WAKE UP – THE IMMINENT COMING OF CHRIST

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The Cambridge Dictionary describes the word “Imminent” as “coming or likely to happen very soon.”

EXPECTATIONS OF THE EARLY CHURCH

Christ could come at any moment according to Scripture. From the very earliest days of the church, the apostles and first-generation Christians had an earnest expectation and hope that Christ might suddenly return to gather His church to heaven. The New Testament writers often wrote of Christ’s “appearing,” and they never failed to convey the sense that this could happen imminently. James, probably the earliest of the New Testament epistles, expressly told his readers that the return of Christ was imminent:

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” James 5:7-9

Peter echoed that same expectation when he wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7). The writer of Hebrews cited the imminent return of Christ as a reason to remain faithful: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up 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” (Heb. 10:24-25). He wrote, “Yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (v. 37). And the apostle John made the most confident pronouncement of all: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). John wrote “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28; cf. 3:2; Col. 3:4; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:4). When John recorded his vision in the book of Revelation, he prefaced it by saying that these things “must shortly take place” (1:1).

When the apostle Paul described the Lord’s coming for the church, he clearly was convinced that he himself might be among those who would be caught up alive to meet the Lord: “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thess. 4:15, 17). He obviously looked for Christ to return in his lifetime. He furthermore made it plain that a watchful, hopeful expectancy about Christ’s Second Coming is one of the godly attitudes divine grace teaches all believers: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

 WILL THE TRIBULATION PRECEDE CHRIST’S COMING FOR THE CHURCH?  

Nonetheless, according to some students of Bible prophecy, “the blessed hope” becomes relevant only after the church has gone through the Tribulation. When Christ outlined the events of the last days, He included many prophecies about tribulation and hardship, and He said these signs would precede and point to His return (Matt. 24:21, 30).

First, they argue that all the general “signs of the times” given in the New Testament either have been fulfilled or are being fulfilled before our eyes. They are, in fact, characteristics of the entire church age. Apostasy and unbelief, self-love, sin, wars, rumors of wars, and natural disasters have all been common throughout the church age. Practically every generation of Christians since the time of Christ has believed they were seeing the end-times signs fulfilled before their very eyes. And the church was already in the last days even before the apostolic era ended. In fact, “last days” is a biblical term for the Christian era itself (Heb. 1:1-2).

Second, those who believe the church must suffer through the hardships of the Tribulation period invariably cite 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 as proof:

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.

If 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 indeed means that Christ’s coming for the church cannot occur until after the Antichrist was revealed and the seven years of Tribulation took place, it nullifies everything the New Testament teaches about the imminence of Christ’s return.

So, on the one hand, the New Testament reflects an eager sense of expectancy and the conviction that the blessed hope of Christ’s return is imminent. On the other hand, we are warned about trouble and affliction that will precede Christ’s return. How can we reconcile these two threads of prophecy? How can we cultivate a daily expectation of Christ’s return if these preliminary signs must yet be fulfilled before He returns?

But look carefully at the context of 2 Thessalonians 2. The Thessalonians had been confused and upset by some false teachers who were teaching that the persecutions and sufferings they experienced were the very judgments associated with the Day of the Lord’s final apocalyptic wrath. They were deeply troubled by this, for in his earlier epistle Paul encouraged them by telling them of the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:14-17). He even instructed them to comfort one another with the promise of Christ’s coming for them (v. 18), so they obviously feared they had missed the Rapture.

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (v.1) is a clear reference to the Rapture. But “The day of Christ” mentioned later in verse 2, however refers to the Day of the Lord (in fact, the older manuscripts use the expression “day of the Lord” in this verse). So when Paul says, “that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (v.3), he is talking about the Day of the Lord and its apocalyptic judgment, not the Rapture.

He most certainly was not suggesting that the coming of Christ for the church would be delayed until after the Tribulation events had all played out. If this was what he meant, it would overturn everything the New Testament has to say about Christ’s return being imminent, comforting, and hopeful.

So, the consistent teaching of the New Testament is that Christians should be looking for the imminent coming of Christ for His church, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 is no exception.

 THE SCOFFERS AND THE MOCKERS  

Some argue that Christ’s coming could not possibly have been imminent for the early church, given the obvious fact that 2,000 years later He has still not returned, even though James, Peter, John, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews all believed Christ’s return was very near—“at the door” (James 5:9); “at hand” (Phil. 4:5; 1 Pet. 4:7); “approaching” (Heb. 10:25); “coming quickly” (Rev. 3:11; 22:7).

Some sceptics even claim that the apostles have been in error about the timing. What shall we make of this charge against the truthfulness of Scripture? Does the passing of 2,000 years indeed prove that Christ’s coming was not imminent in the early church era and that the apostles were mistaken?

Certainly not. Remember the clear statement of Christ in Matthew 24:42: “You do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” The exact time remains hidden from us, as it was from the apostles. There are no other events that must occur on the prophetic calendar before Christ comes to meet us in the air. He could come at any moment. And it is in that sense that Christ’s coming is imminent. In the very same sense, His coming was imminent even in the days of the early church.

It is also possible that Christ could delay His coming another 2,000 years or longer, but given the rapid decline of society, another 2,000 years do not seem possible. That is why Christ taught us to be prepared, whether He comes immediately or delays longer than we think possible (cf. Matt. 24:42—25:13).

Peter anticipated the scoffers who would arise, mocking the promise of Christ’s return (2 Pet. 3:3-4). Peter’s reply to those scoffers? “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (v. 8). The amount of earthly time that passes is certainly irrelevant from God’s timeless point of view. He is not bound by time as we are, and no amount of time can ever nullify His faithfulness. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v. 9).

In other words, the real reason for the Lord’s delay is simply because He is longsuffering and kind, delaying Christ’s coming and the wrath that will accompany it while He calls people unto salvation. And Christ will not return before the merciful purposes of God are complete.

Therefore, the fact that 2,000 years have elapsed is utterly irrelevant to the doctrine of Christ’s imminent return. The command to be ready and watchful is as applicable to us as it was to the early church. In fact, the return of Christ should be an even more urgent issue for us because it is drawing nearer with the passing of each day. We still do not know when Christ is coming, but we do know that we are 2,000 years closer to that event than James was in those earliest days of the Christian era, when the Holy Spirit moved him to warn the church that the coming of the Lord was “at hand” and the Judge was already standing “at the door.”

 WHY IS CHRIST’S IMMINENT RETURN SO IMPORTANT?

The hope of Christ’s imminent coming has a powerful sanctifying and purifying effect on us. “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). The knowledge that Christ’s coming is drawing closer should motivate us to prepare, to pursue Christlikeness, and to put off all the things that pertain to our former lives without Christ.

The apostle Paul says in Romans 13:11-14: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

The Lord is coming soon, and the event draws nearer every moment. The time to obey is now. The only time we can take for granted is now. And since there is no guarantee of more time, it is unconscionable to defer our obedience. Paul was stressing the urgency of this commandment in his day, 2,000 years ago. How much more urgent are these things for our time? Rather than despairing because He tarries, we ought to realize that the time is nearer now than it has ever been. Our hope should be growing stronger, not diminishing, as He delays his coming.

Christ rebuked the Pharisees for lacking discernment. “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times” (Matt. 16:1-3).

The society in which we live caters to the flesh, offering many material comforts and earthly amusements. Spiritually many fall asleep and sometimes it seems as if the entire church today is in a state of spiritual drowsiness. Where is the sense of expectation that characterized the early church? Most Christians are far more concerned about the arrival of a new cell phone or a new vehicle than what they are with the arrival of the Millennial King! They have become unresponsive to the things of God. They are like the foolish virgins who “while the bridegroom was delayed . . . all slumbered and slept” (Matt. 25:5). It is high time to awake from that slumber.

Paul sent a similar wake-up call to the church at Ephesus: “‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:14-16). Never was such an alarm more needed than today. In the words of our Lord Himself, “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping” (Mark 13:35-36).

When Paul says “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11), he is speaking, of course, about the consummation of our salvation. He was not suggesting that the Romans were unregenerate or telling them their justification was a yet-future reality. He reminded them that what began at their regeneration was drawing closer by the moment. “Salvation” in this context refers to our glorification, the final goal of God’s saving work (Rom. 8:30). Throughout Scripture this is connected with the appearing of Christ. “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). We “eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Phil. 3:2021). “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). “He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb. 9:28). Notice that the writer of Hebrews employs the word salvation the same way Paul uses it in Romans 13:11.

In Romans 8:23: “We ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” That is the aspect of our salvation that is nearer than when we first believed, and it only awaits Christ’s coming.

If the Tribulation was going to occur prior to Christ’s return for the church, Paul would have surely urged the Romans to prepare for it. But far from warning them that a dark era of tribulation was in their future, what he told them was virtually the opposite: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand” (v. 12).

We have no idea how much sand remains in the hourglass of human history. But we ought to realize that a lot of sand has passed through the hourglass since the apostle Paul said the dawning of daylight was already at hand. How much more urgent is this wake-up call for the church today!

The nighttime of Satan’s dominion will soon give way to the dawn of Christ’s coming for His own. The apostle Paul used precisely the same imagery of darkness and dawn when he wrote to the Thessalonians:

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 THESS. 5:1-9)

God did not appoint us to wrath. The day of wrath that will come in the Tribulation is not what we are to be prepared for. The sudden appearing of Christ to take us to glory is our hope. Wake up. Be sober. Be alert. Your redemption draws nigh.

Throw Off! The approaching of dawn means it’s time for a change of garments. “Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). Paul’s imagery evokes the picture of a soldier who has spent the night in a drunken orgy. Still clad in the garments of his sin, he has fallen into a drunken sleep. But dawn is approaching, and now it is time to wake up, throw off the clothes of night, and put on the armor of light.

