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Rebel on the Mountain of Eden!

The long war between God and the lesser gods who rebelled began on a mountain, and it will end on a mountain.

First things first: The rebel gods are real. That’s not something you’re likely to hear in church. Not only have we been taught that the pagan deities of the ancient world were imaginary, most American Christians today don’t even believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit.

That’s not an exaggeration. The Barna Group found in a 2009 survey of American Christians that only about one in three believes Satan is real and not just a concept. Likewise, nearly 60% of American Christians said they didn’t believe the Holy Spirit is living entity. So it’s not surprising that when we think of Baal, Asherah, Moloch, Dagon, Chemosh, Marduk, and the rest of the pagan pantheon mentioned in the Bible (if we think of them at all), we assume they were nothing more than lifeless blocks of wood and stone.

We couldn’t be more wrong.

The true story begins on a mountain: Eden.

But wait, you say. Eden was a garden! Yes, it was. A garden on a mountain.

In Ezekiel 28, God tells the divine rebel from Eden:

You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
    in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.

Ezekiel 28:14 (ESV), emphasis added

If you read the Old Testament carefully, you’ll notice many references to God’s holy mountain. The prophets knew that the war between the rebellious fallen gods and the Creator was all about who would establish their holy mountain—the “mount of assembly” or “mount of the congregation”—as supreme. The most obvious reference is in Isaiah 14, a section of scripture that scholars generally agree is a parallel to Ezekiel 28:

“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (ESV), emphasis added

Over the course of this special five-week series, we’ll dig deeper into the conflict between God and the rebels and explore the importance of cosmic mountains. We’ll identify key battles in the long war and lay out a prophetic scenario for the final battle of this age.

Above all, we’ll show you a glimpse of this long war in the heavenlies, and where you can find it in the Bible. It’s a conflict that the prophets and apostles knew was real, but over the last two thousand years our churches have teaching us about it. With this war stripped out out of the Bible, we’re left with an incomplete story of God’s plan to save us from the gods who want to kill us and destroy everything we love.

So let’s start at the beginning. What do we know about the enemy? Was it a talking snake?

In a word, no.

So who or what was the serpent? Most of us assume it was Satan, but maybe not. The serpent isn’t named in the book of Genesis. In fact, Satan wasn’t even a personal name in the Old Testament.

Satan means “accuser,” written ha-shaitan in the OT. It’s a title, the satan, so it really means “the accuser.” Think of it as a job title, like prosecuting attorney.

The adversary in the Garden is the nachash, which is the word translated into English as “serpent.” It’s based on an adjective that means bright or brazen, like shiny brass. The noun nachash can mean snake, but it also means “one who practices divination.”

In Hebrew, it’s not uncommon for an adjective to be converted into a noun—the term is “substantivized.” If that’s the case here, nachash could mean “shining one.” And that’s consistent with other descriptions of the satan figure in the Old Testament.

For example, in Isaiah 14, the character called Lucifer in the King James translation, based on the Latin words chosen by Jerome (lux + ferous, meaning “light bringer”), is named in Hebrew Helel ben Shachar—”shining one, son of the dawn.”

Interestingly, Šahar was a Canaanite deity, so a better translation of the verse is “Day Star, son of Dawn.” And that leads to some interesting speculation about the nature and origin of Helel. Were Helel and Šahar two of the fallen gods who rebelled against Yahweh? But I digress.

Now, consider this in Daniel 10:

I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.

Daniel 10:5-6 (ESV), emphasis added

Obviously, “shining one” is a pretty good description of the angel who battled the prince of Persia, another supernatural being, to bring his message to Daniel.

About 900 years before Daniel, when the Israelites started complaining on their way out of Egypt (see Numbers 21:4-9), God sent saraph nachash (“fiery serpents”), to bite them. Saraph is the root word of seraphim, which roughly means “burning ones.” But the key point of these verses in Numbers 21 is that the Hebrew words saraph and nachash are used interchangeably. So rather than “fiery serpents,” the translation should read “saraph serpents”.

Deuteronomy 8:15 praises Yahweh for bringing Israel through “the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents,” reinforcing the interchangeability of saraph and nachash.

Now, if the mental image of flaming snakes isn’t weird enough, the prophet Isaiah twice referred to flying serpents (saraph `uwph, in Isaiah 14:29 and 30:6). And in his famous throne room vision, Isaiah saw:

…the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

Isaiah 6:1-2 (ESV), emphasis added

Again, the root word of seraphim is saraph, the same word translated “serpent” in Numbers and Deuteronomy. In fact, aside from the Isaiah 6 passage above, every single mention of seraphim in the Old Testament refers to serpentine beings!

