But they Won’t Repent of Worshipping Demons…Euphrates 2

And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,  Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.  And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(Revelation 913-15)

The Apostle John saw  in his vision, that there are four Angels bound at the river Euphrates, awaiting a specific, God appointed hour in which they will be loosed, to wreak havoc and death upon the God rejecting earth.

There will be massive, horrifying wars unleashed, when these Angels are loosed, which will wipe out a full third of all mankind. Modern man thinks we are e exempt from such suffering and that technology and military prowess can save us from the barbarity that much of the rest of the world has already been visited with.

The scripture is clear, one third of all men will perish by fire, smoke or by brimstone.  Something awful is coming, the sins of the modern world have reached unto heaven and the sentence against wicked and perverted societies is soon to be executed.

But we are told they will not repent…not the survivors, nor the ones who perished after having seen much of the horror, and not even when it becomes obvious that it is God who is bringing these things to pass.

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.(Revelation 9:20-21)

Notice the specific sins which the those who make up the  end times generation refuses to repent of ;

*’the works of their hands’ is a reference to the sin of idolatry,  the use of human technology and  skill to create idols and images which then take the place of the worship and adoration of the only true God.

Consider our own generation and how technology(Human handiwork)  has changed everything, even the way we communicate. People go everywhere , whilst looking at little screens which they hold in their hands.

The young in particular are captivated by the hours of images and programs contained in or accessed by those little screens, to the point that attention spans are greatly reduced, and the cognitive abilities developed by reading have all but disappeared in this generation.

*The worship of Devils… is another sin that the last generation will hardly repent of, even in the midst of the terrors of the final judgments. We are currently witnessing an unprecedented occult invasion here in the west.

Because of the corrosion upon our courts and politics by the atheistic left wing,  Satanists have prevailed in US courtrooms to be able to erect statues to Satan upon public ground in cities like Detroit, and in Oklahoma,  nearly the center of the Bible Belt.

There is currently a popular television series called Lucifer, which portrays the fallen angel in a modern setting and in a favorable light. Video games are choked full of Satanic imagery and magic and the occult have never been more positively portrayed. There is even a popular Ouija board, sold at toy stores in the color pink, obviously aimed at preteen girls.

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I could go on an on about the popularization of demon worship in the former Judeo Christian West among the middle and lower classes. But the phenomenon of Demon worship goes all the way to the very top elite of our societies as the recent “Spirit Cooking”  revelations involving Hillary Clinton, her husband, and a witches brew assortment of political elite, HollyWood celebrities and movers and shakers in American society.

What is becoming evident is that when so many of America’s elite drifted away from the Judeo Christian consensus and ethos, in the cultural revolution of the sixties, they didn’t remain ‘secular’, or even atheist. If nature abhors a vacuum, so much more does the Spiritual world.

To Paraphrase a Bob Dylan song,  It turns out that if people won’t serve God, one way or another they begin instead to worship Satan.

The explosion of Yoga, even in churches, the influx of foreign religions throughout all of the West, as well as the Multicultural insistence upon the superiority of preChristian religions which had once been supplanted by the gospel, and are now being revived, all amount to forms of Demon worship.

All Spirituality other than the spirituality of the Judeo/Christian revelation, is demonic by definition. False Gods are demons according to the Bible.

They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.  They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.(Deuteronomy 32:16-17)

They will not repent of their demon worship, this is why severe judgment looms, and why these tremendously destructive and fierce Spirits must soon be loosed st the River Euphrates.

The modern western preoccupation with Demon worship has also caused other sins to flourish; murder, sorcery, fornication,and Thefts. How many murders does a typical child witness or participate vicariously through the grisly video games now popular? How many western children are being familiarized with “Super Heroes” which are reminiscent of ancient greco Roman and Norse gods (Demons)?

How are we ever going to reverse the stain and blot of these sins? (They are sins indeed).

How many millions of unborn have been sacrificed to Baal and Moloch through the modern pre-occupation with abortion? Millions of babies have been slaughtered, young mothers to be have lost all femininity, and hardened beyond recovery through the popularization of the sin of abortion.

The whole family is involved in the sin, as the boy friend pressures the young woman to kill, or the girl’s parents, or grandparents put pressure upon her. (isn’t this obscene?)

