DAMASCUS WILL CEASE
. . . From being a city
(Part II – The Prophetic Sequence)
“All of this (i.e., the current Syrophoenicia War in the Levant, August 2006) leads me to believe that Damascus will be destroyed before the Tribulation begins. I believe that Damascus is about to so threaten Israel’s existence by either launching or furnishing bio-chemical weapons or radioactive dirty bombs, that Israel will nuke them. Israel has sworn that it will implement the Samson-Option against any nation that attacks them with any form of weapons of mass destruction. That means a thermonuclear strike. This may soon happen to Syria.” (Hal Lindsey Oracle –Politically Incorrect – Prophetically Correct – 7/31/2006)
“WE ARE WITNESSING BIRTH PANGS OF A NEW MIDDLE EAST” - Condi Rice
Civil war is breaking out in Iraq – Shia and Sunni Radicals are on the rise worldwide – Senator Hillary Clinton calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld charging him with “strategic blunders and failed policy” – Iranian-Syrian backed Hezbollah dig in and send missiles ever deeper into Israel by the hundreds, as Hasan Nasrallah promises more surprises – Israel and Syria mobilize in earnest . . . meanwhile, Shiites in Baghdad by the hundreds of thousands rally to support Hezbollah, and rage against the USA and Israel . . . while America manipulates the U.N. for a “lasting peace.”
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . . all these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).
Estimates range on the Israeli side – TWO MONTHS of conflict until Hezbollah does not emerge stronger from this infraction than it is now; but, the Lebanese-Hezbollah-Syrian-Hamas-Israeli quagmire just gets worse and worse! Now, the entire international community awaits for the USA to signal Israel to cease and desist!
US Secretary of State, Condi Rice, affectionately tags these current clashes throughout the region—including the unraveling of war against the Taliban in Afghanistan; Iran’s determination to have and use WMD; the growing war involving Israel-Lebanon-Hezbollah-Gaza-Palestine-Hamas—nothing more than the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.”
The longer these ethnic-religio imbroglios entwine, the more embolden radical regimes and organizations become—yet, “cut and run” is not an option (though Democrats would certainly like us to believe it is). And, for those insipid liberals and cloistered libertarian-conservatives who cannot utter the plausibility that we’re actually in World War III and Dr. Huntington’s “Class of Civilizations” validates each day, then they must also believe Big Oil went into Iraq to help lower oil prices!
A NEED TO KNOW . . .
Analyzing the vicissitudes of the American New World Order System and its Israeli extensions in this conflict are not the immediate concern of this commentary—as announced, the heated winds of geopolitical change repeatedly waft over these ancient lands inciting endless wars and rumors of wars—but is there any lasting relief to this black hole of ceaseless agony? A glimmer, a ray of hope beyond the mass and immediate burials we daily witness?
There is. This is a second in a continuing series of forecasts wherein once we “saw men as trees” – but gradually, the unsealing of the Book brightens our meandering path and points to a steady course for the future.
Again—this is primarily a theological (i.e., eschatological) discourse. Our presuppositions do not militate against the intellectual understanding of the hour in so far as conflict resolution immediately concerns; however, it catapults beyond mortal man’s finite assumptions. The imposition of the Eternal Word appears deliberately austere to the open-minded, the genuine seeker of truth; yet, in its somber finality it stands above the philosophical vulgarities throughout the ages, the pseudo holiness of the contemplatives—for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God—and, it condemns as woefully inadequate New Age fallacies, while banishing the celebrated contrivances of every Nostradamus to the periphery of credible fantasy! Our affirmation abides audaciously straightforward: Poor puny man may “Take and eat the little book” – then, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:9a, 11).
The prophet Daniel was told upon his inquiry:
“Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, ‘My Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end’” (Daniel 12:8-9)
. . . Whereas John the Beloved at the conclusion of the Revelation was told:
“Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand” (Revelation 22:10).
This leads us to conclude the collaboration between two of the most prophetically prolific texts of the Testaments demand an “end of days” (Daniel 12:13 . . . the very last words of his text) unveiling; a need to know as never before; and, a keen awareness heretofore only conjectured, but now under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, illuminated to both “his people” (Israel) and, most assuredly the Church. And, finally, its palatable sweetness, its internal acidic bitterness, cannot, must not, will not be digested in sacred isolation—shrouded in monastic silence somewhere tamed and inoffensive—no, no, no . . . as John, as Daniel, we are called to herald, announce, and proclaim: the inevitability of our time, the consequence of our generation, and the finality of humankinds’ ultimate judgment and relief, while acknowledging our utter ineptitude in the process!
