What a Bible! What a Savior!
copied from Jim Kinnebrebrew
Prophecy is without question one of the main themes of Scripture. Throughout my years of preaching, I have purposely avoided doing much prophetic preaching. It’s not that I’m not excited about God’s wonderful plan for our future, and it’s not that I hesitate to proclaim that which is clearly taught in Scripture; but I grow weary of hearing and reading “prophecy” that is more conjecture than Biblical fact. So I approach cautiously and prayerfully a series of messages on prophecy. Biblical doctrine rightfully divides truth from error, but human conjecture in the name of Bible prophecy needlessly and sinfully divides Christians. It’s that kind of teaching I want to avoid.
Whenever we repeat the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for Christ’s Kingdom to come and for Christ’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Is that really our heart’s request or do we just mutter those words thoughtlessly?
We will desire His Kingdom to come only if God is truly our Father through trusting the merits of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. We will desire His Kingdom only if we truly hallow and reverence His name. We will desire His kingdom only if we have surrendered to Christ as Lord and are living today in the light of eternity.
His present Kingdom and the Future Kingdom
When we pray “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done” we are praying about two aspects of His Kingdom. His present Kingdom in our hearts and His future Kingdom over the whole earth.
His present Kingdom in our hearts
In Luke 17:21 Jesus explained the internal nature of His Kingdom. He reminds us we do not seek for an external political kingdom; rather He explains, “The Kingdom of God is within us.” Christ reigns in our hearts. Paul in Romans 14:17 teaches us that Christianity is synonymous with Christ’s Kingdom. This Kingdom begins the moment we receive Christ as our Saviour from sin and surrender to Him as our Lord. When we trust Christ as our Saviour, God our Father “delivers us from the Kingdom of darkness and translates us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.” Colossians 1:13 If you are a Christian, God has already translated you into the Kingdom of Christ.
Christian, don’t fight Christ’s Lordship!
For you to insist on having your own way and doing your own thing and ignoring God’s will for your life, will insure a life of misery and failure for you. If you are a Christian and living in Christ’s Kingdom, the right thing to do is to surrender to His Lordship and to seek first His Kingdom. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus promises us that God will see to your happiness and fulfillment and to the supply of all your needs. That’s His business. Our business is to live only for His purpose and glory.
What are the practical implications of living in His Kingdom?
Peter explains in I Peter 2:9 the purpose of living in Christ’s Kingdom. “We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession that we should show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Beginning with verse 11 of this same chapter, Peter reminds us that as we live in the midst of Satan’s Kingdom of darkness on this earth, we are pilgrims and strangers. As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, we are to be personally pure and submitted to the laws of our nation, for we have a dual citizenship. Verse 16 reminds us that as Christians we are free, but we must not misuse our freedom, presuming on the patience and grace of God by continuing to live in sin.
First things first
The truths of prophecy, including Christ’s coming Millenial Kingdom, are secondary in importance. As you continue this series of studies in prophecy you will learn prophetic truths concerning Christ’s Millennial Kingdom that will bless you; but first and foremost, make sure Christ is your King right now. According to II Timothy 2:12, your surrender to His Lordship now will determine your position in the Millenial Kingdom.
The Kingdom Truths of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are not only for Jews during the Millennium. They are, I believe, even more pertinent to Christians today as we live under the dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ. To learn more about Christ’s present Kingdom on earth, go to the BEATITUDES link.
Matthew 6:33 teaches Christians to seek first the establishing of Christ’s Kingdom in our hearts and in our conduct, then God will provide all that we need for this life. Christ’s Kingdom concerns must become our concerns. That’s why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.”
Christ's call to salvation and surrendering to Him and living in His Kingdom demands a passionate response. There is a violent desperation involved on the part of those seeking to enter His Kingdom and there is a violent enmity in the hearts of those who reject Christ and His Kingdom. No one can be neutral about Jesus. One either loves Him passionately or hates him vehemently.
Jesus spoke of this violent response in Matthew 11:12
To add some light on this verse, read verses 7-11. Here Jesus speaks highly of John the Baptist as a man who spoke the truth and gave no thought to comfort nor popularity. Matthew 3 describes his rugged, almost violent, confrontational ministry. Matthew 14:1-12 describes his violent death for speaking the truth. Jesus continues this theme in Matthew 11: 12, challenging us to live passionately for the futherance of His Kingdom.
Biastees means violent
The Greek word biastees used in Matthew 11:12 is correctly translated violent. It comes from the Greek word bia which means violence. This word violence is used four times in the New Testament: Acts 5:26 21:35 24:7 and 27:41. If you will read these Scriptures, you will see that in each case it refers to either the violence of people or the violence of nature. In this world of sin, Biblical Christianity appears to be a violent affront to our self-centered, life style. Peace-loving people do not like that word. In fact we have an extreme repugnance for violent people.
Peace-loving people hate violence.
We are rightfully infuriated by the violence of modern day movies, television and video games that glorify criminal violence and encourage children to cruelty and murder. Because of that we approach this word violence that Jesus used to describe entering into His Kingdom with negative feelings
We associate the word violence with terrorist and with criminals. However, because of the existence of criminal violence; according to Romans 13:1-7 our peace officers and our military must use God-ordained violence when necessary to stop the violence of evil doers.
God is just as violent against sinners who oppose Him as He is loving towards sinners who receive His gift of salvation through Christ. I can't imagine anything more violent than to be cast into Hell fire alive to burn for eternity! Since God has chosen to use this Word biastees in Matthew 11:12, let's lay aside our prejudices against this word and see what God is telling us about being saved and entering into His Kingdom.
Entering in and living in Christ's Kingdom brings us peace, joy and assurance.
When we think of being saved and living in His Kingdom, we think of righteousness, peace, joy, quietness and assurance. We understand that we cannot save ourselves nor can we earn our salvation. Salvation is totally a gift of God's grace.
When we receive a dinner invitation, we go and enjoy the dinner. When a young woman receives a marriage proposal from the man she loves, hopefully she responds positively and in time they are married. So when we as unworthy sinners hear the call of the Gospel, we respond in gratitude and humility; and God saves us. The last thing we would expect to think of is violence.
Salvation is not a ho-hum experience.
Salvation is not merely an intellectual assent to the Gospel. There is a violent desperation in those who desire to be saved and enter Christ's Kingdom. It involves an understanding of our desperate need for Christ. As long as we think there is any chance in the world of being saved without humbling ourselves before God as guilty, helpless sinners; we will never turn to Christ for His salvation. In the heart of the true seeker, there is not a trace of being casual or flippant about it. Rather as Luke 16:15 teaches, there is a desperate pressing into it.
Pressing into the Kingdom
As crowds of desperate shoppers seeking sales stand for hours before the store opens and then almost break down the doors to claim their bargains, so is the seeker of salvation in Christ. As people press through crowds to flee a burning building, so the true seeker presses to know and trust Christ. Nothing will stop him.
Biblical examples of desperation to know Christ.
When Jesus walked this earth, people pressed through crowds to meet Him and receive His help. They thronged Him. Mark 5:24-34 Blind Bartimaeus refused to be quiet as he called out for Jesus' to come and heal his blindness. He was desperate. Mark 10:46-52. The thief on the cross was desperate for Christ's salvation. He had very little time left. Christ saved Him and that hour He was with Christ in Heaven. The Philippian jailer of Acts 16 who guarded Paul and Silas in prison for preaching the Gospel, fell down before them in violent desperation to know Christ and His salvation.
A radical, total change
II Corinthians 5:17 teaches that when we come to Christ, we are never the same again. God changes our hearts and as a result our lives are changed. This violent pressing to know Christ as Saviour leads to a total surrender of our lives to Him.
As a runner almost violently expends all his energy to win a race, so we run the race of life with Jesus as our goal. Heb. 12:1-2
In I Corinthians 9:25-27 Paul speaks of his almost violent struggle, one we all face, to keep body and fleshly desires under control as we are under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Paul speaks of desperately pressing on to maturity in Philippians 3:10-15. We never reach perfection in this life; but it is our goal as we travel through this sin-polluted world.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of the labor of learning to rest in Christ. Hebrews 4:9-11 That takes hours of time in prayer and in studying God's Word and learning to know Christ personally.
Living in Christ's Kingdom results in the violent opposition of Satan and his kingdom.
When we become Christians, it's not long before we begin to face the violent opposition of Satan and those controlled by him.
We see it in Bible times when the self-righteous Pharisees in their hatred for Christ, led the people to form a violent lynch mob who called for His crucifixion.
We see that same wild-eyed Satanic-inspired hatred for Christ in various parts of the world, even in America today. Some hate the Bible and all it stands for. They hate anyone who stands for Christ. I've read that there have been more martyrs for Christ in the past century than in all 2000 years since Christ lived on earth.
It is clear in the Gospel accounts that Israel rejected their Messiah and King. The story of the early church recorded in the book of Acts, shows how that rejection continues; not only among Jews, but among gentiles.
Saul of Tarsus was one of those Christ-rejecting, Christ-hating Pharisees. The story of his conversion is told in Acts 9 and again in Philippians 3. He violently hated Jesus and all those who belonged to Him. The risen, glorified Christ violently confronted him as he traveled to Damascus by throwing him to the ground. Saul instantly recognized Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Immediately his heart was changed and he whose name was changed to Paul became a fire-brand for Christ, spending the rest of his life preaching the Gospel and finally being beheaded for His faith in Christ.
