdom that will then exist worldwide (though evidently with a Middle Eastern capital).  This disbursement of the Jewish people throughout the Gentile world, both past and future, is exactly what is seen in Revelation 17:1, 15 — the woman, referred to as “the great harlot” both here and in numerous Old Testament passages, seated in the midst of the nations, scattered throughout Antichrist’s kingdom (cf. Isaiah 1:21-24; Jeremiah 3:1-14; Ezekiel 16:26-39; Hosea 2:1ff).

The woman in the basket [KJV: ephah] is described by the word “Wickedness [or, ‘unrighteousness’]” (Zechariah 5:8), which would be in perfect keeping with her harlotry as she courts other lovers among the nations, particularly as she continues to court the Gentile nations in the final form of the kingdom of Babylon.

The “basket” was the largest measure for dry goods used by the Jews, though of Egyptian origin.  And the “basket,” when used in a symbolic sense, would invariably be thought of as referring to trade or commerce.  This was simply the manner in which the “basket” was used, allowing it to be a natural emblem for merchandising.

The woman seated in the midst of the basket, in this respect, would point to one characteristic of the Jewish people after being removed from their land — transformed from a nation primarily involved in agriculture to a nation primarily involved in merchandising.  Note that merchandising is a main realm in which the woman is seen involved throughout a large section of Revelation chapter eighteen (Revelation 18:3, 9-23).

The vision of the woman seated in the midst of the basket though could refer to something else as well.  As previously pointed out, the “basket” was the largest of the measures used by the Jews for dry goods, though of Egyptian origin.  “Egypt” is used in Scripture to typify or symbolize the world outside the land of Israel, the Gentile nations.  And, in this respect, the woman seated in the midst of the basket could very well also call attention to the full measure of Israel’s sin of harlotry, as she finds herself seated in the midst of the Gentile nations (seated in the largest of measures, one of Gentile origin) in the kingdom of Antichrist.

The woman in the vision sought to escape from the basket (ref. Zechariah 5:8), probably realizing the fate about to befall her should she remain in the basket.  But she was prevented from escaping, and she was cast back into the basket and kept inside by a lead covering placed over the top, weighing a talent.  The woman was to realize her own inevitable fate, in the midst of the basket in the land of Shinar, i.e., in the midst of commercialism, among the nations, in the kingdom of Antichrist.

This is where the harlot would be destroyed, as seen in Revelation chapters seventeen through the first part of nineteen.

A talent of lead placed over the opening of the basket kept the woman inside.  A “talent” was the largest weight used among the Jewish people, and “lead” was one of the heaviest of metals.  Such a covering showed that there was no escape from that which must occur, for her sins had “reached to heaven,” and God had “remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:5).

The heaviest of weights (a talent of lead) was placed over the opening of the largest of measures (the basket) to keep the woman (Israel) inside the basket, for a purpose — to be transported from her land to a place among the nations.

Two women (which could only represent other nations, Gentile nations), with stork-like wings (the stork, an unclean bird [Leviticus 11:13, 19; Deuteronomy 14:12, 18]), lifted the basket up from the land of Israel and transported it out among the nations (to that foreshadowed by the land of Shinar in that coming day).

And there, among her Gentile lovers, the woman, Israel, was to be established and dealt with by God in relation to the magnitude of her sin, with a view to repentance.

(The vision of the basket could only span the centuries of time covering the entire Times of the Gentiles [some twenty-six centuries] as seen in Daniel’s great image or the four great beasts, though with a particular emphasis upon the latter days.

With Israel and the magnitude of her sin over centuries of time in view, note again the laws of the harvest relative to sowing and reaping.

Note, according to Zechariah’s vision of the woman in the basket, that which must ultimately occur relative to the remnant of Jews presently in the land of Israel — approximately 6,000,000 today.  It is exactly the same thing seen in the book of Jonah and elsewhere in Scripture.  The Jews presently in the land must be cast from the ship into the sea [a place typifying “death” and “the Gentiles”].

They must be removed from their land and driven back out among the Gentile nations once again.  And among the nations [in the sea] the Jewish people will be viewed as dead [as Lazarus in the seventh sign in John’s gospel, John 11], awaiting God’s breath to bring about life [Ezekiel 37:1-14].  Then, and only then [after life has been restored], can they be removed from the sea, from the nations.

God drove His people out among the nations to deal with them there relative to repentance, and that is exactly where He will deal with them at the end of Man’s Day.  If for no other reason than this, the Jewish people presently in the land must be uprooted and driven back out among the nations.

That is not only the place where God has decreed that He will deal with them but that is also the place from whence God will re-gather them when He brings them back into the land, following repentance, belief, and the restoration of life.)

The Jewish people were carried away into Babylon by the first king of Babylon, which marked the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles.  This was also the beginning of the Jewish association with Babylon.  And most of the Jews carried away never left Babylon at the end of the seventy years to return to their land (Jeremiah 25:11-12; cf. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21; Daniel 9:1-2).

They had found a home in Babylon.  In this respect, as long as Babylon remained in existence, the association of the Jewish people with Babylon could only have continued.

In the latter days, when the final form of Daniel’s image appears — the final form of the kingdom of Babylon — Israel will be left without a choice other than to see the nation’s harlotry brought into full bloom within the kingdom of Antichrist.  The things seen in the vision of the basket will be brought to pass during the days of the last king of Babylon, with “Israel” enmeshed in the final form of this Babylonian kingdom to the extent that the nation is spoken of in synonymous terms with “Babylon” in Revelation chapter seventeen through the opening verses of chapter nineteen.

These are the things forming the Old Testament connection which allows “Babylon” to be used as a metaphor for Jerusalem in the book of Revelation — as previously seen, a reference used more directly for the people of the city, the Jewish people (cf. Psalm 122:6; Jeremiah 44:13; Lamentations 1:7-8, 17; Matthew 23:37; Revelation 21:9-10).
Chapter 12

The Beast and the Woman (2)
The Woman You Saw is that Great City

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. . . 

And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over [lit., “which possesses kingly authority over”] the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:1-3, 16-18)

Revelation chapters seventeen through the first part of chapter twenty provides a climactic sequence of events that bring about the only possible proper end to Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy — the conclusion seen in the prophecy itself, as laid out in a six-fold manner in the introductory verse of the prophecy, in Daniel 9:24:

Seventy Weeks [lit., ‘Seventy sevens (contextually, sevens of years — 490 years)] are determined for your people [the Jewish people] and for your holy city [the City of Jerusalem]:

1) To finish the transgression,
2) To make an end of sins,
3) To make reconciliation for iniquity,
4) To bring in everlasting righteousness,
5) To seal up the vision and prophecy, and
6) To anoint the Most Holy.

Four hundred and eighty-three years of Daniel’s prophecy have been fulfilled.  They were fulfilled during the years preceding and leading into the time of Christ’s crucifixion (beginning with the decree referenced in the prophecy [issued in 444 B.C.] and ending with the crucifixion [in 33 A.D.], also referenced in the prophecy).

Time being fulfilled in the prophecy though stopped in 33 A.D.  On the day that God’s Son was crucified (fulfilling that which is set forth in the type in Genesis 22 [Abraham offering his son at a particular place that God had revealed to him]), God, so to speak, stopped the clock marking off time in the prophecy.

God then set Israel aside (fulfilling that which is set forth in the type in Genesis 23 [the death of Sarah, Abraham’s wife]).  And, anticipating that which is set forth in the type in Genesis 24 (Abraham’s eldest servant sent to another land to acquire a bride for Isaac), fifty-three days later, on the day of Pentecost, God brought into existence the one new man “in Christ.”

At this point in time, God began an entirely new dispensation, with the Spirit of God given the specific task of calling out a bride for God’s Son from among those comprising this new man (fulfilling that which is set forth in the type in Genesis chapter twenty-four).

But, seven years yet remain to be fulfilled in the prophecy, which MUST come to pass.  Once the Spirit has acquired the bride, God will remove the one new man “in Christ” (all Christians, as seen in the latter part of Genesis 24), turn back to Israel, begin the clock marking off time once again in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, and complete the last seven years of the previous dispensation.

And once this time has been completed (the full seventy weeks, 490 years), the six things listed in the opening verse of the prophecy, pertaining to Israel, will be brought to pass (fulfilling that which is set forth in the type in Genesis 25 [Abraham again taking a wife, Keturah, who was far more fruitful than Sarah]).

In short, Israel will be brought to the place of repentance, a nation will be born in a day, Israel’s sins — all types of disobedience, including harlotry, resulting in and climaxed by the crucifixion of the nation’s Messiah when He came the first time — will be done away with, everlasting righteousness will be brought in, the mystery of God will be finished through a full revelation of the Son (sealing up [nothing more to be added, a bringing to completion] of the vision and prophecy), and the Glory will be restored to Israel within a Temple that Messiah Himself will build (anointing the most Holy).

This is what Revelation 6 through the first part of Revelation 20 are about.  They are about God completing His dealings with Israel during and immediately following the seven unfulfilled years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, bringing the six things seen in Daniel 9:24 to pass, with all that will accompany the realization of these six things being brought to pass as well.

(For additional information on Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, refer to Chapter 12, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks,” in the author’s The Time of the End BOOK, in this site.

For additional information on the typology of Genesis 22-25, refer to Chapter 2, “Isaac and Rebekah,” in the author’s The Bride in Genesis BOOK, or in the author’s Search for the Bride BOOK, both in this site.)

And, as well, all the various facets of this same end (that which is seen occurring at the completion of the time in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy) are seen time after time in the Old Testament.  A corresponding parallel, as illustrated in the preceding paragraphs (a sequence of events foreshadowed in Genesis 22-25), can only be expected, for the structure of later revelation must always be in complete keeping with the structure of earlier revelation.

Later revelation must always be completely in line with and rest on the foundation set forth in earlier revelation.

This climax, seen in both Testaments — stated in a broad but succinct manner — has to do with:

1) The realization of God’s purpose for driving the Jewish people out among the nations over 2,600 years ago (bringing all six things seen in Daniel 9:24 to pass).

2) The corresponding destruction of Gentile world power.

3) The corresponding ushering in of the long-awaited Messianic Era.

Through the judgments and different events brought to pass during the Tribulation, seen in Revelation 6-16, everything is set in place for these climactic events to be revealed and occur.  Then, beginning in Revelation 17 and continuing into the first part of Revelation 20, numerous details are given concerning these climactic events, with three individuals occupying center-stage:

1) Israel’s true Messiah — the Lord Jesus Christ — whom the nation rejected and crucified, though will one day receive (Revelation 19:11ff; cf. Zechariah 12:10-14; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30).
2) Israel’s false messiah — the beast — whom the nation, as a result of their rejection of the true Messiah, is prophesied to receive during the interim (Revelation 17:1ff; cf. John 5:43).
3) Israel, the nation itself, around which everything revolves — seen as the harlot woman — brought to repentance, cleansed, never to be defiled again (Revelation 17:1ff).

Most of this closing section of the book of Revelation, leading into Christ’s return (Revelation 19:11ff), the destruction of Gentile world power (Revelation 19:17-21), and the Messianic Era that follows (Revelation 20:1-6), is taken up with detailed information pertaining to the beast, his kingdom, and a harlot woman occupying a central place in this kingdom (Revelation 17-19 [19a]).

This is the subject matter seen in this climactic part of the book immediately preceding Christ’s return, climactic dealings with Israel and the nations, the restoration of Israel, the destruction of Gentile world power, and the ushering in of the Messianic Era.

The “beast” and the “woman” are both referenced in metaphorical respects.  And that being referenced through the use of both metaphors is made clear in the numerous Old Testament passages dealing with the subject, in earlier parts of the book of Revelation, and in chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen as well.

Then, through the use of the word “mystery,” any teaching surrounding that which is being dealt with can only be seen as inseparably connected with the Old Testament Scriptures, drawing from these Scriptures.  And both the beast and the woman are referred to by this word (Revelation 17:5, 7).

(As previously seen in Chapter 11 of this book, “a mystery” in the New Testament refers to something made known in the Old Testament that has yet to be fully opened up and revealed.

And the opening up and complete unveiling of that referred to as “a mystery” in the New Testament, referring back to something in the Old Testament, awaited the additional revelation seen in the New Testament.

Dealing with events foreshadowed in Genesis 22-25 in connection with Israel and Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, previously seen in this chapter, would present a case in point.  Along with things related to the mystery of Israel’s blindness in these chapters in Genesis [Genesis 22; 23; 25 (cf. Romans 11:25-26)], there are also things related to the mystery revealed to Paul [Genesis 24 (cf. Ephesians 3:1-6)].

And, as seen in Romans 11:1-26, one mystery is inseparably linked to the other mystery.  Israel’s blindness [one mystery] allows for and makes room for those things revealed to Paul [another mystery].  And placing both mysteries within the scope of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, one mystery [Israel’s blindness] fits within the scope of the prophecy itself [while time in the prophecy is being fulfilled]; and the other mystery [that is revealed to Paul] lies outside the scope of the prophecy [between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, while time in the prophecy is not being fulfilled].

There are numerous other places in the Old Testament that deal with things having to do with the mystery of Israel’s blindness and the mystery revealed to Paul, with the Old Testament Scriptures in this respect complete in and of themselves.  But, a full opening up and revealing, explaining, these things awaited New Testament revelation.

In the preceding respect, note the folly of individuals having one Testament without the other, particularly the New without the Old [which would be somewhat akin to viewing a house without its foundation].  One Testament is to be understood in the light of the other — the Old in the light of the New, and the New in the light of the Old.)

Thus, not only must material in these chapters in the book of Revelation (Revelation 17-19) be in complete keeping with the manner in which matters are set forth in the Old Testament but this material must also be seen as a climactic opening up and unveiling of that which is previously presented in the Old Testament.  These chapters in the closing part of the book of Revelation, leading into the Messianic Era, remove any remaining wrappings and present the beast and the harlot in full exposure for all to behold.

In Both Testaments

Again, the two central individuals seen throughout Revelation 17 and continuing through the first six verses of Revelation 19 are the beast and the harlot.  And both of these individuals are dealt with extensively in these chapters immediately prior to a third individual appearing, coming through an opened heaven on a white charger to take care of matters as they will exist on the earth at this time.

And conditions on the earth when this third individual appears — Israel’s Messiah, the Deliverer, the One whom the nation rejected and crucified 2,000 years ago — are quite vividly described in Scripture.

Resulting from famine, various plagues and diseases, and the sword, one-fourth of the earth’s population will have died, or will shortly die (over one and one-half billion, by today’s count), which will include two-thirds of the earth’s Jewish population (some nine million, by today’s count).  And conditions in general at this time will be of such a nature that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).

This is where things are headed for our so-called enlightened society of today, with all of its changing mores, political correctness, etc.  And that fast-approaching Day cannot be far removed from the present day.

(For more information in this realm, refer to the author’s We Are Almost There BOOK and Israel from Death to Life BOOK, in this site, and Distant Hoofbeats.pdf book.)

1)  The Beast, Seen in Both Testaments

The beast — the name used in the book of Revelation for the man of sin, the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1ff; 17:8-14) — is presented a number of different ways throughout a large section of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments.  Revelation concerning this man (first mentioned in Genesis 3:15) begins with Nimrod, the first king of Babylon, in Genesis 10; and it concludes with the last king of Babylon in the chapters under discussion in the book of Revelation 17-20.

However, throughout Scripture, revelation concerning the beast is NEVER solely about this man alone.  Revelation concerning the “beast” is ALWAYS seen in conjunction with revelation concerning Abraham and his lineage through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, — the nation of Israel and Israel’s Messiah.

This is the manner in which revelation about the beast begins in Genesis, continues throughout the Old Testament, continues into the New Testament, and concludes in the book of Revelation.  When the beast appears in Scripture, Israel and Israel’s Messiah appear someplace in the text or context as well (e.g., Genesis 9-11 [Shem in Genesis 9, Nimrod in Genesis 10, and Abraham and his lineage in Genesis 11ff]; the books of Exodus, Esther, and Daniel).

The preceding is an axiom in biblical studies surrounding the beast — unchangeably set in Genesis 3:15 — which cannot be ignored.

Thus, when an individual arrives at Revelation chapter seventeen and sees the beast and a harlot woman ( both spoken of in the same metaphorical fashion) extensively dealt with together at the close of Man’s Day, at the close of that part of the book of Revelation having to do with Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy — knowing that both are referred to as a “mystery,” and knowing that the beast never appears in Old Testament Scripture apart from Israel and Israel’s Messiah — only one thing concerning the identity of the woman could possibly be uppermost in one’s mind.

2)  The Harlot, Seen in Both Testaments

In Old Testament history, because of the Jewish people’s continued disobedience over centuries of time, God uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations.  And the major part of this disobedience was harlotry, which caused God to divorce Israel (Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8; Hosea 2:2).

Israel, the wife of Jehovah, was having illicit relations — forbidden national relationships — with the surrounding Gentile nations.  And when Israel’s cup of iniquity became full (cf. Genesis 15:16), God divorced Israel, uprooted His people from their land, and drove them out among the nations in order to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the harlot’s lovers.

Revelation 17 through the first part of Revelation 19 presents, in detail, the end of the matter.  Israel, in these chapters, is seen at the height of her degeneracy — enmeshed in and having illicit relations with the most corrupt form of Gentile world power that ever has been or ever will be known by man throughout his 6,000-year history.  And it is within this setting, as Gentile persecution of Israel reaches heights heretofore unknown, that Israel is brought to the place of repentance and is cleansed of her harlotry (cf. Judges 19:23-30).

The preceding though, as will be shown, is far from the only means of identifying the harlot woman.  Attention has been called to this means of identification first in order to show the unity of all Scripture surrounding revelation concerning the beast and Israel, from an introduction in Genesis to a conclusion in the book of Revelation.

In this respect, note a number of Old Testament references having to do with Israel’s harlotry:

How the faithful city has become a harlot! (Isaiah 1:21a)

But you have played the harlot with many lovers . . . You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. (Jeremiah 3:1, 3b [1b]; cf. Jeremiah 3:6-14)

Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations . . . You also played the harlot with the Assyrians . . . Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea . . . . (Ezekiel 16:2, 28-29a [28a])

Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality . . . She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness . . . . (Ezekiel 23:17-18a [17a]; cf. Ezekiel 23:35-37).

Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from My hand. (Hosea 2:10; cf. Hosea 2:2ff)

Then, viewing the end of the matter in the book of Revelation, chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen has to do with Israel’s harlotry seen at its apex and then brought to an end.  And this is the ONLY PLACE in the book where this is dealt with.

If “the great harlot” in these chapters is other than Israel, then a major subject of Old Testament prophecy relating to Israel is not even dealt with in the book of Revelation.

Apart from understanding that the “woman” represents Israel, the final seven years of the Jewish dispensation is brought to a close in the book of Revelation without this book even dealing with the main purpose for these seven years.

Apart from seeing Israel with the beast in these chapters, that which could only be uppermost in God’s mind concerning Israel during the Tribulation — bringing His people, who have played the harlot over centuries of time, to the place of repentance — is not even mentioned in the book.

But, as previously stated, the preceding is just one way in which the woman can be identified.  As will be shown, this chapter goes on to state, in so many words, that the “woman” is Israel.

Then, other internal proofs are provided in the chapter concerning the same thing (along with the preceding and next chapters [Revelation 11; 13]).

The Woman You Saw Is…

In that part of the book of Revelation covering events on the earth occurring during and immediately following the last seven years in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (Revelation 6-19), a woman is used in  a metaphorical respect in two different places — in Revelation 12, and in Revelation 17; 18, continuing into the first six verses of Revelation 19.  And, in either instance, as is previously seen in the latter section, one is not left to his own imagination to identify the woman.  In both instances the woman is clearly identified.

The woman in chapter twelve is easily identified through that which is stated in the first verse — “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland (KJV: “crown”) of twelve stars,” along with events dealt with in subsequent verses.

Metaphors are used extensively in this description, with the entire matter seen as regal.  The “sun,” “moon,” and “stars” have to do with governmental powers, from the greater (the sun) to the lesser (the stars), with the woman seen as crowned.

In short, the woman is seen in possession of all power, though not yet exercising this power (the latter — yet to exercise this power — is seen in the type of crown that the woman has on her head (something discussed later in this chapter).

The “woman” in the chapter is clearly seen to be Israel, with Satan throughout later verses in the chapter seeking to destroy the woman, to destroy Israel.  And the statement about the sun, moon, and stars, with regality in view, is an allusion back to the second of Joseph’s two dreams in Genesis 37:9).

In the type in Genesis, the reference to the sun, moon, and stars making “obeisance” (NKJV: “bowing down”) to Joseph had to do with Joseph and his immediate family (Genesis 37:10).  And that which is being foreshadowed by this type has to do with Christ and His immediate family — Israel.

But in Revelation 12, material drawn from this type has to do with Israel and the nations (in like fashion to how the statement in Hosea 11:1 is used of both “Christ” and “Israel”).  “Christ” is presently King, for He was born King (Matthew 2:2); but He has yet to exercise His kingly office.  That awaits the Messianic Era, when Christ exercises the rights of the firstborn.

“Israel” is presently the rightful possessor of the regality seen in Revelation 12:1.  Israel is presently God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23); but the exercise of the rights of the firstborn awaits the Messianic Era.

And Israel cannot exercise these rights until one thing has been brought to pass — that which is seen in subsequent chapters in both the book of Genesis (Genesis 37 ff) and the book of Revelation (Revelation 12 ff).  Israel MUST first be cleansed of her harlotry.

In the Genesis account, the complete story extending from Israel’s rejection of her Messiah to the nation’s acceptance of her Messiah is told in nine chapters (Genesis 37-45).  And at the very first, following Joseph’s rejection by his brethren (foreshadowing Christ’s rejection by His brethren, the Jewish people [Genesis 37]), an entire chapter dealing with harlotry immediately follows (having to do centrally with Judah in the account [Genesis 38]).

Then Genesis 39 picks up at the exact place where Genesis 37 left off, leaving the chapter on harlotry to seemingly be out of place.  But not so!  This chapter is exactly where it should be, the subject is correct, and the right brother among the eleven, Judah, is the one seen involved in the harlotry.

The reason why Judah is singled out in Genesis 38 in this respect is seen in Genesis 44, immediately before Joseph reveals himself to his brethren in Genesis 45.

In chapter forty-four, Joseph’s brothers, though not knowing Joseph’s identity, were brought to the place where they had no choice but to acknowledge to Joseph, in his presence, that which they had done years before — their rejection of him, followed by their selling him to the Ishmaelites.

And Judah is seen as the spokesman for his brothers at this time, exactly as he was the one seen in connection with harlotry back in Genesis 38.  “Judah,” in both chapters, is seen acting in the place of or on behalf of all his brothers, typifying Israel:

1) The one involved in harlotry between the two times in the type (between the time of the nation’s rejection [Genesis 37] and the time of the nation’s acceptance [Genesis 45]).

2) And the one driven to the place where there was no choice left other than to confess that which had been done years before to the very one to whom it was done (rejection, crucifixion).

And the preceding is exactly what is seen beginning in Revelation chapter twelve and continuing through the first six verses of chapter nineteen.  The woman in chapter twelve is the same woman seen in chapters seventeen through the first part of nineteen.

Regality is seen in connection with the woman in both sections.  This has already been shown in connection with the woman in chapter twelve, and it will be shown later in this chapter in connection with the woman in chapters seventeen through the first part of nineteen.

As well, these chapters in the book of Revelation are in exact accord with teachings pertaining to Israel’s harlotry as seen in Genesis chapters thirty-seven through forty-five, along with numerous other places in the Old Testament.

With all of this information staring a Bible student in the face, one often wonders how so many people can go astray when it comes to a correct interpretation of the harlot woman beginning in Revelation chapter seventeen.  Possibly thoughts from what Andrew Jukes had to say over one hundred years ago about the neglect of the study of types by Bible students in his day might apply:  

“The real secret of the neglect of the types, I cannot but think may, in part, be traced to this — that they require more spiritual intelligence than many Christians can bring to them.”

1)  The Woman Is That Great City

As the beast is identified in chapter seventeen (Revelation 17:8-14), the woman is identified in this chapter as well.  The woman is identified in a direct and clear statement after a manner which, contextually, no one could possibly question.  The last verse in chapter seventeen provides, beyond any question whatsoever, in so many words, the identity of the woman:

And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over [lit., ‘which possesses kingly authority over’] the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18)

The expression “that great city” is used nine times in chapters eleven through eighteen, with six of these usages seen in chapters seventeen and eighteen.  The first usage in Revelation 11:8 identifies the city as Jerusalem, and the identification of “the great city” in this first usage must be understood the same way throughout the subsequent chapters where this expression appears.

Note how Revelation 11:8 reads:

And their dead bodies [the two witnesses] will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Jerusalem, in this verse, is associated with Sodom (sexual perversion) and Egypt (the world); and the next two appearances of the expression, “the great city” (Revelation 14:8; 16:19), associates “Jerusalem” with Babylon.

Babylon was the place where the southern two tribes were taken captive, beginning about 605 B.C., beginning the Times of the Gentiles.

Over one hundred years earlier (about 722 B.C.), the northern ten tribes had been taken captive by the Assyrians (the world power of that previous day).  But between these two times, the Babylonians had conquered the Assyrian kingdom, shifting the center of world power from Assyria to Babylon and, after about 605 B.C., placed all twelve tribes within a Babylonian kingdom.

Babylon is out in the world, typified by Egypt; and God allowed the Jewish people to be uprooted from their land and taken captive to Babylon because of their numerous transgressions occurring over centuries of time, with sexual perversion, associated with Sodom, among sins heading the list (cf. Jeremiah 22:8-9, 25).

And this is exactly where the “woman” finds herself in Revelation chapters seventeen through the opening verses of nineteen — enmeshed in the kingdom of the last king of Babylon, out in the world (scattered among the nations), and viewed as a harlot — exactly as is portrayed in previous verses (Revelation 11:8; 14:8; 16:19).

Thus, according to Revelation 17:18, the harlot, which is seen throughout these chapters, is identified as “Jerusalem.”  And there is no getting around this clearly stated fact.

(“Jerusalem” is used a number of times in Scripture as simply another way of referring to the Jewish people.  Even “the land of Israel” is used this same way in Scripture [cf. Isaiah 1:21, 26; Lamentations 1:7-8; Ezekiel 14:11-13; 16:2; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:33; 19:41].

The Jewish people, their land, and their capital city are looked upon and referred to in an inseparable sense in Scripture.  Thus, in an interpretative respect, Revelation 17:18 would have to read, “And ‘the woman’ you saw is Israel…”)

2)  The Woman Possessing Regal Authority

Then, Revelation 17:18 also presents another means of identification.  This verse doesn’t stop with the identification of the woman as “that great city.”  Rather, the verse goes on to provide a second means of identification, which is in complete keeping with the first part of the verse.

The verse continues by adding the words, “which reigns over the kings of the earth.”  A better translation of these words from the Greek text would be, “which possesses kingly authority over the kings of the earth” (ref. Wuest’s Expanded Translation — “which possesses [imperial] power over…”), limiting matters in the light of Exodus 4:22-23 to Israel and/or Jerusalem alone.

Thus, the woman is identified as possessing regal authority over the Gentile nations (Revelation 17:18b).  This identifying statement reflects back upon and draws from a similar statement about the woman earlier in the book:

. . . and on her head [the woman’s head, Israel’s head] a garland (KJV: “crown”) of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1b).

The number “twelve” is the number of governmental perfection; and this verse from chapter twelve forms part of the contextual foundational material in the book upon which the identity of the woman in Revelation 17:18 rests.

The word used for “garland/crown” in the Greek text of Revelation 12:1 is stephanos, not diadema, indicating that the woman, though possessing regal power and authority, was not exercising that power and authority at the time which is seen in the text (which is a time yet future, near the middle of the Tribulation, with the woman wearing a diadem and exercising regal power and authority following the Tribulation).

An individual presently exercising regal power and authority would wear a crown depicted by the word diadema, not a crown depicted by the word stephanos.  This is seen in two verses later (Revelation 12:3), where the Greek word diadema is used — showing an exercise of regal power and authority in the kingdom of Antichrist by the one to whom Satan will one day give “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2).

(Regarding Israel in possession of regal power and authority over the Gentile nations, note that which Moses was instructed to make known to the Egyptian Pharaoh when God sent him to deliver the Israelites [an Assyrian ruler in Egypt, typifying the coming Assyrian who will rule the world (cf. Isaiah 52:4; Micah 5:5)].  Moses was instructed to say unto Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. [Exodus 4:22]

“Sonship” implies rulership.  Only sons can rule in God’s kingdom [past, present, or future], and in the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule [only firstborn sons find themselves in a position to exercise the rights of primogeniture within a family, with regality being one of these rights].  In short, Moses, announcing to Pharaoh that Israel was God’s son, His firstborn, was God’s way of making it known to the ruler over Egypt that He recognized Israel in the regal capacity implied by sonship, not Egypt.

And this recognition was made known while Israel was still in Egypt.  Israel, following the observance of the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread in Exodus 12; 13, was to be led out of Egypt under Moses.

Then, following certain events occurring while enroute to Kadesh-Barnea — the old covenant given through Moses at Mt. Sinai, the Magna Charta for the kingdom, containing all of the rules and regulations governing the people of God within the kingdom, along with the construction of the Tabernacle, the dwelling place of God among His people within the theocracy — Israel was to enter into and occupy the land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and once the Jewish people had become established in this land, they were to rule the nations as God’s firstborn son, within a theocracy.

Again, note the latter part of Revelation 17:18.  There is only one nation on the face of the earth that this can be referencing — the nation which is not to be “reckoned among the nations” [Numbers 23:9].  Only one nation on the face of the earth possesses a position of regal authority over the kings of the earth [over all the Gentile nations].  This nation was identified in Exodus 4:22-23, immediately prior to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt;  and this nation is identified in Revelation 17:18, after exactly the same fashion [previously introduced after this fashion in Revelation 12:1], immediately prior to Jesus leading the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion yet future.

Dating from Moses’ day, Israel has never lost the nation’s standing as God’s firstborn son.  Israel has been God’s firstborn son since the announcement was made in Exodus 4:22-23, remains God’s firstborn son today [though a disobedient son, scattered among the nations], and will one day exercise the rights of the firstborn [following repentance].

This is why, for the past 3,500 years, since the time this announcement was made, that the one who has held the scepter since prior to the creation of Adam [Satan] has done everything within his power to destroy Israel.

Also, note that Israel is spoken of in both masculine and feminine respects in Scripture — as a son, and as a woman [cf. Hosea 2:2; 11:1], with both having regal implications.  Only sons can rule, and man cannot rule alone.  A man must rule in conjunction with a woman, or a woman in conjunction with a manthe man as king and the woman as consort queen.  This is a principle established in the opening chapter of Genesis, which can never change [Genesis 1:26-28].

And exactly the same thing, for exactly the same reasons, is seen relative to the bride of Christ.  The one who will rule as consort queen with the Son is spoken of in Scripture in both masculine and feminine respects, with both having regal implications [cf. Romans 8:14-15, 19; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:23-32; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 19:7-10].)

3)  The Woman Guilty of Blood

Further, if Scripture is compared with Scripture, Jerusalem alone — referring to the Jewish people — is guilty of the blood of the prophets and of all slain upon the earth (Matthew 23:34-37), which is said of the harlot in Revelation 17:6; 18:24; 19:2.  The Jewish people alone carry this guilt.  It is not possible for any other city, nation, or segment of society to be looked upon in this manner.  This fact is clearly stated in Luke 13:33:

. . . it cannot be [lit., ‘…it is not possible’] that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

And it is clear from the subsequent verse (Luke 13:34) that “Jerusalem” is used in verse thirty-three referring to the entire nation — the Jewish people — exactly as it is used in Revelation 17:18.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her . . . . (Luke 13:34a)

Thus, according to Scripture, Israel alone can be considered guilty of blood in this respect.  And in keeping with this thought, Christ died in the capital of Jewry at the hands of the Jews (Matthew 16:21; Acts 2:23, 36; Revelation 11:8); and the Apostle Paul, as well, was prepared to die in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews, “for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:11-13).

Thus, Scripture is quite clear on the identity of the harlot in Revelation 17:1-19:6, and the next chapter in this book will deal with the future cleansing of the nation, as seen in these same three chapters.
Chapter 13

The Beast and the Woman (3)
The Great City, Babylon, that Mighty City, Burning

After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.

And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen . . .

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. . . .

In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, “I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.”

Therefore her plagues will come in one day — death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning,

standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.” . . .

Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.” (Revelation 18:1-3, 5, 7-10, 21 [2a])

The main thrust of Scripture seen throughout Revelation 17 into the first part of Revelation 20 has to do with God’s plans and purposes regarding the Jewish people, the Gentile nations, and the Church of God being brought to fruition, leading into the Messianic Era (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32).

In a larger sense, the working out of God’s plans and purposes for all three creations — Jew, Gentile, and Christian — has to do with ruined man and involves 6,000 years of restorative work, followed by the 1,000-year Messianic Era, a Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God.  And this is patterned after God’s previous restorative work surrounding the ruined material creation — occurring over six days of time, with God resting on the seventh day (a Sabbath rest) — in Genesis 1; 2 (Hebrews 4:4, 9; cf. Exodus 31:13-17; 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8).

In a narrower sense, regarding Israel and the nations, the working out of God’s plans and purposes in this respect dates back 4,000 years (to the days of Abraham, about 2,000 B.C.) and 2,600 years (to the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, about 605 B.C.).

And in a narrower sense yet, regarding Christians, the working out of God’s plans and purposes in this respect dates back 2,000 years to the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D.

The complete scope of God’s plans and purposes is dealt with in numerous places throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets — “line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10), with different facets of the matter being dealt with in different ways in different places.  Each facet provides a different part of one complete overall word picture, with the complete picture presenting the matter exactly as God would have man view the whole of His plans and purposes regarding Israel, the nations, and the Church.

And, regardless of how or where these things are dealt with in the Old Testament, there is always a particular emphasis on concluding events — events that bring the entire matter to fruition, as seen beginning in Revelation chapter seventeen and continuing through the first part of chapter twenty.

Thus, when one arrives at this closing part of the book of Revelation and begins reading extensively about a beast and a harlot woman, he is not left to his own imagination and interpretation concerning that which is in view.  Scripture will reveal and interpret the matter for him.

All one has to do is go back to the Old Testament and see how God has previously laid the entire matter out, beginning in Genesis.

In this respect, through comparing that which is spiritual with that which is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:9-13) — in this case, comparing numerous sections of the Old Testament with that which is seen beginning in Revelation 17 — the Old Testament will interpret the matter for the reader.

(Two Anglicized Greek words are sometimes used to call attention to correct and incorrect methods of biblical study and interpretation — exegesis and eisegesis.  The Greek prepositions ek [meaning, “out of”] and eis [meaning, “into”] are prefixed to the same word, which, without the prepositions, means “to guide” or “to lead.”

Exegesis has to do with deriving out of a passage that which is within the passage.  In Revelation 17-19a, exegesis allows Scripture to comment upon and identify the harlot woman.  And, at every turn, Scripture [Old or New Testament], reveals that “the great harlot” is a metaphor for Israel at the end of the Times of the Gentiles [ref. Chapters 11, 12 in this book].

Eisegesis, on the other hand, has to do with reading into a passage that which is NOT in the passage.  Eisegesis, rather than allowing Scripture to identify the harlot woman in Revelation 17-19 [19a], reads a foreign meaning into the passage, usually attempting to see “the great harlot” used as a metaphor for a false religious system, often seen as the Roman Catholic Church.

And this type of mishandling of the passage is no small thing.   Not only does such a teaching do away with the correct understanding of the passage but such a teaching has the Times of the Gentiles ending in the book of Revelation after a fashion that is completely out of line with the way in which the Times of the Gentiles is seen being brought to a close throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.)

The Old Testament has already dealt extensively, in minute detail, with the whole of that which is seen beginning with Revelation chapter seventeen and continuing into the first part of chapter twenty.

A complete word picture has already been presented, for all to see.  And this part of the book of Revelation, dealing with the same thing as is previously seen in the Old Testament, places the emphasis exactly where Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets had previously placed the emphasis, which could only be expected.

The Emphasis and Divisions in Revelation 17:1-20:6

The emphasis beginning in chapter seventeen and continuing through chapter nineteen, preceding the Messianic Era in chapter twenty, is placed on Israel and the nations (Revelation 17:1-19:6, 11-21).  And, within this section, the Church of God, as well, is brought back into the picture from the opening chapters of the book, though only taking up four verses throughout chapters seventeen through nineteen (Revelation 19:7-10).

Beginning with chapter seventeen and continuing through the opening six verses of chapter twenty, this section of Scripture could be divided into four parts:

1)  In Revelation 17:1-19:6, though both the beast and the harlot occupy center-stage, the harlot alone, residing in the kingdom of the beast, is the one centrally being dealt with throughout.  The subject matter of this section of Scripture is stated, in so many words, in the opening verse:

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.”

The harlot is dealt with at length pertaining to her identity and where she resides (leaving no possible room for anyone to question that is being pictured [if Scripture is compared with Scripture]).

And then the harlot, within the scope of this section of Scripture, is seen being completely destroyed (again, leaving no possible room for anyone to question that which is being pictured [again, if Scripture is compared with Scripture]).

The beast and his kingdom, on the other hand, are dealt with in this section of Scripture only with respect to identity and an impending destruction.  The harlot is the one dealt with in detail throughout, not the beast.

2)  In Revelation 19:7-10, after dealing with various things concerning the harlot and her relationship to the nations, followed by the harlot’s destruction, attention is called to the bride and the marriage supper of the Lamb, occurring in heaven, prior to Christ’s return to the earth.

This is the first mention of anything having to do with the bride since Revelation 1-3, anticipating the relinquishment of crowns (Revelation 4) and the redemption of the inheritance (Revelation 5 ff) — with the redemption of the inheritance being completed following Christ’s return (Revelation 19 b), allowing the bride to then become the Lamb’s wife (cf. Ruth 4:1ff).

3)  In Revelation 19:11-21, the heavens are opened, and Christ is seen returning back to the earth “with his mighty angels” — i.e., the armies of heaven — accompanying and following Him at this time (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 19:14).

Accompanying Christ, as well, will be Moses and Elijah (cf. Matthew 16:28-17:5; Luke 9:27-32), who will evidently be instrumental in His dealings with both Israel on the one hand and the beast and his kingdom on the other.

(For details on Moses and Elijah accompanying Christ at this time, refer to the author’s Moses and John BOOK, particularly Chapters 3, 4, in this site.)

The bride, from verses seven through ten, is not seen among those accompanying Christ back to the earth at this time.  In fact, Scripture is quite clear that the bride will not accompany Christ back to the earth when He returns.

Christ will be returning to complete His dealings with Israel and the nations, and the bride will have no more to do with this than she will have previously had with Christ’s dealings with Israel and the nations during the Tribulation.  The Bride simply will not participate in judgments occurring on earth when the seals of the seven-sealed scroll are being broken, and these judgments will not be concluded until after Christ returns to the earth to complete His dealings with Israel and the nations preceding the Messianic Era.

Note that Joseph’s wife, Asenath, was in another part of the palace when he dealt with his brethren at the time he revealed himself to them.

And note that Moses’ wife, Zipporah, only went part way with him when he returned to Egypt to deal with his brethren in this same respect.

Moses and Zipporah were reunited only after he had dealt with the Jewish people in Egypt, after he had dealt with the Pharaoh of Egypt, after the death of the firstborn, after he had led the Israelites out of Egypt, and after Pharaoh and his armed forces had been destroyed in the Sea.

And the same sequence will, of necessity, be followed in the antitype.  The bride, as Zipporah, may very well accompany Christ part way and remain in the New Jerusalem above the earth while He deals with Israel and the nations on earth.  Then, once these dealings have been concluded — which will be after Israel’s national conversion and restoration to her land, and after the destruction of Gentile world power (which, according to Scripture, will occur in this order) — Christ will be reunited with the one who will then have become His wife.

(At the time of the destruction of Gentile world power, all the judgments seen within the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 will have come to pass.

This will complete God’s terms for the redemption of the inheritance — with the marriage of Christ to His bride and the re-marriage of God to Israel seen as part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance [cf. Ruth 4:1ff]).

The preceding succinctly covers, in a somewhat general respect, the sequence of events that will occur when Christ returns to the earth, as seen in Revelation 19:11-21.  Very few of these events are seen and dealt with in this brief section in the book of Revelation, but all are seen and dealt with in prior Scripture, beginning in Genesis.

Scripture must be compared with Scripture in order to put the complete word picture together, exactly as God has outlined and provided this information in His Word (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

4)  In Revelation 20:1-6, all is brought to completion and fruition.  Satan is bound, cast into the abyss; individuals are assigned positions of power and authority in Christ’s kingdom, and the millennial reign — that toward which everything in Scripture moves — will then occur.

I Sit a Queen, and Am No Widow, and Shall See No Sorrow

There is only one possible way that a person could expect the Tribulation to draw to a close and end in the book of Revelation.  And that would be exactly the same way it is seen drawing to a close and ending time after time in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.

Whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, Israel in the end time is seen enmeshed within and committing harlotry with the most corrupt form of Gentile world power man has ever known or ever will know.

This will then be followed by Israel’s repentance, the nation being cleansed of her harlotry (as presented in Revelation 17-19a, synonymous with the harlot being burned, destroyed by fire), the destruction of Gentile world power, and the ushering in of the Messianic Kingdom.

Though the nation will have paid a heavy price, one beyond human comprehension, Israel’s harlotry will be a thing of the past.  Israel’s sins will have been “as scarlet,” “red like crimson”;  but, with these sins having been completely removed — “as far as the east is from the west” — where scarlet and crimson once existed, conditions will then be “as white as snow,” “as wool” (Isaiah 1:18; cf. Isaiah 1:21-26; Psalm 103:12-22).

And a cleansed nation in that day will realize the rights of the firstborn, fulfilling the purpose for the nation’s existence (cf. Revelation 17:16-17; 18:8-21; 19:2-3).

1)  Material Wealth, Spiritual Wealth

The heavy price paid by Israel over centuries of time has been both to her detriment and the detriment of the nations.  Israel has been removed from her land, scattered among the nations, and has suffered immeasurably at the hands of the Gentiles.  And, at the same time, the nations have suffered as well, having been cut off from the spiritual blessings that could have been theirs through Israel.

But, though the nations throughout this time have found themselves separated from spiritual blessings, they have, at the same time, found themselves in a position of power and involved with materialism, becoming wealthy (Revelation 18:3, 9-19).  And Israel, having left her spiritual heritage and found herself scattered among the nations, has become inseparably involved with the world’s materialism and wealth as well (Revelation 17:4; 18:16).