Brethren, like Jeremiah the Prophet—you and I—all those branded by the seal of the Spirit of God will very shortly find all frailty inexcusable:
“Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, BUT I COULD NOT” (Jeremiah 10:9).
ZECHARIAH 9 & ISAIAH 17-18
The initial witness of Isaiah’s condemnatory oracle against Damascus is, by the logistics of the Spirit of the Almighty, inserted into the apocalyptic framework of the subsequent millenarian works of the post-exilic prophet, Zechariah.
Whereas Isaiah announces the peculiarity of Syria’s demise – both its immediate Assyrian confrontation and its latter day fulfillment – Zechariah manipulates, under the aegis of the Spirit, its end of days’ introduction into the final week of pre-millenarian history. Let us juxtapose the two prophetic renderings of the Syrophoenicia, as well as Palestinian, diatribes:
“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid. The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they will be as the glory of the children of Israel,’ Says the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 17:1-3).
“The burden (i.e., oracle or prophecy, same as in Isaiah 17:1) of the word of the Lord against the land of Hadrach, and Damascus its resting place (for the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the Lord); also against Hamath, which borders on it, and against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise . . . Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; and Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. A mixed race (i.e., illegitimate) shall settle in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. I will take away the blood from his mouth, and the abominations from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, and shall be like a leader in Judah, and Ekron like a Jebusite. I will camp around My house because of the army, because of him who passes by and him who returns. No more shall an oppressor pass through them, for now I have seen with My eyes” (Zechariah 9:1-8).
INSIGHTS OF JACK KELLEY
During a recent interlude with folks at “Rapture Watch Forum” – a decidedly pre-tribulation web site (i.e., prior to any fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th Week, the Church will “rapture” from earth and God’s dealings will be primarily with Israel; however, “tribulation saints” will be here during Daniel’s 70th Week, although they are not participants in the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”) – I chanced upon the insights of Jack Kelley.
Unfortunately, since my brief commentary was adjudged by Linda, the administrator of the forum, as “deception” – it is a bit more difficult getting further insights from Mr. Kelley on Rapture Watch because I have been subsequently banned from the site! Fortunately, Mr. Kelley has his own web site—thus, the truth will win out.
Jack Kelley sounds like a man who is, as Jeremiah acclaimed: “Valiant for the Truth” (Jeremiah 9:3)—notwithstanding he has somehow managed to maintain sufficient “pre-tribulation credentials” and thereby avoids being booted from the “forum” (though the definition of “forum” normally demands an inherent openness to all brethren in Christ, even worldlings). I am amused, not bitter!
“Because of the language of these verses (Isaiah 17:1-2), many scholars believe that this prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and overran their capital, Damascus, in 732 BC. To this day Damascus is thought to be the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city with a 5000-year history and a population close to 2 million, yet Isaiah 17:1 indicates that it will one day cease to exist.
“This (Isaiah 17:7-9) is another passage that’s problematic for those who try to consign the whole prophecy to history. There is simply no reason to believe that the Assyrians turned to God following their conquest of Aram (modern day Syria) and Israel. And far from abandoning their cities because of the Israelites, it was the Israelites who were defeated and dispersed (by the Assyrians). The yet a future Jewish attack on Damascus causing the destruction and abandonment of Syrian cities, and the eventual return of the survivors to their God is a much more likely fulfillment. And it could happen soon.” (
http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:znzDBWfuOsgJ:rapturewatch.or see: www.rapturewatch.com
Jack captures the latter-day eschatological significance of the onslaught of the Assyrians upon the southern kingdom of Judah in a most excellent manner:
“Having conquered both the Arameans and the Northern Kingdom, the Assyrians set their sights on the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Assyria’s King Sennacherib brought his armies almost literally to the gates of Jerusalem, so close his commanders were within speaking distance of the Jewish defenders. On the night before they were to attack, the Lord sent His angel into the Assyrian camp on Mt. Scopus to slaughter 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Before dawn they had packed up and fled, ending 44 years of conquest (Isaiah 37:36-38). This time in Israel’s history so parallels the Jewish view of the End Times that Sennacherib is seen by them as a type of the Anti-Christ . . . .