When abortion first became legal in the United States, it was accompanied with much shame and many assurances that abortion should be “safe, rare and legal”.  But now forty years later, a line of clothing proclaims pride in abortion and even after an undercover journalist exposed the grisly and illegal practice of abortion providers merchandising in body parts for sale, the only person prosecuted was the journalist.

Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, And they did not know how to blush; Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time of their punishment they shall be brought down,” Says the LORD.(Jeremiah 8:12)

All worship requires sacrifice, even and especially demon worship. The West has sacrificed the innocent, the unborn and little children to Satan, as evidenced in recent scandals such as Rotherham, and other sex grooming scandals. How could little English girls be bought, sold and traded as sexual chattel to filthy Muslims, for 18 years in a British city and get away with it?

Such sacrifices are necessary to maintain the demon worship known as multiculturalism(Anti-Christianism). Child trafficking is the slavery of our day , but will probably persist until the Messiah returns because a good many of our “Elite” have proven to be pedophiles themselves, and involved in secret ,demonic societies.

Need I go on about the hated sin of Sorcery (Pharmekia), the abuse of mind altering drugs?How many millions are hopelessly dependent upon mind altering drugs, many of them prescribed from childhood.

Fornication? They will not repent of it! They multiply new forms of it and in many cases, marriage is done away with altogether.  Pastors and false prophets accommodate these sins, but God will not. A horrible judgment comes.

The Euphrates Angels are soon to be released and are already chafing greatly and writhing at their chains…

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Four Angels At the Euphrates; a different look …Euphrates pt 1

And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,  Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.  And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(Revelation 9:13-16)

The Euphrates river is a place deeply embedded in Salvation history, and indeed holds a prominent place in the history of human civilization. The name ‘Euphrates’ is a greek Transliteration of the Hebrew ‘Parat’, which means ‘fruitful’, coming from the same Hebrew root as the name Ephraim,’God has made me fruitful’.The prefix “Eu” means good or well, thus the Euphrates is the” Well fruited river”.

The Euphrates was one of the original four rivers which watered the garden of Eden, and is acknowledged even by secular scholars as being at the site of the very cradle of civilization.

Various early City State kingdoms abounded in and around the ‘fertile crescent’, and between the two Rivers,(Mesopotamia, means “between the rivers”).The Sumerian,Accadian ,Babylonian, Assyrian  and Persian Empires ruled at various times in History, and the area was traversed by various Biblical figures at times.

Abram became a “Hebrew”,(One who crosses over) , when he obeyed God, leaving UR of the Chaldees and crossing the Euphrates to find the Land God would give He and his seed forever.

From the wilderness, and Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, the whole land of the Hittites, and even unto the great sea toward the setting of the sun, shall be your border (Josh. 1:4).

To thy seed will I give this land, from the river of Egypt even unto the great river, the river Euphrates (Gen. 15:18).

Thou madest a vine to journey out of Egypt. Thou hast sent out its shoots even unto the sea, and its twigs unto the river (Ps. 80:8, 11);

The Euphrates is the true eastern border of the land God has allotted to Israel! They have never realized their full possession other than briefly in the days of David and Solomon.

Waves of distraught Jews had to make the sorrowful journey back across the Euphrates in the days of the Babylonian Captivity, including Daniel, Ezekiel and Shadrach, Meshec and Abednego . The “Waters of Babylon” refers to the Euphrates,

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.(Psalm 137:1-9)

In the book of the Revelation, the Euphrates is revealed as being the location of four mighty, destructive messengers,  bound for centuries, but set to be loosed upon the earth to unleash an unprecedented savage fury the world has never seen before, nor will it ever see again!

By the time the pent up fury of these angels is spent, one third of all mankind will have been killed.

I have always just thought of these angels as Holy Angels, waiting to execute God’s command. But I have been looking at this a slightly different way lately; for example they have been “bound” for a specific time.

Could these be ‘territorial Spirits’ , associated with the nations touching the Euphrates, as the “Prince of Persia and the Prince of Grecia’ were revealed in Daniel?

Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.(Daniel 10:12-13)

Consider the four nations through which the Euphrates runs to borders… Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Consider the horrors and carnage already unleashed upon these places just in the past thirty years. Look at the horrifying changes occurring in recently moderate and even modern Muslim nations such as Turkey.

Events are churning Like quickly gathering black clouds on a hot midwestern summer day, the light is dimming and the sky turns dark as the winds pick up. Something terrible is about to be unleashed from the Euphrates  area which will end in the near destruction of all life on earth.

Lets consider some of these changes and the implications of them…

 

 

 

 

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The Sign of The End of the Age…Matthew 24 pt 7

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:4-8)

The Third answer comes first, in Matthew 24.  The Disciples asked Jesus, ‘What is the sign of the End of the Age’?

First of all Jesus warns us against deceit. There would always be false Messiahs, and much false speculation over the centuries because there would be many wars and desolations unto the end, as Daniel the prophet warned in Daniel 9.

The fact of wars over the centuries doesn’t mean the end has come yet, neither does the existence of false prophets and Messiahs. The Centuries would be littered with them.

The sign of the End of this present age, will be marked by a scale of war which will have been proven to be unprecedented. The expression “Nation shall rise against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom…” is a reference to World War.

I believe that the sign of the end of the Age was the outbreak of World War One, and all that followed, including World War 2, the founding of the State of Israel, the establishment of the United Nations, the colonial retreat and the decline of the Christian West.

The Evangelical Scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum also teaches that the expression “Nation shall rise against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom…” refers to something which only the scale of World War could match,

To understand what the idiom nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom means, it is necessary to return to the Jewish origin of these statements. This expression is a Hebrew idiom for a world war. Yeshua’s statement here is that when a world war occurs, rather than merely a local war, that world war would signal that the end of the age had begun.

This is quite in keeping with the Jewish writings of this same period. One Jewish source known as the Zohar Chadash states: “At that time wars shall be stirred up in the world. Nation shall be against nation and city against city; much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.”

Another Jewish source known as the Bereshit Rabbah states: “If you shall see the kingdoms rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of the Messiah (XLII:4).”

The rabbis clearly taught that a world-wide conflict would signal the coming of the Messiah. Yeshua corrected this idea slightly, for He said that when the world war occurs, while it does not signal the coming of the Messiah, it will signal that the end of the age has begun. These birth pangs that Yeshua talked about are the same as the “footsteps” that the rabbis talked about. The “footsteps of the Messiah” had to do with the series of events that will lead up to the coming of the Messiah. The title of the 500-page prophecy book, The Footsteps of the Messiah, is based on this Jewish concept, reflected in the Matthew account concerning nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom.

World War I, 1914-1918, was the fulfillment of this particular prophecy, for that was the First World War. As virtually all historians agree, World War II was merely a continuation of World War I. Furthermore, both world wars had a decisive impact on Jewish history. World War I gave impetus to the growth of the Zionist movement, and World War II led to the re-establishment of the Jewish State. Since World War I, history has entered the last days of the Church Age. However, the last days are an extended period of time.

The sign that the end of the age has begun is the world-wide conflict fulfilled by World War I and World War II.

Consider that the Western World has never recovered from World War One and its aftermath (WW2). The staggering loss in blood and treasure , as modern, confessedly Christians nations slaughtered each other on an industrial scale, bringing into the conflict their own colonial subjects, and commonwealth partners, changed the World forever.

One of the outcomes of the War was the post war infection and growth of the Communistic scourge, which eventually enslaved almost a third of the known world. Starting with once Orthodox Russia, the atheistic Revolution gutted and bankrupted one of the world’s great Christian empires.

The re-creation of the nation of Israel, after nearly two thousand years, the scattered Jews regathered, brought back into the land in a state of unbelief,  and estrangement from God, as the Prophets foretold she would, is a direct outcome of World War 1 and it’s inevitable sequel, World War 2.

 

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11.
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;(6) I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 43:5, 6.

“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
(9) They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel , and Ephraim is my firstborn.
(10) Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” Jeremiah 31:8-10.

The First World War was used to seize the Levant from the hands of Ottoman Turks, and put it into the hands of British and French allies. The Holy land of Israel came into the hands of the British, who had promised a Jewish homeland to the Jews in the Balfour declaration.