During the Times of the Gentiles (over 2,600 years), the nations have held the scepter and have become wealthy at the expense of Israel (Revelation 17:2; 18:19b).  And, as long as the Times of the Gentiles continues, the nations will continue to hold power and accumulate this wealth at Israel’s expense.

Or, viewing the matter from another perspective, as long as Israel remains in the nation’s present condition — a harlot, co-mingling with and having illicit, forbidden relationships with the nations — the nations will continue to accumulate their wealth at Israel’s expense, with Israel involved in and sharing in this wealth.  But once Israel is brought to the place of repentance, followed by Israel’s harlotry being done away with (burned with fire [Revelation 17:16-17; 18:8ff]), it will all be over for the nations.

The Times of the Gentiles will end, the scepter will change hands, and the wealth of the Gentiles will be given to Israel (Isaiah 60:5, 11 [the word “forces,” KJV, should be translated “wealth”; ref. NASB20, NIV]; cf. Exodus 12:35-36).

The preceding is what a large part of Revelation 18 is about (through the use of the type language specified in the opening verse of the book, in Revelation 1:1 [ref. Chapter 11 of this book, where this is explained]).

(When seeking to understand the book of Revelation, a major problem results from not understanding and interpreting material in the book after the manner in which God has structured this material — again, something stated in the opening verse of the book, though largely ignored.

Thus, when individuals attempt to understand things in this book from a western mindset, or through any other means different than the way that it was set forth in this opening verse, is it any wonder that they have trouble?)

Note particularly Revelation 18:9-19.  The nations will have become rich, and these nations will be quite distraught when all of this is suddenly taken from them.  And it will all be taken from them through the loss of the harlot in their midst (again, note the symbolism and type of language being used).

The nations can continue in their present fashion only as long as the harlot remains in their midst, for, the fact that Israel is playing the harlot is what allows them to live in this manner — accumulating material wealth, etc.  But once the harlot is no longer present, once Israel is no longer playing the harlot, things will change completely.

(God will use the beast to do exactly the opposite of that which the beast will set out to accomplish.  The beast will set out to accomplish something wherein utter failure has always marked the path of any and all who have tried — the destruction of and doing away with the nation of Israel.

And, in line with that which has happened to all of his predecessors as well, the beast himself will suffer that which he will set about to inflict upon the Jewish people — his own utter destruction instead.  Because of God’s unchanging promises to and regarding Israel, matters of the preceding nature must always work out in this manner [cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 3:1-7; Esther 5:14; 6:6-13; 7:8-10; 9:10-14].

God, turning matters around, will use the beast to destroy the harlot [exactly as he used the Pharaoh of Egypt during Moses’ day to bring about His plans and purposes regarding Israel], with the nation of Israel subsequently existing apart from her harlotry and God’s complete purpose for calling this nation into existence then being realized [cf. Exodus 9:15-16; Revelation 17:16-17].) 
 
In that day, Gentile headship will be over, their wealth will be gone, but they will find that they will possess something far greater.  Spiritual blessings/spiritual wealth, which will be theirs through restored Israel, will far exceed anything that they will have possessed throughout the Times of the Gentiles (cf. Isaiah 65:19; Zechariah 8:20-23).

2)  The Harlot Destroyed, the Nation Cleansed

The “great harlot” in Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen is seen being burned with fire (Revelation 17:16; 18:8-9, 17-21; 19:2-3).  This is the picture that Scripture provides of Israel’s harlotry being done away with.  God is seen using the beast and his kingdom to do away with Israel’s harlotry through a persecution of such an intense nature that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (cf. Matthew 24:22).  And this will occur after 2,600 years of Gentile dominance and control.

Israel will be brought to the place where the nation will have nowhere to turn other than to the God of their fathers. (Revelation 17:16-17).  Repentance and cleansing will then occur (Isaiah 1:16-21), Israel’s harlotry will be a thing of the past (Revelation 18:8-10), and it will never again be an issue (Revelation 19:3).

Note how Revelation 19:1-3 is worded:

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!

For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”

Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!”

(The words, “forever and ever,” in v. 3 are a translation of the Greek words, eis tous aionas ton aionon, and should literally be rendered, “unto [or, ‘with respect to’] the ages of the ages.”

The Greek language, as the Hebrew language, does not have a word for “eternal” per se.  And this is one of two different ways that the Greek text can express “eternal,” apart from textual and contextual considerations.

The other way is through using a plural form of the word aion, meaning “age,” as the word is used in Hebrews 13:8, where Christ is said to be “the same yesterday, today, and forever [Gk., eis tous aionas (a plural, articular use of aion preceded by the preposition eis, meaning ‘into,’ ‘unto,’ or ‘with respect to’); lit., ‘unto (or, ‘with respect to’) the ages’,’ i.e., throughout the endless ages, forever].”

The thought set forth in Revelation 19:3 by the smoke of the burned harlot continuing to rise up throughout the endless ages has to do with Israel’s harlotry never again being an issue.  The nation’s harlotry will be completely consumed by the fire, never to rise again [again, note the type of pictorial language being used].)

This picture of the harlot being burned with fire was introduced in Revelation 17:16 and is dealt with extensively throughout chapter eighteen.  In fact, this entire chapter, one way or another, is taken up with the harlot’s destruction, with attention called to this destruction occurring through a burning with fire several places (Revelation 18:8-9, 18).

“Fire” is seen in Scripture as a purifying agent (Zechariah 13:8-9; Mark 9:49-50).  “Fire” is seen as a separating agent, separating that which is of value from that which is worthless — by burning the latter, with the former enduring the fire (Matthew 3:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 1 Peter 1:7).

Thus, the picture of the harlot being burned throughout these chapters has to do with the harlot — Israel playing the harlot — passing through a purifying and burning fire that purifies by separating that which is worthless from that which is of value.

Once this separation occurs, Israel’s harlotry will be completely destroyed by the fire; but, on the other hand, the nation itself will remain untouched by the fire.

Nebuchadnezzar tried to use fire in the latter respect in Daniel 3 — in relation to three Israelites, foreshadowing the entire nation — and failed completely.

With an oven heated seven times hotter than normal and three Israelites thrown into the midst of this fire (“seven,” a complete number, showing the completion of that which is in view, probably indicating that the furnace was heated as hot as possible without destroying the furnace), not a single hair on the head of any one of the three was even singed.

Nor could Darius in the succeeding Medo-Persian kingdom get the lions to eat Daniel (Daniel 6).

Israel has a God-given promise that the fire (or anything else) can’t hurt them (Isaiah 43:1-3).  They can remain in the fire (or anywhere else) forever and remain unconsumed (Exodus 3:1-7).

And, as seen in the previously referenced passage, the reason is evident.  God resides in the midst of the nation, and to destroy the nation, God would have to be destroyed.

But still, Israel is going to have to pass through one more fire, for there is the matter of Israel’s harlotry, which has to be removed by the fire.  And the nation’s harlotry has no chance against the fire.  The harlot is going to be made desolate, naked, her flesh will be eaten, and she will be utterly burned with fire (Revelation 17:16).

That is the picture that Scripture provides of God’s dealings with Israel’s harlotry.  The harlot will be utterly destroyed — consumed by fire on the one hand, and a nation purified by the fire will live on the other.

Then, and only then, can God complete His dealing with Israel, deal with the nations, deal with Satan and his angels, and usher in the Messianic Kingdom.

Israel and the nations — Past, Present, and Future

The definition of and thoughts surrounding the use of the word “mystery” in the New Testament have been dealt with at length in the two previous chapters of this book (Chapters 11, 12).  And that which follows in this section — in both of the two main parts to the section — will deal once again with matters set forth by the use of this word, from different perspectives than previously seen.

The first will show the same statements used of Israel in Jeremiah’s prophecy that are used in the chapter under discussion of the harlot in the book of Revelation, presenting matters from two different vantage points in these two books.

Then, the other will show sharp distinctions between Israel at two different times, before and after the nation passes through the fire, as seen in an Old Testament passage from Judges, foreshadowing and shedding light upon that under discussion in Revelation 17:1-19:6.

When these sections from these three books are looked upon and studied in the light of one another, the word picture — seen exactly as God has set it forth in His Word — begins to take shape in a far clearer manner than if only two of these sections were used.  And a grave problem can only arise if only one of the three sections is used and the person tries to figure matters out himself instead of letting Scripture do it for him.

Scripture must be compared with Scripture, allowing Scripture to interpret itself.

1)  Jeremiah and John

Note that which is stated about Israel and the land of Israel in Jeremiah 25:10-11:

Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations [Israel, along with other surrounding nations, judged with Israel (Jeremiah 25:9)] shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Then note that which is stated about the harlot in Revelation 18:22-23:

The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.

The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.

Exactly the same thing is stated about Israel in Jeremiah 25:10 as is stated about the harlot in Revelation 18:22-23.

In the book of Jeremiah, the statement had to do with the Jewish people in relation to the land of Israel at the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles.

Israel had been removed from her own land and transported into the land of Shinar, from a theocracy into the world kingdom of Babylon.  And in the land of Babylon the Jewish people could no longer experience the things enumerated in Jeremiah 25:10 in their own land.  Then, in the book of Revelation, all of that which is seen in Jeremiah is turned around and used in a completely opposite respect at the end of the Times of the Gentiles, over 2,600 years later.

In this book the same statement has to do with Israel playing the harlot among the nations in the Gentile lands where the nation had been dispersed throughout the Times of the Gentiles.  And the picture in the book of Revelation, reversing the matter, has to do with Israel about to be cleansed of her harlotry, at which time the nation will be removed from these Gentile lands and transported back to her own land, with the theocracy restored to Israel.

Once restored to the land, Israel would no longer experience the things stated in both Jeremiah 25:10 and Revelation 18:22-23 in Gentile lands, for God will have cleansed and removed the nation from these lands.  Then, at that time, God will restore these things to her, in her own land, in connection with the restoration of the theocracy.  That taken from the nation in Jeremiah 25:10-11 will be restored to the Jewish people.

2)  Judges and John

The five books of Moses, the Pentateuch, end with the account of Moses’ death and Joshua assuming the mantle (Deuteronomy 34:1-12).

The book of Joshua then begins with a reference to Moses’ death and continues with a history of the Israelites entering and beginning to take possession of the land, slaying and/or driving out the inhabitants, under Joshua’s leadership.  And the book ends about twenty-five years later with a reference to Joshua’s death and the Israelites burying the bones of Joseph, who had died about two centuries prior to that time in Egypt (Joshua 24:29ff; cf. Genesis 50:25-26; Exodus 13:19).

The next book, the book of Judges, continuing from Joshua, begins with a reference to Joshua’s death, beginning a period of time lasting over three centuries (some 320 or so years) when the Israelites resided in the land apart from leadership of a nature previously experienced — extending from the death of Joshua to Saul being anointed the nation’s first king.

a)  A Brief Summation of Judges

Two things marked the period of the Judges:

1) Disobedience on the part of the Jewish people.

2) God’s reaction to their disobedience (which had to do with anger, followed by a chastisement of the Jewish people to bring about repentance;  and their repentance was followed each time by God raising up one or more individuals [one or more judges] to deliver His people).

During Moses’ and Joshua’s day, God had commanded His people to drive out all of the Gentile nations inhabiting the land.  But, following Joshua’s death, the Israelites gradually began to cease driving these nations out (cf. Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 16, 22-24; Joshua 23:1-5; Judges 1:1, 19, 21, 27-33).

Then, disobedience at this point resulted in other forms of disobedience — something that the Lord had previously called to the people’s attention and had warned them about (cf. Exodus 23:33; Deuteronomy 7:4, 16; 12:30).

God, through Moses, had laid down the rules and regulations (the Law, the Magna Charta for the kingdom) which His people were to follow within the theocracy.  But, after failing to drive the Gentile nations out of the land; that which God had warned His people about began to occur.

The Jewish people, over time, found themselves gradually being influenced by and conforming more and more to the ways and practices of the pagan Gentile nations dwelling in the land with them.  And, as a result, rather than the Jewish people following that which God had stated in His Word, this period is marked by a departure from the Word.

With the absence of the type of leadership previously provided by Moses, and then Joshua, Scripture reveals one central manner of living on the part of God’s people during the time of the Judges, lasting for over three centuries:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6; 21:25; cf. Judges 18:1; 19:1)

And God reacted accordingly.  God reacted in exact accordance with that which He had previously revealed in His Word through Moses.

There is a repeated sequence in the book of Judges relative to the Jewish people’s disobedience and God’s reaction to their disobedience.  In chapter two, this sequence is given, setting the stage for that which is seen throughout the remainder of the book:

1) Israel’s action:

Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;

and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers . . . and they followed other gods . . . . (Judges 2:11-12a)

2) The Lord’s reaction:

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers . . . and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around . . .

Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for calamity, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them . . . .” (Judges 2:14-15a [14a])

3) Israel’s reaction:

. . . And they were greatly distressed [which would lead to repentance].” (Judges 2:15b)

4) That which the Lord then did:

Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.” (Judges 2:16)

When the Israelites fell into sin, God reacted by using that which had resulted from His people’s previous failure — Gentile nations remaining in the land, contrary to His command — as a means to bring about their repentance.  He delivered the disobedient Israelites into the hands of the same pagan nations that they had previously failed to drive out (Judges 2:21-23).

And, following His people being brought to the place of repentance by and through a judgment of this nature, God then raised up one or more individuals to deliver them out of the hands of the Gentiles.

Beginning in chapter three, when God raised up the first judge to deliver His people, repentance on Israel’s part is seen first.  That is, God delivered His people into the hands of the Gentiles, persecution at the hands of the nations followed, the people repented, and God then raised up an individual to deliver them out of the hands of the Gentiles.  And this same order is continued through eleven of the fourteen judges whom God raised up (Judges 3:7-9, 12-15; 4:1-4; 6:1-14; 10:6-18; 11:1ff).

Then, following the death of the eleventh judge (Judges 12:15), though the same sequence is seen beginning again (with Israel’s disobedience), certain changes occurred in the complete cycle of events this time:

Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. (Judges 13:1)

For the first time there was a forty-year period in which the Israelites found themselves in subjection to the Gentiles.  “Forty” is one of several numbers used in Scripture to show completeness, and the number appears numerous times in Scripture in this respect (e.g., Moses’ life is divided into three separate and distinct forty-year periods, Moses was on Mount Sinai forty days and nights, the disobedient Israelites under Moses wandered in the wilderness for forty years, each of Israel’s first three kings reigned for forty years, Christ was tempted by Satan for forty days and nights, and Christ had a forty-day post-resurrection ministry prior to His ascension).

In this respect, because of Israel’s disobedience, God gave His people into the hands of the Gentiles (the Philistines) for a complete period of time.  And this complete period could only have followed a completion of Israel’s disobedience over the years.  That is to say, Israel’s cup of iniquity had apparently become full (cf. Genesis 15:16), with God acting accordingly.

However, there is no record of the Israelites repenting and crying out for deliverance during these forty years.  Nevertheless, God raised up Samson during this time as the twelfth judge, stating that he would “begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5b).  Full deliverance though could not occur until after the Israelites had repented, something not seen until the days of Samuel the prophet, the fourteenth and last judge (following Eli [1 Samuel 7:3-15]).

The book of Judges, in the preceding respect, sets forth the complete history of Israel — from the time of the inception of the nation during Moses’ day to modern times.

And the nation is nearing the end of the final period of their disobedience, with the Jewish people about to find themselves in the hands of Gentile nations that will render such intense persecution that repentance, after millennia of time, will be forthcoming.

And God, true to His Word, will then send the Deliverer.

b)  The Epilogue to Judges (Chapters 17-21)

Judges 17-21  form somewhat of an epilogue to the book, taking the reader back several centuries to near the beginning of the period of the judges (note the mention of Moses’ and Aaron’s grandsons in this section [Judges 18:30; 20:28], which would place events back during the early years of this period of time).

And this would account for the summary statement concerning the absence of a king in Israel, with every man doing that which was right in his own eyes, not being seen until the opening part of this epilogue (Judges 17:6).  Then, part or all of this statement is seen several other subsequent times in this closing section (Judges 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).

As previously stated, this period covering the time of the judges follows the death of Joshua and ends with the inauguration of Israel’s first king (Saul).  And the period between these two times, in one respect, is exactly where world Jewry finds itself today.

The names translated “Joshua” and “Jesus” in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Old and New Testaments are the same word in their respective languages, both meaning “Salvation.”  This is why the KJV translators misused “Jesus” instead of “Joshua” in both Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8.  Rather than a mistranslation, there is a misuse of names, for again, both are the same word in their respective languages.

(Note how the eight visions in Zechariah 1:7-6:8 terminate in the verses immediately following the last vision — with the crowning of “Joshua” in connection with “the man whose name is the BRANCH,” who will “build the temple of the Lord” [Zechariah 6:11-13].

The “BRANCH” is a Messianic title, used of Israel’s Messiah, whose name is Joshua/Jesus [cf. Zechariah 2:8-10; 6:11-13].  Note the Messianic nature of both of the referenced passages, along with the name “Joshua” used with the title the “BRANCH” in both passages.)

The Jewish people are living today between these same two times — between the death of Jesus (rather than Joshua) and the Jewish people possessing their King (their great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek rather than Saul).

That is to say, the Jewish people are living today between the time when they crucified their Messiah and the time when their Messiah will return as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek.

As well, in the preceding respect, the Jewish people today are also living during a time when they are not only without a King, but a time when everyone is doing that which is right in his own eyes.

1)  Judges Chapter Nineteen

But, as has been shown earlier in this chapter from Revelation 17:1ff, things are about to change.  The harlot is about to be destroyed.

And exactly the same thing is seen toward the end of the book of Judges, during the period of time between the death of Joshua/Jesus and the appearance of Israel’s King.

There is an account part way through the epilogue section of Judges that foreshadows exactly the same thing as seen by the harlot woman being burned with fire in Revelation 17:1-19:6.

In Judges 19 there is an account of a Levite and his concubine, his wife.  The Levite had taken her as his wife and moved her from Bethlehem to a place some distance north, to his home on Mt. Ephraim.  But, “his concubine played the harlot against him” and returned to Bethlehem, to her father’s house (Judges 19:1-3).

This was followed four months later by the man taking a hired servant and traveling to Bethlehem to get his adulterous wife.  And, after certain events in Bethlehem, a rather lengthy account follows of a journey that the man made with his concubine and the hired servant, traveling from Bethlehem back to Mt. Ephraim (Judges 19:5ff).

Enroute from Bethlehem to Mt. Ephraim, they entered the village of Gibeah, intending on spending the night, which is where a main part of that which is seen in the account occurred.

After sitting in the streets of the city for a while, waiting for someone in the city to befriend them and offer lodging for the night, an old man came in from his work in the fields, saw them, and offered them a place where both their animals (donkeys) and the three of them could spend the night (Judges 19:10-21).

Then, after all had been properly taken care of (the animals and the three travelers), “certain men of the city, perverted men” (a reference to worthless men of the city), came to the house, and began to beat on the door, demanding that “the man” inside the house (evidently the husband of the adulterous concubine) be brought out so that they could have homosexual relations with him.

It is the same picture seen back in Genesis chapter nineteen after Lot had invited the two angels to spend the night in the safety of his home (Genesis 19:2ff).  And that which then occurred in Judges is also very similar to the account in Genesis.

In keeping with Eastern hospitality, protecting guests inside one’s home at all costs, in Genesis chapter nineteen, Lot had offered his two virgin daughters instead (Genesis 19:8); and the man in Judges chapter nineteen, did the same thing, offering his own virgin daughter, along with the man’s concubine.

The men of the city took only the man’s concubine, and they “abused her all the night until morning.”  And, when they had finished with her and the night was almost over, they let her go.

She made her way back to the house where her husband resided, and, at the dawning of the day, fell at the door of the house and evidently died (Judges 19:22-26).

At this point in the story, there are two women.  One was a harlot who had been sexually abused throughout the night by the men of the city; and the other was a virgin whom the men of the city had left at the house, untouched.

When the concubine’s husband came out and found his wife unresponsive, he loaded her upon one of the animals and continued the journey to his home on Mt. Ephraim.

Once there, he took a knife, cut the harlot into twelve pieces, and sent one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Judges 19:27-29).

And the account closes with this statement:

And so it was that all who saw it [a piece of the dead harlot] “No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Israel came up from the land of Egypt until this day. . . .”  (Judges 19:30a)

2)  Parallel Accounts, Judges and Revelation

Scripture presents exactly the same picture, from two different perspectives, in both Judges 19:1-30 and Revelation 12:1-20:6.  In both passages you have:

a) Israel existing in the condition seen in Judges — without a King and every man doing that which is right in his own eyes.

b) An account of both a harlot and a virtuous woman.

In Judges, the men of the city, seen as base men, took and abused the Levite’s wife, a harlot, throughout the night, bringing about her death as a new day dawned.

But the host’s virgin daughter remained untouched by the men of the city.

Then, the husband of the dead harlot cut her body into twelve parts, “limb by limb,” and sent one piece of the dead harlot’s body to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The harlot was gone, the virtuous woman lived, and the complete matter had to do with the entire nation.

Now, note how this is presented in Revelation 12:1-20:6.  Two women are seen.  In chapter twelve, a woman in possession of regality is seen.  Then, beginning in chapter seventeen and continuing through the first six verses of chapter nineteen, a harlot is seen (the same woman from chapter twelve, though now presented as a harlot).

And, as in the account in Judges, the harlot is seen being abused throughout the night — throughout the time of “the darkness of this world,” prior to the time that “the Sun of righteousness” arises “with healing in His wings” (cf. Malachi 4:2; Ephesians 6:12).

The harlot has been, is being, and will be abused at the hands of those to whom she was given — the Gentile nations.

God gave a nation already in the throws of harlotry over to the Gentile nations; He drove His people out among the nations, among her lovers, to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of her lovers.

Then, note how the nations have abused the harlot throughout the night in Revelation 18:3:

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.

As Israel has continued to play the harlot, having illicit and forbidden relationships with the nations, the nations have become rich at Israel’s expense.

But all of this is about to change.

The men of the city killed the harlot in Judges.  And the complete picture has to do with a slain harlot subsequently cut into twelve pieces, with one piece sent to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Revelation, the corresponding picture has to do with God using the Gentile power of that coming day to slay the harlot.  In this future instance, foreshadowed by events in Judges chapter nineteen, the harlot will be burned with fire, the smoke of her burning will ascend up throughout the endless ages (i.e., the harlot will never live again; Israel’s harlotry will forever be a thing of the past), and this will have to do with the whole house of Israel, all twelve tribes (seen by pieces of the harlot sent to all twelve tribes in Judges, implicating the entire nation).

And, exactly as in the account in Judges, the Gentile nations, into whose hands the harlot has been delivered, cannot touch the virtuous woman (Israel’s status once the harlot has been destroyed and cleansing has occurred).

And in that coming day, because of that which will then ensue, Judges 19:30 can only, once again, be seen applying to all throughout the twelve tribes who witness that to which these two sections of Scripture apply.  That which is stated in this verse, projected out into that coming day, would read something like this:

“And all that see it in that day [the dissected harlot/the burned harlot — the destroyed harlot, with only the virtuous, untouched woman then existing] will only be able to say:

There has been NO such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day [throughout 3,500 years of Jewish history, with NOTHING like this ever seen during all that time; NOR will it ever be seen again, for Israel’s harlotry will NEVER exist again].”
Chapter 14

The Beast and the Woman (4)
King Of Kings And Lord Of Lords

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. . . .

And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,

that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11, 16-21).

The past three chapters in this book have dealt principally with the harlot in Revelation 17:1-19:6 residing in the kingdom of the beast, followed by the harlot’s destruction.  The first part of this closing chapter in the book will continue with a number of related thoughts on the same subject as the previous three chapters, then move on to Christ’s return and the destruction of the kingdom of the beast.

God’s Two Firstborn Sons in the Old Testament

The introduction of the nation of Israel in Scripture, along with the supply of a continuing wealth of information pertaining to this nation, is seen at a time much earlier than man might think or imagine.

For example, in Exodus 12:40-41, Israel is seen sojourning in a land throughout the four hundred thirty years leading up to the beginning of the nation’s existence — a sojourn which began at the time Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees, thirty years prior to the birth of Isaac.

Or, in Hebrews 7:9-10, Levi is seen as having paid tithes in the loins of Abraham (his great, great grandfather), at the time Abraham met Melchizedek in Genesis 14 (Hebrews 7:9-10), again, prior to the birth of Isaac.

Thus, a nation that would not exist until four hundred thirty years had passed is seen in the loins of Abraham at the time he left Ur at the age of seventy.  And matters regarding Israel in this respect can be taken back even farther than the preceding, much farther (e.g., Shem, nine generations preceding Abraham).

(For additional information in the preceding realm, refer to Chapter 6, “The Selfsame Day,” in the author’s We Are Almost There BOOK, in this site.)

Information regarding the nation of Israel begins in Genesis much earlier than Abraham’s birth in Genesis 11, or actually even the account of that stated about Shem in Genesis 9.

Information regarding Israel in Scripture actually begins at that time when the Spirit of God moved upon the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2b and continues from that point throughout the first 2,000 years of human history, preceding the birth of Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel (Genesis 1:2-11:26 [2b]).

References to or events pertaining to the nation, centuries and millennia prior to the existence of the nation, can easily be seen in passages such as Genesis 3:15 (the Seed of the woman [Israel]), or the typology of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1ff), or that of Noah and his family passing through the Flood (Genesis 6:1-8:22), or that stated about Shem in relation to Ham and Japheth. (Genesis 9:25-27).

But how can things pertaining to Israel be seen beginning with the earth’s restoration and continuing into man’s creation in the opening verses of Genesis 1?

Note five verses of Scripture in four New Testament books:

You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (John 4:22)

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [all things have been established, all things hold together]. (Colossians 1:16-17).

[God] has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds [brought into existence (arranged) the ages]. (Hebrews 1:2)

All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

In the first of the preceding references, “salvation” is clearly stated to be “of the Jews.”  This is the nation that brought forth the Savior, who, in the fourth and last of the references, was “slain from the foundation of the world” (which takes one back to the time of Genesis 1:2b ff [cf. 1 Peter 1:19-20]).

(How can one son [Israel] be present at a time prior to that son’s existence?  That has already been addressed after one fashion, but it can also be addressed by asking: How could Christ have been slain at a time prior to His incarnation and the events of Calvary?

Then, who slew Christ at the time which is seen in Revelation 13:8 — “from the foundation of the world” [i.e., from the time of events in Genesis 1:2b ff]?  Only one person could possibly be seen as the slayer; only the other son could have committed this act, as seen in the typology of Cain slaying Abel in Genesis 4.

Christ was the Paschal Lamb, the paschal lamb was given to Israel [Exodus 12:1ff], and only Israel could slay the paschal lamb.  It matters not whether the event occurred at the time of the restoration of the ruined material creation or 4,000 years later at Calvary.  The same two individuals — the same two Sons — have to be involved.  There is simply no other way for the event to occur at any time in history.

Suffice it to say that “with God all things are possible” [Matthew 19:26].)

Then note the other two previously quoted references, the second and third references, which have to do with God’s actions in relation to the entire matter, with nothing occurring apart from His Son.

Any time God’s work is seen in Scripture (e.g., His restorative work occurring over six days’ time in Genesis 1:2b ff), His Son, “slain from the foundation of the world,” has to be seen as well, for nothing has ever occurred or ever will occur apart from the Son.  And this is the One whom the nation of Israel would bring forth and slay, though the Son both existed and was slain prior to this time.

“Salvation” is not only “of the Jews,” but “Nor is there salvation in any other [a reference to the One whom Israel brought forth]” (John 4:22; Acts 4:12) — inseparable references to both of God’s two firstborn Sons
 
To separate God’s two firstborn Sons in biblical studies (Exodus 4:22-23; Hebrews 1:6) — dealing with one apart from the other — is simply not possible.  This is one reason that the same Scriptures are, at times, used of both (e.g., Hosea 11:1; Jonah 1:17 [cf. Matthew 2:15; 12:38-40]); and to see one Son (Christ) apart from the other son (Israel) in the restoration account, beginning in Genesis 1:2b, can only be a completely improper way to view the matter.

Beginning revelation pertaining to Israel has to be seen in Scripture in Genesis 1:2bff, for the work was done completely in connection with and through the One in whom salvation (restoration) lies; and this Son (Christ) cannot be separated from the other son (Israel), in whom salvation (restoration) lies as well.

Then, note Genesis 2 where details pertaining to man’s creation in Genesis 1 are given.  And these details have to do with the bride being removed from the body.

In the historical account, in the type, Adam was put to sleep, his side opened, and God took from his opened side a part of his body (a rib), from which he formed the woman, Eve.  Then God presented the woman back to the man as a helpmate; and, by and through this act, the woman, formed from a part of the man, completed the man.

And the antitype is easy to see.  The second Man, the last Adam, was put to sleep on the Cross, His side was opened, and out of His opened side flowed the two elements that God is presently using to form the bride — blood and water — pointing to the present high priestly work of the Son (a cleansing, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary).

Then, once the bride has been removed from the body (the Spirit’s work during the present dispensation), and the bride subsequently revealed (through decisions and determinations resulting from the judgment seat), the bride, formed from a part of the Son’s body, will be presented back to the Son as a co-heir, a helpmate, helping the Son in His millennial rule; and, by and through this act, in line with both the type and Hebrews 2:10, the bride will complete the Son.

Now, note something about the preceding.  None of this can exist apart from Israel.  According to Romans 11, Gentiles, who do not have a God (Ephesians 2:11-13), have been grafted into the only nation with a God (by and through being “in Christ,” a Jewish Savior [Romans 11:24]), the nation that brought forth the Savior, the only nation that could do so, for “salvation is of the Jews.”

Thus, Israel is not only seen in Genesis chapter one, but in chapter two as well.

Then the nation is seen throughout Genesis 3 in the account of man’s fall, necessitating salvation, with the account of Israel slaying Christ in the typology of Cain slaying Abel in Genesis 4.  And material in chapter four, both before and after the account of Cain slaying Abel, provides a complete history of the nation of Israel, 2,500 years before the nation even existed.

Then, none of the events in Genesis 5-8 could have occurred apart from Israel being seen throughout — Enoch being removed from the earth alive, with Noah and his family then passing through the Flood, foreshadowing the Church being removed prior to Israel passing through the Tribulation.

As previously seen, nothing occurs apart from the Son, which, in reality, as also is previously seen, would have to include both Sons — both Christ and Israel.  And aside from the preceding, the typology surrounding Enoch couldn’t exist apart from Israel, for, apart from Israel, there could be no Church to be removed in the antitype.

And this could be continued through subsequent chapters leading to Abraham’s birth (Genesis 9-11a), but the preceding material should be sufficient to get the point across.  God’s work through One of His firstborn Sons simply cannot occur apart from the other firstborn Son being seen as well.

(Note how this takes care of a quite-popular, erroneous teaching in Christendom today — the teaching that the Church has supplanted Israel in God’s plans and purposes, with God being through with Israel.

If something such as the preceding has occurred, after any fashion, then Christians can forget about everything, including their very salvation.

God’s work through One Son is not seen, it cannot exist, apart from the Other Son.  Apart from a connection with both Sons — a Jewish Savior, brought forth by the nation of Israel, with Christians seen grafted into a Jewish trunk — there can be no salvation, or anything else, aside from eternal ruin and damnation [Romans 11:1-26].

And the truth of the preceding can be seen throughout the first eleven chapters of Genesis, then continuing with the birth of Abraham in Genesis 11:27 and progressively moving throughout the Old Testament

Note just one example — that of Shem, in relation to Ham and Japheth in Genesis 9:25-27.  Shem was the only one of Noah’s three sons possessing a God.  The other two sons, without a God, could only possess a connection with God one way — by going to the son in possession of a God, by going to Shem and dwelling “in the tents of Shem” [the words used in Scripture to denote the only way of partaking of that which was possessed by Shem].

Shem’s lineage in this respect can be traced through Abraham nine generations later, then through Isaac, Jacob, his twelve sons, and the nation of Israel.  All of the other nations on earth can trace their lineage through either Ham, Japheth, or Shem’s lineage; through individuals other than Abraham Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons.

And, exactly the same conditions exist today in relation to the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth — conditions that can never change.  “Israel” is the only nation on the face of the earth with a God, all of the other nations are as described in Ephesians 2:11-13 [without a God (cf. Psalm 96:5)], and the nations are left with only one choice if they would have any connection with or access to God.  They must go to the one nation with a God, to a Jewish Savior who is God.  There is no alternative.

Now, note what would happen if Shem were removed from the picture in Genesis chapter nine, or if the nation of Israel were removed from the picture today [which are two ways of saying the same thing].

That needs to be thought through — thought about long and hard — before giving credence to what so many Christians are stating today about God being through with Israel, seeing the Church replacing Israel in God’s plans and purposes.)

Now, keep the preceding thoughts pertaining to Israel in mind when moving through that part of the book of Revelation dealing with the Tribulation and beyond, extending into the Millennium (Revelation 6:1-20:6).

Scripture specifically refers to the Tribulation as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” Jeremiah 30:7).  And the purpose for the Tribulation, in relation to this time of trouble, is to bring Jacob (Israel) to the place of repentance, in order that the six things listed in Daniel 9:24 can be brought to pass.

Israel occupies center-stage during this time.  And not only does Israel occupy a position of this nature at this time, but also during the time immediately following when Christ returns, along with the ensuing Millennium, and even during all of the ensuing ages beyond.

In the Old Testament, Israel is seen as the wife of Jehovah, who involved herself in harlotry (among other forms of disobedience), whom God divorced, and drove out among the nations to effect repentance.

And, as well, Israel is also seen in the Old Testament as the one who will one day be brought to repentance, with God’s plans and purposes ultimately being worked out through this nation.

This is the complete story of Israel as presented in the Old Testament Scriptures, stated in a very succinct manner.

With that in mind, and with Scripture spending quite a bit of time in the book of Revelation dealing with a harlot woman during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Revelation 12:1-17; 17:1-19:6) — completely in line with God dealing with a harlot woman during the same time in the Old Testament (Leviticus 26:39-42; Isaiah 1:21-2:5; Jeremiah 3:1-4:31; 30:1-31:40; Ezekiel 16:1-63) — the proper identity of the harlot woman in the latter part of the book of Revelation becomes a simple matter to ascertain.

In fact, as evident from the preceding, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, the Scriptures will clearly identify the harlot, leaving no room for anyone to question the harlot’s identity (refer to the three previous chapters in this book — Chapters 11-13).

Revelation 17:1-19:6 provides exactly the same picture as is seen so many times in the Old Testament.  And apart from seeing this section of Scripture dealing with this subject in the book of Revelation — i.e., seeing this section dealing with Israel relative to the nation’s harlotry [which is inseparably connected with God’s central purpose for having Israel pass through this time — to effect Israel’s repentance] — then Israel’s harlotry is not even seen being dealt with in this book.

This would put “the time of Jacob’s trouble” in the book of Revelation completely out of line with the reason for the existence of this time.  In short, as previously seen, this would put the book of Revelation out of line with Old Testament revelation.

In this respect, a correct, proper understanding of Revelation 17:1-19:6 cannot be overemphasized, which is why so much time has been spent in this book dealing with this section of Scripture.

Error, particularly at this point in the book, can lead to error elsewhere.  And the whole thing can end up causing a person to possess erroneous thoughts on other related passages of Scripture, sometimes numerous related passages, literally closing the Scriptures in this whole overall realm to one’s understanding.

Or, on the other hand, a correct handling of this section of Scripture can lead to correctly understanding numerous related passages of Scripture elsewhere, opening the Scriptures in this whole overall realm to one’s understanding.

The Scene in Heaven, The Heavens Opened, Then…

The scene in heaven over the harlot’s destruction — burned with fire — is one of rejoicing.  Only after this has occurred can matters continue to the point seen at the end of the chapter — the destruction of Gentile world power, with God’s purpose for bringing Israel into existence then being realized in all its fullness.

(Note that events in Revelation 17:1-19:6 present a complete picture of the harlot in and of itself, which, time-wise in the text, begins about the middle of the Tribulation [Israel residing in the kingdom of the beast after all seven heads have been crowned] and extends to that time when Israel is cleansed of the nation’s harlotry.

And Israel being cleansed of her harlotry [the harlot woman destroyed by fire, with the virtuous woman arising as a phoenix out of the ashes] will not occur until after Christ returns and the nation is dealt with in a final sense in this respect [probably by Elijah, who, along with Moses, will accompany Christ back to the earth].

For additional information about Moses and Elijah accompanying Christ when He returns, refer to the author’s Coming in His Kingdom BOOK, particularly Chapters 3, 4.

The order of events relative to Israel will be:

1) Israel brought to the place of repentance near the end of the Tribulation [calling upon the God of their fathers for deliverance, though not knowing the identity of their Deliverer at this time].

2) Christ’s return [accompanied by Moses, Elijah, and the armies of heaven (angels)].

3) Subsequent dealings with Israel then brought to pass [which will include Israel’s salvation when they look upon the One whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10-14), Israel’s harlotry becoming a thing of the past, never to exist again (Jeremiah 30:14-17; Revelation 19:3), the restoration of the Jewish people to their land, and the theocracy restored to the house of Israel under a new covenant (Jeremiah 30:18-22; 31:8-9, 31-33)].

Thus, don’t attempt to read Revelation 19:1-21 in a completely chronological fashion, for the material has not been structured this way.  Nor has the whole of that which is seen in Revelation 6:1-19:21 been structured in a chronological fashion, which is where so many go astray in this book — trying to see a chronological sequence of events in places where they don’t and can’t exist.

A proper chronological sequence of the events which are seen occurring in different places in the book is not necessarily seen in and ascertained from the passages themselves.  Rather, this chronology of events can be seen by comparing Scripture with Scripture — seeing a chronology of events as revealed elsewhere, allowing one to then know the proper sequence of the different events in Revelation 6:1ff.)

Revelation chapter nineteen presents two suppers that will occur following the close of the Tribulation (deipnon, the Greek word translated “supper” in both instances, refers to the principle meal of the day, usually observed toward evening).

In the first part of the chapter, immediately following the shouts of hallelujah and praise in heaven at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 19:1-6) — a jubilation, mainly because of Israel’s repentance, the destruction of the harlot, and the Son’s impending reign — the marriage supper of the Lamb is seen (Revelation 19:7-9).

Then, immediately afterwards the heavens are opened, and Christ, as “King of kings and Lord of lords,” comes forth with His armies to tread “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”  And this treading of the winepress on earth allows “the supper of the great God [lit., ‘the great supper of God’]” to occur (Revelation 19:11-21).

Thus, two successive suppers are seen in chapter nineteen — one in heaven preceding Christ’s return, and the other on earth following His return.  And the two suppers are completely different in nature, though both are inseparably connected with the Son’s impending reign over the earth.

(The adjective, “great” [Gk., megas] in Revelation 19:17, describing a supper [describing God in the KJV] is used eighty-two times in the book of Revelation, describing numerous things [e.g., Revelation 1:10; 2:22; 5:2, 12; 6:4, 10, 12-13, 17].  The word megas though is never used to describe God in this book, unless this verse in chapter 19 is the exception.

A couple of Greek manuscripts do have the word megas describing “God” rather than “supper” in this verse [including the Textus Receptus, the main Greek text used for the KJV, accounting for the KJV translation].  However, the vast majority of manuscripts have the word megas describing “supper,” accounting for the translation, “the great supper of God,” in almost any English translation since the 1901 ASV.

The word megas appears one-hundred fourteen times throughout the rest of the New Testament [Matthew through Jude], and the word is used only seven times throughout this part of the New Testament to describe Deity — three times to describe Christ in Messianic passages [Matthew 5:35; Luke 1:33; Titus 2:13], twice to describe Christ as High Priest [Hebrews 4:14; 10:21], once to describe Christ as the great Shepherd of the sheep [Hebrews 13:20], and once by the Jewish people to describe Christ as a great Prophet [Luke 7:16].

The Septuagint [Greek translation of the Old Testament] uses megas mainly for a translation of the Hebrew word gadol.  This word is used some five hundred times in the Old Testament, but, as in the New Testament, the word is used only sparingly to describe Deity [e.g., Exodus 18:11; Deuteronomy 7:21; 10:17; Psalm 47:2; 99:2; 138:5].)

In connection with Christ returning through an opened heaven as “King of kings and Lord of lords” to tread the winepress, an angel is seen standing in the sun (Revelation 19:17).  And this angel cries out with a loud voice to all the birds of the air (land animals as well in the same scene from Ezekiel 39:17) to come, gather together, and partake of “the great supper of God” — a supper that will consist of “the flesh of captains…mighty men…horses…all people, free and slave, both small and great . . . the kings of the earth, and their armies” (Revelation 19:18-19a).

(In both Ezekiel 39:17 and Revelation 19:17, the cry is to “all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven,” not just the carrion birds.  And the same is true of the land animals in Ezekiel 39:17 — “every beast of the field.”

According to the scene presented when the third and fourth seals have been broken in Revelation 6:5-8, depicting conditions during the latter part of the Tribulation, extending into the time of Christ’s return, hunger existing among animal life at that time may be such that even non-carnivorous animals will be found partaking of this “great supper.”)

The angel standing in the sun, uttering this cry, stands within that which is used in a metaphorical sense in the book of Revelation to symbolize the center of governmental power (cf. Revelation 6:12; 8:12; 12:1; 16:8).  And the symbolism used in Revelation 19:17 is introduced by and reflects back on the previous six verses (Revelation 19:11-16), depicting Christ returning through an opened heaven as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

The right to take the scepter and rule the earth at this time will have previously been given to the Son by the Father (Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15; cf. Daniel 4:17, 25; 5:18-21; Matthew 20:23).  And the angel standing in the sun — standing in that which is symbolizing the central governing authority — is seen announcing this fact.

(A similar scene occurring at the time of Christ’s return was depicted earlier in the book, in Revelation 10:1-2 — the angel with the seventh trumpet, whose “face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire,” coming down from heaven and placing “his right foot upon the sea and his left foot on the land.”)

Then, from this point, the call goes out to all the birds of the air to come and feast upon that which is about to remain of Gentile world power when it comes against the King in Jerusalem, seeking to prevent Him from taking the scepter and assuming the throne, seeking to prevent Him from assuming that which will then be rightfully His.

Following this call, both the beast and the false prophet are taken and cast alive into the lake of fire.  Then the Gentile armies of the earth — which will have dared to follow the beast, as he led them against the King in Jerusalem, along with restored Israel in the land — will be trodden under foot as Christ treads the winepress (Revelation 19:19-21; cf. Revelation 14:14-20; 16:13-16).

These armies will consist of such vast numbers in that day — myriads of myriads, referring to large indefinite numbers (Revelation 9:16) — that blood will flow in places to a depth coming up to a horse’s bridle.  And this slaughter will extend over a distance of about one hundred and eighty miles (Revelation 14:20).