“But notice that Isaiah speaks of many nations raging against God’s people, not just Assyria, leading us once again to consider Sennacherib’s defeat as a partial fulfillment.
“Today many nations are stirred up by Israel’s response to the Hezbollah rocket attack and kidnapping. They say it’s extreme, not appropriate to the circumstances. Many believe that Syria will soon try to provoke a Jewish response, and Israel’s 72 hour ultimatum may be their cue. If that should cause a further escalation we can easily envision a scenario that includes the final fulfillment of Isaiah 17, the destruction of Damascus.” (Jack Kelley, ibid). (My emphasis.)
Pink’s classic, The Antichrist, A Systematic Study of Satan’s Counterfeit Christ, traces the “types and shadows” of the ultimate counterfeit of the Incarnation:
“Isaiah mentions him: first as the ‘Assyrian’, ‘the Rod’ of God’s anger ( Isaiah 10:5); then as ‘the Wicked’ ( Isaiah 11:4); then as ‘the King of Babylon’ ( Isaiah 14:11-20 and cf 30:31-33); and also as the ‘Spoiler’ — Destroyer ( Isaiah 16:4).” (Web site: http://www.godrules.net/library/pink/248pink0.htm )
“Having dwelt at some length on the time and the place of the Antichrist’s appearing . . . a brief outline of the leading events in his career . . . the first thing this title (i.e., ‘the Little Horn’ of Daniel) denotes is that he (Antichrist) is a king, king of Assyria . . ..” (Antichrist, Arthur W. Pink, Kregel Pub., Grand Rapid, MI, p. 99)
All this to say the adumbrative language used in Isaiah 17 regarding Syria’s demise yet future, substantiated by Lindsey, Kelley, Pink, and many other expositors, is not the exclusive purview of this author.
INTRODUCTION TO ZECHARIAH
What is somewhat unique—though uniqueness could prove fleeting, and I pray it does—is the discovery of Zechariah’s witness to the futurity of Isaiah’s Prophecy of Damascus and its relationship to Isaiah 17?
First of all, a general overview of Zechariah is necessary. Zechariah, a book, according to John Walvoord, former President of Dallas Theological Seminary, reveals a potent prophetic charge:
“The Book of Zechariah as a whole constituted one of the most compact apocalyptic prophetic books of the Old Testament. The Book of Zechariah included not only the eight prophetic dreams which were visions which occurred in one night (Zech. 1:7-6:8) but also apocalyptic descriptions which constituted eschatological revelations. Chapters 9-14 concluded the book with two prophetic oracles relating to Israel’s future restoration. Though the apocalyptic sections are not easy to interpret, careful study will reveal the literal prophetic facts that are related to them” (Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, Prophecy in the Minor Prophets, Walvoord, Victor Books, 1990, p. 317)
Dr. J. Vernon McGee (Notes and Outline, Zechariah) deciphers Zechariah in a tripartite outline:
(1) Apocalyptic Visions (messianic and millennial) – Chapters 1-6 (the final “vision” found in Zechariah 6 is a “prophecy” concerning the coronation of Joshua the High Priest).
(2) Historic Interlude, Chapters 7, 8
(3) Prophetic Burdens, Chapters 9 – 14
Dr. McGee breaks down his third section of Zechariah as follows:
(a) First burden: Prophetic aspects connected with (the) first coming of Christ, Chapters 9 – 11
(b) Second burden: Prophetic aspects connected with (the) second coming of Christ, Chapters 12 – 14
Here, Dr. McGee and I have a divergence or augmentation of facts presented in Zechariah. First of all, the aforementioned commentators and I readily see (Please see our e-book, Unsealing the End of Days, the Visions and Prophecy of Zechariah) the first prophetically stereoscopic presentations in Zechariah 1-6, with the final concluding prophecy of the coronation of Joshua the High Priest (Priest-King) as a picture of Messiah (Heavenly and Earthly aspects embodied in One).