The flying serpent was a well-known symbol in the ancient Near East, especially in Egypt. It would have been very familiar to the Israelites. The uraeus, a cobra standing on its coil with its hood extended, was a royal symbol of protection used by pharaohs and Nubian kings. Tutankhamun’s death mask is an excellent example; the uraeus’ hood is depicted with six distinct sections that look a lot like wings.

Of course, some scholars cite this as evidence that the Hebrews’ understanding of seraphim was influenced by, or borrowed from, Egyptian cosmology. That’s a common message from skeptics—Israel copied its religion from its neighbors. We’ll deal with that later.

The bottom line is this: What Adam and Eve saw in the Garden wasn’t a talking snake, but a nachash—a radiant, divine entity, and one that very likely had a serpentine appearance.

Next month – The Cherubim: Throne Guardians of God

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God’s Word is a Treasure “part one”

God’s Word is a treasure (Part 1)

Some people celebrated the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost in early June. Christians generally call this feast Pentecost, while Jews call it Shavuot. The first thing which probably comes to mind for Christians who celebrate this Feast is that God gave His Ruach or Spirit to the disciples in Jerusalem on this Feast of the Lord.

This is true, but on this very feast day, God also gave His instructions or Torah to Moses at Mt. Sinai. God gave us both instructions for knowing Him, and how He wants us to live on the same day He gave us His Spirit. This makes sense because Yeshua (a.k.a. Jesus) said that the Spirit will teach us all things, and because the Spirit is the One who enables us to live according to God’s Instructions.

Dead Sea Scrolls

Since God’s Word is at the heart and soul of this Biblical Feast it is a great day to honor and study God’s Torah (Instructions). Between 1947 and 1956 the Dead Sea Scrolls (ancient manuscripts) were discovered in eleven caves near Qumran, near the Dead Sea. These manuscripts are approximately two thousand years old. Most of the scrolls were written in Hebrew, with a smaller number in Aramaic or Greek. … The vast majority of the scrolls survived as fragments – only a handful were found intact. Nevertheless, scholars have managed to reconstruct from these fragments approximately 850 different manuscripts of various lengths. Today you can go to the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem to view some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other rare ancient manuscripts. (http://www.english.imjnet.org.il/page_1348)

Some people who do not want to surrender to Yeshua say that since there are so many different translations of the Bible we can’t be sure if God’s Word is accurately translated today. But thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls, we can compare Bibles printed today with manuscripts printed 2,000 years, and be certain that the Bibles we read today declare the same wonderful truths they declared many years ago.

Sofer

Another reason you can be certain that we are reading the very same words in the Bible today that have always been printed in the Bible, is because Jewish people still have specially trained scribes called a sofer who copy the Torah word by word, and letter by letter. They write the Torah by hand and do so directly from a Torah Scroll that was written the very same way several hundred years ago. Since a sofer writes the Bible this way we can be absolutely certain that the words written in Torah Scrolls are the very same words that have always been written in the Torah.

It takes a scribe about a year to pen the 304,805 letters found in each and every Torah. A sofer must know more than 4,000 Judaic laws before he begins writing a Torah Scroll. God’s name is so holy that a scribe must bathe in a mikvah (ritual pool) before writing the Lord’s four-letter (Hebrew) name. This shows the deep reverence and respect God’s people have for God’s Word, and that they are committed to making sure that our Torah Scrolls are accurate.

Torah Processional

In a Jewish Worship Service the Torah is processed around the Sanctuary. During the processional, we are encouraged to take our tallit (prayer shawl), Bible or finger and touch the Torah and then bring it to our lips. We do this to express our desire that we want God’s Word to always be on our lips. It can also be seen as a reverse kiss so during Shabbat Services we have an opportunity to kiss God’s Word. Millions of people kiss the Blarney Stone when they go to Ireland. After a bumpy plane or boat ride, some people kiss the ground to express how grateful they are to be safely on the land. People kiss people and things they love, so shouldn’t we express our love for God’s Word in some way?

Torah is a Treasure

(Psalm 119:72 NIV) The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

King David was a very wealthy man and he felt that God’s Word was more precious than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. What about you? How much do you treasure or value God’s Torah?

(Psalm 119:11 NASB) Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

In verse 11 David gives us one very important reason he treasured God’s Word. He laid up God’s Word in his heart so that he would not sin against God. We pursue things that are dear to our heart, and avoid things that we do not value or treasure. For this reason, David placed God’s Word in his heart so that God’s Instructions would direct him in how he lived his life. What have you treasured and stored up in your heart?

 

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The Great Inception! The Introduction

You’re standing on a battlefield. A war rages around you, although you can’t perceive it—not directly, anyway.The combatants are supernatural. On one side, the Creator of the universe: God. Yahweh, or YHWH, if you prefer. On the other, evil intelligences who chose rebellion over service long ago.