This is how the Times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close when Christ returns — centrally because of the outworking of the principles set forth in Genesis 12:1-3 and Israel’s God-appointed position among the nations in Genesis 9:26-27; Exodus 4:22-23.  And the manner in which this will occur results in that which Scripture refers to as “the great supper of God,” with trampled Gentile world powers left on the mountains and plains of Israel for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field to devour.

A Succinct Account, A Previously Detailed Account

It may appear strange to some reading Revelation 19:17-21 that no more space or detail has been given at this point in the book to that which will occur relative to Gentile world power when Christ returns.  After all, this is the grand climax of some 2,600 years of Gentile rule, with Israel about to take the scepter and realize her God-appointed position among the nations, which was made known through Moses almost 3,500 years ago (Genesis 9:26-27; Exodus 4:22-23).

But the whole of the matter at this climactic place in the book of Revelation is stated in a very succinct manner — five verses or a total of eleven verses if one begins with Christ returning through the opened heavens in verse eleven (Revelation 19:11-21).

Previously in this book, the same subject was dealt with several times after somewhat the same succinct manner (ref. Revelation 9:13-21; 14:14-20; 16:12-16).  Just the bare facts are given any place in the book, with very little added detail.  Again, the lack of space and detail given to this climactic end of the Times of the Gentiles in a book which brings Scripture to a close, completing God’s revelation to man, may appear strange to some.  But that should not be the case at all.

The space and detail concerning the matter has already been given throughout numerous passages in the Old Testament, passages covering whole chapters at times.  In fact, this is the direction toward which everything moves throughout all ten chapters of the book of Esther, or all twelve chapters of the book of Daniel, with Israel emerging in the end as the nation holding the scepter once again.

The entire matter is a major subject of Old Testament prophecy, and everything about how the Times of the Gentiles will end has already been covered by prophet after prophet in minute detail.  If all the Scriptures written about this subject in the Old Testament were brought together, one would have a word picture so complete and detailed that it would defy description.

Thus, when arriving at this closing place in the book of Revelation — the book closing the complete canon of Scripture — nothing needs to be given beyond a simple announcement and description, connecting that stated with the Old Testament Scriptures.

The same thing could be said about the 1,000-year reign of Christ in the following chapter.  The entire matter — from events that will occur following the binding of Satan at the beginning of the Millennium to events that will occur preceding the loosing of Satan at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3, 7ff) — is stated in three verses (Revelation 20:4-6).

Why only three verses to cover events during 1,000 years of time that all of creation has been moving toward since the restoration of the earth and man’s creation and fall 6,000 years ago?

The answer is the same as that which is previously seen concerning the lack of detail in this book surrounding the end of the Times of the Gentiles.  All of the events surrounding the coming 1,000-year reign of Christ have already been covered by prophet after prophet in minute detail throughout the Old Testament, beginning in the opening two chapters of Genesis.

And all that needs to be stated in this closing book of Scripture is simply an announcement that the time that the prophets had previously spoken about has now come.

And exactly the same thing could be said concerning a word picture drawn from the Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to Christ’s millennial reign that was previously said about a word picture drawn from the Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to the end of the Times of the Gentiles.  If all the Scriptures in the Old Testament bearing on Christ’s millennial reign were brought together, one would have a word picture so complete and detailed that it would defy description.

Thus, if details are needed about the end of the Times of the Gentiles, as well as Christ’s millennial reign, the Old Testament is the place to go, not the book of Revelation.  By the time John wrote the book of Revelation, the prophets had already spoken and provided all of the details that God wanted man to know.  And, accordingly, the Spirit of God simply moved John to provide, in a very brief manner, comments on that which had already been provided in great detail.

These comments would be comparable to placing a brief epitaph on a tombstone on the one hand (the end of the Times of the Gentiles) and placing a brief caption on a picture of a sunrise on the other hand (the beginning of the Son’s millennial reign).

The Old Testament closes in Malachi 4 after a manner covering the same subject in essentially the same succinct way that it is covered in the book of Revelation.  And this would be for the same reason seen in the book of Revelation.  When one arrives at this chapter in Malachi, the prophets have already spoken, and nothing further needs to be added.

The first verse of this final chapter in Malachi reflects on the end of Gentile world power, and the second verse reflects on Christ’s subsequent reign, with the remaining four verses dealing with both, but ending with the latter.

And that is exactly what is seen in chapters nineteen and twenty of the book of Revelation, preceding the eternal ages beginning in Revelation 21.

Israel and the Nations — Old Testament, New Testament

The picture concerning Israel presented by Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets throughout the Old Testament is that of a nation separated and set apart from all the other nations for purposes having to do with these nations.  And these purposes had to do with the salvation and blessings of those comprising all the other nations, as Israel became God’s witness to these nations and exercised the rights of the firstborn, within a theocracy, in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:5-21; Exodus 4:22-23; 19:5-6; Isaiah 43:1-10).

All of this was in the offing under Moses and Joshua as Israel was led out of Egypt and established in the land within a theocracy.  This is how Israel was to “serve” God as His firstborn son (Exodus 4:23).

And that which occurred over centuries of time (about eight hundred years) — a refusal to be God’s witness (e.g., Jonah in the type, refusing to go to Nineveh), further disobedience, harlotry — resulted in God eventually uprooting His people from their land, driving them out among the nations to effect repentance, and removing the scepter from Israel’s hand and giving it to the Gentiles.

This is one major subject seen throughout the Old Testament.  But there is another major subject seen throughout the Old Testament as well, having to do with Israel’s repentance and restoration, followed by a realization of the nation’s calling as set forth in the beginning.  And this, of course, necessitates the end and destruction of Gentile world power, with the theocracy being restored to Israel and the scepter being returned to Israel.

All of the different facets of this whole overall story — past, present, and future — can be seen different places throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.  Each writer presents different things about different parts of a word picture which can be seen in its completeness, exactly as God desires man to see it, only by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

No one book presents the complete picture.  This is seen only by bringing together that which the Spirit of God moved all of the Old Testament writers to record (cf. 2 Peter 1:20-21).

This is what the Old Testament is about, and there is an emphasis throughout the Old Testament on the latter part of the story — Israel’s restoration, the nation realizing her calling, and the Gentile nations of the earth subsequently being reached by and blessed through Israel.  And this emphasis, of necessity, involves a previous end to the Times of the Gentiles and the destruction of Gentile world power.

This is seen in typology beginning as early as the Flood during Noah’s day in Genesis 6-9, or the destruction of Nimrod’s Babylonian kingdom in Genesis 11, or the battle of the kings during Abraham and Melchizedek’s day in Genesis 14. 

That seen in later Scripture in Psalms 2; 83 would be two other accounts, presented in a different manner; and that which is seen in Isaiah 14 would be another.  Then there’s the book of Daniel, which presents different facets of the matter throughout, continuing through the minor Prophets.

An almost endless list of other similar references could be cited, and many are dealt with in earlier parts of this book.

The Old Testament, in this respect, is a treasure trove of information revealing the mind of One with infinite wisdom and knowledge — the One who created and exercises sovereign control over all things — as He makes known His plans and purposes regarding man, the earth, and ultimately the universe.

It has all lain in the bosom of the Old Testament for millennia, and all who have mined its treasures throughout this time have taken nothing away.

All is still exactly where Moses and the Prophets left it after penning this Word and all is still exactly where any and all who have mined its treasures have left this Word as well.
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Had Ye Believed Moses BOOK
By Arlen L. Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
FOREWORD

When Christ was on earth the first time He referred to or drew from the writings of Moses, along with other Old Testament prophets, on a number of occasions.  Dealing with a blinded and disbelieving Jewish crowd on one occasion, Christ said,

For had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.
But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:46-47).

Then, following His Resurrection, Christ dealt with two disciples on the Emmaus Road after a similar fashion.  Their “eyes were restrained [their vision was held, preventing them from recognizing Him]” (Luke 24:16), and He revealed Himself to them through calling their attention to the Old Testament Scriptures.  He used the Written Word to reveal the Living Word.

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27).

Moses had previously written about all the various facets of the person and work of Christ.  And an Israelite believing that which Moses had previously revealed would have found it quite natural to believe the things surrounding Christ.  The two — that which Moses had revealed, and the things surrounding Christ — were exactly the same.

However, disbelief or unfamiliarity with that which Moses had previously revealed would have resulted in the inverse of the preceding.  Such a person in Israel would have been in no position to properly understand the things surrounding Christ.  That would be to say, a person in Israel not understanding earlier revelation would have been in no position to understand later revelation.

And this was exactly the prevailing situation throughout Israel when Christ came the first time.  The Jewish people, for the most part, were unfamiliar with that which Moses had written.  They held to the letter of Moses’ writings, but they didn’t understand the spirit of his writings at all (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:6-18).  In this respect, they had little understanding of the revelation that God had given to them.  This, in turn, led to their not understanding later revelation as well, resulting in their rejection and crucifixion of the nation’s Messiah, something that Moses had also foretold.

And exactly the same problem that existed in Israel 2,000 years ago exists in Christendom today.  The letter of the Word is generally known, but the spirit of this same Word is, for the most part, unknown.  Resultantly, conditions that prevail in Christendom near the end of the present dispensation are identical to conditions that prevailed in Israel near the end of the preceding dispensation.  Christians possessing an improper understanding of earlier revelation simply cannot possess a proper understanding of later revelation.

The “letter” has to do with the exact wording of the text; and the “spirit” has to do with the way in which God has structured His Word, necessitating the Holy Spirit to open up and reveal that which is spiritual.  The “words of the Lord” are not only pure words, but God has magnified His Word above His name (Psalm 12:6; 138:2); and the Old Testament Scriptures, were structured in a highly typical manner, forming word-pictures that deal with all the various facets of the person and work of Christ (cf. Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).

And any correct study of Christ from the Scriptures must begin with these word-pictures that God has set forth in the Old Testament, beginning with Moses.
Chapter One
You Would Believed Me

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you--Moses, in whom you trust.

For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:39-40, 45-47).

God gave His Word to man in order to reveal His plans and purposes as they surround His Son and pertain to both man and the material creation upon which man finds himself.  Everything that man needs to know and understand, to accomplish the end in view, is in His revealed Word.  There is nothing superfluous, and there is nothing lacking.  The Word is complete and perfect as given.

Man came into possession of the Word of God via supernatural means and, through this supernatural means, order, structure, and design can be seen throughout, from beginning to end.  God is a God of complete and perfect order, necessitating that the Word that He gave possess the same inherent nature.  And, in this respect, each word comprising God’s full revelation to man is not only said to be “pure” and likened to “silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times [referring to perfection within purity],” but God holds this Word in such high esteem that He has magnified it above His name (Psalm 12:6; 138:2).

And His Word, within its completeness, purity, and perfection, is living (Hebrews 4:12).  “Life,” according to Scripture, is imparted through the breath of God (Genesis 2:7; cf. Ezekiel 37:3-10).  And the Word of God is revealed to be “God-breathed,” and, through this means, living (2 Timothy 3:16 [see the NIV where the Greek word, theopneustos, in this verse — translated, “is given by inspiration of God” in the KJV — has been more correctly translated, “God-breathed”]).

Some forty different men, over a period of about 1,500 years, recorded God’s Word “as they were moved [‘borne along’] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).  The “Spirit” (Gk., pneuma, the word for “breath” as well in the Greek text) used different men to pen God’s Word, allowing each man to write within the scope of all his experiences and his own style of writing, but, at the same time, guarding him from error in that which he wrote.  And the end result — whether understood by man or not — was not the word of the different men who penned this book at all, but the very Word of God, else it could not be both living and perfect (Psalm 12:6; Hebrews 4:12).

Because of all this, the Word of God stands completely and uniquely alone among writings in man’s possession.  It is not only of divine origin but is also God-breathed, and thus living.  All other writings are of another origin and lack life.  Resultantly, this Word can be understood only through two inseparable means: 1) through the guidance of the indwelling Spirit Who gave the Word (John 16:13-15), and 2) through allowing that which is living to interpret itself by comparing Scripture with Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

Man is often quick to check the commentaries, to see what another man has to say about a matter in Scripture.  But going to that which man has to say is checking that which is lifeless in an effort to shed light upon that which is living.  Something of this nature is like trying to set the celestial chronometer by the timepiece in Greenwich.  Neither is done, and the inverse of both must always be the case.

It matters not what man may think about the Word or about that which it has to say.  Man’s thoughts are totally immaterial.  The only thing of any moment whatsoever is the Word’s own testimony about itself or about any matter with which it deals, with the Word understood in the light of itself, under the guidance of the indwelling Spirit.

This is why Paul, near the close of his ministry, in his closing words, told Timothy, “Preach the Word…” (2 Timothy 4:2).  Paul exhorted Timothy to proclaim that which God had to say about the matter.  Proclaim that which was living, perfect, and eternal, not that which was lifeless, imperfect, and will one day pass out of existence.

And the admonition is no different today.  It is still, “Preach the Word…”  And those called to minister the Word can either heed the Lord’s instructions (resulting in their own well-being and the well-being of those to whom they minister) or they can disregard the Lord’s instructions (which will be to their own peril and the peril of those to whom they minister).

Moses and the Prophets

Scripture begins with that which the Spirit of God moved Moses to pen.  The Spirit moved Moses to lay the groundwork, to set forth the basics, at the beginning of His revelation.  And He then moved subsequent writers to build upon this previously laid groundwork, the previously laid basics, at later points in time.

Christ made it very clear in John 5:45-47 that Moses, 1,500 years prior to that time, had written about Him, about His person and work.  And a short time later — following His death, burial, and resurrection — when opening the Scriptures to two disciples on the Emmaus road, Christ further dealt with and expanded the matter to include the remainder of the Old Testament as well.

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.  (Luke 24:25-27)

Not only had “Moses” written about Christ, but so had “all the prophets.”  And a reference of this nature — to both “Moses and all the prophets” — would be all-inclusive.  It would include the whole of the Old Testament, beginning with Moses.

(The all-inclusiveness of this statement can be seen in Luke’s earlier reference to “the law [the five books of Moses] and the prophets [all the prophets]” [Luke 16:16; cf. Luke 16:29, 31].  This is simply an expression used in Scripture to refer to all of the Old Testament Scriptures, beginning with Moses.)

The clear statement is made that Christ “expounded to them [these two disciples] in all the Scriptures [all of the Old Testament Scriptures] the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27b).  Attention was first called to the opening five books (Moses), then to all the others (the Prophets); and Christ, with all this referenced material in the possession of the Jewish people — material which, in its entirety, spoke of the various facets of the person and work of Christ — began to draw from this material, expounding to these two disciples the things concerning Himself.

These things had been there all the time, they had been in the possession of the Jewish people for centuries; and the Jewish people, as these two disciples, had missed them.  The entire Old Testament — in their possession, and supposedly expounded by their religious leaders — from beginning to end, was about the One Whom they had rejected and crucified.  The same Old Testament Scriptures in their possession had even foretold these events, and the Jewish people had not understood their own Scriptures.

The Old Testament is simply one continuous revelation concerning all the various facets of the person and work of Christ.  The Christ of the New Testament is the Christ of the Old Testament.  He is seen in the Old Testament first, for Moses and all the Prophets wrote about the One Who appeared to Israel and was rejected by the nation centuries before the New Testament writers were even born.  And everything about the person and work of Christ was set forth in the Old Testament before He ever appeared to Israel the first time.  In this respect, nothing is seen in the New that does not have its roots someplace in the Old.

Moses was chosen to write first, and it was through him that numerous facets of the complete story first began to be revealed.  Then, the Prophets, writing later, simply provided necessary additional detail for that which had first begun to be revealed in the five books of Moses.

And, whether in Moses or the Prophets, this revelation has to do not only with Christ’s first advent but with His second as well.  In fact, there is far, far more material throughout the whole of the Old Testament, beginning with Moses, which relates to Christ’s second advent than there is that relates to His first advent.

Thus, if an individual desires to study about the person and work of Christ after the order in which this revelation was given, he must begin where God began when giving His Word to man.  He must begin with Moses, not with the gospels or the epistles.  The person of the latter is first seen in the former.  And there is nothing in the latter that hasn’t already been laid out, after some fashion, in the former.

The Old Testament, beginning with Moses, is filled with word-pictures depicting Christ, from His rejection to His acceptance, from His sufferings to His glory, from His humiliation to His exaltation.  And the Old Testament also bears witness to the fact that the very same scenes that witnessed His rejection, sufferings, and humiliation will one day witness His acceptance, glory, and exaltation.

Kings in that day will “shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider” (Isaiah 52:13-15; cf. Psalm 2:1ff).  And the Jewish people in that day will go forth proclaiming the message of the One Who, in past time, was “wounded” for their transgressions and “bruised” for their iniquities, but, at that time, will sit enthroned on God’s “holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6; Isaiah 53:1ff).  No one part of the Old Testament presents a complete picture of Christ, only a part of the picture.  And each part presents something different (though within these individual parts there is usually some repetition of events from previous parts, undoubtedly to show exactly where a particular part of the picture being presented fits within the overall framework).  

But, though no one part presents the complete picture, the whole of that revealed in the Old Testament, when brought together, does present the complete picture — the only picture of Christ in existence and the one picture that God would have man fix his eyes upon.

Thus, the Christ of the New has been presented first in the Old, and the whole of His person and work has been laid out first in the Old for all to see.  Accordingly, the instructed student doesn’t begin in the New, but in the Old.  And he doesn’t begin just anyplace in the Old.  Rather, he begins exactly where God began when giving this Word and where Christ began when expounding this Word — with Moses, progressing from there to the Prophets.

You Search the Scriptures

The form of the expression, “search the Scriptures” (John 5:39a KJV), in the Greek text can be understood as either a command or a statement of fact.  That is, it can be understood as it is translated in the KJV (a command), or it can be understood as simply a statement of something occurring — “You search the Scriptures” (ref. NASB).  In cases of this nature, the context must always determine which understanding of the expression is correct.

And that is simple enough to ascertain from the contextual usage in this passage.  The context plainly shows that a statement is in view, not a command.  Christ, rather than commanding the Jewish people to do something, instead called attention to that which they were already doing, though going about it in a completely incorrect manner.  They were already searching the Scriptures, but they were failing to see, from these Scriptures, the One of Whom their own Scriptures spoke — the very One standing in their midst, the One of Whom Moses and the Prophets spoke.

And it is evident that these Jews were not simply searching their Scriptures after a cursory fashion.  This is not the picture at all.  Rather, they were searching these Scriptures as a hunter might stalk game.  But, as a hunter could go about his task in a completely wrong fashion, and end up with no quarry, so could a person in his search of the Scriptures.  And this is exactly what the Jews of Jesus’ day were doing.

(The word translated “search [Gk., ereunao],” is used five other times in the New Testament, and each of these times, the word has to do with a thorough search [cf. John 7:52; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Peter 1:11; Revelation 2:23].)

The Jews of Jesus’ day were seeing the letter of Scripture, but they were not going beyond the letter and allowing the Scriptures to be opened to their understanding.  They were not going beyond the letter to the spirit of Scripture.  When Moses was read, there was a “veil…upon their heart,” something that remains even to this present day.  But this veil could then and can today be “done away in Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:13-16).

Not seeing beyond the letter, they were not seeing that of which the letter spoke.  “The letter” spoke of a person.  It spoke of Christ, though He is seen only in “the spirit” of Scripture (2 Corinthians 3:6, 17).  And the Jews of Jesus’ day, reading and studying the letter of Scripture, but not going beyond this, were failing to see the One of Whom Moses and all the Prophets spoke.

They had the written Word (which was living) in their possession, which told about the Living Word dwelling in their midst.  But, though both had come down from heaven, they were failing to see the latter in the former.  They were seeing the letter of Scripture, but no further.

They were failing to see a spiritual discernment within the letter.  And, as a hunter might search and search but (through a wrong fashion) still fail to find the quarry, these Jews were searching and searching but (through a wrong fashion) still failing to see that of which the Scriptures spoke.

This was something that the Jews were doing at Christ’s first coming, when the kingdom of the heavens was being offered to Israel.  And dire consequences followed.  The kingdom of the heavens was taken from the Jewish people, with a view to a new entity (the Church) being called into existence to be the recipient of this offer.

But, with the subsequent offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Christians, things in Christendom throughout the present dispensation have followed the same course that they did in Israel throughout the past dispensation.

In relation to the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens, near the end of the past dispensation, Israel’s religious leaders (mainly the fundamental Pharisees) misled the people; and the people blindly followed their leadership.

And exactly the same thing is happening in Christendom surrounding this same message near the end of the present dispensation.  The religious leaders (mainly, relative to this message, those in fundamental circles) are misleading the people; and the people are blindly following their leadership.

What will be the end result?  It was all foretold in the history of Israel at Christ’s first coming.  That which befell Israel, because of their blindness in this respect, will befall Christians, for their blindness in this same respect (2 Corinthians 3:14-4:6; cf. Romans 11:17-21).

1)  They Testify of Me

The Old Testament Scriptures testify of Christ; and, New Testament revelation — which deals with Christ throughout — cannot be properly understood apart from comparing the two Testaments.  The gospel accounts in the New Testament have to do with an unveiling of events previously made known through Moses and the Prophets.  And it is the same with all the other portions of the New Testament as well — from the book of Acts through the book of Revelation.  This is simply the way God has structured His Word, and the checks and balances must be run accordingly if one would properly understand His Word.

How though do Moses and the Prophets testify of Christ in that which they wrote, for their writings deal with numerous events and/or numerous individuals and their experiences?

The answer is evident, for Scripture deals with this issue many places.  And these places can be found in the gospel accounts during Christ’s earthly ministry in the book of Acts following His ascension, in the epistles, and in the book of Revelation, which closes the canon of Scripture.  The New Testament is replete with instances of how the Old Testament has been structured.  It would have to be, for it draws from the Old Testament in its entirety.

First, the kingdom offered to Israel — the kingdom of the heavens — was not something new.  This kingdom was first introduced in the Old Testament (cf. Genesis 14:18-22; 22:17-18; Daniel 4:17-26; 7:18, 22, 25, 27; 10:13-21), and numerous Jews during this past dispensation aspired to a higher calling, a heavenly calling (Hebrews 11:8-16, 32-40; cf. Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 13:28-29).

Then, the one initially offering the kingdom to Israel wasn’t unknown.  Isaiah had written about John the Baptist over seven hundred years prior to the time he appeared to Israel as the forerunner of Christ (Matthew 3:3; cf. Isaiah 40:3).  And this same prophecy will have a future fulfillment in the person of Elijah, when he appears as the forerunner of Christ at His second coming (Matthew 11:12-14; cf. Malachi 4:5-6).

Then, after John had been imprisoned, Christ continued with the same message.  And since all the Old Testament Scriptures have to do with His person and work, we can only expect parts of the Old Testament to deal with Christ’s appearance to Israel at this time.  And that is exactly what we find when going back to these Scriptures.

The experiences of Joseph, for example, depict numerous things about the person and work of Christ.  They must, for they are part of the revelation that Christ referred to in Luke 24:27.  And the same can be said for the experiences of Moses, David, and the multitudes of others throughout the Old Testament.

But how is Christ seen in the experiences of these individuals?  He is seen in their experiences exactly the same way he is seen in the experiences of Jonah in Matthew 12:38-40, or in that which Moses did with the brazen serpent in John 3:14.  That which is revealed in the Old Testament (individuals and their experiences [e.g., Adam, Abel], events [e.g., that were revealed in Genesis 1:1-2:3], objects [e.g., the tabernacle, the brazen serpent]) forms types, and these types all reflect on some aspect of the person and work of Christ.

(The typical aspect of Scripture, to this extent, is easy to establish.  A typical structure of this nature is not only specifically stated to exist but it is self-evident in Scripture as well.

First, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 specifically states that the experiences of the Israelites under Moses happened as types [the word in the Greek text in both verses — translated, “examples,” “ensamples” — is tupos, from which we derive our English word, “type”].  This covers that portion of Scripture from Exodus 12 through Deuteronomy.  Then, going to Christ’s statement in Luke 24:27, the remainder of Scripture can easily be seen to fall within this same category.  It would have to, for the remainder of Scripture is simply a building on that previously set forth by Moses.

And, aside from the preceding, this typical aspect of Scripture is self-evident.  As one reads Scripture, this typical aspect surfaces numerous times in the New Testament through the manner in which the writers call attention to or allude to different people and things in the Old Testament.  It is something evident at almost every turn as one moves through both Testaments, comparing Scripture with Scripture.)

But back to the thought of Christ at His first coming being depicted through the experiences of individuals in the Old Testament.  That can be seen, for example, through the experiences of Joseph when he went to His brethren the first time (Genesis 37), or through the experiences of Moses when he went to his brethren the first time (Exodus 2), or through the experiences of David in association with his brethren (1 Samuel 16 ff).  And each of these accounts, though presenting one part of the same picture of Christ, adds to the picture by presenting things peculiar to each chapter.

Each of these individuals was rejected, as Christ was rejected.  And other types, along with that of Joseph, depict that which immediately followed — His death, burial, and resurrection (e.g., the experiences of Abel in Genesis 4, the experiences of Isaac in Genesis 22, or the experiences of Jonah in Jonah 1; 2).

Then, these same types, among others, continue with material concerning the person and work of Christ following His ascension.  Joseph, between the time of his rejection and acceptance by his brethren, took a Gentile bride (Genesis 41:45; 45:1ff); Moses is seen doing the same thing (Exodus 2:21; 4:20, 29-31); and David, between the time of his rejection and the time he took the kingdom, gathered faithful men who would rule with him (1 Samuel 22:1-2; 2 Samuel 2:4; 5:3-5).

And all the preceding, of course, typifies certain aspects about the person and work of Christ during both the present and coming dispensations.  This is something extensively dealt with in the New Testament, referring back to and drawing from the Old Testament.

Christ’s present high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is patterned after that of Aaron, as he ministered in the earthly sanctuary.  Christ, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat (as Aaron, on the basis of shed blood on the mercy seat), is presently providing a cleansing for the kingdom of priests (for whom He previously died) which He is about to bring forth.

Christ alluded to His present ministry in this respect when He girded Himself, took a basin of water, and began to wash the disciples’ feet shortly before His crucifixion (John 13:8-10); and Christ’s present ministry is dealt with extensively by John in his first epistle (John 1:6ff) and by the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 7-10 [7b]; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:26-27).

And all the preceding (along with numerous other things about the person and work of Christ) cannot be properly understood apart from an understanding of various things revealed in the typology of the tabernacle.  It is here that a cleansing of the priests is seen in the Old Testament.  And though this cleansing is shown by repeated washings with water, it points to blood shed at the brazen altar on the Day of Atonement and sprinkled on and before the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies (Leviticus 16).

Then another aspect of the previous type is seen in the experiences of the Israelites under Moses (and later Joshua) during a past dispensation, foreshadowing the experiences of Christians under Christ during the present dispensation (following the death of the firstborn in both type and antitype).  A kingdom of priests, residing in another land (Exodus 19:6), was to result from the Israelites being led toward an earthly land in the type; and a kingdom of priests, residing in another land (Revelation 5:10), is to result from Christians being led toward a heavenly land in the antitype.  And a cleansing for sin during the journey, through the work of a High Priest, on the basis of shed blood, is seen in both type and antitype.

The book of Hebrews deals extensively with this complete overall type throughout parts of the first ten chapters.  The first four of the five major warnings deal with this matter (Hebrews 2-10), with over three chapters relating various matters surrounding Christ’s present high priestly ministry (Hebrews 7-10 [7b]).  And these chapters, leading into the warning concerning willful sin (fourth warning [Hebrews 10:26ff]), have to do with the importance of Christ’s present ministry and the importance of Christians availing themselves of Christ’s present work on their behalf.  It has to do with the importance and necessity of Christians presently availing themselves of provided cleansing from defilement.

Thus, the first four of the five major warnings in Hebrews draws from one central type, extending from Exodus 12 through Joshua.  And this overall type, made up of innumerable individual types, is the most exhaustive of all the Old Testament types dealing with the present race of the faith in which Christians find themselves engaged (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:11).

(Note the place which Melchizedek, as opposed to Aaron, occupies in the book of Hebrews [Hebrews 5-7 {5b, 7a}].  Melchizedek comes into view only in connection with events concluding the overall type.  Melchizedek, in the Old Testament [Genesis 14:18-19;  Psalm 110:1-4], typifies Christ in His Messianic priesthood — that day when He will be the great King-Priest in Jerusalem, as Melchizedek was a king-priest in Jerusalem.

And that is not only made plain from Old Testament typology but from the book of Hebrews itself.  Aside from the fact that the mention of Melchizedek in Hebrews must be in complete accord with the way in which he is set forth in the Old Testament [Messianic], the writer of Hebrews tells the reader that it is Messianic.

Note how Melchizedek is introduced in this book:  “You are a priest forever [lit., ‘with respect to the age’] after the order of Melchizedek” [Hebrews 5:6b, quoted from Psalm 110:4].  That can’t possibly refer to the present age, for, not only is this quoted from a Messianic passage, but this present age covers the whole of Man’s Day — extending from the restoration of the earth and man’s creation in the first chapter of Genesis [Genesis 1] to the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.  “With respect to the age” can pertain to the coming age alone, the Messianic Era.)

And, closing out thoughts surrounding the typical aspect of Scripture and seeing Christ after this fashion within the Old Testament, note Scripture as a whole.  That introduced in Genesis 2:1-3 (a Sabbath rest, following six days of work), is seen realized in Revelation 20:1-6 (earth’s 1,000-year Sabbath), following six subsequent days of work (6,000 years of work).  And an allusion to this present time of work, followed by a future time of rest, is seen numerous other places in Scripture.  But such a teaching, though seen numerous other places, never stands alone.  It always rests upon that revealed in the opening two chapters of Genesis.

The Sabbath, for example, was given to Israel as a “sign” (Exodus 31:13-17).  It was a sign specifically stated to be connected with that which God had done in the opening two chapters of Genesis (Exodus 20:8-11; 31:17).  As God had worked six days to restore a ruined creation in Genesis 1:2b-25, so would He work six more days to restore a subsequent ruined creation.  And as God rested the seventh day in the Genesis account (Genesis 2:1-3), so would He rest the seventh day in the subsequent restoration.  The latter would be patterned after the former, and the Sabbath was given to Israel to keep this thought ever before the nation (cf. Matthew 16:28-17:5; Hebrews 4:4-9; 2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-8).

And the book of Revelation itself cannot be properly understood apart from an understanding of particularly two books in the Old Testament — Ruth and Esther.  The former book deals with the Christian side of the matter and the latter with the Jewish side — both extensively dealt with in the book of Revelation.  Both books cover the same subject matter dealt with in the book of Revelation, both together cover the matter in a complete manner, and both provide information necessary to properly understand the book of Revelation.

No part of the New Testament can be properly understood apart from going back to the Old Testament and viewing the wealth of information concerning Christ that God has interwoven within all the various types.  The whole of Scripture is about Him, from beginning to end.  He is seen on every page, at every turn; and this is something that must be recognized.

2)  You Will Not Come to Me

When Christ appeared to Israel the first time, the Jews were going to their Scriptures, searching these Scriptures, but not seeing beyond the letter of Scripture.  They were not seeing the One of Whom the letter spoke, the spirit of Scripture — Christ, revealed numerous ways throughout the intricate design and structure of Scripture.

Christ “is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17), seen and revealed in the spiritual aspect of the letter.  Thus, it is easy to understand why “the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).  “The letter” stops short of revealing Christ.  “The letter” stops short of allowing a person to see the One Who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a).

And this is exactly what the Jewish people at Christ’s first coming were doing.  They were searching the Scriptures, but they were not seeing the very One of Whom these Scriptures, in their entirety, spoke.  And, as a result, they were not coming to the Son that they might have life, apart from which no man can come to the Father (John 14:6b).
Chapter Two
He Wrote of Me

Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust.

For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?  (John 5:45-47).

At the time of Christ’s first coming, the religious leaders in Israel belonged mainly to one of three different sects — the Pharisees, the Sadducees, or the Herodians.  There were other religious sects in Israel at this time, but these were the only ones that held any real prominence and are the only ones mentioned in the gospel accounts.

The Pharisees came from the ranks of the scribes (Gk., grammateus, a form of the word from which our English word “grammar” is derived).  The scribes were professional students of the Old Testament and were themselves Pharisees, though a distinct class of Pharisees.  They were the scholars, the ones versed in the Scriptures, the interpreters of Scripture.  Then, the larger body of Pharisees (which would include the scribes) took these teachings from the Scriptures and translated them into public life for the nation.

The Pharisees formed, by far, the largest religious sect in Israel.  And, because of their numbers, they held undisputed sway over the masses.  They controlled, in an undisputed manner, the religious life of the nation.  They were influential in this respect to the point that even the Sadducees (the second largest religious sect in Israel), in official acts, invariably had to acquiesce to their wishes or demands in order to retain harmony with the people.

Thus, because of their position in Israel, it was almost always the Pharisees (with their scribes singled out and mentioned with them numerous times) who were seen following Christ, listening to Him, observing His actions, and commenting (almost always in a negative manner) on that which was being said and done.  The Pharisees formed the central religious body in Israel to whom the Jewish people looked for direction in matters of this nature.

The Sadducees are mentioned a few times in this connection, with the Herodians being mentioned even less.  The Sadducees though, seeking to counter Christ, are seen several times joining themselves with the Pharisees, undoubtedly because of the influential position held by the Pharisees (cf. Matthew 3:7; 16:1ff); and this is the only way the Herodians are seen in their attempts to counter Christ the three times that they are mentioned in the gospel accounts (cf. Matthew 22:16; Mark 3:6; 12:13).

It was the fundamental scholars, the interpreters and teachers of Scripture (the Pharisees, with their scribes), who took that which Moses and the Prophets had written and, through this means, controlled the religious life of the nation.  They sat “in Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:1-2).  And, occupying this position, they interpreted and taught the Scriptures in an undisputed manner.

But the Pharisees, holding to the very letter of that which Scripture had to say, were failing to see anything beyond the letter of Scripture.  They were taking that which, in its entirety, was about Christ and were failing to see Christ at all.  The very interpreters and teachers of Scripture, in reality, couldn’t understand the things that they were interpreting and teaching.

And, not understanding their own Scriptures, they had no means to understand the One of Whom these Scriptures spoke.  They had no base to work from in order to properly assess the Messenger, His message, or the miraculous signs being manifested.

But, even though they lacked the means to place Christ’s ministry and teaching within the context of the Scriptures that they interpreted and taught, they still knew Christ’s identity.

Nicodemus, a teacher among the Pharisees, had come to Jesus by night and confessed, “Rabbi, we know [the Pharisees] that You art a teacher come from God: for no one can do these signs that you do unless God be with him” (John 3:1-2, 10).

And in the parable of the householder (landowner) and his vineyard (Matthew 21:33ff), Christ made it very clear that the Pharisees knew exactly Who He was.  He was “the Heir” of the vineyard; and because they knew this, they rose up against Him and eventually killed Him (Matthew 21:38-39, 45).

The Pharisees knew Who they were following about the country, seeking to counter at every turn.  False prophets had come and gone through centuries of time, and they had commanded little attention from Israel’s religious leaders.  Israel’s religious leaders had known that these individuals were false.  But with Christ, the matter was entirely different.  Christ did command the attention of Israel’s religious leaders, for they knew that He wasn’t one of the numerous false prophets who had appeared.  They knew that He was “a teacher come from God,” “the Heir” of the vineyard.

This though was not something gleaned from their knowledge of the Scriptures but from the supernatural signs being manifested.  These signs were to have been a means of opening their eyes to the truth concerning Christ, which could then have been seen within the Scriptures in their possession (cf. Luke 24:30-31; Matthew 13:14-15).

But, as was later the case with the religious leaders at the time of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, they wanted nothing to do with seeing Christ within that which they interpreted and taught.  They closed their eyes to the very truth that they should have understood and should have been teaching.  They, as the religious leaders at the time of Stephen’s death, wanted only to quiet the One referencing such things.  And, as a result, because of their sway over the masses, the Jewish people were being completely misled.

The scribes and Pharisees were shutting up the kingdom of the heavens in the people’s presence.  The scribes and Pharisees weren’t going to enter the kingdom, and they were doing everything within their power to prevent any of the people under their influence and sway from entering the kingdom as well (Matthew 23:13).

Moses or Christ

Christ’s reference in John 5:39ff to the Jewish people searching their own Scriptures and failing to understand these Scriptures immediately follows the account of His healing a man on the Sabbath day and, at the same time, commanding the man to arise, take up his bed, and walk (John 5:8-9).  Because Christ had done this, the Jewish people looked upon it as a violation of the law of the Sabbath, and they sought to slay Him (John 5:16).  Then, with Christ commenting on the matter and equating Himself with God in the process, they sought even the more to slay Him (John 5:17-18).

1)  Signs

Christ, through His actions surrounding a man being healed on the Sabbath in John 5, had performed a sign (the third of seven signs in John’s gospel), which pointed to something beyond the person being healed.  This sign — the healing of an individual — pointed to the healing of the nation.  It pointed to that which the entire nation could experience, if the nation would repent, in accord with the message being proclaimed (cf. Matthew 3:2; 4:17, 23-25; 10:5-8).

(The seven signs recorded in John’s gospel begin with the marriage in Canaan of Galilee in John 2 and end with the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11.  These signs were directed to the Jewish people [1 Corinthians 1:22] — the same people to whom the offer of the kingdom of the heavens was being extended — and were given during Christ’s earthly ministry to call Israel’s attention to things surrounding the message being proclaimed, which should have resulted in belief [John 20:31].

The Greek word for “sign [semeion]” appears seventeen times in John’s gospel.  However, in thirteen of these seventeen times, the word has been translated “miracle” [KJV], which, for the purposes intended by the use of the word semeion, is misleading.  The sign was a miraculous work; but the word semeion means “sign,” not “miracle,” and should have been so translated throughout this gospel.)

Spiritually, Israel was sick — a fact that the signs being performed directly addressed.  And Israel had been sick for centuries, which matter was dealt with extensively in the Old Testament.  Isaiah, over seven hundred years before Christ appeared to Israel, described Israel’s condition at the beginning of his prophecy possibly as well as any of the prophets:

Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward.

Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints.

From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment. (Isaiah 1:4-6).

Isaiah’s prophecy, part of the Scriptures in Israel’s possession at the time this sign was manifested, described Israel’s condition during Isaiah’s day, looking toward the future captivities (the Assyrian [722 B.C.] and the Babylonian [605 B.C.]).  But this condition (resulting from Israel’s disobedience [Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28]), for lack of Israel’s repentance, remained unchanged during the centuries that followed; and this was the condition in which the nation found itself when Messiah appeared.

And when Israel’s Messiah appeared, He, through a manifestation of signs, showed the Jewish people what they could have, if . . . .  The nation could experience the same healing (though spiritual) that individuals were experiencing, if . . . .

The entire nation, if the nation would repent, could experience supernatural healing and provision within the proffered kingdom.  And the Jewish people, not understanding their own Scriptures, failed to grasp and understand both their true condition (sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head”) and the significance of the manifested signs in connection with the message concerning the kingdom (proffered healing and provision within the kingdom).

Beyond that, this healing of an individual occurred on the Sabbath day, pointing within the sign to that future day when Israel would be healed.  And had the Jewish people understood the significance of their own Sabbath (given by Moses, as a sign [Exodus 31:12-17]) and the significance of a man being healed on the Sabbath day (a sign in connection with the sign of the Sabbath), they would have been able to understand exactly what was occurring.  Instead, they saw only that which they wanted to see — a person breaking the law of the Sabbath.  And they sought to slay Him for this act.

A sign dealing with this same thing is also seen in John 9 (the sixth sign in John’s gospel), where reference is again made to Moses.  In this chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus is again seen healing a man on the Sabbath day — pointing again to that which the entire nation could experience, if . . . . (John 9:6-14).

This time though there was an open division among those individuals observing the sign, and this division was within the ranks of the Pharisees themselves.  Some of the Pharisees questioned the sign on the basis that it had been done on the Sabbath; but others couldn’t overlook the miraculous work itself, openly questioning how this man, if a sinner, could do such things (John 9:16).

(Note, according to Nicodemus’ earlier statement [John 3:1-2], all of these Pharisees were probably aware of that which only part of them confessed — the true identity of Christ.  And those who didn’t want to acknowledge the validity of that which had been done sought to counter the sign through viewing it as a violation of the Sabbath, as had been done by those observing the earlier sign performed on the Sabbath, recorded in John 5.)

At this point though, rather than attack Christ (as He had been attacked by those observing the sign in John 5), they attacked the one who had been healed — first through the individual himself (John 9:10-17), then through his parents (John 9:18-23), and then through the individual again (John 9:24-33).

Seeking to discredit that which had been done through both the individual and his parents proved unsuccessful.  But, still knowing that a miraculous sign had been performed by “the heir” of the vineyard, the Pharisees attempted the only thing left.  They attempted to do away with the sign itself by taking the man who had been healed and casting him out (John 9:34).

2)  We Are… We Know…

In the light of that which the Pharisees knew and that which had been done, this act on their part was amazing enough in itself (cf. John 11:43-47, 53; 12:10); but probably the most amazing thing that the Pharisees did in all of their actions surrounding the healing of this man on the Sabbath was their referring to Moses.

Christ was the One Who had referred to Moses in the previous healing on the Sabbath (John 5:45-47).  And, in so doing, He called attention to that which was true.  Here though the Pharisees were the ones who referred to Moses (John 9:28-29).  And, in so doing, they could only call attention to that which was false:

Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples.

We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” (John 9:28-29)

These Pharisees saw no connection between the writings of Moses and the actions of Christ.  Thus, they, in reality, had no understanding of that which Moses had written.  And not understanding the writings of Moses, how could they understand the message and works of Christ?  They couldn’t.  Such would have been impossible.

The picture in Israel at Christ’s first coming was that of fundamental religious leaders who had no understanding of that which they interpreted and taught — their own Scriptures.  And, through this means, they were blindly leading a nation which was sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head.”

And, combined with this, these religious leaders knew who Christ was, though not from their Scriptures.  They knew, from the supernatural signs being manifested, that He was “the heir” of the vineyard.

But these religious leaders, controlling this inheritance themselves, had no desire to relinquish their position.  They were the ones occupying “Moses’ seat” in the vineyard, and they weren’t about to allow another to usurp the position that they held.  Thus, they did everything within their power to do away with “the heir.”  They did everything within their power to “seize [keep in their possession] his inheritance” (Matthew 21:38).

The literal rendering of Matthew 21:38, showing the spiritual condition of Israel’s religious leaders, along with the true reason for their actions, would be thus:

But when the husbandmen [the ones placed in charge of the vineyard, those occupying Moses’ seat, the scribes and Pharisees] saw the Son, they said among themselves, “This is the Heir: come, let us kill Him, and let us retain possession of His inheritance.”

