I love reading the book of Proverbs, one chapter a day corresponding to the day of the month. This has been a part of my morning quiet times for many years. Even though the passages are familiar with many verses underlined, the Lord often provides new insights.
One truth that He repeatedly impresses on my heart is this: His wisdom comes to us via the words recorded on the pages of Scripture. There’s an unmistakable connection between Proverbs 2:6 and 2 Timothy 3:16. The latter literally reads, “All Scripture is breathed out by God,” while Solomon wrote, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
It’s the words of wisdom, personified in the person of Jesus, which communicate truths to us through what we read in God’s Word. Whether it’s the Gospel or any other belief, we depend upon the words of Scripture for truth rather than our own intuition or reasoning.
“Why restate such an obvious truth?” one might ask.
I do so because many believers do not understand how the words of Scripture relate to the perils we face today as our world teeters on the brink of a devastating war. At a time when pastors should be providing a biblical context for what’s happening in Israel and encouraging their flock with the hope of Jesus’ appearing, many remain woefully silent.
The sad result is that a great many saints remain unprepared for what might happen next. They never hear how the signs of the approaching Tribulation signal the nearness of Jesus’ appearing to take them home to glory.
As a major war in the Middle East appears increasingly inevitable, believers not only need to understand its prophetic context but also its implications for their future.
The various false teachings that have arisen because of the wide acceptance of amillennialism[i] have obscured the following truths needed to understand the many perils of our world.
The War Between Israel and Hamas Is Not Like Any Other War
Those who don’t understand or believe God’s promises to Israel might think that the expanding conflict in the Middle East is just like any other war, such as the one in Ukraine. “Yes, the savagery of the Iran proxy Hamas was grievous and heart-wrenching,” someone might say, “but the resulting war has no ramification for believers today.” Such sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. This war is not like the others.
The prophetic implications of what’s now happening to Israel are staggering. We also know that this is just the beginning of Israel’s struggle for survival, which will likely last until the start of the seven-year Tribulation and then flare up again at its midpoint as Satan renews his hatred for the Jewish people with the deadly rage of antichrist.
Satan inspired the barbaric attacks of October 7, 2023, as a part of his agenda to prevent Jesus from returning to a repentant Israel at His Second Coming. Jesus said the Jewish community in Jerusalem would someday welcome Him with the words, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). The devil will fail, of course, in his effort to stop the fulfillment of our Lord’s words, but that won’t stop him from attempting to stop his millennial reign over a fully restored Israel.
This isn’t just another war. It not only has tremendous prophetic significance but also warns us of what might happen in many other places, including the U.S. IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari recently stated that “Hamas is at war against humanity, not just Israel.”[ii]
Pastor Brandon Holthaus, in his October 15, 2023, sermon, said that, in reality, “Israel is fighting for us.” I took his words to imply that if Israel’s war against Gaza fails to eliminate the Hamas threat, it will embolden these barbaric terrorists to conduct similar atrocities in America and other places. We must pray for Israel, its people, and its war effort.
What’s happening now around Israel has great relevance for today’s New Testament saints.
The Land Belongs to the People of Israel
A second false belief that arises from not allowing the words of Scripture to speak for themselves is the teaching that the Land no longer belongs to the people of Israel and, hence, the “Palestinians” have just as much of a right to it. That is not what God’s Word tells us.
The Bible says that God’s promise of the Land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is an “everlasting covenant” (1 Chronicles 16:14-18; Psalm 105:7-11). If the word “everlasting” has a finite time limit on it such that it has now expired, what does that imply for those of us who trust God’s promise of “eternal life”?
Furthermore, the initial promise of the Land to Abram was completely unconditional; God alone pledged to fulfill this covenant while the Patriarch slept (Genesis 15:12-21). Israel’s continued enjoyment of the Land has always been conditional but not their ultimate right to it, which the Lord Himself guarantees.
Taken at face value, the message of the Old Testament prophets is clear: the Land still belongs to Israel, and nations that seek to divide it will suffer greatly as a result of God’s wrath.
The Jews Remain God’s Chosen People
Amillennialists assert that the descendants of Jacob are no longer God’s chosen people. They claim that the church is now the Lord’s kingdom on earth and the recipient of His promises to Israel, albeit in a spiritual sense.
Such teaching, over time, breeds anti-Semitism or, at a minimum, ambivalence for the fate of the Jewish people. Always.
