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nChrist
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2008, 03:51:14 AM »

The End Times According To Daniel
Part Three, Chapters 11 and 12
by Jack Kelley



In chapter 10, Daniel tells of a revelation he received in 539 BC concerning a great war that was coming. It was still over 200 years away and would last nearly 200 years after that, and would pit the Seleucids against the Ptolemys. Remember from our previous study that Seleucus and Ptolemy were two of the four generals who assumed power at the death of Alexander the Great and divided the Greek Empire among them. Seleucus took parts of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and later Iran and Iraq, while Ptolemy got Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.

This vision troubled Daniel because he could see that Israel would be caught up in the ongoing battle between them. The Seleucids would be located on Israel's northern border, and the Ptolemys would be just to their south. The only way for either one to confront the other would be to march their armies through Israel. So he undertook a limited fast and began praying for understanding.

Three weeks later an angel visited him and provided a more detailed explanation of the revelation. These details are contained in chapters 11 and 12 and have given historians enough information to document 135 historically fulfilled prophecies in the first 35 verses of chapter 11. This unparalleled display of predictive prophecy has caused the Book of Daniel to be carefully inspected by those hoping to find flaws in the prophecies, or clues that would justify their claim that Daniel is actually a book of history, written by someone else after the events it describes took place, rather than prophecy. But the only result of this inspection has been that Daniel is now the most thoroughly validated book in the entire Bible. We'll pick up the angel's explanation at the beginning of the era of the Kings of the South and North.

Daniel 11

The Kings Of The South And The North


 "Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece." Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases." After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. (Daniel 11:2-4)

The three who would follow Cyrus as King of Persia were Cambyses (530-522 BC) Pseudo-Smerdis (522BC) and Darius 1 (522-486 BC). The fourth was Zerxes 1 (486-465 BC) who chose the young Jewish woman Esther to be his wife. Her story is told in the Book of Esther, and will soon premier as a major motion picture.

130 years later Alexander the Great defeated Persian King Darius III at the Battle of Guagamela, effectively conquering the Persian Empire." When Alexander died a few years later, his four commanding generals took over and the account will now focus on the descendants of two of them. Those from the family of Seleucus are called "King of the North", and those of Ptolemy are "King of the South."

Because this account can be verified in the historical record, and because the focus of this study is Daniel's End Times prophecies, I'll just insert the names of the central characters and dates of their reigns where applicable, and a note or two as we go along." This will give us a hint of the incredible accuracy of the prophecies in Daniel 11, and prepare us for the shift from history to prophecy at verse 36. All dates are BC of course.

"The king of the South (Ptolemy I Soter, 323-285) will become strong, but one of his commanders (Seleucus I Nicator, 311-280) will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom (Babylon) with great power." After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South" (Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 285-246) will go to the king of the North (Antiochus II Theos, 261-246) to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. (Antiochus left his wife Laodice for Berenice, but Laodice conspired to have Antiochus, Berenice, and her father Ptolemy II killed. The city of Laodicea in Revelation 3 is named after her.) (Daniel 11:5-6)
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2008, 03:56:31 AM »

The End Times According To Daniel
Part Three, Chapters 11 and 12
by Jack Kelley

"One from her family line will arise to take her place. (Berenice's brother Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246-221." He killed Laodice to avenge his sister and father.) "He will attack the forces of the king of the North (Seleucus II Callinicus, 246-226) and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious." He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone." Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country." His sons (Seleucus III Ceranus, 226-223 and Antiochus III, called the Great, 223-187) will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress. (Daniel 11:7-10)

 "Then the king of the South (Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221-203) will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North (Antiochus the Great), who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. (The Battle of Raphia in 217) When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands (10,000 according to the historian Polybius), yet he will not remain triumphant." For the king of the North (still Antiochus) will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped. (Daniel 11:11-13)

 "In those times many will rise against the king of the South (Ptolemy V Epiphanes, 203-181). The violent men among your own people (Jews) will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. (Ptolemy's general Scopas crushed the rebellion in 200)" Then the king of the North (still Antiochus the Great) will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city." The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand." The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land (Israel, captured from the King of the South in 197) and will have the power to destroy it." He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter (Cleopatra I married Ptolemy V in 194) in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him." (Don't confuse this Cleopatra with the later one, Cleopatra II, consort to both Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony) Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and (teaming up with the famous Carthaginian General Hannibal) will take many of them, but a commander (Roman Consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, with whom Cleopatra and Ptolemy had sided) will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him." After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more. (Antiochus the Great died in battle in 187)" (Daniel 11:14-19)

 "His successor (Seleucus IV Philopator) will send out a tax collector (Heliodorus) to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle. (Heliodorus engineered a coup against him)

"He will be succeeded by a contemptible person (Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175-164) who has not been given the honor of royalty (Antiochus Epiphanes mounted a palace revolt against his young cousin and rightful heir Demetrius I). He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant (Onias III, the last legitimate High Priest, who was murdered in 170) will be destroyed." After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses"but only for a time. (Daniel 11:20-24)