In former days, people were closer to the conflict than we are today. Or maybe they were just more sensitive to the struggle. Three thousand years ago, if the Bible is to be believed, people understood that nations were under the rule of gods. While people might believe in a pantheon, nations in the ancient Near East were championed by national deities—Chemosh for Moab, Molech for Ammon, Marduk for Babylon, Ashur for Assyria, Hadad for Aram, and so on.

Today, Christians have a cosmology that’s been, well, dumbed down since the apostolic age. For the last 1,600 years, we’ve been taught that since God is the only true god, then the gods of the nations around ancient Israel were just imaginary beings represented by carved images.

That is spectacularly incorrect.

The authors of the books of the Bible understood that there were many small-G gods. They knew that these supernatural entities had been assigned to the nations, but that Israel had been reserved for Yahweh. Their writings reflected this. It’s in the Bible. We just haven’t heard about it in church. For example, when God told Moses:
For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.

Exodus 12:12 (ESV), emphasis added
Or later, when we read:
They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments.

Numbers 33:4 (ESV), emphasis added
Now, are we supposed to believe that God inspired Moses to write about His righteous judgments on lifeless bits of wood and stone?

The conflict between Yahweh and the gods who chose to rebel is most clearly seen in Psalm 82:
God has taken his place in the divine council;

in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly

and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;

maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;

deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,

they walk about in darkness;

all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, “You are gods,

sons of the Most High, all of you;

nevertheless, like men you shall die,

and fall like any prince.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;

for you shall inherit all the nations!

Psalm 82:1-8 (ESV), emphasis added
Traditional analysis explains away the use of the word “gods” in this psalm as references to human rulers. This makes less sense than a straightforward reading of the text.

Yahweh presides over a divine council that is tasked with carrying out His orders. Some of these supernatural beings disobeyed orders and were informed by God that their punishment would be to die “like men.” That makes no sense if God was addressing a human audience.

The divine council concept is not new, although it may be to you. (It was to me when I first encountered it ten years ago.)  Rather than build a case for it here, which would cover territory that’s already been explored in greater depth by better minds, I recommend Dr. Michael S. Heiser’s excellent book The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. In a nutshell, a group of seventy bene elohim (“sons of God”) were assigned to supervise the nations after God divided mankind at Babel. (You’ll note that seventy ethnic groups are named in Genesis chapter 10, the Table of Nations.)  They apparently decided to present themselves as gods to humankind, which required God’s counter-move—reserving one nation for Himself that would someday produce the Savior.

Mountains have always been key in this drama. People have known since our earliest days that mountains are sacred, the abode of the gods. Why? Is it the mystery inherent in locations that are remote and inaccessible? Is it the awe inspired by their size and beauty? Is it simply that primitive humans noticed that mountains were tall and closer to heaven than where they lived?

No. Mountains are sacred because the original location of the divine council was on a mountain. The original home of humankind was also on that mountain. After rebellion broke out, the Fallen chose other mountains to call their own. And all of history is a chronicle of the long war that broke out on the original cosmic mountain, Eden. (Yes, it’s a garden, but it was also on a mountain.  See Ezekiel 28.)

But the accounts of this war aren’t just contained in the Bible. Secular history records important information about this conflict, although most scholars don’t see it for what it is. The war between God and the gods has been fought in the supernatural realm and in our time-space domain by human agents of the warring parties. In the months ahead, we’ll look at some well-known events in the Bible in a way you probably haven’t before—acts of war by God against gods that you’ve been told were imaginary.

We’ll examine one of the people groups Joshua and the Israelites had to fight to claim their new homeland in Canaan. We’ll document the connections between this group of people and the shadowy race of giants called the Rephaim, the occult center that was Babylon (past and future), the king of Egypt who was forced to let God’s people go, and the mythical race of old gods called the Titans.

You read that right: There are links between the Titans of Greek mythology, ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Canaan, and the prophesied Babylon the Great.

We’ll also examine the roles of two divine entities that have been particularly resilient in the long war, appearing again and again at key points in history. And we’ll present what we think is a plausible scenario for the end times that’s best described as a cosmic double-cross, a PSYOP that exploits our human biases and weaknesses—nationalism, racism, and a desire to take onto ourselves a role that God has reserved for the Messiah.

This all sounds like what skeptics call “woo,” but it’s not. These claims are based on documented history, theology, and linguistics. No fringe research, and only a little speculation—although the scholars whose work I cite would probably disagree with my conclusions. That’s to be expected. We’ll apply a supernatural filter to offer an analysis of why history happened the way it did, and to demonstrate that the historical record supports the biblical account if you look at it the right way.

