The Holy Land: Official documents and fake news
So history repeats itself. For the 50 years I have lived in Israel, every single new U.S. president has made one of his top-priorities the goal of solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and bringing peace to the Middle East. And who doesn’t want peace? The Israeli people are desperate for peace. And I’m sure many Arab citizens also yearn for peace.
As President Donald Trump tries his hand at this ultimate peace deal, hopefully his advisors are supplying him with accurate briefs on the subject of “whose land is this?” Certainly, for every Bible believer, it is worth spending a few minutes to review the historical facts.
Yes facts, not fiction. Genuine historic documents—instead of the fake history that was first propagated by terrorist Yasser Arafat and now disseminated by all Palestinian leaders. Their rewriting of history has been phenomenally successful. Today the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and almost all world leaders have accepted the “Palestinian narrative.”
Perhaps the only group of people who are currently open to the real facts will be Christians who are truth-seekers and their understanding is based first of all on God’s word. So here goes: Mohammed never visited Jerusalem and did not consider it important enough to mention in the Quran even once. Mecca is mentioned, but not Jerusalem. The Quran does refer to the children of Israel and states that the Promised Land belongs to them.
Quran, 17:104 : “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: Dwell securely in the Promised Land.” Quran, 5:20-21: “Moses said to his people … O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you.”
Some twenty-five hundred years before Mohammed was born, Abraham talked with his God who promised him the Holy Land long before any other current world religion was conceived. The Jewish Holy Temple stood on Mount Moriah 1500 years before Islamic warriors spread across the Middle East ultimately conquering great swaths of the earth and forcing Islamic conversion on its citizens.
BEFORE THERE WERE MOSQUES
But when Yeshua walked on the streets of ancient Jerusalem there were no mosques nor churches there—only the Jewish Temple and nothing else. King David himself purchased the land on which the first Temple was built in the 10th century BC. The Bible records the deed, the name of the previous owner, and the purchase price:
Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the Lord. You shall grant it to me at the full price … So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.
Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
The Temple Mount was purchased by a Jewish King for the Jewish people.
THE YEAR 1517AD
But allow me to skip over hundreds of years for the sake of brevity, to the year 1517 when the Ottoman Turks conquered the Holy Land and ruled for exactly 400 years.
The land was so barren and unimportant that it didn’t begin to approach the concept of a nation state with borders. One traveler, Charles Thompson in 1744 wrote, “I shall henceforwards, without Regard to geographical Niceties and Criticisms, consider myself as in the Holy Land, Palestine or Judea; which Names I find used indifferently, though perhaps with some Impropriety, to signify the same Country.”
When the Allies defeated the Turks in 1917, the British and French carved up the Middle East between themselves: France agreed to administer a mandate over Lebanon and Syria. Britain governed Iraq and the Holy Land—the latter they referred to as “Mandatory Palestine” (although rich Syrian absentee landlords and rulers saw the land as Southern Syria). Palestine then became the area’s common name.
THE MANDATE DID NOT GIVE BRITAIN SOVEREIGN RIGHTS
It must be understood that the British Mandate which was validated by the League of Nations (forerunner to the UN) did not give the British sovereign rights over the Holy Land. In fact, the Mandate specifically and only appointed Britain to support the creation of a Jewish state! Yes! Read the Mandate.
While all non-Jews living in Palestine were assured civil and religious rights, the Mandate did not mention the word “Arab,” much less “Palestinian.”
Indeed, the Mandate stated that Britain would be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 21, 1917, [i.e. The Balfour Declaration] which declared Britain’s intention to help the Jewish people establish a homeland for the Jews. As for the former owners of the Holy Land’s “state lands,” the Ottoman Turks showed no interest in repossessing their lost lands in Palestine. So to whom did the land belong?
The rest of the Mandate’s story is all down hill. Britain decided to ask the League of Nations to detach [separate] the land east of the Jordan River from the very Mandate which was supposed to create a Jewish nation. In other words, it asked the League to exempt three-quarters of the land mandated for the Jewish people in order to give it to the Arabs. This in spite of Article 5 of the Mandate which specifically stated: “The Mandatory [Britain] shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.”