The second World War was used to convince European and Russian Jewry, that they could never have a permanent home anywhere on earth, but in the Land God gave Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. In May 1948 the world witnessed a Biblical miracle for a Nation was born in a day, the Land of Israel emerged and has dominated international attention(mostly negative) ever since.

 

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The Unthinkable…Matthew 24 pt 6

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:1-3)

Immediately after declaring to the Teachers, leaders and Shepherds of Israel that  the Holy House of God was now empty, and that Israel would not see him again until they humbly acknowledged the national sin and confessed that Jesus was and is the Messiah of Israel sent by God and meeting the prophetic criterion in every detail, The Messiah left the Temple of the Lord for the final time.

Jesus virtually duplicated Ezekiel’s vision, of the Glory leaving the Holy Place, going out the Eastern gate and then Lingering over the Mount of Olives, until the cloud ascended to heaven. Jesus too left the Temple, through the eastern gate and went to the Mount of Olives, the site which he would eventually ascend to Heaven from, and to which He is prophesied to return.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.  (Zechariah 14:4)

It was at this point that his disciples marveled at the beauty of the Temple, it’s majestic and massive stones and architectural features. The second Temple was built in the days of Zechariah, Joshua the High priest and the Governor Zerubabbel, but had been remodeled by Herod, who was a despot indeed, but one of the greatest builders of the period.

See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.  

Forty years after Jesus said this, a siege was erected around Jerusalem, in April, corresponding to Jesus’ trial and death, by the Romans. By August, the walls of jerusalem were breached and on Tisha Ba’Av, (the ninth of the month of Av) fighting broke out in the temple, a fire was started, vast amounts of Gold stored there melted and in the frenzy after the fight, Roman legionaries pried one stone off of another, (seeking melted gold) , thus fulfilling the Words of Jesus.

Josephus, Wars, Chapter 5 #7 Describing the burning of the temple and the Roman’s motives: “their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them too hard for them also. Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on; as having this opinion, that all the places within (the Temple) were full of money: and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold.” 

One can still go to Jerusalem to this day and see the piles of massive Stones thrown down from the mount in fulfillment of Jesus words.

The disciples couldn’t fathom it, it was unthinkable that the House of God, the glorious Temple would be destroyed! They were astonished at Jesus words.

It was at this point, on the Mount of Olives that the disciples asked Jesus three questions , which form the structure of Matthew 24, Jesus’ teaching on the end times;

Tell us, when shall these things be?

and what shall be the sign of thy coming,

and of the end of the world?

These are three very distinct questions and the answers to them cover time, from 70 Ad to our very present day.

*When Shall These things be? Refers to the destruction of the Temple, and pall of it’s attendant horrors.

 

*What shall be the sign of thy coming?   This is a question about Jesus’ glorification and exaltation. The disciples had no idea that Jesus would soon die, rise again and that there would be a two thousand year church age, after which Israel would be restored, and thatJesus would come to reign.

But Jesus had told the disciples all along , that though he would be humiliated and despised, one day he would be exalted and glorified, and would come to receive the Kingdom that is His.

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?  They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.(Mark 10 :35-37)

What Shall be The Sign of the End of the Age?  The Jews looked at time as being Two Aged; ‘this age’ and ‘the age to come’.  The Apostles held the same view, (as we all should). Paul said ,”the Suffering of this present time, is not worthy to be compared to glory of the Age to Come”. Jesus called it ‘the Regeneration of all things’, because in it all would be made new.

The present age is the age of death and decay, yet it is also the ‘day of salvation’ an age in which grace and forgiveness are offered to mankind. The Age to come is the age of righteousness,and of the realized Kingdom of God and of the Son of man.

The two Ages briefly overlap, the one passes as the other emerges, like the Sunrise;

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.(Malachi 4:2)

The Disciples wanted to know the answer to these three questions, seemingly thinking they are all parts of a whole,and tied up in each other. Surely the destruction of the Temple portends the dawning of a new age, and will eventuate in the vindication and glory of the Messiah, Jesus! But they had no idea the length of the span, and that the events of 70 Ad would only be the beginning of a long night for the Jews, and a partial type of the events at the end of the world.