Dear friends, Christianity is not seeking a pious feeling. It is not "playing church" on Sunday. It is not about going to a church where the preacher makes you feel good about yourself. Christianity is not a deal that you make with God to give Him a week or a summer or one year of your life, and then live the rest of your life for yourself.
Living for Jesus involves all out war with Satan for the souls of lost men and women, boys and girls. There are no days off, no vacations, and no promises of wealth and prosperity; only the promise that Christ will be with us and provide for all our needs for as long as we live. I am an aging preacher who has been fighting the good fight of faith for over fifty years. Most of you reading this are younger. Will you take up the cause of Christ and live the rest of your life for Him?
A few good men!
Jesus said in Matthew 11:12 "The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it." NIV. No wonder it's advancing! Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18 "I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." That is, Satan himself with all the violence of those in his kingdom cannot stop the progress of the church and the Kingdom of God.
The Marines are looking for a few good men." Christ is seeking for men and women who have been saved and cleansed by His blood and who have proven faithful in small responsibilities; whom He can use in to turn this upside down generation right side up for Christ. Will you be one of them?
The Lord Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Bible. He claimed in Luke 24:13-32 that the Old Testament was about Himself. It is fascinating and exciting to discover scattered throughout the Old Testament the types and shadows and direct prophecies of Christ’s first coming to be our Saviour from sin. Dozens of prophecies from His virgin birth to His crucifixion and resurrection were fulfilled in minute detail. The prophets also prophesied throughout the Old Testament of Christ’s second coming to reign as King over this earth.
The prophets themselves did not always understand what they were writing.
When the Old Testament prophets studied the prophecies they had written by inspiration of God, Peter explains in I Peter 1:10-12 that they could not clearly distinguish the difference between Christ’s first coming to suffer and die for our sins and His second coming to reign in glory. Certainly they knew nothing of a Church, composed of redeemed Jews and Gentiles. To them prophecy was like approaching the Rocky Mountains from the East, seeing them as one range from a distance, but learning of multiple ranges of mountains when driving through them.
A sampling of some of the major prophecies of Scripture
The following are some of the major prophecies and types or pictures of Jesus coming to this earth to die for our sins. Some refer to only His first coming. Others refer to both His first and second coming.
The prophecies in bold type are prophecies concerning Jesus’ Second Coming.
1. The Seed Plot of the Bible summarizes the heart of the message of the whole Bible. Gen. 3:15
2. Abel’s accepted blood sacrifice as a type of Jesus, was the perfect sacrifice for sin Gen. 4
3. Abrahamic Covenant. God’s promise to Abraham concerning Jesus Gen. 12, 17 & 22
4. Melchisidec, a shadow of Jesus Gen. 14 See Hebrews 7.
5. Abraham’s offering of his son, Isaac, a picture of God offering His beloved Son Gen. 22
6 The ram, the substitute for Isaac, pictures Jesus our substitute Gen. 22
7. Joseph, rejected by his brothers, saves them and reigns over them Gen. 37-50
8. A King to come from Tribe of Judah Gen. 49:10
9. Passover Lamb, a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God Ex. 12
10. Sacrificial and scape goats on Day of Atonement pictures Christ Lev. 16
11. Brazen serpent in wilderness, an illustration of salvation Num. 21 and John 3:14-16
12. Balaam’s prophecy of a Star and Sceptre out of Jacob Num. 24:17
13. Every detail of the Tabernacle System in Exodus through Deuteronomy is about Christ.
14. Joshua leading Israel into the Promised Land is a type of Christ leading us into victory. Joshua is Hebrew name for Jesus
15. Ruth’s genealogy in Ruth 4:18-22 from Pharez, illegitimate son of Judah, to King David.
16. Davidic Covenant II Sam. 7
17. Job’s prophecy. Job 19:25-27
18. My King. “Kiss the Son” Psalm 2:6-12
19. Jesus Resurrection in Psalm 16:10
20. Detailed description of Jesus’ crucifixion. Psalm 22
21. Jesus our Good Shepherd. Psalm 23 & John 10
22. Jesus our King Psalm 24
23. Betrayed by a friend Psalm 41:9
24. Gall and vinegar given to Jesus on the cross Psalm 69:21
25. Jesus would speak in parables Psalm 78:2
26. Davidic Covenant is eternal Psalm 89:3-4, 20, 27-37
27. David said, “The Lord God said to My Lord, Jesus. ‘Sit Thou at My right hand until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool.” Psalm 110:1
28. Christ rejected by Jews Psalm 118:22
29. Jesus’ Triumphal Entry. Psalm 118:36
30. Virgin birth of Immanuel, Jesus, God with us Isa. 7:14
31. Jesus’ names and His coming Kingdom Isa. 9:6-7
32. The King and His Kingdom Isa. 11:1-10
33. Resurrection foretold Isa. 26:19
34. Description of Millenium Isa. 35
35. Coming of Jesus Isa. 40
36. Coming of Gentiles to Jesus Isa. 42
37. Rejected of men Isaiah 53:1-3
38. Silent before His accusers Isa. 53:7
39. Beaten, crucified and marred beyond recognition Isa. 52:14
40. Jesus’ substitutionary death for our sins Isa. 53
41. Jesus Light of the World Isa. 60:1-3
42. Jesus the Branch of David Jer. 23:5-6
43. Restoration of Israel and their Kingdom Ezek. 34:11-16, 22-31, ch 36, 37, 38, 39
44. Nebuchadnezzar’s image of world empires Daniel 2 JESUS, the STONE that crushes the kingdoms of this world.
45. Timetable of King Jesus Dan 9
46. Pentecost Joel 2
47. David’s fallen throne to rise Amos 9:11-15
48. Jesus in tomb 3 days 3 nights Jonah 1:17 Matt. 12:39-40
49. Jesus born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2
50. Desire of all Nations Haggai 2:6,7
51. Preceded by a forerunner who would announce Him. Malachi 3:1
52. Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem riding on a colt Zech. 9:9
53. Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. and casts the money to the priests who use it to buy
the Potter’s Field Zech. 11:12-13
54. Jesus’ return in glory to establish His Kingdom Zech. ch. 11-14
55. Elijah’s appearance before Jesus’ return in glory Malachi 4:5
Kingdoms, cities and nations
Besides the Messianic prophecies, all the prophesies concerning these kingdoms, cities and nations of the world have been fulfilled in detail.
Egypt Joel 2:19
Edom Jer. 49:7-17
Sodom Jer. 49:18 Gen. 19 II Peter 2:6
Moab Isaiah 26:10-12
Assyria Micah 5:5-15
Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. Dan. 2 & 7 Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:10
Jericho, Joshua 6:26
Bethlehem Micah 5:2
Tyrus Ezekiel 26
Nineveh Nahum 1,2 & 3
Chorazin, Bethsaida, Caperneum Matt. 11:20-24
A reasonable assumption
When all the writers of prophecies, coming from different nations over a period of 2000 years of history, write these detailed prophecies concerning one man who is to come and every detail is carried out to the letter and when all the prophecies concerning this sampling of ancient cities and nations are fulfilled in detail; how can anyone question that JESUS is sent by God to be the Saviour of the world? Just think of the mathematical odds of one man fulfilling all these prophecies written by many different authors hundreds of years before He was born. The odds are mind-boggling. Can we not assume that the prophecies of Jesus’ second coming will be fulfilled just as surely as every prophecy of his first coming was fulfilled to the letter?
My purpose is not to convince you of my position on the details; but to encourage you to make sure your position is based on Scripture. We’re not all going to agree on every interpretation of Scripture, but we can agree that what the Bible says is true.
What concerns me is how the study of prophecy affects your life. Are you looking for His return? If you are a Christian you should be watching and waiting for His return. Matthew 24:42, 44 If you are a Christian, the thought of His return should cause you to desire to be living a pure life I John 3:1-3 and give you a joyful hope. Titus 2:11-14
If you are not a Christian, then His return is the most dreadful event you can imagine. Revelation 6:12-17, 20:11-15, 21:8 You need to come to Christ today before the door of salvation is eternally shut. Paul warns in I Corinthians 6:2, “Behold NOW is the day of salvation.”
If you are a prophecy enthusiast chasing after all the prophetic speakers and reading every book on prophecy and drawing your sword to contend with everyone who does not hold your position, then you have missed the whole point of studying prophecy. If our study of prophecy does not give us a renewed desire to deal with sin in our lives and draw us to a life of purity and love for others; then the prophetic knowledge we have is worthless. I Corinthians 13:1-2
The Bible clearly teaches two separate judgments.
The White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15 is a judgment of condemnation for all those who have sinned and rejected God’s salvation. This is a judgment that all those who are trusting Christ will never face. Jesus took our condemnation and paid the full penalty for our sins when He suffered and died on Calvary’s cross. John 3:16-18 Romans 8:1 The Greek word krino, which means condemnation, is used to describe this judgment.
The Bible also speaks of another judgment, the Bema judgment. This judgment is only for Christians. There is no condemnation involved. This is a judgment that has to do with rewards and the loss of rewards for our service to God as Christians. Three major passages speak clearly of this judgment; Romans 14:10-12 I Corinthians 3:10-15 and II Corinthians 5:9-11.
I can’t imagine two more sobering warnings: the White Throne Judgment facing all Christ-rejectors and the Bema Judgment for Christians. The sad truth is that most Christ-rejectors don’t give a thought to having to one day face God for their sins and their rejection of Christ and the sad truth about many Christians, is that they give no thought to having to face Christ one day for the way they served Him or ignored His will for their lives.