But mainly we want to emphasize that the supernatural war that’s been fought since Eden is more obvious than you think. If you read the Bible with your spiritual eyes open, you’ll see stories you’ve known since Sunday School a whole new way.

The command centers of this long war are mountains. The prophesied climactic battle at the end of history will be fought for control of one specific mountain. We will identify the key mountains of history and lay out a prophetic scenario that the Enemy may use to deceive the world into accepting their man as a savior.

Sadly, most American Christians don’t believe Satan is real, much less end times prophecy.

To confuse things even further, the Fallen have introduced other religions into the end times mix, most significantly Islam. Muslims will play a significant role in the unfolding drama. Sadly for them, their end won’t be victorious global jihad. Their most likely future is as sacrificial victims to draw Jews and Christians into the greatest double-cross in history.

Jesus didn’t warn us of a great deception for nothing.

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The Convergence-Why Prophesy? Why Now?

To help me explain why most of my motivation for teaching hinges on prophecy, I need to tell you about my family and my experiences when I was growing up. Sure, sometimes my heartstrings are pulled in other directions with respect to God’s infinite kingdom, but I keep coming back to prophecy as the thing that the body of Christ seems to know the least about.  My grandfather F.C. Kruse was a Pentecostal minister for 40 years and he was quite the influential person in my life and of course my father’s life.  He was a very “old-school” church planter starting evangelical churches across this America. F.C. was also considered progressive in some ways because he frequently referred to himself as a “Bapti-costal.”  My father Jonn Kruse traveled and sold Christian educational materials for more than 50 years.  It is because of these two influential men in my life, along with years of sitting in pews, I have heard more than my share of prophecy. I have also been through many of the date-setting fiascos that have temporarily stirred up the Christian community. Of course, over the years I have definitely formed my own opinions and I am not afraid to chime in on many of the debates and talking points of Bible prophecy.

Most people are uncomfortable with prophecy and find it to be just wild speculation. Other people are so afraid of some of the pictures that prophecy paints, that they just avoid the subject entirely.  So when I teach prophecy, I start with the simple things that will later form a foundation for other possibilities.  While the whole point of prophecy is not to predict the future, there are still some things that we absolutely know.  For example, my father was visibly shaken and felt impacted when Israel became a nation again in 1948. He had been told that this would have to happen in order for the real “end times” to commence. The idea that Israel had to become a nation again was not necessarily that popular. When the prophetic parts of the Bible had gone mostly “silent” for almost 1900 years, people tended to start  making up theories about possible end time scenarios.   People couldn’t make sense of prophecy and that is why many churches just “washed” Revelations and other prophetic passages right out of the Bible.  During this time many began to step away from a literal interpretation of prophecy and they began to see it as allegorical or symbolic. Even some of the best theologians advocated for something called Replacement Theology, which says that God is finished with Israel. In fact, it goes on to say that the church has replaced Israel. So everywhere we see Israel in prophecy, we are really just talking about the church.  The problem is that there is a centricity to prophecy. Bible prophecy revolves around the nation of Israel, the Middle East and the children of Abraham. The fact that Israel had become a nation again especially fascinated my father because now he could look at prophecy in a more literal way. Since that time he has hardly ever stopped studying prophecy.  He is always reading some prophetic book or talking about a prophetic show that he saw on Christian television.

Back when I was a teenager, my father told me how one day the whole world would go to war over Israel. (See Zechariah 12:1-3) I called him out for being quite out of touch with reality.  “There is no way that would happen. No one cares about that little country over there.” Well, we can all laugh now can’t we? Obviously based on the geo-political situation in the world, this event could happen any day!  On the other hand, maybe you don’t realize that we really are on the verge of WWIII, but Vladimir Putin has warned the world on multiple occasions within the last few years of just such a scenario? Just how much time do you think is on God’s time clock? Why has there been so much time from when Jesus disappeared into the heavens? Why has God waited 1900 years to start fulfilling some of His prophetic promises?  I find that the answer to that question is that God is very merciful! God wants to save as many people as possible during the times of the Gentiles. Unfortunately, the times of the Gentiles are coming to a close and I will share that with you as you read on.

Even though there are many who are starting to wake up to the season that we have found ourselves in, the amount of skepticism in the world and the church is very palpable. Prophecy is even being censored in the church.  Peter directly warns us of this kind of attitude.