 "With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South (Ptolemy VI). The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him." Those who eat from the king's provisions (Ptolemy's family) will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings (Antiochus and Ptolemy), with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time." The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. (On his way back to Syria in 169 Antiochus Epiphanes plundered the Temple in Jerusalem and killed many priests) (Daniel 11:25-28 )

"At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands (Rome) will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:29-30) (As Antiochus stood in Egypt on the shore of the Mediterranean, the Roman Commander Popilius Laenas drew a circle around him in the sand, telling him that if he stepped out of the circle for any other reason than to surrender and go home, he would be killed. Humiliated and furious he took out his rage on the Jews, prompting the Maccabean revolt.)
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2008, 04:00:24 AM »

The End Times According To Daniel
Part Three, Chapters 11 and 12
by Jack Kelley

 "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation (168 )." With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (The Hasidim, who remained faithful to God, were the ancestors of today's Hasidic Jews." They are world renowned for their trade in diamonds) (Daniel 11:31-32)

 "Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. (The Maccabeans, who defeated Antiochus, cleansed the Temple and restored Jewish autonomy, setting up the Hasmonean Dynasty that ruled Israel for about 100 years until the Romans came.) Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. (Daniel 11:33-35)

The King Who Exalts Himself

 "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the god(s) of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all." Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts." He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. (Daniel 11:36-39)

With verse 36 we've shifted from history to prophecy and are in the middle of Daniel's 70th Week, at the beginning of the Great Tribulation." We're now discussing the man of whom Antiochus Epiphanes is our clearest model, the anti-Christ, called "the king" here." Note the similarity between this passage and 2 Thessalonians 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

The anti-Christ will appear to be victorious for most of his time in command, because God has determined that Daniel's 70th week will play out." He won't fear God the Father at all, intending instead to replace Him." Nor will he fear the Son." It was the dream of every Jewish woman to be the mother of the Messiah, so the phrase "the one desired by women" refers to Jesus." And as Paul wrote he'll place himself above everything that's called God." He'll honor a foreign god, a god of fortresses, with much silver and gold."

Since he'll exalt himself above everything called god, I can't see him worshipping any god." Instead, I think this god of fortresses is his military might, purchased at great cost and sufficient to overpower even the most obstinate resistance. At the same time, he'll reward those loyal to him with great wealth, power and land." This is the ultimate carrot and stick strategy.

"At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand." He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape." He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission." But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many." He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. (Daniel 11:40-45)

Although Antiochus, who modeled him, was himself a King of the North the anti-Christ is not. We know this because the Kings of the South and North both come against him here. Some say we have to find a new King of the North for this passage and suggest Russia, but I think the model has been too firmly established in the previous verses to justify changing without notice. No, I believe the end times remnants of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires will attempt to re-assert their historic dominance over the Middle East. He'll defeat them and move his headquarters to Israel exercising control from there over a world that seems to exclude only an area of the Jordanian desert called Petra (Bosrah in Isaiah 63), where the faithful remnant of Israel awaits the return of Earth's legitimate King. (Revelation 12:14)
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 04:03:40 AM »

The End Times According To Daniel
Part Three, Chapters 11 and 12
by Jack Kelley

But then the coalition of victors from the wars recently fought east of the Euphrates, sensing that his control is not yet absolute, will begin their march to Armageddon intent upon capturing the Middle East and all its wealth for themselves. Not even the devil himself can keep man from acting on his greed, and as the anti-Christ sees this enormous army swooping down from the East and North, he goes after them in a rage.

Those of you who followed our Revelation study will recall that in Revelation 9, we saw a great war among the powers of the Far East for dominance over that region. Then in Revelation 16 the River Euphrates was dried up to permit the victors in this war to team up and cross into the Middle East, intent upon conquest there. This is the report from the East and North that Daniel's describing. Remember the King of the North has just been defeated, so reports of troop movement from the North must be someone else. Perhaps this is the Chinese  Russian alliance the world has long feared.

Daniel 12

The End Times


"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people, everyone whose name is found written in the book, will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." (Daniel 12:1-4)

Once again, we're reminded that this is the Great Tribulation. During this time Daniel's people, the remnant of Israel, will be protected in the Jordanian desert, awaiting their deliverance by the Messiah. As He returns to save them and set up His Kingdom, the faithful of Israel's past will come out of the ground to receive the promise they died believing, that God would one day send a redeemer to pay for their sins so that He could dwell with them forever. 1000 years later the unbelievers will also awake, but to shame and everlasting contempt.

Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 12:5-7)

The Great Tribulation will last for 3 " years, the time required to break the Jewish people of their human pride and soften their hearts to receive the King who has waited so long for them to accept Him.

 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?"

 He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end." Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

 "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days." Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

 "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance." (Daniel 12:8-13)

Unlike John, who was told not to seal up the words he'd written (Revelation 22:10), Daniel learned that he'd received all the detail God was prepared to give him. The prophecy was for the End of the Age. The angel told him that none of the wicked would ever understand it, but one day those who are wise would figure it out."