Thus, with Israel’s central religious leadership in a spiritual condition of this nature and controlling the religious life of the nation, which was itself in a similar spiritual condition, is it any wonder that the Jewish people acted as they did?  Is it any wonder that they rejected their King and the proffered kingdom, chose an insurrectionist and murderer over Christ (Barabbas), cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion, and, concluded the whole matter by pledging regal allegiance to a pagan Gentile king (Caesar)?

Woe To You

The record of events occurring in Israel at Christ’s first coming is an account of that which can and did happen when the leadership not only didn’t believe Moses but sought, above everything else, their own personal gain and well-being.  As a result, they took an entire nation down with them.  And, in so doing, they placed an entire nation under the condemnation of blood, extending all the way back to “righteous Abel” (Matthew 23:34-35; 27:25).

And the end result of their actions was twofold:  1) a nation continuing in its unclean state, though now something new was to be added — contact with a dead body, that of their Messiah — producing an even further uncleanness, one from which they could not be cleansed for two days, 2,000 years (Numbers 19:11-12, 19).  And 2) the house of Israel (the nation) was to be left desolate, awaiting the one (Antichrist) who would bring about an even further desolation (Matthew 23:37-39; cf. Daniel 9:26-27; John 5:43).

Thus, the actions of the scribes and Pharisees at Christ’s first coming had far-reaching negative ramifications, ramifications that would govern the course of Israeli history for the succeeding two millennia and end with the darkest hour in all of Jewish history.  Israel would be scattered among the nations and would find no rest (Leviticus 26:32-39; Deuteronomy 28:63-67).  The entire two millennia would, itself, be a troublous time for the nation; but this period would be climaxed by a time of unparalleled trouble.

And the whole of this period would be a time of shed blood, but not that seen in the antitype of Exodus 12.  Israel’s appropriation of this blood lies at the end of the time of trouble, not during this time.

During the time of trouble, lasting two millennia, it would be Israeli blood itself that would be shed.  All of the Israeli blood shed from Titus coming against Jerusalem with His Roman legions in 70 A.D. to Hitler’s aspirations for a Jew-free Europe immediately preceding and during World War 2, during the years 1939-1945, can be attributed solely to one thing — that resulting from Israel’s religious leaders misleading an entire nation during the time Christ was on earth the first time.

But the darkest day emanating out of that which occurred almost two millennia ago still lies in the future.  It will occur within the framework of Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:26-27 [26b]; Revelation 6:1-18:24) — the final seven years of the preceding dispensation — when the desolated house is desolated even further.  And this period will result in a time of such unparalleled trouble that, “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:15-22).

The simple fact of the matter is that God does not, He will not, take lightly the actions of religious leaders misleading the people in matters pertaining to His Son and His Son’s coming kingdom.  And it matters not whether reference is made to leadership in Israel during the past dispensation or to leadership in Christendom during the present dispensation.  God’s perfect justice and righteousness surrounding His dealings with His people does not, it cannot, change from one dispensation to the next.

Dire consequences followed in the wake of religious leadership of this nature in the past, consequences that have lasted for an entire dispensation (the present dispensation, during which time the nation of Israel — having been misled by her religious leaders — is out of favor with God and is set aside); and dire consequences of an equally serious nature will follow in the wake of religious leadership of this nature during the present time, consequences that will again last for an entire dispensation (the Messianic Era, during which time numerous Christians — having been misled by their religious leaders — will be out of favor with God and will be set aside).

1)  You Shut Up the Kingdom

The scribes and Pharisees, those to whom the people of Israel looked for leadership in the spiritual life of the nation, completely misled the Jewish people.  And, as a result, these fundamental religious leaders heard words of condemnation from the lips of Christ unlike anything Christ had ever said to anyone at any time within any other religious group in Israel.

An entire chapter has been given over to this matter in Matthew 23.  And, after stating the position that the scribes and Pharisees occupied in Israel — sitting “in Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2) — Christ called attention to that which they were doing, along with their self-exalting ways (Matthew 23:3-12).

He then pronounced a “woe” on the scribes and Pharisees, giving the reason for that “woe” and for seven more that would follow (Matthew 23:13).  Israel’s religious leaders had closed the door to the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to the nation.  They were not about to relinquish their position to “the heir” of the vineyard.

And, resultantly, they had no interest in the proffered kingdom.  They were not going to enter this kingdom, and they, through the course of Christ’s ministry, had done all within their power to prevent anyone else in Israel from entering as well.

Then Christ continued with one “woe” after another, referring to the scribes and Pharisees, among other things, as “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “fools,” those likened to “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness,” “the children of them which killed the prophets,” and a “generation of vipers” (Matthew 23:14ff).

This was Christ’s analysis at His first coming, near the termination of His ministry, of the fundamental religious leadership in Israel.  They held to and taught the very letter of Scripture; but, in the process, they didn’t understand anything beyond the letter and, thus, couldn’t teach the true content of these Scriptures at all.

These were the fundamental religious scholars of that day, the ones learned in the Scriptures.  These were the ones to whom the people looked for spiritual leadership.  These were the ones controlling the religious life of the nation.

These also were the ones who could have, and should have, taken the nation to the mountaintop in its spiritual life.  But, instead of ascending the mountain and taking the nation with them, they had descended into the lowest valley; and, through their control over the spiritual life of the people, they had taken the nation down with them.

And this is not something peculiar to Israel relative to the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens at Christ’s first coming.  Exactly the same thing was prophesied to happen, and is happening, in Christendom relative to the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens immediately preceding Christ’s return (cf. Matthew 13:3-33; Revelation 2; 3).

The leadership in Christendom will have no more to do with the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens today, immediately preceding Christ return, than would the leadership in Israel at the time of Christ’s first coming.  And this isn’t something seen just in the liberal segment of Christendom but in the fundamental segment as well.  This can be seen in all of Christendom, as it was seen among all of Israel’s religious leaders (the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians together) two millennia ago.

This was that which the entirety of Israel’s religious leadership had in common when Christ was on earth the first time, and it is also that which the entirety of the Church’s religious leadership has in common immediately preceding Christ’s return today.

The Pharisees were not condemned for their adherence to the letter of the law, or for their legalism; nor, if it had been the Sadducees, would they have been condemned for their liberalism; nor, if it had been the Herodians, would they have been condemned for their political ambitions within Herod’s kingdom.  Rather, the Pharisees were condemned for closing the door to the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel.  And it would have been the same had it been the Sadducees or the Herodians who had been condemned in this fashion by Christ.

And, bringing all of this down into Christendom, the religious leaders of today who are misleading the people relative to the proffered kingdom of the heavens will be condemned for exactly the same reason Christ condemned the religious leaders in Israel.  Condemnation, after this fashion, will not result from fundamentalism, legalism, liberalism, or political ambitions within the present kingdom.  None of these things even enters into the matter in relation to that which is in view.  Rather, condemnation will result from their having closed the door to the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Christians.

2)  Sons of Gehenna

Christ, at the very first part of His condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees for their having misled the people relative to the proffered kingdom, referred to their making proselytes and to that which they, in reality, had done in the process:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell [Gk., huion Geennes, ‘son of Gehenna’] as yourselves (Matthew 23:15; cf. Matthew 23:33).

“Sonship” in relation to Gehenna rather than “sonship” in relation to the kingdom of the heavens is that which is in view.  “Sonship” implies rulership.  Only “sons” can rule within God’s kingdom (cf. Exodus 4:22-23; Job 1:6; 2:1; Ezekiel 28:14; Matthew 3:17; 4:3, 6, 8; Romans 8:19-23).  That’s the way it has always been, that’s the way it presently exists, and that’s the way it will always continue.

At Christ’s first coming, a kingdom was in the offing; and only “sons” could rule within this kingdom.  But the scribes and Pharisees had “shut up” the proffered kingdom (Matthew 23:13), and now only one thing could remain — an association of “sons” with Gehenna rather than with the kingdom.

The reference concerning the scribes and Pharisees making proselytes would not pertain to a proselyte of the gate (the conversion of a Gentile) but to a proselyte from among the Jewish people to the Pharisaical way of life within the nation.  And the thought behind a proselyte becoming twofold more a son of Gehenna than the scribes and Pharisees themselves lies in the fact that converts of this nature often become more dogmatic than their proselytizers.

The scribes and Pharisees themselves, insofar as sonship and the kingdom that had been offered to Israel were concerned, were themselves sons of Gehenna; but their proselytes were viewed in an even more condemnatory fashion in this respect.  The Pharisees had misled them in relation to the proffered kingdom, as they had done the nation itself; and, apparently because of their dogmatism, proselytes found themselves in an even worse state than that of their Pharisaical proselytizers.

Gehenna was the place of refuse for the city of Jerusalem, located in a valley south of the city.  “Sonship” in relationship to this place graphically pictured exactly where the scribes and Pharisees would lead a proselyte, or where they had led the nation of Israel, relative to the proffered kingdom.  Sonship, which was supposed to have been realized in the kingdom, could now be realized only in relation to Gehenna.

Gehenna, located south of the city, was set on the opposite side of the city from the place God is seen in Scripture.  God is always seen at a point north of the earth or of anything on the earth (Leviticus 1:11; Job 26:7; Psalm 75:6-7).  And, beyond that, Gehenna was a place of refuse in a valley rather than a place associated with God’s glory and a mountain (signifying a kingdom [cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45]).

Thus, the expression, “sons of Gehenna,” could only picture one thing.  It could only describe the state in which those who had been called to occupy positions in the kingdom would find themselves following their refusal.  They, in relation to “sonship” (implying rulership), would find themselves in a placed of refuse, not only removed from the kingdom, the mountain, but in a valley as well.  Gehenna was a place diametrically opposed to that which they could have had, the place to which they had been called (cf. Genesis 19:27, 30).

That’s where the fundamental religious leadership in Israel had led an entire nation, with the more liberal Sadducees at times being seen with them.  And that is the exact same place where the fundamental or liberal leadership in Christendom today can be seen leading the people in a counterpart to that of Israel’s religious leadership at the time of Christ’s first coming.

Any attempt to ignore, to do away with, or to shut up the proclamation of the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens to Christians today by Christendom’s religious leaders will meet with the same dire consequences as it did in Israel.  The end result, insofar as sonship and the kingdom are concerned, can be seen only in a counterpart outside the heavenly Jerusalem to Gehenna outside the earthly Jerusalem — a place of refuse outside the walls of the heavenly Jerusalem, located on the south side of the city (cf. Revelation 22:14-15).

(For a discussion of that which Gehenna points to in relation to the heavenly Jerusalem and Christians, see the author’s Mysteries of the Kingdom BOOK, Chapter 12.)
Chapter Three
What Thing is This?

Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.

And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,

saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!”

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”

And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.

Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

And immediately His fame spread throughout the entire region around Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28).

During Christ’s earthly ministry He spent quite a bit of time ministering in three cities which were in close proximity to one another, near the northern end of the Sea of Galilee — Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Christ performed many miraculous signs in these three cities; and, because of the continued unbelief of those witnessing the signs, resulting in their continued unrepentant state, the inhabitants of these cities were singled out by Christ for a greater condemnation in the day of judgment than were the inhabitants of certain other cities.

Those in these three cities, having witnessed more signs than had been manifested among the people in various other cities, would, in that future day, be held more accountable (Matthew 11:20-24).  More light had been given, and more responsibility would be expected (Luke 12:47-48).

The account in Mark 1:21-27 of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath day occurred in Capernaum.  Though Christ grew up in Nazareth, not too far from Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee, He, during the course of His ministry, associated Himself more with Capernaum than with Nazareth or any of the other surrounding cities.

He, for example, can be seen performing miraculous signs in Capernaum, ministering elsewhere, and then returning to Capernaum (cf. Matthew 4:13; Luke 4:23, 31; John 2:12; 4:46-54; 6:17, 24, 59).  And Christ’s association with this city would be very much in keeping with His condemnation of Capernaum above that of even Chorazin and Bethsaida in Matthew 11:21-23.

Christ pronounced a “woe” upon the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida for their unbelief, stating that if the mighty works which had been done in both of these cities had been done in Tyre and Sidon, “they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:21).

But, for the inhabitants of Capernaum, Christ took the matter a step further.  And He gave the reason why:

And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades [the place of the dead]; for if the mighty works that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (Matthew 11:23).

In keeping with Christ’s statement concerning the prevalence of signs in Capernaum, the number of signs recorded in the gospel accounts that occurred in this city could be counted and compared with the number of signs performed in other cites and locations.  But such would be of little value, for only a select number of Christ’s miraculous works have been recorded by the four gospel writers (cf. John 20:30-31; 21:24-25).

We have no way to ascertain how many miraculous signs were performed in Capernaum or in any other city or place.  We can only see from the record that more signs were apparently performed in Capernaum than in Chorazin, Bethsaida, or in any other city or place; and these signs were of a sufficient number and nature that if they had been performed in Sodom, 2,000 years before that time, Christ indicated that the people of Sodom — unlike the people in Capernaum — would have heeded the message, resulting in the city being spared.

A Sign, on the Sabbath

The sign that Jesus performed in the synagogue in Capernaum, recorded in Mark 1:23-26, occurred on the Sabbath day (Mark 1:21).  Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and one day would experience, which would also occur on the Sabbath, on the seventh millennium.

Because of disobedience, the entire nation was spiritually sick, most of the Jewish people were dispersed among the Gentiles, and the land of Israel itself was not only barren but was under Gentile control as well (cf. Leviticus 26:32ff; Deuteronomy 28:38ff; Isaiah 1:4-7).  And this sickness, along with the condition of the land and the Times of the Gentiles, would continue until the Jewish people turned to the God of their fathers and repented (Leviticus 26:40-42).

1)  God’s Promise

According to biblical prophecy, the Jewish people would turn to the God of their fathers and repent near the end of Man’s Day.  This would occur following the appearance of the Gentile world ruler of the end time — the Antichrist, the Assyrian (arising from within the boundaries of the old Kingdom of Assyria [Daniel 8:9; cf. Isaiah 10:5; 14:25]).  This man would arise and bring an already desolated house (both the people and the land) into an even worse state of desolation, one of such a nature that no parallel exists in history.

This is seen in type during Moses’ day, immediately prior to God sending Moses back to his people a second time.  The people of Israel were in bondage to an Assyrian ruler (Isaiah 52:4) in Egypt (a type of the world in Scripture); and the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was inhabited and controlled by the Gentiles.  And conditions became so bad for the Jewish people under bondage to this Assyrian ruler in Egypt that all hope appeared lost.  It was only then that they turned to and cried out to the God of their fathers for deliverance.

And once the Jewish people had done this, God heard their cry and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God then “acknowledged them” and sent Moses back to deliver them from their bondage and to lead them into the land within the covenant that He had remembered (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-12, 16-17; 4:19-20).

All of this points to that future day when the Israelites will find themselves under bondage to a future Assyrian ruler — Antichrist — and will find themselves in the same dire straits that their ancestors found themselves 3,500 years ago during Moses’ day (Micah 5:5-6).  And, in the nation’s darkest hour, when it appears that all hope is lost, they will do exactly the same thing that their ancestors did.  They will turn to and cry out to the God of their fathers, and exactly the same thing will occur as occurred during Moses’ day.

God will hear their cry and remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God will then “acknowledged them” and send Jesus back to deliver them from their bondage and to lead them into the land within the covenant that He will have remembered.

(The former is the type, and the latter is the antitype; and the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.  The pattern has been set in the type, and this pattern cannot change in the antitype.

And the promise of restoration seen in the type is just as sure as the promise of restoration seen in Leviticus 26:40-42, or any other place in the Old Testament.  Both form a part of the unchangeable Word of God, both deal with the same restoration, and both necessitate the same promised fulfillment.)

Thus, the Israelites possess a God-given promise that no other nation or group of individuals on earth possesses.  This promise involves a desolated house, which includes both a people and a land.  And the fulfillment of this promise is conditioned on one thing.  It is conditioned upon the repentance of the Jewish people.

2)  Solomon’s Prayer, God’s Response

The whole of the matter, in completely keeping with the type in Exodus, is possibly seen best in Solomon’s prayer and in God’s response to this prayer at the time of the dedication of the temple.

Solomon completed work on the temple in the eleventh year of his reign as king over Israel.  And, in the process of dedicating the temple, two things were uppermost in Solomon’s thoughts: 1) God’s regal promises to his father, David, and 2) the welfare of his people, the Jewish people, within the theocracy (1 Kings 6:38; 2 Chronicles 3:2, 6:14-42).

In a lengthy dedicatory prayer, Solomon began and ended his petition with regal requests concerning promises that God had made to David (2 Chronicles 6:14-20, 41-42).  This part of his prayer had to do with God’s promises surrounding the throne of David and the theocracy.  And, between these two points (2 Chronicles 6:21-40); Solomon’s prayer had to do with the welfare of the Jewish people within the theocracy.

Actually, Solomon’s prayer in its entirety, including God’s regal promises, had to do with the welfare of the Jewish people.  The prayer began and ended with references to regal promises made to David, but this part of the prayer involved proper leadership on the people’s behalf, emanating from David’s throne.  Then, in connection with leadership of this nature, Solomon petitioned the Lord on Israel’s behalf that no matter what condition the nation found itself in days ahead that God would remember His covenant and deliver His people.

Thus, Solomon’s prayer involved regality and restoration; and both were intimately linked with one another and had to do with Solomon’s people, the Jewish people.  Then, viewing matters from the framework of the type in Exodus, his prayer was Messianic in nature.  And God answered this prayer after the same fashion in which the petition had been made, in complete accordance with previous revelation given through Moses:

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:12-14).

The “people” in the promise were the Jewish people.  They were the ones who would go astray and be in need of humbling themselves, praying, seeking the Lord’s face, and turning from their wicked ways.  And the “land” was the land of Israel, the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Should Israel go astray (which they did), only when the nation returned unto the Lord — in accordance with Solomon’s prayer and the Lord’s response (both being in complete keeping with revelation previously given through Moses) — would the Lord hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a promise to any Gentile nation; nor is it a promise to the Church.  This verse is a promise to the same nation for which Solomon petitioned the Lord and of which the Lord spoke in the two preceding verses, 2 Chronicles 7:12-13.

Certain applications could be made relative to the Church, for Christendom is in a similar condition to that of Israel.  But the only “land” associated with the Church’s calling is a heavenly land presently occupied by Satan and his angels.  If any application of this verse is to be made to Christians, it would have to involve three things:  1) regality, 2) healing for Christendom, and 3) healing for the heavenly land to which Christians have been called.

And, in reality, an application could be made relative to the land to which Christians have been called.  That heavenly land is presently unclean (Job 15:15), it is inhabited by fallen angels (Daniel 10:13, 20; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; Revelation 12:4, 7-9), and it is in need of healing.

But to take this verse and make the application which is often made — to revival within Christendom, and to the land in which Christians presently dwell (with no thought given to Israel, regality, and the Messianic kingdom) — is completely removed from any sound teaching set forth in the text, along with its context.  It is completely out of keeping with the identity of the individuals addressed and that with which the verse deals.

2 Chronicles 7:14 is addressed to the Jewish people, with regal and Messianic implications, following a healing of both the people and the land.  And if any application is made to Christians, exactly the same implications must apply.

An application of this nature must look ahead to that time when spiritual healing will occur within Christendom, when Satan and his angels will be cast out of the heavens (with the heavens being cleansed and the land being healed), and when Christ will be seated on David’s throne in the earthly Jerusalem and on His Own throne in the heavenly Jerusalem.

3)  Belief of Demons

The healing in Capernaum, occurring on the Sabbath day, was an event wherein both belief and unbelief were exhibited.  The demon that was present exhibited belief, but this was not so with the people who were present.  This demon, which had come from the unclean world above, knew exactly what was happening and wanted no part of it.

He, as the scribes and Pharisees, knew Christ’s identity; but he knew something that the scribes and Pharisees didn’t know.  He knew what the sign portended, which Christ was in the process of performing.  And he reacted accordingly.

This demon cried out,

Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God! (Mark 1:24).

This demon knew and understood things that the people in Capernaum had no knowledge of at all.  He knew what Christ casting him out of a Jewish man on the Sabbath portended.  And, because he knew what was involved, he, with all his power, resisted that which was being done.

The demon cried out to be left alone, but Jesus commanded him to be silent and to come out of the man (Mark 1:23-25 [23b]).  The demon then had no choice but to obey, though in the process of resisting he caused the man to convulse, apparently through wrenching about in the man’s body.  And it was only with a great cry that he then came out of the man (Mark 1:26).

This demon — as the demons referred to in James 2:19, who “believe, and tremble” (which would include the demon in Mark 1:23-26 and all the other demons within Satan’s kingdom, including Satan himself) — knew exactly what was involved in this sign.  This sign, pointing to the entire nation being healed and restored to her rightful place among the nations, spelled defeat for the entire demonic world.  And, this demon, because he knew this, wanted no part of that which was happening.

This was something that Satan and all his angels knew and understood, for these were things set forth in the Old Testament Scriptures.  And they not only knew these Scriptures, but it is quite evident — from comparing Scripture with Scripture — that they believed these Scriptures, accounting for their trembling in James 2:19, because of their belief in God.

Note the account of numerous demons indwelling two Jewish men in Gadara at a later time in Christ’s ministry.  These demons recognized Christ.  They, as the demon indwelling the man in Capernaum, not only acknowledged Christ but they clearly acknowledged their belief in that which Moses and the prophets had written — something alluded to by the actions of the demon in Capernaum:

When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.

And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:28-29; cf. Mark 5:1ff; Luke 8:26ff).

Demons believe, and, as a result, they tremble.  They know and understand that which awaits them.  And the account of the demon being cast out of the man in Capernaum not only pictures Israel’s healing in that coming day, but it also pictures the actions and lament of the whole demonic world in that day as well.

4)  Unbelief of the People

For the people in Israel, the matter was quite different from that exhibited by the demon that had been cast out, or by any other demon.  The people of Israel, seeing the sign, neither believed nor trembled (though rejoicing at that portended by the sign should have been their lot).  The nation’s religious leaders, through having misled the people, were not only responsible for the people reacting after this fashion but they had also set the downward course in which the nation would blindly continue.

Thus, there’s the picture in Israel at Christ’s first coming:

The Jewish religious leaders knew Christ’s identity (ref. chapter 2 of this book), though they had little knowledge of their own Scriptures and wanted only to do away with Christ and the message that He proclaimed.

The demons also knew Christ’s identity, but they, unlike Israel’s religious leaders, knew and understood the things revealed about Christ in the Scriptures.  And knowing these things, they wanted Christ to leave them alone, for they knew that which lay ahead, things which the signs portended.

The general populace in Israel though was another matter.  They had been misled by their religious leaders, they knew less than their religious leaders, and they understood very little about that which was happening.

This is why the people asked the questions, “What is this?”  “What new doctrine [‘teaching’] is this?” (Mark 1:27).  They had little to no understanding of that revealed in Moses and the Prophets.  Thus, they had no way to understand the significance of the signs being manifested and could only ask questions of this nature — questions dealt with in their own Scriptures, revealing their lack of knowledge surrounding these Scriptures.

Actually, the Israelites asked a question that had already been asked and answered in their Scriptures.  The Israelites under Moses, 1,500 years earlier, asked the first of these two questions in the wilderness of Sin.  And, as was the case with the Israelites asking the same question at Capernaum, the answer had already been given (God’s prior Word to His people in both instances).

After the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea and were in Arabia, their food supply soon became a major issue among them.  God, through a supernatural act, first gave the people quail to eat.  Then, through another supernatural act, He provided bread.  And this bread became a daily provision throughout the wilderness journey (except on the Sabbath [Exodus 16:8-15, 35]).

The Israelites, viewing this bread — provided in the form of “a small round substance” lying on the ground — didn’t know what it was and asked, “What is this?”  Or the expression in the Hebrew text could just as well be translated the same as that seen in the Greek text of Mark 1:27, “What is this?” (Exodus 16:15).

The literal meaning of the word “manna,” a transliterated word from the Hebrew text, is “who?,” or “what?”  And in the Hebrew text a pronoun, meaning “this,” or “that,” follows the word.  Thus, the manner in which the Israelites used the two words together form a question — “What is this?,” or “What is that?,” or “What is this thing?”

Thus, the statement, “It is manna,” in Exodus 16:15 should read, “What is this [or ‘this thing’]?”  And translating the expression after this fashion in the English text would be in much better keeping with the words that follow, words that explain the reason for their question — “for they did not know what it was.”

Then in Exodus 16:35 the word “manna” appears again, but here the word is used without the pronoun following and is not part of a question, as in the previous usage of the word.  Moses, led by the Spirit of God, used the same word that the Israelites under his leadership had previously used to describe the bread from heaven.  And, in essence, Moses stated, “And the children of Israel did eat ‘what’ forty years…”

And it was that word “manna [‘what’]” that resurfaced 1,500 years later in both questions that the Israelites in Capernaum asked following a demon being cast out of a man on the Sabbath.

These Israelites, as the Israelites under Moses, had also seen a manifestation of bread from heaven, provided through supernatural means.  But they had seen something in addition to that seen by the Israelites during Moses’ day.  Though God had manifested Himself in Israel’s midst during Moses’ day — in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22) — there was now a manifestation of God in the flesh, standing in Israel’s midst.  And the supernatural manifestation of power (the demon being cast out) originated from the One standing in the nation’s midst, through the work of the Spirit (cf. Genesis 1:2b; Matthew 12:28).

They had tasted of the bread from heaven through the sign that had been performed, and this sign had been performed by the true Bread from heaven (John 6:48-51).  But, their response was the same as that seen in Exodus 16:15.

Thus, the word “manna [‘what’]” resurfaced in both of their questions:  “What is this?”  “What new teachings is this?”  And they could just as well have used the word, “Who,” in relation to the Manna — “Who is this person?”

The general populace in Israel, having been misled by their religious leaders, knew neither their own Scriptures nor Christ’s identity.  They knew neither the manna given through Moses and the Prophets nor the Manna sent from God, standing in their midst.

Previous Revelation, But …

God always makes known His plans and purposes through His prophets before He acts (Amos 3:7).  And man may listen, but man too often doesn’t listen that well; he too often listens and has little understanding of that being heard (cf. Matthew 13:14).

This can be seen during Moses’ day, it can be seen 1,500 years later when Christ was on earth the first time, and it can be seen in the world today. 

1)  During Moses’ Day

God’s provision — bread from heaven — was made known to Moses first; then Moses made this known to the people (Exodus 16:4-8, 12).  But when God provided the bread that He had promised, though Moses had made God’s Word known to the people, they looked at the bread and didn’t know what it was.

When God acted in complete accordance with His previously revealed Word, the people didn't understand what was happening.  They had heard, but yet they hadn’t heard.  They were seeing, but yet they weren’t seeing.  And they could only ask, “What is this?” (Exodus 16:15).

2)  During Christ’s Day

Then, 1,500 years later, when the true Bread from heaven was present, He provided that which God had also previously made known through Moses (and the Prophets) — signs, portending supernatural healing and provision for Israel.  This was something dealt with extensively in the Old Testament.  

But, as Christ went about the country performing these signs in Israel’s midst, the people had no understanding of the signs, for they had little to no understanding of their own Scriptures.

They didn’t know or understand that which God had previously revealed.  Thus, they, as the Israelites who came out of Egypt under Moses, when placed in similar circumstances, could only ask, “What is this?”  “What new teaching is this?”

That being set forth through these signs was something that they should have known.  It had been clearly set forth in the Scriptures in their possession.  Thus, it wasn’t a new teaching at all.

These signs portended something that had been dealt with by prophet after prophet, beginning with Moses; and the people should have known this.  They should have known and understood that which the signs portended.  But they didn’t.

3)  During the Present Day

That’s the way it was in Israel 3,500 years ago,  that’s the way it was in Israel 2,000 years ago,  and nothing has changed when this is brought over into Christendom today.  That’s also the way it presently exists in Christendom near the end of the dispensation.

When the same manna is presented in Christian circles today — going back, drawing from the Old Testament Scriptures, and reflecting out ahead on the coming kingdom (as Christ did in Capernaum) — Christians look at that being presented and ask the same age-old questions:  “What is this?”  “What new teaching is this?”

They listen, but they don’t listen; they hear, but they don’t hear.  They don’t understand the things being taught, not really being in a position to understand.  They have never been taught the basics.  As a result, within their framework of thinking, they look on that which is being proclaimed as some new teaching.  And it is anything but new.

In reality, that being proclaimed is the central message of Scripture.  And it doesn’t matter where in Scripture a person turns — to any part of the Old Testament, or to any part of the New Testament — he is still faced with the same central issue.  He is faced with the Christ of the Scriptures; and he is faced with some facet of the person and work of Christ, which points out ahead to that day when He will rule and reign over the earth.

This is the way Scripture begins (Genesis 1:1-2:3), this is the way Scripture continues (Genesis 2:4ff), and this is the way Scripture ends (Revelation 20:1-6; 22:7-21).

Christians asking, “What is this?,” or “What new teaching is this?,” are, in reality, asking an honest question.  But, though honest, it is a question asked in ignorance.  This message is something new to most Christians hearing it, for this is not a message taught in the Churches of the land near the end of the dispensation.

And it is also true that this message was something new to most of the Israelites 2,000 years ago, for this message was not taught in the camp of Israel either.

And the reason the Israelites 2,000 years ago had not been taught and the reason Christians today are not being taught is exactly the same in both instances.  It goes back to the ones entrusted with the task of instructing and leading the people.

The scribes and Pharisees knew the letter of Scripture, but not the spirit of Scripture.  Thus, though seated in Moses’ seat, they were in no position to instruct the people.

And it is exactly the same today.  Those placed over Christians in Churches throughout the land don’t, themselves, know the Scriptures.  They may know the letter of Scripture, as the scribes and Pharisees knew it, but to go beyond that into the spirit of Scripture is another matter entirely.

That’s the way matters existed in Israel at Christ’s first coming, and that’s the way matters exist in Christendom immediately preceding Christ’ second coming.

At Christ’s first coming, there was an entire generation of Israelites that had little to no understanding of their own Scriptures.  And this resulted not only in their failing to understand the truth when it was taught but also in their rejecting the truth when it was taught.

And, immediately preceding Christ’s second coming, it is no different.  There is an entire generation of Christians that has little to no understanding of their own Scriptures.  And this has resulted not only in their failing to understand the truth when it is taught but also in their rejecting the truth when it is taught.
Chapter Four
What Is This That He Says?

A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.

Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father’?”

They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying. (John 16:16-18).

(John 16:16-18 shows the other side, or the converse, of that set forth in Mark 1:21-27 [ref. chapter 3 of this book].

In Mark 1:21-27, those in Capernaum had witnessed Christ performing a miraculous sign, which was not understood at all.  And as a result, though the people were amazed, there was no belief or repentance [cf. Matthew 11:23-24].  Rather, those in Capernaum looked upon this sign as some new thing, or some new teaching [Matthew 11:27].

In John 16:16-18, the disciples had heard Christ’s instructions concerning His departure and return.  And though they didn’t understand what He was talking about, they were interested in finding out.

Thus, in Mark 1:21-27 there was unbelief, but in John 16:16-18 there was belief.  And Christ dealt with each accordingly.)

The gospel of John stands alone among the four gospels.  The other three — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — are often called “the Synoptic Gospels,” covering numerous parallel events and presenting an overall scope of Christ’s ministry.  The gospel of John though doesn’t cover Christ’s ministry in this respect.  Rather, the first part of his gospel (John 1-11) is built around seven signs taken from different parts of Christ’s ministry; and the latter part of his gospel (John 12 ff), leading up to the crucifixion, centers on Christ’s dealings with His disciples at the very end of His ministry, providing a number of events occurring at this time that do not appear in the Synoptics.

The seven signs in the gospel of John begin in John 2 with the marriage festivities in Canaan of Galilee and conclude in John 11 with the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  And these signs have to do with Israel.  They point to God’s future dealings with Israel, mainly in the latter days, leading into the Messianic Era.

And keeping within the septenary structure of Scripture (cf. Genesis 1:1-2:3; Hosea 5:15-6:2; Matthew 16:28-17:5; Hebrews 4:4-9; 2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:3-8), six of these seven signs point to a fulfillment on the third day or the seventh day (or a fulfillment on the Passover, which will be fulfilled on the seventh day).  And, within the septenary structure of Scripture, the third and seventh days point to the third and seventh one-thousand-year periods, dating from either Christ’s crucifixion (third) or from the restoration of the earth and man’s creation (seventh).

The first sign (John 2:1-11) points to Israel’s conversion and restoration as the wife of Jehovah, on the seventh day (John 1:29, 35, 43, 2:1); the second sign (John 4:40-54) points to Israel being healed of her sickness, on the third day, following Christ having spent two days with the Gentiles (John 4:40, 43); the third sign (John 5:1-9) also points to Israel being healed of her sickness, but on the seventh day (John 5:9); the fourth sign (John 6:1-14) points to Israel receiving the Bread of Life, the true Manna, on the Passover (John 6:4); the fifth sign (John 6:15-21), the only sign not containing a specific reference to days, has to do with Israel receiving Christ following the Great Tribulation; the sixth sign (John 9:1-41) has to do with Israel’s blindness being lifted, on the seventh day (John 9:14); and the seventh sign (John 11:1-44) has to do with Israel’s resurrection, on the third day, following Christ having been out of the land of Judea for two days (John 11:6-7).

These signs were manifested in Israel’s presence when Christ was upon earth and recorded by John about sixty years later for one central, revealed purpose:

these [signs (John 20:30)] are written [‘have been written’ (perfect tense in the Greek text)], that you [the Jewish people, those requiring a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22)] may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God [‘Sonship’ implies rulership]; and that believing you may have life in [or ‘through’] His name.  (John 20:31).

John 20:31 is often used by well-meaning individuals to single John’s gospel out and say that this is the one book in Scripture that was written to tell a person how to be saved.  Such a statement though, based on this verse, is quite misleading, for that is not what John 20:31 states.  John neither makes such a statement in this verse nor has any book in Scripture been written for this specific purpose.

Jude sought to write a book dealing centrally with salvation by grace through faith, but the Spirit of God constrained him (Jude 1:3).  And all Scripture follows this same pattern.  No one book — Old or New Testament — deals centrally with salvation by grace through faith.  It is man, not understanding the central message of Scripture, who has taken Scripture and sought to turn matters around in this respect.

But though no one book, or Scripture as a whole, deals centrally with salvation by grace through faith, this message can be found throughout Scripture.  Biblical teachings surrounding salvation by grace through faith begin in Genesis 1 and progress from that point.  And Genesis, not John, is really where an individual should begin when dealing with this message.  An individual must first understand the foundational framework set forth in Genesis; else he may very well go wrong in John.

John, in his gospel, deals with the salvation message only within the same framework as it had previously been set forth by Moses and the Prophets.  And salvation by grace through faith is no more set forth in a central manner in the gospel of John than it is in the book of Genesis.  Both Moses and John deal with the same message, though from different perspectives.  The foundational framework is set forth in Moses, and John simply builds on that foundational framework.

John 20:31 calls attention to seven signs (John 20:30) having to do with things surrounding the latter days for Israel, with a view to the nation being healed and placed back in the land, within a theocracy.  And this subject matter would govern how salvation must be understood within these signs.

The message surrounding salvation by grace through faith must, of necessity, be included; but the central thought of salvation within these signs moves beyond the simple salvation message and has to do with Israel’s deliverance in the Messianic Era.

(Note that John recorded these signs following the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, at a time when God was no longer dealing with Israel on a national basis in relation to the kingdom [when the gospel of grace would have had to be in view].  But these signs had been manifested in Israel’s presence during the original offer of the kingdom to Israel, at a time when God was dealing with Israel on a national basis in relation to the kingdom [when salvation by grace would not really have been in view within that seen in the signs; rather, the message surrounding the offer of the kingdom of the heavens alone would have been in view].  Refer to the author’s From Acts to the Epistles BOOK, chapters 3, 4.)

The deliverance seen in these signs is the same deliverance seen through the use of the word “saved” in Romans 10:13, a quotation from Joel 2:32.  This is a deliverance for those who have already believed and are already saved (cf. Joel 2:27-31; Acts 2:16-21; Romans 10:14).

To misrepresent that which John states about signs as he closes his gospel can only serve to obscure the truth surrounding that which he actually does state.  And error of this nature, widely taught in the churches of the land today, is in no small part responsible for the present ignorance of Christians concerning that which Scripture reveals about God’s past and future dealings with Israel — something that must be grasped in order to properly understand God’s present and future dealings with the Church.

Then, moving beyond these seven signs — beginning with John chapter twelve, throughout the remainder of the gospel — John deals with events during the last week of Christ’s earthly ministry, preceding His crucifixion.  John 12:1 relates the time when Jesus began that part of His ministry that John records, following attention being called to seven signs (John 2-11).  And, according to this opening verse, Jesus began this part of His ministry six days before His death as the Paschal Lamb (note also that His entry into Jerusalem in John 12:12ff is the same as that seen in Matthew 21:1ff; Mark 11:1ff; Luke 19:29ff).

Thus, that which is seen in the latter half of John’s gospel occurs during a time seen toward the end of the three Synoptics.  And numerous things are revealed in John’s gospel that are not seen in the Synoptics, and vice versa.

Parables, Jesus’ dealings with Israel’s religious leaders, and the Olivet Discourse are seen in the Synoptics; but this part of John’s gospel centers on Jesus’ intimate dealings with His disciples — providing instruction (John 13:1ff; 14:1ff; 15:1ff; 16:1ff), and His prayer on their behalf (John 17:1ff).

The disciples would fare no better than their Lord (John 16:2, 32-33).  And the same Word that, for the most part, had been rejected when proclaimed by the Lord of the vineyard would, for the most part, be rejected when proclaimed by His disciples, either in or out of the vineyard (John 17:8, 14).

Toward the end of Christ’s instructions, preceding His prayer, Jesus told His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go away for “a little while,” though He would return in “a little while” (John 16:16).  And Jesus made this statement immediately following instructions concerning the Spirit being sent into the world after His departure (John 16:7-15).  It was necessary for the Son to go away for “a little while,” else the Spirit could not be sent (John 16:7, 16).

(The words, “a little while,” are the translation of the Greek word, mikros, from which we derive the English word, “micro.”  The word has to do with something “small,” or “little.”  A short period of time is in view through the use of this word.  And though man may look upon 2,000 years as a rather long period, not so with God.  It is, as stated in the verse, “a little while.”)

Christ’s reference to both His departure and return — with “a little while” seen between the two times, and the Father sending the Holy Spirit into the world during the time described as “a little while” — should be studied and understood in the light of events in Genesis 24.  This chapter is an Old Testament parallel to that seen in John 16, setting forth in type things to which Christ referred.

Events in Genesis 24 have to do with Abraham sending his eldest servant into the far country to procure a bride for his son, Isaac.  And these events occurred following the death of Sarah (Genesis 23) but preceding the remarriage of Abraham (Genesis 25), which is exactly the same time-frame seen in John 16:7-18. 

Genesis 24, in the antitype, points to God sending the Holy Spirit into the world to procure a bride for His Son, Jesus.  And the antitype can be seen following the type in exact detail.  It must, for the pattern was set in the type; and once the pattern had been set, no change could ever occur.

The Spirit being sent into the world and the subsequent work of the Spirit occurs following the setting aside of Israel, the wife of Jehovah (typified by Sarah, the wife of Abraham, dying prior to Abraham sending his servant into the far country to procure a bride for his son [Genesis 23]).  And Israel, as Sarah, is looked upon during this time as being in the place of death (Jonah 2:1ff).

Then, the work of the Spirit in the world after this fashion also occurs preceding God restoring Israel to her rightful place as the wife of Jehovah (seen in Abraham’s remarriage, his marriage to Keturah [Genesis 25]).  And this is also the event to which the first sign points in the gospel of John.

The Father sending the Holy Spirit into the world centers on one task — procuring a bride for His Son.  This fact has been set forth in a foundational Old Testament type, and that seen in the antitype (the Father sending the Spirit into the world) must be in complete accordance with the type.  Everything must be the same — events surrounding the Spirit being sent, central mission of the Spirit, success of the mission, etc.  And this is what must be understood in order to not only properly understand the ministry of the Spirit in the world today but also that which will occur once the Spirit has completed His mission.

A Little While,
and You Will Not See Me

Christ’s departure and the Spirit being sent into the world are inseparably connected.  And, because of this inseparable connection, Christ’s statement that He was going away for “a little while” immediately follows a rather lengthy statement concerning the Spirit being sent into the world and the work that the Spirit would do once He was in the world (John 16:7-15):

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [ Gk., Parakletos, “One called alongside to help” (same word translated “Advocate” in 1 John 2:1)] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).

Then, according to the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27), Christ went away for “a little whileto receive a kingdom.  But before He left, He called all of His servants, delivered unto them all of His business, and commissioned them accordingly:

Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.

So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten pounds [“ten,” the number of ordinal completion, pointing to all of His servants and all of His business], and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’” (Luke 19:12-13)

Two events, with one end, are in view.  The Father has sent the Spirit into the world, for a particular purpose — to acquire a bride for His Son (in the type [Genesis 24], it’s the Father doing the sending; in the antitype [John 14:26; 16:7], it’s both the Father and the Son doing the sending [which can be the case and not violate the type-antitype parallel, for the Father and the Son are “One”; cf. John 1:1-3; 10:30; 14:9; 20:27-28]).  And the bride is being acquired for purposes having to do with the kingdom, which the Son has gone away to receive.  The whole of the matter is regal; and purposes surrounding the whole of the matter will be realized only in the Messianic Era.

1)  Allowing the Spirit to Be Sent

Why was it necessary that the Son depart prior to the Spirit being sent?  It was necessary, if for no other reason, because of the way matters had been set forth in the type (Genesis 24).  Isaac was with his father when Abraham sent his servant into the far country to procure a bride for his son.  And Jesus, accordingly, had to be with His Father at the time when the Spirit was sent into the world to procure a bride in the antitype.

But the type had been set this way for a reason.  The Son being in heaven and the Spirit being on earth (in the type, Isaac being with his father, and Abraham’s servant being in Mesopotamia) was necessary for different works that both must carry out at the same time.  During the time of the search by the Spirit on earth, the Son would exercise the office of High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary; and while the Spirit searched for the bride on earth, the Son would perform a cleansing from defilement for the bride in the heavens.

Two separate works by two members of the Godhead, with one end, are in view.  The work of each would last for one dispensation, and these two works would begin and conclude at the same two times.  They would begin with the Spirit being sent to the earth and the Son entering the heavenly sanctuary; and they would conclude with the Spirit removing the bride and the Son coming forth from the sanctuary to meet His bride.