 

  • 2 Peter 3:3 – First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4“Where is the promise of His coming?” they will ask. “Ever since our fathers fell asleep, everything continues as it has from the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately overlook the fact that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world of that time perished in the flood. 7 And by that same word, the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

 

In the same way that we can count on God fulfilling His promises to us about our salvation, we can depend on Him to also fulfill His promises found in the prophetic parts of the Bible.  Unfortunately, the world really is in a situation much like in the story of the “boy who cried wolf.” Christians have been talking about the return of Jesus for 1900 years. Some of this is because they did not understand a very clear cipher that Jesus has given us so that we would know when we are really close.  For that entire time the church has taught the world, that Christ could come back any minute.  To the world, this sounds like the makings of a good old- fashioned fairly tale, but to the church and the bride of Christ, this is our great hope. What Peter is saying in this passage is that there will be scoffers all the way up to the last second before Christ returns.  Peter is also saying, that just as surely as there was a flood, there will also be a fire upon the earth to judge and destroy the ungodly. Still, the scoffers these days don’t even believe in the flood, so how can we wake them up?  The question is, can we wake up the church?  Is there really a way to know that we are in the end times?

 

What I want to share with you in this article is how we absolutely know that God’s time clock has started ticking again and why we are in a season called the “end times.” For myself, it all starts with what Jesus says in Luke 21. This passage is considered part of the Olivet Discourse and therefore it is linked to similar passages in Matthew 24:1- 25:46 and Mark 13. For the record, there are many who believe that Luke may be speaking about different events than the other two. It also is possible that this discourse was given on the temple mount, where as the other two passages were given on the Mount of Olives. Nonetheless, the integrity of the text is unquestioned! The reason I use Luke 21 is because it conveys something that is not included in the other texts and it is stunning!  The first thing that happens as Jesus is spending time with His disciples is that Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple.

 

  • 5 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, 6 “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

 

From our perspective, it is important to note that the total destruction of Jerusalem and Israel actually occurred around 70 A.D., which makes 70 A.D. the first anchor point in history as to where chronologically this passage starts.   To His disciples, this bold statement by Jesus caught them off guard! This was like telling them that everything they know and loved was going to be destroyed, so naturally they were going to be asking Him a lot more questions.

  • 7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things is? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” 8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore, do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” 10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

The Destruction of Jerusalem

 

  • 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

 

I have highlighted verse 24 because I believe it is the key verse to establish another anchor point in human history, but this time it is on our timeline. This is the statement that is not included in Mathew 25 and Mark 13. In other words, Jesus literally told His disciples that Jerusalem and Israel would be destroyed, that many would fall by the sword and the rest would be led away captive into all nations. This dispersion would go on until there would come a day when Jerusalem was no longer trodden down of the gentiles. That day happened in 1967 in the six-day war. Israel finally took control over the city of Jerusalem for the first time in almost 1900 years! What is even more important is that all of us have seen this fulfilled in our lifetime! This simple reality is what even now controls the fate of the world. This statement by Jesus gives us another anchor point on His scale of things yet to come. There are many other passages that don’t just talk about Israel becoming a nation again, but specifically focus on the city of Jerusalem.  This is why for me 1967 is the most prophetic year we have ever seen in our era. This is not to say that the year 1948, when Israel first became a nation again, is not also very significant. However, it is the taking back of Jerusalem in 1967 that has put us back on Jesus’ prophetic map with only a few things still left to occur before His coming.  

What also begs the question is what exactly is going to happen from here on out?  This is where the Son of Man is going to enter human history once again. We are only given a few more details about this time period and they come in verses 25-28. I do want to mention that it is very possible that verses 8-11 also happen after 12-24, because it says so at the beginning of verse 12. This means that we may still need to be looking for false Christ’s, wars and commotions. We are also looking for “nation to rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” Verse 25 further describes the situation leading up to the coming of the Son of Man. These are the things that we can expect to occur after the year 1967.

  • – And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

 

We are specifically told that after Jerusalem is under the control of Israel, then we will see signs in the sun, moon and stars.  We have certainly seen this with the blood moons / eclipse phenomenon’s. Now think back to how much interest in “end times” was generated leading up to year 2012. It is important to remember that the whole 2012 phenomenon all started with NASA talking about how the earth might be hit with an unprecedented amount of solar flares, which could create an end of the world, as we know it scenario.  We also clearly have many nations in perplexing situations, especially the Middle East where no one in the world has any plausible solutions for a 4000 year old family feud about who is God’s chosen people that has the world in it’s grip. Not only can it not be a coincidence that the exact same people are still controlling the world 400 years later, but the free world is being held hostage because God put all that oil underneath the Arab world.  We have also seen record setting waves and tsunamis devastating many parts of the world, but there is clearly more travail coming. Very soon we may see men’s hearts failing them for fear from what they see coming on the face of the earth. Soon the heavens and the spiritual powers therein may begin to shake our reality. All of this means that we may be very near to actually seeing Jesus split the clouds with power and great glory!

