The 70 Weeks of Daniel

The 70 Weeks of Daniel

As the 70-year Babylonian captivity was drawing to a close, God sends a messenger to tell Daniel there is yet another 490-year period left in Israel’s history in which He will specifically deal with His Chosen People, the Jews, and the Holy City, Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:1-2 says, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans — in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” NKJV

Jeremiah 25:11-12

11 ‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 ‘ Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. NKJV

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. NKJV

Daniel’s captivity began in 605 B.C., and it was now 538 B.C, about 67 years after the initial fall of Jerusalem. Zechariah says the 70-year period began with the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. (Zechariah 7:5). This means the time of the captivity was going to end in just a few years, probably in 516-515 B.C. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes March 15, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1-2), and Jesus Christ was cut off 69 weeks (483 years) later.

Daniel 9:24-26 gives the only date prophesied ahead of time in the Bible—the coming of Messiah.

Daniel 9:24-26

24 ” Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. NKJV

Prior to the prophecy of verses 24-27, we see Daniel in fervent prayer, and the prayer is worthy of a separate study of its own. However, for the purpose of this article, we are focusing on the prophecy of verses 24-27, introduced first by verses 1 and 2.

While Daniel was praying, the angel Gabriel, appearing in the form of a man, appeared to him to give him this great prophecy that would cover many centuries, even though the total number of years with which the prophecy dealt were only 490. He introduced the prophecy with these words:

Daniel 9: 20-23

20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: NKJV

Then Gabriel went on to say,

Daniel 9:24-27

24 ” Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” NKJV

There are several things that must be noted about this prophecy, and the first of those is that it is a time specifically determined upon the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The words couldn’t be clearer, and any effort to make this prophecy apply to the Church is to pervert the meaning of the passage. God IS NOT finished in His dealings with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. No matter how hard many Replacement Theology teachers and Christians who follow them try to twist the Scriptures to say that God is finished with Jewish people because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. They have suffered much because of that rejection, but God is slowly bringing them back to Himself. I have a number of earlier articles on this subject posted at this blog, which anyone can read to learn all the reasons why God is still dealing with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel as a whole. Today they are in their own land, mostly in unbelief, which the Scriptures predicted. Again, read my prior articles dealing with this subject for references, but one such reference is Ezekiel 36. Others include Isaiah 25-27. With that said, the 70th week of Daniel is a primarily Jewish time period of 7-years.

What had been the transgression and sin of Israel? Idolatry. Any cursory reading of the Old Testament will reveal that. Every time you turn around, the Israelites are worshiping false gods. And the one lesson the Jews have learned in 4,000 years of history is that YHWH God haters idols worse than He hates anything else because idolatry always leads to other sins, especially sexual immorality.

Then the passage at hand says that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. This accurately describes the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. In fact, in the Hebrew Bible Ezra and Nehemiah are one Book.

Verse 26 goes on to say, “And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” This happened 483 years later to the day. Jesus Christ was cut off, or killed, but not for Himself. In other words, He died not because of anything He had done, but rather He died for us to bring us salvation. Then it says, “And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.” The people who destroyed the Temple were the Romans under General Titus. The prince who is to come in this verse is the still future Antichrist. Verse 27 says this Antichrist, “Shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” NKJV

This means the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel and the Jews for 7-years, giving them the right to rebuild their Temple and make sacrifices, but he will break that covenant in the middle of that 7-year period. There is only one place in the world the Jews can make sacrifices and offerings, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and they must have a Temple rebuilt in order to make it legal in their system. However, when the Antichrist breaks the covenant in the middle, he sets up his image in the Temple and demands to be worshiped as God (Matthew 24:15; Mark: 13:14). And Jesus spoke of it as a future event.