McGee’s “interlude” (Zechariah 7-8) is, in point of fact, a highly subjective entrée preparatory to Israel’s—and for that matter, the peoples of the earth—interaction with Messiah and fulfillment. Walvoord lists four distinct messages, following issues relating to “fasts” and “feasts.” (Zechariah 7:1-3). The tenor of this inward preparation reveals, as Walvoord summarizes:
“The four messages considered together were on the one hand a rebuke for ceremony without meaning and on the other hand were to be an encouragement to them in their rebuilding of the temple as well as in their hope for ultimate restoration and spiritual blessing on the people of Israel in the future kingdom.” (Walvoord, ibid., p. 327)
Therefore, this “interlude” is, in point of fact, intrinsically connected to what follows. Without the inward preparation of the heart, the “inner eyes” of the soul will be unable to apprehend the magnitude of what follows—and just what follows astounds, for it confirms Isaiah’s Prophecy of Damascus, and INTRODUCES it as the specific inception of the final hours of pre-millenarian history!
COMMENCEMENT OF THE PROPHETIC SEQUENCE
The passage has already been presented (Zechariah 9:1-8). What baffles expositors is the seeming disconnect between Zechariah 9:1-8 (i.e., “The Coming Judgment on the Nations Surrounding Israel”) and Zechariah 9:9-17 (“The Coming Deliverance of the Messiah”). For although these are presented as “yet future” (i.e., prior to Messiah’s divine deliverance of Israel), they are, nevertheless, wholly relegated to the first coming of Christ:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (vs. 9)
And, as Dr. Walvoord substantiates—though our “Biblical fixation” is upon the FIRST coming of Messiah—Walvoord’s is not:
“The announcement relates to the first coming of Christ (Isa. 9:5-7; Micah 5:2-4; Luke 1:32-33) . . . He will come as a Deliverer having salvation, both in the sense of providing personal salvation for those who put their trust in Him and ultimately in delivering Israel from their enemies. The prophecy particularly described Christ in His first coming as ‘gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’ (Zech. 9:9). This was literally fulfilled as recorded in Matthew 21.
“The prophecies which follow leap the present age and blend the first and second comings of Christ as if they were one event (Isa. 9:6-7; 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-21). The prophetic vision extends to the future kingdom on earth, ‘I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the Earth’ (Zech. 9:10). This was not accomplished in His first coming but will be accomplished in His second coming. The millennial kingdom will be characterized as a time of peace (Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3). The nation Israel will occupy the land as originally promised to Abram from the river of Egypt to the River Euphrates. The rest of the world will come under the rule of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Walvoord, ibid., pp. 328-329).
It is mandatory that we keep in mind the “introduction” of Messiah to Israel at His first coming—but truthfully embrace the overarching design of Zechariah’s message: (1) The Judgment of the Surrounding Nations to Jerusalem; and (2) The Coming Deliverance of the Messiah!
One simply cannot avoid the climactic revelation of Zechariah 9, after the inward preparation of the heart (Zechariah 7-8). The “blending of the first and second comings of Christ” do not obfuscate the final week of Israel’s preparation when they shall cry out: “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna!” (Psalm 118:26; Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13; Luke 13:35)
The DELIVERANCE of Messiah and the subsequent inauguration of the Davidic Kingdom on earth cannot be separated from the Gentile nations who initiate the millenarian countdown. It is their hostility toward Israel in the latter days which propels the prophetic sequence to its final conclusion: The Divine Intervention of Messiah and His Messianic Rule!
In other words . . . The Oracle—Burden—Prophecy of Damascus (Zechariah 9:1-8; Isaiah 17 and allusions from Isaiah 18) initiates the countdown to the Gog-Magog War, Armageddon, and the coming of Messiah.
Simply put: Zechariah 9:1-7 is NOT a beclouded prose inserted as filler to entertain the coming of Israel’s Messiah—utterly ridiculous. No, it clearly demarcates “till the end of the war” mentioned in Daniel 9:26b, preceding the infamous Covenant with Death, and Agreement with Hell drafted, instigated, and enforced by the Coming Roman Prince (i.e., the Antichrist) (Daniel 9:27; Isaiah 28:15, 18).
What you have here is a deliberate and sequential overview from “start to finish” given in Zechariah 9:1-17. Yes, from DAMASCUS to MESSIAH – the scope of prophetic fulfillment is laid out for the entire world to view!