In verse 28, Jesus gives what I believe to be the definitive Biblical cipher for interpreting all of Bible prophecy. “Now when you see these things,” what things do you think Jesus is talking about?  Well, the things He just got done sharing in this passage, but I also believe this applies to all the prophecies in the Bible. When you see the things in the Bible happening and especially with regard to this sequence of events, then stand up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

This statement by Jesus proves that we cannot use the Bible to primarily predict the future, but we can know that we have entered into a specific season of human history known as the “end times.” Sometimes we don’t even realize that something prophetic has happened until after the event has already happened. God purposely keeps a heavy veil over prophecy, but why?  I believe this is because the purpose of prophecy is not to predict the future, but to prove to us that God is in complete control of the future.  This experience of reading our Bibles and seeing it happen in our newspapers has a way of producing faith in very difficult times that nothing else does.  A sincere belief that God knows the future also means that God knows your future. You can trust Him with your life. My father’s sharing this information with me and then seeing this exact scenario develop is why I believe my Bible more today than I did then. This new faith is why I teach prophecy today because it proves that we have a God that we can trust.

I firmly believe that prophecy can prove that God is true to the “Generation Next.” My dad may have offended many of my sensibilities when I was young and naive, but God’s word was found to be true! I had another similar experience about another passage my father shared with me around the same time.  Just about 5-6 years ago, I nearly fell out of my chair, when I read another article about how Russia had made a “NATO” like pact with Iran. This was exactly what my father had explained to me was a likely possibility based on Ezekiel 38 & 39. Most of the world had already been watching what was going to happen with Iran.  You could literally say that maybe the biggest security threat in the world was a nuclear Iran and here we have the Bible chiming in from 3000 years beforehand!

There are many other ways that I could go on to show that prophecy is one of the main ways God has proven that we can trust Him. However, there is no greater purpose of prophecy than to reveal Christ Himself. If Jesus didn’t fulfill 300 prophecies in the Bible, then we would have never known that He was unmistakably the messiah. Still, the Scribes and Pharisee’s of the His day, who knew the Bible possibly better that almost anyone today, were somehow able to completely miss Him. A study of Daniel’s 70 weeks reveals that Jesus literally road into Jerusalem on a donkey, declaring to the world that He was the Messiah, on the exact day that the Bible predicted that He would.  No wonder Jesus stood outside Jerusalem and wept saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matt 23:37) Knowing that prophecy is the bedrock of our faith helps me understand an imperative for those who are alive just prior to Christ’s return. There is literally 8 times as much prophecy about when Jesus comes the second time as when He came the first time. When you understand that deception and unpreparedness are the hallmarks of the world at His return, I honestly believe that Christ is weeping yet again in heaven.  He longs to gather the world to Himself. Each day is yet another extended mercy towards reaping a harvest of souls for His kingdom, but knowing Him and his prophecies is the key to recognizing the season, as well as the counterfeit christ’s that are to come.

Now think about the modern church. Is the church really standing up for Jesus and the God of the Bible?  Are we really lifting up our heads in expectation of the return of Jesus?  Well, in many parts of the world the answer is yes.  Persecution of the church is happening around the world on an unprecedented level! This persecution is coming with signs and wonders of God’s miraculous deliverance along with stories that are truly horrifying. Yes, many Christians are wide-awake, but here in America the church is largely asleep.  Yes, there has to be some amount of awakening that occurred with the recent presidential election. I honestly believe America received a miracle and a stay in our execution. Like Jonathon Cahn has preached in our capitol and in his books (The Harbinger), every nation that abandons God and does not heed God’s warnings is going to be judged.  When I talk about waking up to the reality that we are in the final season of human history or that we are the “terminal generation,” then I thing about the Parable of the Fig Tree.  As it turns out, this is exactly what Jesus brings up next.

  • 29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation (the generation that saw the end of the times of the gentiles) will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

The traditional interpretation of the fig tree is that it represents Israel.  Again, Jesus is talking about seeing one thing, the flowering of a tree, and then knowing through inference that summer or a season is near.  This is also why we have been able to infer that one-day Jerusalem would not be trodden down of the Gentiles and that those who had been dispersed would some day return.  While we know from Mathew 24:36 that “no man knows the day nor the hour,” this passage tells us that we can know the season.  Like two little children on a long trip always asking “when are we going to get there,” Jesus also knows ahead of time that we are going to be asking these type of questions. When we think of a season with regard to 6000 years of human history, the timing is obviously still a mystery.   Consequently, we are still left wondering just exactly what does ‘near’ mean? Then Jesus gives us something quantifiable when He says, “this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.”  This is why we use the phrase, “terminal generation.”  Gary Stearman does a whole study on just everywhere this term is used in the Bible and it is very interesting. For general purposes, a generation in the Bible can be up to 70 years.  If we add 70 years to 1967, the years that Israel took back the whole city of Jerusalem, we come up with the year 2037. We are clearly in this time frame!  The final part of the passage talks about another important part of the purpose of prophecy, and that is to reinforce the importance of watching.