People want to ask why there has been a break between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. This gap is the current Church Age, where the Church is God’s primary agent in the world, with Israel more or less in the background. However, when the Church is taken out of the world in the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), Israel once again becomes God’s primary agent in the world, with Gentiles still being drawn to God too (Revelation 7:9-17). In fact, Jeremiah 30:7 calls this period of time “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Take special note of 1 Thessalonians 4:17—harpadzo means to snatch up, seize up, or catch up with great force, which is exactly what the word Rapture means, hence the class of birds called Raptors. And the Latin word from which we get the word rapture is in the Latin Vulgate.

So to summarize the 70th Week of Daniel in an outline, we see the following.

  1. The 70th Week of Daniel is the Great Tribulation period—7-years in duration, and based on the lunar calendar. That means each year has 360 days, rather than 365 like our solar calendar.
  2. The Great Tribulation is a time specified upon the Jewish people and Jerusalem and has nothing to do with the church.
  3. The 70th week of Daniel is the Great Tribulation (Dan. 9:1-2, 19-27).
  4. When Daniel wrote, the Jews were in Babylon, nearing the end of the 70-year captivity brought on by failure to let the land have its Sabbath every 7th year (Lev. 25:1-6; Dan. 9:1-2; Jer. 25:11; 50:33-34).
  5. The reason for the 70 weeks of years (7 x 70 = 490 years) is to complete the history of Israel. It is a time appointed for Daniel’s people, the Jewish people, and the Holy City, Jerusalem.
  6. Six things happen during the 70 weeks (Dan. 9:24-27):
  7. Finish transgression—the transgression of Israel was idolatry.
  8. Make an end of sins.
  9. Make reconciliation for iniquity (Israel: 70 weeks—For your people and for Your holy city).
  10. Bring in everlasting righteousness.
  11. Seal up the vision and prophecy.
  12. Anoint the Holy of Holies.
  13. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes March 15, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1-2), and Jesus Christ was cut off 69 weeks (483 years) later.
  14. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, but the ultimate fulfillment of the “prince who is to come” is the Antichrist (Dan. 9:26-27).
  15. The “prince who is to come,” Antichrist, will make a covenant with the Jews for one week (7 years), but he will break it after 3 1/2 years and set up the image (“the abomination that makes desolate”) in the rebuilt temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14; Rev. 13).
  16. The Holy of Holies will be anointed when Jesus returns (Ezek. 40-48).

 

Below is a link for a PDF file of this post.

2016-09-01 70 Weeks of Daniel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With Whom Did God Make the New Covenant?

With Whom Did God Make the New Covenant?

 

I often hear Christians, even ministers, say that Christians have a Covenant with God. That God made that Covenant with the Church/Christians on the Cross at Calvary. But is that statement totally accurate? The answer is, “No.” I understand what they mean, that we have God’s assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ, and that is true. However, the statement, “God made that covenant with the Church/Christians on the Cross at Calvary” is not technically correct. And that’s a good thing.

 

Remember the Old Covenant; the one God made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai? Did the Israelites keep their end of the deal? No! In fact, they broke that Covenant, also called the Law of Moses, almost immediately (Exodus 32). Why did this happen? Because sinful humanity is unable to keep the Law, unable to remain totally and completely faithful and obedient to God. Fallen humanity is imperfect and will fail sooner or later along the way. This is why the New Covenant was not made between God and the Church/Christians. We fail, fall short, sin, and that would be the end of the Covenant, if it were dependent upon us keeping our end of the bargain. Unlike the Covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 15), both the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) and the New Covenant have conditions (John 14:23-24; 15:10). Therefore, the New Covenant had to be made between two parties who could neither one fail—two perfect parties (Galatians 3:15-18; Hebrews 7:1-28). Those two parties were God the Father and God the Son—Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7, 8, 9, 10).

 

In fact, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was made, first and foremost, as the representative of Israel (Hebrews 8:1).

 

Hebrews 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 9 “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. NKJV

 

Salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and Jesus came first to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matthew 10:5-15; 15:21-28). The Greek text of John 1:11 says, “He came to His own things, and His own people did not receive Him.” In fact, even Paul makes it clear in Romans 9-11, especially Romans 9:1-5, that the Covenants (plural, meaning all the covenant promises of God) belong to national Israel—Israel according to the flesh.