Before we focus on the Bema Judgment, let’s get a perspective by looking at a time line of events.
We’re presently living in the Church Age. This is the time when we as Christians can focus our lives on serving the Lord and living for Him. This is the time we can judge ourselves for our sin and failures and thus avoid God’s chastening. As Christians, whenever we do or say something or have an attitude that displeases God, His Holy Spirit living in us will convict us of that sin. We can immediately confess that sin and be forgiven and cleansed. or we can stiffen our necks and harden our hearts and make excuses and refuse to confess to God that we have sinned. In that case we can expect God to bring chastening into our lives to drive us to repentance.
I Corinthians 11:27-32. I John 1:7-10 Hebrews 12
The next event on God’s calendar is the Rapture (catching away) of all those who belong to Christ. No one knows the day nor the hour. It is imminent. It could take place any moment. All Christians, both living and dead, will be instantly raised from this earth in glorified, resurrection bodies and so shall we ever be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 I Corinthians 15 Titus 2:11-14 Hebrews 9:28
The Lord Jesus is the firstfruits of this Resurrection. His bodily resurrection guarantees our bodily resurrection. Our glorified bodies will be like His resurrection body. Philippians 3:20-21 I John 3:1-3 You get an idea of what those bodies will be like by reading the accounts of His resurrection at the end of each of the four Gospels.
Following the Rapture, we will be brought before Christ’s Bema Judgment Seat to give an account of the way we lived our lives as Christians. This will take place in Heaven during the seven years of Tribulation on the earth when the Antichrist is in power.
Following the Bema Judgment, we will gather with Christ in Heaven for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This will be a celebration of our intimate spiritual relationship with Christ as His Bride. Learn more about this in Ephesians 5:21-33 and Revelation 19.
Following that Marriage Supper, we will follow Christ back to earth to conquer His enemies on this earth and Jesus will set up His Kingdom on this earth. Revelation 19:11-21, 20:1-6 This is the Millenium, the thousand year reign of Christ on this earth prophesied in the Old Testament. Isaiah 11 and 35 Zechariah 12-14 We, His redeemed, glorified saints, will reign with Him on this earth. II Timothy 2:12 Satan will be bound and in a bottomless pit for those thousand years. The curse of sin will be removed from the earth. It will be a reign of forced peace and righteousness over the unsaved who are left at the end of the Tribulation. Psalm 2
At the end of the Millenium, Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit to stir up his followers on earth one last time. This shows the evil of men’s hearts that they would dare to rebel against Christ, even after living under His peaceful, righteous reign. This rebellion is cut short when Christ speaks a word of judgment and His enemies are destroyed. Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire where the Antichrist and his false prophet had been cast one thousand years earlier. Revelation 20:7-10
Now comes the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15 This is the resurrection of every unsaved person from the beginning of time. They will be brought bodily before the Lord Jesus Christ to be condemned to the Lake of Fire for eternity. Their names will not be found in The Lamb’s Book of Life and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire to join Satan, the Antichrist and his false prophet. Revelation 20:10 describes this horrible eternal damnation.
Jesus had more to say about hell fire than anyone in the Bible. See my article on HELL for more about this.
After the Great White Throne Judgment is over, the earth and the heavens as we know them now will be dissolved in an explosion and God will make a brand new earth and Heavens in which we, His redeemed, will live forever. All tears, pain, sickness, sorrow and death will be a thing of the past. We will live forever with Christ and with one another in love, righteousness and perfection. Revelations 21-22.
The evolutionists talk about the universe beginning with their “Big Bang” theory. No, this earth and the universe in which we live did not begin with a bang. It began when Christ spoke it into existence. See Genesis 1 and 2. and also John 1:1-3 But according to II Peter 3 this earth and our universe as we know it today will go out with a BANG!
But you and I will not go out of existence in that BIG BANG. We are eternal creatures and we will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. Those who have received Christ as Saviour will spend eternity in Heaven. Those who have rejected Christ as Saviour will spend eternity in Hell.
The Bema Judgment is the judgment Christians will face at the return of Christ. It will not be a judgment of condemnation for sin, but a throne from which Christ will reward the way Christians have served Him. For some Christians it will be a joyful experience. For others who lived only for themselves, it will be a time of shame and sorrow.
Before we proceed any further, understand that for those of us who have put our trust in Christ there is absolutely no condemnation. Christ has paid the full penalty for our sins. We stand clothed in His righteousness. II Corinthians 5:21 Romans 8:1 John 3:18 John 5:24
Christ is the foundation of our lives. We rest in His finished work on the cross. However, how we build on that foundation and live our lives as Christians is of great consequence.
I Corinthian 3:9-15 II Corinthian 5:9-15. Not only does He judge our works for Him, but also our motives. Romans 14:4, 10-13 He examines and rewards our faithfulness to Him. Luke 12:35-48 19:12-26. In these Luke passages it is evident that rejoicing awaits some Christians and shame and incalculable loss awaits other Christians.
It is an awful thing to lose our home and possessions in a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood or earthquake. It is an painful loss to see our retirement savings disappear in a bad investment or through inflation. It is a sorrowful loss when a beloved spouse, child or loved one dies. But all these losses do not compare to the loss of rewards at the Bema Judgment Seat.
This judgment determines our responsibility and authority in Christ’s Kingdom for one thousand years. II Timothy 2:12 says, “If we suffer (for Christ now in this present age) we shall also reign with Him (in the Millennium): if we deny Him (now in this present age) He also will deny us (authority in the Millennium).”
To the Church of Thyatira Jesus says in Revelation 2:26-27 “And he that overcometh and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power (authority) over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Psalm 2 says that Jesus is going to rule with a rod of iron, but we rule with Him with His power and authority.
In Revelation 5:10 we read that Jesus has made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign over the earth.
Revelation 20:4 assures us we shall reign with Christ a thousand years.
In I Corinthians 6:1-8 Paul clearly warns us that it is shameful sin for Christians to sue other Christians and take them to court. Christians are to work out their differences as brothers and sisters in Christ. In this passage Paul reminds us that one day we will be judging the world in the Kingdom Age. In fact, he states in this passage that we will even be judging angels! Imagine that! I doubt that Christians who cannot work out disagreements today in a spirit of love and fairness are going to be given authority to judge and rule in the Kingdom Age.
Read Luke 12:41-48 again. I cannot see how this refers to unsaved people in any way. The entire passage speaks of the conduct and attitude of God’s servants. In this passage it is unmistakable that when Christ returns to judge us at the Bema Judgment; not only will there be crowns and rewards, but there will also be tears of loss and sorrow. It even speaks of stripes and pain.
You say, “I thought that when we go to Heaven, that is the end of tears and sorrow and pain.” Turn to Revelation 21:1-4 and you will see that at the end of the Millennium as we enter into the New Heaven and New Earth, that it’s then that God wipes away all tears. Then there will be no more sorrow or pain. But I believe that during the Millennium, there will be Christians who because of their unfaithfulness to God in this life, will experience pain and shed tears of sorrow and great loss.
Though eternal life can never be lost by a Christian, crowns and rewards can be lost. That is clearly stated in Revelation 3:11 II John 7-11 I Corinthians 9:24-27. Many think that when one puts his trust in Christ, he is saved. That’s the end of it. From then on it doesn’t matter how he lives. They think they can live as they please with no eternal consequences, but they are wrong.
Yes, salvation is a gift of God’s grace given to those who put their trust in Christ. We can do nothing to earn it or keep it. We are kept by the power of God. But there is much more to salvation than just having a ticket to Heaven.
There’s a race to be run and won. Hebrews 12:1-2
There’s a battle to be won against Satan. Ephesians 6:10-17
There’s a life to be lived for God’s glory. Ephesians 1:12
Perhaps you are thinking, ” I don’t care about judging and reigning in the Kingdom Age. I’m just glad to get into Heaven. I’m going to take my chances and just live for myself on this earth and then enjoy eternity when I die.” One who talks or thinks this way is like a two year old who chooses shiny worthless trinkets rather than a certificate that would give him an inheritance that would make him a millionaire.
I close by paraphrasing II John 8 “Watch out how you live your life as a Christian Don’t lose the gains you have made. Live for Him to the very end so that you receive a full reward!”
In Genesis 1:28-31 God gave a mandate to Adam and Eve to take dominion over the earth. They listened to the lie of Satan and came under his dominion and forfeited their right and ability to exercise the dominion God had entrusted to them. In the past 6000 years mankind, under the dominion of Satan, has made a terrible mess of this earth, contaminating it with sin and sin's consequences, death.
As fallen men and women, we are worthy of death and not fit to live on this earth; much less, take dominion over it until we have received God's gift of eternal life through Christ and bowed our hearts in submission to His Lordship.
Overrun by strangers
God looks at Israel and at other nations today and speaking through the prophet Isaiah says, "Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, thy have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward… the whole head is sick, the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises and putrefying sores. They have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers." Isa. 1:4-7 Sounds to me like America today.
Thy Kingdom Come
As Christians, we long for Jesus to come back soon and clean up this mess we have made of our lives and of this earth and take over the rule of this world. We pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Luke 11:1-2 "Even so come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22:20 The big question before us is how God will bring in this Kingdom? There are a number of views among Bible scholars. In this article and those to follow, I will show you what I believe the Scriptures teach. It's up to you to evaluate what you read by testing it by the Scriptures. After all, the Scriptures; not church dogma or opinion is the final test of truth.