Then he threw out two numbers that, as far as I'm concerned, not even the wise have a clue about yet." I've read dozens of interpretations of the 1290 days and the 1335 days, and none is persuasive, at least to me." Some of them arbitrarily use the year for a day concept, others add the 1290 and the 1335 together, and still others insert the Hebrew intercalary 13th month to explain the difference between the clear 1260 day duration of the Great Tribulation and the 1290 number given here." The most forthright admit to indulging in pure speculation."
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2008, 04:08:19 AM »

The End Times According To Daniel
Part Three, Chapters 11 and 12
by Jack Kelley

Personally, I think these two numbers are like the 7 thunders of Revelation 10 and the 666 of Revelation 13. God has not yet disclosed their true meaning to man, perhaps because doing so would reveal too much about the End Times and alert the enemy prematurely." And notice that they were given to Daniel after he was told that the wise would one day understand this prophecy." To me it looks like the angel's promise didn't include the 1290 and 1335 days.

But I can speculate with the best of them, so here goes. If I'm wrong and the meaning of these two numbers is not still one of the Lord's secrets, then the explanation may be so simple we've gone right by it." For example, several times we've been told that there are 1260 days from the Abomination of Desolation to the end of the Great Tribulation." Immediately after that, those who've survived it will see the sun and moon darken and the stars fall." Then they'll see the sign of the Son of man, and finally the Lord Himself will appear in the sky. (Matthew 24:29-30) It all sounds pretty clear.

"But then three times in the span of 23 verses Jesus said that those on Earth wouldn't know the day or hour of His return to them in advance. (Matthew 24:42, 44, & 25:13)

If He appears in the sky on Rosh Hashanah, as I believe, and if His first official act is one of judgment, as Matthew 25:31 seems to say, then perhaps this judgment will begin on Yom Kippur, 10 days after Rosh Hashanah." His actual appearance on Earth could take place at a time known only to Him sometime between these two Holy Days. Suppose that 20 days are then consumed in judging Israel (Matthew 19:28 ) and the Gentiles, (Matthew 25:31-46) and cleansing the defiled Temple making it fit for use again." (By now you know I'm convinced that the same Temple used during Daniel's 70th week will be used in the Millennium." If not, read my study called "The Coming Temple".)" This scenario would make it 1290 days from the Abomination of Desolation to the re-dedication of the cleansed Temple, consistent with the view held by some that the 1290 day period pertains to the Temple's disposition.

"But then come 45 more days for a total of 1335." I suggest that this time may be necessary to set up the Kingdom. There's a lot that needs to be done, like crowning the Prince of Israel, organizing the priesthood behind the family of Zadok and teaching them their new duties, especially concerning the new cycle of Holy days (Ezekiel 44-46) positioning the New Jerusalem in its orbit abound Earth, reassigning the Tribal allotments in Israel (Ezekiel 45 & 48 ) and installing the governments of the Nations." If things unfold as I've described them, and it's a big "if", then 1335 days from the Abomination, the Millennial Kingdom will be officially inaugurated.

Those who have both waited for and actually reached that day will be truly blessed, because they will have been eyewitnesses to the most amazing time in human history, and at its conclusion will have found themselves among the victors, poised to experience the fulfillment of all their dreams." It will be a celebration such as has never before been seen on Earth." If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 09-30-06
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2008, 10:04:20 PM »

The 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (The Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley


After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. Revelation 7:1-4

Revelation 7:5-8 goes on to describe this group as coming from among the Jewish people, with 12,000 from each of 12 named tribes. There is too much of a specific nature to suggest anything other than a literal interpretation of this passage. These are newly converted Jewish evangelists who will pick up where the Church leaves off after the rapture. It'll be their job to bring the Gospel to the world during Daniel's 70th Week.

Had they been believers before the rapture, they'd have disappeared with the Church. If the church was still here, there'd be no need for them. But the Church is in Heaven (Revelation 5), Daniel's 70th Week has begun (Revelation 6) and the Lord needs someone on Earth to tell His story for Him. (Matthew 24:14).

How Many Tribes Are There, Anyway?

A careful reading reveals that while 12 tribes are identified, there's one (Dan) missing altogether and another (Ephraim) is there, but under the name of Joseph. How can this be?

There were originally 12 tribes but after the reunion in Egypt Jacob adopted the two sons of Joseph and split his tribe between them. So counting Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph's sons, there are actually 14 names to choose from. If you want the original 12, use Joseph instead of Ephraim and Manasseh. If you're going to war and want to exclude Levi because the priests are exempt from war, split Joseph in half and call one half Ephraim and the other Manasseh. You'll have 12 tribes without using either Joseph or Levi. In Revelation 7 the Lord wanted to avoid mentioning Dan and Ephraim so He included Levi, split Joseph with Manasseh, and still had 12 tribes on His list.

Why Dan and Ephraim?

In 1 Kings 12:12-33 the City of Dan is identified as the location where one of two golden calves was set up for worship after Solomon's death. The other was in Bethel in the region of Ephraim. This took place nearly 300 years after their deliverance from Egypt. Even so, when they were dedicated, the pagan priest actually quoted the words Aaron and the people had spoken at the original introduction of the golden calf at Mt. Sinai, saying "These are your gods, Israel, that brought you up out of Egypt." (Exodus 32:4) Incredible.