 

Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. NKJV

 

Romans 11 states that through unbelief the natural branches were broken off—not all the natural branches, but the unbelieving natural branches. However, wild olive branches, that is believing Gentiles, have been grafted into the olive tree (Romans 11:11-24), but if the natural branches return to Him in faith, they will be grafted back in (Romans 11:23). Furthermore, the blindness of national Israel is only in part, or temporary, until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in (Romans 11:25). Then God will restore national Israel to finish His dealings with them as a nation. That is what is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6-19), or the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, read all of chapter 30).

 

In conclusion, we as Christians get to be part of an Everlasting Covenant made between God the Father and God the Son—Christ, neither of Whom can fail. We are now part of the Commonwealth of God through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13-18). However, that Covenant is not between us and God, but rather between God the Father and Jesus Christ. This should be counted as Good News because God cannot fail like sinful humanity. Even when we fail, He remains steadfast and true, and we have a refuge to return to for salvation and safety in the midst of the storm. I wrote this today because with all the terrible things taking place in the world, we need to hear some Good News!

Did Joshua 21:43-45 Fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant?

Did Joshua 21:43-45 Fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant?

As a precursor to reading this article, I suggest you read my earlier posts on the subject of the significance of the modern state of Israel and the Jews being back in the land of Israel—Eretz Israel. Those articles are Israel, Back from the Dead, and Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?

In the last article, Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?, posted earlier this month, which was some fifteen pages long, I thought I covered enough of the questions on Replacement Theology to convince anyone of the validity of the current state of Israel and the Jewish people in the overall prophetic scheme of God, except for old die-hard Replacement Theology Ammillennialists, like R.C. Sproul, Sr. However, as is always the case, the one Scripture you don’t address is always the one somebody will bring up, usually out of context, to prove how invalid all of your other argumentation is. Then on top of that, I get criticized for how much Scripture I use to back up my arguments. Imagine that. So those of you from the school of nice please excuse me while I have a mini sarcastic rant. I suppose some would prefer I default to the Rob Bell or Tony Campolo method of using no Scripture, or at least no Scripture left in its context to determine its literal meaning. Sorry, but I won’t do it. So deal with it! There I feel better now.

So, did Joshua 21:43-45 fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant? (Genesis 12:7; 15:18; 26:3-4) Again, the answer is no. Now let me show you why it did not fulfill the land covenant.

Again, the first reason I would give for rejecting this idea is that Joshua only partially fulfilled the land covenant. Remember, in the context of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, and the life of Joshua as the servant of Moses, he was fulfilling what Moses had been shown on Mount Nebo, immediately prior to his death, which land was only part of the total land God promised to Abraham (Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34:1-4).

Another factor is that the Book of Joshua seems to repeatedly indicate they had already conquered all the land God promised to Abraham, even though we know this is not the case (Joshua 10:40; 11:16,23). Yet, if you leave those verses in context, it simply shows they conquered all the land in a given area. Even after the campaigns of Joshua 10 and 11, God said to Joshua, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” They were taking it piece by piece.

We see in the Book of Judges that Israel did not take all the land and put out all the pagans, and it was because of their disobedience to God (Judges 1-2). The Israelites had been commanded to destroy all the nations, and to completely possess the land (Joshua 6:17-24; 7:11-15; 8:8; 10:28-43; 11:8-23). However, we are also told they did not obey God to do so (Joshua 15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13), and it would become a major snare to the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. So Joshua sternly rebuked them for their failure to obey the God of Israel. Joshua 18: 3 says, “Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?” Clearly they had failed to take the whole land promised to them by the Lord.

Although Joshua 21:43-45 seems to suggest the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Land Covenant, Joshua 23:4-8 indicates something quite different.

Joshua 23:4-8

4 “See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward.

5 “And the LORD your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God promised you.

6 “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,

7 “and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,

8 “but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.