Augustine, the theologian who popularized the amillennial denial of a future kingdom for Israel, was motivated by his hatred for the Jews. This same spiteful attitude kept both Luther and Calvin from applying their principles of the literal interpretation of Scripture to unfulfilled prophecy. As a result, church history is full of tragic examples of how amillennialism fueled murderous hatred for the Jews.
Churches in denominations that have long embraced the various forms of amillennialism are now rallying in support of the Palestinian cause while seeming to ignore the barbarism of Hamas. They overlook the fact that those now attacking Israel don’t want peace but rather the annihilation of God’s special chosen people.
God Will Judge the Wickedness of the Nations In This Life
I have noticed a confusing pattern among amillennial pastors in the U.S. Along with denying what the Bible says about the Tribulation and the signs of its approach, they also appear oblivious to God’s impending judgment on America. The same veil that keeps many from recognizing the convergence of signs also blinds them to the biblical warnings that reveal God’s intention to judge nations for their wickedness.
I hear it in their preaching and read it in their church’s statements of faith. It’s always the same message, which says the next time the Lord directly intervenes in human history will be at His Second Coming just prior to the eternal state. By pushing all judgment to the end of the age, they fail to recognize or believe the repeated warnings concerning the ‘Day of the Lord’ wrath. God will punish the wickedness of the U.S. and other nations long before the end of the age.
As shepherds of God’s people, today’s church leaders have a solemn responsibility to provide the saints with an understanding of how today’s world relates to the end times as well as to encourage them with the glory that awaits them at Jesus’ appearing (1 Corinthians 15:47-54, Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4). These passages clearly reveal that Jesus will give us immortal and incorruptible bodies at His appearing. Confidence in our glorious hope comes from believing the words the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write concerning the Rapture.
Sadly, most believers in the U.S. remain unprepared for what might happen in the near future and unaware that God will surely judge our nation for its intent to divide the Land of Israel as well as for its financial support of those that seek to destroy the Jewish people. Just this past week, our president rewarded Hamas by pledging to send them one hundred million dollars.
There are many, many reasons why I reject amillennialism and the spiritualization, or allegorization, of Scripture upon which it’s based. Proverbs 2, 4, and 8-9 may not be at the top of that list, but for me, they confirm that we must take the words of Scripture in the way that the authors intended.
Although it’s been quite costly to me personally, I must continue to speak out against the retrofitting of the words of Scripture to fit a human-based agenda that falsely asserts that Israel no longer has a place in God’s prophetic agenda. This is human wisdom rather than the understanding that comes from believing the words of prophecy throughout both the Old and New Testament.
The words of Scripture provide the prophetic context for what’s happening in Israel. Its message assures us of the following:
- The rising tensions in the Middle East have prophetic implications and may very well have an impact upon our future security.
- The Land belongs to Israel, and God will surely restore a glorious kingdom to its people at His Second Coming.
- The Lord will surely preserve His chosen people, but the path between now and the restoration of the kingdom to them will be one of much suffering.
- Despite the increasing unpopularity of this message in many Bible-believing churches, the Tribulation is rapidly approaching. Both the prophets of old and the Apostle John clearly reveal that the Lord will someday directly intervene in human history to judge the wickedness, lawlessness, brutality, and violence of our world.
- However, before God’s wrath descends upon the nations, Jesus will appear, give all New Testament saints incorruptible bodies, and take us to His Father’s house in glory (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:47-55, Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11).
Our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:11-14) is not some far-off wrap-up of human history that denies what the Bible says about all the intervening events such as the Rapture, Tribulation, and Jesus’ thousand-year reign over the nation upon the throne of David. No, it consists of the sure hope that our Lord’s intervention in human history via the Rapture will surely happen as Jesus will take us to His Father’s house in glorified bodies.
Maranatha! Come soon, Lord Jesus!
I provide a detailed defense of the Pretribulation viewpoint in: The Triumph of the Redeemed-An Eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times. I demonstrate, using an abundance of quotes, that the belief in a thousand-year reign of Jesus dominated the church during its first three hundred years. The historic view of the millennium is a literal view of Revelation 20:1-10 that places it between the Tribulation and the eternal state. If the words of the Apostle John are true, Jesus will reign for a thousand years in between His Second Coming and the eternal state.
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[i] Amillennialism is the belief that there is no literal Millennium as John describes in Revelation 20:1-10. Those who ascribe to this belief and its offshoots believe that the church now fulfills the kingdom promises God made to Israel, albeit in a spiritual sense.
[ii] Quote from an October 17, 2023, article on Israel National News at: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/378634?utm_source=facebook