Israel, Center Stage
First of all, we must understand that Israel has been and will continue to be the center of Biblical prophecy. When Israel hurts; the whole world hurts. When Israel is blessed; the whole world is blessed. As goes Israel, so goes the world. Israel has been in existence for 4000 years. The nation began with Abraham about 2000 BC. Now we have come 2000 years since Christ for a total of 4000 years. Israel's history can be summarized by three keys words. PROMISE, DISPERSION and RESTORATION. Let's look at them now, taking one word at a time.
The Old Testament is full of God's promises of things that will happen in the future. God spoke them directly and through His prophets. Let me share just a few key promises with you.
In the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and led the entire future human race into sin, God made a promise to Satan and we are privileged to overhear it and thus know what is going to happen and how it is all going to end.
The Seed Plot of the Bible
In Genesis 3:15 God declares war on Satan. In this declaration, God lets us know that Satan will have a temporary, limited victory over God and ultimately God will have a final and eternal victory over Satan. " I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman. Thou shalt bruise His (Jesus) heel and He shall bruise thy head, Satan."
Satan bruised God's heel when Jesus died on the cross and rose again three days later. God will fatally bruise Satan's head at the end of the Millenium when Satan is cast forever into the Lake of Fire. Actually, Jesus bruised Satan's head when He died on the cross for our sins. Jesus' death on the cross was the absolute worst thing that could ever have happened to Satan. It spelled the beginning of the end for Satan. In fact, Paul in I Corinthians 2:8-9. speaks of God's hidden plan to allow Satan to stir up the people against Jesus so that He would die on the cross to save sinners and thus build Christ's Church. This plan resulted in the ultimate destruction of Satan and the end of his power over humanity. If Satan had understood this, he never would have plotted the death of Jesus.
The Abrahamic Covenant
God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees to be the father of a new race. Genesis 12:1-3 God promised Abraham his own land, the land of Palestine, and innumerable descendants. Genesis 13:14-17 God also promised him a Promised Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would bless the world Genesis 22:16-18 Galatians 3:16.
The Davidic Covenant
One thousand years later David, the son of Jesse, was born of the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah. He eventually was anointed as King of Israel. God made a promise to King David, known as the Davidic Covenant. It was God's promise that David's throne would be eternal and that one day a king from his line would reign eternally. That covenant is found in II Samuel 7:12-16 and Psalm 89 tells us more about that coming reign.
True, that covenant warned that those kings who rejected God, would be punished, as would the nation of Israel; but in spite of set-backs, a promised king would appear who would eventually rule the world in righteousness, justice and peace. Reading the Gospels it does not take long to learn that the promised King is Jesus.
Christ's earthly Kingdom described
The Old Testament is filled with promises and descriptions of Christ's coming Kingdom. Some of the outstanding promises are found in Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah chapters 11, 35, 40 and 60. Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34-39, Daniel 2 and 9. Zechariah 12-14 In these chapters you will read of the righteousness and peace that we will enjoy during Christ's thousand year reign. Even the wild animals will be tame.
Dear reader, does your heart cry out, "Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done. " "Even so come Lord Jesus"? Do you personally know Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Do you desire His Lordship in your life right now?
In this article I want to help you distinguish between Christ’s Secret Rapture of the Church and Christ’s Second Coming in Glory. All of the following events have been discussed in previous articles in this prophetic series. Let’s review the order of prophetic events giving you key passages of Scripture to help you see how it all fits together.
A REVIEW OF PROPHETIC EVENTS
Presently we are living in the Church Age which began at Pentecost and will conclude with the Rapture of the Church to Heaven. The Church began at Pentecost and that event is described in Acts 2.
The Rapture, described in I Corinthians 15 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18, is the moment when Christ returns for all born again believers. The dead believers will be raised in glorified bodies from the graves or from the depths of the seas. Then in the same instant all those saints who are alive will be changed. We will immediately have our glorified bodies and be caught up into Heaven with the dead in Christ.
Following the Rapture of the Church, the Anti-Christ will appear and this will usher in the Seven years of Tribulation.
In Heaven we who are Christian will face the Bema Judgement seat of Christ to face Him for rewards for our faithfulness on earth or our lack of rewards for our unfaithfulness to Him. See my article in this series on this important topic.
The Tribulation will conclude with the Coming of Jesus Christ in glory with His saints. He will destroy His enemies and cast the Anti-christ and his False Prophet into the Lake of Fire. Satan himself will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for one thousand years. During that time he will not tempt anyone to sin. See Revelation 19:1-21 and 20:1-6
For the next one thousand year, known as The Millennium, we will live in peace and righteousness on this earth under Christ’s absolute perfect rule. Isaiah 11 and 35
Following Christ’s Millennium on this earth, Satan will be released one more time. He will immediately stir up a revolt against Christ who will destroy him with the Word of His mouth. Satan will then be cast into the Lake of Fire to join the first two inhabitants, the Anti-Christ and his False Prophet. Revelations 20:7-10
Then comes the White Throne Judgment when all the lost will be condemned to the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:11-15 This is one of the most dreadful passages in all the Bible.
From the Millennium we Christians will be ushered into the eternal state described in the last two chapters of the Bible.
A LITTLE EXERCISE
If you don’t mind writing in your Bible, here is something that may help you keep events straight in your mind. First go to II Thessalonians and find a bit of white space on the page and write the following key.
G- Christ’s Coming in Glory
H.S.- Holy Spirit
Now let’s go through part of chapter one and two and write these letters in the margin of your Bibles as follows.
Put a G before verse 7 of chapter 1. Verses 7-12 speak of Christ’s coming in glory.
Put a G before verse 1- 3a of chapter 2 These verse continue to speak of Christ’s coming in glory as we saw it in chapter 1.
Put an R before the words “falling away” in verse 3. The Greek word is apostasy. Apostasy can mean falling away or departure from the Truth or it can also mean simply departure. Since the Apostasy from Truth began in the first century before the Bible was even completed, I don’t believe this refers to spiritual apostasy primarily. Rather, I believe it is speaking of a departure from this earth. I believe it is speaking about the Rapture or the departure of Christians from this earth.
Put an AC at verse 3 before “the man of sin is revealed” This is speaking of the Anti-christ who will be revealed after the church is gone.
Put a T before verse 4. This verse describes the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
Now go down to verse 7 and put an H.S. before “He who now lets”. The word let is an old English word meaning prevents. The He is the Holy Spirit who keeps all hell from breaking loose on this earth in this present age. When He disappears from this earth, the church, the Body of Christ, will be with Him. The Holy Spirit who comes to live in our lives as Christians the moment we are born again cannot leave this earth without taking all the Christians with Him. So verse 7 is also talking about the Rapture. So you could put an R in front of this verse also.
Put a T in front of the first part of verse 8 since this speaks of the Tribulation.
Then put a G in front of the last part of verse 8 which speaks of Christ’s coming in glory to destroy His enemies.
THE RAPTURE AND COMING IN GLORY DISTINGUISHED
One way you can distinguish between the rapture and the coming in glory is by the location of the event.
The rapture takes place in the air. We are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. I Thessalonians 4:13-18
Christ’s coming in glory take place on the Mount of Olives just outside of Jerusalem. See Zechariah 14:1,4 and Acts 1:11-12
Another way you can distinguish between the two comings is by who sees the event.
When Christ comes for His own in the Rapture, only the Christians will hear His voice and take flight. The unsaved will not see nor hear a thing. All they will know is that tens of thousands of Christians have suddenly disappeared, leaving their clothes behind and all their possessions. Unsaved friend, how are you going to feel when this event occurs? Are you going to be interested in breaking into their homes and taking all the wealth you can find or will you be hysterical wondering what has happened? Well, now you know in advance!
When Christ comes in glory, every eye will see it. All the unsaved from around the earth will see Him return. Matthew 24:29-30. Don’t ask me how the whole world will see it take place? I don’t know. That will be a simple problem for Christ to solve.
The important thing is not that you understand all the technical details of how it is going to happen, but to be ready when He comes. There are no further prophetic events that need to be fulfilled. Christ could return for His Church within the hour. For sure He is coming one day when you are not expecting Him. I urge you to get ready by trusting Christ NOW. II Corinthians 6:1-2. Once Christ has returned, you will find yourself left behind. Your heart will be so hard that you will continue to reject Christ throughout the Tribulation and you will be lost for eternity. Read II Thessalonians 2:8-12 and you will see there is no hope for you once Christians have disappeared. Will you trust Christ right now and get this settled now and forever? Go to my series on SALVATION and trust Christ as your Saviour this moment.
Then get into this web site with your Bible and start learning God’s Word and growing. God has a wonderful plan for your life and you can find it by surrendering yourself to Christ and letting Him lead you.
In Deuteronomy 28:1-14 we have recorded the promised blessings on Israel if they would obey God. In verses 15-68 God warns Israel of the curses that would fall upon them if they disobeyed Him and went after the false gods of the heathen. The key word in the chapter is the word "IF." God reminds them of the blessings that await them if they are obedient and the awful consequences for Israel if they turn from Him to follow false gods.