The placement of golden calves in these two cities marked the beginning of idol worship in Israel. It was the reason for all the faithful of all the tribes moving south (2 Chronicles 11:16 ... so no lost ten tribes after all), and the subsequent destruction of the Northern Kingdom by the Assyrians.

2 Kings 10:29 explains that those calves were still being worshiped in Dan 100 years later. Perhaps this is why the Tribe of Dan is not mentioned at all and Ephraim is only included by inference.

So it makes sense to view the 144,000 of Revelation 7 just as they're described ... Messianic Jews called by the Lord to witness to the world after the church is gone. They are the end times fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 43:10, being witnesses for the Lord to the heathen nations of Earth.

Then Who Are These Guys?

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless(Revelation 14:1-5).
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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2008, 10:06:13 PM »

The 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (The Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

As you can see, the group identified here is substantially different from the one in Revelation 7. This group is standing on Mt. Zion and they have the names of both the Father and the Son written on their foreheads. They are described as having been redeemed from the earth and are before the Throne of God singing a new song, a song only they can sing. They are pure and blameless, they've been purchased from among men, and are offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb.

A Beautiful Description

Hebrews 12:22-24 provides a beautiful description of this group. "But you have come to Mt. Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the Living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the Church of the Firstborn whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."

The similarity is unmistakable. Their location (heaven), their spiritual state (pure and blameless), the fact that they've been purchased from among men and follow the Lord wherever He goes tells us who they are. Though some mistakenly identify them as the original 144,000, martyred and in heaven, only one group fits that description perfectly ... the Church.

This 144,000 is a sampling of the redeemed, brought to heaven in the rapture and presented as the first fruits of God's great harvest of souls, just as the wave offering was the first fruits of the harvest of grain (Leviticus 23:9-14). All the grain was harvested, but only a sample was presented. So it is with the Church. The 144,000 is not meant to be the full number of raptured believers, just a sample.

As far as the phrase "defiled themselves with women" is concerned, it's used to symbolize the worship of idols. Since pagan worship was sexual in nature, the Lord sometimes described idol worship in sexual terms. (Read Ezekiel 16 & 23 if you dare.) These 144,000 had not done that. In fact they were found to be totally blameless, further evidence that they're the redeemed in Heaven. No human on Earth is blameless, and there's no Biblical evidence that men who remain celibate will receive special rewards.

A Word About The Number 12

Like 7, 12 is a divine number, denoting perfection of government or rule. There were 12 tribes of Israel, 12 spies went into the Promised Land, Jesus chose 12 disciples, there are 24 (12 X 2) elders around the Throne of God,etc.

In Revelation 7 and 14, 12,000 times 12 (144,000) can be is seen as ultimate expressions of this. In the first case the 144,000 sealed servants of God are the diplomatic corps of the Coming King, sent ahead to inform the world of His imminent arrival. And in the second, it's the Church, the King's perfect instrument of government, chosen to rule and reign with Him. 04-05-08
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2008, 10:08:22 PM »

You Are But Tenants in the Land
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley


(This is an update of an article I originally published in December of 2000. As you know, I rarely recycle articles. But with all the fuss generated over the Gaza abandonment, I thought it would be useful to review the Biblical perspective on just who owns the Land of Israel.)

The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. (Leviticus 25:23)

In the beginning everything in the Universe belonged to the One who had created it. Some speculate that long before Adam came along, God had permitted Satan to place his throne here on Earth. (Read "The Adversary" and "I Will Make Myself Like The Most High" linked below.) After all, Satan was an important dignitary among the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms (Ezekiel 28:14 and Jude 8-10).

But Satan didnít want to be a mere tenant, he wanted to own the place outright. Since he didn't create it and couldnít buy it, Satan rebelled and set about to steal it. And in fact after God had given Adam dominion over Earth, Satan did steal it (1 John 5:19).

Later on God had a similar problem with the Israelites, but in their case they simply began to act as if they really did own the place. For instance one of the factors in the Babylonian exile was their refusal to treat His land properly. He had explained that they were but tenants, forbidden from selling or giving the land away (Leviticus 25:23), and had established provisions for redeeming the land should they happen to lose it. These were largely ignored.

He had also commanded them to let the land rest for one year out of every seven (Leviticus 25:4), the so-called Sabbath for the Land. But for 490 years they had ignored that, too. So while the root cause of the 70-year exile to Babylon was their fall into idolatry (Jeremiah 25:7-11), its duration was determined by the number of times they had ignored the mandatory year-long Sabbath for the Land (2 Chronicles 36:21). 490 divided by 7 equals 70, so they "owed" His land 70 years of rest. True to His word, when the 70 years were ended He sent the Persians to defeat Babylon and release the Jews to return to the land.

An Everlasting Possession

The world would do well to remember that episode. In giving the land to Abraham's descendants, God had made it their "everlasting possession"(Genesis 17:18 ). But at Mt. Sinai He explained that in order to live there and enjoy its benefits they had to obey the covenant He was making with Moses.