Put On! There’s another aspect of being prepared for the Lord’s appearing. We’re not fully prepared for the dawn of the new day unless we have put on the appropriate attire: “put on the armor of light . . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:12, 14).

“Armor” suggests warfare, and that is fitting. Though the return of Christ is imminent, that is no warrant to forsake the battle. There is never any suggestion in Scripture that His people should sit on a hillside somewhere to await His coming.

In fact, between now and His coming we are locked in a battle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Now is not the time to slacken our diligence; in fact, the opposite is true. We should engage the battle with new vigor, knowing that the time is short. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (v. 13).

The Christian who is not living a holy and obedient life with heavenly priorities is a Christian who does not grasp the significance of the Lord’s imminent return. If we genuinely are expecting our Lord to appear at any time, that blessed hope should move us to be faithful and to walk properly, lest our Lord return to find us walking improperly, disobeying or dishonoring Him.

The hope of Christ’s imminent return is therefore the hinge on which a proper understanding of sanctification turns.

Let’s review some of the key texts that speak of the imminence of Christ’s return, and notice specifically what kind of practical duties this doctrine places on us.

Steadfastness: “Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (Jas. 5:8).

Kindness: “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (Jas. 5:9).

Prayer: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7).

Faithfulness in assembling together and encouraging one another : “Let us consider one another in order to stir up 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” (Heb. 10:24-25).

Holy conduct and godliness: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11).

Purity and Christlikeness: “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Those cover several broad categories, embracing every aspect of our sanctification. The hope of Christ’s imminent return is a catalyst and an incentive for all these things—every fruit of the Spirit, every Christian virtue, everything that pertains to holiness and Christlikeness, everything that belongs to life and godliness.

That’s why it’s so important to cultivate a watchful expectancy for the imminent coming of Christ. The point is not to make us obsessed with earthly events. In fact, if your interest in the return of Christ becomes a consuming fixation with what is happening in this world, you have utterly missed the point. The knowledge that Christ’s return is imminent should turn our hearts toward heaven, “from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” (2 Pet. 3:14)

(Key Source: John MacArthur – The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return And The End of The Age)

AGENDA 2030 – DEVELOPMENT OF THE NWO

AGENDA 2030

SUBSEQUENT TO UN AGENDA 2030: AGENDA 21

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was set up by the winners of World War II to maintain global peace and security, foster friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and coordinate harmonic interactions between nations. The UN’s primary goal was to prevent future wars.

Since its debut and in spite of its founders’ best intentions, the UN has become nothing short of a dictatorial body of New World Order totalitarian globalists. This elite consortium wants to micro-manage every human’s daily affairs and has enacted international pacts to get their way.

For decades, the UN has been pushing a concept they continue to promote which they call “sustainable development.” It is the driving force behind everything else on Agenda 21 which, for the first time in international politics: “recognized each nation’s right to pursue social and economic progress and assigned to States the responsibility of adopting a model of sustainable development.”

Agenda 21 was signed and supported by more than 178 governments at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3-14, 1992. The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century.

Critics regard Agenda 21 as the action plan implemented worldwide to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all energy, all education, all information, and all human beings in the world.

UN Agenda 21, in short:

  • Calls for governments to take control of all land use and not leave any of the decision making in the hands of private property owners;
  • Assumes that people are not good stewards of their land and the government will do a better job if they are in control;
  • Individual rights, in general, are to give way to the needs of communities as determined by the governing body;
  • People should be rounded up off the land and packed into human settlements, or islands of human habitation, close to employment centers and transportation.

Before Agenda 21 came the United Nation’s Millennium Declaration, “signed in September 2000 (and) commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. The MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) are derived from this Declaration, and all have specific targets and indicators.”

The notion underlying sustainable development is that humankind is already damned by and guilty of irrecoverable socioeconomic and climate conditions – which is itself debatable – and that there are too many people living on earth for the resources available to them in their specific localities.

Therefore, according to this thinking, large populations of impoverished, third-world citizens must be moved to first- and second-world countries to equal opportunity for everyone. This will solve global poverty, say the UN pundits.

In fact, the recent migrant influx into European Union countries has paid off in rising crime and an unwillingness to integrate into the host communities and culture. Yet, the UN sustainability goals are still the driving force behind much of the international policy-making.

 

AGENDA 2030

The United Nations 2030 Agenda is a blueprint for the global enslavement of humanity under the boot of corporate masters. The UN trotted out its latest Agenda 2030, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) for approval during the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. Agenda 2030 is a continuation and further refinement of the eight “Millennium Development Goals,” (MDGs) adopted in 2000, as well as the goals specified in Agenda 21, approved in 2012 with its outcome document called “The Future We Want.”

Since 1 January 2016, the 17 “Sustainable Development Goals Post-2015” (SDGs) of UN Agenda 2030 have been in force. These goals cover seven broad categories that govern pretty much everyone and everything on earth:

  • Water and sanitation
  • Water resources
  • Transboundary integrated management (river borders)
  • Energy
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable consumption and production – lifestyles
  • Deforestation

Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, called Agenda 21 “a new kind of tyranny that, if not stopped, will surely lead us to a new Dark Ages of pain and misery yet unknown to mankind.”

Many critics believe that Agenda 2030 is leading the world toward a New World Order with a One World Government hell-bent on steam-rolling individual nations’ rights for the “common good” and “sustainability.”

Furthermore, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals may be “actively dangerous” and “a missed opportunity” because they “lock the global development agenda around a failing economic model.”

The document describes nothing less than a global government takeover of every nation across the planet. The “goals” of this document are nothing more than code words for a corporate-government fascist agenda that will imprison humanity in a devastating cycle of poverty while enriching the world’s most powerful globalist corporations. To interpret this document, you need to understand how globalists disguise their monopolistic agendas in “feel good” language.

Notice carefully that nowhere does this document state that “achieving human freedom” is one of its goals. Nor does it explain how these goals are to be achieved. As you’ll see here, every single point in this UN agenda is to be achieved through centralized government control and totalitarian mandates that resemble communism / socialism:

Goal 1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Translation: Put everyone on government welfare, food stamps, housing subsidies and handouts that make them obedient slaves to global government. Never allow people upward mobility to help themselves. Instead, teach mass victimization and obedience to a government that provides monthly “allowance” money for basic essentials like food and medicine. Label it “ending poverty.”

Goal 2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Translation: Invade the entire planet with GMOs and Monsanto’s patented seeds while increasing the use of deadly herbicides under the false claim of “increased output” of food crops. Engineer genetically modified plants to boost specific vitamin chemicals while having no idea of the long-term consequences of genetic pollution or cross-species genetic experiments carried out openly in a fragile ecosystem.

Goal 3) Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Translation: Mandate 100+ vaccines for all children and adults at gunpoint, threatening parents with arrest and imprisonment if they refuse to cooperate. Push heavy medication use on children and teens while rolling out “screening” programs. Call mass medication “prevention” programs and claim they improve the health of citizens.

Goal 4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Translation: Push a false history and a dumbed-down education under “Common Core” education standards that produce obedient workers rather than independent thinkers. Never let people learn real history, or else they might realize they don’t want to repeat it.

Goal 5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Translation: Criminalize Christianity, marginalize heterosexuality, demonize males and promote the LGBT agenda everywhere. The real goal is never “equality” but rather the marginalization and shaming of anyone who expresses any male characteristics whatsoever. The ultimate goal is to feminize society, creating widespread acceptance of “gentle obedience” along with the self-weakening ideas of communal property and “sharing” everything. Because mainly male energy has the strength to rise up against oppression and fight for human rights, the suppression of male energy is key to keeping the population in a state of eternal acquiescence.

Goal 6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Translation: Allow powerful corporations to seize control of the world’s water supplies and charge monopoly prices to “build new water delivery infrastructure” that “ensures availability.”

Goal 7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Translation: Penalize coal, gas and oil while pushing doomed-to-fail “green” energy subsidies to brain-dead startups headed by friends of the politicians who all go bankrupt in five years or less. The green startups make for impressive speeches and media coverage, but because these companies are led by corrupt idiots rather than capable entrepreneurs, they always go broke. (And the media hopes you don’t remember all the fanfare surrounding their original launch.)

Goal 8) Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Translation: Regulate small business out of existence with government-mandated minimum wages that bankrupt entire sectors of the economy. Force employers to meet hiring quotas of LGBT workers while mandating wage tiers under a centrally planned work economy dictated by the government. Destroy free market economics and deny permits and licenses to those companies that don’t obey government dictates.

Goal 9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Translation: Put nations into extreme debt with the World Bank, spending debt money to hire corrupt corporations to build large-scale infrastructure projects that trap developing nations in an endless spiral of debt. See the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins to understand the details of how this scheme has been repeated countless times over the last several decades.

Goal 10) Reduce inequality within and among countries

Translation: Punish the rich, the entrepreneurs and the innovators, confiscating nearly all gains by those who choose to work and excel. Redistribute the confiscated wealth to the masses of non-working humans that feed off a productive economy while contributing nothing to it… all while screaming about “equality!”

Goal 11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Translation: Ban all gun ownership by private citizens, concentrating guns into the hands of obedient government enforcers who rule over an unarmed, enslaved class of impoverished workers. Criminalize living in most rural areas by instituting Hunger Games-style “protected areas” which the government will claim are owned by “the People” even though no people are allowed to live there. Force all humans into densely packed, tightly controlled cities where they are under 24/7 surveillance and subject to easy manipulation by government.

Goal 12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Translation: Begin levying punitive taxes on the consumption of fossil fuels and electricity, forcing people to live under conditions of worsening standards of living that increasingly resemble Third World conditions. Use social influence campaigns in TV, movies and social media to shame people who use gasoline, water or electricity, establishing a social construct of ninnies and tattlers who rat out their neighbors in exchange for food credit rewards.