Once the prophetic scenario—its beginning and ending is placed before the international audience and the hosts of heaven—then the details are fleshed out as well: Zechariah 10-14. Here, it speaks of Judah and Israel and their scattering and restoration—in the “time of the latter rain.” From Israel’s “desolations” (Zechariah 11) to the coming of Antichrist as the “Worthless Shepherd” (Zechariah 11:17) – from Jerusalem’s trembling cup (as we see today in the Middle East, Zechariah 12:2) to Judah’s Messianic Deliverance (Zechariah 12:3-9) and complete recognition of the Pierced One for whom they will mourn as the brethren of Joseph once did (Genesis 45:1-15):
“In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem . . . and I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:11, 10).
At the interjection of the Burden of Damascus—the commencement of the final prophetic sequence ensues! Zechariah 9’s sweeping overview astounds. Again and again Zechariah extracts the final week of Daniel’s prophecy, pounding away at its confrontation and deliverance—repeatedly so.
Israel’s Shepherd is struck; the sheep scattered, refined, and gloriously redeemed (Zechariah 13). The Day of the Lord comes wherein Zechariah describes in graphic apocalyptic detail. . .
“I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished, half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle, and in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south . . . and the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You” (Zechariah 14:2-4a, 5)
Hope and blessing conclude (Zechariah 14:6-11) – but as soon as this confirmation is rendered, Zechariah repeats the panoply of prophetic relevance, as if to resoundingly impress upon Israel, the Church, and the nations—THIS IS THE WAY IT WILL HAPPEN:
“And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them . . . and it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:12-16 excerpts).
The final chapter presents the resultant destruction of flesh caused by neutron-explosions where biological life is consumed; then, tribulation radically transverses ‘till millenarian bliss pervades the earth – such is the drastic prophetic environment portrayed by the prophet Zechariah.
THE CONSTELLATION OF NATIONS AGAINST ISRAEL
Under the Oracle of Damascus, aligned against a regathered Israel, is an amalgamation of nations, peoples, and sundry jurisdictions which defies human ingenuity to casually construct. The preservation of these entities to this day amazes—there is little need to constrict their obvious meanings to fit the immediate prophetic implication.
From Isaiah and Zechariah we read:
(1) Damascus, the “kingdom from Damascus, the remnant of Syria” (Isaiah 17:1, 3)
(2) The cities of Aroer (i.e., those “resisting” Israel in these regions—today’s Palestinians of Jordan) – Isaiah 17:2 – and, no, here I’d encourage Jack Kelley to stand firm that these “cities of Aroer” are not within Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley (i.e., Hezbollah) but precisely where the Scripture says they are (i.e., modern Jordan)—this is NOT a “mistranslation” as Kelley asserts the Jewish Encyclopedia so confirms; to the contrary, while there “may have been another Aroer near Damascus” it simply cannot supplant the overt location of Aroer to the immediate east of the Jordan River in today’s Jordan.
(3) The “fortress of Ephraim” (i.e., again, those resisting Israel, the Palestinians of Samaria—the “hill country” of Northern Israel)—remember, Isaiah clearly introduces the “prophecy of Damascus.” (Isa. 17:3)
(4) The “land of Hadrach, and Damascus” – (i.e., Syria; Zechariah 9:1)
(5) “Hamath” (i.e., Northern Syria; Zechariah 9:2a)
(6) “Tyre and Sidon” (i.e., Lebanon; Zechariah 9:2b)
(7) “Ashkelon” (i.e., General area of Gaza, Philistia; Zechariah 9:5)
(8) “Gaza” (i.e., Gaza; Zechariah 9:5)
(9) “Ekron” (i.e., Gaza; Zechariah 9:5)
(10) “Ashdod” (i.e., Gaza; Zechariah 9:6)
(11) “Philistines” (i.e., Gaza; Zechariah 9:6)
(12) “Ekron” (i.e., Gaza; Zechariah 9:7)
The specificity of these identifications are altogether convincing—given today’s alignment against Israel. To deny the same provokes the austere reflection of the agnostic insistence on commitment to noncommittal, as if it were a token of intellectual honesty!