The work of the Spirit searching for the bride, the Spirit removing the bride, and the Son coming forth to meet His bride can be seen in Genesis 24.  But for other parts of that which John deals with in John 16 of his gospel, an individual will have to go to other types set forth by Moses.

For example, teachings surrounding Christ’s present high priestly ministry (not seen in Genesis 24) can be seen in Aaron’s actions on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).  And the termination of Christ’s present ministry can be seen in Aaron coming forth from the sanctuary after completing his work (not really dealt with per se in Genesis 24 either [though the Son is seen coming forth to meet His bride in this chapter]).  Or the death of the high priest in Numbers 35 relates the same truth, though another matter is dealt with in this chapter in connection with the termination of Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary — that of Israel’s restoration after Christ comes forth.

2)  Allowing a Kingdom to Be Received

Then there is another reason for the Son’s presence in heaven rather than upon earth during the time of the search for the bride.  The Son has gone into heaven to receive a kingdom.  This was His stated purpose for departing for “a little while” in the parable of the pounds, showing another facet of the matter (Luke 19:12).  And the transaction surrounding His receiving this kingdom can only be performed by the Father.

Another (Satan) presently holds the scepter in the kingdom, and only the Father can take the kingdom from the one He appointed as ruler in past time and give it to Another, appointing Him Ruler in the stead of the incumbent ruler.  The Father alone rules “in the kingdom of men,” He alone appoints rulers in this kingdom, and He alone can remove these same rulers and give their power to others.  The whole of that which God does in this respect is summed up in the expression, “the heavens do rule” (cf. Daniel 4:17-37; 5:18-31).

The entire matter surrounding the work of the Spirit and the work of the Son throughout the present dispensation is regal in nature.  The Spirit is presently searching for a bride to reign as consort queen with the Son, and the Son is presently performing a cleansing from defilement on behalf of His bride, with a view to receiving the kingdom from the Father at the end of this time.

The Son cannot reign apart from possessing a bride, and only a pure bride can be presented to the Son (Ephesians 5:26-27).  The necessity of procuring the bride and the bride being presented “without blemish” would sum up the work being carried out by both the Spirit and the Son during the present dispensation.

A ruler in the kingdom of men, within God’s economy, cannot hold the scepter alone.  This is a principle set forth in the first two chapters of Genesis when man was created, when Eve was removed from Adam and presented back to him for a helper.  God stated concerning this relationship, “…let them [Adam as a complete being — the man and the woman together] have dominion” (Genesis 1:26-28).

This is why God Himself, within the Old Testament theocracy, had to possess a wife.  Otherwise, He would have violated a principle concerning the government of the earth that He Himself established.  And this is why the wife of Jehovah, Israel, will have to be restored prior to the restoration of the theocracy to the nation.

This is also why Scripture throughout deals so extensively with Israel’s restoration.  There can be no future theocracy apart from Israel being healed of her present sickness.  And God is about to cause Israel to pass through the most severe time of trouble the nation has ever experienced (the Great Tribulation) in order to bring this to pass.

The whole of this matter is what the seven signs in John’s gospel deal with.  And the importance of Israel’s restoration in God’s sight should, alone, cause individuals to stop and think before using these signs to teach something which the signs do not deal with, while, at the same time, ignoring that which the signs do deal with.

Not only must Israel be restored as the wife of Jehovah but the Son must have a bride as well.  The Son cannot reign alone.  The bride for which the Holy Spirit is presently searching will complete the second Man, the last Adam, as Eve completed the first man, the first Adam.  And this is exactly what Hebrews 2:10 states:  “…to make the captain of their salvation perfect [‘complete’] through suffering.”

Thus, throughout the present dispensation there is the work of the Spirit on earth, and there is the Work of the Son in heaven, with the same end in view:

I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14).

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms [lit., ‘The kingdom of this world is become that’] of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage [‘marriage festivities’] of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed [‘should array herself’] in fine linen, clean and bright and white: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”  (Revelation 19:7-9).

A Little While,
and You Will See Me

The present dispensation will end following the completion of the Son’s work as High Priest in the sanctuary (a work alluded to in John 13:4-10 by Christ laying aside His garments, taking a towel, girding Himself, pouring water into a basin, washing the disciples’ feet, and wiping them with the towel), and following the completion of the Spirit’s work in the world (seen in the actions of Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24).

Then, as Abraham’s servant in the type removed the bride from the far country, with Isaac coming forth to meet his bride, so will it be in the antitype.  The Spirit will remove the bride from the earth, with the son coming forth to meet His bride.

And events from that point on will be exactly as set forth in this type, though the numerous details will have to be found in other types.

Isaac’s bride, Rebekah, in the type, met Isaac at a point between her home and his home.  Then, Rebekah accompanied Isaac to his home, where she became his wife (Genesis 24:61-67).

Exactly the same thing will occur in the antitype.  Christ and His bride will meet at a point between His home and her home.  Then the bride will accompany the Son to His home, where she will become His wife (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 19:7-9).

1)  Christ’s Return for His Bride

Christ’s return, after “a little while,” will be for all Christians, though not all Christians will form the bride.  When the Spirit’s work on earth and the Son’s work in the heavenly sanctuary have been completed, the dispensation will come to a close.  And it will be at this time that the Spirit will remove the bride from the earth and the Son will come forth from the sanctuary to meet His bride.

But the bride will not be revealed at the time of her removal.  Rather, the revelation of the bride will come only after events at the judgment seat have been completed.  Only following decisions and determinations at the judgment seat will there be a separation of Christians, where certain ones will “stand up out of” the larger group (Gk., exanastasis [Philippians 3:11]).  Only then will the bride be revealed and be granted the privilege to be arrayed “in fine linen, clean and bright and white” (Revelation 19:8).

This is seen in the type in Genesis 24 through Rebekah covering herself with a veil when she met Isaac.  Rebekah and her damsels all went forth on camels.  And though the number of the camels is not stated, the inference would be that there were ten, for Abraham’s servant had ten camels when he entered the land.  And ten at the time of their departure, transporting Rebekah and her damsels, would show that “all” went forth to meet Isaac, though not all” would become the wife of Isaac (Genesis 24:10, 61, 65; cf. Matthew 25:1-12).

This is shown in a slightly different fashion in Revelation 1-3.  In Revelation 1:10, John is seen being removed both into heaven and into the future Day of the Lord (Man’s Day ended at that point for John, for he was removed from the earth and Man’s Day into heaven and the Lord’s Day).  And John, following his removal into heaven and into this future day, saw Christ occupying the role of Judge, surrounded by seven golden candlesticks.  And “the seven candlesticks” are specifically stated to represent the seven churches, seen in Revelation 2; 3, also removed from Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:11-20).

Everything about the description of Christ (Revelation 1:13-16) refers either to a Judge or to judgment.  Christ appearing as Priest, or a reference to His priestly work, is not in view at all in this description.  It can’t be, for Christ will have completed His work as High Priest at this time.

After going forth to meet the bride, whom the Spirit will have removed from the earth, the next work of the Son will be that of Judge.  And that is exactly what is revealed in the scene depicted in Revelation 1:12-17.  All judgment has been committed to the Son (John 5:22).  And He will, at this time, judge those removed from the earth.

“Seven” shows the completion of that which is in view“Seven churches” show the complete Church, all Christians.  The picture in Revelation 1 is that of all Christians appearing in Christ’s presence in heaven, at the same time, to be judged.  Both the faithful and unfaithful will be there — represented by all those in the seven churches in Revelation 2; 3, which includes those in Laodicea.

And they will be there with a view to judgment.  They will be there with a view to showing whether they had overcome or had been overcome in the previous race of the faith.  And through this judgmental process, the bride will be revealed, showing the successful search of the Spirit during the preceding dispensation.

2)  Christ’s Return as King

The judgment of Christians will occur following their removal from the earth.  But other judgments are seen following that of Christians.  Christ’s subsequent redemption of the inheritance (over which He and His wife will rule) is associated with His breaking the seven seals of the scroll, seen in God’s right hand in Revelation 5:1.  And the breaking of these seals — the means through which the inheritance will be redeemed — has to do with judgment befalling the earth and those dwelling on the earth.

It is only following this redemption (Revelation 6-18) that the bride, previously shown forth (Revelation 1-3), will appear “in fine linen, clean and bright and white”; and her arrayal will be with a view to participating in “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-9).

Only after all these things transpire will the heavens open and the Son come forth on a white charger, accompanied by the angelic armies of heaven (Revelation 19:11ff).  He, after “a little while,” will return in this fashion in all His power and glory.  And, at that time, the same scenes that witnessed His sufferings and humiliation will witness His glory and exaltation.

Rather than wearing a crown of thorns, He will have many diadems on His head (Revelation 19:12); rather than being mocked as King, He will have a name written upon His garments (at His thigh, for all to see), “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16); and rather than being struck, as at His first coming, He will do the striking in that day.

He will not only “strike through kings” at the time of His return, but throughout the succeeding Millennial Era as well (cf. Psalm 2:1-12; 110:1-7; Isaiah 63:1-6; Revelation 19:17-21).  And kings will be speechless in His presence in that day.

These kings are going to see and understand things completely outside the range of their prior experiences.  And they will see and understand these things at the hands of the “Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6; 52:15).
Chapter Five
Two Rocks

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:6).

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

“Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water . . . .”

Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly . . . . (Numbers 20:7-8, 11a [8a]).

There are two accounts in Scripture of Moses striking rocks with his rod, with water coming out each time.  One occurred near the beginning of his ministry (during the first year), and the other occurred near the end of his ministry (either very near or during the last year, the fortieth year).

Moses had been commanded to strike the first rock, but not so with the second rock almost forty years later.  Rather, Moses had been commanded to speak to this rock, and it would give forth water.  But Moses, in a rebellious act, after he had gathered the congregation together, struck the rock twice rather than speaking to it.

Nevertheless, even though he had struck the rock (not once, but twice), in direct disobedience to God’s command, water still issued forth; and it issued forth abundantly.

But, though God supplied water from the rock after this fashion, in spite of that which Moses had done, his act of disobedience would carry grave consequences.  Moses, because of the gravity of that which he had done, would not be allowed to lead the Israelites into the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  In fact, Moses would not even be allowed to enter this land, though he would be allowed to see it from a distance before he died (Numbers 20:8-12; 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 34:1-5).

These two incidents — one occurring near the beginning of Moses’ ministry, and the other occurring near the end of his ministry — point to two parallel incidents occurring in the history of Israel.  The first, associated with Moses’ striking the first rock, occurred at the beginning of God’s dealings with the nation; and the second, associated with Moses’ striking the second rock, occurred near the end of God’s dealings with the nation, prior to His setting the nation aside to take out of the Gentiles “a people for His name” (Acts 15:14).

Then, God’s future dealings with Israel in this same respect can be seen in His subsequent dealings with the nation under Joshua, following Moses’ death.  But even though this lies beyond the experiences of Moses — the entrance of the Israelites into the land under Joshua, typifying their future entrance under Jesus (Hebrews 4:8) — this was still a major subject within that which Moses had written.  And not only was it a major subject dealt with by Moses, but by the Prophets that followed as well.

The entire Old Testament, beginning with Moses, is simply one continuous revelation detailing all the various facets of the person and work of Christ — past, present, and future.  And all the various facets of His complete dealings with both Israel and the Church can be seen within this revelation.

It was all set forth in Moses and the Prophets first.  And if a person desires to understand that which lies beyond Moses and the Prophets — New Testament revelation — he will have to continually reference the Old.  And the converse of that is equally true.

Not only does the Old Testament provide light for and help explain the New, but many things have been opened up in the New (invariably, after some fashion, through Old Testament revelation) that also help explain things in the Old.  One Testament has to be studied and understood in the light of the other.  Scripture has to be compared with Scripture.  One part of Scripture has to be understood in the light of another part or other parts of Scripture.  And eternal review after this fashion — under the leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit — is the price one must pay for an in-depth knowledge of the Word of God.

From Moses to Christ

According to 1 Corinthians 10:4, the first rock that Moses struck, with water flowing out, typified Christ being struck, with water flowing out.  The striking of the rock in Exodus 17:6 reflected back on that which had previously occurred in Egypt — the decreed death of the firstborn, and the institution of the Passover.  It had to do with the paschal lambs being struck in the place of the firstborn in the family.  It had to do with a vicarious striking, a vicarious death.

And both the striking of the rock in the wilderness and the death of the paschal lambs in Egypt pointed to and typified the Paschal Lamb being struck almost 1,500 years later.  At Christ’s first coming, the Paschal Lamb was slain by Israel, as the nation had slain the paschal lambs during Moses’ day, or as Moses had subsequently struck the rock.

And water flowing out when the rock was struck, with the people drinking from the smitten rock, would find its parallel in the paschal lambs being eaten following the lambs being slain and the blood being applied — type (Exodus 12:8-11), antitype (cf. John 6:53-56; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Ephesians 6:11-18).  There was a literal eating and drinking in the two types (with spiritual implications also [1 Corinthians 10:4]), pointing to a spiritual eating and drinking in the antitype.  And the same thing is seen in a corresponding type, pointing to the same antitype — a literal eating of manna in the type, pointing to a spiritual eating in the antitype (Exodus 16:14ff).

And whether the type is drawn from an eating of the paschal lambs, an eating of the manna, or a drinking from the rock, it can only have to do with one thing in the antitype.  Rather than a literal eating of the Living Word (an impossibility), there is a spiritual eating and drinking — an assimilation of the written Word, which is itself living.

Then, drinking His blood, as seen in John 6:53-56, can only be a reference to another facet of the same thing.  It is the blood of Christ that cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7); and note an allusion to this in John 15:3, connected with Christ’s words.

Christ, speaking to His disciples, stated, “Now you are clean through the Word that I have spoken unto you.”  The reference was back to His statement in verse two, and more specifically to the word “prunes.”  The words in the Greek text translated “prunes” (John 15:2 [kathairo]) and “clean” (John 15:3 [katharos]) are cognate words, carrying the same basic meaning — “clean,” or “cleanse.”  Verse two has to do with cleansing through cutting off the dross, through pruning; and verse three refers back to this cleansing.

Drinking Christ’s blood would have reference to the Word in the preceding respect.  It is the Word that relates the power and capabilities of the only thing that can cleanse from sin — the blood of Christ on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary (1 John 1:7-2:2).  Accordingly, the reference, as it would relate to Christians today, could only be to Christ’s high priestly ministry in the sanctuary on behalf of those redeemed through His finished work at Calvary (cf. John 13:5-12).

Thus, whether eating the slain lambs, eating the manna, drinking from the rock, or drinking Christ’s blood in John 6:53-56, only the saved can be in view.  An individual in the type had to first avail himself of that made possible through a slain lamb and shed blood before he could assimilate the lamb.  And it is the same in the antitype.

Further, unsaved individuals cannot act in the spiritual realm.  They are spiritually dead, separated from the Spirit to lead them “into all truth” (John 16:13), and completely incapable of acting in this realm.  And this is the reason that the Word of God is “foolishness” to them (1 Corinthians 2:14).  Any attempt by the unsaved to understand the Word of God or to act in the spiritual realm, in any capacity, is nothing more than the natural seeking to discern or to act within that which is spiritual, completely apart from the guidance that God has provided for the saved through His Holy Spirit.

It would be impossible for an unsaved person to eat of the slain Lamb, drink from the smitten Rock, or drink the blood of the slain Lamb.  All of these actions lay within the spiritual realm — type or antitype.  The eating and drinking, as previously stated, can only follow the appropriation of the blood (type or antitype).

These experiences can only refer (1) to saved individuals availing themselves of the written Word (for spiritual nourishment — an eating of the Lamb, an eating of the Manna, and a drinking from the Rock), and (2) to saved individuals availing themselves of the Word in the sense of John 15:3 (which, relative to sin in the life of a believer, can only have to do with Christ’s high priestly ministry and His blood on the mercy seat).

Thus, Moses striking the rock in Exodus 18 can only be a reference back to the striking, the death, of the paschal lambs in Egypt and the application of the blood of these lambs (Exodus 12:6-7).  But the water flowing out of the rock moves beyond the slaying of the paschal lambs and the application of the blood.  It parallels the subsequent eating of these lambs in Exodus 12:8-11.

But what about the rock in Numbers 20?  It was not to be struck.  Rather, this rock was to be spoken to.  And, even though it was struck, water still issued forth; and it issued forth abundantly.

To what aspect of the person and work of Christ does the striking of this rock speak?  It can’t speak of the same thing as the first rock, for this second rock was not to be struck.  But even though it doesn’t speak of the same thing, water still issued forth when this rock was struck — something that would reflect back on that seen through the first rock being struck.  But still, it’s the second rock being struck, not the first.  And, again, this rock was not to be struck.

Studying the striking of these two rocks in the light of that which happened at Calvary some 1,500 years later, the entire matter becomes clear.  Moses struck two rocks in the type, showing two different facets of the type; and the Israelites struck one Rock (Christ) in the antitype, wherein both facets of the type can be seen.

Viewing the entire matter together after this fashion — the striking of both rocks by Moses in the wilderness, and the striking of the one Rock by the Israelites at Calvary — there are probably no other parts of Old Testament revelation that better clarify a particular aspect of that which occurred at Calvary.  And the converse of that is equally true.  These same events surrounding Calvary will, in turn, help explain the various things surrounding Moses striking the two rocks.  Only through studying them together — the Old Testament types and the New Testament antitype — can the complete picture be seen in all its clarity and fullness. 

1)  The Rock in Exodus

The rock in Exodus 17:6 reflected back on that which had occurred in Egypt the night of the Passover.  Both the paschal lambs being slain and the rock being struck typify Christ being slain/struck at Calvary.  But that which followed — an eating of the paschal lambs, a drinking of the water, or a reference to the drinking of blood in John 6:53-56 — had to do with things beyond the death of the firstborn.  They had to do, not with a past deliverance, but with a present deliverance that would be realized in the future.

And, relative to this present deliverance with a future realization, particular attention must be paid to Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary.  In the antitype of Aaron’s high priestly ministry in the earthly sanctuary, Christ is presently exercising a high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (following His finished work at Calvary, following the sacrifice of Himself, following Israel slaying the Paschal Lamb).

Within the symbolism of the tabernacle erected at Sinai, one year following the death of the firstborn in Egypt, Christ’s finished work at Calvary and His present work in the sanctuary are clearly depicted through sacrifices and activities occurring on two of Israel’s festivals — the Passover, and the day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:4-5, 27-32).  Though other sacrifices depict different things about the same two works of Christ, the distinction between the two, which must be seen, is clearly shown through activities occurring on these two festivals.

Following the erection of the tabernacle, the paschal lambs were to be slain and eaten in the courtyard of the tabernacle, north of the brazen altar, “before the Lord” (rather than at the Israeli homes, as in Exodus 12 [Leviticus 1:11; Deuteronomy 16:1-7; cf. Job 26:7; Psalm 75:6-7]).  And blood from the slain lambs would be sprinkled on the altar rather than placed on the doorposts and lintels of the doors in the various homes.

But it was only on the Day of Atonement that blood from animal sacrifices (a bullock and a goat, both slain in the same place as the paschal lambs — north of the brazen altar, “before the Lord”) was taken by the high priest into the Holy of Holies.  And this blood, unlike the blood of the paschal lambs, was sprinkled on and before the mercy seat (Leviticus 16).

Thus, blood shed on the Passover and placed on the altar and blood shed on the Day of Atonement and sprinkled on and before the mercy seat in the holy of holies speak of two entirely different works of Christ.  The first points to His finished work at Calvary, but the second points to His present work as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary

Sacrifices on the Passover had to do with the death of the firstborn; and this is graphically seen in the events depicted in Exodus 12 (later seen associated with the tabernacle; the home was the only place that could serve as a sanctuary while the Israelites were in Egypt, but at Sinai, with the building of the tabernacle, a national sanctuary and place where sacrifices could occur then existed).

And sacrifices on the Day of Atonement had to do with a cleansing from defilement of a people who had already availed themselves of the blood of slain paschal lambs — something graphically seen in events surrounding the high priestly ministry of Aaron in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle.

(A cleansing from defilement, of the nature that only a high priest could provide, was absolutely necessary because the one having availed himself of the blood of a slain lamb continued to reside in a body housing the old sin nature; and because he was subject to sin in this body, a necessary means of cleansing from defilement had to be provided.

And it is exactly the same in the antitype, which is the reason Christ, throughout the present dispensation, is performing a high priestly work in the heavenly sanctuary in the antitype of Aaron’s work in the earthly sanctuary.)

Christ’s blood, shed at Calvary, is presently on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary.  And this blood on the mercy seat allows Christ to exercise a high priestly ministry for the ones having previously availed themselves of the provision that this same blood shed at Calvary makes possible, i.e., for the ones having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.  And this present ministry of Christ is with a view to present and future aspects of salvation (salvation of the soul), not the past aspect of salvation (salvation of the spirit).

And it is the same with the water issuing forth from the rock in Exodus 17:6.  This had to do with things beyond the events of Exodus 12, things beyond the death of the firstborn.  According to 1 Corinthians 10:4, all of the Israelites drank from this rock — the same ones who had previously appropriated the blood of the paschal lambs slain in Egypt.  And a drinking from the rock had to do with present and future aspects of their deliverance as they moved toward the goal of their calling — entrance into the land set before them.

But still, there was a striking of the rock to produce the flow of water; and this could only reflect back on previous events in Egypt surrounding the slaying of the paschal lambs.  Israel had been commanded to slay the paschal lambs in Egypt, and Moses had been commanded to strike the rock in the wilderness about a month later.

Now, the question: If God had commanded His people to slay the paschal lambs and strike the rock, why, some fifteen hundred years later, when the Jewish people slew the Paschal Lamb in the antitype, struck the Rock in the antitype, were they so spoken against?

The paschal lamb was given to Israel, and it was given to Israel to be slain, for a purpose.  Existing controversy in the world today over who slew Christ is easily settled from Scripture.  Christ was the Paschal Lamb, and Israel alone could slay this Lamb.  Further, Scripture plainly attributes this act to Israel (Acts 2:23, 36; 3:13-15; 7:52).

The Paschal Lamb was to be slain, the Rock was to be struck.  God had commanded that this be done in the two types.  This is why the paschal lamb was given to Israel!  It was given to the Jewish people to be slain!  Thus, when Israel slew the Lamb, struck the Rock in the antitype — even though they were slaying a Man (which would be immaterial, for the Old Testament plainly taught that a Man would die in this capacity [cf. Genesis 3:6; 4:8; 22:2; Isaiah 53:1ff]) — again, why were they so spoken against?

Note Peter’s and Stephen’s words to the Jewish people following their slaying the Lamb, following their striking the Rock:

Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death. (Acts 2:23)

Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers. (Acts 7:52)

Israel slew the Lamb, struck the Rock, in accordance with God’s command.  Yet, they are spoken against for this act.  How can this be?  How can Israel be guilty of doing this “by wicked hands”?  Or, how can the Israelites be called “murderers” for this act?

And, beyond that, the nation is presently looked upon as being unclean in God’s sight because of this act.  How could God look upon the Jewish people in this manner if they did that which He had commanded them to do?

(Note in the account dealing with the Israelites touching a dead body, producing uncleanness — forming a type — Israel is seen as being unclean through contact with the dead body of her Messiah.  And, as the Israelite who touched a dead body could be cleansed only on the third day or the seventh day [Numbers 19:11ff], so with Israel.

The Jewish people will be cleansed from their defilement only on the third day [the third one-thousand-year period] dating from events surrounding Calvary, or on the seventh day [the seventh one-thousand-year period] dating from events surrounding the earth’s restoration and man’s beginning.)

Actually, there can be no such thing as following God’s command and being declared guilty after this fashion.  There’s far more involved than Israel simply slaying the Paschal Lamb, striking the Rock, in accordance with God’s command.  And that is seen in events surrounding Moses striking the second Rock toward the end of his ministry.

2)  The Rock in Numbers

The rock brought into view toward the end of Moses’ ministry was not to be struck, as the first rock, seen near the beginning of His ministry.  Rather, God clearly commanded Moses to speak to this rock.  And through this process — speaking to the rock rather than striking the rock — it would give forth water.

And note the place that the striking of this rock occupies in Scripture.  It is set immediately following the type dealing with an Israelite touching a dead body and being unclean.

The account of uncleanness through contact with a dead body is seen in Numbers 19; and the account of Moses striking the rock near the end of his ministry, in violation of God’s command to “speak to the rock,” is in the next chapter, Numbers 20.

Then, something additional is also seen in this section of Scripture.  In Numbers 21 there is the account of Moses placing a brazen serpent on a pole for all those who had been bitten by serpents (because of sin) to see (Numbers 21:5ff).  And Christ, in John 3:14, called attention to this type and associated it with His being lifted up at Calvary.  It was look and live in the type, and it is look and live in the antitype.

But the type goes beyond that and really deals more centrally with another issue.  Those in the type who were dying because of the snake bites were individuals who had previously appropriated the blood of the paschal lambs, whether in Egypt or during the intervening forty years when the yearly feast was kept (note that events in these chapters occur near the end of this forty-year period).  Thus, the type really deals centrally with the saved rather than with the unsaved, though it can be used relative to the unsaved.

Any part of the Word of God always has a primary interpretation; but any part, invariably, also has secondary applications as well.  And the account of sin in the camp of Israel in Numbers chapter twenty-one is one of the numerous such instances in Scripture.

The reference to the brazen serpent being placed on a pole and lifted up can only refer to one thing — Christ being placed on the Cross and lifted up.  But beyond that matters begin to broaden.  There is a preaching of the Cross for the unsaved (1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:3), and there is a preaching of the Cross for the saved (1 Corinthians 1:18; cf. Matthew 16:24ff).

Because of Christ’s finished work at Calvary — dying as the Paschal Lamb, shedding His blood — unsaved man, “dead in trespasses and sins,” can look and live (realize the salvation of his spirit).  He can be eternally saved.  And because this same blood is presently on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary, with Christ exercising the office of High Priest, saved man — one who has “passed from death unto life,” but is unclean through sin — can look and live (ultimately realize the salvation of his soul).  He can be cleansed from defilement encountered during his pilgrim walk, realizing the goal of a calling beyond his presently possessed eternal salvation — that of ultimately occupying a position as co-heir with Christ in the kingdom.

This whole section in the book of Numbers (Numbers 19-21) has to do with disobedience, rejection, and death, with life (through obedience) seen to follow.

In Numbers 19 there is uncleanness and death (uncleanness wrought through contact with a dead body), in Numbers 20 there is disobedience through striking the second rock, and in Numbers 21 disobedience is again seen through the people speaking “against God, and against Moses” (Numbers 21:5).

But life can follow beyond the disobedience, rejection, and death.  Provision has been made through the One having been lifted up.  As in the type, so in the antitype — it is look and live.

All of this ties together, dealing with the same matter.  One facet is seen in chapter nineteen, another facet is seen in chapter twenty, and another facet is seen in chapter twenty-one.  This is a case of three different successive types presenting different facets of the same picture and shedding light on one another.

And that is the way matters exist in biblical interpretation.  Scripture has been structured a certain way; and, in order to correctly understand and grasp God’s revelation to man, it has to be viewed and studied after the manner in which God gave it to man.  Alternate means for correctly grasping and understanding the Word of God no more exist than do alternate means exist for salvation, other than through faith in Christ.

Thus, Moses striking the rock in Numbers 20:11, in direct disobedience to God’s command, both textually and contextually, has to do with Israel’s crucifixion of her Messiah.  But something is in view about the crucifixion that is completely different than that revealed by Moses striking the rock in Exodus 17:6.  And this can easily be seen through comparing the type with the antitype.

Striking the Rock Twice

Two different Hebrew words are used for “rock” in Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:8, 11.  Both words mean “rock,” but the word used in Numbers, drawing from the root form of the word, carries a thought which the word used in Exodus doesn’t carry.  The word used in Numbers carries the thought of “height,” or “elevation,” something not seen at all in the Hebrew word used for “rock” in Exodus.

The rock in Exodus which Moses struck depicts Christ as the lowly One, the suffering Servant, the One Who would be struck and would die.  But the rock that Moses struck in Numbers, carrying the thought of “height” or “elevation,” depicts Christ as the exalted One, the One Who would rule and reign.

This whole overall thought was at the heart of John the Baptist’s question in Matthew 11:3, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?

(Because both a suffering and a reigning Messiah are seen in the Old Testament, many Jews of John’s day looked for two Messiahs to appear — one from the house of Joseph, who would suffer and die; and another from the house of David, who would rule and reign.  John’s question seems to allude to this thought, prevalent in his day.)

Christ’s response though clearly revealed which rock in the Old Testament was in view.  It was the one in Numbers, for the signs that He was performing (Numbers 20:4-6) had to do with the exalted One and His kingdom, not with the lowly One and Calvary.

Christ was born King, He offered the kingdom of the heavens to Israel, and it was in a regal capacity that He was rejected, tried by Pilate, and crucified.  He presented Himself to Israel as the Rock in Numbers, not as the Rock in Exodus (Matthew 2:2; 4:17; 21:38; 22:2-7).

When Pilate brought Jesus forth to the Jewish people, having found “no fault” in Him, he announced to them, “Behold your King.”  And the caption that Pilate placed above His head at the time of the crucifixion read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37; John 18:33-38; 19:14).

Israel, as Moses in Numbers, not only struck the Rock that had to do with “height,” “elevation,” but Israel, as Moses, also struck this Rock in direct disobedience to God’s command.  And, as Moses struck the rock twice in his day, so did Israel strike the Rock 1,500 years later in the same adamant manner.  The Jewish people, to insure Jesus’ crucifixion, even went so far as to claim allegiance to a pagan Gentile ruler — “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

And, as Moses was denied entrance into the land for his act in the type, the same thing is seen relative to Israel in the antitype.  Because of Israel’s rejection of the proffered kingdom, their rejection of the nation’s King, and their slaying the One Whom they knew to be “the heir,” the kingdom was taken from Israel (Matthew 21:38-43).

But the Jewish people, though they struck Christ in the antitype of the Rock in Numbers, they, in the process, struck Him in the antitype of the Rock in Exodus as well.  They not only slew their King, but they also slew the Paschal Lamb (John 1:29) — an act for which no condemnation could ever be leveled against the nation.

However, the fact remains.  Christ presented Himself to Israel as the nation’s Deliverer in relation to regal activities, not in relation to activities surrounding Calvary.  And it was in this capacity that Israel struck the Rock.  They slew their King, though, in the process, they also slew the Lamb.

The Jewish people, typically, struck the Rock in Exodus at the very beginning of God’s dealings with the nation.  They slew the paschal lambs in Egypt.  And this would correspond to Moses striking this Rock near the beginning of his ministry.

Then, the Jewish people struck the Rock in Numbers near the end of God’s dealings with the nation, though this also reflected back on that associated with the striking of the first Rock (the death of the paschal lambs).  They, in the process, slew the Paschal Lamb as well.  And it was the same with Moses.  He struck the rock in Numbers near the end of his ministry, an act that also reflected back on that associated with his striking the first Rock.

And “water” issued forth from both Rocks, but Scripture specifically calls attention to water issuing forth abundantly when the Rock in Numbers was struck.

There is a Jewish Savior from Whom water will abundantly flow forth for all who look to the One Who has been lifted up, seen in Numbers 21:8-9; John 12:32.  It was look and live in the type, and it is look and live in the antitype.
Chapter Six
Your House left Desolate

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,

that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

See! Your house is left to you desolate;

for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)

When God called Israel out of Egypt under Moses, one central purpose was in view.  The nation, God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23), had been called out of Egypt to enter another land — a land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — and exercise the rights of the firstborn in that land (Exodus 19:5-6).  And everything that has occurred within Israeli history down through the years, from Moses’ day until the present day, has had its roots within Israel’s calling as God’s firstborn and that which Israel has done relative to this calling.

A theocracy, with God’s firstborn son realizing the rights of primogeniture within that theocracy, was in the offing during Moses’ day.  But, because of unbelief, the people refused to enter the land at Kadesh-Barnea and conquer the inhabitants, as God had commanded.  And, as a result, the Israelites entering the land and realizing a theocracy within the land was delayed until that entire unbelieving and responsible generation (those twenty years old and above [Numbers 14:29]) had passed off the scene.  And also, because Moses subsequently struck the rock in Numbers 20:8-11, in direct disobedience to God’s command, he was numbered with that generation as well and was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the land.  The Lord, instead, appointed Joshua for this task (Numbers 20:12; 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 34:1-12).

Thus, once all those having a part in the unbelief exhibited at Kadesh-Barnea had died, along with Moses, Joshua was allowed to lead the nation into the land.  And the theocracy that first existed in the land under Joshua’s leadership lasted for about eight hundred years, until the time of the Babylonian captivity, when the Glory departed.  This theocracy though never reached the heights that God intended for His son (because of disobedience on the son’s part).

Then, when Christ came about six hundred years following the Babylonian captivity and the end of the theocracy, a remnant had returned to the land (a restoration that had begun under Zerubbabel over five centuries earlier).  And though a remnant was in the land at this time, forming an Israeli nation, the “Times of the Gentiles” (when the Gentiles are in control of world affairs, government, etc.) was running its course.  Rome was the world power, and Rome not only possessed governmental control over the remnant in the land but also over the Jewish people scattered throughout the Roman world of that day.

Israel had been called into existence to exercise governmental power over the Gentile nations, for purposes involving God’s blessings (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:17-18; Exodus 19:5-6).  Israel was to dwell in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy, at the head of the nations; and God was not only to bless Israel but God was to bless the nations of the earth through Israel.  All spiritual blessings were to flow to and through Israel in this manner.

But events transpired that resulted in a complete reversal of the position Israel had been called to occupy relative to the nations.  The Gentiles had been allowed to invade the land of Israel and take the Jewish people captive (the Assyrians in 722 B.C., and the Babylonians in 605 B.C. [beginning the “Times of the Gentiles”]).  And centuries later, when Christ was upon earth, the Gentiles still exercised control over world affairs.

Why had this been allowed to occur?  Why had matters been allowed to go in this direction, with the Gentiles exercising governmental control after this fashion — control that included both the Jewish people and their land?  Why had God dealt with Israel in this manner?

And not only was Israel under Gentile dominion when Christ came the first time, but the nation, in its unbelief and disobedience, wanted nothing to do with the One announced by the wise men to be Israel’s King; nor did they want anything to do with the proffered kingdom.

Why?  After all, acceptance would have freed them from Rome’s control and Gentile dominion in general.  But there was only rejection on Israel’s part.

God went to great lengths in both an offer of the kingdom preceding Christ’s crucifixion (an offer lasting about three and one-half years) and a re-offer of the kingdom following Christ’s resurrection and ascension (a subsequent offer lasting about thirty-two additional years).  But Israel rejected the proffered kingdom both times.

In the first offer of the kingdom, the Jewish people went so far in their rejection as to crucify the One making the offer.  The religious leaders, even though they knew Christ’s identity — One Who had come from God, the Heir of the vineyard — were not going to have this Man reign over them (cf. Matthew 21:38; John 3:2).

Then, in the re-offer of the kingdom, Israel’s religious leaders reacted to the message the same way they had reacted in the original offer.  They began to threaten, beat, imprison, and even kill the ones proclaiming the message (cf. Acts 5:40-42; 7:54-60; 8:1-3; 9:24, 29).  They still were not going to have the Heir of the vineyard reign over them (which would have necessitated His return from heaven [cf. Acts 3:19-21; 7:56-57]).

The entire nation, save “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5), followed the downward course set by its religious leaders; and this resulted in God eventually setting the nation aside for a dispensation (about 62 A.D.).  Jerusalem was then destroyed by the Gentile world power of that day (by Rome, in 70 A.D.), and the Jewish people were scattered among and left at the mercy of the Gentiles.

But, even though the nation was set aside, allowing God to deal with a separate people for a dispensation (those forming the one new man “in Christ”); principles established by God relative to Israel and the nation’s calling still remained in effect.  And these principles centered on blessings and curses, not only for Israel but for the Gentiles as well.  Israel, because of disobedience, would fall into the latter category (curses); and the Gentiles, depending upon their attitude toward and treatment of Israel, could fall into either category (blessings or curses).

(God, through Moses, had outlined this entire matter in graphic and minute detail to Israel after He called the nation out of Egypt.  There are two long chapters in the revelation given through Moses — Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28 — where God went to great lengths to relate that which would occur if the Jewish people were obedient to His commandments and that which, on the other hand, would occur if they were disobedient.)

Israel had chosen the latter path.  Israel had been disobedient to the Lord’s commandments.  And, true to His Word, God had allowed Gentile powers to come into the land and uproot the Jewish people (Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:64).

And throughout the ensuing dispensation, during the time when Israel was out of favor with God, one thing could not occur — the Gentile nations could not be blessed in the manner that God had intended through Israel’s calling, for these blessings had to flow through Israel dwelling in the land within a theocracy.  Blessings of this nature would have to wait for a time when Israel was once again in favor with God.  They would have to wait for Israel’s future restoration, which would, of necessity, have to include the restoration of the theocracy to Israel.

The picture is that of God’s son — whom the Father called into existence to be the channel through which He would bless all the Gentile nations — being out of favor with the Father (through disobedience).  As a result, chastisement has befallen the son, with the Father allowing the Gentile nations to subdue and control His son, resulting not only in the son being chastened by the Father but in the numerous blessings that God had reserved for the Gentile nations being withheld from these same nations.

However, some of the Gentiles (nations and individuals) — not really understanding that which has happened — have brought curses upon themselves by seeking to help God chasten His son.

And I will…curse him that curses you… (Genesis 12:3a)

I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.

I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry [with my son], and they helped forward the affliction. (Zechariah 1:14-15 [14b])

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these [Christ’s brethren, the Jewish people], you did not do it to Me. (Matthew 25:45b)

Others (nations and individuals), on the other hand — some understanding, some not understanding that which has happened — have brought blessings upon themselves by being a friend to the Father’s son (though not the abundance of blessings reserved for the Gentiles, with Israel in favor with God).

And I will bless them that bless you… (Genesis 12:3a)

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:40b)

The whole of world conditions down through the centuries has revolved around God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel in the preceding respect, His dealings with Israel relative to the nation’s calling, and His dealings with the Gentile nations relative to Israel’s calling.  Everything in this respect has revolved around and continues to revolve around Israel.  Israel alone is the key.

And, apart from the Gentile nations of the world taking into account God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel, there cannot even be a beginning to a solution of any one of the problems that confront these same nations.  That’s how important the nation of Israel is in the affairs of world history.

Nor can that which has happened to Israel over the centuries — from the brickyards in Egypt to the ovens in Auschwitz — be explained any way other than that which is set forth in Scripture relative to the nation’s calling.  The Father is chastening His son, because of disobedience.  And, at times, the Gentile nations have stepped in and “helped forward the affliction,” something that God has allowed.

As long as the son continues unrepentant, the chastisement will continue.  And not only will it continue, but in the latter days, through the Gentiles seeking to help “forward the affliction,” conditions will deteriorate to the point that “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:22a).

But in that day God is going to intervene in man’s vain attempts to help chasten His son.  God is going to supernaturally shorten those days, and He will do this for the sake of His son.  And it will be following this time that all of the past chastisement will bear fruit.  The son will ultimately be brought to the place of repentance, allowing God to restore Israel, restore the theocracy to Israel, and bring the “Times of the Gentiles” to an end.

There is that which Scripture has to say about the matter, and there is that which man may think about the matter.  The two are worlds apart.  The Creator has stated the matter in no uncertain terms, and He has stated the matter to both inform and warn His son.  Obedience results in blessings and disobedience results in curses.  God’s disobedient son must be brought to the place of repentance.  Only then can God bless Israel and the Gentile nations through Israel.

Israel and the Nations — Present

When Christ came the first time, He appeared to Israel and offered the kingdom of the heavens to the Jewish people, based upon national repentance.  The message was very simple:  “Repent: for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:1-7).

The theocracy could have been restored (cf. Acts 1:3-7); and though only the heavenly aspect of the kingdom was being offered to the nation at this time, any realization of the heavenly would have necessitated a realization of the earthly as well.  One cannot exist in this respect apart from the other.

Israel, at Christ’s first coming, was viewed as sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:4-6).  Supernatural signs were being manifested — supernatural healings of individuals, supernatural provision (Matthew 4:23-25; John 2:7-10) — pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and have if the nation would repent.

This was God through one Son calling His other son to acknowledge that which had been done, and repent.  But the other son refused, and the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 began to be fulfilled in the antitype.

One son rose up against the other Son, and slew Him.  As Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, Israel rose up against Christ and slew Him.  And as the blood of Abel cried out “from the ground,” the blood of Christ “speaks better things than that of Abel” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).

Then the story continues from Genesis 4.  Cain’s punishment for this act was something that he looked upon as greater than he could bear.  He was to be driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth, he was to be “a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth [a fugitive moving from place to place across the face of the earth, with no permanent home]”; and, in this condition, he would find himself at the mercy of those upon the earth.

Others would seek to slay him, but would be unable to do so.  God, in spite of that which Cain had done, would not only supernaturally protect Cain, but He would judge those who did seek to slay him (Genesis 4:13-15).

And this is exactly what has happened to the Jewish people over the centuries since they slew their Brother.  Israel has been driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth (among those “without God,” in the tents of Ham and Japheth [cf. Genesis 9:26-27; Ephesians 2:12]).  Israel has been scattered among the nations — a fugitive, one guilty of blood, with no permanent home (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-67) — and Israel, in this condition, has been placed at the mercy of these same nations.

As previously shown, some of these Gentile nations where the Jewish people have been scattered have sought to help God chasten His son through forwarding the affliction.  They, as Cain feared would happen to him when he was driven out in this manner, have sought to take Israel’s life.  But Israel possesses the same promise Cain possessed.  God would supernaturally intervene, protect His son’s life (though allowing the nations to enact their anti-Semitism), and then judge the nations that did interfere with His treatment of His son.

The classic example of this in modern times would be that which occurred in Europe during the reign of the Third Reich (1933-1945).  Germany, not realizing what they were doing (another Gentile nation fulfilling that stated in Genesis 4:14-15; Zechariah 1:15), sought to help God chasten His son (again, not realizing what they were doing, or the grave consequences of their actions).

They built the concentration camps, the crematoriums, and sought to produce a Jew-free Europe through the destruction of an entire race of people.  And six million Jews in Europe (Jews dispersed in Gentile lands, at the mercy of the Gentiles) died during this time.

An understanding of the severity of that which happened to Israel during these years is something that seems to move beyond all human comprehension.  And man finds himself asking questions that should never be asked, for they reflect negatively upon that which God has revealed about Himself and His dealings with Israel.

Man wants to know how a loving God could allow something like this to occur.  Man wants to know where God was when His people were undergoing untold sufferings and agonies in the death camps.  