Several times theyíve either lost their independence or been evicted for violations of this covenant, but only temporarily. He always restored them, and thatís the part of their deal with God the rest of the world seems to forget. The only reason theyíre in the land now is because He remembered His promise to Abraham and put them there.

Evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews bemoan the fact that Israel is again trading land for the promise of peace ... land the Bible says they have no right to trade. But if unbelievers, whether Jew, Arab or Westerner agree on anything, itís that the provisions outlined in "some ancient book" are not going to govern their actions today. Weíll see.

Land For War?

A strong contingent among the Palestinian people has always opposed the Mid-East peace plan and tries do anything they can to stop it. They don't want to share the land with Israel, they want it all. (In fact the Hamas platform in the coming election promises no more negotiations with Israel for anything. It's an idea so popular that it looks like the only way to keep Hamas out of the government will be to prevent them from running for office.) Every time this contingent of Palestinians has seen Israel trade land for the promise of peace they've reacted with violent protest. The more land involved the more violent the protests.

In his first term as Prime Minister, Binyamim Netanyahu slowed down the transfer of land begun under Yitzhak Rabin and continued with Shimon Peres, and the violence subsided. Under intense pressure from Bill Clinton, Netanyahu's successor Ehud Barak agreed to give Arafat 97% of the land he wanted, including East Jerusalem, in return for peace. Arafat turned it down and then went home to start the 2000 Intifada. After Ariel Sharon was elected, Israel got tough again and the violence subsided once more.
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« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2008, 10:11:39 PM »

You Are But Tenants in the Land
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Predictably, the result of Sharon's abrupt abandonment of the Gaza Strip last summer has been an immediate escalation of violence. Moreover, with the frightening array of war materiel now being smuggled into Gaza it's hard to see how anything but total disaster can come of it.

But the contrast between levels of terrorism during conservative and liberal administrations is apparently lost on both Jewish and Gentile observers, because they again seem surprised by the fact that agreeing to yield more land has brought increased violence from the Palestinians.

God Is The Same, Yesterday, Today, And Forever

God has often used His enemies to accomplish His purpose (Jeremiah 25:9) and promises to do so again (Revelation 17:15-18 ). So, are we missing something here? Is God using militant factions among the Palestinians to show His displeasure with Israelís land for peace plan?

I donít pretend to be a political analyst or commentator. But I am a student of prophecy and delight in overlaying the proven strategies of our Lord upon current events. And in the current affairs of Israel, I see a definite pattern.

If His past performance is any indicator, God is opposed to trading land for peace and is using Israelís enemies to say so. I believe Heís trying to dissuade Israel from giving away land that isnít theirs to give, and to convince them that in their own strength, however formidable it may be, they are not equal to the task of defeating their enemies. Then maybe theyíll give up trying and turn to Him.

After all it was He Who said, "If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). You can almost hear Him repeating those words as He gives His people sign after sign that it's time to come back to Him.

Will He Ever Quit Trying To Convince Them?

Let's ask Him.


This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - the LORD Almighty is his name:

"Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me."

This is what the LORD says: "Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)

If those who subscribe to replacement theology (the heresy contending that after the cross the Church replaced Israel in God's plan, and therefore there's no place for the Nation of Israel in the world today) are correct, then the Lord has broken this promise to Israel. Because the Sun shines every day, and the moon and stars every night. And anyone near a seacoast can hear the constant roaring of the waves.

So What's It Gonna Take?

One day soon a coalition of Moslem forces will attack an unsuspecting Israel with overpowering force, and when that happens the King of the Universe will come roaring out of the Heavens with warfare on His mind and vengeance in his Heart, for whoever touches Israel touches the apple of His eye. When the dust has settled the invading forces that had covered the land like a cloud will lie slain in their tracks, food for the vultures. "I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. (Ezekiel 39:21-22) After that there won't be any more talk of land for peace. 01-15-06
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« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2008, 10:15:59 PM »

The Coming Temple
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley


According to Prophecies in Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4, a Temple will exist in Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Revelation 11:1 which describes John measuring a Temple during the Tribulation. Its location is the "Holy City." Chapter 11 also introduces the 2 witnesses who preach in the "Great City" and are ultimately killed there, their bodies left lying in the street. The Great City is identified as the place where the Lord was crucified: Jerusalem. But is Jerusalem also the Holy City?

According to Zechariah 14:6-9 on the day of the Lord's return an earthquake will split the Mt. of Olives in two along an East-West line that creates a great valley through the center of Jerusalem. Immediately a river will fill the valley creating a waterway from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. If the Lord returns to the same area of the Mt. of Olives from which He left, as suggested by Acts 1:11, the earthquake creating this East-West valley will destroy the current Temple mount and anything that may be standing upon it.

Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes a great river flowing from under the south side of the Temple and then eastward to the Dead Sea during a period of time that most scholars believe has not occurred yet. Revelation 22:1-2 confirms this. If as it appears, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation all describe the same river, then an interesting scenario begins to emerge.