Israel was clearly given a choice as to whether they would obey God or reject Him, the true God; and follow the false gods of the heathen. He did not say "when you reject Me” but "if you reject me." God knew the choice they would make, but He left the responsibility with them. They were not puppets who were forced to reject God. They were people with the ability to make choices. As we read the Old Testament it soon becomes evident that Israel chose to reject God who demanded righteousness, and turned to the false gods and to immorality.
True to His Word, God allowed the Assyrians in 721 BC to capture the ten northern tribes of Israel and disperse them among the nations. Then in 581 BC the Babylonians invaded and captured the two southern tribes of Israel: Benjamin and Judah, and took them into Babylonian captivity. The historical account of the Assyrian invasion of the northern tribes is found in II Kings 17:1-23. The Babylonian invasion of the southern tribes is recorded in II Kings 25.
Let this be a warning to us that God does not put up with sin. When He warns us of consequences if we reject Him and disobey His Word, we had better take those warnings seriously.
Hunted like animals
I encourage you to read God's warning of Israel's Dispersion in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and note the awful grief God warned Israel they would face. For 2700 years Jews have been hunted down like animals and their lives have been in jeopardy. Think of their years of bondage under Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome. Think of the Holocaust during World War II when the Nazis hunted them down and sent 6,000,000 Jews to the gas chambers! Read Psalm 137 and weep with Israel.
Since 1948 many Jews have returned to their Homeland of Palestine, but terrorists continue to terrorize them daily. They long for the day when their Messiah will come to rule over them in peace. That day is coming just as surely as Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled to the letter when Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin mother 2000 years ago.
As Deuteronomy 28 is the Dispersion chapter, so Deuteronomy 30 is the restoration chapter. As the key word in chapter 28 is IF, so the key word in chapter 30 is WHEN.
In chapter 28 God gave Israel the choice of obeying Him or rejecting Him. God in His omniscience knew the choice Israel would make, but it was still their choice; not God's. In chapter 30, the Restoration chapter, the decision no longer lies with Israel, but with God. The word WHEN proves and history confirms that there really was a dispersion. That word WHEN also assures us that God will certainly bring about the restoration of Israel. Ezekiel chapters 34 through 39 gives us much information concerning the coming Restoration.
God will bring about the Restoration
From Ezekiel 34:11-16 we learn that God will orchestrate the Restoration and for that reason we can be absolutely assured that Israel will be restored to their homeland as a nation with their promised King ruling over them. If God sets out to do something, who can stop Him? Since 1948 over a million Jews have returned to Palestine in preparation for this coming Restoration.
Who is the promised King?
From Ezekiel 34:23-31 and 37:24 it appears to be David, their ancient king. When we dig a little deeper into Scripture, we learn it is not David himself, but David's progeny, the crucified, resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Jeremiah 23:5-6 makes this clear. Isaiah 9:6-7 and 11:1-10 certainly speaks of Jesus, who came from the line of David. II Timothy 2:12 teaches that some Christians will actually reign with Christ. See the Bema link in this prophetic series for more on this.
This restoration not only involves King Jesus ruling over them; but according to Ezekiel 36:19-28, it also involves Israel's heart of stone towards Jesus being removed and a tender, receptive heart of flesh being given to them supernaturally. This is speaking of the same change of heart God gives Jews and Gentiles in this age of grace today when we receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and are united into Christ's spiritual Body, the Church.
Garden of Eden
In Ezekiel 36:33-36 and Isaiah 35 we learn that God will remove the curse from the land of Palestine and from the whole world so that it becomes fertile and lush like the Garden of Eden. People will enjoy perfect health. The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap and the dumb will sing for joy. We learn in Isaiah 11:6-9 that animals and reptiles will be tame and harmless; that carnivorous animals will become herbivorous.
The Heathen will also live on earth during the Millennium
Ezekiel 36:36 tells us that heathen who escaped death during the seven years of Tribulation will be living on earth during the Millennium. Whereas the raptured Christians will have glorified resurrection bodies in which we will live forever, the heathen will continue to live in their earthly bodies such as we all have now. Isaiah 65:17-25 tells us that people will live to the ripe old age of 100. Little ones will not die in infancy. This passage is definitely not speaking of the eternal state described in Revelation 21-22, for all unrepentant sinners of this church age will have been cast into the eternal Lake of Fire.
These same verses teach that following the devastation of the Tribulation on earth, God will renew the earth for the Millennium. Don't confuse this renewing of the earth to refer to the New Heavens and the New Earth following the Millennium spoken of in Revelation 21.
Peace and Righteous will characterize the Millennium
Perhaps the most outstanding truth concerning the Millennium is that for one thousand years there will be perfect peace, righteousness and justice. Satan will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for 1000 years. Revelation 20:1-3 Jesus will rule the world with a rod of iron. Psalm 2 Everyone on the face of the earth will know and honor King Jesus, even if they still have rebellious hearts toward Him. Isaiah 11:1-5. Holiness will be evident everywhere. Zechariah 14:16-21
How does God go about bringing spiritual life to Israel? That's explained in Ezekiel 37. There we read about the dry bones coming together to form restored, living human bodies. Ezekiel is commanded to preach to the dry bones and as a result spiritual life comes to them. As we read this chapter, we learn that the dry bones are the whole house of Israel.
How and when will Israel turn to their Messiah, the Lord Jesus?
The Lord willing, we will address that topic in the next article.
One more important question
If you are an unbeliever now, will you have a chance to live on this earth during the Millenium? I do not believe so. Those who hear the Gospel today and reject it because they want to continue living in their sins will remain lost and go to hell. If the rapture should occur in your lifetime and you have rejected Christ as your Saviour, II Thessalonians 2:8-12 teaches that you WILL believe the lie of the Antichrist and be damned. If God's Spirit is speaking to your heart concerning your need to receive Christ, do it immediately. Tomorrow may be too late for you. You are presently hanging by a spider web over hell. Don't risk going to hell another moment. Cast yourself on Jesus and pray, Lord Jesus, I receive you as my Saviour from sin. I have no righteousness to offer You. Save me now by your Grace. Friend, if you still have questions, go to my link on SALVATION. Read it, study it and get this vitally important matter settled now.
God is working behind the scenes in all of history. In fact, in the book of Esther we see God's hand in every detail and yet not once is God mentioned in that book. History is HIS STORY.
In recent articles in this series we've seen how God has sovereignly directed in the Dispersion and Restoration of Israel. Ezekiel 34-39 describes how that restoration will take place. Ezekiel 34:11-16 tells us how God will seek out His people, the Jews, from all the nations of the world and draw them back to their homeland of Israel. God has placed in the heart of every Jew a longing and a love for his Promised Land. Psalm 137 describes this longing for Jerusalem that will one day be totally fulfilled. How and when will this happen?
In the previous article we wrote of the Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37. These bones represent the whole House of Israel. The bones represent Jews scattered around the world. These Jews will return to Palestine and God will breathe spiritual life into them. Ezekiel 38-39 explain how this will happen.
There are three important wars pertaining to end time prophecy.
1. The Russian invasion of Israel. This takes place at the beginning of
the Tribulation and is recorded in Ezekiel 38-39.
2. The Battle of Armageddon. This takes place at the end of
the Tribulation and is recorded in Revelation 14:15-20 and 16:16
3. Finally, at the end of the Millennium, Satan is released from his
bottomless pit and goes out to attempt to deceive the nations of the
world one last time. Satan is quickly defeated and sent to the
Lake of Fire. That is the end of Satan and his demonic power
forever. Revelation 20:8-10
The Russian Invasion
In Ezekiel 38 we are immediately introduced to some strange names. Gog and Magog are ancient names for what is now Russia. Meshech is an ancient name for Moscow. Tubal is an ancient name of the capital of eastern Russia. In the following verses we read of Gog and Magog's allies. Persia is now Iran. Gomer is an ancient name for Germany. Ethiopia, Lybia and Togarmah, an ancient name for Turkey, are also mentioned as allies of Gog and Magog.
This invasion of Israel appears to begin at the beginning of the Tribulation. The Antichrist make a treaty with Israel, promising to protect them. See Ezekiel 38:11 Daniel 9:26-27 Matthew 24:15-22 and I Thessalonians 5:1-3 for more information on this promise of peace. While Israel is basking in this false peace, suddenly the northern hordes invade the land.
Horses, wooden shields and spears
Why such ancient weapons and means of transportation in this nuclear age? I don't know. I only know that Isaiah 54:17 says that "no weapons used against God's people will prosper." These enemies will revert to ancient means of warfare; but to no avail. This is not some new phenomenon. It has always been this way throughout history. Whenever enemies go against God's people, God always comes to their defense. The size of the enemy and the type of weapons used, whether modern or ancient, don't make any difference. God has always protected His people. The only exception is when God uses the ungodly to chasten His own for disobedience and rebellion.
Read the following stories as examples of how God protects His own.
Read in Exodus 14 of how Pharaoh's armies were destroyed when they attempted to come against Israel. Read in Joshua 6 of how God supernaturally worked to give Israel the city of Jericho. Then in the chapter 7, read of how self-confident Israel was defeated in a battle that should have been easy to win. You will see the reason for the defeat was hidden sin within the camp of Israel. Read in Joshua 10 of how God amazingly fought for Israel against the Amorites. The story found in II Chronicles 20 of Jehoshaphat's great victory against Ammon and Moab is one of my favorite stories of how God fights for His own. Israel simply stood still and sang praises to God and He gave them a marvelous victory. God still works that way today.
When Will This Invasion Take Place?