Clearly, in this passage, Joshua speaks of the complete fulfillment of the land covenant as something still future. While God is faithful to His people, their disobedience delayed the complete fulfillment of all God had promised to them, and they are still waiting for the complete fulfillment of those promises, which will come only in the Millennial Kingdom (see Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?). Therefore, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Land Covenant remains in the future after Israel has been called out of every nation back to the land God promised to them (Ezekiel 20:33-44).

Ezekiel 20:33-44

33 ” As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.

34 “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.

35 “And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.

36 “Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD.

37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;

38 “I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

39 ” As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord GOD: “Go, serve every one of you his idols — and hereafter — if you will not obey me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.

40 “For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.

41 “I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles.

42 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers.

43 “And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed.

44 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord GOD.’ “

In fact, virtually no commentaries take the stance of the Replacement Theology camp that all the land promises to Abraham have been fulfilled in Joshua 21:43-45. For example, one would expect Reformed commentator M. H. Woudstra to raise such an issue, but he does not do so in The Book of Joshua (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), pp. 314- 15.

Even Colin Chapman, who is an outspoken anti-Zionist, says that there are many indications the land was never fully conquered (Joshua 13:1-32; Judges 1:1-36), and that many of the people the Israelites were supposed to drive out of the land continued to live alongside them (Joshua 9:1-27) (Colin Chapman, Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), p. 119).

Numerous pro-Israel theologians mention that Joshua is recording the historical facts that God was faithful, even when the Israelites were not. Keil and Delitzsch explain this matter in this manner:

Notwithstanding the fact that many a tract of country still remained in the hands of the Canaanites, the promise that the land of Canaan should be given to the house of Israel for a possession had been fulfilled; for God had not promised the immediate and total destruction of the Canaanites, but only their gradual extermination (Ex. xxiii. 29, 30; Deut. vii. 22). And even though the Israelites never came into undisputed possession of the whole of the promised land, to the full extent of the boundaries laid down in Num. xxxiv. 1- 12, never conquering Tyre and Sidon for example, the promises of God were no more broken on that account than they were through the circumstance, that after the death of Joshua and the elder his contemporaries, Israel was sometimes hard pressed by the Canaanites; since the complete fulfilment of this promise was inseparably connected with the fidelity of Israel to the Lord (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, 10 vols., (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), Vol. II, p. 216).

Therefore, Joshua 21:43-45 must be viewed in the overall context of the Book of Joshua. Otherwise, it can be used erroneously as an argument for the fulfillment of the land covenant, or as an argument of disinheritance of the land from Israel.

Although at the end of the two major campaigns (Joshua 10-11) a summary is given that Joshua took all that land, and the hill-country (Joshua 11:16-20), indicating his work was done, and the Conquest was completed, it is an idealistic summary. It is further confirmed to be idealistic, as seen in chapter 13:1-6, which says, “There remains yet very much land to be possessed,” and then describes a list of unconquered cities (cf. Judges 1:27ff.). This is similar to Joshua 21:43-35, which indicates that Israel possessed all the land, all their enemies were defeated, and all that the Lord promised came to pass. Yet the Book of Judges makes it plain that this was not the case. So, the command to dispossess all the enemies in the land and to occupy their territory (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:23-31, Numbers 34:2, Deuteronomy 1:7, 8, etc.) has a similar implication. Ideally, Israel was to dispossess all their enemies, but in actuality many were left behind, and these became a snare to them. In fact it is indicated that this was part of the will of God in order to, discipline them (Joshua 23:12, 13, Judges 3:1,2) (Adrian Jeffers, “Ideal Versus Real History in the Book of Joshua,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Summer 1969), p. 183).

As much as the Israelites sinned, rebelled against God, and repeatedly failed Him, His faithfulness to them and to the covenant He made with Abraham remained intact. This should give us great consolation, as New Testament believers. Not to give us the idea we can do anything we want and get away with it, but to remind us that God is faithful, and we are secure in Christ (Romans 8:38-39), even though He will discipline us when we need it. While ours is not without conditions (John 15:1-17) like the covenant God made with Abraham, we still have great security (1 John 1:5-10).