Goal 13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Translation: Set energy consumption quotas on each human being and start punishing or even criminalizing “lifestyle decisions” that exceed energy usage limits set by governments. Institute total surveillance of individuals in order to track and calculate their energy consumption. Penalize private vehicle ownership and force the masses onto public transit, where TSA grunts and facial recognition cameras can monitor and record the movement of every person in society, like a scene ripped right out of Minority Report.

Goal 14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Translation: Ban most ocean fishing, plunging the food supply into an extreme shortage and causing runaway food price inflation that puts even more people into economic desperation. Criminalize the operation of private fishing vessels and place all ocean fishing operations under the control of government central planning. Only allow favored corporations to conduct ocean fishing operations (and make this decision based entirely on which corporations give the most campaign contributions to corrupt lawmakers).

Goal 15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Translation: Roll out Agenda 21 and force humans off the land and into controlled cities. Criminalize private land ownership, including ranches and agricultural tracts. Tightly control all agriculture through a corporate-corrupted government bureaucracy whose policies are determined almost entirely by the rich globalists and the large corporates. Ban woodstoves, rainwater collection and home gardening in order to criminalize self-reliance and force total dependence on government.

Goal 16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Translation: Grant legal immunity to illegal aliens and “protected” minority groups, which will be free to engage in any illegal activity — including openly calling for the mass murder of police officers — because they are the new protected class in society. “Inclusive institutions” means granting favorable tax structures and government grants to corporations that hire LGBT workers or whatever groups are currently in favor with the central planners in government. Use the IRS and other federal agencies to selectively punish unfavorable groups with punitive audits and regulatory harassment, all while ignoring the criminal activities of favored corporations that are friends of the political elite.

Goal 17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Translation: Enact global trade mandates that override national laws while granting unrestricted imperialism powers to companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, RJ Reynolds, Coca-Cola and Merck. Pass global trade pacts that bypass a nation’s lawmakers and override intellectual property laws to make sure the world’s most powerful corporations maintain total monopolies over drugs, seeds, chemicals and technology. Nullify national laws and demand total global obedience to trade agreements authored by powerful corporations and rubber-stamped by the UN.

TOTAL ENSLAVEMENT OF THE PLANET BY 2030

As the UN document says, “We commit ourselves to working tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030.”

If you read the full document and can read beyond the fluffery and public relations phrases, you’ll quickly realize that this UN agenda is going to be forced upon all the citizens of the world through the invocation of government coercion. Nowhere does this document state that the rights of the individual will be protected. Nor does it even acknowledge the existence of human rights granted to individuals by the Creator. Even the so-called “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” utterly denies individuals the right to self-defence, the right to medical choice and the right to parental control over their own children.

The UN is planning nothing less than a global government tyranny that enslaves all of humanity while calling the scheme “sustainable development” and “equality.”

(Source 1: https://patriots4trump2020.com/2019/08/un-agenda-2030-exposed/ )

(Source 2: https://globalpossibilities.org/the-united-nations-2030-agenda-decoded-its-a-blueprint-for-the-global-enslavement-of-humanity-under-the-boot-of-corporate-masters/ )

GAIA WORSHIP – A TOOL TO CREATE THE NEW WORLD ORDER

CLIMATE CHANGE

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Gaia as “earth personified as the Roman goddess, Tellus, the goddess of the earth”. The “Gaia Atlas of Future Worlds” by Dr. Norman Myers, “adviser to the UN, WB, US State Department, and Rockefeller Fund,” sets “forth the basic tenets of the Gaia religion.” Norman Myers calls for a “new humanism, a new world view, a new planetary concern” which requires “a UN ministry of religion.” The “Futurist Magazine” (September-October 1994) says: “Religions are now headed toward what may eventually form a United Religions Organization, structured in much the same way as the UN, and sharing the same goals.”

The UN has embraced a Commission on Religion to assist in uniting the world in their NWO. “The New American”, (April 3, 1998) quotes UN leaders’ ideas on how to introduce “One-World Worship for all.”

According to reports, the UN needs this paganism to justify their program of “sustainable development”: their way of controlling the world’s resources, depopulation, and enslaving us serfs. The plan is to force all nations into “Gaia Hypothesis”. This “holds that earth is itself the deity we should worship, and the UN is the instrument through which the earth goddess will dictate our forms of devotion.”

Lynn Townsend White Jr, an American historian from Princeton, wrote an influential essay in 1967, arguing that Christianity and Judeo-Christian values are responsible for ecological disaster and climate change. The essay was adapted by generations thereafter, almost like a document of faith.

In May 2018, the “Extinction Rebellion” movement was established in the United Kingdom, with about one hundred academics signing. In November 2018, five bridges across the River Thames in London were blockaded. In April 2019, Extinction Rebellion occupied five prominent sites in central London, including the area around Parliament Square. Extinction Rebellion wants to rally worldwide support around a common sense of urgency to tackle “climate breakdown.” The movement uses a circled hourglass, known as the extinction symbol, to serve as a warning that time is rapidly running out for many species.

Extinction Rebellion uses mass arrest as a tactic to try to achieve its goals. Co-founder Roger Hallam has said “letters, emailing, marches don’t work. You need about 400 people to go to prison. About two to three thousand people to be arrested.” Extinction Rebellion is an apocalyptic cult that wants to radically end everything around us, from our private cars to the burgers we eat and the plastic chairs in our yards. They also believe that “phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.” This is the spiritual core of modern-day environmentalism:  Humans are evil. Nature is good.

Meanwhile, the media is all in a state of nervous excitement about Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish prophetess of doom who came to New York to give the world a final warning:  Repent or face climate judgment. The Pope, for his part, has shown great willingness to entertain the angry gods of climate–having written an entire encyclical on the matter. On 15 November 2019 Pope Francis said that he is thinking about adding the “‘ecological sin’ against our common home” to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The pope also recently had a meeting with Thailand’s supreme Buddhist patriarch Somdej Phra Maha Muneewong at Bangkok’s Ratchabophit Temple. The meeting took place in front of a 150-year-old gold statue of Buddha. The Pope followed Buddhist custom by removing his shoes. During the meeting, the Pope gave the Buddhist Patriarch the Declaration on Human Brotherhood.  The Declaration is a joint statement previously signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in February 2019 in Abu Dhabi. This pope seems to be the ideal candidate for the role of the false prophet in the book of Revelation.

Environment-Ecology.com recently published an article called “GAIA WORSHIP – THE NEW PAGAN RELIGION,” in which they stated that Gaia is a revival of Paganism, that rejects Christianity, considers Christianity its biggest enemy, and views the Christian faith as its only obstacle to a global religion centered on Gaia worship and the uniting of all life forms around the goddess of “Mother Earth”. A cunning mixture of science, paganism, eastern mysticism, and feminism have made this pagan cult a growing threat to the Christian Church Here are some excepts from their article:

A document mandated by the U.N.-sponsored Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Biodiversity Assessment, explicitly refers to Christianity as a faith that has set humans apart from nature and stripped nature of its sacred qualities. While condemning Christianity as the root of all ecological evil, the document goes on to praise Buddhism and Hinduism as they “did not depart as drastically from the perspective of humans as members of a community of beings including other living and non-living elements”.  Non-Christian religions are definitely favored by the global government as good stewards of Mother Earth.

Gaia is basically a rehashed, modernized version of the paganism, condemned by God in the Bible. The Gaia hypothesis can be credited to James Lovelock, who worked for NASA during the 1960’s as a consultant to the “life on Mars” Viking spacecraft project. According to Lovelock, all of the lifeforms on this planet are a part of Gaia – a part of one spirit goddess that sustains life on earth. His theory presents earth not as the rock that it is, but as a living being.  He named this being Gaia, after the Greek goddess that was once believed to have drawn the living world forth from Chaos. Gaia is eagerly accepted by the new age movement and fits neatly into eastern mysticism, but science was needed to gather in the evolutionists and science-minded humanists.

Lovelock introduces the Daisyworld model, a mathematical and scientific theory designed to refute the criticisms of Darwin’s groupies.  Just as evolution eliminates the need for a divine creator, the Daisyworld model provided a theory that eliminates a personal yet separate God, and makes humans a part of the divine spirit that is Gaia.

More appealing to the New Agers and the interfaith movement is the mystical side of Gaia.  They can easily relate to the belief that humans can have mystical experiences or a spiritual relationship with Gaia.  A connectedness to nature and the belief that humans are a part of this collective consciousness called Gaia appeals to them. Gaia teaches that an “Earth spirit”, goddess, or planetary brain must be protected.

Members of this “Green Religion” will all agree that the Earth is in a crisis state and this ecological emergency is the result of Christian traditions.  They believe that the Judeo Christian belief that God assigned man to rule over the earth has caused us to exploit and abuse it.  Monotheism, they assert, has separated humans from their ancient connection to the earth, and to reverse this trend governments, the media, our education system, artists, and other areas of influence must revive earth-centered myth and reconnect us to Earth’s spirit.

Romans 1:18-24 warns, “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Our societies today are becoming a picture of this wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  As the Christian church is brought into the fold by organizations such as the National Council of Churches and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, we can be sure the results will be a further decline into immorality and chaos.  There is a drive by these organizations and others to meld Earth worship with Christianity in the name of tolerance, biodiversity, sustainability, and the preservation of Mother Earth.

(http://environment-ecology.com/)

Those who have been leading us to a world government understand that the beliefs of the people must be erased and replaced in order to exchange the old religions with one that will allow the world leaders to control the worshippers. There are hundreds of religions that have jumped into this pot of religious stew. Bible believing Christians have dwindled in number while many sects are joining the Babel of worshipping, not a god, but the goddess – Gaia, Mother Earth.