  • 34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

In the same way that the Bible warns us of the thorns, which represent the cares of this world, in the parable of the sower, this passage warns us of the fact that we all can get so entangling in life that we are literally unaware of the eminency of God’s time clock.  I absolutely believe that this applies to the church, and especially in America.  The warning of prophecy stands for all generations, but especially for the terminal one.  This also makes me think of the Laodicean Church in Revelations 3, which is also known as the lukewarm Church.

  • 14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Not only does this match the “wealth prosperity gospel” found here in America, but it also matches the politically correct church here as well. No longer is the church willing to stand up for what the Bible clearly says.  Sure Jesus is all right, but so is abortion, gay marriage or being a man trapped in a woman’s body. The politically correct church paints Jesus as Mr. Rodgers and surely Jesus would never offend anyone.  The church is also especially afraid of becoming political. Maybe that is because they are afraid of their tax status being revoked.  Either way, these two issues with where the church stands today are in stark contrast with the fact that religious and political leaders for religious and political reasons killed Jesus! Then Jesus told us that they would do the same to us.  This kind of attitude from a church or even when it comes from myself is very frustrating. I want you to notice what God does next.  God sends his love message to this politically correct church in the form of a rebuke and a call towards repentance. I believe just like the foolish virgins, they do not know what time it is and that is why they are sleeping or simply following after other god’s.  The warning of prophecy can play a major part in this awakening because the warning of prophecy is real.

As we look back over this passage, I feel that Luke 21 validates the Historical view of scripture because it literally covers 1900 years without blinking. Yes, many of the things that Christ mentions in this passage have absolutely happened. The destruction of everything Jewish in 70 A.D. along with the dispersal of God’s people throughout the whole world are good examples.  This fact proves that the Preterist viewpoint can be real possibility because some things in this passage have clearly happened.  On the other hand, there are many things in this passage that are yet to be fulfilled like the actual physical return of Jesus.  This idea of an actual physical return of Jesus makes perfect sense with the rest of scripture.  Think about all of these literals. Jesus: was a literal person; was literally crucified; was literally raised from the dead; literally rose into Heaven; literally predicted the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, which was literally fulfilled; literally predicted the death of so many Jews and the dispersion of the survivors into the whole world, which literally came true. If we believe all of these literals, then why would we suddenly look to His return as symbolic or figurative? Why is the coming of Jesus purely limited to our hearts? This type of reasoning shows without a shadow of a doubt that the futurist viewpoint of prophecy can make perfect sense. If it didn’t, then why is Jesus telling us to stand up and lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near?  Without the literal return of Christ, the only redemption we will ever receive is when we die?

The truth is that we need all of these viewpoints to get a balanced view of prophecy. Still, the point of this entire article is that we have seen Jerusalem come to a place where it is no longer trodden down of the Gentiles.  Christ Himself has told us explicitly, that when we see these things, we are to lift up our heads in expectation of Christ’s return.  When we see the convergence of Bible prophecy with our newspapers, then something and someone is getting very close.  Israel is indeed the super sign! Israel is a modern day miracle and each day that it exists is against all odds! This is why I recommend the movie narrated by Leonard Nimoy by the same title.  The more people know about Israel and what is happening in the world, the more I believe that the real church is going to stand up for what we believe. Prophecy can help us lift up Jesus to a whole new generation that needs faith like never before?

One of the last things I will share about Luke 21 is that it gives a contrast to the two types of people that find themselves in the last days.  The ones, who know their Bible prophecy and know what is happening are the ones who are fulfilling the purpose of prophecy, which is to given expectancy to the return of Christ. Reading God’s word and seeing it happen have an effect on our faith like nothing else. This building of faith is what all scripture is about, but the miracle of prophecy is that it can build faith even in prophetic times and in the face of persecution. This is why the people that know prophecy are able to stand up for their faith even unto death. They are excited to see the things in the Bible happen because they know that their faith is true and that the one in whom they have believed is true. There are many purposes of prophecy, but this definition is the one I like the most.   Prophecy was not given to us in order to predict the future, but so that we would know that God knows the future.  If God knows the future, then I can trust the He knows my future.  Knowing that our fate is secure helps us become even more persuaded that the God of the Bible is able to keep His promises.