Although some theologians insist that the statement in Joshua 21:43 means that the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant was fulfilled then, this cannot be true because later the Bible gives additional prophecies about Israel possessing the land after the time of Joshua (Amos 9:14-15). Again, Joshua 21:43, refers to the extent of the land as outlined in Numbers 34, and not to the ultimate extent it will be in the messianic kingdom (Gen. 15:18- 21). Also, though Israel possessed the land at this time it was later dispossessed, whereas the Abrahamic Covenant promised Israel that she would possess the land forever (Gen. 17:8) (Donald K. Campbell, ” Joshua,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), pp. 364-65).

In fact, many passages written after the time of Joshua promise a future for Israel (Isaiah 60:18, 21; Jeremiah 23:6-6; 24:5-6; 30:18; 31:31-34; 32:37-40; 33:6-9; Ezekiel 28:25-26; 34:11-12; 36:24-26; 37:1-14, 21-25; 39:28; Hosea 3:4-5; Joel 2:18-29; Micah 2:12; 4:6-7; Zephaniah 3:19-20; and Zechariah 8:7-8; 12:10-13:1; 13:8-9). In addition, Deuteronomy 30:3-6 speaks of a still future restoration in belief. According to Zechariah 12:10. it appears that Israel, as a nation, turn to Christ at His Second Coming.

Amos 9:14-15, it is one of the clearest, future restoration passages promising the future restoration of Israel.

Amos 9:14-15

I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.”

In conclusion, as I demonstrated in my previous blog, Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?, Israel has a national future in which the Jews will be dwelling in the land under the blessing and favor of God. That occurs, or at least begins, during the Millennial Kingdom. By that time, Israel will have been converted to believe in Jesus as Messiah. At the present time, the current regathering of Israel in unbelief is for the purpose of putting God’s covenant people through the fire of tribulation (Jeremiah 30, especially verse 7; Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), which will result in the salvation of the remnant. Unfortunately, Zechariah 13:7-9 makes it clear that only a remnant of national Israel will be saved, that two-thirds of them will die. It is difficult to miss the clear message of this remnant teaching, unless one has a preconceived bias against the future fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and the Jews. Such is the case with those who hold to Replacement Theology, and I would call some of them blatantly anti-Zionist Evangelicals who have abandoned any pretense of the normal, literal approach to interpreting prophetic Scripture, and instead eisegete their Replacement Theology back into these passages. And some like Steven Sizer are flat-out anti-Semites. Some have even adopted what is called the “Palestinian Narrative,” which totally perverts the Scripture, and some in this camp even go so far as to make Jesus a Palestinian. If their Jesus is a Palestinian, they have a different Jesus who cannot save. The Jesus of the Bible is a Jew, of the House and lineage of David, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Any other Jesus is an imposter and an abomination who also stands in need of salvation.

By Jess Leeper

Below is a link to the formatted pdf file version of this article.

 2016-03-18 Did Joshua 21.43-45 Fullfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant

Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?

Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?

As a precursor to reading this article, I suggest you read an earlier posting I wrote on Israel, called Israel, Back from the Dead. It would be a good primer on what is discussed in the article at hand.  Also, because of the length of this article, I am posting it as a PDF file to make it easy for people to print and read at their leisure.

The short, simple, and correct, answer is, “No.” However, short, simple answers rarely satisfy the one asking the question, and even more rarely does it make the question go away, but rather serves to intensify it. Yet before I get to the Bible I wish to address what is a clearly anti-Semitic attitude among much of the Church of Jesus Christ, founded, I believe, upon the writings and attitudes of Gentile leaders through the centuries. Here’s a sampling of some of what they said. It is estimated that 80-90% of churches in America believe in Replacement Theology, that the church has replaced Israel.

Below is the link for the entire article of which this is the introduction.

2016-03-05 Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ—The Alpha & Omega

Jesus Christ—The Alpha & Omega

Today’s post is a break from some of the controversial posts I have made lately, exposing the unfruitful works of darkness and false shepherds.