In order for Globalists to succeed in their quest for a world government they must accomplish several goals. They label them the 3 Es of Sustainable Development. These three Es are: economy, ecology, and equality. The first, economy, utilizes the redistribution of wealth and destruction of private property rights to annihilate the middle class; the second, ecology, is using the development of the Wildlands Project plus the fake fear of ecological disaster via Global Warming/Climate Change to take away property rights, thus also the liberty of individuals; and the third, equality, is supposed to make all people equal. Not with equal rights under the law, but equal in all other ways — income, status, and religion. In fact, they’d like to make everyone equal in intelligence if that were possible.

Individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism, and religious dogmas are holding back the New World Order. To achieve a religion that fits all people, one of the key strategies will be to dumb down enough of society so that people will be willing to have their values, attitudes, and beliefs transformed from free-thinking individualists and become useful idiots to the UN and a one world government. All of this is now being pushed in our schools and universities and many millennials now buy into socialism.

 

DON’T QUARREL ABOUT PROPHECY (2 TIMOTHY 2:14-26)

2 TIM 2

As pre-millennials, we believe that there will be a rapture, a seven-year tribulation period, and a literal 1000-year reign of Christ on earth. We are often viciously attacked by those who differ from us, especially by amillennial and preterists. Is it really worth entering into relentless debates with these people? We often see how they blindly ignore any Scripture we present, while they stubbornly cling to what their pastors and their church fathers taught them. 2 Timothy 2:14-16 provides helpful guidelines on how to deal with these situations.

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:1-5)

Satan attempts to obliterate God’s truth with his own falsehood. He attempts to keep the fallen world in spiritual darkness and to confuse and discourage God’s people. The father of lies is working relentlessly to pervert and corrupt the truth of God’s written Word, the Bible, and of the living Word, His Son, Jesus Christ.

Many Protestant / Reformed denominations that usually champion God’s inerrant Word have turned to human philosophy and secular wisdom when Bible prophecy is involved. The effects of their unbiblical teachings have been devastating and damning, not only for the members of those churches, but also discourage those who cling to the blessed hope.

It was the threat of deception that caused the Holy Spirit to inspire Paul to write, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21–22).

Paul warned that “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).

2 TIMOTHY 2:14-26

Although 2 Timothy 2:14-26 was not specifically written with prophecy in mind, we can learn much from it, on how to handle our differences in eschatological views, especially when we are attacked by those who reject or twist Bible prophecy.

“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.” (2 Tim 2:14)

Paul was not speaking about immature wrangling over secondary matters, disruptive as that can be. Logomacheō (wrangle about words) carries the idea of waging a war of words, in this instance with false teachers, who are later described as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Such deceivers use human wisdom and reason to undermine God’s Word, and believers are not to debate with them, especially within the church.

Even from a human perspective, it is obvious that no debate can be carried on effectively when the two sides argue from completely opposite and contradictory presuppositions. To discuss interpretations of Scripture and doctrine with other believers who recognize the Bible as God’s inerrant and authoritative Word is important when it is done in a spirit of humility and civility and is an honest attempt to grasp the truth. But to argue doctrine with someone who disdains Scripture is both futile and foolish.

Satan does indeed know that most people, including many who are intelligent and well-educated, are more apt to be persuaded by popular jargon than by biblical argument or actual proof—despite what they may claim to the contrary. As Christians become less and less familiar with Scripture and sound doctrine on a first-hand, regular basis, they become easy prey for jargon that sounds Christian but strongly mitigates against God’s truth.

It also does harm to believers, by causing confusion, doubt, discouragement, and disobedience.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)

The diligent believer gives maximum effort to impart God’s truth as completely, as clearly, and as unambiguously as possible. The purpose of that diligence is not to please others, and certainly not to please oneself, but to present yourself approved to God.

Anyone who ignores, misrepresents, misinterprets, or detracts from God’s truth by adding to it or taking away from it (Rev. 22:18–19) has reason to be ashamed as well as fearful. Whether consciously or not, those who corrupt and denigrate God’s truth are under God’s sovereign and certain judgment.

Handling accurately translates a participle of orthotomeō, which means literally to cut straight. Every aspect of God’s truth is to be handled accurately, as a sacred trust by those who teach it and by those who hear it.

“But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,” (2 Tim 2:16)

Paul had also given Timothy such advice earlier, adding the warning to also avoid “the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1 Tim. 6:20). That sort of talk is time-wasting and confusing at best and spiritually harmful at worst, which obviously is what Paul has in mind here. Words of worldly human opinion are no more than evil chatter.

He is speaking of destructive heresy that perverts divine truth and will lead to further ungodliness. We live in perilous times and as many teachers avoid or twist end time prophecy, people continue to live their worldly lives, as in the days of Noah and Lot, fully unaware of immanency of Christ’s return.

No one is exempt from the corruptive influence of falsehood. False teaching provides no strength for doing what is right and God-honoring. Avoid entering into worldly and empty arguments with those who do not seek the truths of prophecy, but blindly follow the teachings of their amillennial and preterist pastors and church fathers.

“and their talk will spread like gangrene.” (2 Tim 2:17a)

Because the book of Revelation is categorized as apocalyptic literature and contains numerous symbols, it undergoes a great deal of abuse due to allegorical interpretation. Allegorizing is searching for a so-called “hidden or secret meaning” underlying but remote from and unrelated in reality to the more obvious meaning of a text. They are, at best, the wild guesses of men. Sadly, the majority of Protestants / Reformers bought into this form of twisting holy Scripture.

Amillennialism was only systematized by St. Augustine in the 4th century, and this systematization carried amillennialism over as the dominant eschatology of the Medieval and Reformation periods. Augustine was originally a premillennialist, but he retracted that view, claiming the doctrine was carnal. Amillennialism has been widely held in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches as well as in the Roman Catholic Church, which generally embraces an Augustinian eschatology. Today, the majority of Reformers are also following the amillennial position.

A prominent preterist exposition of prophecy was written by the Jesuit Luis de Alcasar during the Counter Reformation. Moses Stuart noted that Alcasar’s preterist interpretation was of considerable benefit to the Roman Catholic Church during its arguments with Protestants, and preterism has been described in modern eschatological commentary as a Catholic defense against the Protestant Historicist view. Today we also see more and more Protestants accepting this false teaching.

“Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some.” (2 Tim 2:17b–18)

To deny or distort the truth about the resurrection is to deny and distort the heart of the gospel. It is therefore a tragic and damnable thing to teach falsehood about that doctrine. Not only does it blaspheme God and denigrate His Word but inevitably it will upset the faith of some.

Isn’t it almost ironic and interesting that full preterists believe that the destruction of Jerusalem fulfilled all eschatological or “end times” events, including the resurrection of the dead and Jesus’ Second Coming?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Paul also had to comfort the Thessalonians by telling them that the second coming had not yet taken place. “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.”

We see almost daily how amillennials and preterists harshly attack those of us who believe in the rapture and the millennial reign of Christ, trying to steal our blessed hope.

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.” (2 Tim 2:19)

Those who are God’s spiritual children and genuine disciples of Jesus Christ, are part of the firm foundation of God. In this context, the firm foundation of God seems most likely to refer to the church. The foundation of Christ’s church stands on the truth, “and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18). Truth on all matters in God’s Word, whether it is creation, salvation, the commandments, prophecy or whatever. Everything in the Bible was inspired by God, to whom it was important enough to include. Can man really say what is important and what is “secondary” (as so many use as an excuse not to treat prophecy with the necessary respect)?

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” Jesus assures us; “and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27–28). “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

The seal is a sign of ownership, and God has placed His divine seal of ownership on the church. In the end times, those “who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” will be tormented by the locusts (Rev. 9:4). It is also doubtless that God’s seal on their foreheads will protect believers from taking the mark of the beast (see Rev. 13:16).

“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.” (2 Thes 2:20)

The large house again represents the entire church of God, the body of Christ, composed of all true believers, the vessels in which represent individual believers—the honorable gold and silver vessels and the dishonorable vessels of wood and of earthenware.

Here, honor and dishonor do not refer to true and false Christians, respectively. Nor is he speaking here of the God-given differences among believers. The honourable vessels represent believers who are faithful and useful to the Lord. By contrast, the dishonourable vessels are only for the most menial, undistinguished purposes. Honour and dishonour therefore refer to the ways in which genuine believers are found useful to the Lord in fulfilling the work to which He has called them. In this sense, all believers should be, but are not always, vessels of honour.

With regards to Bible prophecy, sadly the majority of believers either ignore or allegorize 27% of God’s Word. How many in today’s church are unprepared for the imminent return of Christ? How many are represented by the five unwise virgins in Matthew 25:1-3? Dishonorable vessels of wood and of earthenware , as their preachers neglect to warn them.

“Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21)

These things refer to the vessels of dishonour mentioned in the previous verse, from which a man who is faithful cleanses himself. The vessels of dishonour, from a prophecy perspective, are those who dishonour the prophecies by blindly ignoring it or who rather follow the teachings of men than the Word of God.  Paul’s exhortation is therefore for godly believers to separate themselves from the fellowship of these believers, especially if they attack truth and those who respect prophecy.

A doctrinally corrupt believer, especially a leader who is influential, is more dangerous than a pagan or atheist, because weak or careless brothers and sisters may be put under the impression that they are saved, while they are in fact not prepared for the imminent coming of Christ. (Many of them might find themselves becoming tribulation saints.)

Faithful service of the Lord requires separation from those who can contaminate you. God warned Jeremiah about associating with the wrong people, “If you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them” (Jer. 15:19).

We should not want to continuously associate with those who have a critical tongue, who do not tolerate truth, or whose respect for God’s Word is shallow and artificial. A vessel for honour cannot remain honourable and usable if it is continually contaminated by vessels of dishonour.

We should be useful to the Master, and be about our Father’s business. In these latter days, we should be watchful and warn others. Especially the leadership in the church should take note of Ezekiel 33:1-6. “Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will [a]save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’”

“But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.” (2 Tim 2:23)

Here, Paul forbids speculations, fruitless and unproductive debates that produce quarrels. Such speculations not only are worthless but are ungodly. They question Scripture, distort the truth, create doubt, weaken faith, undermine confidence in the Lord, often lead to compromise of convictions, and produce quarrels.