TWO STATES FOR TWO PEOPLE
Bending to Britain’s request, The League of Nations (which became the UN) did create an Arab state, called it Jordan and then handed it over to a Saudi emir. Now look closely! The British high commissioner in Palestine explained they were simply creating two states for two peoples “a Jewish National Home in Palestine west of the Jordan [River] and a separate Arab entity in Palestine east of the Jordan.”
Anyone who knows Middle East geography would understand that the commissioner was saying that there would be two states for two peoples: the area where the nation of Jordan was created would be the state for Arabs. The area on the west side of the Jordan would include all of modern Israel and all of what is called today “occupied Palestinian territory.”
So the British did create a “separate” Arab entity called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. But Allah demanded the entire Holy Land. The Arabs’ rioting continued for years, killing both Jews and British soldiers, while insisting that there would be no Jewish state. Finally an exhausted Britain gave up and turned the whole mess over to the United Nations.
THREE STATES FOR TWO PEOPLES?
The UN divided up what was left of the Holy Land into a second Arab state (which would be in Judea and Samaria) and a Jewish state. The Jewish leadership accepted the UN plan for the establishment of two states. The Arabs rejected it out of hand.
Indeed, the area allotted for a second Arab state (west of the Jordan) was rejected by all surrounding Arab states. A day after Israel announced their new state in 1948, the Arab nations launched a war of annihilation against the Jews. Miraculously, newborn Israel survived and even expanded its UN designated borders.
In this war to destroy Israel, Jordan’s army overran and occupied Judea and Samaria (where a second Arab state was to have been planned) plus East Jerusalem. The only two countries that ever recognized Jordanian sovereignty were Britain and Pakistan! Though Jordan annexed what is called the West Bank in 1950, it was never recognized by the international community. So, again, to whom did the land belong? Remember, at that time there were no “Palestinian people.”
Sixteen years later, when Jordan, Egypt and Syria stood ready to attack Israel again, Israeli forces executed a preemptive strike and conquered Judea and Samaria and ancient Jerusalem in what is known as the Six Day War. (Israel also pushed Egypt out of Sinai and Gaza, and Syria out of the Golan Heights, but that’s for another story.) But here is the question again. To whom did Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem belong? Jordan? Britain? The Turks?
One thing is for sure, the land didn’t belong to any Palestinians because, as we know, at that time there were no Palestinian people. Notice that in the UN-proposed division of the land, and all the documents up to the Six Day War, there was mention only of Arabs; not a Palestinian was to be found!
Today, this newly created people-group is determine to conquer the entire Holy Land including East Jerusalem, but they really have no justified legal claim to it, having never ruled it. In fact, Jerusalem has never been the capital of any nation throughout history, except Israel. Furthermore, how can Israel be occupying another nation’s land since there has been no recognized sovereign entity in the Holy Land west of the Jordan River since the Ottoman Empire? And as we have seen, the Turks now for a hundred years have shown no interest in reclaiming it.
JORDAN ABDICATES RIGHTS
When Israel signed a peace agreement with Jordan in 1994, King Hussein, the former occupier of land mandated for a Jewish state, asked of Israel two conditions: the first was a promise that the Jordan River would continue supplying water to the people of Jordan. No problem. Israel agreed.
The second condition was that the Jordanian army would continue guarding the east bank of the Jordan River (Jordan’s border) but that Israel, not Jordan, would guard the west bank of the Jordan including Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. Therefore, the king of Jordan waived any legal rights his country might have claimed.
Even when the Jordanians did occupy Jerusalem, from 1948 to 1967, they never considered making it their capital. I myself visited Jerusalem in 1959 and 1965, and the Jordanians had left it a backwater, poverty-stricken village, while the Jordanian King ruled in his capital of Amman.
What will it take for the nations to acknowledge that no other nation has ever made Jerusalem their capital? Believe it or not, the one and only source for the Muslim’s claim to Jerusalem and the site of the Temple Mount, is a mention in the Quran of a dream that Mohammed had about an unknown “far distant place.” As one author asked, “Can any Muslim in the world produce any credible evidence for Islamic connection to Israel’s Temple site, other than in Mohammed’s dream?”
