As the chart above shows, Israel's last chance, the 490 years of probation, terminated with the martyrdom of Stephen. Saul was then chosen as the Apostle to the Gentiles. Add the remaining 1810 years to this date of 34 A.D. and you have 1844, the time for judgment to begin.
young Christian, who we will call Jerry, was excited about his newly found
faith and with great zeal studied the scriptures. "I've been reading the
Bible, Charles," Jerry enthusiastically said, "and I think
I knew that Jerry was making a mistake that has been unfortunately repeated by others. Not knowing history, or trusting in publications by charismatic authors, people make erroneous applications to prophecy. I did not ask Jerry where he got his theory from. And Jerry's face was somewhat embarrassed as I explained that just because California or Russia have a bear imprinted on their flags, it does not mean that the bear in Daniel (chapter 7:5) applies to them.
Then I explained to Jerry that to enforce truths and prevent erroneous applications, God repeatedly used different symbols throughout the Bible to describe the same nation, and the bear was actually the ancient nation of Persia that overthrew the Babylonian kingdom. California and Russia have enough internal problems without assuming Israel's "real estate" conflict.
Although Jerry was wrong about California, "Christians" must share their responsibility in causing Armageddon.
the Reformation advanced some truths like justification
by faith, today "believers" have stagnated in this era of
doctrinal complacency while blindly claiming the blessings God only promises the obedient.
Ignorant of the holiness and perfection of heaven, they have adopted customs of the world in an attempt to bring converts to the church and appease the unsanctified.
Like the past coalition between bishops and kings or Pharisees and Romans, they have also formed an alliance with legislators to enforce church tradition while living in transgression; the majority of Christendom still does not exalt all of God's law, and violating one commandment incurs the guilt of breaking all ten (James 2: 10).
Uniting on the few doctrines they hold in common, not many Protestant churches "protest" Rome's fallacies and may apologetically call themselves "evangelical."
Church leaders, who have never ascended to the third heaven, make void the testimony of the prophets who have. They presumptuously abandon God's patriarchal system by allowing their helper and servant, to occupy church positions reserved for men (Genesis 2:18,20; 3:16).
Although the Apostle Paul reminds us of God's original injunction, that women must remain subordinate because they "sinned first", females often usurp the authority of bishops, sit at the head of church councils, baptize, and serve the implements of communion (1 Timothy 2:9-14; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35).
Under the false banner of love, the "Saints" do not think God condemns their fornication and sexual perversion; and some "shepherds" often beg money from the impoverished "flock" that they may live extravagantly.
Abuse of tobacco and alcohol is often endorsed by the saints and men encourage women by smiling in admiration at their exposed cleavage, thighs, and gem studded abdomens that declare these ladies immodest.
Jewelry, tattoos, body piercing, paint, and other implements of exhibitism, are excused. Emotionalism is considered evidence of sanctification as "baptized" gutter-music excites congregations in gyrations of ecstasy. Media addicts, with distorted morals, find church boring and expect entertainment in the holy sanctuary.
Supernatural tenants of spiritualism are attributed to God, and the Sabbath, explicitly blessed by Elohim, is defamed. These "instruments of unrighteousness" twist the epistles, "as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (Romans 6:13; 2 Peter 3:16).
And, while claiming the Holy Spirit's presence and "the love of Jesus", the deluded again "crucify their Savior" by slandering the humble minority who perceive the sacredness of heaven and voice alarm against church corruption.
Regardless of their noble intention, enthusiasm, or sincerity, God does not accept their offerings of "strange fire": "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams; for rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry"; yes, "Babylon has fallen... and is become the habitation of devils..." (Leviticus 10:1,2;1 Samuel 15:22,23; Revelation 14:8; 18:2).
blasphemies surpass the corruptions of the medieval church and God will by
"no means, clear the guilty"; were heaven inhabited with such
professors of godliness, it would not
be heavenly (Exodus 34:7; Hebrews 10:26-31).
Similar to Israel's scribes and priests of old, Christianity has "fallen" and the world does not listen to the truth.
Couple these facts with latter-day predictions to see that the world cannot be saved and peace will never be within the grasp of world leaders because sin is excused, even enforced, by the very organizations that should illuminate the world with God's righteousness.