A vessel of honour to God must develop a discerning mind in these latter days. An unguarded mind, even of a believer, is subject to deceit, misunderstanding, and confusion. “If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:3–5).

As we saw in 2 Tim. 2:14–17, Paul warns us “not to wrangle about words, which is useless, and leads to the ruin of the hearers” and to “avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.”

The things we allow to enter our minds affect our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our motives, and our priorities. And the more willingly we allow them to enter, the more powerfully they affect us. The writer of Proverbs wisely observed that “a fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind,” and that “a fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows” (Prov. 18:2, 6).

From the early days of the church and continuing almost unabated to our own day, many believers have carelessly forsaken personal study of Scripture and have fallen prey to every sort of idea and practice their pastors and church fathers taught them. Not bothering to check what they read and hear against God’s own Word, they are corrupted by foolish and ignorant speculations regarding prophecy, which make them stumble and fall, often without knowing it.

“And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness” (2 Tim 2:24-25a)

This is a warning applicable to all of us. Most of us are guilty sometime or another, of immediately attacking those who have different views than us. As much as we are to speak boldly for the Lord without compromise, we are to do so with the attitude of meekness, gentleness, and humility. We are never to be harsh, abusive, overbearing, unkind, thoughtless, or pugnacious.

The godly man who is an honourable vessel must also be patient when wronged, which is perhaps the hardest qualification mentioned here. We are likely to become very offended when we ourselves are wronged. We need to accept that none of us can be 100% correct, all of the time.

“correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2:25b—26)

The opposition may pertain to “foolish and ignorant speculations” (v. 23) or to the more serious matters of doctrine or morals they lead to. The faithful bond-servant of Christ is to be God’s instrument for correcting fellow believers, and to lead them to truth regarding prophecy.

God’s provision of genuine repentance and knowledge of His truth enable a believer to escape from the snare of the devil, after having been held captive by him to do his will. Our goal in sharing prophecy should be to lead people into truth, so that they may prepare and be found worthy  to escape God’s wrath to come.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 1

BASIC PROPHECY

We started this new series in the hope to reach more Christians who never hear about end time prophecies in their churches. For this reason we are only touching on the very basics of prophecy.

  1. THE PURPOSE OF END TIME BIBLE PROPHECY

The Bible is very clear on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and this should bring great excitement to any true believer’s heart. He is the subject of Prophecy. It begins and ends with Him. Revelation 19:10 says, “The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” Jesus said: “I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I AM the Messiah” (John 13:19). He repeated the same idea in John 14:29: “I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.” Sadly though, only a few churches preach on end time events to prepare their members for this glorious day.

Many Old Testament passages refer to this great event while 23 of the 27 New Testament books also explicitly address the Second Coming of Christ. Prophecy covers 27% of all Scripture and of the 333 prophecies concerning Christ, only 109 were fulfilled during His first coming, leaving 224 yet to be fulfilled during the Second Coming. Jesus Himself often referred to His Second Coming and His followers are commanded nearly fifty times to watch out and be ready for His coming. As much of the Bible relate to prophecy, a study of the end time events gives us a much better understand of the entire Bible.

Bible prophecy is important because it tells us where we are heading to. It helps us to understand why things happen as they do and it motivates us to endure these difficult times, knowing that there is hope for the future. It also changes the way we live as we are constantly aware of His imminent return. Prophecy can also be used to awaken people to their need for Christ.

There are no unforeseen circumstances with God as He rules sovereignly over His world. He knows everything (omniscient), is present everywhere (omnipresent), and possesses all power (omnipotent). Only the true God can accurately predict the future as He not only rules the ages, but also controls the events in the life of every believer.

Many prophecies have come to pass exactly as the Bible said they would, which provides us with absolute proof that the Bible is the inspired Word of the Sovereign God. Prophecies separate the Bible from every other religious book ever written and prove the divine inspiration of the Bible. The Four Great World Empires in Succession and Israel’s independence in 1948 are two of the greatest examples thereof.

There are the three things in eschatology that all Christians believe will happen regarding the end times: 1) the literal, physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth; 2) the bodily resurrection of the dead; and 3) the judgment of all people. We will address all of these things as we go along.

My overall view of the end time prophecies is futuristic and premillennial, and based on a consistent, literal interpretation of               the Bible.

  1. BLESSINGS AND WARNINGS

THE BLESSINGS

Revelation is the only book in the Bible that contains specific, unique blessings, also called beatitudes, and there are seven of them.

  • Revelation 1:3 – “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” The book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible with a direct blessing promised to those who read it, hears it and take heed and obey to it.
  • Revelation 14:13 – “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” People who become believers and die during the tribulation will find rest and reward with Christ.
  • Revelation 16:15 – “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Jesus warns those in the tribulation, just prior to the Battle of Armageddon, that He will soon come as a thief. Those who will remain faithful in Him will be blessed.
  • Revelation 19:9 – “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’” The marriage supper between the Lamb and His Bride, the church, will take place in heaven, and God’s people from all ages will celebrate.
  • Revelation 20:6 – “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” The various resurrections mentioned in the Bible are divided into two general categories: the first resurrection is the resurrection of the justified, and the second of the unjust (Daniel 12:2; Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15). The first resurrection leads to eternal life while the second resurrection leads to the second death (Revelation 20:13–15).
  • Revelation 22:7 – “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” Again, Jesus promises a blessing to those who keep or obey the teachings of Revelation.
  • Revelation 22:14 – “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Salvation comes from having one’s robes washed in the Lamb’s blood (Revelation 7:14)— it paints an amazing picture of the purity that comes with salvation and the price Jesus paid for our redemption (see Ephesians 1:7). Only blood-washed believers have the right to partake of the tree of life from which mankind has been barred since the Fall; only those with robes of righteousness have access to the Holy City (see Psalm 118:20; Isaiah 35:8).

THE WARNINGS

Revelation 22:18-19, however, also contains a stern warning to those who add to or take away from prophecy. “For I testify together to everyone who hears the Words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book.”

This warning is given specifically to those who distort the message of the Book of Revelation as Jesus Himself is the Author of Revelation and the giver of the vision to the apostle John (Revelation 1:1). Moses gave a similar warning in Deuteronomy 4:1-2, where he warned the Israelites to listen to and obey the commandments of God, neither adding to nor taking away from His revealed Word. Proverbs 30:5-6 also contains a similar admonition to anyone who would add to God’s words: he will be rebuked and proven to be a liar.

Allegorical or so-called “spiritual” interpretation of prophecy should always be avoided, except where it is clear that symbolism is used. Peter says in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

  1. INTERPRETATIONS OF PROPHECY

ESCHATOLOGY

“LAST DAYS”

Eschatology refers to “the study of the last things.” We need to distinguish between the “last days” for the church, which is the age we are now living in, and the last days for Israel, which are still in the future. “End times” is a broad umbrella term, while the term, “last days” is more specific.

In the Old Testament, the term “last days” relates to Israel and includes the time of the tribulation, the coming of the Messiah as well as the establishment of His millennial kingdom on earth (Deuteronomy 4:30; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 30:24; Ezekiel 38:8, 16; Micah 4:1). For the Old Testament prophets, the church and the church age were mysteries they had not seen (Ephesians 3:3-9).

Moving into the New Testament, the term “last days” mainly refers to the last days of the church and the church age (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:20; 2 Peter 3:3). The last days for the church commenced with Christ’s First Coming and will close with the Rapture. Therefore, the entire current church age is called the “last days.” Christ could come at any time and when the Rapture takes place, the end time events will begin in full force.

End times include the Rapture, the Tribulation, the second coming of Christ, the Millennium Kingdom, and eternity.

“DAY OF THE LORD”

The Old Testament specifically refers to the “Day of the Lord” nineteen times, but in many other places it also refers to “the day” or “that day.” The New Testament mentions the Day of the Lord four times (Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10).

The day of the Lord always relates to the times when God intervenes directly and dramatically in history, either to judge or to bless, whether in the past or as He will do again in the future. In almost all of these past, historical days, they prefigure the final, future Day of the Lord.

The future Day of the Lord is a period that will begin with wrath and judgment upon the wicked and Christ-rejecting world and is better known as the seven-year Tribulation. The Day of the Lord will continue throughout the Millennial reign of Christ and the creation of the new heavens and new earth, which is a time of unparalleled blessing. Christ will be in the midst of the believers, ruling over the earth, and will bless the nation of Israel.

We are currently still in the church age, often being referred to as the day of grace.

INTERPRETATION IN GENERAL

One of the key reasons why people are sceptical about Bible prophecy is because there are so many different views among Christians.

The key cause for these differences is linked to the method of interpreting Scripture, and even more so, prophetic Scripture. This is called “hermeneutics.” The basic principles of interpretation that one follows lead to the conclusions he or she is drawing from a specific piece of Scripture.

Bible prophecy is full of symbolism, which seems difficult to interpret. Unfortunately, most Christians therefore allegorize or “spiritualize” all prophetic passages. This leads to inconsistencies and causes a great deal of confusion.

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, do not seek for any other sense or alternative meaning. Take every word at its ordinary, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages, clearly indicate otherwise.

The most difficult part of interpreting prophecy is understanding the meaning of the symbols. Bible prophecy uses a broad spectrum of symbols—a huge statue, horns, beasts, stars, and various coloured horses to only name a few. It’s critical to remember that when symbols are used, they always refer to something that is literal.

When interpreting symbols, no interpreter has the freedom to make a symbol mean whatever he or she wants. First look at the immediate context for explanations of its meaning. Second, if a symbol has no clear interpretation in the immediate context, consider the larger context of the entire book where the symbol is found. Sometimes you may even need to consider another portion of Scripture. In many instances, the same symbol was also used in other passages or books of the Bible.