The best reference for understanding the Muslim-Arab mentality and its politically-motivated falsification of history is Mohammed’s own advice to his followers: “War is deception.” In the feckless mandate, Britain and then the UN “solved” the problem of Jerusalem by declaring it an “international city.” But the Arabs would hear none of it. The idea was a dead letter from the start. Israel captured its ancient capital back from Jordan in a war with Arabs who fought to eradicate the Jewish state. In 1980, Israel’s Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, declaring it to be the undivided capital of the Jewish state forever. Zachariah saw it all: And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
Not a good deal for anyone. We must pray earnestly for President Donald Trump as he looks to make the ultimate deal to bring peace to the Israel-Palestinian conflict by dividing up His Land in order to create an Islamic State. At this writing, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has announced he’s ready to negotiate for peace with Israel.
Yeshua the Messiah said: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down by nations, till the times of nations be fulfilled.”
Not a good deal for anyone.
This article originally appeared in Maoz Israel Report, June 2017, and reposted with permission.
Shira has lived in Israel since 1967, where she became an Israeli citizen. She has worked as a director and producer of documentary films. One project, “Dry Bones," a film on the prophetic significance of Israel’s rebirth, is acclaimed around the world and was seen by Golda Meir. In addition, Shira has written for many publications concerning the Messianic Jewish Movement and the Christians’ part in Israel’s spiritual resurrection. She produces the monthly Maoz Israel Report, providing a prophetic, political, and spiritual perspective of current events in Israel.
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The “Lord’s Prayer” and the mystery of revival
In Matthew chapter six, we find one of the best-known sections of Scripture in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament). While millions are familiar with the words from this text and many repeat the words daily or weekly as a part of liturgical worship, this familiarity has also opened the door to misunderstanding. Let’s look at these verses.
Therefore, pray in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. – Matt. 6:9-13
A simple look to the introduction lets us know that while these powerful words were spoken about prayer, the context tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) was not giving the Disciples a formulated prayer, but He was providing instructions for prayer. He was not giving them a prayer to recite. He was teaching them a format or formula for their individual prayer lives.
In the verses, preceding Yeshua telling his followers not to pray like the heathen and then tells them how to pray, not what to pray. In other words, Matthew 6:9-13 isn’t a liturgical prayer to recite over and again; it is an outline to be followed in order to have a powerful and effective prayer life. As we read through the words of instruction, we find instructions to honor and praise our G-D and Creator; Our Father.
We are further taught to acknowledge His Kingship and Kingdom both Heavenly and Earthly. The lesson continues by teaching us to be thankful for His provision. We are then told to forgive, and the teaching ends by reminding us that only G-D can keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil. There is amazing power in prayers who follow these instructions provided to us so clearly and simply by our Messiah. Even so, the key to revival begins with the word “Our.” Notice that this word as well as the words, “us” and “we” used throughout these verses of instructions on prayer are all plural words. In other words, Yeshua’s instructions for His followers on prayer teach us that our prayers must be prayed within the context of unity and community.
The power of the “L-RD’s Prayer” is not in its repetition, nor is it in a person praying individually for their own needs alone. The power of these words of instruction and direction is in the unity intended to be fostered through prayer for community. The words are “My Father” or “Forgive Me” but “Our Father” and “Forgive Us.” Revival will come when our prayers become patterned after His instructions and when we become unity minded.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and his most recent book God Has No Plan "B".
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Commentary from the Torah portion on leadership and transfer of authority
We had a wonderful week in Finland. My wife, Marcia, is with me and it has been such a joy to see the young generation take charge and leadership in the Restoration Movement in Finland. We started with the annual seminar in Karmel Koti. This seminar started more than 30 years ago, and it was 25 years ago dedicated to the memory of Maria Tucker, Dr. Tim Tucker’s loving wife who died in a car accident. Every year several hundred brothers and sisters from all around Finland gather for an intense week-end of study and worship and fellowship in the middle of Finland. Karmel Koti is the name of the place. It was established as a Kibbutz by Paavali Toivio and our dear sister Ahuva Ben-Maier contributed significantly to making Karmel Koti a central gathering place for all those who pray for Israel and stand with Israel on Biblical bases. This year was very special for Marcia and I, it was special because the younger generation, the children of those pioneers who took a stand in the 1980’s and committed to Biblical faith in place of the main Lutheran tradition of the Finnish nation, are now picking up the leadership. We see this happening all through Finland. The young families with little children, some of whom we actually preformed their weddings, are up there leading, organizing, leading worship, teaching, and just taking their place as leaders. This is also happening in Israel, and in Brazil.