Other than a brief pause in military conflict under false promises of peace and tranquility during Satan's attempted rule, the Bible indicates that friction between Eastern Mediterranean nations will climax in the world-destroying battle of Armageddon; and the unconverted, calling themselves Christians, must also suffer the consequences of God's final judgments upon the world.
ARMAGEDDON IS SUICIDAL SELF-DESTRUCTION
Armageddon may be interpreted as "the
mountain of Gideon." And the battle
of Gideon in Judges 7:20-22 symbolizes the final battle where the enemies of
God’s people destroy themselves: "And the three hundred blew the trumpets,
and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout the
entire host..." (ibid. 22).
Observe this point: Gideon was fighting Midianites, who were Ishmaelites, the ancestors of Arabian nations and Mohammed (Judges. 8:26,24).
September 11, 2001, the world has focused attention on a global dilemma, apparently
caused by independent groups working for a common goal against Israel and
Although their devastating attacks contaminate food supplies and depopulate civilizations with biological, chemical, nuclear, and other fearsome weapons, the forceful conversion of the world to their extreme religious views will not be achieved.
Therefore, an alliance of governments will cause Armageddon--Ezekiel 38 plainly identifies collaborating nations surrounding the eastern half of the Mediterranean Sea, not terrorists acting independently, as the assembly in the final conflict centering in Israel.
Many times, as recorded in the Old Testament, God has used nearby nations to punish the unfaithfulness of Israel.
For example, the prophet Elijah anointed Hazael to be king over Syria: "And it shall come to pass that him who escapes the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay" (1 Kings 19:15-17).
Some Bibles contain maps showing the original names of ancient territories occupied by Noah's descendants and several of these are mentioned in Ezekiel 38. One may compare those tribal names with modern maps to identify their location today.
They cluster about Turkey and include Iran and Palestine, circling around the Mediterranean Sea and ending at Somalia and Libya in North Africa.
Although once predominately Christian nations, because of church compromises they have, one might say, gone into Babylonian captivity.
Today these Islamic countries oppose Israel's solvency such that it is only by the restraining hand of God that we have not already experienced the suicidal self-destruction of Armageddon, when humanity destroys the earth (Revelation 7:3; 11:18). These predictions have a very literal applications, and "the powers [leaders] of earth will marshal their forces for the last great battle"--the battle of Armageddon" (Revelation 16:16).
let me repeat an earlier statement: Ignorance
of a fulfilled prediction promotes irrational applications. Because
the previous prediction of Israel's 490 years of probation very accurately fulfilled three and one-half years after the
crucifixion of Jesus, as well as the Gospel commission being given to the
Gentiles, there is no validity in the
popular application of that prediction to the future resurrection (rapture),
tribulation, antichrist, or millennium of peace.
Furthermore, there is no substance to the theory that Israel will accept the Gospel commission at this time and convert the world to obey the New Testament, including all ten of God's commandments.
Jesus DID NOT say that Israel would have another chance. Instead, He predicted:
And they [Israel] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there will be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption [resurrection] draws near. (Luke 21:24-28)
While this planet is convulsing, at that instant, Jesus is awakening the dead saints for their journey to heaven: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52).
This does not sound like Israel has preached the gospel and saved the world for Christ's literal 1,000-year reign; and to teach otherwise will prove fatal for many, with eternal consequences.
THE COMING OF ANTICHRIST
resurrection to heaven will have been preceded by Lucifer's infamous
counterfeit of Christ's expected rule. If any religious organization, "an
angel from heaven", or anyone claiming divine knowledge, declares the
arrival of the Messiah, they are wrong--it is actually Satan (Galatians 1;8).
Immediately after the fall of the Roman System and before Satan's arrival and his destruction in the battle of Armageddon, we have read that "three unclean spirits" will suddenly appear--just "like frogs" awakened from hibernation (Revelation 16:13).
With lying wonders they will deceive humanity by preparing the way for Satan's arrival--this is his greatest hoax. Do not believe them! We need to be concerned! Lucifer's coming is an overwhelming delusion that will "deceive the very elect, were it so possible" (Matthew 24:24).
Maranatha! Maranatha! echo throughout the world by
many who sense that we are living near the end of history.