 

 

 

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Jesus’ Two Final Sayings To Israel…Matthew 24 pt 5

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.(Matthew 23:38-39)

We have been looking at what I consider to be essential elements of context, in order to more fully understand Jesus’ definitive teaching on the end times, i.e. Matthew 24.

Jesus’ sermon in the temple, in Matthew 23, very much in the character of Jeremiah’s temple sermon,(Jeremiah 7), an address to the leaders of the doomed nation, calling them out on their specific apostasy, and passionately pointing out how they had become “blind guides” leading a blind nation away from God and into the Pit, and that they were the same God defying “brood of vipers” spoken of in Genesis 3 when God warned of the enmity between the woman and her seed and the Serpent and his seed.

In his last official capacity as Messiah, in the Temple of the LORD, and to the leaders of Israel, and by proxy to all of Israel, jesus ended his remarks with two devastating sayings;

“Your House is left to you desolate”.   and

“You will not see me again, until you say, blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD!”.

As for the first saying, Jesus warned the nation that God no longer inhabited the Temple, it was empty. He had vacated it.

Harkening back to Jeremiah’s sermon, the Jews in Jesus day were in a similar position to the Jews of Jeremiah’s day. They were on the verge of devastating national judgments, Jeremiah and Jesus both warned of them, and included this detail, that the Temple would be destroyed.

But the nation took a false confidence in the mere existence of the temple in their midst, as though as long as the Temple was there, the nation was inviolable.

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.(Jeremiah 7:7)

Jeremiah warned the nation not to trust in “lying Words” and thus to make the Temple into a den of robbers.

Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.  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.(Jeremiah 7:8-11)

The idea of the Temple as a den of robbers is often misunderstood. Robbers do not do their crimes in their den, they do them outside the den and then flee into the den for security. Backsliders and Apostates  felt secure that the Judgment of the Babylonian invasion would never come upon them, for they had the Temple in their midst, they were safe and secure to do as they pleased.

Jesus cited Jeremiah in the days leading up to Matthew 24, when He cleansed the Temple,  ( a prophetic action, depicting the coming destruction of the same temple),

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.(Matthew 21:12-13)

In the case of Jeremiah, it was the Babylonians who were lining up, and in the case of Jesus , the Romans, both of which would inevitably be used to destroy the Temple of God. How could Pagans destroy the Holy House of God?

Only if God leaves, can the Temple be destroyed. “Your House is Left to You Desolate”. 

Ezekiel saw the glory of the LORD depart from the Holy House. The Glory lifted from the Holy of Holies and lingered, then proceeded to the Eastern gate and lingered and finally went out to the Mt of Olives, eventually ascending from there.

Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above…And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city. (Ezekiel 10:18-19, 11:23)

Hosea predicted that the time would come when God himself would tell Israel he was going back to where he came from, and would not return again until Israel confessed her national sin.

I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.(Hosea 5:15)

In what sense could the Omnipresent God “go back to where he came from”? Only in this way; He sanctified a piece of real estate, and gave a plan to a holy nation, to build a Holy House which He would inhabit, for them to worship Him and be animated as a nation by his glory. But now, because of the depth of their idolatry, He would go away from them and not return until they admitted their offense.

What good is an empty temple? How could a ‘Holy People’ be of any use when God is no longer among them? Who are they without Him?

Furthermore what will it take to get them to repent and confess the national sin? Hosea gives us a clue, when he proclaims that “in their affliction” they will seek Him earnestly. Nothing less than ‘their affliction’, a’ time of Jacob’s trouble’, will bring them to the point of humble confession of sin and restitution as a Holy Nation, and Priestly people.

“You will not see Me again until you say, ‘blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD”.

All is not lost, for in this second saying a promise is implied….He did not say,”You will not see me again.”, He said “You will not see me again until you say…”. The nation must be brought to a true confession of the line in the long sung Passover Hymn, Psalm 118, “Blesses is He that comes in the name of the LORD!”.