The problem with all this type of reasoning — bringing the love of God into question, or asking where God was — is that this reasoning exists completely apart from the revelation of God concerning Himself and His dealing with Israel.

God’s love is thought of in humanistic terms, thinking what man might do relative to love.  But the manner in which an infinite, omniscient God views love and the manner in which finite, fallen man might view love are two different things entirely.

Note, for example, the extent to which a loving God allowed His “beloved Son” to suffer at Calvary.  God loved the world to the extent that He allowed His Son, Jesus, to die at Calvary, providing salvation for all who will believe on His Son.

And God has a corresponding love for His son, Israel, which is also connected with the world and with untold sufferings.   God loves the world to the extent that He has allowed His other son to suffer over the years, to bring about correction, in order that the nations might be blessed through His son.

And, to turn that around, God loves His Son, Jesus, so much that He had decreed that the eternal destiny of man be contingent on man’s acceptance or rejection of His Son; and God loves His son, Israel, so much that he has decreed that all blessings that He has reserved for mankind be contingent upon man’s treatment of His son.

But, where was God when the Jewish people were suffering and dying by the tens and hundreds of thousands in the Nazi death camps?  Moses provides the answer to that question as well, along with the answers to any other questions that can be raised relative to the Jewish people.

The answer is seen by asking: “Where was God when the Israelites were suffering under the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt during Moses’ day?”  He was in the same place during Jewish suffering in modern times as He was during the sufferings of these same people in Moses’ day, or during any other sufferings that the Jewish people have undergone over the course of the intervening centuries and millennia.

Note where God was during the sufferings of the Jewish people in Moses’ day:

And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt…” (Exodus 3:2-4, 7a)

The picture is that of Israel burning in the fires of Gentile persecution, with God in the midst of the nation.  God was allowing the Gentiles to help “forward the affliction”; and, at the same time, He was in the midst of His people, who were being afflicted.  God Himself was being afflicted along with His son.

(Exactly the same thing can be seen through the sufferings of God’s Son at Calvary.  One Son died, and this Son was God Himself.  It was God Who suffered.  It was the very blood of God that was shed at Calvary [Acts 20:28].)

This is why treatment accorded either Son — whether good or bad — is treatment accorded God Himself (Matthew 25:31-46).  God is seen in the midst of Israel.  He is seen standing with His son, receiving exactly the same thing that the son receives.

The burning bush during Moses’ day, representing Israel continually suffering in the fires of Gentile persecution, couldn’t be destroyed.  To destroy the bush, one would have had to destroy God within the bush.  The bush burned in a continuous manner, though nothing was being consumed in the process, for God could not/cannot be consumed.

It was as Cain in Genesis 4, for one type must agree with another type bearing on the same subject in exact detail.  And both Cain’s experiences and the burning bush during Moses’ day point to Israel, who can no more be destroyed than God in the midst of His people can be destroyed.

But principles that God set forth pertaining to those who have sought/who seek to help “forward the affliction” of His people must be worked out.  These were set forth in Genesis 4:13-15 relative to Cain.  Sevenfold vengeance (“seven,” showing the completeness of that which was in view, pointing to complete judgment) would be taken upon the one seeking to slay Cain.

And God has stated relative to Abraham and his seed, “…I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you…” (Genesis 12:3a).  Insofar as Germany was concerned — and more particularly the Third Reich — these principles had to be worked out.  God Himself had established the principles; and God, remaining true to His Word, would have to bring to pass that which He had decreed.

The Third Reich, which was supposed to last for one thousand years, lasted all of twelve years (1933-1945).  And at the end of this time, this Empire lay in total ruin, with judgment continuing for decades upon those having laid their hands upon God’s son (the Eichmann trial, other war criminals still being hunted, etc.).

The short tenure of the Third Reich and the devastation that befell Germany can be traced to one thing alone.  The leadership of the Third Reich helped forward the affliction of God’s son.  And through so doing, they took an entire nation (the German people) down with them.

God allowed this Gentile nation to afflict His son in this manner.  And then, true to His Word, He brought an end to the matter, not only preserving a people who couldn’t be destroyed but judging those who had sought to do so, through a punishment commensurate with the crime.

Thus, where was God when the Jewish people were being gassed and placed in the ovens at Auschwitz, among other death camps?  The answer is simple: God was there!  God was in the midst of His people, just as He was in the burning bush during Moses’ day.  And, as the bush couldn’t be consumed during Moses’ day almost 2,500 years ago, neither could the nation be consumed in the gas chambers and ovens during modern times.  It is the same nation, with the same calling, with the same unchangeable God dwelling in the nation’s midst.

Israel could no more be consumed in the gas chambers and ovens during the reign of the Third Reich than could the three Israelites be consumed in the fiery furnace during Nebuchadnezzar’s day — a furnace heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated, so hot that it slew those who cast the three Israelites into the furnace.    The fire though had no power over these Israelites, none whatsoever.  Not a single hair on their heads was singed by the fire.

But this was not at all the fate awaiting those who cast them into the furnace, or the fate awaiting the kingdom of Babylon at a later date.  Only destruction awaited those who had raised their hand against God’s people, Israel.

Why did all these things occur in Babylon after this particular fashion — Jewish protection, Gentile destruction?  Again, one must go back in history to see the way in which God has decreed that all matters relative to Israel must come to pass, beginning in Genesis 4.  And to bring these decrees to pass relative to His son, supernatural protection (which had been previously revealed) was provided for the three Israelites in the furnace in Babylon.  And this protection was provided through a fourth person seen in the furnace, unidentified in Daniel, but having previously been identified by Moses (Daniel 3:19-27).

That which befell the Egyptian Pharaoh and his armed forces (the power of Egypt) during Moses’ day, or that which befell the kingdom of Babylon during Daniel’s day, or that which befell Nazi Germany during modern times, will befall any and all who dare to raise their hand against God’s son.  God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, may very well allow certain things to occur relative to His son, even to the degree that it occurred during the reign of the Third Reich.  But the end will always be the same, for God must remain true to His Word.

The end will always be the same as that which occurred during Moses’ day, though it may take various forms as God brings matters to pass.  During Moses’ day, the end is seen on the one hand by the Israelites standing on the eastern banks of the Red Sea, singing the victor’s song; and the end is seen on the other hand by Pharaoh and his armed forces overthrown and lying dead in the sea.

Though God has allowed, and will yet allow, Israel to experience untold sufferings at the hands of the Gentile nations — of a nature that defies all human comprehension — it is not for man to question God’s methods and ways in His treatment of His disobedient son, ways designed to bring about correction.  God’s thoughts and ways are not man’s thoughts and ways at all.  God’s thoughts and ways are higher than man’s, “as the heavens are higher than the earth” (Isaiah 55:8-9).  One is infinite, and the other is finite; and the two cannot be brought together in this respect.

The only manner in which man’s thoughts and ways can be brought into conformity with God’s thoughts and ways is for man to find out what God has to say about a matter and believe it.  Only then will the two be the same; and only then will God honor man’s thoughts and ways, for they will then be His thoughts and ways (cf. Romans 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 11:6).

Israel and the Nations — Future

Israel’s greatest time of affliction at the hands of the Gentiles still lies in the future.  That which occurred in Europe under the reign of the Third Reich is little more than a precursor of that which is about to occur worldwide under the reign of a man who will shortly appear on the scene.

During “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), when the Antichrist exercises full power, he will enact a form of anti-Semitism without parallel in history.  He will seek to destroy the Jewish people, not just in Europe, but worldwide.  And he will be responsible for slaying more than twice as many Jews in less than half the time as were slain in Europe during the war years.

The Jewish people, remembering the Holocaust, have a saying today: “Never Again!”  But Israel is saying this in an unrepentant and unbelieving state, guaranteeing that something similar, if not worse, will happen again.  And that about to occur will be worse, far worse.  It will make the Holocaust pale by comparison.

The Old Testament type for all of this is set forth in the book of Exodus.  Moses wrote about the matter in great detail almost 3,500 years ago — detail which will be fulfilled exactly as recorded.

The Assyrian Pharaoh, seeking to destroy the Jewish people in Egypt during Moses’ Day (Isaiah 52:4), typifies the Assyrian (Antichrist) of the end time, who will raise his hand against Israel after the same fashion (Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 23:13; 30:31; 31:8; Hosea 11:5; Micah 5:5).  And, just as God supernaturally protected His people under the past Assyrian, He will supernaturally protect them under the future Assyrian; just as God ultimately led His people out of Egypt under Moses, He will ultimately lead them out from a worldwide dispersion under Jesus; just as the power of Egypt was destroyed in that day, so will Gentile world power be destroyed yet future; and just as the Jewish people subsequently dwelled in the land, within a theocracy, they, in that coming day, will dwell in the land once again within a theocracy.

The Son of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), restore His people to the land, and restore the kingdom to Israel.  Then, and only then, will blessings flow out from God through Israel to the Gentile nations of the earth, as God originally intended through Israel’s calling.
Chapter Seven
Saying No Other Things

Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.

Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those that the prophets and Moses said would come —

that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:19-23)

Paul appearing before Agrippa, several years prior to the close of his ministry, briefly recounts and summarizes his entire past ministry.  He began with events surrounding his conversion on the Damascus road and continued with events surrounding his subsequent ministry — a ministry that began with the Jews in Damascus, progressed to the Jews in Jerusalem and beyond, and eventually extended out to the Gentiles among the nations.

Paul was the apostle whom God had called for the specific purpose of taking the message of the kingdom of the heavens out into the Gentile world.  And though Peter had been used of the Lord to open the door to the Gentiles in this respect (Acts 10:1ff), Paul was the one whom the Lord had called for this purpose (Acts 9:15; Galatians 2:7).

And this was a task that required a special and particular type preparation, available only through one means.  It was available only through that part of the Old Testament Scriptures having to do with the matter at hand being opened to Paul’s understanding.  And to bring this to pass, the Lord took Paul aside shortly after his conversion (apparently to Arabia, for possibly as long as three years [Galatians 1:16-18]).  Then, through personally appearing to Paul, the Lord taught him what is called in Scripture, “the mystery.”  The Lord, using Paul’s knowledge of the letter of the Old Testament Scriptures, opened these Scriptures to his understanding, revealing spiritual truths surrounding the “one new man” in Christ.

The mystery is an expression used by Paul to call attention to the heart of that which he proclaimed throughout his ministry;  and, this being the case, it would only be natural for Paul to provide explanatory statements surrounding the mystery in his epistles (Romans 16:25; Galatians 1:11-12; 2:2).

Note how Paul explains the mystery in his letters to Christians in both Ephesus and Colosse:

How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery…

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

Whereof I was made a minister… (Ephesians 3:3, 6-7a [3a]).

of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God,

the mystery …

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:25-27 [26a]).

Explaining the mystery is really very simple.  The mystery has to do with believing Jews and believing Gentiles being placed together in one body (where there is “neither Jew nor Greek [‘Gentile’],” but “one new man,” in Christ [cf. Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:12-15]), for a purpose.  It has to do with those in Christ, whether removed from the Jews or from the Gentiles, being “fellowheirs [heirs together], and of the same body [‘in Christ’], and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel [the good news of the coming glory of Christ]” (Ephesians 3:6).  It has to do with those “in Christ” being heirs together within that which had previously been offered to and taken from Israel — heirship with Christ in the kingdom of the heavens.

Then, Paul states the matter another way in his letter to the Christians in Colosse.  The mystery has to do with “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).  “Christ,” the One Who would rule and reign, was now being proclaimed among the Gentiles.  And these Gentiles, who had previously possessed “no hope” (Ephesians 2:12), were now in possession of a hope.  Christ being proclaimed among the Gentiles had to do with the Gentiles now being in possession of “the hope of glory.”

(The words, “Christ in you,” could, contextually, be better translated and understood as “Christ among you.”  These three words simply capsulize the first part of the verse, which has to do with the mystery being proclaimed among the Gentiles.

The Greek word “en” appears twice in the verse, translated “among” and “in” — “the mystery among the Gentiles,” and “Christ in you.”  The word can be translated or understood either way, but its contextual usage must determine which way is correct.

The thought beginning the verse has to do with the mystery being proclaimed among the Gentiles, and this is continued with a definition of that thought — “Christ among you…”  That is, the mystery being proclaimed among the Gentiles had to do with Christ being proclaimed among them.  It had to do with the One Who would rule and reign now being proclaimed among the Gentiles, giving the previously alienated Gentiles a hope.)

Paul, through preaching Christ among the Gentiles, had been called to proclaim this “hope of glory” throughout the Gentile world.  And because Paul had been “obedient to the heavenly vision,” this message, during Paul’s day, was “preached to every creature that is under heaven” (Colossians 1:5-6, 23).  That is, during Paul’s day, the message that he had been called to carry out into the Gentile world was proclaimed to every Christian throughout the then-known world, whether within the nation of Israel or out among the Gentile nations.

The Lord, appearing to and instructing Paul over the course of possibly three years, took the Old Testament Scriptures and opened these Scriptures to his understanding.  And this message, derived from an understanding of this aspect of Old Testament revelation and referred to as “the mystery,” had to do with all the various things surrounding the hope set before the new entity whom the Lord had called into existence — the “one new man,” in Christ.  It had to do with the Gentiles no longer being alienated from “the hope of glory.”  It had to do with believing Gentiles and believing Jews realizing an inheritance together, in the same body.

And Paul, proclaiming this message to believing Gentiles, warned every man [concerning that which would occur if the message was not heeded],” and taught every man in all wisdom [the things concerning the mystery, the proclamation of Christ, which gave them a hope],” and he did this for a purpose.  He wanted to be able to one day present “every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28).

The word translated “perfect” in Colossians 1:28 is from the Greek word teleios, which has to do with bringing something to completion, or to a goal.  This is the word sometimes used for maturity in the faith (e.g., Ephesians 4:13; James 1:4); but, contextually in Colossians 1:28, the thought moves beyond maturity and has to do with Christians appearing in Christ’s presence at a future date, with nothing lacking.

Maturity in the faith is not an end in itself.  Rather, maturity is with a view to an end.  Maturity is an integral part of the process, for it provides the wisdom and knowledge necessary to properly run the race in which Christians presently find themselves engaged, allowing them to successfully reach the goal, the end in view.

Presenting individuals perfect, presenting them complete in Christ’s presence, has to do with bringing Christians to the goal of their calling — the salvation of their SOULS.  It has to do with Christians appearing at the judgment seat in a manner that will allow the Lord to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (cf. Matthew 16:27; 25:19ff).  And bringing Christians to this goal was to be the end result of that in which the Lord had personally instructed Paul and which was referred to as “the mystery.”

Paul was obsessed with proclaiming this message to Christians in the Gentile world, for he wanted to one day be able to see these same Christians realize the goal of their calling.  His three-year ministry in Ephesus would be a case in point.

Throughout these three years, he had not ceased to “warn everyone night and day with tears” — a statement that, contextually, had to do with false teachers subsequently arising in the Church and proclaiming a message contrary to the one Paul had proclaimed]” (Acts 20:29-31).  Paul’s burning desire was to see every Christian in Ephesus one day appear in the Lord’s presence with nothing lacking.  And he knew that false teachers arising among them, with their “damnable heresies” (cf. 2 peter 2:1; 3:15-17), could mislead many and prevent this from happening.

Paul, above everything else, did not want to appear in Christ’s presence in that coming day and find that he had either run or labored in vain.  And he conducted his ministry accordingly (1 Corinthians 9:23-27; 15:58; Galatians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:5).

From Israel to the Gentiles

The kingdom of the heavens had first been offered to Israel by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ; the offer was then continued by Christ and His disciples.  Israel though, beginning with John, spurned the offer.  And not only did Israel spurn the offer, but the Jewish people terminated their rejection by crucifying the Heir, their Messiah.

But even though the Jewish people had done these things, God was longsuffering toward them.  He, at this point, was not finished with Israel in relation to the proffered kingdom.

After God had raised His Son from the dead, He called a new entity into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected.  And for those comprising this new entity — the “one new man,” in Christ, the Church — their first task had to do with proclaiming the message of the kingdom to Israel once again, constituting a re-offer of the kingdom to the Jewish people.

This re-offer of the kingdom began on the day of Pentecost as Peter and others, empowered by the Spirit Who had been sent, proclaimed the message to Jews who had assembled in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven.  These Jews had come up to Jerusalem to observe the feast of Pentecost (one of three annual festivals to be observed in Jerusalem by Jewish males [Deuteronomy 16:16]), and every man under the sound of those proclaiming the message on that day heard the opening message of the re-offer of the kingdom in the native language of the country from which he had come (Acts 2:1ff).

This re-offer of the kingdom to Israel continued for slightly over three decades (from 30 A.D. until about 62 A.D.).  And throughout this time, though Israel held priority, the message was also to be carried to the Gentiles (something completely new, for the offer had been restricted solely to Israel up to this point in time [Matthew 10:5-6]).

But beginning on the day of Pentecost — when a new entity was brought into existence and the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel began — Gentiles were no longer excluded, though priority still belonged to Israel.  As long as the re-offer of the kingdom remained open to Israel, the message was to be proclaimed “to the Jew first.”  The Jewish people held priority in this respect.  But, with the Gentiles no longer excluded, the message was to be proclaimed “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” (Romans 1:13-16; 2:5-10 [sections of Scripture written very near the close of the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel]).

However, even though the offer of the kingdom was now also open to the Gentiles, those comprising the “one new man” (all converted Jews at the beginning) apparently, at first, had little to no understanding of this fact.  For about the first ten years of the existence of the Church, the message continued to be carried to Israel alone (as in the original offer preceding Calvary).  And even Paul, converted about midway through this period, insofar as the record goes, did exactly the same thing at first.

Two central things brought an end to events where the message was carried to Israel alone:

1)  The Lord took Paul aside as the one whom He had chosen to carry this message out into the Gentile world (cf. Acts 9:15-16; Galatians 1:15-23; 2:2, 7).  And this is where the revelation of the mystery is seen in Scripture.  Viewing the mystery from this perspective, it simply has to do with all the different things involved in Paul taking the same message being proclaimed to Israel and proclaiming this message to the “nation” that the Lord had spoken of when He previously announced that the kingdom would be taken from Israel (Matthew 21:43).  This was a nation that couldn’t be Jewish (for the kingdom had been taken from Israel); nor could this nation be Gentile (for the Gentiles were “aliens from the commonwealth [Gk., politeia, having to do with political or governmental activity] of Israel…and without God [Gk., atheos, from which the English word, “atheist,” is derived] in the world” [Ephesians 2:12]).

2)  Then the Lord took Peter aside, showed him the vision of the great sheet (containing all types of animals that were unclean to the orthodox Jew), and instructed Peter concerning that which He had cleansed, which Peter was looking upon as unclean.  The reference was to the Gentiles, and Peter was not to look upon the Gentiles as unclean in relation to the message at hand.  The message was to be carried to them as well, something that all those proclaiming the message to Israel up to this point in time had not been doing at all.  And the household of Cornelius was used as the object lesson, with Peter instructed to carry this message to these Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48).

But, though this new nation was neither Jewish nor Gentile, it would be formed from both; and this formation would occur mainly through God going to the Gentiles, “to take out of them a people for His name” (cf. Acts 15:14; I Peter 2:9-10).  And it is this new entity, taken mainly from the Gentiles, which would be afforded the opportunity to bring forth fruit for the kingdom.

Thus, the message to be carried to the Gentiles was not to be carried to unsaved Gentiles but to the “one new man,” taken mainly from the Gentiles — which was “neither Jew nor Greek [‘Gentile’],” but “a new creation,” in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26, 28; Ephesians 2:15).  The word “Gentile” is used to refer to this “one new man” numerous times throughout the book of Acts and the epistles.  And that which the Lord opened to Paul’s understanding had to do with the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens being proclaimed to this new entity, which would be located mainly among the nations of the world.

(Though Paul had been called to carry this message to the Gentiles, as long as the re-offer of the kingdom remained open to Israel, Israel held priority.  The message had to be carried “to the Jew first” throughout this period.  This was God’s ordained order.  And this was the reason that Paul, during the course of his ministry in Gentile cities, always, without exception, went to the synagogues and proclaimed the message to the Jewish people first.  Only after the Jewish people in a particular city had rejected the message did Paul go to the Gentiles in that city.

And Paul continued his ministry in this respect all the way to Rome, when Israel’s priority was brought to a close.  At the end of the book of Acts, Paul, in Rome, sent for the Jewish religious leaders first.  And when they had come, Paul spoke to them of “the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning until evening” [Acts 28:23].

It was only after these Jewish religious leaders had rejected the message that Paul was free to go to the Christians in Rome with the same message.  And it was only after he had spoken to these Jewish religious leaders that Paul, because of continued Jewish rejection, announced for the third and last time:

Be it known therefore to you, that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” [Acts 28:28; cf. Acts 13:46; 18:6].

This marked the close of the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel and the end of the Jewish priority seen throughout the book of Acts.  From this point, throughout the remainder of the dispensation, the message of the kingdom would go only to the Gentiles [i.e., only to “the new creation,” in Christ].  And for a Jew to come under the hearing of this message throughout the remainder of the dispensation, following Paul’s statement in Acts 28:28, he would have to become a Christian.  He would have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, exactly as an unsaved Gentile would have to do to come under the hearing of this message.)

Thus, the message of the kingdom carried to the Gentiles, either before or after Paul’s visit to Rome, could not be carried to unsaved Gentiles per se.  Unsaved Gentiles were “dead in trespasses and sins,” along with being separated from both God and Israel’s political sphere of activity.  Gentiles had to first hear a message that would not only allow them to pass “from death unto life” but would, as well, place them in a position where they were no longer separated from God and from Israel’s political sphere of activity.  Only then could Gentiles hear the various things involved in “the mystery.”

This is the reason Paul, when first going to Corinth and finding a city filled with unsaved Gentiles, determined to not proclaim anything among them “save Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).  Those in Corinth had to first hear the message surrounding the simple gospel of grace.  Having heard and heeded this message would allow two things to occur:  1) their passing “from death unto life,” and 2) their positionally being “in Christ,” allowing God to recognize them as “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (cf. Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 2:1).  Only then would they be in a position to hear things surrounding the good news of the coming glory of Christ.

And within Paul’s proclamation of this message among the Gentiles, a ministry lasting about three decades, possibly two things stand out above all else in Paul’s summary statement as he stood before Agrippa in Acts 26 and recounted his ministry:  1) “…I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision,” and 2) “…I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those that the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:19, 22b [19b]).

1)  “I Was Not Disobedient…”

The Lord had a specific purpose behind Paul’s conversion.  Paul is introduced in Scripture at a time when Israel’s religious leaders had, again, reached an apex in their rejection of the proffered kingdom — at the time of Stephen’s stoning (the first apex is seen in Matthew 12:9-24, during the original offer of the kingdom to Israel).  Those who stoned Stephen “laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.”  And Saul, later called Paul (apparently his Roman name), “was consenting” unto Stephen’s death (Acts 7:58; 8:1; 22:20).

Paul was the great persecutor of the early Church, referred to at that time as those of “the way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22) — a way different than that which the Jewish people followed, a way looked upon by Israel’s religious leaders as heretical.  And Paul, a strict and knowledgeable Pharisee, directed his efforts toward doing away with this new sect, thinking he was doing that which was right in God’s sight (Acts 8:1-3; 22:3-4).

Paul, in Acts 9:1-3a is seen journeying from Jerusalem to Damascus for this same purpose.  Paul had in his possession “letters [religious legal documents]” from the high priest in Jerusalem, which were to be presented to the religious leaders in the synagogues in Damascus.  And these documents would give Paul the necessary authority to bind and take back to Jerusalem any individuals — men or women — that he found following “the way” in Damascus.

But the Lord stopped Paul as he neared Damascus, made Himself known to Paul, and told Paul what he, in reality, was doing by persecuting those of “the way.”  And Paul was left trembling, astonished, and blind (blinded by the light of the Lord’s presence, a light “above the brightness of the sun” [Acts 26:13]).  Paul then had to be led the remainder of the way to Damascus by those accompanying him, who had heard only a voice and had not witnessed the Lord’s visible presence, leaving them unaffected by the light (Acts 9:3-8 [3b]).

Part of that which occurred at this time is not recorded in Acts 9 but is reiterated years later by Paul as he stood before Agrippa in Acts 26.  Note that which Paul relates before Agrippa about the Lord revealing the purpose for this revelation of Himself at the time of the events recorded in Acts 9:

So I said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things that you have seen and of the things that I will yet reveal to you.

I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,

to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:15-18).

Some of the things within this revelation had also been revealed to Ananias (a follower of “the way” in Damascus) shortly after Paul’s encounter with the Lord on the Damascus road.  And it was Ananias whom the Lord used to appear before Paul on Paul’s third day of blindness and lay his hands upon Paul, allowing the Lord, in this manner, to restore his sight and to fill him with the Holy Spirit, empowering him for the task at hand (Acts 9:15-17).

Paul, almost immediately, drawing from his knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures, began to enter into the synagogues of Damascus and both proclaim and prove from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.  And Paul was zealous and knowledgeable enough in the matter that the Jews in Damascus sought to kill him (Acts 9:20-24).

Then, after the disciples had let Paul down over the outside of the city wall in a basket, delivering him from the Jews in Damascus, he journeyed to Jerusalem.  And Paul, in Jerusalem, proclaimed the same message after the same fashion, causing the same unrest among the Jews in Jerusalem that he had previously caused among the Jews in Damascus.  And this resulted in Paul having to be removed out of the country altogether and sent to Tarsus.  It was only then that things began to settle down, with the churches throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria realizing rest (Acts 9:25-31).

It was sometime after these events that the Lord took Paul aside, appeared to him a second time, and taught him, from the Old Testament Scriptures, all the various things surrounding his carrying the message of the coming kingdom to the Gentiles (cf. Acts 26:16b; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3).  

Then Paul returned to Damascus where he had begun his ministry several years earlier and went on to Jerusalem for the specific purpose of seeing Peter (apparently to convey to Peter, the apostle God had called to go to the Jews, things that he had learned about carrying this message to both Jew and Gentile during his previous lengthy time spent with the Lord [Galatians 1:17-8; cf. Galatians 2:2, 7]).

That which the Lord had outlined for Paul to accomplish was revealed to him at the time of his conversion on the Damascus road.  And Paul, looking back over his ministry as he neared the end, stated before Agrippa that he had done all that which the Lord had called him to do.  He had not been disobedient to the heavenly vision.

2)  “I Continue unto This Day…”

Not only had Paul been completely obedient to the heavenly vision, but he had continued obedient until the day he stood before Agrippa.  And no change in obedience occurred in Paul’s ministry beyond that.  He continued to proclaim this message, and he was in route to Rome to proclaim this same message to the Christians there (cf. Acts 27:1; 28:16-31; Romans 1:13-16).

But again, when Paul arrived in Rome, the re-offer of the kingdom was still open to Israel, with Israel still holding priority.  Thus, before going to the Christians in Rome, Paul, “as his manner was” (Acts 17:2; cf. Acts 13:46), proclaimed the message to the Jewish religious leaders in Rome first.  It was only after these Jewish religious leaders had rejected the message that Paul was free to go to the Christians in Rome.

And this is where the book of Acts ends, for a reason.  The book of Acts covers that period in both Israeli and Church history when the kingdom was reoffered to Israel by Christians.  And the termination of this re-offer brings the book of Acts to a close.

This is that which is peculiar above all else to the book of Acts, causing numerous things in the book to be an enigma to those Christians failing to recognize this central feature of the book.  And this will reflect on one’s proper understanding of numerous things in the epistles as well (both Pauline and General), for some of the epistles were written during the Acts period, and some were written following this time.

Suffice it to say, had the account in the book of Acts continued, covering Paul’s ministry beyond Rome, there would have been one change seen in his ministry.  His manner would no longer have been to go to the Jew first with this message, for he couldn’t have done so.  The offer of the kingdom (original offer preceding Calvary, and the re-offer following Calvary) had been closed to Israel.  The offer of the kingdom beyond this point was to “the new creation,” in Christ alone.

All else though would have remained the same.  Paul would have continued, and did continue, obedient to the heavenly vision, to the end (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7-18).

Content of the Pauline Epistles

Paul, before Agrippa, called attention to a little understood or appreciated truth about his ministry, which would include all the things that he wrote in his epistles to different churches and individuals.  Paul, during the course of his ministry, said nothing other than those things “that the prophets and Moses did say should come.”  And these things had to do with Christ’s sufferings, His resurrection, and light being shown to the Gentiles (Acts 26:22-23 [22b]).

Suffering precedes glory, and glory cannot be realized apart from suffering (cf. Luke 24:25-27; I Peter 4:12-13).  And this glory can be realized only in resurrection — things having to do with the light now being shown unto the Gentiles.  This light had to do with Christ, the One raised from the dead and the One Who would rule and reign, now being proclaimed among the Gentiles, which gave the Gentiles a hope.

Paul derived all the various facets of this teaching entirely from the Old Testament Scriptures, as the Lord opened these Scriptures to his understanding near the beginning of his ministry.  Everything that Paul taught had its basis in Moses and the Prophets, whether it had to do with Israel, the Church, or the Gentile nations.

And Paul’s own statement to this effect should lay to rest the erroneous teaching that numerous things in the epistles that he wrote about (e.g., the Church) cannot be found in the Old Testament Scriptures.  If Paul dealt with a matter, it has its basis in Old Testament revelation, for he dealt with nothing other than that “which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16).

This is why the study of biblical typology is so important in properly understanding the New Testament.  Only through comparing that stated about one (the type, in the Old Testament) with that stated about the other (the antitype, in the New Testament) can the complete picture be seen.  It could be compared to viewing a picture from two different vantage points.  Certain things can be seen from one point that might not be evident from the other point; and, through comparing the two — the one picture, presented two different ways — the complete picture can be seen.

And all this comes through the only pictures that God has provided — word-pictures.  God uses “words” to express His thoughts, to form pictures.  And it is these words that man is to take and proclaim today (2 Timothy 4:2).  Only through this means can and will God’s message be presented in a completely clear and correct manner.
Chapter Eight
By Faith

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

“For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible (Hebrews 10:35-11:3).

Hebrews 11 is usually looked upon as “the great chapter on faith” in Scripture.  Certain experiences of a select number of individuals from Old Testament history are recounted, and each of these individuals is said to have acted “by faith”:  “By faith Abel…,” “By faith Enoch…,” “By faith Noah…,” etc. (Hebrews 11:4-5, 7ff).

But something is often overlooked when studying Hebrews chapter eleven — that stated about “faith” in the introductory verses.  The various things stated about individuals walking “by faith” in this chapter (Hebrews 11:4ff) must be understood in the light of that revealed about “faith” in the introductory verses leading into this section of the book (Hebrews 10:35-11:3).

“Faith” appears in connection with a particular subject in these introductory verses.  And the subject being dealt with can only remain unchanged in that section of the book that these introductory verses lead into — that section of the book beginning with, “By faith Abel…” (Hebrews 11:4).

The verses introducing the thought of various individuals exercising a walk “by faith” deal specifically with “faith” in relation to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:39).  And the saving of the soul has to do with present and future aspects of salvation, not with the past aspect of salvation, the salvation of the spirit.  The saving of the soul has to do with a salvation awaiting those who have already “passed from death unto life,” not with a salvation awaiting those who are still “dead in trespasses and sins” (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1).

Then, to view the end of the matter, the saving of the soul is revealed in the chapter one of First Peter to be the goal of “faith”:

Receiving the end [goal] of your faith — the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)

And a principle drawn from the relationship between faith and salvation in this verse (salvation being the goal of faith) would be true at any point in Scripture where faith and salvation are in view.  This principle would be true whether dealing with salvation by grace through faith, or with faith to the saving of the soul.  “Faith,” in both instances, would be seen to have a revealed goal; and that revealed goal, in both instances, would be salvation.  In the former, the salvation of the spirit would be in view; and in the latter, the salvation of the soul would be in view.

A person is saved (past) “by grace…through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).  Through a simple act of faith, a person is “born again [lit., ‘born from above’],” passes “from death unto life” (John 3:3; 5:24).  This is a spiritual birth; and once this birth has occurred, “faith,” bringing this birth to pass, can only be looked upon as reaching its intended goal.

The intended goal of “faith,” in this respect, is eternal salvation.  Salvation is instantly complete the moment one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ; and faith, with respect to that which is brought to completion, must be looked upon in the same sense.  Faith produced its intended result at that point in time; and faith, at that same point in time, was brought to its goal.

But that is “faith” with respect to the salvation that we presently possess.  And though faith, as it pertains to this salvation, has been brought to its goal, faith itself must and does continue (though faith may or may not be active in every Christian’s life).  But this continuing faith, rather than pertain to salvation past (the salvation of the spirit), pertains to salvation present and future (the salvation of the soul).

Romans 1:17 states, “…from faith to faith:  as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”  And the faith referred to in this verse, both textually and contextually, can only have to do with a continuing faith beyond the point of the birth from above.

The whole of that seen in Romans chapter one, both preceding and following verse seventeen, has to do with salvation present and future — the salvation of the soul.  “From faith to faith,” according to both the text and context, refers to a continuing faith by which the just are to live.  It refers to faith as the operating principle within the spiritual life of the one who has “passed from death unto life.”  And a continuing faith of this nature could only be the natural outflow of a new spiritual life, brought into existence through a prior act of faith.

And this continuing faith, referred to in Romans 1:17, is exactly the same faith referred to in Hebrews 10:38:  “Now the just shall live by faith…”  Both verses are quotations from the same Old Testament passage — Habakkuk 2:4.  And whether in Habakkuk, Romans, or Hebrews, faith with respect to “the saving of the soul” is in view (Hebrews 10:39); and there is an end, a goal connected with this continuing act of faith, as there was an end, a goal connected with faith relative to the birth from above.

The pilgrim walk, the race in which Christians find themselves engaged, is a walk solely “by faith.”  And though “works” enter and must have a part (James 2:14), works are seen entering only following faith.  “Faith” must always precede works, and works must always emanate out of faith, bringing faith to the goal seen in 1 Peter 1:9, as Christians govern their lives accordingly (James 2:22; cf. Romans 10:17; James 1:21).  Everything must be “by faith,” from beginning to end.

(In both the salvation of the spirit and the salvation of the soul, works allow “faith” to be brought to its goal.  Works are the means which God uses to bring “faith” to its goal.

In the good news concerning the grace of God, it is the work of Another — Christ’s finished work at Calvary [John 19:30] — which allows “faith” to be brought to its goal.

In the good news concerning the coming glory of Christ, it is the Christians’ own works — works which are the natural outflow of faithfulness, works performed under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit [James 2:21-25] — which allows “faith” to be brought to its goal:  “…by works was faith made perfect [brought to its goal]” [James 2:22].)

Faith

But what is “faith”?  The definition of faith is seen in the meaning of the word itself.  “Faith” and “believe” are two different forms of the same word in the Greek text.  One is a noun (faith), and the other is a verb (believe).  “Faith” is simply believing God.  “Faith” is believing that which God has revealed in His Word.

Thus, “faith” could involve any area of study within the revealed Word.  And too often little attention is paid to the context where “faith” is used when dealing with this subject throughout Scripture.

For example, in Romans 4:3, quoting from Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God [Abraham believed that which God had said; Abraham exercised faith], and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

This event is looked upon by some individuals as the point in Abraham’s life where he was saved.  But that cannot be correct.  The context of the statement in Genesis 15:6 has to do with that which God had previously revealed about Abraham and his progeny realizing an inheritance in another land (cf. Genesis 13:14-17; 15:5-21), which is the contextual setting of the statement in Romans as well (Romans 4:13, 20-22).  And it was in this realm that Abraham exercised faith, i.e., believed God.

Abraham had believed God relative to this same issue prior to the events of Genesis 15, while still in Ur (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Hebrews 11:8).  And his belief concerning this issue, once in the land, is simply a continuing belief in God’s fulfillment of that which He had previously promised.  It had nothing to do with salvation by grace through faith.

Salvation by grace through faith is not in view anywhere in this passage.  Salvation by grace, of necessity, would have had to be an issue at a prior time in Abraham’s life.  Abraham would have had to be saved prior to God commanding him to leave Ur and travel to another land, though the matter is not dealt with per se in Scripture.

It would have been impossible for Abraham to act in accordance with that revealed in Genesis 12:1-3; 15:6 apart from his being saved prior to this time.  An unsaved man simply cannot act in the spiritual realm after this fashion.  He, spiritually, is dead and cannot act in a realm in which he possesses no existence.

And the issue surrounding “faith” in Hebrews 10; 11 is the same as that seen relative to “faith” in Genesis 12:1-3; 15:6.  “Faith” in these sections of Scripture must be understood in accordance with that dealt with in the text.  And that dealt with in the text is clearly revealed to be the salvation of the soul, not salvation by grace through faith.

Thus, one should no more attempt to read salvation by grace through faith into the subject of “faith” in Hebrews chapters ten and eleven than he should into the subject of “faith” in Genesis chapters twelve and fifteen, or elsewhere in Scripture when the context clearly shows that something other than salvation by grace is in view.  Salvation by grace should never be pressed into a section of Scripture as a primary interpretation when that is not the subject being dealt with in the passage.  Doing such will not only destroy that which is being dealt with, but it will often result in corrupting the simple message of salvation by grace.

(Something though should be noted about adhering to primary interpretations in the preceding manner.  Any part of the Word will have a primary interpretation, an interpretation that must be recognized; but the Word of God has been structured in such a manner — given to man through the instrumentality of the Spirit, after a certain fashion — that any part will invariably lend itself to secondary applications.

A familiar case in point would be Christ’s statement to Nicodemus in John 3:14a, associating Moses lifting up the brazen serpent in the wilderness [Numbers 21:5-9] with Christ being lifted up at Calvary [John 3:14b].  The primary interpretation in Numbers 21 would, of necessity, have to do with the sins of a people who had already appropriated the blood of the paschal lambs in Egypt [Exodus 12]; but Christ used this event as a type of that previously seen through the death of these paschal lambs [one type reflecting back on a previous type, both pointing to the antitype].

Christ used this event — as He had used the death of the paschal lambs in Exodus 12 — to typify His finished work at Calvary.  Thus, Christ, in John 3:14, drew from a secondary application of the type in Numbers 21:5-9 to teach a spiritual truth beyond that seen in the primary interpretation.) 

Of Faith

The translation of Hebrews 10:39 in the KJV doesn’t convey exactly what is stated in the Greek text, leaving the reader without the proper thought to continue into Hebrews 11.  Attention is called to two types of Christians in the verse — one placed in the category of shrinking back, and the other placed in an opposite category, that of faith.  The former leads to ruin, or destruction; and the latter leads to the salvation of the soul.

Hebrews 10:39 could be better translated:

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition [‘destruction’] but of faith to a saving [a keeping safe, or preserving (with a view to salvation at a future date)] of the soul.

Scripture leading into this verse deals only with the saved, with Christians.  These verses deal with those possessing a High Priest (Hebrews 10:19-22), those possessing a hope (Hebrews 10:23), those exhorted to assemble together for mutual exhortation, incitement (Hebrews 10:24-25), those who will one day be judged by the Lord as His people (Hebrews 10:30-31), and those in possession of a promise, with a view to a recompense for faithful servitude as household servants at the time of Christ’s return (Hebrews 10:35-37).

And the verse itself, even apart from the context, can be looked upon in only one manner.  It can be looked upon as dealing with the saved alone.  The latter part of the verse clearly refers to those “of faith to the saving of the soul,” and the former part of the verse must be looked upon within an opposite frame of reference, relating to the same subject — those not of faith to the saving of the soul.”  And those not of faith in this respect are described as those who “draw back to perdition [‘destruction’].”

Both the former and latter parts of this verse deal with exactly the same thing — the salvation or loss of the soul, which will be brought to pass in that coming day when “He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).  A brief statement appears in the former having to do with those not exercising faith, with a view to this salvation; and a brief statement appears in the latter having to do with those exercising faith, with a view to this salvation.

And neither part of this verse has anything whatsoever to do with eternal salvation.  Both parts have to do solely with present and future aspects of salvation.  They have to do with a salvation in connection with the present race of the faith, a salvation to be revealed at the time of Christ’s return.  And this is a salvation in connection with realizing an inheritance with Christ in the coming kingdom (1 Peter 1:4-5, 9).  Thus, millennial verities alone can be in view.

Further, Christians are the only ones in a position to shrink back or draw back after the manner seen in the verse.  They are the only ones possessing spiritual life.  The unsaved are dead in trespasses and sins, completely incapable of operating after this fashion in the spiritual realm.  They are in no position to receive or understand spiritual truth.  They possess nothing to shrink or draw back from; and, accordingly, they cannot shrink or draw back in relation to the salvation or loss of the soul.

Shrinking back or drawing back has to do with “timidity” or “fear” relative to that which is in view — the salvation of the soul.  This leads a person to the point of not wanting to have anything to do with the whole matter.  And such a person withdraws, keeps silent.  When the subject surrounding the salvation of the soul is dealt with, he becomes timid or afraid and draws back.  He refuses to involve himself with the matter at hand, usually because of the scarcity of teaching on this subject and the fear of what others might think, or the fear of where this might lead in his standing among fellow-Christians.  Thus, he simply withdraws and remains silent.

But, where does this type position on the subject lead an individual?  The text is clear.  It leads an individual to the opposite of that to which he has been called.  It leads an individual to ruin, to destruction.  It leads an individual to the loss of his soul, his life.  It leads an individual into a position in which he will fail to realize salvation at the time of Christ’s return.  And, resultantly, it leads an individual into a position in which he will fail to realize the awaiting inheritance and a proffered position as co-heir with Christ in His kingdom.

And that’s what is in view at the close of Hebrews 10.  Two types of Christians are set forth — one who draws back to ruin in relation to the saving of the soul, and the other who exercises faith in relation to the saving of the soul.  And it is this whole overall thought that introduces the subject of “faith” in the Hebrews 11.

There can be no proper understanding of the things reiterated in Hebrews 11, beginning with Abel, apart from two things: 1) possessing an understanding of the salvation of the soul, and 2) possessing an understanding, though introductory verses, that “faith” in this chapter is dealt with in relation to the salvation of the soul.

Now Faith Is…

Beginning Hebrews 11, the thought contextually, as has been shown, has to do with “faith” in relation to the saving of the soul.  That is, “Now faith [believing God, in relation to the saving of the soul] is…” (Hebrews 11:1).

When “faith” appears in Scripture, the object of faith also appears.  Man is never told to believe God apart from the revelation of God — the object of faith — also being brought to the forefront as well.  “Faith” always appears in connection with the revealed Word of God and a subject within that Word.

God has spoken, and man is expected to believe that which God has said.  God has spoken to man through His Word.  And a person has to know that which God has revealed before he can exercise faith.  That would be to say, a person has to know that which God has said before he can believe that which God has said.