The word "maranatha" was spoken by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:22. This Greek word conveys the excitement that enveloped a village upon learning that their king was approaching. It was loudly shouted throughout the city as people happily prepared by cleaning the street of debris and smoothing its surface. Then they positioned themselves alongside the streets to greet their king.
Yes, today multitudes are excited about the coming of Christ but much confusion arises from a misunderstanding of the events pertinent to His arrival. Just how is He coming? And what happens when Christ arrives? Let us study Christ's words that convey this exciting hope of His imminent return.
Jesus knew His disciples would be confused and discouraged at His crucifixion--His kingdom was not to be established in Judea as they anticipated. So, at the last supper Christ comforted them with these words:
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2, 3)
This is the great hope of Christendom, the second coming of Christ; He has promised: "I will come again."
is building mansions in heaven for the redeemed to live in--for you and me. We
can easily accept that thought, but for the Jews this concept was perplexing.
Jesus' disciples just could not fathom the thought that their nation would perish. Even after His death and resurrection they asked Him this question: "Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to
Jesus replied, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has set by His own power" (Ibid., verse 7). Then while they were looking, "He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (verse 9).
Were they to be abandoned? No! Jesus had just spoken of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, but God realized they would need additional words of encouragement. He sent two messengers from heaven to give them this assurance:
"You men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven" (Ibid., verse 11).
DISHARMONY IN BELIEFS
are just as confused today as were His disciples. The majority of believers divide
His coming into two events. At the first coming they say that Jesus takes a
special group to heaven for a short time leaving a confused world
behind--meanwhile the Antichrist reigns and the Jews preach the Gospel. Then
Christ again returns a few years later with the "raptured" saints to
establish a "New World Order"--and we live happily ever after.
Variations of this scenario are also embraced by Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons,
and Messianic Jews. All project that Christ is to soon reign on this planet.
The Messianics are often of Jewish descent and believe that Jesus is the Messiah; they look at the many prophecies of Yahweh establishing Israel as the capitol of earth; yes, almost everyone hopes and anticipates that King Jesus will soon return to begin this earthly reign.
To hold solidly to these scenarios requires avoidance of other prophecies that embellish this vital topic. One must exercise caution; by neglecting scriptural counsel we will certainly find ourselves deluded by Satan, the great impostor.
One area of misunderstanding is that we forget the "conditionality" of Scripture. In Deuteronomy 28, God sets before His people two great streams of prophecy--two roads to travel.
Upon obedience, Israel would serve as a model nation for the world--God's plan was that they would be a blessing to humanity and the world would become devout followers of the great I AM. All the prophecies of prosperity and the visible Messianic reign promised in the Bible would occur if Israel obeyed God: And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God (Zechariah 6: 15).
The second stream of prophecy are the "curses." These must fulfill because
Therefore, the great nation that could have saved the world from destruction by transgressors will, like the mighty Samson, perish with the wicked--it could have been different.
are certain risks associated with expecting Christ's literal reign on earth for
the coming millennium. If we are looking for a utopia in our day, especially
after a rapture that allegedly causes us to disappear from our vehicles, beds,
grinding mill, or elsewhere, then we will become careless and not properly
prepare for important events that
precede His coming.
Jesus warned His followers that He is coming like a thief in the night: "Therefore be also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes" (Matthew 24: 44). With this thought, let us study those verses that are so troublesome.
JUST WHO IS TAKEN?
we ask the same question: "Lord, will you at this time restore again the
kingdom..." (Acts 1:6).
The one greatest reason for confusion results from childhood "conditioning"-- indoctrination to the fact that when we die, we go immediately to heaven. Therefore, when we read the biblical truths of the resurrection to heaven of the living and dead at Christ's return, we use our conditioned beliefs to misapply important texts to the resurrection.
Let us read Christ's description of His coming. Pretend for a moment that you were not so conditioned, that we are Christ's Jewish disciples and, like them, we have never been taught of heaven.
Instead, think that you always believed that the Messiah will establish Israel's earthly reign when He returns. Realize that Jesus is trying to teach you that transgressors are to be destroyed like those in Sodom and the world before the flood.
Follow closely as Christ attempts to correct their error. Instead of telling them that Israel will be saved, He likens His coming to the destruction of the wicked: "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and [the unbelievers] knew not until the flood came, and took them all away... (Matthew 24: 38,39).