It was part of a processional drama; the King Messiah comes on the long anticipated day, the “Day the LORD has made”, and with his retinue of followers, ascended the Holy mount to the Temple gates. The other part of the drama is the “builders” of the Nation, the Shepherds, Priests and Leaders, from within the temple walls were to “open the gates of Righteousness” and to Receive the King Messiah, on behalf of the whole nation, “We welcome you from the house of the LORD”, and to proclaim to one and all,

“Blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD!”  which is a way of confessing that this one, Jesus of Nazareth, is actually the one who meets all of the prophetic criteria, and who has performed the works, and who speaks not for himself but in the name of God, He is the Messiah we have been waiting for.

As we all know, It didn’t work out that way. In fact the other obscure verse of Psalm 118 , the alternate ending was fulfilled, “The stone which the builders rejected is become the chief cornerstone”. The builders rejected King Messiah, the vital piece of the Holy Nation. They rejected Him and cast him aside.

This was what killed the “fig tree” and at this point the nation died. When the High Priest of Israel stood before the pagan Roman representative, and confessed to Him,(on behalf of the nation) “we have no King but Caesar”, Israel died, was plucked out the land and has been preserved in state, for all of the World to see, awaiting the final chance to acknowledge Him and to be raised again from the dead.

Israel will be visited by him one more time, in the midst of the greatest pressure and tribulation, Messiah will come to them, and this time they will recognize Him.

(If their casting away was blessing to we gentiles, what shall be their resurrection? Nothing short of the resurrection from the dead of the whole World!) Maranatha!

 

 

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The Messiah’s Final Rebuke…Mathew 24 pt 4

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!(Matthew 23:13-16) 

 

 

We come now to the last of the factors, which I believe are essential to understanding the subsequent teaching of Jesus in Matthew 24, which would extend from his own day all the way to the very end of time as we know it and the final judgment.

That factor is Jesus’ final, scathing denunciation of Israel’s leaders, in Matthew 23. Judgment was coming upon the nation and they had kept the people from doing what they should have done to be prepared for it.

The teaching of the religious leaders of Jesus day, had not only failed to truly lead anyone to the reality of the God of the Bible, it actually distorted and killed any faith or piety which would have led to God.

… The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.(Matthew 23:3-4)

These leaders were incompetent, spiritually. They sat in a seat they didn’t truly belong in.

Jesus is referring to the system of Rabbinism, which had developed since the Babylonian captivity. Under Rabbinism, an unwritten “oral” law developed which actually superceded The Law of Moses. The Scribes, Pharisees and Teachers of the Law were the ‘interpreters’ of that oral Law, and gave rulings to the common people on everyday case law and situational application.

Those who “sat in Moses’ seat” had devised their own complicated system. Their “rulings” were considered binding, and even more so than the written Law of Moses.  For example the Law of God gives man rest , one day a week, as a blessing from God.

But the Pharisees , scripes and teachers  had devised and accumulated 1,200 sub laws, statutes ad rulings governing conduct on the Sabbath. How far should one walk on Sabbbathe? What constitutes Work? Can one cook on Sabbath day?

They literally managed to make the Sabbath day a day of bondage!

This is just one example of how the leaders of Israel in the day of Jesus killed true religion, persecuted true piety and led the nation away from God and headlong into judgment.

The power these leaders had over the common “people of the Land” corrupted the Rabbis, reducing them to religious theocrats,  motivated by love of position, recognition, vanity and self seeking. Any piety (inward devotion to God) these leaders once had was long dead, as the system they had manufactured canceled out the true Spirit and meaning of the Law of God.

Alfred Eidersheim documents the outlandish claims and pretensions of the Rabbis of the time of Christ and the superstitious esteem in which the common people held them;

…the claims which Rabbinism preferred may throw light on the words of Christ. It reads like a wretched imitation from the New Testament, when the heathen Governor of Cæsarea is represented as rising up before Rabbis because he beheld ‘the faces as it were of Angels;’ or like an adaptation of the well-known story about Constantine the Great when the Governor of Antioch is described as vindicating a similar mark of respect to the Rabbis by this, that he had seen their faces and by them conquered in battle.From another Rabbi rays of light are said to have visibly proceeded. According to some, they were Epicuraeans, who had no part in the world to come, who referred slightingly to ‘these Rabbis.’ To supply a learned man with the means of gaining money in trade, would procure a high place in heaven. It was said that, according to Prov. viii. 15, the sages were to be saluted as kings; nay, in some respects, they were higher – for, as between a sage and a king, it would be duty to give the former priority in redemption from captivity, since every Israelite was fit to be a king, but the loss of a Rabbi could not easily be made up. But even this is not all. The curse of a Rabbi, even if uncaused, would surely come to pass. … Nay, their self-assertion extended beyond this life, and a Rabbi went so far as to order that he should be buried in white garments, to show that he was worthy of appearing before his Maker.87 But perhaps the climax of blasphemous self-assertion is reached in the story, that, in a discussion in heaven between God and the heavenly Academy on a Halakhic question about purity, a certain Rabbi – deemed that most learned on the subject – was summoned to decide the point! 