And this is why Romans 10:17 states,

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

A major problem in Christendom today though is an existing, widespread ignorance of the Word of God.  Christians simply do not know this Word.  And the ability of these same Christians to exercise “faith” — to walk “by faith” — is, accordingly, adversely affected.  Not knowing the Word of God, they simply cannot exercise faith, cannot walk by faith.  That is, not knowing that which God has said, they cannot believe that which God has said.

And this is particularly true when it comes to that which God has said relative to the salvation of the soul.  Christians in general are so ill-versed in Scripture that they see only one thing when it comes to the salvation issue.  They see salvation by grace through faith alone, and they attempt to fit everything pertaining to salvation or deliverance into their framework of thinking in this one area.

And Christians lacking a knowledge and understanding of Scripture, resulting in their viewing Scripture in this limited fashion, often end up with interpretations of the Word that cannot be related to “faith” at all.  That is, many times they end up with a corrupted form of the Word of God, something that is not the Word; and a person believing that which has been corrupted can, by no stretch of the imagination, exercise “faith,” walk “by faith,” in the true biblical sense of the word.

The preceding is particularly true when it comes to Scriptural teaching surrounding the salvation of the soul.  Christians invariably use the expression, “salvation of the soul,” referring to salvation by grace through faith.  Scripture though never uses the expression in this manner.  Scripture always uses the expression referring to present and future aspects of salvation, never to the past aspect of salvation.

The object of faith, the purpose of salvation, the manner in which salvation is effected, and the time in which salvation occurs are all different in teachings surrounding the salvation of the soul than they are in teachings surrounding the salvation of the spirit.  This is why Scripture always, of necessity, separates teachings surrounding salvation in these two realms.

A case in point concerning how Scripture handles this matter would be the text under discussion in this study (Hebrews 10:35-11:3).  These verses introduce what could be looked upon as the apex of the book of Hebrews — a book that, throughout, deals centrally with the salvation of the soul.  And, as previously shown, these verses introduce faith in relation to “the saving of the soulprior to introducing a number of individuals from Old Testament history and recounting various acts in their lives, wrought through their believing God.

Each individual performed certain acts, by faith; and “faith,” in each instance, had to do with that seen in the introductory verses, or, in reality, the book as a whole — the salvation of the SOUL.  The acts that they performed, because they believed God, had to do with the salvation of the soul, something that had already been singled out in connection with “faith” in the book.

And this is the manner in which Scripture is structured.  Scripture never leaves one in the dark to form interpretation of this manner from one’s own reasoning.  Rather, Scripture forms its own interpretation.  Scripture is self-interpreting, which is why Scripture must be compared with Scripture by any individual who would come into a proper and correct interpretation and understanding of the Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-12).

Hebrews 11:1 is simply a continuation of the thought from the previous verse (Hebrews 10:39).  And that revealed about individuals walking by faith, beginning in verse four, must relate back to these two verses, along with the surrounding verses and the book as a whole.  This would simply be comparing Scripture with Scripture to arrive at the correct biblical interpretation of the whole of Hebrews 11.  And comparing Scripture with Scripture after this fashion is the only manner in which Scripture in this or any other section of the Word of God can be properly interpreted and understood.

Thus, Hebrews 11:1, introducing what is often looked upon as “the great chapter on faith” in the Word of God, can be viewed only one way contextually:  “Now faith [to the saving of the soul] is…”  And the remainder of the verse doesn’t provide a definition of faith (which is something seen in the meaning of the word itself; i.e., “faith” is believing God).  Rather, the remainder of the verse reveals that which emanates out of the faith in view, that which emanates out of believing God to the saving of the SOUL.

1)  The Substance of Things Hoped for

The word “substance” is a translation of the Greek word, hupostasis.  This is a compound word, comprised of hupo and stasisHupo means “under,” and stasis means “to stand.”  And the words used together, forming a compound word, would carry the meaning, “to stand under.”  The thought in view is that of a foundation underlying a superstructure.

That is, faith to the saving of the soul is the foundation upon which the “things hoped for [the superstructure]” rests.  The immediate contextual reference would be back to the last mention of hope in the book (Hebrews 10:23), where an exhortation is given:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The hope set before Christians and that which lies within the framework of this hope is the revealed purpose for a further exhortation in Hebrews 10:24-25:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up [‘incite’] love and good works,

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Christians are exhorted to assemble together, not for the sake of mutual encouragement and incitement in a general sense but for the sake of mutual encouragement and incitement in a particular, specified realm.  The hope set before Christians is in view, and this hope must be kept in view if Christians would assemble within the framework of that seen in Hebrews 10:23-25.

This hope was seen earlier in the book as “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:18-19).  An anchor is something that holds that to which it is attached firmly in place.  And, with the soul being anchored in this manner, Christians are, in turn, to “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6).

The words “confidence” and “rejoicing” are translations of Greek words (parresia and kauchema) which have to do with “boldness” and “pride” respectively.  Christians possess something of incalculable value, something that they can both be bold about and take pride in (resulting in “rejoicing,” as in the KJV translation).

Christians possess a hope, which is an anchor of the soul.  And they are to exhibit boldness and pride in that which is theirs as they stand ready to respond to any individual who might ask them about this hope:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15).

It is inevitable that a response of this nature will result in askance looks, disdain, scorn, etc. at the hands of other Christians.  That was anticipated by Peter as he penned the words in this verse.  He himself knew full-well that the servant would receive no better treatment than that accorded the One Whom he served (cf. Acts 4:1-21; 5:28-40; 1 Peter 1:7, 11; 4:12-19; cf. John 21:18-19).

And with this in view, immediately before and after Peter penned the words in 1 Peter 3:15, he wrote,

But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats [don’t be intimidated by them], nor be troubled.

Having a good conscience [spiritual awareness]; that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct [manner of living] in Christ may be ashamed (1 Peter 3:14, 16).

Christians viewing this hope with boldness and pride, knowing that this hope is an anchor of the soul, are not to be afraid, troubled, or intimidated by those who might speak evil of them because of this hope.  Rather, Christians are to view this hope and respond to others concerning this hope in such a manner that even their accusers might, themselves, end up being ashamed.

This is the hope spoken of by Paul in his letter to Titus in connection with an inheritance in the coming age (cf. Titus 1:2; 3:7).  And it is called “that blessed hope,” having to do with “the glorious appearing [lit., ‘the appearing of the glory’] of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).  And Paul in this epistle, relative to this hope, exhorts Christians to “live soberly [of sound mind, keeping one’s head], righteously, and godly, in this present world [‘age’]” (Titus 2:12-13).

And this hope is presented in a similar manner other places in both the Pauline and General epistles (e.g., Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:5, 23, 27; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 3:3).  This is a “hope” that rests on the foundation “of faith to the saving of the soul.”  And it is only one of two things singled out and mentioned in connection with faith in Hebrews 11:1.

2)  The Evidence of Things Not Seen

The evidence of things not seen” is that which is also singled out and mentioned in connection with “faith to the saving of the soul.”

The word “evidence,” a translation of the Greek word elegchos, could be better translated in the sense of “bringing to light.”  That is, “faith to the saving of the soul” is not only the foundation on which our hope rests but it is also that which brings to light the things not seen, connected with this hope.

The things not seen, further dealt with in Hebrews 11:3, have to do with that which cannot be seen in the world about us.  But, through “faith to the saving of the soul,” these things can be seen in that which God has revealed in His Word (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

Faith to the saving of the SOUL” is the one thing that can bring to light, from the Word, that which a person cannot see in the present world system under Satan.  There is the present kingdom under Satan, and there is the coming kingdom under Christ.  The things of the present kingdom can be seen through natural perception, by the natural man; but the things of the coming kingdom can be seen only through spiritual perception, by the spiritual man.

These things can be seen only by faith, only by believing that which God has revealed in His Word.  And it is only through this means that all the various things having to do with the saving of the soul, the hope set before us, are brought to light.  They are brought to light through the Word being opened to the Christians’ understanding by the One presently in the world searching for a bride for God’s Son (cf. Genesis 24:1ff; John 16:12-15).  And all these things from the Word are being laid out before the prospective bride — described as “jewelry of silver, and jewelry of gold” — as the Spirit completes His work during the present dispensation (Genesis 24:53ff).
Chapter Nine
Through Faith We Understand

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things that are seen were not made of things that are visible (Hebrews 11:3).

The book of Hebrews begins with a brief statement calling attention to the various means that God used to reveal Himself, His plans, and His purposes to man through Jewish prophets in time past.  They were God’s spokesmen, the channel through whom He communicated His Word to His people.  Through this means, through the prophets speaking God’s Word, not the prophet’s words, God spoke to His people “by [‘in’ (in the person of each of)] the prophets.”

Then the book continues with a parallel thought.  An additional brief statement is given to the effect that God, “in these last days,” has spoken to man through another means.  He has spoken to man in these last days “by [‘in’ (in the person of)] His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2a).

(In the Greek text there is a definite article before “prophets” [Hebrews 1:1] but not before “Son” [Hebrews 1:2].  The literal rendering is “in the prophets…in Son.”

The use of a definite article in the Greek text stresses a particular identity; but, when there is no article [a definite article; the Greek language does not use indefinite articles, as in English], quality and character are stressed.  The absence of the article before “Son” allows an association to be shown between the Father and the Son that the presence of the article would not allow.  Such a structure allows Deity to be shown in connection with both.

It is very similar to that seen in John 1:1, which concludes with the statement, “…and the Word was God.”  There is no article before God, as there is no article before “Son” in Hebrews 1:2.  As to essence and being, in John 1:1, the Word is associated with God; and in Hebrews 1:2, the Son is associated with God in this same respect.  A Father-Son relationship is seen in both instances.  Deity is seen throughout.

God used Jewish prophets in time past to communicate His Word.  He spoke through these prophets.  But the thought goes far beyond this in relation to God speaking in these last days to man through His Son.  The structure of Hebrews 1:2 declares that the Son was very God of very God, God manifested in the flesh, communicating His Word to His people.  God spoke as Son.)

This whole overall thought of God speaking to His people in the preceding fashion — first in the person of each of the prophets, and then in the person of His Son (or, as Son) — was alluded to during Christ’s ministry, within another frame of reference.  And this was done shortly before His crucifixion through calling attention to that which had occurred both in time past (following the appearances of the prophets) and during the present time (following the appearance of God’s Son) in God’s vineyard, the house of Israel (Matthew 21:33-41).

God had spoken to Israel in time past by means of Jewish prophets.  But these prophets had been rejected and ill-treated.  Following their rejection, many had been beaten, and some had even been stoned and killed.  And this type treatment was not the exception.  Rather, it was the rule (Acts 7:52).  And it occurred over centuries of time, down through the course of Israeli history (Matthew 21:34-36).

Then, last of all, God sent His Son.  But the attitude of the Jewish people remained unchanged, even though the very Son of the Owner of the vineyard was present with His Father’s message.  There was only continued rejection — a rejection wrought by the nation’s religious leaders, with the multitudes following suit (Matthew 21:37ff).

These religious leaders were made up mainly of the Scribes and Pharisees, who, because of their numbers, held sway over the people.  The Scribes and Pharisees constituted, by far, the largest religious party in Israel, and they controlled the religious life of the Jewish people.  They were the keepers and teachers of the Law, the ones recognized to occupy “Moses’ seat” (the ones controlling matters among the people in relation to the Law).

And they were the ones centrally responsible for misleading the Jewish people when the Heir of the vineyard appeared.  They were the ones centrally responsible for the rejection of the message being proclaimed and the corresponding rejection and ultimate crucifixion of the Messenger.

Then, if that wasn’t enough, Scripture reveals that Israel’s religious leaders even knew the identity of the One in their midst.  They knew that they were not rejecting and slaying just another prophet whom God had sent.  They knew that this was the very Heir of the vineyard Himself, and their knowledge of this fact formed the reason for their actions.

Note Christ’s exact words as He revealed these things in a parable.  And He spoke this parable to Israel’s religious leaders (in this instance, to “the chief priests and Pharisees”), revealing to the very ones who knew His identity the very things that they were doing and were about to do:

But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.”

So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. (Matthew 21:38-39; cf. John 3:1-2)

Israel’s religious leaders extended a treatment to the Son in complete keeping with two things:  1) their previous treatment of the prophets, and 2) their knowledge of the Son’s identity.  Those recognizing the Heir, casting Him out of the vineyard, and slaying Him in that day were not about to let Another come in and take from them that which had been committed to their trust, even if this other person was the very Heir Himself.  They wanted to keep things completely in their own possession and under their own control.

But all of this — the rejection of the prophets, followed by the rejection of the Son, along with the ill-treatment accorded to them in the process — would not occur apart from grave consequences.  And these consequences would be visited not only upon this generation of Jews but upon succeeding generations as well.

Israel’s rejection of Christ brought matters to an apex.  And following His rejection, Christ made an announcement to Israel’s religious leaders concerning the grave consequences about to follow.  After pronouncing “woe” after “woe” upon these religious leaders because of that which they had done (Matthew 23:13-33), He announced that “all the righteous blood shed upon the earth,” extending all the way back to Abel, would come upon “this generation” (Matthew 23:34-36) — an all-inclusive statement relative to Israel and shed blood.

(Christ, making this announcement, referenced two violent deaths in biblical history — Abel [the first person slain] and Zachariah [slain in the ninth century B.C.].  Israel’s guilt in connection with shed blood though was not limited to the period between Abel and Zachariah.  Rather, Christ’s statement would have to be looked upon as all-inclusive, covering the entire period of man’s existence on the earth, extending from Abel to Christ.  “All the righteous blood shed upon the earth” would cover 4,000 years of human history and extend from the blood of Abel to the blood of the One Whom Israel was about to slay.)

And because of all this, with matters being brought to an apex, Christ reached all the way back to Abel when declaring Israel’s guilt.  There had been a rejection of God speaking through the prophets.  Then the entire matter was climaxed by a rejection of God speaking in these last days “by [‘in’ (in the person of)] His Son,” along with a rejection of the Son Himself (with Israel’s leadership knowing Who they were rejecting).  And shed blood and death, following rejection, are seen throughout this period.

Cain slaying Abel formed a type (one brother slaying the other brother), pointing to that which Israel was about to do (one brother slaying the other Brother).  And Christ began at the point of this original type when announcing Israel’s guilt and uncleanness.  “All the righteous blood shed upon the earth,” beginning with Abel, would be laid to the account of this generation of Jews.  Fulfilling the type in Genesis 4, Israel’s cup of iniquity had become full, necessitating judgment (cf. Genesis 15:14-16; Numbers 14:22-23, 37ff).

Then, if this still wasn’t enough, the uncleanness of that generation of Jews would be passed on to succeeding generations (cf. Matthew 27:24-25; Acts 3:25).  Succeeding generations of Jews would bear the same guilt.  They would be guilty of blood, though they would not have shed that blood themselves.

The generation of Jews present when Christ came the first time had not rejected or slain the prophets who appeared centuries earlier, but they were reckoned just as guilty as those who had done these things; and the generation of Jews present today, which neither rejected nor killed the prophets or Christ, is reckoned just as guilty as any generation of Jews that did do these things.

If guilt after this fashion — resulting in successive generations being just as guilty as preceding generations — were not true, Scripture could not look upon Israel as presently unclean through contact with the dead body of her Messiah. But the nation’s present uncleanness in this respect is a documented Scriptural fact, dealt with in a specific manner in Scripture.

According to the clear teaching of Scripture, Israel is presently unclean because of something that occurred two millennia ago.  Then there is the matter of prior guilt and uncleanness through the shed blood of the prophets, et al.  And Israel will remain unclean until the end of Man’s Day, until the end of six days, until the seventh day (cf. Genesis 4:8-15; Numbers 19:11-12).

A generation of Jews completely separate from any of the generations committing these acts will one day have to stand in Christ’s presence and acknowledge that which was done when all of these acts were climaxed centuries earlier, bearing the guilt themselves (cf. Genesis 44:12-45:4; Zechariah 12:10).  The passage of time and the passage of generations change nothing in this respect.

These are national sins, of which any succeeding generation of Jews finds itself guilty.  Each succeeding generation — forming the nation that committed these acts — bears the guilt and uncleanness of their forefathers.

It is an inherited guilt and uncleanness, as that resulting from Adam’s transgression is inherited by man removed 6,000 years from Adam.  And just as surely as the passage of time and the passage of generations does not remove Adam’s transgression, so with transgression in relation to the Jewish people.  When Christ came the first time, the Jews of that day did not find themselves removed from the actions, guilt, and uncleanness of their ancestors; nor do the Jews of today find themselves removed.

Each succeeding generation of Jews over the past 2,000 years has borne exactly the same guilt, exactly the same uncleanness.  And this guilt, this uncleanness, will not be removed until Israel is brought to that place where the Jewish people acknowledge, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39).

And when a person would look for the cause of Jewish suffering down through the years — from the brickyards of Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs to the death camps in Europe during the years of the Third Reich, or that which is about to befall the nation during the coming Tribulation, when the future Assyrian controls governmental affairs on the earth — that person need look no farther than one thing in Israeli history.  That person need look no farther than the nation’s rejection of God’s Word and the treatment extended to those who carried this Word, concluding with the nation’s rejection and slaying of the very Son of God Himself (cf. Leviticus 26:14ff; Deuteronomy 28:15ff; Matthew 23:37-38).

The communication of God’s Word to His people in the preceding respect — which Israel rejected, resulting in dire consequences — is where Hebrews 1 begins, though from another frame of reference.  The One Whom Israel’s religious leaders cast out of the vineyard and slew, in a climactic act of rejection, was not only the One through Whom God had spoken “in these last days,” but the One Whom God had “appointed heir of all things,” the One “by [‘through’] whom also He made the worlds [‘the ages’]” (Hebrews 1:2b).

God could only have “made the ages” in the respect stated in this verse through supernaturally designing and arranging the ages in complete accordance with the pre-planned activity of His Son within the framework of these ages.  The framework of the ages and all things occurring within these ages was foreknown and pre-determined beforehand, even that which occurred when God sent His Son to His vineyard the first time.  Nothing occurs apart from God’s sovereign control of all things.

Hebrews 11:3 takes one back to the same time spoken of in the opening section of the book.  It takes one back to that time when the ages were placed in an orderly arrangement through the Word of God.  That would be to say, God spoke, and the ages came into existence after a supernaturally designed fashion (cf. Genesis 1:3ff).  And all things within the framework of these ages have come, are coming, and will come to pass in complete accordance with the divinely ordained design and arrangement of these things.

God performs all His works by means of complete order and design.  Nothing occurs in the universe that God governs apart from a divinely ordained plan and a divinely ordained design within that plan.

Placed in an Orderly Arrangement

Order and structure are not only seen in God’s arrangement of the ages but these are things seen as well in that which reveals this order and structure.  These are things seen in the Word itself, which God gave to man in order to make known His plans and purposes.  And these are things which could only be expected to exist in the Word, for the Word, as the structure of the ages, is of the same divine origin.

The Word begins this way, the Word continues this way, and the Word ends this way.  A divine order, structure, and design are seen throughout.  And this would have to be the case, for imperfection could not emanate from One wherein only perfection exists.  “Holy men of God” penned God’s Word “as they were moved [‘borne along’] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), this Word is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV), and perfection exists in all areas of the Word, from beginning to end.

Thus, the whole of Scripture forms a revelation that is totally, completely unique among writings in man’s possession.  It is of divine origin, and it reveals to man the numerous things that God would have man to know about that which is also of divine origin — God’s plans and purposes surrounding His Son, man, angels, the earth, and the universe at large.  A divinely ordered structure of the ages, wherein God’s plans and purposes are worked out, is revealed by that which itself incorporates the very same order, structure, and design.  All is of divine origin. 

The Word begins with God’s creation of the heavens and the earth — an entire universe in which sin did not exist, with the earth singled out from among all that existed in the universe (Genesis 1:1).  The Word then continues with the entrance of sin into that part of God’s perfect creation that had been singled out.  And this begins a recorded sequence of events forming the remainder of God’s revelation to man — the ruin and subsequent restoration of the heavens and the earth (that part of the heavens that had been ruined, the heavens directly associated with the ruined earth), man’s creation, God’s revealed plans and purposes surrounding man, man’s fall, man’s redemption, and sin ultimately being done away with (Genesis 1:2ff).  Then the Word concludes with the creation of a new heavens and a new earth, in which sin will no longer exist (Revelation 21:1ff).

That’s the overall structure.  Then, within this overall structure, following the entrance of sin into one province in God’s universe, God set aside 7,000 years of time.  And He set this time aside to not only do away with sin but to also bring into existence an entity created in His Own image and after His likeness, an entity that would ultimately have a part in His government of the universe.

Scripture begins with the briefest of all possible statements concerning the creation of the heavens and the earth.  Then Scripture continues with the briefest of all possible statements concerning the ruin of that creation, because of the entrance of sin (Genesis 1:1-2a; cf. Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-19).  And it is only at this point, within the scope of the 7,000 years of time that God has set aside to bring an end to sin, that detail concerning God’s revealed plans and purposes begin to unfold in Scripture.

God used six days to restore the material creation — both the heavens and the earth.  Then, at the end of His restorative work, God created man to take the scepter and rule the restored domain.  And, on the seventh day God rested from all His work (Genesis 1:2-2:3 [2b]).

This is the way Scripture opens, and this forms a foundational pattern upon which the remainder of Scripture rests.  And immediately following this foundational pattern being set, things begin to unfold in Scripture that relate to time and events previously seen in the foundational pattern.  The remainder of Scripture, in this respect, simply forms commentary on the foundational pattern.

Sin is seen making its entrance once again.  And sin is seen making its entrance through an act of the one originally introducing sin.  Satan, deceiving Eve, brought about man’s fall; and this placed man in a position where he was no longer qualified to take the scepter that Satan held (Genesis 3:1ff).

As in the previous introduction of sin by Satan, so in the introduction of sin by man — ruin was once again the result.  And the inevitable result of the reappearance of sin, as the first appearance of sin, had to do with both the one committing the sin and the domain over which this individual had been created to rule.

Man found himself in a ruined state, no longer in a position to take the scepter (as Satan had previously found himself, no longer in a position to hold the scepter); and the material creation was brought into a ruined state once again as well, though not the same type ruin previously seen following Satan’s sin (cf. Genesis 1:2a; 3:17-19).  Rather, the material creation, though ruined, was left in a habitable condition.  The earth, unlike the ruined state to which God had reduced the material creation following Satan’s sin, could still sustain life.

Then, in keeping with the earth being left in this habitable condition, allowing man to continue his existence on the earth, God did something not seen at all following Satan’s sin.  God provided a means of redemption for the one who had fallen, for He had far-reaching plans for the individual created in His Own image and after His likeness.  And beyond that point in Scripture, the whole of God’s revelation concerns itself with the restoration of that which had been ruined through sin.

At the very beginning of His Word, God established a pattern concerning how He restores a ruined creation.  The pattern was established perfect in the beginning; and once God had established this pattern, no change could ever occur.  Any subsequent ruined creation would have to be restored in exact accordance with the previously established pattern.

There could be no variance whatsoever.  And when a subsequent ruined creation did appear — when man, created in God’s image and after His likeness, fell — he had to be restored in exact accordance with this established pattern.  The Spirit of God had to move, God had to speak, and light had to come into existence in order to effect a beginning point in man’s restoration.  Then there had to be a continued work, carrying man through that depicted by the entire six days in which God had previously worked.  Only then could man enter into a seventh day rest, set forth in the original pattern (Genesis 1:1-2:3).

And that is exactly what the remainder of Scripture has to do with.  The remainder of Scripture has to do with God taking six days — 6,000 years (2 Peter 3:8) — to effect a restoration of ruined man (a subsequent ruined creation, with the ruined material creation being restored for man at the end of six days as well), with a day of rest (lasting 1,000 years) following the six days of work (6,000 years of work).

The Sabbath was given to Israel as a “sign,” to keep this thought ever before the Jewish people.  Attention was called to God’s previous work in the opening two chapters of Genesis (Genesis 1; 2) (cf. Exodus 20:9-11; 31:13-17; Hebrews 4:4-9).  And the Israelites, working six days and resting the seventh, were to understand from the sign of the Sabbath the various things involved in God’s present work and future rest — things surrounding man’s restoration (along with the restoration of the material creation as well), looking ahead to that day when man would ultimately hold the scepter.

The preceding is why God is seen in Scripture having an affinity for numbers to reveal His plans and purposes to man.  God used numbers to establish matters surrounding all His works at the beginning.  And God uses numbers throughout His Word to relate back to and expand upon that which He previously established.

God can be seen using numbers different places in types and signs as he deals with the Jewish people in both the Old and New Testaments.  God speaks of time in connection with a coming seventh day, which will occur after six days (dating back to the first man, the first Adam)), or after two days (dating back to the second Man, the last Adam).  God, through this means, is simply providing commentary on the foundational framework that He set forth at the beginning of His Word (e.g., Exodus 19:11; Numbers 19:11-12; Esther 5:1; Hosea 6:2; Matthew 17:1; John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1; 11:6-7).

The preceding forms the divinely ordained structure one finds throughout Scripture as a whole.  There is nothing in Scripture that leaves a person at the mercy of man’s interpretation and understanding.  God provides data, commentary on the data is provided elsewhere, and this is all given in a divinely designed and arranged structure (ref. the author’s The Study of Scripture BOOK, chapters 2-4, in this site).

By Faith, By Sight

Christians must understand that God has communicated His Word to His people, with a view to His people coming into an understanding of this Word and acting accordingly.  And this, in turn, is with a view to that which lies out ahead.

Our text from Hebrews 11:3 is introduced by calling attention to two types of Christians — those “drawing back” unto destruction, and those “of faith” to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:39).  Those in the latter group know and understand things about the hope set before them, but not so with those in the former group (Hebrews 11:1).  This places the whole of Christendom in two categories and deals with the whole of Christendom relative to that toward which all Scripture moves.

Then, two realms are seen in Hebrews 11:3 — one that has to do with God’s orderly structure of the ages, and the other that has to do with disorder that entered (resulting from sin).  The first part of this verse (within the structure of the verse as it is usually translated into English) has to do with the natural, with that seen apart from faith; and the second part of the verse has to do with the spiritual, with that which can be seen only by faith.  And this verse is all-inclusive.  It covers not only the present order of things in the world but the future order as well, an order that is about to be brought into existence by the One Whom God has “appointed Heir of all things.”

Hebrews 11:3 is one of the most difficult verses in the Greek New Testament to properly translate into English.  And about the only way in which this can be satisfactorily accomplished is to add explanatory statements different places in the text:

By means of faith we understand that the ages were arranged by the Word of God; with respect to that [the arrangement of the ages by the Word of God], the things being seen to have come into existence [the disorder that has come into existence, which one sees in the world about us], not out of things appearing [this disorder is not part of that, did not originate out of that, which can be seen by faith]” (Hebrews 11:3).

1)  That Visible Apart from Faith

The things that can be seen all around us, apart from faith, have to do with the chaotic disorder existing in the world, resulting from man’s sin in Eden.  Man is in a ruined state, the material creation is in a ruined state, and Satan continues to hold the scepter.

That which exists in this respect, though foreknown by God in the beginning when the ages were arranged around the pre-planned activity of the Son within the framework of these ages, is not part of God’s orderly structure.  Rather, it has to do with the disorder that entered.  But God, before He has His Son bring order out of disorder, will use things occurring even during this present time of disorder to bring to pass that which was decreed in the beginning.

It was during this time of disorder that Israel, the wife of Jehovah, was brought into existence.  And it is during this time of disorder that the Son’s wife is to also be brought into existence — by means of a present work of the Spirit.  Both the wife of Jehovah and the wife of the Son, brought into existence during the present time of chaos and disorder, will figure prominently in not only the Messianic Era but in all the ages beyond as well.

A principle set forth in Genesis 1:26-28 — “let them [the man and the woman, whom God had created] have dominion” — cannot be violated.  Man occupying the position for which he was created — ruling the earth in Satan’s stead — cannot rule alone.  He must have a wife to rule with him.  This principle, relative to the government of the earth, is set forth at this point in Scripture; and the principle can never changeThe man and the woman must rule together.

This is the reason that God had to have a wife within the Old Testament theocracy, and this is the reason that the Son will have to have a wife in the theocracy about to be established.  Israel’s position as the wife of Jehovah formed a major part of the nation’s calling in time past; and the Spirit is presently in the world calling out a bride for God’s Son, fulfilling the type set forth in Genesis 24.  Apart from both — the existence of the wife of Jehovah, and the existence of the wife of the Son — there can be no future theocracy.

And moving out into the eternal ages, a rule of the universe will emanate from “the throne of God and of the Lamb” in the New Jerusalem on (or possibly above) the new earth.  And, with this rule emanating from the earth (though the new earth), the principle set forth in Genesis 1:26-28 would have to still hold true.  The rule of both the Father and the Son, in that coming day, will have to be in conjunction with both possessing wives to have a part in that rule.

Thus, though disorder presently exists in one province in God’s ordered universe, God is using events and circumstances surrounding this disorder to bring to pass His Own predetermined plans and purposes.  It is all with a view to order being restored in this one province (which God’s Son, with His wife, will take 1,000 years to accomplish), followed by that which God predetermined at the beginning relative to activity in the ages beyond the Messianic Era.

2)  That Visible Only by Faith

Much of the preceding cannot be seen by the natural man at all.  He can see only the chaos and not that which Scripture reveals will emanate out of this chaos.

Sin produced the chaos, and God cannot countenance sin.  Sin, when it appears, has to be dealt with.  That was true in history when sin appeared, it is true during the present time as sin continues to be manifested, and it will remain true until sin has been done away with at a future time.

This fact forms the entire basis for the whole of that seen throughout Scripture — God’s actions following Satan’s sin (Satan disqualified to hold the scepter, his kingdom ruined), and God’s actions following man’s sin (a ruin once again, requiring redemption if man is to one day take the scepter, with redemption necessitating death and shed blood).  And the sole and complete reason for the Son’s past work at Calvary and His present work in the heavenly sanctuary are seen in the latter.

In the coming Messianic Era when God’s Son (with His co-heirs, i.e., with His wife) takes 1,000 years to bring order out of disorder, the matter of sin, producing ruin and death, will be the issue.  Order must be restored; only then will sin and death be done away with.

These are the things which God has revealed to the one created in His Own image, after His likeness.  And only through faith, only through believing God, can man know and understand these things.
Chapter Ten
By Faith Abel . . . .

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4).

The fourth of the five major warnings in the book of Hebrews is brought to a close in Hebrews 10.  Then, immediately following this fourth warning, attention is called to that dealt with different ways in each of the preceding four warnings — faith to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:35-39).  And this, in turn, is with a view to introducing an entire chapter on the subject of faith, as it pertains to the saving of the SOUL (Hebrews 11:1ff).

Hebrews 11 forms an apex in the book prior to the fifth and last warning (Hebrews 12).  That which emanates out of faith to the saving of the soul — out of believing God to the saving of the soul — is given first (Hebrews 11:1).  It was through this means that Old Testament saints “obtained a good report [‘were attested’ (God, because of their faith, bore witness concerning them)]” (Hebrews 11:2); and it is through this same means that Christians today can expect God to view their faith in the same favorable manner.

Through Faith

Prior to drawing from the experiences of numerous Old Testament saints, attention is called to two things — that which can be seen by faith (through believing God’s revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes), and that which can be seen in the surrounding world system (through sight, apart from believing God’s revelation).  And specific reference is made to the fact that the latter did not emanate out of the former.  The latter entered because of sin and is not part of God’s arrangement of the ages around the preplanned activity of His Son within the framework of these ages (Hebrews 11:3; cf. Hebrews 1:1-2).

God, in His Word, has revealed the entire sequence of events surrounding His plans and purposes — past, present, and future.  And, in so doing, He has covered the entire spectrum.  He has begun with the creation of the material universe (Genesis 1:1), continued with His intricate dealings surrounding one province in the universe (the earth [Genesis 1:2a ff]), and terminated with a return to revelation surrounding His dealings with the whole of the material universe once again (Revelation 22:1-6).

1)  God’s Universal Rule

Universal rule emanates from God’s throne.  God has “established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19).  And though such a rule has continued uninterrupted since the creation of the material universe, the entire scope of God’s rule is actually dealt with very sparingly in Scripture.  Rather, God, in His Word, limits His revelation almost exclusively to His dealings with the earth, not with that which exists throughout other parts of His kingdom.

Scripture though does provide a few brief glimpses into God’s overall regal control of the universe.  And these brief glimpses have undoubtedly been provided so man, seeing the overall picture, can place things in relation to God’s dealings with the earth (the material creation, angelic rulers, and man) in its proper perspective.

But Scripture simply doesn’t go beyond these few brief glimpses into God’s dealings with the universe at large.  God’s revelation centers around His dealings with one small part of His kingdom (the earth), and things occurring in other parts of His kingdom (the universe at large) are deemed to be of little to no consequence insofar as this revelation is concerned.

Scripture, in this manner, begins with a reference to the entire kingdom (Genesis 1:1a); but revelation immediately shifts to the earth alone (Genesis 1:1b), with the ruin of the earth briefly described (Genesis 1:2a).  Scripture though begins providing detail only when God begins restoring the ruined earth, with a view to the creation of man (Genesis 1:2b ff).  And the whole of Scripture, from that point forward, concerns itself centrally with events surrounding the earth, angelic rulers, and man — events occurring during seven successive millennia.

Scripture simply doesn’t deal at length with anything seen outside the scope of events within this time-frame.  Whether it is the history of earth that precedes the earth’s restoration and the creation of man or that which lies beyond the Messianic Era, only enough has been revealed to allow man to relate events occurring during the seven millennia to events either preceding or following these seven millennia.

It is only following God’s completion of a work surrounding the earth that the entire scope of His rule — throughout “the heavens” seen in Genesis 1:1 — is brought to the forefront in Scripture.  Rulership in that coming day will emanate from “the throne of God and of the Lamb” in the New Jerusalem, which will be located either on or above the new earth (Revelation 22:1-5) — a throne from whence universal rule will go forth from that day forward.

God, at that time, will have completed His dealings with one province in His kingdom (the earth).  Attention, as seen in Scripture, then will shift to His entire kingdom; and this is where Scripture is brought to a close.

But though Scripture presents God fixing His attention on one province in the kingdom in time past, He has never turned His attention away from His entire kingdom.  God can center His full, undivided attention on a part of His kingdom and His entire kingdom at the same time, and He has governed the whole universe after an unchanging fashion since the beginning — a fashion that will continue forever.

2)  Order, Disorder, Order Restored

Thus, Scripture provides only brief glimpses into God’s creation of the earth, God placing a ruler over the earth, the fall of this ruler, and the resulting ruin of the earth (Genesis 1:1-2a; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:14-15).  It was only when the earth began to be restored, with a view to the creation of man to rule the earth in the stead of the fallen provincial ruler, that God began to unfold, in intricate detail, the numerous things surrounding His plans and purposes (Genesis 1:2b ff).  And these plans and purposes were revealed to center around man and the earth rather than around Satan and the earth.

Then, following Satan bringing about man’s fall (Genesis 3:1ff), God, in His Word, began to unfold numerous details surrounding redemption (reflecting back on a previously established pattern in Genesis 1:2b ff).  And redemption was with a view to man ultimately realizing the reason for his creation — “let them [the man and woman together] have dominion” (Genesis 1:26).

And, because of man being unable to rule apart from the woman — establishing an unchangeable biblical principle — Adam, following Satan deceiving the woman, was placed in a position where he had no choice but to also eat of the forbidden fruit.  A part of Adam’s very being (Eve [Genesis 2:21-23]) had eaten of this fruit, leaving Adam in no position to rule the earth, as God had originally commanded (Genesis 1:28).

Redemption necessitated Adam partaking of sin; or, in the antitype, redemption necessitated Christ being made sin (Genesis 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).  Each (Adam, Christ) found the one who was to occupy the throne with Him in a fallen state; and each had to act on behalf of the one in this fallen state, for the one who had fallen was totally incapable of acting in this realm herself.  Only through this means could man — type or antitype, the first man (Adam), or the second Man (Christ) — one day hold the scepter.

Though Adam’s act resulted in his fall, the fall occurred with a view to redemption.  And redemption was with a view to Adam, as a complete being, ultimately realizing the reason for his creation.

When man sinned, disorder once again entered the whole of that associated with this one province in God’s universe.  And, as following the sin of the earth’s first provincial ruler, this resulted in two things: 1) the ruin of the one created to hold the scepter (as ruin had previously befallen the one holding the scepter [cf. Genesis 3:7; Ezekiel 28:15-16]), and 2) the ruin of the domain once again (the material creation; cf. Genesis 1:2a; 3:17-18).

Hebrews 11:3, calling attention to the disorder presently seen in the world, clearly states that this disorder did not originate out of God’s orderly arrangement of the ages in the beginning (ref. chapter 9 of this book).  This disorder is that which originally entered following Satan’s sin and entered once again following man’s sin.

And the disorder which has entered this province is that which Christ and His co-heirs are going to deal with during the coming Messianic Era.  Christ and His co-heirs are going to take 1,000 years, ruling the earth with a rod of iron, to effect order out of disorder (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

The whole of Scripture, following man’s fall, concerns itself with God restoring that which had been ruined — both man and the material creation.  This would be brought to pass in order that God’s purpose for bringing both (man and the material creation) into existence might be realized (cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Isaiah 45:18); and this part of Scripture, covering the whole of Scripture except for isolated instances, is brought to a close through God’s universal rule being brought to the forefront (Revelation 22:1-5).

3)  Interpretation

Both the past order and the coming order can be clearly seen “by faith,” by believing that which God has revealed in His Word.  It is this whole overall thought, concluding with Hebrews 11:3, which introduces a number of individuals from Old Testament history (Hebrews 11:4ff).  Introducing each of these individuals, something specific is said relative to the experiences of each within the realm of faith.  And faith in each instance, contextually, would have to relate to the saving of the SOUL.

This is the central message of the book, specific reference is made to the matter leading into Hebrews 11, and this remains the central message in Hebrews 12 as the fifth and last warning in the book comes into view.  Thus, Hebrews 11 cannot be properly understood apart from viewing the chapter after this fashion.

This though is not to say that secondary applications or teachings separate from the primary interpretation (specifically dealing with the salvation or loss of the soul), cannot be in view.  Secondary applications or teachings are always in place in the study of Scripture, though never at the expense of the primary interpretation.  Scripture has been structured in a manner that will allow for spiritual lessons beyond the primary interpretation.  And Hebrews 11 would form a good example of this very thing.

The list of individuals named begins with Abel and rapidly moves through 2,000 years of human history, briefly calling attention to certain events in the lives of four individuals whom the Spirit of God singled out from among all who had lived during this time — Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham.  And the record is very brief concerning that stated about each individual.  Each is said to have acted “by faith,” and their actions in this respect would be with a view centrally to one thing — the saving of the SOUL.

This, contextually, must be recognized as the way in which the actions of each are to be viewed insofar as the primary interpretation is concerned (Hebrews 10:35-11:2).  But, as previously stated, there is room for secondary applications and teachings throughout.

For example, going back to the type dealing with Abel in Genesis 4, Abel bringing a blood sacrifice would, in one respect, reflect on the previous type in Genesis 3 (Adam partaking of sin with a view to Eve’s redemption, typifying Christ being made sin with a view to His bride’s redemption; and this was followed by God slaying animals to provide “coats of skins” to clothe Adam and Eve [replacing the covering of Glory that had been lost in the fall], introducing shed blood).  However, associating the lambs that Abel slew in Genesis 4 with that which occurred in Genesis 3 has nothing to do with the primary interpretation of this part of the type.

The part of the type in Genesis 4 that corresponds directly with the type set forth in Genesis 3 is the account of Cain slaying Abel.  But spiritual lessons relating to that previously seen in Genesis 3 can still be drawn from the first part of the type in Genesis 4 (Abel bringing lambs from the flock, offering blood sacrifices), even though that is not primarily what this part of the type deals with.

Then dispensational teachings can be derived through events surrounding the first four individuals named in Hebrews 11 (something that can be seen in both the primary interpretation and in secondary applications).

Death and shed blood mark the point of beginning, as seen in Abel offering lambs from the flock.  After these things are presented about Abel, contrasting Abel’s offering with a parallel but different type offering by Cain, the Spirit of God moved forward six generations and had the writer of this book next call attention to Enoch being removed from the earth alive.  Then the Spirit of God moved forward three more generations to the account of Noah and his family passing safely through the Flood before singling out another individual.  And, to complete the first part of the dispensational framework, the Spirit of God then moved forward ten more generations before He singled out the next individual — Abraham, the one whom God called out of Ur, with a view to an inheritance in another land.

Within this dispensational framework, events surrounding Abel would relate to salvation by grace (though, in another respect within the dispensational framework, they could also relate to present and future aspects of salvation — the salvation of the soul); events surrounding Enoch would relate to the saints removal into the heavens at the end of this dispensation;  events surrounding Noah would relate to Israel subsequently going through the Tribulation period on earth; and events surrounding Abraham would relate to that which lies beyond the Flood, beyond the Tribulation.

A new beginning is seen in Abraham.  Abraham had been called out of one land to realize an inheritance in another land.  He had been called out of Ur to realize an inheritance in Canaan.  And this points in the antitype to Christians who have been called out of one land to realize an inheritance in another land.  Christians have been called out from the earth to realize an inheritance in the heavens.

Thus, Scripture, because of the way in which it has been structured, lends itself to teachings of the preceding nature.  The primary interpretation must always be recognized and held as primary, never secondary.  But, on the other hand, the invariable presence of secondary applications and teachings must also be recognized.  And only an infinite, omniscient God, seeing the beginning from the end, along with all that lies between, could, through His Spirit, have moved men to put His Word together after this fashion.

Two Brothers, Two Offerings

The account of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 forms a type of Israel and Christ in the gospel accounts and the book of Acts, along with the position that Israel has occupied throughout the present dispensation.  And not only does this account form a type, but it forms the first of a number of corresponding types seen in the Old Testament (e.g., Joseph and his brethren, or Moses and His brethren, forming types of Christ and Israel).

In this respect, Genesis 4 forms a prototype.  And, being set forth first, unchangeable principles relating to Israel and Christ are established at this point in Scripture.

All subsequent types must be in complete keeping with this original type, providing additional details and shedding light upon the things previously set forth in the original type.  And all — the original type, along with all subsequent types — point to the antitype and set forth the entire story before Christ ever appeared on earth the first time.

Christ’s appearance to Israel and that which occurred following His appearance, all the way down to modern times almost 2,000 years later, was foretold in intricate detail by Moses and the Prophets long before these things ever happened.  And events surrounding Christ’s return at the end of the present dispensation have all been foretold after the same fashion as well.