As so much of the Bible was prophetic when it was written, and since it all originates from the same divine Author, many passages throughout the Bible discuss the same persons and events, without contradicting each other.

Another important point is to carefully distinguish between what has already been fulfilled and what remains unfulfilled, to accurately interpret prophecy and put together a prophetic outline.

FOUR MAIN VIEWS CONCERNING THE TIMING OF EVENTS AND THEIR FULFILLMENT

  1. Preterist (Past)

Preterists, like R.C. Sproul, are of the opinion that most, if not all, prophecies had been fulfilled in the first century by the events leading up to and surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Extreme preterists even believe the the Second Coming and the Resurrection of believers are past events. They view the Resurrection as a spiritual event. They go as far as telling that we are beyond the Millennium and are presently living in the new heavens and new earth.

Moderate preterists believe that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 fulfilled most of Revelation’s visions. They believe that Jesus returned in AD 70 in a “cloud coming” to destroy Jerusalem through the Roman army and that Nero was the “beast” in Revelation 13.

Partial preterists believe that the coming in AD 70 was a judgment for the Jews but not the final judgment coming at the end of history. Moderate preterists however believe in a literal, future Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, and a final judgment.

Preterists spiritualize and allegorize the text of most prophetic passages when events don’t fit what happened in AD 70. The main problem for preterists is that John wrote Revelation in AD 95, twenty-five years after Jerusalem was destroyed.

  1. Historicist (Present)

Historicists interpret Revelation and many other prophecies as an overview of church history from the time of the apostles until the Second Coming. It is their desire to make Revelation relevant to readers in every generation. They frequently disagree on the meaning of symbol, which leads to a general lack of consensus among them as well as lots of speculation.

  1. Idealist (Timeless)

Idealists do not consider Revelation as a prophetic book of future events but as a depiction of the ongoing struggle in a Christian’s life between good and evil and as an inspiration for believers to endure their setbacks and sufferings. Idealism originated as a result of the allegorical method of interpretation used by church fathers like Origen and Clement and gained traction with the amillennial view of Augustine. Sadly, the idealistic view is the main view among scholars today. It completely fails to give concrete meaning to the symbols of the book.

  1. Futurist (Future)

Futurists interpret most prophetic texts as describing real people and events yet to appear on the world scene. Futurism was the dominant view of the early church. Among Futurists are the likes of Irenaeus, Hippolytus, John Walvoord and John MacArthur. Every generation of futurists lived with the hope that Revelation’s prophecies could be fulfilled in their time and this spirit of expectancy makes the prophecies relevant for every generation. It is the only view that consistently applies the principles of literal interpretation. Just as Genesis told us how everything began, it makes sense that the prophecies of the end times, especially Revelation, would tell us how everything would finally come out in the end.

THREE VIEWS OF THE NATURE AND TIMING OF THE MILLENNIUM

The Millennium is a period of one thousand years when Satan is bound and Christ reigns (Revelation 20:1-6). Christ’s rule will bring unprecedented peace and justice to the earth.

  1. Amillennial

A-millennials believe that there will be no future, literal, earthly, one thousand-year reign of Christ, but that the Kingdom is spiritual in nature and is presently being fulfilled as Christ reigns in heaven and in the hearts of His people on earth. The one-thousand-year time frame is understood as symbolic of a long period of time during the current age. The believe that Satan has already been bound.

  1. Postmillennial

Post-millennials teach that Christ will return to earth after the Millennium. The Millennial Kingdom is not a literal thousand years but a golden age that the church will usher in by the preaching of the gospel during this present age. The golden age will arrive gradually as the gospel spreads throughout the earth, until the whole world is eventually Christianized. The Millennium will grow on earth as Christians exercise more and more influence over the affairs of this planet. Ultimately, the gospel will prevail, and the world will become a better place, after which time Christ will appear to usher in eternity.

  1. Premillennial

This view holds that Christ will return to earth at His second coming and will usher in a literal one-thousand-year earthly reign. For pre-millennials, the Millennium is still to come, after the 7 year tribulation, when Christ will return.

DUAL PURPOSE

The prophets often spoke a divine message for their own day, and their message was always closely tied to a predictive element of future judgment for disobedience or future blessing for obedience.

Old Testament prophets often blended the two comings of Christ, sometimes even in one verse. Many of the events that took place were simultaneously foreshadows of what is yet to come, often in greater proportions. The long-time gaps between two events is often being referred to as “prophetic skips.” The Old Testament has several examples. Today, with further divine revelation in the New Testament, we can discern the time gap between the two advents.

THE CHURCH AGE

We are currently living in the church age, which began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and will end dramatically with the Rapture. During the church age, Jews and Gentiles who come to faith in Christ are being formed into one body with Jesus Christ as the Head.

KEY PROPHETIC PASSAGES

Although all prophetic passages make a unique contribution, there are three main sections of the Bible that contain the essential keys to understanding the future. These three sections are (1) the book of Daniel, (2) the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24-25), and (3) the book of Revelation. There are however also other important passages such as Ezekiel 38–39, Zechariah 12-14, 1 Thessalonians 4–5, 2 Thessalonians 2 and many more, spread throughout the Bible.

DANIEL

Daniel 2 provides the first and most basic prophetic outline regarding the times of the Gentiles. It uses the symbol of a huge statue to describe the four main gentile empires that ruled the world throughout history, as well as the final empire, belonging to the Antichrist.

In Daniel 7, the prophet has a night vision in which four great beasts emerge from the sea: a winged lion, a bear, a four-winged leopard, and a terrible beast with iron teeth and ten horns. Another smaller horn appears among these ten horns, replacing three of them. Comparing these beasts to the statue in Daniel 2, we see that they represent the same gentile empires, yet from a different perspective.

The times of the Gentiles began with the Babylonian Empire in 605 BC, followed by the Persian Empire, which replaced Babylon in 539 BC. The Persians in turn were overthrown by Alexander the Great in 334–331 BC, and Greece was succeeded by Rome, which lasted until AD 476.

However, the ten horns in Daniel 7 do not seem to match the historic Roman Empire. Daniel says, “Its ten horns are ten kings” (7:24), but those ten leaders have never existed. This absence indicates that the Roman Empire will be revived or reunited in the end times and will ultimately be headed by the “little horn,” which is another title for the final Antichrist. His rule, and the times of the Gentiles, will be terminated when Christ, the smiting stone, the Son of Man, comes to establish His Kingdom. “His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

In Daniel 9 we learn about the 70 weeks (or 490 years) of Daniel.

Daniel 9:25 mentions the first sixty-nine weeks: 7 weeks + 62 weeks (483 years or 173,880 days)

Daniel 9:26 represents the time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks (An unknown period, including the current age)

In Daniel 9:24-27 God answers to Daniel’s prayer, but He goes far beyond the restoration of the people from Babylon to Israel’s ultimate and final restoration under the Messiah. The 490 years relate to the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem, not to the church. Christ’s death on the cross made provision for sin, but Israel’s acceptance of this sacrifice will not be realized until they repent at the end of the seventy weeks, in conjunction with Christ’s second coming.

God’s prophetic clock for Israel stopped at the end of the sixty-ninth set of seven. We are living in this gap between week sixty-nine and week seventy—it is called the church age. The church age will end when Christ raptures His bride, the church. Since the church was not around for the first sixty-nine weeks from 444 BC to AD 33, it makes sense the church will not be here for the final week of years either.

Daniel 9:27 relates to the seventieth week (seven years). God’s prophetic clock for Israel will begin again after the church has been raptured, when the Antichrist comes onto the scene and ratifies a seven-year treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27).

The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel at its midpoint (after 3½ years) and set an abominable statue or image of himself in the rebuilt Temple of God in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 13:14-15). The final 3½ years will be the “great tribulation” Jesus talked about in Matthew 24:21.

At the end of the seven years, God will slay the Antichrist (see Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20). This event will mark the end of the seventy sets of seven and the beginning of the one-thousand-year reign of Christ.

MATTHEW 24-25

The Olivet discourse was Jesus’ response to His disciples’ question about the destruction of the Temple and the end of the age. This sermon, therefore, addresses the seven-year Tribulation period that will occur just before Christ returns. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus says, “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about.” Jesus directly appeals to the prophecies of Daniel and specifically to Daniel 9:27.

In the context, “this generation” probably refers to those living during the Tribulation who will personally witness the events described in Matthew 24:4-31.

REVELATION

Chapters 1–3: The current Church Age

Chapters 4-5: The affairs in heaven

Chapters 6–19: The Tribulation

Chapter 20: The 1000 year Kingdom Age

Chapters 21–22: The Eternal Age

ISRAEL’S SALVATION ACCORDING TO ZACHARIAH 12-14 (PART 2 OF 2)

Israel saved

ZACHARIAH 14

TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF CHRIST

THE PROMISED MESSIAH WILL RETURN AS THE TRIUMPHANT WARRIOR-KING TO DEFEAT ISRAEL’S ENEMIES AND USHER IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

Just as God fulfilled His detailed promises very literally regarding the first coming of the promised Messiah, the events surrounding His second coming and the Day of the Lord must also be taken at face value. Yes, there are figures of speech involved. But you cannot do justice to the text to spiritualize away the details that are revealed in this chapter or to try to substitute the church for the physical nation of Israel as the focal point of these promises. Just when things look the darkest for the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, the Warrior-King will return in power and triumph to destroy all enemies and rescue His besieged remnant. The worship of the one true God will be exalted in the millennial kingdom with very severe judgments for those people who persist in the foolishness of rebellion.

THE LORD WILL RESCUE HIS REMNANT (14:1-3, 12-15)

The first verses of chapter 14 go back to the last two verses of chapter 13, and to the battle mentioned in 12:2-9.