Ezekiel 38:8 and 16 makes it clear that this battle will take place "in the latter years." It has not taken place in the past. It is a battle yet to come.
Why the Invasion?
They will think they are coming for the wealth in Palestine. Besides the oil, the Dead Sea has staggering wealth. Someone has estimated that wealth in the Dead Sea at FOUR TIMES the wealth of The United States. Whether those figures are accurate, I do not know. I only know the wealth of the Dead Sea is beyond our wildest imagination.
But there is another reason why they are invading Palestine. Though they will not know it, God is drawing Israel's enemies in to destroy them and to show Israel his power and love for them. As a result Israel as a nation is going to turn to Christ their Messiah. Read the last two verses of Ezekiel 39. "Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out My Spirit upon the House of Israel, saith the Lord God."
See Zechariah 12:10 and read of this wonderful event when Israel looks on Jesus in His glorified body. Note, it includes the nail prints in His hands just as it did in the Upper Room when Jesus showed Himself to Thomas and invited him to put his fingers into the nail prints and thrust his hand into the spear hole in His side. "And I will pour upon the House of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him¸ as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
Zechariah 13:1 speaks of a fountain opened to the House of David for sin and for uncleaness. Water does not cleanse from sin. Only the blood of Christ is powerful enough to do that. There is no question that that fountain is Christ's blood shed for the sins of the world. When the Jews recognize Jesus as the Lamb of God slain for sin, their hearts will turn to Him as their Messiah and be saved from their sins just as faith in that shed blood saves us from sin today.
Paul explains this conversion of Israel in Romans 11:25-27 In verse 5 Paul writes of a remnant of Israel who will be saved according to the election of grace. In verse 25 he writes of the temporary blindness of Israel. When the last Jew and Gentile to be saved is added to the church, "the fullness of the Gentiles will have come in." The rapture will take place, the anti-Christ will be revealed. He will make a covenant of peace with Israel. Then the northern nations will come down on Israel to conquer them. Christ will destroy Israel's enemies and Israel will turn to Christ. "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Rom. 11:26 That's good news for Jews; but I have some even better news to share in a coming message when we distinguish between the Bride and the Friend of the Bridegroom.
If you were a young woman who loved an eligible young man, which would you rather be: his Bride, or the Friend of the Bridegroom? John the Baptist talks about this difference in John 3:28-29.
John the Baptist's identity
John was given the blessed privilege of introducing Jesus to the world. John admitted that he was not the Christ. Although his story is told in the Gospels, he was actually a saint of God under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant did not begin until Jesus died on the cross, shedding His blood for sin. John was not the Bridegroom and he was not the Bride. Instead, he was the Friend of the Bridegroom. In that blessed position he claimed his joy was fulfilled.
Who is the adulteress wife?
Israel in the Old Testament was known as Jehovah's adulteress wife. She had turned from Him to play the harlot with false gods. Read the Prophet Hosea as he pictures for us the sad relationship between Jehovah and His adulteress wife. The following Scriptures also refer to Israel's harlotry. Isaiah 1:21 Jeremiah 2:20-37, 3:1-25 Ezekiel 16
Who is the Bridegroom?
The Lord Jesus Christ is the blessed Bridegroom. Ephesians 5:22-33.
Who is the Bride?
The Bride of Christ is the Church, those Jews and Gentiles redeemed by the grace of God through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The Church began at Pentecost in Acts 2 and will receive the last member a moment before the Rapture of the Church. The Church is also referred to as the Body of Christ. The Church was purchased with the shed blood of Christ. Acts 20:28 Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians best identifies and describes Christ's Bride, the Church. Note especially Ephesians 5:22-33
Who are the Friends of the Bridegroom?
The Friends of the Bridegroom include all those saints of the Old Testament who looked forward with anticipation to the coming of their Messiah and Saviour. They also include any New Testament saints, such as John the Baptist who died prior to the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They also include all those who will turn to Christ during the Tribulation. Friends of the Bridegroom would also include those 144,000 Jews who are saved during the Tribulation. Revelation 7 & 14.
ARE YOU A PART OF HIS BRIDE?
As glorious as it is to be a friend of Jesus, it is infinitely more glorious and blessed to be part of His Bride. Today in this Age of The Church, Jews and Gentiles (anyone who is not a Jew) can come as repentant sinners to Christ and be saved, and united into Christ's Body and Bride. To begin to grasp the privilege and glory and blessing of being a part of the Church, I invite you to read the short Epistle to the Ephesians. You can read through it in less than an hour.
If you do not personally know this relationship with Christ, simply come to Him right now as a sinner worthy of death and believe that Jesus loved you so much that He took the death penalty for your sins as He suffered and died on the cross. If you will trust Him right now, He will save you and you will begin to understand your new eternal position as part of His Bride.
The purpose of this article is not to satisfy idle curiosity, but to help us get the overall picture of God’s prophetic timetable. I will not attempt to set dates concerning the return of Christ. Jesus repeatedly told us in Scripture that no man knows the time of Christ’s return. We are simply to be ready for His imminent return. The Apostle Paul expected Jesus to return in his own lifetime. I Thessalonians 4:15 Bible believing Christians have been expecting Jesus to return in their generation for the past 2000 years. That expectation and excitement seems to have accelerated in the last century.
While Daniel was praying to God, confessing his sins and the sins of his beloved nation, Israel; no doubt, confused and depressed by the prophecies God had given him in Daniel 7 and 8 of the Gentiles powers that would rule in the centuries ahead, and grieving for his beloved people Israel, still banished from their homeland; God answered by sending the angel Gabriel to him with a special announcement. God promised to give Israel 70 more weeks of history. Literally, that is 70 sevens of years or 490 years.
A Week of Years
A week of years is a period of seven years. This is not something we pull out of thin air. The Hebrew word for seven is shabua. The word means a unit of measurement of seven just as our word dozen is a unit of measurement for twelve.
In Genesis 29:16-28 we learn that Jacob worked for Laban for seven years in exchange for Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel. At the end of seven years of work, Laban tricked Jacob by giving him Leah, his oldest daughter. Though this upset Jacob, he loved Rachel so much that he fulfilled another “week of years” to have the woman he most loved. So when Gabriel in Daniel 9 is speaking of a week of years, he is referring to a period of seven years.
This 490 year period of Israel‘s history would include Christ making reconciliation for iniquity and conclude by Christ bringing everlasting righteousness to this earth. This 490 year period of Israel‘s history would begin with a king’s decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. According to Nehemiah 2:1, Artaxerxes gave that decree in the month Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign. He reigned in Persia from 465 to 425 BC. So the twentieth year of his reign was 445 BC.
You can read the text of that amazing decree in Ezra 7:11-26.
Gabriel’s announcement divides the seventy weeks of years into three groups.
The first 7 weeks of years, or 49 years takes us to Malachi and the end of the Old Testament.
The next 62 weeks of years or 434 years takes us through the 400 silent years between the Old and New Testament and through the years of Christ’s life and ministry on this earth. So adding 49 and 434 gives us a total of 483 years or 69 weeks of years. These are all in the past. Messiah the Prince, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be cut off or die; but not for His own sins. Jesus came into the world and died for our sins.
So since 445 BC, the year of Artaxexes decree to rebuild Jerusalem, 483 of the 490 years of Israel‘s history have been fulfilled with only seven more years to go before everlasting righteousness will be ushered in.
Sitting on the Side Track
When Israel publicly rejected Jesus, their Messiah; God switched Israel from the main track of prophecy to a siding and brought a new train, The CHURCH, composed of born again Jews and Gentiles, on to the main track.
Israel, as a nation, has been on a siding ever since. The clock has temporarily stopped ticking for her. When the Church, composed of regenerated Jews and Gentiles, is raptured from this earth, the Church will be removed from the main track of prophecy and Israel will be switched from the siding back on to the main track. Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25-27 speak of this side-tracking of Israel for the present. With the removal of the Church to Heaven, the final seven years prophesied by Gabriel will start ticking away. Unconverted Jews will find themselves in the Tribulation along with all unbelievers alive at that time.
The Abomination of Desolation
The Tribulation will begin with Anti-Christ appearing and making a covenant of peace with Israel. Daniel 9:27 After 3½ years, Anti-Christ will enter the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and desecrate it, claiming that he alone is God to be worshipped. Daniel 9:27 Matt. 24:15-22 II Thessalonians 2:3-4 The final 3½ years of the Tribulation will be known as The Great Tribulation. God’s wrath will be poured out on the world like nothing anyone has ever seen.
Note these veiled references to the final 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
Rev. 12:6, 1,260 days = about 3 ½ years
Rev.12:14 time, times, half a time.= 1 year,2 years, ½ year =3 ½ yrs
Rev. 13:5 42 months= 3 ½ years
Martyred for Christ
A remnant of Israel converted to Christ during the Tribulation will endure martyrdom at the hands of the Anti-Christ. At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, Jesus will return in glory, destroy His enemies and bring in the Millennial Kingdom of everlasting righteousness, thus fulfilling Daniel’s final Seventy Weeks of Jewish history.
Will you be left behind?
Those Jews and Gentiles who receive Christ as Saviour in this Church Age of Grace will be raptured from this earth and thus escape the awful Tribulation that lies ahead for those left behind.
When it comes to prophecy, all of us fall into one of three camps.
