“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us“ (Psalm 2:1-3).
Good question. The heathen rage against God, which is an exercise in futility. When a person or a nation comes against God they cannot win. This rage is showing itself today in the ungodly hatred towards the nation of Israel. God gave the land to Abraham forever and with no conditions. Today the nation called Israel doesn’t fill the original borders that God declared; but the heathens rage because they want Israel to be wiped out. Unfortunately, this rage will only get worse.
Why is there any argument about Israel having a right to exist? That’s like saying that the sun has no right to exist.
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: if those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever“ (Jeremiah 31:35-36).
God created the sun, moon, and stars; and if His rule over them ever fails, that’s when Israel will cease to exist. In other words, Israel will always exist. God never fails. Meanwhile, the governments of Earth conspire to divide the land, and some are determined to destroy Israel. These efforts are useless, but still the heathens rage.
To understand the situation in Israel today, we need to understand the history of that nation. Abram was born into an idol-worshipping family. One day God spoke and told him to leave his family and the idols behind.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed“ (Genesis 12:1-3).
Eventually Abram, later known as Abraham, obeyed and traveled to the land that God gave him which came to be called Israel. Abraham fathered two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael wasn’t the son who would fulfill God’s promise, although he did receive a promise from God.
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation“ (Genesis 17:20).
It was Isaac through whom God’s promise would be fulfilled.
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year“ (Genesis 17:21).
Abraham received this promise before Isaac was even conceived, and it’s still in effect today. God’s promise was unconditional and eternal.
Isaac grew into manhood and also fathered two sons, twins named Esau and Jacob. The tension between these brothers was great, but it was Jacob who would be the one through whom the nation of Israel would come into existence.
There were many bumps along the road that Jacob followed, but he eventually came to a place where he wrestled with God. God will allow us to fight until we come to the point where we’re ready to follow Him. So it was with Jacob. He wrestled all night, but finally Jacob was ready; and God changed his name.
“And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and has prevailed“ (Genesis 32:28).
Jacob means “supplanter,” but Israel means “God prevails.” Jacob had twelve sons who established the twelve tribes of Israel. It was through the line of his son, Judah, that King David was born and also the Messiah.
David was a great king and ruled from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the nation of Israel. David had many children, but he passed the kingship to his son, Solomon. The first Jewish Temple was built by Solomon in Jerusalem, and it was beautiful. When Solomon died, the nation of Israel became divided into two kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel and the first king was Jeroboam, who was not from the lineage of David.
“And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only“ (1 Kings 12:20).
The succession of leaders who followed Jeroboam went from bad to worse. Sin and idolatry were pervasive. Eventually this kingdom was taken captive by the Assyrians. The Southern Kingdom of Judah, however, was ruled over by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and the succession of kings over Judah were all from the house of David, as ordained by God. Some dabbled with pagan religions and were not good rulers, but some did follow God’s laws.
As time went on, this nation forgot to honor God’s law of allowing the land to rest; and this caused God to allow them to be taken captive by the Babylonians. Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. It seemed as if this would be the end of the Israelites, but God wasn’t done with His chosen nation. He still isn’t done with it.
During the time of captivity, Daniel was given an amazing prophecy regarding the end days.
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy“ (Daniel 9:24).
Just as we use the term “decade” to refer to ten years, a week of years is seven years. Seventy weeks is 490 years. Since Daniel was Jewish and the prophecy specifically says “thy people” and “thy holy city,” we know that it’s about the Jewish people and Jerusalem.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined“ (Daniel 9:25-26).
When the captivity was over, the king of Babylon did allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. There would be 483 years from the time that decree was given and when the Messiah would come. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, was “cut off” (crucified) after 69 weeks, fulfilling this prophecy. After His death, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and the Jews were dispersed to all nations.
There’s still one week left of this prophecy. Jesus was crucified and the ecclesia (the church) was born. The 70th week will begin after Christ calls Christians Home in the Rapture. During those final 7 years, the man of sin, who is often called the anti-Christ, will confirm a covenant, and the Temple will be rebuilt.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27).
That final week will be horrendous. You can read more about it in the following chapters of Daniel and also in Revelation beginning in chapter 6.
For all of this to happen, Israel has to be back in the land. Almost 70 years ago they did return. Praise the Lord! We are the generation that is watching the final prophecies being fulfilled.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth“ (Isaiah 11:11-12).
There are some people who have misinterpreted God’s word, saying that the ecclesia (the church) has replaced Israel. That is heresy. The literal descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah…are returning to their God-given land. This is fulfilling prophecy. The struggle to hold onto their God-given land is a challenge, but they won’t be uprooted.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it“ (Zechariah 12:2-3).
The main focus is on Jerusalem. The Muslim world tries to claim they have rights there, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave it to His chosen Jewish people. In these latter days in which we live, it truly is a burdensome stone. Many nations are angry, and many negotiators have tried to bring about peace by dividing the land and dividing Jerusalem. It won’t work. Unless the world recognizes that Israel is the only nation with God-given rights to that land, there will be no peace.
One day a covenant will be agreed upon, and there will be a false sense of peace – and Daniel’s 70th week will begin. That week won’t happen until after Christians are taken Home in the Rapture, so we cannot have replaced Israel. The covenant will seem to be the solution to all the problems. As I watch the efforts of Jared Kushner to orchestrate a peace plan in Israel, I can only wonder how close we are to the day that covenant will be made.
The Temple will be rebuilt. The people at the Temple Institute have been busy crafting the items required for use in the Temple, and are training priests for Temple service and to offer sacrifices. The Temple will be rebuilt, but it will be defiled.
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days“ (Daniel 12:11).
Some people would have us believe this happened when Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the Temple, but Jesus talked of it as a future event.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains“ (Matthew 24:15-16).
This will occur 3 ½ years into those final 7 years. As the 70th week approaches, our world grows more and more wicked, but Jesus said it will be worse than anything ever seen.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be“ (Matthew 24:21).
Wickedness grows stronger every day.
God’s wrath will be poured out, but Christians have a blessing. We won’t be on Earth during that final week. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus dictated letters that John was to send to seven churches. A careful study of those letters reveals a picture of the history of the Church. Then John saw the Rapture.
“After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter“ (Revelation 4:1).
Beginning in chapter 6, John describes events that will take place on Earth when Daniel’s 70th week begins. God will seal 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel to be servants during this time.
“Saying, Hurt not the earth neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel“ (Revelation 7:3-4).
Then it names each of the tribes of Israel. This has nothing to do with Christians and everything to do with Israel.
At the end of that final week, God will prevail. That time of Tribulation will be horrendous. Whether you were born Jewish or Gentile, Christ died for you. Place your faith in Him and you will avoid the events that will soon come upon the earth.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.
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