While this post is not intended to be theologically exhaustive in scope, I do hope it will give the reader food for thought and some encouragement for the work of the Lord.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8, NKJV).

The Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In saying that He is the Alpha and Omega, Jesus Christ is showing us that He is the all-sufficient One to meet your needs. He is the A to the Z and everything in between. Whatever the struggle or the need, Jesus Christ is the answer.

What are the characteristics of the alphabet, whether it be Greek, Hebrew, English, or whatever?

First, the alphabet is inexhaustible.

There are still new ideas being communicated through use of the alphabet in every language. You cannot come to a place where everything that can be said has been said, and there is nothing else that can be said through the use of the alphabet and language. In fact, our human knowledge is growing at an exponential rate.

Jesus Christ is also inexhaustible—you can never exhaust all that He has to offer you. You can never exhaust all that He can & will do for you. No matter how exponential our understanding of Him and His Word may seem to be, there is more that we don’t know than what we do know. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (NKJV). Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (NKJV; cf. Psalm 111:10). If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom, then the must be to stand in His presence eternally.

Second, the alphabet is adaptable.

Those who write filth and deceitful things use the same alphabet that teachers and ministers use to communicate biblical truth. The same alphabet used to write about theology as is used to write science, math, history, and poetry. You can write about love or hate, joy or sorrow, good or evil, God or Satan, and so on. The atheist uses the same alphabet to deny God that the theologian uses to glorify God.

Likewise, Jesus Christ is adaptable and applicable to every life and every area of life in every generation in every culture. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (NKJV).

There is no life, or generation, or culture in which Jesus is irrelevant. It is the height of arrogance for Christians to think they can make the Gospel relevant—the Gospel is the ultimate relevancy. That is if what we’re giving is really the Gospel. Preach the Word of God in context, exegeting, or drawing out, its meaning, and you have an inherently relevant message for every living soul, in every place, in every situation, in every time.

Third, the alphabet is the key to understanding.

The first thing you learn when you learn a new language is the alphabet of that language. In English: A B C D E F G H I, etc.

The first thing you have to learn before you can understand the language of the Bible is who Jesus Christ really is. A lot of people have no clue about wisdom, knowledge, or understanding because they don’t the One who is the Key to Understanding. If you do not know Jesus Christ, you are reading someone else’s mail, and it won’t make any sense. Without Jesus Christ you don’t have the key to understanding life or the Bible. Regarding Jesus’ discussion with two believers while He walked with them to Emmaus, Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (NKJV; Read Luke 24:13-35). Wow! Jesus said the Scriptures are about Him. It’s not about you, me or what we can do in our own human strength. It’s about Jesus Christ, Who He is, what He has done and is doing, and that He is returning again someday. Those great Old Testament stories we love to tell are typological records of how Jesus ministers to, and delivers, His people.

Fourth, the alphabet is the key to life.

Everyone is looking for meaning and purpose today, but it can only be found when you find the key to life—Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, nothing in life or the world makes any sense. What is our purpose? Our purpose is to serve and please God. But we cannot find that purpose unless we are in Christ.

John 20:30-31 says, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (NKJV). When we understand that Christ is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament word Messiah, we realize that John, by the Holy Spirit, is telling us that the signs written in the Gospel of John were written so that we might believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The Messiah of whom? Israel. It is not Israel that has been grafted in, but we Gentiles. Israel is the natural olive branches that have been cut off, but we Gentiles are the wild olive branches grafted into the natural olive tree. It is due to Israel’s rejection of their Messiah that they have been temporarily cutoff, and Gentiles have been given such a broad opportunity to be grafted into the natural olive tree to God’s glory (Romans 11:11-24). Yet too many Gentiles are rejecting God’s gift of salvation, as did the Jews—the natural branches.