Such daring profanities must have crushed out all spiritual religion, and reduced it to a mere intellectual display, in which the Rabbi was always chief – here and hereafter.(Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah  Eidersheim,Alfred  )

When the Blind are leading the Blind, do they both not fall headlong into the pit of Hell? Is this not a starkly modern problem in the confessing church?

If the gospel of Matthew begins with eight Beatitudes for those truly repentant and seeking God, it ends here with a series of eight Woes, a full testimony and an indictment of the sins of those who had led the nation away from the Savior and from true religion, and into Judgment and the destruction of the Temple and people.

  • But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.    By establishing an “elite fellowship” of the Learned, and reducing all piety and religion to the accumulation of hidden knowledge, ( a knowledge reserved for they themselves) , and by multiplying rival sources of authority(Oral Law)  and neglecting to teach scripture itself, they stood in the door of the Kingdom, blocking the way of the ignorant and unlearned and refusing to enter themselves.
  • Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. They had made religion into a personal, profitable enterprise, whilst at the same time turning it into an expensive and elusive puzzle for the ignorant, poor and unlearned.
  • Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.   Yes, the Pharisees made converts, but then passed onto them the same traits; reliance of the authority of “sages” over scripture, making void the Word of God for Tradition, and observance self seeking, man exalting hierarchies but pretend reverence for God.

     

  • Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!  As evidence of the utter spiritual bankruptcy of these ‘leaders’ ,Jesus points to the  Rabbinic teaching which made distinctions between the precise wording of Oaths, displaying a complete moral blindness. How corrupting would be the teaching which lets people out of promises and vows on the basis of exact wording. Such people have no capacity whatsoever to know or worship God!
  • Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.   Pharisaism  became an exhausting system, teaching men  to spend so much energy and zeal on mere trifles, yet causing them to miss the greater principles of the Law of God, it literally kills true faith
  • Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. An emphasis on the external, to the exclusion of the inward and real is one of the unfortunate toxic ‘fruits’ of Rabbinism and the teaching and emphasis on the ‘oral law’ over and against the Written word of God.

     

  • Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

    The same National pride and self will which caused the children of Israel in Jeremiah or Isaiah’s day to slay the prophets, is what motivated this generation to pretend like they reverenced the prophets, building monuments and memorials to them, not realizing they have more in common with those who killed them!

A terrible Judgment drew near, it was an accumulated judgment, due to accumulated warnings unheeded and constantly heaped up resistance to prophets and wise men, sent by God. All of the blood of all of the prophets from Abel to Zechariah would be required of this generation. The leadership were neither Holy or Devoted As Moses and the Prophets were, in fact they were the very God defying serpents warned of in Genesis 3.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.(Matthew 23:33-36)

There were only two more things Jesus had to tell Israel in his final speech in the Temple in his capacity as Messiah of Israel….

 

 

 

 

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The Fig Tree and The Mountain…Matthew 24 pt 3

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.  And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!  Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.(Matthew 21:18-22)

We have been looking into the context of Matthew 24, Jesus’ definitive teaching on the end times. This critical apocalyptic teaching can only be fully understood in the flow of the context around it. So far we have established;

  • That we must consider the actual timing in history that Jesus and John the Baptist were sent to the house of Israel. They came forty years before the most devastating Judgment Israel had ever endured till that time. This means they were ‘last days’ preacher in every sense/ What was their primary message? The urgency of Repentance, “The Axe is already laid at the root of the tree…”.
  • We must also remember that Matthew 24 occurred during the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It was one of the last things Jesus taught on earth.
  • Furthermore Matthew 24 occurred during the feast of Passover, and we have shown the prominent place the Passover Psalms, especially Psalm 118 have to play in this teaching.