I wrote the above paragraph because it also has to do with the Parasha (The weekly Torah Portion) Parashat Beha’alotcha, Numbers 8:1-12:16. The majority of this Torah portion deals with leadership and transfer of authority and sharing authority. The portion starts with the role of the Menorah the seven lights candelabra made of pure gold. This is important for the understanding of the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. I have already written about this in the past. From the Menorah, the texts take Moses to the consecrating of the Levites for the service to God in the Tabernacle. There is an elaborate ceremony that is both a job description and a setting a part of the tribe of Levi for the service of the Almighty God. Today leadership in both Messianic circles and in churches is doing their best to be casual and non-formal in their service and relationship to the LORD and also to the congregation. In Israel during the days when God dwelled in the middle of the Camp and His presence was visible by day and by night – it would be a sin to be casual with God’s things and service in His presence.
From there the Torah takes us to the beginning of the wondering of the children of Israel in the wilderness led by the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. As soon as the children of Israel hit the road – they start complaining about the Mana and the leadership and Moses also complains to the LORD and says: “So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, “Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”” (Numbers 11:11–15 NKJV)
Moses was so tired of leading the people that he could not continue. His situation was so serious that he said to the Lord: If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!” Imagine that Moses the great leader is asking God to kill him and take him out of his wretchedness. Leadership that is sincere and caring can be a true burden that at times is hard to sustain. Note that this happened after Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law left the camp and now Moses has no one to lean upon and get encouragement.
God tells Moses, to gather the 70 elders of the people and to bring them to the Tabernacle and share his anointing with the elders of the people. A great leader no matter how strong and powerful a leader is can’t lead alone for a sustained period of time. He must learn to share his anointing and gifting with other qualified personal. The 70 elders receive the commission and they now much stand side by side with Moses to lead the people of Israel in the wilderness.
It seems that just as soon as the elders are appointed to share the anointing of Moses Miriam and Aaron, the sister and brother of Moses wake up and they too feel that they deserve leaders like Moses. “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it.(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!” So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”” (Numbers 12:1–13 NKJV)
Note that the first thing that Miriam and Aaron attack is Moses’ personal life. He married an Ethiopian woman. The second thing that they attack is the exclusivity of Moses as the leader of Israel. Miriam’s claim was very typical: “We are also leaders!” Who made you a Sultan here, we have the same abilities. We too hear the word of the Lord! Why are you our little brother so full of yourself we too are qualified to lead just like you. Well, the Lord left the Tabernacle and the cloud departed from them. Miriam became a leper. At that point also Aaron realized their sin and confessed that they have done a foolish thing and have sinned. Moses cries out to the LORD and asks for God to heal Miriam his sister.
Here too is a great lesson for leaders who are called by God to lead HIS people. Leadership in God’s Kingdom is not a private, professional job. It is a calling from God and leaders have to allow God to demonstrate His power and His approval of their leadership. Even when there is dissatisfaction in the camp and even if it comes from insiders and even family – the graciousness of God’s love and grace has to be the most visible quality of the leader. Let us all learn leadership from Moses and also learn to share the anointing and inspiration with the other qualified men and women in our congregations and ministries.
Yeshua learns from this story about Moses and Miriam that if you speak evil and act presumptuously you become more impure than if you eat without washing of your hands or even more impure than if you eat lobster, shrimps, or bacon. What comes out of your mouth is more defiling than what goes into your mouth. This is taken from this story of Moses, Miriam and Aaron. Leprosy is one of the most defiling and impure things in the Bible.
This article originally appeared as a part of The Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, June 15, 2017, and reposted with permission.