1. Premillennialists, of which I am one, believe that Jesus will imminently come for His Church of born-again believers and that following this rapture of the Church to Heaven, the world will be plunged into the Great Tribulation and the reign of Anti-christ for a seven year period. Following the Tribulation, Christ will return to this earth to reign for one thousand years (a Millennium)
I also believe that as a Christian, Christ's Kingdom is already in my heart; but I have already made clear my position on this in a previous article in this series.
Study the previous articles of this series for a more complete explanation of the Pre-Millennial position.
2. Post-Millennialists believe Jesus established His Kingdom at His resurrection. Since then His Kingdom has been growing and prospering as the Gospel continues to be preached throughout the world. One day Christ will return to judge this world and reign forever. For the Post-Millennialist there is no rapture; only one resurrection for the saved and the unsaved. They believe the Tribulation took place in the first century when Christian's suffered for their faith under Roman persecution.
3. A-Millennialists believe much like the Post-Millennialists, that there is no Millennial Kingdom of 1000 years now or in the future. They believe that when Christ returns to this earth it will be to usher in the eternal state; not another period of time on this earth.
Though a Pre-millennialist, I have no desire to be divisive over these convictions. I value the unity of the Body of Christ, more than my prophetic position. In this article I simply show from God's Word why I take this position.
THIRTEEN REASONS WHY I AM A PRE-MILLENNIALIST
1. Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer to pray for His Kingdom to come to this earth. Would that not imply it has not yet come?
2. Jesus stated in John 18:36 that His Kingdom was not of this cosmos (world system). It's true that Christ reigns in the hearts of true believers today, and that as believers, we have an influence on those around us; but we are not Christianizing this Satan-controlled, sinful world system. We are not "ushering in the Kingdom" today. Rather, we are evangelizing the lost and bringing people to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He hints in this verse that when He comes to set up His Kingdom, that He will by force put down His enemies.
3. Jesus' Kingdom was evidently not inaugurated between the resurrection of Christ and His ascension. In Acts 1:6-7 the disciples were asking the resurrected Jesus when the Kingdom would come. If the Kingdom had already come, they would not have asked this question. Jesus did not answer their question, but rather, directed their attention to fulfilling His Great Commission of being witnesses of Christ to the whole world.
4. The Kingdom did not come at Pentecost. There is no mention of the Millennial Kingdom in Acts nor in the Epistles to the churches. Their only commission was to preach the Gospel and edify the saints. That, of course, is our commission today. Any references to the Kingdom in the Epistles are clearly speaking of the spiritual kingdom of Christ reigning in the hearts of believers.
5. In Luke 19:12-27 Jesus illustrated truths about His millennial kingdom by telling a story of a nobleman who went to a far country to receive His Kingdom. In this story Jesus is teaching that He is about to leave this earth for a long period of time and that His servants are to faithfully serve Him in anticipation of being rewarded for their faithfulness when He returns to set up His Kingdom.
6. Following a description of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 6-18, an angel announces in 11:15 the coming Kingdom of Christ. Evidently, the Great Tribulation comes before the Kingdom. Note that the inauguration of Christ's Kingdom is prophesied in Revelation 19-20 after the Tribulation of Revelation 6-18.
7. In II Timothy Paul charges Timothy and all pastors in this church age to faithfully preach the Word as we anticipate the return of Christ to judge and to set up His Kingdom. II Timothy 4:1 teaches us that the Millennial Kingdom is yet to come. It was not established at Christ's resurrection.
8. James, pastor of the church in Jerusalem, speaks in James 2:5 to Christians who are "heirs of Christ's Kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him." To be an heir of the kingdom is to be a part of something that has not yet taken place.
9. Peter in II Peter 1:2-11 challenges Christians to grow and come to maturity so they will enjoy an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Here Peter speaks of something that has not yet happened.
10. Paul writing in I Corinthians 15:50 explains to us that we Christians living in our natural human bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. There must come a change first. We must leave our mortal human bodies and receive our new glorified bodies first.
Then in the rest of that chapter and also in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 , Paul describes what is known as the Rapture of the saints. This is the Blessed Hope that Paul wrote about in Titus 2:11-13. That's why I am so excited about being a Pre-Millennialist and that's why I anticipate the rapture. I pray with John in the last chapter or Revelation, "Even so come, Lord Jesus!"
The Revelation was written by John about 95 AD, about sixty years after Jesus had risen and ascended back to Heaven. Jesus Millennial Kingdom will not be set up in this world until King Jesus arrives.
11. Revelation 20:1-6 speaks of Christ's coming Kingdom coming AFTER Satan is bound and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years. Is there anyone today who believes that Satan is presently bound and can no longer tempt people to sin?
12. Isaiah 11 and 35 describe the perfect condition that will take place on this earth during the Kingdom of Christ. With all the crime, natural disasters and heart ache in this present evil world today, are we really living in the Kingdom Age? I doubt it.
13. God promises in Ezekiel 36 and 37 and in Zechariah 12-14 that in the Kingdom Age the Jews will recognize and receive their Messiah, Jesus Christ. Although individual Jews have received Christ today and are a part of the Church, the Jews as a nation still reject Christ.
In the meantime, in this Church Age, thank God that anyone, Jew or Gentile, can receive Christ and be born again into His Heavenly Kingdom. John 3:3-5 Christ Jesus reigns in the true believer's heart.
We know Him now as our Saviour Psalm 22, Shepherd Psalm 23,
and King Psalm 24. According to Jesus' statement to Peter in Matthew 16:17-19 the Church and the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven are identical.
Let us rejoice in the truth that we Christians can presently enjoy His Kingdom in our hearts. How dare a believer in Christ refuse to bow to the Lordship of King Jesus!
In Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 Jesus gives parallel accounts of the past 2000 years ending with the Tribulation. He refers to the prophet Daniel who outlines the "time of the Gentiles". In Luke 21:24 He announces that "Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled."
In Deuteronomy 28 God promised blessings on Israel if they obeyed Him and in Deuteronomy 30 He warned of Israel's going into captivity to the Gentile nations around them if they disobeyed and dishonored God. You know their choice, the choice that every sinner makes. They disobeyed God and in 722 BC the ten northern tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians. In 602 BC the kingdoms of Judah and Benjamin were captured and enslaved by the Babylonians. They began to experience the sorrows of being trodden down by the Gentiles and that has continued 2700 years to the present time.
DREAMS OF THE FUTURE
The Book of Daniel is filled with prophecies concerning Israel and their miserable treatment by Gentile nations. Babylonian Emperor Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of an image of a man in Daniel 2 and Daniel had a dream of wild beasts in Dan. 7. Both dreams describe Babylon and the three future world empires that would appear and keep Israel in slavery: Persia, Greece and Rome. Of course, Israel has been mistreated and persecuted by other Gentile nations down through the centuries, even to our present day.
WORSHIP THE IMAGE, OR ELSE!
Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the image described a man so glorious that he made an image of the man whose golden head represented him and demanded that everyone worship it on penalty of being cast into a fiery furnace if they refused. You can read the wonderful story in Daniel chapter 3 of Daniel's three Hebrew friends who defied the king and refused to bow to the image. They were cast alive into the furnace and God kept them safe, burning only the cords that bound them. They came out of the furnace without even the smell of smoke on them.
THE BEAST ANTI-CHRIST
Daniel's dream of four beasts, included a lion representing Babylon, and three more beasts representing future world empires that would enslave Israel: a bear representing Persia, a leopard representing Greece, and a strange, ferocious looking wild beast with three horns and iron teeth representing Rome.
From the revived Roman Empire the Anti-christ will appear at the beginning of the Tribulation, the final seven years in which Christ pours forth His wrath on this earth before returning to inaugurate His Millennial Kingdom. In Revelation 13 & 17 the Anti-christ is described as a beast.
JEWS, GENTILES, CHURCH: IN WHICH ARE YOU?
In the 2000 plus years between the Christ's first coming and the coming reign of Anti-Christ, is the church age in which we find ourselves. The Church, though composed of regenerated Jews and Gentiles, is neither Jew nor Gentile. Galatians 6:15 It is a people unlike anyone on the earth. The true church is made up ONLY of those who have come as sinners to Jesus and placed their faith in His cleansing blood alone for salvation. II Corinthians 5:17,21 Galatians 3:13 We await the return of Christ, when we His spiritual bride are united with our heavenly Bridegroom.
As for the Jews who have not yet recognized and received Jesus as their Messiah, they continue to experience the pressures and persecution of "the times of the Gentiles"
THE END OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
At the end of the Tribulation Christ will return to reign over the earth. With His coming will come the end of the dominion or "times of the Gentiles" and Christ will usher in His Millennial rule of peace and righteousness.
I remind you again of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2 of an image representing the four world empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. In that dream Daniel sees a stone cut out without hands, that strikes against the feet of the image, breaking it in pieces. That chapter explains to us that the stone is Christ's Kingdom which ultimately destroys and replaces all the world empires.
Nebuchadnezzar's image speaks of the day of man in which we live. We live today; not in the Kingdom of God, but in the kingdom of Satan-controlled men. As II Corinthians 4:4 teaches, we learn that Satan is the god of this world-system today and he blinds sinners to the light of the Gospel.