This scenario requires a Temple to be present on the day the Lord returns, but since the current Temple mount will have been destroyed by the earthquake mentioned above, this Temple must be somewhere else. Since the river originates under the Temple and flows from its south side before heading East and West, the Temple must be north of the newly created river valley.

Where Are The 12 Tribes?

Plotting the land grants for the 12 tribes given in the 48th chapter of Ezekiel on a map of Israel places the precincts of the Holy City somewhat north of the current City of Jerusalem. This new location is the ancient City of Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for nearly 400 years after the Israelites first conquered the Land. This is the Holy City and its name is Jehovah Shammah according to the last verse in Ezekiel. The Hebrew translates as "the LORD is here."

If accurate, this location would meet all the requirements for the Temple mentioned in the above references. The current Temple Mount in Jerusalem would not.

According to Ezekiel 44:6-9, this Temple will have been defiled in a way never seen in history, therefore at a time yet future to us. A foreigner un-circumcised in heart (neither Christian) and flesh (nor Jewish) will have been given charge of the sanctuary while offering sacrifices. If we understand the chronology of Ezekiel, this event will have taken place after both the 1948 re-gathering prophesied in 36-37 and the national wake-up call prophesied in 38-39 but before the Millennial Kingdom begins. The only event we know of that fits that chronology is the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Paul's prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2:4 where the anti christ sets himself up in the Temple proclaiming himself to be god.

Here then is a rough outline of events. Following Israel's return to God after the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, the Jewish people will re-establish their covenant (old not new) with Him. This will require a return to Levitical practices and so a Temple will be built. This is the Temple spoken of by Daniel and Revelation. Following instructions given by Ezekiel and needing to avoid the enormous problems a Jerusalem Temple would create in the Moslem world, this Temple will be located north of Jerusalem in Shiloh. It will be defiled in the middle of the last 7 years as outlined in Daniel 9:24-27, Ezekiel 44:6-9, Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4 kicking off the Great Tribulation, but will be cleansed by living water that begins flowing on the day the Lord returns (Zechariah 14:8 ). This temple will be used during the Millennium to memorialize the Lord's work at the cross and provide the perspective for children born during the Kingdom Age to choose salvation just as you and I have had the perspective of the Lord's Supper in making our choice. Remember, He said, "Do this in memory of Me until I come." Acts 15:14-16 confirms that after the Lord has chosen a people from among the gentiles for Himself (the church) He will return and re-build David's fallen Tabernacle (the Temple). This is the Millennial Temple so vividly described in Ezekiel 40-48.
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2008, 10:22:57 PM »

The Coming Temple
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

The New Jerusalem

The Ezekiel passage also solves the Jerusalem / New Jerusalem problem. For as long as I've been studying these things, there has been debate over the issue of the New Jerusalem. Some wonder how the Lord could permit redeemed believers and non- believing natural humans to co-exist in the Millennium. (The rotten apple spoiling the barrel theory) Others wonder how a city with a foot print 1400 miles square and tall could be located in Israel when the whole country won't be that big.

Carefully examining Revelation 21 and 22, we notice that John never actually says the city arrives on earth. We are only told he sees it coming down out of heaven, prepared as a bride. (Not that the city IS the bride, but that as with a bride on her wedding day, no effort has been spared to make it look its absolute best.)

I don't believe the city ever rests on the Earth's surface, but rather orbits in the proximity of Earth, like a satellite or perhaps another moon.

Also comparing the descriptions of New Jerusalem with Jehovah Shammah we see some similarities but enough differences to refute the notion that John and Ezekiel described the same place. Compare the following:

New Jerusalem

(All verses from Revelation) Jehovah Shammah
(All verses from Ezekiel)

12 gates named after Israel (21:12)    
12 gates named after Israel (48:30)

12 foundations named after Apostles (21:14)    
Foundation not described

1400 miles square and tall (21:16)    
One mile square (48:30)

Coming Down from heaven (21:2)    
Located in Israel on Earth (40:2)

No Temple ... God and the Lamb are its Temple (21:22)    
Temple just north of the city (40:2)

No sin; nothing impure will ever enter (21:27)    
Daily sin offerings in the Temple (45:13-15,17)

No more death (21:4)    
Still death (44:25 also Isa 65:20)

No natural beings ... only the perfected (21:27)    
Natural Beings (46:16)

With the differentiation of these two Holy Cities, the apparent conflict between Jewish and Christian eschatology is resolved. Israel was promised that one day GOD would come to Earth to dwell among them forever, while the Church is promised that Jesus will come to take us to heaven to live with Him there. Both promises come true.