“1 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

The earlier description did not mention that Jerusalem would be overrun before the Lord would intervene, but that is the picture here (14:2-3). The people will be overcome by their opponents and will have to watch helplessly as their own possessions are leisurely shared out by their conquerors before their very eyes. It is a picture of the seemingly hopeless situation of the people of God. But as the enemies are leisurely dividing the spoil from Jerusalem in its streets, thinking that they have defeated the Jews, then Jesus will return.

When the Romans came against Jerusalem in 70 A.D. they came with a multinational army and brought terrible destruction on the city and its people. Yet there was none of the deliverance that Zechariah will describe in the following verses, so it is difficult to say that this was fulfilled in the Roman attack upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

“12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”

The enemies of God as well as many of His own people are destroyed by plague, mutual slaughter, and by the sword of Judah (Judah also will fight at Jerusalem). The description of flesh dissolving makes some think that Zechariah is describing the effects of a neutron or nuclear bomb. But In the glorious deliverance the Messiah brings, Jerusalem will become a wealthy and influential city again.

“4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.”

Jesus will return in glory with all the saints, the armies of heaven, as described in Revelation 19:14. When Jesus returns, His feet will touch down on the very place from which He ascended, the Mount of Olives, it will be split in two, the surviving remnant will escape, and Jesus will rout His enemies.

The Israelites would flee for safety through this valley with mountains on either side (cf. 2 Sam. 15:16, 30; 2 Kings 25:4; Ezek. 11:22-25). The valley would reach as far as Azel (lit. “be joined to” or “be at the side of, near;” cf. Mic. 1:11), some distance east of Jerusalem. Matthew 24:16-20 provides a set of instructions for the Remnant. Christ tells them where to go: the Judean mountains. Based on Jeremiah 49:13-14 and Isaiah 63:1-3, many believe that the Jews will flee to the old Bozrah region in southwest Jordan, where the ancient fortress city of Petra is located.

In 760 B.C. Judah was hit by a gigantic earthquake, recorded in Amos 1:1. Josephus said this happened when Uzziah walked into the temple as a kingpriest. 250 years later, Zechariah referred to that stupendous earthquake.

THAT DAY OF THE LORD WILL BE UNIQUE IN MANY RESPECTS (14:6-11)

“6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.”

Joel had said, “The sun and moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining” Joel 3:15. And Isaiah, “The moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jersalem and before His ancients gloriously” Isaiah 24:23; and, “Behold the day of the Lord cometh, The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” Isaiah 13:9-10. All know well our Lord’s words Matthew 24:29. John, like Zechariah, unites the failure of the heavenly light “with a great earthquake, and the sun became as sackcloth of hair: and the moon become as blood; and the stars of heaven fell upon the earth” Revelation 6:12-13.

The new creation shall be ushered in, as the first was, by a day of lurid gloom and “darkness visible,” which shall not, however, deepen into night, but brighten at its close into the everlasting dawn. “At evening time there shall be light.”

“8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.”

The Israelites divided their year into two seasons instead of four: summer and winter (cf. Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17; Isa. 18:6). Probably the water will be literal, but it certainly has symbolic significance as well (cf. Ps. 46:4; 65:9; Isa. 8:6; Jer. 2:13; Ezek. 47:1-12; John 4:10-14; 7:38; Rev. 22:1-2).

Ezekiel 47 records a vision that may describe this scene. Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the throne of God and down to the Dead Sea, bringing life and vitality everywhere.

“9 And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. 10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. 11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”

Geba was six miles north east of Jerusalem. Though it actually lay in the traditional territory of Benjamin, it was taken as the northernmost limit of Judah (1 Kgs. 15:22; 2 Kgs. 23:8). Rimmon was 35 miles south west of Jerusalem, and was on the southern border of Judah where the hill country merged into the Negev (Josh. 15:32; 19:7). Since the mountains around Jerusalem are no longer needed as a defense, they can be flattened into a plain. This will be the first time in a long time that Jerusalem will be a safe place to live.

THE GENTILE NATIONS IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM WILL WORSHIP THE LORD IN JERUSALEM AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES (14:16-19)

Following the Lord’s victory at that battle (cf. Rev 19:11-16), will come the full restoration of Israel as anticipated in Hos 14:4-7; Joel 3:18-21; Am 9:13-15; Mic 4:1-3; Zep 3:14-20.

“16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Instead of coming to Jerusalem for battle now the nations come to honor God and to remember His faithfulness to Israel in the wilderness by keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. God won’t make people worship Him during the millennium, but the advantages of worshipping and honoring God will be more evident than ever. Egypt is probably specifically mentioned because they were a nation not especially dependant on rain, yet they too would be punished if disobedient.

CONCLUSION – TOTAL CONSECRATION TO THE LORD (20-21)

“20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.”

This was the great inscription on the metal band around the high priest’s headpiece (Exodus 28:36). In the glory of the Messiah’s kingdom horses won’t be needed for war any longer – now even they can wear the emblems of holiness to the Lord.

These were the cooking utensils used by worshippers to cook for their own the sacrificial meat intended for them from the peace offerings. The bowls before the altar were used to gather and sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. These show that animal sacrifice will continue in the millennium, but not as atonement for sin – which was perfectly satisfied by the atoning work of Jesus. Sacrifice in the millennium will look back to the perfect work of Jesus.

These were the cooking utensils used by worshippers to cook for their own the sacrificial meat intended for them from the peace offerings. The bowls before the altar were used to gather and sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. These show that animal sacrifice will continue in the millennium, but not as atonement for sin – which was perfectly satisfied by the atoning work of Jesus. Sacrifice in the millennium will look back to the perfect work of Jesus.

The Canaanites throughout Israel’s history represented people who were morally and spiritually unclean, reprehensible to Yahweh, and doomed to death (cf. Gen. 9:25; Isa. 35:8; Ezek. 43:7; 44:9; Rev. 21:27). Probably that is the significance of the name here, not just the ethnic Canaanites alone. There would be no more people like the Canaanites in the land because all would acknowledge Him as God and King.

(BIBLE VERSION: KJV)

(MAIN EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCE 1: “THE LORD REMEMBERS AND WILL AGAIN CHOOSE JERUSALEM — COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH” by Paul G. Apple, October 2007)

(MAIN EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCE 2: “The Blue Letter  Bible – Zachariah: StudyGuide2017-Zec/Zec-14.cfm” – David Guzik)

ISRAEL’S SALVATION ACCORDING TO ZACHARIAH 12-14 (PART 1)

Israel saved

INTRODUCTION

“25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 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: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)

What better piece of Old Testament Scripture can be found to obtain a better understanding of Romans 11 in the New Testament, than Zachariah 12-14? What does the future hold for the nation of Israel? Many Christians believe that God is finished dealing with Israel as a nation. They would attribute some type of allegorical interpretation to passages like this – making reference to God’s dealing today with His church. But the details revealed here must be given full weight and not spiritualized away. After Israel rejects her Messiah and the Good Shepherd has been pierced through with the sword, there will be a time of blindness and hardening upon the nation. But her setting aside will not be permanent. In the end times, the fountain of the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness and cleansing will be abundantly opened for the remnant of the nation of Israel. There will be a painful process of refining in the crucible of God’s judgment. But the end result will be restoration of the nation to its loyal covenant relationship.

OVERVIEW

To properly understand the content of Zechariah 12-13 in some chronological order, I always find it easy to start with Zechariah 13:7-9 as an introduction:

“7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. 8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”

S Lewis Johnson explains, “… the prophet speaks of the pathway to national cleansing. We are inclined to forget that sometimes many years may elapse between just a couple of verses. Between verses 7 and 8 lies the age in which we live right now. The process by which God will regain His people for Himself. There will be great tribulation in the future – bringing Israel back to faith in God. Only a third will turn. It is not true to say that all of Israel shall be saved – just all Israel when Jesus Christ returns. But on the way to that great event, the majority of the Jews shall fall to the judgment of God. If the time necessary for the refining be exceeded, the silver will be damaged. The silversmith knows the completion of the process when he can see his own image reflected in the silver as he intently looks at the crucible and watches the entire process.”

Israel will be in a time of severe testing for seven years, described by Jeremiah (30:5-7) as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Daniel (12:1) calls it “a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.”

The Bible however teaches there is coming a great day for the nation of Israel– a day of tremendous spiritual salvation and political victory. That has been prophesied repeatedly in the Old and New Testaments and is detailed for us in Zechariah 12-14.

THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL BRING SUPERNATURAL DESTRUCTION TO ISRAEL’S ATTACKERS AND DIVINELY INITIATED REPENTANCE TO ALL THE JEWS WHO NOW RECOGNIZE THEIR MESSIAH

The words “In that day” (occurs 17 times) are synonym to the eschatological “Day of the Lord,” which deals with the events relating to the physical return of Jesus Christ. Zechariah 12-14 addresses the fulfilment of all of God’s promises regarding the future conversion and deliverance of His Chosen people Israel.

The enemy nations (occurs 14 times) who attack Israel, and specifically Jerusalem, with such great overpowering numbers and superior military force will be shocked to find that God will turn the tables on them and make Israel the scene of their ultimate defeat. At the last minute, just before Israel is annihilated, God will supernaturally rout the enemy and deliver His people.

The highlight will be the repentance that the Holy Spirit will bring about as the remnant of regathered Israel will recognize their Messiah, “the one whom they pierced.” They mourn in repentance as they come to grips with their great sin in rejecting their Messiah at His first coming.

  1. Duane Lindsey also provides a short, but powerful summary: The surviving remnant will have been purged and purified by the persecutions in the Tribulation, as well as by God’s judgment on living Israel at the Second Advent (cf. Ezek. 20:33-38; Matt. 25:1-30). They will call on the name of the Lord in faith (Zech. 12:10-13:1) and become a restored nation (Rom. 11:26-27). Their renewed covenant relationship with the Lord (Hosea 1-2; Jer. 32:38-41; Ezek. 37:23- 28) will be reflected in God’s words, They are My people (cf. Zech. 8:8), and the people’s response, The Lord is our (lit. ‘my’) God (cf. Hosea 2:21-23).