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LISTEN: John 20: Intimacy – The basis of unity
Rev. David Pileggi on Pentecost Sunday asks and then answers the questions, “What truth do we need to learn from the passage?” and “What is the outreach and mission as described in John’s gospel? The Holy Spirit is given to us for outreach to others. It is coming into and experiencing divine life and sharing it with others. Coming into an intimate relationship, a Trinitarian Intimacy. Participating in the life of Jesus who brings us to the Father by the Holy Spirit. To be cured we need eternal life. Life, as described in John’s gospel, is eternal life, intimate relationship, continuously with the Father through Jesus by the Spirit; Abiding in Him. Our effectiveness in the mission will depend on our consecration and holiness. Unity is not the end game; it is so we can reflect the reality of the trinity based on the truth Intimacy must ensure we live the way Jesus lived; God loves the hostile world and wants to redeem it. Jesus sets the model that says we need to be a forgiving and loving community. We can’t preach a message of forgiveness with un-forgiveness in out hearts.
Readings: Numbers 11:24-30, John 20:19-23
David Pileggi lives in Jerusalem with his wife Carol and their three adult children where he is the rector of Christ Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. They have lived in Israel for 33 years where David has worked as a journalist/researcher and for 19 years was director of a study program dedicated to teaching Christians about the Jewish context of their faith. David has an M.A. from the Hebrew University in Jewish Studies and is a licensed tour guide.
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Looking for the blessed hope
I was saved when I finally realized that my hope for a better world was going to be the Lord Jesus Christ coming back to make this world right, according to the prophetic Word of God that He has given us in the Bible. When I repented and believed the good news, I got much more than I had expected or even thought of: forgiveness of my sins, baptism of the Holy Spirit, eternal life with the Lord in a new creation that will be perfect, far better even than the Millennial Kingdom after Jesus returns!
I remember that when we were first saved, much of the expectation then (1981) was that Jesus could come back in 1988, which meant that the rapture could happen any time very soon in 1981. This was the blessed hope. Randi and I went to a church service not long after in another state, and the pastor that day said that the rapture, our blessed hope, could happen any time very soon, and that the Christians would escape the terrible things that were going to come on the Earth. But every time that I read the Bible about these things, I was not as sure as these pastors and teachers were about the timing or the purpose of the rapture. Also, I thought, Christians had not done any better than the Jews had with respect to living in a manner that honored the name of the LORD. I heard another well-known teacher, who recently spoke at a conference in another country, say that the blessed hope of Christians was not dying; i.e., being raptured when Jesus comes for His bride. This expectation was, and is, believed and taught by both Jewish and Gentile believers.
My thoughts always took me to consider all the thousands, millions, billions of believers who have already died over the last almost 2000 years. According to all of these teachers and teachings, they all missed the blessed hope! They simply were not living at the right time! Yet the Scriptures give this blessed hope to all believers, not only to those who might still be alive when the Lord returns, when He calls, firstly, for those dead in Christ, and also to those alive in Him to gather together unto Him. (Psa. 50:4-5; 2 Thes. 2:1-5) In fact, the catching up of those alive at His coming was a “new thing” that would not have been thought of before the revelation given to the apostle Paul: whether dead or alive, all who have hoped in YHVH’s Messiah for salvation will be in the new body with Him at that moment which the Father has appointed! (Gen. 3:15; Matt. 24:36; Rom. 8:18-25; 1 Cor. 15:50-58) Have you noticed that after the mark of the beast has been taken to the doom of all who do so, the apostle John is told by a voice from Heaven: “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ Yes, says the Spirit, that they rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” (Rev. 14:13) As much as we might like not to die, God is saying that those who do die in the Lord even during the time of great tribulation are blessed! For they will be resurrected to eternal life in the body. The gates of Sheol/Hades – death — can not prevail against the Church! In any case, it does seem that the Holy Spirit is awakening the Body of Messiah to the coming again of the Lord. Many still seem to be sleeping, or, having awakened, they still seem unprepared or indifferent to it. This is what the parable of the ten virgins teaches us. As often as we fellowship in the Lord’s Supper, we remember the Lord’s death until He comes. (1 Cor. 11:25-27)