Without Jesus Christ you don’t have the key to understanding life. In fact, one reason there are so many books designed to show Christians the meaning and purpose of life is because the Scriptures are not being taught to most of the Church, so most Christians don’t have a clue what their purpose is in life. If you want to know purpose and meaning, it is found in knowing Jesus Christ—intimately not superficially. Knowing Jesus begins with a knowledge of His Word, which is the only way one can even be saved (1 Peter 1:23; Read 1 Peter 1:13-25).

Fifth, the alphabet is the key to Scripture.

The first thing you have to learn before you can understand the Bible is Who Jesus Christ really is. Again, if you do not know Jesus Christ, you are reading someone else’s mail, and it won’t make any sense. Without Jesus Christ you don’t have the code that is the key to understanding the Bible. 1 Peter 1:22-23 says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (NKJV). We cannot even be born again to know Jesus without His Word.

Studying the supposed secret codes of the Bible has been very popular in recent years, but a lot of the authors of this stuff ignore the plain meaning of the Bible for esoteric nonsense. Some of the authors are well-meaning brothers who have been caught up in a frivolous pop theology trend. Others are outright pagans who don’t even believe in God, but rather believe in extra-terrestrials. We should be a lot more concerned about understanding the plain meaning of the Bible, than with understanding some supposed secret Bible codes. When we get caught up in looking for secret codes, we usually miss the plain meaning of the text. The Bible is a Book about Jesus Christ. To paraphrase the late Mark Twain, who was not noted for being a religious man, “It isn’t the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that trouble me most; it’s the parts I do understand.” At any rate, these things serve as a distraction to what we should be doing—teaching, preaching, and living out the Word of God before an ungodly generation as witnesses to our neighbors.

Sixth, the alphabet is the key to history.

Why do we have BC and AD? BC means “before Christ”, and AD means “anno dominum” (year of our Lord). Modern liberal scholars like to use the terms BCE and CE. BCE means “before the common era”, and CE means “common era”. What’s missing is Jesus Christ. Most modern historians reject Jesus Christ and the Bible, and this is why their writings often make little sense. They don’t know the Key to History—Jesus Christ. In fact, the very word history testifies of God—His Story.

Even though many of them refuse to use the designations BC and AD, preferring instead to use the terms BCE and CE, they still can’t get away from the division of history. Again, BCE means “before the common era”, and CE means “common era”. But what divided the timeline? Actually, it wasn’t a what, but a Who. His name is Jesus Christ. Knowing Him is the only way the divided timeline makes sense.

Seventh, the Alpha & Omega (Jesus) is the A-Z.

He won’t drop you at M or N. No matter how many times you fall, He will keep picking you up, if you let Him. He isn’t going to give up on you. He isn’t going to accidentally lose His grip and let you drop. If you get dropped, it’s because you jumped out of His hand of protection. Yet He waits to receive you back.

He is all you need for every situation in life. He’s all you need in your time of prosperity and abundance. He’s all you need when things are going great in life. He’s all you need in your time of sickness or sorrow. He’s all you need at the time of death.

Jesus is all we need for everyday living. We will find Him in His Word—the Bible, and in the place of prayer.

I hope this encourages you today to rely on Jesus Christ as your Everything. Now, go forth and do His business till He comes back (Acts 1:8).

Israel, Back From the Dead

I frequently hear questions like, “Wasn’t the prophesied regathering of Israel and Judah fulfilled after the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity and before the time of Jesus Christ?” Or, “How do we know that the current state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?”

Those are questions that have generated a multitude of books that run into the hundreds of pages each, so I probably won’t persuade the hardened skeptic to change his mind here in this blog post. But I will try to give a summary answer to anyone willing to consider the possibility that the current state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

First, the Jews were not scattered to the ends of the earth at the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions (Jeremiah 49:28-33; Ezekiel 5:1-17; 12:1-28; Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:31-35; 21:20-24). They were removed to Assyria and Babylon. That’s a limited and very distinct location on the map in what would today be modern Iraq and portions of Iran. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was removed from the land in 722 B.C. by Assyria (2 Kings 17:24-34). The Southern Kingdom of Judah was removed from the land in 586 B.C. by Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:1-25:21). The scattering of the Jews to the four winds came with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 70 (Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:31-35; 21:20-24).