Since Ezekiel specifically quoted the Lord's promise to dwell among the Israelites forever (43:7) and then described the new Holy City, while Jesus promised to return for the Church to take us to be with Him (John 14:1-3), they must have been talking about two different destinations. They were. Heaven is the New Jerusalem where we will dwell with the Lord forever, while the Holy City on Earth is Jehovah Shammah where God will dwell in the midst of His people Israel forever.
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« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2008, 11:19:15 PM »

The End Times According To Paul ... Part 1
1st Thessalonians 1-3
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of The Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley


Over the last several weeks we've been reviewing the so-called Olivet Discourse, the Lord's personal briefing on the End Times to Israel, found primarily in Matthew 24. He delivered this briefing to four disciples on the Mount of Olives (hence the name) a few days before the Crucifixion. 20 years later He directed Paul to write a companion view intended for the Church. That view is contained in Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and is the subject of this series.

It's important to understand the differences between Jewish and Christian Eschatology. Israel was promised that one day God would return to dwell with them forever in the land He had given them (Ezekiel 43:7). The Church was promised that we would go to heaven to dwell with our Lord Jesus forever. (John 14:1-3) Because the Bible can't contradict itself both promises have to come true.

There's Something Different Here

Just as the Olivet Discourse is focused on the 2nd coming, Paul's two letters to the Thessalonians reference the 2nd coming in each chapter, for an average of once every 13 verses. The difference is that Paul's letters feature an event that doesn't appear anywhere in the Olivet Discourse, the Rapture of the Church. It was the first public disclosure of an incredible secret God had kept to Himself since the very beginning of time, (His reasons for keeping this secret were discussed in my last article) and it's this difference that enables both Jewish and Gentile eschatology to come true.

The Thessalonian letters were Paul's very first, written in 51 and 52 AD from Corinth. Paul had spent only 3 weeks in Thessalonica, since his teaching there had caused a riot soon after his arrival. A group of malcontents, hired for the purpose, stirred up the crowds by publicly accusing Paul of preaching against Caesar. One thing led to another and the city officials, very protective of their status as a free city of the Roman Empire, required Paul to leave and post a bond to insure he would never return. (Acts 17:1-9)

But in that 3 weeks Paul had taught believers there the doctrines of salvation and sanctification, the Trinity, the nature of man, the assurance of pardon and of course, the End Times. His two letters were meant to under gird these teachings and to answer questions the Thessalonians had raised about the Day of the Lord. In this commentary we'll focus primarily on his answers to their prophecy questions.

Let's Get Started

Paul's first hint that the Church will be rescued from the End Times judgments, called the Great Tribulation by the Lord, (Matthew 24:21) comes in the very first chapter of the letter and illustrates another major difference between Jewish and Christian eschatology. Christians may argue over the timing of our rescue but at least we're promised one. In the Olivet Discourse the most the Lord could say to Israel is that for the sake of His elect He would put a stop to things before they destroyed every last person on the planet. (Matthew 24:22). And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

By using the Greek word apo in the phrase translated rescues us from the coming wrath, Paul selected a preposition that literally means "to keep away from the time, place or any relation to" the Great Tribulation. (Please remember "the wrath" arrives on Earth in Rev. 6:16-17, well before the Great Tribulation officially begins.)

As I've stated before, the Great Tribulation (called the Time of Jacob's Troubles in the Old Testament) serves two purposes:

1. to completely destroy all the nations among which the Jews have been scattered, and

2. to discipline Israel in preparation for the Lord's return (Jeremiah 30:1-11).


The Church, having been purified at the cross, has no business there and here's the first of several promises Paul makes that we won't be.
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« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2008, 11:23:51 PM »

The End Times According To Paul ... Part 1
1st Thessalonians 1-3
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of The Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Where Did He Come From?

Paul had come to Thessalonica from Philippi where he had been mistreated in a most humiliating way. Having been dragged before the magistrates for exorcising a demon from a slave girl, and then beaten and imprisoned without trial in violation of Roman law, he was finally released and sent out of town. But though his time in Thessalonica was also cut short, his preaching there had been joyfully received and its impact on the Thessalonians was a witness to congregations all around.

Thessalonica was the capitol of Macedonia with about 200,000 residents. It was located at the strategic intersection of the Via Egnatia, the major east-west thoroughfare through Greece, and the north-south highway that led to the Danube and Eastern Europe. As a result travelers from all over the region passed through and felt the influence of the new Christian community there. For this reason Paul felt a special bond with them. "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy" (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).

Though he couldn't return to Thessalonica himself, Paul had sent Timothy to find out how they were doing, and in his letter told them how encouraged he was by Timothy's favorable report. "How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" He asked. "May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones." (1 Thessalonians 3:9,13)

Here's another clue as to what's in store for the Church and when it'll happen. Paul's prayer that they would all be in the presence of our God and Father when it was time for the Lord Jesus to return is a clear hint that the church will be removed from Earth and taken to Heaven sometime prior to the 2nd coming.

And so in the first three chapters of the letter, Paul has referenced the 2nd coming three times, two of which also give clear indication that the Church will be rescued from the time, place, and any relation to the judgments that precede it. All of this is leading up to his blockbuster announcement of the Rapture of the Church, which we'll cover in our next installment. See you then. 06-20-04
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« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2008, 11:29:39 PM »

The End Times According To Paul ... Part 2
1st Thessalonians 4-5
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley


We've begun reviewing Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and have found that these letters contain the Lord's first official announcement of the Rapture of the church. We've seen several hints already but now in chapter 4 Paul brings this almost inconceivable blessing into the open for all to marvel at.