An argument used to support an “imminent” – any time, whether very soon or very distant – rapture are the verses and expectations of the apostles in their letters to believers that the Lord was “at the door”, “at hand”, “approaching”, “coming quickly” (which is not the same as ‘coming soon’). Paul, in his first epistle to the believers in Thessaloniki, wrote to them of the Lord’s coming and the catching up of those believers who would be alive at His coming. Paul even wrote as if he himself might be alive at that time. Yet in his second letter to them, he clarified what had apparently been misunderstood: that this would not happen until the falling away (apostacy) and the revelation of the antichrist. This does not occur until midway through the last seven years of this age (the 70th week of Daniel). It could perhaps be said that from that midway point the Lord’s return will be imminent. But even then, maybe not: remember that those who are alive in Messiah meet in the air those who are being resurrected on the way up, and in these verses from Revelation regarding the opening of the fifth seal, the Lord is letting us know that there are going to be a certain number of martyrs before His vengeance is poured out. (Rev. 6:9-11) Both Paul and Peter came to know that they were going to die, and they did not say, ‘unless the Lord should come between now and then’. The return of the Jewish people back to the land of promise was and is a big sign of the last days that needed to occur before these other events can play out. The Holy Spirit gave the early believers an earnest expectation that their blessed hope would truly be in God and the fulfillment of His plan of redemption. But beyond them, the Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age, and so this expectation is being quickened in our generation to a level not known for most of the last 2000 years. (1 Cor. 10:11)
The Word of God promises to those in Christ that we are delivered from God’s wrath, the Day of YHVH. (Isa. 61:2b) Jacob’s Trouble/the Great Tribulation is essentially Satan’s wrath being unleashed on especially Jews and Christians, whom he especially hates, since both are connected with Yehovah God and His Son in covenant relationship, even if individuals among them do not believe. God’s wrath is against His enemies, and of His people, both Jews and Christians. Some of His enemies can include individual Jews and Christians who have forsaken the covenants He has “cut” with them. God’s wrath will be seen to be His righteous judgment against those who are clearly opposed to Him. Those who hold to a pre-tribulation rapture as the blessed hope have had to redefine the whole of “Daniel’s 70th Week” — the last seven years before the coming again of the Lord — as God’s wrath/ the Day of the LORD, in order to justify their particular position, but which is also the eschatological view of all believers: we will not suffer the wrath of God. This is good news! And the Holy Spirit will enable us to help others understand what is going on, and purify us to be the spotless and chaste Bride of our glorious Bridegroom! This is also good news! (Matt. 3:11-12; Dan. 11:31-35; Eph. 5:25-27; 1 John 3:1-3)
Let’s look at some verses that express the promise of God which gives the confident hope that has sustained the faithful throughout the ages of mankind:
Tit. 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly, righteously and godly, in this present world, looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works.
Act 23:6 But when Paul saw that the one part were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Men! Brothers! I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee! I am being judged because of the hope and resurrection of the dead’.
Acts 24:14-16 But I confess this to you, that after the Way which they call heresy, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets. And I have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And in this I exercise myself, always to have a blameless conscience toward God and men.
Job 19:25-27 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall rise on the Earth at the last; and even after my skin is corrupted, yet this: in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not a stranger’s; my heart yearns within me!
Heb. 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. And he who had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, of whom it was said that in Isaac your seed shall be called, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from where he even received him, in a figure.
John 11:23-27 Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. Martha said to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world.
Dan. 12:1-2 And at that time Michael shall stand up, the great ruler who stands for the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation; until that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Acts 26:6-8 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made to our fathers by God, to which promise our twelve tribes hope to attain, serving God fervently night and day. For the sake of this hope, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why is it thought a thing incredible with you that God raises the dead?
1 Cor. 15:16-20 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ is not raised. And if Christ is not raised, your faith is foolish; you are yet in your sins. Then also those that fell asleep in Christ were lost. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ has risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruit of those who slept.
Php. 3:7-12 But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death; if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the [righteous] dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I am pressing on, if I may lay hold of that for which I also was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.
Our blessed hope as believers in Yeshua/Jesus is the same as that given to the Fathers and the Children of Israel, and which was believed by men and women of faith in the Word and promise of God before them: it is the resurrection of the dead in Messiah/Christ, and the rapture of the living in Christ/Messiah at His revelation, at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory, and sin will trouble us no more: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the Earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
This article was originally presented at PFI-UK conference on June 11, 2017, posted on Streams in the Negev, and reposted with permission.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.