Christ wasn’t relating new revelation to the Jewish religious leaders when he gave the parable of the Householder and His vineyard shortly before His crucifixion (Matthew 21:33-39).  Rather, He was only relating that which Moses and the Prophets had previously set forth centuries prior to the events seen in the book of Matthew (throughout the period extending from about 1,400 B.C. to about 400 B.C.).  Christ was relating something that particularly the Jewish religious leaders should have known as well as or better than they knew anything else in Israel.  They should have known, from their own Scriptures, exactly what had happened, was happening, and was about to happen.

1)  In the Type — Cain, Abel

It is evident from the account in Genesis 4 that God had laid down certain requirements relative to offerings at specified times, such as those later seen in the Mosaic economy.  And, it is also evident from the offering that Abel brought (“the firstlings of his flock”), which was accepted by the Lord, that his offerings had to do with the first-fruits.  Both brothers could only have known, from previous instructions that the Lord had given to either them or their parents, exactly what the Lord required of each at a set time — “at the end of the days” (Genesis 4:3; literal rendering from the Hebrew text of “in the process of time” as seen in the KJV/NKJV).

The account surrounding the offerings by both Cain and Abel reads,

. . . Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.

Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering,

but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:2-5 [2b]).

Cain brought his offering first, then Abel.  Abel’s offering was regarded with favor, but not so with Cain’s offering.  The difference in the two offerings is seen in the first three words beginning Hebrews 11:4 — “By faith Abel…”  Abel acted by faith, but this is not said of Cain’s actions at all.  Cain could only have acted apart from faith, otherwise the Lord would have looked with favor upon his offering as well.

Abel, acting by faith, brought that which God required.  Cain, on the other hand, acting apart from faith, did not bring that which God required.  And, apart from faith, “it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).  Thus, God could not have looked favorably upon Cain’s offering, presented before the Lord apart from faith (apart from believing that which God had previously revealed concerning the offering of the first-fruits, and acting accordingly).

The offering that each brother brought (Abel, from the flock; Cain, from the field) was the correct type offering for each.  Abel was “a keeper of sheep,” and Cain was “a tiller of the ground” (Genesis 4:2).  Thus, in an offering of the first-fruits (cf. Deuteronomy 26:1ff), each would be expected to bring forth from the increase that the Lord had provided.

The difference in the two offerings lay in the fact that Abel brought that which God required from the first-fruits of his flock, but Cain failed to bring that which God required from the first-fruits of his crops.  The thought of Abel’s offering being associated with shed blood (bringing “of the fat” would show that the animals had been slain) and Cain’s offering not being associated with shed blood has nothing to do with the matter within the framework of the primary interpretation.

The word used in the Hebrew text for offering (Genesis 4:3-5) is minchah (having to do with an offering where blood is not the issue), as opposed to the Hebrew word zebach (having to do with an offering where blood is the issue [e.g., Genesis 31:54; 46:1]).  Each brother was to bring of the increase from the means of his livelihood.  These were offerings of the first-fruits, and shed blood (for salvation, or for the forgiveness of sins) was not in view.

(The Hebrew word minchah is used nine other times in the book of Genesis and is translated “present” each time [KJV; e.g., Genesis 32:13, 18, 20-21].  The word though is found numerous times elsewhere in the Old Testament, particularly in connection with the “meat [‘meal’] offering,” and is translated “offering” in almost all occurrences outside of Genesis [e.g., Leviticus 6:14-15, 20-21, 23].)

The Lord viewing one offering favorably and the other unfavorably set the stage for that which occurred next.  Cain, seeing that the Lord had looked unfavorably upon his offering, “was very angry, and his countenance fell [i.e., he ‘burned with anger, and looked down’]” (Genesis 4:5b).  But even when acting after this fashion, the Lord left the door open for Cain to repent and bring the required offering (Genesis 4:6-7), something that Cain did not do (Genesis 4:8ff).

2)  In the Antitype — Israel, Christ

Comparing John’s statement relative to the actions of Cain in 1 John 3 with Christ’s statement relative to the actions of the Jews in John 8, a marked parallel can be seen between the actions of Cain and the actions of Israel almost 4,000 years later.  And eternal verities (eternal salvation, damnation) are no more the contextual issue in the latter than they are in the former.

I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me . . . .

You do the deeds of your father . . . .

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning . . . (John 8:37a, 41a, 44a).

Not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous. (1 John 3:12).

Christ, in John 8, was not speaking to unregenerate Jews.  He was speaking to “Jews who believed on Him” (John 8:31), out from a nation that continued to slay the paschal lamb year after year in accordance with the instructions previously given through Moses (cf. Mark 14:12).  And it was to these Jews that Christ said, “You are of your father the devil…” (John 8:44a).

Many Bible students find it difficult to reconcile how these Jews could believe on Christ on the one hand but, on the other, were associated with Satan after the fashion seen in John 8:44.  Some seek to resolve the issue by viewing those who had believed on Christ as a separate group from those associated with Satan after this fashion.  In this respect, attention is called to two groups of Jews presented in the passage — those who had believed on Him, and those who hadn’t believed on Him (John 8:30).

However, doing something of this nature completely ignores that which is clearly stated in the text.  From John 8:31 forward, Christ specifically singled out and addressed only those who had believed on Him.  These are the ones of whom Christ said, “You are of your father the devil…” (John 8:44a).

In another respect though, this whole line of thinking is immaterial.  Believing or not believing on Him in this passage had nothing to do with the eternal salvation of these Jews.  Rather, their believing or not believing had to do with the manner in which Christ had presented Himself to Israel and that which He was offering to Israel.

Christ had not appeared to Israel and presented Himself to the Jewish people as the Paschal Lamb.  Rather, He had appeared to Israel and presented Himself to the Jewish people as their promised Deliverer, in relation to the proffered kingdom.  And Christ could not have done this apart from the Jewish people already being saved.  The message surrounding the kingdom — the central message seen in Christ’s ministry — is solely for the saved, never for the unsaved (ref. the author’s From Acts to the Epistles BOOK, chapters 2-4, in this site).

The deliverance that could have resulted from belief seen in John 8:31 is the same deliverance resulting from belief seen in Acts 2:40.  In both instances, it was a deliverance from "unbelieving, an" an unbelieving, "generation, perverse of Jews" perverse generation of Jews, with the kingdom in view.

Unbelief exhibited by the nation had to do solely with the deliverance being offered by the nation’s Messiah, deliverance as it pertained to the proffered kingdom, not an unbelief having to do with eternal salvation or damnation.  The Jewish people rejected and crucified Christ as King, not as the Paschal Lamb, though in the process they did crucify the Lamb.

The Jewish people in John 8:31-44 who were believing-children of Abraham who, even at this point in Christ’s ministry, were among those who wanted to slay Christ (John 8:37, 40).  They, in this respect, were doing the works of Satan rather than those of Abraham (John 8:39-41).  And, it was in relation to works emanating from Satan (rather than works having to do with Abraham, Israel’s calling, etc.) that these Jews were associated with Satan rather than with Abraham.

Exactly the same thing is seen relative to Peter’s actions when Christ first began to reveal impending events surrounding Calvary to His disciples.  Denying that which Christ had revealed, Peter found himself associated directly with Satan (Matthew 16:21-23).

And exactly the same thing is seen relative to Cain in 1 John 3:12.  In both John 8:44 and 1 John 3:12 the Greek preposition ek (‘out of’) is used in conjunction with the relationship each occupied with Satan.  In John 8:44, the Jews whom Jesus addressed were said to be out of their father, the Devil; and Cain, in 1 John 3:12 was said to be out of the evil one.

The works manifested by Cain in Genesis 4 were performed apart from faith.  They had not been performed in accordance with God’s previous instructions (inferred from the passage).  And, resultantly, they were said to emanate out of Satan.

And the works manifested by Israel followed the same pattern.  They had not been done in accordance with God’s previous instructions (seen in the Old Testament, which, in its entirety, is about the person and work of God’s Son [Luke 24:27], the One in their midst).  And, resultantly, their works, in like manner, were said to emanate out of Satan.

The Lord offered Cain another opportunity to do that which was required of him.  But Cain refused, he subsequently slew his brother, and the Lord then drove him out on the face of the earth.

The Lord also offered Israel another opportunity to do that which was required of the nation.  But Israel, during the time when the window of opportunity remained open, slew the nation’s Brother.  Israel slew her Messiah; and, following the end of the opportunity extended to the nation (a re-offer of the kingdom), the Jewish people were uprooted from their land and driven to the ends of the earth.

Cain, in the type, did bring an offering to the Lord.  But it was not the offering that God required.  Rather than acting by faith, Cain acted out of the evil one.  Consequently, Cain’s offering was rejected.

Israel, in the antitype, did bring something to offer unto the Lord.  Israel brought forth the same thing in which Adam and Eve had sought to clothe themselves following the fall — fig leaves.

And, in reality, this was all Israel could have brought forth.  Adam and Eve, through disobedience, forfeited their covering of Glory.  And Israel, through disobedience, had also previously forfeited the Glory (Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:22-23).  Now, Israel, as Cain, could only act out of the evil one.

Adam and Eve had tried to cover their nakedness with fig-leaf aprons (Genesis 3:7; cf. Psalm 104:2), which God completely rejected.  And Israel, at Christ’s first coming, can be seen in a similar fashion.  There was no fruit — that which God required — but there were leaves on the fig tree that Christ cursed, representing Israel in this condition (Matthew 21:18-19; cf. Joel 1:7).

The picture of the fruitless fig tree, having leaves only, in Matthew 21 is a parallel picture to that seen in Genesis 3 when fig leaves are first seen in Scripture.  The scene depicts the Jewish people attempting to do exactly the same thing that Adam and Eve had sought to do — cover their nakedness (the nation’s fruitless condition) with fig leaves.

And, as with Adam and Eve, or with Cain, the Lord then took action in complete accordance with that which He had found.
Chapter Eleven
The Blood of Abel . . .

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4).

Abel, though having died millennia ago, has continued to speak down through the years by means of the sacrifice that he offered to the Lord near the beginning of the human race.  It was the sacrifice that God required, and God Himself has borne witness to this fact through the things that He has revealed in His Word concerning Abel.

Abel acted “by faith.”  He acted in accordance with that which God had commanded.  He acted in accordance with the revealed Word of God.  And God, through Moses, recorded His approval of Abel’s faith and resulting action, with the writer of Hebrews subsequently being moved to draw from this account.  And throughout the past 3,500 years of recorded biblical history, God’s approval surrounding Abel’s faith and action has stood as a testimony for all to see.

There though are two aspects to the account of Abel’s offering seen in Genesis 4.  And both aspects are dealt with in the book of Hebrews — the first in Hebrews 11, and the second in Hebrews 12.

Abel brought an offering unto the Lord.  Abel brought lambs from his flock; and these lambs had been slain (Genesis 4:4), allowing death and shed blood to be introduced into the type.  But death and shed blood are not really central features in the primary interpretation of this part of the type (though within secondary applications they could be).

Rather, the primary interpretation revolves around obedience to God’s command concerning an offering of the first-fruits.  Abel was to bring an offering of the first-fruits from his flock, and Cain was to bring an offering of the first-fruits from the field (ref. chapter 10 of this book).

Then, the other aspect of Abel’s offering is that which is associated directly with death and shed blood rather than with an offering of the first-fruits.  This part of the type though doesn’t have to do with the lambs that Abel slew and presented to the Lord.  Rather, this part of the type has to do with Cain slaying Abel.  This part of the type has to do with Abel himself as the offering (cf. Genesis 4:8-10; Hebrews 12:24).

Death and shed blood are seen in both parts of the type, but only in the latter part are these things associated with the primary interpretation.  Only in the latter part are Christ’s death and His shed blood seen apart from secondary applications.

Rejection, Anger

Cain failed to bring that which God had required.  As a consequence, his offering was rejected.  This, in turn, resulted in Cain becoming exceedingly angry and looking down.  Cain burned with anger (literal thought from the Hebrew text), and rather than looking toward the only One Who could help, Cain looked away.  He looked down (Genesis 4:5).

The Lord then confronted Cain, asking about his intense anger and downward look.  And the Lord confronted Cain after this fashion in order to not only offer Cain an opportunity to rectify the existing situation but to make the consequences known to Cain should he choose to continue in disobedience.

The Lord told Cain:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. (Genesis 4:7).

The Lord’s statement to Cain left the way open for Cain to repent (change his mind) and do that which was required of him.  But the Lord’s statement, as well, related that which would befall Cain in the event he chose to continue in the same direction that he found himself taking at this time, refusing to do that which the Lord had previously commanded.

If Cain would do that which the Lord had previously commanded, he would be “accepted.”  But if Cain refused, continuing in the same direction that he had taken, only one thing awaited him — the results of sin, the results of disobedience.  “Sin” lay at the door.  That is, the results of his sin and refusal to repent awaited him.  Sin, like a wild beast, was crouching in the way in which he would go.  Cain would be completely overcome by sin, though in the end he would ultimately triumph (portending Cain’s ultimate repentance).

That’s what Genesis 4:7 has to do with.  This verse has to do with Cain’s actions and the results of his actions, typifying Israel’s actions and the results of the nation’s actions.  And this verse carries matters all the way to the end, referring to Cain’s ultimate restoration, typifying Israel’s ultimate restoration.

Cain, because of disobedience, would suffer dire consequences.  But the Lord moved all the way to the end and revealed that Cain would ultimately experience restoration, necessitating his ultimate repentance.

And Israel, in the antitype, would suffer dire consequences as well because of disobedience.  But, as in the type, Israel would ultimately experience restoration, necessitating the nation’s ultimate repentance.

In the preceding respect, Genesis 4:7 provides a summary statement having to do with the entire history of Cain (from disobedience to restoration) in the type, and the entire history of Israel (from disobedience to restoration) in the antitype.  In relation to Cain, the remainder of Genesis chapter four forms a commentary on this verse (though Cain’s restoration, typifying Israel’s restoration, is not seen in the commentary that follows; but subsequent types deal with this matter).  And, in relation to Israel in the antitype, a large part of the whole of subsequent Scripture forms a commentary on this verse.

If individuals understood that which Scripture reveals about Israel, beginning with Genesis 4, there would be far less confusion today concerning things surrounding Israel’s past history, Israel’s present status among the nations, and that which lies ahead for the Jewish people.  This would alleviate much of the prevalent false teaching surrounding Israel, particularly relative to the existing nation in the Middle East, that which is about to befall the Jewish people (centering on the present nation of Israel), and the ultimate end of the matter.

But, to present a more complete picture from the Genesis account first, note Cain’s actions following his refusal to do that which the Lord had commanded (Genesis 4:5-7), which occurred before the Lord drove him out on the face of the earth (Genesis 4:12ff).  And Cain’s actions lying between his refusal to do that which the Lord had commanded and his being driven out on the face of the earth had to do with his slaying Abel, his brother, along with his continued refusal to repent (Genesis 4:8-11).

Death, Shed Blood

When Christ appeared to Israel with the offer of the kingdom of the heavens at His first coming, Israel’s response could easily have been foreknown by the entire nation from that which had been previously revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures.  The prophets, beginning with Moses, had foretold Israel’s response — rejection, climaxing with the crucifixion of the nation’s Messiah, along with the nation’s refusal to repent and the subsequent, consequential dispersion of the Jewish people among the nations.

The beginning of the matter is seen in Genesis 4; and basic, unchangeable principles surrounding the entire sequence of events are set forth at this early point in Scripture.  Later types add additional details to the foundational type (e.g., Abraham offering his son in Genesis 22; Joseph appearing in his brethren’s presence the first time in Genesis 37; Moses appearing in his brethren’s presence the first time in Exodus 2; or the slaying of the paschal lambs in Exodus 12), but the various things set forth in the foundational type can never change or be altered by anything set forth in subsequent types.  Subsequent types can only add to and further clarify that which God originally set forth in the foundational type.

And the fundamental statement of all fundamental statements in this respect was set forth in the Lord’s statement detailing the overall scope of the matter in the original type, in Genesis 4:7.  This statement was set forth because of that which Cain had done; it had to do with God offering Cain another opportunity to do that which was required of him; and it had to do with Cain’s future in the event that he refused to do that which God had commanded, taking matters all the way to the end when Cain would ultimately repent.

Israel, as Cain, had refused to do that which God had previously commanded.  And when Messiah appeared, the nation could only do that which Cain had previously done in the type.  The nation could only attempt to do away with the One acting in complete accordance with God’s commandments.  The Jewish people, because of their refusal to do that which God had required of them, could only set their sights on slaying their Brother.

And as the Jewish people sought to bring this to pass, their frame of mind was identical to that which Cain had exhibited in Genesis 4.  Israel’s religious leaders were angry to the point that, in the end, their only thoughts concerning Christ were that He be put to death.  And, to bring this to pass, they went to the point of beseeching Pilate (who wanted to release Christ) that he release a murderer in Christ’s stead, leaving Christ to be crucified (Matthew 27:15-26; John 19:12-16).

Israel’s religious leaders, along with the masses whom they had misled — following “the way of Cain” (cf. 1 John 3:12; Jude 1:11) — were so intent on doing away with Christ at this point that they echoed a statement with far-reaching, negative ramifications, a statement that would affect not only that generation of Jews but all succeeding generations as well:  “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25); and the chief priests echoed another statement at this time with equal far-reaching, negative ramifications: “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

The Jewish people had rejected their King and the proffered kingdom; and Israel’s religious leaders, in a climactic statement, pledged allegiance to a pagan Gentile king ruling within Satan’s realm of power and authority (cf. Luke 4:6; John 18:36-37).

And not only had the Jewish people rejected their King, but they were adamantly intent on continuing in “the way of Cain” and slaying their Brother, slaying their King.  Death and shed blood, as in Genesis 4, were about to become the central issue.  The people were about to become unclean through contact with the dead body of their Messiah, a condition that would have to persist for two days, for 2,000 years, from the point of their becoming unclean (Numbers 19:11ff).

To understand that which was happening at this time and that which was about to happen, the Jewish people could have gone back to the original type on the matter in Genesis chapter four and read the entire story.  And, if they desired additional information, they could have gone to the numerous other types and prophecies bearing on the subject.  It had all been previously laid out for them to read.  Their entire history — not only up to that point in time, but throughout all the years that lay ahead — had been prerecorded, in intricate detail.  But they refused to avail themselves of that which God had provided.

The entire account forms a rather amazing sequence of events in this respect.  When Christ came the first time, Israel acted in a capacity that had been foretold in type after type and by prophet after prophet.  The whole of the matter had been prerecorded before the nation ever acted.  And the very nation that did all these things in the antitype, continuing in disobedience today, is the very nation through whom the Spirit of God had previously given all of this material, foretelling that which the nation would do.

The very people committing these prerecorded acts were the very ones in possession of all this information.  And not only was this the case, but the Jewish religious leaders even knew the identity of the One Whom they slew (cf. Matthew 21:38; John 3:2).  The Jewish people, as Cain, knew exactly Who they were slaying.  And Cain’s actions at this point were fulfilled completely and in minute detail in the antitype 4,000 years later.

But, there’s still more to the story about Cain in Genesis chapter four, as there is still more to the story surrounding Israel.  And this is what has been foretold in condensed form in Genesis 4:7, with detail provided in the verses that follow, along with the additional types and prophecies bearing on the subject.  

A Fugitive and a Vagabond

The Lord’s offer and promise to Cain in Genesis 4:7 does not close with Cain slaying Abel.  Rather, this offer and this promise continue uninterrupted after Cain slew his brother, and they would continue uninterrupted throughout Cain’s entire life.  The Lord’s offer and promise would have to continue after this fashion, else there could be no ultimate repentance and restoration as seen in that which the Lord had revealed to Cain.

And exactly the same thing is seen in the Lord’s dealings with Israel in the antitype.  Immediately following Israel slaying Christ there was a re-offer of the kingdom of the heavens to the nation that lasted for about thirty-two years, covered in the book of Acts, beginning in Acts 2 and ending in Acts 28.  As the Lord had continued to deal with Cain in the type, He continued to deal with Israel in the antitype as well.

(Though Israel, in reality, couldn’t repent — either in the original offer of the kingdom or in the re-offer of the kingdom— nonetheless, bona fide offers were made in both instances.

In the original offer, the numerous types and prophecies had already previously revealed the course of action that Israel would take.  For the nation to have repented at this time would have run counter to that which God had already revealed about the nation.

In the re-offer, the preceding would also hold true, though now something new was added.  The Jewish people were now unclean through contact with the dead body of their Messiah; and, according to that which God Himself had set forth in His Word, this uncleanness must last for two days, for 2,000 years.  Israel could only be cleansed after two days, on the third day — after 2,000 years, on the third 1,000-year period [cf. Numbers 19:11ff; Hosea 5:15-6:2].)

Then, even with the nation set aside while God calls out from the Gentiles “a people for His name” (Acts 15:14), God’s offer concerning repentance still continues.  It would have to continue, for it is set forth in an unchangeable fashion in the original type in Genesis 4.

The day is coming when the Spirit of God will complete His search for the bride and will remove the bride, in complete accordance with that seen in Genesis 24.  Then God will resume His dealings with Israel, with a view to the nation’s repentance and restoration, in accordance with that seen in Genesis 4 and Genesis 25 (Cain ultimately being restored [Genesis 4]; and Abraham again taking a wife [Genesis 25], following the procurement of a bride for his son [Genesis 24]).

1)  Israel during the Present Dispensation

During the continuing period of disobedience and refusal to repent, Israel in the type in Genesis chapter four is pictured as “a fugitive and a vagabond,” as the nation, like Cain, has been driven from her land out upon the face of the earth (Genesis 4:14).  The thought behind “a fugitive and a vagabond [‘a vagrant and a wanderer,’ NASB; ‘a restless wanderer,’ NIV]” has to do with one who strays about without a home.  The picture, through actions that God took with Cain in the type, is that of Israel removed from her homeland, driven out among the nations, but never finding a home among the nations.  Rather, the Jewish people (as Cain) would be ever wandering and straying about among all the Gentile nations in which the Lord had driven them.

And further, the Jewish people driven out among the nations would not find friends among these nations.  They would not find the Gentiles welcoming them with open arms.  Instead, they would find the opposite.  They would find enemies among the nations.  They would experience rejection, hostility, etc.  This, as well, is set forth in the type in Genesis 4.

Cain, when driven out, feared for his very life; but his life was to be spared, with a view to his ultimate restoration.  And, through the entire process of hatred exhibited toward Cain and the Lord sparing his life, sevenfold vengeance was decreed upon anyone who might seek to slay Cain during his time of wandering and straying about in a strange land.  This would be to say that God’s complete judgment (“seven” showing the completeness of that in view — judgment) would fall upon anyone attempting to slay Cain during this time (Genesis 4:13-15).

And so it is with Israel.  It must be, for the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.

The Jewish people, driven out among the nations and in strange lands, will never be able to find permanent resting places.  The Jewish people can only do that which Cain could do, no more.  They can only wander and stray about in the strange lands to which they have been driven.

And the Jewish people in these strange lands, on the one hand, because of the Gentile nations’ attitude toward them, have reason to fear for their very existence (e.g., that which happened to the Jewish people in Europe during WW2, and that which is about to happen to the Jewish people both in the land of Israel and worldwide [Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24]).  All of this resulted from Israel’s disobedience and the nation slaying her Brother, foreshadowed by Cain’s disobedience and Cain slaying his brother.  But Israel, like Cain, has a promise concerning not only supernatural protection but God’s complete judgment falling upon any Gentile or Gentile nation that would seek to raise their hand against the Jewish people.

Again, the reason and basis for all of this are set forth in the foundational type in Genesis chapter four (Genesis 4:5, 8-15).  But also, again, within this foundational type, God’s offer and promise concerning the whole of the matter are set forth as well (Genesis 4:7).  And this offer and this promise are completely in line with that stated in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 (whole chapters given over to that which would result from either Israel’s obedience or disobedience) or anyplace else in Scripture where the matter is dealt with.  Blessings follow obedience, and curses follow disobedience.  The whole of the matter is stated in terms that simple in Scripture.

Thus, blessings would follow Israel’s obedience, and curses would follow Israel’s disobedience.  And, relative to Israel, God would deal with the Gentiles after a similar fashion.  With Israel scattered among the nations because of disobedience, blessings would come upon those Gentiles who befriended Israel, and curses would come upon those Gentiles who took an opposite approach and sought, on the other hand, to harm the Jewish people (Genesis 12:1-3; Joel 3:1-8).

These are unchangeable principles set forth in Scripture that must be carried out in exact and complete accordance with the way in which they have been set forth.  Not “one jot or one tittle [smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet (yod), or parts of letters that distinguish them from other letters]” can fail of fulfillment (Matthew 5:18).

2)  A Nation in the Middle East

A major issue among many Bible teachers and students today has to do with the existence of an Israeli nation in the Middle East.  And it can only be correct to see this as a major issue, for biblical prophecy surrounding the fulfillment of Daniel’s Seventieth Week necessitates an existing nation in the Middle East preceding the beginning of the Week.

But, in many instances, the present existence of an Israeli nation in the Middle East has been made to be something which it isn’t at all.  In many instances, this present existing nation has been associated with a fulfillment of God’s promises in the Old Testament concerning a regathering of the Jewish people from among all the Gentile nations where He has scattered them.

Sections of Scripture such as Deuteronomy 30:3-5; Jeremiah 30:3, 18; Ezekiel 34:11ff; 36:24ff; 37:1ff; 39:25ff; Amos 9:14 are cited, and it is stated that God is presently regathering His people and restoring the land to a fruitful condition in accordance with His promises (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:9; Ezekiel 36:29-30; Amos 9:13).  However, this is not what Scripture teaches at all.  The present nation of Israel is not in existence as a fulfillment of God’s promises to restore His people; nor does the present productivity of parts of the land of Israel have anything to do with God’s corresponding promise to restore the land as well.

The Jewish people, because of disobedience, have been removed from their land, with the land left desolate; and these same people have been scattered among the Gentile nations of the earth.  And Israel’s disobedience was climaxed almost two millennia ago by the Jewish people slaying their Messiah.

Israel is the Slayer, removed from her land and scattered among the nations.  And, because Israel is the Slayer, Israel cannot return to her land until two points in time: 1) until after two days (2000 years), on the third day (the third 1,000-year period [Numbers 19:11ff]), and 2) until after the death of the High Priest (the termination of Christ’s present high priestly ministry in the antitype [Numbers 35:15-28]).  There can be no healing of either the people or the land until this future time.

Further, Israel cannot be restored to the land until the nation is brought to the place of repentance.  Israel must first be dealt with concerning that which resulted in the nation’s dispersion among the nations.  This fact is plainly set forth in connection with prophecies surrounding the Lord regathering and restoring His people (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:1-2; Isaiah 1:16-20; cf. Isaiah 1:2ff).

Further, Israel being brought to the place of repentance, according to Scripture, will not occur until the latter part of the coming Tribulation, during the latter part of Daniel’s Seventieth Week.  This time of trouble which will befall the Jewish people — “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) — results from Israel’s disobedience and the necessity of bringing the Jewish people to the place of repentance.

This will be a time of unparalleled trouble, designed by God to bring the Jewish people to the end of themselves.  During this time they will be brought into such dire straits that they will have no place to turn to other than to the Lord (Exodus 3:1-10).  Only then will the nation repent; and only following repentance will the nation be restored, with the land being healed.

Further, Israel cannot return until the nation’s Messiah returns at the end of the Tribulation.  According to the sequence set forth in the seven Jewish festivals in Leviticus 23, the Jewish people must look upon their Messiah (with the nation being saved, fulfilling the Passover, the first festival) before the nation can be regathered (fulfilling the feast of Trumpets, the fifth festival).

(Note that Israel has slain the Lamb, but has yet to apply the blood.  The Lamb was slain at Christ’s first coming; Israel though will not apply the blood until Christ’s second coming.  Only then will the first festival in Leviticus 23 be completely fulfilled.)

Further, Old Testament saints are to be raised from the dead and be restored to the land along with the living at this time.  Both the dead (resurrected) and those living at that time will return to the land together (Exodus 13:19).  The resurrection of Old Testament saints is set forth in the third of the seven festivals in Leviticus 23 — the feast of First-Fruits.  And this will be fulfilled following the fulfillment of the Passover but prior to the fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets.

Israel possesses a promise that God gave to Solomon almost three thousand years ago concerning repentance, the nation’s healing, and the land being healed:

If my people [the Jewish people], which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

And exactly the same thing is seen in a promise given through Moses almost five hundred years preceding the promise given through Solomon:

But if they [the Jewish people] confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,

and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt — 

then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Leviticus 26:40-42).

Israel can return to the land, with both the nation and the land being healed, only following the nation’s repentance.  And the nation’s repentance is placed in Scripture at a time near the end of the Tribulation, in connection with Christ’s return.

The present existing nation in the Middle East is there in unrepentance and unbelief, before the time.  And most of the unrepentant Jewish people are still scattered among the Gentile nations, with the Old Testament saints still in their graves.

Nothing about the present remnant returning to the land and forming the existing nation in the Middle East has anything to do with the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies pertaining to Israel’s restoration; nor does a reclamation of parts of the land have anything to do with Old Testament prophecies pertaining to the land being healed.

The remnant of Jews presently in the land is a remnant from the Slayer, which has gone back before the time.  And not only are the Jewish people still unclean through contact with the dead body of their Messiah (the two days are not yet complete), but a remnant from this unclean nation has gone back prior to the time Christ completes His high priestly ministry.  And, according to the type in Numbers 35, the Slayer cannot return in this manner prior to the time Christ completes His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (Numbers 35:28).

The present remnant in the land — a part of the Slayer, returning before it is time to return — leaves this remnant open to great danger.  In actuality, it leaves the Jewish people forming this remnant open to experiencing exactly the same thing of which the entire nation is guilty.  It leaves them open to being slain (Numbers 35:26-27).  And this is exactly what is about to happen to the present existing nation of Israel in the Middle East.

Antichrist is about to appear and make a seven-year covenant “with many” in Israel.  And after three and one-half years, he will break his covenant, march into Jerusalem with his armies, and seek to wipe this nation from the face of the earth.  The rebuilt temple will be desecrated and destroyed, Jerusalem will be destroyed, and the Jews who are either not killed or do not escape to a place which the Lord will have prepared in the wilderness will be sold as slaves throughout the Gentile world.  The present existing nation will be completely destroyed, slain as it were (cf. Daniel 9:26-27; Joel 3:1-8; Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 12:5ff).

During the latter half of the Tribulation, an Israeli nation, as we know it today, will not exist in the Middle East.  Conditions will not only have become similar to those seen in Europe during WW2 (Jewish persecution under the Third Reich, prior to the existence of the nation in the Middle East), but far, far worse.

It will be during this time — days which, unless shortened, no flesh would be saved (Matthew 24:22) — that the Jewish people will be brought to a place where they will have no choice other than to call upon the God of their fathers.  Only then will God hear, remember His covenants and promises surrounding Israel, and send His Son back to deliver His people. 

Only then — not before — will events surrounding Israel’s healing, the restoration of the nation, and the healing of the land occur.
Chapter Twelve
Enoch, Translated into Heaven

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5).

Hebrews 11:5 refers to events seen in Genesis 5:21-24.  Enoch, along with the few brief experiences enumerated about him, is introduced in a genealogy extending from Adam to Noah.  Enoch, within this genealogy, is seen seven generations removed from Adam; and the genealogy terminates with Noah, ten generations removed from Adam.

Calling attention to events occurring during the time covered by this genealogy, Scripture continues with three things: 1) that which began to occur very early in the human race and reached an apex during Noah’s day (Hebrews 6:1-4), 2) God’s attitude toward and action concerning the matter (Hebrews 6:5-7), and 3) events surrounding God’s action (bringing the Flood to pass), which occurred in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life (Hebrews 6-8 {6b} [1,656 years following the creation of Adam]).

The Spirit of God, moving an individual emanating from the loins of Noah through Shem to pen the book of Hebrews, drew from the experiences of three individuals in this genealogy — Abel (the second from Adam), Enoch (the seventh from Adam), and Noah (the tenth from Adam).  Through this means, chapter eleven of Hebrews would not only form commentary on the salvation of the soul, continuing from preceding chapters (ref. chapter 8 of this book), but a dispensational framework of events could be set forth as well.

Within this dispensational framework of events, Enoch is seen being removed from the earth (translated) between two points in time — between Abel’s offering near the beginning of the human race, and the Flood during Noah’s day.  He was removed following Abel’s offering but preceding the Flood.

The sequence of events seen within this dispensational framework points to a removal from the earth of those who have appropriated the blood of the one typified by Abel (something seen more specifically in Cain slaying Abel rather than in the slaying of the lambs that Abel brought); and this removal will occur preceding a coming time of trouble affecting the whole world, typified by the Flood during Noah’s day.

The One Whom “Abel” typified is Christ.  Both were slain by their brothers, with the blood of Abel crying out to the Lord from the ground, but the blood of Christ speaking “better things than that of Abel” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).  The one whom “Enoch” typified can only be Christians during the present dispensation, and “the Flood” during Noah’s day can only point to the coming Tribulation (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27).

That is the dispensational scheme of the matter, as set forth in both Genesis 4-8 and Hebrews 11:4-7.  And within this dispensational scheme, the account of Enoch forms a foundational type pertaining to the future removal of Christians from the earth.  Subsequent types provide additional information, remaining in complete agreement with the original type.  Then, the existence of these types necessitates an antitype which would be in complete agreement with all of the types.

The preceding is simply the manner in which Scripture has been structured.  Though the experiences of individuals throughout Old Testament history forms the basis for numerous spiritual lessons, God’s revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes in this part of Scripture goes far deeper.  God, throughout Old Testament history, has interwoven all the various types, which have corresponding antitypes.  And the heart of the matter, when comparing Old and New Testament revelation, lies in this realm.

The type has been given to shed light upon and help explain the antitype.  This is the way in which God has seen fit to structure His Word in order to make known His plans and purposes to man.  And if man would come into a correct understanding of God’s revealed plans and purposes, it can be done only one way.  Man must study God’s Word after the fashion in which it has been structured.  Nothing short of this will suffice.

The coming removal of the Church from the earth is a vastly misunderstood subject today, both as to the time when it will occur and exactly who will be removed when it does occur.  And the reason for this misunderstanding can be traced back to one central issue: The typical structure of Scripture has been ignored, resulting in the multiplicity of interpretations and erroneous thoughts that man has come up with concerning that future event commonly called, “the rapture.”

And because this has been done, one could only expect the multiplicity of thought presently seen throughout Christendom relative to the rapture, resulting in confusion.  Error is rampant in this realm because man has not compared Scripture with Scripture after the same manner in which God structured His Word.  The whole of the matter can be stated in terms that simple.

(The preceding would be true relative to any realm of biblical study.  Ignoring the types has always been to the detriment of those not availing themselves of this vast wealth of information that God has provided to shed light upon and help explain the antitype.

Biblical teachings surrounding salvation by grace through faith would form a good example of the preceding.  The multiplicity of answers to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” can be traced back to one thing.  It can be traced back to individuals failing to avail themselves of the foundational and explanatory material provided in the types.)

The Old Testament Types

The three main Old Testament types dealing with the rapture can be found in the opening book of Scripture, the book of Genesis.  The first is seen in the experiences of Enoch, the second in the experiences of Lot and his family, and the third in the experiences of Rebekah.  And each of these three types present different facets of the same picture, together forming an Old Testament composite word-picture of the rapture. 

1)  Enoch

Enoch, as previously stated, is seen being removed from the earth between two points in time — following a blood sacrifice and prior to the Flood.  This points to those whom Enoch typifies (Christians) being removed from the earth at a time following that which Abel’s death typifies (Christ’s death) but preceding that which the Flood typifies (the coming Tribulation).

Thus, both the participants and the timing of the rapture are introduced in the foundational type.  The rapture, according to this type, must have to do with those of the present dispensation (with Christians).  It cannot pertain to any other than the ones who have appropriated the blood of the individual dying in the antitype of Abel’s death.  And it has to occur preceding that time typified by the Flood during Noah’s day (i.e., it has to occur before the Tribulation).

Then, subsequent types reveal other things about this event (e.g., the inclusion or non-inclusion of all Christians, etc.).  If the foundational type shows a selective rapture of faithful Christians alone, so must any subsequent type that deals with this aspect of the rapture.  And the antitype, dealing with this same aspect of the rapture, must show a selective rapture as well.

But, when one turns to Scripture alone, the preceding is not seen to be the case at all.  Something other than a selective rapture of the faithful is clearly seen in subsequent types.  And the antitype must deal with the matter after the same fashion as it is dealt with in the type, which it does.

The foundational type in Genesis 4 deals centrally with the participants and the timing of the rapture (Christians, and a pretribulational event).  It has nothing to do with selective or nonselective rapture.  Subsequent types deal with this matter, along with the antitype.

2)  Lot and His Family

Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters were removed from Sodom prior to the destruction of the cities of the plain.  And the manner in which the New Testament handles this event leaves no room to question that which is in view from a typical standpoint.  The destruction of the cities of the plain can point only to the coming destruction of this present world system, and the removal of Lot and part of his family can only point to a removal of certain individuals from this world system (from the earth) prior to this destruction (a destruction occurring during the Tribulation).

This account forms a subsequent type of that previously seen in Genesis 5-8, and the account is dealt with in the New Testament in a parallel manner.  The destruction of the cities of the plain during Lot’s day is dealt with in the New Testament alongside the destruction produced by the Flood during Noah’s day, introducing a parallel type.  Both destructions in the two types point to the same destruction in the antitype.

And as it was in the days of Noah…

Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot…

Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26a, 28a, 30).

Then Christ — relating the accounts of these two destructions occurring in history, which point to the same destruction in prophecy — sounded two main warnings.  And the warnings were directed to two groups of people — to Israel, and to the Church (about to be brought into existence).

The account surrounding Noah and the Flood was given first (Luke 17:26).  And, accordingly, Christ sounded the warning to Israel in connection with this type first (Luke 17:31).  Noah and the Flood, not Enoch and his removal from the earth, are in view; and the matter has to do with those typified by Noah going through the Flood — Israel going through the Tribulation.

The same statement, comprising the warning, is later seen within a more lengthy warning that Christ provided in the Olivet Discourse.  Christ, in this discourse, warned the Jewish people to flee for their lives when they see a particular man (Antichrist) do certain things during this coming time of destruction (Matthew 24:15ff).

Immediately following the warning that had to do with the days of Noah, Christ sounded a warning that had to do with the days of Lot (Luke 17:28).  Rather than dealing with individuals going through a time of destruction, the days of Lot had to do with individuals removed prior to this destruction.  And the warning that Christ sounded was in connection with Lot’s wife and the salvation or loss of one’s soul.

Remember Lot’s wife.

Whosoever shall seek to save his life [soul] shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life [soul] shall preserve it (Luke 17:32-33).

Lot’s wife, along with her husband and two virgin daughters, was delivered from Sodom.  And, though delivered from Sodom, she lost her soul.  She looked back toward Sodom rather than out ahead toward the mountain to which Lot had been told to flee (Genesis 19:17, 26; Luke 9:62).

Lot, in similar fashion, failed to realize the salvation of his soul as well.  Lot is contrasted with Abraham; and though Lot later found himself on the mountain to which he had been told to flee, his portion on the mount was diametrically opposed to that of Abraham.  (“A mountain” in Scripture symbolizes a kingdom [cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:35, 44-45; Matthew 16:28-17:5].)

Lot found himself dwelling on the mountain, but in a cave on the mountain, in a place separated from the Lord (Genesis 19:30; cf. Matthew 22:10-14).  Abraham, on the other hand, found himself also dwelling in the high country, but standing before the Lord — a place where, unlike Lot, he had been both dwelling and standing for quite sometime (Genesis 19:27; cf. Genesis 18:22).

The accounts of Lot and certain members of his family being delivered from Sodom add additional information to the type surrounding Enoch in Genesis 4.  This second type makes it quite clear that faithfulness or unfaithfulness of Christians and the consequent salvation or loss of the soul have nothing to do with the rapture itself.  These are issues that will come into view following the rapture, as seen in God’s dealings with both Lot’s wife and Lot following their deliverance from Sodom.  These are issues that have to do with the judgment seat following the rapture, not issues which have to do with the rapture.

Then there is a subsequent type that deals with the matter from a different perspective yet, building upon that revealed in the previous types and providing additional information.  And that type is found in Genesis 24.

3)  Rebekah

Genesis chapter twenty-four relates the story of Abraham sending his eldest servant into Mesopotamia to procure a bride for his son, Isaac.  This chapter is the fourth of five consecutive chapters in Genesis (Genesis 21-25) that form one overall type consisting of numerous individual types.  And within the complete typology seen in these chapters, God has set forth exactly the same thing seen in previous chapters (Genesis 4-8) — a dispensational framework of events surrounding Christ, Israel, and the Church.

Throughout these chapters, “Abraham” is seen as a type of God the Father, “Isaac” a type of God the Son, and “Sarah” (Abraham’s wife) a type of Israel (the wife of Jehovah).  “Abraham’s servant” sent into Mesopotamia in Genesis 24 is seen as a type of the Holy Spirit sent into the world; and “Keturah” in Genesis 25 (who Abraham married following events in Genesis 24) is also, as Sarah (in Genesis 23), seen as a type of Israel, though within another frame of reference than Sarah.

Typology after the preceding fashion becomes evident as one works his way through these chapters.

Isaac’s birth in Genesis 21 was via supernatural means, typifying Christ’s subsequent birth through the same supernatural means.  The offering of Isaac by his father in a designated place in the land of Moriah in Genesis 22 typifies the subsequent offering of Christ by His Father in a designated place in the same land.  Abraham’s wife, Sarah, dying in Genesis 23 (following the offering of the son) typifies God’s wife, Israel, subsequently being set aside (following the offering of the Son).  And Israel, as Sarah, is looked upon during this time as being in the place of death (Jonah 1:17ff; John 11:6ff).

Next in the dispensational structure and overall type are events in chapter twenty-four, where the search for and procurement of the bride is seen prior to Abraham’s remarriage in the following chapter.  Genesis 24 details the work of the Spirit in the world today, searching for the bride, following Israel being set aside (Genesis 23).  And this search will occur and be completed before the time God resumes His dealings with and restores Israel (Genesis 25).

In the past, Israel, as Sarah, was barren (Genesis 16:1-2).  And because of Sarah’s barrenness, Isaac’s birth required God’s supernatural intervention.  But when Israel is one day restored, typified by Abraham marrying Keturah in Genesis 25, conditions will be reversed.  Keturah bore Abraham six sons (Genesis 25:1-2).  Keturah was very fruitful, as Israel will be during that coming day following the nation’s restoration.

It is between these two dispensational points (Israel being set aside [Genesis 23] and Israel being restored [Genesis 25]) that God procures a bride in the antitype for His Son, Jesus.  And as Abraham sent his eldest servant into Mesopotamia to search for and p