This kind of faith is in stark contrast to the other people groups in this story. The one’s who did not know their Bible, saw the very same things happen and they are struck with fear to the point that their hearts literally failed! This kind of loss of heart will make them easily prey for the deception that Satan has waiting for them during this perilous time in history. Now let’s ask a different question. What if these two groups of people were to meet? One is afraid and the other one is excited. Now can you imagine how someone who is genuinely afraid of something might react if they see their neighbor who is excited about the same things?  I really cant imagine it, but this is going to be one of those times in history where people of faith can have a great witness because everyone is going to be searching for answers.  Those answers are all found in the prophetic parts of the Bible. If we, as a body of Christ, do not know the whole Gospel, then how can we proclaim the good news of Christ’s soon return for the entire length of history? Paul when he was speaking to the elders and pastors of the church says, “therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel /purpose of God.” (Acts 20:25&26) Now consider that up to 30 percent of the Bible was prophetic when it was written. The Bible is also clear that every generation has been called to know and preach the whole counsel of God, but one generation is actually going to see all these things happen. They are the generation that end times prophecy was made for and it would be a tragedy if they missed it.  

As I read Luke 21, I cannot help but realize that Jesus brought this whole subject up to His disciples on purpose. Jesus knew just how difficult their road was going to be and He was trying to prepare them for it.  The disciples literally saw these things happen and I am sure that they not only remembered these words, but they wrote them down and read them often. When the day came where their entire city, country and temple was destroyed, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. But it would have been a lot harder if they had not been warned. It would have been a lot harder if they had no hope of ever returning. When many of them were led away captive, just as they were in the days of Daniel, I believe this prophecy gave them hope.  Hope that one-day Jerusalem would no longer be trodden down of the gentiles and that the times of the Israel might one day come again.  This same passage has shown that the God of the Bible knows the beginning from the end. We are and we are going to see more things that are going to make other men’s hearts fail them for fear, but Jesus has given us prophecy to give us a hope and an excitement about His return. We have seen most all of this passage come to pass and now there are only few things left before Jesus is to return.  

Now is the time to preach the whole gospel and to let the world know that the things in the Bible are happening.  As I have had more opportunities to speak about prophecy, it has also affected my witness to those outside the church.  I am a chiropractor by profession, but for a while I would tell people that I taught classes on prophecy.  To my amazement, not one person looked at me funny.  In fact, all of them seemed to be interested in talking a bit more.  One day I was working out next to a guy, and I had my t-shirt that says “Jesus Saves.”  There is also a picture of Jesus that has Him wearing a goalie uniform and standing in front of a hockey net.  He couldn’t resist picking up a conversation.  I told him that my wife loves hockey and I love Jesus.  We laughed and then I went on and told him that I taught prophecy classes.  He was very nice, but I could tell he was thinking about everything I said more than the average bear. I could also tell by his questions that he clearly knew more than he was leading on.  About 25-30 minutes into the conversation he finally told me what gives.  He told me that he was a pastor and that he had to be careful whom he told that to because sometimes people would just end the conversation and walk away.  I was kind of shocked, but I responded immediately.  You should just tell them that you teach prophecy and then I went on to tell him that I was actually a chiropractor.  

It’s amazing how Christians have the most relevant and best-documented book in the world, but the world is shutting us out. Meanwhile, every TV network has a show on ghosts or aliens because the world is obsessed with them. The world is crying out for the supernatural and we have the only book that tells the whole truth. Somehow we stayed too close to the lines and failed to show the world what an amazing book the Bible is.  I cannot tell you how many history channel shows I have seen about the prophetic works of Nostradamus or Edgar Cayce, but not one show talking about just how accurate the Bible’s predictions are. What if I told you that more people around the world and even in America believe in Aliens than God? When was the last time anyone talked about that subject in church?  Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has said that if aliens show up they will baptize them. No, I am not kidding.  What I am trying to say is that when I see the apostles in the New Testament, I see them standing at the cross roads of society and engaging the people on every level.  When Paul taught about the un-known God, he was being “all things to all men, so that some might be saved.”  The Bible talks about all of these subjects, but we don’t do it in the church.  Men’s hearts are already filled with fear and we need to share with them why we can have hope. Not just by sharing the gospel, but also by showing them that the God of the Bible can be trusted because He knows the future.

The Bible is still relevant and sharper than a two-edged sword.  More importantly, the Bible is happening and the world is helpless to see it unless we tell them! During the course of the upcoming year, I will use this same Biblical cipher given by Jesus to show that there is indeed a convergence of Bible prophecy like never before. If you are hungry for more and want to begin learning and sharing the prophetic things of the Bible, I have developed a completely free reference website called www.prophecydays.com.  There are many different series on the site and each series lists the links for the YouTube videos.  You can also download the audio version of each session in mp3 format, as well as the notes in Microsoft word. After hearing the classes and reading the notes, I hope that you will be able to teach the class yourself.  The sooner we begin to share the incredible and undeniable proofs of the Bible, the more that we will be able to give the world a supernatural relationship with the one and only true God that knows their future.