True, we Christians who have surrendered ourselves to King Jesus, presently enjoy the reign of Christ in our hearts. The Kingdom of God truly is within us. Luke 17:21
THIS WORLD IS IN A MESS
Without God, mankind cannot properly govern himself. Man makes a mess of things. Human government, whether a dictatorship, monarchy, democracy, republic or anarchy; is characterized by lawlessness, crime, debt, immorality, selfishness and blasphemy against God. True, our American Republic is as good a government as sinful man can make it, with all the checks and balances of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
THE STONE THAT BECOMES A MOUNTAIN
But regardless of how great and good human government is, we will not enter the Golden Age until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. Then the Lord Jesus, the Stone, will destroy the Kingdom of Anti-Christ and usher in His own glorious Millennial reign. That stone will then become a mountain filling the whole earth. Read about it in Daniel 2:34-35, 44 and Isaiah 2:2
THE STONE IN SCRIPTURE
The Stone of Daniel 2 is without question, the Lord Jesus Christ returning in all of His power and glory to reign over the earth. That stone is referred to throughout Scripture. Let me give you a sampling.
In Psalm 118:22-24 Jesus is referred to as a corner stone, who in the Gospels is rejected by the Pharisees who attempted to build Messiah's Kingdom through deadening legalism.
In Isaiah 8:13-15 Jesus is described as a stumbling stone on which the Jews stumbled when they rejected Him as Messiah.
In Isaiah 28:16 the prophet warns of a time when Israel would reject Christ. Israel is exhorted to hear the Word of the Lord and learn about Jesus, the precious and sure Foundation Stone, Those who believe on that Stone and have Him as their foundation, will not be forced to flee from the coming storm of Christ's wrath on this earth alluded to in verse 2.
In Luke 20:9-18 Jesus tells the story of a man who planted a vineyard and entrusted it to husbandmen to produce grapes. From time to time He sent His servants, the prophets, to warn and encourage them to produce fruit. They rejected and misused His servants. Finally, He sent His own beloved Son to them and recognizing Him as the heir to the vineyard inheritance, Israel, they despised and rejected and killed Him so they could have control of Israel for themselves. Does that sound like the Pharisee's treatment of Jesus? I think so.
So the story concludes that as the Stone of Daniel 2 will come and crush those world empires, so those who refuse to fall before Him in humility and brokenness and repentance, will be crushed to powder.
In Acts 4:10-12 the Apostle Peter identifies Christ as the Stone whom Israel rejected and crucified. In so doing, they rejected the only salvation that is possible.
Peter writing in I Peter 2:6-9 declares that Jesus is precious to those who receive Him. (How well we who have received Him as our Saviour know that!) But He is the stumbling stone over which Christ-rejectors stumble. Why is it that sinners are willing to risk going to hell? Think about it! They are willing to risk going to hell simply because they love their sins. They despise the God who created them and who came down to earth as a man, Jesus, to die on a cross to pay the penalty for their sins. No wonder our Holy God's wrath rests on them. Hating and despising God is the depth of depravity!
In Daniel 7 we have Daniel's vision of the nations of the world pictured as wild beasts in contrast to Jesus coming in all of His glory. In verses 13-14 of that chapter, we see Jesus descending to earth in His glory to reign as King. In verse 18-27 we learn that the saints, that is, we who are born again Christians, will reign with Christ.
WE WILL REIGN WITH CHRIST ON THIS EARTH
Dear Christian brothers and sisters in Christ, have you ever looked at the evil all around you and wished you could do something about it? That day is coming when we shall reign with Christ in His power and authority and set things right on this earth. That is a HUGE thought! But that day is coming. The world that scorns and ignores and sometimes persecutes us today will one day bow before us as we perfectly represent Christ. Review the earlier articles in this Prophetic series for more details on this.
When Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Paris and all the other great cities of the world lie in ruins and are forgotten, Jerusalem will still be standing.
Why does Jerusalem continue to exist?
By all natural laws, Jerusalem should be the city that is in ruins and is forgotten. Jerusalem has been besieged by enemies for centuries. She has been the center of wars and terrorism. She has been partially destroyed and changed hands repeatedly. She has little industry and few natural resources. She is a city of crumbling sepulchres and holy places and has a population of about half a million poor Jews.
Earlier in our prophetic studies we called attention to what Jesus said recorded in Luke 21:24 " Jerusalem shall be trodden down until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled." This city has been trodden down by gentile powers for about three thousand years. This treading down by gentile power began with the Assyrians and Babylonians about 700 BC and has continued to this present hour with the Palestinians and Muslim Terrorists.
After the Rapture of the Church, gentile powers under the rule of Anti-christ will continue to tread down the Jews for seven more years.
When Christ returns to reign at the end of the seven years of Tribulation, then Jerusalem will become the center of world power and the joy of the earth.
The meaning of the name, Jerusalem
Jerusalem means city of peace. Salem some from the Jewish greeting for peace, Shalom. It has been anything but peace down through the centuries.
Mt. Zion is a hill upon which Jerusalem was built. It always refers to Jerusalem and not to the church. However, as the truths of Mt. Zion apply to God's people Israel in the Old Testament; so such truths can be applied to The Church, in this Church Age. Zion speaks of the place where God dwells. Let me give you some examples from the Psalms.
Psalm 2 speaks of King Jesus. Though this Psalm speaks of Jesus ruling from Jerusalem, we can think of our hearts as being the dwelling place of our King Jesus.
Psalm 3:4 As Israel communed with Him from the temple in Jerusalem on His holy hill of Zion; so we who have surrendered to Christ, commune with Him in our hearts.
Psalm 137 is a Psalm that shows the sorrow of Israel when they were in Babylonian captivity. In such circumstances the grief was so great that they did not have a heart to sing songs of Zion and of praise to God. So when we Christians are out of fellowship with Christ because of unconfessed sin, there is no song in our hearts. We have no heart to sing or to play our instruments in praise to God.
Consider the origin of Jerusalem
The first reference we have to Jerusalem is in the story of Melchizedek and Abraham in Genesis 14 and Hebrews 7. Melchizedek, king of Salem (later known as Jerusalem) was an unusual man who had no father or mother, no beginning nor end. He is what is called a Christophany. That is, he was an Old Testament manifestation of Christ who would later be born as the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Genesis 14 speaks of him as a prophet, priest and king. So Jesus was a prophet as he ministered on earth at His first coming. He is our present great High Priest in Heaven, and He is destined to be King of kings and Lord of lords when He returns to earth. Abraham tithed to Him for He was God in the flesh.
The next reference to Jerusalem is Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22. This is the mount where God told Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Happily, God did not allow him to go through with the sacrifice, but provided a ram instead. God just wanted Abraham's willing heart.
In the latter part of II Samuel 24 David is instructed to buy a threshing floor from Araunah, the Jebusite (an ancient name for what would be Jerusalem) On that threshing floor he built an altar and offered sacrifices to God.
Now read II Chronicles 3:1 Here we learn where King Solomon is to build his famous temple. Note that it is in Mt. Moriah where Abraham offered his son, Isaac. It is in the threshing floor of Araunah where David also offered sacrifices for sin. In this important location God instructed Solomon to build the temple. It's interesting that in the same place Abraham offered his son, Isaac; two thousand years later God would offer His only begotten Son to die on a cross for the sins of the world.
PROPHECIES, PROMISES AND PRAYERS CONCERNING JERUSALEM
In this article I want to continue our study of Jerusalem as we consider prophecies, promises and prayers concerning this very special city, so close to the heart of God.
Prophecies and Promises
When Solomon finished building his famous temple to God's honor and glory, it is recorded in I Kings 9:2-3 that God appeared to him and said, "I have hallowed this house which thou hast built to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall dwell there perpetually."
In I Chronicles 23:25 David said, "The Lord God of Israel hath given rest unto His people that they may dwell in Jerusalem forever."
In II Chronicles 33:4 after wicked king Manasseh had brought false religion into God's holy temple, it is said of Manasseh that he built altars (to the false gods) in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord hath said, "In Jerusalem shall my name be forever."
In Joel 3 there is a prophecy of the Battle of Armageddon in the last days. Starting in verse 16 The Lord Jesus Christ roars out of Zion and shakes the whole earth. In the midst of the shaking, Christ says, "So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain. Then shall Jerusalem be holy. The passage goes on to speak of the blessing flowing from Jerusalem and Judah dwelling there forever. The passage concludes with the promise that the Lord dwells in Zion.
Psalm 48 is a beautiful psalm of God dwelling in Jerusalem. Isaiah 4 is another beautiful passage that describes the future beauty and holiness of Jerusalem. Psalm 46 is a Psalm that has brought as much comfort to God's people as Psalm 23. In speaking of the coming peace of that city, Psalm 46 speaks peace to the Christian in the midst of war and distress.
Zechariah 14 gives details concerning Christ's return in glory to Jerusalem. Micah 4 teaches us that Jerusalem will be the capital city of Christ's Millennial Kingdom.
Through the centuries God's people have prayed for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem. Daniel prayed for the city in Daniel 9. Nehemiah prayed and wept for the ravaged city in Nehemiah 1 and 2. The Book of Nehemiah describes how Nehemiah rebuilt the city with the support of King Artaxerxes of Persia after it's destruction by the Babylonians.
When Jesus walked this earth, Matthew 23 records how He lashed out in anger at the Pharisees who were misleading the people of Israel. At the same time, He wept over the city of Jerusalem.
We are challenged in Psalm 122 to pray for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem. God blesses nations and people who pray for and bless Israel and Jerusalem and God judges those who harm His beloved people. America has been blessed in the past for our friendship towards Israel. God help us to never forsake His chosen people.