To the contrary—today’s assignments so closely mirror those of Isaiah and Zechariah, there is no way that the skeptic can intellectually assign this random assortment of designations to chance, given today’s parameters. Foolish is the soul who chooses to deny the infallibility of the Almighty and the course of present history! To persist in the deniability of observable fact is to assign oneself to the stubbornness of irrationality in the face of overwhelming evidence which condemns the secular to unfathomable arrogance, given the geopolitical realities of the day.
SECULAR ZIONISM – APOSTATE CHRISTENDOM
Notwithstanding the preponderance of the aforesaid evidence of divine intervention pressing in upon the Isaiah-Zechariah forecast, the natural, and even the seeking mind contemplates Zion’s present capacities to outrage—contradicting the character of the Almighty in the face of Israel’s growing isolation and seemingly endless acclaim to stake out her claim in the midst of a world fed up with her alleged hypocrisies.
Indeed, add we not insult to injury to heap “divine contempt” upon the Arab masses by quoting from the prejudicial and literal import of Hebraic Scriptures which ultimately exonerate the “rebellious house of Israel?”
Even so, have we not witnessed that the vast majority of America’s pro-Israel evangelical adherents are, likewise, utterly committed to the Patriotic Church’s “City set on a Hill which cannot be Hid?” Furthermore, and most importantly, the current Jewish-Evangelical Alliance on behalf of Israel resists all attempts to extricate itself from identification in support of Abraham’s seed—seemingly, right or wrong in her actions.
One of our thoughtful brethren has postulated:
“God PERMITS the apostasy of Secular Zionism to serve as the instrument of regathering, but He does not CONDONE it; quite the contrary, He CONDEMNS it – and it is in fact precisely for the sin of secular Zionism, and for the broader apostasy within which it has taken hold among faithless Jews, that the unprecedented and still future tribulation will have to be endured by the regathered Jews. Central to this apostasy is the utter failure on the part of unbelieving Jews to place their full trust in the God of their Fathers, and their full embrace instead of a trust in the worldly powers of this present darkness – chief among them the American New World Order System. As such, the notion that secular Zionism is apostasy also goes a long way towards explaining why the coming treaty with the American antichrist constitutes an ‘agreement with hell.’ It is because Secular Zionism is ITSELF ultimately of hell in an important sense.”
Thus, it would appear that today’s Jews are their own worst enemies . . .
“In addition, it is also worth noting that Orthodox Jews condemned secular Zionism as an apostasy also – until after the Nazi Holocaust, when most of them appear to have made a fatal compromise with this apostasy. It is therefore also a grave error for Christians to embrace the notion that Secular Zionism is pleasing to God. In fact, I myself would go so far as to say that the fact that the Christian Right lends unconditional support to secular Zionism is a theological error as grave and dangerous as the belief in the pre-Tribulation rapture, and an ethical error as grave and deplorable as their support for the American New World Order System. The moral reprobateness that lies at the heart of Secular Zionism is currently being exposed before the whole world to see through the events in Lebanon, and I believe it is therefore important to condemn Secular Zionism, since Biblical prophecy is brought into discredit among many by the association of its main exponents – namely, the apostate American Church – with unstinting support for the moral horrors inflicted by Secular Zionism.”
This same brother—lest you condemn his tone—suggests:
“Overall, my position is this: the Jews remain a people set apart by God, since ‘the gifts and the promises of God are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:27 – with particular reference here to the gifts and promises contained in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants). Moreover, the Bible makes abundantly clear that the Jews are therefore destined to be regathered as a nation in the latter days – something that Protestant literalists have therefore been looking forward to at least as far back as the 17th Century. However, the Bible also necessitates that the initial regathering of the Jews finds them in unbelief. There are classic interpretations of Ezekiel 36 and 37 along these lines; additionally, Zechariah 12:10 - “They shall gaze upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn….” – implies that the Jews remain in a state of at least partial unbelief right through their final prophesied tribulation following their regathering.”
The writer brings out the seemingly irresolvable conundrum: How can God bless the Jew, especially the “Secular Zionist,” when He “PERMITS” the apostasy of that Secular Zionist to serve as the instrument of regathering, but He does not CONDONE it; quite the contrary, He CONDEMNS it?”
