The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?(Matthew 16:1-3)
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.(Luke 19:41-44)
When armies surrounded Jerusalem in the last days of Judah, during the days of Jeremiah, the people had a slogan, “The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD”. This slogan was repeated to keep alive the vain hope that there would be no judgment on Judah, because in spite of her sins, she still had in her center the Temple of the LORD. As long as the temple was still functioning, Judah though she was inviolable.
But Jeremiah gave a sermon which addressed this delusion…
Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these…Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.(Jeremiah 7:4,9-12)
Because of faulty theology, the people were unprepared for the horrors which were coming upon them. They couldn’t see how Babylonians could conquer, loot and sack the temple of the House of God.Jeremiah said,”go to Shiloh”, where then tabernacle had been and near to Aphek where the Ark of the Covenant had been captured in Battle.The Temple of the LORD is only inviolable as long as God dwells in it.
In a similar way, many were caught unawares of the import of the times when John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching repentance. Little did they realize they were in a kind of “Last days” scenario themselves, for within forty years of the crucifixion, all of Judea would be destroyed, 1.5 Jews slain and virtually all of the rest of them hauled off to the ends of the earth into slavery, and the temple was destroyed again. There would be no Israel for centuries, until may,1948.
John and Jesus warned them that their theology was wrong, and blinding them to reality. They believed in Jewish DNA in the same way as their ancestors believed in the temple. As sons of Abraham they would be saved. There was no need for repentance, and one day Israel would prevail over all of her enemies.These people missed the significance of their times and suffered for it.
A good many Christian people in this age are in the same boat. We are living in the last days, but false theology blinds them to it.
There is no way one can understand the Divine Eschatological program, without factoring in the nation of Israel. The prophecies revolve around Israel,the Messiah of Israel, the nation’s hatred of Israel, and the final conflict and deliverance of Israel.
There is a pervasive doctrine called “Replacement Theology” which has gained the upper hand among evangelicals. Replacement Theology holds that God is through with Israel,and the only dealings he has with Jews are with those who are born again into the church of Jesus Christ. Supposedly, The Church has taken the place of Israel, and the promises to Israel are spiritualized and applied to the church.
Reformed Christians for the most part, and Calvinists, Catholics, and Greek Orthodox have long held this view. In other words, most of confessing Christianity holds this view, that there is no Divine program for the Jews as a people, and that all of the promises of God once uniquely given to Israel, now belong to the church, usually in a spiritualized form.
This erroneous teaching has blinded millions of Christians to one of the greatest, and most obvious miracles in the modern world, the resurrection of a national Israel.This miracle is a billboard sized signpost and warning to the entire world, that the Word of the LORD is true, the end times have commenced and the time for Judgment is soon.
Imagine having to tell yourself there is no significance to this miracle which has occurred so openly before the eyes of all.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.(Jeremiah 30:1-3)
In so many places in prophecy there is an order to end times events…Israel comes back to the Land in unbelief…then comes the time of tribulation…(Jacob’s Trouble),
And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.(Jeremiah 30:4-7)
This is followed by promises of national restoration and blessing..
For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.(Jeremiah 30:8-9)
Finally the nations which hated and attacked Israel are judged, Israel has been chastened but is to be saved…
Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.(Jeremiah 30:10-11)
We see the same in Joel 3, first the regathering at a specific time,
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,(Joel 3:1)
Then comes the indictment of all of the nations…
I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.(Joel 3:2-3)
Next comes a time of terrible war, with God himself making war on the nations…
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.(Joel 3:9-13)
Finally Israel restored to God, and is vindicated and saved…
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.(Joel 3:16-20)
For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion.(Joel 3:21)
The last verse of Joel demands a better explanation than the KJV translation affords, for it literally says,”Then I will treat their blood(Israel’s) as innocent, whereas I have not treated as innocent, for the LORD dwells in Zion”