Second, Israel was a vassal state to Rome in the New Testament period. That’s a nation that is under the rule or oversight of another power. Notice all the Roman authorities mentioned in the Gospels—Herod, Pilate, and Caesar. The Jews had only limited self rule in religious matters, and even then they had no authority to execute religious criminals (Matthew 27:1-26; Mark 15:1-15; John 18:38-19:15).

Third, Israel has been brought back to the land in a state of unbelief. Just as the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel predicted (Ezekiel 36). The nation will not turn to Jesus Christ until at least the middle of the Great Tribulation, when the Antichrist sets up his image in the Temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15-28; Mark 13:14-23; Revelation 13:11-18), and possibly not until Jesus returns at the end of the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).

Fourth, the people were brought back to sovereign national statehood from national death. Ezekiel 37 is not about revival in the Church of Jesus Christ. Although I think we can allow for some spiritual application about the need for revival. But it’s not about revival, it’s about resurrection. Those are two different things entirely. It is about the resurrection of a dead nation, and God clearly identifies that nation as Israel. Ezekiel 37:12 says, “Therefore prophesy and say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.’” This is God raising up His people and bringing them back into the land of Israel. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “land” in that verse is ’ÂdhÎmÎh. It means the ground, dust, or loose soil of the earth. Clearly God promised to bring the Jews back into the geographical land area He has given to them. The Jews are not the occupiers of that land. They are the rightful owners because God made an unconditional everlasting covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12).

In fact, the proper name for the modern state of Israel prophesied in Ezekiel 40:2 is Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) (additional source: http://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm). Ezekiel 40:2 says, “In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel [Eretz Israel], and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south” (KJV).

Fifth, God said He would never utterly reject, cast off, or be finished with the nation of Israel (Leviticus 26:1-46; Amos 9:1-10). Leviticus 36:44 says, “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God” (KJV). And Amos 9:8 says, “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD” (KJV). In fact, God promised to restore David’s kingdom in Amos 9:11-15. That process did not begin in actuality until May 14, 1948, when Israel declared its independence. It will not come to complete fruition until the Millennial Kingdom begins. But we see even now that Israel is a land blooming as a rose (Isaiah 35:1).

The Word of God explicitly tells us there is no chance He will utterly and forever cast off His people Israel.

Jeremiah 31:35-37 says,

35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name):

36 “If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.”

37 Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the LORD (NKJV).

The last time I looked the sun, moon, and stars are still in place. Neither have the astronomers found the end of the universe, although they are desperately looking for it. And the geologists have not searched out the deepest parts of the earth beneath us. I’m guessing they wouldn’t like what would find, even if they could.

Sixth, every person and every nation that has tried to destroy Israel and the Jewish people has met an unpleasant end. In the Bible, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome all came and went as great empires, but Israel and the Jewish people remained. In the 20th century, Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime literally tried to bring about “the final solution” to “the Jewish problem.” What happened was that Germany and Europe were a divided people for nearly half a century. Only about 3 years after WWII ended, the Jewish people declared their independence as a free and sovereign state. The Land of Israel is the only free democratically governed state in the Middle East. All the Muslim states that surround Israel are ruled by tyrannical governments. Ironically, the Muslims all sided with Hitler and the Nazis during WWII. And the former Soviet Union, which also persecuted the Jews (as well as Christians), crumbled from within and ceased to exist on December 26, 1991.

Although we continue to see Israel’s enemies plotting her demise, they will meet a similar fate as all the enemies that went before. My prayer is that the United States of America is never a part of such an effort. The God of Israel will not hold us guiltless.

Joel 3:2

I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land (NKJV).

Zechariah 12:2-3

2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.

3 “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 (NKJV).

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

Thank you very much, and have a Blessed Day in the Lord Jesus Christ!

His Hebrew name is: Yeshua haMashiach or Yehoshua haMashiach