Remember, Paul used these letters to underscore his teaching on the End Times and to answer their questions about prophecy. And now in chapter 4 we get to their primary concern, their uncertainty about the disposition of believers who die before the Lord returns. Somehow Christians in Thessalonica had come to believe that only those alive at the Lord's return would qualify for the blessings of the Kingdom. Those unfortunate enough to have died before the 2nd coming would miss out on everything, they feared, perhaps even their salvation. Paul put their minds to rest.

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope, " He said. " We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."

And then he laid it on them. "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 )

Contained In The Old, Explained In The New

Scholars search the Gospels in vain for the words from the Lord that Paul claims to be quoting here because they're looking in the wrong place. The Lord's promise is found not among the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, but in a passage from Isaiah.

"But your dead will live;" Isaiah said, "Their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead."

"Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer." (Isaiah 26:19-21)

Here in the Book of Isaiah lies the clearest prophecy of a pre-trib rapture of any, although I'll grant you that without already knowing about the rapture you might not see it. But that's the way of God, isn't it, to hide things in plain sight? It's part of His secret wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7) (With tongue planted firmly in cheek, I've always maintained that the only 100% sure way of interpreting prophecy is to wait till a passage is fulfilled, and then say, "Oh, so that's what that means.")

Read the Isaiah passage carefully and you'll see it previews Paul's disclosure to the last detail. First comes the resurrection of the saved dead, and then the disappearance of the living. In Hebrew, the word translated go in verse 20 has several meanings (including come) and my favorite, vanish. And to where do we vanish? Into the rooms prepared for us in His Father's house, Jesus said. (John 14:1-3) And when do we do this? Sometime before the Lord comes out of His dwelling to punish the people of Earth for their sins. It seems clear. Before the Great Tribulation begins, the Lord's people will vanish into our "mansions in the sky" and stay there until it ends.

(Notice how Isaiah speaks in the 2nd person to us about our resurrection and rapture, but in the 3rd person about the people of Earth and the Lord punishing them for their sins? Like Paul, he's removing us from the time, the place and any relation to the Great Tribulation.)
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« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2008, 11:35:19 PM »

The End Times According To Paul ... Part 2
1st Thessalonians 4-5
Ikvot ha'Mashiach (Footsteps of the Messiah)
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Come Up Here!

And so one day soon without any prior warning at all, you'll suddenly hear a loud voice calling your name and commanding you to "Come up here!" just as it was with John in Revelation 4:1 (another preview of the Rapture). As the trumpet blows you'll be shot across the dimensions of space and time as if on a rocket, and before you can even blink an eye, your mortal body will become immortal, all your imperfections gone, and you'll find yourself standing in Heaven in the presence of the Lord, never again to leave Him. Hallelujah!

And so Paul revealed, for the very first time, the incredible news of the secret event we now call the Rapture. And just as it would have been with us, Paul knew their next question would have to do with the timing of the event. Heading them off, he wrote:

"Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."

"But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5) As Daniel had foretold, (Daniel 8:23-25) Paul confirmed that the antichrist will initially appear as a man of peace before bringing astounding devastation to the Earth. His antics will catch the world off guard, and they'll think the great era of Peace on Earth has finally arrived.

But here's another case where you need to pay careful attention to the pronouns Paul used to see who he's talking about. He starts out using the 3rd person (them & they) to indicate who's being surprised, then switches to the 2nd person (you) and finally to the 1st person (we) to say that believers should know what's coming and when and therefore should not be surprised.

Once again the church is being separated from the world, this time in terms of awareness. We have the Word of God, Who knows and tells us the end from the beginning. We should not be caught by surprise as events signal the nearness of the End of the Age. We've been told what to look for, and as Jesus warned His disciples, "When all these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28 ) Though we won't know the day or hour, we are admonished to know the times and seasons. And as the signs we see tell us that the end is drawing near we're told to watch and wait.

Watch And Wait

In researching the literal meanings of those two words, I found that watch implies expectation and wait implies belief. I get a mental image of a person at a bus stop. Having decided where he's going and being familiar with the schedule, he gets there close to his bus's arrival time, watching with expectation because he knows it's coming soon, and waiting with the belief that when it arrives it'll take him to his destination.

So it is with us where the rapture is concerned. Having read the prophecies and knowing that the time is near, we watch with expectation because we know He's coming soon, and we wait with the belief that when He arrives He'll take us to our destination.

Unlike others who are asleep, we're alert and self-controlled. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep (alive or dead), we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11) In saying this, he offered another hint like the ones in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 3:13 that the Rapture of the Church would precede the Great Tribulation.

Bringing his letter to a close, Paul encouraged them to "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

"Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28 )

Our God, Who has called us, will sanctify us and keep our whole spirit, soul and body blameless at the Lord's coming. He is faithful and He will do it!

Next time, Paul's 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, and proof positive that he taught them that the rapture would precede all of the Great Tribulation! See you then. 06-27-04
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