Naturally, this presupposes that the Almighty PERMITS, CONDONES, and CONDEMNS—all in one breath—what seemingly He blesses. Yes, it is morally reprehensible for Israel to train and implement Latin American death squads (Israel’s Latin American trail of terror, by Jeremy Bigwood; http://english.aljazeera.net, June 5, 2003). Yes, it is despicable that Israel will align herself with the likes of Antichrist (to say the least in her imminent Covenant with Death and Agreement with Hell); and, yes, it is deplorable, her unmitigated justifications to indiscriminately kill and maim men, women, and children no matter how desperate her instincts to survive in the midst of militant “Islamo-fascism.”
Worse yet, the denial of the personhood of Jesus . . . and this tome does not permit the language of their denial—for my own ears do not persuade me otherwise!
Shall we posit the notion that the Almighty is conflicted when it comes to Israel’s immediate posture? Does He damn the Valley of Dry Bones when He configures its desolation into a “mighty army” – then has the audacity to “breathe life into them?” Alas, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,’ says the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37:14)
What CONTRADICTION of divine design have we here! That the VERY DRY BONES become an “exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:10)! Do we witness “apostasy in action” as unbelief and the morally reprobate have access to divine acceptance when such unbelievable moral failure abounds? Thence, no wonder the Almighty gathers them to punish their wickedness?
To “agree that the present actions by the Israelis make manifest the iniquity and apostasy of Secular Zionism” does not circumvent the designs of the Almighty in the face of justifiable accusation—be it altogether indiscriminate in its protest or tempered by Hezbollah’s missiles.
What is at stake is the character of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—what He says He will do; He will accomplish the impossible—regardless of our reluctance, and in spite of our sin, our shame, and our wretched condition.
The Church’s present apostate affliction, viz., “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (Grk. apostasia) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thessalonians 2:3) mirrors the vulnerability of Israel’s condition—very dry!
Today’s ultra-left finds it irresistible to condemn the attempts of Neo-cons to ascribe legitimacy to Israel’s very dry bones; and, for that matter, how do Democrat Senators Schumer, Lieberman, Feinstein, Boxer et al (all American Jews) justify Israeli actions, while damning American-Big Oil pursuits in Iraq—notwithstanding the fact that the Almighty spoke and “breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:10)?
Again, how can the “breath of God” participate in the lifeless and allow their militancy to persist? Can you separate out the divine intent in this equation? Can you discern this apparent contradiction—how disquieting it appears?
“Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again . . . .” (Ezekiel 37:22-28, please read until the end).
This “scene” is replete with contradiction if one’s sole perspective is under human manipulation—and, I admit, mine has been in this valley of dry bones wherein I have observed the incongruity of it all, repeatedly! Dare I call God’s intentions flawed and worse yet, permissive? Oh, don’t think I haven’t done so—not just for what I have “outwardly viewed” regarding “Israel of the flesh” but of the Church’s falling away. Grief abounds!
“Can these bones live?” O LORD GOD, YOU KNOW! Is “Secular” Zionism to blame for its reluctant ingathering? This presupposes the preposterous notion: God is a Secular Zionist since His claim, according to Ezekiel, is the INITIATOR of Zionism itself (Ezekiel 37:21-22)—unless, of course, one can supernaturally differentiate between recalcitrant Jews who desire Zion for purely fleshly motivation juxtaposed to some, I would assume, who prefer a more spiritual identification with the Beautiful Land.
Or, is the drunken state of one entertainer, Mel Gibson, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!” the truth of the matter?
“Purify the sons of Levi” that they “may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” is NOT our business. Hitler apparently thought it was his business—but his instrumentality was of that Wicked One, notwithstanding his claim: GOTT MIT UNS. They who attempt to justify the actions and reactions of Israel, and they who adjudge her as fraught with defilement—prepared for the boot of Antichrist—do well to consign themselves to the Almighty’s prerogatives . . . lest, as the wise Pharisee Gamaliel once advised:
“ . . . take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men . . . keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:35a, 38-39).
In our next disclosure we will explore the succeeding verses immediately following Isaiah 17:4 on and their ramifications to Israel, the Church, and the nations.
And finally, prayerfully read between the lines of divine intentions:
“‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (Israel’s earthly governor): Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7)
“‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’” (Joshua 5:13b-14)