Now we come to another aspect of the context of Matthew 24; the curious incident of the fig tree and the Mountain cast into the sea.

I once belonged to a heretical movement called the Word of Faith, which was based very much on an erroneous teaching on this incident. Kenneth Hagin taught, as did his disciples, that when Jesus cursed the fig tree, He was teaching us to exercise “the god kind of Faith”, that is, we should believe in the power of our own Words, and speak into existence our own reality, as God spoke in Genesis 1.

It took  a long time for me to disentangle these scriptures in Matthew 21 and Mark 11. I hope this can help those with similar backgrounds, for the false teaching has robbed us of what was really happening here in the prelude to the teaching of Matthew 24.

When Jesus came upon a fig tree, on the way to Jerusalem and the temple, in the last Passover and last week of his earthly sojourn, the text tells us He hungered. He saw a fig tree in the distance which had leaves on it, so he assumed it would have mature fruit as well (fig trees evidently bear fruit first then leaves).

When he turned over the leaves and found no fruit, he cursed the fig tree, “Let no fruit grow on thee, henceforth, forever…” .  The next time he and his disciples passed the tree, they were astonished that it had withered, overnight!

What was going on here? Would Jesus destroy a fruit tree to teach the exercise of faith to his disciples?

Remember that Jesus was and is the WORD of GOD, and was acting in his capacity as aProphet, the ultimate and final Prophet of God (Hebrews 1:1-3).

This cursing of the fig tree was a prophetic act. The fig tree, prophetically is an emblem of the blessing and favor of God upon Israel, or of Israel as a fruitful blessing. The prophetic picture of the good life, is “Every man under his vine and under his fig tree”.

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. (Micah 4:4)

Jesus is denouncing this status of Israel,  because though they had leaves, (Outward profession, as in Psalm 1 “His leaf also shall not wither…”) there was no fruit when He came looking for it.

What is the fruit that the LORD seeks?  Repentance. Righteousness based upon love. True Love for God. Truth and Mercy.

Therefore The Fig tree will die, and the nations will not eat the fruit of it in its present form a=ever again. The fig tree is withered.

Anyone with the least bit of faith, would be able to see that this was to be the outcome of it. It wouldn’t take any more than the tiniest grain of faith in God, to be able to say, “This fig tree is withered”.

In the same vein, He mentioned a similar fate would befall the mountain.

Which Mountain?

The Temple Mountain and all of its apparatus of worship, Priests, sacrifices, Prayers, offerings, the ministry of mercy (Forgiveness of sins), washings, courts, porticoes and Holy furniture.  It would soon be plucked up and cast into the sea!

The sea in Prophetic thought is the Gentile World. “The wicked are like the sea…the floods have lifted up their voice….The Creator drew a line and said to the sea, ‘you can come this far and no further…”. The Sea? The turbulent, dark, violent, dangerous, powerful and restless sea?

Did he really say that the Holy House of God would be ‘cast into the sea”?

Unthinkable! But Jesus again said, anyone with the least bit of faith at all would be able to see it, and to say it, that “this mountain is to be plucked up ad cast into the sea…”.

He is not teaching Positive confession. he is saying pretty much the same thing I always tell my congregation, “the least Christian on earth, in the tiniest church, which pays any heed at all to Bible Prophecy, knows what is coming, why it is coming and has an idea when it is coming, even though the experts and pundits have no idea”. Anyone with any faith at all knows the nations themselves are slated for judgment.

Jesus predicted the end of the fig tree, its withering up and barrenness, and the destruction of the Temple, both of which were unthinkable to his contemporaries.

This connects to a remark in Matthew 24,

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.(Matthew 24:32-34)

Jesus had already pronounced that no man would eat fruit of Israel as she was currently constituted, from that point on and forever. However he here predicts that one of the major signs of the end, would be the return back to life of the withered fig tree, as a sign of the dawn of the final generation.

In May 1948, a nation came back into existence after two thousand years, when Israel was reborn. The timing is set, the countdown has begun, the fig tree is blossoming! Maranatha!

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