ZACHARIAH 12

Zachariah 12 describes the physical deliverance of Israel in verses 1-9, and the spiritual deliverance of Israel in verses 10-14.

THE SIEGE OF ISRAEL (12:1-3)

“1-3 The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

This prophecy begins by describing a great attack by the Gentile nations against Israel, and more specifically aimed at Jerusalem (Jerusalem mentioned 22 times in these chapters). It will eventually turn out to be the battle of the centuries, the greatest war in history. It is commonly referred to as the Battle of Armageddon ((Joel 3:9-16; Rev. 16:16-21; Zech. 12:1-9; 14:2-3). All the nations of the world will be involved, to destroy Israel and to prevent the Messiah’s return to establish His Kingdom. The burden is from God Himself and He sovereignly directs the course of events.

The “Cup of trembling” pictures the nations as a person who drinks too much wine and finds himself staggering. When the nations converge on Israel and besiege Jerusalem, they will find themselves as ineffective as a drunkard trying to walk a straight line. By the time the nations make their way to Jerusalem, they will become figuratively drunk with their over inflated sense of power. Their overconfidence will so disorient them, they will be unable to claim their coveted prize, becoming easy prey for divine judgment.

The second metaphor, that of “a burdensome stone” refers to a heavy stone that was used in weightlifting contests. Like a heavy weight, Jerusalem will give a hernia to any nation that tries to gain victory over it. The phrase “shall be cut in pieces” is best understood in context to mean they shall grievously injure themselves. It refers to a rupture or other internal injuries sustained from lifting something too heavy. The proud Gentile nations won’t be able to subdue Israel.

THE SHIELDING OF ISRAEL (12: 4-9)

  1. The Panic of the Defiant (v. 4)

“4 In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.”

God is comforting His people, explaining how He will protect them in that day. Since horses were the symbol of strength in ancient times, verse 4 emphasizes God’s superior power over Israel’s enemies as He smites the horses with terror and confusion. Furthermore, He inflicts their riders with madness, putting them into a wild and helpless state of panic. When the great armies of the world converge on Jerusalem, their weapons and soldiers will be rendered helpless. Although they will think victory is at hand as they attack the seemingly vanquished Jews, they will find themselves rushing to their own destruction. The phrase “I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah” assures Israel that He will be concerned and actively involved in what’s happening to His people. God will open His eyes of love and forgiveness toward Israel as He brings about their deliverance.

  1. The Preservation of the Defenceless (v. 5)

“5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God.”

The people in Israel who lived outside the city of Jerusalem were the most vulnerable in war in ancient times, being without the protection of fortified city walls. But knowing that God had chosen Jerusalem to be the city of His special affection will give confidence to future denizens of the surrounding countryside. They will recognize that they have been preserved because God has chosen Jerusalem. His promises to Jerusalem, which is the heart of the nation, will assure them of their divine invincibility.

  1. The Paradox of the Defeated (v. 6)

“6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”

The prophecy compares the Gentile armies to kindling or sheaves that the governors of Judah as firepots or torches that devour wood in flame. The relatively weak and outnumbered leaders of Israel are going to devour their enemies “round about on the right hand and on the left.” That will allow Jerusalem to “be inhabited again in her own place.” In the final battle nothing will be able to ultimately destroy the city of Jerusalem, which shall again be peacefully inhabited.

  1. The Priority of Deliverance (v. 7)

“7 The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.”

God will first deliver the defenseless country folk. That will show those in the welldefended capital, which is delivered last, that the battle was not won by their military might or strategizing.

  1. The Power of David (v. 8)

“8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.”

King David was renowned for his fighting ability, courage, and success. God promises a day when the weakest in Jerusalem will be as mighty as David. The strong, represented by the house of David, shall be like God. More specifically they’ll be like the angel of the Lord, who is Christ. They will be infused with the energy of the Messiah Himself, implying that He will be there leading His people to victory.

  1. The Promise of Destruction (v. 9)

“9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

God is going to wipe out those who seek to attack His people. The Hebrew term translated “will seek” speaks of the concentration of the marksman, who focuses on his target without being distracted. Revelation 16 and 19 chronicle the wrath of God and the judgment of Christ as He comes out of heaven in glory and power to conquer His foes.

Zechariah 12:1-9 prophetically describes Israel’s great deliverance and the destruction of the armies of the world gathered against her. That’s a political victory that will cause Israel and her enemies to recognize God at work. Verse 10 now makes a transition into the spiritual transformation of Israel.

THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL (12: 14)

While Israel’s spiritual eyes are focused on God and His deliverance, they will see God incarnate, their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ coming as their victor–the very One they once rejected. Once God has accomplished His work of judgment on the nations through Judah and Jerusalem and has secured His people against further danger from them, He will begin to work a work of grace among the redeemed.

“10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: 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.”

God’s pouring forth of His Spirit is the evidence of salvation because He never gives His Spirit to unbelievers (Rom. 8:9). The Holy Spirit is identified as the “Spirit of grace” (cf., Heb. 10:29) because He was given out of grace, and the Spirit “of supplication” because God’s grace toward the remnant will result in repentant prayer. Zechariah is saying that God will pour out the Spirit of grace and supplication on the repentant, needy Israel.

Joel prophesied essentially the same thing when he said, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and, also, upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit” (Joel 2:28-29). That prophesy will be completely fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ. Joel’s prophecy is similar to Ezekiel’s saying that God would replace Israel’s stony heart with a heart of flesh and would put His Spirit within them (Ezek. 36:26-27).

Israel’s repentance happens because “they shall look upon [Him] whom they have pierced.” They may have used a Roman spear and a cross (John 19:34), but it was their plotting of their religious leaders that put Him there. Yet God in His great mercy can forgive anything–even the murder of His Messiah.

Once this is granted, or simultaneous with it, they will look Christ, the one they have mortally wounded by their heartbreaking behavior, a look that produces in them a sense of great sorrow. That realization will cause national mourning among every family and individual. The only sorrow comparable is that of the loss of a first-born son in death. Such sorrow is a sign of genuine repentance.

Commentator David Baron explains the singling out of the families of David, Nathan, Levi, and Shimei: “Through these … aristocratic and privileged lines, the rulers and the priests, who, alas! in times past often set an evil example to the whole nation, will now be foremost in their self-contrition and mourning over the great national sin, their example for good will now also be followed by all the rest of the people” (The Vision & Prophecies of Zechariah [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1972], p. 453).

ZACHARIAH 13

NATIONAL CLEANSING FOR THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL (13:1-6)

THE REJECTION OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD LEADS TO A REFINING PROCESS WHERE THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL IS EVENTUALLY CLEANSED AND RESTORED TO ITS LOYAL COVENANT RELATIONSHIP

John MacArthur explains, “The cleansing of Israel is a sovereign act of God, but it occurs in concert with the will of the people of Israel. God does not sovereignly redeem His people apart from their faith in Him. The people that were “not my people” (Heb., lo ammi) will become “my people” (Heb., ammi), according to God’s prophecy in Hosea 1:9-11. From the midst of their fiery ordeal the remnant of Israel will see Jesus Christ and they call upon Him as their Lord. Their decision will consummate their cleansing. Isaiah said, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa. 35:10).”

Zechariah 13:1 reiterates the promise of salvation for Israel: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” (cf. Ezek. 47) The figure of a fountain pictures abundant cleansing that would continue indefinitely. That fountain was opened when Jesus died; but they will only experience the benefits of that fountain in the future. Israel has been blind to the facts right before their eyes; but God will remove the blindness of their eyes and the hardness of their hearts.

This will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to forgive the sins of His people Israel in the New Covenant (3:4, 9; Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 36:25; cf. Zech. 3:4, 9; Rom. 11:26).  God is going to wash away the sins of the nation. When they see Jesus and cry out, “My Lord and my God,” they will realize it was the God of Israel whom they had pierced. And then God will turn on the fountain of spiritual cleansing and wash His people clean as He pours out His Spirit.

With reference to Zechariah 13:2-5, idolatry and false prophecy were the two principle ways Israel was led astray from God. God not only provides a fountain to cleanse, but He also promises to cut off the source of uncleanness – in this case, idolatry and false prophecy. . .

S Lewis Johnson has an interesting take on the false prophecy. “The false prophet is the second beast talked about in book of Revelation. These verses have their ultimate reference to the defeat of that false prophet. Prophets wore a mantle around their shoulders from animal hair. Today there are some outward signs that men put on as well to try to be identified as a prophet of the Lord. All of that anti God worship will pass out of the land.”

Zechariah 13:6 is quite interesting: “6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”

The man accused of being a false prophet insists the scars on his body are not the self-inflicted wounds often associated with false prophets, but merely the result of a brawl in his friend’s house. The unlikely, ironic explanation shows just how desperately people will avoid being identified with false prophets in this coming day Zechariah speaks of. It wasn’t unusual for false prophets to wound or mutilate themselves in the service of idols (1 Kings 18:28, Jeremiah 48:37.

Some take this as another Messianic prophecy in Zechariah, because Jesus was clearly wounded by those who should have been His friends. Nevertheless, the context and the original Hebrew argue against this referring to Jesus and His wounds. The translation from the King James Version makes it seem even more likely that this refers to Jesus: What are these wounds in thine hands? But the Hebrew is more literally between your hands, that is on the body, whether the chest or the back. “Some apply this to Christ, because Zechariah has mentioned wounds on the hands; but this is very puerile; for it is quite evident that he speaks here of false teachers, who had for a time falsely pretended God’s name.” (Calvin)

(BIBLE VERSION: KJV)

(MAIN EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCE: “THE LORD REMEMBERS AND WILL AGAIN CHOOSE JERUSALEM — COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH” by Paul G. Apple, October 2007)